Playgroup Brews – Commander 2018 (Pt 2)

Previously On EDHREC…

It’s time to finish our second session of Playgroup Brews: Commander 2018! As I said in Part 1, this article will not be a review the precons. Instead, three members of my playgroup have joined me in creating a deck for four of the new commanders. Each of us has chosen one of the new precons, and within that, one of the main three commanders to build. We’ll talk about our initial reactions and brew ideas for each of these, how the chosen player ultimately decided to build the deck, and then a short deck tech. Last week we talked about Tuvasa the Sunlit and Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign with Austin and Travis, who each came up with some very top-notch decks, and we got lots of great feedback! This time around, you’ll be introduced to Eric, talking about Thantis the Warweaver, and a list by yours truly for Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer. As a brief recap, here is everyone’s intro again!


Brief Intros:

Christian: Hey all! I hope you know me by now, but I am a dumb magic player. I build decks that no one would expect with very well-known, goofy commanders, and decks revolving around different biological groups of life. I like having fun more than winning, but that’s always a perk! I really wanted to do some goofy shenanigans, so I chose to run with Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer.

Eric: I’m Eric, and I think I’m the one you get to blame for reading Christian’s articles; I introduced him to Magic!We’ve been dueling each other for the past five years, creating decks that were specifically designed to ruin the other, but that didn’t do so well in any larger meta up until recently. I am definitely mainly a Limited player, but I enjoy goofy games of Commander. I like messing with the ways other peoples’ decks are supposed to work, which is why I normally enjoy mill strategies and stealing creatures. I chose Thantis, the Warweaver to change everyone’s game plan.

Austin: Hey everyone, I’m Austin, and I’m a Commander fiend! I have over 20 decks at this point, but every time I think I’m done building, I get an idea for another one! I’ve been playing Magic off and on since 2000 and EDH since 2010. While I enjoy other formats, EDH is my favorite. I’ve had a Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis Enchantress deck for a while that I’ve wanted to refine, so I chose to go with Tuvasa the Sunlit for this article.

Travis: I’m Travis, and I have been passionately losing games of Magic since Starter: 1999. I’ve written for Christian’s Playgroup Brews series before when I wrote about Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner, and am back again! I have been playing Magic for almost twenty years, but I truly found myself in the game when I discovered EDH six years ago. I chose Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign because she offers a lot of interesting design space in an area the format hasn’t yet explored.


Thantis First Impressions:

Christian: The evolutionary biologist side of me is getting shivers; it’s another tribal commander that has nothing to do with its tribe. Sign me up for Jund Spider combat tribal! This is going to be awful and amazing at the same time.

Eric: Nothing like breaking up board stalls with some all-out combat. I am really excited to see what this will do to other players, as most decks tend not to send all their creatures out every turn. I’m not sure how to defend, other than convincing people to not attack me. Too bad there isn’t much vigilance in these colors.

Austin: I actually think Thantis is more powerful than people are giving her credit for. Making everything attack all the time completely changes how the game plays out. It’s a lot harder to sit back, durdle, and craft the perfect plan when you’re getting attacked every turn and are forced to suicide your random utility creatures into someone else’s creatures.

Travis: My favorite commander ever is Gahiji, Honored One, and this seems to be a similar concept in Jund. There is plenty of potential to make a deck that focuses on lots of creature combat and luring effects.

Eric’s Thantis Deck Tech

The goal of this deck is to make games very combat-oriented. Thantis, the Warweaver forces opponents to attack each other, rather than sit back and relax. I have played far too many games where people durdle around and build up walls, while everyone just waits for one of their opponents to pull together their infinite combo. I want to see duels, rivalries, and good old-fashioned politics. I also want to see weak creatures that are critical for a deck’s utility enter the fray and get wrecked, since most creatures with great passive static abilities should never fight. Cards like Nekusar the Mindrazer, Baral, Chief of Compliance, Riku of Two Reflections, for example. Even those that take time to build up, like Animar Soul of Elements, Tuvasa, the Sunlit, Ezuri Claw of Progress, can all fall victim to the calls of combat early in the game before they get buffed.

  

In this deck, we will be ready for combat by using cards that are “born ready” and don’t need a lot of support to shine in battle. We’ll also make use of cards that keep us coming back for more, with recursion and token generation. Lastly, we will try to encourage combat as much as possible, with the least amount targeted at us. This will require some actual metagaming and tactics within your playgroup (something that I enjoy failing at regularly).

As with many decks that I play, this will take a bit of smooth talking to get yourself into a better position and convince everyone who the real enemy is. (It’s always Christian with his terrifying Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder deck, by the way.) Remember that in decks like this, we need to be wary about how opponents can perceive our actions as threats and target us, and how we can maneuver around those interactions while still having a fun time and being able to play our deck!

The main strategy will be to reduce other players’ control of their own creatures, mainly in the form of constant combat. There are plenty of creatures with great abilities that can be safeguarded in normal games by simply not attacking. My personal favorite is Eight-and-a-Half Tails, which doesn’t enter combat unless we have ample mana for strategic maneuvers. Unfortunately, we can’t include cards like him, since Thantis isn’t white, but with mechanics like Goad and other abilities that require all creatures to attack each combat, you better hope you have a tap ability to tap your creatures before they’re forced into the red zone!

To begin, let’s look at some things that make it really hard for opponents to keep their flimsy creatures alive. These include cards like Fumiko the Lowblood, Goblin Spymaster, and Disrupt Decorum. These are going to force your opponents to attack, and hopefully make them attack someone that is not you!

With all this combat, we need to find ways to make sure we’re not on the losing side of things. Fortunately, we won’t be surprised by the sudden demands of combat, since we are the cause of the problem and can therefore prepare for it. I chose creatures that benefit from combat, and tried to not include creatures with haste, so that we can be more strategic with them and wait a turn before they are thrown into the fray. These games will experience more creature deaths, so I have factored in some cards to use that carnage to our advantage, including Harvester of Souls, Butcher of Malakir, and Dictate of Erebos.

Finally, I chose a lot of token generators that encourage combat among other players, and also keeps us from taking to much damage between turns by providing plenty of blockers. Dragonlair Spider, Sandwurm Convergence, and Rite of the Raging Storm are great examples, the latter of which even furthers our goal of forcing our opponents to attack each other!

In case you have political shortcomings and can’t verbally convince others not to attack you, I’ve included some spells that will hopefully discourage attacks more effectively. These will help reduce the damage we take, and hopefully provide some space between us and our opponents. Hopefully Koskun Falls, Elephant Grass, and Dread are enough to deter them!

I’m excited to see this group-slug-fest get going, and am looking forward to piecing this deck together. Thantis fits into almost all of these categories already, making a great complement for the strategy; she encourages attacking, but discourages it toward us, and can probably hold her own in combat. Plus, Spiders are pretty cool, so I may even build a tribal deck! I have included my list below, or you can check it out here!

Thantis Total War

Commander (1)
Creatures (28)
Enchantments (18)
Artifacts (7)
Sorceries (5)
Instants (4)
Lands (37)


Brudiclad First Impressions:

Christian: Oh boy oh boy, here comes a big dumb dude who likes to do big stupid things. This is both very narrow-minded and hugely open-ended. It very clearly spells out what you’ll want to do, but also screams “LEROY JENKINS” at the same time, telling you to to just go all in, however the hell you want to pull it off. LETS DO THIS!

Eric: I wish this had either green or white in addition, but Izzet allows for some crazy spell combos. I’m looking forward to seeing some Thopters turn into Desolation Twins.

Austin: This is a card I definitely had to read a few times. Oh, the token doesn’t go away at end of combat or end of turn? Oh, making all the tokens into copies of something is permanent? Like with Yennett, I’m really interested to see what sorts of shenanigans people come up with for this card, because it has a pretty unique ability.

Travis: This deck loses a lot of classic Selesnya token cards, but I do like the open space that players will have to brew with in Izzet. Six mana is a tall ask for a commander, so make it count when you’re ready to go for it.


Christian’s Brudiclad Deck Tech

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer is a lot of fun to brew. I have seen so many amazing lists, including several already from our very own EDHREC writers! Check out Nate’s article on his Commander Focus from this week to see just one of several other interpretations on this commander. I pulled inspiration from many deckbuilders as I worked on my own brew, building upon my own ideas to get the most out of Brudiclad. I think I did some very goofy things in the process, which is always my main goal.

Whether you fill the deck with everything tribal, and artifact synergy, or whatever concept you come up with, Brudiclad is going to be fun. My goal with this deck was to find ways to generate tokens and turn them all into copies of actual creatures, such as Borderland Behemoth, to get the most impact with my tokens. A deck concept like this is going to be very technical, require a lot of pieces to put together, and is going to be very janky. Lets start with the first piece.

Brudiclad likes making tokens. He makes them himself, and literally reengineers them into something new every turn. Because of this, we naturally want to make tons of tokens. There are lots of ways we go about doing that in this deck. A lot of these revolve around spitting out Goblins with effects like Chancellor of the Forge, Krenko’s Command, and Krenko, Mob Boss himself. However, we do have several other methods, such as Master of Waves, Rapacious One, and more. In most cases, we aren’t going to care what these tokens are, since they will soon be transformed into something else. However, it doesn’t hurt to turn all of your Goblins into 10/10 Desolation Twins, 6/6 dragons with Utvara Hellkite, or massive X/Xs with Phyrexian Processor.

  

The next piece of this puzzle is to determine how we will actually manage to turn these wimpy tokens into heavy hitters. It’s easy to turn them into Desolation Twins, but much harder to turn them into things like Frost Titan. Brudiclad states that each token you control becomes a copy of target token. Note that both instances in this take state just the word “token,” not “creature token,” so Treasures and Clues will be affected. If you want to turn them into cool creatures, though, you need your creatures in the form of a tokens. Because of this, I have included several cards that will generate tokens of your creatures, including Fated Infatuation, Flameshadow Conjuring, and even Clone Legion!

The last major component to Brudiclad’s puzzle are the actual creatures we’re turning these tokens into. We need heavy payoff cards that are going to exponentially increase their use when we have multiple of them. Casting a single spell after turning all of our tokens into copies of Tidespout Tyrant can completely remove a player’s board, opening them up for attacks. Having five Utvara Hellkites will create 25 new 6/6 Dragons when you attack. A single hit from an Angrath’s Marauder when you already have four others on the field will deal 128 damage total. Massive payoff cards is going to be huge in this deck. Even something like Shared Animosity can simply end the game when it hits the table, because it takes advantage of your team’s uniformity.

There are some other cool janky cards that found their way into this deck. Making a copy of your opponents’ creatures with things like Arcane Artisan can turn all of our creatures into one of their best. Nesting Dragon can generate several tokens with a single land drop if all of our creatures are copies of him. We have some ways of generating massive amounts of Treasures with things like Brass’s Bounty, to be turned into tons of creatures later. We even have a counter-lock with Lullmage Mentor if you turn all your creatures into Merfolk!

Arcane Artisan Brass's Bounty Nesting Dragon

I hope you like this build of Brudiclad! I was thrilled to have the chance to talk about him and I hope you all build some hilarious brews with him! Check out the list below or here on TappedOut!

Brudiclad Tinker Time

Commander (1)
Creatures (22)
Planeswalker (1)
Enchantments (10)
Artifacts (14)
Sorceries (10)
Instants (7)
Lands (35)


The End Step

We in Playgroup Brews hope you liked this Part 2 of Commander 2018! What did you think of this article series? Do you want to see more? Are there any cycles of commanders from a set you’d like us to build? Would you build Brudiclad or Thantis differently than Eric or I did? Make sure you check out Part 1 if you haven’t already, and please leave comments and feedback below! We love to hear what you guys think and how you would improve upon our ideas! Thanks for reading!

While getting a degree in evolutionary biology, Christian spent all of his free time in college building commander decks after being introduced to the MTG in the Theros block. After spending the last several years building and playing biologically-themed tribal decks and surprising people with wonky builds of well-known commanders, he decided to share his thought and design process with the community, incorporating ideas from his many playgroups into articles, while also working in museums and scuba diving when he can.