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Ramping in Duel Commander with Titania, Protector of Argoth


 

As an avid Duel Commander player, I am always looking at Wizards newest cards and assessing their impact on the Commander variant that I love. With that being said, Commander 2014 wasn't really what I was hoping for. As far as power level goes, there was nothing on the level of Scavenging Ooze or True-Name Nemesis. But, after asking my subscribers on YouTube what they thought I should do for Commander 2014, there was an overwhelming desire to see me try something with Titania, Protector of Argoth. She wasn't really a card that was on my radar and I did not really play with her prior to hearing my subscribers' calls, but needless to say I was genuinely surprised by how powerful Titania, Protector of Argoth actually is. So, if you are the kind of player that enjoys ramping into giant creatures, Titania, Protector of Argoth may be exactly what you are looking for.

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Before we go on let's first take a closer look at the card: Titania, Protector of Argoth is a 5/3 elemental for 3GG that returns a land from your graveyard to the battlefield and says whenever a land enters the graveyard, put a 5/3 green elemental creature token on the battlefield. So whenever you cast her, if you have a land in your graveyard, you will always be only one land away from casting her again. She also makes fetch lands awesome!

Strategy

When piloting your Titania, Protector of Argoth deck, the strategy is pretty much full on aggro/ramp. The basic idea is to run lots of land and mana accelerants to quickly build into a large resource pool in order to cast big game ending spells. Mixing this strategy with green’s utility works cohesively to make something really powerful. The early turns of a Titania, Protector of Argoth deck are going to be pretty straight forward: you are going to be ramping either with mana dorks like Elvish Mystic and Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, or with green’s other ramp spells like Fastbond and Explore. The fun part of this deck starts after Titania, Protector of Argoth hits the battlefield. When casting her, you want to make sure that you have a land to bring back to the battlefield from the graveyard. Playing her without triggering her ability is a bit underwhelming and you want to make sure you are able to put as much pressure on your opponent as possible. I find that running the four fetchlands, an Evolving Wilds, and a Wasteland is pretty good and you will usually have at least one land to recur when Titania, Protector of Argoth comes into play. With that being said, once Titania, Protector of Argoth is in play, it becomes really easy to build up a massive board and start dealing some damage. I must admit though, the majority of my games ended with me Craterhoof Behemoth'ing my opponent to death. During testing I noticed that there where a few cards that performed especially well during games. I would go as far to say that these cards are cornerstones to making a Titania, Protector of Argoth deck as strong as possible. Besides the fetchlands, Sylvan Safekeeper, Life from the Loam, Memory Jar, Garruk, Primal Hunter, Fastbond and Zuran Orb all stood out and made games winnable or made games complete blowouts.

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The Good

So, why would you want to play this deck? What’s good about her? There are many reasons to give Titania, Protector of Argoth a try, but her appeal mostly comes from the fact that you are playing a mono-colored ramp deck. Apart from that, Titania, Protector of Argoth is fairly easy to play with less "hard decisions" to make over the course of the game, and since you are mono colored, your mana is much better than most of the decks you will be facing. Another great aspect of Titania, Protector of Argoth is that if your opponent skips a beat during the game, it becomes really easy to overwhelm the board and take the game out of reach. Though Titania, Protector of Argoth  lacks disruption, she makes it so your opponent must answer your threats or lose the game. As far as matchups go, I found that Titania is best suited against other aggro decks. You are pretty much doing exactly what they are, except your creatures are usually going to be much bigger.

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The Bad

Even though Titania, Protector of Argoth  is strong and capable of ridiculous things, there are a few problems that I ran into: the Control and Reanimator matchups. These matches are definitely the most difficult as dealing with counters can be very problematic for this deck. Since you need to keep pressure on the board by increasing your threat presence each turn, counters put a huge dent in that plan and just when you draw the out you need to take the game a timely counter ends it. Reanimator on the other hand can be completely brutal. During my testing I found that going first is crucial to doing well against a reanimator strategy. The problem is that the reanimator deck puts out creatures bigger than your end game, but bypasses all of the ramping. So in order to prepare for these terrible matchups, I found it was necessary to make room for a few crucial cards:

 

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  1. Hall of Gemstone: At first glance a below average enchantment, Hall of Gemstone can work wonders in our deck. Since you don’t really have that much disruption, Hall of Gemstone can really put a damper on many of the 2- and 3-color control decks by slowing them down and giving you more time to take down your opponent before they are able to take control of the game.
  2. Dosan the Falling Leaf: As mentioned before, counter spells are brutal against Titania, Protector of Argoth, so using Dosan the Falling Leaf is a great way to help you against counter heavy decks. Dosan the Falling Leaf also gives you some wiggle room during your own turns to play cards without fear of removal (e.g. a late game craterhoof behemoth for the win!)
  3. A small graveyard disruption package. I chose to include Scavenging Ooze, Tormod’s Crypt, and Scrabbling Claws. The reanimator matchup is super one-sided and as I said before, the die roll is crucial in this matchup and you need to make sure you have access to one graveyard disruption card early on. I only have three graveyard disruption cards in the list, but I would not be against the idea of running more.

Even though she has a couple of bad matchups, Titania, Protector of Argoth is really strong and can really punish players who underestimate her effect on the board. If you guys are interested in building your own Titania, Protector of Argoth deck, you can check out my build below for some inspiration. I’ve worked on this list for a bit and I think it is almost there. So proxy her up and take her for a test drive! If you are interested in duel commander why don't you stop by my YouTube channel and join the force family for more duel commander inspiration. Until next time, keep shuffling magic players.

 


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