It’s been a while. It’s been a rough few weeks for me and I just didn’t have the energy to write and I’m sorry for that. I didn’t want to give you a half-hearted blog that I just didn’t dedicate the time to research properly and risk putting out a low quality post.
Fortunately, I have great friends like Tim and Krisy to remind me that during this time it’s okay to feel that way and to put myself ahead of writing. That’s a message I want to pass along to all of you as well. We’ve been at home now for just over two months. That’s a long time and it’s bound to take a toll on productivity and energy levels. Take care of yourselves first, and take care of your family. Lower expectations of yourself and do the best you can every day, even if your best is just a fraction of what you’d normally consider your best. We’ll get through this together and on the other side we’ll return to our thriving Magic community down at the shop.
With that in mind, today’s blog is going to be a more casual discussion. Rather than a list of cards to buy, I’m going to share a few of my favorite commander decks with you in hopes that it’ll inspire you to do some brewing of your own while we’re all at home. Let’s get into it!
Ashling the Pilgrim ($2.38) - Ashling is a 1/1 for a colorless and a red, which is a very reasonable rate for a commander that’ll probably get killed as often as possible. Ashling’s ability says: 1R: Put a +1/+1 counter on Ashling the Pilgrim. If this is the third time this ability has resolved this turn, remove all +1/+1 counters from Ashling the Pilgrim, and it deals that much damage to each creature and each player. This means it would also kill Ashling in the process…unless we can find a way to get around that.
So how do we take advantage of this ability? Ashling is an equipment deck that helps make her ability so much more powerful. Darksteel Plate makes her indestructible ensuring she won’t die to the third activation. Loxodon Warhammer gives her lifelink to ensure we’re not taking the damage too, and in fact, we’re profiting life. Basilisk Collar and Gorgon Flail give her deathtouch to ensure we’re killing every other creature on the board that doesn’t have indestructible. Swiftfoot Boots and Lightning Greaves are also necessary to help fight off the removal that will certainly be coming her way. It gets out of hand really quick. Ready for the fun part? We’re also going to run damage doubling effects like Dictate of the Twin Gods, Furnace of Wrath, and Gratuitous Violence to make Ashling’s activations really hurt and end the game twice as fast. Be sure to also run plenty of mana rocks to ensure you’re repeating the activation process as many times as possible and to pay equip costs. I played this deck for a couple of months and after the first time I played her, I was public enemy number one from there on out. Play her at your own risk.
Braids, Conjurer Adept ($3.29) - Braids costs two blue and two colorless for a 2/2 that says “At the beginning of each player’s upkeep that player may put an artifact, creature, or land card from his or her hand into play”. This seems bad on its surface right? Your opponents can just put things into play for free but, guess what, so can you. The key to this deck is that we’re betting our stuff is better than theirs. That’s why we run huge eldrazi like It That Betrays, Kozilek, the Great Distortion, Artisan of Kozilek, Emrakul the Promised End, and Ulamog the Infinite Gyre. That’s good and all but, it’s only one permanent per turn, how do we abuse this even further? Well, I’m glad you asked. Paradox Haze gives you an additional upkeep step allowing Braids to trigger twice on your turn. From there, all we have to worry about is keeping our hand stocked for those Braids triggers. We’ll want to run plenty of card draw and counter magic to help keep our stuff on board and well protected. Windfall, Stroke of Genius, and Blue Sun’s Zenith are great for this. Ultimately we want to be a big mana deck in case Braids gets hated out, so plenty of mana rocks for this one too. From there, we just let our eldrazi titans and our annihilator triggers do all the work. Of course, we can also run Show and Tell, and Omniscience if we really want to go off. Braids can end a game rather quickly once she gets going.
Gahiji, Honored One ($1.57) - Do you like politics in your commander games? This is how you get politics in your commander game. Gahiji costs two colorless, red, white, and green for a 4/4. His ability says “Whenever a creature attacks one of your opponents or a planeswalker an opponent controls, that creature gets +2+0 until end of turn. The goal here is to sit back and watch your opponents fight it out while you build up a board state to sneak in and take the win because Gahiji’s ability also applies to your creatures. That’s great and all but what if our opponents form an alliance and won’t attack? Well, we’re going to make sure they do by running cards like Bloodthirsty Blade, Agitator Ant, Disrupt Decorum, and Marisi, Breaker of the Coil. These cards have the Goad ability. Goad says the creature must attack if able, and they just attack someone other than you. While it doesn’t have the Goad ability, Rite of the Raging Storm has a similar effect by giving each opponent a creature on their turn that must attack someone other than you. To really go big we can run cards like Invasion Plans and Grand Melee to ensure ALL creatures attack every turn if able. So with that, we’ll want to run cards like Ghostly Prison and Sphere of Safety to make attacking you costly, or impossible all together. In terms of creatures we want for this strategy, I’d recommend Goblin Spymaster, and Warmonger Hellkite. To round the deck out, we can also run Contested War Zone in our mana base. If you like quick commander games and hate having friends, Gahiji is for you!
So that’s going to do it for today’s post, I hope it gave you some ideas to work with! As you can see, all 3 Commanders fit perfectly in a budget focused build, just like we love! Join me in discord to discuss things more, or to bounce your own ideas for decks off the community. Additionally, since we’re going to be taking a more casual approach to blogs for now, let me know if you have any ideas for topics. I’d love to hear your thoughts and provide my own on a topic of your choosing. It can be anything Commander related!
Thanks for reading, stay safe, and take care of yourself and those around you. I’ll be back soon with another post!