Another Tuesday and another 1v1 Duel Commander tournament. We only had four players this week, which was a little disappointing, but we’re hoping that our numbers will improve next week with the return of some players that have been travelling for work for a while. Since there was only four players, we each had the opportunity to play all of the other players.
As with the past two weeks, I decided to continue with my Oloro reanimator deck as it gives me a strong late game with some important control elements and I didn’t think that the field would be too fast. Unfortunately, I was wrong about it not being too fast, at least when it came to the deck from the second round, but you’ll see that later.
The following decks were played at the tournament:
* Karador, Ghost Chieftain (WBG)
* Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (WUB)
* Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (WUB)
* Omnath, Locus of Mana (Mono-Green)
Round 1: Karador, Ghost Chieftain by Justin
Playing against Justin’s deck is always tricky. If has a decent draw or you give him enough time, his deck can win through burtal card advantage using Karador, Karmic Guide, Reveillark, or even Saffi Eriksdotter to replay powerful creatures over and over again. He even has a two creature combo with Triskelion and Mikaeus, the Unhallowed that can win out of no where through Tooth and Nail or good use of Birthing Pod. You cannot give his deck an inch or he will overwhelm you.
The key to playing a reanimator deck is three-fold: you have to have to get a card worth reanimating, basically one of your big creatures, you have to get it into the graveyard, and you have to be able to get it back. This game featured that struggle as I dug for something worth reanimating. I went through a good number of cards digging for something, anything to reanimate without much luck. Fortunately, Justin wasn’t to great with his cards either, not getting much gas and not really pressuring me much. The winner of the game would be the player that drew the first bit of real gas.
Then I drew Iona, Shield of Emeria, cast Thoughtseize on myself to get it into my graveyard and used a reanimation spell on it to bring it back. I named black in the hopes of getting rid of a good portion of his removal spells. Of course, I didn’t hit Wrath of God or Day of Judgement, but it would get rid of Damnation, Toxic Deluge, and a number of single target black removal spells and creatures, including Necrotic Sliver. After Iona hit play, things went downhill for Justin fast as I drew and played another big creature and he conceded soon after.
Round 2: Omnath, Locus of Mana by Ray
I was hoping that my general removal would be enough for this game, but I knew I couldn’t be slow and I had to be able to answer Omnath early and often or the Commander damage would kill me. I kept a hand with no answers, but with a lot of card draw and a reanimation spell. The hope would be to get Iona, Shield of Emeria on the battlefield as quickly as possible, cutting him off from nearly his entire deck. Unfortunately, my card draw spells drew me into more card draw spells and nothing very useful, not even good answers. To make matters worse Ray drew into Wasteland and some good creatures that applied enough early pressure on me that I became a little desperate for answers.
I played Fact or Fiction which found a Damnation and some other cards that weren’t going to be immediately useful, so I chose the Damnation to clear the board. Following that play, Ray, had the perfect recovery with Artisan of Kozilek getting back one of his big creatures. Still desperate for answers and without, I had to use Demonic Tutor to get Toxic Deluge and pay nine life to clear the board again. When Ray followed that up with Plow Under, returning two of my lands to the top of my deck, and then Terastodon, setting me back to zero lands. I conceded after that with no hope of coming back from it.
Round 3: Oloro by Nick
Unfortunately, Nick had to leave early and so he conceded the game. Nick runs an Oloro, Ageless Ascetic deck, but where my deck focuses on reanimation, Nick’s is focused on general control with some life matters cards like Felidar Sovereign. It would have been an interesting game, especially with both of us gaining life every turn.
This is has been the third week for Oloro and he has functioned about as expected. When you draw a good hand, the games can feel terribly unfair for the opponent with a huge creature in play very early, sometimes as early as turn 2, but more reasonably on turns 3 to 5. The control elements are a little sparse, especially as the deck gives a great deal of space to spells used to dig for your big creatures or reanimation spells.
I’ve been lucky not to face a lot of graveyard hate, but that can easily change, especially as people get used to the deck, so I think it is time to change my deck again. My traditional preference is for more control-style decks, but I like the challenge that running an aggressive deck in the Duel Commander format represents. I like to keep an eye out on larger tournaments for interesting looking decks and I hope to find something interesting for next week. Thanks for reading!
This article has been submitted by Kevin Humar-Barrett.