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My Corruption

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Jesse Dana
Jesse Dana

About Jesse Dana

I live in Massachusetts just outside of Boston. I am obsessed with food and will travel anywhere in the country to find the best meal, often making restaurant reservations before booking the travel plans. I am also a huge sports fan and quite devoted to my hometown teams. I started playing Magic during the Unlimited/Revised era and played regularly until Tempest. I then played off and on until Alara block and now play regularly. Since my return to the game, I have become fascinated about every aspect of it, from the strategy, to the Pro Tour, to even the lore of the game, but most of all the camaraderie and betterment it has brought about for those that have the privilege to play.  Although I am extremely competitive by nature, most of my spell slinging now is done in the form of casual Commander and I have never enjoyed the game more. I try to play as much as possible, or as much as I can without having my wife kick me out of the house. (She is, however, supportive of the hobby).  My goal is to one day work for WotC not only in a creative capacity but to be an ambassador for the game that has brought so much enrichment to my life.  

My Corruption

I have said it a hundred times over.  One of the best things about the Commander format is that it is truly the one and only version of Magic that allows you to express who you are and build decks based on your own desires and creative energy.  This is to me why it is the best format we have and why its popularity will only continue to grow.  I bring this thought up again, because the other day, while slinging some spells with fellow Planeswalkers, the topic came up of which deck you built/own do you think most represents who you are as a player.  Typically, when someone stops to ask an open ended question like this, it is usually because they are in fact about to make a statement, and in this case it was no different.  Before anyone else in the group could even pause to answer the question, the perpetrator led right into “cause Jesse your Planeswalker control deck is so you, its all about broken Mythics and generating power…” Now, I take no offense as some might to this comment, as I do have a Planeswalker fetish, however, is this person correct in their assumption and do I agree with them?  Others in the group butted in and were like “No way, his Mono Black deck is the one that represents him the most, he is the Black player.”  I chuckled at the remark, as this too could very well be the truth, as I have vowed to always have a Mono Black deck in my gauntlet, but again, was it the right answer?  I responded to the crowd by saying I truly would have to think about it and run through all the decks that I currently have, as well as the ones that are tucked away on internet storage lists.  I knew I didn’t want to make a hasty decision, because, as corny as it sounds, finding the correct response was actually important to me, as I felt that I owed myself, as well  as my fellow compatriots, a well thought out explanation.     

As it so happens, and more often than we think in life,  the answer was right there in front of me.  Well, truthfully not right in front of me, it was actually in the deck box to my right, but it was the next deck that I played that day, and as each spell began to make its way from my hand to the stack and then onto the battlefield, it hit me.  The one deck without question that represents me is my Nath of the Gilt-Leaf deck.  I shouted this is it, this is the one, and everybody stopped and was like what, as fifteen minutes had gone by since the discussion had ended… I made the group hear me out, as I was so excited to make this discovery and they were kind enough to go back into audience mode.  I explained, as I have in previous articles, about how, when I first started to play Magic, back in the very beginning I was a Mono Green player.  I wanted all the biggest creatures and wanted to do nothing more than overrun my opponents with lots of tramply damage from Force of Nature and friends.  However, something happened to me over the years, and when I got back into the game, my heart was drawn to Black Magic.  Something in the gaming portion of my brain had been corrupted and I was drawn to power at any cost.  This deck combines both philosophies and demonstrates my internal struggle to grow and be fruitful, all the while battling the idea that I must make all my opponents pay for their audacity in trying to take over my Plane.  

Nath of the Gilt-Leaf:  The art of this card was always striking to me, perhaps because it reminded me of one of my favorite cards from the first core set,  Elvish Archers. Both display a warrior who is less than a second away from taking down their target, but in Nath’s picture he is literally staring you right down and in fact even the beast he is riding is giving a look like “you are so dead”.  In terms of playability, he is just as intimidating as his visage displays.  There are lots of discard spells in Magic, many of which you will see in this deck, but one of the more feared is Hymn to Tourach because it uses the key phrase “at random”.  As you see, Nath reads the same way and although what card gets pitched is not entirely up to you, it gives your opponents a feeling of lack of control, which is one of the more frustrating feelings in all of Magic.  When this process repeats itself, there can be a good chance that it can put your opponents on tilt and cause them to use spells in an untimely manner in fear that they may just get stripped away.  Even better is that every time they pitch a card, you get a cute little elf warrior that you can attack with or even sacrifice… whatever your little corrupted heart desires and make enough of these little dudes and chances are your opponents won’t be around much longer.  

My Corruption

Creatures

Sadistic Hypnotist:  At first glance she looks like a 2/2 for five that just fits the discard sub-theme, but look closer.  If on the board with her General and just one elf token the game will change drastically.  Sac your token and make them discard two cards, get two tokens, repeat… This is not the most busted combo in Commander and certainly does not make you win automatically, but evil, yes, yes it is.  

Craterhoof Behemoth:  This beasty reminds me of the good ol’ days and in the past few years has been spotted around nearly every deck that has elves in it, so naturally I had to follow suit.  She is the sole reason I put Natural Order in the deck, this one-two stomp has rarely ever let me down.  When all my elves are joining hand with Saporlings and Zombies and stomping my opponents, a cuter sight is never seen.

Kamahl, Fist of Krosa:  I know he is not an elf, but when you have plenty of elves on the board along with him, race ceases to be an issue.  Overrun on a stick is nothing to shake a stick at (TeeHee) especially when the deck has an abundance of ways to make tokens.  Also on theme, the flavor text on him is fitting “Mein Denken hat sich geändert, Meine Stärke nicht.”  Oh sorry... I have the German version of the card “My mind has changed, My strength has not”... Sick!

Deathrite Shaman:  I wish I could have four of these in this deck, not only to ensure that I have one on turn one, but simply because in this deck he is always going to have the target you want… oh and he is an elf that recycles and that’s pretty cool too.

Planeswalkers

It is so fitting how my transition in the game is mirrored by that of Garruk himself and coincidentally we are both corrupted by Liliana, except that Garruk means to kill her where I actually have a huge crush on her.  

Lillys:  Obviously she is the queen of discard, so there is no way that she wasn’t going to make her way into the deck with that theme… of the Veil does some serious work in Commander, as me pitching a card is fine especially if three other players are doing the same, and even better if I’m gaining elves too.

Garrys:  I wanted to include three, not only for purposes of watching him change before my eyes, but also for the sake that all three have the ability to create an Overrun in their own way.  I have yet to drop an Apex Predator, as he was just acquired, but I'm hoping he is half as good as the other two have been.     

Discard Spells


Waste Not:  When the community finally finished creating this card, I couldn’t wait to get it into this deck.  The fact that it is so cheap to cast means even if I get it late game, I can often drop it followed by a discard spell.  Obviously paired with Nath, I am netting so much advantage that it will be tough for opponents to keep up.  

Larceny:  When you are making tons of tokens, there is a good chance that when attacking, some are gonna get through.  This can create some tough choices for your opponents when blocking and can be another way to make sure you keep the advantage.

Syphon Mind, Unnerve, Delirium Skeins:  In a multiplayer format these cards are bonkers.  Now they won’t win you any friends, but being able to shave down on all your opponents at once can really give you an opportunity to take control at any moment.  

Monomania, Mind Twist, Wit's End:  All three are backbreaking, especially if it is down to you and one other opponent.  On the same note, a turn one Sol Ring into a turn three Monomania can definitely cause tilt.

Mindstab:  I almost always suspend this as it seems to rush my opponents, often leading to sloppy decision making, also being able to have this resolve and leave them with two cards, only to Mind Rot them the same turn is awesome.  

Other Spells        

Leyline of the Void:  A must have, as there are tons of graveyard combo decks in every Commander play-group.  Getting this out on turn zero is a nice little advantage, as all your opponents could be losing some of their best cards permanently and at a very early stage in the game.  There also is not a ton of enchantment removal, and if my opponents waste their limited resources on this, leaving my Doubling Season on the board longer, I am fine with that.  Also of note, I do indeed have the Helm of Obedience combo in here as an instant finisher.  I don’t use it that often, but if the game is becoming stale or one player is getting a little to cocky, I have no problem tutoring for this.

Painful Quandary: Another solid enchantment, which seems harmless at first, but when there is not just Nath, but Megrim on the board as well, opponents can only groan in frustration.

Fresh Meat and Urborg Justice:  These are two instants I don’t see played often, but have been terrific ways to shock my opponents, especially right when they think they have turned the tide.  I’ll gladly let opponents wrath the board of my 1/1 elves only to have them try and pass the turn and see those elves come back as 3/3 beasts instead, that are going to attack you next turn.  I am also fine with chump blocking or even sacrificing my creatures, especially with Grave Pact out, knowing that it will hit the opponent harder when I flash Urborg Justice and it takes out Hexproof creatures.

Creeping Corrosion:  I only have six artifacts in the deck and none of them are necessary to “Win” the game.  I would gladly trade my Sword of Feast and Famine if I drop a timely Corrosion and wipe out six of my opponents important board pieces.


Triumph of the Hordes:  This Sorcery definitely fits the corruption theme of the deck and Glissa’s presence is terrifying to be in.  Sure, the creatures don’t get as beefy as when the other Overrun cards are cast in this deck, but a four mana kill spell that can win the game on turn five or six, is not so bad…

Lands              

Shizo, Death's Storehouse:  I picked up one of these for each of my decks that has black in it and I recommend you do the same.  It is a great way to get in those extra two swings of Commander damage to take the win late game.  Also, if you are corrupted like me, you can target the Commander of another player attacking your opponent in order to take them out of the game.

Grim Backwoods and Phyrexian Tower:  Like I said before, I don’t mind sacking some 1/1 if it is going to give me a nice benefit and drawing cards and getting extra mana can be quite worth it.  Now that I think about it, maybe it’s time to add Dictate of Erebos to the deck to partner with Grave Pact.

Oran-Rief, the Vastwood:  Everyone knows this card goes great with Avenger of Zendikar if you have the land, or can be used to make Nath a little stronger, but where I have seen this lush paradise shine is when I have Nath and Doubling Season on the board.  Now not only are my opponents discarding cards, but I am netting two 3/3 elves for it!

The more I play this deck the more I like it.  Sure, the success rate has been fantastic, but I think that is because it can win out of nowhere and in diverse fashion and my play group is still learning its intricacies, but seeing my Magical personality shine through when slinging the cards makes it that much more fun.  If you like control decks or token decks you will get a kick out of Nath and if you’ve never tried either strategy, it is a great balance and seems to play out differently almost every time.  

I hope with your decks you are able to find and build your Magical selves as there is no greater enjoyment.

Sling Well,

--Jesse

Secondmainmtg@gmail.com

Twitter: @JesseMDana     

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