MTG Commander/Elder Dragon Highlander

Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)
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Author:  Hamjam [ 2011-Aug-18 4:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)


I came here for help with one of my decklists. Thanks in advance to everyone who puts time and thought into this. I feel I should introduce myself a bit first, since I am new to these boards. I have started playing MtG in 1997 and been hooked ever since. At first I considered myself a competitive player, but found out that was not to be. The most rewarding thing for me is building decks and making them work. For the past 5 years or so, I have been playing casual highlander decks. My playgroup is a still split in the middle about Commander - some people like it and some don't. Thus I like to make lists that are able to function both with and without General.

This list in particular is meant for multiplayer games. It started as a pile of cards that I like, then I tried to form a coherent strategy with them. I must say I have found it quite a challenge.

I think I should name the deck Robin Hood, as its strategy could be described as "Take from the rich and help the poor". Ultimately, you will collect from everyone and hopefully win :twisted: . Since my win conditions are slow and mostly dependent on certain phases in a turn, I prefer a game that lasts long and goes over many turns. Thus the deck contains a fair amount of stalling cards.

The deck is quite challenging to play. It is about careful building of board position, politics and also knowing when to go for the kill. It forces players to make choices they are not used to make. It is mostly made of symmetrical effects. It punishes people who draw too many cards, play many spells, like to keep cards in their hand, play too many lands, etc. On the other hand, it allows players who had are "bad off" to hide behind enchantments, draw cards, drop some defenders, etc. It is quite egalitarian :) .

The rules I intend to keep with this deck:
1. No other colour, especially not white.
2. Keep non-enchantment permanents to a minimum.

Nath of the Gilt-Leaf

7 Non-Basic Lands
Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
Thawing Glaciers
Overgrown Tomb
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Golgari Rot Farm
Temple of the False God
Ghost Quarter

33 Basic Lands
15 Swamps
18 Forests

4 Creatures
Argothian Enchantress - the card to get with first tutor, 99 % of the time.
Verduran Enchantress - the first, one and only.
Bloodghast - This guy is like Kenny from South Park... poor boy. Never survives, yet always back for more. I love him :mrgreen: .
Reassembling Skeleton - ditto

10 Artifacts
Sol Ring - just fits in any and every deck.
Skullclamp - enchantress #4.
Geth's Grimoire - epic synergy with Words of Waste.
Anvil of Bogardan - good card overall, even better with Chains of Mephistopheles.
Skull of Orm - mana intensive, yet solid with the amount of powerful enchantment effects. Cool art!
Storage Matrix - slows down others, barely affects me.
Ensnaring Bridge - usually don't have many cards in my hand.
Noetic Scales - neither do my opponents :) . Stacking the triggers with the discard enchantments doubles as creature kill.
Well of Knowledge - One of the group hug cards, challenges players to weigh their options more carefully. Becomes quite the rotten fruit with Underworld dreams out.
Spine of Ish Sah - had to put in some universal answer, also good times with Infernal Tribute.
Mana Matrix - testing this, love the art!

4 Spells (non-permanents)
Vampiric Tutor - while I don't like to play tutors in casual decks, this one has so many narrow cards and a few key pieces that I simply had to put a few in.
Demonic Tutor
Regrowth - quite random, never disappointing.
Genesis Wave - this card brings about the shift from "I am lying low" to "I am going to kill all you now".

41 Enchantments
- Mana development:
Mana Reflection - excellent mana producer, rarely a primary target for disenchant due to "juicier" targets.
Perilous Forays - this card simply delivers, be it with Blooghast, Seed the Land or Reassembling Skeleton

- Sustenance
Lifegift - usually ignored, which is why it works so well.
Grim Feast - Should be good, thanks to the errata :) .
Seed the Land - great card for a defensive deck like this one. Attack with your 1/1 token? Sure. I will block your non-trampling 5/5 with mine.
Words of Wilding - thought it would be more of a win condition, so far it is kind of meh.
Awakening Zone - mana producer / token generator. No a "wow this is good" card, but solid.
Necrogenesis - I believe I have yet to draw this card in an actual game... can't be too bad though, can it?
Night Soil - another token producer / graveyard hate. Really cool thing is removing the creatures is the cost of activated ability = cannot be responded to!

- Card Draw / Recursion
Enchantress's Presence - enchantress #3
Phyrexian Arena - never too bad to draw an extra at this cost
Infernal Tribute - too bad tokens are not considered "cards"
Abundance - this card is just awesome, pairing this up with Sylvan Library or Forgotten Crypt is so much more than awesome.
Sylvan Library - Never hurts to play this one (pun intended).
Rowen - always wanted to try this one out. Looking for a less janky card advantage enchantment though...
Holistic Wisdom - have always wanted to play this card, cause it has to be awesome in highlander by its very definition. It fits this deck perfectly!
Forbidden Crypt - This card is nuts. Another old obscure rare. When you don't want to return anything, skip the draw with one of the enchantments. Just have to watch out for graveyard hate... or put City of Solitude back in.

- Best offense is good defense
Arboria - I like obscure rares from old sets. Mostly helps manascrewed people at the table.
Elephant Grass - solid rattlesnake, combo with Darkest Hour.
Grave Pact - not as stellar as it can be in other decks, but still totally servicable. And with a kickass art 8) .
The Abyss - Talk about obscure rares from old sets... Used to be way more powerful without all these esper / indestructible / mana efficient artifact guys. Still more than good enough.
No Mercy - good rattlesnake card. Disliked it in MBC, like it here.
Spreading Plague - Another card to make aggro (and token) players miserable.
Pernicious Deed - staple card for this colour combination and an enchantment to boot.
Tornado - can hurt a little, but takes care of pretty much anything. I like how it counts two different counters at the same time - age and velocity. Thank god those two don't mix.
Death Pits of Rath - yet another "attacking me is a bad idea" card :twisted:

- Goofy cards
Endless Whispers - this card is FUN. Lots of laughs and facepalms ensue right after this hits the table.
Necrotic Plague - this card is just too much fun to not play in multiplayer. Makes sure best creature on the table never stays for too long.
Saproling Cluster - another "group hug" card. I am nice, I like to give people do things with their cards at all times 8)

- The headaches
Mind Slash - sick interaction with Nath (the reason I chose him as general).
Necrogen Mists - annoyance.
Bottomless Pit - random annoyance. Both work great with Noetic Scales
Words of Waste - great interaction with Geth's Grimoire, probably douchiest combo in the deck.
Painful Quandary - just when you think you are safe from discard by playing off the top...
Oppression - really oppressive.
Chains of Mephistopheles - even more obscure old rares with powerful abilities. This with Anvil of Bogardan = nasty oldschool combo
Underworld Dreams - how many cards did you want to draw off that Well of Knowledge again?
Megrim - Hugs...
Liliana's Caress - ...and kisses
Primal Order - usually the fastest clock a single card can put my opponents on. Chews on plainswalkers too! Yay for more obscure rares!

Problems with the deck:
- Mass enchantment sweepers - hard to solve that one, but it is something I just have to live with.
- Manabase - This is my sixth deck, so it does not have the best lands it could have. There could probably be some more non-basic land hate. Not an issue of high importance atm.
- Inconsistency - the reason I would not take this into any serious game. It is hard to achieve a high level of redundancy without heavy tutoring theme (which I would like to avoid in casual decks), as most of the enchantments are quite unique.

Cards I have tried:
Null Profusion and Recycle - One of the original reasons to play BG enchantress, thinking "I will have 2 more enchantress effects". Took these out when I put in the heavy discard theme.
Utopia Sprawl, Overgrowth, Dawn's Reflection and the like - didn't like them, mostly because they die to board wipes and land destruction. Khalni Heart Expedition was too unreliable.

Cards yet to try:
Memory Jar - the classic Megrim companion. Could help with speeding up a kill.
Night Dealings - probably not enough ways to trigger this.
Tainted Aether - might be too annoying, but it could help mitigate the token menace, Ghave, Guru of Spores is kinda popular.
Sadistic Hypnotist - Nath's brother-in-arms, I really hesitate putting this one in.

Any feedback from you is welcome! :wink:

Author:  Shabbaman [ 2011-Aug-19 4:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Sadistic Hypnotist[card]combo's with your sadistic general. You could get it out together with [card]Mindslicer with [/card]Defense of the Heart[/card]. At least that last one is an enchantment ;)

Author:  Hamjam [ 2011-Aug-19 3:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Hmm, those dudes certainly combo well with the general. I will keep them in mind if I want to power up the deck a bit. As it stands right now, I tried to stay away from offending cards that would make me the main target - discarding everybody's hand happens to be just that in our group :evil: .

As far as I am ready to go right now is Mindslash + Nath :twisted: .

I will try the Defense of the Heart though, even if all it finds is the two Enchantresses or a Bloodghast.

I was thinking about adding Storage Matrix to slow the games down a bit. It will barely affect me as all I need to do is to untap my lands. It also goes along with the philosophy of helping the weak and keeping the strong down.

Author:  Shabbaman [ 2011-Aug-22 1:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Mindslicer is a nice rattlesnake: it keeps opponents from attacking into it. Myojin of Night's Reach is similar. If you don't want to be a target, play a different general ;)

Author:  Hamjam [ 2011-Aug-22 2:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

I am afraid that playing anything like the black Myojin or Mindslicer would immediate make me the target, and this deck does not have the tools to abuse the window to win / take control of the game that mass discard provides.

It is true that Nath usually eats a removal as soon as he hits the table. I usually only play him late into the game. I guess I could go with Vhati il-Dal, who is very unassuming, yet still somewhat useful. I have tried Skullbriar and he was good in two respects: A) others thought I am some kind of aggro deck; B) He ate a removal, so my enchantress could live for a bit longer.

- Exploration
- Gaea's Touch
- Death Match
- City of Solitude
- Hecatomb
- Wound Reflection

+ Elephant Grass
+ Spreading Plague
+ Darkest Hour
+ Sylvan Library
+ 2 basic lands

Author:  Superstrength79 [ 2011-Aug-22 6:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Crawlspace will help keep token swarms away from you. That, or Hissing Miasma.

Author:  Shabbaman [ 2011-Aug-22 7:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

What about Pox?

Author:  Superstrength79 [ 2011-Aug-23 3:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Stronghold Discipline
Netherborn Phalanx

Author:  Hamjam [ 2011-Aug-23 4:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Shabbaman wrote:
What about Pox?

Love that card! I can see the synergy with permanents that dodge it, but I could not justify its inclusion without a major overhaul of the deck. If I was looking for something more competitive, I would probably include this.

Superstrength79 wrote:

Thanks for the suggestions! Seriously considering Hissing Miasma as another rattlesnake card. Too bad it doesn't do much once the tokens dude casts his overrun :( .

Author:  Shabbaman [ 2011-Aug-24 4:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Hamjam wrote:
Shabbaman wrote:
What about Pox?

Love that card!

Well, at least I got that part right ;)

I'm not sure what you're asking for though. You say you have problems with mana, sweepers and inconsistency. If you want to keep with the enchantment theme, there's not much that helps in that aspect. Mana ramping would help, but then it might be better to set up Perilous Forays instead of screwing the enchantment theme by adding stuff like Cultivate. As it is, the deck looks very solid, but I can imagine you have a hard time to force a win. Tutors would obviously help, but outside Defense of the Heart I don’t really see a good enchantment option. You could try transmute cards, specifically Brainspoil and Dimir House Guard. They’re not completely horrible cards on their own. Other than that, perhaps Saproling Burst is any good in your deck.

Hamjam wrote:
It is true that Nath usually eats a removal as soon as he hits the table. I usually only play him late into the game. I guess I could go with Vhati il-Dal, who is very unassuming, yet still somewhat useful. I have tried Skullbriar and he was good in two respects: A) others thought I am some kind of aggro deck; B) He ate a removal, so my enchantress could live for a bit longer.

Well, with a deck like this you are prone to make yourself a target. Discard is never popular. Sometimes it can be necessary to punish people with discard, but with Nath as a general you are giving a clear signal to your opponents. A lot of people with tag you as “that guy”. Obviously this can be very different in your own playgroup, it’s just a pointer. Skullbriar could be a nice alternate wincondition, and there’s some +1/+1 counter synergy you can exploit without changing the enchantment theme a lot. Vhati is very defensive, so if you are under pressure a lot you could try him. A wacky option would be Sisters of the Stone Death.

Author:  Superstrength79 [ 2011-Aug-24 5:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Hamjam wrote:
Thanks for the suggestions! Seriously considering Hissing Miasma as another rattlesnake card. Too bad it doesn't do much once the tokens dude casts his overrun :( .

I'd go with Darkness and/or green Fog effects then. I have started to run at least one of the spells in each deck I have which uses the colors. There is a lot of instances where one player tries to swing all and take out every player at the table in my meta. I never worry about getting it in my opening hand, and I'm glad to top-deck it late game as well.

Author:  Fraggermuffin [ 2011-Aug-25 8:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Nice deck! I would definately stick with Nath as your general. Too many synergies there to change. You just need to improve your defense and deck speed. Here are some card suggestions.

Help with speed

Wild Growth (overgrowth etc are awesome)
Earthcraft (so much acceleration with tokens)
Carpet of Flowers (if there is heavy Blue in your group)
Eladamri's Vineyard

Help with staying alive

Bloodchief Ascension (would be insane with Chains, Anvil etc)
Death Pits of Rath (is it worth attacking into your 1/1 horde?)
Grim Feast
Constant Mists (you are probably gonig to be picked on)

Random Goodness

Night Soil
or Ground Seal (obviously not in same deck)
Asceticism (protect Nath or maybe just play greaves)
Worldly Tutor (grabs Enchantress)
Saclands (good with your "landfall" type stuff)

I also second Sadistic Hypnotist. You already have so many things in your deck that will make you a target that one more wont hurt. He just combos too well with your general to leave out.

Some cards I would consider cutting:
Well of Knowledge - Doesn't seem on theme. Too much help to opponents with more mana.
Rights of Flourishing - ditto
Powder Keg - too slow
Darkest Hour - doesn't do much for you as there is only 2 cards in your deck it really combos with.

Author:  Hamjam [ 2011-Aug-26 1:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Thanks for the suggestions Fraggermuffin. You hit the nail on the head with quite a few of them! First: Nath is staying for sure :) . I just like the synergies way too much. On to the suggestions:

Grim Feast is already going in for Polluted Bonds.
Constant Mists is a very nice defensive card and fits the deck well. Thank you!
Death Pits of Rath I quite like this one, will add it to the list of possible ways of taking care of creatures.
Night Soil could not find any! I finally got one a few days ago and it is going in for sure :) .
Ascetism I have dismissed it at first, but that was when Skullbriar was General. Now it seems better.

I believe you are suggesting that I step up the power of the deck a bit further. I would be careful with it though, as I do not think this deck could stand a full-on fight with the table, at least not until my opponents are in top-deck mode. This is why I have excluded certain cards this far:

Sadistic Hypnotist
Bloodchief Ascension - was in at one time, but I have found it hard to activate and/or protect.
Worldly Tutor and the like.

In the end, my playgroup will probably force me to power up the deck a little once they finish their threat-assessment. I am definitely keeping the above cards in mind.

The no-noes:

Subversion is reeeeeeeally janky. We usually play in a group of 4. I want a 5 mana enchantment do more than gaining me 3 life and merely annoying my opponents.

I would love to play Carpet of Flowers, however my meta is mostly Black/Green/White/Red goodstuff graveyard-based decks. For the same reason, Attrition has been kind of meh. I would take out Darkest hour for it.

Well of Knowledge is works for me, so long as I can punish opponents for drawing / discarding / playing cards. Also, the enchantments tend to produce card advantage (for example, they can keep non-token producing creatures, no problem as long as I have The Abyss our, they are dead draws). The only time it backfires is when someone starts digging for an enchantment sweeper.

Author:  Hamjam [ 2011-Aug-26 2:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

The other day I thought about possible card inclusions and figured out some cards that would skew this deck towards a mean combo machine, using mostly enchantments! So, it would go something like this:

An enchantress / Null Profusion / Recycle
Broken Fall / Molting Skin
Mana Matrix / Cloud Key / Semblance Anvil / Helm of Awakening / Stone Calendar
Cadaverous Bloom

And win with Tendrils of Agony, Hunting Pack or Exsanguinate.

Quite a bit of redundancy there, except for the Cadaverous Bloom, which is necessary to go through the deck except for the times when Mana Reflection / Vernal Bloom / Heartbeat of Spring is available with enough lands. Adding an untap effect like Early Harvest or Rude Awakening would help comboing out without Bloom.

Is it worth it? Probably not. But it is nice to have options, should others complain that my deck wins slowly or not at all :) .

Author:  Hamjam [ 2011-Aug-29 2:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf (BG Enchantress)

Latest updates, thanks to Fraggermuffin! :)

- Burgeoning - Dead card most of the time
- Polluted Bonds - Going to bench for a bit... I still kind of like it.
- Rites of Flourishing - no way to make this work for me without timewalks or other nasty stuff
- Darkest Hour - will see if Spreading Plague and Elephant Grass are good enough on their own... at least they do something.
- Powder Keg - hardest cut for me, as it was doing a good job at keeping token hordes off my ass... it is too slow to answer anything else though.

+ Grim Feast - thanks for the errata Wizards! :twisted:
+ Mana Matrix - will see how this works... I just like the art for now :)
+ Storage Matrix - I like how this challenges players to either develop board or attack
+ Night Soil - really don't like the pun in the name of this card... but it is another token generator, and I am really in need of those.
+ Death Pits of Rath - looks like another good way of fighting creatures. Any card that gives other players the option to fight each other for longer is good by my standards :) .

Also got me another copy of Sadistic Hypnotist... not ready to put it in yet, but his time will come I guess. I am still trying to keep a low profile in the games. Getting my guns out too early gets me killed more often than not.

Anyone got any suggestions as to what to replace Rowen with? Necropotence is strong, but I do not think it fits here. I do not like to exile my discarded cards, it does not draw cards and it attracts quite a bit of hate. I think Greed could do the trick... Or I will just slap in a Mind's Eye, but that is not an enchantment :( .

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