Commander Deck Tech: Carth the Lion
My first impression on Carth the Lion was that it was pretty bad. I opened it in one of my prerelease kits at my local game store. I had no Planeswalkers in my sealed pool and deemed the card a 4 drop vanilla 3/5. I didn't even end up playing those colors, but also little did I know of what Carth was capable of. About a week ago I watched a 4 person commander game where one of the decks was playing Carth as their commander. I thought they were going to do horribly, but ended up winning the match.
The additional +1 to active Planeswalker abilities essentially lets you get to your Ultimate abilities much quicker. In several cases I’ve seen a Planeswalker come down and Ultimate the same turn or the very next turn. It is very powerful and sometimes hard to deal with if you are not prepared with instant speed removal or a counterspell. The main goal of this deck is to ramp up your mana, and then either play your Commander or a Planeswalker. Most likely you'll run into early game removal of some type. You'll want to do your best to read your opponents and their decks. If everyone is tapped out then you have nearly free reign to play your best spells. Carth is pretty resilient in that he also gives you some built in card advantage. When you play him you get to dig for a Planeswalker. On top of this, whenever a Planeswalker dies you also get to dig for another one. You may not always hit a Planeswalker, but with 20 planeswalker in the deck your odds are pretty good when getting to look at 7 cards.
These are the three Planeswalkers in the deck that can use their ultimate ability the turn they come out if Carth is in play: Nissa, Vital Force, Garruk Wildspeaker, Garruk, Cursed Huntsman. There are two other cards that did not make the final build that can also ultimate the first turn if Carth is in play; Nissa of Shadowed Boughs and Vivien, Arkbow Ranger.
We also have plenty of planeswalkers that can use their ultimate ability the turn after they come into play as long as Carth is on the battlefield. Those are: Liliana, Dreadhorde General, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Nissa, Who Shakes the World, Garruk, Primal Hunter, Liliana Vess, Ob Nixilis Reignited, Vraska the Unseen, Vraska, Relic Seeker, Liliana of the Veil, Garruk, Apex Predator, and Garruk, Unleashed. The other Planeswalkers that did not make the deck but also can ultimate the turn after they come out are: Professor Onyx, Tyvar Kell, Garruk, Caller of Beasts, Liliana, Waker of the Dead, Vivien Reid, Sorin Markov, Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury, Liliana of the Dark Realms, and Liliana, Death's Majesty.
Aside from the focus on Planeswalkers we also have some fun and interactive Creatures. I tried to get some big efficient Creatures and some that had interactions with Planeswalkers. To start we have Storrev, Devkarin Lich and Garruk's Harbinger. They are pretty beefy and fairly priced to put some power or blockers on the board. They can also turn into a free Planeswalker as well. We also have Reki, the History of Kamigawa which is not really impressive being just a 1/2 for three mana, but we have 28 other legendary cards in the deck. I also put in Sylvan Library and Phyrexian Arena which I usually put in most green or black decks.
The deck has several cards that can proliferate to help the planeswalkers do crazier abilities quicker. We have: Karn's Bastion, The Elderspell, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, Urban Daggertooth, Pir, Imaginative Rascal, and Evolution Sage.
I really built this deck just wanting to have fun with Planeswalkers. I'm sure we have all done that at one time or another. However, with Carth the Lion it takes it to the next level, but limits it a bit due to being only a two color Commander. This deck is pretty much super friends Commander but with just Batman and Martian Manhunter. I know there are probably some other fantastic interactions once you get several Planeswalkers on the board just waiting to be found out.
Please drop a comment if I missed mentioning any Claneswalkers that can use their ultimate abilities on turn one or turn two while Carth is in play.
All Hail Carth the Lion!
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