Commander Exercise 72 – The Skeleton Ship!

Welcome back to Commander Exercise, the series where I build EDH decks for fun and to improve my deck building skills.

This time I got asked by MTG Thule on Instagram to build a deck with Skeleton Ship as a Commander.

Surely nowadays the Ship is seen as an under-powered Commander due to his stats, costs and ability that made us sacrifice it if we don’t control any island; but I was curious to try building something with it, focusing on its activated ability and so on -1/-1 counters synergies.

First of all.. let’s take some time to admire the crazy art of this card, with both Ecco the Dolphin and Skeletons riding flying turtles in the background.

After admiring the art we can start to think about the deck. The only ability of the Ship will let us place a -1/-1 counter on a creature and so I decided to focus the deck on this types of counters, trying to net advantage thanks to various synergies with them and other cards that can interact well with a Proliferate package
The deck is a control one that focuses on using this type of counters to removes our opponents threats and go for the win via some slow combat damage or thanks to Poison counters.

The deck was built with a 250$ budget in mind and you can find the full decklist by clicking here.

Ramp
The ramp package is pretty standard with mana rocks to help us cast our cards faster. This time however we are also favoring rocks that work well with the Proliferate package, like Everflowing Chalice, that can ramp us even more with less effort in this deck.
Midnight Clock is another card that works well with the Proliferate package as we could accelerate its effect that will refill our hand.

-1/-1 Counters
These are all cards that will put more -1/-1 counters or synergize with them, like anticipating the destruction with cards like Crumbling Ashes or increasing the size of our board with Nest of Scarabs.
Necroskitter is a powerful card that will act as one of our win conditions as it will let us use the powerful creature we are going to remove to our opponents; its utility highly depends on what our opponents are running but it will be rare to have boards with nothing to steal.

Proliferate
With our Ship being usually able to put only a single counter per turn, to quickly destroy our opponents’ creatures we will have to rely on something more, like Proliferate.
The cards in this section will usually only simply Proliferate, with maybe some extra advantage, but in this section we also have another one of our win condition: Viral Drake; It will be the only card with Infect of the deck, so don’t worry to be too hated by the table for using this type of counters.

Untapper
Another way to increase the number of activation of our Commander is to use these cards to untap it.
Freed from the Real and Pemmin’s Aura are surely the best one as, with enough mana, they will let us untap our Commander multiple times in a turn.

Card Draw & Tutors
As the title of this section says, these cards are what we are going to use to dig deeper into the deck, with some of them even working well with the general theme of the deck, like Tezzeret’s Gambit that will Proliferate while drawing us two cards.
Dusk Urchins is a nice creature card that could draw us three cards if we get to kill it by putting on all the counters we can.

Interactions
Together with our -1/-1 counters we are going to use these interactions to slow down or stop our opponents’ plans and slowly take our win. Some of them will also proliferate while doing their job and so accelerate even more our presence on the board.
Mass Diminish and Polymorphist’s Jest will act as a wrath effect for all those creatures we are able to put at least a counter on, while with Horobi we will transform the ability of our Commander into a direct removal; certainly with Horobi on the field we cannot use our untapper anymore on our Commander, but we can still use them to destroy our opponents creatures by targeting them instead.
Lux Cannon will let us deal with any type of permanent that our colors usually aren’t able to remove; normally it will be quite a slow removal, but with the Proliferate in the deck we will be able to charge it quite fast.

Protection
We have many creatures we will need to protect and so having the usual Greaves and Boots in the deck is nice.
The deck is also controllish with a small board presence and so a card like Propaganda will help us survive against those aggressive deck that tends to go wide.

Other
Glaring Spotlight is a nice way to work around creatures with Hexproof and Illusionist’s Bracers will let us put even more counters on the field once we equip it to our Commander, especially if we pair it with our Commander.
Willbreaker is another win condition that, when paired with our Commander, will let us steal our opponents boards. Still the effect will vanish if they are able to remove the Willbreaker; protect it!

Lands
With lands we are going to try to pack an Island-type one on the field as soon as we are able too, as we need it to make our Commander stay on the board.
Our utility lands will consist in Card Draw (Castle Lochtwain and Vantress), Interactions (Otawara) or work towards our main plan by Proliferating (Karn’s Bastion)

I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know how you would have built it differently, what you will have added and what not…
Also don’t forget to tell me what I should try to build next. 

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