Embracing The Chaos – Monocolor Week

Sheldon is not a huge fan of monocolor Commander decks, but he had a chance to change his mind when he ran Isamaru and Azusa, Lost but Seeking for Generals in the last League tournament.

Armada Games EDH League 10 Week 7 featured Hound beatdown and Azusa truly being lost.

I built a mono-white Knights deck, and then realizing monocolor isn’t really to my taste, borrowed Azusa, Lost but Seeking from League regular
Kyle Kuhl. I couldn’t decide on the Commander for the mono-white deck. I picked up Kongming, “Sleeping Dragon” and Michiko Konda,
Truth Seeker and tried out both of them over multiple games. Both left me pretty ambivalent. I thought about running out Iona, Shield of Emeria just to
see how spooked people would get, but figured that’d be like poking the bear. I thought about Reya, Dawnbringer, but she’s just so
expensive that I knew I’d cast her once per game, and then only if I was pretty lucky. Eventually, I settled on Isamaru, Hound of Konda because
1) I had a foily one and 2) he battles early and battles often.

The deck was hastily assembled from the box of foils and a few other things that were lying around. As you’ll note with the lands, I threw it
together to try out, then forgot to go back and put in the good lands, like Dust Bowl, Maze of Ith, and Emeria, the Sky Ruin. I’ll keep this deck
together for a little monocolor action, and I’ll fix the land situation right away.


“Are you gonna release the Hounds, or the Bees, or the hounds with bees in their mouths so every time they bark at you they shoot bees at
you? Go ahead, do your worst.”

Akroma’s Memorial
Caged Sun
Carnage Altar
Coat of Arms
Darksteel Ingot
Helm of Obedience
Pearl Medallion
Sword of Body and Mind
Sword of Feast and Famine
Sword of Fire and Ice
Sword of Light and Shadow
Sword of Vengeance

Accorder Paladin
Cavalry Master
Crusading Knight
Hero of Bladehold
Kinsbaile Cavalier
Knight Exemplar
Knight of Meadowgrain
Knight of the White Orchid
Knight-Captain of Eos
Lightwielder Paladin
Mirran Crusader
Mirror Entity
Northern Paladin
Order of Leitbur
Order of the Sacred Torch
Order of the White Shield
Paladin en-Vec
Paladin of Prahv
Pentarch Paladin
Riftmarked Knight
Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant
Soltari Champion
Southern Paladin
Stoneforge Mystic
White Knight
Zhalfirin Commander
Zhalfirin Crusader

Crovax, Ascendant Hero
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Glorious Anthem
Honor of the Pure
Karmic Justice
Marshal’s Anthem
True Conviction

Brave the Elements
Debt of Loyalty
Harsh Justice
Holy Light
Mirror Strike
Safe Passage

Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Austere Command
Martial Coup
Return to Dust
Mass Calcify

Icatian Store
Strip Mine
Secluded Steppe

Plains 33

Thematically, it’s just Knights and their Swords (and a bunch of stuff that sounds like it comes out of the mouths of Knights, like “Honor
of the Pure”). Play of the deck is pretty self-explanatory. Get out early guys and attack, controlling a bit the tempo of the game. There is no
real long-game plan. The card draw is kind of weak, and the control elements that you might see in a more well-tuned mono-white deck aren’t as
prevalent. It’s a modest amount of fun and doesn’t require much thought. It’s kind of a beer-and-pretzels deck, and intentionally so.
It’s a deck that I can socialize over, especially when spell slinging at events (speaking of which, see you at Gen Con and/or Magic Weekend
Philadelphia!). It’ll never be my favorite, but I bet I’ll never hate it either (see Intet, the Dreamer).

My favorite card in the deck is Mirror Strike. I’m still waiting to kill someone with it (a giant Omnath, Locus of Mana when the player has no
mana sink or a 35/35 Maga, Traitor to Mortals). Obviously, there is a fair amount of hate for the black cards, but that’s a little of a local
environment call. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth/Cabal Coffers has gotten pretty trite locally, and there’s not really much you can do to stop someone
from getting the giant pile of mana at least once.

After about ten games or so, the only individual card I’m unimpressed with is Abeyance. It’ll probably get replaced with Adaptive Automaton

ROUND 1, Table 3

We’re at a table of five, but at the last minute someone signs up, and David—who is playing Sharuum, the Hegemon—leaves to fill
another table. I’m seated with Apple (Riku of Two Reflections), Wayne (Vorosh, the Hunter), and Rob (Zedruu the Greathearted). I’m pleased
to see three Commanders from the new set (although I know Vorosh isn’t new). I inquire about Apple’s name, asking if it’s given
(he’s young enough to have had hippie parents) or a nickname, and he says it’s the latter because his last name is Snyder. He tells me his
deck is right out of the box with maybe three cards swapped in. Rob says that his deck is also all mostly straight from the package. I think it’s
worth a point right off the bat, and I lobby for it, but my appeal is denied by League admin.

My first three turns are Isamaru, Order of Leitbur, and Soltari Champion, and I start swinging, giving everyone a little taste. Apple is a little
mana-screwed early. Rob tries to help him out by casting Trade Secrets (the best collusion card ever). Apple doesn’t get greedy, drawing until he
finds enough lands for the upcoming turns.

On turn 6, Rob drops Crescendo of War, and it’s on. There is some battling back and forth, and I get into a streak of dropping dudes culminating
in Knight Exemplar, but there’s enough defense going on that no one is getting badly hurt. At some point, Rob bounces Crescendo of War with
Capsize (with buyback) so that I don’t kill anyone. When I’m out of cards, I just smash Isamaru into superior defenders and recast him
(there’s a point for casting him five times!).

Eventually, Rob recasts Crescendo of War, but the board is pretty clogged. Rob attempts to end the game with Insurrection but misses the fact that I
have Knight-Captain of Eos and Soldier tokens. I Fog, saving our bacon. I then peel Mass Calcify, clearing the way to kill Wayne. Rob can’t save
him because he doesn’t have enough mana for Capsize at this point.

Apple has finally caught up and after Mass Calcify has started casting and copying dudes with Riku. Three or four turns later, Rob casts Izzet
Chronarch to get back Insurrection. Apple and I have a turn to try to do something, but alas, we can’t. Crescendo of War has 13 counters on it
when we get crushed with our own guys (a modest number of style points to Rob for attacking people with only their own guys).

Casting Isamaru the fifth time is the point that takes me over the top, so I go to Table 1 for the next round.

ROUND 2, Table 1

Kyle has been kind enough to not only lend me his deck, but to write out the decklist for me. As it turns out, he’s also at this table (Oona,
Queen of the Fae), with Jay (Cromat), David (Omnath, Locus of Mana), and Cliff (Hanna, Ship’s Navigator). Before we show our Commanders, Jay asks
Cliff if he’s still playing Jenara, and Cliff responds with “No, it’s basically the same deck, but I got tired of all that green. It
just wasn’t good enough.” I guess I can’t argue with Cliff’s logic, since he’s in first place in the League.

I’ve seen the Azusa deck a bunch of times, both in League and casual games, so I pretty much know what I’m in for: ramp into fatties with
some good utility backup. Here’s the list:


Birthing Pod
Brittle Effigy
Caged Sun
Crucible of Worlds
Horn of Greed
Journeyer’s Kite
Mimic Vat
Nim Deathmantle
Pithing Needle
Planar Portal
Seer’s Sundial
Sol Ring
Zuran Orb

Acidic Slime
Allosaurus Rider
Avenger of Zendikar
Dauntless Dourbark
Eternal Witness
Khalni Hydra
Nullmage Advocate
Nullmage Shepherd
Oracle of Mul Daya
Primal Clay
Primeval Titan
Rampaging Baloths
Spellbreaker Behemoth
Sylvan Safekeeper
Tornado Elemental
Uktabi Wildcats
Vinelasher Kudzu
Woodfall Primus
Wurmcoil Engine
Yavimaya Elder

Arashi, the Sky Asunder
Baru, Fist of Krosa
Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer
Patron of the Orochi
Silvos, Rogue Elemental
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Gaea’s Touch
Greater Good
Lurking Predators
Night Soil
Tranquil Grove
Vernal Bloom

Beast Within
Chord of Calling
Constant Mists
Momentous Fall

Green Sun’s Zenith
Genesis Wave
Praetor’s Counsel
Rude Awakening
Seek the Horizon
Skyshroud Claim
Triumph of the Hordes

Dryad Arbor
Dust Bowl
Jungle Basin
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Temple of the False God
Thawing Glaciers

Miren, the Moaning Well

Forest 29

Things don’t go as planned for me, as I stall out on three lands (with Oracle of Mul Daya and Vernal Bloom in my hand). The game gets a little
chippy from the beginning, as David announces that he’s going to focus on taking out Kyle before doing anything else, and Kyle retaliates by
pointing most of his hate at David. I actually don’t disagree with David’s plan—he’s playing a creature-heavy deck, and
Kyle’s deck is a creatureless (except for Oona, obv) creature-hater. In fact, his plan makes the most sense—but it wasn’t his plan
that I had questions about; it was his PR campaign. Seems like the better plan is to just attack him and maybe subtly convince the rest of us how much
of a threat Kyle is, and it’s a few turns down the road that Kyle realizes he’s getting targeted. As it is, he’s created some
unnecessary difficulty for himself. Kyle doesn’t help his own case with turn 3 Propaganda and turn 4 Dream Tides, which end up getting destroyed
by David’s turn 5 Terastodon (with help from Sol Ring and Grim Monolith).

Jay drops Karn Liberated early enough to get it one turn away from restarting the game. I’m so far behind at this point that I kind of welcome
it. The cards he’s taken have been Vernal Bloom and Uktabi Wildcats, so it would be all upside for me. Unfortunately, Cliff gets a little panicky
about it despite having the second-worst board to mine and casts Rite of Replication without kicker to copy Terastodon, blowing up Karn.

The game then settles into a bit of drudgery. Stuff happens, but not too much exciting stuff. Two different Disks get destroyed before they can untap.
I recover a little with Journeyer’s Kite. I get some land recursion/life gain going with Oracle of Mul Daya, Azusa, Zuran Orb, and Crucible of
Worlds, but it’s basically limited to gaining four life a turn, since I don’t have any fat in my hand. I’m feeling pretty comfortable
with Praetor’s Grasp and Constant Mists in my hand (and the fact that I know David’s Omnath is pointed Kyle’s way). I haven’t
played the Grasp because Brawn has been the only card in my yard for quite a while.

There was Kyle’s Leyline of the Void that lasted a few turns and Cliff casting Swords to Plowshares on Nullmage Advocate (understandable with his
artifact-heavy deck). My comfort is upset when Jay casts Windfall. My hand gets filled up with more action cards, to include Wurmcoil Engine, Greater
Good, and Dauntless Dourbark, but I would have felt safer hanging onto Constant Mists.

Cliff has gained a fair amount of life with Venser’s Journal, and Jay has been trying to keep him in check with a few attacks here and there. Jay
looks like he’s establishing some control with Garruk Wildspeaker, Liliana Vess, and Ajani Vengeant (the latter of which draws the comment from
Jay “Why the hell am I playing this? I know I’ll never use his ultimate”) until I get Terastodon of my own getting a Planeswalker

Jay keeps eating into Cliff’s mounting life total with his Elephants, but there isn’t much other action going on. Kyle has cast Oona and is
targeting only David (partially because of the earlier stuff and partially because he’s monocolor), and he also starts whacking at Cliff with a
small army of Faeries. Jay makes a big attack on Cliff, taking him to one, but neither David nor I can kill him because we don’t have enough
dudes. When Kyle tries to kill him, Jay saves him. When Jay tries to kill him, Kyle returns the favor, and now the clock is running low.

With about two minutes left in the round, Cliff blurts out “someone kill me,” and somebody points out that he’s angling for points.
If he’s the only person who gets killed, he gets the points for both first person out and the person eliminated with the highest life total (even
at one, he would get it if he’s the only person out). As it turns out, no one can kill him, and we end the game all still in it. Cliff
and I tie for the table with three measly points. This keeps him a few points ahead of me going into the last week of the League.

I rib Kyle a little about the deck not working, but not seriously. I wasn’t much of a participant in the game, mostly an observer, but every now
and again, that just happens. If I liked monocolor decks, I’m sure I’d like this one just fine, and quite honestly, it’s kind of
right up my alley, so I’d probably give it a whirl again. I’m not really sure if it’s that I like multiple colors or that I’m
so worried that monocolor decks can get shut down so easily. I think that going monocolor is a significant risk with significant reward. Your mana is
(theoretically) always right, and you curve out pretty well—but someone can play a single card like Death Grip to ruin your day.

Next week, I’m Embracing the Chaos with two of the new Commanders. I haven’t assembled any yet, but I’ve designed Animar, Soul of Elements and Riku of Two Reflections. I may also come up with my own flavor
of The Mimeoplasm between now and then as well.