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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Oh Captain, My Captain!!!

There’s Blood in My Braided!

Welcome one and all! Today I have decided to bring to you another one of my real life decks from my Commander box. This is how I’ll be doing a few of my “Oh Captain” articles for a little while so I figured I should let you know now. Since I have these decks built already, it’s a little easier to do these decks during my down time. With my real life taking so much more of my time, I need to squeeze my free time for the time to make articles. Hopefully I’ll gain enough of my free time back soon to get back to writing on a more regular base. So enough of this, let’s get into the deck of the day!
Very recently, I started updating my decks with cards from Innistrad/Dark Ascension. Out of all of my decks, the one that got the most cards added was Ashling, the Pilgrim and Kresh the Bloodbraided. 

While I know Kresh is probably one of the most popular Commanders around, due mostly in part to the fact that a certain member of the Magic community, who is kind of responsible for Commander, is well known for playing with it.

Please don’t sue me…
Still, I find this deck to be one of my main go to decks for when I gather with my friends. So, let’s cut the foreplay and jump right into the action!
Whose Blood Is This Anyway?
While my Kresh deck is not one of my usual theme decks I do feel a need to do a quick rundown of what it’s about. I have a plan of generating tokens as much as I can, play Kresh, sacrifice them, and swing with Kresh for the win. I like this strategy because if something happens to Kresh, I can still do well by just dumping out tokens. It’s also got a few added things for personal tastes.
Let’s get started with a few of the newer additions… the DFC’s!
Mayor of Avabruck//Howlpack Alpha, Garruk Relentless// Garruk, the Veil-Cursed, and Instigator Gang//Wildblood Pack: I have to say that, as much as I don’t like the way these cards work, they are still just too good to pass up. I’ve come to learn to respect Instigator Gang//Wildblood Pack. Giving all your creatures an extra point of attack for attacking is right up Kresh’s alley. If they are going to die anyway, no need to not cash in with a few extra +1/+1 counters. But when this thing flips, we enter a whole new area of danger for your opponents. All your attacking creatures gaining +3/+0 means Kresh could hit one shot kill in one swing afterwards. Even if your opponent doesn’t block they’re taking a huge amount of damage.  Mayor of Avabruck//Howlpack Alpha works well with Kresh. On the human side it gives Kresh a nice +1/+1 pump and when it flips it make 2/2 wolves that it pumps into 3/3’s. Which then gives Kresh three +1/+1 counters when they die. I also like how the Howlpack Alpha works with Garruk, Relentless//Garruk, the Veil Cursed by pumping both kinds of tokens it can make. It also doesn’t hurt that if it dies while in “Alpha mode“, Kresh could get a nice +3/+3 bump. I feel like since I’m dipping into the token part here I’ll just continue with the rest of that part of the deck.
Garruk Wildspeaker, Master of the Wild Hunt, Mogg War Marshal, Skirsdag High Priest, and Sprouting Thrinax: Here we have a nice range of token generators to play with. Garruk Wildspeaker has always been my favorite Planeswalker since they were first printed and I have no problem putting my fate in it again here. Master of the Wild Hunt is also another personal favorite that I feel needs a little more respect then it’s been getting. Remember all those wolf tokens from the flip cards, including the 1/1 deathtouchers from the flipped Garruk, are under Master of the Wild Hunt’s control. Mogg War Marshal is great with Skirsdag High Priest by providing two tokens and activating Morbid. Also, if you have the High Priest out when Sprouting Thrinax dies you get to tap two saproling tokens for a nice size 5/5 flying demon. Lose one 3/3 and gain a 5/5 flyer with three 1/1’s sounds pretty good. While we’re on creatures that are good with Skirsdag High Priest, let’s move on to…
Siege-Gang Commander, Broodmate Dragon, Dragon Broodmother, Skeletal Vampire, and Grave Titan: That’s right! Army-In-A-Can cards are a huge personal favorite. I always feel like I’m getting value when I drop one of these cards. And I am. Even if someone Day of Judgment’s the board, for me it’s a one for one even if I’m losing a hand full of tokens in the exchange. These are also great to cast after a wrath effect because you played one card that gives you more “cards” on the field. All but one of these, looking at you Broodmate Dragon, works great with Skirsdag High Priest and also brings in a ton of creatures worth dying to pump Kresh. I’m pretty sure this group is pretty cut and dry when it comes to what they do so I’ll just continue with…
Ulasht, the Hate Seed, Mimic Vat, Giantbaiting, Spider Spawning, Night Soil, and Necrogenesis: That’s right! More Tokens! Ulasht, the Hate Seed can pump out a few tokens and even if it doesn’t, it will still pump Kresh for whatever +1/+1 it had. Mimic Vat has become a personal favorite. Between Ulasht, the Hate Seed, the Army-In-A-Can, and some of the other token makers this little artifact its own little powerhouse. Giantbaiting can make up to two 4/4’s that, if you could find a way to sacrifice them, could pump Kresh up by eight counters. Spider Spawning brings us two chances to fill the field with 1/2 spiders for blocking as long as we have a graveyard with a decent amount of creatures. Night Soil and Necrogenesis provides a way to deal with opposing graveyards with a little gain in the form of a 1/1 Saproling token.
Does Blood Stain Hair?
Ok, so with all of this token making, let’s get into the various other cards in this deck. Let’s start with a few of the sacrifice outlets, then well do some removal, and see where we end. Sounds good? Let’s Go!
Viscera Seer, Greater Gargadon, Curse of the Cabal, Butcher of Malakir, Vampire Hexmage, and Braids, Cabal Minion: Viscera Seer gives us a way to sacrifice creatures at instant speed with a little control over our top deck. Greater Gargadon is a great way to sacrifice creatures and you end up with a nice size 9/7 beast. Curse of the Cabal is one of the best ways to insure that you have a way to sacrifice thing for Kresh. You can suspend it, sacrifice a permanent to it, and as long as you can keep it suspended you will always have a way to sacrifice a creature to pump Kresh. Also if anyone allows it to reach a point where it could actually come into play, someone will pay dearly. Butcher of Malakir can take advantage of this sacrifice stuff and makes everyone sacrifice a creature. Remember, Kresh counts when any creatures goes to the graveyard. Vampire Hexmage is here to deal with other players Planewalkers.
Fleshbag Marauder, Gatekeeper of Malakir, Engulfing Slagwurm, Ambush Viper, Shriekmaw, and Vampire Nighthawk: Fleshbag Marauder and Gatekeeper of Malakir come in as a way to add a few more sacrifice outlets to pump Kresh. Engulfing Slagwurm is just a beating because with Kresh out your in a lose/lose situation. They can’t block it or Kresh will get bigger and we’ll gain some life, but if they don’t they’ll be taking seven. Ambush Viper is an instant blocker that can gain Kresh two plus X +1/+1 counters. Shriekmaw can be played for its Evoke cost and Kresh could gain three plus X +1/+1 counters. Vampire Nighthawk’s deathtouch and lifelink abilities make it more of rattlesnake card with a “don’t mess with me and I won’t mess with you” feel.
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed: What more can I say about this card that I or my main man Cassidy hasn’t said already. Oh yeah, this with a Bloodbraid Elf is cute with a second chance to Cascade... For Free!!! 
Bloodghast, Bloodbraid Elf, and Lightning Reaver: Speaking of Bloodbraid Elf, I enjoy playing with it here because its effect is always just random fun. Bloodghast is great for a sacrifice effect due to the fact that it will return with the next land we play. Lightning Reaver is a house left in checked. I say get it equipped with a Whispersilk Cloak and watch how much hate it generates.
Hull Breach, Desert Twister, Innocent Blood, Devil’s Play, and Putrefy: Removal. What more is there to say, outside of the fact that Devil’s Play has ended more than its fair share of games in the short time I’ve had it.
Deathbringer Thoctar, Basilisk Collar, and Gorgon Flail: Deathbringer Thoctar combined with either of these two equipments is a one-side Wrath effect. All it needs is a single +1/+1 counter and you can ping away every creature your opponents control… you know that don’t have indestructibility or regenerate.   
Grave-Shell Scarab, Dawn of the Dead, Bloodgift Demon, Lurking Predators, Greed, and Harmonize: Here we have my card draw effects. Dawn of the Dead is a new addition along with Bloodgift Demon so let’s talk about them more. With the sacrifice outlets this deck has, Dawn’s exile effect rarely comes up and I’ve come to find out that when you start with 40 life points, paying one life to get a second chance to cast a creature is just fine with me. The same applies Bloodgift, but the different here is Bloodgift can help make allies if you use it to allow them to draw a few cards. I haven’t used this ability to kill a player yet, outside of Limited, but I know it will happen soon.
Champion's Helm, Whispersilk Cloak, and Trailblazer's Boots: Here we have three nice pieces of equipment. I’ve come to use Champion’s Helm more over Lightning Greaves just due to the fact that I’ve learned Greaves get destroyed a little too often in my group but Helm goes under the radar a little more often. This often applies to both the Cloak and the Boots.
Fires of Yavimaya and Pain Magnification: Pain Magnification is another recent addition. While I have yet to use it I feel it well fit in fine. If I can connect with most of the creatures in this deck, while this is out, it will lead to a little added card advantage. It could even add up to a player discarding multiple cards in one turn. Fires of Yavimaya help by giving all my creatures haste but could be a quick pump to finish someone off.
Mage Slayer, Relentless Assault, and Lord of Extinction: Here are my other last ditch game enders. Mage Slayer can deal out a ton of damage if it’s not destroyed. Relentless Assault can take players by surprise and cause them to do some really bad blocking. Lord of Extinction just takes advantage of both of these cards in ways that make me wonder why it’s not a legend.
Sol Ring, Golgari Signet, Gruul Signet, Rakdos Signet, and Coalition Relic:  And here are a few mana rocks to help get to five a little bit quicker. 
Kazandu Refuge, Gilt-Leaf Palace, Rakdos Carnarium, Golgari Rot Farm, Kessig Wolf Run, Llanowar Wastes, Lavaclaw Reaches, Blackcleave Cliffs, Auntie's Hovel, Akoum Refuge, Arena, Gruul Turf, Shivan Oasis, Vivid Marsh, Vivid Grove, Raging Ravine, Treetop Village, Grixis Panorama, Sulfurous Springs, Savage Lands, Dakmor Salvage, Llanowar Reborn, Skarrg, the Rage Pits, and Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace:  And here are the non-basic lands I run in this deck. A few dual color, Tri color, and Man lands combined with a few Effect lands. I could say more here but I’ve ran passed my word personal cap a while ago so I’ll just leave you here with the links to look at and piece it all together.
Time to Wash My Hair!
With 4 Mountains, 4 Forest, and 5 Swamps my version of this popular deck is completed. This is one of the few times where the mana base is my actual build in the real, but don’t let that stop you from making your own personal changes. At the bottom, you can check out the deck list. Feel free to leave any comments you have and you can always hit me up at CaptainRedZone@gmail.com. You can also find me on OffColorCast.com where I podcast with Cassidy Silver and Christian Renoe. Just a heads up, OffColorCast.com may not be work safe. 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!!!

 1 Kresh the Bloodbraided
1 Kazandu Refuge
1 Gilt-Leaf Palace
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Lavaclaw Reaches
1 Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace
1 Blackcleave Cliffs
1 Auntie's Hovel
1 Akoum Refuge
1 Arena
1 Gruul Turf
1 Shivan Oasis
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Vivid Grove
1 Raging Ravine
1 Treetop Village
1 Grixis Panorama
1 Sulfurous Springs
1 Savage Lands
1 Dakmor Salvage
1 Skarrg, the Rage Pits
1 Llanowar Reborn
4 Forest
4 Mountain
5 Swamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Golgari Signet
1 Gruul Signet
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Mayor of Avabruck
1 Garruk Relentless
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Skirsdag High Priest
1 Sprouting Thrinax
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Broodmate Dragon
1 Dragon Broodmother
1 Skeletal Vampire
1 Grave Titan
1 Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
1 Ulasht, the Hate Seed
1 Mimic Vat
1 Giantbaiting
1 Spider Spawning
1 Night Soil
1 Necrogenesis
1 Desert Twister
1 Innocent Blood
1 Devil’s Play
1 Putrefy
1 Viscera Seer
1 Braids, Cabal Minion
1 Vampire Hexmage
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Greater Gargadon
1 Curse of the Cabal
1 Butcher of Malakir
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
1 Grave-Shell Scarab
1 Engulfing Slagwurm
1 Ambush Viper
1 Shriekmaw
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Hull Breach
1 Deathbringer Thoctar
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Gorgon Flail
1 Fires of Yavimaya
1 Master of the Wild Hunt
1 Bloodghast
1 Bloodbraid Elf
1 Lightning Reaver
1 Dawn of the Dead
1 Bloodgift Demon
1 Lurking Predators
1 Relentless Assault
1 Champion's Helm
1 Whispersilk Cloak
1 Trailblazer's Boots
1 Greed
1 Harmonize
1 Pain Magnification
1 Mage Slayer
1 Lord of Extinction
1 Instigator Gang
1 Coalition Relic
1 Garruk Wildspeaker


  1. Nice list! I'd just like to point out a small oversight.

    > [On Mikaeus:] Oh yeah, this with a Bloodbraid Elf is cute with a second chance to Cascade... For Free!!!

    Cascade triggers upon casting the spell. Undying won't cause a second cascade because it puts the creature back onto the battlefield.

  2. Whoops *Facepalm* I can't believe I said that. I guest somewhere in my mind's eye I see Cascade and I think ETB effects. Thanks for the read and good catch.