Due to the most recent change in the restriction measures for the pandemic in my region, I’m not able anymore to invite even a single friend to play at home with my brother and me. But this won’t stop the Magic time!
In fact we started organizing to play online (more specifically on Cockatrice) and we took advantage of this to try out a way of playing that in real will get too pricey and/or messy: Commander Boxing League.
Boxing League is a way of playing limited Commander promoted by Channel Fireball. It consists in drafting a Commander deck from Boxes and Boosters and playing with it. It seemed to us a really cool way to play and maybe try Commanders that we would never think to play.
For this league “zero” (it was only a try to see if we liked to play like this) we decided to open a Box each and build a 100-cards deck with a Commander, following the color identity rule but allowing to play multiple copies of the same card (this is a rule that we decided to apply only for the first try; for the next one we are going singleton like regular Commander).
For this league, I decided to try going for a set that I didn’t ever play, as I wasn’t into Standard when it came out and I always found it interesting: Dragons of Tarkir.
I opened my box and first thing first I looked at the legendary that I found. I found three of them: Dragonlord Atarka and two Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit. My pool of white cards wasn’t great, even with the possibility of running a x4 of them, so I went for the Dragonlord!
After building the deck, I was pretty happy with it! I could even fit a Formidable theme in it thanks to my Commander having the exact amount of power needed to trigger it! You can see my decklist by clicking here!
The other players were my brother Gianluca and my friend Giovanni. Gianluca chose Eldritch Moon as his set and his deck was based around Ulrich of the Krallenhorde, while Giovanni went with Amonketh and built a Hapatra deck.
We started playing! The first that won two games would also win the League 0!
I mulligan down to 6 but I can start well by playing Impact Tremors on Turn 2, followed by a Sheltered Aerie on the next one… unluckily after that I start missing my land drops. Hapatra starts slowly while Ulrich is rapidly building a menacing board of Wolves and Werewolves. Hapatra starts getting in a better position while I’m always stuck.
Thanks to this, they start not seeing me as a threat and engage each other, one disrupting the board of the other; this gives me the time to get back on track and I play my Commander. I fear that Hapatra is going to remove it, but surprisingly is Ulrich with a a fight spell that is able to remove my Atarka.
Hapatra took advantage of the distraction provided to Ulrich by my Commander to disrupt my brother’s board.
I replay Atarka and remove Ulrich fearing another removal from it. This leaves Ulrich’s board a bit empty and Hapatra attacks him, fearing my Commander. At my turn, I attack Hapatra’s player with Atarka putting him at really low life.
Nobody seems to find a removal for my Commander and so I’m able to attack again and eliminate Hapatra’s player from the game.
I play Sight of the Scalelords and it gives even more offensive pressure to my creature, leading me to winning the first game.
I start slower than the previous game, but luckily I’m not missing my land drops this time. Hapatra’s player set his board faster then the previous game but Ulrich is again faster and starts building a really dangerous board thanks to Henweir Garrison. He heavily attacks Hapatra and then focuses on me, continuously increasing his army of tokens.
I cast a Savage Ventmaw, trying to ramp hugely the next turn and casting my Commander but Ulrich removes it by fighting it. The next turn I luckily find a removal for the Garrison and I’m able to kill various of the tokens when I cast my Commander. Ulrich again fights my Commander and removes it. Hapatra focuses on slowing down Ulrich and I’m able to recast my Commander… but this time is Hapatra’s player that removes it.
At the moment I only have 7 life, Hapatra has 13 while Ulrich is at 35. Ulrich decides to go all out on me and I’m out of the game.
Hapatra is able to fill his board and starts a battle of attrition against Ulrich, keeping a strong defense with Snake tokens with Deathtouch and at the same time chipping down Ulrich life with Flying creatures that he isn’t able to block.
Ulrich isn’t able to find an answer to Hapatra’s game state and loses the game, giving Giovanni his first win.
Ulrich starts as always really strongly while both Hapatra and I start setting our boards. I miss the land drop that would have let me play a Savage Ventmaw on curve but luckily I recover it the following turn and I’m able to drop my ramp dragon.
The Ventmaw survives a turn and I could attack with it but Hapatra removes it at Instant speed before my combat step. I play Impact Tremors, another creature and pass. I was able to tutor for another Ventmaw with Sarkhan’s Triumph and I play it the following turn. However Hapatra plays a Sandwurm Convergence that constantly fills his board with Wurm Tokens and blocks my dragons from attacking him. I’m able to play Atarka but after that the games reach a stalling point where everyone is on the defensive, with lifes getting chipped by my Impact Tremors and Hapatra’s Bontu’s Monument.
We are all getting really low on life and if I’m lucky I’m able to finish the game… I only need to find one of the removal for enchantments that I have in the deck to get rid of the Sandwurm Convergence to attack Hapatra with all my flying creatures and remove it from the game. I would be without blocker for Ulrich but I was keeping Revealing Wind in hand for him.
I cannot find an artifact removals for the Convergence and another trigger of Bontu’s Monuments puts Ulrich in the range of being killed by an attack from my Atarka… and he decided to break the stall and attack me with an Ulrich buffed in a way that it would kill me even by blocking… I have to use the Revealing Wind and then attack Ulrich with Atarka to prevent another attack like this the following turn.
With Ulrich’s player out of the game, Hapatra can focus one me alone and easily win the game.
Giovanni with his Hapatra deck won the league 0! After this we will begin another Commander Boxing League with that change in the rules and with a different starting point. Stay tuned!