Like the rest of the Commander-loving Magic world, I am chomping at the bit to get my hands on the new Commander 2017 decks!
Previews kicked off last week and were very exciting! I really love the tribal angle to the cards and how many cards can be used in any tribal-themed deck you want.
What is also super-cool is how many interesting legendary creatures that are included as one of the 99 that play nicely with the tribal deck but have their own thing going on. Take for instance Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist. She plays great in the Cat tribal deck, but she could certainly helm her very own Commander deck that does not have anything to do with Cats.
Another one of those cards that caught my eye is Taigam, Ojutai Master.
Taigam is obviously here for the Dragon deck, but because of the creative choice to tie this legend to the Ojutai clan from Dragons of Tarkir, we also get some sweet rebound action. So we want Dragons, and we want instants and sorceries that we would like to rebound, which generally will not include the typical counterspell suite we would be inclined to include in U/W decks. We also want to attack with Taigam early and often. Sounds like a very cool and different deck.
Let us get cracking!
First off, Dragons! Since we are limited to blue and white, the list is not very long but is quite potent, starting with Dragonlord Ojutai himself and ramping all the way up to his earlier incarnation Ojutai, Soul of Winter (who can actually help Taigam attack). Pristine Skywise interacts nicely with all the noncreature spells we will be playing, and Sunscorch Regent is a surprisingly potent force in multiplayer games. But I am super-stoked to poach yet another card from the Commander 2017 Dragon deck, and that’s Scalelord Reckoner. Wow, talk about a potent deterrent from pinpoint removal or even things like Maze of Ith!
Okay, but before the Dragons come calling, we’re probably going to want to play our Commander, attack, and start rebounding. In the early turns of the game, it’ll probably be pretty easy to find someone you can attack, even if it’s running into a blocker you’ll bounce off. That’s quite okay, since Taigam doesn’t care about combat damage; all he cares about is whether you’ve attacked or not. Since I will be playing some cards where casting instants and sorceries matters, I am leaning towards including those card types to help Taigam attack without being blocked and killed. Instants like Shelter are particularly good, since you can declare your attack and cast Shelter before blockers are declared to take advantage of the rebound ability.
Instant/Sorcery Card Advantage
Next on the list are instants and sorceries that either replace themselves or generate raw card advantage, since Taigam will let you get even more mileage from them. Rebounding Ponder, Preordain, and Serum Visions is going to almost feel like you are cheating, and if you can rebound Treasure Cruise you are really doing it. Learn from the Past is a nice cantrip that can either shuffle good stuff back into your library or slow down someone who’s doing bad things with their graveyard.
I also looked around for cards that have various modal parts to them. Sometimes the reason for casting an instant or sorcery will not really apply when it has rebounded, so cards with choices give us flexibility. This is especially true with counterspells, which just look silly on the rebound generally, but cards like Supreme Will or Mystic Confluence can let us counter a spell and then do something different on the rebound. I like that Commit can be used in response to someone casting a removal spell on Taigam when he’s attacking, and then when it rebounds, you can clear away a blocker to help Taigam attack again next turn.
These are just good utility cards that are even better when they get rebound. I like how Ephemeral Shields can make Taigam indestructible after attackers are declared and then rebound to do it again next turn. Overloading Cyclonic Rift after Taigam attacks to bounce everything your opponents control and then having it come back around on the rebound seems so wrong and so right, even though it’ll be in single mode that second time.
Return to Dust is a great utility spell, since exiling artifacts and enchantments is so powerful in Commander. Being able to cast it at instant speed after Taigam attacks lets you clear away blockers that happen to be artifacts (or even enchantments) and then rebound to exile something else during your next turn.
I really like how the retrace spells Oona’s Grace and Cenn’s Enlistment work with Taigam’s rebound, sitting in your graveyard to be used and rebounded again when needed. Sram’s Expertise is sweet too, since it lets you cast a spell for free and you would give them both rebound.
Cenn’s Enlistment and Sram’s Expertise got me thinking of a few more instants and sorceries that can create some token creatures to hold the fort until the Dragons come calling. Rise from the Tides seems particularly sweet to cast with rebound later in the game! Nothing quite says “epic haymaker” like Rite of Replication kicked, but playing it with rebound is not bad either.
I’m a huge fan of Monastery Mentor and am always glad to bring it into a deck with plenty of noncreature spells to make a Monk army from (not to mention the prowess). Talrand, Sky Summoner tags some 2/2 flying Drakes onto your instants and sorceries. Jace’s Sanctum is a perfect enabler, letting us cast more instants and sorceries and then scry for others!
When it comes to making tokens out of our instants and sorceries, Metallurgic Summonings does fantastic work in this deck making tokens – some of them quite large – and then with the option of reloading with gas later in the game!
When I was gathering my thoughts on this deck, originally the thought was to make it nothing but creatures, instants, and sorceries, but unfortunately there are not too many options for mana ramp in blue and white, so I buckled down and sprinkled a few mana rocks into the list. I also made room for Swiftfoot Boots to let Taigam attack right away and be resistant to pinpoint harassment.
Here is how the deck shaped up!
- 1 Mother of Runes
- 1 Yosei, the Morning Star
- 1 Keiga, the Tide Star
- 1 Benevolent Bodyguard
- 1 Talrand, Sky Summoner
- 1 Thassa, God of the Sea
- 1 Monastery Mentor
- 1 Ojutai, Soul of Winter
- 1 Sunscorch Regent
- 1 Pristine Skywise
- 1 Dragonlord Ojutai
- 1 Icefall Regent
- 1 Scalelord Reckoner
- 9 Plains
- 1 Kor Haven
- 9 Island
- 1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
- 1 Winding Canyons
- 1 Terrain Generator
- 1 Hallowed Fountain
- 1 Mystic Gate
- 1 Reliquary Tower
- 1 Glacial Fortress
- 1 Emeria, the Sky Ruin
- 1 Celestial Colonnade
- 1 Command Tower
- 1 Thespian's Stage
- 1 Opal Palace
- 1 Temple of Enlightenment
- 1 Arcane Lighthouse
- 1 Crucible of the Spirit Dragon
- 1 Haven of the Spirit Dragon
- 1 Prairie Stream
- 1 Port Town
- 1 Nephalia Academy
- 1 Irrigated Farmland
- 1 Swords to Plowshares
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Impulse
- 1 Serum Visions
- 1 Darksteel Ingot
- 1 Psionic Blast
- 1 Peer Through Depths
- 1 Whispersilk Cloak
- 1 Echoing Truth
- 1 Mind Stone
- 1 Tithe
- 1 Shelter
- 1 Return to Dust
- 1 Wipe Away
- 1 Piracy Charm
- 1 Cryptic Command
- 1 Ponder
- 1 Cenn's Enlistment
- 1 Oona's Grace
- 1 Rite of Replication
- 1 Distortion Strike
- 1 Preordain
- 1 Call to Mind
- 1 Revoke Existence
- 1 Swiftfoot Boots
- 1 Artful Dodge
- 1 Rootborn Defenses
- 1 Cyclonic Rift
- 1 Gods Willing
- 1 Ephemeral Shields
- 1 Treasure Cruise
- 1 Valorous Stance
- 1 Dragonlord's Prerogative
- 1 Learn from the Past
- 1 Jace's Sanctum
- 1 Righteous Confluence
- 1 Mystic Confluence
- 1 Slip Through Space
- 1 Declaration in Stone
- 1 Rise from the Tides
- 1 Collective Effort
- 1 Metallurgic Summonings
- 1 Key to the City
- 1 Grip of Phyresis
- 1 Sram's Expertise
- 1 Commit
- 1 Supreme Will
What do you think of the deck? Is there anything big that I have overlooked? How would you go about building it differently?
Which of the new Commander 2017 decks are you most excited about? I have been trying to decide which of the decks I want to keep together for a while just to play against other Commander precons, and which to buy just to cannibalize for cards. Do you have any thoughts on that?
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)
Commander Starter Kits 1
(kick start your allied two-color decks for $25)
Commander Starter Kits 2
(kick start your enemy two-color decks for $25)
Commander Starter Kits 3
(kick start your shard three-color decks for $25)
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)
• Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)
• Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)
• 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)
• Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)
• Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)
• Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)
• Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)
• Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (Tribal Birds)
• Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)
• Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)
• Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)
• Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)
• Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)
• Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)
• Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)
• Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)
• Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)