SpartanNerd Review…Commander Unboxing…Evasive Maneuvers

Evasive Manuevers….Commander Deck Unboxing and Review.
Commander, or EDH (whichever you prefer,) is a format for Magic: The Gathering that people seem starved for…Usually they are trying to sneak in a round in between Standard tournament matches, etc.  I have been sort of puzzled by that…thinking it is fun…but is it that fun?
My experiences with Commander come from playing at home with my boys…no surprise really.  The games would tend to be longer, but otherwise, besides the “commander factor” the same and just as fun, just more restricted fun.  (You may only have one copy of each card in your 100 card deck, besides basic land)
BUT that was before this deck!  I think the reason I have had “meh” feelings about the whole thing is that my decks didn’t really “do anything.”  They were more of a collection of cards that I like…that were generally unplayable in standard for some reason.
So my first cohesive deck is one that I buy ready made, it it works great!
Evasive Maneuvers comes in this blister packaging,  You can see the oversized foil Derevi, Empyrial Tactician clearly.  Notice the price…I used a $10 coupon, so this cheapskate didn’t pay full price!  (I hear that Oloro’s deck is fetching around $100 on the internet!)

Here’s the back.  I didn’t read it.  But it is supposed to sell you on buying the deck.  Derevi is impressive enough for me, and I have been playing his colors in Standard for awhile.  (White, Green, and Blue, also known as Bant)

When you open the box, you see this.

and here are the contents, underneath the foils.

This deck comes with not only Derevi, but also two other Commanders,
Rubinia Soulsinger, and Roon of the Hidden Realms (A Rhino!).  The deck comes with a regular
card of these also, as they complete the 100 cards.
But clearly Derevi is the star!

Here is a picture of the deck list.

Here is some blurb about how to play the deck.

and a nice poster.

I wish I could have made it to a “serious” tournament before this review…unfortunately Christmas Singing obligations kept me away from the one at the Tangled Web today.  There are two more planned for the future that I know of, and I may be able to attend those and play this deck.

So my first match was against my oldest son, who is currently playing a self built Excava, Blood Witch Commander deck.  (See Excava here.)  It is an aggressive Rakdos strategy, and he uses a lot of burn spells and haste, as well as favors goblins.

I beat him soundly!  And on all fronts.  Here are the cards I used to do so….There are certainly more cards to see, however.

The Mistmeadow Witch got a lot of attention from some veteran players last night
as I showed off  the deck to the people at the Standard tournament at the TW.
Apparently, Kithkins were a big deal in former Magic sets.  This cards activated ability was the way I ousted Excava the first time.  He was never able to get her out again before I finished him off.  (I mean he could have..he chose not to)

This card is kind of a more powerful Tidebinder Mage.  It flys…so….He had no flyers.  

This is apparently a reprinted card from the ancient past of Magic.
I used this to cast Blue Sun’s Zenith, (not shown here).  But that instant put cards in my hand when I was starting to feel a lack of fun because I had no hand anymore.

I was delighted to get to play a “level-up” card.  This deck has two!  I had never played one before,
but have played against people that do at Modern tournaments.

This was one of my last plays.  It didn’t get to do much….

I put this card onto Dungeon Geists…I never had to use it, though.

I DID use this card…Sort of a Wrath of God.  And because I had the two tokens afterward,
they were part of me winning the game!

I mention this because one of the key things was that MANA WASNT A PROBLEM!
I used this spell to get Evolving wilds back out…(It was the only land card in my graveyard)

Rubinia made an appearance, giving me control of Krenko, Mob Boss.  My son really didn’t appreciate this, so he just burned her.  A key point to remember for the future…She’s not to hard to kill off.  AND, if she’s tapped, she isn’t doing much else, is she?

Thoughts on the match…Excava is no lightweight…But I just had more access to stuff.  I had out Darksteel Ingot, Basalt Monolith, and Selesnya Signet, in addition to 12 basic lands and Faerie Conclave and Bant Panorama.  By the end of the game…with the mana-fixing artifacts coming out early giving me the power to do just about anything I wanted.

This caused another problem, though.  My hand was empty for the mid-game.  And I was powerless to do anything but block and activate abilities, of which all I had was the Mistmeadow Witch and Derevi.  Derevi’s ability was great…He got sent to the command zone twice, and I was able to get him out cheap!  But my source of card draw came from SpartanSmurf #1 playing Sign In Blood, which got the Blue Sun Zenith into my hand, which I played at the end of his turn in response to him trying to remove Mistmeadow Witch…( I wasn’t able to counter him)

The game ender came after all this.  I got out Kirtar’s Wrath, and nuked everything.  He had more stuff out than me, so it was not biggie…This gave me the upper-hand with the two spirits, then I was able to also get Derevi out of the command zone.  At the END OF HIS TURN (So he was ready to attack next turn!  Then I played Aethermage’s Touch, which got out the Skyward Eye Prophets, and I got to play Curse of Predation.  SpartanSmurf #1 didn’t have much life left, so when I swung all-out, it was curtains for him!

Commander damage didn’t even figure into all of this…It was all regular damage!

Thoughts on what you get.…You get the three commanders…all Bant, so that’s cool.  I especially like the Rhino…Rhino’s are becoming one of my favorite animals.  (Maybe it is their big nose!)  Some of the cards in here are apparently lusted after by long-time players.  “Sol Ring,” for example.  You also get a pretty nice box…But it won’t fit your cards if you sleeve them…it is a snug fit as it is.

I am keeping the deck list for reference.  The Wizards are wasting paper by including the blue propaganda that comes with almost every Magic: The Gathering product.

My Rating…I give Evasive Maneuvers a 5 out of 5!  I can’t wait to get more of these decks….I have been hint dropping the SpartanWife for Oloro, Ageless Ascetic’s Esper Commander deck.  Basically, I see him as kind of like me…Sitting in that chair, He-Man’s sword leaned up by the side, drinking a Diet Dew, totally ripped (now I’m dreaming)

Theros Event Deck….Unboxing and Review

AZORIUS!  That white and blue combo that I so identify with!  I expressed my feelings for Azorius already in this post….

Here we have a sparkly new event deck of the same colors…Does it meet the SpartanNerd’s standards?  Let’s crack it open and see!

I got mine at the Tangled Web…THE comic store in the Hub City.  $24.99…Apparently the average price of event decks these days.

That lion on the front…It’s just a pretty sleeve.  You get this nifty cardboard deck box.  In my past experiences with these, the latch goes bad if you are not OH SO Careful…

Upon opening it, this is what you see.  I am going to take out the pieces.
These are the two decks.  The “Hopeful Eidolon” is the sixty card main deck.  “Triton Tactics” is the sideboard of 15 cards.


You get this divider
And some useless propaganda…or is it?   The green one explains how to play the deck….Who knows how many of these kinds of poster-paper inserts I have put in the landfill?  There is a deck list in the green one as well.
Now this is a pretty dice, that screams AZORIUS!  It is a spin down counter.  Not a D20.
The back of the box has the planes walkers symbol.  I only recently learned that was it’s official title.

Deck breakdown…

This one has a ton of rares!  (HOORAY!)  I went ahead and bought this because they had a deck list at the Tangled Web, and I new I didn’t have some of them, or I wanted more copies.

Imposing Sovereign–Someone beat me down with this guy.  (I should probably tell you that recently I have been playing a three color Fencing Ace deck…It is white red and green…)  So haste is not an issue against this guy.  There are two of them here

Fabled Hero–Fencing Ace’s big brother.  He is one of my current faves.  If you can get him out and load his heroic ability, this double striker can be a game ender.

Lavinia of the Tenth–This chick is BAD.  (I mean a good bad)  OK, turn five Lavinia, you just detained all your opponent’s creatures…and tokens.  (She detains all permanents with mana cost 4 or less…tokens have a CMC of 0!)

Detention Sphere–I’m not sure why this card is a rare…I have like ten of them.  It is a great card.  I like to hold it and then let my opponent drop a fatty on the board…Then dash their hopes and dreams. Another trick, the Detention Sphere gets permanents of the same name…It is great against token building decks.  There are two copies in this deck.

Soldier of the Pantheon–One of the cards I didn’t have before…Maybe haven’t even seen.  It seems the Wizards are making cards that are a reaction to the Ravnica block.  This guy is definitely anti-Ravnica.

Frontline Medic–I always wanted one of these.  Now I have one!  (I have 90% of the stuff from Gatecrash.)

In addition to these cards, there are some good uncommons and commons.

Battlewise Hoplite–technically better than Akroan Hoplite, you get to scry whenever his heroic triggers.

Ascended Lawmage–Now here’s one I haven’t given much thought to.  But Flying and Hexproof, for CMC of 4.  This guy should be a beast in all of Theros!  I need to experiment with this more…

Hopeful Eidolon–The strategy guide advises you to hold onto this card and use its Bestow ability.  It gives something a pump, and lifelink!  This is one of the best Bestow cards!  It was a champ in Booster Draft, and is perfect for the fast paced play that standard demands.

Ordeal if Thassa–  This ordeal gives you card draw…

Ordeal of Heliod–  This ordeal gives you a boost of 10 life.  I wish I had more of these…this is my only copy.

You also get a Hallowed Fountain shock land…But there was no scry land for AZORIUS this time.  (I don’t think…)

The sideboard doesn’t feature any rares.  You get Glare of Heresy and Gainsay, the new spell of choice God’s Willing, and ….  That’s about it.  There’s some more, but it’s all just control stuff.

My first match with the deck…

I played against SpartanSmurf #1 during halftime of the Gamecocks vs. Gators game…He was playing a Boros build, which has occasionally been tough for the Fencing Ace deck I already mentioned, but hasn’t done much against blue ever….

Right at the beginning, he had out Hopeful Eidolon as a creature.  It seems I had a ton of lands.  But then I drew into two Detention Sphere’s, and before you know it I issued a major beatdown with Battlewise Hoplite and Lyev Skynight.  I took damage only from the Eidolon, and shocking in my Hallowed Fountain.

I didn’t bother to side in any cards.

Round two…The land wasn’t as prevalent.  But I was able to get out Fabled Hero, and that was all she wrote.  Not even SpartanSmurf #1’s Stoneshock Giant stood a chance…I Detention Sphere’d that bad-boy.  He blocked with his big flyer (Hellkite Tyrant?)

I wonder what would have happened if I had played this deck today in the standard tournament.  It seems a little slow…And yet it was effective against a pretty aggressive deck on it’s opening venture.

I believe I am going to make a few changes…

First I am going to add some more Ascended Lawmages.  I think I am going to remove the detain from this deck, and beef up the heroic.  Detain is temporary, while Heroic is usually forever.  So that means the Lyev Skynights and Lavinia has to go, and in their place more Battlewise Hoplites and Fabled Heros.  The Azorius Guildgates are too slow…I am either going to swap them all for Hallowed Fountains and hope for scry lands in February when Borne of the Gods comes out, or swap out some of the plains for the shock lands.  I haven’t yet decided.  I might find a way to put in Tidebinder Mage and more Banisher Priests.

Here is my verdict.

My most recent successes have come from the Red White and Green Fencing Ace Deck, which takes a lot of advantage of heroic and the enchantments in Theros.  In that deck, I would argue that Madcap Skills is the star card, delivering a significant boost and creating scary threats.  The Theros Event deck needs a little more speed.  This deck also needs some more size.  I happen to have a few Medomai the ageless and Isperia Supreme Judge cards.  I also have a few Heliods and a few of his spears…These cards would have lived happy lives if the event deck was build around them.  But the Wizards don’t seem to make these decks around Mythic rares.

I am thinking it might have a hard time against aggressive discard strategies, or aggressive burn strategies.  On the other hand, it should be pretty good against token building decks and big creature decks.

i don’t feel like it absolutely needs any cards swapped, except for the guild gates and the lawmages.  Only for my picky preferences.  So I give this deck a 3/5.

The big deck nowadays is MONO RED.  This deck will probably not stand against it.