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Subject: Commander Decks♥ rss

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B Smith
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This post is part product review, part session report, and all rave.

It took a little persistence but I managed to get a couple of the just-released Commander decks, without paying more than MSRP and without resorting to a big box store. I got Counterpunch, and my boyfriend got Devour for Power. We faced off tonight with the flagship commanders: Ghave, Guru of Spores against The Mimeoplasm.

IT WAS INSANE. I got in some early hits with Vampire Nighthawk, made a small token army, wiped the board with Hour of Reckoning, got in some more hits. Then he cast Living Death, and the board got weird: we each got our Planar Chaos dragons, and he got a couple other big flyers, but I got a few utility creatures and Hornet Queen. The board locked down for a while. I started making a small army of saprolings, some of them big thanks to Sigil Captain, but he was reliably bringing out big evasive creatures, and making my strategy painful thanks to the milling effects of Extractor Demon, and he was whittling down my utility creatures with Avatar of Woe.

Fortunately I managed to topdeck an answer. With a thinned-out board, I swung with ten 3/3 saprolings. He blocked most of them; I turned those into +1/+1 counters for Ghave, although one killed Brawn and that was maybe a mistake. But I followed up with Storm Herd to get forty-three 1/1 flying Pegasi. He made one last desperate shot, attacking with a bunch of big flying fatties with trample. My deathtouch hornet tokens picked off a few of the larger threats, and I just ate the rest of the damage, but all that death milled me down to five cards left. Out of a hundred-card deck! AND he got to copy Storm Herd with Wrexial, the Risen Deep—fortunately, that only gave him nineteen tokens. My alpha strike next turn won the game.

The decks seem really well put-together. I was thrilled to find so many synergies, and I'm sure there's lots more still to be found. I was worried that some of the cards, like the cycle of Vows, would be less useful in a one-on-one game, but casting Vow of Malice after he had The Mimeoplasm copy Vampire Nighthawk plus Artisan of Kozilek was definitely worthwhile.

For a long time I had myself convinced these decks probably wouldn't be a good purchase for me: I know I'm mostly going to play one-on-one, so I wasn't sure if something focused on multiplayer would be worthwhile. I thought it might be better to put together my own deck (which I still plan to do). The theme of the Counterpunch deck convinced me to try it out, and now I'm thrilled that I did. I feel like I already got thirty dollars' worth of entertainment, and I know there's much much more to still be had (and then there will be even more once I start adding proliferate shenanigans to the deck). If you have any interest in Commander at all, but you've been sitting on the fence for whatever reason, I think it's absolutely worth your while to track these down and sling some really crazy spells. The format's proponents really are having as much fun as they claim, and you can too.
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Pete Lane
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Agreed. These are fantastic introductions into the land of EDH, and hopfully their success means more shops will run casual Commander events to support the new blood of interest that is bound to demand it.
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Michael Webb
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These definitely are a step in the right direction. I'm glad to see Wizards supporting odd formats like EDH, and ideally it would be nice to see some official support ala FNM, albeit shifted to more of casual experience. EDH is definitely the most variable constructed format, and I would expect a number of new players being exposed to it by this product.
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Mr. Bistro
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I adore Commander, and am quite impressed WOTC would release such well thought-out decks for it as an intro. I tried out Political Puppets and found it to be competitive and fun. The new cards made with Commander in mind are quite nice as well.
 
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Pete Lane
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mrbistro wrote:
I adore Commander, and am quite impressed WOTC would release such well thought-out decks for it as an intro. I tried out Political Puppets and found it to be competitive and fun. The new cards made with Commander in mind are quite nice as well.


All of the decks are pretty well made. They definately play better than they look on paper... I know one friend who only swapped out a handful of cards to make one of the "competitive" on a higher level.
 
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