A Mast on the Horizon
Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, where I turn a commander’s drawbacks into strengths. Today, I’m taking to the high seas in search of treasure and as many cannons as I can get my hands on. And I can think of no one better to lead that voyage than .
Mono-red has gotten a surprising number of interesting Spellslinger commanders across the past few sets. Just recently in Kaldheim we got, who helps keep the mana flowing as you chain spells into more spells. Before that, was a card draw engine in the command zone for Storm and Burn decks. Both encourage you to play as many spells in a turn as possible, or to cast the same spell over and over, to win the game in a single, massive turn. definitely wants you to cast multiple spells in a turn, but ultimately is more reserved, despite her explosive personality.
Captain Vance ultimately bears more similarities toor even . With Vance as your commander, you’ll want to gradually build power throughout the course of the game until you have the resources to to take down your opponents in a single, furious barrage. Key to this strategy will be two things: card advantage and power. Red has plenty of ways to boost creatures and double damage, so lets start with what its least well known for, consistent card advantage.
Load the Cannons!
The backbone of this deck is cantrips. These cheap spells ensure we can easily cast three spells early in the game. Many of the most popular creatures in EDH sit at four or five toughness, easily within range of‘s first salvo. Even more importantly, and dig through your deck for the more powerful spells that will threaten to end the game. They also synergize with an early or to accelerate your game plan even faster.
There are some other, sneakier synergies hiding amidst these cantrips too. On its own,effectively draws a single card. Cast it in response to a wheel spell, however, and you’ll discard no cards, draw seven, and then re-draw your first hand from exile. Just don’t try that trick with , since it requires you to put cards on the bottom of your library, rather than discard them. Some cards, like extra lands, you don’t mind discarding through.
Red doesn’t get cantrips as powerful asor , but it does have the ability to turn any card into a cantrip. Discarding unwanted lands and spells to or is a great way to improve the quality of spells you have access to. I’ve also started adding to all of my mono-red decks as well. Being able to pay one mana and trade my worst card for a draw every turn is really good. It also doesn’t count as casting a spell, which can be useful when trying to time when ‘s ability triggers.
Timing your spells correctly is vital when trying to get the most out of. Her ability will resolve before the third spell you cast. If you cast into followed by , will have +3/+2, get one more power from her +1/+1 counter, and then deal seven damage. After that she’ll get a further +3/+1, for a total of 10 damage. A great way to get around this is to instead cast a cantrip as your third spell, and respond to ‘s ability with any further buffs so they resolve before her ability. is a great cantrip here, since it stops your follow-up spell from being countered.
That play pattern, responding with‘s ability on the stack heavily favors instants. is perfect, doubling any damage that Captain Vance deals for the rest of the turn. does the same by simply doubling her power for the turn. I’ve also been a fan of , despite it being a sorcery. Doubling your damage is valuable enough, and stopping damage prevention makes this card a slam dunk all around.
Some sorceries don’t care when they’re cast, though.is happy to resolve after has gotten her buffs and let loose with her cannons. It also solves the other problem with Ripley’s ability. Normally, can only deal with one player a turn, leaving you vulnerable to counter attack. and effectively double or triple your firepower. That should be more than enough to end the game.
And don’t forget about attacking.can easily grow to have massive power, and the simplest way to double her effect is to swing in. If you haven’t been able to keep one player’s field clear ensure Captain Vance can attack unopposed. and also stop creatures from blocking, while and grant trample.
may not be a true Storm commander, but I just mentioned a lot of spells that have to be cast in a single turn. Along with a suite of mana rocks, there are a couple extra spells to make sure you have the mana necessary.
is one of the most powerful rituals in Commander. It often generates fifteen or more mana, and takes advantage of players relying on and . is more reserved, but can be cast at instant speed. Finally, is both a ritual and draw spell with in play. And of course, I’ve already mentioned and .
I also want to considerand . These would take the place of equipment like and in this deck. While they are very powerful, they are also highly telegraphed. Any time hits the battlefield, it is unlikely to stay in play until your next turn. is much less immediately threatening. Your opponents could destroy it, but they might decide that a different threat is more pressing. is even better, since it costs less and provides some benefit to anyone else playing Mountains. It is even less likely to be targeted by removal.
Meeting the Crew
In addition to every cannon on Ixalan,needs a crew she can rely on. is a powerful addition to any team, and makes Captain Vance’s effect even more deadly. Toralf can pierce extra damage through creatures to their controllers. If that damage happens to be doubled by , then the damage Toralf deals is doubled as well. This is a neat trick to deal more damage to players with low toughness creatures. and , however, are better used to set up your big turns. keeps life totals low, within reach of ‘s cannons. both provides mana and helps draw through your deck.
Speaking of card draw, I want to end on a couple persistent sources of actual card advantage. Cantrips are important to make this deck function, but casting three spells a turn can quickly leave you empty handed.and give you extra spells you cast in a turn, while actually draws the cards. And, of course, no deck would be complete without .
Captain Ripley Vance Blasting Cannon
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This deck was a ton of fun to put together! I usually play in a slower, more reserved style, so getting to explore Magic’s more explosive side is always a treat.can deal a surprising amount of damage very quickly. Don’t underestimate her if you see her across the table.
But let me know what you think. Were there any cards I overlooked? Anything I think is better than it really is? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.