CUT #17 - Horobi vs Feldon vs Chainer

Travis Stanley • November 18, 2022

Horobi, Death's Wail - John Bolton
Feldon of the Third Path - Chase Stone
Chainer, Dementia Master - Mark Zug

Where were you when you opened your first Magic booster pack? Who first taught you to play Magic, was it a family member, a partner, or did you and a group of friends all decide to learn it together? Did you decide to learn it all by yourself because you found something in the game that pulled you in?

For me, it was a friend, he had invited a bunch of us over to his place to play Magic after rehearsal one night. There I was learning Magic (with an awesome Merfolk deck that included a tricky Wanderwine Prophets combo) and loving every minute of it. I now have a deck built around that same combo, but that's a tale for another time. 

Today on CUT we take a look back on our own respective pasts in Magic and our humble beginnings as Commander players. The challenges today are themed all around our Magic Origins!

Onto this week and the challenges our deck builders faced:

- Must use 10 cards from the set that started you on Magic (if it was a commander deck then you can use that Commander set)

- Must use 10 cards from the set Magic Origins

- Your commander must be the first commander you've built around

First up we have Jaret! Lets see how Jaret started his journey with magic!

 

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When I first started actually playing Commander, I played with a friend's deck. A few of them actually. I played a Krenko, Mob Boss someone had an early Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, and another friend had Bruna, Light of Alabaster. They would let me play with each of the decks in turn, and introduced me to a brand new world.

I went home that night, and typed into the Googles, "Commander, Magic, Deckbuild". EDHREC was the first website that popped up, and the other contributor to my new addiction. I remember scrolling across the different columns looking across the various new commanders and rules interactions.

Control, Discard, Chaos, Rakdos, Mardu, First strike, 40 Life?! I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I had played card games before, but I only knew this world through the eyes of someone who had only played Yu-Gi-Oh. The first real commander that stuck out to me was a mono black legendary from an article about Ultra Budget Brews, written by Andrew Cummings.  

When getting into the game for the first time, I was very nervous about how much money this was going to cost me. *points towards aforementioned Yu-Gi-Oh* Then I saw it. Horobi, Death's Wail. The name screamed death metal. The art was spine tingling, and the effect? That was THE most powerful thing I had ever read. Mess me up fam, if I couldn't have creatures, no one would.

Adding some cards from Origins and from when I first started turned out to be fairly easy, as I started really buying my own cards, and a subsequent box of cards, in the year of 2016 and I fell in love with Shadows Over Innistrad. So the deck has slowly evolved from the original that I netdecked from the article into this "enchantress" build of sorts. I swapped some of the cards for some higher ended ones, and at the end of the day, made it truly my own.

Adding ten cards from both Magic Origins and Shadows over Innistrad was super easy as they were both from roughly the same block. Keeping it mono-black was also easy.

Leaning into the enchantress build, I chose to lean into targets that allow me different effects when these normally useless enchantment auras now turn into a kill spell with some kind of upside. My meta is normally a 1v1 or a 3 person pod if lucky, so I'm not entirely sure how this would scale up to a proper commander game, but I feel confident that this would still be a proper creature control deck. Dead Man's Chest is a real MVP, sniping out my opponent's commander, and being able to get some free spells off it? Bonuses all around. Takklemaggot is THE card of this deck. It can be used as just a pseudo-board wipe, or if Horobi isn't out, it can be just a general weakening effect.

I love doing obscure builds, and I love using older cards that make people go, "...what?"

Once more I want to thank everyone for reading, and I hope this build tickles your fancy!


Thanks Jaret! What a great introduction that was for us and yourself, seems it would be right at home in The Dark. Hopefully Horobi can wail enough to push you through to the finals!


Next up we have Vex! They've brought us a wonderful deck that really resonates with them, and their relationship with Magic, let's check it out!

 

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Well, I'm excited. I'm getting a chance to revisit a Commander that I've played a lot - my first one. We start in the Autumn of 2014; I'd returned to Magic a year earlier (after a VERY long hiatus) and loved it. Standard was full of possibility for off-meta brews; everything felt possible. I'd played a few games of EDH, and wanted to build my own. I decided to try something different - I wanted to build mono-Red artifacts. I started assembling a decklist, but hadn't found the perfect Commander. Then, as fate would have it, Commander 2014 came out, and Feldon of the Third Path appeared. And it was love. Artifacts AND shenanigans, in my colour? Yes.

When I first put Feldon together, spot-removal wasn't really a thing, and tutors were more widely accepted. This time, we're staying focused on value and agility, lots of ETB triggers, and plenty of recursion targets. Furthering that trip down memory lane, I'm getting to include 10 cards from my first set: Unlimited.

This was going to be exciting. So many great cards from that set - surely there's going to be some all-stars that really scream ETB value, right? Nope. Magic wasn't built that way back then.

The Obvious Choices 

Sol Ring is an auto-include in most EDH decks, but I get to count it as one of my ten. Gauntlet of Might ramps me, I'll need it as I'm running 28 Mountains. Nevinyrral's Disk gets me a board wipe, and Disrupting Scepter helps me fill my graveyard (the Oracle text lets me target myself). Meekstone slows down the board, but since Feldon has a power of 2, I can keep using him, and I'm sacrificing my threats at the end of each turn anyhow.

The Also-Rans 

Forcefield reduces damage, which is nice when needed. Howling Mine draws everybody cards, but when it pushes me over hand size, I can get what I want in the 'yard.

The Pet Cards

I'm not going to build a red deck without every Timmy's favourite card, and Icy Manipulator still gives me nightmares from when I started playing. As soon as I knew the challenge, I knew that these two were in.

The 10th

It's red. It helps some of my creatures. It was between this and Lightning Bolt, so why not go with the obscure one? The final aspect of this challenge that brought me back to my origins was... well, cards from Magic Origins. In contrast to 2ED, ORI feels like a modern set. Creatures have ETB effects! Interaction! Frames! While Unlimited set the groundwork, my 10 Origins cards are developing my plan.

ETB Value

These four all give me value for getting them out and recurring them. Tokens, combat math, and impulse draw are all good things that will help advance my position.

General Goodstuffiness

Making something unblockable, ramping, pumping my dudes (everything that Feldon brings back is an artifact), and wiping the board are all really helpful when playing Magic, I've heard.

The Pet Card

I'm running her parents so let's make this a family affair. She gets damage through, and if I get to ultimate her (I won't) she sets a late-game clock.

The 10th

This is a creature that I'm never going to recur. But on board, it does everything I want. It draws me cards, it fills my graveyard. This was the toughest call.

***

The meat of the deck comes in two flavours - creatures with ETB/LTB effects, and ways of having Feldon go off multiple times each turn. Unlike a Golgari commander, Feldon leaves the target in the graveyard, so I can recur it as often as needed.

The Value Train

There's lots of options available here; some of my favourites are Sad Robot (ramp and draw), Wurmcoil Engine (wrecking face, and leaves 3/3s as a parting gift), Combustible Gearhulk (either draw three, or somebody is taking damage and I'm feeding my graveyard), and the Space Golem (removal!).

Making the Most of It

Untapping Feldon to activate him again, either recurring the same creature, or something else, as needed. Unwinding Clock untaps my untappers.

I'm also including some ways to copy my creatures (Jaxis also feeds my graveyard and draws cards). With the Sundial, if I end my turn after my End Step triggers, I get to keep all those sweet sweet tokens I've created.

Final thoughts

One of this deck's weaknesses is having my graveyard removed - without targets in the graveyard, it's weakened significantly. Feldon's Cane is on-flavour, and puts my graveyard back into my library - not ideal, but better than having everything exiled.

Thanks for joining me on this trip as I revisited an old friend and built something new. It's got shenanigans, card draw, removal, and power - and still some room for pet cards as well. Hope you like it!


Thanks so much Vex! I hope Feldon creates a victory for you to move on to the next round! You can check Vex out on twitter @The_Terroirist!


Lastly we have John! John brings some more "edgyness" to this series with his next entry, but before I spoil anything let's jump right in!

 

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Dominaria United has just been released and whenever we visit Dominaria in any set , I am immediately transported back to when I first started playing Magic: The Gathering. A young and earnest player who wanted nothing more than to be the edgest 13-year-old in school.

So, of course, like any typical angst-infused teenager, I accomplished this by wearing Black clothes. Listening to, as my dear old mum would say, "shouty music" and, obviously, the edgiest of moves I could make, playing nothing but mono black. 

I remember seeing Chainer, Dementia Master and was immediately blown away. This guy brings stuff back from ANY graveyard and pumps my guys, who, let's not forget, come back as nightmares when we use Chainer's ability. And look at him; he looks like the frontman of a Slipknot tribute band. I was in love, and I still am. He holds such a special place in my heart I had to build a deck around him. If you want to disrupt your opponents, Fill your graveyard and feel like an angsty teenager then buckle in (and maybe put on some My Chemical Romance).

So we're going to fill our graveyard with tonnes of cool stuff, and we are going to make our opponents fill the graveyards with their stuff too. That way, we will have no shortage of mighty creatures to defeat our opponents. And because older magic cards tended to be a bit wacky, we've got a secret weapon up our sleeves.

The full decklist can be found here.

Let's get into it.

First, we have to fill up everyone's graveyards, so we have to include Bottomless Pit, Mesmeric Orb, and Mindcrank. Included as well is Buried Alive, which is basically a tutor in this deck save but for three cards! Welcome to value town!

Speaking of value, Insidious Dreams lets us search our library for whatever cards we want. We can then dump them into the graveyard with cards like Cemetery Tampering. If we are feeling a little spicy, Morality Shift will instantly fill our yard with all our creatures.

Whilst filling up everyone's bins with goodies, we can get additional value to break parity with all-stars like Waste Not and Asylum Visitor. If our opponents are still holding on to more cards than us, then let's punish them with Dark Suspicions. Which, in my opinion, is very underrated in decks where we don't mind discarding our hands. Speaking of discarding our hands, Restless Dreams will let us get back some key creatures to our hands if we are in desperate need.

Since we are in Mono-Black, the colour of death, we can also capitalise on death triggers with an excellent card from Dominaria United, Braids, Arisen Nightmare. Morbid Opportunist and Grim Haruspex are also excellent at giving us more options to disrupt our opponent's game plan.

If our opponent's creatures are just too much, then Gloomdrifter will kill most things, and if it can't, then Deadly Rollick will. We also have a Baleful Mastery in this deck, which is my favourite way to stop Thoracle players from winning.

There are a few different lines we can go down to win; we can go for the classic Syr Konrad, the Grim and Mindcrank line. We can go do the line of infinitely casting Gray Merchant of Asphodel or Kokusho, the Evening Star with our Commander and K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth out.

Whilst those lines are in the deck, what is EDH without a little bit of whimsy?

The namesake of this deck is Mortal Combat, a card that just wins us the game on upkeep if our opponents cannot remove it. Filling our graveyard has never been easier, and with all this hand disruption in the deck. You play this when your opponents are out of options, and it's game over.


Awesome stuff John! Thanks so much for bringing us to a beautiful nightmare! You can go and check him out @manadorkjohn on twitter or on his website www.manadork.uk!


It's always interesting to see where folks got their start from. I know I said earlier how I started playing Magic, but my first Commander deck was the Black/White Daxos the Returned precon from Commander 2015, which I immediately took apart, then built my first handcrafted Commander deck, Ally tribal led by none other than the  General Tazri. Thinking about it really takes me back (and kind of makes me want to build that deck again because it would be so sweet now), and I hope reading this CUT did that for you too! Remember to vote on who you want to see in the finals and leave a comment below on who your first commander was, or your first experience playing Magic! As always, if you don't love it, CUT it! See you in the finals!

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

Poll ends November 25th: