The first version tried to minimize board presence: other than land and mana rocks, the only permanent allowed was Shu Yun himself. The deck basically cast Shu Yun once you could protect him, and then built up a lethal hand. On the right turn, you cast enough buff and evasion spells so his activated double strike ability deals lethal command damage, and attack. He was vulnerable after either being attacked or attacking, so it was challenging to take on more than one opponent. The only hope the deck had was politicking itself into the final pair.
The main reason I rebuilt the deck is because it wasn’t very fun for me to play. Most of the time you did nothing other than cull your hand and try to think of new reasons people shouldn’t attack you. I prefer doing things instead of being patient.
The deck listed here is the last iteration of Shu Yun, One-Punch Man. It uses equipment and other permanents for better value, and to help with the longevity problem of the previous version. One-Punch Man With a Cane. It’s a lot more straightforward, and projects its danger through board presence a bit more obviously. It works better than the first version, and is more fun for me to play. However, we have so many Voltron-style decks that this has been pushed to the bottom of the pile. I have a very similar Okaun/Zndrsplt coin-flip deck that I’ll basically always play instead of this one, so… time to strip it for parts.
This deck is a hateful creation. For some reason it feels horrible to play against in 1v1, but isn’t as annoying in multiplayer.
Where the deck falls short is in how fun it is to play. Since most of the deck consists of pain and taxes, playing the deck well is more about pestering your opponents to remember your cards’ triggers, than making interesting gameplay decisions.
Even with all that trigger policing, if the deck wins, it’s typically a bit more Voltron: commander damage from Mogis once you have a few damage multipliers on the board.
It looks like I built two decks into one, again.
This was built long before Theros: Beyond Death came out; there may be some new enchantments that would be worth including. Many of the cards are just weird old cards I’ve never had a chance to play.
What happens when Skyship Weatherlight returns to home port after years of sailing the multiverse? This deck demonstrates by unloading artifacts all over the place until you run out of playmat to put them on.
The basic idea of the deck is to get out Jhoira and keep her alive long enough to play the rest of your deck in one turn. Every time you cast an artifact, you draw a card. Most of the artifacts are mana stones or mana discounts for other artifacts. Eventually you’re playing mana stones for less mana than they cost, and the only thing left to stop you is running out of artifacts in hand. To avoid this, the deck includes X draw spells and plenty of artifacts that draw additional cards. There are a few protection spells for Jhoira, but the biggest protection is the massive amount of mana available to recast her.
After playing Elsha of the Infinite as a spellslinger deck, I intended to build it into an artifact storm deck. When I read Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, I decided she’d make a much better commander for this deck. The main problem I had with Elsha was getting stuck when I couldn’t play the top card. After playing this deck I can say that drawing a card after playing an artifact is more effective than just being able to play the top card of the deck.
I think I should start adding a standard evaluation section with my impressions of the deck. Something like this:
Power level: 8
Fun to play: Yes
Fun to play against: once, maybe?
Optimal number of opponents: 0
This is a pretty fast deck that’s very fun to play and has a variety of win conditions, but don’t expect your opponents to have much fun watching you play every card in your deck. There’s interaction, but it’s mostly in the form of preventing other people from interacting with you, or recovering when they do.
I like how this deck provides a place where horrible cards can have their day in the spotlight. I don’t think I’ve ever actually used a Barbed Sextant before, but once your engine is running, drawing 2 cards for 0 mana is great.
The deck originally had a primary win condition of self mill with Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, though it also won with creatures or Psychosis Crawler as well, usually more quickly. Tuning up the deck with additions like Aetherflux Reservoir mostly reduced the length of the last turn rather than decreasing the turn count before it won.
This deck was originally built with cards I had on hand, and then upgraded with 5-10 singles. As I tuned it, I noticed several things about exactly which janky artifacts and support cards work best:
Card draw is better than land tutoring in this deck, so I dropped cards like Wanderer’s Twig. Tutors also slow down an already slow deck, so removing them is best. The deck doesn’t need any of its slow fetch lands either.
Artifact casting cost is eventually discounted to 0, but activation costs aren’t. You’ll rarely want to spend mana on an activated ability, but color fixers like Terrarion are useful since they don’t actually use the mana, and they help you fix your colors to cast Braingeyser.
Mana discounts really speed up the deck. I added the Mages before I had enough discount cards, but now they may not be needed.
This deck is an Elf Bomb: accelerate mana through mana elves and Karametra’s land drops, and win with large X creatures or hordes of elves.
Karametra, God of Harvests helps a lot with ramp, but she also requires a lot of tutoring and shuffling, so it can slow down the game considerably if you also want to time your plays correctly. The main reason I’m taking the deck apart is because I’m going to rebuild it around Chulane, Teller of Tales, who helps with both ramp and card draw, and avoids the delay of constant land tutoring.
This deck is reasonably good, maybe a 6/10 for power. Its fun comes from making giant creatures and/or a lot of creatures. It tends to win more when it goes wide than when it goes tall, due to lack of evasion or trample.
Now that I think about it, this deck has a problem I’ve had before in decks I build: it is basically two decks mashed together. It’s trying to do both Elf Tribal and Big Mana Stompy, but it should just choose one. I built a worse Elf deck with a poor commander, but it needs some of the cards from this deck to work well enough to bother with. I expect I’ll eventually end up with both a Chulane Big Mana deck and another Elf Tribal.
“You should make a Thanksgiving deck with a bunch of Food cards in it,” Erik said.
“Ok.” So I did.
Finding cards to fit the theme is the easy part. I also wanted the deck to have a way to win, while still allowing for a bunch of janky theme cards. This deck isn’t competitive or consistent, but it has won games. It’s fun to play only because of the theme. I’d call it a 4-5/10 on the power scale, and fun enough to play once a year.
The Thanksgiving theme covers two very different perspectives on Thanksgiving: a progressive critique of the traditional story of pilgrims arriving in the bountiful new world on three ships, and a modern progressive stuck at a stereotypical dysfunctional family Thanksgiving dinner. I built this deck as a parody specifically because I don’t like Thanksgiving and what it stands for. Nothing here should be interpreted as endorsement of the holiday or the concepts traditionally associated with it.
(Update: I have learned, and changed my mind. If this article is accurate when it says that the national holiday of Thanksgiving was created by president Lincoln to help win the war against slaveholders, then I’m all for it. I just don’t like celebrating colonialism. https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/november-28-2019)
The theme cards are almost all green and white, and I wanted the deck to work, so Chulane, Teller of Tales seemed like a good choice for commander. A combo win condition could be added with only a few cards, and Chulane’s card draw and ramp make it that much easier to get the combo in hand.
I settled on an easy combo I am not likely to use in decks I play more often: Palinchron and Panharmonicon, for infinite mana. I added a handful of X spells for win (or just epic game end) conditions, but if I revise the deck I’d like to remove most of them. Playtesting revealed the other now-obvious benefit Chulane provides: with infinite Palinchron castings, you can draw as much of your deck as you need to find a win card, and then Chulane bounces himself back into your hand so you avoid milling yourself to death.
I didn’t add High Tide as a backup plan because of the low Island count. I did choose green enchantment ramp and multi-mana lands, to provide an alternative to Panharmonicon: If I can get 12 mana out of 7 lands, that’s enough for Palinchron to generate infinite mana.
The theme portion of the deck is used primarily as blocking fodder and ways to trigger Chulane, but there are also several theme cards that are more useful.
As for the budget… I didn’t actually buy the expensive cards for this deck, I had them on hand. I’m not that crazy… if I were, I’d add artifact tutor cards such as Enlightened Tutor.
Come on, tell me Palinchron doesn’t look like a roasted turkey?
This is a Spellslinger deck based around Elsha of the Infinite, the alternate commander from C19’s Mystic Intellect preconstructed deck.
The general idea of the deck is to get a bunch of mana out, and then play lots of spells off the top of the deck. This increases Elsha’s Prowess, allowing for some big attacks, and triggers other effects like Guttersnipe to win the game. In practice, this deck was a bit inconsistent: it stalls too often when you have a land or creature on top of the deck, and it hasn’t been easy to get win conditions into play before needing to play a lot of spells.
Casting tons of spells like this can be a lot of fun to play! However, it’s not fun to play against at all. Even though the deck is fairly effective, I’m taking it apart because it’s not fun for other players. My original plan was to rebuild Elsha as an Artifact Storm deck, but I decided to build Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain instead. Artifact storm is more effective, but spoiler alert: it’s also not fun to play against.
It looks like my blogging will never really catch up with the decks I’m actually playing regularly, as long as I only ever blog a deck once I’m done playing it. But that’s your problem, not mine. I’m just writing this stuff down in case I want to refer to it some day.
This was another early deck build. At this point I was more focused on “this looks fun to play” than “how does the deck win?” So, we have a pile of perfectly fine cards, but no real focus when it comes time to delivering a killing blow.
The deck isn’t focused on a specific strategy other than “play stuff out of the graveyard.” When it wins, it’s because it has longevity and lots of answers: it’s good at not losing, but not great at winning.
My list of cards to add include Lotus Petal to implement an infinite combo with Muldrotha… without enough mana to actually turn it into a useful win condition… and possibly Fa’adiyah Seer for more graveyard filling.
I haven’t played the deck since I added Hermit Druid and a few other cards, but it won’t help unless the deck adds a solid way to eliminate enemies. I’m setting this deck aside until I have an inspiration for a more focused deck with a specific win condition. At this point Muldrotha is hated enough that I’m not sure it’s worth putting effort into.
I have no luck with Rakdos, and yet I feel compelled to try again. Once again, here’s a decklist before I disassemble the deck.
After some tuning I was able to get it to function, but the deck’s timing is very awkward. The objective is to get Kazarov on the board as soon as possible (never as soon as you want), and then use mass-ping spells to quickly add many +1/+1 counters. Kazarov costs a lot, but the spells are cheap. Keeping them in your hand long enough for them to be useful is hard, and all those turns give your opponents plenty of time to draw removal.
I originally ran Whispersilk Cloak to get attacks through more easily, but it’s really hard to keep Kazarov on the board unprotected for a turn. Swiftfoot Boots let you wait only one extra turn for Kazarov and still protect him. Now I know why Lightning Greaves costs more.
My next set of changes to this deck would be to increase my defensive base, probably with more creatures overall, more defenders, and fewer pingers. The pingers are too easy to kill with my own burn spells, not fast enough to provide adequate defense, and not necessary to add tokens to Kazarov late game
This is one of the first Commander decks I built, after tuning it a bit more towards Discard instead of Minotaur Tribal. The deck isn’t very good. The problem is that Minotaur Tribal is not awesome, but transforming it into a discard deck will just leave me with a deck I won’t enjoy playing.
I’m disassembling this to use the Rakdos color base in another deck, but thought I’d save this for posterity.
To take advantage of Museum Miniatures’ January sale, I placed a large order for Warring States Chinese figures to bring my triple army up to date. So far I have painted up a lot of Bow Levy, and rebased my DBA 4Sp figures as Light Foot for Early Warring States.
All of the figures are Museum. The red guys were painted by JM, the rest by me.
After I finished painting up all the Bow Levy bowmen, I read the Meshwesh army list more closely and realized I should’ve gotten crossbowmen instead. I opted not to restart from scratch. I have about 5 more bow figures that I will eventually base as Skirmishers or Archers depending on what the army needs when I’m finished.
After rebasing, I got 16 stands of Light Foot out of my 12 stands of 4Sp and assorted spare spearmen. This is not quite enough for a triple Early Warring States army; it looks like I may need to buy a few more packs of spears or just pretend my halberdiers are light foot.
JM’s basing didn’t match mine, and the paste he used ran off the sides of the metal bases, so I decided to rebase his 3Cb as proper Archers, and rebased a few Skirmishers for good measure.
Running tally of Triumph Conversions
Newly Painted: 12 elements; 36 figures (plus 5 not shown)