Choose Our Own Deck—An Adventure

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The letter I! enjoy adventures. From fantasy novels—starting early with Tolkien and growing up along with R.A. Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden—to travel and exploration in a new city, and the more mundane means in between, expanding my horizons through experiences is something I crave.

Today's article is a lovely twist on one of my adventures. I get to take it with you.

Through the Dark Ascension previews, concluding last week, I've been asking questions around ideas, themes, and commanders for a sweet, community-driven Commander deck. We're almost there, but it's now up to you to piece together the final deck.

Since I love you all so much, I thought I'd bring you on an adventure to decide the final fate of Ghave, Guru of Spores!

The Mana Event

Before we get started, let's see where we've come from. These are the results of last week's poll:

Where should Adam show off, and write up, our Ghave, Guru of Spores deck?
Traditional paper Magic, at the local game store 1003 42.9%
Traditional paper Magic, hosting a few friends at his house 930 39.7%
Digital Magic Online, with an open call via his Twitter account when the time comes 349 14.9%
Digital Magic Online, with a select few friends invited to the game 58 2.5%
Total 2340 100.0%

It's a good thing I enjoy heading to my local store! Incorporating this with our previous results, we're looking at using Ghave, Guru of Spores, alongside fellow on-color champions Rhys the Redeemed and Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter, to play some regular Commander with some of my friends at the local game store. This sounds great!

While the plan is all well and good, we need a deck. That's where you get to choose even more. (This is an adventure!) Let's begin with the most required of elements: lands.

I'm a big fan of mana in games of Commander. I think most of you are, too. Mana means much more in a format filled with fantastic fatties and stupendous spells. How we get to casting the awesome is a huge consideration. There are two basic paths to follow.

An emphasis on basic lands provides all sorts of sensible insurance:

  • The ability to leverage almost all of the ways you can search out lands.
  • A significant portion of the deck is economical, from both a logistical perspective (you have these lands already laying around) and an availability constraint (even if you somehow don't have these lands already they're easy to get).
  • Multiple ways to repeatedly search for the land you need most.

One of the most common pieces of feedback I've seen for Commander articles is that builders often lean heavily on lands that produce multiple colors. Following through with more than a proof of concept (by providing a live demonstration of an easy-to-build base of mana) is something you've asked for. You have the chance to take it.

Of course, basic lands aren't the most common way to build up mana in Commander. An emphasis on nonbasic lands provides an exceptionally polished experience. Thanks to a still-increasing repertoire of these multicolored mana sources, it's never been easier to assemble a base to build on top of. And it's a smart thing to do so as well:

  • The ability to assemble the needed mana to cast anything in the deck with the fewest lands required in play.
  • A significant portion of the deck is unique, from both the experience of drawing a diversity of lands every game to actual difference in the names of the lands.
  • Pinpoint precision in grabbing exactly the land desired at the time you want it.

"If it isn't broken, don't fix it." A mantra like that is well-earned, and nonbasic lands are the epitome. Many of us have worked hard to collect the variety of options available specifically for our mana-hungry decks.

So where are we going?

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