Another Tuesday and another 1v1 Duel Commander tournament. We had five people this week and yet again and I decided to play Prossh, but I have to say that I think this is the last week for this deck. Our metagame has decidedly changed over the weeks and it has far less solid blue control decks than in the beginning. The Prossh deck that I play is highly capable of destroying control decks and decently good at disrupting straight combo decks, but it has a harder time against aggro decks if it doesn’t get the right combination of cards. Sure it’s possible that I will combo out before they do, but it is pretty easy for an aggro deck, especially a green based one, to drop a number of guys in the way of my attacking Kobolds and it is pretty easy for them to be smaller than the creatures my opponents drop. If I do move to a new deck, I’ll go over it next week.
The following decks were played at the tournament:
* Ezuri, Renegade Leader (Mono-G)
* Karador, Ghost Chieftain (WBG)
* Omnath, Locus of Mana (Mono-G)
* Prossh, Skyraider of Kher (BRG)
* Sygg, River Cutthroat (UB)
Round 1: Sygg, River Cutthroat by Bobby
The first match was against the only real control deck at the tournament and it did not begin well for Bobby. He had to mulligan down to four or five cards, but with some good draws and some fixing with Brainstorm and similar card drawing spells, he was able to make every land drop for quite a while. He also hit me with a first turn Duress, I can’t remember what he made me discard, but I was able to keep Sylvan Scrying, which let me fetch Cavern of Souls, ensuring I’d be able to drop Prossh through any counter spells. I also dropped an early Beastmaster Ascension and it just kept building up counters over the course of the game.
He killed Prossh and my Kobolds several times over the game, including with Bile Blight, to keep me from getting the counters on Beastmaster Ascension, but I had a Wood Elves in play which was able to get in there a few times. I even made a critical error when he played Diabolic Edict when I was attacking with Prossh and Treetop Village. In response to his spell, I sacrificed Treetop Village to High Market to gain a life and then I had to sacrifice Prossh to his edict. This was clearly a mistake on my part, but it goes to show you how perception changes things. I made this mistake so confidently, even after losing both my creatures, that my opponent felt that he had missed something somewhere and he for a little bit, he tried to figure out what I was thinking. For me, I was thinking I was an idiot.
There’s no use crying over spilled milk or past mistakes, so we pressed on. Due to his mulligan, he was light on cards and while he played Sygg early, I don’t think it drew him any cards. He was getting his land drops in, but as time went on, that’s not what he needed. Eventually he couldn’t stop Prossh and the ten Kobolds he created from attacking, finally getting enough counters on Beastmaster Ascension and giving me the win.
Round 2: Omnath, Locus of Mana by Nick
This game was far closer than my previous games. I felt I had plenty of removal in my deck, especially to deal with a green commander that has no built-in protection. I also felt that I could easily and quickly accelerate into Prossh, giving me plenty of Kobolds to block the non-evasive commander. Unfortunately, when you dropped draw either of those things and your opponent is running land destruction always targeting my green mana.
Nick started out with Arbor Elf and some lands and while I hit an early Khalni Heart Expedition to slow down his ramp, it didn’t slow him down enough to give me much time to work with. I had a decent hand, but it was light on green mana and Nick was merciless on hitting it. I was able to use Toxic Deluge to slow him down for a while, but he eventually hit me once with Omnath for ten points of damage and while I was able to remove it again with Go for the Throat, I knew I was just buying myself a turn or two since he could easily replay it.
On the next turn Nick played Birthing Pod in play and used it to fetch up a Polukranos, World Eater and replayed Omnath looking for the win on the next turn. I already had Prossh and six Kobolds in play, but I had no green mana and no tutors with both Hit // Run and Beastmaster Ascension in my hand. If I didn’t draw something that could get me a green source on my next turn, I was going to lose. I top-decked a Misty Rainforest, fetched up a Forest, played it and Beastmaster Ascension and swung in for the win.
I felt incredibly lucky at my top-deck, but in fairness to my deck, it wasn’t as lucky as I felt at the time. I have a lot of lands that produce green or are fetch lands that could get me a green-producing mana, I have a number of card drawing spells that could dig for more answers and tutor spells that could have got me a green producing land, or even Damnation that could have stalled him more. So I was lucky to top-deck an answer, but the odds weren’t as low as I felt at the time.
Nick also made a mistake in that last turn of play. If, instead of replaying Omnath, in that last turn he had used Polukranos, World Eater’s monstrosity ability, he could have defeated I think four of my Kobolds. It would have slowed down his win by a turn, but my Kobolds were the only thing that was going to save me that game and he let them live a turn too long.
Round 3: Karador, Ghost Chieftain by Justin Hebert
Justin and I decided to split the prize in the final round, but we decided to play the game out anyway just for fun. It didn’t go well for me.
I kept a hand with some bad mana combinations, but with plenty of hand disruption with Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, and Distress. Unfortunately, because of my mana, I was unable to play any of them until turn three when I played Thoughtseize. This was a terrible decision since after looking at his hand, I could see that Inquisition of Kozilek was not going to be useful on most of the cards in his hand. Had I played it the other way around, I could have hit Phyrexian Arena with Inquisition of Kozilek and used Thoughtseize on another good card in his hand, like Nevinyrral’s Disk.
I had a Sylvan Library in play, which was useful in fixing my drops and I was able to get a Primeval Titan in play for a turn to give me some lands, but his draw was too good with a Yosei, the Morning Star and an Unburial Rites, a very powerful combination. I was able to get Prossh out and had a win combination in my hand, but Justin had just the right cards to play Yosei and destroy it to lock me down. He then used Karmic Guide to bring the dragon back, destroyed it again, and locked me out for another turn. He won on his next turn with me holding a winning combo in my hand that I simply could not use.
If I had played Inquisition of Kozilek first I might have had that game or if he had had any other big creature except Yosei, I probably would have been able to win, but that’s the way things work. However, he did help confirm for me that my deck is better against control decks in general and I’m just not seeing them like I used to.
Bonus Round: Ephara, God of the Polis in multiplayer action
Everyone from the tournament stuck around to play a multiplayer game of Commander. Bobby switched to an Oloro, Ageless Ascetic deck, Justin Hebert switched to his Niv-Mizzet deck, and I switched to my Ephara, God of the Polis deck.
As these games tend to do, this one started out slowly, but when I tried to drop a fast Ephara on turn 3 it got hit with a Mana Leak from Justin. I retaliated with a Spell Crumple on his commander a few turns later, tucking it and removing it from the rest of our game. It seemed that everyone was picking on me today as they kept attacking me for bits and pieces, including the Connor with his Ezuri elf deck hitting me for ten on one turn. I was glad to see Connor being more aggressive in a multiplayer game, but I was kind of hoping he’d be attacking someone else.
Bobby had been hit with some land destruction spells from Nick’s Omnath deck pretty early on, which had set him back quite a bit, but after a while he was able to recover and with his constant life gain, he soon had quite a lot of life padding in case of attacks, further discouraging people from attacking him and encouraging them to attack me instead.
I eventually got down to six life and I played a large Sphinx’s Revelation hoping to dig up something useful. Unfortunately, while it drew me a Force of Will and a Misdirection, I did not get the Reliquary Tower I was hoping for or an answer for what was already on the board. On Nick’s next turn, Omnath and his friends swung in for a enough damage to kill me.
With me out of the game, and Connor conceding because he had to leave, it was time for Bobby to start being aggressive. He used Divinity of Pride to give himself a very large attacking creature and was able to kill Nick pretty quickly. With no cards in hand and knowing that there was little in his deck that would help him fast enough to make a difference, Justin conceded and Bobby won.
Report submitted by Kevin Humar-Barrett