The War Report: Brewing Simic Merfolk

As I mentioned in my last report, I picked up the Merfolk vs. Goblins Duel Deck and used this as a base to build my newest EDH deck. I tried out said deck, and was impressed with how well Krenko and his mono-red Goblins did during our weekly game night. The first game I didn’t get to do much, and never did get my third land drop before I was eliminated. The next two games I played he came out fast and wasn’t stopped, and I feel it’s one of my more competent creations competitively speaking. I did find that the Isochron Scepter + Final Fortune + Sundial of the Infinite combo isn’t viable in the deck, so that’s been pulled and worked into my Kess deck that is still under construction. With that said, I was sitting on a 60 card Merfolk deck that wasn’t going to see play anytime soon. I started to think about things I’d want to do with them and finally broke open the deck to see what I could build.

A mono-blue merfolk deck isn’t in the cards. My roommate plays a deck that is basically mono-blue merfolk with a splash of black so he can run Sygg as his commander. My though was that since Ixalan brought about some new Green and Simic (Green/Blue) merfolk, I should build a Simic deck and keep it mostly tribal. I’ve been looking to build different color combinations here and there, and I have yet to do anything in blue/green so here we are. Apparently there were a few Simic merfolk already in existence, or those that use hybrid mana (one came with the pre-con), so it wasn’t difficult to find some great cards to play with. It did take me a while to decide what commander to use, but in the end I chose this one:

Some of the other options I have also included in the deck, as I felt that her abilities were the most fitting to my playstyle. Alone she isn’t fantastic, but having built-in “no max hand size” along with a card draw ETB effect isn’t bad. Plus she’s a variable power/toughness that will be huge if you have enough creatures on the battlefield and then utilize some X cost draw spells to help keep that going. Truth be told, there aren’t too many good green Merfolk. They’re mostly from Ixalan and none are great, but the mixed colored ones are nice and I get the added ramp and control from green as well. Plenty of blue and green card draw to boot. I’m feeling like the main goal will be to go wide but also to keep drawing cards and maintaining board control with counterspells and the like. I added a few cards that can function as win-cons, but I didn’t have a clear one in mind when I was building. I will want to play test this a bit to see what sort of theme forms or see if it works out as is. A rough draft of sorts. Let’s look at some of the creatures I included:

Lords:

There are several more lords for merfolk than there were for goblins. Some are a little more janky than others, but for the most part they each give +1/+1 to merfolk, oftentimes with an added benefit. The horror is one of the only off-theme creature in the deck, but gives +1/+1 to all blue AND all green creatures so my Simic merfolk get double bonus, plus all creatures untap each opponent’s untap step so I can utilize tap effects more often.

Utility:

The rest of the merfolk do something nifty, and I have redundancy so I’m only showing a few of the cards here. Some provide extra card draw, there is a merfolk tutor, one that provides an extra turn, makes my blue creatures unblockable, and the other off-theme creature is a shapeshifter that creates tokens each turn. I feel like ramp and card advantage are going to make a big difference in the deck, but I’ve provided similar spell support as well:

As I said, I tried to stay on theme to support the creatures I have included in the deck. I have added plenty of counterspells along with bits of removal to get rid of pesky spells or creatures that my opponents are casting. There is various card draw, and board removal if things get out of hand or I need to fight from behind. As far as win-conditions go, I’ve added Rite of Replication, Triumph of the Hordes, and Overwhelming Stampede. The first will allow me to make copies of a lord on the battlefield which can turn the tide of battle quickly.  The second two add power and trample to a going-wide swing, but Triumph of the Hordes also gives my creatures infect until end of turn, and that’s usually going to end the game for one player. I’m hoping that the synergy between all of the cards goes off the way I expect. I think I should be able to out ramp and out draw most decks, thereby always having open mana to cast spells and always having cards in hand. I will adjust as needed if this doesn’t work out as I expect it to.

I’ll report back later once I’ve built and tested this one.

The War Report: Gobbs!

There are five colors in Magic: The Gathering, and of those my least favorite has to be Red. Sure, there are some of the mechanics and certain cards that can be pretty good, but overall without a splash of some other color, Red tends to do everything the other colors can do to a worse degree. A while back I was thinking about the composition of my EDH decks. I have one 5-color, one 4-color, a couple of 3-color, several 2-color and only two mono-colored decks. The 5 and 4 colors were made as sort of an experiment and ended up working out okay. 3 color was dictated by the commanders I wanted to build (Markov and Kaalia). Two color seems to be the sweet spot for me, and Orzhov (white/black) tends to be my favorite though I do enjoy Dimir (blue/black) and Izzet (blue/red). My mono decks were built with certain strategies in mind (mono white voltron and mono green ramp/beatdown). Overall, I’ve enjoyed the creation of these decks, but I was feeling like perhaps I should explore my least favorite color a bit more, just to see if I could make it work all by its lonesome.

My first though was building a mono red Dragon deck, but given the option to run Scion or the Ur-Dragon, it seems like a bad call. Most of the good Dragons are red sure, but it still seems like I’d miss out on some good ones in other colors, plus I wouldn’t have the same amount of ramp, counters, etc. Enter the next product release from Wizards: Duel Decks: Merfolk vs. Goblins.

Goblins are the number one mono red deck variant according to EDHREC. The number one Goblin commander is Krenko, Mob Boss. Guess who’s gonna pick up the duel deck as a starting point to build out a Goblin EDH deck? I’ve already built it out and found a couple of different win-cons to go along with it, and despite being mono-red I think I’ve found ways to make it work effectively. Let’s take a look.

Krenko is a shoo-in for the best Goblin commander, despite being several other mono red options. A 3/3 for four, he starts multiplying the amount of Goblins on the board very quickly, and you can abuse the amount of Goblins (or creatures) in a number of ways. Let’s look at some of the tricks we can pull out while running a Goblin tribal deck:

Goblins can make us mana, can cause tons of damage, can be sacrificed for single target removal, and as an added bonus, enchantments like Impact Tremors can do some serious work as each new creature entering the battlefield does 1 damage to EACH opponent, so just imagine tapping Krenko when you already have ten Goblins on the board, and he makes an additional eleven (counting himself) which in total causes 11 damage to each opponent without much effort at all. Some of the other bits and bobs that I’ve thrown into the deck will work with a similar synergy.

Here’s a sampling of the creatures in the deck, mostly all being Goblins (the lone Dragon is the exception), and providing more towards the themes I’ve already suggested. One allows you to sacrifice a Gob for red mana. Others have power/toughness equal to the number of Goblins or creatures I control. One has a cycling cost that ends up doing a large chunk of damage based on the Goblins on the board. Overall, Goblins want to make tons of copies of each other (which I why I’ve included Kindred Charge), have sac outlets and generally attack non-stop until someone is dead, even if it’s themselves! Aside from the go-wide win condition, I also came up with an alternate win that might just be evil (and amazing) if I can pull it off:

These are the pieces, and though I originally thought it might work with just two of them, my roommate pointed out to me that I needed the third piece. So basically, I wanted to figure out a way to get several extra turns to be able to close out a game. There are several options in red to do so, but they either require combat damage done to a player, exertion, or other mechanics that will complicate things. It seems that there are three variants to Final Fortune, in that red has three different spells that cost RR and will provide you with an extra turn, but then you will lose the game. Clearly, we don’t want the extra turns unless we can win, but that’s a pretty big gamble and I want more than one extra turn. Enter Isochron Scepter. It’s an artifact that can imprint Final Fortune onto it, effectively allowing you to cast that spell each turn for 2 colorless mana. This means on each of those extra turns I can tap it again and again allowing for infinite turns. However, the end step will kill me on the second turn. Enter Sundial of the Infinite. With it, I can spend 1 colorless mana to end the turn, and if done before the end step, I can wipe the losing condition from the stack. So, with this in mind, I need all 3 pieces for infinite turns, but I can use just Final Fortune and the sundial for two turns in succession without losing. As such, I figured I should get some tutors in the deck as well to try and fish out this win-con (not easy to do with Red!)

The main tutors here are Inventor’s Fair which can be sacrificed to tutor up an artifact, and Gamble, which can tutor up any card, but you have to discard one at random. I have several other draw spells and effects in the deck, so hopefully I’ll be able to pull out one or more of the pieces traditionally, and then tutor up the last bits. I also included cards like the Goblin Matron (tutor up one Gob) and Goblin Recruiter (tutor up as many gobs as I want) to help thin out the deck. Hopefully tutoring will be effective as will the card draw engine. At the end of the day I want to go-wide, but having a backup plan is essential.

That’s all for today’s edition. I’ll report back after this deck is built and tested. I can’t wait to swarm the battlefield with Gobbs!!