Another Tuesday, and another 1v1 Duel Commander tournament. There were six players this week including a new player that had never previously played a Commander game before, but he was very interested in the format, including the duel commander format. I didn’t get to face him in the tournament, but I heard that his Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice deck was interesting and defeated our resident Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir deck in the third round.
With the banning of Derevi, Empyrial Tactician in full effect, I decided to move to a Marath, Will of the Wild deck. I was a little unsure of the deck without any blue counter spells for either card draw or control elements, but my initial testing showed me that the deck was generally robust enough to work. Overall it worked better than I thought it would.
Round 1: Jeremie with Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
The first round was against a mono-blue control deck, but I had two early draws that gave me some incredible power against him. First I had Cavern of Souls to ensure that I could cast Marath whenever I wanted and, second, I drew Homeward Path, blanking nearly all of my opponents many creature stealing spells, including effectively blanking the Vedalkan Shackles on the table.
I started a little slowly, I don’t think I played Marath until turn 4, but I was able to get enough on the table to knock Jeremie back on his heels. I dropped Domri Rade early and while he didn’t draw me many cards, the threat of him reaching his ultimate or just continually generating me more and more card advantage, along with the steady beats of my creatures caused Jeremie to play an Upheaval to help stem the tide. In the end it didn’t matter as I was able to quickly replay my cards and he didn’t draw any other good answer and I won.
Round 2: Sam with Rafiq of the Many
Again I failed to get any acceleration, and while I feared mass sweepers from Sam, they never materialized. Fortunately I was able to draw Cavern of Souls, which helped me get Marath on the table consistently. I was able to use Marath and my own direct damage spells to keep Sam’s board clear while still dropping some threats to keep the pressure on. Eventually it was too much for Sam and he was defeated.
Round 3: Justin with Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Once again Justin and I decided to split the prize, but we still played the game just for fun.
I didn’t have a very quick start again and I had to mulligan to find a decent hand, but I drew Cavern of Souls which helped me get Marath into play. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get too far ahead in the game as I was very land light and the creatures I could play kept getting killed by small red-board sweepers like Pyroclasm. A few things did go right for me as I was able to stick a Survival of the Fittest. I also had a Vexing Shusher in play at one point, but it was killed by a Pyroclasm. I had Marath in play with two counters and an open mana and I forgot that I could have moved a +1/+1 counter over to Vexing Shusher, instead I did a point of damage to Justin and everything died.
Even with a not good start on my side, I was doing enough to push pressure on Justin and widdle down his life totals. Eventually, Justin made a mistake when he played Pestermite at the end of one of my turns and tried to combo out with Splinter Twin on his turn. Fortunately for me, Justin didn’t remember that one of Marath’s many abilities is that it can do direct damage to a creature, so Pestermite died and the combo failed. Eventually I really put the pressure on with a Stormbreath Dragon and a Misctutter Hydra, which I tapped out to play. This was a mistake for me since Justin had enough mana to play Niv-Mizzet and a Curiosity and I had a Nature’s Claim in my hand to destroy the enchantment. Only the lack of any way for Justin to draw a card saved me. When it got back to my turn, I attacked with Mistcutter Hydra and won the game.
Bound Rounds: Multi-player Commander
The tournament ran a little longer than usual, so we only had time for one Multiplayer game with five players. Justin decided to switch to his Maelstrom Wanderer deck and I decided to play a new deck helmed by Prime Speaker Zegana. The deck seemed to do ok, but not stellar. I drew none of my counter spells when I needed them and my card draw was pretty weak, while my acceleration worked quite well, giving me a ton of mana, just not much to do with it.
Eventually the game was down to Jeremie with Teferi, Justin with Maelstrom Wanderer and myself. I finally started to draw some action, but the two other players were both working against me as Jeremie countered everything I did while Justin kept attacking me. I held them off a bit, but it was too much and I lost. Soon after, Jeremie lost to the onslaught that is Maelstrom Wanderer.
Report submitted by Kevin Humar-Barrett