Friday, January 1, 2016

"House of Elder Dragons: The Simic Experience"

"House of Elder Dragons: The Simic Experience"
Virgilio F. De leon Jr. 

It has been awhile since I have been able to come back to SM North to play my favorite game. So when I came back I wanted to play like there was no tomorrow and I wanted to play all of the Simic pieces that I had. It is one thing to test play with an imaginary opponent , quite another when you really are in the battlefield. So many things come into play no matter how familiar things may seem.

I was pleasantly surprised that my Simic EDH deck with Vorel of the Hull Clade as Commander actually held its own among the regular EDH players of SM North , namely Rod , Kira , Portia  , Simeon , Joey , Cryst , Austin and Aya.There were really some great moments and not so fun moments but all that did was heightened my enjoyment. There were some things that I found out in my deck that I wanted to improve on. 

One of the things that I always wanted to was win with a Biovisionary. I haven't done it yet but there were really close times. To this end my deck is full of "Cloning" creatures. Rites of Replication for one assures me that I have one win condition at hand. Then you have Progenitor Mimic who can copy the Biovisionary if it is in play or an opponents best creature if it isn't. Since I only rely on card draw to get the Biovisionary often times I have the Progenitor Mimic do the latter. It seems to sneer at me every time it copies a lowly creature but hey we can't always choose which creatures an opponent plays now can we? I have the Fated Infatuation and Cackling counter part. Yup,I plan on stealing every ones face just in case my Biovisionary doesn't appear. It is a sad thing that Legends don't blow up when they see a copy of themselves anymore. It is so satisfying to kill off a hexproof or other big costing creatures for the measly price of 4 mana.Phyrexian Metamorph and Clone was a bit saddened but then again they can still go on Rampages as something else so there is still an upside.

Like I said before I really hated the Simic because it was a lot of work keeping track of counters and knowing when to put a counter on this creature or removing a counter on that creature. Somehow I managed to overcome that. Maybe that and my foil Vorel of the Hull Clade taunting me that I can't make a decent Simic deck. So I made one. Vorel became my commander because I wanted to pile on tons and tons of counters on things. My favorite of course centers around the Fathom Mage , I managed to put 16 counters on it at one time with a Reliquary tower already in play.Sweet. I drew 8 cards that time. Talk about Card advantage! The Gyre Sage is another favorite , I initially make it evolve on turn 3 when Vorel comes in. Not only do I have access to a ridiculous amount of Green mana in the succeeding turns I also have a creature that could provide an unhealthy serving of damage when I deem that I have enough mana and could use his aggressive side more. Renegade Krasis is one of those 3/2 3 to cast creatures that seem very harmless at first but make things a bit more uncomfortable as the game progresses. Last Saturday I played in a game that had Cloudfin Raptor , Renegade Krasis and Fathom Mage in play. When Vorel came in with his 1/4 frame , he Evolved everyone. All 3 got +1/+1 counters and due to the Renegade Krasis the other 2 got another +1/+1. So I ended up with a 2/3 Cloudfin Raptor , a 4/3 Renegade Krasis and a 3/3 Fathom mage plus I got to draw 2 cards because 2 counters were put on Fathom Mage. Not bad for the 3 mana that I used to cast Vorel. 

Another creature that I have rediscovered (I have 6 copies of her) is the Champion of Lambholt. She fits the Simic theme because she also piles on the counters. There is no limit on her though like the Evolve creatures. She gets bigger and meaner everytime another creature comes into play. Yup , even those little tokens makes her a very happy customer. What she does is truly amazing , opponents creatures whose power are less or equal to the number +1/+1 counters on her are unable to block your creatures. So if she is now a 14/14 creature( thanks again Vorel!). Not even a Krosan Cloudscraper could block your creatures and that's a 13/13 gigantic beast right there. Cold Eye Selkie, Vedalken Heretic and Ohran Viper now all attack and whenever they deal damage to a player you get to draw a card. Your hand is always full of cards at any point in the latter parts of the game. So much so that is not impossible to have a Huge Overbeing of Myth that can end an opponent all by its lonesome. 

So imagine my joy when I played an Omen Speaker and got it to Soulbond with a Deadeye Navigator with the Champion already where she needs to be.So for 2 mana , I could Scry for 2 and make my Champion bigger because every time I bounce the Omen Speaker she comes back to trigger her Scry and the Champion I never got to finish the game due to time constraints but it was great to just be able to do it. Ideally it should be an end of turn thing but hey I got it excited.I know that there are a lot of infinite loops for the Deadeye navigator like infinite mana for one. I am not going to go for that. I guess I am just going to be happy with making creatures Evolve or Grow. Infinite combos have a way of making the game less fun. People like it when there is a hope of winning Rather than just sitting around and waiting for the finishing combo to come. 

Since this Simic deck is already brimming with counters , I decided to make use of all those Hydras from Theros. X creatures that come with X counters on them. They could Evolve the smaller Simic creatures while at the same time become a target for good old Vorel himself. I still don't have a Kalonian Hydra here(because the price and I just aren't on the same page). I imagine that Vorel and that Hydra would get a long well , it attacking and doubling and then Vorel triggering it to double again. I imagine a 6/6 hydra , doubling to 12/12 on the attack and then becoming 24/24 because of Vorel. More than half the life in a Multiplayer EDH game and a mere 6 points shy of killing someone outright in One on One EDH. For those match ups against other Blue mages or who who run dual and tricolored decks that have blue, I added the Mistcutter Hydra that my little brother gave to me as a gift. He knew I wanted one so her got one from one of his binder and gave it to me. In EDH you always expect a lot of blue because it does have its advantages. People playing Blue against my Simic deck soon find out that I have the Mistcutter and hope that they get a removal from their other colors. 

Being a creature based deck , I always need to have a say when it comes to board sweeps. There are really great counters in the Simic Arsenal like the Plasm Capture and Mystic Genesis. One gives you mana depending on the casting cost of the spell you countered and another gives you an X/X also based on a countered spells mana cost. Add a Draining Whelk to this mix and you have 3 solid counters that give you something else in return.

I guess this went on long enough but I do hope that you got some Simic ideas for your existing decks.Keep on playing!

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