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Joshua’s Commander Corner: Anowon, the Ruin Thief

Written by Joshua Claytor on . Posted in Casual Magic, Commander

Joshua’s Commander Corner:  Anowon, the Ruin Thief

Joshua Claytor

Joshua is the current content manager of Legitmtg.com and Puremtgo.com.

I logged on to MTGO Sunday, to make sure that I had the decks ready for recording, with big plans on actually recording some game play of the decks in action.  That didn’t happen, I got distracted, and then took a nap, and then got distracted again.  The first distraction was me going to my play history on the client, and looking up what I had played in the most since the first Starcity Online events.  I was shocked, honestly shocked to see that I have played nearly ten times the amount of Commander as I have Modern, Pioneer and Pauper.  

I use MTGO mainly for those formats, that is the appeal to me for the client over Arena, I get to play the old stuff, and blow up lands for three mana. 

Now, I use MTGO as my preferred method to play Commander. 

I have played in one league (0-4 with a Boros land destruction deck in Modern), and two events on mtgmelee.com (both 0-2s, one was Standard and Mono Black, the other, Historic and Gyruda, Doom of Depths).   I’m getting to be less afraid of playing tournament Magic again, but I’m still shy about it.  The toll that the first Starcity event took on me was hefty. 

I didn’t beat myself up this time for doing poorly, so progress, even by losing a lot is being made.   I just, I guess for now, appreciate Magic for being a really wonderful game, and less for it’s competitive outlet. 

I’m still getting ready for CommandFest.  I’m super excited about that.  I have my webcam set up, ready to go, and hopefully I will be brave enough to actually play in some of the games. 

I have three decks that are done, and for some reason I ordered four of each of the Commander Legends precons to go along with a case of Draft Boosters and one box of Collectors Boosters. 

There were a lot of cards that I needed for other decks, and I had a lot of credit, I might have went overboard on my preorders for the set, but I am really excited to actually get to play with it, and in CommandFest, even if it online. 

This week I am going to look at the first precon that I made changes to and finished, Sneak Attack.  The Zendikar Rising Commander precon features Anowon, the Ruin Thief as the Commander, and has a nice mill rogue plan.  I like milling!

Here is the list as it comes out of the box. 



After opening and sorting the deck, I pulled out the cards that I didn’t like or didn’t fit my play style.  It wasn’t a ton of cards, fourteen got cut (some basic lands did too, but I’ll talk about those later) and were replaced by cards that I thought I would enjoy casting more. 



Why did I cut these?  Well in some instances, I thought the card that I was going to replace had a better option. 

Would you rather play Scytheclaw, which admittedly has a sweet effect, but is expensive, over Sword of Feast and Famine which would allow us to continue to play things at the end of our opponent’s turns instead?  I decided I wanted to untap my lands over making them lose half their life. 

I cut mana rocks in the deck, well not all of them.  Dimir Keyrune, Dimir Locket and Mind Stone felt like the easiest cuts.  I wanted to try out some of the sweet Modal Double Faced cards from Zendikar Rising, and I felt that cutting these was the easiest thing to do in order to fit in Agadeem’s Awakening, Blackbloom Rogue and Glasspool Mimic

I felt that Profane Command was a better card than MurderBolas’s Citadel could in theory get me as many cards as a Distant Melody and gave me another way to deal a ton of damage. 

I hate Nighthowler.  All my homies hate Nighthowler.  I cut it for Cunning Nightbonder which helps a surprisingly high amount of cards in the deck.  Ogre Slumlord and Scourge of Fleets became Thieves’ Guild Enforcer and Thieving Skydiver

For the remaining cards, I wanted to add utility to the deck.  Disdainful Stroke and Negate both counter a lot of must answer cards before they become issues.  Feed the Swarm and Swan Song give me answers to enchantments. Solemn Simulacrum fills the role that some of the mana rocks did. 

Here is a list of what I added:



On top of these cuts I worked on the mana base a bit as well.  It’s not perfect, but it’s to me, a lot better than 15 of each basic land. 

I added these lands to the deck, making a swap of basics when it was needed. 



Of note, the Underground Sea is not a thing I will play CommandFest with.  Mainly because it’s a proxy and I do not want to have any issues with proxies during the event.  It will more than likely become a Watery Grave for the event as I have real copies of those. 

With Commander Legends coming out soon I am going to want to try to find room for the following:

Court of Cunning plays well with the mill theme. 
Mana Drain feels like it would be an upgrade over the countermagic I already have.
Court of Ambition helps with Monarch and seems incredibly powerful. 
War Room is something I want, and that is because I am lacking copies of Castle Locthwain[/card[

I know I am not going to playing at least one card from the new set. 

[card]Opposition Agent
is not a card I am looking to add to any of my CommandFest decks.  It’s super good.  It’s also not where I want to be for something that is supposed to be for fun. 

Here is the deck with all the new stuff in it, as it is built today (11-17-2020)

Joshuas Sneak Attack

Commander (1)
Creatures (33)
Spells (18)
Artifacts (10)
Lands (38)


Did I make the deck worse?  Yeah, probably?  Am I going to have fun with it?  I’m not sure about that yet either, as I have yet to actually play with it on MTGO, but make sure you stop by our YouTube channel, where I will have some fresh gameplay with the deck up soon. 

Next time, I’ll write about the Landfall deck I am happy with! 


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