It’s like the holiday season arrived early, Commander 2019 release date rapidly approaches. I’d say that this year’s offerings were an improvement from last year’s debacle. The new commanders are compelling and the reprints are better even if “better then 2018” isn’t saying much at least its something. The set will be broken into 4 articles, one for each deck. This section will take a look at the legends in the Naya Populate deck. With that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s talk C19!
Ghired, Conclave Exile
As a commander: Ghired is pretty straightforward, we make tokens and overwhelm the board. I think some deck slots should be devoted to making token copies of devasting threats, then populating those with Ghired’s attack trigger. Since we have access to red we can double up on Ghired’s attack trigger with cards that grant extra combats. Cards like Bramble Sovereign, Mimic Vat, and Kiki Jikki, Mirror Breaker can create a token of a large threat with a powerful ETB trigger such as Ulvenwald Hydra or Terrastodon. Then we can use cards like Aggravated Assault to create more threats.
If Ghired has the right setup I can see a take helmed by him stealing a fair few wins, due to the addition of red and extra combats and the snowball effect that Ghired’s effect brings. That being said, he doesn’t cover the age-old weakness of token decks that is wraths. Thus, cards like Heroic Intervention maintain their must-have status.
In the 99:
Ghired should fit relatively well in other Naya token decks such as Hazaezon Tamar, Marath, Gahiji, or Rith, the Awakener. There might be 4 or 5 color partner commanders that can be built with a token focus which Ghired should slot into. Ghired is probably better as the leader but he is generically good at making a board wide so decks that want to go wide would welcome him into their ranks.
Marisi, Breaker of the Coil
As a commander:
Marisi is another commander focused on forcing our opponents to fight each other. The ideal is that they slam their large board states into each other leaving Marisi the last one standing. In order to make sure her path is clear we need to include cards that allow her to crash through unhindered, cards such as Whispersilk Cloak will fit this role nicely. In addition, we want to run cards that double the amount of damage our opponents take as well as cards that make blocking difficult. I’m thinking of damage doublers such as Gisela, Blade of Goldnight and a personal favorite Bedlam.
She is a fun political commander, however, the thesis of her strategy falls apart if one or more opponents do not play many creatures for Marisi to goad. Or if there is a deck running an above-average amount of wraths. Wraths and creature-light strategies take the wind out of Marisi’s sails since we cannot rely on our opponents to do damage to each other if they do not have many creatures. I don’t love decks built on this principle for this reason since the effectiveness of the deck is based on the pod. However, if the meta is creature focused I can see Marisi being a force but the meta has to be right.
In the 99:
Marisi feels like a build-around, she might fit into Kynaios and Tiro, or Gahiji, Honored One. Apart from those, I struggle to find a good place for her. That being said, the more I think about it Marisi seems like an all-star in Gahiji since she forces opposing creatures to smash into our opponents and they will hit harder due to Gahiji’s effect.
Kynaios and Tiro decks might run her as a way to further insulate themselves from attacks.
Atla Palani, Nest Tender
As a Commander: This is simply an egg tribal commander, we sacrifice eggs to get more eggs it’s the commander deck of choice for the breakfast table! There’s nothing more to say egg tribal is here and ready to hatch!
Surprisingly the latter statements are only partially joking. Eggs are key to how this deck works however most of our creatures will not be eggs. Atla Palani wants eggs to hatch into massive devasting monsters. She creates eggs herself, in addition, we can surround her with changelings or creatures that make egg tokens such as Nesting Dragon from last year’s maligned commander product. After we have assembled a board befitting an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet we need those eggs to die in rapid succession, therefore, we need a smattering of sacrifice outlets so we don’t have to rely on our opponents. I’m thinking of cards like Ashnond’s Altar, Phyrexian Altar, Spawning Pit, and High Market.
All of these are cheap, efficient ways to cheat our bombs into play expeditiously. In addition, the instant-speed topdeck tutors work well with Atla Palani since we can tutor a threat to the top of our deck then sacrifice an egg and hatch a Blightsteel or something similarly devasting. Since we generally care what is awaiting on the top of our deck Sensei’s Diving Top and similar topdeck filtering effects will be key in ensuring that we always have a big threat oncoming. Also, Scroll Rack is a solid include here as a hedge against drawing our bombs when we want to be cheating them into play by sacrificing eggs. As per usual with any deck involving large creatures, we need a substantial amount of ramp in order to ensure we can cast the large threats we happen to draw and Scroll Rack is unavailable.
Atla Palani is an interesting take on the Mayel school of Naya legends. She does something similar but I can already see the intricacies of playing and building her. She combines top deck filtering with the typical ramp strategy that Naya has been known for which adds interesting options to a previously straightforward deck. I personally have never touched Naya as a color combination but she has my attention.
In the 99:
Atla seems like a build around, even though she can enable her own trigger we still need to jump through hoops to gain benefit from her abilities. I don’t think she slots into anything she is leading the charge or she’s on the bench.
Tahngarth, First Mate
New Tahngarth is another odd “everyone punches each other” type commander in the same vein as Marisi. The best build for Tahngarth seems to be suiting him up with a ton of equipment and then donating him to everyone so he can stack a ton of commander damage per rotation of the table. The idea is that all the equipment make him impossible to block profitable and eventually he punches everyone’s face in. Overall I’m not a fan, it takes a while to stack enough equipment on him for him to swing through unhindered and even once we do wraths and spot removal will be direct his way once he is a threat. In short, he falls into the same pitfalls that other voltron decks fall into. Tahngarth is interesting and flavorful but the strategy he wants to lead is both sluggish and easily stopped. Don’t let me dissuade you as I’ve never been a fan of decks like this and Tahngarth wasn’t about to change that. If you’re playing Tahngarth as your commander don’t donate him to anyone that might have sacrifice outlets, that’s a blowout waiting to happen, Assault Suit is your best friend.
In the 99:
Tahngarth sadly cannot slot into any Minotaur tribal decks as they are Rakdos colored. However, he slots into Marisi, or Gahiji, or Kynaios and Tiro nicely. He helps Marisi’s opponents stack more damage against each other and he gets buffed by Gahiji since he has to attack an opponent. That’s about all I can think of for decks that want Tahngath, as is the case with many of these legends he’s a tad specific.
That’s all for my remarks on Primal Genesis! What are your thoughts? Are you planning on building any of these legends? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments and thanks for reading!
-Paul of Clan Nel Toth
The images were obtained from https://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Default.aspx
I don’t own any of the images pictured here