CUT Single Slice - Warhammer 40K Challenge ft. RebellSon, Emma Partlow & Jake FitzSimons!

Travis Stanley • November 4, 2022

Universes Beyond. One of the most divisive phrases in Magic. Some folks love the idea of incorporating other IPs into the Magic sphere, others find it abhorrent. Love it or not, Universes Beyond is here to stay. The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, and Street Fighter are some of the franchises/IPs we've already seen, with many more  on the way. Today we're looking at the grimmest, darkest of crossovers: Warhammer 40K.

As someone who doesn't have an extensive knowledge of Warhammer in general, seeing Wizards incorporate it into the game of Magic made me very curious, and I wondered how it would go and what folks would think. Overall the reception of the cards and decks has been positive; I've had a chance to play them, and they're loads of fun!

Speaking of fun, let's get to today's article, shall we? Welcome to Single Slice, a CUT special article where we take three deckbuilders and give them one shot to build the best deck they can within my restrictions. We have three tremendous guests today! First, let's see who won CUT #16:

Congratulations, Andy! It seems the legendary Rith swooped in and got you the victory! Thank you for being a part of CUT, and we'll see you future article! I also want to thank Coach J Ro, because even though he didn't win, he won our hearts with his fun and interesting builds. Remember to go and check them out on Commander's Herald and EDHREC and on twitter, @AndyFloury and @Coach_J_Ro!


Back to Warhammer! Here are the challenges that our deckbuilders took on for this Single Slice...

  • Must use a legendary creature from the Warhammer 40K decks as your commander
  • Choose at least 5 cards from the Warhammer 40K Secret Lairs
  • Must use at least 15 cards released in the Warhammer 40K Commander decks. (Doesn't have to be all from one, can be sourced from all)

Our first guest is none other than the Rebell Son! She is a member of the Commander Advisory Group and has had various guest appearances on Youtube, and has her own Youtube channel. Let's see what Rebell has brought to the table:

The commander formerly known as Najeela, the Blade Blossom

Rebell's Heresy Najeela

Commander (1)
Creatures (28)
Lands (36)
Instants (6)
Enchantments (8)
Artifacts (15)
Sorceries (6)

 

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Rebell, how difficult did you find these challenges? Were they easier than you thought?

They were actually a lot harder than I expected! Going in I thought it would be very easy to build something around all the commander options, but I wanted something that felt like a unique take on the commanders, and I ran into a few problems. The first problem is that the card pool of the decks don't mix very well; they're all very specific to each precon's original faction, so it wasn't very easy to meaningfully add Necron cards to the Chaos deck, for example.

The second problem was that while the commanders seemed very powerful on paper, a lot of them had somewhat generic value engines or themes, and I found it difficult to be inspired beyond upgrading where the precon wanted me to go.

The third problem is that part of the challenge is to use a good numbe of the cards from the precons in the lists, and the commanders I found interesting, like Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph, just wouldn't naturally want that many cards from the precons to build well.

THUS THE REASON WHY I COMMITTED HERESY ON THE RULES OF THE CHALLENGE AND USED A COMMANDER FROM THE SECRET LAIR INSTEAD OF THE DECKS.

As a fan of the Warhammer universe, I really wanted to use as many of the cards as I could from the set in an interesting way and I was very curious how the Loyalist and Heretic legions would mix together.

What is your experience with Warhammer/Magic? Which did you like first?

I actually liked Warhammer first! A long time ago, my mom was visiting the UK for a business trip, and she knew I always liked "little soldiers", like miniature knights and stuff, so one evening after work she saw the iconic Third Edition starter set with the Black Templars illustrated in all their martial glory and bought me that box set as a gift.

Cover art for the Warhammer 40K Third Edition starter set.

Ever since I saw the art, I fell in love with the Warhammer universe. I would go to Warhammer shops in Hong Kong and Singapore during the weekends to paint my army with friends. I never knew how to play, I always just enjoyed the design side of the hobby. Eventually Games Workshop closed all their stores in Asia, and right around that time I was introduced to Magic because my friend would have us follow him to buy Onslaught packs at our LGS.

What is the win con of your deck, or is it more flavor than power?

The deck is sort of built with flavor in mind, but given that it's ARCHAEON THE EVERCHOSEN (Najeela, the Blade-Blossom); there's just inherent CHAOTIC power within the commander itself. It's also very amusing to me that the Lord of Endtimes from Warhammer Fantasy is leading this fierce army of space warriors from 40K.

The deck plays like a somewhat generic Warrior tribal deck with a subtheme in token generation. You get a sense of the Warhammer 'flavor' in some of the warriors like the Chaos marines with Cascade, but I assume the deck is going to perform well because it's a Najeela deck with beefy Warriors wielding holy guns loaded with bullets that are like mini-nukes.

Any other thoughts or fun discoveries you made while building?

I tried really hard to make the Cascade theme work with the rest of the deck. If you look through the list of considering cards in my moxfield list, you'll see all the Suspend or other Cascade subtheme enablers, like Averna, the Chaos Bloom, there. I goldfished the initial version a few times and found that the Cascade just never worked, and you always end up just doing the Warrior plan over the Cascade plan, so the fun discovery is just how powerful the warriors of the Imperium are, lol.

I also considered fitting some other servants of the Imperium, like Battle Sisters or the soldiers of the Imperial Guard; however, it was a little too unwieldy to fit all the subthemes of Miracle and Soldiers matter into this already packed list. I think if I spent a lot more time playing the list and learning every card better, I might be able to fit those sub-factions in.

Why should folks vote for your deck?

You'll get purged by the Emperor if you don't.


Thanks so much Rebell! You can go and check them out @SonRebell on twitter and their Youtube channel here!


Next up is another fantastic guest, Emma Partlow! Emma is a Content Editor and writer for TCGplayer who loves helping players dive into Magic: the Gathering. She's big on games of all kinds and always happy to jump in on the fun. You can find Emma shuffling Magic cards, accidentally drinking paint water, or referencing The Simpsons. Let's see what Emma built and who she chose to command her army!

Primarch of the Death Guard Space Marine Legion

Emma's Mortarion, Daemon Primarch

Commander (1)
Artifacts (13)
Enchantments (4)
Creatures (31)
Instants (9)
Sorceries (8)
Lands (32)
Planeswalkers (2)

 

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Emma, what is your experience with Warhammer/Magic? Which did you like first?

Since I was a kid, I've played Warhammer 40K. I first came into the Games Workshop tabletop game during Second Edition (we're now on Ninth Edition), where you only had Space Marines, Eldar, Orks (now called Aeldari), Tyranids, and Chaos to choose from as your factions. I recall being nerdily excited to paint up some Ultramarines and blast some of my brother's Orks army into another galaxy--making 'pew pew' sounds while playing.

Fast forward to the present, and now I'm playing Warhammer 40K but with Magic: the Gathering cards! Understandably, the Universes Beyond crossover isn't for everyone, but I felt I was perfectly in the center of a Venn diagram where I play both tabletop games. With that, the Warhammer 40K Commander release was one of the few Magic: the Gathering releases I was unreasonably excited for, and it delivered in such a fantastic way! From dazzling new cards and flavorful additions, the Warhammer 40K Commander Precons are some of the best Commander products seen in years and will set new (perhaps unrealistic) expectations for future Commander products.

What is the win con of your deck, or is it more flavor than power?

Featured in The Ruinous Powers Commander Precon, Mortarion is one of my favorite characters from the Warhammer 40K universe and another reason why I own a Chaos Death Guard tabletop army. Mortarion was originally one of the twenty Primarchs of Mankind (a goody-two-shoe Space Marine) but fell to the whims of Nurgle, the Chaos God of Disease and Decay. Now the greatest Daemon Prince of Nurgle, Mortarion leads the Death Guard into battle across the galaxy, spreading bile and disease to those who attempt to contest the Chaos faction. As for the Magic: the Gathering card, Mortarion, Daemon Primarch comes with a gnarly ability.

As you can see, the Daemon Primarch comes with an excellent ability to generate several menacing Astartes Warrior tokens based on the amount of life you've lost in a turn. So, to build Mortarion, combining lifegain, life loss, and ways to generate absurd amounts of mana are the trifecta to make a successful Nurgle strategy.

Decklist

Fortunately, Mortarion is in the best color to do all three of those things! Mono-black allows you to control your life total, generate board advantage, and it can offer a sacrifice theme as an alternative game plan. Plus, building a mono-color Commander strategy is much easier than splashing for two, three, or more colors as you enter the cumbersome territory with these tapped mana sources.

With Mortarion, you come with a streamlined mana base (featuring the amazing Sceptre of Eternal Glory from the Necron Dynasties Warhammer 40K Precon!) with the opportunity to run both Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to help pay for Mortarion's end-step ability. As you start on 40 life in Commander, whittling your life total shouldn't be too difficult, right?

As the herald of Nurgle leads this Commander strategy, I wanted to keep the pallid and intoxicating theme by incorporating Poxwalkers, Tallyman of Nurgle, Plague Drone, Great Unclean One, and my favorite card, Sloppity Bilepiper in the list. In terms of strategy, the gameplan is to attack your opponents' resources while extending your own strategy.

You have numerous sacrifice payoffs in Viscera Seer, Blood Artist, Pitiless Plunderer, and Zulaport Cutthroat to accrue value out of sacrificing those Astartes Warrior tokens, with a board wipe back-up in the flavorfully named Toxic Deluge, and Decree of Pain and Bile Blight are ideal additions to this disgusting Nurgle Commander strategy. As Nurgle is one of the Gods of Chaos, you can't play a Chaos strategy without Daemons!

Not only do they serve Grandfather Nurgle in this Commander strategy, but both Vilis, Broker of Blood and Razaketh, the Foulblooded also offer activated abilities that use a life cost to support Mortation's ability. The same is true for K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth and Defiler of Flesh: Phyrexian mana costs are ideal where you can trade life loss for menacing tokens.

Alternatively, Mortarion, Daemon Primarch comes with impressive stats: an evasive 5/6 could make for a robust alternative win condition. While Hand of Vecna and Pact Weapon are there to help you lose life, they come with a decent power boost if you can meet the criteria, and if you do, hitting your opponent for 21 commander damage shouldn't be difficult.

Mortarion offers a few angles of attack that makes the strategy incredibly resilient, which is amazingly on-flavor for the Death Guard, who often refuse to perish for good.

While building this tribute to Nurgle, I discovered that creating a mono-color Commander deck is a bundle of fun, and it offers an exciting limitation instead of being able to play every color in Magic: the Gathering. Commander is falling into an unfortunate trend of trying to accommodate every pushed card in the last two years, which really encourages you to play as many colors as possible to play these generically powerful cards--without much downside, may I add.

By being mono-color, it keeps you honest when it comes to deckbuilding and takes you down this journey of finding these excellent and offbeat cards that can thrive within a mono-color build. While my list of Mortarion is far from budget-friendly, keeping to one color can keep things extremely affordable.

Lastly, you all should vote for my Mortarion, Daemon Primarch Commander deck because it'll make Grandfather Nurgle happy and spare me from the unfortunate outcome if it doesn't win!


Thank you Emma! Make sure to go and check her out on twitter at @emmmzyne, and check out the Podcast she's on @TheBMCast, or check out all the other places you can find her.


Last, but certainly not least, we have one of our resident CUT contributors, editor of Commander's Herald and a great guy all around, Jake FitzSimons!

Rumour has it that Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka's name is a reference to Margaret Thatcher. Seriously!

Jake's WAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!

Commander (1)
Lands (31)
Instants (6)
Sorceries (6)
Artifacts (17)
Enchantments (7)
Creatures (32)

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Jake, how difficult did you find these challenges? Were they easier than you thought?

I'm a CUT veteran. This is my third challenge and the first one that didn't have "all cards must be Modern-legal", so it's a real privilege to be doing something different. I'm also a diehard Warhammer fan, and I've been painting the little plastic bastards since I was six years old. Easy might not be the right word, but it sure was a pleasure!

Dipping into the other precons to find relevant cards for my boy Ghazghkull took a bit of work because I didn't want to include Imperium/Chaos/Tyranid creatures, but I allowed myself some instants and sorceries, like Go for the Throat and Kill! Maim! Burn!.

What is your experience with Warhammer/Magic? Which did you like first?

Warhammer, and it's not even close. I saw a plastic Space Marine covered in splotchy ultramarine blue and boltgun metal when I was six years old and I never fully recovered.

I've been reading rulebooks, rolling dice, mixing green stuff, and applying two thin coats ever since. I've played Orks, Tyranids, Tau, every variant of Space Marine you can think of, all three Dawn of War games (regrettably), Warhammer Fantasy, and now Age of Sigmar. Right now I'm in the middle of painting a Frostlord on Stonehorn for my Beastclaw Raiders army. On the other hand, I didn't play my first game of Magic until I was 18, a little before the release of Return to Ravnica.

I love both games in all their forms, and I'd be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. In fact, my biggest disappointment with this crossover is that there aren't even more cards, it's such a perfect fit.

What is the win con of your deck, or is it more flavor than power?

A question only a 'umie would ask. Flavor IS power. The wincon for this deck is more Orks and more dakka.

Zurgo Helmsmasher decks are usually built around board wipes, a theme that bores me to tears. It's much cooler to lean into being a 7/2 killing machine and bring along all your Orky pals for the biggest WAAAAAAGHHH the multiverse has ever seen. More so than any other faction in the 40K universe, the Orks believe that might makes right, and you won't find a mightier Ork than Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka.

The wincon here is to swamp the board with Orks and use their collective mass to run over our opponents in a heaving swarm of thick green skin. While the Imperium relies on fading technology, Chaos on the machinations of the warp, and Necrons on guass weaponry, the Orks rely on the sheer power of collective belief.

If enough Orks start to believe in something, there's a good chance it'll happen. One of the coolest parts of their lore is that their weaponry and machinery doesn't make any sense to non-Ork mechanics. Sure, there's gunpowder and a trigger, there might be wheels and an engine, but without an Ork to pilot the thing in question, it's just a hunk of junk. It needs an Ork to believe it should work for anything to actually happen.

That extends beyond technology as well. A large gathering of Orks (known as a Waaagh!) creates such an overwhelming amount of psychic energy that the Orks end up greater than the sum of their parts. I've tried to emphasise this with as many tribal amplifiers as I could find:

Taking that further, a red vehicle with an Ork behind the wheel will go faster than any other color. This isn't some unique interaction between color and speed within the 40K universe, it's the result of Orky psychic energy. The red ones really do go faster. In honor of that, I've made sure this deck has more red than any other color!

Any other thoughts or fun discoveries you made while building?

I couldn't include it in this deck, but one of my favorite cards of all time is Orcish Lumberjack. A favorite that I could include was Brutal Hordechief, a card we all wish was legendary. Building around them, I realise that Orks need a more clearly defined identity in Magic.

Goblins are the primary green-skinned mischief-makers for this game, and I realise there's enough overlap between the two fantasy races that it makes more sense to focus on just one of them, but I'd love to see more Orks!

Why should folks vote for your deck?

Cuz I'll krump ya if ya don't. WAAAAAAAGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!

"Ultramarines? How very predictable. I think you'll find my dakka more than sufficient. Waaagh, Mr. Bond"

Thanks, Jake! It's always a pleasure to have you on! You can find Jake's articles here on Commander's Herald, and heck, go and say hi to him over on twitter @Jake_FitzSimons!


There you have it, the second Single Slice in the bag. You know what to do at this point, vote for the deck that you think deserves to win! Whether you think they made the best deck, or they used the challenges the best, or really, if you really like that person in particular, they all deserve votes in my book. Thank you to all of the contributors to this article, and I hope to see/work with all of them again sometime, it was an absolute pleasure! Thank you for reading, and remember, if you don't love it, CUT it!

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

Poll Closes: November 12th, 2022