Filthy Commander – Gwafa Hazid

After I posted my Doran Filthy Commander deck, I realised almost immediately what terrible decisions I’d made in deckbuilding. The subpar crap has been removed, and replaced with better stuff; Temple Acolyte is now Teneb the Harvester, Giant Scorpion is now Blinding Souleater, and subpar equipment Spidersilk Net is now the quintessential Lightning Greaves. When the deck is so heavily dependent on Doran, he needs as much protection as possible, and the Greaves are simple and cheap.

A Commander usually falls into one of three camps; it’s either central to the deck’s whole strategy (such as Doran, or Uril and similar “Voltron” candidates), or it’s just a nice bonus, a creature that you’ll always reliably have and that has some neat synergies with the rest of the deck. Today’s Filthy Commander is firmly in the second camp. It’s not essential that I cast him, but I’m going to have a much easier time with him on the table.

Just look at that smug bastard.
Just look at that smug bastard.

White-blue is probably the colour pair I find hardest to build; I can never get the right balance of control and actual win conditions. With Gwafa, I don’t need to find a balance… it’s time to go full soft-lock! This is really a deck for political multiplayer fun; there’s a lot of group hug effects, and very little hard removal; it’s all bounce, “self-defence”, and Pacifism effects. But that’s how political decks work; they convince other players to do the dirty work and remove the competition.  Simple, and hilarious. Plus, come on… bribery counters. That’s amazing.

So what’s in the deck?

Land

7 Plains, 7 Island, Terramorphic Expanse, Evolving Wilds, Calciform Pools, Azorius Chancery, Minamo, School at Water's Edge
7 Plains, 7 Island, Terramorphic Expanse, Evolving Wilds, Calciform Pools, Azorius Chancery, Minamo, School at Water’s Edge

Pretty self-explanatory here. There’s a fair amount of dual- and double-colour cards, so Expanse, Wilds, and Chancery all help out there. The Pools are great for playing the long game, and they usually catch opponents out; they often forget you may have four or more mana just sitting by, ready to be used! Minamo is an Island with an extra bonus, letting me get two uses out of Gwafa in a turn.

White

Spelltithe Enforcer, Windborn Muse, World Queller, Gideon's Avenger, Wall of Omens
Spelltithe Enforcer, Windborn Muse, World Queller, Gideon’s Avenger, Wall of Omens

So what does white do well? Taxing effects! Spelltithe Enforcer effectively makes opponents’ spells cost one extra mana, and WIndborn Muse says LOLNOPE to swarms. World Queller is a great way of gradually eroding the board, plus I can always tip the scales by picking a card type I don’t control, such as planeswalker or artifact. The Avenger is another deterrant to swarm attacks, and can become very scary very quickly in a four-player game. Wall of Omens is just a solid defender with a great ability.

Austere Command, Oblation, Pollen Lullaby, Sceptre of Domination, Condemn, Swords to Plowshares, Oblivion Ring
Austere Command, Oblation, Pollen Lullaby, Sceptre of Domination, Condemn, Swords to Plowshares, Oblivion Ring

So, that soft removal I was talking about… well, obviously the Command and StP aren’t “soft” by any means, as they will kill you dead in the  face. Oblation and Codemn are absolutely perfect for dealing with enemy Commanders, O-Ring is pretty much an auto-include, and Sceptre is just your good, solid tap-down ability (though on  any permanent, handy for shutting down some lands or artifacts). Pollen Lullaby might seem a weird choice, but I need a panic button if I do get swarmed; the clash ability with the potential to turn it into a cheap Sleep is just gravy.

Blue

Guard Gomazoa, Consecrated Sphinx, Artic Aven, Sejiri Merfolk, Void Stalker
Guard Gomazoa, Consecrated Sphinx, Artic Aven, Sejiri Merfolk, Void Stalker

The Gomazoa is another good defender that causes opponents to reconsider attacking me. The Sphinx makes Gwafa’s ability absolutely bonkers, on top of being utterly bonkers itself; it changes the state of the game so drastically, it demands an answer. Only a silly player would let it live and allow me to potentially have a 7-card hand every turn. The Aven and Merfolk seem slightly out of place, being cheap and fairly aggressive creatures, but I need cheap dudes to sneak in early damage. They also both have lifelink, which is handy. Void Stalker falls into the same camp as Condemn and Oblation; a middle finger to enemy Commanders.

Propaganda, Rapid Hybridization, Dissipation Field, Mark of Eviction, Spell Crumple, Vow of Flight, Vision Skeins
Propaganda, Rapid Hybridization, Dissipation Field, Mark of Eviction, Spell Crumple, Vow of Flight, Vision Skeins

I love effects like Propaganda. With that and the Muse out, opponents are paying 4 mana to attack me with one creature; at that point, most won’t even bother. RH is a “diplomatic” kill spell; yeah, I blew up your awesome angel/demon/dragon, but dude, come on! You got a frog! That’s got to be worth something! By the way, I’m killing that frog token next turn with Mark of Eviction (aka one of the most irritating and hard-to-deal-with repeatable bounce effects). Spell Crumple continues the deck’s theme by saying LOLNOPE to enemy Commanders. Vow of Flight lets me play some political games; I usually put it on an opponent’s creature, so he won’t be able to attack me but will want to throw his flying buffed-up beasty at other players. Finally, Vision Skeins is cheap draw and a diplomatic group hug card (though with Consecrated Sphinx out, all those hugs are actually mine).

Multicoloured and Artifacts

Azor's Elocutors, Skymark Roc, Archon of the Triumvirate, Wall of Denial, Swans of Bryn Argoll, Azorius Guildmage, Howling Mine
Azor’s Elocutors, Skymark Roc, Archon of the Triumvirate, Wall of Denial, Swans of Bryn Argoll, Azorius Guildmage, Howling Mine

With all the lockdown options I have, I’m confident that I can win a game with fillibuster counters! Skymark Roc is another aggressive flier with a handy anti-weenie ability. Archon is a huge beatstick who locks down two things each time he swings in the air, while the Guildmage does a fine job of tapping down creatures and countering activated abilities (always handy). Wall of Denial is perhaps the best Wall in the entire game; it’s massive toughness combined with shroud makes it a massive pain for an opponent to get rid of. The Swans are great on offence and defence; they’re practically indestructible, and their ability that may end up milling out careless players! Finally, Howling Mine is just another classic group hug card.

Overall, a fun-to-play multiplayer politics deck; the weakness of the deck is perhaps relying too much on other players to kill off or weaken each other before I swoop in and polish them off. Perhaps some more “friendly mill”  (Forced Fruition springs to mind) is required…? Hmmm… time will tell.

Until next time, have fun bribing people.

Gareth

 

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