Commander Deck Tech: Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward

Magic: the Gathering

Commander

Commander Deck Tech: Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward

21/08/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

In this article, we explore several possibilities for Abdel Adrian, going through different formats and using multiple Backgrounds.

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revised by Tabata Marques

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The

Background

, first introduced in

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate

has brought significant changes to

Commander

: for the first time we can have enchantments in the

command zone

. For this article, I chose to experiment with different Backgrounds on the same commander, creating different decks, in different power levels. We will further explore the ability of Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward to multiply our creatures' triggers for great value. We started by using Abdel's color identity combining it with Far Traveler We switched to an Orzhov Magic Symbol WMagic Symbol B based on Agent of the Iron Throne, having access to black and the focus is a quick combo using commanders.

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Furthermore, we moved on to a version using red on a Boros Magic Symbol WMagic Symbol R causing great damage with Street Urchin. Finally, we have a high-power version, based on Candlekeep Sage generating a powerful card advantage.

Abdel Adrian, the Commander

Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward is the central character of the plot of the famous game series

Baldur's Gate

, an electronic RPG set in the campaign setting of

Dungeons & Dragons

:

Forgotten Realms

. Preserving the experience of those who will still play the trilogy, we will avoid going into the details of the plot, however, just click on the section below, and we have a presentation of the character and his achievements: Abdel Adrian was an adventurer who traveled extensively across western Faerûn, saving it several times from ruin. As one of the dead god Bhaal's mortal progeny, he lived for over a hundred years, of which he spent most of his long life in the city of Baldur's Gate. During his career, he was a soldier and general of the Flaming Fist, as well as a beloved statesman of the Council of Four. The presence of Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward in the Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate set brought high expectations, and these were met with a powerful card, allowing for dizzying combos, epic plays and interactions.
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One of the highlights of this card is the Background ability (You can have a Background as a second commander). Backgrounds are a cycle of enchantments that simulate a hero's past affiliations and links in Dungeons & Dragons. This mechanic has generated major changes for Commander, as similarly to Partners, it allows access to an additional color and grants powerful extra abilities to the commander. The Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward card has a versatile ability set, spanning many archetypes, expanding the possibilities when interacting with Backgrounds. Its primary ability exiles any number of nonland permanents you control until it leaves the battlefield. This ability makes him exceptional, allowing you to generate an immense number of resources in the form of mana, cards, tokens, etc.
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We can say that Abdel is an improved version of Worldgorger Dragon, its main advantage being that it has an optional and selective effect, that is, it allows us to trigger when necessary and aiming at specific targets, preventing the unpleasant draws and defeats caused by targeted answers so common to the WGD combo. Its secondary ability creates a number of soldier tokens equal to the number of exiled permanents, maintaining the board state and creating important resources in sacrifice-based strategies. It can also be very efficient in token decks, to exploit this feature, if you prefer a more orthodox Anthem-based approach, I strongly recommend using Inspiring Leader.

Strategy

Its great versatility comes from the combined backgrounds — we currently have 30 different backgrounds in the game, evenly distributed across the 5 colors. Looking at statistical data we know the most widely played in each color: Far Traveler, Candlekeep Sage, Agent of the Iron Throne, Street Urchin and Master Chef, knowing that Candlekeep Sage is a player favorite, due to its ability to interact and abundant availability of flickering effects on Magic Symbol WMagic Symbol U.

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Candlekeep Sage is a strong draw engine, ensuring fast replacement in control decks, the specialty of the

Azorius

. It can also be used in more aggressive aspects, where it doesn't allow the deck to run out of breath, proving to be extremely relevant. Agent of the Iron Throne is an efficient finisher in the command zone, quickly taking the place of Cultist of the Absolute in combo-based and aristocratic builds, although Agent of the Iron Throne has a higher converted mana cost, it's relevant outside of combat. Far Traveler is a value machine, being a worthy replacement for Teleportation Circle and Conjurer's Closet with the immense advantage of being available in the command zone. Its uses are obvious, ranging from triggering abilities to serving as (pseudo) vigilance for some important creature. Street Urchin is a sacrifice engine and wincondition in the command zone, interacting with creatures and artifacts. The use of different tokens (treasure, clue, blood) can yield devastating combinations. Utilizing the tokens created by the commander to deal massive damage in quick succession, as a classic Boros Burn. In this article, we won't deal with Master Chef. However, it is a viable and fun strategy having Emiel the Blessed, Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn, Good-Fortune Unicorn and other counter amplifiers as highlights.

Packages

The decks in this article all start from a common base based on synergies with Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward. The use of permanents, especially those that have

Enters the Battlefield

effects are a priority. Some packs are a fundamental part of decks built in the format. These are: — Card advantage; — Removals or interactions with opponents; — Accelerators; — Specific synergies with commanders. The selection for the main decks considers some aspects related to access to new players, with

card rarity

,

availability

and

monetary value

being the criteria adopted. We prefer mostly common cards, released in recent sets, reprinted and available in as many stores as possible. Thus, the absence of powerful cards like Ashnod's Altar, Lotus Petal, Mystic Remora, Rhystic Study, etc.

Card Draw

Card Advantage was for a long time an underused topic in white. In other times we saw many compensatory ways that depended on opponents to have extra draws, however, permanents and spells that granted a draw when coming into play emerged, and these are our best and strongest way to have extra draws with our commander. Cards like Hobble, Inspiring Overseer, Militia Bugler, small tricks when repeated several times are capable of generating immense value.
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Our commander is the procurement engine that needs our permanents for fuel, so recursions are an important part of our strategy. Since we also opted for permanents, we don't need to save their use only for key moments, as we will be reusing their capabilities.
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Angelic Renewal can be used to great advantage with Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward by reanimating him from the graveyard afterwards. This combination, although it generates a lot of value, is at sorcery-speed, that is, it must be performed on your own turn, requiring a higher number of available mana.

Accelerators

Our accelerators are divided between mana rocks, whether fast or with effects activated, and land tutors. Some lands like Terramorphic Expanse are especially good when we can recover them from the graveyard, being an important ramp piece. The deck's strength is formed by its small synergies, so make the most of each one.
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Removals

Among the removals, we have an excellent package, as white allows us to deal with most threats efficiently. Enchantments will move throughout the game often, after all, a creature can be a big threat in the early turns and be irrelevant at the end of the game. Some cards, such as Icatian Javelineers, can be reset and cause great annoyance to opponents throughout the game. Serrated Arrows showed a good performance, removing indestructible creatures, although other cards like Triskelion could be an alternative.
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Flicker

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Debuting in

Urza's Destiny

, the

Flickering

mechanic came to the game as a simplified alternative to phasinglink outside website, which it was inspired by. Flicker, or Blink as it is known by some, is one of the best ways to interact with this deck, protecting our creatures from removals and activating their effects. A combat trick that allows a defense against

Sweepers

is to exile our commander while guarding any number of permanents.
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Far Traveler

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Using Far Traveler grants our commander the ability to extract extra value from our creatures, similar to the already known Teleportation Circle or Conjurer's Closet. This is a powerful way to ensure

Flickering

for Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward every turn consistently.

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We have as a great highlight Stonehorn Dignitary, which guarantees efficient control against faster decks. Ivory Giant acts similarly, tapping all non-white creatures. Our main win condition is in reaching a critical mass of tokens, however, Ninth Bridge Patrol and its like are bombs capable of finishing the game quickly.

Combo Line

Among the basic options, we already have a victory line, which is synergistic and part of the options presented without the need for a non-functional set of cards outside a combo.
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The Biblioplex Assistant allows us to have an Archaeomancer in any color identity, differing only when returning the instant or sorcery card to the top of the deck. Our goal is to retrieve a

flicker

spell and play that spell over and over, creating a loop. In this battlefield example, we have Arcane Signet, Spirited Companion, Biblioplex Assistant.

1.

We cast Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward exiling Arcane Signet, Spirited Companion and Biblioplex Assistant, creating 3 tokens.

2.

We cast Cloudshift targeting Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward returning from exile Arcane Signet, Spirited Companion, Biblioplex Assistant.

3.

We tap Arcane Signet to generate white mana, return Cloudshift to the top of the deck, and Spirited Companion draws it from the top.

4.

Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward returns to the battlefield exiling Arcane Signet, Spirited Companion, Biblioplex Assistant, creating 3 tokens. Repeating indefinitely.
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In this line, we use Oblivion Ring and Journey to Nowhere to create a loop that creates infinite soldiers. It is important to note that this line has no interactions with the graveyard, avoiding removals or specific locks, in addition to triggering unlimited

ETB

triggers of creatures on the battlefield. We need Oblivion Ring to be exiled by Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward. We cast Journey to Nowhere, target Abdel with the ETB, and exile Abdel. Oblivion Ring will re-enter play, exiling Journey to Nowhere. Once Journey to Nowhere is exiled by Oblivion Ring, Abdel returns, exiling Oblivion Ring. We can end this combo at any time by changing the target of one of the enchantments.

Mono White Upgrades

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In this enhanced version, we have powerful ETBs like Angel of Serenity and Luminate Primordial, huge and impactful plays that removes important permanents from our opponents. A strong recursion recovering resources in large amounts, creating large amounts of mana. Here we have the possibility of combos with Sun Titan, Fiend Hunter, Angelic Renewal, Karmic Guide, Gift of Immortality, Ashnod's Altar. We can research more about these interactions in detail at the combos pagelink outside website.

Agent of the Iron Throne

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We added to our base cards to contemplate Abdel Adrian's most infamous combo lines, with Agent of the Iron Throne.

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Here, we have fast and efficient combo lines to finish the game, based on graveyard and being a feast for Reanimator fans. The combo pieces have great individual value, and we can use their effects without being tied to formulas, knowing that it behaves like a

Midrange

.
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Some packages have been beefed up by adding more recursion to enchantments, a key part of the strategy. An alternative that adds redundancy to the Oblivion Ring combo is Faceless Butcher, which can replace Journey to Nowhere. Here we have some additional draw resources. The use of tutors for auras was also explored to speed up game development.
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Combo Line

Another way to trigger Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward is a recurring sacrifice followed by a reanimator. For this, we use an enchantment recursion, a

sacrifice engine

, and an aura

reanimator

spell. Therefore, Kaya's Ghostform, Auramancer and Viscera Seer could form the equation together with a mana rock.
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Example

— Put Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward into play, exiling Auramancer and one or more

mana rocks

. — Enchant Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward with Kaya's Ghostform. — Activate Viscera Seer, sacrifice Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward to pay its cost. — Trigger the Aura's effect and Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward to return Auramancer and the

mana rocks

. — Use Auramancer to return the aura to the hand and add mana to your pool by tapping mana rocks. Abdel exiles Auramancer and the

mana sources

again. — Re-enchant Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward, repeat all steps again.

Orzhov Upgrades

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Here in this evolution we use the Worldgorger Dragon combo variation using Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward, combined with Animate Dead and the like. We alternatively proceed to lines with Leonin Relic-Warder. We can see the combos contained in this list at our deck toollink outside website.

Alternative Formats

Pauper Commander

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The strategy with Street Urchin is based on direct damage, using Impact Tremors and its variations to quickly reduce opponents' life total. We can create strong synergies based on Voldaren Epicure and Omen of the Forge working as finishers. Numerous infinite mana lines are possible based on Abdel's interactions with creatures capable of generating treasure or red mana. Ardent Elementalist enhances the lines with Biblioplex Assistant, and can also be replaced by Revolutionist.
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cEDH

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Here we have powerful

Card Advantage

and Combos tools in the command zone, as well as many stances and possibilities with Shorikai, Genesis Engine, Isochron Scepter, Felidar Guardian, Displacer Kitten, Thassa's Oracle, Hullbreaker Horror. Due to the multiple options it can act as a highly interactive

Farm

, or proceed in a more paced manner, resembling a

Midrange

.
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Conclusion

The Backgrounds brought great possibilities to the format without mischaracterizing the commanders with this ability, the design and development team's choices were right to balance the mana costs, making creatures and enchantments strong, but not broken. We can see the different degrees of power and complexity in the cards in the set being attractive to new and veteran players. The drafting experience with Commander Legends is rich and incredibly fun, in large part because it's a well-rounded set. Playing with Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward brings a good nostalgia for both the Baldur's Gate saga and the Dungeons & Dragons games by selecting the character's story at the same point that we define the type of strategy that we will see in the Magic: the Gathering game. Thanks for reading and good games! Any questions, I'm available in the comments!
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Eduardo Silveira

Visual Artist and Art Mediator, passionate about Magic since the launch of Mirage, alternative deck builder.

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