I haven’t written in a long time for personal reasons. You see, at the beginning of December last year, my dear mother passed away after twelve years of exhausting struggle against cancer. The final diagnosis was startling in its inevitability, and only two weeks after it, my mom died in a hospital bed.
I can honestly say that these were the hardest two weeks of my life. It was all the more painful for the extreme suddenness of it all as we had celebrated her 60th birthday only four days prior to the routine examination which brought to light that the cancer had returned with a vengeance. It broke my heart to see how she lost her will to live and how every passing day drained away more of the little energy she had left.
In the end, our only consolation is that it obviously was her active decision to stop fighting, that she had finally decided that she’d had enough.
I’m not a particularly religious person but let’s hope that she’s in a nicer place now. Because frankly, she deserved better than the ending she got.
Ah well, there it is, my reason for not writing anything at all in the past two months. How about something more pleasant now?
My last article was about Attack Left/Right and you can find it here. It includes a quick rundown of the rules of the format as well as a deck I thought interesting enough to show you. In the comments section of this article, I mentioned that I would present another deck for this format in my next article. So this is what I’ll do now!
Have a look:
MULTIPLAYER MADNESS XVI – Roadblock
The last deck was a control deck, and we’ll definitely stay there. The inspiration for this deck here was an oft-forgotten uncommon from Future Sight, namely Chronomantic Escape. In a format where only one opponent is allowed to attack you, a card that can repeatedly prevent him or her from doing so sounds like a good thing to me. There are a few other cards that have a similar effect, such as Peacekeeper, Blazing Archon, Island Sanctuary, or even Mystic Barrier from the last Commander expansion, but Chronomantic Escape has a large advantage over them: it can only be stopped with counterspells or things like Silence. Peacekeeper and Blazing Archon can be killed with Path To Exile and its ilk, Island Sanctuary and Mystic Barrier with a simple Disenchant. Chronomantic Escape, though, laughs in the face of removal.
It’s not perfect, however. It gets recast every third turn only, so there are two turns when you can be attacked. For this, you have two possible solutions: Either cast multiple Escapes one after another so that all turns are covered, or you try to get more than one upkeep in order to be able to remove more than one time counter in a single turn. How lucky that there is a card that does exactly that. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Paradox Haze!
This little gem is usually thought of as the “Super Honden” as it works fantastically with those legendary Shrine enchantments from Kamigawa. I was tempted to use them in this deck as well but Honden of Cleansing Fire only gives you life, and Honden of Seeing Winds is a bit too expensive here as I don’t want to clutter the five mana spot too much.
Winning the Game
However, there are other cards that have very nice synergy with Paradox Haze, for example my main win condition: Mirror-Sigil Sergeant. Funnily enough, it just so happens that Paradox Haze is blue, meaning you can copy your sergeants during your upkeep. Oh, and it also provides you with an additional upkeep? Let’s copy all of them again then, including the ones that where just put onto the battlefield during the previous upkeep! This can get out of hand really quickly, and if you’re lucky, you might just run over one opponent after another as each upkeep effectively doubles all the rhinos you control. How awesome is that!?
Just for fun and for diversity’s sake, I’ve added a few other win conditions. First of all, there is Azor’s Elocutors which immediately wins you the game if it assembles its fifth contraption … uhm, I mean filibuster counter. If you have an active loop of one or more Chronomantic Escapes and/or Paradox Hazes, it gets really difficult to deal damage to you (at least via creatures), so there is a high chance that Azor’s Elocutors will decide a game for you. I’ve only added a single copy though as cards that win you games out of nowhere are frowned upon by some people and can leave you with a dirty feeling in the aftermath. It’s always up to you and your playgroup how you handle that kind of thing but be prepared for other players getting disappointed or angry. A single copy that you can’t even search for shouldn’t pose too many difficulties, though.
Alright, next up is Deep-Sea Kraken. This is nothing spectacular but it works very well with Paradox Haze and might actually keep your opponents from playing spells if they know they can’t handle an unblockable 6/6, which is a nice situation to be in as it means that they won’t put any obstacles in your way.
And finally, we have Celestial Colonnade. So-called manlands are powerful tools as they require instant-speed removal if you use them as attackers, so things like Day of Judgment, Do or Die, Assassinate or Fireball won’t work. Celestial Colonnade is particularly good as it is rather large, has evasion, and can even be tapped for mana after it attacked thanks to vigilance.
The Early Turns
As Abe Sargent keeps saying: “You can only win if you’re not losing.” To this end, I’ve included a few cards that help us survive during the early turns.
We’ll start out with Nyx-Fleece Ram, an innocuous little thing that everybody loves. I mean, look at how fluffy it is! In addition to that, it blocks early attackers and bolsters your life during your upkeep. Uh, make that ‘upkeeps’ in this deck.
The ram is supported by Epochrasite, a creature that is hard to get rid of and keeps coming back for more. I have been assured by my playgroup that it is really annoying to play against, so it finds a home here.
Next up: Thassa, God of the Sea. The gods of Theros are one of my favorite developments in recent years. They usually provide you with a lot of flexibility and/or make life difficult for your opponents. It’s interesting, though, that I usually don’t want them to become creatures. You might wonder why that is, considering that they are indestructible. Well, dear readers, in my playgroup, exiling removal is running rampant because just destroying things frequently isn’t sufficient. “Sure, Terminate that Demigod of Revenge, it’s going to come back anyways. Together with its friends, of course.” Or what about: “Oh, you want to Murder my Yosei, the Morning Star? Go ahead, and while you’re at it, please tap those five dudes over there and skip your next untap step. Yeah, you’re completely open now. Sorry.”
And I won’t even talk about Grab the Reins…
So yeah, Thassa should just stay an enchantment. She’s cheap and offers card selection every turn which is good in itself. Add a Paradox Haze to the mix and let her take you from there. Scry 2 or even 3 every turn without further investments is absolutely bonkers! And sometimes she even helps Epochrasite getting a hit in. I like her!
And then there is Endless Horizons. Have you ever played this one? No? Did it look to risky? Well, it isn’t. Let me ask you a question: How many games have you lost because you kept drawing lands in the late game? Endless Horizons can help you there. If you draw it late, it can ensure that you’ll be drawing action from then on. If you draw it early, it does a lot for the development of your board position. In this deck, it can also find sources of blue mana (Hallowed Fountain) or the option to shuffle something back into your library (Mistveil Plains). Give this one a try, folks! You’ll not be disappointed!
Getting Rid of Stuff
Our removal suite consists of three copies of Wrath of God because, you know, sometimes things just have to die. Then there is a playset of Oblivion Rings whose usual job is to take care of any non-creature permanents you don’t like. In this, the rings get help from Reality Strobe which can bounce things that cause you difficulties. As it is, these two go well together as you can always bounce an O-Ring with the Strobe if a more dangerous threat appears than the one you originally shut away. Mana-wise, Reality Strobe is a bit on the expensive side but let me tell you, with multiple upkeeps, this is incredibly hard to deal with.
Last but not least we have World Queller. This. Dude. Is. Awesome. Especially in this deck where it synergizes extremely well with Paradox Haze, Mirror-Sigil Sergeant and Epochrasite. He may lock an opponent out of the game all by himself.
Protecting Key Cards
I’ll be honest, without Paradox Haze, you’ll have a hard time winning a game. To this end, I’ve included a pair of each, Counterspell and Hindering Light. The former stops everything, including instant wins like Overrun or Exsanguinate. The latter is somewhat narrower but also draws you a card. I’ve found both of them to be extremely powerful but as their respective tasks are pretty obvious, you can of course make your own choices for their spots.
Okay, this is it for today. Did you like the deck? And what do think about Attack Left/Right in general? Any great cards for this format? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time then!
Hey there my friend! Again, I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family.
I still haven’t tried Attack Left/Right on my commander night, but we will be playing this weekend, so maybe I’ll get the guys to try it.
A giant bowl of kudos on your deck ideas. The synergy in your deck lists never cease to amaze me – makes me wish I played this format more often. I really dig the synergy and build around of Paradox Haze plus time counters. Super cool.
I will definitely be borrowing a few ideas from your decklist… Mainly to plug into a few different commander decks that can use Paradox Haze and more pillow fort-like cards.
Just out of curiosity, what do you think of Jhoira’s Timebug in this deck?
Great right up, glad to see your ideas back on the website! Take care my friend!
Thank you, Wally. It’s not easy at times but we’re coping.
Considering synergy: In my opinion, that is what makes a deck tick. It’s easy to jam a lot of powerful cards together and call it a deck (I like to do so myself at times as my Sliver Queen Commander deck can attest) but I think it’s way more fun if you build with synergy in mind. It just feels a lot cooler and more satisfying when the pieces are coming together, when a deck starts working like a well-oiled machine.
Then again, it also feels a lot worse if you have a cool idea and it just doesn’t seem to work, no matter what you try. Nothing about Magic do I consider to be more disappointing when I come up with a new deck that I absolutely love in theory which then procedes to completely let me down in practice. Insert reference to any of my Doubling Season decks here… 😉
And with regard to Jhoira’s Timebug: I was already hard-pressed for slots, there just isn’t any more room for other cards unless I exceed the limit of 60 cards. And that is something I never like to do. It happens, of course, but I try to prevent it as far as possible. Especially in such a corner case like the Timebug. Its applications are just too narrow in this deck (only 10 cards) to make me even consider it. Paradox Haze does most of the work here, and in my experience, it’s definietly sufficient. So I’m sorry, Mr. Timebug, but this is not the place you’re looking for!