Another Tuesday and another 1v1 Duel Commander tournament. We had fewer people than usual this week, which was a shame, but sickness kept a number of people away. I decided to play Prossh again this week. I really like this deck as it can win through a number of different angles and really chews through the control decks that get played a lot in our meta.
The following decks were played at the tournament:
* Nekusar, the Mindrazer (UBR)
* Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind (UR)
* Prossh, Skyraider of Kher (BRG)
* Roon of the Hidden Realm (WUG)
* Grand Arbiter Augustin IV (WU)
Round 1: Bye
We had an odd number of players, so someone had to not play the round and that was me this time. I watched the other matches included a very epic game between Grand Arbiter and Roon of the Hidden Realm. The Roon player, Justin Brown, eventually had two emblems from Venser, the Sojourner, but a Rising Waters from the Grand Arbiter player greatly limited the amount of spells that could be played, Justin had to find one cheap enough to play or wait until he had enough mana to play something expensive in his hands. Eventually the emblems won the day and Justin won that game.
Round 2: Justin Brown with Roon of the Hidden Realm
I had played Justin’s deck last week to a fairly easy victory, but I was concerned what he could do with a good draw after seeing him take down the Grand Arbiter deck this week and nearly take down a Geist of Saint Traft deck last week. I had a decent start with some lands and some acceleration while he dropped Courser of Kruphix looking to gain some life. I played a Liliana of the Veil to get rid of his centaur, but he dropped Oblivion Ring to get rid of my planeswalker on the next turn.
I top-decked Xenagos, God of Revels, but I decided to hold him back since I knew he had an way of exiling enchantments in his hand, a Unravel the Æther revealed by the Courser. I dropped an Abrupt Decay to hit his Oblivion Ring, getting my Liliana back and used her first ability to make each of us discard. Justin threw away his Unravel the Æther, which surprised me, and then I played Prossh and his Kobold friends and passed the turn. Justin dropped a Wickerbough Elder, which made his decision to throw away Unravel the Æther make a lot more sense. Unfortunately, it was the wrong decision as I dropped Xenagos on my turn, sacrificed all of my Kobolds to Prossh, making him an 11/5. Then I attacked with Prossh and selected him with Xenagos, making him a 22/16 flier. Justin couldn’t block him, so that was it with Commander damage.
Round 3: Andre with Nekusar, the Mindrazer
I find playing against Andre to be kind of strange. You would think that as a combo deck that relies mostly on acceleration, my commander, and only one of many cards from my deck to win, that his Wheel of Fortune style of cards would help me more than they would hurt me, but I’ve had some bad luck against Andre’s deck, especially with his explosive starts.
So, of course, he started with a very fast start playing out a Mox, a land, and a two cost mana rock. He dumped his hand very quickly, much faster than I did, and had Nekusar, the Mindrazer in play on turn 3. Fortunately for me, I had a good answer with Go for the Throat. This left Andre with nothing but top decks for the rest of the game and this time his top decks were not very good. He had a mix of more lands and acceleration and a few draw spells, but nothing to slow me down from dropping Garruk Wildspeaker, accelerating into Prossh, and then using Demonic Tutor to fetch and then play Shared Animosity for the win.
With the way that the matches went tonight, there was no chances for splitting prizes as I was the only player with a 2-0 record going into final round and because I won that round, I got first place in the tournament.
Bonus Round: Ephara, God of the Polis in multiplayer action
We had a conversation last week about Ephara, God of the Polis in duel commander and what cards could be played. Sam, one of the players that couldn’t make it this week, had tried building the deck before giving up in favor of playing Geist of Saint Traft instead. From the stand point of trying to win a duel commander tournament, I certainly can’t fault his decision since I think that Geist is the stronger deck, but the conversation inspired me to make an Ephara deck for multiplayer games.
The deck was going to play like a general blue-white control deck, which is already a strong strategy, but use Ephara and a number of self-bouncing creatures and flash creatures to draw extra cards. I saw some other decks online that went far too heavily in the direction of creatures that bounce my own stuff, but I felt I could find the right ratio to make it work.
Three of us played, Andre with a Thada Adel, Acquisitor mono-blue deck, a Rafiq of the Many deck, and my deck. Andre got to a fast start with his Island-walking creature, stealing a number of artifacts and swords from the Rafiq deck, and I was stuck on two lands for a really long time. The Rafiq player and myself teamed up against Andre, but we could only do so much with my deck failing to give me much of anything, but eventually I stabilized and started to draw more and more cards off of Ephara, God of the Polis. I also dropped Thassa, God of the Sea to help smooth out my draws even more.
We reached a stalemate that lasted for a number of turns, but the Rafiq player had to leave, so he conceded. I decided to allow Andre to keep the Batterskull that he had stolen from the Rafiq player, which was a bad decision on my part since he quickly played Thada Adel again (it had been killed a few times already), equipped it with the Batterskull, and another copy that he had created and swung at me with an unblockable creature. He even had a Neurok Stealthsuit to give his commander Shroud (equipped after the batterskulls of course). However, by this time I had a huge number of creatures in play, including both Gods, a Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, and a Hero of Bladehold.
At the end of Andre’s turn, with me at 20 commander damage, I dropped Venser, Shaper Savant bouncing the stealthsuit to his hand. On my turn, I dropped Opposition, tapped down his commander, which was his only creature, and swung in for nearly 30 damage. On Andre’s turn, during his upkeep after he untapped, I tapped down his commander again with Opposition, and when he didn’t draw anything that would help him, he passed the turn, letting me swing in again for 30+ damage to win the game.
Report submitted by Kevin Humar-Barrett