With 《Aetherworks Marvel》 dominating Standard right now, I was looking for other formats to play. I wanted to try Modern for GP Copenhagen, but in the end I could not go, so I didn’t play any. Next week is GP Amsterdam which is Standard so I will have to play some Standard, but meanwhile I got to try the 1v1 Commander format that is now on Modo. And I loved it.
If you’ve played that format on Magic Online for a while, you know that it is dominated by the《Baral, Chief of Compliance》 Commander (about 20% of metagame), followed by 《Tasigur, the Golden Fang》. Wizards wanted to do something about this dominance, so they banned 《Treasure Cruise》 and 《Dig Through Time》 for blue decks and 《Strip Mine》 for green decks that are based around recursion of it.
I tried Baral for a while, but didn’t have that much fun so I wanted to try somehting else. At first I wanted to build something that beats Baral. I have a Temur 《Surrak Dragonclaw》 deck that is very good at beating Baral/Jace but after playing a few matches with it, I realized Baral is only 20% of the metagame (if not less), and the deck is pretty bad against everything else.
Biggest lesson I learned with Surrak was that I had commander that doesn’t do much against non mono blue commanders. 5 mana flash 6/6 is bad against removal, and if it gets killed, it is pretty expensive so it might be very hard to cast it again. Meanwhile your opponets will have commanders that generate some card advantage or value, while yours is just a big beater, so you are at big disadvantage from the beginning and you have to hope that your spells are better, which is not a great place to be.
Meanwhile, I was still playing with a monogreen ramp deck and liked it quite a bit. I started with 《Azusa, Lost but Seeking》 Commander, that was not great and after 《Strip Mine》 ban it became unplayable but it was fine at first. I had a good amount of success with Nissa ramp with Eldrazis.
The deck was performing really well against non Baral decks, because your plan of ramping into huge monsters is very hard to deal with normal removal/card advantage cards that midrange multicolor decks love to play. Nissa was great value card early game and a powerful planeswalker lategame.
The problem was that against Baral, your deck is soft to 《Emrakul, the Aeons Torn》 when cheated into play. You can play some cards like 《Carpet of Flowers》, 《Choke》, 《Prowling Serpopard》 which all help but they don‘t do anything against Emrakul.
After some research what could be done against it with Mono Green, I found something that lot of people already play. 《Titania, Protector of Argoth》.
It doesn’t look like a good answer, but it works pretty well in practice. If you have Titania in play against their Emrakul, if they attack you, you can sacrifice 6 lands and get 30 power of creatures and kill them on the counterswing.
So they need a bounce or removal spell for your Elementals, but without it Titania trumps Emrakul. Titania is also good on its own, because it is a pretty good clock once you customize your deck a bit to work with it. If you play Titania on turn 3/4 with a fetchland in graveyard, you get to ramp and get two 5/3’s, which is pretty good value and also a threathening board presence. I present you with, what I believe is the best 1v1 Commander deck right now:
The deck plays like an aggressive monogreen ramp deck with multiple fast 5/3s putting your opponent on the back foot, killing them or giving you enough time to ramp into your Eldrazi monsters. When I looked at other Titania decks, they are more aggro oriented and have less ramp, but I was very happy with my big payoffs – Emrakul and Ulamog.
Once you have so much ramp in your deck, those are a great endgame against any deck when it gets to the lategame. Most of the deck is ramp and a lot of cards get you nonbasic lands, so you can get 《Eye of Ugin》 and tutor for your payoff cards. So, flooding out isn’t that big of a deal.
There are only 4 green regular fetches, which have amazing synergy with Titania, so you need to play some other lands that go into the graveyard to have enough ways to make 5/3’s. There are 《Evolving Wilds》 and 《Terramorphic Expanse》 which are good, but also three panoramas. I tried panoramas for a while, but in the end I cut it because I wanted more turn 1 green sources and I liked other non-basic lands more.
If you don’t draw anything to go with Titania it is pretty awkward, but I think it is more important to have enough Forests. I would like to have one more, but I am pretty happy with the manabase as it is. Most of the other nonbasic lands are pretty self explanatory, but there are few that some people with monogreen commanders don’t play, so I will go through those and some I don’t play.
Let’s you play Titania one turn earlier and good when you are trying to get to Emrakul/Ulamog mana.
Used as a way to make 2 5/3’s, don’t think I have ever destroyed an opponent’s land with it.
Card advantage and ramp for the cheap price of 3 mana while it also works with Titania.
Similar to 《Myriad Landscape》 but more expensive, it would be the next card I would play if I had room.
Games are so much easier if you start ramping on turn one so not playing those seems like a mistake. If you get lucky and draw them in combination with 《Garruk Wildspeaker》 or 《Arbor Elf》, you are getting really good value.
These were late additions and I’ve only played a few leagues with them, but I believe they belong in the deck, because like I said starting ramping on turn 1 is just so important, especially in the hardest matchups (Baral and mirror).
Not an unusual choice, but I think it is important to mention how good this card is with Titania. If you have both in play they are hard to kill and if your opponent taps out or can’t punish you, you can turn all your lands into 5/3’s and win. You even have tutors to assemble this combo, and once you do it is pretty hard to lose. For the same reason 《Zuran Orb》 is in the deck, although it is nowhere as good as Safekeeper.
Just a very powerful card, nice disruption spell that is hard to get in green and you already play a lot of colorless lands so casting it shouldn’t be a problem.
Not a great card, but much needed disruption. Good at dealing with commanders.
One of the few removal spells against an Emrakul in play, tutorable with 《Eye of Ugin》. I can see cutting him, but for now I don’t have any better alternatives.
Doesn’t come up very often, but the cost of having it in deck is so low that I can’t see not playing it.
Provides ramp and card advantage, which is everything I am looking for. I do not like 《Courser of Kruphix》, because games are pretty fast and I do not think you need a card that is only good for grinding.
■Cards I don’t like
Nice cards to ramp into, but I don‘t think they are powerful enough to play and they dillute your aggressive curve if you draw multiples. I played them in my Nissa commander deck, but with the deck becoming more aggressive with Titania, you don‘t want to dillute your deck with mediocre expensive cards.
I don’t see a point in playing any land destruction spells, because they are only good if you draw them in multiples, but when you have 10 or so in a 99 card deck it doesn’t happen very often, and having just one or two doesn’t accomplish much.
There are not many artifacts/enchantments you need to kill and drawing dead cards is really bad in a deck with few card draw spells.
I played it for a long time, but it didn’t do much for me. The biggest problem is that it has the same casting cost as your commander, and you would rather play that one most of the time.
■Hate cards against monoblue
There are multiple good hosers against Baral. I think 《Carpet of Flowers》 is the best one to play, because it is cheap to slide under countermagic and has great effect (especially with eldrazis). It also does at least something against multicolor decks with blue.
《Choke》 looks like a great foil against monoblue decks, but it is not as good as it seems because a 3cmc card is hard to resolve, so I would rather not play it in monoG (I can see it being fine in a RG aggressive deck with 《Pyroblast》 and 《Red Elemental Blast》).
《Prowling Serpopard》 is another nice one, with a good body so it is not that embarrasing against other decks. You also have multiple tutors for it (if those resolve for some reason). Cards like 《Mistcutter Hydra》 and 《Thrun, the Last Troll》 are fine, but not good enough to win games on their own and bad in other matchups, so I don’t like those. Probably the best card against Baral is 《Cavern of Souls》 that you are playing anyways, with multiple cheap tutors that are easy to resolve. It is very rare to name something else than Elemental.
That is all I have for now. I hope you enjoy 1v1 Commander as much as I do.
Thanks for reading.
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