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Commander archetypes: Midrange (Part 2)

Hello ladies and gentleman!
Welcome to Command Beacon, our column on multiplayer Commander here on Eternal Magic!

Today we will continue with the archetypes of the Midrange strategy, initiated in the previous article. Reminiscing: Midrange Decks have the flexibility to adapt to different game situations, alternating between a reactive or proactive posture.

We have seen within this strategy until then the Pain, Good Stuff e True Midrange archetypes. Today we’ll enter Toolbox, Group Hug, Meta Hate and Voltron Control.

Toolbox

Having the right tool for each situation can be the key to victory and Toolbox decks take that concept to the extreme. They tend to have a very wide versatility of effects, not necessarily focusing on a linear plane, but on the flexibility and benefits mainly provided by permanents. Need to remove an artifact or enchantment? [mtg_card]Reclamation Sage[/mtg_card] may be ideal. Is an opponent’s graveyard causing a lot of trouble? Something to exile it should be enough, so abuse from [mtg_card]Rest in Peace[/mtg_card]. Does control decks attempt to counter each move of yours? [mtg_card]Prowling Serpopard[/mtg_card]. Need to protect your creatures? [mtg_card]Sylvan Outcast[/mtg_card]. Going aggro? [mtg_card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/mtg_card]. Prevent a combo? [mtg_card]Eidolon of Rhetoric[/mtg_card]. The tools are several, and a Toolbox has one to suit every situation and when well piloted can be extremely rewarding.

But for this game plan to work, it’s not enough just to have the tools on the deck with no way to use them at the right time. A commander who complements this plan well is fundamental, so those with some inherent tutoring mechanics come out on top as a Toolbox, looking for that particular card you may be interested in within the library. Another way is to have a full graveyard and a commander that provides consistent recursion forms, reviving what is needed at the right time. Is it possible for a Toolbox without a commander to do this? Maybe, but it loses a lot of consistency and depends on many tutors, which the colors won’t provide in great quantity. Also, too many tutors lose out on variety of cards, and that’s not the point here.

Interrupting this archetype consists in preventing it from abusing its tools. As it probably depends on the commander, this is the card to be hated, then counter it, destroy it, return it to the owner’s hand, turn it into a forest, attach it to the moon, whatever it is, but keep it from playing. From that on it becomes much simpler to combat these decks. [mtg_card]Stranglehold[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Mindlock Orb[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Aven Mindcensor[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Leonin Arbiter[/mtg_card] may also be enough to lock the game for them, as long as these cards are protected. In the case of a Reanimator Toolbox, gravehate (specific cards against graveyard use) is effective, so  [mtg_card]Rest in Peace[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Leyline of the Void[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Ground Seal[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Relic of Progenitus[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Grafdigger’s Cage[/mtg_card], and others, may solve the situation.

Examples of commanders that might fit in a Toolbox: [mtg_card]Zur the Enchanter[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Captain Sisay[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Meren of Clan Nel Toth[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Karador, Ghost Chieftain[/mtg_card].

As for the decklist, the wanderer bard.

Deck -- Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (Toolbox)
Commander
1 Yisan, the Wanderer Bard

Creatures
1 Arbor Elf
1 Acidic Slime
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Azusa, Lost but Seeking
1 Bane of Progress
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Boreal Druid
1 Caustic Caterpillar
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Duplicant
1 Elvish Mystic
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Great Oak Guardian
1 Karametra's Acolyte
1 Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Manglehorn
1 Phyrexian Revoker
1 Priest of Titania
1 Quirion Ranger
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Regal Force
1 Sakura-Tribe Scout
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Scryb Ranger
1 Seedborn Muse
1 Shaman of the Forgotten Ways
1 Soul of New Phyrexia
1 Sylvan Safekeeper
1 Tajuru Preserver
1 Temur Sabertooth
1 Thought-Knot Seer
1 Ulvenwald Tracker
1 Wall of Roots
1 Wirewood Symbiote
1 Woodland Bellower

Artifacts
1 Chrome Mox
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mox Diamond
1 Null Rod
1 Sol Ring
1 Staff of Domination
1 Umbral Mantle
1 Winter Orb

Enchantments
1 Burgeoning
1 Carpet of Flowers
1 Earthcraft
1 Exploration
1 Lignify
1 Root Maze
1 Song of the Dryads
1 Survival of the Fittest
1 Sylvan Library
Sorceries
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Natural Order
1 Regrowth
1 Sylvan Scrying

Instants
1 Beast Within
1 Benefactor's Draught
1 Chord of Calling
1 Crop Rotation
1 Heroic Intervention
1 Nature's Claim
1 Worldly Tutor

Lands
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Gaea's Cradle
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
24 Forest
1 Strip Mine
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
[mtg_card]Yisan, The Wanderer Bard[/mtg_card] Perfectly embodies this archetype by being a consistent creature tutor, fetching creatures with progressively higher costs and putting them directly into play. In this list there are no less than 38 creatures, a greater amount than that of land. Among these 38 there are very diversified functions that allow to progress with the game plan quickly ([mtg_card]Arbor Elf[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Birds of Paradise[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Quirion Ranger[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Scryb Ranger[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Wirewood Symbiote[/mtg_card], and many others) at the same time it can respond to the rest ([mtg_card]Reclamation Sage[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Scavenging Ooze[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Phyrexian Revoker[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Thought-Knot Seer[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Somberwald Stag[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Duplicant[/mtg_card], etc) and still protect itself ([mtg_card]Sylvan Outcast[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Tajuru Preserver[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Soul of New Phyrexia[/mtg_card]) Until reaching the final verses, in an extremely fast sequence, usually started by [mtg_card]Seedborn Muse[/mtg_card] (Which effectively gives something equivalent to extra turns in another player’s turn), followed by [mtg_card]Kamahl, Fist of Krosa[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Avenger of Zendikar[/mtg_card], closing the match with [mtg_card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/mtg_card]. There’s also the possibility to end the game with [mtg_card]Shaman of the Forgotten Ways[/mtg_card] or infinite mana and infinite paower combos, like [mtg_card]Temur Sabertooth[/mtg_card] + [mtg_card]Great Oak Guardian[/mtg_card] + [mtg_card]Priest of Titania[/mtg_card]/[mtg_card]Karametra’s Acolyte[/mtg_card], or [mtg_card]Priest of Titania[/mtg_card]/[mtg_card]Karametra’s Acolyte[/mtg_card] + [mtg_card]Umbral Mantle[/mtg_card]/[mtg_card]Staff of Domination[/mtg_card].

Group Hug

We now come to the most political archetype of any format, Group Hug. At first it seems to be pure love, friendship, altruism and happiness, but it can often have a hidden face of a game of influences. Although it is a bad archetype to get wins – and don’t doubt, they can win – in communities where there are league systems that have a score system by placement, this archetype becomes an excellent choice in the hands of a player who knows how to play with players and not only with their own cards, because often positioning in a second place in several matches can lead to victory in the long run, even in more competitive goals.

Here are basically two ways to work on this type of deck. One of the ways is to use cards that target, because they allow elaborate trading, and this is therefore a parameter to evaluate the composition of the deck: is this card flexible enough to negotiate, apparently favoring a player? Therefore, giving small advantages to players who are weak, disrupting only those who are ahead may be the role of a Group Hug. Another approach is to simply grant benefits to everyone, without any form of discrimination and without any win condition, or even worse, to benefit others without bringing any form of advantage to themselves. I advise to be very careful when working in this way, since to accelerate the game of all is also to accelerate the game of the most oppressive decks and consequently your own defeat, often without room to negotiate. In either approach, the important thing is for you to become the player who is mostly wanted to stay at the table for as long as possible. At the Tappedout site there is a long list with several cards that have a good profile for Group Hug decks, and you can access it here.

Facing a Group Hug can be complex for players who don’t like to interact or lack political skills. For this profile of players what should be done is to be as fast and forceful as possible, achieving the victory before the table negotiations end up by hurting you. Another way to cope is to enter the game proposed by the Group Hug pilot: negotiate, manage your game smartly, not becoming a clear threat, while using your own resources to advance in a subtle way. This way you can gain benefits and survive long enough to achieve the ideal conditions of victory.

Examples of commanders that might fit in a Group Hug: [mtg_card]Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Zedruu the Greathearted[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Braids, Conjurer Adept[/mtg_card] e [mtg_card]Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker[/mtg_card].

As for the list, the purple flying hippo that everybody loves.

Deck -- Phelddagrif (Group Hug)
Commander
1 Phelddagrif

Creatures
1 Bane of Progress
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Edric, Spymaster of Trest
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Heartwood Storyteller
1 Hunted Troll
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Nullmage Advocate
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Palinchron
1 Rhonas the Indomitable
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Seedborn Muse
1 Selvala, Explorer Returned
1 Skullwinder
1 Spurnmage Advocate
1 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger

Artifacts
1 Assault Suit
1 Azorius Signet
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Chrome Mox
1 Crown of Doom
1 Isochron Scepter
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Mox Diamond
1 Selesnya Signet
1 Simic Signet
1 Sol Ring

Enchantments
1 Act of Authority
1 Awakening
1 Carpet of Flowers
1 Dictate of Karametra
1 Duelist's Heritage
1 Exploration
1 Living Plane
1 Mana Reflection
1 Mirari's Wake
1 Rhystic Study
Sorceries
1 Austere Command
1 Chain of Acid
1 Collective Voyage
1 Council's Judgment
1 Farseek
1 Nature's Lore
1 Skyshroud Claim
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Tempt with Discovery

Instants
1 Arcane Denial
1 Beast Within
1 Benefactor's Draught
1 Blue Sun's Zenith
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Chord of Calling
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Dramatic Reversal
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Krosan Grip
1 Moment's Peace
1 Orim's Chant
1 Path to Exile
1 Second Sunrise
1 Swan Song
1 Worldly Tutor

Lands
1 Arid Mesa
1 Breeding Pool
1 Command Tower
1 Flooded Strand
1 Forbidden Orchard
3 Forest
1 Geier Reach Sanitarium
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Hinterland Harbor
3 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Maze of Ith
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
1 Misty Rainforest
3 Plains
1 Polluted Delta
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Savannah
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Temple Garden
1 Throne of the High City
1 Tropical Island
1 Tundra
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
[mtg_card]Phelddagrif[/mtg_card] it’s pure love. He can give life, creatures and cards to target opponent and that is the political essence of Commander. Providing chump blocks – creatures that will be assigned basically as blockers – and small attackers or provide life can save a player that is vital part to prevent another from winning. Or provide cards for a Control to give him a solution against Combo and Aggro. This is the kind of situation a Group Hug feeds on. The rest of the list has cards that fit as punctual control for those in the game and still have strong political value attached to them, like [mtg_card]Act of Authority[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Chain of Acid[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Chain of Vapor[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Council’s Judgment[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Arcane Denial[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Beast Within[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Nullmage Advocate[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Spurnmage Advocate[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Maze of Ith[/mtg_card]. Some effects may benefit all players, turning the deck pilot into someone with a low threat and less susceptible to the hate of others. Among these effects we have [mtg_card]Collective Voyage[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Tempt with Discovery[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Edric, Spymaster of Trest[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Selvala, Explorer Returned[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Assault Suit[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Second Sunrise[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Awakening[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Dictate of Karametra[/mtg_card]. How can this deck win? At first, with commander damage, being it 4 by 4 or raised by [mtg_card]Rhonas the Indomitable[/mtg_card]. There’s also some infinite mana combos, like [mtg_card]Isochron Scepter[/mtg_card] + [mtg_card]Dramatic Reversal[/mtg_card] + mana rocks/mana dorks, or any other effect that raises the amount of mana produced by your sources ([mtg_card]Mana Reflection[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Dictate of Karametra[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Mirari’s Wake[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger[/mtg_card]) + [mtg_card]Palinchron[/mtg_card]. From this mana, we can provide life and infinite tokens, trample everybody with the ability from [mtg_card]Rhonas, the Indomitable[/mtg_card] or force the opponents to draw their whole library with [mtg_card]Blue Sun’s Zenith[/mtg_card]. Another dirtiness from this list is to make all lands disappear by using [mtg_card]Living Plane[/mtg_card] + [mtg_card]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/mtg_card].

Meta Hate

Whoever said that Commander doesn’t use sideboard cards doesn’t know the Meta Hate, since he is the pure hate in the form of archetype. It is an extremely specific type of deck to a certain type of metagame, focused on winning and harming a deck type. It is the natural response to metagames impregnated by a specific type of strategy, whatever it may be. A successful Meta Hate is the diagnosis that something doesn’t go well in a given field. Be careful: this type of deck can make people nervous because they have very well-directed cards. However, it is the one that allows a saturated environment to become a healthier one.

To set up a Meta Hate you should provide a good analysis of the metagame. Which decks do people play with? Is there a predominance of one type of strategy? What would be the cruelest cards against this guy? From this type of question we can elaborate the Meta Hate. Do people usually play too much blue decks? Use cards that deal some damage to islands, like [mtg_card]Boil[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Choke[/mtg_card], or mess with the casting of blue magics and counterspells, like [mtg_card]Pyroblast[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Spellbreaker Behemoth[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Nature’s Wrath[/mtg_card]. The field has an excessive use of artifacts? [mtg_card]Kataki, War’s Wage[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Energy Flux[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Null Rod[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Shatterstorm[/mtg_card] might be what you want. Excessive use of 3, 4 and 5-color decks? [mtg_card]Blood Moon[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Magus of the Moon[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Ruination[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Back to Basics[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Wave of Vitriol[/mtg_card] tend to disturb those a lot. Graveyard abusers? [mtg_card]Anafenza, the Foremost[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Rest in Peace[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Leyline of the Void[/mtg_card], etc. Whatever is the hate you want to hold on to, your metagame must be well-studied, just like the cards that will do all the dirty work for you.

What about winning from a Meta Hate? If you play with the hate’s target I have terrible news for you: you will get frustrated. You’ll even be able to dodge some of the cards that hurt you, but often not. Play in a contained way, do not present all the features at once and do not show yourself as a threat. Commander’s tables are known for their twists and turns, and sometimes someone can take the Meta Hate out of the game, allowing you to get back into the game and sometimes even to win because you have saved enough resources to do a great turn all at once. The political factor also becomes fundamental and if there are others harmed, work with them to remove the target of disturbance from the game. However, if your community happens to have many Meta Hates that hurt you, the most practical solution is to change your deck or strategy to something not that affected by that specific hate. For those who are not the target of this strategy, be happy and win, because when it becomes specific it loses flexibility and effectiveness against the other types of decks.

Examples of commanders that might fit in a Meta Hate: [mtg_card]Anafenza, the Foremost[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Kataki, War’s Wage[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Llawan, Cephalid Empress[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Jaya Ballard, Task Mage[/mtg_card].

Our representative does not bow to blue.

Deck -- Rhuric Thar, the Unbowed (Meta Hate)
Commander
1 Rhuric Thar, the Unbowed

Creatures
1 Acidic Slime
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Azusa, Lost but Seeking
1 Balefire Dragon
1 Bane of Progress
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Elvish Mystic
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Gaea's Herald
1 Heartless Hidetsugu
1 Heartwood Storyteller
1 Inferno Titan
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Magus of the Moon
1 Manglehorn
1 Mold Adder
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Orcish Lumberjack
1 Pathbreaker Ibex
1 Prowling Serpopard
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
1 Shaman of Forgotten Ways
1 Somberwald Sage
1 Spellbane Centaur
1 Spellbreaker Behemoth
1 Treasonous Ogre
1 Ulvenwald Tracker
1 Vizier of the Menagerie
1 Zealous Conscripts

Artifacts
1 Mana Crypt
1 Null Rod
1 Sol Ring
1 Ugin's Nexus

Enchantments
1 Blood Moon
1 Carpet of Flowers
1 Choke
1 Nature's Wrath
1 Possibility Storm
1 Stranglehold
1 Sylvan Library
Sorceries
1 Creeping Corrosion
1 Decimate
1 Nature's Lore
1 Ruination
1 Shattering Spree
1 Shatterstorm
1 Skyshroud Claim
1 Three Visits
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Tsunami
1 Vandalblast

Instants
1 Beast Within
1 Boil
1 Guttural Response
1 Krosan Grip
1 Pyroblast
1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Seedtime

Lands
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Cinder Glade
16 Forest
1 Gaea's Cradle
10 Mountain
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Stomping Ground
1 Taiga

Imagine a metagame with many decks that abuse sorceries and instant spells as well as artifacts and where blue and tricolor decks with a strong blue base are kings. Now imagine how to break all those decks. My result was this Meta Hate commanded by [mtg_card]Rhuric Thar, the Unbowed[/mtg_card]. By itself, it already limits enough non-creature-based decks by dealing 6 damage every time someone casts anything that isn’t a creature spell. But the hate comes in the form of other cards. Hate cards for blue, its islands and counterspells: [mtg_card]Mold Adder[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Gaea’s Herald[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Prowling Serpopard[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Spellbane Centaur[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Spellbreaker Behemoth[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Guttural Response[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Pyroblast[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Red Elemental Blast[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Seedtime[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Choke[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Boil[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Tsunami[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Nature’s Wrath[/mtg_card]. Artifact hate: [mtg_card]Manglehorn[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Reclamation Sage[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Acidic Slime[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Bane of Progress[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Shattering Spree[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Vandalblast[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Null Rod[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Krosan Grip[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Decimate[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Creeping Corrosion[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Shatterstorm[/mtg_card]. And a pich of hate for some greedy mana bases: [mtg_card]Magus of the Moon[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Blood Moon[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Ruination[/mtg_card]. In other aspects, the deck works with high impact creatures and can easily win through combat damage with cards like [mtg_card]Pathbreaker Ibex[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Avenger of Zendikar[/mtg_card], or ending with an infinite token combo with [mtg_card]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/mtg_card] + [mtg_card]Zealous Conscripts[/mtg_card].

Voltron Control

Like a Voltron Aggro, the goal of a Voltron Control is to win through commander damage (21 points per opponent, 63 total), so the commander is usually the most consistent win condition on the entire deck, and sometimes the only one. So what sets you apart from your aggressive brother? Basically the structure of the deck and the support given to the commander. In the Aggro version the goal is to play it as fast as possible and use support (mainly equipment and auras) to eliminate opponents before they can react. Therefore, speed and force are imperative. The Control version doesn’t care so much for this speed. What counts here is the inevitability, sometimes slow and patient, that opponents will be eliminated one by one. You will ensure that their game will not get any further and that yours will not be stopped.

Voltron Control can ensure control over the game of others in a variety of ways, including directed removal of creatures and permanents, like [mtg_card]Path to Exile[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Abrupt Decay[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Chaos Warp[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Anguished Unmaking[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Pongify[/mtg_card] e [mtg_card]Krosan Grip[/mtg_card]. Usually these are reserved for those who try to take the advantage at the board. Board wipes are also constant in this type of deck, since in the resource dispute allows to perform the exchange of 1 single card of yours for several of the opponent and still save you time. In this category we have creature wipe ([mtg_card]Damnation[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Supreme Verdict[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Blasphemous Act[/mtg_card]), enchantment and artifact wipe ([mtg_card]Bane of Progress[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Austere Command[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Shatterstorm[/mtg_card]) and land destruction. To fit an [mtg_card]Armageddon[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Boom // Bust[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Cataclysm[/mtg_card] might decide a matchup. For those decks that count with the blue identity, counterspells ([mtg_card]Mana Drain[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Force of Will[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Swan Song[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Cryptic Command[/mtg_card] for instance) can protect their commander or completely disturb an enemy’s play. All of this might occur before or after your commander starts to punish one by one. There may still be support for the commander, such as ways to increase their power, consistency and impact, but to a lesser extent than an Aggro version. Looking at all this, some may be wondering: if the archetype’s name is Voltron Control, why is it between Midrange strategies and not Control? Simply because there is the flexibility to alternate between a proactive or reactive posture. Rather than simply controlling the game, you can simply start to attack as quickly as possible. Or not even play your commander for many turns and take a totally control posture. This is the typical flexibility of Midranges.

Stopping a Voltron Control requires a little more work than its aggressive version, as there are effective means of protecting the commander or disrupting your game, unlike a Voltron Aggro, that has a much more straight-forward and fragile stance. However, some tips are valid for both. The first is to stop the commander at all costs. Then the removals and counterspells are already addressed. Cards like [mtg_card]Nevermore[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Gideon’s Intervention[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Declaration of Naught[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Song of the Dryads[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Lignify[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Imprisoned in the Moon[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Darksteel Mutation[/mtg_card] tend to delay them a lot or even get them out of the game completely. Preventing damage, attack or using chump blocks (in some cases) can also save you from Voltron attacks. In that category [mtg_card]Ensnaring Bridge[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Maze of Ith[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Dawnstrider[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Bitterblossom[/mtg_card] are effective, as well as sacrifice effects, like [mtg_card]Innocent Blood[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Merciless Executioner[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Fleshbag Marauder[/mtg_card]. Remember that a good Voltron Control has enough resources to deal with any of these threats, so be careful when playing against this archetype.

Examples of commanders that might fit in a Voltron Control: [mtg_card]Dragonlord Ojutai[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Skullbriar, the Walking Grave[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Thraximundar[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Nicol Bolas[/mtg_card].

Representing the archetype, the one who has already sat on the Throne of the Dragon of Tarkir.

Deck -- Zurgo Helmsmasher (Voltron Control)
Commander
1 Zurgo Helmsmasher

Creatures
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Cataclysmic Gearhulk
1 Chancellor of the Annex
1 Mother of Runes
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Thalia, Heretic Cathar

Planeswalker
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride

Artifacts
1 Boros Signet
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Chrome Mox
1 Coalition Relic
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Cursed Totem
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Grim Monolith
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Lotus Petal
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Mox Diamond
1 Mox Opal
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Sol Ring
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Talisman of Indulgence
1 Torpor Orb
1 Trinisphere
1 Winter Orb
1 Worldslayer
Enchantments
1 Act of Authority
1 Authority of the Consuls
1 Blind Obedience
1 Blood Mist
1 Duelist's Heritage
1 Impending Disaster
1 Kismet
1 Porphyry Nodes
1 Price of Glory
1 Sigarda's Aid
1 The Abyss

Sorceries
1 Armageddon
1 Boom // Bust
1 Cataclysm
1 Council's Judgment
1 Damnation
1 Day of Judgment
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Devastation
1 Imperial Seal
1 Jokulhaups
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Obliterate
1 Ravages of War
1 Vandalblast
1 Wrath of God

Instants
1 Anguished Unmaking
1 Boros Charm
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Path to Exile
1 Return to Dust
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Utter End
1 Vampiric Tutor

Lands
1 Ancient Den
1 Arid Mesa
1 Badlands
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 City of Brass
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Command Tower
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Flooded Strand
1 Godless Shrine
1 Great Furnace
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Mana Confluence
1 Marsh Flats
1 Mountain
6 Plains
1 Plateau
1 Polluted Delta
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Scrubland
1 Strip Mine
1 Swamp
1 Vault of Whispers
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wasteland
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills

This deck, commanded by [mtg_card]Zurgo Helmsmasher[/mtg_card] is practically a removals tribal. There are a total of 14 types of global removals (among creatures, lands, artifacts and spells) and 5 punctual ones, making it very difficult for any player to set up a board. All this can be achieved quickly by the expressive amount of 15 mana rocks. In the midst of this there are even Stax elements, like [mtg_card]Trinisphere[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Torpor Orb[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Winter Orb[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Aven Mindcensor[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Chancellor of the Annex[/mtg_card]. Some of them make things difficult for blockers, like [mtg_card]Thalia, Heretic Cathar[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Authority of the Consuls[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Blind Obedience[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Kismet[/mtg_card]. [mtg_card]Porphyry Nodes[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]The Abyss[/mtg_card] set up a constant control of creatures, and here is an important observation about our commander: he is Indestructible during our turn. Therefore, these enchantments and mass removals can be used without a heavy conscience. He alone is a high-quality attacker with 7 power and haste and can become daunting under certain conditions, since part of the main strategy of the deck is to clear the entire board, especially the lands ([mtg_card]Armageddon[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Ravages of War[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Boom // Bust[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Jokulhaups[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Devastation[/mtg_card], etc) leaving only Zurgo, which from that moment on will put a fast clock on the matchup while opponents are desperate before the inevitability.

Well, my dears. That’s it for today. Hope you’ve enjoyed and until next week!

 

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