1v1 Dual Commander Tournament Report Apr 15, 2014

Another Tuesday and another 1v1 Duel Commander tournament. We only had four people this week as some of our regular players can’t make it, but it was still plenty of fun. Like I was thinking last week, I decided to change my deck away from Prossh and to Marath, Will of the Wild. It is better against aggro decks that seem to be more popular these days while still being decent against control decks.

The following decks were played at the tournament:
* Karador, Ghost Chieftain (WBG)
* Marath, Will of the Wild (WRG)
* Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind (UR)
* Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (WUB)

Round 1: Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind by Kyle

Playing against Niv-Mizzet is always dangerous since they can quickly drop a game winning combo with little warning. Fortunately, my opponent had to mulligan and seemed a little light on lands at the first of the game while I had a quick Marath and started to beat him down. I also dropped Basilisk Collar which works so well with the direct damage ability of Marath. Kyle tried to stay in the game, but I was just too far ahead of him too quickly and he couldn’t find any proper answers, like one of his Pyroclasm-type effects.

Wins: 1-0

Round 2: Oloro, Ageless Ascetic by Connor

Any Oloro deck gains so much life gain that unless you get the damage in quickly and constantly, the game can run away from you. I was able to keep the pressure on primarily from a Bloom Tender that did not die and a Marath that I re-cast several times to ensure that it was getting larger and larger. Eventually I used Garruk Wildspeaker to give my fairly large army a healthy bonus and used that to deal the final points of damage.

Wins: 2-0

Round 3: Karador, Ghost Chieftain by Justin

Justin’s deck has a number of combos in it as well as some good board control and I knew to be cautious while playing. I dropped some early acceleration and a turn 2 Marath followed by a Birthing Pod, then he dropped a Necrotic Sliver which likely would have destroyed something good on my side, but I used the pod to grab Linvala, Keeper of Silence after transferring two +1/+1 counters to a Birds of Paradise. After I replayed Marath, I started beating down with my Birds and Linvala, slowly chipping away at his life total. This was the first time that I really used Marath to transfer +1/+1 counters to my other creatures, but it served me well, keeping my two fliers alive and killing his flying blockers when I needed to. Once I dropped Primeval Titan and grabbed Kessig Wolf Run, he knew it was all over, but when I did the math wrong and didn’t kill him on my next turn, he destroyed the Titan and got one more top deck to dig for an answer. Unfortunately, his deck gave him nothing and he conceded.

Wins: 3-0

Bonus Round: Ephara, God of the Polis in multiplayer action

Everyone from the tournament except Kyle stuck around to play a multiplayer game of Commander. Connor switched to his Ezuri, Renegade Leader deck, Justin Hebert switched to his Niv-Mizzet deck, and I switched to my Ephara, God of the Polis deck. I had to mulligan down to five cards, but I had some good top decks that let me get back into the game and I decided to play a little more slowly this time instead of just running Ephara out there on turn 4. I felt much more in control during the early part of the game, but since everyone “knows” that my deck can generate a ton of card advantage if left unchecked, the other players cam after me with a lot of attacks. I held them off as long as I could, but doing so drained my hand too much, even with a Thassa, God of the Sea in play to help smooth out my draws. Even with a depleted hand, I was able to stop Justin from playing Curiosity on his Niv-Mizzet, but he had an Ophidian Eye in his hand that I could not answer, so he won.

Deck Tech: Marath, Will of the Wild

Commander – 1 total
1 Marath, Will of the Wild

Lands – 40 total
2 Forest
1 Plains
1 Mountain
1 Arid Mesa
1 Battlefield Forge
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Brushland
1 Cavern of Souls
1 City of Brass
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Command Tower
1 Copperline Gorge
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Flooded Strand
1 Gaea’s Cradle
1 Gavony Township
1 Grove of the Burnwillows
1 Horizon Canopy
1 Karplusan Forest
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Plateau
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Raging Ravine
1 Razorverge Thicket
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Savannah
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Stomping Ground
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Taiga
1 Temple Garden
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills

Creatures – 41 total
1 Acidic Slime
1 Arbor Elf
1 Archangel of Thune
1 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Bloom Tender
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Elvish Mystic
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Gaddock Teeg
1 Gyre Sage
1 Harmonic Sliver
1 Karmic Guide
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 Nightshade Peddler
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Primeval Titan
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Restoration Angel
1 Reveillark
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Skyshroud Elf
1 Spike Feeder
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Sylvan Caryatid
1 Voice of Resurgence
1 Weathered Wayfarer
1 Wood Elves
1 Zealous Conscripts

Planeswalkers – 4 total
1 Domri Rade
1 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Xenagos, the Reveler

Acceleration – 1 total
1 Earthcraft

Tutors – 6 total
1 Birthing Pod
1 Chord of Calling
1 Eladamri’s Call
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
1 Survival of the Fittest

Removal – 5 total
1 Aura Shards
1 Fiery Justice
1 Nature’s Claim
1 Path to Exile
1 Swords to Plowshares

Spells – 2 total
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Skullclamp

The biggest thing to know about this deck is how easy it is to combo out with the right tutors and cards if the opponent isn’t paying attention. Kiki-Jiki works with either Restoration Angel or Zealous Conscripts to create an infinitely large army of creatures with Haste and Survival of the Fittest and Birthing Pod can get you those combos without too much effort, especially when combined with Reveillark and Karmic Guide, which lets you use parts of the combo to find other parts, like discarding Kiki-Jiki to Survival of the Fittest to find Zealous Conscripts and then using Karmic Guide to reanimate Kiki-Jiki.

When you need board control, the deck runs a small suite of removal spells, but Marath is your best weapon here, able to repeatedly kill small creatures from mana elves to Pestermites. However, when Marath is equipped with Basilisk Collar you can kill anything with just one mana and one +1/+1 counter, giving you a great removal engine.

While the deck does not run a lot of basic lands, there are still plenty of fetch lands in it to work with Earthcraft, which is an amazing mana acceleration engine when combined with the army of 1/1 creatures that Marath can create, giving you more mana on the next turn to re-play Marath as an even larger creature than before.

Overall, the deck is versatile, able to swing back and forth between trying to control your opponents creatures and beating down to the face while steadily working towards a game winning combo.

Report submitted by Kevin Humar-Barrett

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