Primal Command I Guess?

I was trying to figure out something compelling to say about the two Cascade decks that I have been working on this week, and I guess the answer is Primal Command. It’s funny… I was telling BDM how much I liked playing these decks and he reminded me that we spent a long time (originally) bagging on Primal Command. It has turned out quite the Command… But this isn’t really about Primal Command but some Cascade stuff.

Base-Naya Four-color Aggro

4 Bituminous Blast
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Boggart Ram-Gang
2 Kitchen Finks
4 Naya Charm
4 Steward of Valeron
4 Woolly Thoctar

4 Flame Javelin
4 Volcanic Fallout

4 Exotic Orchard
3 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Forest
1 Mountain
1 Plains
4 Reflecting Pool
4 Vivid Crag
4 Vivid Grove
4 Vivid Meadow

4 Anathemancer
2 Kitchen Finks
4 Cloudthresher
4 Primal Command
1 Celestial Purge

My initial motivations were somewhere between wanting to play with Steward of Valeron and playing with a Red Deck (I think I might have specifically been thinking of playing with Ball Lightning alongside Bloodbraid Elf at the time)… Which explains my Flame Javelins.

From a separate angle BDM has been telling me that he thinks that you might as well play Naya Charm in a deck like Pat Chapin’s five-color Bloodbraid Elf deck… None of us like the UUU requirements in that deck, though everyone of course respects the Blue cards Cryptic Command and Cruel Ultimatum. My theory was that I could just cheat and play all the Bituminous Blasts and that would be kind of like having Blue cards.

I understand people like a Sygg but Steward of Valeron makes for more explosive potential draws. You know, turn three Bloodbraid Elf into Boggart Ram-Gang and all that. It doesn’t come up that often, but Steward of Valeron is a very high quality card… Easily the equal of Putrid Leech in terms of quality if not offensive capability.

Volcanic Fallout is kind of super stainsy… at times. Half the time I don’t want to play it when it comes up on a Cascade. I was thinking about playing with Jund Charm (which is worse against Faeries) but my mana right now is only a very slight touch for Black, and then relatively high on the curve, which is much different than having to play exactly Jund Charm, especially under pressure. For now it’s Fallout, but that is my least favorite spell in this deck.

As for the sideboard I keep wanting Aura of Silence, thinking to myself how much easier a lot of these matches would be with Aura of Silence… and then winning anyway, without it or Maelstrom Pulse. “See next deck,” I suppose.

Here is a rundown of the matches I’ve had with Base-Naya Four-color Aggro so far:

1. Kithkin
Apparently Kithkin matters. Tonight I am working on Top Decks for the week, which of course includes Kithkin in the Top 8 of the most recent Grand Prix but also a win by my old teammate Matt Boccio (easily the most dangerous Vs. player ever in terms of batting average) with Mono-White Kithkin in Philadelphia. Like I said, apparently Kithkin matters.

Well in this case it was a super easy win for Base-Naya Four-color Aggro. Woolly Thoctar was very big and useful and I got money with Volcanic Fallout.


2. Esper Something
This deck was lots of Borderposts and a variety of artifacts, Tezzeret, etc.

Game One I won on tremendous tempo. It was just like bam, Bam, BAM… Bam again, kick, wham, stunner… Hello! His like only meaningful play (and I use the term “meaningful” loosely given the configuration of this deck) was to play Pithing Needle naming Anathemancer.

Game Two was the reverse. First of all he juked my brains out with Esper Panorama. I had like Reflecting Pool, Steward of Valeron, Exotic Orchard… it slowed me down a bit. Then Esper Panorama was like his only nonbasic the whole game. This one he used Tezzeret to gather many and more copies of Vedalken Outlander and Scepter of Dominance. Basically he just kept tapping down my Stewards and laughing at my Red men. Eventually he got enough counters on Tezzeret to go Ultimate on quads Outlanders (and whatever else) for a blowout.

Game Three I was like desperately trying to figure out how to win. Because my Game Two strategy was atrocious. That is I flipped Anathemancer (Red spell) on a Cascade and he had no nonbasics on board. And I had like two more in grip that I ran out there (you know, ran onto the Battlefield) and they were nothing. Less than nothing.

So I thought very hard about how and what I should sideboard. I put all the Cloudthreshers in. I just wanted something that could damage my opponent through his mighty Outlanders. But I decided to keep one Anathemancer in with my four Primal Commands. This game he ran out quite a few nonbasics (probably thinking I had sided out my Anathemancers, which I had… but one). Last turn was Primal Command for the Anathemancer + scoop. Great match for Tournament Practice.


3. Four-color Bloodbraid Beatdown
He had the Madrush Cyclops version, which is a lot more common than I would have thought. This was a L-W-W for the good guys. He had the early Cascade advantage but I mised into Naya Charm and realized I could Naya Charm race him through… Which only didn’t work because he had Naya Charm too ๐Ÿ™‚

Primal Commands demolished him in the sideboarded games. The combination of gaining seven life to race the opponent’s Anathemancer and setting up your own (sometimes bonus) Anathemancers makes Primal Command a compelling addition to the Cascade strategy.

Typically in these matchups (quite common) I have been siding…

-4 Steward of Valeron
-3 Flame Javelin
-4 Volcanic Fallout
+4 Anathemancer
+2 Kitchen Finks
+4 Primal Command
+1 Celestial Purge

Siding out Steward… I dunno about that but it is the weakest card in the deck when it comes to both players sending overhand rights at each other (Anathemancers and Primal Commands in my case, along with the nonstop Cascade blowout cards from both sides); Flame Javelin is just weaker -4 than Primal command +7.


4. G/W Elves
I played against a super nice opponent who was a former WotC designer, which explains this tight quote when she mis-played and ran out post-combat Noble Hierarch to miss a point of Exalted:

“I’m roleplaying as a blond, apparently.”

LOL. Gamer humor.

It went all three games. Game one she blew me out; game two she got blown out by Cloudthresher and Fallout to erase her mana accelerators. Game Three I had a commanding lead but elected not to attack Garruk Wildspeaker… I just blanked for a second because I didn’t realize that I was going to be ninety percent kold to her on-board (on-Battlefield) Behemoth Sledge. This almost got her out, but not quite.


5. Esper Artifacts
Game One he opened with a super fast Salvage Titan on Chromatic Stars and thereabouts, but I had Flame Javelin and Woolly Thoctar (he stalled).

Game Two I got smoked by four copies of Master of Etherium in the first 14 cards. I beat the first two but the next couple of 8/8s got me.

In the third I had the sick tempo starting with Boggart Ram-Gang. Then I had this awesome play with Glaze Fiend on the Battlefield, with him playing Master of Etherium. I timed it to kill the Fiend with Fallout and got the then-little Master two-for-one. Bloodbraid ran into 5/4 which ran into a concession.


6. R/W Brew
His Jungle Shrine saved me! I had a slow draw but Exotic Orchard hooked a brother up. No idea how I beat his Redcap + Ajani but I did.


7. Jund Aggro
My Thoctar ate his Ram-Gang, etc. However one too many F2s cost me six points on a Bloodbraid Elf + Boggart Ram-Gang of my own though ๐Ÿ™

His Anathemancer pounced but I had lots of Naya Charms to keep him out of the Red Zone. Same sideboarding as before:

-4 Steward of Valeron
-3 Flame Javelin
-4 Volcanic Fallout
+4 Anathemancer
+2 Kitchen Finks
+4 Primal Command
+1 Celestial Purge


8. Some Domain Brew
This was a pretty weak Brew that had lots of good cards and also synergy but maybe wasn’t fast enough. I just sided in Primal Commands for his Fertile Grounds.


9. G/W Little Kid
In the opener he had Troll + Shield of the Oversoul. Which was not very impressive against multiple Ram-Gangs. Is Troll Ascetic more-of-less unplayable now?

He had Wall of Reverence which I somehow beat.

Through Game Two he just kept regenerating his Troll as I attacked a bunch with my 5/4s; I kept his mana busy and then went Primal Command, Bloodbraid Elf, go off.


10. Mirror
I lost a close one when I thought I had the Naya Charm kill but he in fact had the Naya Charm to stall and then topdecked Anathemancer for eight!

Game Two I got with turn two Knight of Valeron, Elf, Elf for Kitchen Finks and Woolly Thoctar; he conceded and I had Bituminous Blast backup.

Game Three he gave me just a little too much information. I sent my Bloodbraid Elf into the Red Zone and he traded for everything. We had no board nowhere. He played Naya Charm for Bituminous Blast (which is what I probably would have done). So I just didn’t play any guys. I played Primal Commands for life and Anathemancers to go over 23 and then just killed him with Anathemancers from a distance.


I made another version at this point, which will be detailed in probably the next blog post. It was based on a large proportion of Bloodbraid Elf based decks showing up in the Tournament Practice Room.

That said I returned to this version and played another two or so matches (both against the Madrush Cyclops version) and won those as well. My analysis is that if you draw more Cascade spells you are at the advantage in the mirror. Naya Charm being quite good.

At about a 12-0 at this point I can say that the weakest card in the deck is Volcanic Fallout purely based on the composition of the metagame (it would be invaluable if there were all Faeries again) and the sideboard is full of great cards. What to cut for Aura of Silence? Celestial Purge is the obvious weakling at this stage but I love most of the other cards. Kitchen Finks and Anathemancer have to come in for the mirror and Primal Command is too outstanding to cut. It’s hard to say what I would want to change given the fact that I haven’t lost yet ๐Ÿ™‚

More later.


Currently Reading: Gotham Central Vol. 4: The Quick and the Dead (Batman)

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#1 FilthyLogician on 06.15.09 at 8:41 pm

I’ve been finding that with decks running Volcanic Fallout, I’m wishing more and more that it was instead a Firespout. Countless times I draw the card against Doran, Kithkin, and (G/B)/W Tokens and I frown because it only eliminates two or three of his five to eight creatures. With 7-8 Glorious Anthems and Ajanis in a lot of the above decks (excepting, obvs, Doran), it’s very common to get both active at the same time, thus rendering late game drawn Fallouts more or less useless, unless some sort of global conflict occurs in which you can trick the opponent into a one-sided Wrath or whatever.

Doran is another mess altogether, though, because Doran and Treefolk Harbinger beat Fallout everytime, and often it’s not enough to quash the board of Pridemages, Knotvine Paladines, and Hierarchs. You use your mana to Fallout with Wilt-Leif Liege on the stack, killing some of their stuff along with your own Finks (which most likely already has a -1/-1 counter from their last attack phase), Liege resolves, and they swing for a billion. It’s ugly.

However, this might be my limited experience and low-count testing.

#2 admin on 06.15.09 at 9:34 pm

Firespout is particularly ineffective in a deck with lots of Cascade, I fear. You actually want to run out the Volcanic Fallout (or alternately Jund Charm) off Cascade effects… Firespout would have no effect.

#3 wobblesthegoose on 06.15.09 at 9:53 pm

Wow, what a mana base! 4x Exotic Orchard for reals? 12 vivids? Cascade LD with boomerangs is a real deck that preys on decks that aren’t doing things before turn 3. And there are quite a few of them around right now, from 5c blood, to jund aggro, to bw tokens and swans. Ultimately, this is the sort of deck that seems great on the play. Lots of decks in t2 do right now. I’d be willing to bet that winning the coin flip is disproportionately good in type 2 right now. The trick is building a deck that can recover while on the draw. Which isn’t easy considering how lack luster the sweepers are.

#4 Amarsir on 06.15.09 at 9:59 pm

I’ve been intrigued by the deck that took second place here:

Heavier on the GW, it uses Enlisted Wurm and your old friend Captured Sunlight. (The latter of which can only get Finks, Maelstrom Pulse, or LD out of the board.) Regarding sweepers it runs 2 Caldera Hellion and 4 Incendiary Command, plus 4 Wrath. A lot of it seems weird, but I do feel Enlisted Wurm may deserve some respect. We like Broodmate for it’s two bodies. What if the second body is also a 2-for-1?

#5 FilthyLogician on 06.15.09 at 11:57 pm

So apparently I’m the worst magic player in the world. Thanks for clearing things up.

I suppose there’s some small consolation in that Fallout might still be less effective than Firespout in terms of killing creatures, but that doesn’t nearly make up for my amazing, Joe-Biden-like gaff. Eh, c’est la vie.

#6 oscar_leibowitz on 06.16.09 at 7:55 am

What happened to you?

#7 xeraseth on 06.16.09 at 12:42 pm

Just curious, I am not great at mana bases and was wondering why no Wooded Bastions? You have a lot go GWx cards

#8 Tekanan on 06.16.09 at 5:47 pm

Maybe -4 Fallout +3 Primal Command +1 Kitchen Finks/Anathemancer in your mainboard?

#9 Five With Flores » (hip) Fracturing Gust on 06.16.09 at 7:54 pm

[…] Part One: You might have seen this response RE: the previous blog post about Primal Command: […]

#10 Five With Flores » Rhox Meditant Again on 06.19.09 at 7:24 pm

[…] it or not, “Primal Command I Guess?” was supposed to be part of “The Return of Chameleon Colossus!” but “Primal […]

#11 Murwiz on 07.06.09 at 4:42 pm

Rather dumb question:

Could this deck be any better with Hell’s Thunder in place of Boggart Ram-Gang? Especially post-M10 when Lightning Bolt becomes the new preferred removal?

#12 Five With Flores » Edison Standard PTQ Report on 07.19.09 at 11:26 am

[…] is aggro Cascade instead of control cascade. I think I am going to come back to the Naya-based 4x Primal Command (sideboard) Cascade deck I was playing immediately prior to the Rhox Meditant deck, and just try […]

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