SpartanNerd Unboxing and Review- Commander 2015 “Seize Control”

So here I am at the final deck from Commander 2015.  I have unboxed and reviewed all of them at this point.  It is April 7, and I am finished reviewing my Christmas present!  (Did yours last that long?!)  Here are links to the other four reviews.

Call the Spirits

Plunder the Graves

Swell the Host

Wade Into Battle

The “mosaic” image above shows you the unboxing.  It was exactly as the other four, as expected.  The deck box looks really cool, but is inadequate for the job of holding the deck fully sleeved.  The pieces of paper are the guide to playing Magic, which is for playing conventional Magic and not commander…so that isn’t right here.  Good for new players in intro decks.  Not good for EDH.  The other is this poster.

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The front side shows off some story and bio information.  The back side has “playing the deck” and the decklist.

I don’t care for the art on this character.

Why did I wait on this one to be last?  Blue and Red are my least favorite color pair.  What “izzet” anyways?  (Get it!)

Before I move on, I want to say that I actually unboxed this weeks ago.  I took lots of pictures…and I have new backdrops, etc.  But I have another problem.  I am running out of space on my WordPress.  I will soon have to upgrade.  So I am going to go conservative with the pictures this time, and really just show you the gist of how this deck really works.

The Commander has an ability unlike any other out there.  He lets you net experience points for casting instants and sorceries, and those experience points make it easier to cast more instant and sorcery spells.  It is a special kind of ramp deck!

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Mizzex gets a few cards to help her out along the way.  Goblin Electromancer is perfect for this deck.  Mizzen Mastery is a new card, letting you get back and play instants and sorceries from your graveyard.  See that overload cost.  Yeah.  That’s what we’re talking about!  Epic Experiment gets you some instants and sorceries for free.  Awaken the Sky Tyrant is deterrent.  Steam Augery always has been and always will be lots of fun.  Call the Skybreaker, with retrace, makes sure that no land is a dead draw.  And with CMV of seven, you are getting more and more experience counters when you do, making things smoother for you all around as long as you have Mizzix on the battlefield!  (This deck came with plenty of tokens. Not pictured)  Aethersnatch and Counterflux are two just all around great control spells.  Aethersnatch…just take over what they are doing!  Counter flux interrupts the stack.  KABAAAM!  And finally, Firemind’s Foresight would normally be unplayable, but it is an incredible combo in this deck, where much of the colorless mana in the cost is blanked by the experience counter ability or the spell is casted for free.  (as an effect of another spell.)

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But these aren’t the only tricks the deck has.

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These five spells all do essentially the same thing.  They let you gain control of the opponent’s stuff.  This is where Serra Avatar isn’t good enough.  Just steal it from Oloro, Ageless Ascetic or Nahiri, the Lithomancer.  Or even steal THEM from their controller!  (Blatant Thievery says gain control of target permanent!)

Opponent putting up lots of tokens?

Sweep the board!

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These six spells sweep the board, usually by burning everything.  Mirror Match is the exception.  So they have fifty 1/1 white Kors…when they attack, cast Mirror Match (probably for less than 6CMV) and bam.  All their work is undone by a single spell.

The other thing this deck does is create access to the cards you need one way or another.  There are “wheel of fortune” effects!

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You are drawing and ditching cards.  Why would you want them in the graveyard?  There are ways to get them back.  And some of them have flashback anyways.  You have to be careful with these…sometimes you want what’s in your hand, so be sure you play wisely.  Arjun, the Shifting Flame is an alternate Commander for this deck.  I haven’t even tried him out, because Mizzix is so good.  The other alternate Commander is Melek, Izzet Paragon, a reprint from Return to Ravnica block.  He just gives you access to the top card of your library.

The rest of the deck is your general stuff.  Sol Ring.  Reliquary Tower.  The new Thought Vessel.  A Confluence card (A card with three options, and you can choose options more than once.)  A hideaway land.  Etc.

I have to give a warning about one card that is repeatedly a problem…

IMG_8386You don’t want to give your opponents something.  Ever.  They will abuse the privilege, I promise!  The promise of having a 5/1 token that can attack each turn sounds tempting.  But don’t fall for it.  Proshk will sacrifice it.  Someone will fling it at you.  When it dies, they will some how punish you.  Don’t do it!  In fact.  Take this card out and put in Storm Crow right now!

SPARTANNEND’S RATING OF “SIEZE CONTROL”

Now it’s time for a story.  And if you’ve been reading SpartanNerd for awhile, when I say that concerning Magic cards, it probably ain’t good.

I played against this deck twice before ever opening a Commander 2015 deck.  This deck is popular, and Mizzix is apparently a good card for Legacy and Vintage.  I have played against this deck numerous times online, sometimes winning, more often losing.  (My online Commander deck is Liliana, Heretical Healer.)

I finally opened this product around St. Patrick’s Day this year.  (I was out of work sick.)  And I proceeded to play this as my Commander deck against the SpartanKid almost every day.

This deck lost over and over to Proshk, Sky-raider.  I would seem to have him backed in a corner…no way out of this one, and then it would suddenly turn around against me.

I began to get discouraged, so I encouraged him to play a different deck against this.  Finally he used Nahiri the Lithomancer, who never ever has beaten Mizzix.  Nahiri relies on getting creatures and equipping them.  This deck steals creatures.

My personal feeling is that this is a good deck, but it needs some work to make it better for control.  It has no Cancel.  No Mana Leak.  No lightning Bolt.  (How did they leave THOSE out?)  More basic control spells are needed. The creatures it has are generally large, with some upside like getting you card draw if they deal damage.  But this deck generally can only cast instant and sorceries cheaper.  The other thing is that the deck contains a bunch of “X” spells.  You can’t cast these without paying an “X” cost.  So Epic Experiment can fizzle.  In fact it seems it usually does.

It has been a long road to cover all of these decks.  I have enjoyed it.  I can compare this deck to Swell the Host in the amount of fun it has brought me.  Even though there was a ton of losing for awhile.  I play Magic because it is fun.  I am the ambitious sort of player, and this deck is filled with ambition and fulfillment of trying to be a control deck in the zany format of Commander.

I am going to rate it a 3/5.  I can’t forget all those losses.  But the fun I have had has made up for it.  The other mark was taken off because of the lack of staples for this color.

Do you agree or disagree, oh Hub City Geeks?  Let me know in the comments!

 

SpartanNerd Unboxing, Playtest, and Review….Journey to Nyx Event Deck

All week I have been preparing for a modern MTG tournament at The Tangled Web, the only local comic book and cards store here in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The only problem…when I got there..I found out it was a STANDARD TOURNAMENT!

So no “Amulet of Vigor/Primeval Titan” action for me…and furthermore, I hadn’t brought a suitable Standard deck!

Luckily there is a product for one such desperate weekender as me…an EVENT DECK!

(Many thanks to the store owner for knocking a little off of the price for me in my situation.  It was much appreciated, and I implore ANY reader to find this store and shop from there.  They are very nice people.  And the community of Magic players there are very competitive, generally kind, welcoming to new people, good sports, and challenging opponents as well.  You people who don’t live near here only WISH you were so lucky to have such a thing near you to regularly express your nerdery!)

 

All that said.  Here are pictures, and my review of the product!

Here it is.  Fresh in the package just before opening.  (It is sitting on my angel playmat.)

Here it is. Fresh in the package just before opening. (It is sitting on my angel playmat.)

 

2 box unsleeved

This is what the box looks like unsleeved.

 

3 box back

 

4 uninspiring message

You get this rather un-inspiring message…the deck is titled “Wrath of Mortals.” REALLY! (MTG has a famous card, “Wrath of God,” which supposedly destroys all creatures with one big move.) So this is kind of a lame title. Wrath or Mortals.

 

5 spindown counter

I’m glad the life counter actually matches the deck this time. (If you have been reading my blog, you know it kind of bothers me when the dice doesn’t match!)

7 divider

You get this divider

8 inserts

And these two pieces of paper. You know what is going to happen to the one on the right?

 

9 decklist 10 thaumaturge art 11 Harness By Force art

These three images show the important stuff on the papers.  Note the DECKLIST!  I really enjoy the art from “Journey Into Nyx”  That’s why I’m showing you this!

 

12 creatures

Here is the suite of creatures you get.  These are really good creatures, in general.  There are a few that I generally sided out, or just plain took out before the match.  More on that later.

13 chimera 14 Guttersnipe 15 YP

 

These three were the best creatures.  Especially “Spellheart Chimera.”  I have actually made a deck for SpartanSmurf #1 featuring this card before.  He wouldn’t ever play it…(he said he didn’t like the way the chimera looked…ingrate!)  But when I saw this in the deck at a full four copies, and that “Young Pyromancer” and “Guttersnipe” were in here, I knew that this wasn’t going to be an entirely new thing for me after all!  For once, it seems an event deck has a solid strategy!

 

16 Ogre 17 Aetherling 18 Daring Thief 19 Oracle 20 BThaumaturge

For this deck, I could take or leave these guys.  “Aetherling” is a great card always, and he got me one win.  I never saw “Ogre Battledriver” all night.  I actually added more “Battlefield Thaumaturge.”  But he isn’t all he’s cracked up to be.  Usually he would get burned off before you could use him.  And this deck has a curious lack of “strive”cards to allow his first ability to work.  You also probably won’t ever get his heroic to trigger in this deck.  There isn’t even a single aura spell in the deck.  “Daring Thief” was always killed off before he could untap.  I only saw “Oracle of Bones” once all day.  I did get a free burn spell out of him!

 

21 Chandra Phoenix

“Chandra’s Phoenix” is almost more burn spell than creature!  Too bad you only get one.

 

Now for the instants and sorceries.

40 edited sorceries

The most notable of these is “Lightning Strike.”  You get four full copies.  But it is rather generic.  The most fun is probably “Searing Blood.”  I mean, a card like this is really format warping.  Creature burn with player burn all for just two red…amazing!  Great for hitting those mana elves.  I was pleased to get a copy of the red board sweepers, “Mizzium Mortars” and “Anger of the Gods.”  I never saw “Steam Augury” all day.  But “Divination” was a star!

(“Searing Blood” is comparable to “Bile Blight”, in my opinion.  A card that really discourages chumps.)

Now for the lands.  This is where the trumpet says “WAA, Waa, waa.”

34 Land

You get 12 mountains, 8 islands, and 4….GUILDGATES.  REALLY?  NOT EVEN A SINGLE SCRY LAND?  NO SHOCK LAND? NO MANA CONFLUENCE?

Nope.  You get slow-butt guildgates for mana-fixing.  They might as well have just given us 4 more islands.

This is one of the areas where Event Decks in the past generally drop the ball as well.  The main deck cards are pretty good, so I guess they decided to skimp in this area.  Don’t want you to be too successful.

This deck came with a sideboard as well.

35 Sideboard

I sided in every card here at least once, except for “Izzet Staticaster.”  Not really sure why he is here.  I guess to flash in and block someone but not actually hurt them.  I think I will change this card to “Goblin Electromancer” when I get the chance.  The Elixir is always a star.  Basically, I swapped out the Battlefield Thamaturges whenever I sided, as well as “Ogre Battledriver”, “Aetherling”, or anything else that I only had one copy of and switched to a more “control” game.  It is hard to straddle the fence, though, playing burn and control.  The upside is, the “Spellheart Chimera” got to be a surprise big flyer a few times.  Too bad his toughness is only 3.  This makes him susceptible to being killed by bigger flyers, namely “Stormbreath Dragon.”

PLAYING THE DECK.

36 what I changed out

Before I began, I asked my opponent to oblige me in letting me get my head around the deck.  I had a few minutes to “improve it.”  First thing I did was swap two guildgates for “Mana Confluence,” which was in the modern deck I intended to play.  Next I added two more “Battlefield Thaumaturges” from my trade binder, and added “Keranos, God of Storms” and “Niv Mizzet, Dracogenius” from SpartanSmurf #1’s trade binder.  I can’t remember what I swapped out….  Regardless, I was wrong about Battlefield Thaumaturge.  He sucks in this deck.  Maybe not some other deck.  But this one isn’t a place where he shines.  Keranos was good.  He got me at least one win, but I never had my devotion high enough to make him a creature.  Niv Mizzet got me two wins.

Adding these cards got me some attention.  People said “Really?  That comes in the Event Deck?”  But I had to set them straight that I modified it so that I could have a fighting chance.

This deck performed well against green decks that depend on “Elvish Mystic.”  It did well against a Dimir deck that tries to mill you to death and hit you with “Consuming Aberation”.  It did well against red-green at least once.

The deck didn’t do well against “Courser of Kruphix”, who pretty much takes away your burn advantage.  It also didn’t do well against “Prophet of Kruphix,” who makes it so that your opponent can always respond to what you are doing and gives every creature flash.  So Kruphix is the enemy of this deck, it seems!  Also “Stormbreath Dragon” did pretty well against it, but I was able to “Fated Conflagration” him more than once, as well as a “Palukranos, World Eater” once.  Surprisingly, I didn’t see a Black Devotion deck for the entire tournament!

At the end of the day, I had five single wins.  Which means I went 2 wins 3 losses.  Not bad for a deck I never played before, and just bought so I could have something to do instead of pout about bringing the wrong deck.

 

The JOURNEY TO NYX Event Deck gets 3/5.  I took a point off for a poor mana base.  The other point comes off because Battlefield Thaumaturge would probably be better replaced with “Omenspeaker,” who at least lets you Scry 2.

Do you agree?  What would you rate the Journey to Nyx Event Deck?  Let me know in the comments!