My 5 Cents on… WUBR Partner Configurations

In honor of finally having “official” 4-color options, I’ve decided to give my pre-playtest opinions on the new 4-color Partner configurations.  I’ll start with how I think they work together and give them a score on Compatibility from 1(least) to 4 (most) with only one “4” being awarded, and a score on how likely I’d be to build them as a pair (1 = no, 2=unlikely, 3=possibly, 4=yes) with no gaurantees.

Note that additional card choices/deck context could improve compatibility, but I’m not going to go too deeply into that, though I may mention brief ideas.

The Non-green “theme” is “Artifacts”,  My current xG Tag-Team deck is Zedruu/Syg “Alt Wins“.

The Boss

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Would I play: 4, Since they didn’t want to give me a UR Artifacts Matter commander for this pile of “Thopters Matter’ cards I’ve had ready since Origins, I’ll happily add in a bit of white and black and just use this beauty. Definitely my favorite of the “true” 4-color commanders..

The Built-Ins

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= Both play well with artifacts, and Silas IS an artifact.
Compatibility: 4
Would I build: 3, it’s a kind of obvious build, though maybe I’d limit myself to only trinkets…

636128992911461602+636128993995333186
= Double Strike on Silas means two triggers, which is good if you have mana to cast both things you target. I wish Silas looked at any graveyard
Compatibility: 3
Would I build: 1

The Friendlies

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= no real compatibility other than Ishai’s casting cost is actually nice with Vial Smasher.
Compatibility: 1
Would I play: 2 , If I had a non-artifact plan for these colors. They could swap with Zedruu/Sygg okay.

The Cross-Overs

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= No real connection, except Ravos buffs everyone .
Compatibility: 1
Would I build: 1

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= Both involve the words “life” and “draw cards”.  You get a bonus card if you hit for combat damage.
Compatibility: 2
Would I build: 2 I could maybe see them replacing Zedruu/Sygg

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=  Ravos Buffs Kraum, which is cool, and they both fly, so evasion?
Compatibility: 2
Would I play: 1

636129007540401186+636129882931440582
= They both involve drawing cards. Kraum’s evasion means maybe a Tymna trigger.
Compatibility: 2.
Would I build: 1.

My 5 Cents on… WUBG Partner Configurations

In honor of finally having “official” 4-color options, I’ve decided to give my pre-playtest opinions on the new 4-color Partner configurations.  I’ll start with how I think they work together and give them a score on Compatibility from 1(least) to 4 (most) with only one “4” being awarded, and a score on how likely I’d be to build them as a pair (1 = no, 2=unlikely, 3=possibly, 4=yes) with no guarantees.

Note that additional card choices/deck context could improve compatibility, but I’m not going to go too deeply into that, though I may mention brief ideas.

The Non-red “theme” is “Growth”, which means a headache of +1/+1 counters.  My current xG tag-team theme is “Legendary Colors” with Zur and Sisay.

The Boss

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Would I play: 4, because I’ll probably build all of the “True” 4 colors, and this one is really good, but WHY DID THE 4-COLOR ANGEL HAVE TO BE THESE COLORS!

The Built-Ins

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= Ishai, might get bigger so Ikra might let you gain some more life.
Compatibility: 2
Would I build: 1

636130739090770249+636129747427400381
= Both play with +1/+1 counters, and if Ishai has a counter on it, at least you won’t have earned it for naught if she goes to the Command Zone.
Compatibility: 4 but only because they fit more with the “growth” theme than Sidar/Silas.
Would I build: 3 , They’ll be the Built-in party ticket for Election.dec.

The Friendlies

636129003306466806+636128992911461602
= Sure, Silas Renn can be harder to block.
Compatibility: 3
Would I play: 3 , but only because they will be Running Mates  on the Friendly ticket for Election.dec!

The Cross-Overs

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= No real interaction, other than Thrasios being card filtering, then again Ravos automatically works with any other creature (which is why he is the winner of best Partner).
Compatibility: 2
Would I build: 1

636132853087696128+636129882931440582
= They both involve drawing cards, but not much overlap other than that.
Compatibility: 1
Would I build: 3, I think this is the X-over party ticket for Election.dec for ballot box manipulation and door-to-door canvassing.

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=  Kydele might help cast another Ravos.
Compatibility: 2
Would I play: 2.  They are dark-horse candidates for being on the Election.dec ticket.

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= If you can get through for some damage, Kydele is activated.
Compatibility: 3.
Would I build: 3, it might be nice to make an Agro deck with these… of course Melee is mostly a red ability, and that’s how I’d want to build the deck… or Blade of Selves and the old commander creatures that have the that ability

My 5 Cents on… WURG Partner Configurations

In honor of finally having “official” 4-color options, I’ve decided to give my pre-playtest opinions on the new 4-color Partner configurations.  I’ll start with how I think they work together and give them a score on Compatibility from 1(least) to 4 (most) with only one “4” being awarded, and a score on how likely I’d be to build them as a pair (1 = no, 2=unlikely, 3=possibly, 4=yes) with no gaurantees.

Note that additional card choices/deck context could improve compatibility, but I’m not going to go too deeply into that, though I may mention brief ideas.

The Non-Black “theme” is “Group Hug”, though thankfully the deck isn’t too hugg-y.  The current theme of my 4-color Tag Team is “Angels,” so not a lot of help here

The Bosses

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Would I play?: 3, but only because I’m sure I’ll build a ‘true’ 4 color deck with each of these generals.

The Built-Ins

636129003306466806+636130866468742594
= Sidar encourages your opponents to attack, and to attack someone other than you, which triggers Ludevic for them.
Compatibility: 4 (but only because there must be a “4”)
Would I build: 2 (Maybe a pillow-fort with spell protection)

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= Both are on “theme”. Sidar encourages your opponents to play multiple cheap creatures in a turn, maybe?
Compatibility: 3
Would I build: 1

 

The Friendlies

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= no real interaction.
Compatibility: 1
Would I play: 1 (even with flying, I wouldn’t give this to the angel deck)

The Cross-Overs

636132853087696128 + 636131750721891591
= Maybe you draw another artifact?
Compatibility: 2
Would I build: 1

636132853087696128+636128993995333186
= Maybe you draw something worth beefing up? .
Compatibility: 2
Would I build: 1

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= Artifacts cost colorless mana.
Compatibility: 2 
Would I play: 2.

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= Kydele can help you cast a big creature for Bruse to Buff.
Compatibility: 2.
Would I build: 2. This is the only combo that I would maybe put at the helm of the Angel deck.

My 5 Cents on… WBRG Partner Configurations

In honor of finally having “official” 4-color options, I’ve decided to give my pre-playtest opinions on the new 4-color Partner configurations.  I’ll start with how I think they work together and give them a score on Compatibility from 1(least) to 4 (most) with only one “4” awarded, and a score on how likely I’d be to build them as a pair (1 = no, 2=unlikely, 3=possibly, 4=yes) with no guarantees.

Note that additional card choices/deck context could improve compatibility, but I’m not going to go too deeply into that, though I may mention brief ideas.

The Non-blue “theme” is “ATTACK”.  My current non-blue tag-team is “Token Sacrifices” with Kresh and Hazezon.

The Boss

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Would I build: 2, I mean, probably a “3” but I don’t like having a commander that totally singles out one player. She might be fun in a “Curse” deck though, so yeah, okay, “3”.

The Built-Ins

636129879238151429+636130754472179654
= Buff a trampler, get more opportunities at Saprolings that are Buff. Seems Good.
Compatibility: 4
Would I build: 4  This is very likely to replace Kresh/Hazezon in my current Tag-Team.

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= More things to attack with, means more things might get through.
Compatibility: 3
Would I build: 3 I don’t know if it would be much different than TanaRavos

The Friendlies

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= You’re playing small creatures, so Maybe that means you have mana for big other spells?
Compatibility: 1
Would I play: 1

The Cross-Overs

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= Akiri doesn’t get more toughness.
Compatibility: 2
Would I build: 1

636131750721891591+636129747427400381
= Putting Counters on Akiri seems decent.
Compatibility: 2
Would I build: 2

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=  Bruse targetting Ikra means 14-28 life. That’s crazy.
Compatibility: 3 
Would I play: 4. These two will probably get their own deck.

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= Reyhan will make things bigger, and bigger things with Double Strike is good.
Compatibility: 2.
Would I build: 2.

My 5 Cents on… UBRG Partner Configurations

In honor of finally having “official” 4-color options, I’ve decided to give my pre-playtest opinions on the new 4-color Partner configurations.  I’ll start with how I think they work together and give them a score on Compatibility from 1(least) to 4 (most) with only one “4” being awarded, and a score on how likely I’d be to build them as a pair (1 = no, 2=unlikely, 3=possibly, 4=yes) with no gaurantees.

Note that additional card choices/deck context could improve compatibility, but I’m not going to go too deeply into that, though I may mention brief ideas.

The Non-white “theme” is “Chaos”, though thankfully the deck isn’t full of a ton of standard red chaos cards.  My current xW Tag-Team is obviously Zombies (Jarad/Thraximundar), so there’s not a lot of help here.

The Boss

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Would I play: 3, becasue I’ll probably build all of the “True” 4 colors.

The Built-Ins

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= If you have non-spell means of drawing additional cards, Kydele could fuel a big first spell. If your mana is right, Kydele ensures at least 4 damage the turn after playing Vial.
Compatibility: 4
Would I build: 3

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= Thrasios gives you a better chance at drawing a big spell, or being able to play it (except for the high cost of his scry ability).  Vial’s randomness might also be a drawback.  Maybe play with some top-deck manipulation?
Compatibility: 3
Would I build: 4 (though I probably don’t need another Top-deck manipulation deck)

The Friendlies

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= If you attack with both of them, maybe they have to choose which one to block?
Compatibility: 2
Would I play: 3 , but only with ways to give them banding!

The Cross-Overs

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= They both benefit you for dealing combat damage, Ikra builds your life total, while Ludevic encourages others’ life total to go down.
Compatibility: 2
Would I build: 1

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= Kraum is aggressive, so maybe it triggers Ikra more easily.
Compatibility: 2
Would I build: 2

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=  Without context or other cards, no real interaction.
Compatibility: 1
Would I play: 4.  Context is King: Kraum’s Zombie-ness, and Reyhan’s “stuff-dying” means they’re  very strong candidates to take-over for Jarad/Thrax, who also play with Skullbriar, who LOVES Reyhan..

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= Another one that requires more cards to make any context.
Compatibility: 1.
Would I build: 1.

My 5 Cents on… Partner.

  1.  I’ve been using “Tag Team” generals to create my 4-color decks (which have not been featured here, since I couldn’t get enough people to let me play them) for quite a few years.   Partner is pretty close to that, except for the fact that they can both be in play at the same time. So that’s pretty cool. I was definitely not expecting this to be their solution though.
  2. I feel just a tiny bit slighted that they didn’t come up with more “true 4-color” or “4-color Identity” cards.  I know DFCs are expensive to print, so that’s excusable, but it didn’t seem like the Fate Reforged style “activation color’ generals would have been that tough to design.
  3. Partner is neat, though, because it means that there are lots of combination options, and not just for forming new 4-color decks.  I hope they continue to print Partner cards in the future.  Also, it’s incentive to buy all of the decks to maximize combinations.
  4. Partner and Soulbond would be cool. Partner and Meld would be super cool.
  5. Brothers Yamazaki should be errata-ed to have partner.

4-Color Thoughts

I am anxiously awaiting ANY kind of spoiler about the 4-color Commander product from Wizards that’s coming out this fall.  I am really excited to be able to take apart the 4-color “Tag Team” decks that I have built (since Tag Team never took off).  Lots of speculation on how it will be executed.  My guess is there will be a “True” 4-color legend, and then a 2-color with a hybrid ability for the other 2 colors, though I’d love too see 2-colors that are flip-walkers  (Dark Trauma Spark Ignition!).

Of course I did a 5-part series on some of my card-creation attempts at 4-color commanders back in 2013 .

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.Part 5

I never ended up building decks around any of these, but I had a lot of fun designing them. I didn’t use Hybrid technology as much as I could have either.  Of all of them, I think I like the pair of the twins Pradoc and Pradice the best.   I also really liked the idea of the “Dark Transformation” double-faced cards, and the idea of having one card represent a team-up of two characters. Oh how I would love a  Teysa/Zegana  Orzhov-Simic Team-up card…. Hmmm…. time to go back to Magic Set Editor

My 5-Cents On… Jace,

My 5-Cents On… Jace, and the Planeswalkers in general

Jace Batman President of Ravnica

Disclaimer:  I think that the Magic Creative team does excellent work, and a lot of it. In no way is this a criticism on their abilities.

  1. I think Jace is a boring character (despite efforts to make us care about him like his Origins story), so he as a protagonist is really hard to get behind for storytelling purposes.
  2. I think Jace is boring on Purpose:  Jace really seems like he’s the Bella Swan of Magic.  Bland and Every(white)mannish so that anyone (or at least the stereotypical Magic Player that Wizkids is trying to expand beyond) could say, “Jace is just like me.”
  3. I think Jace is meant to be a Wish-fullfilment, sorta Marty-Stu, -ish character. Why does Jace need to be the President of Ravnica, AND Innistrad’s Sherlock Holmes, AND a founding member and mental Batman of the (my apologies to Maro, who I do respect, but respectfully disagree with in this instance) Jace-tice League?  Because the player can then pretend that that’s them.  Good pyschology and marketing, bad for storytelling.
  4. I think it’s unfortunate that Jace is pushed because “Research says he’s the most Popular…”   I think that a decent part of why Jace is “the Most Popular” is because he’s been made to be high profile and the most seen. Jace is popular because of his prevalence, not the other way around.
  5. I don’t dislike Jace because he’s popular, or because of his cards or his popularity alone. This is something Maro tends to throw back at Jace non-enthusiasts: <paraphrased> “some people just like to hate on things because they are popular>.  I don’t like Jace because I don’t think he’s a good or interesting character.  It’s also not about his cards (I’d actually LIKE to see some Jace cards that are more Illusion based rather than: Standard Value Control Engines).

Granted some of this bitterness stems from two main events.

A.  The utterly crushing disappointment of the ending of the Return to Ravnica block storyline.

  • Returning to one of the most excellently built worlds in fantasy gaming? — Great!.
  • Catching up with the awesome characters on that setting?  —GREAT! (I mean, I’d have no complaints with Teysa being the face of magic).
  • There’s a secret mystery hidden at the end of a mystical maze and it’s so awesome and amazing that it’s even got Niv-Mizzet exited? — I. AM. STOKED!… what is it going to be? is it a PW spark? some sort of cosmic power to defeat Bolas? is a Bolas trap? I am so excited.
  • There’s going to be a super Olympics to see which guild gets the prize, AND IT’S COMPETITORS ARE ALL AWESOME LEGENDARY CREATURES FROM THE GUILDS.—-OMFG1!@#$@#$@!#$@$ MIND IS BLOWNTHISISTHEGREATESTSTORYEVERWHATISITGOINGTOBEAAAAAHHHHHHH******
  • THE PRIZE IS!!!!!!: …. non-Ravnican Jace is now the President of Ravnica?  fuuuuuu……….

B: Having Innistrad 2, a set I wasn’t excited for at first, be a really awesome pseudo-victorian mystery set, but having Jace be the Sherlock Holmes instead of a cool Innistradi Legendary Creature.

How to fix the problem:

  1. Do something to make Jace actually interesting:  was I the only one that picked up on some non-izzet chemistry with a certain izzet-allied plansewalker?  That would be a bold character choice for a “flagship” character.
  2. Don’t just jam Jace into every Protagonist Role. Granted, he’s not the only face character, and they have been making Gideon into a bit of the Muscle Batman, or having other characters share the spotlight, but really it seems like Jace is the Main Main character.
  3. Bring Back Gerrard…nah, he was only slightly less boring, while being the least interesting member of his team.

My 5 Cents on… the 1/17/2016 Rules Updates

I don’t normally comment on rulings updates. The only times they’ve really ever bugged me were when they Banned Tolarian Academy the week after I started playing EDH (which was a corner-stone of my Kangee Deck and my Niv-Mizzet deck) and when they Bannned Emrakul right after I bought one for my Brother as a Christmas present (And we just house ruled her to be legal when we play together).

This most recent set bugs me though, so I thought I’d vent here.

  1. The Mulligan Rule Change  (now it’s Vancouver instead of Paris): Doesn’t bother me, since I never did Partial Hand Sculpting.  I will continue to mulligan as I always have: Draw 7. If it’s not playable (at least 3 lands or 2 lands and something that could be cast by turn 3) check the top card, and if it’s  not a land, Shuffle and repeat.  I don’t Sculpt. I look at lands and for a playable card.  I’ve kept 6 land hands because of this. I don’t care if other people want to sculpt scry or whatever.
  2. The Mana Color Generation Rule Change:  I think it’s a flavor fail and it waters down the color-identity rules a bit.  Kozilek-Mana (cards requiring colorless costs) are not going to be that prevalent beyond this one set.
  3. I fear that the Mana Color Generation rule change is going to lead down the Slippery Slope that MaRo is in favor of: letting hybrid cards into decks where they don’t belong.
  4. Prophet of Kruphix Banning: is dumb.  There are far worse cards out there (which I don’t think deserve banning) like Praetors, Consecrated Sphinx, Deadeye Navigator, Skittles, the new Eldrazi that mills 2 when a player land-falls.  Not a hard card to deal with either (2/3, not huge like Prime Time or Sylvan Primordial, and she didn’t hurt other players ability to play the game (like Sylvan Primordial, or Iona) or give them direct consequences to their actions. Most importantly she was a budget replacement (with less playabilty) for Seedborn Muse, who:
    1. Costs over $10
    2. Is playable in 12 deck combinations (instead of 5)
    3. Untaps artifacts  (and the usually less relevant, Planeswalkers and Enchantments) too.
    4. Is harder to Kill
    5. Is easier to Cast.

    And the art on the card was really cool.

  5. Henceforth, in all of my decks that run a Prophet of Kruphix, I am now considering her to be a Proxy for Seedborn Muse. I only have one or 2 Muses (and they’re in non-blue decks) and I can’t affort to buy more Seedborn’s to replace the Prophets that I have in my UG decks, and I don’t feel like digging them all out and looking for other replacements.

So that’s that. I see the the first two changes as more WotC’s normalizing influence (Which has other slippery slope implications) but the banning was just dumb.

The Decks Files : Green-White

Having so many decks means that it’s REALLY time consuming to keep decklists updated. Not every deck is on TappedOut.com, and many that are have changed significantly. That said, IF YOU WANT A DECKLIST: leave a comment or send me a message and I will find time to fix, or create, the decklists on TappedOut.

Here’s the Quick Rubric I’ll use for some of the questions.

How often do I want to Play it? How “Good” is it? How much do I like it?
5=  More than once in a Row  I’d play it against “Competitive decks” or if I actually want to try to win  One of my very favorites
4=  Often  It can hold its own  I really like it
3=  Sometimes  It might win under special circumstances  It’s okay
2=  Under certain circumstances  Just for Fun  Something’s not quite right
1=  Rarely / have to be in a certain mood  Winning would be a miracle I might actually take it apart… maybe

 

Asmira, Holy Avenger

Commander: Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
Name:  Selesnya GUILDTrostani, Selesnya's Voice, Magic, Return to Ravnica
Style: Guild Wars
Tribe?:
Want to play?: 2
“Good?”: 3
Like?: 2
Deck Notes: This is another one that’s a pretty strong deck in Guild Wars.

 

 

Commander: Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
Name:  Selesnya4LifeTrostani, Selesnya's Voice, Magic, Return to Ravnica
Style: Life Gain
Tribe?:
Want to play? 2
“Good?”: 3
Like?: 3
Deck Notes:  This deck makes good use of Trostani’s life-gain capabilities. Several cards came out of an earlier version of Vish-Kal.  It does play the Archangel of Thune/Spike Feeder combo.  I don’t think it plays Felidar Sovereign.

 

Commander: Jasmine Boreal
Name:  The Maiden FairJasmine Boreal, Magic, Timeshifted
Style: Tribal
Tribe?: Knights
Want to play?: 2
“Good?”: 2
Like?: 4
Deck Notes: Jasmine Boreal is my favorite OG Legend.  I wanted to build a deck around her, but, since she’s vanilla, it was hard to think of a theme, so I decided she was the Fair Maiden for a Knight-tribal deck.  This deck is the only one I play that really uses the Swords of Stuff and Value.

 

Commander:Krond the Dawnclad#
Name:  Krond the Dawn-Clad, Magic, Planechase 2012
Style: Voltron/Enchantress
Tribe?:
Want to play?
 2
“Good?”: 3
Like?: 3
Deck Notes:  
This deck started as a Uril the Miststalker deck that I had for awhile and decided to no longer use Uril as the commander for.  It’s the WG version of Bruna in a lot of ways.  This one doesn’t tend to blow people away with commander damage as quickly though.

Commander: Lady Caleria
Name:  ARROWED!!!Lady Caleria.2
Style: Tribal
Tribe?: Archers
Want to play? 3
“Good?”: 2
Like?: 4
Deck Notes:  Archers are a super rad tribe that catch a lot of flak. Lady Caleria, however, is super expensive and not that good. The deck also has a Banding sub-theme, because Banding is a super rad ability that catches a lot of flak.

 

Commander: Karametra, God of Harvests
Name:  Karametra, God of Harvests, Magic, Born of the Gods
Style: All Creature
Tribe?:
Want to play? 2
“Good?”: 4
Like?: 3
Deck Notes: This deck takes a lot of advantage of Karametra’s ability and things that untap lands. Since it’s all creatures, I can’t play Amulet of Vigor, but Stone-Seeder Hierophants work like a boss. It also loves white self-bouncing dudes. The only thing I don’t like about it is the amount of tutoring for lands that happens (which is the point of the deck, but the process is annoying)

Commander: Selvala, Explorer Returned
Name:  Selvala’s Little Pony Girl Talk Teen TimesSelvala, Explorer Returned, Magic, Conspiracy
Style: Tribal Theme
Tribe?: Horse-based creatures
Want to play? 3
“Good?”: 1
Like?: 4
Deck Notes: I imagine that Selvala’s Parley ability is getting on the old school party line and calling people up to be friends. I imagine that Selvala is basically Tina Belcher. This has basically any “playable” Pegasus, Unicorn, Centaur, or Horse creature and then global creature buffs. It is a silly deck that has no right winning games, but it’s actually come close once or twice. It has a Happy Kitten sleeve.

Commander: Asmira, Holy Avenger
Name:  Asmira, Holy Avenger, Magic, Mirage
Style: Voltron? Counters?
Tribe?:
Want to play? 2
“Good?”: 3
Like?: 3
Deck Notes: Asimira is one of the few Rebecca Guay illustrated legends, so I had to build her. This deck tries to get the old school Enduring Renewal combo going, or find other ways to make Asmira big or play with counters.