Thursday, July 26, 2012

Malfegor's Spinerock Stronghold

Thus begins a 6 or 7 part post of concentrated EDH format deck building FOCUS!

Once again, I feel compelled to undertake an examination of the card choices of my Malfefor Commander Deck. Last time, I seperated the cards by use. This time around I'm going to go by mana cost. Could be a mistake. Could be less informative. We will see.

Today you get: The Lands (there are no other 0-mana cost cards)

For starters, there are 8 Mountains and 6 Swamps. I like Mountains and Swamps because they come down on the battlefield untapped and ready to go. They count as basic land if you are into that kind of thing. They make colored mana which is almost always useful. Yep, land is really awesome.

But sometimes, you want to sneak a little more utility into your land, so you want colored mana producing land, with benefits.

For producing red mana, I include Spinerock Knoll and Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep.

Spinerock Knoll, aka Ol' Gassy Pants, is for casting big spells fast. I have a couple of big spells I would love to whip out at uncomfortable times for my opponent. The 7 points of damage requirement is usually easy to meet. Especially in multiplayer Magic, as the damage does not technically have to come from you. As long as an opponent takes 7 damage, you are good to go.

Shinka is awesome. Almost better than a basic mountain in every way. Comes into play untapped, and turns any large legendary creature into a formidible blocker/attacker. 

For producing black mana, I include Spawning Pool, Bojuka Bog, Crypt of Agadeem and Shizo, Death's Storehouse.

Spawning Pool gives you a 1/1 regenerating blocker very early in the game, which is nice to immediately stop attacks of opportunity. Doesn't fly, unfortunately. Sometimes your opponent will choose to use something like Swords to Plowshares on your skeleton, exiling the land in the process. It feels bad at first, but this is probably a best-case-scenario in disguise after considering what else in your deck he could be exiling.

Speaking of exiling, Bojuka Bog exiles a graveyard pure and simple. Sometimes this will be really good, and other times you'll hardly notice it. The 2 times I want to exile a graveyard:

1) When my opponent is doing something degenerate, usually in green and sometimes involving Eternal Witness.
2) When I'm almost ready to cast Living Death and I don't like the quantity or quality of monsters in an opposing graveyard.

Crypt of Agadeem will make a lot of mana, assuming I get plenty of black creatures in the graveyard. But if I can't, at least it will reliably produce 1 black mana every turn.

Shizo, Death's Storehouse is similar to Shinka in total awesomeness. Granting "unblockable" to a general (anyone's general!) is a quick way to knock out other players.

Perilously close to the writing of this blog post, my deck also included Ebon Stronghold and Keldon Megaliths. I originally added them simply because I had the cards, but after considering it…the effects really just aren't worth it. Sure, it can be fun to ping things sometimes. But both of these lands come into play tapped, and especially for Ebon Stronghold, I can see myself drawing it at a crucial time and ruing the day I ever put it in a sleeve. This has happened to me in the past with another terrible-for-EDH card, Shivan Gorge, and there was not a high enough roof I could find to release it from.

I also used all the dual color mana sources in my collection: Rakdos Carnarium, Graven Cairns, Blood Crypt, Sulfurous Springs, Dragonskull Summit, Veinfire Borderpost, Akoum Refuge, Tainted Peak, Auntie's Hovel.

For Tutor Land, I have Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse and (proxy!)Bloodstained Mire.

Finally, the icing on the cake. The Colorless Sources. Land with awesome abilities that I am willing to trade in my ability to reliably cast my spells for.

There are 4 cards I winnowed it down to.

1) Mystifying Maze

A pretty good land for stopping the random assaults!

2) Strip Mine and Ghost Quarter.

I'm having a tough time deciding if my deck really needs 2 land-destruction lands. Especially since they both only produce colorless mana. The problem is that when you really need to destroy a land, you need to do it as soon as possible. Sometimes a crucial land can mean the difference between success and failure. So they both stay in for now.

 3) Volrath's Stronghold

My deck dumps an incredible quantity of creatures into the graveyard. In just about every deck the Stronghold is good…in my deck is is above average in goodness. If you can make the game last for any length of time, this land is a tutor for whatever card you want out of your graveyard. And you can use it every turn!

And there you have it. The most important part of a deck, the foundation to your dark MTG tech. This list does not include mana-generating artifacts, which will be covered soon in their respective posts.

Next up, 1-mana-cost cards!

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