Ooze Asking?

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The letter I! cannot remember the last time I have waited as impatiently for a new set to arrive as I have for Gatecrash. Prior to writing this article I spent several hours agonizing over my Commander deck, trying to figure out which cards are not on the protected roster once the Prerelease rolls around. I found as many as eight spots I can open up to make way for new cards in my deck and by all accounts I will need every one of them and more.

Plenty of the people I play Commander with have a box full of Commanders at their disposal and are constantly coming up with new decks they want to try. That's not me. I have my one deck. I tune it and tweak it with one or two new cards each time a set comes out. My commander is Momir Vig and I play one way—I am Simic.

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary | Art by Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai

One of the complicated things about being Simic is my relationship to counterspells—especially in Commander. I have gone through a lot of the available countermagic over the course of this deck—what blue mage doesn't start out with a Remand and a Force of Will in his or her blue deck?—but for various reasons ranging from the flavorful to the practical I have whittled the countermagic in my deck down to a handful of spells. Due to the creature-fetching nature of my Commander I have ended up with Draining Whelk and Mystic Snake as permanent fixtures in the deck. There is nothing quite like Soothsaying a Draining Whelk to the top of your deck with your Lurking Predators trigger on the stack.

I have wanted to add another such spell to the deck but nothing felt quite right. Overwhelming Intellect was in the deck for some time but it got sent down after turning out to not be much fun to play with. I draw plenty of cards with my deck already and it just felt like overkill. I mentioned Remand but I want a hard counter. Free spells like Pact of Negation, Force of Will, and Disrupting Shoal all felt... well... icky to me. They are fine in their appropriate sixty-card contexts but I am not playing an overt control deck. I just need something that lets me set my experiments in motion and then be able to protect them while they bubble away.

I am making room for a new card in the suite of countermagic, bringing my grand total of counterspells in the deck up to five—Cryptic Command and Voidslime being the other two already in the deck. Let's take a look at the card that slots in right between Mystic Snake and Draining Whelk as soon as I get my hands on a physical copy...

I have not seen many (any?) five actual mana counterspells get played in Standard, but if there was any guild that could pull it off it would be the Simic. I know I will certainly be playing it in Limited. To my own shock and amazement, I have banged many gavels in Return to Ravnica to protect aggressive Azorius drafts at the very top of my curve. With just a few of the cards we have seen already, Simic is going to be capable of curving up the evolutionary ladder and then hanging back to snipe any attempts to wrest away control of the game.

Lead the game off with Cloudfin Raptor and evolve him on turn two with Experiment One. A turn later, play a Drakewing Krasis and you will have 7 points of power in play on turn three, with most of it being in the air. On turn five, you are content to sit back and race your fliers against a three- or four-drop. Imagine that your Orzhov opponent taps out on turn five and slams down Obzedat, Ghost Council. Not only do you counter that incessant drain of life; not only do you get a 5/5 Ooze token; but you get to evolve your Cloudfin Raptor and Experiment One.

Mystic Genesis is going to play really well with evolve. I already have my Mousetrap (coming soon to a multiplex near you!) fantasy lined up for the format that involves playing Mystic Genesis with seven mana open and Fathom Mage and Zameck Guildmage on my board. My opponent plays a spell and I counter it with Mystic Genesis and activate my Zameck Guildmage to put a counter on my token and evolve my Fathom Mage. From there, I can draw at least two free cards—plus the card I drew from evolving the Fathom Mage in the first place—thanks to the second ability of the Guildmage. While we are engaging in a little fantasy, perhaps one of the two cards I draw is my Skarrg Goliath and I win the game with 9 extra points of tramply bloodrush damage.

(By the way, I am pretty sure that two more of the slots in my Commander deck are going to be occupied by Fathom Mage and the Zameck Guildmage. I really hope I have enough room. )

The flavor text of the card references dread at the notion of a Simic/Golgari alliance, but if we are going to see Mystic Genesis get played in a Constructed deck, it seems much more likely in a deck that conducts Simic experiments hidden deep in the Selesnyan woods. Populate seems like a natural match for a counterspell that makes token creatures. You can get a Trostani into play on turn three with any kind of mana creature. Countering almost any decent spell is going to start you moving in the opposite direction of your starting life total with the lifegain, provide a steady stream of token creatures, and make for incredibly frustrated opponents. Throw in a Rootborn Defenses for a Supreme Verdict or Bonfire of the Damned and it is not hard to see a scenario where you would consider playing this in Constructed.

I am going to close with my Momir Vig, Simic Visionary deck in progress as we move toward the Gatecrash Prerelease. There is no doubt about which guild I will be playing. What about you?

BDM's Momir Vig (in progress)
Commander – Momir Vig, Simic Visionary

Main Deck

99 cards

Alchemist's Refuge
Breeding Pool
Dryad Arbor
Flooded Grove
Flooded Strand
Gaea's Cradle
Halimar Depths
Hinterland Harbor
Lonely Sandbar
Misty Rainforest
Mosswort Bridge
Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
Polluted Delta
Sapseep Forest
Simic Growth Chamber
Slippery Karst
Temple of the False God
Treetop Village
Tropical Island
Yavimaya Coast

38 lands

Acidic Slime
Brine Elemental
Carven Caryatid
Coiling Oracle
Deadeye Navigator
Draining Whelk
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Elvish Visionary
1  Fathom Mage
Fathom Seer
Gilded Drake
Jungle Barrier
Masked Admirers
Mystic Snake
Oracle of Mul Daya
Overbeing of Myth
Phyrexian Metamorph
Seedborn Muse
Simic Sky Swallower
Solemn Simulacrum
Soul of the Harvest
Sphinx of Uthuun
Tidespout Tyrant
Trygon Predator
Vesuvan Shapeshifter
Wall of Blossoms
Wood Elves
Yavimaya Elder
Yavimaya Granger
1  Zameck Guildmage

31 creatures

Beast Within
Birthing Pod
Cloudstone Curio
Coalition Relic
Crop Rotation
Cryptic Command
Crystal Shard
Green Sun's Zenith
Lurking Predators
Mana Crypt
1  Mystic Genesis
Praetor's Counsel
Prismatic Lens
Simic Signet
Sol Ring
Spitting Image
5  Undetermined Card
Vedalken Orrery
Walk the Aeons

27 other spells

Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Karn Liberated
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

3 planeswalkers

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary

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