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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

Get in Control!

Welcome one and all!  This is Captain Red Zone coming to you with the next Dual Color deck in my series for your viewing delight.  After my little home invasion last week, I not only had to change all my locks, but I had to take a little personal time.  I realized I needed a little help getting my anger under control.  So, I turned to my friends for help.  You see, this week’s deck colors are White/Blue, and if there ever was a color pair that knows what it takes to be patient, it’s these guys.  These two colors share a deep love for control.  With a control deck, you need to know when to hold cards, when to counter them, and when to just let someone else deal with it.

Then control… is clearly something I don’t have.

I like to cast spells, attack with guys, and if my card gets countered, I just keep playing cards until something sticks, or I’m out of cards.  Sitting around, waiting for someone to do something so I can counter it while I build up a board, something White/Blue is well known for, is just not in my nature.  I sit for too many turns and I just start attacking people because: 1) the board ain’t going to change if no one does anything and 2) if I attack this guy he may attack me leaving him open for someone else to attack him, and so forth.  The second one helps me the most, because even if I lose out, or lose period, at least I have a story to tell people about that time my group had an epic battle… instead of that time we sat around for 2 hours doing nothing and someone combo’ed and won the game... who wasn't me... What?... It's not like I'm bitter or something... Don't Judge Me!

Enough about me, I’m going to share with you my first White/Blue deck for Commander…

For some reason every time I see this card all I really see is …

The funny part was I didn’t even need to change the flavor text.

How it Started!

So this was my first deck I ever played in the real that was a White/Blue deck.  For those of you that are fans of CommanderCast (the podcast for EDH Community, Strategy, and Technology,) in the first season I e-mailed them about my deck and how I needed win conditions.  But I was so bad with this color combination that I couldn’t even think of anything.   Then in season two, I was on the call-in show and told people about how I changed this deck to my Group Hug deck because I wasn’t having any fun with it.

Now just because I wasn’t having fun with it is no reason to write it off as a bad deck.  I’m just not the control type. I will show it to you this week and let you decide if it’s what you’re into.

Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer and Sygg, River Guide:  Gwafa is the General here.  This deck was all about buying off the biggest dude anyone had with a card, using all my cards to keep the game in check, and playing something big so I could kill players, but this deck also has a sub-theme of Merfolks so I could switch between these two if needed because Gwafa doesn’t do anything against Uril.

Thada Adel, Acquisitor, Stonybrook Schoolmaster, Stonybrook Angler, Merrow Reejerey, Merrow Harbinger, Enclave Cryptologist, Merrow Commerce, Summon the School, and Razorfin Abolisher:  Here we have a small school of fish that have a variety of different things going for them.  Thada is great at pulling other peoples’ mana rocks and Tops out so you can use them.  Stonybrook Schoolmaster can give us a few more tokens and it combos pretty well with Summon the School.  You end up only 1 short, but if you hit 4 merfolk, you have a way to make 3.  Stonybrook Angler can hold a guy down for you, or help the Schoolmaster make a few extra tokens. Merrow Reejerey gives these guys a pump, and can help with the tap or untap ability.  Merrow Harbinger for a little deck searching. Merrow can help you by letting you do all of the attacking and tapping you want with this group and then it will untap them all for you.  Enclave Cryptologist just gives us something to do with our mana if we want draw a little.

But enough about the fish, let’s get into some of the real control here…

Diplomatic Escort and Lullmage Mentor:  These will help us by being the repeatable counterspells we will need.  Lullmage will work will with the Merfolk package, but it also will make tokens for you, adding to every counterspell you cast. Now, the Escort can keep you good with its built in counterspell effect but at the cost of two mana and a card… but if that card happens to be Summon the School…

Grip of Amnesia, Confound, Spell Crumple, Dissipate, Hinder, Forbid, Cryptic Command, Sage's Dousing, and Dawn Charm:  These are our counterspells.  What more can I say but use them wisely.  A few of these have other things it can do, like Dawn Charm and Cryptic Command, giving you 3 to 4 choices,  or are going to replace themselves by drawing you a card or giving you another chance to use them, like Spell Crumple.

Into the Roil, Oblivion Ring, Oblation, Spin into Myth, Prison Term, Lost in Thought, Faith's Fetters, and Take Possession:  The one thing I learned about playing this deck is you may not have the counter when you need it.  Sometimes things hit the board, and you don’t want to bribe a card like Blightsteel Colossus because if you do, it can’t kill your other opponents.  Then, when your Gwafa takes a coffee break, you would need to be on the lookout for a poison counter or 11.  So a few spot removal cards are needed here.

Mimic Vat, Whispersilk Cloak, and Frozen AEther:  The Cloak works great with Gwafa, because if I need to, I can pick away at a player with General damage.  It takes a while, but this is an alternative I try to keep in all my decks.  Frozen AEther will slow the game down a lot, so you can take control easily.  Mimic Vat is here because this deck, at one point, had a deep Envoke sub-theme. I could make tokens to block and draw extra cards with Mulldrifter, or if something big and useful died, I could just take it.

All Is Dust, Wrath of God, Evacuation, and Echoing Truth:  Board Sweepers for those times when you can’t buy the field off.  Evacuation and Echoing Truth are great against tokens.  Also, you should hold tight to your Dust and Wrath.  You never know when a big hairy beast you can’t just buy off will show up.  It’s not like he knows what bribery is anyway.

Concentrate, Truth or Tale, and Compulsive Research:  Here are a few draw spells.  Blue has more, and better, draw spells, but I had these in the my original deck and haven’t had time to do a upgrade yet.  I’m sure a Ponder could fit in here somewhere, or at the very least a Consecrated Sphinx that let’s you draw two cards when someone else draws one; like, say, when you use Gwafa.  Just an idea.

Jace Beleren, Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Tezzeret the Seeker,and Venser, the Sojourner:  What deck would be complete without a Planeswalker or two in it?  Red Deck Wins, that what.  But this is Blue/White and they love their ‘Walkers.  You could easily put in two more Jaces and an extra Elspeth… and you would still be missing two Walkers.  That’s not even including Karn.  But, I would like to take this moment and say that Venser is amazing in this deck.  He can blink a lot of the creatures for extra usage, blink our enchantments like O-Ring and Fetters so they can be used on bigger problems, and even save a Walker while resetting it’s counters.  I so wish I could bring myself to play him in a format that would let me use four copies. Tezzeret the Seeker is here to do his thing by untapping our mana rocks and finding them for us. I guess he could turn them into creatures but I don’t usually get to keep him around for that kind of insanity.

Sol Ring, Thran Dynamo, Voltaic Key, Coalition Relic, and Gilded Lotus: Here is how we’re going to pull out the fatties. Thran Dynamo or Gilded Lotus are great when you have Voltaic Key with each giving you five mana. Sol Ring can get you two mana or three with the Key. Coaltion can help fix your colors if you need. But the real beast here is this set with Tezz out and using him to untap 2 of these or finding them for you. When I first made this deck I had one copy of each of the on color artifact lands just so I could use Tezz to find mana for me without bringing his loyalty counters down. This trick is also good for when you forget the mana cost of an artifact you want.

Wall of Denial, War Priest of Thune, Wonder, Order of Whiteclay, Azorius Guildmage, Cryptic Annelid, Venser, Shaper Savant, and Dawnglare Invoker: What deck would be complete without a few utility creatures?  I like the Wall of Denial.  It’s size and abilities makes it a great blocker in this format.  It can block most commanders without blinking an eye and even block some of the best flyers.  War Priest goes great with both Vensers, while Venser, Shaper Savant does his thing.
 Wonder is always in my decks with blue just so my whole team can fly.  Order of Whiteclay can return most of the creatures in this deck to you.  Cryptic Annelid helps with the drawing and turn setup a bit, while Dawnglare can really take out any player who is turtled up.

Stormtide Leviathan, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, Lorthos, the Tidemaker, Darksteel Colossus, Blightsteel Colossus, Sphinx of Magosi, and Sun Titan:  And here are our big guys to finish the job.  This part of the list is tricky for me because every time I play or build this deck, these are always different.  Sometimes it’s just a group of Eldrazi.  Sometimes it’s a flock of Angels or Sphinxes.  But this is the current group.  Like I said, I rarely play Blue/White control so I’m never sure how I’m going to win.  I might as well try a few different things to see if I like it or not.

I’d Tap That!

With 18 plains and 18 Island you could call this one a wrap.  I have been asked to start including a deck list for my article.  With this being the first time anyone has really asked since I started, I figure why not.  It’s at the bottom here, so check it out if you want to.  As always thanks for the read and I will see you next week for another article!

Hope you had fun and please leave any comments or suggestions.  Until next time,

This is your Captain speaking… We’re heading into the Red Zone!!!


18 Island
18 Plains


1 Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer
1 Sygg, River Guide
1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor
1 Stonybrook Schoolmaster
1 Stonybrook Angler
1 Merrow Reejerey
1 Merrow Harbinger
1 Merrow Commerce
1 Razorfin Abolisher
1 Stormtide Leviathan
1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle
1 Lorthos, the Tidemaker
1 Darksteel Colossus
1 Blightsteel Colossus
1 Sphinx of Magosi
1 Sun Titan
1 Wall of Denial
1 War Priest of Thune
1 Wonder
1 Order of Whiteclay
1 Azorius Guildmage
1 Dawnglare Invoker
1 Diplomatic Escort
1 Lullmage Mentor
1 Venser, Shaper Savant

All the Rest

1 Sol Ring
1 Coalition Relic
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Tran Dynamo
1 Voltaic Key
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Oblation
1 Echoing Truth
1 Cryptic Annelid
1 Spin into Myth
1 Lost in Thought
1 Prison Term
1 Frozen AEther
1 Faith's Fetters
1 Take Possession
1 Enclave Cryptologist
1 Whispersilk Cloak
1 Summon the School
1 Into the Roil
1 Concentrate
1 Truth or Tale
1 Compulsive Research
1 Venser, the Sojourner
1 Jace Beleren
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 All Is Dust
1 Wrath of God
1 Evacuation
1 Grip of Amnesia
1 Confound
1 Spell Crumple
1 Dissipate
1 Hinder
1 Forbid
1 Cryptic Command
1 Ixidor's Will
1 Sage's Dousing
1 Dawn Charm
1 Mimic Vat

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Innistrad Update!!!

The next set for our favorite game has releaseed new information on the Mechanics for Innisrtad! Now I'm not going to tell you what they are, just in case your the kind of person that doesn't want spoilers, but if you want the latest news...


Some of these new Mechanics will change the face of Magic forever!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

Life Is Worth Living!

Hey!  What’s going on man?  The Captain is, like, out with his wife doing all kinds of, like, tests and stuff for their coming seed.  So, like, I’m here to fill in for him by bringing to you the second deck for his dual colored deck series.  My name Harmony Love Jones, but you can just call me Jones, ok?  Sweet.  Well I got his notes here and he was going to do a Green/White deck for this entry.  So I took the time to think about a deck that the two colors and his new family plans have in common.  So this week we’ll be talking about the beauty of life, man... or in Magic terms Life gain.

Moments of Our Lives!

Green and White have a lot in common, but the things they share the most is life gain, tokens, and +1/+1 counters.  While I’m all for giving to others and peaceful gathering of my rad people, none of it would be possible if it wasn’t for life, man.  Being alive is the best gift in the world and it shouldn’t be like, taken for granted, bro.  So this deck will be all about preventative measures, and who better to help us keep the peace then…

Daughter of Autumn!  She’s a real down to earth kind of girl.  She likes long walks in the plains, taking naps in the forest, and keeping the creatures around her safe.  So I guess, like, this is the part where we go into cards for the deck.  So let’s go for it.

Violence Is Not The Answer!

So if we’re going to start this deck we should start with a plan right?  I mean we can’t just go in to a game of Magic and hope that no one attacks us.  This game gets very violent very fast.  I was attacked for playing the first land, holding a hand of cards greater than five, and looking at a dude’s graveyard.  But I’m cool with it cause it’s a part of the game.  So I’m going to use a part of the game to help keep my life total from looking like a tire.

Respite, Warning, Fog, Holy Day, Blunt the Assault, Angelsong, Tangle, Restrain, Lull, Pollen Lullaby, and Pay No Heed: Do you know how most people lose in this game?  Combat Damage.  Think about it. When was the last time you played?  Did you win that game?  Did you win by some alternate win condition or did the other guy’s life total drop to zero?  It was the second one right?  So here we have a group of life saving spells.  Also, we could help someone else if they get attacked.  They keep some life, we get a friend, and no one has to die.

Story Circle, Circle of Protection: Red, Circle of Protection: White, Circle of Protection: Green, Circle of Protection: Blue, Circle of Protection: Artifacts, and Circle of Protection: Black:  In this game, we need to keep ourselves protected.  Besides, I’m the kind of guy that likes sitting in a circle.  Taking this time to ponder the meaning of life points sure does make me want a drink.  Maybe I'll have some tea?  These enchantments are great at keeping Commander damage in control.  No one wants to lose to that.  Not when we still have so much to live for.

Felidar Sovereign and Test of Endurance: These are our win conditions. All we have to do is keep our life above 50 or more until our next turn comes around and we can all live to see our loved ones again…

Hold on I think I hear someone coming…

What the HELL!!!

Hey man, what’s going…

Who the Hell are you and what are you doing on my ship!?

Easy there man, I was here filling in for you this week and I…

Is that MY page you’re playing with?!?!Well… yeah… I’m a huge fan and I figured…

Look here, you dirt-loving tree-hugger, you got 5 seconds to get the Hell out of here before I toss you overboard and give you your first bath in years!   1!

Woo man, there’s no need to get water involved in this…


Okay, I get it, just let me roll up my flower blanket and I’ll be on my way…

Your WHAT!!!  To Hell with this… 5!

Sorry about that.  I guess that’s what I get for leaving myself logged in when I leave.  So, I could easily try to do a different deck but the damage has already been done.  At least that jerk didn’t do a token deck. 

Well, I might as well go ahead and finish this thing, but I’m not going all peaceful like.  I want life points and I’m going to get them!

Enjoying Life… One Point At A Time!

So, one of the best ways to get life points in this game is by taking them from your opponents.  I was hoping to save Life gain for when I did Black and White, but it looks like I’ll just have to try something else.  It’s not like Green is all that bad when it comes to getting a bump in your LP department.  So let’s get to the creatures that will make our opponents stop attacking because they know it’s pointless… yes… that was a horrible pun… someone has to make it, right?

Perimeter Captain, Pride Guardian, Wall of Reverence, and Purity:  These are here for the simple reason of gaining life just for blocking.  Preventing damage is one of the best ways to keep from losing life in the first place.  These, paired with a few of the fog effects can make it hard for your opponents to hit you.  Effects that gain you a few points is a good place to start.

Baneslayer Angel, Engulfing Slagwurm, Serra Ascendant, Knight of Meadowgrain, Phantom Nishoba, Paladin of Prahv, and Oracle of Nectars:  These are our heavy hitters.  Baneslayer, Slagwurm, and Ascendant bring the pain and gain life like it was going out of style; the smallest one of the 3 is Baneslayer and she gains 5, has first strike, and pro demons and dragons.  Knight of Meadowgrain gains only 2 points at a time, but she has first strike so she can take out dudes with 2 toughness easily.  Nishoba is a 7/7 that loses +1/+1 when he takes damage; Nishoba and Paladin of Prahv’s abilities to gain life is not Lifelink, so they stack.  Oracle of Nectars will gain you life without the need for battle so I guess there is something to that if you happen to have enough mana to gain life back as quickly as you lose it.

Archon of Redemption, Pelakka Wurm, Shattered Angel, Pious Kitsune, and Celestial Force:  These are your other more static life gain effects.  Archon gains you life for every flyer you cast.  Pelakka Wurm will gain you only 7 life when it comes in, but it will draw you a card when it dies.  It’s also a 7/7 trampler so it should get in there for some serious damage.  Shattered Angel gains you 3 life for every land that an opponent plays, so remember the more people at the table equals that many more points for free!  Pious Kitsune can gain you 1 point a turn, but depending on how long it’s allowed to stay, could easily gain you way more with a Eight-Tails out to protect it.  Celestial Force gains you three life at every upkeep. Every upkeep! Do the math. In one turn around he gains you 12 life. That’s enough to take an attack from two titans and when your turn starts, you’re life total is what it was on your last turn. Let it sit for too long and you could gain 24 or more without trying.

Suture Priest, Essence Warden, Soul's Attendant, and Soul Warden:  Ok, you can’t make a deck about life gain without the Soul Sisters.  These are just four copies of the same girl from 4 different worlds. The only one that’s kind of different is the Priest, who pings your opponents for playing creatures.  Just drop these girls on the field and watch your opponent’s faces as they think hard about every creature that comes into play.

Serra Avatar, Victory's Herald, Windbrisk Raptor, and Ageless Entity:  These will be our other finishers.  Serra Avatar will be huge with all this life gain.  Even without it, she could be a 40/40 if no one attacks you before you drop it, making it a one shot kill to an open player.  Herald and Raptor will give our whole team lifelink and Victory’s Herald will give all our attackers flying making it easy to finish off a player while gaining enough life to live though an open attack from another.  Ageless Entity is another huge beater for when we have the chance to get in one solid hit.

Loxodon Hierarch, Dauntless Escort, and Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant: These can keep our creatures safe from the grave.  The Hierarch can regenerate the whole team so our attacks and defenses can be a little safer.  Dauntless Escort makes our team Wrath proof and fills the same role as Hierarch in that respect.  Rune-Tail should always come in flipped, or you’re just playing this deck wrong.  That was wrong of me.  I’m sorry.  Well any way, Rune-Tail should do a great job of keeping your creatures safe in battle, so with it out you could just keep attacking without fear; just hold back enough blockers and maybe one with lifelink and you should live through anything.

The Seed of Life!

So now we need a few ways to keep the lands coming because a few of these things are up there in the mana cost department.  Here are our key land search cards.

Safewright Quest, Far Wanderings, Seek the Horizon, Search for Tomorrow, Cultivate, Untamed Wilds,
Collective Voyage, Skyshroud Claim, Journey of Discovery, Explosive Vegetation, and Kodama's Reach:  What can I say, other then play these when you get a chance to.  They will pump your land count up and thin your deck at the same time, making every draw that much more effective.  With this much land fetching you should never be in need of mana.

Spiritualize, Congregation at Dawn, and Dawn Charm:  Spiritualize is an interesting card here.  Let an opponent attack someone else and use it as a way to gain some life in the exchange and draw a card.  It can also negate an attack on you while replacing itself.  Congregation at Dawn can find your win condition creatures and a life gainer to help them go off when you cast them.  Dawn Charm brings us full circle with its Fog effect, but also can counter a spell aimed at us like, a Fireball effect.  It also can regenerate a creature in a pinch.

Daughter of Autumn, Tolsimir Wolfblood, and Kei Takahashi: Okay, I had nothing to do with Daughter of Autumn being the Commander for this deck.  I think Kei Takahashi is better, but I’m sure Autumn can help you win a few games because people will be too busy laughing at you.  Tolsimir Wolfblood could also take a good chance at the top of the deck.

From here we put in 18 Forests and 18 Plains and we are ready to outlive the others!  Like I always advise, play around with your mana base here.  I’m sure you can find more lands with other cool things, like ways to bring creatures back from the grave, protection, and even more life gain.  Well, that does it for this week, next week I lock my computer with a new password and my door with a better pad lock.  Oh, and I also hit White and Blue up for some money.

Before I go I have one more thing I would like to say.  I want to take this quick moment to send a shout out to my boy Andy and his Crew over at CommanderCast.blogspot.com; they just finished their 3rd season of their awesome Podcast.  When the next season starts, they’re going from that site to CommanderCast.com!  I have been a big fan of the show from the beginning and can’t wait to see the new site.  I hope they enjoy their 3 week vacay!

Hope you had fun and please leave any comments or suggestions.  Until next time,

This is your Captain speaking… We’re heading into the Red Zone!!!