Commander Deck Review – “Mirror Mastery”

Posted by zach - June 16, 2011 - Blog - 3 Comments

To check out the full decklist for “Mirror Mastery” look here.

Garruk Wildspeaker

Overview – “Mirror Mastery” is an intriguing deck. It’s U/R/G which means you can expect some trickery, some chaos, and some big creatures. Combine the three of those and you have a rough idea of what “Mirror Mastery” is up to. This deck has tons of creatures with “comes into play” abilities, quick card access via land-cycling, and a few other ways to speed up your mana base.

“Mirror Mastery” is also the only commander deck to contain a planeswalker. Garruk Wildspeaker is a great fit in “Mirror Mastery” – he speeds up your game by untapping lands, throws some chump-blockers onto the field, and, when you’re ready, casts “Overrun
Overrun
” so that you can swing for the win. I’m a little bothered by the fact that only one of the new Commander decks received a planeswalker, it seems like it should have been an all-or-nothing R&D decision, but I can’t disagree with the appropriateness of Garruk in “Mirror Mastery”.

The killer green trio of Cultivate
Cultivate
(and its twin, Kodama’s Reach
Kodama’s Reach
), Explosive VegetationExplosive Vegetation, and the all-new, Join-Forces sorcery, Collective Voyage
Collective Voyage
, will thin your deck while assuring that you are able to generate two mana for every one your opponent is able to produce. Sol Ring
Sol Ring
, along with the Gruul
Gruul Signet
, Simic
Simic Signet
, and Izzet
Izzet Signet
Signets, will continue to speed you along until you are able to play fatties like Simic Sky Swallower and Magmatic Force
Magmatic Force
.

Riku of Two Reflections

Commanders – Intet, the Dreamer
Intet, the Dreamer
has always been my favorite of the Invasion dragons. His “combat damage conditional” ability is to pay 2U to exile the top card of your library, which you can later play without paying its mana cost. This ability, aided by the fact that a significant number of cards in “Mirror Mastery” thin your lands from your deck, is very likely to produce favorable results i.e. otherwise expensive creatures with “comes into play” abilities hitting the board for free.

Riku of Two Reflections, however, is the primary commander in “Mirror Mastery”. Riku is a Human Wizard with an ability powerful enough to draw some serious hate from your opponents. He’ll be the most likely target for your opponent’s kill spells because he has the potential, like Intet, to allow you to get something from nothing (or close to it). Riku, for UR copies and instant or sorcery, and for GU copies a creature. This means that spells like Kodama’s Reach will fetch twice as many lands, Invigorate
Invigorate
will provide twice the pump, and Hunting Pack
Hunting Pack
(with its storm ability) will bring an INSANE number of beast tokens into play.


Also, Riku will be doubling the triggers of all your cards with “comes into play” abilities like Deadwood Treefolk, and better yet he’ll will produce a “legitmate” copy of any creature you evoke into play, allowing you to get two Spitebellows or Faultgrinder triggers for the evoke cost plus Riku’s fee, plus the copy will stick around while the original is sacrificed.
Animar, Soul of Elements is also a fine addition to “Mirror Mastery”. His protection from white and black, strangely enough, will work against every one of your opponents, as Mirror Mastery is the only Commander deck in which white or black is not a component color. He’ll work doubly well against “Counterpunch” and “Heavenly Inferno”. Animar also has the secondary ability to make your creature spells cost one generic mana less for every +1/+1 counter on him, counters which accumulate every time you play a creature. Animar will also, if I’m interpreting this correctly, reduce the cost of bringing Riku back from the command zone.

There is great flavor consistency about the commanders in “Mirror Mastery”, all of them will speed up your assault by making it easier for your to put creatures into play. I like that the requisite dragon-commander fits so well in this deck as that has been a source of tension for me in the past.

Baloth WoodcrasherOld Favorites – One of my favorite old-timey cards in “Mirror Mastery” is Ruination
Ruination
, a sorcery which destroys all non-basic lands. This card is generally an asset in multiplayer games, but in a setting like Saturday’s Commander Event where people will be playing with these decks straight out of the box, you are almost garunteed to be destroying ten or more lands with this spell.

There are also a number of multicolor spells that return in “Mirror” that are worth mentioning: Electrolyze
Cool Card
allows you to draw a card in addition to dealing damage,  Firespout
Firespout
is a great board-clearer than can hit fliers, ground-dwellers, or both depending on how your choose to cast it, and Prophetic Bolt
Prophetic Bolt
packs a serious punch and also allows you to draw your choice of the top four cards of your library.

In addition to classic creatures with cycling like Krosan Tusker
Krosan Tusker
, Chartooth Cougar
Chartooth Cougar
, and Valley Rannet
Valley Rannet
, there are a host of heavy-hitting creatures that you’ll love to sneak into play via Intet’s ability. An old favorite in our playgroup is Simic Sky Swallower, a flying, trample 6/6 with shroud. Conundrum Sphinx
Conundrum Sphinx
is also a great way to sneak things into play and as improbably as it would normally be to predict what card is on top of your library in a commander deck, Brainstorm
Brainstorm
will be able to take the guesswork out of it for you. Artisan of Kozilek
Artisan of Kozilek
is another great creature that hates to be lonely. He’ll bring a creature from your graveyard out onto the battlefield into order to have some company.

Simic Sky Swallower

Finally, there are a couple creatures that will be early-game bombs if you draw them in your opening hand. Avatar of Fury
Avatar of Fury
only costs RR if any of your opponents have seven or more lands in play (something that’s pretty likely if you’ve taken everyone on a Collective Voyage). You’ll also be surprised how quickly you’ll be playing Baloth Woodcrasher
Baloth Woodcrasher
and how enormous he’ll end up being on account of his landfall ability.

New Hotness – “Mirror”‘s two-color legend is Edric, Spymaster of Trest. He makes all of your creatures act as “spies”, drawing you cards whenever they make it into your opponent’s red zone. His ability is a universal one, but the word “opponents” limits his benefit in such a way as to incentivize everyone to attack everyone but you.

Hydra Omnivore
Hydra Omnivore
similarly causes problems for all of your opponents because every time he successfully deals damage that damage is dittoed to every one of your opponents. The fact that he’s missing any sort of evasion (where he really should have trample, look at the size of the thing) is going to make connecting with him difficult. However, slap a Vow of Wildness
Vow of Wildness
on him and he’ll be an 11/11 trample that is sure to cause a ruckus.

One more way to ensure that your Intet is consistently finding creatures on the top of your library is the brand-new leviathan, Trench Gorger
Trench Gorger
, who allows you to search through your library for any number of land cards and exile them. Not only can he seriously thin your library, but if you choose to search for lands this way, Trench Gorger has power and toughness equal to the number of lands you find.

Tribute to the Wild
Tribute to the Wild
is a handy new instant that, for the same casting cost as Naturalize
Naturalize
, causes each of your opponents to sacrifice and artifact or enchantment. Another new instant that appears in “Mirror Mastery” is Spell Crumple
Spell Crumple
which presents a fun twist on Counterspell in that it doesn’t put the countered spell into the graveyard but onto the bottom of your opponent’s library.

Finally, Magmatic Force
Magmatic Force
is a 7/7 that Lightning Bolts a creature or player during each upkeep.

Suggested Alterations – “Mirror Mastery” seems to me to have one of the most interesting strategies of the five Commander decks. I think that substituting counterspells for some of the mana-accelerators like the Signets might work well. I also think that the biggest danger in “Mirror Mastery” is getting stalled out by board-wipers and permission.

Also, additional creature-sneakers like… Sneak Attack
Sneak Attack
and Birthing Pod
Birthing Pod
, as well as copy-cats like Echo Mage might also do well in this deck. As always, I’d implore players to make it their own. If there’s too much mana-acceleration, or too many creatures lacking evasion, use your best judgment and some Gatherer searches to fill in the gaps.

Verdict – With “Mirror Mastery” the goal is to hit hard and hit fast.  I think that it will have a speed advantage over the other Commander decks initially, but its late game may rely too heavily on top-decking the necessary threats/destruction to keep your opponents in check.  However, because of all the land-cycling and other deck thinners in “Mirror Mastery”, top-decking becomes a much more reliable practice than it usually is.

Each of the Commander decks deals with card-shortage in the late game in different ways and I like the way “Mirror Mastery”‘s overall strategy jives with its component color flavors. While at first glance the component parts of this pre-con seem diverse, the deck has an internal synergy that will make it a lot of fun to play.

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