Harvest Time

harvest time

by John Tuvida

Today I will share the second commander deck that I constructed, based around one of the most aggressive strategies available within Magic: the Gathering blowing the s*it out of EVERYTHING.
The Reaper King is a very aggressive commander in the sense that it is akin to having a plunger rigged to ignite explosives every time a scarecrow comes into play. The deck’s legion of scarecrows, changelings and other big creatures gets this deck rolling and almost nothing is safe whenever a scarecrow comes into play (so much so that I actually had to promise not to destroy basic lands with my playgroup when using this deck). When the deck is not popping out scarecrows, then it’s drawing cards and looking for other ways to win by grabbing a big creature or comboing off.

reaper kingThis is what the Great Pumpkin from Charlie Brown might have looked like

As with most of my decks, this one is pretty budget-friendly as far as Commander goes (the lands could be WAY better, but I made due with what I had). Regardless of price, this deck plays well and requires a bit of subtlety to play. There are times when you need to pull back and be conservative and it appears that you’re not doing anything in particular.Other times, you’re just pushing the plunger down over and over again, forcing your opponents to stop you somehow.
Harvest time is not always a pretty thing after all…

That said, here is my take on the Reaper King deck.

HARVEST TIME (Reaper King Commander Deck)

Harvest Time !

Commander Format

Creatures: 33

1 Adaptive Automaton
1 Avian Changeling
1 Chameleon Colossus
1 Clone
1 Composite Golem
1 Deadeye Navigator
1 Esperzoa
1 Etched Monstrosity
1 Etched Oracle
1 Etherium Sculptor
1 Flickerwisp
1 Grand Architect
1 Grim Poppet
1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
1 Master of Etherium
1 Mirror Entity
1 Mothdust Changeling
1 Mulldrifter
Myr Retriever
1 One-Eyed Scarecrow
1 Painter’s Servant
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Prophet of Kruphix
1 Progenitor Mimic
1 Quicksilver Guargantuan
1 Sanctum Gargoyle
1 Scarecrone
1 Scuttlemutt
1 Shapesharer
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sphinx Summoner
1 Taurean Mauler

Artifacts: 21

1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Conjurer’s Closet
1 Darksteel Forge
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Door to Nothingness
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Expedition Map
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Howling Mine
Illusionist Bracers
Ichor Wellspring
Lightning Greaves
Mimic Vat
Skeleton Shard
Sol Ring
Strionic Resonator
Temple Bell
Trading Post
Unwinding Clock
Whip of Erebos




Enchantments: 2

1 Detention Sphere
1 Oblivion Ring


Sorceries: 5
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Rite of Replication
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Terminus
1 Wrath of God

Lands: 38

4  Forest
1  Swamp
6  Island
2  Plains
1  Mountain
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Gruul Turf
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Kazandu Refuge
1 Jwar Isle Refuge
1 Breeding Pool
1 Vivid Creek
1 Vivid Grove
Rupture Spire
Gruul Guildgate
Rakdos Guildgate
Azorius Guildgate
Izzet Guildgate
Selesnya Guildgate
Dimir Guildgate
Orzhov Guildgate
Golgari Guildgate
Boros Guildgate
Simic Guildgate
Maze’s End
Vault of the Archangel


The Commander

As I have just mentioned, Reaper King is a very aggressive commander. When he gets summoned out, he immediately wants the party to begin. The more scarecrows (or scarecrow-like creatures) you can summon once he’s on the field means things will start exploding very quickly.

So naturally, your opponents will try and counter him or spot remove him off the field, leaving you grinding to a screeching halt. This is where some of the support spells and some of the utility creatures come into play. Slapping on Lightning Greaves will protect him from spells, whereas either a Darksteel Plate equipped or a Darksteel Forge in play will protect him from destruction and board wipes. Having both on him would be ideal of course, but even without these artifacts in play, there are other ways for the deck to deal damage without your commander.

The creatures

The creature list in this deck has two major recurring themes: artifacts and changelings. The number of scarecrows and changelings in the deck, 13 in total, mean that you will almost always have a “scarecrow” to throw out once Reaper King is in play. Add in three “clone” creatures (Quicksilver Gargantuan, Phantasmal Image, and Clone), the deck essentially has 16 scarecrows to play with.

However, the three clone-type monsters don’t necessarily have to copy a scarecrow. The other 17 creatures in the deck have a lot of synergy with the rest of the creature package, either drawing you cards, mana ramping, or providing nasty little tricks for you to play with.

mirror entityOoooh! Shiny!

Mirror Entity, one of the many changelings in this deck, has the unique ability of paying X to turn every creature you control into an X/X attacker. That’s right… X/X on ALL your creatures. With enough mana, tapping out could yeild you a bunch of high-powered attackers, some of who might have flying! It’s a pretty evil thing to do when no other plays are available to you on any given turn.
There are the 13 cards that either draw you cards, ramp your mana, or fetch cards from your deck or your graveyard. Etched Monstrosity, Etched Oracle and Mulldrifter profide card draw in creature form, whereas Etherium Sculptor, Grand Architect and Composite Golem either make artifact spells cheaper to cast or provide you with additional mana to use. Solemn Simulacrum fetches lands, while Sphinx Summoner tutors for artifact creatures, both of which can be reused multiple times via Myr Retriever and Sanctum Gargoyle if they hit the graveyard.

Last we have the big bad seven, the creatures in the deck that provide plenty of utility. Esperzoa, Flickerwisp and Deadeye Navigator all provide you with varying abilities of bouncing creatures off and back onto the field, recycling scarecrow plays and making Reaper King‘s ability go off for as much mana as you have (Deadeye Navigator is definitely the more dangerous of these three). They are also able to make multiple uses of come into play abilities.




deadeye navigatorHe helps get the scarecrows safely across water (their own true weakeness)

The other four creatures however, bear the biggest mention. Kuldotha  Forgemaster allows you to cheat any artifact into play, including the 9-cost Darksteel Forge! Progenitor Mimic will clone of ANY creature out when he arrives and then spawn a token clone during your upkeep. While copying a scarecrow would be the best play most of the time, he can also come in and clone your other utility creatures if you need any more uses of their abilities. For example, spawing a token of a Solemn Simulacrum every turn means a free land and potentially a lot of card draw later on. Master of Etherium‘s strength and toughness is equal to the number of artifacts you control (which in this deck is A LOT)  and gives other artifact creatures you control +1/+1. It’s none other than Prophet of Kruphix that takes the MVP award of the creatures in this deck, allowing you to always have your mana ready during each of your opponents’ turns, with the added bonus of flashing in creatures in response to anything your opponents do!


prophet of kruphix“Do you like flashing in creatures? Well, who the hell don’t?”

While the prospect of flashing in scarecrows every turn is definitely appealing, it also backs up the hidden win conditions within the deck. In fact, lands in this deck CAN end in your favor…


Normally I like discussing important lands at the end of anything I write about, but this is an exception. As the deck list reveals, Maze’s End IS a card in the deck, along with all ten guildgates. Winning with Maze’s End is VERY unlikely and VERY hard to do (though completely doable if your opponents can’t do anything about it), but it also provides you with another way to ramp.

dragon's maze matMaze’s End: so good that it made it on the Dragon’s Maze Game Day Champion Playmat

While Maze’s End comes into play tapped, every turn it untaps means a free dual-land, especially when activated at the end step before you start your turn. It gets much better with Prophet of Kruphix out too. If you can protect Prophet with Lightning Greaves and Darksteel Plate AND keep your opponents from ganging up on you (by, for example, blowing up their lands with Reaper King), you become a ticking time-bomb that will end the game in a very spectacular fashion (and believe me… the feeling of actually pulling it off is hard to describe).

Of course, that’s a lot of if’s and but’s… that is where the non-creature spells come in.

Other Spells

A five-colored deck can mana-hose you sometimes, which is why having the right colors at any given time is crucial. Chromatic Lantern fixes the problem quite handily, and Expedition Map will fetch any land you may need at the time. Darksteel Ingot, Gilded Lotus, and Sol Ring provide additional mana sources.

The rest of the non-creature spells are in the deck for varying purposes, the most common tied to abusing Reaper King‘s ability. Strionic Resonator and Illusionist’s Bracers give you two booms for the price of one, and Conjurer’s Closet flickers out any creature at the end of your turn. Mimic Vat does its job of dropping tokens, and is not limited to your own creatures.

conjurer's closetThe Rolls Royce of come into play effects

The last few spells provide untility to tutor for specific cards, draw additional cards, and if needed wipe the field or exile permanents if things are getting too crazy. But a few bear mentioning for the specifics of this deck. Unwinding Clock untaps all your artifacts during every upkeep, allowing you to use things like Gilded Lotus and Strionic Resonator every turn in necessary. This becomes absolutely disgusting with Prophet of Kruphix out, as all your permanents basically reset everytime someone’s turn starts.

Door to Nothingness is also a card in the deck that will kick someone out of the game, and thanks to certain creatures that return artifacts to your hand its possible to slam the door multiple times. Elixir of Immortality gives a bit of life gain, but also allows you to make sure your deck recycles all of its good stuff.

Finally, the one spell in the deck that NO one wants to see cast is Rite of Replication. Clone a creature for 4 mana or clone five times if you kick it for an addition 5 mana is pretty good, but when used on Reaper King himself is a staggering, and admittedly very dirty play. Having 5 Reaper Kings enter the battle field triggers ALL Reaper King’s abilities, and doing the math shows that 20 permanents get blown up in one sitting. Add Strionic Resonator or Illusionist’s Bracers to the mix, and you might as well have dropped a nuclear bomb on the battlefield.

rite of replicationCurse you … Math!

Harvesting is Fun !

In the end, the Reaper King deck can swing is many ways and can be modified so many other ways to match different playstyles. This is the version I am happy with, and with new sets coming out there will always be new things to try.
So what deck should I construct next? With so many potential commanders already out there, I just might wait to see some of the new legendary creatures coming out with the new sets. With Born of the Gods out, who knows what kind of tomfoolery will be created? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Until then, happy gaming people! 😉

The End ?

the end

Tired of playing the same Standard deck ? Or even against the same decks ? Trying to figure out a new plan of attack for today’s Standard environment and still coming up short?

Well.. you can always try the following:

The End ?

Standard Format

Creatures: 16

4 Gatecreeper Vine
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Prophet of Kruphix
4 Saruli Gatekeepers

Enchantments: 5

Primeval Bounty
4 Detention Sphere

Sorceries: 10

2 Whelming Wave
4 Supreme Verdict
4 Urban Evolution

Planeswalkers: 4

4 Kiora, the Crashing Wave

Lands: 25

1 Plains
1 Forest
1 Island
4 Breeding Pool
2 Hallowed Fountain
Temple Garden
4 Maze’s End
1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Gruul Guildgate
1 Simic Guildgate
1 Golgari Guildgate
1 Rakdos Guildgate
1 Orzhov Guildgate
1 Dimir Guildgate
1 Azorius Guildgate
1 Izzet Guildgate
1 Boros Guildgate


4 Last Breath
1 Chromanticore
1 Pithing Needle
2 Wear/Tear
1 Jace, Memory Adept
3 Archangel of Thune
1 Blind Obedience
1 Aetherling
1 Blood Baron of Vizkopa

This is not the Maze’s End deck you’re all used to seeing is it? Where’s all the Fog effects, Jace Architect of Though and Sphinx’s Revelation? Well, this deck tries to be more proactive. It plays more creatures to hold down the fort and to give us more value for our lands. Plus there’s this new planeswalker that fills the role of Urban Evolution #5-8.

kiora the crashing waveOne of the rare planeswalkers that has somewhat lived up to their hype

Vincent Laberge, a local Montreal player provided me with the decklist. Although I have yet to play with it, I must admit that it looks particularly delicious. I can’t wait to start casting ramp-like spells without always being a full turn behind (the deck only runs one of each Guildgate versus the traditional 2-of’s). Whelming Wave seems like a very odd addition to the deck, but it is a very effective way to slow down aggro decks on top of being yet another main deck answer to a Pack Rat swarm.

The deck plays a full 16 creatures in the main deck, all of which are green. While this may pose a problem post sideboard versus monoblack decks, the pre-board matchup seems rather favorable. There’s quite a bit of lifegain too, which can stave off some Gray Merchant of Asphodel life loss. Everything happens at sorcery spee here, unless we drop a Prophet of Kruphix. That’s where the fun starts:

Untap on your opponent’s turn, activate Maze’s End and put a Guildgate into play. Play Maze’s End on our turn and repeat the same play on your opponent’s turn. We are basically negating the disadvantage of playing Maze’s End as our land of the turn, since we can use it every turn this way instead of every other turn (the way it was meant to be played).

maze's endHow many turns will it take you to reach the ‘End’?

The Prophet also allows us to simply do more of everything. It gets even better after sideboarding. Interesting interactions can happen with the lifegain of Courser of Kruphix and Archangel of Thune. This Kruphix is quite a cool god. Eventhough his card has not been released yet, I have the feeling he will rank amongst most Magic players’ favorite god.

The deck is somewhat soft to any mill effect or Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver/Nightveil Specter. By running only one of each guildgate we are somewhat vulnerable to something that might remove one of our gates from our deck. We discussed a few possible solutions to this and three potential solutions presented themselves:

elixir of immortalityReshuffle our lost guildgates back!

bow of nylea

Versatile, to say the least …

question mark

Nothing at all

Unsurprisingly, the answer is C) Nothing!

Have you seen the sideboard on this deck? It’s basically transforming into a better creature aggro deck. High quality dudes like Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Archangel of Thune and Aetherling mean we don’t only have to rely on the Maze’s End plan. Plan B is very viable and I 100% approve.

The End ?

Theros Previews: Wave 6

previews wave 6

by Steve ‘DDT’ Giannopoulos

We now have a third planeswalker in the set! You heard right: three planeswalkers so far in Theros.

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver


Weird in every way imaginable

As usual, I’ll do the ability play by play:

ashiok 1

A mini-mill

One of the rarer +2 loyalty planeswalkers, Ashiok’s + ability is rather unimpressive. Clearly it builds up to something. If you take it at face value, you’re basically activating a Nephalia Drownyard each turn. Meh! I supposed with enough protection he can be a win condition just based on that. You save 4 mana a turn when compared to Nephalia Drownyard. Mana that can be used to do cool stuff like play cards such as Far/Away.

nephalia drownyardNot sure how many people will actually miss this card once it rotates

The random part where Nephalia Drownyard wins out is that

A) it’s uncounterable

B) You can mill yourself to dig for flashback cards or some cards to use when you cast Snapcaster Mage

Next ability:

ashiok 2

Yeah, sorry I couldn’t get a larger picture of Ashiok

Yay! Free Ornithopters and Dryad Arbors! Or you can just grab a 4 cost creature after you’ve +2 ‘ed your opponent once. In a sense he can probably ‘protect’ himself. It’s a funny way of looking at it, but it is more or less luck-based and limited to what you have exile with Ashiok. Better practice your milling skills boys!

In order to prevent any kind of abuse, Ashiok’s + ability is limited to your opponent’s library. I haven’t really fathomed all the stupid stuff you can do if you were allowed to target your deck, but there are quite a few.

You also probably won’t be using the second ability on Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver often if your opponent is playing a control deck that runs little to no creatures. No idea how many of those are going to be floating around, but there sure are a heck of a lot of ‘Superfriends’ aka. planeswalker options.

And ultimately:

ashiok 3

Um, not quite a Jace, the Mindsculptor ultimate eh?

So how do you win with this again? Exactly. It’s somewhat cryptic. Does it fit in a ‘Turbo Fog’ style deck? Not quite sure. Still, you get to do a Wit’s End, which can’t be all too bad.

wits endClearly, Nicol Bolas can’t be wrong

I imagine that against control decks you can get him to 11 loyalty, use his ultimate and then continue grinding his library away. So on the fourth activation gets you one ultimate, then every 6th activation gets to be an ultimate (if you wish). You get to blank his has of counters, dead cards and whatever other nasty comeback cards he may be holding. Also, these cards are gone for good off to join their other exiled friends in From the Vault: Exiled. Yes, it’s a bad removed from game joke.

Speaking of Remove from Game, I want to take this moment to promote one of the coolest product I have seen as far as card protection goes.



These sleeves are awesome!

They don’t split when you shuffle them, nor do the corners break (because they’re rounded). The cards are a little tight to fit at first, but it gets easier after. I highly suggest you go purchase some and get back with your feedback so that people don’t think I’m shamelessly promoting weird card protectors. I’m not sure if they still sell them on their site, but I’m sure you can purchase them if you search hard enough.

Lightning Strike


lightining strike

Fear the Spear !

The somewhat unexpected ‘Searing Spear‘ reprint. It was looking like Magma Jet was taking over as the 2-cost burn spell and red decks were going to go for a more ‘Devotion’-based approach (with Boros Reckoners, Ash Zealot ,etc) to get Purphoros online as soon as possible.

What is left to say about this card except that you will be seeing a lot for the next 2 years of Standard. If you want to pack it in Modern, knock yourself out. Between this, Incinerate, Searing Spear and Lightning Bolt – you can mix and match as you wish.

The Same-Color Hate Cycle


Glare of Heresy


glare of heresy

I was wrong about this card’s name




I was wrong about this one as well

Dark Betrayal


dark betrayal

Strike Three!

Peak Erruption


peak erruptio

… I’m soooo out!

Yep! every single one wrong. Still, the cycle of same-color hate was fairly evident and a really interesting twist on sideboarding. I am fairly certain they will all see a great deal of play with all the multicolored cards that the Return to Ravnica block brings to the table.

Gainsay is going to be big versus Sphinx’s Revelation decks (of course) and winning counterspell wars. Other than that, It counters a few planeswalkers (even Ashiok) , Aetherling and some draw (Opportunity).

Dark Betrayal is going to hit quite a few scary creatures for really cheap, so black creatures are ‘somewhat’ riskier. Doom Blade for non-black and Dark Betrayal for the rest (like Underworld Cerberus).

Glare of Heresy is just wow! Any white permanent? Detention Sphere, Elspeth, Archangel of Thune? Nice sideboard card versus all the really annoying bomby white cards. Problem is how many can you fit in the sideboard? Also, how many is your opponent going to be siding in versus your white deck? Let’s not forget it also exiles Heliod.

Finally, Peak Erruption is a little different from its other sideboard buddies. It can effectively Stone Rain your opponent’s land and potentitally set him back a color (lets not forget Ravnica block duals already). The 3 damage is very appealing, especially at times you can two-for-one their land and planeswalker. It can become increasingly good versus decks running Chained to the Rocks if you’re into getting full value.

Fleecemane Lion


fleecemane lion

Part Watchwolf, part WTF?

The Watchwolf comparison is rather unfair, because that’s what this card is in the worst case scenario. Once Monstrous, good luck doing anything to it. There are not many ‘edict’ (sacrifice a creature) effects left in Standard, save Devour flesh. Why is it that Cats are always better than Hounds in Magic: the Gathering ?

Before you start thinking that it’s a shoe-in for some kind of Hexproof deck – don’t forget that most of that deck is rotating ( Geist of Saint Traft, Spectral Flight, Invisible Stalker). It might make it in some kind of Bant midrange deck since you can have it survive your own Supreme Verdicts. Either way, the way this set is looking Supreme Verdict is not going to be much of an answer to anything anymore.

geist of saint traft invisible stalker

You have less than a month to enjoy these cards in Standard

At the very least you have a rather hard to remove planeswalker protector. You can also make an opposing removal spell whiff since you can activate Monstrous at instant speed. Keep in mind that it can always be responded to, so try to activate it when your opponent is low on cards in hand or tapped out at the end of his turn.

Kragma Warcaller


kragma warcaller

Angry Angry Minotaurs

Black is not a color that comes to mind when thinking of minotaurs, we have been more accustomed to seeing them in Red and sometimes White. I guess those terrible Black Minotaurs in M14 were there to prepare us for the horrors to come. This Rakdos minotaur is very much superior to his M14 counterparts (not that it’s hard to beat). Essentially, he’s a 4/3 haster himself the turn he comes down. It’s too early to say if he makes the cute in a Standard Minotaur tribal deck, but I’m betting on ‘No’.

Arbor Colossus



Pretty much confirmation enough that the M12 titans are not returning

If you ever wanted to try out the big creature Green deck or Green/White deck now is probably as good a time as any. This guy is very good for his mana cost. We know that being in the color of mana ramp you will have no problem casting him 1-2 turns ahead of time. Monstrous means beating your opponent down for 9 and potentially taking down some annoying flyer like Archangel of Thune or the Stormbreath Dragon.

Having Reach even without being Mosntrous means you won’t see many opposing creatures swinging back at you with this guy in play. It’s a great piece of cardboard, one that will surely make more than a few people ‘green with envy’.

Prophet of Kruphix


prophet of kruphix

Seedborn Muse just ‘Evolved’

In the beginning, there was this card:


Seems fair … unexciting

It didn’t quite catch on because there was not much of an upside to it, so they created this:

seedborn muse

It became everyone’s favorite Commander card (after Sol Ring and Sensei’s Divining Top)

Then there were some variants :

murkfiend liege

Also a Commander favorite

then they decided to bring it back to Standard in an updated form:

prophet of kruphix

Prepare to have some multiplayer fun

I’m not entirely sure as to how effective this card will be in Standard what with it not having Flash itself. Still, there are some nice possibilities here. If you land it on your turn 5 with a tapped out opponent, you can simply Flash in a Prime Speaker Zegana (probably not the most efficient play) whenever to draw up some cards before it’s your turn again. You can also try for a Progenitor Mimic and copy a Prophet of Kruphix so that you can double up on the untap effect each time it’s your opponent’s untap step.

Again, you can probably do a few nice tricks here and there but it’s all a matter of our dear Prophet staying alive long enough. Your patience and proper timing may very well be rewarded in the proper deck. Everyone and anyone playing some Simic or Bant Commander/EDH deck will be hunting down the foils, try to keep that in mind if you happen to open a shiny copy of this card.

It’s a nice twist on last Standard format’s ‘enter the battlefield’ gimmick. Now you have to try to keep creatures and other permanents in play before you get to reap the rewards. I think it will make for a somewhat slower format and a much more enjoyable one at that.

Still more to come ..


Keep checking back here to catch a glimpse of more Theros Preview cards. See you tomorrow!



theros preorder