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Friday, October 20, 2017

Super Friends: Walking with Wenhao and the Planeswalkers

November 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Interview

You Mess With the Best, You Die Like the Rest.

Hi there fellow EDH-ers, welcome back for yet another interview with another one of our play group players. For this interview article, we would like you to meet Wu Wenhao from our play group. Wenhao had focused more on Legacy. Calling himself a collector, he used to collect all sorts of Zombies when his friends said he looked like a Zombie back then. He had once sought to collect a full set of Dual Lands though he stopped halfway, but not before he managed to own one of the most expensive Lands out there, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. His most powerful deck, one which left the deepest impression in me, was the Land deck, a deck which utilizes the combo of Life from the Loam and Manabond to put in more than the usual one Land per turn onto the battlefield. In turn, these Lands will help him control the board. Be it recurring and using an endless loop of Mindslaver over his opponent or a beatdown with Batterskull, he is constantly finding new cards to win. His deck is basically a graveyard based deck as he calls it, stating that graveyard hate is his deck greatest weakness. His choices of cards for his deck are mainly focus on the efficiency of cards in the deck. This is also the same for his build of EDH decks. So now let’s hear it from the Zombie collector himself, Wenhao, about his EDH deck.

 

Me: What deck do you normally use? Any deck name for it?

Wenhao: Child of Alara. Deckname: Let’s Play Longer.

 

Me: Okay… That’s a weird name for a deck, how is the deck supposed to work?

Wenhao: A 1v1 EDH deck based on incremental advantage from Planeswalkers and whatever I have in my collection. Lay a Planeswalker and keep sweeping the board.

 

Me: I see, interesting idea, and powerful strategy. Tell us more about the inspiration behind the creation of the deck?

Wenhao: I like to play long, grindy games. Since the incursion of Planeswalkers in the game, they are an excellent choice to grind the game out to my flavor.

 

Me: Interesting way to put it. So how did the creation process go about?

Wenhao: Creation process wise, I took a big drop in putting all non-basics to fit the 5c requirements, pull out a ton of Planeswalkers I have, and the sweepers and things to recur the sweepers like Eternal Witness; Mnemonic Wall; Anarchist; Izzet Chronarch; etc.

 

Me: How did the deck perform during each EDH session?

Wenhao: I have no problems in having a solution as I have 5 Commands, 8 Charms under the list of spells that I have, providing me with answers to almost anything. Problem is winning a multiplayer game as it is built for 1v1 purposes, though I have no problems playing it for fun in multiplayer games.

 

Me: What’s your next idea if any?

Wenhao: I am still digging ideas and finding a good mono-color Commander that I like. Wait till then I build another. For now, I’ll stick onto Child of Alara and Mayael the Anima.

Clash of the Planeswalkers

From the interview you could see that Wenhao’s EDH deck, Child of Alara, or as he calls it “Let’s Play Longer”, is an improvised version of the normal variant deck, Super Friends. As the collector he is, Wenhao had collected one each of almost every Planeswalkers printed (or as he puts it the more useful ones), putting them to good use in his EDH deck. The main strategy of the normal variant Super Friends, as a Standard deck, was to use the available and legal Planeswalkers at that time to generate card advantage with them. Having personally played Super Friends myself, I could see the advantages that they provide are so tremendous and game changing sometimes that it’s like having another player on your side. Take for example, I was once up to seven or eight poison counters (exact number unknown but nearing defeat….), then Gideon Jura hits the battlefield and the game was turned towards me as my opponent’s poison army was totally stopped by Gideon. Because there are only so many Planeswalkers legal during each Standard period, color(s) of the decks are usually confined to the Planeswalkers during this period. Wenhao’s “Let’s Play Longer” pushes this strategy further by going 5c with Child of Alara, allowing him to include any Planeswalkers he wants. Much of his game plan involves him placing a threatening Planeswalker onto the battlefield, and then proceeds to seal the game by blowing the battlefield up with his sweeping spells. Most of his sweeping spells were from before Planeswalkers even existed, they usually spare the Planeswalkers, leaving them behind to continue to wreak havoc on his opponents. And if all else failed, he could use his General, Child of Alara, to whack his opponents, which itself is a board sweep should it died. As mentioned in the interview, the weakness of the deck is its inability to control multiple players at the same time, thus resulting in frustrating situation with every opponent recognizing his Planeswalkers as the greater threat whenever one enters the battlefield. Just as he has the advantage in 1v1 of having multiple players through his Planeswalkers against his single opponent; the same is also true in Multi-player games where every opponent is up against Wenhao and his gang. For a deck that Wenhao proclaims that he built within 15 mins of getting all the cards together, the deck is consider a strong contender and very much our group greatest nemesis (hahahaha).

 

Deck List

Commander

Child of Alara

Lands (31)

Creatures (11)

Arcane Sanctum

Anarchist

Celestial Colonnade

Bloom Tender

City of Brass

Clone

Crumbling Necropolis

Coiling Oracle

Dreadship Reef

Duplicant

Dust Bowl

Enigma Sphinx

Exotic Orchard

Eternal Witness

Fungal Reaches

Ethersworn Adjudicator

Gemstone Mine

Izzet Chronarch

Henge of Ramos

Mnemonic Wall

Jungle Shrine

Nucklavee

Lavaclaw Reaches

Mirrodin’s Core

Sorceries (15)

Molten Slagheap

Austere Command

Murmuring Bosk

Barter in Blood

New Benalia

Beseech the Queen

Novijen, Heart of Progress

Cruel Ultimatum

Prahv, Spires of Order

Decree of Pain

Reflecting Pool

Demonic Tutor

Reliquary Tower

Final Judgment

Rupture Spire

Incendiary Command

Saltcrusted Steppe

Jokulhaups

Savage Lands

Rite of Replication

Shimmering Grotto

Praetor’s Grasp

Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree

Primal Command

Vivid Crag

Profane Command

Vivid Creek

Promise of Power

Vivid Grove

Reap and Sow

Vivid Marsh

Vivid Meadow

Instants (12)

Bant Charm

Artifacts (16)

Crosis’s Charm

Azorius Signet

Cryptic Command

Boros Signet

Desertion

Coalition Relic

Esper Charm

Contagion Engine

Grixis Charm

Darksteel Ingot

Jund Charm

Dimir Signet

Memory Plunder

Ensnaring Bridge

Naya Charm

Golgari Signet

Rith’s Charm

Izzet Signet

Treva’s Charm

Nevinyrral’s Disk

Wild Ricochet

Obelisk of Alara

Orzhov Signet

Enchantments (1)

Phyrexian Processor

Rhystic Study

Rings of Brighthearth

Selesnya Signet

Talisman of Impulse

Planeswalkers (13)

Ajani Vengeant

Karn Liberated

Chandra Nalaar

Liliana Vess

Elspeth Tirel

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

Elspeth, Knight-Errant

Sarkhan the Mad

Garruk Wildspeaker

Sorin Markov

Gideon Jura

Venser, the Sojourner

Jace Beleren

 

The Super Friends:-

When times get rough, it helps to have a good friend by your side.

The main reason to why Wenhao started with this deck, this gang of Super Friends is the main culprits for dragging out the game for Wenhao’s opponents. Although not all of them, those in his collection and was in the deck proves useful enough that every time one hits the battlefield, the game is pretty much sealed in a 1v1 if he  follow it up by subsequently casting a board sweeping spell. Versatility is the main game here. Each Planeswalkers is effectively two free spells which you could choose one from to cast each turn as they enter the battlefield before you build them up to the ultimate which usually end games. So the Planeswalkers serve as extra spells which requires no mana, letting you use the mana for other spells.

Planeswalkers

Abilities

Ultimate

Ajani Vengeant

Lockdown on a permanent; Lightning Helix on a target. Armageddon on target player.

Chandra Nalaar

Chandra deals 1 damage to target player; or X damage to target Creature. 10 damage to target player and his  or her board.

Elspeth Tirel

1 life for each Creature you control; or Three 1/1 White Soldier tokens Destroy all non-Lands and non-token permanents.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant

One 1/1 White Soldier token; or +3/+3 and Flying to target Creature until end of turn. Emblem: Your Artifacts, Creature, Enchantments and Lands are indestructible.

Garruk Wildspeaker

Untap up to two target Lands; or One 3/3 Green Beast token. Overrun.

Gideon Jura

Force opponent’s Creatures to attack him; or Destroy target tapped Creature. Turn into 6/6 Soldier which takes no damage.

Jace Beleren

Each player draws a card; or Target player draws a card. Mill twenty on target player.

Karn Liberated

Force target player to exile a card from hand; or Exile target permanent.

Restart game, leaving in exile all non-Aura permanent cards exiled with Karn, then put those cards onto battlefield under your control.

Liliana Vess

Target player discards a card; or Tutor for one card and put on library top. Reanimate all Creatures in all graveyards to your side.

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

Destroy target nonCreature permanent; or Gain control of target Creature. Bolas deals 7 damage to target player, that player discards seven cards, then sacrifices seven permanents.

Sarkhan the Mad

Get top card of your library but deal damage to Sarkhan equals to the card’s converted mana cost; or Target Creature’s controller sacrifices it and gets a 5/5 Flying Red Dragon token in exchange. Each Dragon you control deals damage equal to its power to target player.

Sorin Markov

Sorin deals 2 to a target and you gain 2 life; or Target opponent’s life become 10. Control target player’s next turn.

Venser, the Sojourner

Blink target permanent you control; or Creatures are unblockable this turn. Emblem: Whenever you cast a spell, exile target permanent.

 

One Card Many Spells:-

One Spell for All.

Versatility is a main sell point for Wenhao’s deck. The Planeswalkers already do that but Wenhao pushed that versatility further with the Command cycle from Lorwyn and some of the Charm cycles from both Invasion and Alara. Each of these spells has multiple effects on them to choose from (Commands four; Charms three), allowing you to have many effects in a spell effectively saving you card slots in the deck. This is a very good aspect to look for when choosing spells for EDH decks.

Commands

Austere Command

Choose two out of – Destroy all Artifacts; Destroy all Enchantments; Destroy all Creatures with 3cc or less; Destory all Creatures with 4cc or greater.

Cryptic Command

Choose two out of – Counter target spell; Bounce target permanent; Tap all Creatures your opponents control; Draw a card.

Incendiary Command

Choose two out of – Deals 4 damage to target player; Deals 2 damage to each Creature; Destroy target nonbasic Land; Each player discard hand and draws that many cards.

Primal Command

Choose two out of – Target player gains 7 life; Put target nonCreature permanent on top of its owner’s library; Target player shuffles graveyard into library; Tutor for a Creature into hand.

Profane Command

Choose two out of – Target player loses X life; Return target Creature with cc X or less from your graveyard to battlefield; Target Creature gets –X/-X; Up to X target Creatures gain Fear until end of turn.

Charms

Bant Charm

Choose one – Destroy target Artifact; Put target Creature on bottom of its owner’s library; Counter target Instant.

Crosis’s Charm

Choose one – Bounce target permanent; Destroy target nonblack Creature, it can’t Regenerate; Destroy target Artifact.

Esper Charm

Choose one – Destroy Enchantment; Draw two cards; Target player discard two cards.

Grixis Charm

Choose one – Bounce target permanent; Target Creature gets -4/-4 until end of turn; Creatures you control get +2/+0 until end of turn.

Jund Charm

Choose one – Exile all cards from target graveyard; Deals 2 damage to each Creature; Put two +1/+1 counters on target Creature.

Naya Charm

Choose one – Deals 3 damage to target Creature; Return target card from a graveyard to owner’s hand; Tap all Creatures target player controls.

Rith’s Charm

Choose one – Destroy target nonbasic Land; Put three 1/1 Green Saproling tokens onto battlefield; Prevent all damage from a source to you.

Treva’s Charm

Choose one – Destroy target Enchantment; Exile target attacking Creature; Draw a card then discard a card.

 

Board Sweep, Control & Solution:-

“When I Sweep, None is Spared.”

As mentioned by Wenhao, the game plan was to put a Planeswalker out and then clear the board and grind the game on with the Planeswalker. This is mainly achieved by board sweeping spells or abilities.

Ajani Vengeant Sweep all of target player’s Lands with his ultimate.
Austere Command Choose either two of: Sweep all Artifacts; Sweep all Enchantments; Sweep all all Creatures with 3cc or less; Sweep all Creatures with 4cc or greater.
Barter in Blood Force sacrifice of two Creatures on all players. Rids the Indestructible and Hexproof.
Contagion Engine -1/-1 counter to all of target player’s Creatures when it enters the battlefield. Kills the survived Creatures with Proliferate later.
Decree of Pain Sweep all Creatures and draw a card for each swept Creature. Add on of -2/-2 to all till end of turn effect if it is cycled.
Elspeth Tirel Sweeps all nonLand and nontoken permanents with her ultimate.
Final Judgment Exile all Creatures.
Incendiary Command Sweep all small Creatures with 2 damage.
Jund Charm Sweep all small Creatures with 2 damage.
Jokulhaups Sweep all Artifacts, Creatures and Lands. They can’t regenerate.
Nevinyrral’s Disk Sweep all Artifacts, Creatures and Enchantments when activated.

 

Although the game plan is to sweep the board while leaving behind a Planeswalker to hold the situation, there are still situations whereby only a single threat is needed to be dealt with instead of blowing up everything, sort of buying time for the main bombs to come.

Bant Charm Destroy target Artifact, put target Creature on the bottom of library, or counter Instant.
Chandra Nalaar Kills Creature with damage. Up to 6 damage the moment it hits the battlefield.
Clone Kills target General.
Cryptic Command Bounce target permanent, counter threats, or tap down opponents’ army.
Crosis’s Charm Bounce target permanent, destroy target nonblack Creature, or destroy target Artifact.
Desertion Counter target spell and steals it if it is an Artifact or Creature.
Duplicant Exile target Creature.
Dust Bowl Destroy target nonbasic Land.
Ethersworn Adjudicator Destroy target Creature or Enchantment.
Ensnaring Bridge Creatures with power greater than your hand can’t attack.
Esper Charm Destroy target Enchantment.
Gideon Jura Destroy target tapped Creature.
Grixis Charm Bounce target permanent, makes target Creature -4/-4 until end of turn.
Jund Charm Exiles target player’s graveyard.
Naya Charm Tap down target player’s Creatures.
Primal Command Put target nonCreature permanent on the bottom of library.
Profane Command Target Creature get –X/-X until end of turn.
Reap and Sow Destroy target Land; or tutor for a Land to battlefield; or both when Entwine.
Rite of Replication Kills target General. Otherwise a huge threat when you cast and kicked it to get multiple copies of target threat.
Rith’s Charm Destroy target nonbasic Land.
Treva’s Charm Destroy target Enchantment, exiles target attacking Creature (Foils Voltron).
Wild Ricochet Act as sort of a counterspell to Instant and Sorcery by redirecting the spell; add insult to injury by copying that spell too.

What worse than having a spell that didn’t got through?

 

Recursion:-

“Whatever you need, I retrieve….”

Prolonged games often lead to exhausted resources and Wenhao packs his decks with recursion to counteract this.

Anarchist Recurs Sorcery as it enters the battlefield.
Cruel Ultimatum Recurs a Creature to battlefield as part of its many effects.
Eternal Witness Recurs any card as it enters the battlefield.
Izzet Chronarch Recurs Instant or Sorcery as it enters the battlefield.
Liliana Vess Reanimates all Creatures from all graveyards to battlefield under your control. Ultimately meaning you steal all opponents’ Creatures from the graveyard.
Memory Plunder Steals opponent’s Instant or Sorcery in the graveyard.
Mnemonic Wall Recurs Instant or Sorcery as it enters the battlefield.
Naya Charm Recurs any card.
Nucklavee Recurs Blue Instant and Red Sorcery as it enters the battlefield. Though it may seems limited, it is to be noted that a lot of the Charms are part Blue.
Primal Command Reshuffle graveyard back to library.
Profane Command Reanimates Creature with cc X or less.

 

Card Draw and Tutors:-

“I got everything…. Just tell me what you need…..”

Although Wenhao’s deck is full of threats and solutions, it is still useless if he doesn’t draw them in time, so he included card draws and tutors in the deck and to help better his chances against the odds.

Beseech the Queen Tutor for a card with cc less than or equal to number of Lands you control.
Demonic Tutor Tutor for a card.
Jace Beleren Each player draws a card; or Target player draws a card. Good political card.
Liliana Vess Tutor for a card and put on library top.
New Benalia Not really a card draw or tutor but helps to improve your draw by Scry 1.
Praetor’s Grasp Tutor for a card from opponent’s library. As the deck is 5c, any card stolen with this spell could be use too.
Promise of Power Draw five cards and lose 5 life.
Rhystic Study Free card draw if opponents don’t pay 1 more to cast their spells. Most annoying Enchantment of our play group.

 

Fixing the Colors:-

Get the Right Color to Get to the Right Bomb.

All those powerful Planeswalkers and spells may sound good if they happen. But if you do not get the right color nothing is gonna happen. As with all 5c deck, getting the right color for the spells is not easily accomplished. Wenhao get his color fixed by playing these following Lands, most of which produce two or more colors. Admittedly I was quite surprised to see that Wenhao plays no basic Lands in his deck. But after reviewing the rest of his deck, it makes senses as the Lands he plays are either there to fix his color or have additional abilities to add to the deck beside mana. Interestingly too, Wenhao’s deck has a lower Land count as oppose to other decks. Guess this is justified in that he needs the color more than he needs the mana. Wenhao mentions that the 5c Lands are crucial to 5c decks like his, thus whenever there is a new one printed it would definitely earn a spot in his deck.

Dual Colors

Time Spiral Dual Color Storage Lands (Dreadship Reef; Fungal Reaches; Molten Slagheap; Saltcrusted Steppe)

These Lands store storage counters on them; and over time allows you to get tons of either or both of the colors it could produce. Usually used to cast the bigger spells due to the huge amount of mana they can produce in a shot when game is prolong in multiplayer games.

Zendikar Dual Color Man-Lands (Celestial Colonnade; Lavaclaw Reaches)

Dual Color Man-Lands to beat down when needed.

Tri Colors

Alara Tri Color Lands (Arcane Sanctum; Crumbling Necropolis; Jungle Shrine; Savage Lands)

Lands which enters the battlefield but produce three colors.

Murmuring Bosk

Forest which also provides Black and White mana.

5c

City of Brass

The basic and first 5c Land.

Exotic Orchard

Not exactly 5c but close enough. Dependent on opponents’ playing colors.

Gemstone Mine

Produce 5c for three times. Can prolong its usage with Proliferate.

Henge of Ramos

Converts 2 mana into any color. Crucial when you just can’t get that last color.

Mirrodin’s Core

Charges up with charge counters and uses them to produce 5c.

Reflecting Pool

Effectively 5c with the huge amount of 5c Lands in the deck.

Rupture Spire

Enters the battlefield tapped and requires 1 mana to keep it when it enters the battlefield. Not much a drawback in EDH as games are usually relatively slow.

Shimmering Grotto

Same as Henge of Ramos but requires lesser mana.

Vivid Lands (Vivid Crag; Vivid Creek; Vivid Grove; Vivid Marsh; Vivid Meadow)

Each gives you two chances to produce 5c, which can be increases with Proliferate.

 

To Get the Right Color… Please Insert one Mana….

Dual Colors

Azorius Signet

Boros Signet

Dimir Signet

Golgari Signet

WU

RW

UB

BG

Izzet Signet

Orzhov Signet

Selesnya Signet

Talisman of Impulse

UR

WB

GW

RG

5c

Bloom Tender

Becomes more effective as the colors among his permanents increases. Effectively a 2cc which produces 5 mana when General is on the battlefield with it.

Coalition Relic

This Artifact is considered by many to be a staple for most EDH decks. For mono color, it serves as a small mana ramp; for mutli-colors, it serves both ramp and color fix.

Darksteel Ingot

Tough color fixer which is good against most Artifact destructions.

Besides using the above Lands, Wenhao also employs the help of Artifacts and Creatures to fix the color. This works two ways; by fixing the colors and also ramping his mana. The spells he had put in his deck are by no means cheap to cast. Therefore mana ramp is as much needed as mana fixing. 

Tendering your Path to Victory.

 

Combos:-

As the main idea behind the whole deck was to lay a Planeswalker and followed up by a sweep the board effect, rinse and repeat till the opponent can’t take it anymore, there is no overkilling or imba combo in the deck. Here are the few combos we had found in the deck. Not surprisingly most of the combos revolve around the Planeswalkers.

Rings of Brighthearth + All Planeswalkers

Any of the Planeswalkers abilities is pretty powerful on its own and this combo allows you to get double the effect out of the same Planeswalker, proving a point that any card which breaks fundamental rules of the games are very powerful. (Planeswalker can only use one ability at Sorcery speed per turn)

Contagion Engine + All Planeswalkers

Planeswalkers’ ultimate are all powerful effects but most requires a lot of loyalty counters to activate. This combo shortens that charging process.

Contagion Engine + Venser, the Sojourner

Effectively any permanents you own with enter the battlefield effects are a good combo with Venser but this one stands out as it allows you to pile up -1/-1 counters on your opponent’s army. Other such cards which can be used with Venser include, Anarchist; Coiling Oracle; Duplicant; Eternal Witness; Izzet Chronarch; Mnemonic Wall; New Benalia; Nucklavee.

Venser, the Sojourner + All Planeswalkers

While building up Venser loyalty counters towards the ultimate, he also act as a reset for the other Planeswalkers when their loyalty counters get too low

Contagion Engine + Gemstone Mine; or Mirrodin’s Core; or Time Spiral Dual Color Storage Lands; or Vivid Lands

Prolongs the usage of getting 5c out of the Mine, Core & Vivid Lands; or hasten the storing time needed for the Storage Lands to get more mana out of them.

Contagion Engine + Coalition Relic

A whacky late game combo which allows you to get up to four mana of any color out of the Coalition Relic. (End of your opponent’s turn tap to put a charge counter on it, then Proliferate two times to get two more charge counters, on your turn remove the three charge counters and tap the Relic for total of four mana of any color)

 

“When Everything is About Counters…..I Just Rulezzz~!!~”

 

Rest of the deck:-

Continuing the Utility Trend…

Enigma Sphinx

Although mostly luck dependant, the Sphinx helps to cheat most of the Planeswalkers onto the battlefield with its high 6cc Cascade.

Novijen, Heart of Progress

Pumps up his own army; can also pump up opponent’s army as a political tool.

Obelisk of Alara

A way to utilize the fact that the deck is of all five colors.

Phyrexian Processor

Seldom used but effective way to create an army of big Creatures after a board sweep.

Prahv, Spires of Order

Helps prevents kill from a General, although it was just threw into the deck to fill up the numbers….

Reliquary Tower

Let Wenhao keeps his hand when it is flooded with bombs.

Temple of the False God

The infamous EDH Land which produce two mana when you have five or more Lands.

Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree

Grows you an army of Saproling SLOWLY.

 

You Mess With the Best, You Die Like the Rest.

It all started with Five

Great thanks to Wenhao for sharing his deck with us. We hope you had enjoyed the interview as much as we had writing it. So it’s time again to end off today’s article and till our next article, may the power of the Super Friends be with you.

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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