As I’ve alluded to, here and at my other column, I had a birthday party last month, and it was a blast. It was also not a typical experience for me; I’m not a party person, they give me agita.


If Bojack Horseman had only given me the scene in which Diane explains her generalized anxiety at parties, it would have been enough. “Look at that guy, he’s having fun! Why haven’t I figured it out yet?” I feel that, you know? When I’m around people, I have a hard time just being. Every interaction takes mental energy, probably due to the hypervigilance. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I am not terrible at those social moments, once I’m in one of them. It’s just that the strain wears me down, and it rarely feels natural for me to initiate. I used to drink to get past that; the one good thing that came out of my drinking days is that I can now pop a boogie without getting self-conscious about it, usually. But not all parties involve a dance floor, and my apartment is definitely not set up well for such a thing.

What a wonderful, dark show.

D and I have too much furniture for a dance floor, alas.

It’s one of the most brutal television scenes I’ve ever seen, yet this one, at the end of S02E01, speaks to me.

I’m good when I have something to do, though, and one of the reasons I like Commander is that it demands enough of my attention to cut against the anxiety response. That way I can chat while keeping loose. So when D was like, “hey, I got some of our friends to come over and play Commander,” that was a good thing to hear.


But they didn’t just come over to play any Commander… they came over to play my Commander decks! Given the relative infrequency which I get to play Commander these days, and the joy I experience when throwing together Commander decks, I have a shockingly large number of decks I haven’t played. I just keep building, you know? Even now, I have three or four Commander decks in the works, including the skeleton of one given to me as a birthday present by Alex, one of the best Commander players I know… and a popular Magic blogger, and a fellow solstice baby, and just one of the nicest guys you’ll meet in the community. People are more than one thing!

I mean, the show really speaks to the condition of feeling adrift in the modern world, as though no matter how hard you try, things are still going to go wrong.

Anyway, I crafted little surveys for the party, with a “before playing” and “after playing” split, and then handed out the following decks: Kaseto, Orochi Archmage (tribal snakes), Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas (tribal giants), Mizzix of the Izmagnus (X spells), Daxos the Returned (enchantments), Omnath, Locus of Rage (lands), Karlov of the Ghost Council (Soul Sisters), and Meren of Clan Nel Toth (value reanimator). We shuffled up, split into two pods, and then played some Magic.


It was a blast! I had a great time, and I was reminded of how great my friends all are, as they put themselves through a Rube Goldberg gauntlet. And, best of all, they wrote up their experiences afterwards, which gave me the ability to upgrade the decks with their feedback (something you can see in Kaseto, Orochi Archmage for this week’s Dear Azami column).

Be the change you want to see, at least when it comes to your own life.

It was also grist for the mill. This year, I will be writing up many of these decks in Command of Etiquette columns, in various forms. Given how Oath of the Gatewatch is on the verge of the release of the full spoiler, followed by the release itself, it seemed silly to update these deck lists before the set makes its way into the public, and, more importantly, into my collection. That is not to say they’re all being kept in stasis, mind you; I have already updated Omnath, Locus of Rage, which sits in my bag as I write this, having just returned from a night out with friends focusing on some recreational Highlander combat.


The deck acquitted itself really well in trials, taking home the gold in its pod (piloted by Clayton, a good friend whose Omnath, Locus of Mana deck has bashed me but good in the past); I’ve been wanting to play a pure ramp deck like this for ages, as I attested to in my breakdown of why Omwrath is a great addition to the halls of Commander. I upgraded it after the party, and earlier tonight I took it for the aforementioned spin. I won both my games, and I’m pretty confident in the strength of this deck. Here’s the list:


Creatures: Dragonmaster Outcast; Budoka Gardener; Den Protector; Lotus Cobra; Sakura-Tribe Elder; Azusa, Lost but Seeking; Omnath, Locus of Mana; Skullwinder; Courser of Kruphix; Eternal Witness; Purphoros, God of the Forge; Centaur Vinecrasher; Nylea, God of the Hunt; Oracle of Mul Daya; Garruk’s Packleader; Silklash Spider; Titania, Protector of Argoth; Rubblehulk; Paleoloth; Rampaging Baloths; Soul of the Harvest; Gruul Ragebeast; Avenger of Zendikar; Spearbreaker Behemoth; Borborygmos Enraged; Liege of the Tangle; Terastodon

Noncreature Spells: Molten Vortex; Burgeoning; Crop Rotation; Exploration; Manabond; Explore; Life from the Loam; Restore; Elemental Bond; Far Wanderings; Harrow; Rite of Flourishing; Bow of Nylea; Seismic Assault; Tempt with Discovery; Decimate; Xenagos, the Reveler; Nissa’s Expedition; Rude Awakening; Nissa, Worldwaker; Warstorm Surge; Nissa’s Renewal; Primeval Bounty; Verdant Confluence; Boundless Realms; Ezuri’s Predation; Clan Defiance

Lands: Blighted Gorge; Blighted Woodland; Flamekin Village; Forgotten Cave; Ghitu Encampment; Ghost Quarter; Jund Panorama; Kessig Wolf Run; Mosswort Bridge; Myriad Landscape; Mystifying Maze; Naya Panorama; Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx; Raging Ravine; Stomping Ground; Tectonic Edge; Temple of Abandon; Terrain Generator; Thespian’s Stage; Tranquil Thicket; Treetop Village; Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle; 14 Forest; 9 Mountain


The unexpected MVP tonight was Rubblehulk. I’ve avoided playing with that card for a while, since pure power boosts are often underpowered, but this deck seemed to be calling out for it, and I’m glad I gave it a chance. In the first game, Rubblehulk’s bloodrush ability took out two of my opponents (Micah and Alex), providing an average bonus of +30/+30. With Micah, I even got to do the cool play of recurring the Rubblehulk with a Den Protector, and then bloodrushing onto the Den Protector before blockers were declared so that it was functionally unblockable.

It was pretty vicious.

There were some other cool synergies, though. For a turn cycle I had Omnath, Locus of Rage out at the same time as Paleoloth and Sakura-Tribe Elder. It was sweet, getting a token and bringing Sakura-Tribe Elder back to my hand every time I cracked it… I look forward to trying that trick out with Emeria Shepherd at some point! Also, Elemental Bond was a solid draw engine, not just with Omnath, but with Primeval Bounty and Rampaging Baloths as well.


I still need to think I need to find some more room for extra basics, but the deck is pretty lean as is. It’s one of the few decks I have where I don’t particularly mind flooding out. I did continually forget my Omnath, Locus of Rage death triggers, since I’m running Omwrath primarily for the token generation, but that’s the type of discipline that gets better with time.

But even through all the broken people and depression, the show still has an ultimately uplifting message. None of us are perfect, we just do our best to muddle through.

Anyway, 2016 is looking to be an exciting year! I hope you enjoy it as much as I plan to.


Jess Stirba, mistress of mercury, queen of masks.










And even at its darkest, Bojack Horseman doesn't reach the levels of transcendental nihilism that animate Rick and Morty.

And even at its darkest, Bojack Horseman doesn’t reach the levels of transcendental nihilism that animate Rick and Morty.

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