Sunday, July 1, 2012

[JT] CGC: Deck Discuss "Legend of Zelda EDH"

[7-28-12 Edit:  Doing some tweaking that I'm really excited for]

[7-31-12 Edit: Done revising.  New Gorons.  New Zelda.  New flavor.  YUM!]

IT'S TIME TO D.......iscuss a deck ; P  (How many of you did I fool with this?  Be honest.).  For today's CGC, I decided to do a Deck Discuss (new sub-theme for my CGC) on my favorite deck to date that I've built (only my second EDH ever), a Legend of Zelda (by Nintendo) based Magic EDH deck.  For any cards I mention that you do not know, you can find them here: Gatherer.

So first thing's first: EDH (or Elder Dragon Hilander, also known as Commander) is a casual multiplayer format where your deck is made up of 100 cards, with only one copy of each card allowed (with the exception of basic lands of course).  Each EDH deck has something known as a General (or a Commander) that starts outside of your deck and that you have access to throughout the whole game, and your spells in your deck can only be of the colors of your General (so a mono-colored General can only have spells of the matching color.  A multi-colored General can have spells of any of those colors).  There are more in depth rules, but I won't bore you with those here.  Now... how the heck did I possibly build a deck based on the Legend of Zelda series?  Well, let's take a look...  PUSH START BUTTON

Title Screen to Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda
A.  Link's Awakening

The first thing you need to do when making an EDH deck is pick your General (in this case, I am looking for my Link).  Now, there are a few cards that are banned as Generals, but again that's for rules discussion.  The only other criteria is that the creature has to be a Legendary creature.  The first thing I decided when I decided to make this deck was that the General had to be three colors, one for each section of the Triforce pieces.  I decided that it should be White, Blue, and X.  White, the color of knights, fairness, and loyalty, is the color of Courage.  Blue, the color of thought, is the color of Wisdom.  X, the color of Power, gave me some difficulty.  Each of the other three colors (red, green, and black) could be seen as the color of power.  However, green is known for pumping up their creatures; making them stronger.  As such, green has become the color of Power.

Note, I did not say that Green IS the color of Power... it BECAME the color of Power.  This is important because when choosing my General I looked for creatures that had WUX in their colors and decided which would be the best Link and, thusly, which color would be power.  When all was said and done, I was down to two separate creatures:  Dakkon Blackblade or Rafig of the Many.

Image from Wizards of the Coast's Gatherer

Dakkon Blackblade showed promise because he got stronger with the more lands you control.  What I loved about this was that in the video games, the more lands Link visited, the more temples he explored, the stronger he grew.  In this aspect, Dakkon was a great pick.

Image from Wizards of the Coast's Gatherer

However, Rafiq of the Many had a very strong argument to make as well.  He has a keyword known as Exalted, where a creature that attacks alone gets a +1/+1 boost for every instance of the Exalted keyword you control (so if you have 5 instances of Exalted under your control, the lone creature will get +5/+5).  Link uses his allies, but never forces them into battle.  They are support; not weapons.  He attacks alone.  Because of this, the Exalted mechanic is brilliant.

So which did I pick?
Made in Magic Set Editor

Introducing Link of the Many.  In the end, the lower casting cost of Rafiq, as well as the flavor of Exalted won out.  Also, Dakkon's black orientation did not sit well with me.  Black is the color of corruption more so than Power (at any cost).  So now that I had my general, it was time to build the deck.

B.  Four Swords Adventures

I am going to start off by listing the entire deck first, then I will go more in depth with the cards and why I chose them.  Some are kind of obvious so I will just note those in the deck list.

-Creatures (25 besides Link)
Wolfir Silverheart
Dawnray Archer (Princess Zelda)
Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Knight of New Alara
Giltspire Avenger
Stoic Angel
Knight of the Reliquary
Merfolk Looter
Thada Adel, Acquisitor
Deadeye Navigator (To enable the Ally effects)
Fauna Shaman
Stonehewer Giant
Oathsworn Giant
Talus Paladin
Kabira Evangel
Sea Gate Loremaster
Jwari Shapeshifter
Turntimber Ranger
Harabaz Druid
Ondu Cleric
Tajuru Archer
Seascape Aerialist
Jorga Bard

-Planeswalkers (3)
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Tezzeret the Seeker
Garruk Wildspeaker

-Artifacts (20)
Sword of Vengeance (Master Sword)
Shield of the Righteous (Hylian Shield)
Grappling Hook (Hookshot!)
Viridian Longbow (Hero's Bow)
Cloud Key (What dungeon lets you through without finding a key?)
Silver-Inlaid Dagger ("It's dangerous to go alone!  Take this...")
Adventuring Gear (Equipment pack)
Blazing Torch (Candle) 
Angelheart Vial (Bottle)
Aether Vial (Bottle #2)
Expedition Map (obvious?)
Sol Ring
Accorder's Shield
Trailblazer's Boots
Swiftboot Boots (Running shoes)
Amulet of Vigor
Selesnya Signet
Azorious Signet
Simic Signet

-Spells (14)
Time Warp (Song of Time)
Flusterstorm (See below)
Luminarch Ascension
Archmage Ascension
Beastmaster Ascension
Quest for the Holy Relic
Ior Ruin Expedition
Quest for the Gemblades
Finest Hour
Supply // Demand
Bant Charm
Eldrazi Conscription (Fierce Deity Mask)
Mistform Mask (Majora's Mask in general)

-Lands (39)
8x Plains
8x Island
8x Forest
Comand Tower
Emeria, the Sky Ruin
Magosi, the Waterveil
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Glacial Fortress
Hinterland Harbor
Sunpetal Grove
Selesnya Sanctuary
Simic Growth Chamber
Azorius Chancery
Soring Seacliff
Buried Ruin
Terramorphic Expanse
Evolving Wilds

-cards I want to put in that I either don't have yet or just haven't worked in
Academy Ruins
Behomoth Sledge (Mallet)

C.  A Link to the Past

So let's take a look at why I picked some of the cards I chose.  First, I want to express the fact that when it comes to nonland spells and creatures, I will NOT use a card if it is part of a cycle and I either do not have the full cycle or cannot fit the cycle in the deck.  For example,  Green Sun's Zenith could make a great addition, but I will not use it unless I have the Blue and White Suns' Zeniths as well.

Next, the artifacts are described briefly in the list because most of the are iconic and I don't believe they need clarification.  However, I do want to make special mention of Grappling Hook because it was the original inspiration for this deck.  As soon as I saw the card, the word "HOOKSHOT!" popped into my head.  Seeing as the Hookshot is my favorite item in all of the games, I had to make the deck.
Image from Wizards of the Coast's Gatherer
Now, how about the creatures?  I wanted to get the three major, non-human species from the games into the deck.  What I came up with is this: Zora = Merfolk, Deku = Elf, and Goron = Giants.  Now, the Merfolk and the Giants are pretty much obvious.  For the Deku though, I had to make a decision of function over form, so the Elves were used.  I also decided to use the Allies from Zendikar and Worldwake because Link gathers allies throughout his journeys.  They provide support for him and allow him to overcome whatever obstacle presents itself.  This is also why I decided to include Xenograft.  In order for Rafiq to get the benefits, he must be made into an Ally.

Image from Wizards of the Coast's Gatherer

The last creature I want to make special mention of is Wolfir Silverheart.  The reason he is in here is because of that Vorthosy flavored goodness.  Silverheart has the new Soulbond mechanic, where it pairs itself with another creature.  I love the idea of having Link's soul bonded to a wolf because of his lycantropy in Twilight Princess.  Mmmmmm... can you taste the flavor?

Finally, let's discuss my spells.  Flusterstorm was another card I saw and KNEW it had to be in the deck.  This little fairy (as in in the art) is Navi.  I don't think I need to go into any more detail about that.  I also want to make mention of the Zendikar block "quests" (the three Ascension's and the next three cards in the deck list).  I really wanted to use these because of the fact that they represent the little side quests you can (or sometimes have to) do in the games.

Image from Wizards of the Coast's Gatherer

D. Twilight Princess

I have one final thing I want to discuss, and it is more of a poll.  I want to have some representation of Princess Zelda in the deck.  After talking to a few people, I have come to the conclusion that one of two cards I currently have in the deck can fulfill this:  Elspeth or Thada Adel.

Image from Wizards of the Coast's Gatherer

First, Elspeth is a knight and a commander.  Her second +1 Loyalty ability can be a huge help to Rafiq.  This can be the embodiment of how Zelda supports and at the same time guides Link on his quests.  The downside is that she is a Planeswalker card, where as Rafiq is a creature (although I really think Link would be a Planeswalker.  All these alternate realities would suddenly make a lot more sense).  She is also a white card, which was supposed to be the color of Courage, Link's triforce embodiment.

Image from Wizards of the Coast's Gatherer

At the same time, we have Thada Adel, who plays into the Wind Waker mythos of how Zelda is [spoiler (highlight to read):] the pirate, Tetra[/spoiler].  Thada herself allows Link to get more items for his journey.  Thada also shares the card type of creature with Link, which seems to be fitting, as well as being blue, the color of Wisdom and Zelda's triforce embodiment.  However, she is a Mermaid.  Not sure how that quite works.

So I leave it to you.  Which of these two will be Link's Zelda?  (Yes.  I know the game reference in this section's title does not fit because [spoiler]Zelda is not the Twilight Princess[/spoiler].  Work with me here :P)

Image from Wizards of the Coast's Gatherer

The above has been removed from the flavor of the deck (not the actual build.  Just the flavor.).  The more I thought about, saw, and discussed it, the more I realized Zelda should be a Blue Archer.  I wanted Blue because Zelda is the embodiment of Wisdom, which I have designated as Blue.  She should be an archer because her main weapon in the games when supporting Link are arrows.  What I found when I looked into this aspect is there are VERY few Blue Archers.  I had it narrowed down to Dawnray Archer and Samite Archer, but again the flavor of Exalted won out, tipping the debate in Dawnray's favor.  This now gives a connection to both Link and Zelda, as they are the only two creatures with Exalted in the deck.  Now if only she was Legendary :/

Well,  I hope you enjoyed the deck.  I am whole-heartedly open to suggestions for tweaks and other ideas for the deck.  Feel free to leave the feedback and your answer to the poll in the comments.  Also, let me know how you feel about Deck Discuss CGCs as well.  I would love to do more if they are interesting to the readers.  I also have more Zelda based decks in the works as well, so if we continue the Deck Discuss, they will be making appearances.  So again, I welcome and encourage feedback.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go save a princess... after I figure out how to shuffle this deck...

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