Monday, September 28, 2020

Commander Night Playback - Zendikar Rising Legends Night

Now that Zendikar Rising has officially released, a new set of legendary creatures has been released upon us for our amusement. And naturally, that meant it was a good time to have a theme night. Each of us built a deck based around one of these new legends, similar to how we had our Ravnican Guild Night a few weeks prior.

Just as before, we each rolled for the order we got to choose our commanders. While I didn't go first, I did get the commander I was most interested in. Oddly enough, the creature that stood out most to me as an interesting build around was Akiri, Fearless Voyager. Obviously, the deck focused on the use of equipment to power up and protect my creatures.

The other players chose Yasharn, Implacable Earth, Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager, Charix, the Raging Isle, and, of course, Omnath, Locus of Creation.

While I hesitate to say that I took an "early" lead, I definitely drew first blood. On the turn after Omnath hit the board, my Akiri was ready to attack, and when Omnath moves to block I was able to use my Embercleave to take it out and deal some extra damage while keeping my own commander alive. Unfortunately, Grakmaw had nature lay claim to it at the end of my turn, but it was still an extremely satisfying play.

That said, I wasn't one of the three big players making waves. Yasharn played Wolfcaller's Howl extremely early on, which kept him swimming in wolf tokens since the rest of us were either accumulating enough cards in hand to keep, or unable to play enough cards (raises hand) to get below that four card threshold. For a very long time, it served as a very intimidating presence. And with Seedborn Muse giving them pseudo-vigilance, it was difficult to do anything about it.

Grakmaw, on the other hand, approached it in a different way. While they weren't going as wide as Yasharn, but they were going tall as well. Through a combination of effects like Winding Constrictor, Loyal Guardian, and Path to Discovery, their creatures were growing far strong than most of the rest of ours. And unlike the rest of us, they had flying Thopter tokens to soar over the rest of us.

Omnath, meanwhile, was doing the exact same thing you would expect a commander with a Landfall trigger to do. Using Field of the Dead and the new Felidar Retreat, those land drops translated to a bunch of extra tokens of their own. And with creatures like Azusa, Lost But Seeking and Oracle of Mul Daya, those land drops were accelerated.

That said, for some reason they kept neglecting the second mode of Felidar Retreat. If they had, they would have had their own powerful, vigilant force to attack with and more quickly close out the game. Additionally, their forgetting to use that second mode was starting to make Yasharn the biggest threat. Perplexingly, when I tried to remedy this problem with an Austere Command, they countered it with Dovin's Veto, another move they would later admit was a mistake.

The only reason Charix, was able to survive all of this chaos was through a deluge of mass bounce effects. From Scourge of Fleets, to Cyclonic Rift, and Devastation Tide to keep the board clean. And during the chaos, that's when he struck.

Since Yasharn attacked him earlier, he used the empty board state to get revenge with his weapon-master crab. Equipped with a Grappling Hook and an Inquisitor's Flail, combined with Charix's own ability, he swung in for well above lethal at a completely empty board. Realizing that he couldn't win with the meager 2 life he had left, he took me out next with a Sword of War and Peace. Thanks to the protection from the only two colors I was running, I had no defense.

Of course, Omnath's third landfall trigger finished him off afterwards, which left it to a one-vs-one Between the remaining two players, it was no contest. Omnath has way more cards and mana, and quickly overwhelmed Grakmaw through sheer value.

I'm disappointed that I didn't make a bigger splash, but I think that mostly just came down to bad luck. It happens sometimes, especially with a new deck and playstyle.

No comments: