Category Archives: MtG Deck Building

Ixalan Mono Blue Control Challenge

After playing the red rookie deck from Card Kingdom, and having a lot of success with it against my students. I thought well they have seen a focused red deck that is aggressive from turn 1. But they haven’t really experienced a focused blue deck, and all the shenanigans that can do.

So I got thinking. Is it possible to build a mono blue control deck using just Ixalan cards? That’s the challenge, using just cards from Ixalan build a 60 card mono blue control deck.

Same as the first challenge, leave your decks and sideboards in the comments below (if you haven’t commented before I will have to approve the comment first, but after that you are golden to post whenever).

Then at the start of next week I will post the deck and sideboard that I have come up with (some people can rip that to shreds), and also pick up to two other decks from the comments below. Those two decks will each get two Ixalan boosters.

 

Ixalan Vampire Challenge – My Deck

Last week I posted a MtG deck building challenge where those interested in doing so, were challenged to build a vampire deck and sideboard using just the cards available in Ixalan.

I have a deck. Whether it’s any good is another thing. I have tested it against a couple of student decks. It’s 3-2 at the moment. I still need to put it up against the Rookie Red.

Here is the deck and sideboard that I came up with. I should point out this has been built with cards that I own.

Creatures:20

4 Duskborne Skymarcher
2 Skittering Heartstopper
1 Queen’s Bay Soldier
2 Inspiring Cleric
2 Legion Conquistador
3 Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
3 Paladin of the Bloodstained
2 Bishop of Rebirth
1 Vona, Butcher of Magan

Spells:23

1 Demystify
1 Duress
1 Legion’s Landing
1 Ashes of the Abhorrent
2 Pillar of Origins
1 Sanguine Sacrament
3 Walk the Plank
3 Queen’s Commission
1 Ritual of Rejuvenation
3 Call to the Feast
1 Ixalan’s Binding
1 Vraska’s Contempt
2 Vanquisher’s Banner
2 Axis of Mortality

Lands:17

6 Plains
5 Swamp
2 Unclaimed Territory
4 Unknown Shores

Sideboard:15

2 Blight Keeper
2 Skittering Heartstopper
3 Vicious Conquistador
2 Adanto Vanguard
2 Tocatli Honor Guard
1 Legion Conquistador
2 Sanctum Seeker
1 Sanguine Sacrament

This is geared up to generate 1/1 vampire tokens, beefing up the vampires with the Vanquisher’s Banner (it gives +1/+1 to all vampires). The Axis of Mortality is a fun move to pull off. Run the health down then pull the trigger and swap them around. Suddenly your opponent is open to just one or two 1/1 creatures getting through. This also generates life, because those 1/1 vampire tokens have life link, plus one or two of the cards give me life when they enter the battlefield. Which is handy for Vona. But with my 1/1 creatures I have enough protection to protect me from decks that hit the floor running such as the Rookie Red deck.

Sadly no one put a deck up in the comments of the previous post. So there are no other decks to share. On the plus side that means I don’t have to send out any Ixalan boosters to anyone, and I can have them for myself.

There will be another challenge later in the week.

Ixalan Vampire Challenge

Thought I would start a new irregular series of posts that may or not be MtG related. They could easily be for Epic or Star Wars: Destiny, or any game that allows deck construction of some sort. But for this first post I am going with MtG.

So for this inaugural post the challenge is using just cards in Ixalan build a 60 card vampire deck, and a 15 card sideboard. This can be mono or black/white (Orzhov). It’s definitely tribal.

Leave your decks and sideboards in the comments below (if you haven’t commented before I will have to approve the comment first, but after that you are golden to post whenever).

Then at the start of next week I will post the deck and sideboard that I have come up with (some people can rip that to shreds), and also pick up to two other decks from the comments below. Those two decks will each get two Ixalan boosters.

Gisharth’s Army

Welcome to the start of a long and laborious series of posts where I work through building my process (based on the template suggested by The Command Zone, with input from The Prof at Tolarian Community College).

My Commander is…


Considering the title of this blog post, is it really a surprise? So I am running a three colour mana deck. As the rather crude image at the start of this post says, this will be a dinosaur tribal deck. I think it has to be to make use of Gishath’s ability.

Here is The Prof with a short information film about how to choose the right commander.

Obviously I have followed The Prof’s most important rule when selecting a Commander to play with:
I want to play dinosaurs, I want a big fun dinosaur commander. Who in their right mind doesn’t want to play dinosaurs right now? Nope pirates are not even close, so don’t go there. Just for the record in the current set Ixalan, it’s dinosaurs, merfolk, then vampires, and finally the over rated pirates. Why do I hate pirates? Those awful (and that’s the most positive word I can think about them) movies in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

Unlucky for me I don’t seem tick some of the other factors that he hints we might like to consider.

Gishath is not a cheap commander to cast, at a converted mana cost (cmc) of 8. Which means I am breaking his following advice:

But considering this is the only dinosaur commander, then I have no choice but to accept that I won’t be getting Gishath out on to the battlefield early.

I do know that being red, green and white I have ticked one of The Prof’s recommendations.

Having access to those three colours of mana means I can use, or at least have access to all the dinosaurs that are in Ixalan. Which is what I want in a tribal deck (I think).

I’m not sure in what universe Gishath would not be considered an immediate threat when it enters the battlefield. Gishath has trample, vigilance and haste. Plus when it does damage to another player you draw cards and get to put into play any dinosaurs drawn! So I kind of break the following rule from the Prof.

I have to consider the following questions that The Prof raises:

  • is my commander my win condition?
  • does my commander enhance the existing synergy of my cards?
  • is my commander a tool that strengthens my position in the game?

That first point is important, The Prof says that your commander shouldn’t be your win condition because your commander will always be a target and get removed. He recommends you have multiple win conditions, and that you are able to win without your commander. The Prof suggestions a commander that enhances an existing synergy within the deck is the stronger route to go. Considering I haven’t built the rest of the deck yet it’s a hard one to say whether Gishath will do that or not. But it’s something I will need to consider when looking at cards.

In my next post in this limited series I will start looking at constructing my commander deck, starting with my mana base for the deck.

My Commander Deckbuilding Homework

I’ve already pondered on here about the Commander I want to build a deck around.

But I’ve not build a Commander deck before. So this process will be documented on this blog in a series of posts (yes I’m going to bore you with more MtG posts, if you haven’t been bored enough with them already).

However there are some useful videos on building a Commander deck on line.

The first is from The Command Zone podcast. It gives a template to use as the basis for your own deckbuilding process. I’ll be using this template for the basis of building my first deck.

It’s definitely worth looking at the links in the description of the video. There is a lot of useful stuff there, plus a link to a list of essential cards for Commander decks.
They mention another channel that I enjoy Tolarian Community College. I like his style, light humour and honesty. In fact I think his “is such and such value for money” influenced my posts. I’ll say influenced because they are posts and not videos. But you could easily say copied as well, and I wouldn’t disagree.

Here is a video by The Prof about building a three colour mana base in Commander. Which is what I am going to have to do for my first Commander deck.
You can find a whole playlist of The Prof’s videos about Commander basics HERE.

While I am talking Commander, we have a Commander session planned for the 21st October at Fenrock for anyone (locally really) interested in playing. It’s free to attend, you just need to bring a Commander deck with you, which could be one you have built yourself or a precon. I know I will be using a 2017 precon myself if I haven’t finished building my first deck. You can find more details in the events section of the Fenland Gamers Facebook page.

Getting some staples for Commander

I decided that to help me build my first commander deck it was cheaper to use a precon commander deck to get some of the “basics”.

I didn’t want to cannibalise my Commander 2017 or Anthology decks. They are my let’s play magic with a group of friends go tos.

So I grabbed a 2015 precon to act as that sacrificial deck. This will be my first 2015 precon. But seeing as I haven’t any of the others (well all of them), and I won’t be in a position to get them all. It won’t become part of that “let’s play magic” thing I just mentioned for 2017 and Anthology, I don’t feel guilty using it as card fodder.

This deck gives me Sol Ring and Command Tower for starters. Plus 74 other cards (excluding basic lands).


Just to target buy these two cards would be around £6.

I loved the following card Karmic Justice when I saw it. It’s like a warning, leave me alone or something bad will happen to you. Plus with me going with Gishath, Sun’s Avatar as my commander I can play it. But Karmic Justice is a £5 card on Magic Madhouse and eBay but £1.75 from Chaos Cards. So depending on availability of the cards on the sites I would have been looking at between £8 and £11 for three cards! Obviously target buying was looking to be potentially more expensive than just getting the precon. Plus would I have even looked at or known to look at Karmic Justice without getting the precon?

For me just on a value for money exercise I think taking this approach to building my first commander deck, and getting my hands on some of the deck staples, plus expand my card pool to build from, and learning about cards to put into my deck then this was a good buy for the money.

So Karmic Justice protects, kind of, cards like Thought Vessel below.

I like not having to worry about hand size. It means you can keep answers to problems in hand ready to play at the right moment. Like the following bit of jank.

Can I find a place in the deck for this bit of jank below? But this digresses from the point of the post because neither card is in this precon deck.

I’m still looking through the cards, and trying to think if they fit in with the deck I want to build. But then again I just know the commander at the moment, with no real plan.

Maybe in my next post on this first deck I should look at this commander and try and work out a plan for the deck?