Cut #6 – Tiktok Goes the Midnight Cut

Travis Stanley • September 1, 2021

Where won’t magic go? Is the question I was asking myself after watching the showcase last week. Not that planeswalking to different universes/IPs is a bad thing, but as the internet has shown, it’s controversial at best. Heading into the universe of Lord of the Rings, just makes sense, the Lord of the Rings is one of the progenitors of modern day fantasy and Magic paying homage to that is great. Gandalf, Bilbo, Gimli, and everyone’s favorite meme, Boromir, are going to have cards in Magic: the Gathering, and that’s pretty sweet. Now, I’m not a fan of Warhammer, but I have friends that play and it seems like a good fit with Magic’s general brand of fantasy, so I’m excited.

The reason I mention these is because they do affect what sort of challenges I give folks, and having these IP’s introduced into the Magic stream can make the challenges more interesting and not just based on sets or creature types, but can be more abstract and up to the deckbuilders interpretation, which is kind of the point of Cut. Not only am I stoked for those supplemental sets, I am beyond excited for the Standard sets coming out next year. Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, especially because of all the “cut” puns that I will inevitably make. Streets of New Capenna will give me an excuse to make deck builders offers and challenges that they can’t refuse. Ending the year with back to back sets in Dominaria really opens up the options for fun challenges that are all based around the plane of Dominaria and its far reaches and deep roots into Magic’s lore and history. Who is ready for some un-cut fun in 2022, because I am! This upcoming un-set will make for some unusual challenges, so watch for that.

Speaking of branching out into a different universe, this round’s deckbuilders are all Magic content creators on TikTok!

We will get to their decks in just a second, but first, lets see who won the last round of Cut!

 

 

Congratulations Jordan! Your Minn, Wily Illusionist proved to be too wily for my Wulfgar, of Icewind Dale deck to handle. It was fantastic having you on Cut, and thanks again for being on!

Now on to our main event!

In case you missed it, here are the challenges we gave our deck builders this time around:

  • Commander must have been released in either Innistrad, Dark Ascension, Avacyn Restored, Shadows Over Innistrad, or Eldritch Moon

  • At least 15 creatures must share a type with your Commander

  • Limited to 6 Non-Basic Lands

Let’s investigate and see what miracles our deck builders have created for us:


First up is Cody!

 

 

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Looking at the restrictions for the deck, building something tribal was fairly obvious, so my thought was to look for commanders whose types would lend themselves well to tribal strategies. This immediately brought me to Geist of Saint Traft. While Geist is typically played as a Voltron commander, its Spirit typing and low cost make it a perfect candidate to brew around a tried and true deck archetype: Aggro Control.

Aggro Control is a lesser talked-about deck archetype and sounds contradictory. It revolves around playing a small number of creatures, protecting them, and controlling the board with protection spells and counters while slowly chipping away at your opponents. Two great examples of this are the current Standard Dimir Rogues deck as well as Autumn Burchett’s Mythic Championship winning Mono-Blue Tempo deck.

Spirits lend themselves to this strategy as it is, which was a perfect fit for both the deck-building restrictions and the types of decks I already like to build. Spirits allow us to play a low-cost synergistic strategy similar to decks like Merfolk and Humans. The core of the creature package is Supreme Phantom, Drogskol Captain, and Empyrean Eagle, who all turn our relatively small fliers into legitimate contenders in combat. Backing these up are support creatures like Kira, Great Glass-Spinner, Unsettled Mariner, and Selfless Spirit, who all act as ways to keep removal spells and mass destruction off of our relatively light creature count.

Backing these up, we play a large suite of cards to keep our opponents off of us. In addition to several counterspells, we also play cards like Akroma’s Will, Unbreakable Formation, and Teferi’s Protection to guard us against board wipes and other targeted removal. Backing these up also is a selection of counterspells and other tempo cards to support the handful of threats we’re resolving. Cryptic Command, Force of Will, and Force of Negation serve as the main ways to interact with larger threats, but more expensive and niche options such as Dovin’s Veto, Mystic Confluence, and Swan Song can serve as versatile answers to other problems as well as niche answers to other threats later in the game. We also play Teferi, Time Raveler and Narset, Parter of Veils as ways to keep our opponents honest so we can be sure we’re the only ones interrupting others’ plays and grinding card advantage.

We also play a small sub theme of snow mana. There aren’t a lot of commander -playable snow cards in these colors, but I’m a sucker for snow mana, and the opportunity to include a reference to tropes about ghosts bringing chills was too obvious to ignore. This also leads to one of the 6 non-basic land slots, Faceless Haven. Known mostly for how much it’s dominating Standard, Faceless Haven being a Changeling means that it works with our Spirit synergies, giving us another creature on-board to attack with in the late game. Snow mana also opens us up to Ascendant Spirit as a mana-sink in the mid and late game, Arcum’s Astrolabe as a cheap cantrip that can fix our mana, Graven Lore, which if cast for five snow mana becomes one of the best card selection spells in the game, and On Thin Ice, which serves as a cheap way to interact with opponent’s creatures.

As for why I chose the lands that I did, Tundra is an easy choice because it’s the best dual land we can possibly play, (although a complete flavor failure for not also being a snow land), and Hallowed Fountain does a fairly good impression of it. Being only two colors, I don’t have to worry a ton about fixing, especially if my goal is to play the long game. This led me to the aforementioned Faceless Haven, as well as Cavern of Souls, which gives us an out against other contending blue decks. The last two slots I gave to Flooded Strand and Mystic Sanctuary. Because we play so many instants and sorceries, Mystic Sanctuary’s ability to recur them is invaluable, and Flooded Strand’s ability to not only get us a dual land but pull Mystic Sanctuary out of the deck means it’s not something we can reliably cut. Mystic Sanctuary is good, but banking on drawing it means it can’t always be reliable. The ability to fetch it means that we can not only essentially play a second copy, but we can access it on our opponent’s turn to fix our draw for the next turn.

I hope you enjoyed reading and can use this to ghost out your opponents!


 

Thanks Cody, way to spirit us away! Great job! You can follow Cody on TikTok and Twitter!

 


 

Next up is Toriofthevast! Take it away!

 

 

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Upon looking at the legendary creatures in the sets available, I was thrilled to see Thalia, Heretic Cathar on the list for Eldritch Moon. Her ability to make everything come in tapped gives a huge advantage for combat-centric strategies, which is how I personally like to win. My mind was immediately made up: I am going to create a mono-white deck that consists of a beefy commander stacked with hard-hitting equipment, her soldier army, and some trickery that makes this deck hard to break through! I feel like white is often looked at as a “weak” color to play, but when you play your cards right (ha-ha), it is the total opposite of weak. Let’s begin!

When building this deck, my first thought was “how can I protect my commander and her army from the threats on the table?”, and so my obvious go-to equipment were Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots, the plan being to try and equip them to my commander as soon as possible. I also added a Ghostly Prison and Crawlspace, which if on the battlefield together, makes a nice buffer for any opponent with a ton of strong creatures or even more littler ones. Limiting an opponent to two attackers, with a cost of two mana each, persuades opponents to attack someone else. Creatures like Mother of Runes and Giver of Runes are also in this deck list to give more protection to our commander, since we want her to be on the battlefield as much as the game as possible to keep our enemies’ boards tapped down.

On to my favorite cards in this deck; the equipment! This deck is packed with swords and weapons to raise our commander’s (or another creature’s) power and toughness, along with other fun abilities. Take for example, Godsend, which not only gives a boost of +3/+3, it also exiles a blocking creature when attacking. Making it one of my favorite equipment! Of course, we cannot run a Voltron-style deck without the swords like Sword of Feast and Famine and Sword of War and Peace. Some other equipment cards I love include, Basilisk Collar, which is great for life gain, Kusari-Gama, which is great against mass token decks or any large board state, and Batterskull, giving a mighty +4/+4 and lifelink. Due to the high amount of equipment in this deck, Stoneforge Mystic was a necessity. Being able to tutor for any equipment is a game changer! Sigarda’s Aid is also such an amazing card for such a low mana value, allowing you to attach equipment that enter the battlefield with no cost.

Other artifacts I chose to run include Caged Sun, Gauntlet of Power (which is great in a mono color deck), and Sol Ring since we need all the mana we can get to pay some of those pretty high equip costs. This is also why I put Armored Skyhunter in this deck. This card is a must-have for any equipment-heavy deck since it allows you to look at the top six and put an equipment card into play.

Part of this challenge included the use of fifteen creatures that shared a type with the commander, so I chose to make an army of human soldiers. The synergy between them works out incredibly well! Abzan Falconer stood out to me since his ability makes other creatures you control with +1/+1 counters have flying. Reverent Hoplite and Daysquad Marshal whose abilities give you 1/1 tokens. Put a couple of +1/+1 counters on your little soldiers and you will have a huge advantage, if your opponent doesn’t have any creatures with reach or flying. I also added some of my favorite creatures in white: Angels! Avacyn, Angel of Hope just so happens to be my favorite. If you can get her out (with all of those mana doublers we added 😉) she is brutal to deal with. An 8/8 angel that makes everything indestructible? Who could resist! Other honorable mentions include Baneslayer Angel, giving you protection from dragons AND lifelink, and Restoration Angel allowing you to exile and return a creature giving you another ETB trigger which can be useful for creating more tokens from your soldiers.

Some challenges that I ran into with a mono-white deck were the need for counters against any burn spells or blue card trickery. For that reason, I added a Dawn Charm for a counterspell, and some cheap removal spells like Condemn, Swords to Plowshares, and Path to Exile. Teferi’s Protection is one of my favorite cards in white! This card has quite literally won me games because of its ability to completely shut you off from anything for an entire rotation. It is a must-have in any deck that runs white. I also added some hefty removal board wipes and mass land destruction spells like Wrath of God and Armageddon (which is amazing to use when you have Avacyn on the board) just in case you need a total reset!

I really enjoyed this challenge and had a lot of fun creating a mono-colored EDH deck. Thalia is a fun commander and challenges both the player as well as the opponents to think outside of the box to deal with her ETB trigger. I hope that you enjoyed this deck list and find some inspiration from it, to either build or add cards into your own decks that contain white spells! Thank you Travis for including me in this challenge!


Thanks Toriofthevast! Hope Thalia can take you Ca-far into the next round! Okay, that pun was bad, but that deck was great! You can follow her on Twitch, Tiktok and Twitter!


 

Finally we have Beck!

 

 

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Eldrazi is a community-favorite tribe in Magic. Looking over the options I had for commanders given the deck restrictions and the concept of brewing something colorless. Building a colorless commander gave me a unique edge over other decks and allowed me to attack deckbuilding and gameplay from unique and strange angles while accessing one of Magic’s most powerful tribes. Emrakul, the Promised End seemed like a less than obvious choice, making it the obvious choice for me.

Going with Eldrazi gave me a large card pool to work with. Between Rise of the Eldrazi and Battle for Zendikar block, a large selection of mighty creatures all work well together. It not only gives access to the obvious heavy-hitting titans like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, but it also gives us access to plenty of smaller Eldrazi to fill the curve and give support, such as Eldrazi Mimic, Endbringer, and Thought-Knot Seer. In addition, we also play big hitters such as Void Winnower to keep our opponents off their footing and restrict the answers they may have for us, and Soul of New Phyrexia, which, while not an Eldrazi, gives us the ability to keep our opponents from cleanly answering our army of monsters.

Colorless also pulls us in the direction of artifact synergies. Cards like Foundry Inspector discount all of our mana rocks that we use for ramp, and cards like Jhoira’s Familiar act as a way to maintain card advantage while casting them. Cards like Forsaken Monument allow all of my non-lands that tap for mana to tap for an additional colourless like Grim Monolith and Thran Dynamo.

Overall this deck will be fun to stomp on little creatures excessively, take extra turns, and make lots and lots of mana with remarkable rocks.


Great stuff, Beck! A great way to end the Innistrad theme of challenges, with some good ol’ fashioned spaghetti monsters! You can find Beck on Twitter, Instagram and Twtich @mtggirl_ and on Tiktok @mtggirl ! Check out her link tree here https://linktr.ee/mtggirl


 

Now you have seen the decks, vote down below who you think transformed these challenges into the most fierce, ferocious, and fabulous creation. Thank you to our amazing content creators for joining this edition of Cut. Make sure to follow them on their socials and check them out!

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is stalking ever closer, and with the rise of the full moon, we have also raised up our game here at Cut. For the first time ever the next round will feature a prize! Whoever wins round 2 of this Cut challenge will win the deck that they will create. I will explain in more detail when we get there, but for now, choose who makes it to the next round! Voting closes on September 6th, 2021! Stay tuned for next week and remember if you don’t love it, cut it!

If you or anyone you know would like to be part of a future Cut article, please send an email to the.only.travis.stanley@gmail.com