When Primeval Titan was banned there were a lot of Commander decks that were searching for a replacement. That replacement in many cases was Sylvan Primordial, but the card’s recent banning from the ranks of the 100-card singleton stacks a new replacement is needed. Luckily for us, the new Commander decks provided several adequate creatures who can fit fairly seamlessly into most creature slots that were left vacant by Sylvan Primordial.
In my Prime Speaker Zegana deck, Sylvan Primordial’s banning left a fairly gaping hole. Because my deck is based on the concepts of Turbo Land forwarded by MTG Hall of Famer, Zvi Mowshowitz, and the Ancient Depths deck from the Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012, Sylvan Primordial filled some big shoes in both ramping me into even larger spells and threats while destroying other threats and utility permanents. Naturally, I wanted something that would be able to fit such bill. Several options came to mind when looking at the decklists of Commander 2013. Naya Soulbeast and Bane of Progress shot to the top of my list of replacements. Both have the potential to be large creature threats in their own right, but ultimately it was Bane of Progress that made the cut.
Bane of Progress fills the role that Sylvan Primordial had in removing utility permanents while being a significant board threat. And while Sylvan Primordial is certainly better in the level of card advantage it provides, Bane of Progress still proves to be a formidable threat, and can provide a reasonable amount of card advantage in the cards it will destroy. My primary concern with Bane of Progress as a replacement is that it will likely hit some of my own utility permanents in the process, but as with any boardsweeper, it is a risk we have to take. Let’s take a look at the decklist.
Prime Speaker Zegana Turbo Land EDH
Prime Speaker Zegana EDH Strategy
When one looks at this decklist, the influences immediately become apparent. The concept is simple: play lots of lands to drop a lot of threats and take a lot of extra turns. While ramping into large spells is an obvious way to win the game, there are several strategies one can employ that will easily overwhelm your opponents. For example, dropping an early game Omniscience will often cause an entire table to insta-scoop, knowing that all the draw spells in the deck will only fuel your endless wave of free threats.
There are some strategies that are less apparent to the untrained eye, however. The interaction between Eternal Witness, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Time Stretch gives us infinite turns by bouncing Eternal Witness with Jace and getting back Time Stretch over and over again. Another interaction, and my personal favorite, comes from Omniscience, Tidespout Tyrant, and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre to blow up your opponent’s entire board. Prior to Sylvan Primordial‘s banning, it could be used as part of this combo as well, but even without the green Primordial, Ulamog gets the job done quite nicely. Considering that Ulamog’s Annihilator will cause the defending opponent to sacrifice 4 permanents upon attack, it is unlikely that any of your opponents will be able to recover from such a devastating combo (at the risk of making you the Bane of Playgroup).
As with most ramp decks, in order to prep the table for dropping your endgame threats, you need some early game protection. I’ve included sweepers like Nevinyrral’s Disk and Oblivion Stone, and spot removal like Capsize to keep me alive until I can start putting pressure on my opponents. With the constant deck thinning and draw spell, this Turbo Land influenced deck ensures you can draw into your answers and threats consistently. Even though we lost a major threat and answer in Sylvan Primordial, I think gaining another sweeper for problem utility permanents was a more than adequate replacement.
I’m part of a very competitive playgroup. We try to use the best cards that we can, and we don’t spare any punches. Degenerate combos, unfair synergies, and broken cards are all part of the appeal of EDH to us. But sometimes a card comes around and gets under everybody’s skin. There seems to be a general theme within the most recent Commander bannings. Cards like Sylvan Primordial and Sundering Titan make it difficult for others to play their answers and threats while generating enormous card advantage for the caster. At the end of the day we need to be able to adapt our decks accordingly. If your decks are really feeling the loss from recently banned cards, then you really should question if your deck hinges on too narrow of a strategy. Having multiple options and strategies available to you will increase your odds of winning significantly.
Well, until next time, happy gaming!