MTG: Hallar Great

So, there’s this enby.

I love making commander decks. Even the ones that get stomped a fair bit. It’s kind of hard to call a commander deck good, or bad, because Commander 1v1 is such a swingy format with nonsense flying around. It’s like a slightly more splashy vintage where the early turns don’t tend to matter quite as much. You can sometimes just get infinited out by a god draw that the other deck is never planning on actually doing.

What’s more, there are usually a lot of different ways to build a commander deck – my Wasitora for example is nothing like the Wasitora’s I’ve seen online, where I made a value Jund deck and other people make a dragon tribal removal-heavy deck. I’ve been looking

Hallar, the Firefletcher is my latest passion.

Hallar is a neat creature. Some of the basics out of the way first, though:

Hallar uses THEY as pronouns. If you didn’t know that, now you do.

Hallar is CHEAP. This means that Hallar can afford to be recast once or twice. If the rest of the spells in your deck follow a reasonable curve, you’re going to be able to keep them out for a bit and not be devastated if they die. So, no need to win all in one big turn.

Hallar is TWO COLOURS. This means it’s pretty easy to get a coloured manabase that covers everything you want without needing to spend a lot of spell slots on straightening up your mana.

Hallar is GENERALLY GOOD. As a 3/3 trampling commander that can potentially get bigger when you just play the game naturally, they’re a pretty decent body for wearing equipment or getting buffs in other ways.

Hallar gives REACH. When the board is all stagged up and your critters can’t get through, Hallar can reach out and punch your opponent in the face through their kicker ability.

You can build Hallar in a lot of ways. You could go for a sort of Past in Flamesey regrowth deck that wants to develop early, then repeatedly kicker spells to build Hallar. You can build Hallar as a sabot for a combo like Aggravated Assault+Bear Umbra, or Nature’s Will+Hellkite Charger, or maybe a Warstorm Surge+Sekki Season’s Guide deck. You can build Hallar as a deck where any of those cards is pretty nice, and then this stuff just makes it stronger. heck, Kiki-Jiki+Zealous Conscripts are a classic that can fit into any deck with red, and green gives you both ways to protect that combo and ways to build up your mana. You might jam a Dualcaster Mage in any old deck along with a Twinflame because they’re value and hey, look at that, you’re now going infinite when you draw both of them and hang on I am getting actually literally distracted from what I meant to be doing which is talking about Hallar.

What I wanted to do with Hallar was make more of a low-to-the-ground mid-range beater deck, becaues a lot of kicker cards are good on 2 and good on 5, as it were, in the way of the Kavu Titan. Also, a bunch of kicker cards are creature combat cards – things like Gift of Growth, for example. If you’re running that, you need creatures that are going to have a reason to win in combat, and maybe trade your buff spell for a blocker.

Let’s talk about how it might look if you want to play some Fair Unfair Magic, with one of my favourite enbies: Hallar. In this case, what I want to do with my deck is protect Hallar, trigger Hallar’s ability, add pressure with threats and refuel my hand.

Commander Protection Package

This is pretty standard stuff. You want to protect your commander, because even though Hallar is cheap, time spent recasting them is time spent not building them. Also these cards bring their own virtues – haste, shroud, some size. It’s really not a bad thing if you mask up Hallar and they go into the redzone on turn three as a 5/5 hexproof trampler. That’s rough to deal with.

Lightning Greaves, Whispersilk Cloak, Swiftfoot Boots, Mask of Avacyn, Blossoming Defense, Heroic Intervention, Champion’s Helm, Vines of Vastwood

Kicker Triggers

These are the spells you want to fire off that have kickers. Spells with kicker are very important because recovering them makes them better. Kickered creatures can sometimes sit on the battlefield without any way to get back in your hand to get re-kickered. If you run some basic recursion cards (and they’ll show up later) we’ll have ways to get these back.

Everflowing Chalice, Burst Lightning, Shivan Fire, Scorching Lava, Molten Disaster, Wild Onslaught, Strength of the Tajuru, Strionic Resonator

Counter Threats

If you’re playing with Hallar, you’re playing with a commander that cares about +1/+1 counters. If you’re doing that, you can play with other cards that support +1/+1 counters, and then you have two gameplans that work alongside each other. +1/+1 counter support spells tend to work with kicker threats as welll.

This doesn’t mean we’re running the green pangolin, though, that critter’s a bit more for a go-wide strategy. But there’s still sources.

Ire Shaman, Ainok Survivalist, Scrounging Bandar, Fertilid, Phantom Centaur, Cytoplast Root-Kin, Kalonian Hydra, Hooded Hydra

Kicker Threats

Threats with Kicker tend to also have +1/+1 counters (though not always). This means you can stick a bunch together and feed into both Hallar and the +1/+1 counter theme.

Untamed Kavu, Kavu Titan, Verix Bladewing, Skizzik, Goblin Bushwacker, Grunn, The Lonely King, Baloth Gorger, Wolfbriar Elemental

Kicker Utility

This is both cards that use kicker to do something useful and cards that let you reuse kickers. Fortunately there’s a lot of good utility in Kicker, almost to its detriment.

Mold Shambler, Territorial Allosaurus, Ghitu Chronicler, Citanul Woodreaders, Krosan druid, Torch Slinger, Thicket Elemental, Oran-Rief Recluse

Counter Nonsense

This is where things get fun. With +1/+1 counters flying around you can put in +1/+1 counter support; proliferate, for example.

Volt Charge, Plaguemaw Beast, Den Protector, Hardened Scales, Solidarity of Heroes, Doubling Season, Evolutionary Escalation, Song of Freyalise

Card Draw

It’s easy to forget how important this is. In every pile selection, I always realise I’ve forgotten to carve out space for this even as I’ve put effects in

Cloudstone Curio, Inspiring Call, Armorcraft Judge, Mindless Autamaton, Rishkar’s Expertise, Shamanic Revelation, Harmonize, Yavimaya Elder

Mana Advancement

Elfhame Druid, Grow from the Ashes, Mina and Denn, Wildborn, Xenagos, The Reveler, Evolution Charm, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Rampant Growth, Dawntreader Elk

Going Elsewhere

There are some cards that for some reason or another I never got to play with properly. Cost is the big one. Particularly, there’s something to Primeval Bounty with Hallar – if you wanted to play a slower, controlling value game, you could absolutely play a deck that wanted to get Bounty out, then play Hallar and kicked spells to close out the game. There’s also some value to a wrath-happy deck which uses equipment to keep regrowing Hallar, like with Ring of Valkas and Ring of Kalonia, and Bow of Nylea. Could also go a slower, more grindy solution with Path of Discovery.

I don’t have any idea about what the best shell of Hallar is. But I’m really glad this little critter is out there. There’s no obvious single shell for them, and it works really well for such a cool little card.

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