Multiplayer Commander DecklistsAshling the Pilgrim (WIP)

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Ashling the Pilgrim (WIP)

Post #1 by Jack » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:41 pm

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Ashling the Pilgrim

Today, I found a shiny Ashling the Pilgrim on eBay for $7. I put in a $5 offer, and the guy took it. When I get the card, I'll build an EDH deck around her, starting with 99 Mountains. From there, I'll be actively looking and trading for cards that will go well with her, and updating this post as I do so. I don't want to copy anyone's list with this one, but I am open to suggestions, so if you play Ashling or know anyone that does, help me out a bit and tell me some of her favorite cards!

How does a 99-Mountain deck work?
For those unfamiliar with
Ashling (that $0.50 red rare from Lorwyn), she is a somewhat popular commander, partially because her + 99 mountains is the cheapest viable EDH deck in existence. How is this viable? Well, If you look at the first part of her ability, you'll notice that, as long as we keep giving her mana, she keeps getting bigger. One way to make sure that we're able to feed her all the mana she wants is to build the deck so that we never miss a land drop. When you read the second part of her ability, you'll realize that Ashling can be really effective at controlling the board. As long as Ashling is out, the threat of a board wipe is always present. This puts us in a very powerful political position for the entire game. Oh, you were planning on winning with a token army? Better use it to beat up the pillow fort player, or I'll kill them all. You just gave your voltron general hexproof? That's cute, now why don't you start swinging at other people, since I'll
murder it and everything else if you even think about sending that thing at me. Oh and btw, you'll never be able to build up that thing's toughness faster than I can increase Ashling's potential energy, and if you try, I'll blow it up. Don't test me! I'LL FUCKING DO IT! :flame:
The other nice thing that 99 Mountains brings to the table is that we are never really crippled by the two mana re-cast penalty. While she won't be able to deal as much damage the turn after we blow her up, that doesn't really matter because nobody else has a board and she'll usually become strong enough the turn after that. See what I mean? The threat of a wipe (and, with it, our political position) never goes away.
How does the deck win? Damage, of course. Sometimes, there'll be a player that won't be able to recover quickly enough from a wipe, allowing us to swing with
a big Ashling and win through 21 general damage. However, when we blow Ashling up, it also hurts players, and this will generally be the way that this deck wins. Other players will weaken each other, so we don't actually have to do that much damage. We just have to make sure that we play the political game well enough that people don't make a big dent in our life total, making it impossible for us to blow up a big Ashlling without killing ourselves.

Upgrading the deck
Fact: a 92-Mountain deck is better in every way than a 99-Mountain deck. We can throw in a bit of extra gas while still ensuring that we will always always always drop a land every turn. Of course, it is very improbable that we draw an opening hand of 7 nonlands and then have our next draw also be a nonland, so 91 Mountains is also fine. Hell, I'm perfectly fine with putting myself two turns behind if it means that I see all of my gas. Honestly, this will never happen, and if it does, my opponents would
probably call me a cheater. Know what? I bet it would never happen on 90 Mountains either. Hell, we could probably even go down to 89 or even 88 and get the same results. There are cards out there that are better than Mountains for Ashling (mana doublers being #1, as they uhh... double our mana, and Ashling loves mana; then equipment (especially the kind that provides lifelink, protection, or Scythe of the Wretched's ability); and removal and card advantage engines aren't bad to have either). Don't cut too many, though. As Stardust mentions, we still want to keep our Mountain count high (50+).

What I'm playing at the moment
[deck=Ashling's Mountain Range]
General
1 Ashling the Pilgrim
Land
99 Mountain
[/deck]

While I do have some additions, I'd like to play a few games with the deck in its simplest form in order to get a feel for my general; to learn the fundamentals and gain a sense of her potential and her limitations.

[
deck=Cards I own that I'd like to add]
In no particular order:
1 Slagwurm Armor
1 Rummaging Goblin (*)
1 Reforge the Soul (*)
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Wheel of Fortune (*)
1 Possibility Storm (*)
1 Devil's Play
1 Red Sun's Zenith
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Illusionist's Bracers
1 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Buried Ruin
1 Codex Shredder (*)
1 Staff of Nin (*)
1 Hoard-Smelter Dragon (*)
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Extraplanar Lens
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Batterskull
1 Gamble
1 Goblin Welder
1 Shattering Pulse
1 Hammer of Purphoros (*)
1 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
1 Ring of Three Wishes
1 Glacial Chasm (*)
1 Fault Line
1 Darksteel Forge (*)
(*)=uncertain
[/deck]

Wishlist
If you could help me out even further by trading me some cards to improve this deck, that'd be awesome. I have a deckbox account. Check it out if you like. Sadly, I don't have much in terms of value (that's what happens when you'
re always trading for the shit you want, but can't justify paying cash for it), but hopefully I at least have something that you want. I'm also a sucker for foils, as long as the cost of the upgrade to foil isn't outrageous (as it is with most EDH staples).
[spoiler=Wishlist][deck=Cards I'm looking for]
In no particular order:
1 Gauntlet of Power
1 Caged Sun
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Strata Scythe
1 Argentum Armor
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Mind's Eye
1 Blood Moon
1 Magus of the Moon
1 Koth of the Hammer
1 Chaos Warp
1 Sword of War and Peace
1 Insurrection
1 Repercussion
1 Blasphemous Act (foil)
1 Scythe of the Wretched
1 Mimic Vat
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Earthquake
1 Comet Storm
1 Vicious Shadows
1 Tsabo's Web
1 Molten Disaster
20 Snow-Covered Mountain
[/deck]
Also, I'm always looking for some shiny mountains :)[/spoiler:
3abnn6yb]
Last edited by Jack on Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:06 pm, edited 21 times in total.
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Post #2 by Stardust » Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:01 pm

Valakut? ;-)

I've played Ashling for a looooong time. She's by far the longest running general I've ever built (average life expectancy of my decks tends to be on the order of months). She's the best monored control general there is and is a lot of fun to play. As you improve this list, just remember how good Mountains are. I play 49 land in my build. Land is extremely important to Ashling, so don't skimp.

I suppose I should say instead that mana is extremely important. Gauntlet of Power, Gauntler of Mightand Caged Sunshould all be in here (if you can afford it). I would avoid Extraplanar Lens, personally.

Giving her protection from red is obviously cool. Sword of Fire and Ice,
Sword of War and Peace, Darksteel Plate and stuff like that will do well for you. One thing some don't consider is that getting her big enough to survive her own blast is also just as good. Strata Scythe and even Argentum Armor are worth considering for this reason.

Lifelink is really the way to make a game unwinnable for your opponents, though. You should be playing all three of Loxodon Warhammer, Basilisk Collar and Batterskull. It's not uncommon to gain 200+ life off one explosion.

Swiftfoot Boots is good too. [cards]Lightning Greaves[/cards] would be good in your list now, but as you add more equipment, shroud starts to hurt.

The rest you can figure out easily enough. [card]Mind's Eye[/card] and other card draw
are good. Point removal (Chaos Warp) for pesky permanents that hold you down (Linvala, Aether Flash, etc) is extremely important, but sparse. You'll be playing few creatures of your own, so mass removal can be extremely good too. But you do need removal! Ashling will occasionally be completely unusable, whether because she's tucked or someone just happens to have a Guul Draz Assassin in play. You need to be able to clear things up on your own every now and then. Oblivion Stone is probably MVP in this regard, particularly because there is often only one permanent you care about, so the Fate counters can actually be useful.

Okay, that's good enough for now. Good luck! I think you'll have fun.
҉

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Post #3 by Jack » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:21 pm

Thanks, Stardust. That was very helpful.
Updated the OP to include a wishlist. Stardust, are there any cards in there that the deck just doesn't want? Would a few of the general staples (Steel Hellkite, Vedalken Orrery, Mimic Vat) in the list just be better off as basic mountains? What about mana rocks? Should I just stick to the really good ones like Gilded Lotus and Darksteel Ingot, or does this deck want as much accel as it can get (resorting to stuff like Fire Diamond and Coldsteel Heart)?
I think I'll try to get at least a few games in with the 99 Mountain version before I change anything, though.
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Post #4 by Stardust » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:59 pm

The only card you mentioned there that I play is Steel Hellkite. I played the Orrery when I first built the deck, but the nicest thing about Ashling is that there is always something to do with your mana. Let's say you've got the Orrery and you're sitting there with 6 mana open, ready to respond to anything with an Ashling explosion. Guy to your right ends his turn and you A) Play a card from your hand, B) Add two counters to Ashling, or C) Blow her up anyway because she's equipped with Basilisk Collar and Sword of Fire and Ice. Which do you choose? Any of those options are the right answer, but I'm not willing to play the Orrery just to open up option A, right? B and C are always good anyway.

Mimic Vat is one that slides in and out of my deck. I should try it again. It's good when you can get an Acidic Slime on it so you can actually kill enchantments, but often it's not as exciting as in other decks. You don't
need another mana sink, and its goodness depends on the other decks at the table (something I generally try to avoid). Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes!

As for mana rocks, I play one. Sol Ring. Because I play three artifacts that double my mana, my Mountains are usually almost as good as a Gilded Lotus, but aren't as fragile. I certainly wouldn't fault you for playing Thran Dynamo or Gilded Lotus - they're good - but I personally replaced them with Mountains. All the rocks that cost 2 get in the way of playing Ashling out as soon as possible and shouldn't be played.

Otherwise your wish list looks good (everything will work for you, even if I don't play it), except for four cards:
Kher Keep - You've got better things to do than make 0/1's, and this doesn't get doubled by Gauntlets! If you want blockers, play Mistifying Maze instead.
Trading Post - I've never tried it, but this seems weak and slow in a deck that plays few creatures.
Terrain Generator - Doesn't get doubled
and you don't really need it. You will run out of Mountains eventually since red doesn't have enough draw. Rushing them out isn't really a priority when in the early game you can just beat people up with Ashling (20 general damage on turn 6!!!).
Braid of Fire - Don't be fooled! This card is not as good as it looks with Ashling since you're realistically limited to 2 activations. The worst part is that people will still fear it, causing them to kill Ashling repeatedly just so you can't make use of the bonus mana. Trust me on this one. This card looks great, but it actually hurts your position politically far too much to be worth it.
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Post #5 by Stardust » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:08 pm

Random other thoughts...

I also play all three tutors: Gamble, Planar Portal and Ring of Three Wishes. My mana's often big enough to make real good use out of those expensive artifacts, and Ashling getting tucked hurts way too much.

But we do have other wincons. I play lots of Earthquake variants. Combined with those, Hostility,Repercussion and Violent Shadows are all easy wins. Sometimes I can just Earthquake enough times that [card]Devil's Play[/card] or Comet Storm can finish the job. Glacial Chasm is cute, but has won me the game too many times, Ashling or not.

Since you're playing all the lifelink equipment (and
maybe even Gratuitous Violence) Heartless Hidetsugu is worth checking out. I eventually cut him, but he can be very good.

Wheel of Fortune is so much worse in this deck than any other red deck. It's still good, you should play it, but your hand is so often filled up thanks to Ashling covering for you that the Wheel just sits there.

Last up - is Homeward Path good enough? Ashling getting stolen is almost as bad as her getting tucked. This is one card I'm currently considering adding to Ashling.
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Post #6 by Jack » Mon Sep 16, 2013 11:29 pm

The Kher Keep and Trading Post would really only be played for their synergy with each other, but that synergy probably isn't worth two card slots.
It seems like you could say that same things about Blood Moon that you said about Braid of Fire. Does the same hold true (it pisses people off too much), or is the effect powerful enough that politics doesn't matter too much afterwards?
Also, does Scythe of the Wretched and Ashling work the way I think it does? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you'd get all the creatures that she killed (including herself), with the Scythe ending up attached to the first one that you put on the stack. Is it really that broken, or am I misinterpreting something?
Why no Extraplanar Lens? I think I'll put it in my list just because I'd like three doublers and I have no inclination to ever spend $100 on a single card.
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Post #7 by Azrael » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:42 am

freedom » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:29 pm wrote:The Kher Keep and Trading Post would really only be played for their synergy with each other, but that synergy probably isn't worth two card slots.
It seems like you could say that same things about Blood Moon that you said about Braid of Fire. Does the same hold true (it pisses people off too much), or is the effect powerful enough that politics doesn't matter too much afterwards?


I'd imagine against the right metagame, and timed correctly, it's insta-win. In most of the decks I've played it, that's been the case, given that I'm in a non-basic heavy meta and the blow to tri-color decks in particular is tough to overcome before they're buried by superior tempo.

freedom wrote:Also, does [card]Scythe of
the Wretched[/card] and Ashling work the way I think it does? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you'd get all the creatures that she killed (including herself), with the Scythe ending up attached to the first one that you put on the stack. Is it really that broken, or am I misinterpreting something?


Yeah, seems precisely that broken. Nice.

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Post #8 by Stardust » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:42 pm

Yes, Scythe of the Wretched works the way you want it to. Ashling is fun!

Extraplanar Lens is fine, but I got tired of the 2 for 1 when it gets removed. Ashling makes up for the card draw problem red has somewhat, but every little bit still hurts. Try it for yourself, maybe it'll be good.

Braid of Fire isn't so much bad because people hate you, it's that I've found they can't help but try to knock you off that mana. Blood Moon is good. I actually don't play it since I play in a basic-heavy meta at the moment, but it's certainly been in my deck in the past and I wouldn't hesitate to put it back in again. Magus of the Moon (being a creature) is much much worse in my deck since I'm aiming to explode as much as possible, but it may still be good enough if your meta is really nonbasic heavy.

freedom » Mon Sep 16, 2013 4:
29 pm
wrote:
Why no Extraplanar Lens? I think I'll put it in my list just because I'd like three doublers and I have no inclination to ever spend $100 on a single card.

Totally! I've been wanting the Gauntlet of Might for way way too long, so when I came in under budget last year (thanks to selling a bunch of packs I won at one point) I searched around and ended up finding one for $70. Pretty happy to be playing it finally, but I understand where you're coming from. That's by far the most I've ever spent on a single card.
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Post #9 by redthirst » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:08 pm

Re: Gauntlet of Might - does anyone in your play group care if you play with Collector's Edition or would they likely even know? Because I picked up a CE Gauntlet for Purphors for like $30.
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Originally posted by Dechs Kaison on MTGS
redthirst is redthirst, fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. He was the leader of the Fires of Salvation, the only clan I'm aware of to get modded off the forums so hard they made their own forums.

Degenerate? Sure. Loudmouth? You bet. Law abiding? No ****ing way.

Great guy to have around? Hell yes.



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Post #10 by Jack » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:31 pm

I'm not sure. I don't really have a group and just try to find a game whenever I can. I spend much more time building than playing.
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Post #11 by redthirst » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:53 pm

Put it in a black Dragon Shield - no one will know.
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Originally posted by Dechs Kaison on MTGS
redthirst is redthirst, fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. He was the leader of the Fires of Salvation, the only clan I'm aware of to get modded off the forums so hard they made their own forums.

Degenerate? Sure. Loudmouth? You bet. Law abiding? No ****ing way.

Great guy to have around? Hell yes.



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Post #12 by Jack » Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:34 pm

Ashling came today. Ain't she pretty? http://imgur.com/ERrXG6g
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Post #13 by Jack » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:13 pm

Over the past few days, I've been updating the OP to make it more like a primer. It now has sections on playing 99-Mountain Ashling and upgrading her beyond that point (mostly theory, as I've only played 2 games with the deck, but it's good theory). Also included is a list of cards that I have that I'd like to throw in.
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Post #14 by Jack » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:33 pm

Heartstone
I just found out that this is a thing. There is no other deck that benefits from this more than us, so I'd say that it's a very good inclusion. Has anyone tried it yet?
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Post #15 by Jack » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:35 pm

Also, is there anyone besides me and Stardust that plays Ashling? I know we just got a bunch of new members, so maybe there's someone else.
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Post #16 by Jack » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:38 pm

If you're only reading this because it's the newest post in the forum, go buy an Ashling and get 99 Mountains and play the deck a few times so I have someone else to talk to about this. Hell, you don't even need 99 Mountains; you can use the cards from your other EDH deck as proxies!
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Post #17 by Calamity » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:24 pm

I might build this for the lulz. I've been meaning to get a mono red EDH deck.

Just need a copy of Ashling though...
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Post #18 by Mcdonalds » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:56 am

I put together an ashling deck

I don't play 99 mountains though

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Post #19 by Mcdonalds » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:57 am

Also freedom, your doing it wrong, EDH requires your foil general be russian/japanese/korean.

English is for sub-humans/filthy casuals.

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Post #20 by Stardust » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:57 pm

Lord_Mcdonalds » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:57 pm wrote:English is for sub-humans/filthy casuals.

Not even if it's altered? :no2:

Heartstone can be good, but it's no mana doubler. It's one more Ashling-centric card in a deck that already gets severly hurt by a Chaos Warp, not to mention that it randomly helps your opponents out. My deck at least already has tons of dead cards when Ashling gets tucked, and Heartstone is no Sword of Fire and Ice, that's for damn sure.

Then again, maybe I should give it another go. I have been playing Hellkite Igniter lately for the kicks.
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Post #21 by Stardust » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:05 pm

Hmm, I'd never considered [card]Illusionist's Bracers[/card] in this deck before. That seems a lot better than Heartstone if you're looking for an effect like that.
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Post #22 by Mcdonalds » Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:52 am

Stardust » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:57 am wrote:
Lord_Mcdonalds » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:57 pm wrote:English is for sub-humans/filthy casuals.

Not even if it's altered? :no2:


Depends on how good the alter is.

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Post #23 by Jack » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:01 am

I acquired some new cards for the deck, including some pretty neat foils. Wishlist and "cards I'd like to add" list updated.
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Post #24 by DocLawless » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:01 am

Whelp... I'm sold. Do I need to sign anywhere or should I just start sleeving up Mountains?
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Post #25 by Mcdonalds » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:18 am

You can sign this power of attorney waiver if you wish :D

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Post #26 by Mcdonalds » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:19 am

But yeah, considering what Ashling EDH is/does, starting with 99 mountains and going from there isn't a bad idea.

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Post #27 by Khaospawn » Mon Oct 28, 2013 3:12 pm

But all the mountains have to be the same art. It's the only way.
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hamfactorial » Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:41 pm wrote:In a pinch, Khaos' beard can help turn this around.

Col. Khaddafi » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:02 pm wrote:I rarely skip a Khaospawn wall of text because I know there is always piss at the end of the rainbow.

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Post #28 by Manasjap » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:00 pm

Preferably full art.

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Post #29 by redthirst » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:59 pm

I only roll with Arabian Nights for my 99 Mountain deck. I was going to go with Gurus, but I didn't want to seem ostentatious.
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Originally posted by Dechs Kaison on MTGS
redthirst is redthirst, fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. He was the leader of the Fires of Salvation, the only clan I'm aware of to get modded off the forums so hard they made their own forums.

Degenerate? Sure. Loudmouth? You bet. Law abiding? No ****ing way.

Great guy to have around? Hell yes.



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Post #30 by DocLawless » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:24 pm

Well I'm using Zendikars because I'm a fuckin' rebel.

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Post #31 by Jack » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:16 pm

I have a confession to make: all my swaggy mountains are in other decks, so I'm just using my Krenko deck to represent 99 mountains. I have about 60 Snow-Covered Mountains, so when I acquire more cards for the deck I'll start using those.
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Post #32 by redthirst » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:19 pm

DocLawless » Mon Oct 28, 2013 12:24 pm wrote:Well I'm using Zendikars because I'm a fuckin' rebel.

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That's not rebellious. Get in there with 99 8th Edition Mountains and cause your opponent to lose by uncontrollable vomiting.

Look upon it and despair:
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That's being a fucking Rebel.
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Originally posted by Dechs Kaison on MTGS
redthirst is redthirst, fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. He was the leader of the Fires of Salvation, the only clan I'm aware of to get modded off the forums so hard they made their own forums.

Degenerate? Sure. Loudmouth? You bet. Law abiding? No ****ing way.

Great guy to have around? Hell yes.



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Post #33 by Jack » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:47 pm

That's actually one of my favorite Mountains, since those were the ones that I used when I was first taught how to play. I don't mind the white border as long as all of the other lands are white-bordered. Also, Alexander's artwork is just classic.
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Post #34 by Mcdonalds » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:04 pm

redthirst » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:59 am wrote:I only roll with Arabian Nights for my 99 Mountain deck. I was going to go with Gurus, but I didn't want to seem ostentatious.


Fucking scrub

Real men use summer magic.

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Post #35 by redthirst » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:09 pm

Maybe if you're getting your deck out of the bonnet of your Smart Car to play EDH at Tea Time.

Here in 'Murica, though, we only play with God's lands.
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Originally posted by Dechs Kaison on MTGS
redthirst is redthirst, fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. He was the leader of the Fires of Salvation, the only clan I'm aware of to get modded off the forums so hard they made their own forums.

Degenerate? Sure. Loudmouth? You bet. Law abiding? No ****ing way.

Great guy to have around? Hell yes.



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Post #36 by DocLawless » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:19 pm

redthirst » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:19 pm wrote:That's not rebellious. Get in there with 99 8th Edition Mountains and cause your opponent to lose by uncontrollable vomiting.

Look upon it and despair:
Image

That's being a fucking Rebel.


I only have 99 4th Edition Mountains.

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It's like a fucking Bob Ross.

I'll do you one better and alter my foil Ashling to have a white border too.
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Post #37 by redthirst » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:24 pm

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Originally posted by Dechs Kaison on MTGS
redthirst is redthirst, fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. He was the leader of the Fires of Salvation, the only clan I'm aware of to get modded off the forums so hard they made their own forums.

Degenerate? Sure. Loudmouth? You bet. Law abiding? No ****ing way.

Great guy to have around? Hell yes.



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Post #38 by Mcdonalds » Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:50 pm

redthirst » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:09 pm wrote:Maybe if you're getting your deck out of the bonnet of your Smart Car to play EDH at Tea Time.

Here in 'Murica, though, we only play with God's lands.


Scrubs gonna scrub

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Post #39 by DocLawless » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:29 pm

The best thing about a 99 Mountain Ashling deck is every hand is a nut draw.
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Post #40 by redthirst » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:59 pm

Lord_Mcdonalds » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:50 pm wrote:
redthirst » Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:09 pm wrote:Maybe if you're getting your deck out of the bonnet of your Smart Car to play EDH at Tea Time.

Here in 'Murica, though, we only play with God's lands.


Scrubs gonna scrub


You're the burn master.
Image


Originally posted by Dechs Kaison on MTGS
redthirst is redthirst, fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. He was the leader of the Fires of Salvation, the only clan I'm aware of to get modded off the forums so hard they made their own forums.

Degenerate? Sure. Loudmouth? You bet. Law abiding? No ****ing way.

Great guy to have around? Hell yes.




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