Frank Ocean

girl tonight i hold you close (close enough to prove)
hope a garden grows where we dance this afternoon
hope our children walk by spring and flowers bloom
hope they’ll get to see my color
know that i’ve enjoyed sunshine
pray they’ll get to see me wither (with her)


life’s too short for me to stop // oh, baby, your time is running out

[image: three gifs of Iris West as the metahuman Wither. each is captioned with her stage of identity. the first shows IRIS WEST angrily speaking. the second shows IRIS WEST/WITHER’s eyes turning green as she looks up at her opponent. the text is blurred and mosaic. the final shows WITHER, eyes fully green, pointing a gun at the man in front of her]

Commander of the Week

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons 

Finally, a commander that can properly fit my disease theme. Hapatra is my favorite card to come out of Amonkhet, at least for commander. Her ability can avail itself of many cards from Amonkhet and Lorwyn/Shadowmoor and even Scars of Mirrodin block if you want to go the infect route. Hapatra herself is a a 2/2 for 2 mana in black and green, that can put -1/-1 counters on creatures when you deal combat damage with her. She also nets you snake tokens when you put one or more -1/-1 counters on a creature. 

Decay on Everything 

Hapatra’s ability gets snakes whenever you put a -1/-1 counter on any creature, even your own. So this means we can use creatures with Persist such as Puppeteer Clique, Rendclaw Trow and Woodfall Primus to trigger it. Creatures that enter with -1/-1 counters are also cool such as Carnifex Demon, Chainbreaker and Deity of Scars as well as several creatures from Amonkhet. Instead of Infect, I have decided to use creatures with Wither as Infect draws too much attention and causes the game to end too quickly. Smoldering Butcher, Midnight Banshee and Necroskitter are some such creatures as well as Corrosive Mentor to give all your black creatures Wither too. I have used one card Triumph of the Hordes that gives Infect and Trample to all creatures to end games that go on too long. 

Making the most of -1/-1 Counters

Now to talk about some ways to avail ourselves of these counters. Abilities similar to Hapatra’s appear on a couple of cards, one in Amonkhet and the other in Lorwyn. Nest of Scarabs does the same thing as Hapatra only you get an insect instead of a snake. Flourishing Defenses appears in Lorwyn and gets you an Elf for every -1/-1 counter put on a creature which is even better. Crumbling Ashes is another good enchantment that destroys creatures with -1/-1 counters on them, be careful though, as this includes your creatures. Blowfly Infestation allows you to put a -1/-1 counter on a another creature if a creature died with one on them. Devoted Druid can also generate both mana and snake tokens by allowing you to put a -1/-1 counter on it to untap it. 

Radiation Poisoning

Carnifex Demon and Midnight Banshee both put -1/-1 counters on each creature and are both great ways to generate a large number of tokens from one of the above abilities.  Contagion Engine puts a -1/-1 counter on each of a players creatures when it enters. Black Sun’s Zenith is a great -1/-1 counter based board wipe that you can manipulate to suit you. Incremental Blight is a good removal spell that can distribute six -1/-1 counters among any creature of your choice. If you want you can use Melira, Sylvok Outcast to prevent you from becoming the target of these abilities, but you will lose quite a lot of opportunities to gain tokens in doing so.

More Fodder? 

Hopefully, Hapatra will stick around for a while and allow us to generate a large number of tokens. But even with these token generating abilities we’re not going to generate many. Why not use a Parallel Lives or Doubling Season to generate twice that amount? I thought that Seshiro the Anointed would be a good way to deal even more damage with snakes. And of course, Mycoloth is almost always an MVP in token decks.  

And Finally…

Apart from maybe a Grim Backwoods and a Grasping Dunes, I haven’t discovered any other lands that may be useful here, besides the usual barrage of shocks, fetches and check lands. So I’ll leave that part in your capable hands. I do hope you find this both helpful and fun and until next time, Happy Deck Building.