Sunday, August 25, 2019

Magic: The Gathering - Commander Night Playback - Werewolf Tribal and K'rrik in Style

Another Saturday night has passed, and that means my playgroup had another round of Commander together. This time, we managed to get in two games in. Though we probably could have gotten more in, had we not been too tired to continue, but it's pretty to go on a high note than force an exhausted person to keep playing.

For our first match, I tried a budget brew of a Werewolf Tribal deck. I had submitted a version of the brew to MagicalHacker to see if he had any ideas for improvements for it, and I ultimately took a number them to heart for the deck...

...but ultimately I don't think the concept could be saved. I've run Werewolf Tribal several times, and the each time I've run into problems that stem from the concept alone. In his deck doctor video, MagicalHacker inadvertently points out how few Werewolves exist that actually have worthwhile abilities, making it difficult to extract the kind of value one might want in an EDH game.

Even worse, most of these effects only come online if a player ends a turn without playing a spell (usually us), which is less unlikely if a multiplayer game just through running the odds. Likewise, the trigger to change back is too easy for your opponents to activate unless we pack in ways to slow down the rest of the table, and while this deck does have those I didn't draw into them. I also didn't draw anything that could help me play around this restriction, like Vedalken Orrery.

Each of these cards are supposed to slow down the board... if you draw into them.
In addition, there aren't a lot of strong commanders for the tribe. This version uses Arlinn Kord, with permission from my group, but the only Legendary Werewolf, Ulric of the Krallenhorde, is merely okay. Previous versions of the deck used Samut, Voice of Dissent as the Commander, but I'd rather not need to splash White to make a Gruul-color tribe playable.

The deck barely made a splash against the Yawgmoth, Thran Physician deck running the table. With Dictate of Erebos out, nobody else was able to maintain a board presence for very long. Even with Vanquisher's Banner keeping me stocked on cards, my board was empty almost every time we turn came up. Part of it was our fault by being blindly by the threat of the Marisi, Breaker of Coil player's Goad effects, but the other point is the both myself and our 4th player were running under-powered decks, me with Werewolves and the other with a deck consisting of cards with "Herald" in the name.

A powerful, effective, and ultimately game winning combo.
In all likelihood, I'll need to table the concept until it gets more solid support, but that's no big deal when I have no many other concepts swimming in my head.

Like the other deck I brought to bear that night, a mono-black brew of my own with K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth at the helm.

That is one beautiful combination of effects
To be absolutely blunt, I vastly underestimated the effectiveness of K'rrik's ability to substitute B in any mana cost by paying 2 life instead. That enabled me to get a very explosive turn that quickly finished the game.

I managed to take the aggro my deck drew, with no small help from the Marisi deck Goading me and the rest of the table, and use it to my advantage. I only had three cards of my board: K'rrik, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, and Phyrexian Reclamation. However, thanks to K'rrik and Nykthos on my board helping my pay for me costs, I first played the Sanguine Bond I had in my hand. This left me with a low enough life total that I was able to cast Repay in Kind to drop everyone else to my pitifully low life total of 4, and swing into an unguarded board to deal enough Lifelink damage to knock out the rest of the table.

My table was shocked when the saw this hit the stack.
I was admittedly scared to bring my life total that low, but it worked out well since nobody was running blue and the removal necessary to stop me just wasn't there. Plus, I was likely going to be knocked out if I didn't at least make the attempt. Out of all the ways I planned to win with that deck, I was not expecting to pull that one off.

It was an exciting game, short as it was, and I look forward to further refining this deck to be less of a collection of cards and more of a coherent deck.

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