New LGS, New Muldrotha Play-by-Play And Bonus Top Ten Core Set 2020 Quick Hits

Sheldon stops by his local gaming store, Johnny B’s, and returns with a play-by-play of a hard-fought Commander match with his Muldrotha, the Gravetide monstrosity. He also shares his thoughts about a few M20 cards that have caught his attention for the format, ready to be slotted into his decks!

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do for a while is to regularly hit up my local gaming shop and check out their Commander scene. I’m fortunate enough to have a great place, called Johnny B’s, barely a mile from the house. Even more fortunately, the owner and the regulars have crafted a nice spot to play in. The shop is in a strip mall and looks relatively small from the outside. Fortunately it opens up into a much wider space than you’d think, providing plenty of table space for games, and even a private room (with a big paned-glass window) for RPGs. The shop has a regular schedule of games of all kinds. It’s simply a good place to go, and the kind of spot you want to help build in your community.

Important to me is their Commander scene. Wednesdays are the “regular” Commander days, Thursdays generally (but not always) feature cEDH. The Commander League organizer, among which Brian Leighton is a leader, have crafted the points system to create the kind of game the group (which generally gets anywhere from 12-30 players, pretty good for an area the size of Lakeland) really appreciates. Rounds are an hour long. When time is called, you finish three full turns per player, so rounds can obviously run longer than an hour. The points system is simple and has a few pieces to highlight.

The big one is that there are no holds barred after the 45-minute point. If you do something completely degenerate after that, good for you. If you combo off before the 45-minute point, you lose all your points and can gain none that evening; I think there are even negative points for doing it. The rest of the system is pretty straightforward and league points never expire. They go towards earning stuff off the prize wall. It’s $10 for the month, and you get a drink each time you play. It’s a nice deal.

I hadn’t done a play-by-play in a while, so I figured that it’d be a chance for you to get to some of the folks that hang out there as I’m getting to know them. I’m playing with the aforementioned Brian (Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign), Kalen (Sharuum the Hegemon), and Chris (Oloro, Ageless Ascetic). I bring along Muldrotha. Seems like folks enjoy blue. Brian, who’s definitely an old-school player, says that he’s running Mono-Blue Aggro; he later shipped me the list, which is linked here. Turns out he’s running Sphinx tribal, and there will be lots of mini-Fact of Fictions. Kalen is young, maybe 20-ish, and is the least experienced but most excitable player at the table. Chris is a little older and seems to have played slightly longer. They’re seem to be a good representation of the shop’s cross-section.

Brian, Kalen, and Chris’ Commanders







  • Brian (Unesh): Casts Unesh. His habit for the rest of the game will be to pass the card choices around the table. I write them down as best as I’m able without slowing down the game. He keeps Island and Urza’s Incubator. He casts the Incubator, naming Sphinx. Aggro Sphinx indeed. He casts Prognosticator Sphinx and the split is 3x Island and Basalt Monolith. He keeps the lands. At end of turn, Kalen flashes in Shimmer Myr. Then he sacrifices his Trinket Mage to generate the mana to flash in Kuldotha Forgemaster.
  • Kalen (Sharuum): Casts Diabolic Tutor, then casts Trophy Mage for Chromatic Lantern. Under normal circumstances I would have watched his hand to see if the Trophy Mage had been what he tutored for, but I was busy writing. I suspect that it wasn’t the Trophy Mage.
  • Me (Muldrotha): Forest, Birthing Pod, then Pod away the Familiar (40) to get Solemn Simulacrum and Island, hopefully getting me back into this game.
  • Chris (Oloro): (43) Swamp.





  • Brian (Unesh): Brian’s plan becomes clear when he casts Clone on Muldrotha then uses it to regrow Caged Sun. Chris, however, counters the Sun with Absorb (38). Uses Muldrotha for Windreader Sphinx keeping Arbiter of the Ideal/Island. Casts Arbiter, keeping Quasiduplicate/Island. Remembers Kefnet, taps down Thragtusk and swings 23 damage into Kalen (5), who goes into full “I could have recurred Magister Sphinx” mode. Brian is not moved. He also points out Bolas’s Citadel is now kind of useless.
  • Kalen (Sharuum): Cracks his Wayfarer’s Bauble, casts Platinum Angel.
  • Me (Muldrotha): Woodfall Primus, taking out Omniscience. I don’t think I have a nine mana creature in the deck but I Pod it away just in case, taking out Ashnod’s Altar on the Persist. In hindsight, I should have hit Kaya since Kalen was pretty much dead and my graveyard is my friend. Time is called during my turn.
  • Chris (Oloro): (40). Drowned Catacomb, Greed three times (34). Gets Merciless Eviction, casting it for creatures. Uses Kaya’s +1 for two of Brian’s creatures (36).



  • Me (Muldrotha): It looks as though neither of us can kill the other, so it’s just a case of not making any huge mistakes. I take the opportunity to see how observant Chris is. He’s actually already demonstrated that he is, mentioning more than once when I overhand shuffled my deck that the top cards haven’t moved. He doesn’t want to be unpleasant about it, but he’s right — even in a casual game and even if we’re in a hurry (everyone’s waiting for us to finish to move to the next round) and the cards at the top are unknown, sloppy shuffles aren’t good enough. I battle Thragtusk into him, clearly a bad attack unless I have a trick. He sees the bluff and blocks with Felidar Sovereign. I cast Progenitor Mimic, copying Felidar Sovereign for giggles. At end of turn, he draws a card with Greed (28).
  • Chris (Oloro): (30). It’s the last turn. He evokes Mulldrifter, casts Narset, Parter of Veils, uses the -2 to get Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, digs with Greed and comes up with nothing. He offers the handshake and we scoop it up to get to the next round.

It was a good table to play with and reinforced what I’d noticed the first few times playing there: even the casual tables at Johnny B’s aren’t for durdling around. This is probably a consequence of the format’s popularity: the more people are playing it, the more the level of play is going to rise. It’s an okay place by my standards even if it’s a bit rougher than what I was used to over at Armada, where things were for the most part SUPER casual. Knowing the level of play is extremely important, as we’ve discussed many times, so that you can adapt and build the appropriate level of deck. I get concerned that sometimes environments like this get into arms races, but the way Brian and the league administrators are doing it is the right way to prevent such things from happening. Expect to see and hear more about Commander adventures at Johnny B’s in the near future.

Top Ten Quick Hits from the Core Set 2020 Preview Season

Some people think white is the weakest color in Commander. It’s still red, and cards like Cavalier of Dawn widen the gap.

You’ll have to decide whether you’re building around Sephara or jamming her into the 99.

Hey Brian, there’s a new Sphinx for your deck.

Card I’m putting back onto the battlefield? Gilded Lotus.

The burning question is “what’s coming out of my Karador deck?”

It’s not nearly as collude-y as Trade Secrets; it’s a great political card and will lead to people getting out of tight spots.

Evidence that red will stop being terrible in Commander? We can hope.

Hydra Tribal and so much more! Put Giant Growth on Isochron Scepter and go to town.

I think my Temur problem just got worse.

Or maybe my Sultai problem…

Core Set 2020 is already bonkers for Commander. We’ll be talking about it a great deal over the next month or so.

Sheldon Menery’s Deck Database

Check out our comprehensive Deck List Database! Click each section for lists of all my decks.

If you’d like to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that’s been alive since 1987) which is just beginning the saga The Lost Cities of Nevinor, ask for an invitation to the Facebook group “Sheldon Menery’s Monday Night Gamers.”