CUT #16 Finals - CUT-olition Victory!

Travis Stanley • October 7, 2022

Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer - Tuan Duong Chu

The Phyrexians are here and back to claim Dominaria and the rest of the Multiverse to spread their "perfection". Unfortunately, I missed the boat on the Phyrexians as I didn't start playing until Origins, and by then it was all about the Eldrazi. I had always heard murmurings from friends about Mirrodin block and how it was super cool the way WotC did their marketing. I'm kinda sad we didn't get that immersive this time around, though we can still get there: we have a whole half a year of sets around this giant final showdown. I also have plenty of theories as to what's going to happen, but I'll save those for another time. All we know now is that Dominaria has its hands full with the invading Phyrexian forces.

Speaking of full hands, our Finalists this time had their hands full of this week's challenges!

Let's see who made it to the Finals!

Congratulations Andy and CoachJRo! Now you get to face off in this final round! Thank you Alex so much for your submission, Shanna, Purifying Blade, may have gained you life and drew you some cards, but unfortunately that value didn't quite get you there. Nonetheless, thank you for participating, and I sincerely hope to see you on CUT again sometime!

Moving right along into the meat of the article, the challenges our deckbuilders had to face were:

- Commander must be from DMC

- You must use at least 5 named legends that have more than one card. (Example: Jhoira; "..of the Ghitu", "..Weatherlight Captain" etc.)

- Max 15 Mythics/Rares (including your commander)


First up we have Andy, take it away!


Rith CUT

Commander (1)
Creatures (27)
Instants (15)
Lands (34)
Artifacts (8)
Sorceries (8)
Enchantments (5)
Planeswalkers (2)

 

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Commander must be from DMU

I don't have a Dragon deck, and I've thought about brewing one for years. Dragons are wildly popular, and we get a new one in almost every set, which is a nice way to change up decks over time.

I thought about building Miirym, Sentinel Wyrm, but a friend in our playgroup built it first. I've seen many The Ur-Dragon decks over the years, and Tiamat never spoke to me. Honestly, I'm into off-the-beaten-path commanders, and there really aren't many Rith, Liberated Primeval decks online. I also typically lean towards two-color decks, so I'm stepping out of my comfort zone to build Naya Dragons. Let's jump in.

You must use at least 5 named Legends that have more than one card. (Example: Jhoira; "of the Ghitu", "Weatherlight Captain" etc.)

Let's take a look at this fabulous cast of legendary celebrities joining us on this journey.

Rith, Liberated Primeval is the second Rith we've gotten. Rith, the Awakener released with Invasion back in 2000, and 22 years later, she's back and she's bringing Dragon friends.

Dromoka, the Eternal is the OG from Fate Reforged. It would only take a single set for her to be re-envisioned, but Dromoka, the Eternal is difficult to keep up with if you let a few Dragons attack.

Dragonlord Dromoka showed up in Dragons of Tarkir after Sarhkan Vol changed the timeline. I much prefer this version, but both are fantastic in a Dragon deck. We don't need anyone playing during our turn.

Sarkhan the Masterless is no longer living in the darkest timeline. This is actually the latest Sarkhan and the seventh version of this planeswalker. He's here to play with Dragons and burn down your village.

Finally, Sarkhan, Fireblood came out in Core Set 2019 and was the fifth version printed. He's going to help dig for Dragon spells and cast them.

Max 15 Mythics/Rares (including your commander)

The Plan

We're here to make Dragons and take names.

This was quite the challenge. I prioritized Dragon creatures and synergies over my mana base. I focused on a strong mana rock package to compensate. Let's dive in.

While we have plenty of great uncommon Dragons from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate that were added, I wanted some bombs that will help us snatch the win. Lathliss, Dragon Queen works well with 23 nontoken Dragons that are in this deck. Scalelord Reckoner and Thunderbreak Regent are both going to make your opponents think about targeting Dragons. Tyrant's Familiar is the most mana-intensive rare we're playing, but it works well to deal damage and trigger Rith so we continue to get Dragons at the end of our turn.

The real bombs are Scourge of Valkas and Toralf, God of Fury. Scourge of Valkas is a must-remove Dragon that deals more and more damage over time. It synergizes with our commander and is a win condition all on its own.

You might be wondering why Toralf, God of Fury is in this deck. It stipulates "noncombat" damage, and I'm running some fight spells, like Ancient Animus, Go for Blood, and Khalni Ambush which cause creatures to fight. This is considered noncombat damage and will deal that excess to your opponents directly. This sub theme works perfectly with Rith so I wanted to keep that focus on excess damage present.

Now, Rith, Liberated Primeval makes a single token at the end of your turn if excess damage was dealt to a creature or planeswalker an opponent controls. I wanted to lean into token-doubling cards, like Anointed Procession, Parallel Lives, Doubling Season, and Primal Vigor, but these take up mythic and rare slots for the Dragon synergies I wanted to prioritize. To make up for this I went the route of adding Populate cards to make additional tokens because there are a few available in the common and uncommon slots. Shoutout to Druid's Deliverance, Sundering Growth, and Rootborn Defenses.

I've filled the remainder of the list with Dragon spells and ramp to ensure that lands drops aren't a problem. Now take to the sky and knock some opponents out with Naya Dragons!


Thanks Andy! If you haven't checked Andy out yet here on Commander's Herald, what are you waiting for? Hopefully Rith can punch you up to the top, Andy, and generate a victory for you!


Last but not least, we have Coach J Ro!


Shanid CUT

Commander (1)
Sorceries (6)
Instants (28)
Enchantments (1)
Artifacts (11)
Creatures (13)
Lands (40)

 

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Background

Hi! I'm Coach J Ro, the Unsummoned Skull, one of the writers for EDHREC! I have been diagnosed with OCD and I'm a college Statistics Professor, so I design decks based on numbers. My first article series for EDHREC was based on the jobs decks do and how to build synergy into the individual card choices, which is how I approach deckbuilding and this challenge in particular. The deck I made for this challenge is a Mardu Lands deck. By drawing cards off of its lands, the deck is able to extract card advantage beyond what the spells can do. This deck is aggressive, interactive, and flexible; everything a fun and powerful tempo deck should be!

Challenge

The challenges I was given for this build were:

- Commander must be from DMC

- You must use at least 5 named legends that have more than one card. (Example: Jhoira; "..of the Ghitu", "..Weatherlight Captain" etc.)

- Max 15 Mythics/Rares (including your commander)

When I saw Shanid, Sleepers' Scourge spoiled, I knew that the general focus would be on legendary creatures, as there are two lines of text that refer to them. Shanid draws cards when the legends are cast and gives those legendary creatures menace. But I was drawn to a different part of that first line: Shanid draws cards when legendary lands are played, too! This gave me food for thought, as caring about lands is not something Mardu is known for. A legends-matter commander in a legends-matter set isn't all that innovative, but taking a strategy out of its normal colors and stretching colors that had shown minimal range recently is right up my alley as a brewer!

Commander

Shanid spoke to me because caring about lands is usually something reserved for green, but Shanid shifted that to Mardu, with the condition that the lands be legendary. There are a couple of issues with meeting the needs of the challenge this creatively, however. One issue, which typically comes up when I'm colorshifting a strategy or building a potentially risky strategy, is the need for critical mass. Shanid requires a certain amount of legendary permanents to be considered a card-draw engine. The other major issue is that the lands have to be played, not put onto the battlefield, so putting the land onto the battlefield with, say, Archaeomancer's Map, won't draw the card. As a result, even the small amount of support for a lands-matter strategy in Mardu is divided. This will be a tricky project, but innovation often is!

Spot Removal

Most of the deck's spot removal centers around instant speed, which enables more reactive play patterns. Rather than aggressively mowing down opposing threats as they land, this allows us to wait until the card becomes a threat to us and then respond when necessary. Because players only have so much removal, and controlling 3 players is extremely difficult, this allows us to use our removal judiciously.

Mass Removal

The deck's mass/multi removal is designed to operate at instant speed, so it is used only when necessary. There are several Fog effects, which help to stall out games so our draw engine can take over. They get even better when Sunforger is online, as they represent several bullets in the chamber that the opponent has to survive. Since each turn has a number of interactions and synergies, a small opening can explode into a huge amount of advantage!

Card Draw

The card draw here is being used for velocity instead of advantage. The objective is to use red-based rummaging effects to filter through cards and set up an ideal hand, while also preparing the graveyard for reanimation shenanigans. By playing lands out of the graveyard, the deck can trigger Shanid more than it would normally be able to, as there are a limited number of legendary lands, but they can be used more than once!

Ramp

The ramp is fairly stock, as most mana rocks are colorless and they help fix the colors decently. This is especially important because we are playing around with our lands and running an elevated amount of nonbasics. Weathered Wayfarer is a neat little departure, searching out nonbasics and putting them in hand, creating a neat little synergy loop with our commander.

Win Con/General Synergies

The win conditions, for the most part, are designed around permanents entering or leaving the battlefield or graveyard. They are split between cards that work with Sunforger, the eminent Boros Equipment, and legendary creatures, which add hits for our commander as a draw engine. One of the cuter interactions is Toggo making Rock tokens, which deal noncombat damage, so Tor Wauki (a legend that had a previous printing) can amplify the damage. Baird is a solid defensive creature, and also had a card in each Dominarian-named expansion.

Nonbasic Lands

The nonbasics are designed to be legendary lands to trigger Shanid, while also providing additional advantage. The Channel lands are there to act as spells as well as to be lands that put themselves into the graveyard to be reused later. The core of the deck is designed around playing lands from the graveyard and replaying lands that have been bounced. 12 of the rares and mythics were used here, as legendary lands tend to be rare, with the exceptions of Gods' Eye, Gate to the Reikai, Urborg, and Hammerheim. Eiganjo and Urborg are both legendary lands that have been used multiple times, with both instances of Eiganjo and Urborg in the list. The original Boseiju is here, too, even though the new version has a green identity. As a result, there are 5 legendaries that have multiple versions represented in the lands.

Basic Lands

5 Mountain

10 Plains

5 Swamp

I tend to run a lot of basics in my decks because I want lands to enter untapped and I trust the deck to sort out the colors if it's randomized sufficiently. I want to cast my spells on time, and the greedier I get, the more likely it is that I'm made to pay. The simplicity of this deck and its defensive, tempo-based plan makes it important for me to watch the situation, read, and react. Tempo decks shift between offense and defense, so I need to be attentive to the table, which is easier to do when I can trust my deck and its ratios to do what I want them to do. There's power in being linear!


Thank you so much Coach Jo Ro for your submission! As with Andy, Coach J Ro is a content creator as well over on EDHREC, go read and check him out! Well, Coach, I hope this deck lands you in the winners seat!


Both decks are in front of you now, and demand that you determine which deck deserves decorating with decals for defending (or defeating) Dominaria! Vote for your favorite below and next time we will see which deck comes out on top! Next time on CUT we will have some very special guests doing a very special CUT themed around the Warhammer 40k Commander Decks! You won't want to miss it! Even if you tuned out of the previews, you should tune into these wonderful decks crafted by these wonderful folks! See you all next time and as always, if you don't love it, CUT it!

If you or a friend would like to participate in a CUT article, feel free to send an email to the.only.travis.stanley@gmail.com or reach out to me on twitter @chipman007!