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Card of the Week – Mana Maze

Mana Maze - INV - Banner

Mana Maze is a Blue Enchantment that works as an effective stax piece. Having had Chris play this card against me several times, I can confirm it is effective. This underplayed stax piece can also be used offensively making it the Card of the Week.

Mana Maze - INV
Everybody loves stax… right?

The oracle text can be found here.

The way that Mana Maze is worded makes it fairly unique among stax pieces. This is because it does not affect each player, like other pieces such as Deafening Silence. It effects everyone at the table, resetting at the beginning of each turn. For example, if it is my turn and during my upkeep Chris casts a Brainstorm. This means that no-one can cast a blue spell, or a spell with Blue in it. Until either a spell of a different colour is cast, or the start of the next turn. This can completely hose your opponents if they are playing a mono coloured deck, or at least force them to play around it. If you are playing a control deck it will allow you to make good use of counter spells. All the time ensuring that your counterspells won’t get countered.

The downside of Mana Maze is that it affects you as well. This means you are just as vulnerable to players casting spells in your upkeep as your opponents. Additionally much like other stax pieces this one draws the ire of your opponents. It becomes central to the game and your opponents will want to get rid of it.

Suggested Commanders

Mana Maze is best in decks that are primarily colourless and this provides a loophole, for example Urza, Lord high Artificer. It also works really well in Golos, Tireless Pilgrim decks as once Golos is out they are looking to spin the wheel instead of casting spell. As well as working in stax decks such as Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, or Oloro, Ageless Ascetic.

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just_a_couple_of_gamers – Magic the Gathering mono Red Commander

JACOG mono Red Commander

Live from 19:30 GMT on Tuesday 3rd August its mono Red Commander brought to you by just_a_couple_of_gamers. Watch over at https://www.twitch.tv/just_a_couple_of_gamers

Last week the mono Black stream was one of the most balanced to date. Liam’s mischief claimed game 1, while Lester drained us to death in game 2. In game 3 Chris was finally able to control the board and eliminate our hands. But over the evening they were all claimed by Phyrexia. This week we move into impulse and adventure. Whatever chaos is unleashed the only thing that is guaranteed is that it will be an enjoyable game.

Contestants

Lester will be piloting Purphoros, God of the Forge. He will be hoping to put a myriad of creatures into play to knock the rest of us out.
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/NQKMCis4LkKAdYgyqN_tSA
Twitter: @OobleboyOG

Ross will be piloting Zada, Hedron Grinder. Looking to out value my opponents by copying my spells as many times as possible.
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/4MilNhgIXUuWbsKtXctwHA
Twitter: @Mr0Flibble

Ian will be piloting Norin the Wary. He will be looking to take advantage of Norin repeatedly entering and leaving the battlefield.
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/JfyqvYxZMUyfFT6UXvIbGA
Twitter: @CandlekeepR

Boon will be piloting Magda, Brazen Outlaw. Boon will be hoping that he can amass enough treasure to entice Dragons to fight for him.
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/5VaAl4GnyU2n-CKXMoFbbw
Twitter: @Simon_lj83

For this mono Red Commander stream will you be supporting; the upstart blacksmith, a gobo, a commander who flees at everything, or some lizards with heartburn?

Giveway

Every commander night we run a giveaway for a Adventures in Forgotten Realms draft booster. This is a free to entry raffle, with the draw happening at the end of the stream. For every 5 minutes you watch the stream you will earn 10 cogs and 25 cogs buys you a raffle ticket. Shipping is restricted to the UK only.

  • Purphoros God of the Forge-THS
  • Zada Hedron Grinder - BFZ
  • Norin the Wary - TSP
  • Magda Brazen Outlaw - KHM
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Card of the Week – Darkness

Fog - LEA - Banner

Darkness is a black fog, that was originally printed all the way back in Legends. A fog is a spell that prevents all combat damage this turn. It gets it’s name from the card Fog which has been a part of the game since Alpha. Just like Withering Boon it is a card that is completely unexpected. This is because it is not something that black can traditionally do.

Darkness - Legends printing
It even has a quote from Shakespeare

Darkness has been received an errata it now reads “Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn”. The oracle text can be found here.

Why should you run it?

Just like the original Fog, Darkness only costs a single mana but this time it is Black. If you have ever played magic against someone like me, you know just how devastating the combat step can be. Furthermore combat is an important step for most Boros and Gruul decks, and essential for infect decks. When you are building a Commander deck you want to make sure that you have interaction or answers. Additionally you want to make sure that you can answer a range of different problems, including combat.

Darkness can buy you a turn if your opponent has an overwhelming board state. Or it can cause a massive blowout to your opponent if they have used pumpspells or other combat tricks. It can also be used as a political tool, you can save an opponent in exchange for a later favour.

Suggested Commanders

The downsides to running Darkness are minimal, and you only need to leave a single mana open to cast it. This means that it can go in just about any deck that is running black. For example: K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth; Yawgmoth, Thran Physician or Kaalia of the Vast. It is also good in Thantis, the Warweaver decks as you can get the +1/+1 counters and avoid the combat damage.

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just_a_couple_of_gamers – Magic the Gathering Mono Black Commander

mono Black Commander

Live from 19:30 GMT on Tuesday 20th July its mono Black Commander brought to you just_a_couple_of_gamers. Watch over at https://www.twitch.tv/just_a_couple_of_gamers

Last week the mono Blue stream saw the new commanders face off against the established ones. But it was Rob piloting the upstart Naru Meha, Master Wizard who shaped their own destiny. This week we move into Power at any cost. With everyone only out for themselves, will it just be a case of who will be the last standing?

Contestants

Lester will be piloting Ayara, First Lochthwain. He will be hoping he can put enough creatures into play to knock out the rest of the table at once.
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/30sqMKd150uXxqW1aICo5g
Twitter: @OobleboyOG

Liam will be piloting Marrow-Gnawer. Can he make enough Rats to go wide and gnaw his way to victory. Unfortunately the fear a swarm of rats generate will not be enough, it will have to be done the old fashioned way.
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/OBRrRSswH0STH9MvoEgbvA
Twitter: @_liambrown

Ross will be piloting Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. Let’s be honest you all knew this was going to happen at some point. Its Infect time!
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/TJxk-Uw5G0CON54Ks7geag
Twitter: @Mr0Flibble

Chris will be piloting Tergrid, God of Fright. He will be hoping to force us to sacrifice creatures and beat us with our own strategies.
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/AfR5QHVKX0mcT2K8iRph3A
Twitter: @vapourousduck

For this mono Black Commander stream will you be supporting; the Scottish lord, an overgrown Rat, most of a Dragon or a slightly scary God?

Giveaway

Every commander night we run a giveaway for a Adventures in Forgotten Realms draft booster. This is a free to entry raffle, with the draw happening at the end of the stream. For every 5 minutes you watch the stream you will earn 10 cogs and 25 cogs buys you a raffle ticket. Shipping is restricted to the UK only.

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Card of the Week – Reap and Sow

Reap and Sow -DST-Banner

Reap and Sow is a modal sorcery that gives you the option to grow or to destroy. One of the reasons Commander is such a popular format is the Social Contract. Due to the social contract Land destruction is not often seen in commander pods. However, there are different types of land destruction. Firstly there is mass land destruction, including the classic Armageddon. Secondly there is targeted land destruction such as Stone Rain. Because Land destruction is often seen as taboo, targeted Land destruction is underplayed. Despite the fact it should be a more regular feature in commander decks, making Reap and Sow the Card of the Week.

Reap and Sow - DST
Grow or Destroy… why not both?

The oracle text can be found here.

Why you should be running it?

Reap and Sow is a Sorcery for 3G(reen) that gives you a choice to tutor for a land onto the battlefield or to destroy target land. Lands are a very important part of a commander game, as anyone who has ever been mana screwed will tell you. But with the huge card selection available in EDH there are also some very powerful lands. For example Rouges Passage or a Maze of Ith can control the flow of a game. Then there are the lands like Gaea’s Cradle or the fixed Itlimoc, Cradle of the Sun that can provide insane amounts of mana. These are the lands that are ripe for destruction.

Earlier I said “tutor” for land on to the battlefield and not ramp. This is because the MV of the card is too high to be considered ramp in my opinion. For further information on Ramp in commander please see this article. Reap and Sow can go find any land and put it onto the battlefield. Just as it is useful to get rid of powerful lands it can also be used to go get your Cavern of Souls or Mystifying Maze. This land also also enters the battlefield untapped allowing you to use it immediately.

If you have enough mana you can cast it for it’s entwine cost which is 4GG(reen) allowing you to cast both sides.

Suggested Commanders

Reap and Sow can go is just about any deck that is running Green. It is at it’s best when the deck runs a suite of utility lands that it can go and find. For example if you are running a Golgari Commander you can go get Urborg, Yavimaya, or Cabal Coffers. Additionally it is good in Landfall decks such as Golos, or any of the Onmaths. You can go get lands that can either fix your mana such as Crystal Quarry. Or you go get bounce and repeatedly get landfall triggers. If you are lucky enough to own a Gaea’s cradle it can put it untapped directly onto the battlefield

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just_a_couple_of_gamers – Magic the Gathering Mono Blue Commander

JACOG_Blue

Live from 19:30 GMT on Tuesday 20th July its Commander brought to you just_a_couple_of_gamers. Watch over at https://www.twitch.tv/just_a_couple_of_gamers

Last week the mono White stream saw Gods face-off against Humans. Their divine will, along with the Walking on Sunshine combo was enough to claim game 1 for them. But the Humans fought back in game 2, with Odric claiming Victory. This week we leave peace and order and move into logic and knowledge. With this in mind who will shape their own destiny and claim victory?

Contestants

Lester will be hoping his winning streak continues as he pilots Urza, Lord High Artificer. This powerhouse of a commander is all about artifacts, but will he be allowed to resolve?
Deck list: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/RpeS0GjBe0qjHUq7m9iu4g
Twitter: @OobleboyOG

Rob will be piloting Naru Meha, Master Wizard. Will it be wizard tribal or will be be looking to take advantage of the etb ablity. Extra Extra turns anyone?
Deck list: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/SmcpTjyCVU2l-igvpGyWHA

Matt will be piloting Orvar, the All-Form. Making up for Commander being a singleton format Matt will be looking to copy is own creatures. Will he just value his way to victory?
Deck list: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/jl4mgXHQkUy7yPeN_iY0Bw
Twitter: @mattalextaylor

Kar-Fai will be piloting Talrand, Sky Summoner. It wouldn’t be a Blue night without an Instant and Sorcery tribal deck at the table. Can Kar-Fai counter his way to victory and amass an army of drakes to control the skies?
Deck list: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/Ke_SQDEvcUOo58GhZGw_pA

Will it be the classical Blue commanders Urza and Talrand that win? Or will it be the new upstart commanders Naru and Orvar controlling their destiny?

Giveaway

Every commander night we run a giveaway for a strixhaven draft booster. This is a free to entry raffle, with the draw happening at the end of the stream. For every 5 minutes you watch the stream you will earn 10 cogs and 25 cogs buys you a raffle ticket. Shipping is restricted to the UK only.

  • Commander Urza, Lord High Artificer - MH1
  • Commander Naru-Meha-Master-Wizard-C21
  • Commander Orvar-the-All-Form-KHM
  • Commander Orvar-the-All-Form-C21
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Card of the Week – Graceful Reprieve

Graceful Reprieve -MM3-Banner

Graceful Reprieve is a White Instant that doesn’t feel like a White card. Whether it is your commander or another combo piece their are certain creatures you want to stay on the battlefield. This Instant is a great way to protect your Commander, and is the Card of the Week.

Graceful Reprieve - MM3 Printing
Death is just temporary

The oracle text can be found here.

Commanders are magnets for removal spells, and many decks run ways to protect them such as Swiftfoot Boots. Graceful Reprieve is an Instant that that returns a creature to the battlefield when it dies. This is an ability that is more commonly found on Black spells, making this all the more useful. White utilises creatures which means there is an high chance that you will have a target.

At 1W(hite) this spell can generate you large amounts of value. For example if you are running Roon of the Hidden Realm it can save a creature and trigger their ETB. It’s low MV means that it is easy to hold up mana to cast and it synergies with Sunforger. In addition unlike other protection it can save any Creature on your board as opposed to an equipment.

Conversely the only downside is that if you are running a Voltron deck it will not re-equip the Equipment. However, it will save it from having to go back to the Command Zone. Overall if there are creatures that you would like to save and you are running White you should consider Graceful Reprieve.

Decks that would benefit from Graceful Reprieve should check out previous Card of the Week Gift of Immortality.

Suggested Commanders

The best commander for Graceful Reprieve is Feather, the Redeemed as you can use it continuously. It is also suited to commanders that draw a lot of hate such as Atraxa, Preators’ Voice, Grand Arbiter Augustin IV or Omnath, Locus of Creation. Additionally it works well with Voltron and Aggro strategies, as it helps reduce the Commander Tax.

It also compliments Aristocrat themes as you can cast it on a creature, Sacrifice it, and then it will return to the battlefield. This means that it can be used in Teysa Karlov decks to get death triggers and keep the creature.

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just_a_couple_of_gamers – Magic the Gathering Mono White Commander

Live from 19:30 GMT on Thursday 17th July its Commander brought to you just_a_couple_of_gamers. Watch over at https://www.twitch.tv/just_a_couple_of_gamers

Join us as we continue to work our way through mono coloured commanders. Last week saw an even split between Artifact and Eldrazi themed decks. With the Artifact commanders winning both of the games. This week it is time for some peace and order on the stream as we run Mono White Commanders.

Lester will be piloting Heliod, Sun-Crowned. Let’s be honest it is a case of when not if we see the Walking on Sunshine combo.
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/Hg-EvtDMmUKaJk2N3oodpw
Twitter: @OobleboyOG

Ross will be piloting Odric, Lunarch Marshal. It’s keyword tribal time, lets see just how devastating a 3/3 can be.
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/lVZuoc5aoUazKE7ii0KtwQ
Twitter: @Mr0Flibble

Rob will be piloting Darien, King of Kjeldor. He’s going to turn damage into creatures.
Deck List: https://www.moxfield.com/decks/vP4n4hiiPUK0l2uzAE9TXA

Ian will be piloting God-Eternal Oketra. Is it time for White Weenies go wide? Or perhaps stax is his divine will?
Twitter: @CandlekeepR

It’s time for Humans to Fight Gods, to decide who will be the top White Commander.

Every commander night we run a giveaway for a strixhaven draft booster. This is a free to entry raffle, with the draw happening at the end of the stream. For every 5 minutes you watch the stream you will earn 10 cogs and 25 cogs buys you a raffle ticket. Shipping is restricted to the UK only.

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Card of the Week – Meltdown

Meltdown-USG-Cropped

Meltdown is a sorcery that was printed back in Urza’s Saga and is a perfect answer to troublesome artifacts. Although it hasn’t been printed in over 20 years, it would still be a fine addition to any commander deck. Recommended by fellow Librarian Liam the piece of interaction is the card of the week.

Meltdown - Urza's Saga Printing
Such destruction for so little mana

One of the recent trends in commander is not just the need for more interaction, but efficient interaction. Meltdown is an artifact destroying sorcery that scales with the game. For X and a Red mana, you can destroy each artifact whose Mana Value is X or less. This means that it is closer to a board wipe for artifacts than targeted removal. The potential upside for this card is huge, for a small mana investment you can hit a multitude of artifacts. Casting it where x is equal to 2 would hit multiple mana rocks including sol ring, talismans or signets. Significantly it can be used to slow down decks with access to fast mana.

If you are playing at higher power-levels you can cast it where x is equal to zero and hit, Mana Crypt, treasure tokens, Lion’s Eye Diamond or a mox. Additionally casting it just for the red mana and increase the storm count with additional upside.

On the other hand, Meltdown also hits your own artifacts. Therefore you will have to consider what value you play x as when you cast it. It’s largest downside is that is a sorcery and not an instant. Overall Meltdown is a highly flexible card that would fit in most commander decks running Red. An excellent piece of interaction that can be cast at a low MV, and you can read more about why that is important here.

Suggested Commanders

Meltdown is at it’s best in a deck that is looking to cast as many spells as possible. For example it could be mana neutral in Birgi, God of Storytelling, or provide a Prowess trigger in Elsha of the Infinite. Furthermore it work well in Gruul aggro decks as they are unlikely to be dependant on mana rocks for ramp. Finally it can be combined with Darkseel Forge and Mycosynth Lattice to decimate your opponents.

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Card of the Week – Nighthaze

Nighthaze-ROE-Cropped

Nighthaze is cantrip for a single black mana, and comes recommended by my fellow Librarian Coatsy. A cantrip is a spell that has the line of text “Draw a card” after another effect. Cantrips are highly flexible cards and this one is no exception making it the Card of the Week.

Nighthaze - ROE printing
At worst you draw a card

The potential upside you can get from the single black mana this sorcery costs, can be game ending. Swampwalk is a keyword ability that makes the creature unblockable, as long as the defending player controls a Swamp. Additional information on Landwalk can be found here. This means that casting it on one of your Creatures will allow you to swing for certain damage. You can use this if you are playing Infect or just have a big creature, Nighthaze will allow it to attack for lethal. It has further utility when dealing with Planeswalkers, because Landwalk works on them as well.

The obvious downside is that your opponent needs to control a Swamp for this to be at its most effective. However, this is mitigated by Black’s popularity as a colour. Out of the current 20 top commanders 16 of them contain Black. The real downside is that it has to target a creature to resolve. Although it does not need to be a creature you control. If you just want to cast it as a cantrip and ignore the Swampwalk aspect, cast it on an opponents Creature there is very little downside. So at worst you spent 1 mana to draw a card.

Nighthaze would be a good addition to any deck running black that is looking to deal combat damage. Whether you are looking to punch through with a swole Rat from Marrow-Gnawer or just looking to let Skithiryx smash face.