CUT: Holiday Edition

Travis Stanley • December 29, 2023

Generous Gift| Kev Walker

Hello, fine readers! I am back with another edition of CUT: Holiday Edition! In this article we'll see what me and friends got up to this year with our annual deck exchange. Before we get to that, though, let's see who won the last CUT, CUT #27!

Congratulations, Beth! Looks like your pair of paleontologists proved particularly popular! A big thank you for contributing to CUT #27, I loved both of your entries. Also a big thank you to Christian for participating as well, loved reading both of your submissions. If you haven't already go an say hello to Beth over on her website, or check out some of her other works here on Commander's Herald and Cool Stuff Inc.

Now on to the holiday fun!

As opposed to past years where we've made decks for each other meant to play in a traditional four-player Commander sense, this year we decided to pair up and build decks for our teammates in a Two-Headed Giant game. First off we divvied ourselves into teams, then colors were chose for each player randomly. Once those factors had been decided, it was time to get to deckbuilding. For the commanders of the deck, they all had to have been released this year, 2023. The other "restriction" we had in place were our own personal wishlists. This year I decided not to include them in this write-up, mostly because the other guys lost their lists.

The first team we will look at is Ben and Sinclair! These guys have been friends for a very long time, so it's always interesting to see what they built for each other. 

Sinclair is a more competitive-minded individual that very much enjoys his artifact combo decks. Whenever he brings out his Sai, Master Thopterist, Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero, or any of his decks built with Silas Renn, Seeker Adept, a collective groan escapes the table. He has also professed his love for Myrs, even before Urtet, Remnant of Memnarch was released, though when it was released he built a deck even before Urtet officially was released. This may lead you to believe that he's a one-trick artifact pony; nay-nay I say, for in the community where we play Sinclair is known as the Boros guy. His most prized deck is his so named "Double the Fun" as it's lead by Aurelia, the Warleader and every creature inside of the deck has double strike: A fearsome deck, indeed. Sinclair has also been known as the one in our group to have the weirdest and jankiest builds out of all of us, like his "Everday I'm Tramplin'" deck featuring Stonebrow, Krosan Hero

Ben on the other hand is the most casual player in our group, building decks with cards he already owns and spending very little resources on acquiring new ones. He wasn't always that way, though: like Sinclair, Ben was a staple at Friday Night Magic and draft nights at our local game store. He was always buying stronger and stronger cards to fuel his graveyard-focused decks, like Meren of Clan Nel Toth, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord, and his signature deck Sidisi, Undead Vizier. When he wasn't digging in the graves, he was looking for ways to up his storm count and be the most explosive spellcaster there ever was with decks like Melek, Izzet Paragon and Niv-Mizzet, Parun. Eventually, though, the hustle and bustle of real life and the avalanche of Magic product made Ben take a few steps back form the game he loved. Now he's found his happy medium, a way he can stay mostly up to date with what's going on and be able to play the game he loves.

Lets see what they have built for each other:

Ben's gift to Sinclair, had to be Mardu, and this is what he gifted:

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
View this decklist on Archidekt

Sinclair's gift to Ben had to be Jeskai, and this is what he came up with:

Ben Christmas 2023

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Instants (13)
Artifacts (10)
Enchantments (11)
Creatures (21)
Battles (2)
Sorceries (7)
Planeswalkers (1)
Lands (33)

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
View this decklist on Archidekt

The next team up is Kenneth and myself!

Kenneth is definitely the spikiest player of our group. He's always looking to play the the most efficient and value-filled move every turn. Having that competitive itched scratched by Modern for the longest while, Kenneth was happy playing and putting all of his time into that format. Alas, life gets to us, and as it did with Ben, life pushed Kenneth away from that style of Magic and he had to break apart and trade in his "Modern lifestyle" as he couldn't sustain it. He was always a Commander player, so when he needed that break, Commander welcomed him back with open arms. He now scratches that competitive itch through Canadian Highlander, or borrowing cards or whole decks to pop into Modern nights from time to time. His signature deck in our playgroup right now is his Koll, the Forgemaster combo deck, and oh boy, it is the kind of deck that can win out of nowhere. Being very competitive means Kenneth loves combo decks and playing extremely powerful Magic.

As for myself, if you're a longtime reader you'll know that I started playing around Magic Origins and that my first Commander decks were the Meren of Clan Nel Toth and Daxos the Returned preconstructed decks. The first deck I actually built was the Elves preconstructed deck lead by [elFreyalise, Llanorwar's Fury[/el], so technically it was a precon, but I also bought each card individually. I enjoy combo and playing "solitaire" as much as the next person with decks like Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain and a Narset, Enlightened Master extra turns deck. Though I am very much a creature-types-matter player. My favorite decks that I've played include an Elves deck led by Nissa, Vastwood Seer and Allies lead by General Tazri, in addition to those I have made Vampires, Dinosaurs, Dragons, and many others. I'm not as competitive as Kenneth or Sinclair, but I spend much more time and energy on Magic than Ben. I fit somewhere in the middle of the group's competitive/Spike scale.

Let's see what we built for each other:

Kenneth's gift to me had to be Boros.


Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer


View this decklist on Archidekt

My gift to Kenneth had to be Temur.

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
View this decklist on Archidekt

Thank you all for joining me in sharing our wonderful creations this year. I figured giving you a bit of backstory on each of us would make our choices and deckbuilds make a little more sense. Maybe this will inspire a you to build a deck for a friend, or perhaps you forgot some of the commanders existed, I know I did. 2023 has been a wild year, and I can't wait to see what cards 2024 brings. I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best in the last few days of this year! See you!


You know whats a great New Year's resolution? Participating in a CUT article! If you or a friend, or if you feel like someone should be on this series, feel free to reach out to me on social media, I'm @chipman007 most places.