Taking What's Mine
As we close out the year, we end another year of power creep, standard being less than ideal and commander product for next year already being teased. What better way to top it all off than to challenge ourselves with our next build for commander. In my playgroup we keep things fresh by often giving each other deck building restrictions or a stipulation for our next build. This can be a commander with a strange theme that may not immediately play into the average build for this commander, or just a wacky theme. Today, I’m going to be talking about my stipulation build that was given to me of Act of Treason tribal. This decklist is far from perfect and could stand a lot of polish, but it was the base for a fun night of commander.
Gimme that Good Stuff
Now you may be asking, is this deck garbage? Oh probably, it even has Lord of Tresserhorn in the 99, but it’s an absolute blast to play it. Let’s break down some of the card choices starting with the commanders themselves.
I always start with the commanders of the deck. Here we’ve chosen these two commanders for the use of their colours, but also the card advantage that they allow for. The deck is full of clunky spells and effects that are one time or reactive. In order to keep the deck running, we have to be able to see as many cards as possible for this while keeping our colours open. These partner commanders offer that wonderfully while still being fun for the rest of the table. I’m sure you’ll also notice that the white in the deck is a bit of a splash simply for support. It’s not necessary and you could likely make this a grixis build but it keeps the other decks at the table a touch more honest with the support.
The build around, functional reprints and better (or worse) versions of it:
Act of Treason, Hijack, Act of Aggression, Mass Mutiny, Mob Rule, Slave of Bolas, Zealous Conscripts, Blind with Anger, Mark of Mutiny, Captivating Crew
Pretty rare to be using a Zealous Conscripts as a straight Act of Treason effect and no Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker in sight but hey, the text says Act of Treason. Other than that, a lot of these cards are just generally bad but play into the central theme and stipulation given for this deck. We need to steal our opponents boards and win with their big stuff. Like I said though, these cards are bad so we need to find a way to achieve some sort of greater pay off with these effects. We need to be able to support this effect properly.
Enter stage left; the support cards.
Dictate of Erebos, Goblin Bombardment, Brion Stoutarm, Yahenni, Undying Partisan, God-Eternal Bontu, Altar of Dementia, Ashnod’s Altar, Phyrexian Altar, Liliana, Dreadhorde General, Fling, Thud, High Market.
I have no interest in giving my opponent’s cards back to them. Treat the boardstate like you’re a child; if you can’t have it, then no one can. This allows for greater board control in an otherwise mediocre deck. This will keep you in the game to either build your mana or put yourself in a game winning position. On top of that, being able to Fling your opponent’s Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre at their own face is ever so sweet. You can definitely go deeper on this aspect of the strategy than what I offer in the list above, but I kept the relative power level of the deck low to promote long and interactive games. But at the end of each game, we have to win somehow right?
The play of the game:
None of these cards are absurd game winners but they all demand answers at the very least. By keeping the power level low in this deck, we’ll result in even better games if the rest of the group is also building with stipulations. Allowing each of the decks to flourish and play to their full effect is key to making this type of deck building work. We all have been given insane ideas and we want them to play out how we intended them to. Some of them will require a lot of mana, or some dumb two card combo but we all want to see it work. Seeing the absurdity on display with an interactive game that is filled with decisions and player interaction keeps these ideas fresh while cultivating ideas for further deck building.
That’s part of the fun of this whole thing. By doing this, you’ll often find ideas that you enjoy. You may not have expected to enjoy an Act of Treason tribal deck but maybe there’s a card or two in there that has become a new favourite pet card. Maybe there’s a card or two that this has forced you to evaluate. It’s all about making you a better deck builder while keeping your games fresh, new and enjoyable. You can go back and work on these decks after you play a game with them and chalk up a second draft. You’ll realize you’ve missed no brainer cards like Agent of Treachery, Grim Backwoods or Mayhem Devil but this is all part of a greater learning experience.
Each of these decks will be a challenge to you and how you choose to play commander. Find a new strategy you like, a new colour pair that you previously never played or even find your new favourite commander. Variety is the spice of life and commander is no different. Try this next time your group feels like the games are getting stale or repetitive. I’ve given you an example of one of many decks that my group has completed during this process and I hope to bring more decks from these game nights for you all to enjoy to help expand your view of the game or Bring to Light a card you’ve never experienced before.
Well friends, happy new year and have a wonderful holiday. May you never be Brainstorm locked in your games.