The Most Dangerous Gamer - Gray Border Commander
With Unfinity fresh off the presses, we have been introduced to a whole new swath of weird and wonderful mechanics. One of these mechanics is attractions.
Unfinity has brought us four black border commanders that care about attractions.
Today, I would like to look at The Most Dangerous Gamer. We'll focus on building a Commander deck around The Most Dangerous Gamer in black border. Additionally, we'll spend some time looking at potential silver border cards to include for those looking to bring a bit more spice to the table. Before we get into the deck list, let's discuss what exactly are attractions.
If you want to follow along with me check out the decklist here, and make sure tags are enabled so you can see what cards do what!
What is an Attraction?
An attraction is a new artifact subtype. These cards attempt to emulate the feeling of a circus or amusement park. They feature a unique border to help tell them apart. These cards notably do not have a mana cost because you do not play them like normal cards.
Instead, attractions sit on their own in a separate deck. The attraction deck is a minimum of three cards in Limited, and a minimum of ten card singleton in constructed formats. When a card instructs you to "open an attraction" you reveal the top card of your attraction deck and put it into play.
Now that we have it in play, what can we do with it? Attractions feature the numbers one to six next to their text box called "attraction lights." Some of these lights will be lit up. At the beginning of your upkeep, you roll a six-sided die and perform the "Visit" ability of each attraction with a lit number equal to the die roll. For example, if I have three attractions in play, two of them have a lit number five, and I roll a five, I get the visit ability of both attractions.
Some attractions can win a "prize."
When you visit these attractions, you must complete some sort of a challenge. All of these style of attractions except one are exclusively silver bordered. Most of them involve some sort of physical/mental challenge, or even getting the opinion of people outside of the game.
As attractions are artifacts, they can be destroyed with something as simple as a Nature's Claim. If an attraction is destroyed it goes to the "junkyard." This is a special graveyard specifically for attractions. Cards that interact with the graveyard do not interact with the junkyard.
Playing the Odds
When playing with attractions there are a couple points to consider in terms of maximizing your value. First, there exist multiple printings of the same attraction with the same name, but different lit-up numbers.
This leads to two different strategies when building an attraction deck. You could try to have an even distribution of lit indicators. This would maximize your chances of having a trigger per turn. Alternatively, you could fill your deck with multiple lit indicators of the same value to trigger multiple visits all at once, but less consistently.
Secondly, every single attraction will have its six lit, and its one turned off regardless of printing, i.e: you will never visit for rolling a one, you will always visit when you roll a six. This means rolling a 6 will always be a big win, especially if you have multiple attractions in play, as it means all of your attractions will trigger.
With all that exposition out of the way let's get into the commander itself.
The Most Dangerous Gamer
The commander is a four-mana 2/2. Not impressive stats to start, however with deathtouch offering a form of pseudo evasion it's a good start.
Additionally, they open an attraction when they enter the battlefield or attack and get a +1/+1 whenever you open an attraction. Finally, whenever you claim a prize of an attraction you get to destroy a target permanent.
All in all, this is a solid Voltron option.
Even if attractions did nothing, this would bare minimum be +1/+1 every turn. This naturally lends itself to a Voltron strategy where we attempt to kill our opponents with commander damage.
In the context of black border, the claim a prize is essentially a one-in-ten chance, realistically it is not going to play a major role if you are only interested in black border play. However, there are ample attractions in the format that you can reliably keep attacking with The Gamer and getting triggers.
Let's begin to dive into the deck with a black border mindset, and then at the end, we will look at some silver border enhancements.
What Attractions Are Worth It?
There are a total of 22 black border attractions (87 if you count variants). We need a minimum of ten uniquely named ones. Given the nature of the deck, we have chosen the 10 that impact combat the most.
This includes Swinging Ship for extra combat, Tunnel of Love to act as removal, and Foam Weapons Kiosk for extra counters.
I won't go through the entire list as the effects are minor. Our focus here is to simply play attractions to get the +1/+1 from The Gamer. We are treating the visit effects as simply a bonus.
You can see the full list in the sideboard of the decklist.
Another consideration is how many attractions. You may be content to stick with ten attractions and keep it as consistent as possible, or you may want to jam as many attractions as possible to ensure you do not run out. Personally, I would recommend including a couple extra beyond what I have in the sideboard to keep the +1/+1 counters coming.
Welcome to the Circus!
Now we need to consider, how do we get these attractions into play? We run a suite of cards that open attractions or synergize with them. My favorite examples of these include Coming Attraction which lets us ramp up and start opening attractions.
Step Right up is a great one-off example letting us open two attractions. In the context of our commander, this is two +1/+1 counters as well as any bonuses we might get off our attractions.
Discourtesy Clerk opens an attraction and lets us draw a card at our end step if we control three or more attractions.
Lastly, Line Cutter lets us roll to visit our attractions when they enter. This lets us get a second chance to visit the attractions this turn. We run 13 cards altogether that either open attractions or synergize with them in some way. This will hopefully allow us to consistently build a board of attractions. We also have the ability to open an attraction at multiple points in the mana curve, always giving us something to do.
Double The Value
With all these artifacts and triggered abilities, it makes sense to double the fun. We run Winding Constrictor to double the counters placed on The Gamer. Additionally, Panharmonicon plays a similar role giving us double value when we open an attraction and giving double counters to The Gamer when the attraction enters.
All in all, Panharmonicon can give The Gamer four +1/+1 counters when we open an attraction. Then we have a duo of Strionic Resonator to double either The Gamer's attack trigger or the visit ability of particularly potent attractions.
Finally, we run Lithoform Engine to copy abilities or to outright copy attractions themselves.
The next few sections are going to be no surprise to anyone who has played a Voltron strategy before. Here we will go through the things we use to buff, protect, and benefit our commander.
While The Gamer can make themselves big in a couple turns it's important to have other ways to buff your commander or even your other creatures. This section is certainly the most flexible. If something does not fit your budget, don't worry, just find another piece of equipment or aura that does something similar. Conversely, if you have awesome expensive equipment such as the Swords of X and Y cycle, don't be afraid to use it.
Black-Green does not have any good options in terms of cheating equip costs, so try to prioritize low equip costs where you can.
The first thing we need is to give our commander power. Cranial Plating is a must-have for this deck given all our attractions are also artifacts. Even if we were not playing attractions we run a suite of equipment that will help bolster Cranial Plating.
In a similar vein, Blackblade Reforged offers great raw stats at a low cost. Rounding this out we have Hero's Blade which equips for free when our commander enters the battlefield.
The next few equipments we have are concerned with protecting our commander. Hammer of Nazahn grants us indestructible as well as our only source of auto-equipment in the deck. In the same vein, Swiftfoot Boots is a classic protection piece, and more importantly, it grants haste. Finally, we have Conqueror's Flail, another classic of Voltron that prevents our opponents from casting spells on our turn. Very reminiscent of Grand Abolisher.
One Off Protection & Buffs
Given our commander is the cornerstone of our deck we need to protect them at all times. Most of this strategy takes the form of instant speed spells that offer hexproof, indestructible, etc.
Again there are a number of these effects out there, feel free to choose ones that suit your budget and playstyle.
One of the best options in this vein is Vines of Vastwood. Not only does it grant hexproof, but also +4/+4 with kicker is an amazing upside. Another awesome card to consider is Veil of Summer. It may seem a bit spiteful to specifically hate on blue/black, but this card is just so incredibly versatile. On top of all of that, it also draws you a card!
Lastly in the world of buffs and protection, we have Tainted Strike. Say what you want of infect, but it gets the job done. One mana to turn your commander into a one-shot machine is too good to pass up.
The Usual Suspects
The rest of the deck is pretty classic black-green. There is an assortment of mana rocks and ramp spells to enable us to play our commander as soon as possible. I included a suite of two mana rocks and spells but if you have a Mana Crypt or Jeweled Lotus laying around, go nuts.
Additionally, we have heaps of removal spells. Once again play the best removal that you have. The removal package I include has a few Commander classics and some of my own favorites.
Ideally, try to keep your removal in the one to two mana value slots unless it is incredibly versatile or offers something special. Again this is another great slot to fill with cards you own. Toxic Deluge is an awesome card but that money might be better spent on the Voltron pieces for the deck if you don't already own one. I would definitely recommend in general running 8-10 pieces of both removal, and ramp regardless of if you follow the cards I recommend in the decklist.
Card draw is a usual assortment of black draw spells, no surprises here. However, we do have some interesting inclusions in green.
First, Snake Umbra is a powerful aura with totem armor and draws us a card whenever the enchanted creature deals damage. In a similar vein, we have Hunter's Insight, except this time we draw cards equal to the damage dealt as a once-off instant.
Finally, we round it out with Rishkar's Expertise. Assuming we play The Gamer on turn 4 and Expertise on turn 6 we could expect the gamer to be at least 4 power. In reality, however, we hope to have him be much bigger by the time we cast this spell.
Silver Border Shenanigans
With that, all said we now have the "legal" version of the deck built. However, let's indulge ourselves a little and discuss the silver border capabilities of the deck. If you are following along with the decklist on Moxfield, you can find the silver border attractions in the sideboard, and you can find the silver border cards for the main deck in the "Considering" section.
The Carnival Is Open!
Looking at silver border we have over double the number of attractions available to us. 13 new attractions to consider. As stated before we can play as many attractions as we want as long as no two share a name. While I am not sure what is optimal, either for all attractions or a curated list, I would like to highlight some attractions that are particularly potent in this deck.
First off we have access to more of the attractions with the Prize mechanic this will allow us to leverage The Gamer's ability to destroy permanents. Cards like Cover the Spot and Gift Shop are some of the most potent as they let you introduce the sticker mechanic into the game.
While some may have gripes with stickers, my aim here is to streamline the sticker experience. First up you need to bring a deck of 10 sticker sheets, at the start of the game choose three sheets at random, those are the stickers you can use in that game.
You may want to bring tokens, sheets of paper, or some other way to remember what stickers are available. In most cases, you are going to want to grant The Gamer some sort of combat buff.
There are 48 sticker sheets so you have a bit of choice in what buffs are available. Our attractions make either two, three, or four stickers each, hence we should try to capitalize on sticker sheets that can do something with 2-4 tickets. Here's a quick roundup of the stickers I think are relevant from my favorite ten sheets.
1. Night Brushwagg Ringmaster - Persist, the gamer will almost always have a +1/+1 counter to help keep persist relevantly.
2. Urza's Dark Cannonvall - 7/4, with base stats 7/4 the gamer is a 3-hit kill.
3. Zombie Cheese Magician - Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, draw that many cards.
4. Carnival Elephant Meteor - Whenever this creature attacks, proliferate. Simple and effective, get The Gamer to grow.
5. Happy Dead Squirrel - Infect, not much to say here it's infect.
6. Slimy Burrito illusion - Double Strike, pretty simple here get more damage in.
7. Jetpack Death Seltzer - Trample or Monstrosity 3 are both good pick ups.
8. Wrinkly Monkey Shenanigans - 7/2, same reason as before seven is the magic number for Voltron.
9. Wild Ogre Bupkis - All the abilities on this one are solid. I think Metalcraft - Protection from non-creature permanents is the best as it grants you some great immunity to most removal spells. +1/+1 on an attack is awesome too for obvious reasons. Finally, once again we see you could also make the gamer a 7/4. This one is just awesome from top to bottom.
10. Unstable Robot Dragon - +5/+5 until the end of the turn, on an attack, is sweet and puts a lot of pressure on life totals.
As I said before the sticker cards are a bit off the wall, if they don't appeal to you leave them out. However, some of these buffs might be hard to pass up. Personally, I am treating the sticker sheets like they only have one ability for the most part. There are only four attractions that interact with stickers so feel free to drop them if it is not in your play style.
Moving outside stickers we can return to attractions. When it comes to picking your attractions three stand out, Scavenger Hunt and Trivia Contest. Both of these cards have multiple versions with unique text boxes. Scavenger Hunt asks you to choose one of three options at random, and then you have ten seconds to search your deck for a card with the given attribute in its art. There are six variants. We would like to choose one that best suits our deck. In the case of Trivia Contest, you will need to pick the trivia question that best suits your knowledge.
However, in the case of Scavenger Hunt, we can look at our deck and pick the version of Scavenger Hunt that lets us win the most. Using my decklist, with the art provided the best one to pick is the one that asks for "Weapon" "Five or More Creatures" and "Words or Numbers". This combination gives 14, 4, and 7 results respectively.
Naturally, your mileage may vary based on the exact art used in your deck, and of course your friends' willingness to agree with you on the art calls. You can see a full breakdown of every card in the deck that relates to the art categories in this spreadsheet if you're curious.
To help bring the last few elements of the deck together let's investigate Unfinity and the previous Un-sets and see if there are any treasures there that can give us an edge.
First up we have a suite of equipment that can give us the edge. Blue Ribbon gives the equipped creature "best in show." This means any spell or ability that targets the equipped creature is copied. The only caveat is someone outside the game must deem the creature worthy of a blue ribbon, but who could argue The Gamer is not deserving?
The next one is just a fun one Sword of Dungeons & Dragons grants +2/+2 and a 4/4 dragon on combat damage with a chance at making more.
Next, we got Unicycle. This came from the Mystery Booster playtest cards. This one is honestly just rock solid. First strike and haste is an awesome pairing of keywords not really seen at this mana cost. The crew ability is a bit wacky and probably not super relevant. You can definitely see this card was a trial run of the reconfigure mechanic seen in Kamigawa Neon Dynasty.
Lastly, we have Killer Cosplay. I think there is a great opportunity to play The Gamer as normal for a few turns then transform it into something else with Killer Cosplay to reap the benefits. My personal favorite is turning The Gamer into Polukranis, Unchained. Alternatively turn them into a copy of Lathril, Blade of Elves, and pivot your deck to a token focus.
Un-sets are known for their love of dice rolls so it only makes sense that we capitalize on that. Snickering Squirrel lets us increase the die roll by one. Recall back to our attractions, a six is always a win. With Snickering Squirrel we can turn a five into a six. We now have a one-third chance of getting a six.
However, we don't need to stop there. Krark's Other Thumb can also make an appearance, if you would roll a dice ignore one roll instead. With the combination of Krark's Other Thumb and Snickering Squirrel, we have a 56% of hitting a 6 on our attractions. Not bad odds at all!
To further profit off all this die rolling we have As Luck Would Have It. This one mana enchantment gets luck counters equal to the result we roll for any die roll. When this card has 100 luck counters you win the game.
What an awesome win con.
Reminiscent of Chance Encounter, and Helix Pinnacle. This along with Krark's Other Thumb are cards I was honestly expecting to see reprinted in black border.
Lastly, to round this all out let's talk about my favorite card in the deck, and possibly in the entire set: Standard Procedure.
This is an instant with no casting cost. Instead, you can pay one mana, reveal it from your hand and have it become a copy of an instant or sorcery with a mana value of three or less that's currently legal in Standard until the end of the turn.
What a mouthful, and what an awesome ever-changing effect think modal spells like Abrade are solid picks, and you can almost always count on there being a Return to Nature or Massive Might style effect to help you in a pinch.
That just about wraps up The Most Dangerous Gamer, a most dangerous commander for your next game. Whether it's silver border shenanigans or some "very serious" black border Magic give this Commander a try.
If you would like to learn more about silver border EDH there is a whole community of people out there.
You can visit their website where they evaluate silver border cards for Commander play, as well as run regular games over on Discord.
Silver border Magic is a great place to experiment and see weird rules and interactions, and maybe even peer into the future of Magic.
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