CUT – Single Slice

Travis Stanley • January 31, 2022

Welcome to a very special edition of CUT, which I have appropriately titled Slice Slice, as it will be a one-off article that looks to explore more creative challenges and feature some fun guests! In today’s piece we have 3 fantastic guests who all took part, faced some unique challenges, and produced some awesome decks! These guests are all Magic content creators! You may recognize them from Game Knights, perhaps TikTok, or maybe it’s their cosplays that you know them for. I will link to all of their social media and other projects when I introduce them. A big “thank you” to all of them for coming on board for this article, and I’m very excited to show you what they shared with us for this special edition of CUT!

Before we get to our guests and what they brought to us, let’s see who won the Crimson Vow themed round of CUT!

Congratulations to Alex! Both of these decks were super interesting builds using Rayami, First of the Fallen. It was a tight battle, but in the end the deck with the biggest value engine won out. As I always love to do after a round of CUT is thank all of the participants for their entries and their hard work! These challenges were a little challenging in their own way and I thought everyone did a great job! I really hope to see them all again.


Now on to our main feature! I sent our guest deckbuilders a series of questions to answer about their decks, in addition to the challenges. The challenges they had to work with were:

  • Your commander must have a max of 2 printings
  • Your commander’s mana value has to be equal to its colour identity (e.g., Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim)
  • Your 99 must include the 5 mystery cards that were sent to you

I sent each guest a list of 5 cards, and I’ll tell you which cards I sent each person as I introduce them. Speaking of which…


Our first guest builder is TappyToeClaws! Tappy is probably most well known for her cosplay and appearances on various Magic:-the-Gathering-related videos on Youtube, including Tolarian Community College. She also streams every so often on www.twitch.tv/tappytoeclaws. Let’s see what she has for us today!

The 5 mystery cards for Tappy were:

Arch of Orazca, Orazca Relic, Thaumatic Compass, Dowsing Dagger, and Treasure Map.

Life Finds the Play

Commander (1)
Lands (34)
Enchantments (6)
Artifacts (16)
Instants (9)
Planeswalkers (3)
Sorceries (6)
Creatures (25)

 

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How difficult did you find these challenges, or were they easier than you thought?

Surprisingly challenging! In the early stages I flip-flopped back and forth between focusing on finding a Commander that fit within the rules and just cramming in the mystery cards or finding a theme between the mystery cards and scrambling for a commander in the colors I needed that could do anything remotely useful.

I had started and stopped builds for Pramikon, Sky Rampart several times in the past (usually because every version I drafted ended up being a miserable control deck, and I’d like to keep the few remaining friends I have that will still suffer through a game of EDH with me). I figured at least this time I would have an excuse, so I started there, but couldn’t find a through line I liked to justify the commander choice, even as my brain desperately tried to come up with ways Treasure Map and Thaumatic Compass could relate to my decade’s-old anime obsession the same way that Pramikon itself did. But alas… my dream for an Evangelion-themed Pramikon/Avacyn control deck that I can call “Cruel Angel’s Thesis” remains shelved. One day…

So I tried attacking the problem by starting with the mystery cards. Ixalan had an exploration theme based on Mesoamerican aesthetics… that’s basically just Legends of the Hidden Temple, right? Toss in some of the other cards that flip into cool lands and lean into the Explore mechanic with some Landfall for synergy. Sounds great, but what do we do for creatures? Obviously I need silver snakes, green monkeys, red jaguars, blue barracudas, orange iguanas and purple parrots! Sounds perfect, right? Cue the sad trombone noise. There’s two whole parrots in Magic, one of them is from an Un-set, and the other is half-porcupine thanks to whatever is in the water over on Ikoria. I was so incensed that I scrapped the whole idea.

Back to browsing through commanders, very put out and rather grumpy. Then I saw him: like a bolt from the blue, lit by the divine light of providence, coming to save me in my darkest hour of deepest need. Vadrok. Cat. Elemental. DINOSAUR. You know what they say: when you’re stuck, you should fall back on Dinosaurs. Or something like that, I’m sure someone said that once. Probably.

Vadrok, Apex of Thunder checked all my boxes. Ixalan flavor, fun colors that can make use of my mystery cards’ mechanics, and two of my favorite words in all of Magic: the Gathering: “noncreature spells”. Locked and loaded.

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

Play Bounce the Dinosaur and Everything Mutated Onto the Dinosaur for Fun and Profit.

The obvious benefit is the recursion of noncreature spells from the ‘yard. The deck is built pretty low to the ground, so almost everything is fair game. A bunch of those noncreature spells are tutors so we can go and get whatever we want. In addition to getting the recursion bonus from Vadrok’s Mutate trigger, you get to repeat the bonuses all of the other Mutate triggers of the bounced stack of beasties, and one very particular ETB effect, Dockside Extortionist is a two-mana-value GOBLIN, y’all. That means it’s a prime Mutate target.

There’s at least one infinite combo you can do if your opponents have a critical mass of Treasure, plus a few other less-infinite but maybe more fun loops. Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is in the deck for a reason. That’s the noise I make when my Rube Machine of a 7-card esoteric loop wins me a game. This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure is mine, and besides, games gotta end sometime. I get hungry.

In addition to casting and recasting a meme-y mill spell for the win, there are a few other non-combat options. The combat step is hard, y’all, and I prefer to give myself plenty of outs before I have to get my hands dirty with that nasty, brutish, and altogether uncultured part of the game.

When I see the word “noncreature”, my goblin brain immediately goes to artifacts. Or maybe that’s my Jhoira brain. Either way, I’ve crammed in a whole artifact value package. Four of my mystery cards are artifacts themselves, and Treasure Map flips into more artifacts; we can’t let that sweet artifact ETB value go to waste, can we? Certainly not. Reckless Fireweaver might be one of my favorite cards ever printed. Add in Academy Manufactor to tack some extra value onto each of those treasures being created. Plus, we’ve got Saheeli, Sublime Artificer to spew out more artifacts for all of the noncreature spells we’re casting, and Digsite Engineer does a sort of version of that too (while also being a Dwarf we can Mutate onto if we need a target).

If we absolutely MUST go to combat, twist my arm why don’t you, we’ve got Rise and Shine to turn our huge pile of shiny junk into dudes and throw them at someone’s face, Fervor to give them all haste if they entered the battlefield this turn, and the unholy abomination that is our Dinosaur commander, with six extra creatures stapled to it, screeching through the air.

Any other thoughts or fun discoveries you made while building?

A lot more UNfun hurdles than fun discoveries, but I like a challenge.

First, the keyword Shroud is BAD here. Since a lot of the bounce involves targeting Vadrok/Vadrok’s Mutate stack, I limited myself to Equipment with hexproof. Equipment also goes up in value compared to enchantments, in my opinion. Even if I can get them back from the ‘yard after they fall off when I Mutate Vadrok, I’d rather use that trigger to get something that feeds a combo or progresses the board state versus rebuying Pemmin’s Aura or something for the fourth time so my commander doesn’t get immediately merc’d.

Second, holy lordy, there are a lot of Humans in Magic: the Gathering, and some of them are irreplaceable. Is it too soon to go back to Kaladesh so we can get a Dwarf or Vedalken version of Reckless Fireweaver. Please?

Third, the fun discovery: Dack Fayden is an all-star in this deck. Goddamn. The boy slices, dices, and does your taxes. I haven’t been able to find a permanent home for him in any other EDH deck before this, so the fact that he meshes so perfectly with almost everything the deck can and wants to do makes me nothing short of giddy.

Why should folks vote for your deck?

I made a deck that turns a Dinosaur into a diabolical flesh stack just so I can win by milling out my opponents with spells or pinging them for bits of damage when handfuls of tiny gizmos and shiny coins enter the battlefield. Why wouldn’t people want to see what insane bait and switch concept I can construct next?


Thanks Tappy! That deck looks like it’s ready to Savage Stomp out the competition! You can follow and hear more from Tappy on Twitter or on Instagram @TappyToeClaws!


Next up we have SolRingMTG. SolRingMTG is a TikTok and Youtube Magic content creator under the same name! Go and check her out if you haven’t already.

Let’s see what she brought to us today!

The 5 mystery cards for SolRingMTG were:

Cultivator’s Caravan, Ghirapur Orrery, Panharmonicon, Spire of Industry, and Smuggler’s Copter

 

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​​How difficult did you find these challenges or were they easier than you thought?

The hardest part was picking a commander within the boundaries of this challenge. I had it down to Tuvasa the Sunlit, Norin the Wary, and Sythis, Harvest’s Hand, but Norin and chaos was just too fun to pass up. I also added another challenge for myself to keep the deck around $200, and on Moxfield the final deck was $207.42 USD.

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

This deck is all about bringing chaos to the table!

There are sorcery cards to shake things up, like Game of Chaos, Goblin Game, Scrambleverse, Thieves’ Auction, and Warp World.

There are enchantments that I like to categorise as “That’s a nice card, but let’s try something else” with cards like Confusion in the Ranks, Grip of Chaos, Planar Chaos, and Possibility Storm.

Norin is all about leaving the battlefield and coming back each turn, so there are pingers that trigger whenever anything enters the battlefield, like Purphoros, God of the Forge, Vigilante Justice, Outpost Siege, Warstorm Surge, and Impact Tremors. Then let’s add some extra damage with the red classic Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, and one of the mystery cards, Panharmonicon.

The other four mystery cards have very specific uses in the deck: Spire of Industry and Cultivator’s Caravan for mana and Smuggler’s Copter and Ghirapur Orrery for draw.

However, I have Insurrection in my sideboard, if I want to go after winning, but this deck is more interested in chaos over winning.

Any other thoughts or fun discoveries you made while building?

My favourite chaos card in this deck is Possibility Storm because you have the chance of getting a big CMC card out for a low one- or two-cost spell. Never know what you’ll flip!

Why should folks vote for your deck?

“Sometimes a little chaos is in order.” – Scrambleverse


Thanks SolRing! You can find her on the following platforms:

Tiktok

YouTube

Instagram

Twitch

Moxfield

Twitter


Finally, here is Ashlen Rose! You may recognize her from her appearances on Game Knights and Extra Turns on The Command Zone, where she is also the Brand Manager. She has also appeared on Tolarian Community College and other Magic:-the-Gathering-related content. She used to play competitively (Modern), but now she mostly plays Commander. She’s also a working voiceover artist! Her most recent project is Enchantimals, a children’s Youtube program where she plays a character named Maura Mermaid.

Let’s see what she came up with!

Ashlen’s 5 mystery cards were:

Blackblade Reforged, Gilded Lotus, Thran Temporal Gateway, Thran Dynamo, and Lotus Field

Sydri CUT Deck

Commander (1)
Lands (38)
Enchantments (7)
Creatures (22)
Artifacts (22)
Instants (4)
Sorceries (4)
Planeswalkers (2)

 

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How difficult did you find these challenges or were they easier than you thought?

The commander’s color identity = CMC was much more difficult than I originally thought it would be. I enjoyed the level of complexity it added; it really got the brain juices flowing. The rest felt easier to manage after figuring out who was actually a viable commander.

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

Rule #1 in Ashlen’s Deckbuilding Guide to World Domination: the more wincons, the better. This deck has several wincons. There are, of course, big CMC artifacts for Sydri, Galvanic Genius to turn into creatures (Eldrazi Monument and Ugin’s Nexus being two favorites of mine). I’m also playing Revel in Riches, because who doesn’t want to win with a bunch of Treasure? And if those don’t do the trick, I’ve got a wombo combo with Aetherflux Reservoir:

Any other thoughts or fun discoveries you made while building?

Alela, Artful Provocateur artifacts would be fun to build as well. Also that the search function on scryfall is *chef’s kiss*. I knew it was good, but sometimes you forget and it accommodates such specific requests; it turns into a fun mini-game seeing how specific you can get.

Why should folks vote for your deck?

Because it’s fun. It doesn’t run any salty cards, so it’s playgroup-friendly. If you’re a fan of Modern, this is pretty much a souped-up version of ensoul artifact. 😀


Thanks, Ashlen! You can find Ashlen on twitter @ashlenrose, instagram @rawritsashlen, check out her latest appearance on Game Knights, and check out her linktree!


That’s it, folks! Again, a big thank you to all of the guests that joined us today on this special edition of CUT! All of your submissions were fantastic to read and have inspired me to create some decks based off of these decks, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. All of their socials are linked after their entries so go and follow them there and show them some support! Vote for your favourite deck below and I hope you enjoyed this first edition of CUT: Single Slice!

As always, if you don’t love it, CUT it!

If you or a friend would like to participate in a future edition of CUT please send an email to the.only.travis.stanley@gmail.com. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @chipman007 to share any ideas you have for future challenges, or if you would like to be a part of a future article!

Poll Closes: February 12, 2022