Fat Stacks - Making it Happen with the Captain

Feature Article from Cassidy Silver
Cassidy Silver
11/10/2011 10:20:00 AM
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Hey everyone, Cassidy here, bringing you another article in the Fat Stacks deck review series. This week, I have my homie Calvin - aka Captain Red Zone from Three to the Face - backing me up and adding some firepower to this week's reviews. Guest reviewers are going to be a recurring theme here on Fat Stacks, so I am excited to get this thing kicking.

Calvin and I both chose a deck from the TCGPlayer community submissions and we went back and forth, discussing the strategies and card choices in a dialog style. Here we go!

Cassidy Silver - Welcome to my article, Calvin. Let's get started with the deck you chose.

Captain Red Zone - Thank you, Cassidy, and hello everyone! I have to say that this was a very fun article to do, and I am honored to be given this chance to interact with you all. Okay, enough formalities, let's get to it. The deck I picked was Rhys the Redeemed by Arachobia. I choose this one because Rhys is one of my favorite Commanders. If you know me, I'm all about turning dudes sideways and bringing life totals to 0. I find that one of the best ways of doing that in Commander is with tokens...but when I saw this deck it seemed a little...different. It had an Aura package and a few of the newest token makers such as the Maul Splicer from NPH. I just couldn't help myself and I had to get in on this, but it's going to need a few changes before it can make it on my ship.

deck removed - Sorry!

CS - The first thing I noticed about the deck is extremely low price tag it has - in fact, almost all the cards are commons, with only a few uncommons and one rare. It sort of looks like a Peasant/Pauper deck, but the single rare choice in Alluring Scent disqualifies it from being a proper Peasant/Pauper deck. I think we need to keep the budgetary constraints in mind here, so we should cap any additions at the more available/cheaper level. Doubling Season is awesome in any Rhys deck, but it is clearly out of place here. Also, twenty-nine lands is almost laughable in a non-dedicated ramp deck, and even in that archetype it's very hard to play properly.

CRZ - I think Nacatl War Pride is the first thing I want to add. It works well with Rhys by allowing you to make an army of cats and KEEP them, as the copies don't trigger the exile clause. Keep in mind that the Rhys tokens will not be attacking like the rest of the War Pride tokens. With this we can now attack, make trades, and block!

CS - Good point, and this brings me to the first round of cuts I want to make. There are quite a few Lure effects in here, like the aforementioned Alluring Scent. My guess is that it is meant as a sort of evasion tactic, wherein all the potential blockers are busy blocking only one creature. I don't really think this is a worthwhile tactic, as an Overrun is probably more useful. The War Pride you suggested does this job without wasting card advantage, and as you mentioned we can break the game a bit by copying the doomed kitties. Mimic Vat will work the same way, so why not put that in there?

CRZ - The Vat makes a great addition to most decks. In this format things die often between sweepers and just basic attacks. Trust me you will be amazed by the things you will end up vatting. Before we get too ahead of ourselves, though, we really need to address the mana base. Now that we've made some room, let's up the land count by…a lot. We should add the standard assortment of format staples, like Mosswort Bridge and Mistveil Plains, but the best lands for this deck are Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree and Springjack Pasture. They are both very good token producers, and you can actually get a lot of extra value out of the Pasture goats when combined with Rhys mana-greedy abilities.

CS - Pasture rocks in this deck, good call! I also like Wirewood Lodge a lot in Rhys, as he is an Elf. Elvish Archdruid is cool here too, as is Wirewood Channeler. All those vanilla Elf tokens don't seem so lame all the sudden.

CRZ - Oh, what about Joraga Treespeaker?!

CS - NICE! Now that I am looking at the list, there are a lot of inefficient creatures in here. Some of the stuff is in here ONLY because it makes tokens, whether or not they are actually good cards. I'd want to replace the Icatian Crier with the Llanowar Mentor for more Elf synergy, and you will only have to discard a few cards before Rhys's ability can take over and pay for the mass token doubling.

CRZ - I really like the Mentor. You could even alter Llanowar Elves to have the mana cost removed and use it as a token for a little added pimpage. Another card this deck could use is the new Parallel Lives. It's no Doubling Season, but in this deck it is almost as good. It is crazy when you activate Rhys's ability with Parallel Lives in play. Add in Parallel Evolution, and you will double the double of the double…double. There, I think I got that word out of my system.

Mid
Low
 Doubling Season
$59.97
$47.95
Store QTY Price  
Kingslayer Games 3 $47.95
MTG outlet 1 $50.00
Eureka Emporium 1 $50.99
Gamers XP 1 $51.66
Saltire Games 1 $51.72
Three Headed Dragon 1 $51.94
Sunshine Games 4 $52.00

>> View all Prices for Doubling Season <<

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CS - Yeah, it is a shame that Doubling Season is so cost prohibitive. If you can get a hold of a Doubling Season, it is amazing in Rhys. I think Dual Nature rocks face in this deck - it's a cool way to turn the non-token creatures into tokens that will interact with the other token tech. Intangible Virtue is another token-y card that I have been dying to use. Also, we are going to have a ton of creatures, so we should definitely run both Glare of Subdual and Aura Shards. These cards have been awesome in my Ghave deck, and this deck is similar.

CRZ - I see this deck has a lot of ETB effects, with the Ambassador Oak, Stonehorn Dignitary, and things like that, so I'm thinking blink effects. There's not much for Green, but White has it, so I'm going with Galepowder Mage. Here it's an army knife - it clears blockers, blinks creatures, and can help other players by untapping one of their guys if you're in a team work kind of thing (2HG or just you helped me/I'll help you.)

CS - Might as well add the best ETB effects, like Terastadon and Geist-Honored Monk. The Monk may be one of the best cards in the deck! Wow, we've added a ton of cards, but now we have to go back and make some cuts.

CRZ - I really dislike Arachnus Web in here, as it is just Diet Pacifism. Not knocking Pacifism effects but we could use better removal than this.

CS - Honestly, I am going to say we can cut most of the Pacifism effects, with the exception of Stonehorn Dignitary - pretty good with the Mimic Vat - and Faith's Fetters, which I know is a good card because my opponents have used it to shut off my Birthing Pod and Survival of the Fittest.

CRZ - Kjeldoran War Cry should go. I would rather have something like Ajani Goldmane over cards like that, because at least with Ajani we can keep pumping our dudes on a more permanent basis. While we are at it, we should cut Bold Defenses too. Also, Veteran Armorer is pretty crappy. I'm sure he has a home…just not in any deck I've ever seen.

CS - I agree, especially since we have access to Green's crazy army buffs. I would rather Overrun, or maybe even Triumph of the Hordes, which should be the title of this deck. I do like Fortify and Gleam of Resistance, since they are both fast and useful, and Strength in Numbers seems super cool. Gavony Township is a good addition here as well.

CRZ - Okay, so I know it has spiked in price a bit from Solar Flare, but I really think Sun Titan would be good in here. This deck has/had about 30 cards, not even including lands, that the Titan can get back. Also, with the aura sub theme in cards like Sigil of the Nayan Gods and Shield of the Oversoul, you could drop a ‘BIGGER' Titan that keeps growing. Anytime these auras hit the graveyard, the Titan will enchant something else. No card loss. He was a promo from M11, and was reprinted in M12, he should be available for trades.

FAT STACKS Rhys Budget by WriterofWrong
Main Deck
Sideboard
1 Ambassador Oak
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Elvish Archdruid
1 Galepowder Mage
1 Geist-Honored Monk
1 Joraga Treespeaker
1 Kozilek's Predator
1 Krosan Tusker
1 Llanowar Mentor
1 Nacatl War-Pride
1 Nest Invader
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Rancor
1 Selesnya Evangel
1 Selesnya Guildmage
1 Stonehorn Dignitary
1 Sun Titan
1 Suture Priest
1 Terastodon
1 Tolsimir Wolfblood
1 Totem-Guide Hartebeest
1 Twilight Drover
1 Wirewood Channeler
1 Yavimaya Elder
Creatures [24]
1 Ajani Goldmane
Planeswalkers [1]
1 Aura Shards
1 Austere Command
1 Chord of Calling
1 Condemn
1 Cultivate
1 Dual Nature
1 Faith's Fetters
1 Fortify
1 Glare of Subdual
1 Gleam of Resistance
1 Gleeful Sabotage
1 Growth Spasm
1 Harrow
1 Heartstone
1 Hour of Reckoning
1 Intangible Virtue
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Mimic Vat
1 Mind Stone
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Overrun
1 Parallel Evolution
1 Parallel Lives
1 Phyrexian Rebirth
1 Presence of Gond
1 Rampant Growth
1 Rancor
1 Reclaim
1 Rings of Brighthearth
1 Shield of the Oversoul
1 Sigil of the Nayan Gods
1 Spidersilk Armor
1 Sprout Swarm
1 Strength in Numbers
1 Triumph of the Hordes
1 Whispersilk Cloak
Spells [36]
1 Command Tower
1 Drifting Meadow
1 Evolving Wilds
10 Forest (262)
1 Gavony Township
1 Khalni Garden
1 Krosan Verge
1 Mistveil Plains
1 Mosswort Bridge
1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
9 Plains (250)
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Slippery Karst
1 Springjack Pasture
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
1 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Meadow
1 Wirewood Lodge
Lands [39]
Deck Total [100]


1 Rhys the Redeemed
Sideboard [1]





Click for full deck stats & notes!


CS - Yeah, and I feel like the Sun Titan has been the cheapest Titan for long enough to make it a plausible inclusion in a budget deck. I would never build a White deck without a Sun Titan, and I am not going to start now.


We've made some other changes to the deck, but I'd like to move onto the next deck that I chose - ‘Draw, I dare you.' by Isaro. This deck caught my attention because of the name, and the build itself was very interesting. Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind has always seemed pretty awesome, and I figure we should break this guy wide open.

Draw, I dare you. by isaro
Main Deck
Sideboard
1 Aeon Chronicler
1 Arcanis the Omnipotent
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Dragon Mage
1 Echo Mage
1 Ertai, Wizard Adept
1 Jace's Archivist
1 Jushi Apprentice
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
1 Myojin of Seeing Winds
1 Nin, the Pain Artist
1 Psychosis Crawler
1 Stuffy Doll
1 Whirlpool Drake
1 Whirlpool Rider
1 Whirlpool Warrior
Creatures [16]
1 Chandra Ablaze
1 Jace, Memory Adept
Planeswalkers [2]
1 Aladdin's Lamp
1 Braingeyser
1 Brainstorm
1 Browbeat
1 Burning Inquiry
1 Cancel
1 Control of the Court
1 Counterspell
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Desperate Ravings
1 Dismiss
1 Dissipate
1 Dreamstone Hedron
1 Electrolyze
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Exclude
1 Forbid
1 Grip of Amnesia
1 Invoke the Firemind
1 Izzet Signet
1 Memory Jar
1 Mind Spring
1 Mind's Eye
1 Mindmoil
1 Mirror Sheen
1 Overwhelming Intellect
1 Reiterate
1 Scattering Stroke
1 Sol Ring
1 Spell Burst
1 Spell Contortion
1 Starstorm
1 Teferi's Puzzle Box
1 Thought Reflection
1 Time Reversal
1 Trickbind
1 Venser's Journal
1 Walk the Aeons
1 Wheel of Fate
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Windfall
1 Winds of Change
Spells [42]
1 Cascade Bluffs
18 Island (253)
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
14 Mountain (259)
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Steam Vents
1 Sulfur Falls
Lands [39]
Deck Total [99]


1 Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Sideboard [1]





Click for full deck stats & notes!


CRZ - After looking at the deck, I see a couple cards it should have but doesn't. The first two are Curiosity and Ophidian Eye. These work well when they're on Niv, and help burn out an opponent. With Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre in the deck, we could discard them to refill the deck. Note that these two enchantments say ‘may' so you don't need deck yourself. Just draw until you hit the Eldrazi, end turn, discard hand and Eldrazi, repeat for each opponent.

CS - Sweet, that's a good start. I was thinking Niv would love some Sensei's Divining Top and Future Sight - when you combine the two, you basically have a pay one colorless: draw a card. The Top also has the benefit of interacting with Trinket Mage, which should go right in. Tezzeret the Seeker will also grab up the Top, and works well with the selection of mana rocks in here. Mana Vault is awesome with a Trinket Mage and Tezzeret package.

CRZ - Ahh I see what this deck is doing now. It uses Psychosis Crawler and Niv as a win con with the Whirlpool Warrior/Wheel of Fortune effects. I definitely agree it needs the Top, and we should go with other reliable draw spells, like Mind Unbound and Blue Sun's Zenith.


CS - Azure Mage and Jace Beleren seem really good here too. I think some of the Red draw cards like Browbeat, Burning Inquiry, and Control of the Court can come out for the much better Blue spells. Similarly, I would rather pack Chandra, the Firebrand over Chandra Ablaze. Freed from the Real will make Niv a card drawing machine gun, and if you are particularly spikey, give Mind Over Matter a try. I love two card combos with generals, and this is probably the best one.


CRZ - When it comes to thing to drop, this UR deck is tough. The only card I can see removing is Mind's Eye just because it seems like a lot of mana for 1 card. I guess that should be my starting point, total mana cost-to-draw. With that, Aladdin's Lamp can go. Pay 10 to do...nothing...unless you have some MORE mana...then you get to do this, IF you draw a card some other way. This thing should be the final act in a circus with the amount of hoops you have to jump through. That at least gives use room for Curiosity and the Ophidian Eye.

CS - Yeah basically we want to take a lot of the cards and trade up in value for similar effects. The card selection is certainly fine for Niv, since he is disgustingly powerful on his own, but part of the fun of Commander is taking out dinky cards like Electrolyze for a nice Past in Flames, or Spell Burst for Cryptic Command. Other cards came in and went out, but I think that kind of covers the strategy we prescribe for this deck.


FAT STACKS Niv Mizzet by WriterofWrong
Main Deck
Sideboard
1 Arcanis the Omnipotent
1 Azure Mage
1 Charmbreaker Devils
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Dragon Mage
1 Ertai, Wizard Adept
1 Freed from the Real
1 Jace's Archivist
1 Jushi Apprentice
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
1 Nin, the Pain Artist
1 Psychosis Crawler
1 Trinket Mage
1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
1 Whirlpool Drake
1 Whirlpool Rider
1 Whirlpool Warrior
Creatures [17]
1 Chandra, the Firebrand
1 Jace Beleren
1 Jace, Memory Adept
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
Planeswalkers [4]
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
1 Braingeyser
1 Capsize
1 Counterspell
1 Cryptic Command
1 Curiosity
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Dismiss
1 Dissipate
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Forbid
1 Freed from the Real
1 Future Sight
1 Invoke the Firemind
1 Izzet Signet
1 Mana Vault
1 Memory Jar
1 Mind Over Matter
1 Mind Spring
1 Mind Unbound
1 Ophidian Eye
1 Overwhelming Intellect
1 Past in Flames
1 Reiterate
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Sol Ring
1 Spell Contortion
1 Starstorm
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Teferi's Puzzle Box
1 Thought Reflection
1 Time Reversal
1 Trickbind
1 Venser's Journal
1 Walk the Aeons
1 Wheel of Fate
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Windfall
1 Winds of Change
Spells [40]
1 Academy Ruins
1 Cascade Bluffs
18 Island (253)
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
13 Mountain (259)
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Steam Vents
1 Sulfur Falls
Lands [39]
Deck Total [100]


1 Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Sideboard [1]





Click for full deck stats & notes!


CRZ - Yeah, the deck seems pretty stacked now, though you would want be sure that your play group is down with the infinite combos in here. Sometimes, people aren't down to losing to two card combos.

CS - Good advice, but you know I will throw in some combo sauce when I can. Well that concludes this week's article and the second edition of Fat Stacks. Thank you, Calvin, for co-writing this bad boy.

CRZ - Of course, man, anytime. Thanks for having me.

CS - No problemo.

Calvin was on a recent episode of Commandercast, which I highly recommend listening to, and be sure to check out the Gifts Given charity drive as well.

Next week, I am going to bring you some reader requests. I have received quite a few deck lists so far, and it may take a while but I will get to everyone's stuff. I will start with Chris, who sent me a Rhys the Redeemed list that has no budgetary restrictions whatsoever. It will serve as a nice contrast to today's cheapo build. Keep those emails coming to CSilver85ATgmailDOTcom!

Stay logged for more Commander action, same Magic time, same Magic website, and always remember - winning isn't everything; it is just a prelude to the next game.

Thanks for reading!

Cassidy Silver
@WriterofWrong



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