Hey, everyone-

First off, a few words on publishing lately.

Life throws you some serious curveballs sometimes. Since returning from GenCon, they’ve been flying fast and furious. For some of us, there are some amazing changes on the horizon. For others, it’s more like being stuck in the worst nightmare imaginable.

Sometimes, you knock it out of the park, and others, you go down swinging.

Either way, GDC is still here. We humbly apologize for the lull in scheduling content, and as we scramble to get our feet underneath us and find stable ground, know that we’re preparing to be back with a vengeance soon. The new GDC website is nearly complete and ready to be rolled out, and the team has been preparing to hit full-force as soon as it does.

These guys are fantastic.

Anyway, we appreciate the dedication you guys and gals have. You’re here, and we’re going to make it worth your while.

Thanks, everyone. It really means a lot.

.     .     .     .     .

Now then…big green decks. Everyone here has one, or plays against one. Ramp and giant dudes…get in the red zone, and then do it again. They’re very visceral and satisfying decks to play. To a certain extent, we all want to be unique snowflakes and show up to the table with something new and interesting – Commander brings that out in most of us. It’s a rare EDH player that gets excited to buy a complete deck off of EBay, rather than to scrape the depths of gatherer to come up with something cool and interesting to surprise people with.

This was certainly where I was going when I looked through a giant pile of green cards and realized that I had to build a deck, because who in their right mind has a copy of Doubling Season and doesn’t play it? I’ve seen a million big green builds before, and I was really hoping to do something a little off-the-wall, so I decided to take a page from my old Skullbriar, the Walking Grave and ignore tokens altogether, opting instead to go all-in on +1/+1 counters – but more on that later. I still wasn’t really sold on a general, but Sekki, Season’s Guide kept managing to sneak back onto my short list.

First of all, I checked out of Magic in general during Kamigawa block. I know a lot of you loved the flavor, but it did absolutely nothing for me at all. As a result, there are all sorts of cards from those sets that I just gloss right over, including a good majority of all of the generals. Part of what drew me to Sekki was that feeling of uncharted territory. And realistically, I have *never* seen another Sekki Commander deck in person (likely due to the insane mana cost…), so that satisfies my craving for a unique general.

Past that, the 8/8 starting power and toughness are a straight throwback to the first true Magic love of my life – Force of Nature. The original big green fattie – with all due apologies to Craw Wurm, of course. You usually can’t go back as far as creature power creep goes these days, but this was pretty close.

So I had a “counters matter” green commander. Honestly, at first, I was simply tossing in every green card I had in my build box that I wanted to play, but after a bit, the lack of theme and cohesion bothered me, so I started reading the Oracle text on my new figurehead. Once I really took it in, I realized this thing is a bit of a diamond in the rough.

For reference:

SEKKI

Legendary Creature — Spirit 0/0, 5GGG (8)

Sekki, Seasons’ Guide enters the battlefield with eight +1/+1 counters on it.


If damage would be dealt to Sekki, prevent that damage, remove that many +1/+1 counters from Sekki, and put that many 1/1 colorless Spirit creature tokens onto the battlefield.
Sacrifice eight Spirits: Return Sekki from your graveyard to the battlefield.

 

Lots to take in, so here are the points of intrigue:

-Sekki can’t take damage. Period. It has a hard-stop damage prevention clause that makes it pretty ideal to stare down all sorts of annoying keywords – lifelink, deathtouch, and infect, to name a few common ones. This is also important because…

-Sekki’s second text block is two unique triggers. That means that if a certain amount of damage is prevented, the first trigger checks to see if there are any counters on Sekki, and then removes that many. The second trigger then takes that same count and creates that many 1/1 flying spirits.

This is the cool part. This allows for a really cool thing to happen; if you can pump up Sekki through non-counter means (for example, with a Sword of Fire and Ice) that adjusts power and toughness without adding +1/+1 counters), then Sekki can never be effectively killed by running it out of counters. Deal it all the damage you want, and it will be a 2/2 with no counters on it that prevents any further damage. It’s like indestructibility, but better.

The only way this would be better is if the wording of the second trigger let it make counters based on damage dealt, and not the counters removed by the first trigger. Still, that’s where the Doubling Season came into play. With it in play, Sekki hits play with sixteen counters on it, and each damage it takes creates two spirits. It’s an escalating regeneration that nets counters and tokens and can get absolutely crazy in no time at all.

(Of course, board wipes make Sekki a sad panda. Can’t win them all…)

Once this all started clicking in my head, all of the old “add counters” tricks that I perfected back in the day with Skullbriar came back to the front, and the deck effectively built itself. To offset the high cost of the general and the expected replay taxes, I’d have to run a ton of ramp. There would need to be a boatload of draw to offset the standard green lack of non-creature tutors. I could augment the typical green-heavy artifact and enchantment hate with “fight” cards like Epic Confrontation, since at worst Sekki can kill things off and kind of slide between being a spirit or a creature, and at best with a counter accelerant (even something as mundane as Hardened Scales works wonders), I’d be effectively growing it out of control while slaying opposing creatures. Lots of ways to make Sekki bigger through counter addition and static effects to get the result described above.

And the main goal would be voltron general damage – red zone deck all the way.

Here’s the list, without further discussion:
[Deck title=Sekki, Season’s Guide]
[GENERAL]
Sekki, Season’s Guide[/GENERAL]
[LANDS]
25 Forest
Winding Canyon
Miren, the Moaning Well
High Market
Cathedral of War
Ghost Quarter
Temple of the False God
Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
Rogue’s Passage
Mosswort Bridge
Llanowar Reborn
Arena[/LANDS]
[CREATURES]
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Wood Elves
Yavimaya Elder
Krosan Tusker
Vigor
Thunderfoot Baloth
Fungal Behemoth
Forgotten Ancient
Eternal Witness
Genesis
Yeva, Nature’s Herald
Scavenging Ooze
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Paragon of Eternal Wilds
Skullmulcher
Acidic Slime
Bane of Progress
Woodfall Primus
Ulvenwald Tracker[/CREATURES]
[SPELLS]
Swiftfoot Boots
Lightning Greaves
Regrowth
Green Sun’s Zenith
Hunt the Weak
Mutant’s Prey
Prey Upon
Whirlwind
Desert Twister
Beast Within
Doubling Season
Hardened Scales
Blessings of Nature
Solidarity of Heroes
Decree of Savagery
Soul’s Might
Increasing Savagery
Bear Umbra
Bow of Nylea
Loxodon Warhammer
Nim Deathmantle
Eldrazi Conscription
Snake Umbra
Gaea’s Embrace
Ring of Kalonia
Skyshroud Claim
Explosive Vegetation
Caged Sun
Gauntlet of Power
Cultivate
Nissa’s Pilgrimage
Kodama’s Reach
Crop Rotation
Boundless Realms
Collective Unconscious
Momentous Fall
Soul’s Majesty
Hunter’s Prowess
Skullclamp
Shamanic Revelation
Hunter’s Insight
Harmonize[/SPELLS][/DECK]
 

For the record, I had this deck as a mid-range, kind of “My First EDH”-style deck in my head. Something with a lower power level. As it turns out, Sekki is a seriously potent general option if no one bothers to remove it. The first game I played with Sekki involved no-one finding targeted removal or board wipes, and me leading with Forgotten Ancient, transferring ten +1/+1 counters over to Sekki once it showed up, finding a few natural pump effects to make it a 21/21, and then getting Rogue’s Passage to go around the table and kill each other player with exact commander damage over the course of three consequent turns. It was sheer brutality.

So that’s Sekki, Season’s Guide, as promised. I hope you enjoy the deck, and if you’re looking for something giant, green, and surprisingly resilient and deep strategy-wise, I recommend giving this deck a spin.

Happy red-zone beatdowns…

-Cass
@GDCCommander