Commanding Opinion: Angus Mackenzie

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angus mackenzie

Angus Mackenzie is one of the legendary creatures that are simultaneously exclusive to Legends and on the Reserved List – making it extremely expensive now. I’m surprised it didn’t spike again when Tiny Leaders became a popular format.

So what does he do?

Well, for WUG, you get a 2/2 Legendary creature. Nothing too impressive, but he’s at least playable as soon as turn 2 or 3 with the right mana fixing. His ability is the real reason he is powerful – for WUG and tap, you prevent all combat damage this turn, as long as it is done before combat damage.

Due to the fact his activated ability is Fog, his deck tend to play more defensively – preventing the damage makes you basically invincible to damage as long as you leave 3 mana open. The most common strategy for this is for Superfriends – Bant gives you a lot of fantastic planeswalkers combined with Doubling Season.

doubling season

Obviously, the main thing for a Superfriends deck is to play a ton of planeswalkers.

Essentially every Planeswalker in this deck can immediately use its ultimate if it comes into play after Doubling Season. As a quick reminder, Doubling Season only modifies the loyalty that the Planeswalkers enter with. They’re placed when a planeswalker enters play, but adding loyalty is a cost to use the activated ability of the planeswalker. Doubling Season only causes twice as many counters to be “placed” when counters are “placed,” not added as a cost.

clockspinning

Clockspinning is a more narrow card. For U, you can take a counter from any permanent or suspended card and either remove it, or add another counter of that kind to that card. As this includes loyalty counters, it’s already pretty good. It wouldn’t be worth playing if you only used it once, though – it has Buyback for 3 colorless mana, which lets you cast it and then return it to your hand if you pay the buyback cost.

gilder bairn

Gilder Bairn is the only way we really have to double our Planeswalkers after they’re already in play – for 2{G/U} and an untap (not a tap) you double all of the counters on target permanent. Fairly self explanatory. The only real downside is that it has to be tapped in order to use its ability. Luckily, Angus prevents all combat damage,

M15 has given us quite a few new tools for this deck, in fact.

the chain veil

The Chain Veil is the newest Superfriends support card. The downside is mostly non-existent in a Superfriends deck as you should always have at least 1 planeswalker in play that you’re using. By paying 4 mana and tapping it, you get to use each planeswalker you control an additional time this turn. This can easily push certain Planeswalkers over the amount of counters that they would need to activate their final abilities.

rings of brighthearth

Combined with Rings of Brighthearth, you can then double the Chain Veil activation to get an additional two planeswalker abilities per planeswalker you control. Even when you don’t have the Chain Veil in play, you can use the Rings to get additional planeswalker abilities (though no additional loyalty counters).

ajani steadfast jace the living guildpact

We also got two new Planeswalkers from Magic 2015 that feel almost exclusively for Superfriends. Ajani Steadfast has a powerful -2 that helps out your other Planeswalkers, but his ultimate combined with Doubling Season gives you an emblem that causes all damage that you or your Planeswalkers would take from a source to 1 – making it much easier to survive an onslaught even if Angus isn’t in play. Jace, the Living Guildpact is fairly strong in this deck. His +1 isn’t as bad in Commander as it is in Constructed due to the size of the decks, but his ultimate at -8 is just ridiculous and it can automatically go off with Doubling Season.

teferi temporal archmage

While Teferi, Temporal Archmage is allowed as a commander, he serves a much better purpose in a Superfriends deck like this. His -10 is the most notable aspect when it comes to this deck. The emblem he gives you lets you use your planeswalkers every turn, not just on your own turns. Aside from that, his +1 is solid card filtering, and his -1 is very powerful as well, untapping important artifacts like The Chain Veil, and whatever mana rocks you play.

seedborn museProphet_of_Kruphix

Seedborn Muse is already a fantastic card in Commander, and Teferi just makes it even better. It essentially lets you use each of your planeswalker’s abilities twice every turn, including your opponent’s turns. Prophet of Kruphix is also very good, but Seedborn Muse is strictly better in this build of the deck due to lack of creatures and the number of permanents we’d like untapped.

karn liberatedugin the spirit dragon

Our two colorless planeswalkers (the only two in the game, to be fair) are both ridiculously powerful, especially with doubling season. Even with Karn unable to ultimate directly off Doubling Season, having 12 starting loyalty even at 7 mana is ridiculous (and his regular 6 still isn’t bad) and his +4, while better in 1v1 than multiplayer, can slowly whittle away player’s hands while pumping up Karn. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon on the other hand does go ultimate just with Doubling Season. His -10 gains you 7 life, draws you 7 cards, and put any 7 permanents in your hand into play. Very, very powerful.  His +2 is also pretty solid burn/removal, especially on a colorless permanent that gives us 2 loyalty. The -X is mostly an emergency board wipe if we desparately need it, but hopefully you won’t, as it’s very likely to kill Angus. However, it is very good against token decks, as you can -0 to kill all colored tokens in play. Just a little tip.

narset transcendent

Narset Transcendent is a new planeswalker from Dragons of TarkirAn alternate time line of Narset, Enlightened Master (who will get her own article or two in some time) Narset Transcendent is a ridiculous card, especially with the ultimate. The +1 is very solid in this deck as we play only 10 creatures (plus our commander) you have about a 51% chance of hitting a non-creature non-land card off of her ability. The -2 isn’t too relevant, but it’s usable on removal like Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile to get rid of a few problematic creatures. The big thing is the ultimate – opponents are unable to cast noncreature spells for the rest of the game. There’s plenty of decks in Commander that don’t play very many creatures, so this can easily completely swing a game in your favor, depending on what you’re playing against.

The rest of the Planeswalkers in the deck are simply there to have their ultimates able to be activated with Doubling Season on board, mostly.

The deck essentially is a pillow fort deck – just prevent people from doing anything to you. With the planeswalkers, it constantly gives you something to do with all the time pillow-forting provides.

Without further ado, here’s the list I compiled.

Angus Mackenzie Superfriends

viral drake contagion engine

The deck also has a few cards to Profilerate.

You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there.

Viral Drake is the more important of the two due to the fact it can practically be a win condition on it’s own. As Proliferate does work with infect, a single counter from Viral Drake could lead to death after a few activations of its second ability.

Contagion Engine is also a very good card, especially against decks like Darien, King of Kjeldor or Krenko, Mob Boss due to the fact that it puts a -1/-1 counter on each creature target player controls when it comes into play, and then has the ability to proliferate not once, but twice per activation.

inexorable tide

Inexorable Tide is another really cool card – every time you cast a spell, proliferate. Pretty much as strong as the above cards, but it’s very good with Clockspinning due to the fact you can keep casting it over and over again due to Clockspinning’s Buyback.

All of t hese allow you to add counters to planeswalkers you have, as well as increase the number of level up counters on Lighthouse Chronologist or the filibuster counters on Azor’s Elocutors. Aside from that, the deck essentially just spams planeswalker abilities and just pillowforts as much as it needs to until it accomplishes what it needs to.

azors elocutors

 

Azor’s Elocutors is one of the main win conditions of the deck. For 3{W/U)(W/U), you get a 3/5 that doesn’t have any impact on the board state – or does he?

At the beginning of each upkeep, he gets a Filibuster Counter – and if you have 5 or more of them, you win. With cards like Doubling Season, Clockspinning, and Gilder Bairn you can win over the course of one or two turns.

The downside is that any time you take damage from any source, he loses a filibuster counter. Luckily, our Commander just happens to prevent damage – lucky us, huh?

lighthouse chronologist

Lighthouse Chronologist is probably the coolest level up card from Rise of the Eldrazi. He lets you take a turn after every turn that isn’t yours – if you get him up to level 7. Again, with all of our counter doubling, it really isn’t that difficult to get him up to 7.

Superfriends is a really cool concept, and I think that Angus is one of the deck options for it. And of course, this isn’t the only way to build an Angus Mackenzie deck or a Superfriends deck – but it’s what I recommend.

Until next time.

-SolemnParty

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David Rowell

Assistant Manager and Magic Player at Brainstorm Brewery
David Rowell is just your average Commander player - has way too many decks built and all of his value is sitting in them. His favorites include Narset, Sedris, and Mayael. When he isn't playing or writing about magic, he's working as an assistant manager for Dollar Tree - got to have something to pay for that Magic habit.
David Rowell

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