Once more, let’s look at some spooky, halloweeny-themed commanders, who might make a good centerpiece for a deck that lets you play to halloween themes. These are about trying to make decks that aren’t repetitive but still let you play with a nice, spooky horror space. And onwards!
Meren of Clan Nel Toth
First things first, we have to do something of an honourable mention. Meren of Clan Nel Toth? Sorry. You’re twenty dollars on MTGO, and one of the reasons I favour that place is because when you’re not playing chase standard or modern, cool cards cost cents rather than dollars. Meren may be amazing but I’ve never played with her and the numbers suggest I probably never will.
It’s not that you can’t buy expensive things for Halloween, it’s just not my particular genre. I mean, I buy cheap candy, I’ve never seen the ‘house with full snickers bars.’ What we’re dealing with here is the kind of person who can buy a fog machine.
Rating: Expensively Halloweeny
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
Here’s some zombie apocalypse stuff. There are a lot of cards between these three colours that puke creatures into your bin, and green also has ways to shuffle your graveyard into your library, presenting you with a hypothetically relentless, endless engine of zombiecide. Her tokens are also well-supported and have a host of other ways to generate tokens, too. Really, Sidisi is almost a victim of her own potential – the three colours she’s in are probably the strongest colours in Commander, and your life is going to be more about making painful cuts (ha) than it is about digging up enough stuff to fit in the deck.
Rating: SNAKE PEOPLE CONSPIRACY
Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
She’s a badass and a ninja, making her horror element a bit hard to work with. Ink-Eyes also suffers from having her most important ability not work from the Command Zone, putting her in the same place as the Unspeakable.
On the other hand, Ink-eyes is a threat a lot like Teneb The Harvester, except instead of being a vast, floating dragon that moves like a blimp, she’s got a more whippy, aggressive ground game. She’s a brawler. She wants to get through. Definitely worth one of your 99, she’s also exciting if you can give her Double Strike, but she herself needs a warm-up act. Interestingly, she can work alright alongside Marrow-Gnawer, but then you’re making a rat deck rather than a spooky deck, and there’s nothing horrifying about rats.
Rating:THEY’RE IN THE WALLS
Liliana, Heretical Healer
Liliana’s amazing as a commander. Like I said before, I favour decks that have some degree of variety to them, and Lili’s deck wants to change modes repeatedly. It wants to tell a story – a story that starts with good intentions and ends with a tragedy, then with the crushing doom of all beneath her heel.
First you want a two-drop creature that can pop itself the same turn Lili hits, so she can flip safely. Then you want cards that don’t mind being discarded, so you can +2 her on the way to her ultimate. Then you want to protect her, and maybe proliferate so you can make that ultimate fire, and then when you get that you want to wrath the board over and over again to steal everyone’s value creatures.
That’s a really cool set of interesting challenges to want to overcome and to do it all in mono-black, too!
Rating: A TRILOGY WITH DARK TWIST
Gisa and Geralf
These two however fuel a good old fashioned Zombie Apocalypse and invite in every Innistradi version of a monster you can get. If you want to swarm, and do it with some resilience, I’d say that Gisa and Geralf represent probably your absolutely best bet to start with. They’re relatively cheap (2 dollars in real life moneys), they’re in good colours for providing a bunch of tricks, and they even help you fuel up when they die.
If there was ever a problem with Gisa and Geralf is if you sit down to play them anyone else at the table is going to know what tribe to gun for and what graveyard to blow up.
Rating: THAT ONE SCENE IN PHANTOM MENACE WHERE A SEA MONSTER EATS ANOTHER SEA MONSTER
The Gitrog Monster
The problem with the Gitrog Monster is that it’s very exciting to play, and to win with, once or twice, then it becomes boringly predictable. It’s a shame – they’re one of the few legendary horrors that exist! But the problem with Gitrog is that they’re both well-explored by others and kind of win-on-the-spot good. Gitrog decks tend to become, over time, combo decks, and then they just end up at the same state every time – the entire deck in the yard, everything you want in hand, then the victory condition isn’t really that interesting.
Gitrog is good, but it’s hard to make a Gitrog deck that hangs around and does varied things. In the game of trying to make a horror movie, Gitrog decks are sequel rot.
Rating: HAIL HYPNOTOAD
Bruna, the Fading Light
we save the best
It’s one thing to be horrible and horrifying when you play with death and corpses. It’s another thing to take the communalist, enfolding, comforting nature of a protector and twist it, and distort it until flesh and bone ripple together, until all the boundaries and barriers that keep us apart are dissolved and we can raise our voices as one in endless, joyous screaming.
Bruna comes at horror from the other side. She’s someone you like (if you’re not a jerk) and she has someone she loves (Gisela) and that makes their inevitable fate all the more horrifying.
Some quick rules baggage: If you play Bruna, then Gisela, and meld them together, the ensuing Brisela is your Commander, and can deal Commander damage. She’s a three-hitter, she can just kill on her own. Bruna can recover Gisela out of the yard. Design wise, you want to build the deck so it can get Gisela at some point before seven mana, but white isn’t exactly full of means to get ahead on mana and cards. Don’t go rushing Bruna, let the whole machine come together naturally. Play Gisela, beat down, use lifelink and healing to keep her alive. Get your gains, bit by bit, make mana rocks, prepare the field, blow up the world if you have to – a few times, if you have to – and then
bring out Bruna so she can bring back Gisela
Rating: TAKESHI MIIKE STYLE BODY HORROR