Hello all and welcome to Shattered Perceptions, a weekly series where I will be looking for the overlooked gems through the lens of a general of the week and try to be build a workable skeleton for a possible strategy around it. This week I chose to look at Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice out of 2012’s Return to Ravnica. I have some limited experience with the general and as I will explain soon, I’ve gone off in a different enough direction that any card I can find to help put a tally mark in the win record box is fair game. I’m still looking to find hidden gems, so bare with me, but some of my choice are on rails. I’m so excited. Oh, and of course, Sol Ring is not “secret tech.”

Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice

As always, I like to start with the general of choice. This week we’re going a lot more mainstream than past weeks, as Trostani is the most popular general in the Green/White color pairing as of the writing of this article (still holding out hope for Dragonlord Dromoka being relevant one day). But I’m counteracting that by steering the deck in a different direction flavorfully; ladies and gentlemen, we’re bring out the Squirrel Tribal!

“But Ryan,” you say, “Squirrels are stupid and mostly only exist in token form.” Well, you’d be mostly right. There are a few creature type squirrel cards that do things, but for the most part we will be playing in a tokens only environment. So I suggest you run over to RK Post’s site and order your dapper Squirrel Tokens now, because there is about to be a buy out! The overall goal for the deck is have tokens readily available to not only keep out life at a reasonable place, but also leverage Trostani’s populate ability, along with a choice few other cards that have the mechanic. I want to rush to victory, that way no one tries to kill us because we are perceived as “The Threat.”

Deranged Hermit & Mimic Vat

Right off the bat, we have our first squirrel lord and a generically powerful staple for many Commander decks—Deranged Hermit and Mimic Vat. I wanted to highlight this particular pair, because I believe it to be one of the most effective combos for the deck.

By itself, Deranged Hermit is a fragile lord to say the least, but nine power over five bodies for five mana is a good deal whether you’re profiting off them to gain life or just work as effective blockers. I wasn’t playing when this card made its run through Standard—I imagine plenty of my audience wasn’t—but I can venture a guess that it would have been considered a fairly effective card if it wasn’t surrounded by one of the most broken formats Wizards has ever let out the door.

Speaking of cards surrounded by busted formats; while I wouldn’t consider Mimic Vat to be busted powerful, I do remember seeing this card as it saw print in 2011. It was easily a three-of in the casual sixty card decks my friends and I were building. Mimic Vat offered a cheap way to recur powerful enter the battlefield effects, while also teaching us how triggers and the stack work. In this deck we are hoping to profit off the tables enter the battlefield effects or at least our populate-esque effects. Allowing our fragile squirrels to come back swinging after a Wrath of God effect is going to be essential.

Even if the power level of this deck sets a low bar, I think these two work really well not only with the general but powerfully with each other.

Seasons Past

It’s hard to say if recursion is an irreplaceable part of the format, but I am a pretty big fan of Eternal Witness and Loaming Shaman for one reason or another. All that said, I have seen this card get passed over a lot by Commander players. To be fair, when are you really going to hit Evolving Wilds, Chatter of the Squirrel, Druid’s Call, Squirrel Nest, Squirrel Wrangler, Deranged Hermit, and Nut Collector all in one go with this card? Believe me, very few times. But if you do, tell me about on Twitter. Contact info at the end. I want it in this deck not only for the vague on theme nature vibe, but also because also because, as I just demonstrated, this deck plays with cards on every part of the mana curve.

Seasons Past is the kind of card that you need to keep in mind as you construct your deck. It’s full of ample value if you do and recurring a Sundering Growth, Wayward Temple and a fetchland feels pretty good. And really, for one extra mana over Restock, this is good for redundancy.

If you local metagame hasn’t learned their lessons from Meren of Clan Nel Toth running rampant since 2015 and thusly not packing heavy graveyard removal, this is probably the kind of card for you.

Leyline of the Meek & Muraganda Petroglyphs

If you’re like me, you’ve never heard of either of these cards before doing a deeper dive for token strategy cards. I will grant that a few people may remember Leyline of the Meek if they were playing Magic when it was first printed in Guildpact—I was around, but I could not have told you what it did—but it has been vastly overshadowed by the other white Leyline which came to us from Magic 2011.

Keep in mind that these cards are universal effects, so both can be a slippery slope, but I feel like Muraganda Petroglyphs is more tailor made for our deck, seeing as most vanilla creature don’t see much play in Commander and I plan to have far more tokens in play than my opponents. God help me if I find myself facing a surprise Marrow-Gnawer or Krenko, Mob Boss not at the helm of a deck. Gaea’s Anthem effects are going to be imperative for our deck to keep up with other decks at the table, so don’t overlook cards like these.

Hour of Reckoning

Some decks fold to removal, but sometimes you need to reset the board. Luckily, sometimes you don’t need to go off plane to find the perfect card for a deck. Looking for a sweeper? Look no further than Hour of Reckoning and it’s incredible synergy with Trostani. For the longest time, this was the only Wrath effect I could afford, mainly because I had a pretty lackluster job and only made about $125 a paycheck. When I wasn’t experiencing crippling debt, I was buying Magic cards in $5 increments. Either way, this card holds a special place in my heart.

I do question if Austere Command is the better sweeper though, as all of our tokens will likely be the same size, thus surviving the same side of the power-determined sweep. It’s seems like a no-brainer to just include both in the deck, but your experience may differ.

Symbiotic Deployment

Card draw is often cited as one of the elements of deck design that any Commander deck should arm itself with, I like to have upwards to eight to ten cards that have the ability to get me either pure card draw or top deck manipulation. Sadly, white is not going to offer us much in the realm of card advantage. Lucky for us, green loves creature-dependent card advantage and we’re packing a healthy amount of creatures! This card goes hand in hand with Shamanic Revelation in terms of the kind of card draw I see us needing in this deck. Obviously we’ll be packing ramp, but it’s important to hit those nonland cards as well.

Squirrel Mob & Squirrel Wrangler

I knew we’d get back to squirrel cards eventually! There is something about Squirrel Mob that just makes me overjoyed. I’ve played with the card for years and am always happy to watch it hit the table. That glee is always met by a misappropriated Doom Blade, because somehow this is the most threatening thing on the board. It must be the illusion that the card is so out of left field that it must be the harbinger of a much more sinister line of play than that mono-black Stax player could ever hope to imagine.

Squirrel Wrangler on the other hand is a pretty sweet under-the-radar creature that you want to drop just in time to finish a player off by crippling your mana base. I recommend leaving the mana open to Mana Tithe that Fog effect—do people play Fog? It’s like a Time Warp!—because if you don’t, you may have mistakenly Stone Rained yourself trying to make your tokens look menacing. Luckily, we’re in green, so we probably ramped into those lands.

Elephant Grass

I don’t remember if I was introduced to Elephant Grass in my friend’s Gaddock Teeg deck or his Bant Enchantress deck, but from the moment I first dropped this card, I was in love. The prime modus operandi here to prevent taking massive swaths of damage during more contentious phases of the game, something we’ll prioritize as we start getting outclassed. In a format where most people want access to as many colors as possible to sure up any weaknesses, as such this card can blunt assaults on the back of “black creatures cannot attack you” and act as a momentary Ghostly Prison for any other attackers.

I even think that the cumulative upkeep on this card can give it an edge, people often don’t destroy it knowing full well that it will just vanish on its own eventually. I haven’t played this card onto a board where I have less than five mana already available, so this can often stick around for quite a while accruing value in the form of not dying. The only setback being that eventually we will need our mana for the more expensive squirrel producers.

But now I turn the attention back to the readers, anyone who wishes to be vocal and give their own two cents. What generals would you like to see get the Shattered Perspective treatment? What kind of cards would you have plugged in? You can find me on Twitter via @RyanSainio or yelling at Hipsters directly through the e-mail system at the bottom of the page. Let me know if you built a deck in this vein.

Until next time, good luck and thank you!

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH, the story of Magic and the EDH community in his down time. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.
Pet Deck – Shattergang Eldrazi

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