1v1 Duel Commander Tournament Report Mar 4, 2014

Another Tuesday, and another 1v1 Duel Commander tournament. We had two new players come in this week, which is very nice. If we can get all of the players that drift in an out every few weeks to all be in at the same time, we’d have enough for a four round tournament, which I would love to see. It ended up that I played both of these new players, which was fun since I had never seen their specific decks before.

I decided to play a deck that I had been experimenting with for a while now, Prossh, Skyraider of Kher. Prossh can be built in a number of ways, from a heavy aggro deck to a dedicated combo deck using Food Chain to a stax deck to a control deck. After much consideration, I decided to play a control version of the deck that used the Kobolds created by Prossh as a resource and as a win condition but that didn’t rely on one-shot effects that could easily be countered or result in a 2-for-1 like Berserk and similar cards. I’ll include a deck list at the end of the report.

The following decks were played at the tournament:
* Nekusar, the Mindrazer (UBR)
* Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind (UR)
* Prossh, Skyraider of Kher (BRG)
* Sygg, River Cutthroat (UB)
* Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir (Mono-U)
* Thassa, God of the Sea (Mono-U)
* Merieke Ri Berit (WUB)

Round 1: Nicholas with Thassa, God of the Sea

The first of the new players I played against. I lost the roll, but I kept a good hand with Coat of Arms, Garruk Wildspeaker, and some decent lands, but no hand disruption and only Sakura-Tribe Elder for acceleration. However, my opponent had to Mulligan down to 5 cards. At the time I was not entirely sure what plan my opponent was going for, but in later games I saw that he ran a number of aggressive blue creatures including Master of Waves, so his plan seemed to be to get Thassa active and beat down. Not a bad plan overall, but his early game was hurt by missing some land drops and I quickly accelerated by getting Garruk out. I was very concerned about counter spells, but turn after turn my opponent tapped out trying to keep himself in the game.

In the end, after playing Prossh and creating six Kobolds the previous turn, I dropped Coat of Arms and activated Garruk’s ultimate ability and attacked him with seven 8 power trampling guys for the win.

Wins 1-0

Round 2: Bobbie with Sygg, River Cutthroat

Bobbie was the second of the two new players and we both kept our hands, but he won the roll. This was a more typical control style deck that used a few creatures and damaging spells like Undermine to generate card advantage off of Sygg. However, my hand was pretty good with some decent mana acceleration. I used a Coalition Relic to accelerate into Prossh, but a without drawing any hand disruption, I my opponent was able to counter most of the finishers I needed to win with the Kobolds. However, I had destroyed his only black source, a Darkslick Shores with a Wasteland, trapping a bunch of black cards in his hand. However, without the black mana, my opponent could only delay by bouncing Prossh and when he came back, generating even more Kobolds, he just kept attacking turn after turn. Eventually Prossh got there with commander damage without the Kobolds doing anything but chump blocking every once in a while.

Wins 2-0

Round 3: Justin with Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind

Justin and I decided to split the prize before we started playing, but we still played a fun match for bragging rights.

While my hand wasn’t terrific, it finally included some hand disruption in the form of Hymn to Tourach. Again I went second, just like I had the entire tournament. On turn 2, I dropped the Hymn, not really carrying what I took from his hand since he doesn’t have too many dead cards against me, since his deck is filled with counter spells, card advantage tricks, combo pieces, and a few red sweepers. I hit two mountains. At first Justin brushed that off saying that there were worse things for him to lose, but when he missed his third land drop, I knew the Hymn had hurt him bad.

I dropped an early Vexing Shusher and a Goblin Bombardment where he had a Deceiver Exarch, which is one part of an infinite token engine along with Splinter Twin or Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. This tied up a lot of my resources since I knew I had to keep enough guys back to kill the Exarch in case he drew the Splinter Twin and/or a second red source (he only had one for the entire game). Trying to keep mana up to use Vexing Shusher also slowed me down, but it ensured that Prossh resolved when I wanted him to. Similar to the second game, I beat down with Prossh turn after turn, biding my time with the Kobolds waiting to be used when necessary.

By this point in the game, Justin had mostly recovered his mana, except he still didn’t have that second source of red and he tapped out on his turn to play something decent, but not a flying creature that could block Prossh. Prossh had already attacked twice and I still had six Kobolds on the board, so I sacrificed them all to Prossh, giving him eleven power and taking Justin up to 21 commander damage. After the game, Justin revealed that he did indeed have a Splinter Twin in his hand, along with a red sweeper, but both cost two red mana, which he never saw after that turn 2 Hymn to Tourach.

Wins 3-0

Bonus Round: Geist of Saint Traft vs. Maelstrom Wanderer

After the tournament, Justin and I had a few more 1v1 games, mostly with our secondary decks, his Maelstorm Wanderer and this week it was my Geist of Saint Traft. Our last game of the night was very epic. I had to mulligan down to five cards, but my deck gave two two land drops in the first two turns, Tundra and Adakar Wastes, which was infinitely helpful. I used an early Enlightened Tutor to grab Nevermore, delaying the threat of Maelstorm Wanderer until he could deal with my enchantment. However, with his early acceleration he was able to drop a Wurmcoil Engine. I had a Maze of Ith in play, so I wasn’t worried about it hitting me, but he had dropped a Mindslaver and I was very concerned about what his deck could do against my land-light draw so I played Cataclysm while I had an Ancestral Vision suspended. I kept Geist of Saint Traft, Maze of Ith, and Nevermore, he kept Coalition Relic, Steam Vents, and Wurmcoil Engine.

This reset board still didn’t look the greatest for for me, especially after he played a Volcanic Fallout to get rid of my Geist, but my deck delivered when I drew a plains allowing me to hit his Wurmcoil engine with Swords to Plowshares, getting rid of it. Once my Ancestral Vision resolved, I was back in the game, dropping more lands and eventually using Snapcaster Mage to flashback Enlightened Tutor to get and then play Thassa, God of the Sea on the next turn. While this was good for future draws, I had some good luck too. On one of Justin’s turns, I played Orim’s Chant, preventing him from using his mana to play All is Dust that same turn, which would have cleared my board, including Nevermore. Then I dropped Venser, Shaper Savant bouncing his most expensive acceleration on the board, Sisay’s Ring, preventing him from casting All is Dust again. Then I dropped Tamiyo, the Moon Sage locking down his mana again. He followed that up by playing Thragtusk, which I promptly stole with Treachery. While I never knew he had All is Dust in his hand, I kept doing the perfect action to prevent him from playing it turn after turn. I won with the game with beatdowns from Thragtusk, an active Thassa, and a Sword of Feast and Famine.

Deck List:

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher Commander Deck (BRG)
Commander – 1 total
1 Prossh, Skyraider of Kher

Lands – 40 total
1 Forest
1 Mountain
1 Swamp
1 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Arid Mesa
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Cavern of Souls
1 City of Brass
1 Command Tower
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 High Market
1 Karplusan Forest
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Lavaclaw Reaches
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Phyrexian Tower
1 Polluted Delta
1 Raging Ravine
1 Rishadan Port
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Stomping Ground
1 Sulfurous Springs
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Treetop Village
1 Twilight Mire
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Woodland Cemetery

Creatures – 9 total
1 Farhaven Elf
1 Mistcutter Hydra
1 Primeval Titan
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Vexing Shusher
1 Wood Elves
1 Xenagos, God of Revels

Planeswalkers – 3 total
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Liliana of the Veil

Acceleration – 12 total
1 Coalition Relic
1 Farseek
1 Fastbond
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Golgari Signet
1 Gruul Signet
1 Mind Stone
1 Nature’s Lore
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Talisman of Impulse
1 Talisman of Indulgence
1 Worn Powerstone

Card Draw – 8 total
1 Harmonize
1 Night’s Whisper
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Read the Bones
1 Sign in Blood
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Sylvan Library
1 Underworld Connections

Tutors – 4 total
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Tainted Pact

Removal – 11 total
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Beast Within
1 Dismember
1 Dreadbore
1 Go for the Throat
1 Goblin Bombardment
1 Hit // Run
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Nature’s Claim
1 Shivan Harvest
1 Toxic Deluge

Spells – 12 total
1 Beastmaster Ascension
1 Coat of Arms
1 Distress
1 Duress
1 Hymn to Tourach
1 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Mind Slash
1 Parallax Nexus
1 Rakdos’s Return
1 Shared Animosity
1 Skullclamp
1 Thoughtseize

Notable Cards:
* Vexing Shusher, Mistcutter Hydra, Mind Slash

If our local group was more diverse in their decks I might not be playing these three cards; I would likely be playing more acceleration instead and probably Damnation. Mind Slash is a decent way to get rid of counter spells in the opponent’s hand, but I’m only playing it because of the number of blue-based counter spell decks in the format.

* Xenagos, God of Revels

Earlier I talked about not liking 2-for-1 cards and it would be a bad situation if I sacrificed all of my kobolds to make Prossh an 11/5, doubled it with Xenogos to make it a 22/16 and then ate a creature kill or a bounce spell. However, the fact that he adds Haste and then Xenogos sticks around makes him far better than similar situations that involve Berserk or the various spells that grant double strike or infect. If they bounce or kill Prossh, I can just try to cast him again and I still get to have Haste and +X/+X. And of course it applies to any of my other creatures too, a 4/4 Solemn Simulacrum can still get there against a control deck. Besides, I run enough permanents that it is not impossible to make Xenogos into a creature.

* Chandra, Pyromaster

The best of the Chandra’s so far since it can generate some card advantage with its +0 ability, but you have to be careful since it generally has to be the first thing you do in a turn and it can still miss painfully, like grabbing a removal spell when there is nothing to remove. Since this deck has a good number of cards between lands and acceleration spells and hand disruption spells, you’ll hit something useful far more than you’ll miss, but it is random and you have to take that into consideration.

 

Report submitted by Kevin Humar-Barrett

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