10 Ticket Commander

This week at FNM I got to do something I haven’t gotten to do very much recently: I got to play Commander in paper. It was just 2 quick games with my friend Stephen while we were waiting, but still, it reminded me how nice it was to have the opportunity to play in person pretty much every week. If you’re in a situation like mine where you’re not physically located near too many Commander players, you might be looking for a way to scratch the Commander itch.

Luckily, Magic Online exists. Of course, it’s far from perfect, but at least it lets me play Commander pretty much whenever I want. Ideally, I round up some friends and get on a Skype call with them, but some people have this weird aversion to throwing a bunch of money at Magic Online just to play a casual format. Crazy, right? Honestly, I totally get that—Magic Online is a great way to test competitive formats and get a lot of games in without traveling a lot, but it loses some of its appeal if you’re not getting a practical return out of it.

Additionally, getting started in Commander on Magic Online isn’t easy. The Magic Online store has the 2014 Commander decks for sale, and while those are mono-colored—making them decent starting points—they don’t match the preconstructed decks that players starting out can buy in stores today, and I think that’s unfortunate. The cards available as singles out of the Legendary Cube prize packs made them cheap, which is good for entrenched players like me but might be frustrating for new players who have to buy everything piecemeal.

Some of these ideas led some friends of mine to start a 10-ticket Commander league on Magic Online a while back. It doesn’t alleviate the difficulty of buying things from bots, and indeed, it actually introduces an additional level of complexity in terms of pricing out the cards, but it means that no one feels compelled to spend hundreds of dollars just to get started, which definitely makes it easier to introduce people to the format.

What’s 10-ticket Commander? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. You build a Commander deck with cards costing a total of 10 tickets or less on Magic Online. Different bot chains have different prices, so if you’re going to do this with a group, make sure you all use the same bot chain to price the cards out. I’ve been using MarlonBot for a while, but while writing today’s article, I got a notification from their website I’ve never gotten before telling me I’d run out of price requests for the day. Next time, I’ll use someone else’s site (and buy from another bot chain!)

When we were playing 10-ticket Commander, we had a few deck construction rules that we thought helped the format:

  1. Any basic land you could freely add to a Limited deck doesn’t apply to the cost of your deck. You shouldn’t have to worry about the price of Swamps. This doesn’t cover snow lands or Wastes, so if that’s what you’re after, you’ll have to be ready to pay up.
  2. You can use the cheapest price your bot chain has for any given card. If you already own a Zendikar Expedition Strip Mine on Magic Online and you want to play one in 10-ticket Commander, you don’t need to go buy a Vintage Masters Strip Mine just to get a lower price for your deck. This isn’t about forcing people to buy more cards—it’s about creating an interesting restriction that helps players get into Commander on MTGO without breaking the bank.

Of course, if you’re playing 10-ticket Commander with friends, you’ll probably want to set some other rules. For example, when will players be required to re-check the prices of their cards? Maybe you’d like to do that at each major set release, or maybe you don’t think that needs to happen until decks are edited. This is the kind of thing that’s best to set within your group, so I’ll say no more about it.

You might imagine that a 10-ticket Commander deck wouldn’t be much fun to play, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve mentioned my Seshiro deck a few times in my articles, and I break it out from time to time just because of how enjoyable it is to play. It certainly doesn’t win every game against decks built without restrictions, but it’s a lot of fun. Actually, it’s in need of an update, and this article might be the best reason to show it some love. Let’s talk about Seshiro so that I can figure out what cards need to be in a deck like this.

Seshiro has simple needs: bring him Snakes, and he will bring damage and card draw. Of course, a 10-ticket Commander deck doesn’t need to be a mono-color Tribal deck, but it’s an easy way to get started. I’m sure you can think of lots of other Commanders that would fit the bill.

As far as I can tell, the last time I updated this deck, New Phyrexia was the newest set on the block. Let’s see if I can find some newer Snakes that I can update this deck with.

Ambush Viper—0.01 tickets

Fans of Gaby Spartz’s stream will already be familiar with this card, but for those of you who aren’t, it’s basically a green Doom Blade! Well, sort of. A Snake with flash and deathtouch is just what Seshiro ordered, as it’s great on defense but can be useful on offense once in a while as well.

Skullwinder—0.04 tickets

It’s almost like Snakes aren’t in demand. At least these prices make it easy to put your deck together. You’ve heard me talk a lot about Skullwinder, and I think it will be a lot of fun in this format as well.

Nemesis of Mortals—0.01 tickets

So apparently this monstrosity is actually a Snake. Good for Seshiro—bad for your opponents. This is definitely a great addition, as sometimes you just need 1 big creature to get through an opponent’s defenses.

Nessian Asp—0.01 tickets

Yet another mega-Snake. Not as big as Nemesis of Mortals, but definitely a good addition that helps you spend your mana later in the game.

Hooded Hydra—1.51 tix

No way! This thing is a Snake too? Of course, 1.51 tickets is a significant chunk of your budget, but it’s a big Snake that makes more Snakes, which means it helps put a lot of power on the table if Seshiro is around. I’m going to find a way to shoehorn this into the list.

By the way, while I was doing this, I learned that there are no Standard-legal Snakes. Eternal Masters is also completely without Snakes—it even has a Mongoose in it, and those eat Snakes! Of course, there are other mono-green spells and wonderful artifacts that you can add in, and you’ll be doing that off camera. I’ll spare you the gory details and cut straight to the deck list. Before my edits, I was only using about 6 tix of the 10-ticket budget—now I’m at 9.04 tickets with the changes I made today.

Commander: Seshiro the Anointed (0.01 Tickets

36 Forest (0)
Ambush Viper (0.01)
Anaconda (0.01)
Asceticism (0.36)
Blight Mamba (0.05)
Caged Sun (1.23)
Coat of Arms (0.21)
Coiled Tinviper (0.01)
Collective Unconscious (0.02)
Creeping Corrosion (1.63)
Creeping Mold (0.01)
Cultivate (0.02)
Death-Hood Cobra (0.01)
Descendants’ Path (0.14)
Desert Twister (0.01)
Door of Destinies (0.02)
Endless Swarm (0.07)
Explosive Vegetation (0.04)
Gauntlet of Power (0.14)
Glass Asp (0.01)
Harmonize (0.07)
Hooded Hydra (1.51)
Kashi-Tribe Elite (0.05)
Kashi-Tribe Reaver (0.01)
Kashi-Tribe Warriors (0.01)
Kodama’s Reach (0.02)
Krosan Constrictor (0.01)
Krosan Grip (0.01)
Manriki-Gusari (0.04)
Matsu-Tribe Birdstalker (0.01)
Matsu-Tribe Decoy (0.01)
Matsu-Tribe Sniper (0.01)
Mire Boa (0.01)
Mold Adder (0.01)
Nature’s Will (0.02)
Night Soil (0.02)
Ohran Viper (0.22)
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood (0.22)
Orochi Eggwatcher (0.01)
Orochi Hatchery (0.01)
Orochi Ranger (0.01)
Orochi Sustainer (0.01)
Overrun (0.01)
Overwhelming Stampede (0.01)
Patron of the Orochi (0.14)
Relic Crush (0.01)
Relic of Progenitus (0.48)
River Boa (0.04)
Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro (0.01)
Sakura-Tribe Elder (0.04)
Sakura-Tribe Scout (0.05)
Sakura-Tribe Springcaller (0.01)
Seal of Primordium (0.01)
Shamanic Revelation (0.02)
Shizuko, Caller of Autumn (0.04)
Skullwinder (0.04)
Slice in Twain (0.01)
Snake Basket (1.73)
Sosuke, Son of Seshiro (0.01)
Sosuke’s Summons (0.01)
Tangle Asp (0.01)
Time of Need (0.01)
Tranquil Path (0.01)
Whirlwind (0.02)
Zendikar Resurgent (0.01)

Okay! That’s the whole thing. Hopefully I’ll get to play some games with this over the weekend. If you’re interested, watch my Twitter account (@RagingLevine) and maybe you can get into a game with me. What will you be building for 10-ticket Commander? Leave your ideas and deck lists in the comments, and I’ll see you next week!

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