martes, 24 de abril de 2012

Kaalia of the Vast

"I'll have my revenge if I have to call on every force from above and below."
-Kaalia of the Vast-

Kaalia of the Vast is a beatdown General that also works pretty well on the late game.

Her ability to put Dragons, Angels and Demons onto the battlefield when she declares an attack becomes very powerful for three main reasons:

1) Dragons, Angels and Demons tend to be pretty gigantic.
2) Dragons, Angels and Demons often pack game-changing effects.
3) You get to use your mana on effects and backup spells rapidly and often without losing firepower or board presence.

So what does this mean, exactly?

This means that a Kaalia deck can ignore most non-creature cards that are otherwise staples in most other Commander decks because her creatures already have plenty of useful effects that you can abuse early in the game. Also, and most obviously, you can 'board' the creatures with Kaalia without using up your mana, enabling the use of activated abilities of dragons or lands, or even cast tutors or support, while at the same time you get your creatures out there. The other relevant thing about these three major pros is that you can use that extra space that you saved by packing effective creatures to add more ramping spells. This enables you not to rely that much on Kaalia to get your enormous creatures onto the battlefield. Whats most important about this is that you are getting at least two implicit effects from your commander: FOCUS and EFFICIENCY, things that are very valuable in any Commander deck.

What are the cons?

Well, you will basically be the focus of attention and hate from the very beginning. As a pretty aggressive and versatile deck, your Kaalia build will be subject to constant removal and disruption. This means that it is pretty important to include a hefty amount of protection for your General and friends:


Although Kaalia has some evasion in the form of 'flying', she still has a small toughness (only 2), so preventing damage when she attacks is pretty important. Dolmen Gate is also great because it is cheap and its effects applies to all your attacking creatures. The other protective permanents are pretty obvious equipments:

Now, most people would include a playset of at least three different 'swords' so that their creatures can have protection from all colors, but I'm only adding Sword of Feast and Famine because of a certain game-ending combo that I will discuss in a moment.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope is also pretty useful as protection:


As I mentioned early, you will need mana-ramping in case your commander gets removed several times. Most of the ramping in this deck comes from the usual artifacts from non-green:

The signet-ingot-ring playset, as well as the Armillary Sphere, are used in almost every non-green commander deck since they ramp AND fix mana color problems for 'golden' commanders like Kaalia.

Chromatic Lantern is a MUST for any multicolored Commander deck.


We also need tutors to search for the right answers, or to just set-up the dreaded combo that I will discuss later. This deck includes most of the tutors that every black deck can muster:


Card advantage is pretty important in any beatdown commander deck since you can run out of fuel pretty quickly:

There is not much card advantage going on here since that is a Green and Blue thing, but these three are more than enough, specially with the much anticipated combo with Dragon Mage.


Another major aspect of every commander deck is the ability to re-use those precious cards that give you an edge over the game. This deck features four great recursion cards:

Note that you can use Beacon of Unrest to recover any protective equipment.

Eternal Dragon can search for Plains early and then fuel Kaalia's attack later.

Twilight Shepherd works great with sweepers, including your own.


Since this deck benefits from putting gigantic creatures onto the battlefield without having to pay any mana, we can abuse the destruction of lands as long as we have Kaalia on the battlefield and a hand full of creatures.

Note that if you have Avacyn, Angel of Hope in the battlefield you an cast Akroma's Vengeance and Obliterate with a perverse grin on your face. I prefer Armaggedon over Wrath of God since we want to focus on land destruction for Kaalia's ability.


Now that we already have discussed the minor mechanics of the deck, it is time to explain the big weapons! Creatures is a major part of this commander deck, even more than most green and token decks out there. As I mentioned before, all creatures in this deck can be landed with Kaalia (except for Stoneforge Mystic) and they all have pretty powerful game-changing effects that save you space for more creatures and spells that focus on Kaalia. Most decks divide their spells in sections that represent a category, like removal, recursion, tutors, protection and whatnot. I will make this only with creatures:


Here is some spot-removal:


Then, here is some MASS-removal:


Yes, you can control with Kaalia too. Some angels have disruptive and controlling effects that involve different aspects of battle.

Lets stop here with Gisela for one second. Gisela, along with Avacyn, Obliterate and Dragon Mage are some of the most powerful drops for this deck. Gisela is incredibly powerful in her own right, but she also has an implicit effect that is unique for Commander: she will make your opponents attack some other player just to make the most out their attacks. You see, Gisela is a very POLITICAL card. Politics is the most rewarding aspect of a Commander game. You can make alliances, rivalries and/or force your opponents or allies to do or not to do certain things. Gisela incentives your opponents without hurting you. In fact, you will benefit from your opponents attacking themselves for double damage while you sit there in relative safety since none will attack you for half the damage. Make sure to make Gisela one of your top priorities in any commander match with this deck.

Yosei, the Morning Star is a bit of a gamble when you get to trigger its effect. Depending on your opponent's board position, you might be able to skip to one, or even two of them, an entire turn by tapping their precious lands. In the worst case scenario, you can at least shut down for a turn some crazy setup they might have been messing with.

Also, Iona, Shield of Emeria can single-handedly remove mono-colored players from the game.

Stranglehold protects you from combo and Time Stretch decks, or at least lags them.


With every beatdown deck you always want to have one or two creatures that exist just for the sake of dealing obscene amounts of battle damage to your opponents. Kaalia has two such friends:

Moonveil Dragon's firebreathing ability is unique since it pumps up EVERY creature that you have. Utvara Hellkite creates an army of dragons that grow exponentially as the turns pass away. Hellkite Tyrant can repeatedly steal your opponents artifacts and may win you the game if you happen to collect 20 or more of them. Scourge of the Throne gives you an extra combat phase whenever you attack the player with the most life. Aurelia, the Warleader does the same without the restrictions, although she is not that big. These extra combat phase effects help Kaalia put another Angel, Demon or Dragon onto the battlefield!

There is reason why Kokusho, the Evening Star was banned from Commander for quite a while. He doesn't look like it, but the legendary black dragon can deal a LOT of damage repeatedly when recurred and revived.


Finally, the combo, the most effective and important part of this deck; this is the moment you have been waiting for!

Basically, the combo gives you INFINITE or A LOT of battle phases, which you can use to bash your opponents to death.

This deck actually runs two versions of this mechanic. The first version is faster and easier to pull off since it only requires TWO cards. Here it is:


As you can see, equipping Sword of Feast and Famine to Hellkite Charger and attacking is all it takes to obtain extra battle phases for as long as Hellkite Charger can bash through your opponent's defenses. First, you will equip Hellkite Charger and attack to pay for its trigger effect to happen. With every successful hit you will untap all your lands again because of the equipment's secondary effect, and you will also have an extra battle step. At this point you only have to repeat the process for as long as you can get through.

The other version of this combo requires three pieces, but it is a lot safer since you can keep putting Angels, Demons and Dragons onto the battlefield every time you get an additional battle step in the same turn. This enables you to pass through better defensive stances and obnoxious blockers:


Retrace is one of the best abilities that you can have in any Commander deck. This is what makes Waves of Aggression one of the most important cards in your deck. It enables you to repeatedly get extra battle phases in where you can trigger Kaalia's effect twice and deal a lot more damage per turn. But it also enables an upgraded version of the combo that I just discussed. When a Dragon Mage is equipped with Sword of Feast and Famine you will get a new hand and all your lands untapped. If you happen to have a Waves of Aggression either in your hand OR in your graveyard, you will just have to discard one land that you must have certainly scored with Dragon Mage's effect and pay for Wave of Aggresion's Retrace cost to get an additional battle step... in where you will land a new creature with Kaalia, untap all your lands with the sword and refresh your whole hand with the dragon. You can repeat this for as long as you draw at least one land card every time you replenish your hand with Dragon Mage's effect. As I said, this will enable you to get A LOT of battle phases. I say 'a lot' and not 'infinite' as with the Hellkite Charger because there is a small chance that you will NOT draw a land card with Dragon Mage's effect. Also, there is a slight possibility that you will mill yourself with the same effect since you will de drawing seven cards every time you deal damage. Of course, you can also MILL your opponents to death, but this all depends in how many tutoring and card drawing you and your opponents used. This even bypasses the Eldrazi, Progenitus, Legacy Weapon and other such cards that return to their owners deck since drawing seven cards is just too much. Anyway, you will probably deal lethal damage to everybody before anyone decks-out.


Since Kaalis has three colors and you want her out as soon as possible it is important to have a very solid mana base that enables you to play fast and safely. Four mana for a tri-colored General requires a lot of multicolored lands that do not come tapped into play.

Multicolored or 'golden' lands include:

Dual are the most abundant and include:

The 'vivid' lands from Lorwyn, although monocolored, function as limited 'golden' lands:

Also, the legendary Kamigawa mono colored lands. Although they are monocled, they all offer protective or evasive effects that are beneficial for Kaalia:

And last, but definitively not least, the utility lands:

Buried Ruin lets you recover your lost precious equipment. Bojuka Bog removes a graveyard that focuses on combo or constant recursion. Vault of the Archangel is just another useful way of dumping all your mana into one card to benefit your creatures and yourself. Mikokoro can help you out when you are out of gas, something can can actually happen with the few card-drawing tools that this deck has. And Miren is probably the least attractive land card in the list, but it helps a lot when someone casts a sweeper on the board and you sac your biggest dork for extra life, something that is very valuable when everybody is trying to kill you.

You will also need 4x Mountain, 4x Plains and 2x Swamp. You need to use the 'Snow-Covered' versions to enable Rimescale Dragon's effect.

This is all the tech I can show you for the awesome Kaalia of the Vast Commander deck. Here is the full deck list for your reference:

1x Kaalia of the Vast
Creatures (34)
            1x Scourge of Kher Ridges
            1x Avacyn, Angel of Hope
            1x Oros, the Avenger
            1x Iona, Shield of Emeria
            1x Angel of Despair
            1x Ryusei, the Falling Star
            1x Bladewing the Risen
            1x Dragon Mage
            1x Yosei, the Morning Star
            1x Angel of Serenity
            1x Eternal Dragon
            1x Kokusho, the Evening Star
            1x Reya Dawnbringer
            1x Adarkar Valkyrie
            1x Twilight Shepherd
            1x Aurelia, the Warleader
            1x Utvara Hellkite
            1x Rimescale Dragon
            1x Hellkite Charger
            1x Admonition Angel
            1x Scourge of the Throne
            1x Angelic Arbiter
            1x Steel Hellkite
            1x Hoard-Smelter Dragon
            1x Hellkite Tyrant
            1x Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
            1x Harvester of Souls
            1x Basandra, Battle Seraph
            1x Rune-Scarred Demon
            1x Reaper from the Abyss
            1x Bloodgift Demon
            1x Balefire Dragon
            1x Lord of the Void
            1x Moonveil Dragon
Sorcery (10)
            1x Armageddon
            1x Beacon of Unrest
            1x Diabolic Tutor
            1x Akroma's Vengeance
            1x Obliterate
            1x Catastrophe
            1x Demonic Tutor
            1x Beseech the Queen
            1x Waves of Aggression
            1x Increasing Ambition
Enchantments (1)
            1x Stranglehold
Artifacts (14)
            1x Dolmen Gate
            1x Rakdos Signet
            1x Orzhov Signet
            1x Boros Signet
            1x Darksteel Ingot
            1x Whispersilk Cloak
            1x Lightning Greaves
            1x Thran Dynamo
            1x Sol Ring
            1x Chromatic Lantern
            1x Armillary Sphere
            1x Nim Deathmantle
            1x Sword of Feast and Famine
1x Darksteel Plate
Lands (40)
            4x Mountain
            4x Plains
            1x Spinerock Knoll
            2x Swamp
            1x Vivid Crag
            1x Vivid Marsh
            1x Vivid Meadow
            1x Graven Cairns
            1x Terramorphic Expanse
            1x Rakdos Carnarium
            1x Orzhov Basilica
            1x Boros Garrison
            1x Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
            1x Miren, the Moaning Well
            1x Eiganjo Castle
            1x Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
            1x Shizo, Death's Storehouse
            1x Grand Coliseum
            1x Battlefield Forge
            1x Caves of Koilos
            1x Reflecting Pool
            1x Sulfurous Springs
            1x Fetid Heath
            1x Rugged Prairie
            1x Rupture Spire
            1x Dragonskull Summit
            1x Bojuka Bog
            1x Evolving Wilds
            1x Command Tower
            1x Buried Ruin
            1x Clifftop Retreat
            1x Isolated Chapel
            1x Vault of the Archangel

Bring forth Heaven and Hell to the Earth!

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