How To Maul Your Opponents
Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, where I take legendary creatures with a downside and build a commander deck to turn it into a strength. An alarming trend that I've noticed as I've written more and more of these articles is the tendency of legendary creatures to impose a restriction but also solve it.is a perfect example. He makes you skip your draw step, but draws a card during your upkeep anyway. So I was pleased to see that so many of the new commanders from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate ask you do to a little work. Today's subject is no exception: needs some support to show off her true potential.
seems very underwhelming compared to mono-red powerhouses like . Not only are you forced to discard your whole hand, you only get to draw as many cards as opponents you are attacking. On her own, Amber requires you to have two other creatures that can safely attack in order to draw a maximum of three new cards. She won't refill your hand entirely, but if you can empty your hand every turn, she is a steady source of card advantage, as long as you can attack each of your opponents every turn.
To assist in that, we have a few choices of Backgrounds for Amber. Based on EDHREC,doesn't put extra creatures into play, but does make Amber herself much more dangerous. It supports a reanimator-style deck, cheating and into play with and . is also a tempting choice. Giving your commander indestructible and deathtouch makes it unlikely she'll be blocked and is nearly guaranteed to survive combat.
Another solid option for making sure Amber survives combat is. A 10/10 hasty creature for four mana is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it's also drawing cards. Green and red creatures are also likely to outsize or fly over opposing defenses, so it won't be difficult to empty your hand and be attacking all three of your opponents. Going all-in on such a specific strategy, however, makes you easier to disrupt. Rebuilding from just three cards will usually take too long to really get you back in the game.
I want to make it as easy and consistent to draw three cards as possible, so I'm going with theBackground. As long as is attacking the opponent with the most life, you'll get to make three 1/1 tokens attacking your opponents, ensuring you draw three fresh cards when Amber's ability resolves. This lets you get full value from your commander with just the two cards in your command zone, ensuring you can always draw three cards when you attack.
Drawing three cards won't do you much good if Amber is blocked and killed, however. Re-casting her once or twice during the course of a game isn't backbreaking. She has haste, so you won't "waste" turns, but any more than that and you won't be able to actually execute your main gameplan.
Luckily, we've got a few tricks up our sleeve. The best of these is probably, which not only makes Amber much harder to block but also protects her from most targeted removal. can do something similar, assuming any of your 1/1 Soldier tokens survive through combat. Even if they don't, you can let Amber's ability resolve and then sacrifice one of them to regenerate your commander, ensuring she survives. Or, you can activate before the damage step to whisk her out of combat and back to safety.
If you'd rather not worry about combat damage at all, thenwill prevent it entirely. Or you can toss an extra land to so Amber can safely attack and refill your hand. I've also been impressive with every time I've cast it. Equipping for free is a huge benefit, and there will almost always be one opponent who can't block a flying creature. Lastly, and are great mana sinks in the late game.
In order to take as much advantage of the cardsprovides, we need to accomplish two things: start combat with as few cards in hand as possible, and be able to leverage the cards we do have to discard from the graveyard. To me, this screams .
Burning Through Cards
In sixty-card formats, burn decks typically end up with an empty hand very fast. Each game is a race from twenty to zero, and if you stumble, you lose. That strategy hasn't translated as well to Commander because it turns out that spells balanced for one opponent at twenty life don't perform well against three players with forty life.solves this problem in two ways. First, it deals damage to each opponent with a relatively cheap spell. Second, because you can include as many copies as you'd like in your deck, you can play a high enough density of burn spells to continuously deal damage to your opponents. Every time you draw three cards with , you should draw at least one copy of .
Ideally, though, you'll draw two. Six damage a turn to each opponent isn't a fast clock, but it should be enough to give you a reasonable chance at keeping up with other decks. To do that, it will be vital for this deck to hit six mana as fast as possible, and in order to do that, I'm relying on three-mana rocks so that on turn four you can cast a two-mana rock and. From then on you'll be able to cast two s without any other ramp.
Which isn't to say that I'm not playing any other ramp. Cost-reducers are staples of any deck that wants to cast many spells a turn.is a classic, but immediately gets our signature spell down to a single red mana. This is also one of the few places that does anything in Commander. At a single colorless mana, it's also the most powerful source of ramp the deck has access to.
Alternatively, you can "reduce" the cost of your spells by increasing their impact. Dragon's Approach is one of the few ways to abusein EDH, while is another cheap way to copy every time you cast it. Additionally, can exile to attach a free wheel to every Approach. Or, if you exile two copies of , it will copy every one you cast.
Finally, the Dragons. I'm including only one in this deck,. is itself the win condition of this deck rather than a method to put Dragons into play, but having an option that you can search for is useful if is removed one too many times, or you're otherwise disrupted. Plus, will cast a every time he attacks, ensuring the damage keeps flowing.
Most Commander decks run at least a few ways to survive against three other players., , and are all staple effects for stopping your opponents from easily wiping you out of the game. This deck, however, doesn't have the space. I started with a few s, , and even . Goldfishing the deck, however, I realized I wanted to draw instead to keep up pressure on life totals.
There are plenty of permanents that could convince me to add those removal spells back in though. Feedingis never a good plan. You may need to add a few pieces of spot removal to match your meta, but this is the final list I settled on.
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What do you think ofas a ? I also considered building it as a Boros reanimator deck, combining with to continually put big threats into play, but you could also drop the Approaches altogether. and are excellent reanimation targets, after all.