Hello all and welcome to Shattered Perceptions, a weekly series where I try to be build a workable skeleton for a possible strategy around a general of the week. This week’s commander is Dakkon Blackblade, with the added twist of a return to a variant format from a few weeks ago, 1DH or “Dollar General.” For the list—and the variant overall—I am restricted to cards with a value under $1. This means I will likely be stretching for picks for larger removal or finishers and that I should hopefully be dredging up some hidden gems. I will also be avoiding cards with their original printings coming out of the current Standard window, as values fluctuate so much and if you’re like me, you’re worn out hearing about Standard cards. And as always, Bonesplitter is not “secret tech.”

Dakkon Blackblade

Dakkon Blackblade is probably my favorite general coming out of Legends; for a card that came out roughly 23 years ago, it’s still a reasonably powerful voltron general and he’s in three colors recently plagued with linear build around generals that doesn’t play by the same rules. In fact, under current Magic design philosophy, Dakkon would either be Green or allowed to be Esper under the hand waving that the sum of all his parts allows him to play in that design space. And from an artistic standpoint, he just looks pretty dope for something drawn by Richard Kane Ferguson.

As I said, Dakkon is built to really be a great voltron general—a topic I’ve kinda worn out in the initial run of the column—but we also are building towards 1DH, so where do we go with Dakkon? Truthfully, I started this week knowing I wanted to build in a certain direction and picked Dakkon as the tailor made general for it both in color combination and price, that direction: Shadow! I don’t know what it is about shadow, but 2017 has really been my year to rediscover this mechanic, which I hadn’t thought much about since high school. Through this lens I hope to craft a powerful aggro deck that will be able to survive long enough to execute on the plan of removing all challengers. I see Dakkon Blackblade as the blocker/finisher for the late game, as buy the time I cast him I hope to see him with double digits of power for eight mana. Like last week, once I got the ball rolling the options really came flooding in.

Dauthi Cutthroat & Faceless Devourer

I wanted to start out with a bit of the repeatable removal that Dauthi Cutthroat and Faceless Devourer offer. In the past I’ve cover the untapped power of cards like Dauthi Embrace and Dauthi Trapper, originally meant to grant our creatures with evasion, but now I want to use these abilities more defensively. Keep this in mind for my next few picks as well.

Dauthi Cutthroat feels like one of the better hidden gems to me. Yes, you do need to likely combo it with one of the two previously mentioned cards, but I think the required investment for a repeatable machine gun works as a pretty solid rattlesnake against opponents.

Doing its best Faceless Butcher impression, Faceless Devourer works as a great on-theme black Journey to Nowhere on a body. Unfortunately, even though it came out of a more modern design philosophy in Time Spiral, it still feels a little underpowered for the mana investment. I don’t know that it’s so outstanding that I want to introduce a flickering suite into the deck, but seeing as the deck possibly folds to mass removal, it’s a good reason to keep the theme in mind as you fill out the meat of deck.

Circle of Protection : Shadow & Maze of Shadows

In the history of Magic, some strategies just get hosed by niche answers and in Tempest block, these two cards would have been the bane of our deck’s existence. But in 2017, no one is going to be packing hate this specific without remarkable reasoning. We on the other hand want to leverage both of these cards to not only keep us safe from massive swaths in the case of both cards, but also keep our creatures safe from combat tricks when we try to be clever with Maze of Shadows.

Having our own personal Circle of Protection that protects us against any larger creatures is another boon for the deck. Admittedly, the 1BB per attacker to repeatedly fire this off with Dauthi Embrace can become taxing really quick and interactions like this are bound to warp how we build our mana base; but like an Oblivion Stone or Child of Alara, this may deter enough attacks to put you in a position where you’re not going to be taken out of the game the same turn as anyone else.

In conclusion, I think both of these cards are essential for this deck to stay relevant with the rest of the table, especially since we will often be left very exposed due to our aggressive nature.

Stronghold Overseer

When I was considering how to start this list off, I was going to cover a brief history of shadow, it’s overlooked potential and the future I saw for it; which in a world where “X can’t be blocked” exists, I just don’t see Wizards returning to this well any time soon. Probably after our return trip to Kamigawa.

Equally, I knew that featuring a handful of shadow creatures was just going to be boring; so outside of the three featured above, I saw fit to only wax poetically on the only other creature in theme that was of note. Stronghold Overseer is a fantastic card for this strategy, only really hampered by its heavy reliance on black mana to deliver that final alpha strike. Additionally, this card plays double duty and can change combat math for those attacking in at you with one or two activations to shrink your opponents’ creatures. All of this conjecture also overlooks the fact that Stronghold Overseer is the biggest creature to naturally have shadow and at a reasonable mana cost for the body.

Wall of Nets & Wall of Glare

It may be true that I strongly play to a theme, but I’m not stupid. The entire crux of the deck I am proposing is built on the idea that we are leaving ourselves open to an extraordinary crack back once we get identified as the threat. To alleviate this issue, we need to find some good blockers that thrive on the normal plane of existence. The biggest heartbreak is that Wall of Omens and Wall of Denial are priced out of the format, but then again, would they fit our needs? Wall of Nets and Wall of Glare are two superb picks that delay our eventual death a few turns at a time, if not simply blunting entire attack steps.

My one bit of advice is to not let your repeatable Oblivion Ring stapled onto a Wall of Denial be your undoing when opponent wraths and unleashes their full board safely back into play. And by that I mean, play Oracle of Dust.

Windbrisk Raptor

So we have our unblockable attackers, we’ve built in a few solid creatures to keep our life total out of “Death by Ashling” range, but what happens when it all comes crumbling down and we find ourselves on the back foot with not enough damage on board to do our trick before they do theirs? Well, we need a slot or two of lifegain.

Clearly we can suit up one of your creatures with Lifelink or Vampiric Link, but that might not keep us alive long enough to make a difference. But Windbrisk Raptor, that’s the kind of late game card that can be a finisher when we need it and an unconventional lord to drop in the face of our oncoming death to buy us time while we’re going wide. In this deck this is our Overrun people, just as much as Treasury Thrull is the Sun Titan of 1DH.

What I like most about the lifegain plan is that it will be in small, almost unnoticeable chunks, allowing us to keep our life total looking respectable without being alarming at 200+ from out of nowhere. Lifegain can be rather meaningless in Commander, unless its in the context of propelling your agenda forward at the same time.

Shadow Sliver & Ward Sliver

Capping off my list, I wanted to touch on the one suite of creatures that I would really love to expand into if the deck ever moved beyond 1DH: Slivers. As it stands under the current price restriction, Shadow Sliver and Ward Sliver are really the only two slivers I see being on theme for the deck, but I really like them as creatures to stand on their own. And I think that is the most important part about including any slivers in a deck not explicitly built around slivers, they need to stand on their own as just the singular printed creature.

Shadow Sliver is pretty obvious as to how it ended up on the list, it’s all in the name. As the list of reasonable shadow creatures is remarkable short, we’ll take anything we get. Ward Sliver, on the other hand, I arrived at differently. In the search to fill a suite in vein of Windbrisk Raptor and provide dedicated lifegain I stumbled upon Essence Sliver and Syphon Sliver, both of which are priced out of the format. But this got me thinking about the value of the creature type in a solo situation or as a collective. I haven’t yet cracked the code, but I think this sub theme could offer us the chance to reap a lot of rewards. Or ninjas, maybe we just include ninjas. Maybe all these picks were secretly ninjas.

That’s my time for the day, I really hope I was able to open people’s eyes to cards they may have never seen before and maybe gotten people interested in 1DH. What kind of cards would you have plugged in? What kind of content would like to see in the future? You can find me on Twitter via @RyanSainio or yelling at Hipsters directly through the e-mail system at the bottom of the page.

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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