THE Definitive Kaalia of the Vast

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3drinks
Kaalia's Personal Liaison
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Post by 3drinks » 5 years ago

2023 Update: 12 Years of Kaalia!






The MOST DEFINITIVE Kaalia
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Table of Contents
Last Deck Update: 08.25.2022



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Deck Overview

Hello. Welcome to THE most definitive primer for all things Kaalia, ever written. I'm your host with the most, THEmtg3drinks aka Kaalia's Personal Liaison for the past decade. Kaalia decks cover the gamut across the internet from the wholly untuned piles of uncastable junk, to ruthlessly efficient streamlined decks that barely resemble what Kaalia once was. And so here, this Primer aims to create a central hub for all things Kaalia where the new and uninitiated players can come for help, and the more experienced can come to refocus. After all, we're all here for the same reasons, right? To make Kaalia be all she can be.

So let's start with the basics, what makes Kaalia become Kaalia, and why should you choose to play her over literally anything else? Why this decade plus old commander in an era that we finally have a saturation of viable commanders even within the Mardu wedge to-date.

Kaalia By The Numbers


Her Total Mana Value: At a cost of 1WBR that puts her at a medium level cost. This means she can be aggressive if you're more all-in on ramp, but will play out better in a midrange shell with key protective pieces to enable this fragile four mana 2/2 flyer to do the thing she is trying to enable.

Her Ability: This is the "meat and potatoes" of our deck, and the primary reason for choosing her. She allows us to function like an Elvish Piper, but only for Angels, Demons, and Dragons – so keep those Praetors, Titans, and Primordials at home. If you were wondering why you'd ever pay four mana for a sneak attack effect without haste, this is the reason. It's worth jumping through hoops to circumvent big mana costs and, unlike the original, you get to keep the creature. Pretty great, right?

Her Strengths and Weaknesses: Of course no strategy is perfect. Sometimes despite your best attempts, your opponents will actually read your cards and Kaalia doesn't get to swing. This can leave you sad if you loaded up on tons of seven plus cost creatures with little ramp, a pitfall that so many new Kaalia players fall into. Over-reliance on one card is never a good thing, and this is especially true when the over-reliance comes from the card that is incredibly visible to all across the table in the command zone.

Her Power Level: Kaalia has lines of play from the bargain basement precon and less level, all the way to the upper echelons of cDH play, although cDH is not what I'll be touching on since I don't get the privilege of playing in such a dedicated group for that. I know enough of the theory behind the play, however.

Why Kaalia Over Anything Else: A lot has changed since Kaalia's initial inception in the summer of twenty-eleven. Since then we have gotten a few neat commanders to rival her popularity, though none that will ever truly eclipse her.

  • (Note, we'll be looking at Kaalia, Zenith Seeker at a later point in this list.)
  • Alesha, Who Smiles at Death - Perhaps the closest in functionality, right down to the attack step reliance even, though Alesha cares about the opposite end of the creature power spectrum and works out of the "other hand". On top of needing to attack to contribute to the game, Alesha also struggles against graveyard hate, especially targeted graveyard hate.
  • Ghen, Arcanum Weaver - Like Alesha, Ghen also digs out of the graveyard, though he trades a requirement to attack for a requirement of mana expenditure. I'll note to be mindful of this choice, as it's really easy for Ghen to transform into a brutal prison style deck without an overwhelming amount of effort, which may or may not be acceptable with your playgroup.
  • Edgar Markov - Finally, we get to something that is starkly different. Edgar is perhaps one of the easiest commanders we have access to, and his strategy is as simple as "cast one mana vampires" because as it turns out paying one mana for two bodies is a pretty good deal. Who knew? Furthermore, Edgar doesn't even need to be cast in order to work, which is an incredibly strong point in his favour. The bad? He shares very little in common with our commander or the rest of this list, and typically requires the most additional financial investment to go from one deck to the next because of that lack of similarity. Some people may not like the idea of such a heavy investment to play the same colors after all.
  • Isshin, Two Heavens as One - The newest include, Isshin also bears some similarity here in a reliance on the combat step, and at first glance even appears to belong in the Kaalia deck (it doesn't, and we'll address why later on). Isshin instead doesn't care about the combat damage so much, he just cares about the declare attackers step. The best thing you can do here, to my recollection, is Eldrazi reanimator, because imagine getting to combat and "double dipping" with an early Ulamog's Crusher or Bane of Bala Ged. Powerful for sure, but not exactly conducive to making friends though.





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Current Decklist
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Kaalia Remix v2022

Commander

Approximate Total Cost:





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Budget Considerations

People come to Kaalia on all sorts of discretionary spending levels, and while that makes it difficult to present a simple one-size-fits-all approach to deckbuilding or Magic as a whole, I do however like to keep around what I refer to as the Baseline Kaalia deck. It's built with just commons and uncommons and including the commander, could be bought for just around $104 $82 USD (and the biggest chunk of this is your typical standout cards like ashnod's altar, fire covenant, and animate dead), assuming a player has absolutely no cards and is jumping in totally fresh to the deck or even the game as a whole. The goal of this deck is just, simply stated, practice. To get your reps in and understand the commander before moving up to more complex mechanisms of the commander. Previously I would have pointed players to an unchanging full white border version of the deck, but after the rapid power creep of the past couple of years, that deck is no longer capable of keeping up with even the more casual of tables so I felt it prudent to offer a more recent iteration to help players learn. I keep it (the white border deck) linked within my Moxfield account as a historical point of reference only.

In this deck, there is a combo finish that we will be working towards finishing our matches with. That involves the on-type and critically under-rated Dreadhound as the primary outlet to the Leonin Relic-Warder + Animate Dead/Dance of the Dead Necromancy (this is better than dance of the dead as it's also uncommon and is 30% of dance's insane cost, and without the unfortunate EBT clause and untap cost) interaction that creates an arbitraily high number of sacrifices. How's that work? Cast one of the auras targeting the LRW in the graveyard, then when LRW enters, let it's ability target the aura. This will remove it and trigger both LRW's leaves play ability which returns the aura and targets, you guessed it, LRW. Each iteration of this interaction will trigger Dreadhound's secondary line of text. As to why Dreadhound over, say, a Mayhem Devil or Zulaport Cutthroat? Simply because the hound has a relevant typeline, doesn't actually target, and causes life loss not damage so it can't be prevented. We also get some light tangible benefit out of its enters the battlefield ability too. When deck slots are tight, this is the kind of critical thinking you need to always put your best foot forward.

If I had one more deck slot, I'd love to place a Loxodon Warhammer|MRD in here. It's not really synergistic, it just helps to recover your life payments and win the race (lifelink on an evasive fattie creature is a reasonable plan B strategy). But alas, here we are.
Baseline Kaalia

Commander (1)

Approximate Total Cost:

How does one actually upgrade from Baseline Kaalia to something more palpable?

So then, you ask, how do I propose I do just as outlined in the first paragraph? Well it's just like the age-old "how do you eat an elephant" question; one bite at a time. So let's take a look at the baseline deck, since I've commented many times before that the nature of it is very "plug-and-play" to upgrade, and see how we'd do that. First up, let's look at the creature suite, since that's arguably the most important portion of the Kaalia deck as a whole. Certainly the most fun part, at least!
creature pool.JPG
  • Right off the bat, the first couple of threats are just fine and will serve you quite well. Angel of Despair has been a main fixture of the deck since its inception, in fact earlier as it was even a part of the original Heavenly Inferno box deck. And while it's never going to win any awards for being the most important piece, it's always going to be a welcome sight whether you're reanimating, cheating, or just finding a way to blink as those three words will always be useful. Destroy target permanent. No frills. No gimmicks. Just an unstoppable three words to deal with the most troublesome card no matter what it is at a given time. Angel of Despair will always have your back!
  • Angel of the Ruins isn't quite as good, but honestly how often is it that you see some offensive artifact or enchantment in a given game of commander where you don't feel the urge to kill it? And even if you didn't, it still cycles away to colour fix for you (and sets itself up to be reanimated later!) Really hard to imagine a time when this won't be a wonderfully acceptable piece of the 99.
  • Now we get to our first real discussion piece. Archfiend of Sorrows is a nice infest effect on ETB that dodges our cards so Kaalia is safe. That's pretty okay, but what can we do when things are too big for an -x/-2 to kill? Well, the first thing to come to mind is a Balefire Dragon. This might be a bit weaker as it has to hit the player and you only wipe that player's board. Sometimes that's stronger as you don't need to wipe everything, and the dragon is large enough plus has trample so it's not too hard to get in for a trigger. But I'd favor Scourge of Kher Ridges I think here, as it wipes all but flyers (pyroclasm at-will is strong! Arguably stronger than needing to connect in combat) and even has a big mana effect stapled on if you need to blow up the world! Plus, this'll cost you under $2 usd versus Balefire's $10-$12 usd.
  • Dreadhound is oft-overlooked but tbh, this is exactly the kind of thing we want. ETB mill three is fine, sometimes great even but we're after that other line of text. Since our primary win-con is based around Leonin Relic-Warder, this acts as an outlet to finish everyone off, regardless of shroud or damage prevention. In fact, the only thing that stops this would be if someone reanimated, say, a platinum emperion specifically (do people even still do this?) This is our on-type syr konrad, the grim and as such I don't understand why more people aren't playing this. Plus, y'know, demon dog...how cool is that?!
  • Fallen Angel|chr is our resident free sacrifice outlet, can even self-sac if that would be relevant, costs you nothing, is instant speed, and not limited to a finite number of times in a turn. Are there other options? Sure, Butcher of the Horde, Rakdos, the Muscle, and the newer Shilgengar, Sire of Famine both do the same thing, but if all you care about is a free, unlimited sac outlet, one of these is $0.14…the others are $1-$3 usd. There's probably a case to add more of these, but if you don't want more, do your wallet a favor and save your money for other effects.
  • Firja, Judge of Valor is where we get interesting. This is a nice piece of card advantage and selection that also fills the graveyard/ It's a reasonable if small lifelink body but most of all it is still castable without Kaalia. Could it be replaced? Sure. I'd wager a guess and say it's probably more important and would try to keep it in place, though if you must replace it, you'd have a Disciple of Bolas to turn a body (like one of the big angels) into a grip of cards, Bloodgift Demon to draw you an extra card each turn cycle and present a sizable threat, the aforementioned Rakdos, the Muscle gives you a lot of card access pending what you feed him, or any of the one-shot black draw spells such as Damnable Pact or Promise of Power. I quite like Firja in this place, though if you want to get crazy……there's always Hellcarver Demon. But I'm not that crazy, yet.
  • Goremand is pretty bland as a target, sure. Very replaceable. Though it does potentially give us a three-for-one and doesn't target, it's not very cast-friendly and there's nothing stopping anyone from feeding it a Kobold token or what have you. I'd say you'll probably look to Shadowborn Demon for a pretty fair one-for-one trade, or more likely will be Overseer of the Damned as it hits any creature with no restriction and even punishes others that sacrifice {non-token} bodies for profit by giving us fodder. Though the Overseer is more mana so it's much less castable than other options. You probably won't go wrong with either of these choices, however. I'll call out Vilis, Broker of Blood here as it is pretty self-powered in turning life into removal plus extra cards though note it will chew through your life pretty fast so do take caution. Technically Inferno of the Star Mounts would also fulfill this role, though I imagine if you're getting it to 20 power, you're just "firing the laser cannon" at a player. But it does do the job nonetheless.
  • Havoc Demon is another of our built-in sweepers, albeit it needs to die to proc the sweep mode. Because of that it can be a bit awkward to fully utilize, but it does do what it says on the tin. We touched on some of these above, but if you're looking to upgrade this, Steel Hellkite probably your best choice as a one-sided engineered explosives is pretty sick. Thunder Dragon|S99 is also pretty one-sided in some situations. Not a lot of options out there for wipes on a body especially those we haven't already spoke about, but you might consider The Nipton Lottery or Last One Standing as both budget-friendly and low mana value sweepers in the slot. Oh, I guess Themberchaud exists…but that's quite pricey for what it presents. The big boy is hilarious though.
  • Hoarding Dragon is one of the best creatures in the baseline deck, and even has some build-around packages within the deck. From removal bullets like executioner's capsule/dispeller's capsule, finding the right mana rock, or evasion or protection effect, or even just finding another threat, this thing has a lot of avenues pending the gamestate you're in. As a direct tutour, I'd imagine the strict upgrade for it is rune-scarred demon, and with that you have it's cousins in burning-rune demon and hoarding broodlord. Note that, typically, the more direct tutours you add, the more consistent and thus more competitive the deck tends to become. So consider carefully the power level with which you're playing, before determining just how many (and how powerful) those tutours should be that you'll add.
  • Indulgent Tormentor will see a lot of the same responses as the blurb about Firja as its role is similar, though clearly less than as opponents will tend to give you the best choice for them. Usually. The number of times someone gives me the draw instead of bolting themselves is alarmingly high though. Either that, or people feel bad for me actually playing Indulgent Tormentor in a non-ironic way, so they throw me a bone.
  • Kardur, Doomscourge is pretty unique as a goad-inducer and is really the only one of its kind, especially one that can mass-goad everyone. Vengeful Ancestor is a targeted version of this, but that's a pretty far cry from Kardur. Plus, goad is one of those mechanics that become blank in 1v1 situations. I think Kardur is a best-in-class card for the effect, so that means you'll either keep this, or you'll cut the slot entirely for a different effect.
  • Lulu, Loyal Hollyphant is a surprising pick to be an angel in all honesty. More typically found helming its own deck (alongside Haunted One), it wouldn't seem to do as much here. In reality it's "revolt" clause is fairly trivial to proc and growing the team and giving pseudo vigilance is a pretty amazing effect. Pretty hard to replicate too, but if we're looking at growth effects, Moonveil Dragon is pretty decent at this though it's not truly the same thing. I'm honestly not completely sold on this swap, but I can't find a direct correlation to what Lulu brings to the table here either.
  • Shepherd of the Cosmos is most often going to re-buy a land, whether it's a shattered landscape or a ghost quarter effect. I suppose it might even recur some patented footwear that got blown up, but I've always thought of it in the vein of just making my land drops. So I'd guess my upgrade for it would be a Timeless Dragon or Eternal Dragon|scg, though this wouldn't be completely using its slot to its fullest potential given it can rebuy animate dead when we try to go for our combo finish. Huh, is this KHM uncommon actually a key part of the deck?
  • Skyline Despot is the biggest bomb to get downshifted into this project. I should be excited about it. What's not to like, I love the monarch, I love the ceiling case of churning out free 5/5s with no drawback, but in the end I find myself viewing it as just a body. I'd guess any body that draws a card would be sufficient to replace this thing, but maybe not really because it can take over games on its own when unanswered. It's like a Bloodgift Demon meets Utvara Hellkite stapled onto one card. Think that means you probably shouldn't cut it, but if you did, it had better be for something good.
  • Taborax, Hope's Demise is such a weird card. Originally it was a cheap threat that dissuades using removal on Kaalia since I'll get a card for it. It's also kind of a check vs some removal as you can't just let me grow a big lifelinking body, so in that respect it's kinda trying to be my own standard bearer. In practice it really isn't; but there's enough other cleric synergies we can pivot into, if we squint hard enough to justify this thing. The first is starlit sanctum as our own personal high market effect. That's probably enough given it's such a small piece of the deck, and starlit sanctum at least lets us sacrifice Kaalia if needed so it's pretty free, but if we wanted more, we could lean into this a bit harder, sure.
  • Withered Wretch is the important "eat your veggies" of deck building that no one likes talking about, but we gotta be responsible. You might consider Angel of Finality for that typeline but it's sorcery and a one shot so this probably isn't enough. Not that a single withered wretch is enough either, but it is quite efficient, and hey, cleric. That's somewhat a thing. Oh, dauthi voidwalker would be a suitable replacement if you have a spare. They're not really the same card, but it's a pretty reasonable swap I'd say if you got $15 burning a hole in your pocket.
  • Woebringer Demon is one I only recently learned was downshifted. I'm pretty lukewarm on it but…there's not really a better slot. Some five mv 3/3s, or some bears that draw or loot on ETB. Maybe Thraben Watcher...but at least this demon plays to the board. As an upgrade, oh geez where do we start. I'd guess the first correlation people draw is to Archfiend of Depravity and who could blame them? I don't think Archfiend is actually good but the similarities are real. Maybe the actual card we cut this for is the ol' faithful, Master of Cruelties. Look, you're probably going to add that at some point anyway, so you may as well make that your first upgrade and have a legitimate way to one shot an opponent.
  • Fledgling Dragon, Furnace Hellkite, Hellkite Punisher, Herald of the Sun, Rorix Bladewing are all the cards I saved for the end because they're the same card; they're just "dumb beaters". They don't add any synergy to the deck outside of a typeline and all they do is attack and block. As such it's pretty easy to identify them as upgrade targets and almost anything will be better. So what do you want to accomplish here, to clock someone faster? Accelerate your resources? Interact more? Probably some kind of mix, so you need to ask yourself what you're trying to do here before making such a purchase. If I can make a recommendation, I like Blast-Furnace Hellkite a lot in this scenario as well as Junji, the Midnight Sky. Depending on the budget you could round these out with Cavern-Hoard Dragon and Goldspan Dragon (or consider Hellkite Tyrant if these two are cost-prohibitive for you!), and then Liesa, Forgotten Archangel for some added recursion + a punish vs graveyard strategies. If you're feeling particularly feisty, consider using Rakdos the Defiler as you will skip the first half of the ability when Kaalia cheats it out and every opponent will remember the first time they get Rakdos'd out of the game.
sorcery pool.JPG
Honestly, this isn't a bad suite. Does exactly what you think it does. Some draw, some mana fixing, artifact removal, and a tutour with an entomb attached. Obviously if you're going to optimize, you'll look at Demonic Tutor, the actual Entomb, Buried Alive, Gamble, Enlightened Tutor. You know, the usual suspects. Tithe if you have one laying around because instant speed and one mv to fetch two XW duals is pretty good. But this isn't exactly a bad place to start as is.
instant pool.JPG
As above, you got instant speed draw filter, removal, protection. Not really a lot to say here, no frills, just efficiency. If you have a Valakut Awakening // Valakut Stoneforge laying around, you may as well put it to work over one of the big score effects, but it's not the end of the world if you don't.
enchantment pool.JPG
Don't think these need an explanation either. Tempest ensures Kaalia lands with haste, you have a free sac outlet, and two auras to combo finish with. Impact Tremors could in theory be Terror of the Peaks but if you're doing a loop the damage dealt doesn't matter and this card is less than a dollar and the big dragon is around $15 usd. So take your pick…but know enchantments tend to be more "sticky" than creatures. Also worth noting that Dreadhound does what these are doing and impact tremors is only the backup to our possessed doggo.

Oh! I suppose Dragon Tempest has its own combo with Ancient Gold Dragon, if you want to dump another $12 usd into the deck. Gold dragon is a pretty reasonable threat in its own right and would thus be a pretty "free" include, since you want dragon tempest anyway.

As an addendum to the enchantment section; if you don't value iMPACT tremors in the backup combo slot (what a weird sentence but I get it I think), consider Earnest Fellowship in that slot as a Kaalia with protection from 60% of the colour pie is pretty alright. Do note however, it can have some negative interactions with coloured equipments and auras (animate dead, pact weapon) so just keep that in mind.

Righteous War is a very similar effect but doesn't do anything for your mono-r creatures so I'd consider it a worse fellowship, mostly. There's a few times it's preferable (animate dead on a black creature which will have prot w from righteous war) so I can't call it strictly worse. Just enough to keep in mind!
artifact pool.JPG
So let's talk rocks! Sol Ring, Arcane, and the Talismans are all somewhat premier as they give an immediate rebate back on resolution (i.e. they still tap for 1) making them easier to chain with. Signets don't and I'd consider them less important. They're still good, but if we're dumping some money into upgrades, you might consider a Professional face-Breaker over one, or maybe another cheap draw spell like Thrill of Possibility or Sign in Blood over another. Arcum's Astrolabe is just there to colour fix for you and cantrip itself, which is really good at the low cost of one mv.

To speak on equipments, you really don't care about sWoRd VaLuE as the goal of the deck is to set up a board state where you can attack with Kaalia safely, profitably, and repeatedly, and swords do not do that; they only enhance what happens when you attack. This, by definition, makes any sword win-more. Though SoLaS at least has a lockout interaction with Yosei, the Morning Star, Kaalia, and a sac outlet, so maybe that's worth exploring if that's your jam. This is the exception, not the rule. Instead you want haste and some protection at a cheap rate (thieves' tools, lavaspur boots), or some way to generate card advantage that isn't reliant on connecting. I like Pact Weapon a lot here as it ticks the boxes and also gives me a discard outlet should we need that.
lands pool.JPG
Do we need to talk about lands here? We don't need to get fancy, just make our colours and cast our spells. I guess a couple of notes is Great Hall of the Citadel which still fixes for Kaalia at mana parity and doesn't come down tapped. The DOM typelands can likely be another of each snow-basic, probably, and Axgard Armory is a land that tutours up a key equipment, and an aura (note that Animate Dead is an aura, but Necromancy is not. Dance of the Dead would count though, if you want to throw another $15 usd at the deck for another combo piece, but in all actuality you probably don't need the third worst animate dead effect).

Otherwise, there's not a lot to say. Fetchlands are amazing, ABUs, Shocks, Triomes, and Surveils are great, Bicycle and Tango lands are okay but we really want the enemy colours cycles already. If you don't have Fetches, you really don't care about shocks, ABUs, or surveils. You may care about bicycle lands since they still pitch for a fresh card, but otherwise focus on checklands (dragonskull summit et al), painlands (sulfurous springs et al) and city of brass/mana confluence (kinda…these two are surprisingly pricey for what you get, you can probably skip them for command tower, path of ancestry, and nomad outpost if I'm being honest). Maybe even the filters (graven cairns et al), but they're kinda conditional as they still need another land to actually work.




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Deck Strategy

A lot has changed from the time Heavenly Inferno was first marketed to now, in fact eleven years of something has taken place since then.

Kaalia is a combo deck disguised as an aggro deck, which is a common misconception about the deck that many people make (many people assume this is an aggro deck, and then write it off because you can't aggro one-hundred twenty life). Our "combo" is to create a gamestate where we can attack safely and unopposed, repeatedly, with our 2/2 flyer. If we can do that, we will win (or rather, we're one tutor away from a win). As such, anything that doesn't help us to create such a gamestate is unnecessary to our gameplan.

That was the thesis statement I came up with at the start of this ten year journey, and it hasn't really changed, strictly speaking, only the manner with which we kill has changed. Of course, back then I only played one-on-one and a lot of the cards interacted much differently. In that era, we used Rakdos the Defiler and later on Master of Cruelties in tandem with Kaalia, as this allowed for an outright win or, in the case of Rakdos, an effective win because the opponent just lost half their board in a nine point swing.

These days, no one plays one-on-one commander because it's horrifically unbalanced, the entire format is just a race to assemble the most busted fast mana the quickest. And that means our primary finishers, both Rakdos and the MoC, are very inefficient since they only inhibit one player. Since commander is now exclusively a multiplayer format, we need a victory method capable of eliminating multiple players efficiently since you have the same one-hundred cards to deal with three times the opponents.

To this end, you might think that the best way to inhibit opponents is by attacking their mana, but this would be incorrect. As an owner of Null Rod and friends, these cards do work, but what happens is inconsistency as you don't have the critical dearth of the effect to ensure you see one. Sure, you have the rod, Stony Silence, and Karn, Great Creator, but these are three cards in 99…i.e. a 3% chance of seeing one. And tutoring early for these pieces sounds like the play in theory, but in actuality it just slows you a turn or more which can very easily be the difference in opponents landing their key setup spells which would render your hate wasted. What's worse, the rod might not even matter because you still have players fixing their three to five color decks with non-basics, mana dorks (of which you have just Cursed Totem and Linvala, Keeper of Silence to fight such strategies). The short of it is, WotC has made it clear that attacking player's mana development is taboo and that it won't be competitively viable any more, despite the truth that perfect mana is a privilege, not a right...and we need to find another way of attacking their resources that allows us to keep up.

My solution is to fight back against their draw sources. We all know one of the most infamous memes is that player™ that refuses to pay the one for rhystic study. You know the one, every table has them. They erroneously fail to identify the study/mystic remora player as a threat because "they're just drawing cards". Or the aggressive players that slam sylvan library on t2 every game and dump life into it to draw all the cards. Since I can't stop your mana well or consistently enough, I can at least stop your cards…at that point, your excess mana gluttony is ineffective at best since you no longer have an outlet for it. And while I do that, I can still benefit from my own mana production to rush my anti-draw out, since that can afford to be deployed later on than the null rods of the world. So what does this mean? Enter my little friends…
With this you don't deny people their cards strictly speaking, but you deny them the ability to hold cards, which is especially effective against counterspell decks (which is a tough matchup for Kaalia decks in general, or anything that relies on a specific card). It's also especially effective against brainstorm decks. Meanwhile, Kaalia doesn't specifically care, if we exile draw a tutor we'd just cast it to find what we need and move to combat, and if we exile drew a key card, we might just cast it anyway, unless it was one of the few eight drops we care about. Really, we can mitigate this even better by utilizing more "Bob" (pact weapon and similar) styled draw that completely sidesteps this artifact.

Now that we have our methods of hate drawn out, let's take a look at what we're looking to do in various stages of the game.
Early Game Strategy
  • Hand discussion - Generally speaking, if you have two lands and a hate piece, it's probably an alright keep. Or one land and a Tithe. I'm not as concerned about having a Kaalia piece as I can tutor it later when I'm ready to play her. I'd prefer having at least one removal spell as well since invariably there will be that one player that gets the dumb start, but I'd put higher preference to a functioning ramp piece.
  • Sequencing priorities - Since we're in W with no G, it's worth noting that our sequencing to how we ramp becomes important. Knight of the White Orchid and the aforementioned Tithe are very powerful but have very right and very wrong ways to play. KoTWO needs to be played before your land drop (so ensure you can make WW on t3 with two lands, and Tithe is best when you can crack a fetchland/wasteland, retain priority, and respond with it to make sure you can get your two duals. There's a similar card, albeit at sorcery speed and two mana, but it can get three XW duals with the same condition of Tithe. It's called Gift of Estates and it has an absolutely gorgeous Japanese showcase print. It's definitely a bit worse as a two mv sorcery, but it's strong enough to be a good consideration if you want it.
  • Searching priorities - You're looking for protection, or ways to setup the future draws. Cards like Grand Abolisher or Conqueror's Flail (as a second copy of this effect if you so desired it) are a reasonable choice, or the aforementioned Spirit of the Labrynith is a reasonable response to a rhystic study.
  • Future planning - I'm loathe to provide guidance here, because every game is different. I don't want to tell you "always go for plan X in the early game" because that is highly, highly dependent on what it is you'll be facing down. We shouldn't ever become so complacent with our deck such that we develop "autopilot" tendencies. This leads to complacency and your eventual plateau as a player.
  • Interaction priorities - Sure. Magic has tons of powerful cards and undoubtedly players will gravitate towards those cards. Gaea's Cradle is one such card that requires immediate response as you'll lose if it's not swiftly dealt with. Also, typically would you please just "bolt the damn bird" already? Be it a birds of paradise|4ED or esper sentinel, these cards are put in place for a reason. Don't be that guy™ that fails to recognize the threat these cards present.
  • Commander deployment - While some would suggest slamming Kaalia on curve, if you don't have a haste outlet you're calculating a huge risk that usually won't pay off. Look, Kaalia is scary. Kaalia has been scary the past decade. Players are afraid of the scary unknown. Don't jam her out there without haste or at least some sort of protection.
  • Tricks - Reanimate on Vilis, Broker of Blood to draw8 for B. Congrats, you just cast a legal Contract From Below. Also, just Mishra's Workshop. Sometimes you can feel like you won the lottery when you open with this reusable black lotus...but if you're fortunate enough to own one of these, always pack Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth (both of which do not have a color identity) so your land can produce mana even when you don't have an artifact to cast. Also, if you t1 said Workshop into 3sphere, be prepared to dodge books hurled at your head. You know what you did, and you probably deserve it.
  • Transition - Typically when you have a hate piece out and can see opponents struggling and you have some mechanism to draw extra cards. A haste outlet. A tutor on-hand or a key threat to steal the game (Vilis, Broker of Blood is a choice pick here since it prevents any kind of crack back).
Mid-Game Strategy
  • Goals - Just keep Kaalia stable. Tighten up alternative avenues of opponent attack with Karn, Great Creator to shut off any extraneous rocks. Ob Nixilis, Unshackled (which I am lukewarm on, but it does exist if you want it) and Stranglehold to cut off their search.
  • Priorities (sequencing/searching/interaction) updates - Is Kaalia online? Why/why not? If not, you need to understand what's happened, be it not having haste by now, or some means of protection, whatever the case may be, and rectify that. Why didn't you get that online by now, assess the game that's led to your under development. If you're low on cards in hand, find one of your engines be it Ruin Raider or the Pain Seer + Springleaf Drum interaction to get back into it.
  • Disruption and backup - Effects that prevent you from attacking should be a high priority to remove. Powerstone Minefield, Lightmine Field, or Raking Canopy would deny you an attack (but not a trigger) notably, but no one plays these cards at least. The most powerful of these would just say "no, you can't attack" like Moat but we don't care about that specifically. Peacekeeper would inhibit us the most but as a fragile 1/1 it dies to a fart in the wind. Ghostly Prison effects are pretty low priority and more annoying than problematic since you can just pay the 2 to get past it and you shouldn't have a swelled board in the first place with your tribes' innate power. Notably, planeswalkers are a PITA since our commander does not trigger when attacking walkers, only players.
  • Aggression - This is a skill that you learn with time. Typically you don't need more than one Kaalia trigger to go off as that represents ~8 damage/turn because of the size of our creatures, and they're typically the most boss on the board due to their size. Sometimes you just go for broke when, say, you see the win/can knock a player out, or know they don't have the answer and you can heavily pressure a player/the table without losing to the crackback, The aforementioned Vilis, Broker of Blood is fantastic at this for obvious reasons, since they can't just crackback and feed you a full grip of cards…
  • Threat prioritizing - Always attack the player with Islands first, especially untapped Islands. Blue players are tricky, and with superior stack manipulation will offer the greatest chance of interacting with and thus disrupting our strategy. Destroy them. I like utilizing instant speed blue hosers like Omen of Fire to force them to use their mana on their own end step (or just be taken out of the game if they don't have the answer), but cards like Scald are clinically unfair with how early they come down and amount to so much pressure on their life.
  • Power Spikes & Perception - Any kind of large spike in the game will get you noticed. You chose to play Kaalia, this goes with the territory. Notably absurd shifts in the game come any time you turn your creatures into extra cards, say with a Life's Legacy style of effect + a large creature with an enters trigger (rune-scarred demon into disciple of bolas is one of my favourites), or uhh…again, anything with a Vilis, Broker of Blood trigger. Are you noticing a pattern here?
  • Transition - You've got a board state setup with Kaalia ready to attack at a moment's notice right? You're one tutor away from ending the game at this point.
Late-Game
  • Wins & Combos - There's a number of ways to win, one of which is the classic Worldgorger Dragon line, which this Primer did utilize in a previous iteration. This has its own weaknesses, such as completely losing to a single piece of removal in response to the first trigger, necessitating the need to run more Bolt Bend effects to help mitigate this. I used to run this because I have a sweet, old ass arena promo of Fireball|PARL I wanted to show off as my outlet for all the mana I'd generate. Most cDH decks would utilize Razaketh, the Foulblooded somehow to assemble some sort of loop involving Leonin Relic-Warder + Animate Dead and a Mayhem Devil effect. Previously, I always eschewed the Razaketh from this deck as I didn't believe I had enough bodies to be able to power it effectively, but with this increased creature support package, I think that's no longer the case. I really don't like using Mayhem Devil or iMPACT Tremors here though as they are extra pieces which bring an extra layer of vulnerability to the critical turn, despite their presence in the baseline version of the deck as a finisher facilitator.

    Some players would prefer to use Underworld Breach in conjunction with Dockside Extortionist and Wheel of Fortune to generate an arbitrarily large amount of mana and storm count. I don't like this because 1) you're using a $400 reserve list card to power your combo that gets stopped pretty hard to targeted grave hate, and 2) can't combo off in the face of null rod/karn, great creator. While you can sorta squint at Grinding Station kinda replacing the wheel here, it still loses to the second condition. Oh, and since you're drawing everybody else cards, you still end up drawing someone into either a means to stop you, or just a way to win off you with, say, a Thassa's Oracle. I think that's a lot of extraneous strikes against it that you don't need to subject yourself to, despite this being the most-perceived "best" way to win - monkey see, monkey do, after all.

    So 3drinks™, you're asking, what's this mean? How do I plan to win, now that I've taken a public stance against the cDH so-called best way to win? An excellent question, I'm so glad you asked! As I alluded to earlier, we are still utilizing Razaketh now that we have more bodies to send to the demon as an offering of fodder, and we're still going for Leonin Relic-Warder + Animate Dead/Dance of the Dead/Necromancy. And we still have Sevinne's Reclamation to get one/both pieces back. Instead however, I'm introducing Bitter Ordeal as the kill condition of choice to go with our arbitrarily large number of sacrifices. This method not only prevents them from drawing into Thassa's Oracle on you, it also doesn't stock their graveyard, fights through Null Rod, and doesn't lose to any method of damage prevention. Of note you still can't combo into on-board grave hate a la Leyline of the Void|TSR, or through targeted grave hate a la Withered Wretch and you can't beat timed surprise Rakdos Charms - which the previous so-called "best" version of the combo couldn't do either, mind you. But now since we're not reliant on dealing damage, we also don't strictly care about Angel's Grace defenses either. In fact, the only thing that really hard stops our combo is Solitary Confinement. Not even a counterspell can stop us (please, no e-mails about Mindbreak Trap/Summary Dismissal) because gravestorm, like storm, is treated as individual spells.
  • Disruption and backup - Bob effects can hurt. They especially hurt when we play a lot of them, and hurt furthermore when you play some number of high cost tribes. If opponents can pressure our life it can make it risky to deploy our engines. Luckily however, this is commander where most people would rather draw cards and play with themselves, rather than actually win the game. So you've got that going for you. Additionally, sometimes players will actually read your cards and just never let Kaalia attack. That's probably the correct play given what she enables, but because of that it means we have to have more means of executing our goal than just our commander, such as reanimation or even a Through the Breach to get that key trigger off that you need to win. Additionally, this is why it's important that cards such as Baneslayer Angel and Lyra Dawnbringer exist; reasonably hard-castable bodies that help mitigate, at least partially, our over-expenditure of life.




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Card Choice Discussion

I like to think this is a half typical Mardu list; you got fetchlands, cheap tutors, and two drop mana rocks that come in untapped. It's got Angels, Demons, and Dragons and reanimation spells like a typical Kaalia deck. It's even got the usual suspect creatures that Kaalia cares about. So let's look at some of the other cards that might not be immediately obvious.

Let's look at the mana, since I took extra care to ensure I can reliably fetch all my colors with ease despite not having access to G. This means I easily fix colors early with arcum's astrolabe without losing a card, and I take advantage of W cards that find plains duals like the aforementioned timeless dragon and angel of the ruins, which pull double duty by being a threat if I see them late instead of something boring like a rampant growth|mir.

Then we look at our draw style cards, which are different from the standard decks as we're locking other's draws under an uba mask, then using the reveal the top card and lose life for it's mana value, style spells to circumvent that restriction. So, naturally the aforementioned uba mask is an important part of this deck. And, it's cousin on legs, spirit of the labyrinth. Pact Weapon I'm especially fond of given it gives us a sort of lifeline, and at least allows us to Ad Naus without just dying, though you're vulnerable to any disenchant effect just taking you out on resolution if you dig too deep.

I suppose special mention belongs to thundermaw hellkite. This, in addition to being a reasonably easy to cast body with relevant type, it also ensures we have a safe, clear skies attack with its enters the battlefield trigger. That's really all it is, and it's those perks that make me consider it a corre card.

Okay, let's look at cards that seem obvious that I'm not playing, and we'll start with the elephant in the room;

Dockside Extortionist, because no matter all the stories I hear, this card is worth on average ~1.5 treasures. It's just a wily goblin, I just don't understand how this card can have such a wide range of effectiveness, but there it is. Worth noting I guess, is that this card is highly meta dependent. There's some environments - notably with heavy enchantress players and an abundance of fast mana decks a la Godo, Bandit Warlord decks - that this card gets a vast increase in power level such that you should probably play it. In my experience, I always seem to miss the mark with it, despite seeing tables on either side of me it would pop off in. It's much better against me, than with me, and isn't that just a little sad.

Smothering Tithe, which should be semi-obvious in that I'm throttling people's draw already which makes it less effective than usual, but in addition at four mana value it's a bit slow to get going and directly competes with Kaalia on curve. These are enough reasons to omit it, at least in my book. There's a similar reasoning with the omission of Esper Sentinel and Archivist of Ohgma as well, at least in regards to drawing cards being throttled.

Omen Machine/Possessed Portal, at first glance we should probably be on these. They're on-strat with our draw denial mechanism, but they're so mana heavy and it wants to force me into a Goblin Welder package to cheat them out. Which, I suppose, isn't a bad place to be if I'm being honest. Omen Machine especially since it might just freecast a Razaketh off the top, and I can even go back to Sensei's Divining Top to help set it up and supplement Vampiric Tutor. The truth about these however, is that these are known prison cards and will draw player aggro and maybe even a propensity for other players to throw dice and rulebooks at your head in frustration. That's a joke, but no the heat they have is very real and they may not be suitable to your playgroup. Now, if it's me, I know Kaalia has the heat already so I might as well jam them, but in the scope of a Primer I don't think it's an acceptable take to make these types of cards front-and-centre cards for the deck. They should be a player-specific decision, IMHO.

Alternatively, as my deck list is incredibly tuned for what I expect to face at my personal LGS, you also might just take the Baseline deck and upgrade the creature base and add some tutors and faster lands. That's a viable deck too as long as you remember the tenets





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Credit & Thanks

Man. It's been over ten years. Let that sink in. I've been doing this for over a decade now. I can't even begin to remember everybody, so I'm going to, unfortunately, use the tired generalized cliche of "everyone that ever played Kaalia, interacted with me in this thread, on @mtgsally, Twitter, the Kaalia discord", you all that got crazy excited to see what I try to do next, this one is for all of you. Every single one of you. Here's to another decade. :foil:




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Change Log

Changelog Date
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It's been over a decade. Obviously there's a lot of changes. Like, a lot, a lot of changes in and out of the deck through the years. If there's a card I haven't touched on, it's likely come and gone, but mention it anyway and we can discuss it. New changelog starts here.




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Kaalia, Zenith Seeker

Kaalia, Zenith Seeker
Last Deck Update: 5.31.22


Professional Analysis

Converted Mana Cost: Neo Kaalia's cmc is WBR, which is an aggressively pushed cost for what otherwise is a 3/3 creature with two static abilities, and even more aggressively costed with an enters the battlefield effect stapled onto her that can generate card advantage. Without this effect, she is a very aggressive (but fair) commander, and with it, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Her Ability: The irony is not lost on me that Neo Kaalia's power pales in comparison to the original's. That's to be expected however, as the original's ability to circumvent mana costs is the single strongest trait a player can utilize in any given game of Magic. With that said, Neo Kaalia's ability is still one worth pursuing as she can generate an up to plus three in terms of card advantage. In comparison to the original which needed a steady stream of extra cards to maintain it's strategy, Neo Kaalia can get to the mid-game and even late just by virtue of it's own ability keeping it fueled. This ability is not such an easy ability to manipulate however;

"When Kaalia, Zenith Seeker enters the battlefield, look at the top six cards of your library. You may reveal an Angel card, a Demon card, and/or a Dragon card from among them and put them into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order."

In the top six cards, we're looking to be able to pick up half of those while shipping the rest to the bottom. That's great, but the cards are specific – we need one angel, one demon, and one dragon specifically, we can't just grab three angels and call it good! We also must be able to cast the cards, drawing extra cards we can't utilize is an otherwise wasted resource. And since we don't have a cheat mechanism built into our commander, we must be wary of the mana curve of our deck. That's not to say we have to exclusively curve out at four, of course, but we know that the higher the cost, the more weight those cards need to be able to pull in order to be worth a deck slot.

Reasons you would enjoy this deck:

• You love playing with Miracles.
• You enjoy piloting a deck that can build longterm advantage from the beginning of the game.
• You love original Kaalia but are tired of your friends taking a ball bat to your knees.

Reasons you wouldn't enjoy playing this deck:

• You prefer a shotgun blast to the face approach rather than an intrinsic value-over-time engine.
• You would rather beat everybody all at once and at the same time.
• You like decks that actually play more than one six plus converted mana cost card.
Incentivizing the Choice to play Kaalia, Zenith Seeker
So, if you're reading this far, by now you must be wondering why you would ever pick this up when you could go Lab Man or Food Chain, or Flash Hulk or even just Eldrazi Sneak your way to victory. Hell, why would you pay retail on these angels, demons, and dragons when you could instead pay zero and get them with pseudo haste? The answer is because you don't want to be obvious about what you're doing in a multiplayer format.

Let's be honest, when someone sits down at the table with a Tymna-Thrasios deck, you instantly know the tryhard alert went off around everyone. When original Kaalia sits down, you know she draws legitimate vile and malice from opponents that are afraid of the unknown. Meanwhile, our deck here can make use of a lot of "under the hood" style of optimizations. What does that mean, "under the hood", right? What I mean by that is that this deck will be making use of a lot of basic card advantage theory to increase the average card quality you see in a given game. You know how you resolve a Brainstorm and then follow it up with a fetchland to create an Ancestral Recall? Yeah, those are the kinds of optimizations I'm talking about here. And here's where the name for this deck comes into play (err...enters the battlefield :P).

Since our commander cares about our top deck, it's not exactly a huge leap of logic to take on a miracle approach. With cards like Sensei's Divining Top and Scroll Rack, in fact with the Rack especially you can generate immense card advantage with the commander by putting the angels, demons, and dragons from your hand back on top, drawing those new cards, and then blinking or otherwise resolving the commander again to draw those cards right back! And, as an added bonus there was probably some cards you didn't care about that could get shipped to the bottom clear and out of your way! Then as an added benefit to go with all these top deck matters strategies, we can go back to "outplaying our opponent with Vampiric Tutor for Terminus to put them on tilt for the rest of the night!" That last sentence is obviously sarcasm, but the strategy is genuine. A one mana tutor to hard wipe all creatures to the bottom for also one mana when the two cards also fit well into our deck's strategy anyway, is quite the potent game plan.

More Than One Way to Skin a Cat: Astral Slide
So miracles aren't "your thing". You don't like to alter your playstyle to accommodate a few cards castable at a discount, and you love enters-the-battlefield effects. You want to take this commander, designed for contemporary longterm play, and turn it into a shotgun blast to the face akin to the original Kaalia. Boy, do I have an idea for you. You see as it turns out, cycling decks have been around for decades now, and have been especially poignant since Scourge block, with the introduction of a little card called Astral Slide. For reference, in case you've been living under a rock;

"Whenever a player cycles a card, you may exile target creature. If you do, return that card to the battlefield under its owner's control at the beginning of the next end step."

"But 3drinks," you ask, "How many cycling cards are actually relevant and not just over-costed niche effects? And how on Earth will we build around one card that doesn't even start in the command zone?" Well as it turns out, there's about sixty or so reasonably playable cards with cycling. Now, of course we're not going to be playing all of those because we have to make room for the actual meat and potatoes of the deck, Slide is just a mechanism to squeeze as much value from the commander as we can. To your other question, fellow reader, cycling is a powerful effect that allows us to both draw through our deck (seeing more cards than anticipated) without actually casting spells which maintains card parity through counterspells. In essence, we get to "cycle" through our deck to find what we need to keep up with any pace of game. To your last concern, how do we rely on one card that isn't our commander. It's simple, for starters we actually do have a functional reprint (though clearly not as good since it doesn't trigger off other player's cycles), but ultimately we are in the colors with the most tutor depth of all, nearing 15% of our deck if we were so inclined. In short, that gives us approximately a raw 17% of chance of the initial 100 to see one of the cards to fetch astral slide, and this chance improves as we cycle through the deck. This number further increases as we play the same "miracles suite" of cards that let us stack or otherwise reorganize our deck for peak efficiency.

That sounds like a lot of bookkeeping. How does it work?
The Deck Lists
Slide Kaalia
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Slide Kaalia

Commander (1)

Approximate Total Cost:

Miraculous Kaalia
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Miraculous Kaalia

Commander (1)

Approximate Total Cost:

Deck stats for those that don't want to calculate those on their own: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/miraculous-kaalia/
Miraculous Changelog
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Alpha changes: -1 Armageddon, Ravages of War, Angelic Overseer, Lightning Bolt, Terminate
+1 Static Orb, Land Tax, Mortuary, Nameless Inversion, Crib Swap

Beta changes: -1 Lightning Greaves, Winter Orb, Static Orb, Bloodgift Demon, Angelic Field Marshal, Butcher of the Horde
+1 Haakon, Stromgald Scourge; Entomb, Anger, Anvil of Bogardan, Faithless Looting, Eternal Dragon
Key Cards to the Deck
Scroll Rack & Sensei's Divining Top: As outlined above, these are corre pieces to the deck's miracles strategy, allowing me to cast powerful cards at an under-priced mana cost, as well as provide assistance in ensuring each Neo Kaalia trigger nets me as many usable cards as possible.

Mortuary: We can stack the triggers post wrath with Kaalia on top, draw her, cast for three and get three threats. Even just casting Kaalia from the CZ will ship the top six, meaning the chances of getting locked out of our top deck is nil with this commander.

More to come with real time field play experience.
Cards to Avoid
Akroma, Angel of Fury: While she can do the same stuff we play Exalted Angel for (it's interaction with Astral Slide), there's a nonbo to the card and that is it's protection from white, which prevents us from protecting it from removal with Astral Slide. Therefore, it's a trap, don't do it!
Effective Strategies
So those previous lists are from an earlier time, when the commander was still new and build paths were being explored. I brought them over for the historical significance only, which is why I left them in spoiler tags. As you might have guessed, they haven't aged particularly gracefully as the format has moved on. There's a few reason for this;

• Miracles have some awkward play patterns that require you to alter the way you play to avoid giving away tells when you top deck a miracle or not.
• Slide decks require a large number of deck slots to function, but further deck experience shows that this deck requires a large number of creature slots to ensure we proc the commander frequently. This creates friction between the strategies.

So it turns out, blink is good. Reanimation is good. You have a commander that creates card advantage on ETB and always has another threat, so circumventing costs to get the chance to deploy our threats ahead of curve or even better, deploying multiple threats at once, this will let the deck work at keeping up with anything else on board. But here's the catch, I said this deck needs a high creature count to proc the commander, and these tribes don't do well with high counts. Further, if you jam any old creatures just to get your counts up, you miss out on the other utilitarian cards that make any deck work, like tutors. So you have to get clever by making your slots perform double duty - i.e. a dragon card that also ramps and fixes your colors, or a demon that also acts as a removal spell often in place of a more efficient generic card of the same function.

How do you (or I) know what the proper count is for these three traditionally high mana tribes?

You can run the numbers through a hypergeometric probability calculator, or, take the numbers I already came up with which is, optimally, 36 creatures but you can get by with 34 as a 90% chance to see at least one creature in the top six. Note that changelings are pretty decent here since they can fill in for any tribe that might otherwise be under-represented (like demons), but the only ones I really liked were the two champion a creature changelings, since they also can buy you a blink on the commander. Below I'm going to share a deck list from right around May 2022 as an example of what the typical deck should look like. Of course any questions can be fielded right here in my thread!
Kaalia, Zenith Seeker

Commander

Approximate Total Cost:

Last edited by 3drinks 1 day ago, edited 56 times in total.
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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benjameenbear
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Post by benjameenbear » 5 years ago

All hail the liaison to Kaalia and his Primer! I'll be transitioning over my Multi-Player Kaalia to the cEDH side of Nexus, but I'm pleased to see that you've made the transition over here. Welcome!

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 5 years ago

benjameenbear wrote:
5 years ago
All hail the liaison to Kaalia and his Primer! I'll be transitioning over my Multi-Player Kaalia to the cEDH side of Nexus, but I'm pleased to see that you've made the transition over here. Welcome!
Wish I had a regular cEDH group here but no one wants to play at that small a solved pool here. -_-
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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benjameenbear
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Post by benjameenbear » 5 years ago

Indeed. My wife exclusively plays her Kaalia list any time she sits down to play MTG, so by default I play a cEDH style of game nearly every time I play with her and anyone else heh.

Will the new Kaalia find a slot in your regular Primer?

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 5 years ago

benjameenbear wrote:
5 years ago
Indeed. My wife exclusively plays her Kaalia list any time she sits down to play MTG, so by default I play a cEDH style of game nearly every time I play with her and anyone else heh.

Will the new Kaalia find a slot in your regular Primer?
In this deck? Nah, I can't imagine that since I run only about 16 - 18 slots. But I am currently developing the new one on her own.
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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Post by Sanity_Eclipse » 4 years ago

Is 1v1 EDH vs Duel 1v1 EDH still an important difference? I figure that at this point I'm only going to teach friends and/or a future wife to play, so it would be my own decks against each other, and I would want them all to be on the same page, ban-list wise (etc. Different power levels, but same overall page).
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- Lyra - Naru Meha - Chandra - Lovisa - Nissa -
- Lavinia X - Yuriko - Jhoira - Saheeli - Glissa - Lathril - Meren - Koma -
- Anafenza - Alela - Sen Triplets - Inalla - Sidisi -
- Breya -

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

Well I am not built to the Duel Commander banlist here. This is built to the traditional commander banlist, and designed for 1v1 games.
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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Post by Sanity_Eclipse » 4 years ago

3drinks wrote:
4 years ago
Well I am not built to the Duel Commander banlist here. This is built to the traditional commander banlist, and designed for 1v1 games.
Fair enough, thank you for the response. Feeling a bit rusty from not having played or actively built decks for a while.
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- Lyra - Naru Meha - Chandra - Lovisa - Nissa -
- Lavinia X - Yuriko - Jhoira - Saheeli - Glissa - Lathril - Meren - Koma -
- Anafenza - Alela - Sen Triplets - Inalla - Sidisi -
- Breya -

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

Sanity_Eclipse wrote:
4 years ago
3drinks wrote:
4 years ago
Well I am not built to the Duel Commander banlist here. This is built to the traditional commander banlist, and designed for 1v1 games.
Fair enough, thank you for the response. Feeling a bit rusty from not having played or actively built decks for a while.
I was going to say, it's been quite some time since I've seen you around my primer or any other deck in general. Welcome back. To what do we owe the return, and how surprised are you to see the current incarnation of this deck from it's original form in 2011?
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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Sanity_Eclipse
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Post by Sanity_Eclipse » 4 years ago

3drinks wrote:
4 years ago
I was going to say, it's been quite some time since I've seen you around my primer or any other deck in general. Welcome back. To what do we owe the return, and how surprised are you to see the current incarnation of this deck from it's original form in 2011?
I'm working a part time job right now, and am kinda just going through new cards and fiddling with my decks as mental exercise, really. Back then I was finishing up college and then I began working like an adult, etc.

Some surprises in terms of the deck, but they immediately register as "oh yeah, that makes sense." Cool to see some creatures I really liked come back in (Balefire, Lord of the Void, Thunder Dragon, etc). :)

...Oh god, reposting my decks is gonna be a pain...
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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

Sanity_Eclipse wrote:
4 years ago
3drinks wrote:
4 years ago
I was going to say, it's been quite some time since I've seen you around my primer or any other deck in general. Welcome back. To what do we owe the return, and how surprised are you to see the current incarnation of this deck from it's original form in 2011?
I'm working a part time job right now, and am kinda just going through new cards and fiddling with my decks as mental exercise, really. Back then I was finishing up college and then I began working like an adult, etc.

Some surprises in terms of the deck, but they immediately register as "oh yeah, that makes sense." Cool to see some creatures I really liked come back in (Balefire, Lord of the Void, Thunder Dragon, etc). :)

...Oh god, reposting my decks is gonna be a pain...
I coulda sworn I replied here, god how asleep was I that morning. Overnight shifts suck >_<

Yeah, the creature suite is in a good place, I think. We're pretty slow to get new choices for our creatures, understandably slow sure since the current suite has quite the power level. Vilis, Broker of Blood is totally getting a slot though. Finally a payoff for all the lifeloss.

Prismatic Vista is totally in too, though I see I need to add that officially. Wonder if I'm actually at a point where my filter lands are unnecessary. I have the pretty expo filters but my mana is at such a high point and I've got some of my CMCs under control colour wise that I might just be able to do that. Ten fetches, 3 ABUs, 3 shocks, a tango, a bicycle, 7 basics, and the rainbow suite with the four colourless lands or so we care about (strip, waste, tomb, bandit lord) which brings us to 33, 34 with urborg, 36 with the new "canopy" lands.....filters not even accounted for yet. That's some very potent mana fixing, and with crucible coming back to the deck (I can't justify not running crucible in a deck with ten fetches, plus four lands I like to replay, and it's a source of CA plus triggers our new big shiny CA demon). Which all makes a pretty decent justification for Tomik, Distinguished Advokist to join as a hatebear.

I'm rambling. Anyway, point being, this primer is still and will always be an active list until such time as I finally sell out of this game haha. Great to have you back and hope the rest of our community from @mtgsally comes over too.
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

I'm nixing the WGD combo from the contract list. We don't have enough ways to get it into the yard, and it doesn't really exist for anything than just to combo. This will free up a few slots that we can use to reinforce our current end game (liliana's contract).

I'll also be tinkering with the mana some as well, as I don't believe I need the filter lands any more. We've been quite blessed with mana lately. 🙃
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

Well, that's an auto play card.

Image
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

As hard as I am on Flameblast Syndrome, this is just the kind of ridiculousness I need to see to justify breaking my rule against it.

Image
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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Sanity_Eclipse
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Post by Sanity_Eclipse » 4 years ago

3drinks wrote:
4 years ago
As hard as I am on Flameblast Syndrome, this is just the kind of ridiculousness I need to see to justify breaking my rule against it.

Image
Same kinda wording as Master of Cruelties, so you need three targets to not hit yourself or your creatures. How often does that happen, honest question? One early flier or value creature, plus the actual player, usually (I would assume). Maybe both an early flier and a value creature, fair enough. Still might leave a third necessary target. Tutor up Fellowship to protect against a lack of enemy targets?

My rusty train of thought on this. Love Drakuseth, first assumption was probably Dragon.dec for me.
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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

[mention]Sanity_Eclipse[/mention] not quite, actually. Note that key wording "up to". There's never any time we will hit ourselves or anything of ours. So we can either dome them for 4 (a free Char is pretty great to me, which is an 11 point swing on it's own), with the added effect of hitting two other targets. Or blowing someone out with the "free" 3 for 0.
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

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Jeff2302
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Post by Jeff2302 » 4 years ago

So with full spoilers out, i am looking at Backdraft Dragon

Now this is worth running despite the flameblast syndrome especially in my deck which is now with a reanimation suite and plenty of haste enablers.

Decklist for reference, I will be cutting Angel of Serenity for it
http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/kaalia-o ... iplayer-3/

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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

I like the idea of recasting Thoughtseize and Sinkholes, [mention]Jeff2302[/mention], but I really question whether it's efficient enough with flameblast syndrome, especially given most reanimation that's cheap you want to recast are auras. It's totally better than the Angel though.
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

Jeff2302
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Post by Jeff2302 » 4 years ago

I run the following instant and sorceries which I would love to recast.
Getting to recast one or two spells, even looting spells would make the cost very worth it imo

Instant (6)
1x Enlightened Tutor
1x Entomb
1x Path to Exile
1x Swords to Plowshares
1x Teferi's Protection
1x Vampiric Tutor

Sorcery (12)
1x Armageddon
1x Cathartic Reunion
1x Damnation
1x Demonic Tutor
1x Exhume
1x Faithless Looting
1x Ravages of War
1x Reanimate
1x Tormenting Voice
1x Toxic Deluge
1x Vindicate
1x Wheel of Fortune

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

[mention]Jeff2302[/mention] yeah there's lots of cards we'd like to rebuy for sure. He's probably fine, and he's castable on his own.
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

So I misevaluated Backdraft Hellkite. Turns out getting a free four cmc sorcery on attacks is pretty good. So uhhh, yeah, despite the non-synergy with contract, I think that's a bit too strong to resist.
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

I'm replacing Ravages of War. Often I felt like I had too much MLD when realistically you only need one because one should end the game, right? And, I sold my Ravages anyway because it's just a $90 Armageddon.

I'm open to suggestions, right now the tentative replacement is Boom // Bust, since it has early game play (Boom targeting their land and your fetch/wasteland for the tempo shot, in case you didn't know).
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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3drinks
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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

Some day I'm going to get around to combining this primer with my Zenith Kaaliam primer to make this a total hub for all things Kaalia in general. Idk if this is something that carries any real genuine interest though in this era of social media killing traditional forums.
79366971_10158047838013919_2586063486106730496_n.jpg
Kaalia is where I see this shining most, but I don't think it's good enough at the seven slot. He already has double strike, so on the one trigger he's only buffing Kaalia, which isn't enough...but if you have one other angel, demon, or dragon out, consistently when you drop this, that just might push it over the edge.

Interestingly, I think this thing's value is in a blink shell. Ironically, new Kaalia comes to mind since you have Astral Slide and Heartless Summoning to cheat it faster...
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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pokken
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Post by pokken » 4 years ago

Hey man can I ask you a question as to the why of this 1v1 build of traditional commander? Do you play it multiplayer a lot, or do you have just a crew of people who sometimes like to play 1v1? Or is it just the mindset you apply to the deck, that you want to try to make the game 1v1?

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Post by 3drinks » 4 years ago

pokken wrote:
4 years ago
Hey man can I ask you a question as to the why of this 1v1 build of traditional commander? Do you play it multiplayer a lot, or do you have just a crew of people who sometimes like to play 1v1? Or is it just the mindset you apply to the deck, that you want to try to make the game 1v1?
That's a great question. It's really just the mindset to playing the deck, since Kaalia isn't much of a multiplayer deck (or wasn't, until I embraced liliana's contract as an alt win). She really doesn't shine so much when you have to eliminate three people, y'know?
Steel Sabotage'ng Orbs of Mellowness since 2011.

I collect Kaalia of the Vast normal-size cards. Do you have any extra taking up space in your binder? Help me grow my collection! :)

WBRKaalia HQ WBR

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