Rant of Valakut: Commanding Peasants – Part 1: Options Ben Iverach-Brereton May 7, 2018 Rants of Valakut A long time ago I made a ‘Peasant’ Commander deck that had no Rare or Mythic Rare cards in it. The deck was made up of only cards I opened in booster packs or picked in drafts — no pre-constructed sets, no singles. The only card I ever bought specifically for that deck was the Commander, a common named Sivitri Scarzam. I wrote all about it way back in my second article, and I’ve been tinkering with the deck ever since. Why do I bring this up, you may ask? Well, person who sets up convenient segues with leading questions, I am doing it again! That’s right, with the release of new uncommon legendary creatures in Dominaria, I am making a new Peasant Commander deck. This time, I even get to use a legend that I open in a booster pack! Proper Peasant Planning Before the Dominaria pre-release I gave some thought as to what I might build based on what uncommon legendary creature I opened. I was aiming on making something in colours different from my Sivitri Scarzam deck, so I knew I wasn’t going to build a new deck around Rona, Disciple of Gix or any of the mono-blue or mono-black legends. Ideally, I would have no overlap between my two Peasant decks at all, but if they ended up sharing a colour it would be fine, so long as the themes of the decks were sufficiently different. My Sivitri Scarzam deck focuses on card advantage and spell recursion, leaning on cards like Archaeomancer and Mnemonic Wall to do a lot of the heavy lifting. As a result, the deck has a fairly high number of Instant and Sorcery cards. With that in mind, I would rather my new Peasant Commander deck have a different game plan. Building around Adeliz, the Cinder Wind, for instance, would probably play out in a very similar manner. Add to that the fact that I built a Blue-Red Spells deck with Jori En, Ruin Diver not that long ago, and Adeliz was almost certainly off the list. That would be a moot point of I never opened Adeliz, but the principle remained; I would have to steer away from building something too similar to what I had already done with other commanders. Staying Open One of the advantages of building a Commander deck with a legendary creature with no abilities is that it keeps the deck theme very open. With Sivitri Scarzam I knew my colours, but beyond that I was free to do anything. As it so happened, this was ideal, given my restricted card pool. The focus on spells and card advantage grew out of what cards I had. Whatever I decided to build for my new deck would benefit from a similar approach; sticking to broad themes like “artifacts” or “creatures” would be a better choice for me than narrower ones like “equipment” or “Elves”. This meant I would probably be steering away from cards like Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker or Valduk, Keeper of the Flame if I opened them. Ultimately my decision would be based on what I opened at the pre-release. I wanted to get an early start on the project, and I knew I would have a few options from my Sealed pool. When the tournament was done I was looking at six options: Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive, Arvad the Cursed, Hallar, the Firefletcher, Grunn, the Lonely King, Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage, and Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy. ~~~ Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive Unblockable creatures are a real thorn in everyone’s side. Even if they are only chipping in for a small amount of damage each turn, it can add up. Coupled with combat damage triggers, it can be quite powerful. There were a lot of cards that I could think of right away that would be really good with Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive, but several of them were Rares. Add to that the fact that Tetsuko is mono-blue (which I wanted to avoid), and I decided it would be better to look at my other options for a Peasant Commander instead. That said, I expect to build a deck around Tetsuko at some point anyway; she is really cool, and I can already imagine what most of the deck would look like. Arvad the Cursed Lifelink and Deathtouch are very good abilities on a commander, and I do like white-black decks a lot, but Arvad the Cursed is at his best alongside other legendary creatures. Without access to rare cards I would have very little that would benefit from his presence. Unfortunately this meant that the vampire knight probably wouldn’t make the cut; there could be some ways to make him work, but I couldn’t help but feel that I could get more out of some of the other legends I opened. Hallar, the Firefletcher There might be more common and uncommon cards with Kicker than there are legendary creatures, but my collection doesn’t really have enough of them to consistently trigger Hallar, the Firefletcher. His low mana cost coupled with his decent size and Trample could make him good enough for a Commander, but without that critical mass of Kicker spells I would feel like I was wasting his abilities. He was a more likely candidate than Arvad, and even if I didn’t use him for this Peasant project I would have to keep him in mind for future decks. Grunn, the Lonely King Big green creatures are a tried and true strategy, and they don’t come much bigger than Grunn, the Lonely King when he’s Kicked and attacking. He proved to be a solid creature at the pre-release, and the idea of barreling in for 20 commander damage with him is impressive. I could see a few different ways of putting together a decent mono-green Peasant deck with him, ramping into big creatures and giving Grunn some sort of evasion, but I just wasn’t very excited about the big green ape. The game plan with him felt very one-dimensional, and I could see a lot of flaws in how it could play out. All it would take would be someone destroying Grunn a couple of times before he got far too expensive to cast, and then the deck would struggle to close out a game. Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage I have a lot of artifact-based commander decks, ranging from combo decks like my Glissa, the Traitor deck, to more straightforward beat-down strategies with Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer. At this point there isn’t much I haven’t done with this card type. Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage brings lot to the table, with both Flash and Flying, but I don’t know how often his Historic ability would come up in a deck with no rares. It’s one thing to surprise an opponent with a Wurmcoil Engine, but it’s a lot less impressive when the best thing you can muster is a Hexplate Golem. Alternatively, I could lean on his ability to Flash in himself. He could be the core of a good draw-go control strategy, full of Instant-speed control elements. Raff would serve as a decent win-condition, much like Vendilion Clique in Modern decks. Unfortunately, being a multiplayer format, it takes a lot more time to defeat everyone with a 3/3 flier. Another strike against this deck is that it is sounding an awful lot like my Sivitri Scarzam deck. It could be worth exploring, but it didn’t seem like what I wanted for this project. Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy Of the uncommon legendary creatures I opened at the pre-release, Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy seemed like the most likely candidate for me to build around. I wasn’t sure what all I would include in a deck with her commanding it, but a creature heavy deck seemed obvious. Creatures that entered the battlefield with tokens in tow would be a good starting point, as well as other cards that could dump a big pile of bodies into play. I know green-white has a lot of support for these token strategies at the common and uncommon level, and a deck like this would be very different from my Sivitri Scarzam deck. I already have a green-white Commander deck that has a large token element to it, but my Selvala, Explorer Returned deck focuses mainly on life gain. With Shanna I felt I could go in a different direction so as to have very little overlap between the two decks. Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy looked very promising; I had a new commander! I started digging through my collection to build the rest of the deck… …but that is a story for next time. ~~~ What do you all think? Would you ever consider making a Commander deck with no Rares in it? Which of the Uncommon Legendary Creatures would you choose? Let me know in the comments! Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.