Embracing The Chaos – Other Peoples’ Decks Week

Sheldon returns to the EDH League and plays two Commander decks by Michael and Aaron Fortino, Skeleton Ship and Teneb, the Harvester. Also don’t miss the Commander Deck art previews at the end. Stunning!

We’re taking a break today from the Commander previews (although stay tuned at the end for some awesome art previews) to report on Week 2 of the
Armada Games EDH League. I promised I was going to play Armada owners Michael and Aaron Fortino’s decks, and they each made a few last-minute
adjustments for the big time. Aaron took out Aven Mindcensor and Awakening Zone for Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Massacre Wurm, which seem like good
choices. I’m not actually sure what Michael did, but there was some stuff happening before he handed me the deck. I let them decide which order
I’d play them in, and they chose Michael’s to go first.


Michael tells me straight out “this isn’t your style of deck.” The Commander creates a hostile environment for creatures, and the
deck has some infect thrown in. As I was looking through the deck, I questioned the choice of the artifact lands—because you know they’re
going to get blown up by a Disk at an inopportune time—which is just what happened during the game.

Skeleton Ship
Michael Fortino
Test deck on 06-12-2011
Magic Card Back

I’m seated with David (Omnath, Locus of Mana, who I’ll confess is growing pretty boring to play against), Anthony (Drana, Kalastria
Bloodchief), Wayne (Rith, the Awakener), and Jon Bolt (Maga, Traitor to Mortals). Jon has his own Maga deck but has decided to play the
‘senior’ version, which belongs to Ben McDole. The only thing Ben’s deck is missing for winning the “Ultimate Griefer”
competition is that it doesn’t have mass land destruction.

We just finished a casual game in which Ben basically made it impossible for anyone else to actually play the game. Although I’m not a fan, I
would support him doing so in the League or another competitive kind of event. Doing it in a friendly game with your friends is a way to keep
them from being friends for long.

The game boils down to me forgetting to attack a few times with Viral Drake. The one time I remember, I hit Jon Bolt and eventually (more than ten
turns later) proliferate enough to kill him with poison counters right before someone else is about to kill him with damage. I figure out that being
able to proliferate multiple times in a turn with Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Coalition Relic in play is kind of good.

Wayne stalls on a single red mana most of the game, and Omnath does what Omnath does. David gets out Mana Reflection and Greater Good and has a giant
Omnath (17/17 if I recall) when Anthony casts Damnation. He sacrifices Omnath to Greater Good, and it seems like it’s a good time to cast
Plagiarize. He pays me back with a big hit the following turn, cutting my life down quite low. On the following turn, he casts Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
with enough mana to Overrun at least three times, makes a few Forests into creatures, and swings in for lethal. Anthony steals the kill away by killing
me in response. It looks like David might be able to kill the other two, but the clock runs out before he can. I take the table mostly by virtue of
that one kill.


At first, I wanted to ask permission to play this as Karador, Ghost Chieftain because that’s the way Aaron has been playing it casually for a
while now, and that’s the way he’s putting together the deck. I thought, however, that might be a little unfair. Perhaps we’ll
revisit the deck once all the cards are available.

Teneb, the Harvester
Aaron Fortino
Test deck on 06-12-2011
Magic Card Back

I’m seated with Tom (Rafiq of the Many), Tyler (Intet, the Dreamer), and Cliff (Jenara, Asura of War). The game looks like it’s going to be
over early, with Cliff mana stalling, Tyler ramping, and Tom getting Sword of Light and Shadow onto Rafiq and then casting Finest Hour. He can kill
either me or Cliff and chooses to split up his attacks instead. Meanwhile, Tyler has gotten Dominus of Fealty, Intet, and Spawning Pit going.

I like the way the spirit of this game shaped up, with the players with the upper hand (Tom and Tyler) keeping the slow starters (me and Cliff) in the
game for a while, giving us both a chance to get back into things. And it wasn’t that “I could kill you, but I’m going to toy with
you instead” mentality; it was definitely “Let’s keep this game going together for a while and have some fun.” I think
there’s even a point when Tyler has an opportunity to Insurrection and passes on it. I’ll say I like his deck. It takes advantage of Intet,
plus has some other trickery, but it’s one (Insurrection aside) that you have to play and make choices with instead of just dropping cards on the

I had earlier cast Praetor’s Grasp, taking Tom’s Tooth and Nail. I eventually cast it in order to stay alive by getting Karmic Guide and
Reveillark, bringing back Angel of Despair. Still, it was looking rough until Tom was kind enough to Condemn my attacking Teneb, giving me some life.

The game gets pretty good after Cliff Disks, and we restart. The turn before he blows the Disk, we give Tyler a takesies backsies on Avenger of
Zendikar (“oh, crap, Disk!”). At that point, while the friendly spirit doesn’t go away, the gloves certainly come off, and we start
trying to kill each other. I drop the last card in my hand, Massacre Wurm, and Tyler then plays the Avenger, thinking he’s safe (or can at least
kill someone, perhaps me, before the Wurm bites him). I peel Black Sun’s Zenith, and it’s over for Tyler.

At my end of turn, Tom plays White Sun’s Zenith for seven, and it’s over for me and Cliff, with Tom winning the table.

All in all, it was a good game with good sportsmanship, the kind of game I don’t mind not winning.

Next week, it’s Rith Week, and I’ll be Embracing lots of Chaos with both my and Todd Palmer’s Rith decks. I’m suspecting
Todd’s will beat a lot more face than mine, but we’ll see.

As promised, we have preview art. The first is Tariel, Reckoner of Souls. Its feel is… different, but awesome.

Tariel, Reckoner of
Art by
Wayne Reynolds. All preview links or copies must be accompanied
by artist credit, WotC Copyright, and preview sourced to

The second is Collective Voyage, art that I especially love in high-res.

Voyage Commander
Art by Charles Urbach. All preview links or copies must be accompanied
by artist credit, WotC Copyright, and preview sourced to