Feather, the Redeemed - Weaponised Jankmas Incarnate

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Rumpy5897
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 5 months ago

Feather, the Redeemed

Weaponised Jankmas Incarnate

"Image"
Coming soon to an EDH table near you!






Foreword
Harry Boros and the Quest for EDH Relevance

Disregard subtlety, deliver punching to face
The original Ravnica block broke a ton of ground, setting up a bunch of general colour pair tropes that often impact other planes to this very day. RAV brought us premiere Boros legends Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran and Razia, Boros Archangel, and these early designs ended up setting the tone for a lot of Boros to follow - linear, combat-centric aggro. This sort of setup can do work in various 40 and 60 card formats, but things get a bit dicey if you have multiple people at 40 life to take care of.

Thing is, EDH Boros was always largely stuck trying to bring the same straight-faced aggro, warts and all, to a format renowned for straight-faced aggro not working. While you could set up some value engines, e.g. Land Tax + Scroll Rack, they were quite scarce and far fiddlier to get online than what the other colours would get. Your creatures would scale poorly as time went on, you'd struggle to stay topped up, you'd spend most of your time fearing a wipe, and you'd field a predictable deck helmed by a same'y combat-centric legend. That, or you'd field some spin on mono white misery with red largely on support, ending up inferior to hatebear decks in other colours. All this would add up to Boros becoming the red-headed stepchild of the format, more likely to be brought up in jest than actual consideration.

Since EDH became a thing, these voices from the community were heard in R&D. Red got various flavours of exile-draw and a needed catch-all. White got some anti-wipe tech and Smothering Tithe, but its Achilles' heel of card advantage was addressed rarely and situationally. Occasional attempts at more diverse Boros legends were made. It's oddly fitting that the first resounding success at this would happen on Ravnica.

A Feather Phenomenon
Embodying the Spirit of EDH

I made Balduvian Rage spike for no reason!
War of the Spark previews rolled around, featuring all sorts of organic EDH-ready nonsense at all rarities. However, in spite of the return of proliferate and tons of planeswalkers, the dominant new deck on EDHREC became Feather, the Redeemed. She is a very elegant design, helping shore up the colour pair's card advantage deficiency in a unique, interesting way.

The main constituents of a Feather deck are the recyclable spells, which can be used as many times per turn cycle as there are players at the table. The bread and butter of those are going to be draw/scry effects, allowing you to rip through your deck in search of anything else you may want. Another important group is various interaction instants to keep Feather alive, as she's the one that turns a heap of sub-limited garbage into a weird humming engine. Once those are in place, you can explore various synergies. Some of the protection options flicker creatures, so you can double those up as value generators and milk ETBs. Feather's a reasonably buff winged beater, so you can go for some pump effects and kill people off via voltron damage. All those Heals need to be pointed somewhere, so you can run various heroic targets to get extra benefits from your casting. You can also treat the casting itself as means to an end, keeping your curve negligible and looking for further payoff there.

I opted for a very mana-rich, card advantage/selection focused, cast-heavy shell as I believe its engine and payoffs to be the most well-rounded of the bunch in a multiplayer EDH pod. I still retain the strongest elements of the three remaining directions (with a notable ETB subtheme), trying to keep the build utilitarian unless crazy mana payoffs are on the horizon. I'm consciously avoiding hatebears in the interest of table-wide enjoyment.

Boros and Me
Waiting for Feather

What's the problem? Creatures are for punching
My relationship with Boros was always different than the established EDH standard, as an Aurelia, the Warleader has been part of my playgroup since its inception in 2014. The deck was always well positioned, as we're not wipe-heavy. Some of my earliest EDH memories are me trying to set up an Ant Queen swarm before being overrun with Hero of Bladehold value. I dabbled in RWx myself, even papering out one of those dabbles, but would find myself in blitzkrieg or hatebear territory. Neither of those were ultimately fun to pilot or play against, and the decks wilted away with time.

I got a new-deck itch not long before WAR, having realised that I had managed to create one surviving build in the prior three years. I dredged up Iroas, God of Victory, i.e. the chicken's way to do Boros, and got to work. The end result was functional, but derivative of the aforementioned Aurelia. While I got to do stuff like Tilonalli's Summoner the other list couldn't pull off, I didn't feel any connection to it. And then Feather got spoiled. I have a track record of liking strange commanders in the wrong colours, and I immediately saw this as a weird blue-less cast machine. There's no denying Feather would be better with access to blue's entire arsenal, but this impediment is part of what makes the deck oddly fun for me.

Fun fact - as mentioned, I wasn't the only one to get drawn in by Feather's charm. Half an hour after I finished brewing my initial take on her the morning after her reveal, the friend who made the thread's banner notified me of some pieces starting to spike in the USA. As such, I quickly pounced and picked up the mandatory shell ingredients on the cheap without even properly assessing the deck in action first. And then the deck turned out to work. Lucky!



Deck Overview

The Deck Ranking
General Attributes
  • Quick Game Likeness - should fit snugly within a mid power meta, has done turn 7 tablekills on good draws
  • Newbie Feasibility - "Hey kid, point these instants at creatures you own and turn the bird sideways at people"
  • Commander Dependency - without Feather, the list becomes a bunch of underwhelming sub-limited garbage only rescuable by a Zada variant
  • "Scare" Rating - most of your mid-game plays are small and unassuming, but there is a flurry of them
  • Multiplayer Mode - an interesting tradeoff - in 1v1 you can voltron easier, but in multiplayer you milk your spells more effectively
  • Expensiveness - Heal tribal, the core of the deck is dirt cheap; expensive utility/support pieces result in moderate performance improvement

Game Play Attributes
  • Acceleration - ridiculous mana build-up via rocks, land ramp, various engine options to milk extra value from both, and Phyrexian Altar
  • Library Searching - a bunch of conditional options, with nearly all being multi-use in some form or other
  • Board Control - a few staple removal spells, plus a bit of potentially reusable ETB control
  • Spell Control - a smattering of protection instants designed to repeatedly keep your key creatures alive
  • Card Advantage - very sturdy scry/draw dig when the deck "comes online", recycles crappy instants like a boss even when flailing
  • Linearity - recycling card advantage instants will be a constant, but you can win in many different ways
  • Combo Potential - no infinites, but can have explosive turns after hefty Zada top-ups

Strengths and Weaknesses
The Deck's Strengths
  • A cast spam deck in Boros! With actual card advantage! What's not to love?
  • Various synergy pieces (ETB, voltron, heroic, cast payoff) with the spell package lead to surprisingly varied games.
  • A weird, almost draw-go control play experience - hold up interaction mana, devote spare resources to card advantage.
  • Ridiculous Zada, Hedron Grinder possibilities - protect your entire board with the white shield spells, plus the standard draw out the wazoo thing.
  • Repeatedly shredding super cheap instants makes for kooky Phyrexian Altar abuse scenarios.
  • Monastery Mentor is, arguably, the second best cast spam swarmer in the entire game. A true army in a can for this deck, a great payoff for being in white.
  • A fun way to make the most of the stack as you try to fiddle with the various triggers/copies to milk maximum value.
  • The wall of protection instants necessary to keep the deck afloat doubles up value by granting your game plan relative immunity.
  • A good level of redundancy in the engine instants lead to them coming online quite reliably, making it likely you'll contribute something to each game.
  • I've won through an Ajani Steadfast emblem with a wall of 1/1s, and not even a wipe could stop me!

The Deck's Weaknesses
  • Boros cuteness aside, lacks blue - you'd get a healthy dollop of extra cast spam payoff to work with.
  • Very commander dependent, there's a reason Heal was only present in eight pre-Feather EDH decks on EDHREC.
  • Relies on key non-creature pieces for game-ending explosiveness, and the deck can only offer a modicum of protection for them.
  • Probably won't manage to hang with the big dogs, even if you ram in the hatebears.
  • The protection suite is necessary for ensuring the deck's functioning, but stuff like Ephemeral Shields isn't the highest impact when you're uncontested.
  • Even if doubling up protection spells for combat defences, your board state is often quite meagre if you don't get a 1/1 swarm.
  • The 1/1 swarm won't help a lot if trample comes around. Refer to Monastery Mentor for X/X swarm assembly instead.
  • Will probably taper off in performance a bit if you try to focus on one of the synergy elements due to lack of card pool depth.
  • The potential Feather-reusable control options (which I don't run) are quite variable in their returns, ranging from do-nothing to borderline oppressive.
  • Sometimes induces mild salinity by milking Heal over and over again, while the protection serves its purpose and makes it hard to disrupt.

Other Commander Options
Boros
How to retain relevance past turn four
  • Depala, Pilot Exemplar - The first instance of a Boros legend explicitly granting card advantage out of the command zone. Unfortunately, dwarves did not test particularly well as white's potential characteristic race and fell to the wayside after Kaladesh block, so wanting to get value out of the ability has you picking for scraps in two sets' worth of cards. At least new vehicles show up every now and then.
  • Firesong and Sunspeaker - The first Boros legend incentivising you to look into spells rather than creatures. You cram your deck full of Hour of Devastation style effects, repeatedly mow the board, and use the resulting wicked life total to fuel Aetherflux Reservoir or Treasonous Ogre. Still struggles with Boros value related matters though.
  • Aurelia, the Warleader - Nothing says Boros smash like an extra combat out of the command zone. The most popular Boros commander serves as a handy way to double up on the destruction power of your forces, and works super well with all sorts of on-combat triggers (think Hero of Bladehold for a double trouble package of the two most desirable ones) that Boros is so fond of.
  • Iroas, God of Victory - The coward's way out of Boros, Iroas ensures your aggro swarm retains more relevance as the game goes on. Turns out having a wide board with menace is pretty good for pressuring people, and the fact nothing dies lets you turn various jank like Tilonalli's Summoner sideways and milk value with impunity. That, or you can just Starstorm everything after attacks.

Cast Spam
Brawl Goodstuff Feather Killer
  • Zada, Hedron Grinder - The go-to option for targeted cantrip abuse. Go wide via means such as Siege-Gang Commander, set Zada down, rip a cheap cantrip, repeat, have trouble differentiating your hand from your deck. It's not uncommon for General Tazri to be a five colour surrogate for getting Zada online outside the constraints of mono red.
  • Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest - The most conceptually similar option to Feather, is often found running various cheap evasive/pumping scries/cantrips. Feather is a tempting include in this deck's 99, as getting repeatable Shadow Rift action sounds pretty good. Naturally gravitates towards voltron due to the sheer efficiency of the commander's combat pump.
  • Kykar, Wind's Fury - Take Talrand, Sky Summoner and shrink the dudes, but compensate by making the trigger more robust, adding two colours to the thing's identity, and offering built-in mana generation from the bodies. Turns out having a Young Pyromancer with a Phyrexian Altar stapled to it out of the command zone is pretty good for various cast shenanigans. The most explosive spin on this commander will likely keep its curve nonexistent and shred through the deck rapidly.
  • Niv-Mizzet, Parun - The best Niv is a fierce value engine off cheap casts, so you can take the overall ideals of Talrand/Kykar but go even lower to the ground. Now each 1/2 drop instant in your hand is the equivalent of Defiant Strike/Shelter in Feather, while probably doing something else relevant! I'm pretty sure you can ram it full enough of stuff where not getting the spell back won't really hurt you. Let's be honest, you'll probably be looking for a Curiosity effect with all the dig ;)

Multiplayer Scaling
Ye Olde Overkille
  • Marchesa, the Black Rose - A ridiculous Grixis powerhouse that can set up a value engine that pops off in each other player's turn. Combine a sac outlet with some +1/+1 counter shenanigans and you can get all sorts of ETB/death payoffs going like nobody's business. There's also a cute modular variant that makes active use of artifact creatures.
  • Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker - A crappier version of the above. True, you can usually get more creatures in circulation as you don't have to worry about +1/+1 counter stuff, but you're restricted to tiny dudes. That, and if someone pops Shirei then your plan goes to hell, whereas Marchesa can typically hide in the 'yard and shrug it off. Oh yeah, and it's mono black too. Nevertheless, Shirei has some devotees.
  • Ephara, God of the Polis - Ephara's clause incentivises you to pop out flash creatures and/or mana sink tokens each turn. There's no harm in a bit of Sacred Mesa or Whitemane Lion action to keep the card draw going. You could argue that this makes her the most similar to Feather of this bunch, as you can sink a bit of mana in each opponent's turn for an extra card if the right pieces come alone. Being a Theros god is pretty handy for survival purposes too.
  • Patron of the Orochi - Nearly a Seedborn Muse out of the command zone, you get to untap all your forests and green creatures in everybody else's turns. A game plan with tons of mana sink activated abilities is a natural complement to the ability. If this seems up your street, check out my primer on him. For now enough alternate options, time to get back to Feather!



Deck List

Boros Spells!

Head Honcho


1 Feather, the Redeemed

One Drop Cantrip Club


1 Bandage
1 Crimson Wisps
1 Defiant Strike
1 Expedite
1 Heal
1 Niveous Wisps
1 Panic
Approximate Total Cost:




Card Options

The following subsections feature a sizeable list of options for each card group, including cards I currently run, cards I ran in the past and cards that will likely never grace my 99. My opinion isn't be-all, end-all, and whilst I can stray away from flicker value town or heroic tribal, that doesn't mean you can't come up with some angle where they will work.

Saving Money
In the deck attributes section, I made the claim that Feather's a very budget-friendly commander. I then proceeded to thrust a thousand plus dollar list at you. I am fully aware of the cognitive dissonance of these two, but ultimately most of the expensive cards serve as various utility pieces or win accelerators. The core that makes Feather tick is the various cheap as hell instants, plus cheap cast payoff. You'll be ok if you can't get the more expensive options, and I'll go over everything that's even slightly cuttable now.

The first point of trimming is the vanity mana base. I pulled the trigger on fetches and Mana Crypt during more affordable times, and feel fine proxying them in anything I build as I own one of each. Take 'em out, take Mox Diamond and Plateau out while you're at it. That's two thirds of the deck's cost gone, with negligible performance loss. Sure, it'd be cool to have perfect dual access for colour purposes and Duergar Hedge-Mage reliability, but you'll live ;) Keep everything Reflecting Pool tier and cheaper, untapped lands help the deck work. Sunbaked Canyon is cash money because of artificial scarcity, and it's not like we'll use its Canopy nature as the deck likes its mana and draws effortlessly. Mana Confluence is a bit debatable, but should stick with you in future EDH adventures, which makes it a sensible purchase if you get around to it. Slot in some basics, maybe the Karoo or Temple. There are some other expensive rocks lurking in here. Chrome Mox, Arcane Signet and Mox Amber are all pretty cool, but you'll be perfectly ok if you just put in two-drop tap rocks instead. Coldsteel Heart, Star Compass, Marble Diamond and Fire Diamond (sorted on priority) should have you covered for however many slots you may want to swap. You could also consider Myr, if need be.

Taking out further expensive utility options will result in some level of performance hit to the deck, but its core engine will still be in place so it should be ultimately okay. Maybe a bit slower, maybe a bit less consistent, but still functional. A lot of the money cards synergise with each other, and can be taken out as package deals.
  • Sword of Feast and Famine is a great mana boost, but comes with a massive price tag. Stoneforge Mystic grants you access to it, along with a few other choice equipments, and loses a bit of sheen with one of its best payoffs gone. Both are pretty solid in the format, but not quite ubiquitous staples.
  • The Recruiter friends are even narrower, only getting you small creatures, but help the deck find whatever nefarious weenie it may need at a particular time. Monastery Mentor is wicked good in the shell, but a rare sighting outside it. If these guys go, Phyrexian Altar becomes harder to get online, so you can consider offing it as well.
By now we're left with ubiquitous format all-stars in Dockside Extortionist, Path to Exile and Enlightened Tutor. I'd recommend picking the first two up, they'll be fantastic here and will live anywhere colour-compatible you may venture to going forward. The Tutor actually loses quite a bit of sheen if you take out the artifact power lifters, so you can save a bit of moolah on it in that case. However, it is a similarly universal include in the EDH realm.

So what would one do with all these opened slots? An angle that works pretty okay for game closing is voltron, and you can add some more support for it to try to compensate for the various avenues to victory the expensive options may have offered. There's O-Naginata, a very cool bit of equipment that costs a pittance and kicks Feather up to six power realms. Leering Emblem gives Feather double super prowess, and should make turning her into a two/three turn clock quite easy. You can slot in some additional voltron support instants in Invigorated Rampage or Brute Force. They're not currently in the shell as most of them only pump Feather without offering any additional value, and unlike protection pump isn't important enough to merit value-less spells in the current build. You could explore the other Feather synergy directions. You could, and probably should, put in Sphinx-Bone Wand. Heck, I should probably be running that in here. The world's your oyster, and you shouldn't end up with a clunker of a deck.

Protecting Feather
Another thing brought up in the deck attributes is that the list is very commander dependent. There's no debating that - without Feather around, all the value instants just happen once and go away forever. Turns out Heal isn't an EDH staple for a reason. As such, it becomes imperative to run various interaction options to ensure Feather's survival through whatever the opponents may try to throw her way. There are five broad classes of interaction effects that Boros has access to - flickering of the end-of-turn or immediate varieties, protection, indestructibility and regeneration. Let's see how these match up against each other when compared in a number of common EDH adversities, plus a few bonus utility categories:

"Image"

The clear winner is end-of-turn flicker due to its ability to dodge all of the outlined interaction scenarios. After that, things become a bit more situational. Indestructibility beats all damage/destruction, succumbing to -X/-X (Toxic Deluge, Tragic Slip), exile (Merciless Eviction, Duplicant) and bounce (Cyclonic Rift). However, damage/destruction are pretty common in the format - most non-white spot removal and tons of popular wraths utilise it. Regeneration is like a strictly crappier indestructibility due to a no regeneration clause present on a number of older removal options. Insta-flicker does literally nothing against wipes, but shields against everything targeted. Protection blanks everything targeted that has a colour, but most representatives of the category are soft to the occasional Duplicant. To compensate, it offers shielding against damage wipes, which we can actually use ourselves to good effect while choosing our own wraths. A few of the options (Apostle's Blessing, Faith's Shield) come with slightly more diverse abilities, shielding non-creature permanents from harm in dire straits. This is not a bad mode to have - somehow, there's always a piece of spot removal that makes an appearance the split second Phyrexian Altar or Aetherflux Reservoir hit the board. Protection also comes with kooky evasion opportunities, while flickers offer ETB re-use potential.

The choice of interaction ultimately comes down to the shell. You're probably running the end-of-turn flickers no matter what. If you're after a more ETB build, it makes sense to pursue the insta-flickers en masse. However, outside those decks, the insta-flickers are quite overcosted for what they offer. Both protection (Gods Willing) and indestructibility (Sheltering Light) have one-drops that also scry on top of doing whatever they do. That's pretty cool - you still get to milk some value out of them if you don't need them for survivability purposes. There's also a two-drop protection cantrip (Shelter). By contrast, insta-flicker offers two one-drops (and a two-drop) that do nothing else, plus a three-drop cantrip. As such, I have only adopted Ephemerate and Cloudshift due to their cheapness and potential ETB support, devoting my other slots to protection and indestructibility options.

1. One Drop Cantrip Club
The One Drop Cantrip Club is really not that hard to get into - you need to cost one mana, be an instant, target a creature and draw a card. Everything else is optional, which leads to some of these really bringing their existence into question.
Show
Present in eight pre-Feather EDH decks
  • :check: Bandage - Draws the card immediately, might occasionally actually do something. It's not super common, but sometimes there's some damage flying around from various sources and plus one butt grants your dude survival.
  • :check: Crimson Wisps - It's weird to see an instant just granting haste, even if it cantrips as well. I imagine the instant part is there so that you can cash it in for a card if you don't need it anymore in the end step before your turn, but it's still just a weird combination of things.
  • :check: Defiant Strike - Hey check it out, this one actually does something! Adding a power to Feather speeds up her clock and stacks with various other buffs.
  • :check: Expedite - Crimson Wisps 2.0, this time without the reddening as it's not part of a cycle that changes the target's colour. This came out around the same time as Zada, Hedron Grinder. That can't have been a coincidence ;)
  • :check: Heal - Ahh, one of the ancient cantrips that only drew you the card next turn. That's actually not that bad a drawback to have, you can cast this in the end step of your turn if you're sitting over hand size to avoid pitching, and still get your cardboard reward in the next upkeep. Comes with the same hyper situational plus one butt clause as Bandage.
  • Needle Drop - Dammit card, you went too far on the uselessness scale and can't be fit in. The target has to be legal at the time of casting, i.e. you can't just point this at an unharmed Feather, have the spell shrug and give you a card.
  • :check: Niveous Wisps - Another member of the Crimson Wisps cycle, this one was presumably meant to be used defensively. Well guess what, we're tapping our own creatures with it! Can get a bit dangerous with Zada variants on account of stripping your ability to block. In that case, just pop in main two before your turn and again in the end step before you untap. That should still be plenty of cardboard for you to work with. Still, the least good of the ones that actually draw you the card immediately.
  • :check: Panic - The least good one overall. Nets you a delayed card, Heal style, but unlike its white equivalent the hyper restrictive cast timing means you can't even hide it away in the end step for value. I guess it can sometimes help you get through, but then you don't get it back.
  • Renegade Tactics - What are you doing in here? Shoo! The sorcery nature means you only pop this once a turn cycle, whereas all the instants above can net you a card per player in the pod. Just more efficient, really. Plus this doesn't really do anything interesting either, it's literally a sorcery speed Panic.
  • Rile - This applies to you too, sorry. Not an instant, less value, less good. Go live in some enrage decks or something.
2. Assorted Recyclable Spells
Everything that Feather will reliably pick up that isn't part of the One Drop Cantrip Club lives here. The section is largely dominated by super cheap protection options and scry machines, as casting them for casting's sake is easy to accomplish while simultaneously feeding your synergy pieces and solidifying your game plan via card filtering.
Show
He protecc, he draw, he cook, he clean, eh doesnt afraid of anything
  • Acrobatic Maneuver - Oh you sly cardboard, trying to tempt me into running you by stapling draw onto an insta-flicker. You cost three though. Go away. I'm sure enough ETB-minded decks will run you.
  • Adamant Will - It offers some amount of pump and indestructibility, but costs two. Probably an okay include in a voltron build.
  • :check: Ajani's Presence - One mana, indestructibility, tiny pump. Also comes with strive to sink more mana into protecting a few key pieces from a wipe. I'd say that qualifies as pretty desirable.
  • Alley Evasion - Picking up to hand is not the best form of protection as you still have to reinvest the mana into recasting. However, it can still be better than just losing the thing, and it comes with the response range of end-of-turn flicker. Coming with the modality of a tiny pump means you could probably do worse than this.
  • :check: Apostle's Blessing - Due to how mana-hungry the deck is, you'll just about always front the two life for this and treat it as a one drop. Protecting your artifacts is a cool secondary clause to have, as there are pretty dumb engines in there (Phyrexian Altar, Aetherflux Reservoir, Scroll of the Masters, Sunforger) that are good to keep around. You don't get it back in that case, unfortunately. The fact you can actually grant protection from artifacts is also sometimes relevant against stuff like Duplicant.
  • Aurelia's Fury - The good is that this can hurt quite a lot if you're handily built up mana wise and have nothing better to do. The bad is you'll probably have something better to do, and its minimal use case is four mana to ding someone for one and silence them. Ultimately not the best for this shell. Fun fact - it was this card's spike that got me to pull the trigger on papering this out half an hour after finishing my initial brewing.
  • Balduvian Rage - Another Feather staple that I've been sceptical of. Sure, it draws you a card, but you have to sink four mana into it to get Brute Force/Titan's Strength oomph return from this. That's not where you want to be. Also, the "attacking" clause means that in spite of being an instant, it only nets you one card per turn cycle. Not the best. Skip this one.
  • Blessed Alliance - So this is essentially a four mana repeatable Celestial Flare. That seems like a lot of mana for that sort of effect, especially as once you reveal it people will probably start playing around it.
  • :check: Boros Charm - A lovely modal powerhouse, the card lives in this section as it can repeatedly give Feather double strike. However, it can also act as a one-off anti-wipe shield to keep your stuff alive, and the face-bolt mode was used as a combo element back when Paradox Engine roamed the world. What a card!
  • Brute Force - Getting three power pump for one mana is not too shabby, single-handedly turning Feather into a four-turn clock. However, it does nothing else and as such is absent from the build. Perfectly reasonable include in a voltron shell.
  • Carom - Two mana is more than one, so the two mana cantrips have to actually do something to merit inclusion. This... targets two creatures. That's cool if you've got a bit of a heroic thing going on, but it also comes with the downside of not being Zada'able. It should also be noted that you can occasionally boop mana chickens and various other x/1's into the dirt with this.
  • Chandra's Ignition - Would you look at that, a Feather-recyclable wipe! The fact it goes off the target's power means it's a bit conditional in its rate of return, ranging from an annoying do-nothing tickle to oppressive board melting.
  • :check: Cloudshift - Insta-flicker is perfectly acceptable at one mana, as it still shields from anything targeted and can be used to get extra value off ETBs. Many a game has been spent flicking Depression Automaton over and over again, stripping basics out of the deck like nobody's business.
  • Dawn Charm - Another modal weirdo, this time offering regeneration along with some surprisingly interesting alternate options. Unfortunately, the base mode of a two mana regeneration shield just isn't good enough to slot this in.
  • :check: Eerie Interlude - Hey look, end-of-turn flicker for the whole family! Save your entire non-token board from a wipe, re-use a shedload of ETBs, just go ham. Very solid insurance plan for the deck.
    Beautiful modal flexibility
  • Electrodominance - Sink a ton of mana, kill your own guy, flash something out. I'm not really seeing the benefits of this, as whatever you're flashing out would have to be a panic sorcery speed bit of control to be worth it. You want to set down the synergy pieces explicitly in your turn to get maximum value out of them over the go of turns around the table. Plus, like with Aurelia's Fury, I just haven't found the need for an X finisher, and this is worse than the Fury at that job.
  • :check: Ephemeral Shields - The convoke means this will usually be free to cast. Even having only Feather herself out means you get a discount of one if you hold her back. Turns out that free indestructibility is pretty darn good, and can also be doubled up for firing off various cast synergies for absolutely no cost.
  • :check: Ephemerate - Another solid cheap protection spell, juking all forms of targeting and potentially reusing ETB effects. The rebound makes this marginally preferable to Cloudshift due to the potential of milking a smidge more value.
  • :check: Faith's Shield - A bare-bones protection spell which is a largely crappier take on Apostle's Blessing. It's not common for us to want to protect a non-artifact, non-creature thing, and there's no anti-artifact clause. Still, it offers one-time emergency shielding of key artifacts from harm, so it's worth it. I'm yet to have the weird global clause kick in. It should be noted that if you're below five life, this still targets and you get it back.
  • Fall of the Hammer - Similar story to Chandra's Ignition, fluctuates between do-nothing and crazy ugly.
  • Fell the Mighty - Another Feather-recoverable wrath. This time around, it's the equivalent of Retribution of the Meek, unless you get some perma-pump going on Feather. In which case it probably won't accomplish a lot. Add in the five cost, think I'll pass on this one.
  • :check: Fists of Flame - In a vacuum, +2/+0 and a card for two mana. With some extra cantrips going 'round, more power, i.e. a better Feather clock. With Zada out, a faux-Hoof game ending slam that needs to be answered on the spot. Seems okay.
  • Gird for Battle - Not too shoddy a one drop, hits two guys and perma-pumps them. Probably worth some consideration if you're going deep on heroic.
  • :check: Gods Willing - Hey cool, not only does this shield my stuff from harm, you get to scry 1 on top of that. This means you can toss this around even if absolutely nothing is going wrong and get decent returns from it.
  • Grapeshot - Seems like a cool match on paper - this deck casts a flurry of instants, so this will make a flurry of pings. Aim the original at Feather, get this back. However, individual turns don't tend to be extremely stormy, and this would force you to commit more resources than you'd otherwise probably want to in your turn to get some amount of payoff out of this. And then the amount of payoff isn't even going to be that big.
  • Impact Resonance - Another one of those super variable damage spells. Guess it's fun to piggyback off other players' actions if it's not your go, while having it be a Fall of the Hammer-like in your own turn. That, and you get to spread the damage around.
  • Intimidation Bolt - Feather absorbs a literal bolt to the face, your opponent's creatures look at each other in bewilderment and refuse to swing. Boros gets to have a Constant Mists now. If only this didn't cost three...
  • Invigorated Rampage - Another solid voltron option, +4 is the magic number. Suddenly Feather kills people in three swings. Plus on top of that you get multi-target potential. Unfortunately, it costs two mana and does nothing on the whole protection/cardboard get plan.
  • Justiciar's Portal - Sorry, insta-flicker, you cost two, you don't get to live here. Go find someone with Siege-Gang Commander.
  • Launch the Fleet - You don't tend to frontal people too hard here, unless you're sitting on a gigantic swarm that got buffed out of 1/1 realms. Even then, it's an inefficient way to go wider given you already went pretty wide to get there in the first place. Would the strive be of potential relevance to heroic builds, or would the mana cost prove prohibitive?
  • :check: Liberate - End-of-turn flickers have been deemed state-of-the-art protection, and this is an end-of-turn flicker at two. We can live with that.
  • :check: Long Road Home - Would you look at that, another end-of-turn flicker. This one has the decency of netting an extra +1/+1 counter, which marginally improves Feather offensively. It can also potentially be used to get problematic blockers out of the way, but then you won't get it back.
    Laugh all you want, this goes deep and gets the job done
  • Magnetic Theft - Attach Sunforger instant speed, slightly cheat mana cost on other equipments as well. We don't crutch super hard on Sunforger though, and this card is literally dead when there are no equipments around. To the cute drawer it goes.
  • Mortal's Ardor - Getting lifelink on a swole Feather is not a bad way to pad out your life total. Might merit consideration in a voltron build.
  • Orim's Thunder - Repeatable artifact/enchantment removal, as you zing your own guy with the kicker. Costs four to do that though, and you do have to zing the guy.
  • :check: Otherworldly Journey - Strictly worse than Long Road Home, Hisoka's Defiance exists! ;)
  • :check: Psychotic Fury - Would you look at that, it gives you double strike and it cantrips! Unfortunately the target has to be multi-coloured, so no Zada'ing this all over your whole team.
  • Razor Barrier - Essentially an Apostle's Blessing without the Phyrexian mana cheat. The only other protection option for artifacts.
  • Reckless Rage - Not too shabby a removal spell. If you stack it main two and end step, you can ram eight damage onto something. That should be enough to take out most targets. Feather may have trouble sucking up two shocks though, so you'll need a friend of some sort to eat the second one in that case. Or an indestructibility spell. Or some pump. There are options. If your meta's about small utility build-around commanders, this could potentially lock most of a table off their game plan.
  • Repel the Darkness - Pay three mana to ground an attacker and get a card. Not that bad, especially if there's some choice fat to keep tied up, but it's still a bit on the pricey side for the deck. Intimidation Bolt would probably ultimately be better.
  • Samut's Sprint - Plus two oomph and scry one. The haste will probably be less relevant. Not a bad little pump/filtering option.
  • Seismic Shift - Feather-recyclable land popping. At four mana again. I somehow don't think Craterize being far from an EDH staple is related to it not returning to your hand after you're done with it.
  • Seize the Day - Four mana, extra combat. Stacks with double strike. Voltron-centric builds may consider it.
  • :check: Shelter - Oh cool, a cantrip stapled onto a two-drop colour protection spell. I'll take one please. Thank you.
  • :check: Sheltering Light - Like Gods Willing, but for indestructibility. Value town!
  • Spawning Breath - Paying two mana for a mana sac chicken that makes colourless is not super amazing. Comes online a bit with Zada, but then you have way better things to be doing with Zada if I'm to be honest.
  • :check: Stand Firm - Minuscule pump, scry 2. Don't underestimate the scry, going deep in search of stuff you actually want in your hand is rock-solid value.
  • Temur Battle Rage - The surprise trample (which you'll probably get if you're going voltron) can help gib people out of nowhere. Same shtick of not doing anything non-pump that's keeping it out of my list.
  • :check: Titan's Strength - A respectable +3 oomph, plus a scry 1 stapled on there for some reason. Card filtering while solidly advancing the clock sounds pretty good to me.
  • Twinflame - Create a sorcery-speed copy of an ETB creature. Loses whatever protection value flickers bring to the table to potentially insta-frag the table with Dualcaster Mage. Seems a bit situational for this shell's purposes.
  • Valorous Stance - Two mana for indestructibility without any perks may not be ideal, but the thing's modal. If need be, this doubles up as a removal spell and slurps something massive on the other side of the board.
3. Rampano
In spite of an extremely lean and mean curve, the deck's a bottomless pit of mana consumption. Each of those one-drop instants actually secretly costs one per player in the pod, if you let it, and your grip keeps growing. That means mana! Unfortunately most Boros ramp comes in the form of rocks, with whatever available land ramp scarce and quite costly for the returns, while we're striving for streamlined resource expenditure. However, the rock heaviness comes with the upside of letting us run Unwinding Clock for payoff.
Show
Okay, who's the mana chicken this turn?
  • :check: Arcane Signet - It's a tale as old as time, Gavin prints a nonsensically good EDH-legal rock in the debut run of Brawl precons, the decks sell out like hotcakes in preorder and the supply turns out to be three copies per deck. The rock explodes in price for no good reason. Dammit Gavin. Right, enough irrelevant complaining about ubiquitous format staple creation, we both know this is a solid rock allowing me the option of this diatribe, next!
  • :check: Boros Signet - The nicest fixing cycle will obviously have its representative in the list, given its two-drop, untapped nature. Two-drop rocks lead to a turn three Feather with protection (be it bluffed or real), which sounds pretty good. The fact this comes in untapped is super nice later on as well, as it's a net cost of one on the turn you play it. Its only drawback comes in the mandatory RW payout, while sometimes the list may want slightly different combinations of the colours. That's a bit of a nitpick though, I have to admit.
  • Burnished Hart - While the land ramp is nice, the hefty mana price tag is not. Add zero recursion potential and you get a pass.
  • :check: Chrome Mox - We can usually spare an early card from hand for this, as we'll be refuelling at a dizzying pace soon enough. Obviously trivialised if encountered later on, as a ginormous grip is bound to have something that would go into the bin otherwise. A nice kick up the early game's butt, speeding proceedings up a notch.
  • Commander's Sphere - Three drop rocks don't enable that nice line of play I described in the Boros Signet write-up, while being the same net expenditure as a CIPT two-drop rock if done later. As such, I'm not running any. True, they usually try to bribe you with all colour access, but that's not extremely vital for the deck's needs. This one at least has the decency of cycling itself if someone rips a Vandalblast.
  • Coldsteel Heart - While any colour access would be preferable, the fact this is a Make-A-Diamond is pretty good for fixing you on the fly. Add this one first when stripping out my needlessly money options.
  • :check: Dowsing Dagger - You expend the net cost of a Thran Dynamo, potentially split across early turns, and you get a Thran Dynamo-tier payoff in coloured land form. The fact it's triple mana of a single colour means you'll probably use this for advancing your board in your turn, but still nothing to sneeze at. The plants are irrelevant given Feather's wings. Staple early game Stoneforge Mystic target.
  • Fellwar Stone - The come into play untapped nature is nice, the conditional colour payoff is not. The turn three vacuum scenarios are here to stay.
  • Fire Diamond - A sturdy two-drop rock, taken out early in the deck's life to make room for more busted options. Perfectly playable.
  • Gold Myr - Hey look, it's a dude that taps for mana. Not super keen on these guys, as they die to both creature and artifact disruption, but they could work in a budget build.
  • Iron Myr - The same but in red.
  • Lotus Petal - While I talk about early game efficiency and trying to land a Feather with some protection mana up, I don't think we're quite desperate enough to shuffle a treasure token into the deck to try to get there. Sustained mana is good, the deck wants all the resources it can guzzle.
  • :check: Mana Crypt - Given the deck's coloured thirst, you can skip this here easier than most other places. That's not to say having a second Sol Ring is bad or anything, mind you. It helps play various permanents, and is stupid helpful when barfing out the Phyrexian Altar setup off a gigantic Zada draw.
  • Marble Diamond - Same story as its Fire equivalent, 100% playable. You should probably replace some of my cash money rocks with these. Like the one above.
  • :check: Mox Amber - But Rumpy, this does nothing without Feather out! While I agree, astute reader, this is also the case for the rest of the deck. As such, being able to sneak this in out of nowhere turn three and drop a Feather with protection seems pretty good. Obviously useful outside this isolated blip as well.
  • :check: Mox Diamond - A set of 100 drawn hands revealed this to be higher variance than a simple two-drop rock, but over half the starting hands ended up generating more value. Similar to all other Moxen, the drawback becomes negligible once you're already doing well. In it goes.
    How's abouts we burn some of them 1/1s for mana instead?
  • Mox Opal - The same crunch that proved the Diamond's superiority over a two-drop rock yielded seven hands (out of a hundred) where the Opal came online early.
  • :check: Phyrexian Altar - One of the cast spam payoffs the deck is flooring is making dudes. Seeing how most instants in here cost 1, you suddenly get the possibility of shredding through your entire hand at the cost of using the freshly generated bodies for mana rather than gumming. Incredibly powerful mana generation that tends to rocket you ahead like mad.
  • Primal Amulet - The cost reduction is largely irrelevant as your spells rarely venture out of the 1 territory. The spell copying is okay, the most exciting usage would be to double up on removal, pointing the original at one of your own creatures and the copy at the actual desired target. No high-impact spells to be found here, and getting an extra plonk of cantrip isn't ultimately that relevant given the investment and setup. Oh yeah, and if you copy a modal spell you don't get to reselect the mode either.
  • Pyromancer's Goggles - Like the above, but you skip the buildup and only get red out of it. A ton of spells are white, a lot of those are one cost. No thanks.
  • Runaway Steam-Kin - The red in the deck mainly lives in costlier permanents rather than hyper cheap instants, so this isn't going to charge as reliably as you'd imagine. That, and you're probably using the triple red blob on permanents.
  • Smothering Tithe - There's a reason this thing is taking EDH by storm. Its weird rubber-band dynamic ramps you up against people who are drawing cards, i.e. by extension doing stuff, scaling with the degree of their card advantage. The problem is that this shell somehow does not feel comfortable devoting four mana to it. Will probably work well in a slightly slower rendition.
  • :check: Sol Ring - This is an EDH deck without any sort of stipulations. Sol Ring gets stuff done.
  • :check: Springleaf Drum - A weird faux-Mox Amber, can come down early and whip something into being a mana chicken to get some juice out. Not a bad thing to have around as you get Feather out. Super efficient to get out later in the game, unlike most of the conventional non-Mox rocks.
  • Star Compass - While you're being a little risky by only getting the colours of basics you already have, you should be able to ensure a set of each with relative ease. That failing, it still almost always taps for something and costs two. Slot this in right after Coldsteel Heart when ripping out the vanity rocks.
  • :check: Sword of Feast and Famine - Given the solid draw, you should be making land drops quite consistently. As such, this becomes a massive mana burst upon connecting with Feather. The synergy with Sword of Lotus Flip is real.
  • Sword of the Animist - Given the list's track record of getting turn 7 tablekills on a good draw, this is just too slow to merit an inclusion. Sword of Rampant Growth thrives on grindy games where it can be milked for mad value. Here it'll take three swings before it fetches lands tapping for the equivalent of Sword of Lotus Flip, and even then the Lotus Flip would have immediately come into play untapped and provided extra mana in all those other turns up to then.
  • :check: Talisman of Conviction - Probably the best of the two-drop rocks in here, as it comes in untapped and offers you either colour of mana for the relatively negligible cost of a life total ding.
  • Thran Dynamo - Spending four mana on three colourless on tap is just not somewhere the list wants to be. That said, the Dynamo is a phenomenal rock (as shown by measuring stuff against it), just not in this shell.
  • :check: Thought Vessel - While the colourless nature of the mana is suboptimal, the two-dropness of the rock is nice. Plus, more importantly, this nets you hand size immunity. Feather likes to foster a gigantic grip of one mana garbage.
  • Treasonous Ogre - Unfortunately, the deck tends to shred more white than red instants. Not worth the mana investment.
  • :check: Unwinding Clock - Another way to get some extra value out of the rocks. Nowhere near as baller as Phyrexian Altar, but still pretty solid. The deck will take all the mana it can, and a solitary rock is enough to get this to make Thran Dynamo tier mana in a four man pod. I run the artifact lands for the sole purpose of getting them untapped with this.
  • Wayfarer's Bauble - A lovely turn one play leading into a land-ramped turn three Feather with protection mana. Later on, a three mana expenditure for a tapped land. Worse mana efficiency than two-drop rocks in a deck hellbent on mooching every droplet of mana it can.
4. Cast Friends
An umbrella category for all sorts of stuff that benefits from you spamming spells. These guys get stuff done, and will likely form the backbone of your victories.
Show
Elementals everywhere!
  • :check: Aetherflux Reservoir - Not as efficient a game-ender as Guttersnipe, but compensates in various other areas. A typical mid-game setup will see you gaining somewhere in the ballpark of 20 life per turn cycle off this. However, the healing does come with the flexibility of not just shredding face, it can help you absorb beatstick meatshots, or act as a political tool to get people off your back once you charge up to 50. It is also pretty darn fun, messing with the stack to get maximum benefit from this - this thing only checks how many spells you've cast on trigger resolution, so you can keep responding and create a mountain of spells, which then grants you the total spells cast in life per trigger.
  • Akroan Conscriptor - Having Threatens on demand for targeting is not too bad. You can nick a thing and then Path it, getting some land and disproportionately pissing off your opponent. For some reason steal and sac has always been more salinity inducing than just straight spot removal. Probably not worth it at five mana though, given how conditional this is to get online.
  • :check: Akroan Crusader - A one-drop that makes fellow chumps if targeted. I mean, all those Heals have to go somewhere, and making bodies that can be used for various tasks seems like a pretty good idea.
  • Anax and Cymede - The global pump and trample are nice, the fact it fades away as the turn ends is a bit less so. Phalanx Leader may skimp out on the trample, but his benefits are longer lasting.
  • :check: Aria of Flame - Don't get spooked by the life gain, it ultimately matters very little. Your four man pod at full health will go down from 17 casts, while Sphinx-Bone Wand would cost a whopping four more and get the job done two spells sooner. As a trade-off, you stop being able to smack creatures. In terms of how to efficiently point the damage, the main thing to remember is 8+9+10+11+12 = 50, so that should take a person down from full health in any pod. In a four-man game, you can get two more fifties via 1+4+5+6+7+13+14 and 2+15+16+17, leaving a three-damage ping to send wherever.
  • :check: Burning Prophet - One of those unsung hero cards. Super cheap to play, decent body that doesn't fall over to a stiff breeze, stapling a scry onto everything non-creature you do is fantastic at sculpting a line of play, and she even temporarily grows with each cast!
  • Electrostatic Field - An off-brand Guttersnipe that only hits half as hard. Personally, I haven't found these one damage ticklers to be particularly impactful, only devoting a slot to the original, but maybe these will be up your alley.
  • Firebrand Archer - Gains the full non-creature range for pinging, at the cost of the smallest butt. x/1's tend to perish easier in EDH land than x/4's.
  • :check: Guttersnipe - Mowing each opponent for two off each recyclable spell you cast adds up pretty quick once you get off the ground. He makes for a more effective clock in a multiplayer pod than Aetherflux Reservoir, given how the deck tends to ration out its spells, but "only" shreds face.
  • Leering Emblem - Feather now has double super prowess. It shouldn't be too hard to turn her into a two/three turn clock with this thing, especially once you get set up a bit.
  • Mindmoil - A pretty good way to recklessly mow through your deck if looking for stuff in a pickle. Every spell you play ships your hand to the bottom and draws you a replacement set of cards. Don't forget you can hide whatever you want to keep in exile, but if you are trying to preserve multiple cards you have to respond to the trigger and stash them in unison. The five mana overhead does this no favours either.
  • :check: Mirrorwing Dragon - Oh would you look at that, they printed a Zada that also discourages opposing spot removal. Because spreading your spells to your whole board for wrath immunity, ridiculous draw or whatever else wasn't enough. The possibility that someone will get funny and cast something beneficial on the Mirrorwing exists, and could be amusing. I don't feel that Sarkhan's Triumph is worth running for this guy alone though.
  • :check: Monastery Mentor - Probably the best cast spam board gum variant in the game, making a flood of dudes with prowess. Build up a sufficient legion, turn them sideways, cast a couple of instants and someone may be staring down lethal off a one-card army in a can. Also pretty good on defence, what with the monks' potential to grow and guzzle attackers. The tokens also come out when you play rocks, in case you weren't sold yet.
    12, 13, 14... what comes after 14?
  • Myth Realized - This thing racks up counters pretty easily, but then becomes a gigantic vanilla beefslab. The deck's not good at helping it connect.
  • Ojutai Exemplars - A versatile modal cast payoff, can tap down problematic creatures or insta-flicker itself out of spot removal. I can imagine scenarios where the lifelink is also okay. An interesting card, but doesn't really offer anything game-warping enough to merit its four mana investment.
  • Phalanx Leader - The Heals of the world now permanently anthem your team. Understandably baller with 1/1 swarmers, but still pretty okay even if it's just Feather around.
  • Precursor Golem - A shoddy Zada imitation that merely triples your aimed spells. It also takes all its friends with it when offered a solitary piece of opposing spot removal if unprotected, and nips any flicker swarm considerations in the bud. Oh yeah, and it comes with a five mana price tag.
  • Purphoros, God of the Forge - A harder to remove Guttersnipe that goes ham off ETBs. Has a similar synergy level to Phyrexian Altar coming online, so not too bad. In fact, if you get multiple token producers, they stack. Ultimately I've preferred Guttersnipe's steady payoff and increased tutor response, but Purph's nevertheless a valid consideration. Gets better if you include ETB swarm too.
  • Pyre Hound - One of those dudes that beefs up when you cast spells, but this one has the decency of growing via +1/+1 counters and comes with trample. Will become a massive evasive beefslab soon enough.
  • :check: Scroll of the Masters - It's cheap, so it can come out early or slip in easily late and start racking up the counters. See four spells (once again, artifacts count here) and Feather can now be a three turn clock on demand, nothing else needing to happen. And things will keep happening, mind you! Very potent voltron angle card that can also optionally offer its boost to other creatures. Most of the time you'll point this at Feather though, and we both know it.
  • Shrine of Loyal Legions - Kind of like the above, but for dude making. A lot of the shreddable instants are white, so this should rack up counters, and then you can pop it for a dude burst. However, having a constant stream of dudes rather than a single pent-up swarm comes with a number of play flexibility upsides. The main pro of this I see is it can survive a board wipe unimpeded. However, it also falls over to sneaky spot removal if you tap out too far and can't pop it in response.
  • Sphinx-Bone Wand - The definition of inevitability. Play a spell, click up the wand, whack something. By the time this thing hits 15 you've amassed enough damage to clean out a four-man pod, plus you get the flexibility of bombing key creatures if they're more important than the game-end clock. However, it does come with a staggering seven mana price tag that is nontrivial in most game states.
  • Tenth District Legionnaire - While not quite as good at scry-spam as Burning Prophet, as she hogs the targeting, the Legionnaire still offers solid value and grows gigantic in the process. A massive vanilla beefslab isn't likely going to do too much harm on the offence, but it does make for a convincing argument to avoid being punched. Her main problem is she ultimately sits quite low on the targeting priority chain, likely to be outstripped by body makers or ETB value.
  • Tethmos High Priest - There are a few useful sub-3 CMC creatures in the list, but I'm not sure if it's worth devoting a slot to having the potential of picking them up via targeting. One for the heroic setups, I'd imagine.
  • Torchling - A kind-of Akroan Conscriptor, as you point your removal at it and redirect it somewhere else. You still got the Feather trigger, so you get to recycle said removal. I'd say the Conscriptor has more overall utility, and he was already written off.
  • :check: Vanguard of Brimaz - This Akroan Crusader variant makes cats with vigilance, which is also pretty cool. A gummed board a day keeps the swingers away.
  • Veilstone Amulet - Each spell you cast now grants your whole team hexproof. However, the deck's inherently quite good at protection, so this would often be largely redundant. In the few cases where this would actually be relevant, i.e. keeping the Amulet with some card advantage/filtering instants, you'd open yourself up to getting it shot out from under you, severely perturbing your game plan. Tempting, but ultimately best left out.
  • :check: Young Pyromancer - True, the tokens are less impressive than Monastery Mentor's monks, but the Pyromancer is one cheaper to get out and still produces the same number of bodies without hogging targeting.
  • :check: Zada, Hedron Grinder - A marginally cheaper and more tutorable spell-spreading option, losing the ability to radiate back spot removal. Still absolutely ridiculous - If left unattended, especially with some tokens around, will draw the deck in no time at all while ensuring the board lives through whatever happens.
5. ETB Brigade
Creatures that do useful things upon entering play have a huge presence in EDH. Feather offers the potential to recycle flicker spells, getting more value out of these options. I've kept my choices pragmatic to the core, but you could go deeper here and augment your flicker suite to match.
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So who we gettin' out, boss?
  • Angel of Serenity - Hits the field, three creatures get O-Ringed. Also potentially recycles stuff out of your graveyard. Can result in permanent removal if you flicker it in response to the exile trigger because of the wonky old wording.
  • Boreas Charger - Nets you some Plains upon leaving the battlefield, and only if someone has more lands than you. Don't think it's necessary here.
  • Chancellor of the Forge - A high-end swarm option that doubles your board's size each time it hits. Sounds like a good way to cap off an ETB token spam build.
  • :check: Dockside Extortionist - He plops in, a bunch of Treasure falls out. Combine with a flicker spell to set up an Unwinding Clock of sorts, with the potential to bank excess Treasure if not enough action is around. Of course he's conditional on your foes doing stuff, but hopefully said foes deliver. If given the window of opportunity to chase him out for one Treasure turn two, leading to a turn three Feather with protection Treasure backup, try to stifle the greed impulse to hold him back and just go for it.
  • :check: Duergar Hedge-Mage - Comes in, pops an artifact and an enchantment, land situation permitting. Close to a strictly better Reclamation Sage. Good removal options are appreciated. This definitely qualifies.
  • Duplicant - Comes in, pops a creature. Deserves a mention as it responds to Imperial Recruiter and Reveillark.
  • :check: Goblin Matron - We many not be particularly gobbo heavy, but this gets both Guttersnipe and Zada. Sounds like a good mini-toolbox to access.
  • :check: Imperial Recruiter - As luck would have it, you can get most anything you need with this, even a Zada if you're cool with doing it via Goblin Matron. So yeah, having your entire deck's worth of various synergy/utility creatures at your disposal sounds like a pretty good deal for gameplay consistency.
  • Karmic Guide - Get a dude back. Renowned for doing silly things with Reveillark if there's a sac outlet around, but I don't feel that Boros is the best place for this sort of thing.
  • Keldon Firebombers - Shrink everyone back to three lands. May be worth it to choke out aggressive green ramp, as you've got rocks to fall back on.
  • Knight-Captain of Eos - An ETB swarm variant that comes with a built in Fog. Recycle him to get more fogs. More ways to avoid dying!
  • Knight of the White Orchid - A two-drop that gets a land on entry! What's not to love? Namely, an opponent has to have more lands than you. As such, this is not actually a legit two-drop, but rather a turn 3+ play done before you pop out a land. That, and it runs out of steam if flicked into oblivion. At some point you'll out-land your opponents and then this does nothing. I'd rather add a couple more mana and run...
  • :check: Kor Cartographer - ...this guy. Costs four, but doesn't have any weird timing clauses that make him stop doing the thing. Having a Plains as a clause is pretty good, by the way - nets you duals, Mistveil Plains. Pretty handy effect to have on tap in a mana hungry deck, especially one that can occasionally flicker him.
  • Lumbering Battlement - The flagship ETB value milker. Now all your single-target flicks act as faux-Eerie Interludes. Probably makes sense to run him if you go deep on this sort of stuff.
  • Luminate Primordial - Pop a creature per foe. Doesn't need stack shenanigans to do its thing, unlike Angel of Serenity, but in compensation forces you to spread the removal around.
  • :check: Mangara of Corondor - Rumpy, what are you doing, this isn't an ETB dude! Fair point, but it does circumvent its own limitations if flicked, so it gets to live here! The lack of immediate effect is not ideal, but Mangara is cheap to set down and makes for a potent rattlesnake once online. Occasionally you can haste him up with Crimson Wisps or something to catch people off guard. A cool mind game card in a deck that thrives on however many layers of "what if" it can generate.
  • Meteor Golem - Comes in, whatever you desire gets clonked. Very good flexibility, to the point where you're willing to consider the seven mana price tag given its mild promise of repeated value.
  • Pia and Kiran Nalaar - Another swarm option worth mentioning on account of producing winged board gum.
  • :check: Recruiter of the Guard - Imperial Recruiter, but toughness based. The point still stands as none of the shell's targets become invalidated by this change. Flexibility! Consistency! Good!
  • Reveillark - As mentioned when discussing Karmic Guide, this guy doesn't do anything particularly noteworthy from a combo perspective in Boros. In a vacuum, recurs two of the things that the Recruiter friends can reach. Not sure if worth it at that tier of mana investment.
  • :check: Solemn Simulacrum - Hey look, a second Kor Cartographer effect. Guess we can survive it not grabbing non-basics as it isn't limited to Plains. Very common flicker sinks, these guys.
  • :check: Stoneforge Mystic - Nabs Sunforger and a few mana-centric utility options. The deck likes Sunforger and mana. Sounds like a pretty good match.
  • Tyrant of Discord - Maul a random land and some number of nonlands, scaling with the difference between the land pool and other permanents. Flicker for intensified unpleasantness.
  • Wall of Omens - A cheap cantrip chicken. Can be used to turn flickers into cards instead. Not too shabby.
6. Goodstuff
All sorts of solid cards that don't fit into any of the previous categories. They help the list function. A more responsible me would run more of those. Current me can't hear him over cantrip spam.
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Fill in the gaps in the instant suite
  • Aven Mindcensor - Shuts off your opponents from searching their libraries. That's pretty good in the format - fetches and ramp spells become iffy, Demonic Tutor becomes a sorcery speed Impulse.
  • :check: Blasphemous Act - This dukes it out with Toxic Deluge for best wipe in the format. We don't get to have the latter, but we'll make do with the former just fine. Usually comes out for one and unconditionally resets the overwhelming majority of the board, while we protect our key pieces via anything non-Ephemerate as it's damage. Sneaky!
  • Blood Moon - Could be quite easily supported by the shell if the mana base went more back to basics. That and the rocks should be sufficient, while potentially hosing some foes big time.
  • Chain Reaction - Another solid damage wipe, which makes it good for us to easily shelter our stuff.
  • Chaos Warp - Hit literally anything you may need, flip something random which will probably be less troublesome than what you shunted with this. At least that's the usage principle, bring out in case of emergency.
  • Containment Priest - Hoses various play cheating, but is a bit of a nonbo in here as it also hates on flicker protection. Proceed with caution.
  • Eidolon of Rhetoric - Everybody only gets one spell a turn. You get one spell in everybody else's turns as you pop one of your instants. I'd say stay away from this, as it will still throttle you pretty hard. While you may not get too hurt by only juggling one instant, what do you now do with all the advantage it helped you get? I guess you can nominally point an end-of-turn flicker at him and go ham, but you're gonna hurt outside those moments.
  • :check: Enlightened Tutor - There are various artifact power lifters in the deck, capable of ending the game. Seems pretty decent to be able to get the cream of the crop to the top of the deck when you need it.
  • Elspeth, Sun's Champion - Your stuff is small, so it lives through the wipe. The plus is a nontrivial board gum. Solid stuff.
  • Gamble - Trawl the deck for something, drop a random cardboard. In principle, the thing you get should be what you want/need most, so the random discard should be theoretically bearable.
  • Isochron Scepter - It used to be best friends with Paradox Engine while occasionally doing nice things like repeated Swords/Path or Boros Charm. Turns out the latter is not strong enough to keep the card in the 99.
  • :check: Generous Gift - White Beast Within, automatic shoe-in. Plus, it's good to have a Sunforger'able bit of hit-anything removal.
  • Land Tax - I find I draw/filter cards reliably enough to not have land drop problems at most stages of the game.
  • Linvala, Keeper of Silence - Freezing activated abilities of creatures is a pretty effective hate strategy at a variety of EDH tables. The Llanowar Elves in the horrid junk heap do nothing, as do Arcum Dagsson and Captain Sisay. These sort of effects are probably the way to go if trying to milk every last drop of competitiveness out of Feather. But then, why not just go towards a better colour setting and embrace the hatebears?
    Rock? Game ender? Utility? Got you covered
  • Oblation - Another instant speed problem solver, this one giving out two cards rather than a random flip. I'd say on average a random flip is more benign than two cards though. And a 3/3 is even more benign than either of these.
  • Past in Flames - Due to the way Feather is worded, flashbacked targeted spells still get recycled. As such, you can pick as much stuff up from your 'yard as your mana will let you. Twice - this has flashback too! I ran this for a while and never once cast it though. Be more responsible than me and keep this as backup.
  • :check: Path to Exile - While you can nominally be cute and turn some of your token swarm into repeatable Rampant Growths, this is still ultimately a removal spell first and foremost. The cute mode is pretty cute though.
  • Pyroblast - Gives you a one shot no thank you to countermagic, which none of the deck's bucket of protection spells do anything against. Can be idly recast targeting some dude for no discernible effect of its own, triggering any on-cast synergies for spare mana.
  • Slaughter the Strong - A solid board gut that keeps Feather around, plus you can maybe flick some other stuff out of harm's way.
  • Spirit of the Labyrinth - Everybody only gets one card a turn. You get bonus cards from cantrips in other people's turns. Still a bit iffy, as it shuts down juggling multiple cantrips or Zada setups where you draw 90% of your deck. Can also be unreliably turned off via end-of-turn flicker, Eidolon of Rhetoric style.
  • :check: Sunforger - This thing lives here out of lack of a better category. This is one of the hype spikes I actually agree with to some extent, but I don't think it's quite as spammable as people seem to believe. You put this on Feather, you have a three-turn clock, and you sit back and observe the situation. If somebody tries to do something you otherwise can't answer - go dig out an answer. If you're missing a cantrip and have the mana to support one - go get one. If an opening presents itself to move Feather up to a 14-per-hit monstrosity, you can also summon double strike. Plus you have the standard removal lines and Mistveil Plains that are well-treaded paths.
  • :check: Swords to Plowshares - Now that's one you're probably quite unlikely to use for its nominal recyclable purpose. Still, a staple piece of removal for a reason.
  • Vandalblast - Five mana to asymmetrically wreck all artifacts is a strong play. You could run it, it's a solid option.
  • Wear // Tear - A one-shot Duergar Hedge-Mage on a card. Unfortunately doesn't work like that if Sunforgered out. If that's your jam, consider Crush Contraband.
  • Wheel of Fortune - Everybody drops their hands and picks up a fresh seven. A red staple for a reason, as wheels are one of the few ways to refuel in the colour. I ran it early in the deck's life, and it was very good in the early turns if you didn't have anything particularly interesting to do. You'd barf your hand of all the rocks and stuff, not even bother with Feather and wheel. However, if encountered later on, it'd just get ignored and dropped to hand size. It's probably a responsible include, like Past in Flames.
7. Lands
Being an enemy pair is rough, as we miss out on loads of ally-only cycles. You can easily save a lot of money and shave all the fetches + OG dual and still retain functionality. There's not much wiggle room for colourless lands, you're usually stuck funnelling them into non-instant plays in your main phase. There's only so much of that you can do while holding protection.
Show
I untap with Unwinding Clock! Extra Heals for everyone!
  • :check: Ancient Den - The artifact lands respond to Unwinding Clock. That's quite cool for trying to milk extra spells in other people's turns.
  • :check: Arid Mesa - The OG dual + fetches is the perfect mana base setup, helps make Duergar Hedge-Mage marginally more reliable and reaches Mistveil Plains easier. Probably not worth the moolah if you don't have access to it already though.
  • :check: Battlefield Forge - The painlands are a good cycle, as you can save your life total if you don't need the coloured or ding yourself for one if you do. You'll probably be doing a nontrivial amount of dinging in this shell.
  • Boros Garrison - Boros was archetypically so card advantage starved it'd deliberately keep running the karoo in higher quality mana bases because of the trickle of value it offers. Well, we don't need it anymore!
  • :check: City of Brass - Mandatory dinging is a bit less desirable than having the option to just generate a colourless, but realistically the deck is fast enough to not care about this too much. And hey, fixing!
  • :check: Clifftop Retreat - The checklands are great, as you're quite likely to have something with an appropriate basic type kicking around. Auto-include in two-colour mana bases.
  • :check: Command Tower - 2+ colour EDH deck? Yes? In it goes.
  • Exotic Orchard - The land version of Fellwar Stone, and just like the original rock it's probably better to just ensure you've got the colours on your own than hope your opposition brings them to the table for you.
  • Gemstone Caverns - A turn zero choice of Chrome/Diamond Mox, if you happen to open this and not go first. Otherwise a colourless land, which we're trying to avoid like the plague. This is how we're far more likely to encounter the card.
  • :check: Great Furnace - The red artifact land, offers the same benefits as the white one. Okay, fine, it offers marginally fewer benefits as more spammable spells are white, but it's still pretty good.
  • Inspiring Vantage - Fastlands have no place in the majority EDH. If anything, most decks will stomach an early tapped land instead of something that turns into a guildgate turn four. Why oh why couldn't they have picked one of the other incomplete cycles to fill out in enemy colours in KLD...
  • :check: Mana Confluence - City of Brass 2.0. Once again, the mandatory dinging is not the best, but the colour access is worth it.
  • :check: Mistveil Plains - Well-known Sunforger tech, allowing you to recycle popped instants. We're also sporting a few ETB tutors, so it could also potentially help get some equipment or reachable creature out again. Plus it comes with a land type, so it can be summoned at your leisure via a fetch or Kor Cartographer.
  • :check: Plateau - Ain't we lucky, we get to have the cheapest dual!
  • :check: Reflecting Pool - A land I'd argue is just about as mandatory as Command Tower in any 2+ colour mana base. True, there are corner cases where you're outright lacking a colour and then this does nothing to help, but it's still very sturdy in the majority of scenarios.
  • :check: Reliquary Tower - The deck's only colourless land is devoted to having no hand size. We can survive a solitary colourless land, and getting to keep an ever-growing hand of nonsense is not a bad avenue to various ridiculously explosive plays if sufficient synergy pieces come along. Ultimately, the opportunity cost of a land slot is pretty low for this possibility.
  • :check: Rugged Prairie - The filter lands are another great cycle, and help you traverse colour screw waters quite convincingly. The masters set reprint of the enemy pairs made them a lot more affordable. One of the few perks of being in enemy colours, I guess. Marginally crappier than normal in here because the deck likes single mana allotments, but you can work around this minor drawback.
  • :check: Sacred Foundry - The sun rises in the east, capers are inedible, and shocklands are good and should be ran if possible.
  • Strip Mine - While the ability to take out key lands is nice, ultimately it's not worth another colourless land entering the pool.
  • :check: Sunbaked Canyon - Essentially yet another City of Brass, as I can't see this being ripped for cards too often. Still, it's another land that gives us both colours, which is what we're quite keen on. In it goes.
  • Temple of Triumph - Tap lands are not really where the deck wants to be. The scry could maybe be useful in the early game, but later on you should have enough card advantage/filtering going on that this won't help you a lot. Still, you could consider it if you're doing the sensible thing and shaving the dual + fetches setup, and don't feel comfortable with a sea of basics.



Piloting the Deck

Deck Strategy in Shellnut
  • The deck's primary aim is to get out Feather and start ramming cheap card advantage/filtering instants over and over again, sculpting a grip and a game plan.
  • Said game plan can be quite varied. There are various paths to victory in the deck. You can Guttersnipe/Aria/Lazor people out. You can drown people in dudes. You can clonk people for 21 with Feather. All this is aided by ridiculous spell-churning potential from Phyrexian Altar. Piece something together from whatever shows up.
  • Scry is good. Scry allows you to ship undesirable draws to the bottom and make your cantrips give you productive stuff you actually want. If you have the mana to support them, make active use of your scry options to milk card quality. A good general scry-dig priority list in a game state vacuum would be locating a cantrip or two, then some solid cast payoff, wrapping up with any game-ending haymakers when you have the real estate to support them.
  • If in doubt, even the slightest bit of it, hold up interaction mana to the point of letting it go to waste in the end step before your untap. Keeping Feather alive is a priority, and can lead to some interesting mind games with your opponents with regards to what you choose to let them know about. Experienced foes will usually just leave you alone.
  • Even if you get caught with your pants down in some exchange, it's not the end of the world. The opposition probably had to actually use cards, probably in multiples, to make it happen. There's only so much spot removal they run. You should be able to bounce pack in a bit.
  • You're not particularly removal heavy. You have a few staple instants, a solitary creature wipe, and a bit of ETB destruction that you can recycle via flicker. You can assist in solving some emergencies and try to keep yourself alive through dire straits, but will be far from fun police.
  • Mana makes the deck go round. You look at the 99's innards, you see the 1 cmc instant tribal and overall nonexistent curve, and find out in action soon enough this is capable of guzzling any amount of mana you can throw at it. Each of those one-drop instants can be cast in every player's turn, and the cantrips will quickly bring new friends to the party. All while holding up the vital interaction mana. Get your rocks out and look for other mana opportunities.
  • Being rock-heavy is quite painful on the surface. However, repeatable cantrips tend to get you consistent land drops, and there are a few avenues in the deck (Kor Cartographer/Depression Automaton + flicker, Sword of Lotus Flip) to get land mana. Getting your rocks shot out from under you is annoying, but not typically game-ending.
  • Given the various cast triggers the list has on offer, it's good to pay attention to the stack and try to maximise your value. You can respond to various individual triggers, spells, copies, what have you, and try to get maximum benefit from everything. Quite a fun thing sometimes, particularly with Aetherflux Reservoir. At the same time, the bigger the unresolved stack the harder you can get blown out by something like Cyclonic Rift...
  • Sunforger is mainly used as a toolbox addition here. Don't spam it every single time you can, even sitting idly on Feather helps out with her clock. Rip it when you explicitly need something. The deck does not run spells that are worth sinking five mana into every turn.
  • The game-ending artifacts are good to keep around. A few of the protection spells (Apostle's Blessing, Faith's Shield) come with emergency clauses to act as shields for them too. You won't get them back then, but they will prevent an instance of spot removal on them. This should hopefully suffice, given sufficient game-ending girth.

1. Early Game (Turns ~1-3)

*audible whip cracking*
The very first thing you do in a game is acquire a hand of some sort. Feather's not that picky in this regard. You're looking for 3-4 coloured mana spread between rocks and lands, some sort of value spell (scry will do in a pinch) and ideally some level of protection, especially against inexperienced foes. If you get that, you're fine. Some sort of cast payoff or tutor wouldn't hurt either. If the draw luck is not with you and you're missing some of these, you'll probably still survive. Mana's the most important component - getting stiffed on coloured before you run out Feather is very unfortunate, and you should only consider hands with two or fewer coloured sources if they offer a bunch of early action that will keep you busy before you run Feather out. That means your Young Pyromancers, Burning Prophets, Scroll of the Masters, you get the drill. You might have noticed I haven't mentioned Sol Ring or Mana Crypt. They're good here, as you have non-Feather plays to make as well, but they're far from their usual snap keep selves as they don't explicitly help you get your commander out or assist with spamming cheap, coloured-heavy instants.

The early game should play itself automatically after that. Your main focus is ramping a bit, be it via rocks or a Depression Automaton variant, so that you are able to play Feather quickly with some mana held up for interaction. Chasing Feather out with no protection, be it bluffed or real, will often lead to her eating removal and slow you down. This is where you sequence around your rocks and other sources of ramp, and can even consider popping a Recruiter Friend on an ETB ramp option. This becomes particularly appealing if you're sitting on a flicker spell - not only will you be able to get more lands out of the Depression Automaton variant once Feather lands, you can get something else with the Recruiter later. There are also some less conventional options in Springleaf Drum or Mox Amber that do nothing before you cast Feather, but work just fine for the extra mana purpose once she's around. You can also chase out the cheap synergy pieces, if you have them. However, if given a choice between a Young Pyromancer and a rock enabling a protected Feather the next turn, you should probably go for the rock. The deck's swath of cheap instants are dead weight without her around, and only start doing their thing once you get your commander out.

There's not a lot you can do if someone explodes out of the gate. You've got Path/Swords, but those may be insufficient to stop a particularly feisty kaboomboom. There's also Duergar Hedge-Mage, who might be a reasonable emergency popper. At times like these the fetches and dual really shine, as you should be able to have at least one (usually both) of the modes online pretty quickly. Generous Gift may be held if you smell something going super crazy, but will more often be done sorcery speed after untapping in those sort of scenarios. Look, there's no beating around the bush - you're not a particularly removal-heavy deck, and your interaction is limited. And that's okay. You probably shouldn't be running Feather at a table where games end turn three anyway, if I'm to be honest :P

Your early game is very one-track. You get the ramp out, you get Feather out with protection mana up. This typically happens turn three, but there's nothing wrong with taking a while to play out a Depression Automaton for extra mana beforehand. Some super nut draws do it turn two sometimes, but are not common. The deck needs the commander to function. As such, we have now acquired the commander, are signalling to the world we can keep her alive (whether we actually can is a different matter entirely), and are ready to move on to the mid game.

2. Mid Game (Turns ~4-6)

Hey ho, hey ho, a-swarmin' we shall go
It's now approximately turn four. You played Feather, the turns went around the table, you held up interaction mana, nothing came, and it's back to yours. Alternately, something came and you stopped it with much panache, impressing the rest of the board and notifying them of your protective prowess. One way or the other, things are okay. Time to get cooking with gas!

The protection aspect of the deck is vital to reliably keeping it online. Picture casting Feather only to have her die over and over again. Some good all those cantrips/scries in your hand will do. That's not the best. As such, you need to always hold, or at the very least bluff, protection for Feather. One mana will suffice. That's where Gods Willing, Sheltering Light and a few others reside. Staying in control of Feather being on the board is important, and can lead to various cat and mouse mind games with the opposition. Some of the protection spells come with added value, so you can pop a Gods Willing to get a scry with some spare mana. Now your opponents are notified that you can blank spot removal, and have to play around it. Use Ajani's Presence to minimally speed up Feather's clock? That Wrath of God won't take her out. This tends to ultimately lead to you being left alone and not interacted with outside wipes when playing against opponents experienced against the deck. "He'll have something to stop it, just don't mess with him." This is where the bluff element comes in - you can sometimes get away with not having protection at all against those foes, and as long as that token mana is waiting they'll leave you be. The only time you should feel ok using it is in main two before your turn with everyone tapped out. You can try greeding it in less inviting circumstances, but don't say I didn't warn you if someone rips a funny on you in response.

The second order of business comes in various cast synergy friends and other value pieces worth getting out. You need payoff. While you'll eventually be casting an impressive flurry of spells with frightening regularity, card advantage for card advantage's sake won't get you too far if nothing is happening as you rip it. Board gummers like Monastery Mentor help ensure you have some board presence that deters free swings into you. Being able to chump, maybe even trade with, anything coming your way will dissuade attacks reasonably well. Non-board payoff, such as Burning Prophet or Scroll of the Masters, is also pretty good to have around. The cumulative value these sort of cards bring to the table is very handy in trying to close out the game later. Thankfully, most are pretty cheap to cast.

At this point, you should still have some mana left. Probably not a dizzying amount, but a few pips of pocket change. This is where you start spamming the value spells. Cantrip a bit, scry a bit, try to find some good payoff to work into your board. Or mana, if you're short. Anything you need, really. For now this is not means unto itself, but you can invest heavier in this if you find yourself lacking payoff. Each of those one-cost cantrips you have does not actually cost one. It can secretly cost as much as you have opponents, as you can pop it in everyone else's turn (remember to do this in main two, Marchesa/Roon style, so you get it back in the following end step). As such, it's very easy to have a small value suite stretch a long way if given the opportunity to, or roll back the expenditure and devote mana to furthering your board state. Ultimately this flexibility is what allows Feather to scale well into multiplayer, so make use of it when you have the resources to. Another important thing to keep track of is what your opponents know about your hand for another cat and mouse element. Let's say you've opened Heal, and have been using that for card acquisition. A couple Heals in you find yourself an Expedite. That's objectively better as you get the card immediately! However, your opponents are not aware of you having that card, so unless you have the resources to start slinging both around keep showing them the Heal.

Everything else you do around now is a bit more variable. If you get given ways to improve your mana setup, try to work those in as mana's just a good thing to have. Sometimes you can use some ETB value, sometimes you can recycle it via flickers. If you get some Feather voltron options and folks are open, by all means spend a couple mana to rough them up a bit more. You can mooch extra value from protection spells by making your chumps impervious in combat, saving your precious hit points for a later turn. The deck does stuff. Do the stuff.

As the mid game progresses, you should have found some decent synergy pieces and slowly started moving your resources towards juggling spells around. Your token horde gets bigger, your Scroll of the Masters is starting to fill up, and your scrying priorities change a bit. Whereas previously you were probably looking for these synergy pieces, now you're trying to find something with enough kick to it to just end the game in short order.

3. Late Game (Turns ~7+)

I think it's perfectly fair to draw 45 cards for two mana
By now your mana pool should be impressive, you should hopefully have some well-humming synergy on board, and you're trying to bring it home. Some games you won't even need to reach out to an end game play as you'll incidentally count to 20 with a Guttersnipe that came out early, or just keep ramming Fists of Flame and Psychotic Fury to two-shot a guy at a time. Incidental voltron kills are particularly common in 1v1 games. However, in a multiplayer pod, you'll often find yourself pining for a high-impact setup that will really allow you to kick things into overdrive.

The most reliable way to close out the proceedings is to acquire a way to machine gun spells. Phyrexian Altar is super good at that, given the negligible curve of the deck. True, you need to combine it with a token producer, but once both come online you can trade your swarm power for cast potential. You built your own Kykar and suddenly churn through your entire instant collection for free, probably picking up some new members along the way, and can keep doing it in everybody else's turns if necessary. Invite one of the game-ending cast payoffs (Guttersnipe/Aria of Flame/Aetherflux Reservoir) to the party and the board should be melted in no time. In case you find yourself running out of deck, which may actually happen every now and then, don't forget you can respond to stuff on the stack. Cast your cantrip, let the game-ender trigger resolve for whatever benefit's available, respond with another spell, repeat. This might help you sneak in a win you'd otherwise fail to clinch. Lesser variants of this are a rock collection with Unwinding Clock or a sufficiently fed Dockside Extortionist with flicker potential, as your churning prowess is limited, but it should still deliver consistent value for each opponent in the game. The deck used to make great use of Paradox Engine for this sort of victory path, but the card got itself banned after two and a half years of various EDH mischief. However, the Phyrexian Altar setup, while objectively less powerful and glamorous than Pengine, is still plenty capable of bringing an end to the game.

Another closing time usher comes in Zada variants. Suddenly your Expedites nab you as many cards as you have bodies. Combine that with a little spare mana and you should be able to pick up most of your deck in short order, especially if there's some swarm around. There's another neat trick to maximising Zada'd cantrip returns with a swarm maker (e.g. Monastery Mentor) around - cast whatever you can spare to go as wide as you can, and then pile on your cantrips, allowing the swarm triggers to resolve but keeping the Zada copy trigger on the stack. Once you run out of cantrips, resolve them one at a time. Maybe you'll find more ways you can use to increase your swarm or draw further cards along the way? This may seem like unnecessary levels of faff, given the draw potential of just normally casting the cantrips, but the more cards you see the better. Another cool thing you can do is copy a scry spell, resolve the copies one at a time, shipping stuff to the bottom until you find something you want, and respond with a cantrip. Then draw a swath of cards with the one you want in there, and you still have some scry left over when that's done. This may seem like basic stuff, but the deck's pretty good at getting you to pay attention to every last trigger and spell on the stack to milk maximum value from everything. Another good thing the Zadas do is spread your protection board-wide, which should make you near impervious to interaction, helping your odds of closing things out in your favour. One way or another, a Zada on the board will typically deposit you in the faux-Kykar realm soon enough.

Sometimes the mid game value engines will run away with stuff on their own. Go wide enough with Monastery Mentor and a few spells shredded in your turn may well translate to lethal on someone. Scroll of the Masters quite easily gets itself into two-shot range, and it's conceivable for it to hit 18 and single-handedly make Feather a one-shotter. Something will typically happen. You'll keep shredding the casts, digging your way through the deck, and assemble something. And it'll be fun. And won't feel stereotypical Boros at all.



Kudos
  • Ebline - Continued feedback throughout the deck's development, and surviving me keeping the mana-centric equipment ;)
  • My playgroup - Creating a fun and supportive environment for me to cook up and refine my jank heaps in.
  • Greendawg - Enduring various configurations of the deck in testing, magicking up a cool banner, and alerting me of Aurelia's Fury spiking.
  • Carthage - Providing a number of spot-on card suggestions, some of which I'm still processing in my roundabout way.
  • Dominicus - Reinforcing me in my choice to run copious amounts of dirt cheap protection, and hopefully coming around to the various swarm synergies.
  • darrenhabib - Getting me to write up the primer swiftly to slide under his multi-primer emporium, and offering solid formatting assistance.
  • Everybody not mentioned who provided their opinions/feedback at any point of the time-space continuum, or even made it down here. You rock!



Changelog


Where applicable, the deck change header is clickable to take you to the relevant discussion post in the thread.
Changelog
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The Quest Begins!
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Boros Spells!

Head Honcho


1 Feather, the Redeemed

Sunforger +1


1 Magnetic Theft
1 Sunforger

One Drop Cantrip Club


1 Bandage
1 Crimson Wisps
1 Defiant Strike
1 Expedite
1 Heal
1 Niveous Wisps
1 Panic
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13.04.2019 Changes
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14.04.2019 Changes
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15.04.2019 Change
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16.04.2019 Changes
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18.04.2019 Changes
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28.04.2019 Change
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05.05.2019 Changes
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09.05.2019 Change
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15.05.2019 Changes
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04.06.2019 Change
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Pengine is Kill
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Approximate Total Cost:

C19/ELD Swap Extravaganza + State of the Deck 2019
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Last edited by Rumpy5897 3 weeks ago, edited 28 times in total.

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Rumpy5897
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 5 months ago

Well crap. First time having a card banned out from under me, and it doesn't feel great. Paradox Engine was always a bit of a controversial one - the community made it out to be some horrible monster card while to my eyes it looked an overhyped value engine. Feather could really make it pop though, to the point where the invention artwork is the background of the thread banner. I'll likely keep it there, it looks nice and it can be a testament to the card's brief tenure in the 99. I wrote up a ramble about my stance on the card, which is also mirrored in the Card Options entry (which I may as well preserve here for posterity, as it'll be gone soon enough):
  • :check: Paradox Engine - This thing is a windmill slam in here, given the negligible curve, draw potential and rock heaviness. Upon resolving, you cast something and pass priority with the untap trigger on the stack. If nobody responds, you probably win before the turn is over. If someone tries to pop it, you can still milk insane value off it before it goes away. There are even Isochron Scepter tablekill combos, and it also does a pretty convincing stupid with five mana in rocks and a Sunforger. While Pengine is quite overrated in most decks, offering some sensible, finite amount of nondeterministic value, here it is quite close to the apocalypse monstrosity the EDH community seems to perceive it as.
Need a while to think what to do here, as with Pengine gone Isochron Scepter loses a lot of its appeal, and I was already nitpicking at it on MTGS before coming here. An emergency band-aid replacement would probably be Thought Vessel. I need to figure out the swaps, and rewrite a good chunk of the primer. Dammit.

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Post by benjameenbear » 5 months ago

My sincere sympathies, comrade! I too feel to mourn the glorious Engine and its recent banning. Hopefully it won't detract too much from your general strategy. Would Unwinding Clock be a decent stopgap for your strategy?
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Titles & Recognition

Post by Rumpy5897 » 5 months ago

Yeah, the deck will dust off and continue on, with some of its explosiveness reined in. Thankfully I'm already running Unwinding Clock, and the closest the updated shell will get to its old Pengine glory is the build-your-own-Kykar of Young Pyromancer variants plus Phyrexian Altar. More effort, but only mildly inferior once online because of the deck's nonexistent curve. Plus, the fact I'll actually have to work a little to convert monstrous Zada hands into game wins should go down nicely with the meta. So that's something, I guess? ;)

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Post by Sheriff » 5 months ago

I'd probably end up cutting Enlightened Tutor and Isochron Scepter.. Though the Tutor still hits Aria and Reservoir, so maybe it can stay..

This [unjust] banning brings us back to the slow but inevitable value plan, instead of occasionally having some busted value.. so it's not that big of a deal, just less explosive (and arguably less fun, because it led to really obnoxious stuff.. lol.)

I didn't even get a chance to live the Mangara dream yet! T_T

PS. The worst thing about this, is it makes my favorite deck (that I rarely played because of it's awkward power level, ie. too strong for casual games, but too weak for competitive games,) my Mono-G Druid TriBall Seton, is now basically unplayable without PE.. Actually, as ironic as it sounds, the PE ban might actually let me BE able to play it again, because now it'd be weak enough to vs casual decks.. lmao
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 5 months ago

Let's not get too crazy here, Enlightened Tutor will not become dirt without Pengine around ;) I'm sorry to hear about your Seton, but I seem to remember him existing and "casual terroring" before Pengine was printed. I'm sure you'll find a way to keep him operational, it's not like green has lots of ways of getting a specific artifact online anyway.

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Post by darrenhabib » 5 months ago

Hey there is a rate tag you can use for the deck rankings. You can set the colors and you can make it squares or stars.

[rate="3" style="square" light="#99F" dark="#224"]



[rate="4"]


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Post by Rumpy5897 » 5 months ago

Booyah, thanks a lot! Will do soon.

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Post by Rasputin101 » 5 months ago

Argh! Does the Paradox Engine ban mean you'll take the image out of the art at the top of the primer?
Does look pretty!
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 5 months ago

Pengine is Kill


I sulked for about a day after Paradox Engine got itself banned, and am still a little worried going forward. The new banning criteria are versed so broadly that they can be used to shoot out just about anything. Here's to hoping this was an isolated band-aid ripping incident and the ban list will go back to its slumber now. From a Feather perspective, the deck will dust itself off and continue, mildly weakened but ultimately better for it. Time to press F for Pengine one last time and look forward.

"Image"

Pengine is Kill
Approximate Total Cost:

The last bit of MTGS Feather-related activity on my part was some musing about taking out Isochron Scepter and Phalanx Leader for Thought Vessel and Titan's Strength. The former of the new includes strips the hand size limitation, which is weirdly good in the deck. Feather loves sitting on a mountain of cheap stuff in hand, and this enables that while offering a notably subpar rock. Still, the deck can put up with two colourless sources, especially since they both circumvent hand size. The latter's just a decent utility spell that was stripped out to make room for Fists of Flame. Since Pengine got itself banned, it gets to replace Phalanx Leader in the swap list. The Leader's still not super great, but I imagine the deck may place a little more emphasis on conventional combat now. Need to test it out a bit. Isochron Scepter was a bit lacking outside the Pengine combo, to the point where it was going to go out anyway because something silly yet finite typically suffices.

Speaking of silly yet finite, I'm pretty sure that the deck will still manage to win quite reliably once it fosters a fat grip. The backup build-your-own-Kykar of token spam plus Phyrexian Altar works just fine here, as you're granted the power to shred all your one-cost instants for free. Sure, getting it online will take a smidge more mana management gymnastics than the Pengine setup, but it should be ultimately fine and feed the Guttersnipes of the deck sufficiently to keep blowing up pods. This is not up to the same standard as Pengine, as mentioned, but will be adequate.
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Post by Sheriff » 5 months ago

Honestly, I've only ever ended up using Isochron Scepter to slap removal on it.. Usually Swords, and it kinda puts a target on you/the Scepter.. But it is SO useful. lol. But yeah, it can definitely go, as even that was a corner case that needed multiple cards to assemble.

Titan's Strength is what you're putting in, eh? I really do like the Scry; I definitely like it more than Psychotic Fury (which I took out of my list.)

With P.Engine gone, I was actually considering maybe putting in a pay-off card, like Akron Conscriptor, or maybe putting back in Cloudshift and/or Meteor Golem.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 5 months ago

Yeah, Meteor Golem is not shabby. Probably preferable to Akroan Conscriptor, that was one particular 1:1 swap I made a while back ;)

Another potential include, if you're feeling malevolent, would be Reckless Rage. I realised that the only commanders in my meta that don't immediately fold to that are Intet, the Dreamer and Lord Windgrace as he's a walker. Heck, this can even shut off Marchesa, the Black Rose if used smart and they don't have an Unspeakable Symbol. However, that's a bit on the mean side, and Feather is already very efficient at stopping people interacting with her. Couple that with effortlessly locking people off key pieces and I'm pretty sure they'd get upset.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 4 months ago

The best way to describe C19 is cute. The designs feel a lot more inspired than the previous two commander sets, but nothing clicks to a sufficient standard to merit include consideration. Backdraft Hellkite is Past in Flames on unhasted legs, if that sort of effect were to be desired it'd probably be best to just ram the original. Mandate of Peace could be an invisibility cloak for an undisrupted table frag in main two, plus do various Time Stop shenanigans in others' turns, but it's quite situational. Dockside Extortionist depends too much on others' setups to come online at a point the deck would like it to. Tectonic Hellion and Wildfire Devils are interesting designs, with the former in particular bringing a curious effect to red in EDH, but are nowhere near include material. Hey, it's fine. MH1 was a beautiful utilitarian outlier. Most sets come and go with minimal impact on existing builds.

With regards to the actual build, Paradox Engine getting flogged did diversify gameplay as expected. The mid-game Phyrexian Altar setups are particularly interesting, as there's a push/pull dynamic between wanting to cast stuff at the cost of tokens and maintaining a wide for Zada purposes. Phalanx Leader did fine the couple times I drew him, everything is performing well.

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Post by Crazy Monkey » 3 months ago

I read through the MTGS thread, and while arcbond was mentioned, that didn't also discuss the interaction with martyrdom or the less recurrable Gideon's sacrifice. This is the most common winning method in my Feather build, while each piece individually can be a board wipe or perminant fog independently.

In terms of jank; I use eerie interlude to flicker animated lands from embodiment of fury between end steps. This also works well with djeru's resolve.

I am also, of course, running an arcane package. Recurring ethereal haze by splicing hundred-talon strike entertains me, but probably doesn't fit here.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Ok, so just making sure I get this right: you make a dudebro indestructible, you pop Martyrdom/Gideon's Sacrifice on said dudebro, and you rip the Arcbond, sponging damage off other targets to keep the Arcbond flowing?

Yeah, all this stuff sounds pretty janky. In a cute way though. I'm not sure I'm seeing Djeru's Resolve, I imagine this would have to be radiated with Zada to do what I think you're saying?

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Post by Crazy Monkey » 3 months ago

Your assessment of the arcbond/martyrdom is correct. It's killed the table for about 75% of my wins. The martyrdom can be replaced by Zada +lifelink, but those two are both accessible off of sunforger, so the combo can be assembled with relative ease.

The untap effects basically just pay for themselves, but act as ritual effects with Zada/mirrorwing. It also allows for repeatedly splicing a free way to add a target.

EDIT: I should also note that I am barely running any direct artifact ramp, and am leaning heavily on cost reduction and phyrexian altar. I am reconsidering my low ramp count after reading your primer post because Feather is that mana hungry.
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Post by Rumpy5897 » 3 months ago

Note our Feathers may be operating a bit differently - my curve is nonexistent, and I keep ramming 1CMC instants over and over again in everybody else's turns, further amassing things to potentially play as most of said instants deal with draw/filtering in some way. Cost reduction would do little here, as I kinda build it into the deck with its choice of spells, but Phyrexian Altar is a tried and true way to set up a dumb later on in the game. Notice my only two 3CMC instants are Eerie Interlude because stupid good and Generous Gift because removal. It'd probably be responsible to dial some of the 1CMC spam back and fit in Intimidation Bolt and a few others. It'd also be responsible to put Past in Flames back in.

That said, I'd love to see your list if you have it up anywhere online. I may not have pilfered too much from your Patron of the Orochi build, but it's always nice to see your alternate reality take on the commander, what aspects enticed you and how you built the thing. A non-cast-spam Feather, using instants in moderation for interesting things, would be nice to check out. Also, since it's apparently time to ask you for lists, I'd love to see your Tymna + Kydele. I was enamoured by that combination upon the set being spoiled, figuring some weird amalgam of evasive bodies and ramped plays could happen, but I never got the balance right.

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Post by Rumpy5897 » 2 months ago

C19/ELD Swap Extravaganza + State of the Deck 2019


It's interesting how subsequent decks can lead to the recognition of importance of various construction/piloting components and actively influence older builds. Ghired had a bit of a heavy-set curve with a surprising mode around 4, which led me to actively evaluate the stages of the early game where each of the support/acceleration components needed to shine the brightest. The list is also quite modular, with multiple different components needing to come together for the deck to do fun stuff. Feather's far from an overcosted moloch, but I figured I could apply the same principles and comb the deck for various misfits, be it in terms of efficiency or misfit lines of play. Just a general streamlining.

C19/ELD Swap Extravaganza + State of the Deck 2019
Approximate Total Cost:

The comb ran through the list, and picked up Phalanx Leader along with Gilded Lotus and Smothering Tithe. The Leader's been brought up many times already, both here and on MTGS. Sure, he does something. But he's never really pumped a swarm, at least I can't recall ever ending a game like that. Sure, sometimes I just stack counters on a few creatures and it's okay, but it's relatively low impact for a slot. Both the ramp cards have been mildly uneasy in the past, investing 4 or 5 mana into a ramp play is not where the deck wants to be. Sure, the rate of return is pretty okay, but the list wants to set up its mana early. As such, both the options were known clunkers in need of addressing.

The Lotus got flagged as the Arcane Signet swap a while ago. Why yes, this list likes untapped 2 CMC rocks, and this is the new king of the block, so in it goes. I was unsure how to handle the other two spots. Nothing else in ELD was noteworthy, the closest to a sensible include was Charming Prince with his charm body. For a moment I was considering being responsible and putting Past in Flames back in, with the other slot softly dedicated to Gamble. That's when I figured I'd try out Dockside Extortionist for fun. I mean, the card started expensive and then still went up after release. That must mean it's good, right? In the first game he just lived in hand as the board was light on noncreatures. In the second game, he got chased out for two treasure turn two. The game went on, I drew a blink spell, I had a bunch of other decent stuff on hand and not quite enough mana to circulate it. At that point some synapses connected, I looked around the board, I looked at the Extortionist, I pointed the blink spell at him and got a fresh lot of six treasure which promptly went into cantrips and repeated blinking.

What can I say? The people gravitating towards blink Feather after the spoiler were not entirely wrong, as it turns out. Sure, running expensive ETB bodies and needlessly costly flicker instants leads to a less efficient shell than this one, but the overall point still stands - blink is not a minor subtheme, but rather an integral toolbox that can be used to set up strong game states. Sure, I'm still gonna do it my way, with ridiculously cheap creatures and support spells, but I'll be actively keeping my eyes peeled for good ETBs going forward. I guess I always subconsciously knew this - while combing the curve for misfits, I looked at Depression Automaton variants and gave them a pass "because they're so crazy good blinked". Now I just openly stated it. As such, the second open slot went to Cloudshift as all it ever did wrong was get supplanted by Ephemerate.

There's not a ton to be said about the deck otherwise. It's an engine deck designed around extremely cheap instants, and the core's been pretty intact since day one. Think that giving up the Phalanx Leader swarm dream won't really hurt, there have been plenty of gg alpha roars off Fists of Flame in Zada mode which do that but better. The deck predictably bounced back from the Pengine ban with a heightened focus on chip voltron damage and the swarm + Phyrexian Altar backup setup manning the wheel. It does its thing, and it does it pretty well. Onward!

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