August 23, 2017

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Commander 2017 Breakdown (Part 2)

Hi again everyone! Adam here for another day leading up to the Commander 2017 release, and another instalment of the Commander 2017 Breakdown. If you haven’t seen my previous article on Draconic Domination, what I’m doing is looking at the new Commander decks out of the box, giving my thoughts on the base deck, and looking for a few small changes that should result in big improvements.

The changes I’ll be suggesting are loyal to the deck’s tribal theme, and designed for multiplayer format games (specifically our awesome new Commander 2017 League that’s coming soon). Today I’ll be looking at the new Cat deck, Feline Ferocity.

Feline Ferocity

Creatures (24)
Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith
Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist
Alms Collector
Balan, Wandering Knight
Stalking Leonin
Hungry Lynx
Qasali Slingers
Jazal Goldmane
Jareth, Leonine Titan
Kemba, Kha Regent
Leonin Arbiter
Leonin Shikari
Raksha Golden Cub
Seht’s Tiger
Spirit of the Hearth
Jedit Ojanen of Efrava
Fleecemane Lion
Phantom Nishoba
Leonin Relic-Warder
Oreskos Explorer
Sunspear Shikari
Taj-Nar Swordsmith
Temur Sabertooth
Qasali Pridemage

Spells (38)
Traverse the Outlands
Divine Reckoning
Hunter’s Prowess
Soul’s Majesty
Nissa’s Pilgrimage
Kindred Summons
White Sun’s Zenith
Wing Shards
Crushing Vines
Relic Crush
Bloodforged Battle-Axe
Hammer of Nazahn
Argentum Armor
Grappling Hook
Quietus Spike
Staff of Nin
Sword of the Animist
Sword of Vengeance
Heirloom Blade
Herald’s Horn
Behemoth Sledge
Dreamstone Hedron
Hedron Archive
Hero’s Blade
Lightning Greaves
Loxodon Warhammer
Sol Ring
Swiftfoot Boots
Mirari’s Wake
Zendikar Resurgent
Curse of Vitality
Curse of Bounty

Lands (37)
Mosswort Bridge
Stirring Wildwood
Path of Ancestry
Blighted Woodland
Blossoming Sands
Command Tower
Elfhame Palace
Evolving Wilds
Graypelt Refuge
Krosan Verge
Myriad Landscape
Opal Palace
Rogue’s Passage
Saltcrusted Steppe
Secluded Steppe
Selesnya Guildgate
Selesnya Sanctuary
Temple of the False God
Terramorphic Expanse
Tranquil Expanse
Tranquil Thicket
Vivid Meadow
Vivid Grove

As the only two colour deck this year, I expected fast and aggressive from these cats, and this deck delivers in spades. The curve is sweet, there’s plenty of synergy, and it has a few ways to keep the board under control while manoeuvring into a winning position. But, out of all the possible Commanders in this deck, I easily prefer Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist or Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith over Arahbo, Roar of the World.

Mirri is a one-sided Dueling Grounds, and having her available as often as possible will be key to an aggro deck winning in multiplayer. Nazahn not only brings powerful new equipment to the field like Hammer of Nazahn, but can easily snag Sword of the Animist for some ramp, or many other viable pieces of equipment that can have immediate impact. Meanwhile, Arahbo needs at least one other cat for his real value to be felt.

If you’re going aggro in multiplayer, you’ll need a lot of firepower and fast. Brimaz, King of Oreskos hits the battlefield early, and starts giving you some extra bodies to work with. Regal Caracal is a close second to this recommendation, but is just edged out by how out of control an unpoliced Brimaz can get.

This might seem less effective than Doubling Season, but the relatively small improvement in synergy just isn’t worth it to me when I can get a nearly equivalent effect for less. Besides, there’s plenty of synergy to be had with the built in token generation! Anointed Procession makes the cut over Parallel Lives because the mana distribution already leans heavily into white.

There are plenty of strong contenders for equipment that weren’t included in the base deck. Kusari-Gama is one that might just slip under your radar. It’s easily outshone by Batterskull, Sword of Feast and Famine (and its ilk), or Umezawa’s Jitte. But don’t let it fool you, attached to Mirri this card is certainly effective. Combined with Grappling Hook, it’s absolutely devastating. Otherwise it effectively renders a creature unblockable.

You may have to pry Teferi’s Protection out of the hands of some Vampire, but it’s worth the trouble. It fogs all the way until your next turn, saves your permanents from removal (can’t forget to float some mana just in case!), and doesn’t wipe out all your tokens. ‘Nuff said.

He might not look like much, but with a low CMC Ajani, Caller of the Pride can be used a little differently than alternatives like Ajani, Mentor of Heroes. Early game, he can pump threats past a threshold that nothing less than a board wipe can handle. Late, he could be held on to for removing a particularly threatening opponent. There aren’t many situations where an ult will be better than his minus, so make sure you choose wisely when to use his abilities for best effect.

That’ll do it for my initial recommendations on improving the Feline Ferocity deck. Have an opinion about one of my choices? Think I missed something critical? Please let me know in the comments! Tomorrow I’ll return for part three of this article series and take a look at Vampiric Bloodlust.

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to check out our new Commander 2017 League, listed on our store Events Calendar. If you’re in the Ottawa area, it’s a great way to get in some games with the brand new decks and see what other players are brewing at the Tower.