You might have noticed that when it comes to my Magic the Gathering content, I trend towards two player formats like Standard, Historic and Modern over the more casual ways to play such as Commander. This isn’t because I don’t play or enjoy these formats, far from it. But when it comes to brewing, I’m far more at home designing 75 card builds over the 100 card decks of EDH. The fact is that the skills need to build a 60 card deck and a sideboard is a very different kettle of fish to singleton formats, and I’ve never had the confidence to dive head first into this style of brewing.
However, over the last couple of months I’ve had a real urge to get into the commander brewing mind set. So, when my wife got me the Obuun Commander Pre-Con for Christmas I took it as a sign and decided to focus my efforts into building more Commander builds and expand my experiences. This is partly as a way to reconnect and play paper magic again via the medium of SpellTable, and also as a way to stretch my knowledge of the game. Today I start that journey by taking that very same Obuun Pre-Con and upgrading it into my own version of the deck.
Before we begin, I want to state that this deck is not 100% optimised/top tier. I have taken the Pre-Con and removed some cards, replaced others, and even added some additional personal favourites to customise the deck to my own play style. There are even some cards that due to one thing or another I have not been able to procure, and so I’ve had to make do. Still, in the limited testing I have been able to do I’ve found it to be rather a joy to play and it has proven to be able to hang in there with the best of them. To paraphrase a famous movie quote, “THIS IS MY OBUUN DECK. THERE ARE MANY LIKE IT, BUT THIS ONE IS MINE”.
With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s get to the deck itself.
Let’s start things off with the commander, Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor. A four mana 3/3 in the Naya colours, this Elf Spirit has two main components. Firstly, it has a Landfall trigger that allows it to place a +1/+1 counter on a creature. This pairs up nicely with its other ability, which allows you to turn one of your lands into an X/X Elemental creature with trample and haste for a turn, where X is Obuun’s power. So, we have a self-contained win condition with our commander, who really wants us to play as many lands as possible. That’s a nice and simple game plan I can get behind. But how are we going to achieve this?
First up, we are going to need lands. Lots of lands. Fetchable lands, lands that fetch, dual lands and a whole lot of basics we can search up. Considering we are a lands matter deck, we will want more lands that most other commander decks, between 40-45 I would say as we want to be able to hit a land drop every turn. I settled on 42 in total, which has proven to be more than enough in testing. Kicking things off we have a package of ‘fetchlands’ as the only thing better than hitting a land drop every turn is hitting TWO land drops instead. Wooded Foothills, Windswept Heath and Arid Mesa are the best of these, able to dig up both untapped duals and basics as the need arises. Terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds might be slightly lower down on the list, but are still decent in this kind of deck, while Krosan Verge, Myriad Landscape and Blighted Woodland are slower options but have the added benefit of bringing up two lands, which can lead to some great turns down the line.
When it comes to dual lands we have Stomping Ground, Temple Garden, Sacred Foundry, Cinder Glade and Canopy Vista as fetchable options, and Rootbound Crag, Sunpetal Grove, Selesnya Guildgate, Gruul Guildgate and Boros Guildgate make up our ‘un’fetchable options. We also have a few ‘tri’-colour lands in the form of Reflecting Pool, Command Tower and Jungle Shrine to help out with fixing. We then round out our 42 card mana base with 10 Forests, 7 Plains and 4 Mountains.
The next part of the deck is our ramp package, which primarily comprises of spells that fetch up extra lands from our library. Starting at the bottom and working our way up we have Khalni Heart Expedition, Rampant Growth, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Far Wanderings, Fertilid, Roiling Regrowth, Kodama’s Reach, Harrow, Springbloom Druid, Cultivate, Circuitous Route, Explosive Vegetation, Nissa’s Renewal and the adventure half of Beanstalk Giant. To complement this ramp package the deck runs the enchantment Exploration to play multiple lands per turn, as well as Lotus Cobra to double up mana on the turn we play a land. Lastly, since it would be rude not to, we also run the obligatory Sol Ring and Arcane Signet.
Next up we are going to talk about some of the decks other win conditions and landfall payoffs. After all, while the deck can win with just Obuun alone its prudent to not put all your eggs in one basket. First up we have landfall payoff’s that produce token creatures. These are a great way making sure we always have threats on the board and can allow us to go wide if we can’t push through damage with our trampling lands. Emeria Angel, Retreat to Emeria, Zendikar’s Roil, Rampaging Baloths and Omnath, Locus of Rage make up the bulk of these threat and having one or two of them in your opening hand is not a bad start to your game. The other payoff includes Undergrowth Champion and Oran-Rief Hydra for some straight beat down, Trove Warden and Emeria Shepherd for some graveyard recursion, and Admonition Angel for some back breaking removal.
The deck also has a subtheme of +1/+1 counter’s, which we can use to either power up Obuun in a Voltron style build or distribute to our tokens to go wide. Hardened Scales help by doubling up counters if we can get it down early enough, while Doubling Season does the same does the same job for +1/+1 counters as well as our tokens. Evolution Sage is basically landfall proliferate, while Retreat to Kazandu works in a similar if more focused way. Forgotten Ancient can help pump up Obuun is very short order, and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar helps deal out the counters while also been able to add to our token creature count. Lastly, Abzan Falconer make all our +1/+1 counter endowed creatures able to fly in over other players blockers for an alpha strike.
Now while these are all great ways to win a game, it is also with putting in a finisher that we can use to close the game in a single turn. This takes the form of Sylvan Awakening, which can at instant speed turn all our lands into 2/2 indestructible and hasty creatures. That might not seem like that good of a finisher at first, but when it is combined with either Beastmaster Ascension or Return of the Wildspeaker can be brutal for our opponents.
So that how we indent to win the game. But we also need to make sure we have answers to our opponents’ threats and win conditions. For this we have a fairly varied removal package. Struggle // Survive and Ground Assault both provide targeted removal based on our land count (which should always be quite high), while Path to Exile, Naya Charm and Banishing Light provide additional targeted removal. Sylvan Reclamation and Acidic Slime helps with artifacts and enchantments, while Decimate allows us to pick off a whole sway of problematic permanents. Lastly, we run two sweepers with Hour of Revelation and Planar Outburst.
The rest of the deck is made up of card draw spells and some useful additions to help bolster the deck. For card draw we have Inspiring Call, Harmonize and Keeper of Fables (which I really wanted to be Tireless Tracker, but sadly not available at my local store atm). As for the other cards in the deck we have Ramunap Excavator and The Mending of Dominaria for land recursion, Mina and Denn, Wildborn for addition land drops and trample on a stick, and Terra Eternal to protect our lands from removal. Lastly, we have Eternal Witness for a bit more recursion and since we only have two artifacts in the entire deck, we have some artifact hate with Kataki, War’s Wage.
And that everyone, is my take on Obuun for commander. I’ve had a lot of fun building this deck, and even more fun playing with it with friends on SpellTable. I’ll be building more commander decks in the coming weeks and months, and I’m hoping to put a day aside each week to play with the decks I make. What’s the next commander on my list to brew? Well, you will have to wait and see. So, make sure you like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.
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