Beep Beep! King Macar Coming Through

Feature Article from Bruce Richard
Bruce Richard
1/24/2017 11:00:00 AM
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You know when you get a thought in your head and you just can't seem to get rid of it? You're trying to focus on other things, but your brain just keeps circling you back to that one idea again and again? I feel that way about a decklist.

With Aether Revolt out, my deckbuilding juices are flowing and I'm excited to put together a few decks, but every time I start working on one, my thoughts keep coming back to this one Commander deck. I like the idea of building a Sram deck, or putting together all sorts of partner decks, but my brain just won't let go of another idea.

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed.

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When Kaladesh was first spoiled, there were a few of us who looked at vehicles and thought of King Macar. Vehicles would provide a way to tap Macar without risking him in combat. You can even tap him on your opponent's end step, letting you untap on your turn and exile a creature every time! Sure, there was always a way to build Macar in a degenerate way, tapping and untapping him repeatedly and exiling several creatures, but vehicles offer some punch to go with the removal provided by your commander.

This was all exciting for me, but I decided I would wait until Aether Revolt was out so I could see all the creatures and build from there. Besides, I don't have many Commander decks (currently seven) and King Macar would be a second all-black deck since I'm already running Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. I have no desire to pull Kalitas apart since he messes with my metagame wonderfully, so setting Macar on the back burner was just fine.

So now Aether Revolt is here and my brain just won't let the deck go! Every time I think of something else, my thoughts return to gold. So I've come up with a solution. My plan is to build King Macar and loan the deck out to players who don't have a Commander deck with them. It can be a dedicated loaner deck. That will let me scratch the itch in my brain that is King Macar without overdosing on a single color. Then I start looking at a green and white deck that I have my eyes on.

Let's take a look under the hood!

Vehicles

Sky Skiff
Smuggler's Copter
Aethersphere Harvester
Cultivator's Caravan
Mobile Garrison
Renegade Freighter
Untethered Express
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

I tried to choose vehicles with a lower crew cost, since I preferred to have vehicles that King Macar can crew himself. After that, I wanted vehicles that can fly or have some sort of evasion. Finally, I picked vehicles that are just awesome. After all, if you are going to include vehicles, why wouldn't you run Skysovereign?

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I decided to run eight vehicles, since that gave me great odds of getting one early in every game. If the point of the deck is to drive Macar, then we want to make sure the king has something to drive!

I talked to Nate Burgess of the Commanderin podcast, since I know he had also built a Macar deck featuring vehicles. He gave me a particular word of warning:

I tried to keep that in mind with every other part of the deck, maximizing the creature count where I could. I think this showed up pretty well in...

Mana Ramp

Crypt Ghast
Magus of the Coffers
Nirkana Revenant
Solemn Simulacrum
Caged Sun
Sol Ring
Expedition Map
Leaden Myr
Burnished Hart

I'm a little concerned about the cost of the creatures in the mana ramp section. Generally you don't want cards that you are relying on to make your other cards cheaper to cost four to six mana. In spite of that, I'm going to go with them anyway. With an all-black decklist, these cards can be plenty of fun. On top of that, these creatures can crew the vehicles, so you are getting to protect them somewhat. I'd rather not attack or block with the Crypt Ghast.

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I always like the medallions in mono-colored decks, and I took a long look at adding Jet Medallion to the deck. Generally, it brings the cost of each of your spells down, but the problem with this deck is that there are crewing costs and the costs of vehicles, and the Jet Medallion just doesn't do anything for that. Leaden Myr can tap for a mana or help crew a vehicle, so in spite of the greater risks to a 1/1 artifact creature over an artifact, I chose the Myr.

Card Draw

Solemn Simulacrum
Erebos, God of the Dead
Bloodgift Demon
Waste Not
Greed
Underworld Connections
Phyrexian Arena
Underworld Connections
Indulgent Tormentor
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
Pain Seer
Harvester of Souls

These cards are pretty self-explanatory. I'm not sure if I actually need this many ways to draw cards, especially when many of these offer repeated card drawing, but until I get a few games with the deck, we'll stick with what I have.

My real concern is the life loss involved with most of the card draw. It is generally the drawback if you are playing black and want to draw cards. I know many players don't worry about it too much, what with a 40 life to start, but I've found that total can tumble quickly when you are losing two or three life to yourself every turn. Given that, I wanted to ensure the deck had some...

Life Gain

Aethersphere Harvester
Ruin Processor
Vampire Nighthawk
Servant of Tymaret
Aetherborn Marauder
Chancellor of the Dross

The deck doesn't get much energy beyond what Aethersphere Harvester provides, so that is limited. I like the idea of the Ruin Processor, since Macar exiles creatures, but I'm not sure gaining five life is enough to justify the card. This means that I'm relying an awful lot on the remaining creatures to gain the life I think I'm going to need. I can see adding a few more ways to gain life, but we'll start with this.

I'm sure you're asking why I'm not running Gary. The deck is all-black and the Gray Merchant of Asphodel gains life like nothing else in a black-only deck. While I agree with all of that, Gary is ubiquitous in these decks to the point that I'm sick of seeing him. I want the deck to win through crewing vehicles, not because Gary stepped in.

Untap

Puppet Strings
Thousand-Year Elixir
Umbral Mantle
Strionic Resonator

I don't want to use vehicles as a way to repeatedly tap Macar in a single turn. Infinite loops are not something my group uses, and honestly just don't seem like much fun in any game of Commander. Even given that, there are going to be times when I'd like to use King Macar's ability twice in a turn. With multiple opponents, there are going to be turns when I need to take out multiple creatures, and these cards will let me do that.

Protection

Swiftfoot Boots
Champion's Helm
Lightning Greaves
Whispersilk Cloak
Darksteel Plate

If King Macar is going to be doing a lot of driving, then he'll need air bags. This deck heavily relies on Macar getting into play and staying there, so protection is key. I'm starting with five pieces of protection but may go to more.

Mass Removal

Demon of Dark Schemes
Massacre Wurm
Dread Cacodemon
Oblivion Stone
Nevinyrral's Disk

Even with King Macar, there are going to be times when you'll need to wipe the battlefield. King Macar can't handle creatures with protection and will have problems with decks that produce a ton of tokens.

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The joy of mass removal with a deck like this is that it likely won't touch the vehicles, since they will not be creatures when the mass removal is cast. This isn't true with the O-Stone or Disk, but those are here more as removal for enchantments and artifacts. I'm hoping to avoid using them as much as possible, but there times when you need the escape hatch. In the end, I can't wait to see a Dread Cacodemon enter the battlefield, then crew Skysovereign!

Artifact/Enchantment Removal

Universal Solvent
Oblivion Stone
Nevinyrral's Disk

This is always an awkward section with an all-black deck. As I said above, I'm relying on the mass removal spells to deal with problematic artifacts and enchantments. This is far from ideal, but I take what I'm given.

Fliers

Vampire Nighthawk
Drana, Liberator of Malakir
Aetherborn Marauder
Chancellor of the Dross
Demon of Dark Schemes
Indulgent Tormentor
Ob Nixilis, Unshackled
Carnifex Demon
Sky Skiff
Smuggler's Copter
Aethersphere Harvester
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

I love evasion creatures, particularly flying creatures. They break up the stalled games when no one has a profitable attack and stop opponents hoping to slip through for a couple points of damage each turn. I've been on the wrong end of these situations too many times, so now I make a point of ensuring that every deck I have has some flying creatures.

Now that the itch is scratched, I really like the way this deck has come together! There is plenty of redundancy and I think the resiliency is also there. A commander like King Macar opens up plenty of options in the deck when you can rely on your commander to remove many of the threats on the battlefield. I think I'll be loaning out Kalitas; I want to drive MaCar!

Bruce Richard
@Manaburned




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