TWR: Commander League

The LGS I have been going to in recent months for Commander events has recently changed up their format. Since the beginning of this month they are calling it the “Commander League” and rather than getting prizes at the end of that particular day, they are now tallying points up throughout the month and awarding prizes at the end. Also, instead of three round events, they are having a couple of rounds starting at different times on both Fridays and Sundays. Instead of paying an $8 buy-in there is now a $5 per round fee, so essentially the shopkeeper is making money hand over fist and will only really pay out one person at the end. At least that’s the gist of it, I’m not sure if there are prizes for 2nd or 3rd place, or if there are any participation packs for others. I know that he’s got some sort of Unstable art poster as a prize, but otherwise who knows. My roommate and I have been cool with paying the nominal fee just to have others to play with, so we’ll likely pop in again, but so far we have only participated the one day, this past Sunday.

We showed up at 2pm when things were supposed to start, but unfortunately no one else had shown up to that point. It seems he was having the store championship for Rivals of Ixalan, so the people that were there were present for that. The 2nd round of EDH games was due to start at 3:30, so we decided to go get some lunch and come back. When we arrived the second time, the two guys we played with the first time we attended one of these events were there, so we managed to have a four player round. The round was supposed to go for 80 minutes, and we took it to time, but during the last few rounds I was able to win the game, so that was good. Here were our commanders for the event:

My roommate ran with Meren, I played Zur, and the other two were running Sen Triplets and Arcanis. I was impressed by the player who was using Arcanis, he managed to have great ramp, excellent card draw and did some tricky things during the round, including eliminating my roommate from the game. After that, I was able to eliminate him and then finish of the Sen Triplets player. It was a blast and I was glad that even though it took me a while to get going I was able to win this game with a life total of 64! It’s not even a lifegain deck but that’s just the way it worked out.

We played another round for fun, this time I played my Simic Merfolk deck and my roommate played this new Joira deck that technically isn’t even legal to play yet, as he had a couple proxies in it that are from the new Dominaria set that has yet to release. We allowed it anyway, and it turned out to be a pretty potent deck, though he was once again eliminated by the Arcanis player. We ended up scooping soon thereafter as the shopkeeper needed to close down for the day.

Overall it was a fun experience once again, though I’m not sure how many times we’ll be able to go over the course of the month. It seems like if you’re someone who can go every Friday and Sunday you’d have an unfair advantage over those who can only go a couple of times a month. I hope there is some sort of consolation prize, because otherwise it’s just throwing money away to play with randoms. I’ll report back with more details once I figure that bit out. Rumor has it that the member of our playgroup that moved away might come for a visit this month, so that would be a nice change of pace — playing at home with friends is always more fun.

TWR: Commander Event #2

Back in February I attended a sanctioned Commander event at a local game store. It was fun enough, and the packs earned were worth the cost of entry so my roommate and I decided that we’d check it out again. We haven’t had the same sort of time on our hands in recent months so we aren’t playing Magic nearly as often as I would like, but we’re still trying to find time to play on occasion. Yesterday afternoon we attending the same Commander event at the same LGS and it ended up being better and worse than the first time. Let me explain.

So the first time we went, there were two other guys that had shown up and we ended up in a pod of 4. That’s pretty much the standard setup for playing EDH, so it was fine. The benefit there was having the additional players, but they ended up being either under experienced with the decks they brought, or they were simply bad players. This time around, my roommate and I were the only ones who showed up so the shop keeper played the “official” rounds with us. This was beneficial because we were able to stretch the format a bit, and we played less rounds before determining the winner. He also happens to be a pretty good player with a fair amount of decks so the competition felt more real and the games were all good games. Here were our commanders:

This time the rules were a little more lax. Typically you only get to play one deck for three rounds. This time he said that we could swap decks in between rounds, and that we’d only do two rounds. So I rolled with my newly minted Zur the Enchanter deck, the store owner played Sram and my roommate used Mizzix. I am familiar with both of those decks because it was my roommate’s first EDH deck, and I pilot a Sram deck so I already knew he was going Voltron. I was less familiar with my own deck however, only knowing what it wants to do but not sure how I was going to adapt to situations that arise during games. Luckily, I had about the best turn 1 ever, dropping a swamp into a Sol Ring which I tapped to play Talisman of Dominance and then ended up tapping that for one white mana (taking 1 damage) to play Authority of the Consuls. Yeah, it’s about as good as it could go. Turn 2 I dropped a Swiftfoot boots, cast Zur and equipped the boots, attacking and tutoring out Empyrial Armor and hitting for 7 damage off the bat. It was over as soon as I tutored up Ethereal Armor and Phyresis, I one shotted the store owner with 11 infect damage and two turns later my roommate dropped too. We all decided to swap decks for round 2:

I pulled out Kumena which was the last deck I finished prior to Zur, and had only played one time. My roommate pulled out the tried and true Scion deck, and the owner was on a Titania kick. He ended up stomping us pretty readily, having crazy ramp and reusing strip mine to murder our mana bases. I was pretty impressed by the deck. At that point it was decided that I was the winner based on having won a game (don’t think the shop keep counted his own results) and votes. So I earned 3 packs of Rivals of Ixalan and my choice of a promo card. I went with Unclaimed Territory, as pretty much everything else was hot garbage. It’s a nice foil with a watermark:

We played one more game for fun where I used Zur again, my roommate kept on with Mizzix and the owner went with a Queen Marchesa deck. It was a pretty good game. I didn’t have the same God hand, and each time I cast Zur they would get rid of him due to the fact that I didn’t get early hexproof or shroud. I managed to get a decent recursion engine going but then my graveyard was exiled and I was merely top decking (I believe I had more recursion in my hand that wasn’t useful). I ended up with a decent board state when my Starfield of Nyx triggered and all of my enchantments became */* creatures equal to their CMC, but a well timed Cyclonic Rift put everything back into my hand and I couldn’t recover from there. Surprisingly my roommate managed the win even after storming up to 60 life, and attempting to kill the shop keep with 50 damage, which was countered by a creature that blocks all the damage and gets +1/+1 counters based on the damage. So my roommate dropped to 10 life and the owner ended up with a 51/51 soldier on his field. I got rid of it before dying and my roommate managed to  pull a burn spell and kill the owner.

Good games all around, but less fun because 3 person pods are just not the same as 4. Apparently they are switching to a league format at some point next month, so we’ll probably go back and see how that changes things.

The War Report: Commander Event

This past weekend my roommate and I went to a local game store to participate in a Commander event. We have both gone to Prerelease events in the past and he’s participated in Draft weekends, but this was our first time going to this particular store to check it out. The store we normally go to for cards and Prereleases doesn’t really sponsor EDH events, so we started looking elsewhere. We found another store that is about 20 minutes from home that has an EDH event every Friday and Sunday (at least for the time being) so we signed up and played on Sunday.

The event was set up as follows: Starts at 2pm until 5pm. Three rounds are played. Pods of four are randomly assigned. You only get to use one deck for all three rounds, and the rounds last 50 minutes. At the end of a round if there is no winner, then everyone gets a point for participating til the end, and each player votes for someone besides themselves who they thought played the best. If you win a round I think you got 2 points. We were playing for prizes so the shopkeeper kept track of all these points. I guess if there were a minimum of 8 players, the grand prize would have been one of the 2017 Commander Precon decks. In this case there were only four players, so we were playing for Rivals of Ixalan packs and a special promo card. We ended up with these commanders going head to head:

I was playing The Locust God, my roommate was running Ghave, and the other two guys were playing Reaper King and Zacama. I was surprised to see someone else playing Reaper King, and I was also surprised to see how this guy built his deck… it was really nothing like mine but he admitted he had just thrown it together and that it could use some revision. He still had some interesting ideas. I’m all too familiar with my roommate’s Ghave deck, and apparently the other guys we were playing with had no idea. I almost played my Reaper King deck for the event but am kind of glad that I didn’t because it would have been two of us in the same pod, but at the same time maybe I should have so I could show the guy what it can do. One thing I did learn: I suspected that Zacama was not a good choice for commander for a dino tribal deck and these games proved me right. I’m sticking with Gishath for my dino tribal deck, and putting Zacama in the 99. He’s just too slow to get going and not splashy enough. He truly belongs as one of the 99 in a dino tribal or in his own sort of combo/jank deck.

The first round played was the closest. Me and my roommate were basically racing to see who could get off their infinite combo first, and he did. He won around the same time as the timer was going to expire. In game two, we expected there to be some sort of change in behavior for the other guys we were playing with. They seemed to recognize that my deck could do some busted shit, but they seemed to ignore Ghave despite him winning the first round. Spoiler alert! He won all three games because I was the only one trying to stop him, which in turn set me back on my own progress to win. Frustrating as that was, I suppose it was going to come down to one of us winning from the get go, since the other guys we were playing with had super casual decks that weren’t going to compete anyway. So my roommate walked away with a few packs of RIX and a promo foil of Brass’s Bounty. I somehow came in third despite actually making an elimination in one of the rounds… probably due to the voting thing. I got two packs of RIX (which means I about broke even, as the buy-in was for $8 so I’m not complaining). Didn’t pull anything good from it, but my roommate did and we made a decent trade later.

After the official stuff was over we played one “for fun” game with shopkeeper. I put fun in quotes because he had a hell of an abusive deck that no one stood a chance against, at least with how fast it got going. He was playing Doran, but was really playing a “secret commander” sort of deck.

What I mean by secret commander is that his official commander int he command zone was Doran, but his deck heavily revolved around Gaddock Teeg, Meren and another ghost spirit thing that had built in recursion. This deck was mean, and it was fast. He was constantly sacrificing and recurring creatures with ETBs that made us sacrifice our own creatures of blew up artifacts/enchantments. My roommate switched to his Scion deck for this game, and I had swapped to Kaalia. He was eliminated in like 10 minutes flat, while I attempted to slow down the shopkeep, and the other two guys were twiddling their thumbs. It got to a point where I couldn’t stop this guy and he prevented me from doing shit aside from board wipes and other removal spells so I ended up scooping and so did the rest of the table. Guy had a hell of a deck, but man was it frustrating to play against!

When we got home, I traded my roommate an Ash Barrens and a Seafloor Oracle for Kumena, Tyrant of Orzaca.

He pulled Kumena from his victory packs which is a $20 card (and one that I really wanted to finish up my Simic Merfolk deck) and since there have been a few trades we made in the past that favored him monetarily, he said that he would trade me for some lesser value cards. He really wanted the Ash Barrens that I had, which was something that came in a precon at some point but has gone up in price due to Pauper, and he didn’t want to spend the money on it, and I threw in a $.50 card that he wanted as well. It was a nice pickup, and I ordered the remaining cards for that deck shortly thereafter.

Overall it was a fun experience. We’re looking forward to doing something like this again, and now that I know more of what to expect it should be easier to be more prepared. We’re hoping that more people show up to the next one, or that at the very least we can find someone who wants to join our more dedicated pod so we can play more often again.

TWR: Rivals of Ixalan Prerelease

This weekend saw the Prerelease events for the newest Magic: The Gathering set, Rivals of Ixalan. I already had plans for most of the weekend, but was able to attend the Sunday event at 1pm. I attended at my LGS where I took part in the Ixalan prerelease as well, and just like the first time I was not disappointed. I have been very lucky with my pulls from packs over the last year or so. Not only have I pulled both an Invention and an Invocation from the past two masterpiece sets (Kaladesh block and Amonkhet block), but I’ve managed to pull some of the desirable cards from these past two Ixalan sets as well!

Unfortunately I was only able to stay at the event long enough to crack my packs, throw together a 40-card Simic Merfolk deck, and beat my first opponent 2-1. At that point I had to jet, but got a participation pack as well that also had a decent rare inside! I’m curious what would have happened had I stayed, as my roommate managed to essentially win the whole thing and earned extra packs. Regardless, it was a good time and I felt I got my money’s worth for the small $30 investment. On top of the normal chaff that is to be expected from a small pile of packs, I ended up with cards that I needed for decks that I’m constructing, and Dinosaurs are going to be amazing at this point. Once the set officially releases next week I’ll be placing an order for singles and finishing that deck off finally, along with getting some additional power for other decks.

My prerelease promo card was less exciting than last time, but it’s still a decent card. I don’t have a place for it just yet, but whenever you can use opponent’s spells against them, it’s a nice feeling. Were this card blue, I’d have a place for it but at the moment it’s going to sit until I find a use. The cards that I was excited for that I did pull were:

People were hoping that Zacama was going to be a 5-color elder dinosaur so they could utitlize the other five mono-colored elder dinosaurs, but I’m just fine with the card being Naya, and slotting right into the 99 of the Gishath deck I’m building. Not only is this card very versatile on its own, but I could use it as an alternate commander for the deck and that’s more useful to me. Zetalpa is going in the same deck, along with the Green and Red elder dinos. Amazing stuff. I managed to also pull Tetzimoc, but without being able to use black in the dino deck, that one will collect dust for a while. It’s a great card, but I can’t use it at the moment.

I pulled three of the Forerunners, but these are the only two I’ll use. The Pirate one is only good in Pirate decks, and that’s not something I intend on building, despite owning an Admiral Beckett Brass. My dino Forerunner was also a foil, so that’s a bonus and I pulled a foil Goring Ceratops which is an upgrade of sorts since I already had a non-foil version. There were some other rares that I pulled but nothing too exciting.

Overall I still managed to get my hands on some good cards, and I might be able to trade my roommate for some others that I need to finish off some of these decks. It’s a fun time, and I’m hoping to continue to go to these events as they come up. We’re also trying to use the opportunity to find some new members for our EDH group, and apparently a few people were invited from what my roommate said, so perhaps we’ll get the steady games going again. In the meantime I’m going to try and finish up the decks I’m working on to be adequately prepared when that day comes!