fbpx

Commander Compare And Contrast: Feldon Of The Third Path

One commander can lead to two drastically different 100-card decks! Bennie Smith looks at his build of Feldon of the Third Path and compares it to that of The Professor from Tolarian Community College!

A regular feature of my columns is walking you step by step through my process in creating Commander decks, with a focus on legendary creatures from brand-new Magic sets. I’ve been building and writing about Commander decks since the summer of 2007 (see: my very first column, Pondering Elder Dragon Highlander), so I’ve been swimming in these waters a long time, and I hope my takes on these new commanders can bring inspiration and new ideas to my readers’ own deckbuilding efforts. I also particularly love it when readers respond with ideas of their own that I may not have thought about!

Today, I want to shake things up a bit. I thought it might be fun and illuminating to take someone else’s build with a particular commander, and then compare and contrast with my own build. My vision is to reach out to various other Magic Community members, ask them the favorite commander they currently have a deck built around, build my own version, and then bump it against their build.

To kick things off in a big way, I reached out to The Professor from Tolarian Community College to see which deck is his current favorite, and he told me it’s Feldon of the Third Path!

Lucky me, Feldon is also one of my favorite decks, and I’ve got a current version already made and loaded into the Star City Games deck database!

Feldon of the Third Path
Bennie Smith
0th Place at Test deck on 01-31-2019
Commander

Of course, since it’s The Professor, you know he’s made a handy-dandy video breaking down the card choices for the deck, which was brewed up for him by Douglas Rapp. Be sure to check out the video, especially if you’re curious about the backstory of the character Feldon:

Here’s his deck:


Using my Excel-Fu, I’ve crunched the decklists together to see what cards we have in common and which ones are different, so let’s dig in, starting with the cards we have in common!

Noncreatures in Common

We actually don’t have too many noncreature spells in common, but that’s not too surprising. Given the nature of Feldon of the Third Path, most of the cards in my deck are creatures that I wouldn’t mind copying with Feldon’s ability. Sol Ring and Lightning Greaves are pretty much a given in any Commander deck, and Spine of Ish Sah is a great utility spell for a deck that might otherwise have trouble dealing with enchantments and large creatures. Thousand-Year Elixir is a go-to card for any commander that taps to do something.

Gamble is a techy choice that plays especially well when you don’t have any other cards in hand, effectively letting you put any creature from your library directly into the graveyard for Feldon to copy. Even if you have other cards in hand, you could have a discard outlet that can help get the crucial card into the graveyard from your hand.

Creatures in Common

There are some great creatures here we both have in our decks. Goblin Welder does great work fishing artifacts out of your graveyard, since Feldon’s temporary copies are artifacts too. Magus of the Wheel provides you with an on-demand way to ditch your hand or reload a full grip of cards, and once it’s in the graveyard, it’s a great choice for Feldon later on. I also love Dualcaster Mage in the graveyard, since it lets Feldon effectively copy a spell when you need to.

Lands in Common

Geier Reach Sanitarium is a perfect card for Feldon, since it lets you move a creature from your hand to the graveyard to copy with Feldon at instant speed.

I’ve actually got a lot more nonbasic lands in my deck than The Professor because I like leveraging the abilities there in a mono-red deck where you don’t have to worry as much about colored mana. However, I do appreciate keeping the basic land count high to ensure you have plenty of red mana when you need it.

Differences – Putting Cards in the Graveyard

The Professor:

Bennie:

You can clearly see The Professor has leaned in hard on the rummaging spells in his Feldon deck.

I don’t tend to like playing those in Commander because they usually put you down a card, but it’s obvious that The Professor is pushing harder on a Reanimator style of deck than I am. He wants to push huge, expensive creatures into the graveyard as quickly as possible so that Feldon can copy them and dominate the battlefield early.

My approach is more surgical because pretty much all of the creatures that I want to copy with Feldon, I’m perfectly happy with just casting from my hand and having them go to the graveyard through the natural rhythm of the game. I’m here to grind value, while The Professor wants explosive, huge haymaker plays. Your mileage may vary based on the amount of graveyard hate your group plays with.

Jaya Ballard, Task Mage has been a favorite of mine, not least of which is how many people have blue permanents you can just easily destroy by pitching a card into the graveyard. I do have a secret combo with Jaya Ballard in my deck—Scuttlemutt, which can tap to turn any creature blue.

I had Daretti, Scrap Savant in my early versions of the deck, but whenever I played it, many of my opponents would freak out and hard target me for death. The card did nice work in the deck, but not so much that I thought it was worth the pain.

Differences – Utility Creatures

The Professor:

Bennie:

We can see the difference here in our approaches, with a lion’s share of my creatures being utility value creatures that I can just play from my hand and then copy later with Feldon for value. My list here is actually longer than this due to a particular theme of value creatures that I’ve called out specifically below. Most of my choices are pretty self-evident, though I particularly like that copying Fortune Thief can give you a way to keep from dying from damage. Also, copying Emissary of Grudges is awesome since you can respond to a spell or ability on the stack, choose that effect’s controller as the player, and “reveal” that player to change the targets.

The Professor has some sweet choices here too. I probably should be running Duplicant, and I totally overlooked Hoarding Dragon, which does a nice job of destroying itself and giving you the artifact when you copy it with Feldon.

I have to admit to giving a big side eye to Keldon Firebombers, though. C’mon, Professor, resetting everyone’s lands to three on demand sounds super-sketchy! I prefer the precision land destruction of Ravenous Baboons taking out problem lands like Maze of Ith or Gaea’s Cradle.

Differences – Mana Acceleration

The Professor:

Bennie:

Outside of Sol Ring and Solemn Simulacrum, we have a similar number of other mana accelerators, but The Professor uses more “big ramp” cards like Thran Dynamo, Gauntlet of Power, and Gilded Lotus. This makes sense, given that sometimes he’ll want to be able to cast some of his big expensive creatures when tossing them into the graveyard to copy with Feldon isn’t an option. I particularly like Extraplanar Lens here alongside his use of Snow-Covered Mountains, making it unlikely that any opponents will get the benefit from the doubled mana.

I don’t have too many high-cost spells in my deck, so I stick with smaller ramp spells like Mind Stone and Commander’s Sphere. Victory Chimes is something I want to try, since it gives you back an extra mana during each other player’s untap step and can also let you play politics by potentially giving someone else mana.

Differences – Major Theme

The Professor: Reanimator-Style

Bennie: Utility Goblins

The Professor’s big focus is rummaging through his deck and discarding huge creatures like It That Betrays, Pathrazer of Ulamog, or Utvara Hellkite and then copying them with Feldon. This gives the deck a real Reanimator feel to it, which is fun for a mono-red deck. A super-techy inclusion for this strategy is Sundial of the Infinite, which you can use when the Feldon copy’s sacrifice trigger happens, letting you just end the turn and keep the copy indefinitely.

When I was originally looking for fun utility creatures to include in my Feldon deck, I kept running across various Goblins that did cool stuff that I’d like to do over and over again with Feldon—Goblin Chirurgeon can sacrifice itself to regenerate an important creature (say, Feldon); Mogg Maniac can jump in front of a huge attacking creature and send the damage at someone else’s face. Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer plays nicely with the large number of artifacts I have in the deck. Shrieking Mogg at instant speed can effectively “Fog” for the turn by tapping down all potential attackers. Newer Goblins like Dark-Dweller Oracle and Goblin Trashmaster fit right in. Then I’ve got Moggcatcher to go fetch just the right Goblin for the job.

The Professor has Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker in his deck, which combines with Zealous Conscripts for a combo kill. With all the rummaging in his deck, it’s probably not all that difficult to assemble that combo when you need to end a game. Kiki-Jiki is a Goblin, so maybe I should include it in my deck? I’m copying utility creatures anyway with Feldon, and Kiki-Jiki can play that same game.

Differences – Other Nonlands

The Professor:

Bennie:

Since The Professor is leaning so hard into the Reanimator-style strategy, it makes sense that he’d add cards to squeeze more uses out of Feldon: Illusionist’s Bracers, Rings of Brighthearth, Magewright’s Stone and Puppet Strings.

I used to have Vandalblast in the deck, but I’ve got so many utility creatures in my deck that can handle artifacts I ended up cutting it. Still, it’s a fine inclusion is any red deck. I actually leverage that ability with Liquimetal Coating, which lets me turn any artifact destruction ability like Goblin Trashmaster into being able to destroy any problematic permanent on the battlefield.

Warstorm Surge and Gratuitous Violence seem a little odd, but both play well with The Professor’s use of huge creatures.

Reality Scramble is a new card from Commander 2018 that I thought would play nicely in my deck, letting you trade a Feldon copy for the first artifact or creature card you find from the top of the deck, but the few times I’ve drawn it, I’ve not really had the mana available to activate Feldon and then cast Reality Scramble. Maybe I should adopt more of The Professor’s “big mana” cards so I can have more mana available for shenanigans?

Differences – Lands

The Professor:

Bennie:

The Professor’s heavy use of basic Snow-Covered Mountains makes Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle an easy addition to the mix. Hanweir Battlements looks weird to me without the accompanying Hanweir Garrison, but the card is perfectly fine as a land that grants haste.

As you can see, I’ve got a ton of utility lands in my deck, in large part so that I’ve got enough colorless mana sources to reliably activate Sea Gate Wreckage if my hand is empty. I’ve probably got a few too many and could probably cut Nephalia Academy and Throne of the High City. I do however love Mirrorpool more than is probably healthy, though I’m always pleasantly surprised at how good it can be.

What I like about this exercise is that it’s given me some ideas to consider for my own deck. Going full-on Reanimator style isn’t particularly appealing because people I play Commander with tend to have a fair amount of graveyard hate. But I absolutely should have Etali, Primal Storm in my deck! Not having Burnished Hart seems like a big mistake. Sundial of the Infinite is intriguing too.

So tell me, which approach to Feldon do you like the best? The Professor’s heavily Reanimator-style? My value grind style? Or is there some other approach that both of us are missing out on?

Do me a solid and subscribe to my channel too! I’m posting Top 5 cards from many of my Star City Games columns as a preview for each article, but I plan on adding other content too. Also, I’ve gotten some cool video editing software that I’m slowly learning, so the video quality will improve as I learn better techniques.

Deck Database

Below I’ve got links to decks I’ve written about going back to January 2017. If you want to read the associated article, just put “Bennie Smith” and the commander name into Google and it should pop right up. I’ve written a lot about Commander — and Magic in general — so if you want to explore further, the Star City Games article archives have my articles all the way back to January 2000!

Ravnica Allegiance

The Haunt of Hightower, Teysa Karlov, Prime Speaker Vannifar, Rakdos, the Showstopper, Nikya of the Old Ways, Lavinia, Azorius Renegade, Judith, the Scourge Diva

SCG CON Winter 2018

Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow, Grothama, All-Devouring; Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis; Feldon of the Third Path; Ramos, Dragon Engine; Inalla, Archmage Ritualist; Prossh, Skyraider of Kher; Brago, King Eternal

Ultimate Masters

Garna, the Bloodflame

Guilds of Ravnica

Niv Mizzet, Parun, Emmara, Soul of the Accord, Lazav, the Multifarious (decklist in the comments), Tajic, Legion’s Edge, Etrata, the Silencer, Izoni, Thousand-Eyed

Commander 2018

Aminatou, the Fateshifter, Xantcha, Sleeper Agent, Lord Windgrace, Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

Core Set 2019

Sai, Master Thopterist, Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma, Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire, Chromium, the Mutable

Battlebond

Grothama, All-Devouring

Dominaria

Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle, Grand Warlord Radha, Arvad the Cursed, Muldrotha, the Grave Tide, Slimefoot, the Stowaway, Yargle, Glutton of Urborg, Squee, the Immortal, Firesong and Sunspeaker, Jodah, Archmage Eternal, Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker

Masters 25

Hanna, Ship’s Navigator

Rivals of Ixalan

Azor, the Lawbringer, Etali, Primal Storm, Nezahal, Primal Tide, Zacama, Primal Calamity, Tetzimoc, Primal Death, Zetalpa, Primal Dawn, Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Unstable

Grusilda, Monster Masher, Dr. Julius Jumblemorph

Ixalan

Vona, Butcher of Magan, Tishana, Voice of Thunder, Admiral Beckett Brass, Gishath, Sun’s Avatar

Commander 2017

Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith, Inalla, Archmage Ritualist, Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist, O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami, Mairsil, the Pretender, Taigam, Ojutai Master

Hour of Devastation

Razaketh, the Foulblooded, Zur, the Enchanter (Mummy’s Curse), Djeru, With Eyes Open, The Locust God, Karona, False God (All the Deserts), Nicol Bolas, Neheb, the Eternal

Amonkhet

Oketra the True, Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun, Atogatog (Cartouches & Trials), Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, Samut, Voice of Dissent, Rhonas the Indomitable, Hazoret the Fervent

Kaladesh Block

Yahenni, Undying Partisan, Nicol Bolas, Child of Alara (Five-Color Energy), Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, Sram, Senior Edificer

Commander 2016

Breya, Etherium Shaper, Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, Tymna the Weaver // Ravos, Soultender

Other Commander Decks

Anafenza, the Foremost (shutting down shenanigans), Momir Vig, Simic Visionary (no green creatures), Kytheon, Hero of Akros (Tribal Gideon), Tasigur, the Golden Fang

Commander Strategy

Let’s Talk About Lands

Who Should I Attack?

Targeted Removal in Commander