Once again, the annual Commander product for Magic: The Gathering proves to be a great success for the format at large. From the first reveal of the set's themes, players knew to expect amazing things from this release, and when it came around, it did not disappoint. The mechanics expanded on include Morph, Flashback, Populate, and Madness. Bleeding Cool has covered these decks in great detail, and even provided suggestions on how to make them even better.
However, as tight as these decks are for the most part, therein lies an issue in that the commanders that aren't representing the "face" of the product mostly don't fit in the Magic decks. As I have gone over the "face" commanders in a series of deck techs already, I'm hoping to shed light on what makes a few of the other commanders work best. Two days ago, on Tuesday, August 27th, I worked on a Volrath, the Shapestealer deck tech, shown here. Today, we are going over Pramikon, Sky Rampart, of the "Mystic Intellect" Magic: the Gathering preconstructed deck.
Pramikon is, as can be seen above, a Wall creature, in Jeskai (or white, blue, and red) colors. It diverts attacks mostly by forcing opponents to attack in a specific direction (a similar card in the deck, Mystic Barrier, does the same thing). With many potential attacks against us diverted, we are suddenly bestowed with the gift of precious preparation time before players start losing. What can we do with so much prep time? My plan for this deck is to amass at least one of many alternate win conditions, and win that way, while buying time with Pramikon and other "pillow fort"-style Magic cards.
In order for us to win, many of the win-cons we have want us not to take any damage. To this end, we want to make sure we can't be targeted or attacked by opponents. There are a fair few cards in here that lend themselves quite well to the "pillow fort" we want to set up.
This Magic deck thrives on its win conditions. There are quite a few possibilities for how to win with this deck. Additionally, the only way for us to survive to these ends is to make sure we are not dealt damage. With these parameters in mind, here are some notable cards I have included in my Pramikon build:
Azor's Elocutors – This card is the epitome of Magic: the Gathering bureaucracy. If you can wait long enough undisturbed you will win the game with it. The biggest issue with the card is the molasses-level pace it has, but if Pramikon is capable of slowing the game down beyond a crawl, you'll come out on top.
Felidar Sovereign and Test of Endurance – Both of these cards are nearly identical in their ability. Felidar Sovereign is a bit harder to keep alive but will sometimes win you the game on your upkeep without having done anything. Test of Endurance takes a bit more finesse when looking at the life-gain needed but is also manageable in this deck.
Approach of the Second Sun – Sometimes permanents aren't the best way to win this game. Sometimes you need to win with a spell, and sometimes that spell can even facilitate other win conditions while working towards its own. Enter Approach of the Second Sun. Approach happened to be a huge wincon in more than one Standard deck when it was legal. As long as it isn't countered (either time you need to cast it), you've generally won.
Chandra, Awakened Inferno – This win condition is a bit slower than the ones described above. Chandra simply puts herself up by two loyalty counters to give the opponents a 40-turn clock, going down during each opposing upkeep, and speeding up with each future use of Chandra's ability. It works to stop Elocutors (if that ever becomes important enough), and can't be countered except by ability counters like Stifle and similar cards.
Ghostly Prison, Propaganda, and Sphere of Safety: These cards do a mighty fine job at stopping opponents from attacking you, or at the very least highly discouraging it. They are second to cards like Pramikon at diverting attacks entirely, if possible. And speaking of Pramikon…
Mystic Barrier – As mentioned earlier, Mystic Barrier does exactly what Pramikon does in its ability. So, an important note is that when both are out, and you choose different directions for the players to have to attack towards, no player can attack, period. This sets you up for cards like Elocutors, Approach, and even the last major card I want to discuss:
Luminarch Ascension – While not a diverting force or direct win condition in its own right, Luminarch Ascension is a huge payoff for if you manage to keep it on the field completely undisturbed. Making Angel tokens for two mana apiece is nothing to scoff at, and will direct in-game threats your way, but if you can keep intact for long enough, the card will work overtime for you.
As with the Volrath deck, this deck was built with no holds barred. Most of the cards in the deck were added with a general budget in mind. We aren't adding cards like Serra's Sanctum, Mox Diamond, or Mana Drain because those rather break the bank, so to speak, for most players. Having said that, those sorts of cards are good additions to the deck if you can find worthwhile cards to cut for them.
Additionally, I have not tested this deck out yet, but I plan to at some point. It looks promising, and while it isn't my playstyle overall, the deck merits at least a game or two to test its mettle. If there's anything cool or interesting for this Magicdeck that I may have missed, please let me know in the comments!