Can I interest you in hot-dogs?
How about jumping frogs?
Perhaps you have a yearning for Albuquerque?
What do hot-dogs, jumping frogs and Albuquerque have to do with Magic? What do they have to do with anything?
Well as it turns out, not a lot. But here at the Hawk Report we love to take abstract, bizzarre and unrelated subjects and shoe-horn them into Magic related articles. We think it makes life a bit more interesting! Variety is the spice of life and, to me, Commander is the purest expression of this philosophy in the Magical universe.
Bear with me, the tenuous link is here somewhere…
One of the reasons I’ve not been able to dedicate a lot of time to this blog recently is that work has been crazy – or cray cray if you will.
I’m from the UK and recently I had to travel to Albuquerque to progress a project. I had a great time visiting the Land of Enchantment, although I’ll take moisturiser next time!
About a week before I left a colleague asked me whether I’m going to do or see anything in particular when I go over. As it turned out I got to see a fair bit of the place in amongst work, some good food and drink; I met some interesting characters including Lonnie Vigil in Dallas who knows more than a thing or too about traditional micaceous pottery…
Anyway, this colleague wryly asked whether I might see any hot-dogs or jumping frogs.
I sort of grinned with incomprehension.
He said: “you know. Hotdog. Jumping Frog. Aaaaalllbuquerque”
“They’re the lyrics?!” I said
I gave it a cheeky listen and remarked that it was in fact a good song. A Great song! Bizzarre but great! I’d never hear this song in a club, but if I did…
So imagine a club/bar where instead of the predictable classics being played, each song is bizarre, unexpectedly brilliant and just what you wanted. And there wouldn’t be any posers dancing like they’re in some competition; it would be full of dancin’ fools! This is what I strive for in my Commander decks. To be different and bizzarre with hints of excellence (of the Bill and Ted variety).
Let’s go Dancin’!
We’re going dancin’ with Malfegor – Mali-G. My Malfegor Commander deck has a healthy helping of punisher and troll cards but can explosively switch gears and dispatch anyone who lets their guard down. It’s a role-player that doesn’t always win in the most predictable and refined of ways but it can slip under the radar and then – BAM! right in the kisser. I’ve tried to create the right balance of power and inconsistency over the years I’ve been playing it…
In my opinion consistency, at least in terms of how games play out, is something to be avoided in Commander. With out further ado…
The King of EDH (King of Rock and Roll – Prefab Sprout)
Malfegor is an underrated general, I think. His ability is especially potent in Commander variants such as Two Headed Giant, Emperor and Star (shout in the comments if any of these are unknown to you). He’s not a general you play as and when you can, discarding your hand is an expensive business. Deciding when to play him to start alpha striking is one of the many things that can make playing with him interesting.
Having said that, creating a deck that takes advantage of the graveyard – abilities such as flashback, static effects, madness etc. – add an extra layer of interest and mitigates the risk of discarding your hand. I’ve got high hopes for Shadows over Innistrad and a new series of Mali-G playables.
Malfegor doesn’t seem the kind of guy to surround himself with the obvious and mundane… So introducing his Dancin’ Fools.
If you Can’t Beat ‘Em Troll ‘Em (Dancin’ Fool – Frank Zappa)
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” Franklin D. Roosevelt
Never underestimate the power of punisher cards like these. If, like in the story of Icarus, some misguided fool flies too close to the sun. A way to bring them back to earth may be sorely needed. Backlash targets creatures that have gotten to big for their boots, Rakdos Charm hates on token swarm strategies (the other modes are often relevant), Runeflare Trap is adequate punishment for players who can’t settle for the usual 7 cards and Anathemancer loves to see expensive land bases.
On the other hand, though, these can be used more frivolously to cause irritation and bewilderment. Either way these cards have a reputation in our playgroup…
A player looks around the table deciding who to direct their 32/32 Kresh, the Bloodbraided at.
They look at me…
I look right back…
So much trolling potential here. Take a card you have no intention of playing but is integral to a combo win your opponent so mis-guidedly uses. Take a card you intend to kill the owner with at the last moment. And they don’t know what it is until you play it! One of my favourite cards in this deck!
Things Just Got Weird (Carousel – Mr. Bungle)
Wait. Why wouldn’t you play command tower? Why would you want to discard your hand?
If the cost is discarding your hand.. YOUR HAND then the pay-off had better be good. Well it turns out it often is. Legacy Dredge counts on it. However this is a risky strategy so timing is also important.
Firestorm can really get you out of a sticky situation, and it’s ability to do this is in part because it costs only 1 red.
He’s representing lightning bolt, what a noob.
Nope. Firestorm discarding 6-7 can do some serious damage and at instant speed. Cast it offensively the turn before you alpha strike or defensively reminding everyone who the king of EDH is.
Thought Gorger. There’s almost – almost – no drawback with this guy. With plenty of graveyard matters spells and sac outlets, what at first looks like a drawback is a real asset. And occasionally playing it on turn three and discarding Anger allows you to immediately go to work.
Knollspine Dragon depending on the state of play is good for reloading your hand after a Malfegor massacre or simply dumping it to enable graveyard shennanigans. It also interacts with a number of other draw spells.
Picking up the Pieces (The Ideal Height – Biffy Clyro)
Giggidy. As an aside, The Vertigo of Bliss is one of my favorite albums of all time. It saddens me that Biffy Clyro have lost their unique-ness recently. Or maybe I’m being unfair, it’s hard to follow genius.
So we’ve discarded our hand and have made an awful awful mess (graveyard management is not my forte). How do we pick up the pieces and make some use from the debris?
Discarding cards is not so bad when you’ve got these cards around to lend a helping hand. Most of these need no further explaination. But I think Anger is my favourite. It enables explosive turns from nowhere and I’m a big fan of the art (judgement version). Additionally there are a number of ways to take advantage of Waste Not, including a very explosive start with Winds of Change! These are just a sample of the ways to take advantage of the themes in the deck…
Full deck list is here. I’ve made a few changes recently to make things a bit more interesting and varied. I’d love to hear what you think, whether you’re a seasoned Mali-G player or are thinking of giving it a go.
I hope you’ve enjoyed having some hot-dogs, jumping frogs and Albuquerque in your life. But if you are a fan of Bieber, I guess that’s OK. There’s room for us all on the dance floor.
See you again!