“Mana Dorks aren’t worth playing?” – Good Stuff Player
Happy New Years’, GDC readers. Before we get to today’s article. I would like to talk my Commander resolutions for the new year. To recap, 2014 was a fantastic year for Commander. There are countless new exciting cards available, our local playgroup has expanded in size, and I’ve made new friends just from slinging cardboard and writing about this format. To keep the forward momentum going, here are my 2015 Commander resolutions:
- Build more budget decks – I love playing with older (and often more expensive) cards, but it can feel intimidating and daunting to out-price an opponent that just started playing with the pre-constructed Commander decks. By building more budget decks, this would entice me to think outside the box in search of cheaper alternatives for cards, and it adds more variation to games by making the decks less consistent and slowing the pace down.
- Attract more readers to General Damage Control – We have a great crew at GDC; I am looking forward to growing our readership and expanding further in 2015 with more high quality Commander content.
- Try more Commander variants – The popularity of Tiny Leaders has grown in our local area in the last month, so I am going to dive straight in and build a couple of decks that I loved in 60 card format in the past – like goblins and rebels. Stay tuned for more results.
Now then…on to the regularly-scheduled content!
Freyalise, Leader of the Pack
— Sarah Monster (@SarahGibson91) December 1, 2014
Thanks @SarahGibson91 for the suggestion for the Double Down Article! Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury has deep roots in Magic the Gathering lore. I remember the first time ever seeing a mention of Freyalise was a copy of Freyalise’s Charm pulled from an Ice Age starter deck. At first glance, Freyalise isn’t a build around commander that wins you the game alone (like a voltron or a combo commander); rather, her role is to support your deck by making Llanowar Elves, destroying troublesome artifacts/enchantments, and even drawing cards. The game plan for Freyalise is to focus on strengths of mono green – a combination of acceleration and making a token army.
If you haven’t read my articles before, Double Down offers several pairs of cards to remedy sticky situations or threats you may encounter in a Commander game to help improve your deck’s performance. These pairings are tied together by a common theme, and both cards can probably be found in a bargain box somewhere at your local game store.
Since Freyalise can make Llanowar Elves, we need something to spend all that extra mana that this deck can afford. Ant Queen and Hydra Broodmaster are efficiently costed creatures with the added bonus of making more creatures. You don’t need to overextend your in-hand threats while you have these creatures in play – these two can create a bigger army by themselves, and each has a big enough body to protect Freyalise as well.
The next pairing – Crushing Vines and Hurricane – deals with mono green’s weakness against flying creatures. Green creatures in Magic history traditionally like to stay on the ground where they are most comfortable; that means your opponent’s flying creatures can wreak havoc against Freyalise uncontested.
The bevy of options for spot removal that other colors employ is simply lacking in mono-green, but Crushing Vine is a versatile bit of spot removal that can remove a flyer or a dangerous artifact at instant-speed. Another challenge of playing mono-green is the lack of large creature removal. Hurricane can remove flying creatures of all sizes in play, while leaving your creatures on the ground intact. The numerous times I can recount that Hurricane knocked out a player is a very satisfying thing.
Now that you can make your army of elves, ants, and hydras, the next question to answer is what are you going to with this collision of forces. This pairing offers to turn your creatures in resources, rather than just attacking with them.
Perilous Forays trades your creatures into more lands. You can trade your army of ants from Ant Queen into more lands to create an even bigger army of ants. I also talked about mono-green lacking in spot removal for creatures, so why destroy your opponent’s creatures when you can just steal them with Helm of Possession? Fairt warning – your friends just might get a little upset when you trade your measly elf for a huge angel or dragon.
Playing Freyalise supports a mana base that is mostly all basic Forests. The last pairing in Double Down turns your lands into an advantage for you, and an obstacle for your opponents.
Hall of Gemstone and Primal Order are obscure cards from Magic the Gathering’s past that attack your an opponent’s mana base. Hall of Gemstone is great – I always like cards that give choices…as long as the choices are in your favor. On the other side of the coin, Primal Order can deal a great amount of damage over time against player with a mana base that is filled with non-basic lands. By having a mana base running basic Forests and limiting your own non-basic lands, these effects are asymmetric in your favor.
I am listening – What are some of your favorite cards that would play well with Freyalise? If you picked it up and didn’t go with Freyalise, what commander did you choose from the Guided By Nature pre-con – the elf leader Ezuri, Renegade Leader or nature-loving Titania, Protector of Argoth? What direction did you go with the deck if you modified it? What are the hidden gems for mono-green decks that you play with?
I would love to hear your comments and feedback below!
Until next time,