The Mana Dork

So there I am, my Sliver Overlord has just hit the table, and I’m staring down a Narset-Oops-All-Turns deck, an Azami control build, and a Nahiri voltron. I’ve got about half an infinite combo in my hand, but no way to protect it, and I’m wondering how I’m going to myself out of this one, when all of a sudden I drew into…

Well, let’s back it up a little.

Narset, Enlightened Master

Over the last few weeks, the Commander flights at A Muse N Games have attracted a very diverse crowd. We have a lot of people happy with casual Commander—and we started to see a few more competitive players coming in, too! They were excited to have a place with a great Commander crowd on Fridays, but they were also running decks that didn’t really fit into the current AMNG meta.

(Quick side note—I usually avoid using slang and jargon, but since today’s column is aimed at competitive players, it’s the clearest way to communicate my ideas. For a quick primer on some of the terms, click here!)

So. Seeing a demand for a Spikier brand of Commander, Store Owners Brian and Scotia put their heads together, and came up with a competitive Commander tourney.

Hermit Druid

Every Friday at AMNG this summer, there will be a competitive Commander tourney where you can win a Revised dual land.

This will run alongside casual Commander flights, so don’t worry—if you like your jank brews and theme decks, Casual Commander still runs at 7:30 and 9:30 with a $6 entry per flight and FNM foils as style-points prizes, as before!

Competitive Commander starts at 7:30, and runs as a single-elimination tournament with $6 entry and an option to buy back in if you lose in the first round. All decks are welcome—all the way up to 5C Hermit Druid combos, Zur + Necropotence control, and Teferi stax builds.

For full rules, including banlists, tiebreakers, and so on, check out the announcement post here.

Zur the Enchanter

One more thing—for all Commander games, competitive and casual, there is now a hard time limit of 90 minutes. (After more than a few Planechase games stretched into Saturday, I can absolutely understand… !)

So, how did I get myself out of that situation at the top of the column?

Well, by making a mistake.

Here’s what I drew:

All Is Dust

Now, this is a nice little boardwipe, as it’s untargeted removal that requires players to sacrifice all of their coloured permanents—getting around indestructible, hexproof, and all of those other annoying protections Commander players are so good at landing.

The problem is, of course, that all of my Slivers are coloured permanents. How do I get around that?

Ghostflame Sliver

Yup.

Here’s where I made the mistake, though.

Narset was being held down by counterspells and hard control from the Azami player. She wasn’t going off. Nahiri was spreading around the damage from Kor tokens with Batterskull and some other equipment—she had a Sword of Feast and Famine, but that was quickly stolen by Azami, who also had a Deadeye Navigator soulbound to a Phantasmal Image and was using it to good effect.

With Azami holding down the other two players, now was my chance to land an infinite combo. I had Basal Sliver in hand and Heartstone on the board, so all I had to do was tutor out Sliver Queen with the Overlord, land Basal Sliver and the Queen in my first main phase, and call it a day. And I had the mana.

Instead, I tutored out Ghostflame Sliver and cast All is Dust, to “make it safer” for my combo.

Spending my resources on that cost me the game; Azami was eventually able to stabilize, and a kicked Rite of Replication on a Lighthouse Chronologist was the winning play. With a Sword of Feast and Famine, Azami quickly maxed out her Chronologists, and when Narset, Nahiri, and I realized Azami would get six turns for every one of ours, we scooped.

Lighthouse Chronologist

I bought back into the Consolation round, facing Narset and Thraximundar. Narset drew into a Mana Crypt and a Sol Ring, resolved on turn three, and quickly ran away with the game, with a Cataclysm sealing our fates.

So if testing your skill against these decks sounds like your cup of tea, come on out! We had a full eight players for the debut of competitive Commander last week, and the more, the merrier. Pull out that Derevi stax build or T5 Oona combo and compete for a Revised dual land

Jesse Mackenzie is a regular contributor to A Muse N Games. Tune in every second Tuesday for The Mana Dork, his column on getting back into Magic.