The Two Command Men: First Blood

Whether it’s Commander or Cube, Justin Parnell and Danny West cannot get on the same page. Here, the two debate the merits of one Commander deck and one Cube list! Can’t we all just get along?


Danny West: Hey Parnell.

Justin Parnell: Hello, Daniel J. West.

West: I have a Commander list. A Pro Tour Champion made it, and it’s cooler than anything you’ve ever done or will do.

Parnell: Well I see we’re starting off with lies. But that’s fine. I’m game as long as it wasn’t created by Pierre Canali.

West: Taking cheap shots at Pro Tour winners. Unbelievable.

Lyzolda, the Blood Witch
Ari Lax
Test deck on 12-25-2016

West: So are you a bigger fan of Lyzolda or Grenzo, Dungeon Warden?

Parnell: Well, obviously Grenzo. Actually, I take it back. Either.

West: I didn’t read what you said, but I’m going to assume you’re wrong. As much as I hate infinite combos in Commander, it’s hard for me to argue with someone who is doing it without green or blue cards. Look at how many of these cards are universally hated in tournament formats! It warms my heart to see them ruining Commander games as well.

Parnell: I will admit that I like black cards a lot. So there’s that. But I also hate infinite combos. I don’t know if you’ll ever move me from that, even with the best color in Magic playing a part.

West: Please. If you sit down at a table for four and people pull out Azami, Zur, Rafiq, and Lyzolda, who is the bad guy, honestly?

Parnell: For the record, I believe the answer is not Lyzolda.

West: You win.

Parnell: In fact, I’m going to assume the Lyzolda player is my friend since they have great taste in Magic cards. That being said, being friends with Blood Witches is usually a decent-sized heap of Bad Idea.

West: It’s hard for me to be mad at any deck that is willing to play Deathbringer Thoctar. You know that was one of those foil precon cards they stuck at the front of those decks you see near the checkout at Target?

Parnell: I’ll never forget my passion for Alara Reborn Limited. But still, this list has Kiki-Jiki, Massacre Wurm, and dredge cards. Don’t pretend you’re playing nice because you threw in a bulk rare.

West: I didn’t say anything about it being nice. I think Ari beat Shaun McLaren in the finals of the Pro Tour he won. I’d like to think he offered to play Commander against him right there in the feature area as soon as the match was over. Then he smacked him around with this evil thing.

Parnell: Lose in the finals of a Pro Tour, then get infinite combo’d in an exhibition Commander game. True cruelty.

West: I have it on good authority this deck can kill an entire table at once in a bunch of different ways. Flayer of the Hatebound triggers for a billion, a bunch of creatures attack normally, Past in Flames probably does something, and Extractor Demon mills someone to death. Don’t know how big Ari’s playgroup is, but he should probably add a poison dimension for good measure.

Parnell: So it’s degenerate in a diverse way. That’s good.

West: Assuming he kills the whole table and you’re among the victims, which way would you most enjoy dying?

Parnell: You act like I wouldn’t be packing graveyard hate. I totally am. What then, pal?

West: The deck loses. But at least he found a use for Ophiomancer besides being a thirteenth pick in the Magic Online Vintage Cube.

Parnell: Speaking of Cube…


This week’s featured Cube can be found here, courtesy of Cubetutor.com user BillieJK.

Parnell: As Magic’s resident Cube Master Flash, I’d like for you to select your favorite rarity among Magic cards.

West: Cube Master Flash? What the hell does that even mean?

Parnell: Favorite rarity. Choose. There is only one correct choice.

West: Wait…is this the long-rumored mythic cube?

Parnell: Mythic is like…the worst rarity.

West: Maybe your packs are just terrible.

Parnell: Two more guesses.

West: Is this an open book test? How many different purple Time Spiral cards were there?

Parnell: You’re hopeless. The bread and butter of any well-rounded cube is uncommons, Danny. Imagine how sweet your cube would be if the entire thing was silver?

West: Ugh.

Parnell: What’s the problem?

West: Well, for starters, Putrefy is a trap and is worthless.

Parnell: I’m going to give you some time to think about what you just said.

West: I’m not going to think just because you told me to. In fact, there’s a good chance I wasn’t going to think anyway.

Parnell: Uncommons hold together every archetype and let you play real Magic without getting beat over the head with a bunch of planeswalker nonsense. On top of that, this cube has to be a blast to maintain. Every new Duel Deck product is Christmas!

West: Oh, give me a break. This cube has what I call “the Collected Company issue”. Remember when all these madness cards in Standard made you jump through hoops to discard stuff to try to get threats onto the battlefield for cheaper? But then your opponent could just cast Collected Company at the end of your turn and get a nine-for-one? Look at this thing. Reckless Wurm? Sure. Palerider of Trostad? Yep. Thanks for trying so hard to make discarding work. In the meantime, here’s my Cloudgoat Ranger. Get domed.

Parnell: What’s your point?

West: Oh! Oh! And Soltari Champion? How many creatures in this cube can even block that thing?!

Parnell: Firespout isn’t concerned with who can block Soltari Champion. What do Mother of Runes, Fact or Fiction, Animate Dead, Young Pyromancer, and Harmonize have in (un)common? They’re all uniquely qualified to be in any cube that has five colors, even though they’re not rare or mythic. Research shows that most cubes now are five colors. On top of getting to play such fantastic cards, you can win with creature combat in this cube! That’s a feature, not a bug. No bugs here, except for what Symbiotic Wurm leaves behind.

West: I still think it has serious balance issues, and that includes Fact or Fiction. Card is literally Contract From Below here.

Parnell: Every archetype has some powerhouses. That’s the way it goes. Check out the Temur energy theme with Servant Of The Conduit, Voltaic Brawler, and Whirler Virtuoso! Or the enters-the-battlefield shenanigans with every single blue and black creature. Or you know what? Just play the red aggro deck and burn their faces off. Uncommon Limited is the best Limited; you get to out-draft and outplay your friends. Or enemies. Either way.

West: Still can’t draft green aggro.

Parnell: Of course you can’t. That’s a trap in every cube. Don’t do it.

West: I won’t. The uncommon-only restriction means there’s no Mtenda Lion, which is probably the best 2/1 for one ever printed.

Easily distracted by water. Apparently.

West: I also don’t put up with some of these editions not being the silver rarity. Look! That’s a Phyrexian Ingester from New Phyrexia at rare! And Havoc Demon! Have some decency!

Parnell: I’ll agree that you absolutely need the uncommon version. Black and gold symbols are terrible.

West: I still like the purple ones. I think non-purple colors are horrible.

Parnell: I still think your Putrefy assessment is horrible.

West: Whatever. Will you at least concede to me that Crystal Shard needs to go? If you get Crystal Shard first pick, you can pretty much just draft the other cards face down and put lands in your deck.

Mirrodin was well-developed.

Parnell: Hey, at least there’s no Mana Drain.

West: Commendable. Takes some real Force of Will to show that much restraint.

Parnell: The world groans in unison.

West: Maybe someday Mana Drain will be the foil at the front of a Target checkout starter product. Then, and only then, will it belong.

Parnell: Can’t beat the MSRP on that thing.

West: You have to cut one card from this cube. Name it.

Parnell: For being bad? Brainstorm. It does close to nothing like it always does in Cube. On power level, I cut Loxodon Warhammer. Everyone makes mistakes.

West: I say Brazen Scourge.

Parnell: What.

West: Because Boggart Ram-Gang is also here. One of those cards is embarrassing when compared directly. Also, it’s a Gremlin.

Parnell: It sure is.

West: I’d also consider cutting Dragon Hunter. I’m pretty sure that card has no text in this cube.

Parnell: No text confirmed.

West: Dragon Hunter is just like this column.

Parnell: How do you figure?

West: It has no text worth reading.

Based on Cubetutor username, Justin Parnell and Danny West maintain deep hopes that this cube was created by Billie Jean King.