99 Problems – How To Build A Siege Tower

Sean McKeown sets out to construct a Doran, the Siege Tower Commander deck using the pieces given to him by reader Mike. Submit your own deck to Sean for a chance to win $20 in store credit.

Hey Sean,

I picked up Magic again about six months ago when I got deployed to the Middle East and met up with a bunch of players here. Before then, I started
around Revised/4th Edition through Ice Ages. Although our small playgroup does a bunch of Type 2, what has been intriguing me the most has been EDH and
Planechase. After tinkering around with a few different Generals, I’ve come to enjoy the versatility of Doran: he doesn’t inherently hose my opponents
right off the bat (although he certainly can occasionally), and his color wedge offers me the potential to take the deck in a few different directions.

The playgroup is a mix of people like me who are new to EDH and haven’t invested a lot of time/money into their decks, and more competitive players who
have the skills and collections to make powerful decks. I should point out that these players would rather play a casual game in a casual setting than
break out a deck that will take the fun out of what downtime we do have. Once my tour is over and I get stateside I plan on finding a local group, so
without knowing how competitive the game could turn, I’d like to see this deck get stronger (or maybe just more consistent) while remaining fun, but at
the same time be able to turn it into a more competitive deck.

Here’s the deck as it currently stands. There are already a few changes I want (and will be making in the near future as my budget allows), namely to
replace the painlands with shocklands, City of Solitude, Enlightened Tutor, Ghostly Prison, Leyline of Sanctity, Mirari’s Wake, Path to Exile, and
Sterling Grove. As far as price goes, it’s pretty much a case by case scenario. Dual lands are out of the question, at least for the time being, but it
boils down to for what that card costs, how much would I gain by it being in my deck versus how many cards I could buy/trade for the same amount, if
that makes sense to you.

The way I envision it, if the deck works the way I built it, I slap down Meekstone and Serra’s Blessing and attack safely behind my vigilant Treefolk
and walls, as my opponents are loathe to attack without being able to untap. Elspeth, Luminarch Ascension and Ulamog are in there as alternate win
conditions, and Whispersilk Cloak I suppose can be as well. The subtheme would be taking advantage of the fact that walls are perfect cheap creatures
that benefit from Doran, and making them lose their defender, but in practice, this does not happen as often as I would like. Some of the walls are
still useful, either for their card draw, flying defense, or direct damage they can do to the opponent.

Cards I’m Not Completely Sold On:

Behemoth Sledge – Meh. Lifelink is always nice, but I this is one of the first to go most likely.

Darksteel Pendant – My poor man’s Top. I plan to get one for EDH purposes, so this is in for the time being.

Battlegrace Angel – I like her, but wouldn’t cry if I benched her for something better.

Jareth, Leonine Titan – An EDH bomb. And having protection at instant speed is great, but every time I go through my deck he sticks out like a sore

Loxodon Gatekeeper – Much like the Angel Arbiter, he’s in here solely to slow down the opponent. (Side note: I had Rule of Law in at one point, but
removed it because of the awkward way it slowed down the game.)

Traproot Kami – If it wasn’t for it having reach, this card would have been cut already. But with only 10 Forests in the deck, this card isn’t being
used to its full potential. Another early cut.

Wall of Reverence – A flying wall that does six damage with Doran out for 4cc is pretty good, but still on my unsure list. And when I only have a
handful of creatures in the deck I can rely on gaining decent life from, it make me question this card. Its best synergy is with a resolved Scute Mob,
and if I get Ulamog out it should be game over soon anyway.

Leyline of Vitality – Pretty bland. On the cut list.

Painful Quandary – A real nuisance card for opponents, but like Jareth, feels out of place.

Wild Pair – One of the recent swaps I’ve made, so I haven’t tried it out enough. Seems good in theory though, and it looks like I’ve got enough pairing
to make it viable in use.

Exsanguinate – Feels like one of those multiplayer staples, but not high on my keep list.

All non-basic lands – The one area I know needs the most tweaking. A work in progress.

Cards I Love and Tutor For:

Meekstone – As stated above, I generally built around this card, and creatures with power greater than 2 have a reason to be in there.

Indomitable Ancients – Yeah, this is a no-brainer with Doran.

Ikiral Outrider – More useful in the mid to late game when I have the mana to level him up, but fits the theme well.

Souls of the Faultless – Pricey for its P/T, but the value comes in when an opponent can’t attack you with a beast knowing how much it’ll hurt when I
block with this.

Thorntooth Witch – With all the Treefolk I’m playing, this has been some handy removal, particularly when playing against a weak General.

Land Tax – Probably the most tutored-for card, along with Serra’s Blessing and Meekstone.

Oversold Cemetery – Useful for getting my creatures back, and if need be I can retrieve Doran rather than pay the extra 2 colorless.

Spidersilk Armor – Handy when very little of my deck has flying/reach.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant – An instant target once she’s on the board, nonetheless she has utility even if I don’t pull off her ultimate.

So that’s it. I’d love your thoughts on how you would improve it, and see if hopefully I was on the right path with what changes I want to make. I want
to be able to slow down my opponent, but until I need to make this deck more competitive, I like having soft counters like Ghostly Prison, Angelic
Arbiter and Loxodon Gatekeeper. Like I said before, Rule of Law was in at one point, but I didn’t like how it slowed down the game. And even though I
have a budget and probably won’t be putting dual lands in, don’t hesitate to give me suggestions that fall outside my price range. I may not be able to
spend the money on them now, but it will give me ideas for the future.



Well, it’s always interesting to see a new look on a familiar concept, and the use of Doran in this particular fashion is not like how I’ve
seen him used before. Other riffs on the same theme have focused considerably more heavily on pure defense synergy, or turned to take advantage of
Doran’s aggressive beatdown nature and build him as a very aggressive team leader. White, green, and black catch the imagination with some very
powerful cards and good synergy and balance, as you can see with the enchantment theme this deck is looking to work with, but it’s been some time
since I have seen anyone play Castle and rock out with it.

First and foremost, I would aim to strengthen the themes you do have and tweak them for what happens when the worst goes wrong, as you’re
building heavily on an enchantment theme but would probably benefit from some more resilience to handle the inevitable Oblivion Stone or Akroma’s
Vengeance that will undo all of your efforts in one fell swoop. The solution to some of that is going to be building in more card advantage—it
doesn’t really matter what got blown up, if you have a full grip to work with and rebuild. Other than that, though, you can plan to get your key
cards back with recursion, and would like to build some more of that into the deck to help increase its power level and pure scrimmage power.

I like the themes that it has going on, but just want to tweak how those themes are going to be performed. I love that, contextually, your strongest
card is Meekstone—that’s a great riff on how to take advantage of Doran, and want to follow the same paths you’ve crossed already to
keep your guys safe of the Stone and rocking out with toughness instead of power. But as much as I like what you’re doing, I hate some of the
cards you’re doing it with, solely because of the fact that the cardboard you’re investing in is underpowered compared to some of the other
ways you can go about doing the same thing. Serra’s Blessing and Castle do what you’re trying to do, but Oathsworn Giant does them both at
once for the cost of one card and provides a six-damage attacker with Doran running, so I’m going to try and amp up what you’re
doing when I can even if it means replacing some of your card choices.

What I see going on here is army-building,
army-buffing, and some flagship creatures—critters that you don’t require to be in keeping with the theme 100%, but who still do a good job
even if you haven’t passed vigilance on along to them and Meekstone is out. I’m going to try and increase some of that as well, upgrading
your Vigilance creatures a bit, perhaps picking who gets to be a flagship with more scrutiny. And perhaps the best thing yet, I’m going to help
increase your overall plan by pointing out a card I suspect you’d missed, since it’s considerably easier for you to find an enchantment
than it is for you to find an artifact and a Meekstone that gives a pass to white creatures will still presumably help you out against a fair chunk of
people. Even a monowhite deck will have a considerable number of non-white threats, between Eldrazi and Colossi and all sorts of other juicy artifact
choices, and two- or three-color decks are more common choices at Commander tables and Crackdown will still do almost all of a Meekstone’s job
while giving you the ability to get around it a little.

Re-tooling your themes to their bare bones, I started by stripping it to start only with the things I knew would be staying around, with good
team-builders and as many 2/10 creatures as you can get your hands on. Most of the problems you’d noted with the strategy working out had to do
with the power level of some of the cards being a little low in some games from drawing one too many Primal Rages and not quite enough action to go
with your enhancers, so I’ll be starting by stripping those out and finding another way to go about making it happen and strengthening the core
base of your creatures to make some of those cards a little less necessary in the first place.

What We’re Keeping For Sure

I may make fun of Castle, but for you it definitely works, so no matter how much I might make fun of it, it’s a core of your deck and
shouldn’t be replaced. Running with the theme of “toughness is the new power!” the biggest problem I saw was how many walls you were
running, and while some of them are your best cards even—you said Souls of the Faultless was at the top of your list for high-quality defensive
cards—too many make it too hard to find a creature that can actually attack.

Spells: Asceticism, Castle, Demonic Tutor, Diabolic Tutor, Garruk Wildspeaker, Genesis Wave, Green Sun’s Zenith, Idyllic Tutor, Land Tax,
Luminarch Ascension, Oblivion Ring, Oversold Cemetery, Phyrexian Rebirth, Reach of Branches, Spidersilk Armor, Swords to Plowshares, Ensouled Scimitar,
Meekstone, Sol Ring, Whispersilk Cloak

Creatures: Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, Ancient Spider, Angelic Arbiter, Black Poplar Shaman, Carven Caryatid, Grizzled Leotau, Indomitable Ancients,
Ikiral Outrider, Leaf-Crowned Elder, Magnigoth Treefolk, Orchard Warden, Serra Ascendant, Souls of the Faultless, Thorntooth Witch, Wakestone Gargoyle,
Wall of Blossoms, Wall of Omens, Wickerbough Elder

This is a total of 38 nonland cards we’re going to keep, and I even think you’re playing a little mana-heavy, and will be able to get away
with 36 instead of the 39 lands you’re currently playing. Part of this is me knowing somewhat the cards I’d like to add, and part of this
is just a bit more land than you needed going into things. It’ll get sorted out soon enough, but the point remains that this leaves us with 36
land slots and 38 spells claimed already, 74 of your 99 slots chosen. We’ll try to increase your vigilance sub-theme, improve your overall
creature quality, and add some recursion and card advantage engines to help make sure when your stuff does get blown up, you’re perfectly able to
bring it back again or just play more stuff.

New Additions

Some of these are meant to work in overlapping fashion with the other cards you’ll see, and to be fair a few of these cards are a little
expensive. One is a Mythic Rare from the latest expansion, not exactly easy to find where you are currently serving and only a little bit easier than
that to get when you come back Stateside in a few months. You shouldn’t feel bad about not having a Batterskull available to you at the drop of a
hat—I’m suggesting you add it to your deck but even at that I’m a little bit of a hypocrite, since I don’t have a copy
to call my own yet. You wanted to add Enlightened Tutor and I am down with that, but the both of us have to note that the reason you’re adding
Enlightened and not Vampiric Tutor is because Vampiric Tutor is considerably more expensive and you’re planning to target things Enlightened gets
regularly enough that the extra price isn’t usefully spent.

Fortunately, at least compared to the last deck I
had a look at here on 99 Problems
, I didn’t go so heavy on the price tag for you and sticker shock should not be as huge of an
issue—there are a few expensive cards, it’s true, but none of them are Mana Drains. At least some of the price should be helped out by the
fact that, as always with this reader-assisted “advice column” style of article, a $20 coupon for the Star City Games Online Store will be
helping out with some of the heavy lifting and should help to make a dent in a few of the card choices for whenever you want to use it.

We cut ten creatures and I’m only adding eight back; you’ll make up the rest of your creature count via creature recursion or improvements
to your card advantage engine, so I am not worrying too much about changing the creature balance by a few slots since several come with their own army
to assist attached to them with either time or mana to make it happen. We aren’t adding any Walls back in, and cut quite a few creatures not able
to attack, so the end result should be a more consistent fighting force overall with added capabilities to rebuild your board or just build it up more

Weathered Wayfarer
—Another chance at one of your favorite cards in the deck, Land Tax. However, without the restriction on basic lands, you’ll find this
little guy quite capable to serve as a card advantage engine as well, be it by putting Ravnica block bouncelands into your hand to increase your mana
count considerably without turning off his land-search ability… or finding lands that cycle and cashing them in for fresh draws. It can even find
your manlands or other utility lands to help build your eventual army while you’re at it, making this little one-drop a hard worker indeed.

—Sure, you could add Eternal Witness before reaching for this cheaper option and get more mileage out of the recursion, but until you’ve
got a Witness to work with this’ll do in a pinch at protecting your enchantments. One of the themes I’ve built into your deck is
strengthening the OversoldCemetery theme—your enchantments can get back your creatures for a second go. Adding a creature that gets back your
enchantments gives you a nice repeating cycle that makes it pretty hard for an opponent to really erode your position, forcing them to have to jump
through quite a few hoops in order to actually break your cycle… and that will only last until something else starts the whole chain going again,
which is more than a few cards.

Stonehewer Giant
—This will make a bit more sense later when you see what it’s there to get besides the two pieces of Equipment you’ve already
included. The extra tutoring is great, as is having another useful creature with Vigilance on your team, but when you see the extra piece of Equipment
I found for you and what it means for Stonehewer Giant using its ability even with Meekstone online all will be revealed.

Oathsworn Giant
—Castle plus Serra’s Blessing combined on a 4/6 creature, a significantly more impactful way to get your Vigilance on. He spreads the love
and passes the toughness bonus around both at the same time, and thus seems like a perfect addition tailor-made for what you’re trying to
accomplish. I remember just how rough this was to deal with in Ravnica Block Limited, and it has to be even rougher when it’s giving power
bonuses as well as toughness.

Sun Titan
Another vigilant beater, and another notch in your recursion efforts to replace spent enchantments that may happen to have been destroyed. And with Sun
Titan as the M11 prerelease card, and the imminent reprinting of the Titans expected in M12, in just a few weeks he’ll be shockingly affordable
instead of its current bargain-basement-Titan price.

Twilight Shepherd
—Another creature with vigilance to add to your team, this one with Flying as well as Persist to make it evasive and surprisingly hardy. Add in
the fact that Twilight Shepherd has a built-in recursion effect to defend you against board wipes and this little Angel will beat down AND restock your

Geth, Lord of the Vault
—Admittedly not a creature that “works around” Meekstone in play, at least in his own personage. Geth is being added here as a flagship
style of creature—not something that fits within your narrow plan as it is presented, but one which is good enough at providing you with board
presence that this minor liability should not be held against him. Geth is a win condition all by himself, provides awesome recursion at an affordable
price, and can occasionally mess up people who try to do unpleasant things to you. People will learn not to play Mindslaver the first time you pluck it
out of their graveyard to throttle them with it… I’m pretty sure the rule against recurring Mindslavers doesn’t apply when you are
recurring their Mindslaver to throttle them with it.

Sheoldred, Whispering One
—Another creature that doesn’t work around Meekstone, on the face of things, but with her ability to return dead creatures to play
Sheoldred is excellent at turning a stable board state into an advantaged one. You’re unlikely to greatly profit from the Edict every turn if you
are in fact succeeding at locking down credible threats with Meekstone, but returning a dead creature from your graveyard to play every turn for free
is well worth the price of admission and Sheoldred is cheaper than Reya Dawnbringer and hits the enemy harder besides. Your best cards were things like
OversoldCemetery, and Sheoldred is like an OversoldCemetery on crack.

The rest of the slots get packed in with spells, several of which were on your list of desired new additions and others were included to further your
overall themes and strengthen your ability to play a meaningful game by providing recursion or card advantage. We also strengthen your removal suite by
making a few upgrades, while we’re at it, and weaving a lot of recursion elements into your deck to make it much more likely that you’ll be
able to play the game you want to play even as opponents destroy your key permanents. You’re still doing the same fun stuff, but it’s much
harder now to make you stop doing it, which sounds to me entirely in keeping with your overall hopes for strengthening the deck.

Enlightened Tutor
—Excellent at hunting up your best cards that you’ve built your deck around, such as the otherwise hard-to-find Meekstone or any powerful
enchantment of your choice. Your inclination was to add this to the deck to increase its overall competitive oomph, though based on your color scheme
it might make a little more sense to reach for Vampiric before Enlightened since the two life cost is so marginal. Even with that said Enlightened
Tutor will still do good work for you, so here it is.

Path to Exile
—Another spot removal spell at the easiest price around to keep available, the low price of just one mana being as affordable as it can get when
you really need a Blightsteel Colossus dead. Your deck as-is doesn’t really present a lot of removal to work with, focusing more on building
yourself up than on tearing the other guys down, leaving it up to Meekstone to cover a lot of your bases. Meekstone won’t answer every problem
even if it answers most of them, so I think another spot removal spell is a critical addition, and Path to Exile the nearest to Swords to Plowshares in
power level. Go for the Throat is a worthwhile consideration if you don’t want to give them a land, but not being able to hit an artifact
creature or actually kill something indestructible will probably come up more often than that spare land mattering an awful lot.

Life from the Loam
—With the caveat that we have to adjust your mana-base to make this worth doing. Life from the Loam will give you the ability to increase the
amount of mana you draw if you want to work the Loam for more lands, since with repeated use it can let you swap a single draw for three lands that
will help you develop further, while also letting you use it as a pure draw engine if you are able to get it working with some cycling lands. Either
use can be pretty exciting once it starts rolling, especially since we’re adding some graveyard recursion themes, so working the Loam hard can
not only give you a full hand and allow you to always make your land drops, but with the recursion can let you return your best creatures and even your
key enchantments despite never having drawn them in the first place. It gives you a lot of things for free, and I suspect if you start pressing it hard
you’ll find it something of a workhorse.

Sterling Grove
—Another tutor for your enchantment theme but also a key protection spell that should make it nice and hard for your power enchantments to get
removed from play by anything less than a dedicated board sweeper. A tutor that costs you a card has to get some really worthwhile things in order to
pay you back for the loss of a draw step, and since you say your best card is Meekstone we’re going to improve this one’s quality by
letting it find you that spell as well as the others… sort of, kind of, maybe. As you’ll see with the next card.

—Ah, the forgotten Mercadian Masques rare effect. Your low-actual-power, high-toughness-as-power plan is really interesting and worth building
around, and Crackdown is a White enchantment version of Meekstone that happens to let White creatures off for free while it’s at it. While it may
not be better 100% of the time, it is considerably easier for you to find than Meekstone, as you have an easier time finding and recurring an
enchantment than you do an artifact. Two copies of the card you want to try and rely on is better than one, and that’s how this one suggested
itself to me.

Crystal Ball
—An improvement on Darksteel Pendant for your “poor man’s Top” slot. No, it’s not indestructible and thus not a perfect Top
impression, but it’s also twice the effect for the same piece of cardboard and I think in the interim it would serve you better than the Pendant
would. Every deck I’ve added it to has been happy to have it, some even like it better than an actual Sensei’s Divining Top because it can
clear things you don’t want off the top of your deck considerably faster than Top does.

Sword of the Paruns
—Remember that Stonehewer Giant? Stonehewer Giant gets Sword of the Paruns and can pay mana to untap, getting him around the Meekstone while
still fetching equipment. And Sword of the Paruns is another Castle effect for you to add on top of the ones already present, between all the ones you
already had and the new ones I’ve added so far you should have a lot of toughness pumping going on to spread the pain
love. It can even provide actual power boosts to your team if somehow Doran has gotten tucked outside of your reach for a while and you
can’t rely on toughness as power, one of the dangers of relying as heavily on your Commander as your build does… you have a fair share of
tutors to pull him back out of your deck in case of Hinder, but it can’t hurt to have something you found worth doing before that can still be
considered worthwhile even without the Siege Tower around.

Seer’s Sundial
—Another permanent card drawing effect I think you can put to good use, I’ve tried it out in a deck or two now and found it is very good
for keeping the action going while being innocent-looking enough that it’s not targeted with removal immediately (like Mind’s Eye would
be). It’s going to be good with where I expect your mana-base should end up, churns very nicely with Life from the Loam, and even when it
isn’t working hard it helps to ensure you draw a spell every turn without forbidding you from developing your mana-base further.

—Pure and simple card draw. A little more raw drawing power added to your deck will help compensate for the fact that some of your cards are
Castle. Sure, you’re trying to make Castle the awesomest Castle has ever been, but you’re committing permanents to the table that
don’t attack, block, or remove other cards from play, so you need to refill your hand once in a while to keep the action coming.

Slice in Twain
—I cut Rending Vines not because I didn’t respect your desire for the effect, but because I knew you could spend one more mana and get rid
of the hand size restriction. Slice in Twain cares not how many cards you have in hand when you try to kill something that really needs to die, it just
says pay the price and ride the ride. I like the cantrip removal part, and like the versatility of removal you want to have access to, I just think you
can get a better version of itself if you try and thus I upgraded you to Slice in Twain.

Concerted Effort
—A better way than Serra’s Blessing to pass some Vigilance around. Serra’s Blessing was cheaper to cast but only stapled the one
ability to some things that by your choices had a decent chance of already having it; Concerted Effort can also splice on Sheoldred’s swampwalk,
pass along some Flying, a bit more value than just the Vigilance that the Blessing was passing around. Plus, you’ll totally get cool points the
first time Geth steals a double-striker from someone and then suddenly the whole team is going to the air vigilantly to strike twice with enhanced
toughness as their version of power. Commander is a format that is all about dreaming bigger, and I can see a lot of interesting unintended
consequences coming about as a result of this card.

—Unfortunately, a suggestion with a high price tag, but as an in-print Mythic that will have been played for a few months before your rotation
back Stateside its price should have a chance to settle in a bit and its availability increase to the point where you can acquire one without too great
difficulty or a too-high price tag. Behemoth Sledge wasn’t quite doing it for you, but unlike the Sledge, Batterskull starts out life as a 4/4
creature with vigilance and lifelink before it grafts these abilities to someone else so they can appreciate it, and can then pass that Vigilance
around profitably as you try to keep your non-Meek friends safe from your Meekstone. It just works harder, fits better, and thus presumably is worth
the slot. That slot comes with a fair bit of price tag attached to it though, so maybe this should be at the bottom of the “to-get” list.

Mirari’s Wake
—Identified as a key addition for your deck, and every bit as awesome as it sounds. Ramping from five mana directly into the stratosphere of
Commander casting costs is a wonderful feeling, since you can go right from Mirari’s Wake to Ulamog on the following turn.

Mind’s Eye
—Another card-drawing effect, this one unfortunately having something of a bulls-eye on its forehead. When allowed to get out of hand, a
Mind’s Eye gets very out of hand, so expect to play this and spend some mana to get a few replacement cards and then have it taken away
from you; the opportunity to draw a decent chunk of cards is worth pursuing, but is best planned-for knowing that there is a well-deserved twitch
reflex for this card and you’ll have to get those first few draw opportunities for sure as it can’t be relied on for later. Everyone knows
what a Mind’s Eye can do if left alone, so no one will leave it alone. Still bonkers and a potent card-drawing spell that will help you keep a
full grip and thus relevant to the game at hand instead of out of steam.

Lurking Predators
—In the place of Wild Pair. Wild Pair is good for getting you very specific creatures that pair up nicely with something else by design, but the
things that would need to be done to really work Wild Pair in your deck would drastically alter your creature component. Lurking Predators on the other
hand just provides you free stuff on a semi-regular basis, requires very little built-in synergy and is one of the most powerful cards around for

Debtors’ Knell
—Another part of your recursion engine, and like Lurking Predators on the list of cards worth tutoring for that make skipped draw phases a minor
consideration. Debtors’ Knell is your Oversold Cemetery on steroids; sure, it costs a lot to get pumped up that way, but when you stop having to pay
the mana costs, don’t let it get countered, and cherry-pick the creature of your choice out of any graveyard it can get pretty absurd pretty
quickly. All these things overlap very neatly in use and purpose, and I think you’ll greatly appreciate what the deck is now capable of doing as
you churn through it some with Life from the Loam to draw a bunch of cards, play a land every turn for free and get the best creature into play for
free too. Every deck of mine laments the fact that the Commander they have chosen is the wrong colors to play Debtors’ Knell, and with Doran
naturally able to include it, it’s too good to pass up.

This brings us to the last non-land card, and for that I have selected something that counts as both card draw and creature kill, and even has the
opportunity to do as much of its job as you need it to without removing everything by default since it comes with two settings.

Decree of Pain
—A variable-scale mass removal spell that should be worth using to wipe the board with, just like how Phyrexian Rebirth gives you something still
to work with as it clears the board. For its small use it can clear the board of small things and replace itself; for its major use it kills them all
and gives you a handful of cards to make up for whatever of yours happened to have died. A little more removal would be a good thing to have, and
Decree of Pain does a lot of work for one piece of cardboard.

The Mana Is At The Heart Of All Things

I find the most consistent thing I try and do when people ask for my help with their deck comes around when we look at their lands. I try to make a
mana-base work harder than the average bear, do more tricks with it and get more mileage out of specific slots by adding layers to other cards (like
Life from the Loam and Weathered Wayfarer in this case). Here we want to get something working with Life from the Loam, so some cycling lands and
fetchlands, also want to keep Reach of Branches in mind if possible as far as the Forest count goes, get all of your colors with regular consistency,
and if possible just routinely end up in a better position by getting more mana out of what you have to work with.

I’m certainly not going to tell you to get Revised dual lands, but there are advantages to be had from getting the Ravnica Block editions and
using them with the appropriate Zendikar fetchlands to give you the ability to build a stable mana-base at a reasonable price and in such a way that
card access shouldn’t be a major problem given a bit of time. So, building up the core, we’re going to want your Onslaught cycling lands,
Zendikar fetchlands, and dip into Ravnica Block for dual lands and bouncelands. After that, we’ll keep the lands you have already to work with
and make just one more suggestion that should be reasonably easy to satisfy, then add a colorless land that I have gone on record as saying is
considerably more important now thanks to the potency of Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur (and was always “pretty good” to the point where most others
considered it a Commander must-have).

Cuts: Caves of Koilos, Exotic Orchard, Llanowar Wastes.

Keeping: Arid Mesa, ElfhamePalace, Fetid Heath, Forbidding Watchtower, Gilt-LeafPalace, Marsh Flats, Murmuring Bosk, Razorverge Thicket, Sunpetal
Grove, Stirring Wildwood, Twilight Mire, Wooded Bastion

New Additions: Tranquil Thicket, Barren Moor, Secluded Steppe, Overgrown Tomb, Godless Shrine, Temple Garden, Golgari Rot Farm, Orzhov Basilica,
Selesnya Sanctuary, Verdant Catacomb, Misty Rainforest, Horizon Canopy, Reliquary Tower

This gives you 25 lands so far, out of 37, and the remainder should be filled up with basics as appropriate to provide the right color count. Five
Forest, four Swamps and three Plains brings you up to what looks like a proper sum of each of them, accounting as well for the fact that you want to
have a decent bias to the number of Forests you can put into play, to get good use out of Reach of Brambles several times.

That gives us the following as the final decklist:

Doran, the Siege Tower
Sean McKeown
Test deck on 06-05-2011
Magic Card Back

And for ease of consideration, should you want to put any of these changes into effect, here are all the suggested additions and their prices (by
current estimates, going by the store for this very website—after all thanks to that coupon the first $20 is free!)

Auramancer $0.25
Barren Moor $0.25
Secluded Steppe $0.25
Selesnya Sanctuary $0.25
Slice in Twain $0.25
Tranquil Thicket $0.25
Crystal Ball $0.49
Golgari Rot Farm $0.49
Oathsworn Giant $0.49
Orzhov Basilica $0.49
Seer’s Sundial $0.49
Sword of the Paruns $0.49
Crackdown $0.99
Lurking Predators $0.99
Geth, Lord of the Vault $1.49
Twilight Shepherd $1.49
Concerted Effort $1.99
Harmonize $1.99
ReliquaryTower $1.99
Stonehewer Giant $2.99
Weathered Wayfarer $2.99
Decree of Pain $3.99
Path to Exile $3.99
Debtors’ Knell $4.99
Sheoldred, Whispering One $4.99
Horizon Canopy $5.99
Life from the Loam $5.99
Mind’s Eye $5.99
Sterling Grove $5.99
Sun Titan $5.99
Mirari’s Wake $7.99
Overgrown Tomb $7.99
Godless Shrine $9.99
TempleGarden $9.99
Verdant Catacomb $11.99
Misty Rainforest $12.99
Enlightened Tutor $14.99
Batterskull $24.99

Looking at the schedule of things for the next few weeks, I’m going to be able to do one more reader-submission article before the big Commander
release and will be looking at that for an as-yet-undetermined time once it’s hit… from what I have seen of the previews so far
there’s a lot of interesting, crunchy things to work with that are bound to get the ideas flowing and inspire creative deckbuilding, and
won’t know how many articles are going to focus on these new cards until we start to see some of them.

So, if you and your deck of choice would like to be considered for the next 99 Problems, please send an email to me at s_mckeown @ hotmail.com
and I will add you for consideration. My time requirements have greatly shifted since I started this article series and this has kept me from replying
to emails from everyone who has contacted me but whom I have not chosen for submissions, and I would like to apologize publicly for that… I had a
definitive idea of what I was trying to accomplish here and email responses was part of that plan, but there was no way I could have known when I
started this that my girlfriend was going to accept a job in Cambodia for the next eighteen months and the most reasonable thing I could do would be to
commit as much of my free time as possible into spending it with her before I don’t get to see her for a very, very long time.

That said, I’ve had to limit myself to just the reader submissions I have selected for my articles, and for the short-term future that is going
to remain true as I have between now and the middle of July to see her before she gets on a jet plane and goes half the world away. It’s not just
you, either: I’ve skipped several SCG Open weekends I had been planning on attending, dropped PTQs entirely, and have cut a lot of other things I
would otherwise try to focus on in favor of many evenings full of dinners out and movies in. I’d love to receive your requests for help but
cannot promise a reply save for the one that goes into my next article, and hope that is still good enough. Come mid-July I will have free time in
spades and require many fine distractions to occupy my attention, so I expect things will change from there.

Sean McKeown