FABLES FROM KITCHEN TABLES – CHOOSE YOUR CHAMPION, PART 2

Greetings, readers! With the prerelease behind us, the set in stock and boxes of Dragon’s Maze opened and in your binders, I felt it pertinent to finish the 2-part series of Choose Your Champion. You may or may not have opened one of the ten maze runners in your Dragon’s Maze prerelease packs, booster boxes, or prize winnings from your prerelease weekend or FNM, and as a Commander player, think, hmm, this seems decent as a general, maybe I should make the deck!

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker

Because apparently P90X only gets you 2 power these days, but Teysa, crippled and old, has 4. Logic.

Mirko Vosk is to Oona, Queen of the Fae what Vorel of the Hull Clade is to Experiment Kraj – a more politically-inclined incarnation of a previous card made for more interactive and overall interesting board states for EDH players. I’m personally not a fan of disgusting, infinite combo, play-with-yourself strategies as they tend to get boring very quickly.

In 60-card:

Maybe if he cost 4 and had one more point of power, then he’d be useful in Standard. Such is not the case, and Danzig will more than likely not be seen in 60-card formats just because he costs too much for what he does (which is to say, he doesn’t impact the board).

In EDH:

I think Danzig will have a home not only at the helm of an EDH deck, but in the 99 of any mill-centered deck. With ramp such a popular option at the moment, Mirko Vosk’s trigger can absolutely eviscerate certain opponents.  It is howeer hit-or-miss as to whether or not the ability will garner value. Obviously you build around the fact that you milled them by either casting an Animate Dead on their fattie, using Relic of Progenitus to exile the Eldrazi you just milled, or go all-in on the mill strategy with something like Fireshrieker or Sakashima the Impostor. It’s up to you what tickles your fancy, but having flying and completely destroying ramp are two things very much in its favor – it’s just a shame the previous set gave us Sylvan Primordial.

Emmara Tandris

“OMG WORST CARD EVER WOTC Y U SUK SO BAD OMFG IM QUITTING” – Gatherer user ILoveLifeGainxX420

Look. I really don’t want to write about this chick, because I’m sure you’ve heard endless flak about her already so I’m going to summarize my initial thoughts on the matter with a quote from an MTG Salvation thread I found earlier today:

“Look at Vigor.”

And, ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

In 60-card:

No.

In EDH:

Now that’s not to say Emmara isn’t completely useless, but to justify a CMC of 7 with how little she impacts the average game, in colors that really can’t take advantage of her ability, it’s hard to argue a case for her. Sure, your tokens dodge Blasphemous Act, Chain Reaction, and other such sweepers, but often times, she won’t, so you basically paid 7 mana to cast Wrap in Vigor, when Dauntless Escort is in the same colors as her…? Honestly, even looking through Gatherer, the options to abuse her ability are slim to none. Acorn Catapult comes to mind, but that’s extremely narrow. Overall, if you’re looking for a token-based general, Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice or Rhys the Redeemed provide much better value.

Melek, Izzet Paragon

Author’s Note: When the rulings first came out on Gatherer, my friend Drew noticed that a ruling let you play the top card of your library if it was a land as well. This ruling was swiftly debunked and just recently removed from the card’s Gatherer page.

I’ve already done a rather extensive look into Melek in an article I wrote two weeks ago. Link will be provided at the end of this article.

In 60-card:

I’m not convinced Melek has the chops to make it in Standard when red mages are hurting for playables and blue spells are arguably hard to get value off of. Besides, Aetherling exists, and in a world where you have the choice for a 20-life format, why would you bother with a card like Melek?

In EDH:

EDH is clearly where Melek belongs, and oh boy, does he ever. I had Melek pegged down as an absolutely amazing draw-go general from day 1, but even I underestimated how powerful it actually is. Melek single-handedly can make you consider running the Storm mechanic in multiplayer EDH, and overall has so many applications from draw spells to burn spells that even now, I’m probably underestimating just how powerful Melek actually is. Seriously, find a list on MTG Salvation, or brew one for yourself, and try him out – he’s the best of the ten maze runners for EDH, far and away.

Varolz, the Scar-Striped

Troll judge, troll jury, and execu…Troll.

Varolz instantly got the brewery in my brain buzzing when he was spoiled. Not even one day after being spoiled, he single-handedly pushed Death’s Shadow from $0.25 bulk bin rare to $5 out-of-stock on most sites. I suppose Modern players are just that convinced, but I, of course, put EDH before formats like Modern – because I don’t know about you, but I like to actually be able to play the cards I invest in. (I also enjoy my eggs scrambled, how about yourself?)

In 60-card:

I think Varolz is just solid enough to make the cut. The aforementioned synergy with Death’s Shadow is not to be ignored, especially when he curves with Mulch, and Grisly Salvage might as well have been called “Varolz’s Salvage“. Clearly, he’s more powerful in Modern, where you can clock opponents extremely fast while playing Bloodghast to constantly regenerate him, but in Standard, Vexing Devil makes for an interesting, albeit slower BFF for the Scar-Striped. I’ve seen a few interesting ideas pop up here and there, and I’m curious to see if Conley Woods takes Varolz to the upcoming Block Constructed Pro Tour. I’m crossing my fingers someone will.

In EDH:

Clearly, EDH is the playground for many of the maze-runners, and Varolz is no exception. The combination of Varolz with many a graveyard enabler such as Entomb, Buried Alive and Splinterfright are much more difficult to survive when spot removal is at a premium. He can clock opponents surprisingly fast, and having Rogue’s Passage as well as many “X/X where X is Y of graveyards” creatures at his fingertips is not to be underestimated.

It should also be mentioned that he’s in the same colors as Infect, and many of the mechanic’s best threats are either evasive or on-curve. (Magical Christmasland – turn 1 Glistener Elf, turn 2 Death’s Shadow into Caravan Vigil, turn 3 Varolz, Scavenge the Death’s Shadow onto Glistener Elf, turn 4 Rogue’s Passage)

Tajic, Blade of the Legion

I’ve never understood those sword designs – flamberds, I think they’re called? They look like the smithy dropped acid while making the sword, to be honest.

Tajic is an interesting follow-up to the much-beloved Aurelia, the Warleader, but sadly offers little difference – it gets value when it attacks. What makes it unique is that both legends fit extremely well with each other at the helm – 12/12 attacking indestructible creatures are pretty nice, I’ve heard.

In 60-card:

I have my eye on how Tajic will fit into both Standard and the Block Constructed format, to be honest – he seems like a solid finisher when your deck has Moorland Haunts in it, because he blocks Thragtusk incredibly well, and punches through every creature in Standard. Not having hexproof means Angel of Serenity is a problem, but the decks that play this will most often want to have backup from Restoration Angel regardless. I think he’s solid as a finisher in control and a pressure creature in aggro, just because of how damn hard it is to remove him. Costing 4 is his only setback, and I hope it’s not enough to prevent him from seeing play.

In EDH:

Tajic actually serves an interesting purpose in EDH – he’s a cheap indestructible creature, so if you give him hexproof to dodge Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Condemn and Chaos Warp, he becomes nigh-unanswerable. Of course, mass bounce is always a thing, which is why you’ll more than likely be killing the player best-suited to answer you with this thing. Battalion is an awkward ability on a creature clearly designed to be a Voltron general, but it’s certainly not impossible – Assemble the Legion exists, after all.

Battalion’s best friend is additional combat phases, so if you find yourself wanting to build a Tajic EDH deck, be sure to include Aurelia, the Warleader, Aggravated Assault and other such effects so that Tajic’s pump bonus can trigger multiple times. Tajic also holds equipment extremely well, so if you have a Stonehewer Giant or Sunforger, consider Tajic as a strong candidate for your general.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I hope my insight on the ten maze runners from Dragon’s Maze helps give you ideas on how to build each of them or incorporate them in your EDH decks, or perhaps even your Standard or Modern decks.

That’s all for this week. Next week, I’ll cover the top 10 EDH hits and misses from Dragon’s Maze, which will conclude my string of Dragon’s Maze-centered content. Until then!

-L

Check out my previous articles here:

Adapting to EDH Metagames:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1177
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1252
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1317
Part 4 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1370
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1454

Building on a Budget:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1522

Choose Your Champion:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1594

Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Weekend:
http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1810

Let’s Build:
Part 1 – Melek, Izzet Paragon - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?
p=1606

One thought on “FABLES FROM KITCHEN TABLES – CHOOSE YOUR CHAMPION, PART 2

  1. Pingback: FABLES FROM KITCHEN TABLES – LET’S BUILD PART 9 | events

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