Last week while I was working on my mono-green Elf deck, I stumbled across an interesting card. About a month ago,
I talked about a mono-green Genesis Wave deck
that I built based off something Patrick Chapin mentioned on the Eh Team podcast about a deck that was nothing but like 52 mana sources and Genesis
Wave. The deck was fun and powerful, but I decided I wanted to maybe emphasize the Elf theme more and work in some Sword of Feast and Famine. The idea
of adding the Swords was to make it easier to cast Ezuri, Renegade Leader and then hopefully swing in with the Sword and untap your lands so that Ezuri
can better protect your team from mass removal.
Then I ran across Ezuri’s Brigade, and my mind started churning.
It used to be that three toughness was the magic number in Standard – if you had enough creatures with three toughness out, your vulnerability to
Pyroclasm was acceptably lessened. Sure, it could still die to Bolt, but Bolt is awesome, and you can’t get around that. With a little bit of
work, some of your Elves could get out of Pyroclasm range. Slagstorm takes it up a notch, making four the new three. Getting your Elves up to four
toughness is nearly impossible without having a serious number of things go right in a row, while having many things go wrong for your opponent.
Ezuri’s Brigade is flat-out a 4/4 Elf for four mana. His metalcraft ability aside, 4/4 for four is a pretty awesome place for an Elf to be when
you’re worried about the rest of your team getting swept away by ‘clasm-‘storms.
Of course, once I’d tapped the Brigade for the deck, I started wanting to add more and more artifacts, so that I could at least occasionally
count on getting metalcraft and having an 8/8 trampling Elf monster in play. Now that’s a Titan! I already had the Eldrazi Monuments and
a couple Swords and decided at the last minute before Friday Night Magic to try Silverskin Armor. In theory, one Armor could get you two-thirds of the
way to metalcraft.
Needless to say, squeezing in the artifacts ended up squeezing out the Genesis Waves, and I ended up getting crushed at FNM. Round 1 Valakut destroys
me, though in the second game, I come close to making it interesting with my 9/9 Ezuri’s Brigade. Turns out through, a 9/9 dies pretty easily to
three Valakut triggers. Honorable mention goes out to the four Tectonic Edges that never showed up in either game, with a special shout out to the four
Acidic Slimes that were MIA in game two.
Round 2 I get pounded into paste and burned to ash by Boros in two quick games. Yeesh. I won’t subject you to the decklist… so why am I
writing about this? Because as I was getting my face smashed, I realized something.
Ezuri’s Brigade would go perfectly in the Glissa deck I’ve been working on!
As soon as I scrubbed out of FNM, I got to work pulling together the deck. It was looking good, looking potent… yet it still felt like it was
missing just a little something more.
The answer revealed itself in Paris this weekend: Kuldotha Forgemaster! Everyone seems to have been distracted by the latest broken blue four-mana
planeswalker, but let’s not lose sight of some of the interesting stuff going on in green. Glissa loves fetching back artifacts that hit the
graveyard, and Ezuri’s Brigade loves having lots of artifacts around. We’ve got Fauna Shaman and Green Sun’s Zenith to make sure we
run across these lynchpin cards… Forgemaster fits right in, and even as a one-of, we can be reasonably assured of getting him into action with
virtually eight copies of Fauna Shaman.
So what are we going to get with the Forgemaster? I was already running Wurmcoil Engines at the top of my curve in the Glissa deck before I added
Forgemaster, so I can trim a couple and add some bigger targets. Blightsteel Colossus! Why not? While the Tezzeret decks have Jace to shuffle him back
into the deck in case you draw him, I’ve got Fauna Shaman to do the same thing, so there’s no worry about BSC being a dead draw and
screwing up your Forgemaster plan. Lastly, I’d like to add Spine of Ish Sah, since sometimes you’re going to need to kill a
permanent… and if it’s that Primeval Titan that’s going to kill you next turn with Valakut triggers, killing the Titan will let
Glissa get back an artifact! It might be better off as a Myr Battlesphere, but I’m going to try the Spine first.
Here’s what I’ve got sleeved up for testing.
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 4 Fauna Shaman
- 1 Sylvan Ranger
- 2 Wurmcoil Engine
- 4 Ezuri's Brigade
- 2 Sylvok Replica
- 2 Kuldotha Forgemaster
- 1 Perilous Myr
- 4 Glissa, the Traitor
- 1 Blightsteel Colossus
- 3 Viridian Emissary
The Swords of Feast and Famine may look a little out of place, but besides just being awesome in themselves, being able to play, equip, attack, and
then untap your land for Fauna Shaman activation, casting Zenith, or moving the Sword to a blocker is pretty helpful too. The Oran-Riefs may also look
a little weird in a deck with so many artifacts, but without any one-drops or other enters-the-battlefield tapped lands, they seem relatively
pain-free, and I like the ability to get Glissa beyond Bolt range.
I’m digging the idea of a Fauna Shaman/Green Sun’s Zenith deck with maindeck ways to deal with artifacts (opposing Swords) that
aren’t clunky or awkward. I like how the various angles this deck can go all interconnect and support each other. Are we on the metalcraft
Ezuri’s Brigade smash mouth plan? Uh-oh, Brigade down—let’s use the three artifacts we’re using for metalcraft and feed the
Forgemaster. Did too many artifacts go down? Glissa can help get them back. Glissa down? Fauna Shaman or Zenith gets another one.
I’m experimenting with Tajuru Archer in the board to deal with Hawks without wasting a card; it can be found with both Fauna Shaman and Zenith.
It’s not ready for Prime Time… yet. But I think it’s getting there. What do you think?
“Why didn’t you attack with Anger?”
“My Anger isn’t red-faced angry; he internalizes it and studies Zen Buddhism to deal with his issues.”
So after scrubbing the FNM and brewing on Glissa, a couple buds came in looking for some Commander games. I naturally jumped right in. Griff was
bragging about his Ezuri, Renegade Leader deck with Mulli confirming that the deck was ridiculously fast and deadly. Looking through my available
decks, I naturally selected Konda, Lord of Eiganjo, chock-full of Wraths and indestructible stuff. Let’s see how Ezuri handles a bunch of mass
removal! Turns out, not so well, though the sweeper came from Mulli’s Mayael the Anima deck. Right after he cast Rout, he cheated a Blightteel
Colossus into play with Elvish Piper, and two swings later, we were dead. Hm. Well, as I mentioned before, at least you’re just dead and not
crippled and then dead.
I switched out Konda for Uril, the Miststalker, my “Spike” Commander deck. It was this deck where I played Anger and then passed the turn,
prompting the question and answer I quoted above. We all cracked up about it and actually carried the joke further, but the best part was what I quoted
above. Unfortunately for Uril, Mulli cheated out an early Novablast Wurm with haste, and the rest of us couldn’t draw any removal before he
killed us with Blightsteel Colossus again.
I’ve had Uril together for a little while and have referenced it in my columns before, but some people have been asking for my decklist, so I
figured I’d take this opportunity to share it. Uril is a pretty straightforward, broken general—just load up your deck with enough auras,
play Uril, and start killing people. I tried to go a little different route, diversifying into other enchantments to shore up some problems and cover
more bases as well as adding in an Enchantress package for card-drawing power.
: the backbone of a Uril deck; I’ve got Rancor, Spirit Loop, Flickerform, Snake Umbra, Shield of the Oversoul, Armadillo Cloak, Bear Umbra,
Verdant Embrace, Runes of the Deus, Epic Proportions, Eldrazi Conscription, plus Three Dreams and Academy Rector. After playing this a couple times, I
think eleven is not enough auras.
: Argothian Enchantress, Kor Spiritdancer, Femeref Enchantress, Mesa Enchantress, Verduran Enchantress, Enchantress’s Presence.
: Carpet of Flowers, Exploration, Seal of Primordium, Sterling Grove, Sylvan Library, Survival of the Fittest, Trace of Abundance, Solitary
Confinement, Aura Shards, Karmic Justice, Aggravated Assault, Glare of Subdual, Worship, Sigil of the Empty Throne, Privileged Position, Asceticism.
There’s some fun stuff going on here—Worship combines nicely with creatures that can’t be targeted (like Uril, Argothian
Enchantress); Aggravated Assault combines nicely with Bear Umbra, giving you unlimited attacks provided you’re able to connect each time;
Survival up Squee so you can feed Solitary Confinement.
: what makes this deck work is Uril’s troll-shroud ability, so I figured I’d add a couple backup quarterbacks in case something terrible
happens to him, like Silhana Ledgewalker, Troll Ascetic, and Plated Slagwurm.
: sometimes your enchantments and auras get blown up (hopefully you’ve got a Karmic Justice out when it does), so you want to have ways to get
‘em back. Auramancer, Crystal Chimes, Monk Idealist, Nomad Mythmaker, Retether, and of course Eternal Witness help with all that.
Protect the team
: white and green have a lot of ways to help you keep creatures in play despite all the mass removal, so I use Saffi Eriksdotter, Dauntless Escort,
Loxodon Hierarch, Reveillark, and Karmic Guide for that. Spellbreaker Behemoth protects against nasty counterspells.
Here’s the current decklist:
1 Uril, the Miststalker
1 Carpet of Flowers
1 Sol Ring
1 Saffi Eriksdotter
1 Spirit Loop
1 Seal of Primordium
1 Sterling Grove
1 Skyshroud Elf
1 Sylvan Library
1 Survival of the Fittest
1 Silhana Ledgewalker
1 Mind Stone
1 Argothian Enchantress
1 Kor Spiritdancer
1 Trace of Abundance
1 Femeref Enchantress
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Armadillo Cloak
1 Troll Ascetic
1 Mesa Enchantress
1 Fires of Yavimaya
1 Coalition Relic
1 Snake Umbra
1 Solitary Confinement
1 Eternal Witness
1 Crystal Chimes
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Aura Shards
1 Enchantress’s Presence
1 Verduran Enchantress
1 Shield of the Oversoul
1 Squee, Goblin Nabob
1 Dauntless Escort
1 Monk Idealist
1 Karmic Justice
1 Aggravated Assault
1 Nomad Mythmaker
1 Loxodon Hierarch
1 Bear Umbra
1 Academy Rector
1 Spellbreaker Behemoth
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Glare of Subdual
1 Verdant Embrace
1 Sigil of the Empty Throne
1 Karmic Guide
1 Three Dreams
1 Waves of Aggression
1 Privileged Position
1 Winds of Rath
1 Runes of the Deus
1 Epic Proportions
1 Plated Slagwurm
1 Eldrazi Conscription
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Naya Panorama
1 Rupture Spire
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Rith’s Grove
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Windswept Heath
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Temple Garden
1 Krosan Verge
1 Wooded Bastion
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Stomping Ground
1 Gruul Turf
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Boros Garrison
1 Vivid Meadow
1 Mistveil Plains
1 Serra’s Sanctum
1 Vivid Grove
1 Sapseep Forest
1 Madblind Mountain
2 Snow-Covered Mountain
3 Snow-Covered Plains
5 Snow-Covered Forest
Any suggestions are welcome, especially some tips for making it “Spikier,” since I want to make this my Spike Commander deck that I can
pull out and use to compete against others who prefer to play fast and powered decks.
After Uril fell to Mayael twice, I broke out my Savra Demon deck, and my fortunes changed, in no small part to drawing the amazing Blood Speaker.
Fetching up a timely Kagemaro, First to Suffer followed up by a Pestilence Demon went a long way to stuffing Griff’s Elf deck and giving me time
to focus on making quick work on Mulli. Mulli was so awed by the power of Blood Speaker that he snuck out an It That Betrays in order to steal it away
from me the second game.
This week on Twitter, Evan Erwin sent out a link to The Scariest Story
from the Hyperbole and a Half blog that had me in stitches! If you’ve ever been a kid, this story is hilarious, but if you happen to be a parent,
that perspective takes this up to 11.
Speaking of 11… my man Eric Brown’s birthday is November 11… so that means this year his birthday is 11-11-11. We’re going to
have to throw a This Is Spinal Tap-themed birthday party for him for sure and take it to
If anyone is attending an upcoming Magic event with artist Douglas Shuler attending, let me know. While discussing the idea of naming my column
“Stay Off My Llanowar!” with a friend of mine, he suggested an amusing picture to go along with it – the original Force of Nature art but modified to look like an
old-man version of the Force waving a stick. I totally need to get Shuler to do this for me, maybe sketched out on a blank white playmat! Maybe one of
my more artistic readers could even mock one up for me?
I’m making some plans to go to the Star City Games Invitational in Indianapolis on June 3–5. Sad to say, but I’ve never been away
from the East Coast except to fly to Cancun for my honeymoon years ago, so I’d like to take this opportunity to not only attend one of the
biggest Magic weekends of the year but to widen my horizons a bit by traveling to the Midwest. Money is tight, but I figure I can start squirreling
away for it now, so I can afford to make the trip. It’s only about an eleven-hour drive from Richmond, and while I don’t want to take my
older car on such a trip, renting a car for four days is pretty reasonable. If any of you are planning to go, get in touch so we can get together and
hang out! If you’re local, perhaps we can caravan there.
Medina keeps referring to himself as a BAMF on Twitter. It took me a while to figure it out, but now that I realize what BAMF means, it adds context to
why Nightcrawler was my favorite X-Man as a kid 😉
starcitygeezer AT gmail DOT com
Make sure to follow my Twitter feed (@blairwitchgreen). I check it often so feel free to send me
feedback, ideas, and random thoughts on Magic and life.
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 Primer Part 1
(Why play Commander? Rules Overview, Picking your Commander)
Commander Primer Part 2
(Mana Requirements, Randomness, Card Advantage)
Commander Primer Part 3
(Power vs. Synergy, Griefing, Staples, Building a Doran Deck)
My current Commander decks
(and links to decklists)
- Vorosh, the Hunter (proliferaTION)
- Uril, the Miststalker (my “more competitive” deck)