Sweet Moments From SCG CON

If this doesn’t make you want to pick up a Commander deck, nothing will! Bennie Smith tells the most insane tales from The Command Zone and beyond at SCG CON!

Wow, what a weekend! The SCG Con was a heckuva gathering of mages from all
over the country ready to sling spells in all sorts of formats, and I was
honored to have been asked to stake out a table in The Command Zone and
play Commander all weekend. I heard from a lot of fans, but I also played
against people who didn’t even know about my column, so it was great to get
a cross section of all sorts of players. With any luck, I gained a couple
new readers along the way! If you played a game or two with me over the
weekend, please let me know. I’d love to hear of your experiences.

Given that I was going to spend three full days playing Commander, I wanted
to bring quite a few decks with me. Here’s what I brought:

Edgar Markov

The Gitrog Monster

Nin, the Pain Artist

Inalla, Archmage Ritualist

Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher

Brago, King Eternal

Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder

Aurelia, the Warleader

Ramos, Dragon Engine

Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist

Rafiq of the Many

Vona, Butcher of Magan

The Mimeoplasm

Silas Renn, Seeker Adept / Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa

Feldon of the Third Path (with Unstable)

Grothama, All-Devouring

Not including Grothama, I chose these decks to provide an equal amount of
color balance, so I could mix it up and play a lot of different styles of
decks. Grothama was a last-minute addition and threw the balance off a
little bit in favor of green. Which, given my druthers, was alright.

Feldon was the deck I’ve kept with Unstable cards in it in case
anyone wants to play with silver-border cards. I was a little surprised not
to find anyone all weekend who wanted to play un-cards, but that’s okay,
the games were fun anyway.

I thought it might be fun to recount some of the sweet memories from over
the weekend.

Grothama Surprises

my last column
I detailed a deck built around the new green legend from Battlebond: Grothama, All-Devouring. This was the deck I was most
excited to put through its paces, and the only deck I played more than
twice. Here’s a picture from the first game I played with it.

Yep, that’s Pathbreaker Ibex giving all three attackers +10/+10 until the
end of the turn. There was another game where I got to live the dream-play
Grothama, tap it to give Mossbridge Troll +20/+20 until the end of the
turn, then attack with the Troll, fight and kill Grothama to draw 25 cards
and smack someone’s life total for more than half of it. I didn’t win
either of those games, but it was super-fun surprising my opponents with
these haymaker plays. I did win one game by “going off” with Grothama,
Mossbridge Troll, Greater Good, and Psychosis Crawler.

This has catapulted into being one of my favorite decks, and I’m going to
keep working and tweaking it over the coming months. The biggest problem I
noticed was not enough mana acceleration to take advantage of the huge
infusion of cards when Grothama fights and dies. I’m definitely adding
Burgeoning, Exploration, Gaea’s Touch, Oracle of Mul Daya, and Azusa, Lost
but Seeking to help convert extra cards into the mana to play extra cards.

Exploring Prossh

I added Food Chain to my Prossh deck so I could have a higher-powered deck
if that’s the sort of game people wanted to play. I don’t usually run it
though, and my deck is more focused on killing with Kobolds rather than

One more casual addition recently added to the deck was Path of Discovery,
with the idea that making a bunch of Kobold tokens would play quite nicely
with Prossh. Well, as you can see in the picture that worked out well. With
the explore triggers I was able to draw a couple lands and milled off a
couple cards until I found a Beastmaster Ascension and left that on top of
the deck. This was the first time I’d played out that combo and it felt
pretty good. It’s fair to say that my opponents scrambled to find some

That’s a Mighty Big Ooze

The Mimeoplasm is a fun commander since it basically plays differently each
game, depending on what sort of creatures your opponents are playing that
end up in the graveyard. Sometimes your opponents won’t cooperate with
their creatures, so you’ll need some sweet creature cards of your own.

This was definitely the largest Mimeoplasm I’ve ever achieved. Yes, that is
82 +1/+1 counters on a copy of Sapling of Colfenor, which happens to be
indestructible. It was impressive for the turn it was on the battlefield,
but then someone overloaded a Cyclonic Rift and my monster was undone.
Still, it was very impressive while it lasted!

Death by Dragons

I was on the receiving end of several spectacular deaths over the weekend.
While me and my opponents were poking each other and keeping each other in
check, the Ur-Dragon deck not-so-quietly went off.

What I neglected to capture in this picture was the Dragon Tempest
enchantment that was on the battlefield. The Scourge of Valkas isn’t
tapped, but it was attacking, and Utvara Hellkite made four Dragon tokens
that each set off triggers from Dragon Tempest and Scourge. If my math and
memory are right that’s about 64 points of damage before blockers are even
declared. The game had gone on long enough that 64 points of damage divvied
up three ways was more than enough to end the game on the spot. Boom!

You Did It to Yourself

One guy brought a Muldrotha, the Gravetide “Stax” deck, chock full of lock
pieces that made it difficult for us to cast spells and attack him. I was
playing my Ramos, Dragon Engine deck. The insidious thing was that if we
were able to destroy any of the lock pieces he could just recast them again
with Muldrotha. The game quickly turned into Archenemy, with Muldrotha
gleefully trying to hold us all off and doing an admirable job. We were
able to team up to keep Muldrotha off the battlefield for a while, and then
I drew Jund Charm. It’s in the deck mostly as a way to ramp Ramos up to
five +1/+1 counters, but in this case it was the “exile target player’s
graveyard” mode that was our savior.

I was able to go off with a Villainous Wealth and juice up Ramos to epic
size, but Muldrotha kept me at bay with Constant Mists. Thankfully, a
Treacherous Terrain from the Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis player killed off
Muldrotha. Which let me pivot Ramos’s attack to K&T.

So it was only fitting that I died to a Deflecting Palm directed at my own
Ramos. Awesome finish!

The Commander Panel

For me, the SCG Con wasn’t all slinging spells. It was fun to participate
in a Commander panel, superbly moderated by Jeremy Noell, and it was an
honor to share the stage with Gavin Verhey and Sheldon Menery to discuss
Commander. I’m hoping the video is out there somewhere.

I’ve known Sheldon a long time, but it was amazing to meet Gavin face to
face for the first time. He’s just as smart and nice in person as he seems
online, and we are all lucky that he’s inside Wizards of the Coast helping
to make cards that help make Commander even more awesome. If you’re ever at
an event that he’s attending, make sure you go up and say hi.

It was also really cool to meet The Professor! I had hoped to sneak in a
game of Commander with him, but he was quite in demand all weekend long. It
was a true pleasure to talk with him in person, and I look forward to
seeing him again next time. I didn’t get a chance to see his and Wedge’s
panel on YouTube 101, but I hope to find video of it online. I’ve been
considering branching out my content outside the written word.

A big thanks to Pete Hoefling for inviting us to the event and for all the
great hospitality of all the StarCityGames.com staff. There were a ton of
people there, but everything seemed to run quite smoothly. If you’ve
thought about attending one of their events but haven’t pulled the trigger
yet, I strongly suggest you make the jump. I’m confident you won’t regret
it. I certainly look forward to the next time!

Did you make it out to the SCG Con? Tell me what you played!

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

Commander write-ups I’ve done
(and links to decklists):

Zurgo Bellstriker (Bellstriking Like a Boss)

Dragonlord Ojutai (Troll Shroud)

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Dragons, Megamorphs, and Dragons)

Dromoka, the Eternal (One Flying Bolster Basket)

Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (Tempests and Teapots)

Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Hatching Evil Sultai Plots)

Scion of the Ur-Dragon (Dragon Triggers for Everyone)

• Nahiri, The Lithomancer (Lithomancing for Fun and Profit)

Titania, Protector of Argoth (Titania’s Land and Elemental Exchange)

Reaper King (All About VILLAINOUS WEALTH)

Feldon of the Third Path (She Will Come Back to Me)

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (Calling Up Ghouls with Sidisi)

Zurgo Helmsmasher (Two Times the Smashing)

Anafenza, the Foremost (Anafenza and Your Restless Dead)

Narset, Enlightened Master (The New Voltron Overlord)

Surrak Dragonclaw (The Art of Punching Bears)

Avacyn, Guardian Angel; Ob Nixilis, Unshackled; Sliver Hivelord (Commander Catchup, Part 3)

Keranos, God of Storms; Marchesa, the Black Rose; Muzzio, Visionary Architect (Commander Catchup, Part 2)

Athreos, God of Passage; Kruphix, God of Horizons; Iroas, God of Victory (Commander Catchup, Journey into Nyx Edition)

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)

Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy (Possibility Storm Shenanigans)

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (All-in Yisan)

Selvala, Explorer Returned (Everyone Draws Lots!)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (Cleaning Out the Cellar)

Karona, False God (God Pack)

Child of Alara (Land Ho!)

Doran, the Siege Tower (All My Faves in One Deck!)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (my Magic Online deck)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (GREED!)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind ( Chuck’s somewhat vicious deck)

Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)

Skeleton Ship (Fun with -1/-1 counters)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)

Anax and Cymede (Heroic Co-Commanders)

Aurelia, the Warleader ( plus Hellkite Tyrant shenanigans)

Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)

Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)

Damia, Sage of Stone ( Ice Cauldron shenanigans)

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (Tribal Birds)

Emmara Tandris (No Damage Tokens)

Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)

Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)

Ghave, Guru of Spores ( Melira Combo)

Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)

Glissa, the Traitor ( undying artifacts!)

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord (drain you big time)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge ( Suspension of Disbelief)

Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo’ Myrs)

Karona, False God (Vows of the False God)

Konda, Lord of Eiganjo ( The Indestructibles)

Lord of Tresserhorn (ZOMBIES!)

Marath, Will of the Wild ( Wild About +1/+1 Counters)

Melira, Sylvok Outcast ( combo killa)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker ( Outside My Comfort Zone with Milling

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)

Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius ( new player-friendly)

Nylea, God of the Hunt ( Devoted to Green)

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (by reader request)

Phage the Untouchable ( actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)

Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)

Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)

Progenitus (

Fist of Suns and Bringers


Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)

Riku of Two Reflections (

steal all permanents with
Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts


Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)

Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari ( Demons)

Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)

Sigarda, Host of Herons ( Equipment-centric Voltron)

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave ( how big can it get?)

Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)

Thelon of Havenwood ( Campfire Spores)

Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice ( new player-friendly)

Uril, the Miststalker (my “more competitive” deck)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

Yeva, Nature’s Herald (living at instant speed)