Epic Experiment - Storvald
(Storvald, Frost Giant Jarl| Art by Campbell White)
Hello, EDHREC fans! I’m Bernardo Melibeu, and this is Epic Experiment, a series where we throw all common sense aside and experiment with some unusual strategies, changing how we normally build our deck. Is it going to work? Who knows?! We’re making science here. When you’re an Izzet mage, blowing things up is half the fun.
In this article, we'll be taking a look at an impressive Bant commander. Its ability to dominate the battlefield with its titanic effects while also providing a solid cover against single target removal allows him to be a force to be reckoned with. It's Storvald, Frost Giant Jarl!
- Storvald is a powerful creature enabler, and as such, can lead a myriad of creature-based strategies. Since most of his damage relies on combat, passing him around with cards like Assault Suit could provide deadly results.
- Although his Ward-granting ability is a great deterrent against single-target removal, the multiplayer nature of the format makes this a bit less desirable, given the prevalence of board wipes.
- He costs a whopping seven mana just on the first cast. His high mana cost is a huge downside, especially since he's so threatening-looking and will draw attention. This relegates him to more of a support role, offering benefits for a specific strategy, rather than being the main point of a deck.
When building Storvald, we need to choose which creatures we're trying to buff. Evasive creatures get more bang for our buck, but it's not a must-have, since we also get the debuff effect with the attack trigger. 'Flying Matters' is an archetype that's been gaining some more steam lately, and is a great pseudo-tribal strategy that works pretty decently without our commander's help.
We have plenty of anthem effects to use, which stack pretty quickly with our evasive threats, and also work great with our commander, who doesn't override the buffs, but just changes base power and toughness. Thunderclap Wyvern, Empyrean Eagle, and Thraben Watcher are simple buffs, while Kangee's Lieutenant and Kangee, Sky Warden are a bit more situational, but also tend to be cheaper. We also have some noncreature helpers, like Favorable Winds. They can be a bit less effective than their creature counterparts, since they can't attack, but on the other hand, they're more resilient against board wipes.
Flying creatures are spread all throughout Magic history, which means we have plenty of powerful utility options for our deck. As we'll soon see, this deck can draws a lot of cards, so having access to a huge amount of threat density is great. Gryffwing Cavalry and Wingcrafter allow our commander to fly, which, with his 7 power, can get out of hand pretty quickly, opening up a nice secondary win condition. Hanged Executioner, Trygon Predator, and Remorseful Cleric are removal on a stick, which is a great way to continually apply pressure while making it harder for the game to spiral out of our control.
Being a creature-based go-wide deck, it's important to have a defensive suite of creatures to avoid getting blown out. Our commander gives us a nice buffer against single-target removal, and together with Jubilant Skybonder and Judge's Familiar, they make removing our creatures very taxing. Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate, Selfless Spirit, Sephara, Sky's Blade, and Glorious Protector all, to some degree or another, play a crucial role protecting against board wipes.
Storvald Flying Matters
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Our strategy relies on going wide, so card draw is very, very important. With more cards, we can access more creatures, going even wider, but we also just need more creatures in hand in case we need to recover from an opponent's board wipe. Bident of Thassa, Coastal Piracy, and Reconnaissance Mission are efficient ways to get a consistent flow of cards, while Mulldrifter, Spectral Sailor, Beck // Call, and Winged Words allow us to recover or to develop even when we're not fully online yet. This is important, since we can't count on always having a small army at every point of the game.
Having on-theme ways to accelerate our mana is great, especially when we're combining them with our impressive card draw suite. The best part is that they never truly feel like dead cards; in the early game we can use the extra mana to our advantage, while later on they can still attack, either with our Anthems or with our commander pumping them up! A 7/7 Birds of Paradise is a sight to behold. Derevi, Empyrial Tactician is an incredible addition to the list, providing a solid burst in mana, like our very own version of a Sword of Feast and Famine. Warden of Evos Isle and Watcher of the Spheres are impressive pieces of acceleration that not many tribes have access to, and they can get out of hand when combined with our card draw.
For our opening hand, we're looking mostly for a solid curve of threats, which isn't that hard, given how many of them we have. With the number of helpful Warden of Evos Isle effects, and the number of Kangee's Lieutenant effects that are ready to buff them, we're pretty fast at building a decent-sized board state, so utilizing this early lead to our advantage is crucial if we want to succeed.
In the early game, we're mostly just poking at our opponents with our creatures. This is an important step because every point of damage pressures our opponents further down the line (especially when considering our commander).
By the mid-game we'll have plenty of powerful draw triggers off our Coastal Piracy enchantments that can help us take over the board. Our Anthem effects provide a solid clock, which means our threats will need to be answered quickly, or our opposition will never recover. Don't neglect the importance of tempo! Our commander is a nice catch-up in games where we aren't as fast as we wish.
We have a lot of potential when we reach the late game. On the one hand, our commander allows for a sudden burst of damage even if we're behind, dealing 14 damage with just one other creature. On the other hand, we tend to have ways of building boards that are very hard to answer when we've pulled ahead. One thing that we lack, however, is that big Craterhoof Behemoth-like effect. Don't get me wrong, we do have plenty of powerful draws that gives this type of punch, but it's never of the Hoof magnitude. Our end-of-game plans rely very much on the continual pecking at enemy life totals from the very start of the game.
There are a lot of great fliers that we could add to the list if we wanted to keep exploring this experiment! Avacyn, Angel of Hope's additional protection against board wipe comes in handy quite often. Consecrated Sphinx is an EDH staple for a good reason, and adding it to our list will help us keep our grip full. Thieving Skydiver is a nice little addition, stealing Sol Rings and other useful artifacts while also being a cheap body.
One subtheme that might be worth investing in is recursion. Sigardian Savior is a very efficient 3-for-1 that can be played after a board wipe and very easily pay for itself with its ETB.
That’s it for this Epic Experiment! What do you think of this list? Do you have any questions about the deck? Which cards did you like? Which did you not? Was this Epic Experiment a success? Please let me know in the comments below!