An Epic Derevi Commander Deck!

The word “epic” gets thrown around a little too much these days. Bennie Smith is taking it much more literally! See the crazy Commander deck he’s drawn up that takes full epic advantage of Derevi!

Neverending Torment Undying Flames Enduring Ideal Endless Swarm Eternal Dominion


As a fan of Commander, I’ve always been intrigued by the cycle of epic spells from Saviors of Kamigawa. For me, Commander is all about playing
epic haymakers that make for great stories, so at first glance you’d think big splashy sorceries with “epic” right there in its text box would be
no-brainers. The problem, of course, is if successfully cast, the wpic ability shuts down the way most Magic decks operate, preventing you from casting any
more spells – including your commander — for the rest of the game. The epic spells are sweet, but are they so sweet that you’re willing to sacrifice the
ability to do anything else but fire off another copy of the spell each upkeep? The easy answer is “of course not,” and we should move the epic spells into
the “not really playable in Commander” zone and forget about it.


Easy answers don’t really satisfy our inner Johnny now do they? If I always went the easy route, I’d have never built the sweet deck with Phage the
Untouchable as my commander — and was able to actually get her into play without losing the game immediately (see Commander with Kid Gloves).

The first order of business was to figure out if there were any commanders that could either set up the epic spell(s) or could still provide value from the
command zone. I didn’t really see any multicolor legends outside of ones that could produce a mana that could facilitate the epic spells. Command zone
value led me to Oloro, Ageless Ascetic and Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, aka “Big Lazy,” had some appeal considering the constant
stream of life he provides from the very beginning of the game, but who am I kidding: Derevi, Empyrial Tactician is the perfect commander since you can
still put it into play when under the epic spell moratorium.

Quacks at your tuck.

I was a little leery about choosing Derevi, Empyrial Tactician given the hysteria that popped up when the change to the tuck rule came down, making your
commander basically immune if you want it to be. Derevi has definitely jumped up the threat chain and will certainly provide some level of red flag to the
table when I reveal it as my commander, but since it works perfectly with my plan, I’ll just have to deal with the aggression by playing defense and
politics the best I can.

So with Derevi, Empyrial Tactician chosen, I guess we’re rocking Bant, which is perfect since the three epic spells in those colors are perfectly capable
of winning games of Commander, particularly the white one considering Enduring Ideal has actually been a competitive tournament deck.

Plan A: Enduring Ideal

You want it all, but you can’t have it…

Each of the epic spells win in a very different manner, and once you cast one, you’re locked out from playing any of the others. I thought about trying to
find cards that worked well no matter which epic spell was cast, but that was a pretty tall order: Enduring Ideal wants to win by putting an enchantment
from your deck into play each turn; Endless Swarm wants to make a bunch of 1/1 Snakes each turn; and Eternal Dominion wants you to assemble your victory
based on stealing one of the best non-planeswalker permanents from your opponents’ decks each turn.

We could add a few things to our deck to do fun things while going epic with Eternal Dominion (cycling, channel, bloodrush), but many of those things would
be generically fine under any of the epics. Eternal Dominion doesn’t really require us to do anything interesting for the rest of our deck.

We could add a few things to our deck to do fun things while going epic with Endless Swarm-Snake tribal stuff from Kamigawa block, generic tribal stuff
like Coat of Arms – but those cards would be pretty low power or totally useless if we ended up casting either of the other two epic spells. And truly, if
we end up casting Endless Swarm, it’s probably sufficient to just let our hand fill up and crank out seven 1/1 Snakes each turn. They will eventually
overwhelm just about anyone.

Then there’s Enduring Ideal, which requires we find a way to win by putting an enchantment into play each turn. On the power scale that falls somewhere
above cranking out 1/1 Snakes and somewhere below the best non-planeswalker permanents in your opponents’ decks, but it very likely demands a wide variety
of enchantments be available in your deck to go search up. Of course, there has been a variety of “enchantments matter” cards printed over the years, so it
wouldn’t be unreasonable to just play an enchantment-heavy deck and win without ever getting to cast one of your epic spells. So I think the best approach
is to slant the deck towards Enduring Ideal: finding it, casting it, winning with it, and (hopefully) not losing despite it.

Finding It

Mikokoro, Center Of The Sea , Temple of Enlightenment, Temple of Mystery, Temple of Plenty, Mystical Tutor, Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain, Sylvan Library, Scroll Rack, Impulse, Long-Term Plans, Rhystic Study, Sphinx’s Revelation

Since we’re not running black, it’s difficult to find many cards that will let you go search for a specific sorcery card. There’s Mystical Tutor and
Personal Tutor, but I don’t own a Personal Tutor so I’m not including it here. There’s Long-Term Plans if you have patience, and I think we can work with
that. Outside of tutor effects, we can certainly stock up on card draw like Rhystic Study, card selection like Sylvan Library and Ponder, and filtering
such as the Theros Temples. Given time and a little luck, we should get there.

Casting It

Boseiju, Who Shelters All, Xantid Swarm, Grand Abolisher, Dragonlord Dromoka

Of course, the absolute worst would be to go to all the trouble of making an Enduring Ideal deck, finding the enchantment, living long enough to cast it…
and then having Mr. Fun Police counterspell it. Luckily, we have a couple creatures like Grand Abolisher along with Boseiju, Who Shelters All to make sure
we can cast our signature spell unmolested.

Winning With It

Paradox Haze, Thassa, God of the Sea, Heliod, God of the Sun, Nylea, God of the Hunt , Karametra, God Of Harvests , Kruphix, God of Horizons, Privileged Position, Dovescape, Volition Reins, Humbler of Mortals

Okay, so we’ve gone to all the trouble of resolving Enduring Ideal-now how to win with it? The first order of business is probably going to be putting
Dovescape into play since the last thing you want someone to do once you’ve gone epic on the enchantment plan is to cast something horrid like Wave of
Vitriol. While there are creature spells that can destroy enchantments, that’s not nearly the disaster a sweeper would be, so let them cast Bird tokens
instead! Also keep in mind that each epic copy of Enduring Ideal can be countered, so Dovescape will protect against counterspells that aren’t Mystic
Snake. If you have a moment to breathe, Paradox Haze isn’t a bad enchantment to fetch up either, letting you get double up your epic upkeep triggers.

One new development for Enduring Ideal decks are the Theros block enchantment creatures, particularly the Gods. It may take a few triggers to turn
on their devotion and make them creatures, but they make pretty durable and potent win conditions while providing benefits along the way.

Sometimes your opponent may have the perfect way to win the game, so Volition Reins is a good all-purpose way to re-purpose that permanent into your own
fiendish plans.

Not Losing Despite It

Aegis of Honor, Soul Snare, Aegis Of The Gods, Planar Collapse, Seal of Cleansing, Seal of Primordium, Darksteel Mutation, Song Of The Dryads, Bow of Nylea, Orim’s Prayer, Opposition, Perplexing Chimera, Sphere of Safety, Exclusion Ritual, Dismiss Into Dream, Decree of Silence

Putting an enchantment into play each turn provides inevitability, but it does take time, and one way to stop you from winning is to kill you first, so you
may need to keep yourself from losing before you go about winning. If people start pouring high-cost spells into Dovescape, you may find yourself in the
middle of a Hitchcock horror film, so search up Orim’s Prayer to neutralize attacks from 1/1s and blunt attacks from bigger creatures. If you need to sweep
creatures, Planar Collapse can do the job (while leaving your indestructible Gods alone), and a combination of Opposition and Dismiss into Dream can pick
off individual problem creatures.

Perplexing Chimera might be too cute, but it’s a way to steal someone’s Acidic Slime to prevent them from blowing up Dovescape.

Darksteel Mutation, Song of the Dryads, and Exclusion Ritual can all solve problems that might otherwise cause you grief, so they make solid additions to
the Enduring Ideal toolbox while also being perfectly serviceable cards pre-epic.

Bow of Nylea is a Swiss army knife of abilities built into an enchantment, not least of which is the ability to add enchantments that might be in your
graveyard and put them back in your deck to find with Enduring Ideal.

Plan B: Endless Swarm or Eternal Dominion

Okay, so despite your best efforts, say someone ruins your day-a Wheel of Fortune makes you discard Enduring Ideal, and someone pops off a Tormod’s Crypt
and sends it off to exile. You can still do just fine playing out your sweet enchantments as you draw them and eventually draw and play one of your other
epic spells. Eternal Dominion should be fine all on its own as you search out people’s Blightsteel Colossus or Eldrazi titans. For Endless Swarm, you’d
probably want to wait until you’ve got a full grip, and maybe one of these two sweet lands to double the punch: Gavony Township or Oran-Rief, the Vastwood.

Snakes… Why’d it have to be snakes?

Playing Under The Epic Spell Moratorium

Regardless of which epic spell you’re operating under, I’ve included some cards that can do some work even under the spell moratorium.

Emeria, the Sky Ruin: I’ve kept the Plains count relatively high in the deck (including the dual lands and Ravnica shock lands) so that going long, Emeria,
the Sky Ruin can start putting creature cards from your graveyard back onto the battlefield. Land Tax, Embodiment of Spring, and Sakura-Tribe Elder fetches
should lean towards Plains to get this online faster.

Mistveil Plains: This is mostly for when operating under Enduring Ideal. If an enchantment gets destroyed or otherwise put in your graveyard, Mistveil
Plains can put it back in the deck to be found by epic copies of Enduring Ideal.

Pride in the name of birds.

Pride of the Clouds: The forecast ability can give you something to sink your mana into when under the moratorium, generating a 1/1 flying Bird token each

Hunting Grounds, Defense of the Heart, Hibernation’s End: These enchantments can let you still put creatures into play despite the moratorium, and it’s
especially nice that they can be fetched up with Enduring Ideal.

Decree of Justice: Once you’ve got a bunch of mana, cycling Decree of Justice can generate a ton of token creatures at instant speed whether you’re under
the epic spell moratorium or not!

What About Derevi?

While our deck isn’t specifically built to abuse Derevi, I think there are lots of little synergies that we can take advantage of. Derevi plays pretty good
defense, acting as a double-Maze of Ith for four mana, tapping down one attacker and chump blocking another. It can provide virtual vigilance for any of
your creatures that can connect with an opponent and can make Opposition even more obnoxious. Derevi can give you back half of any mana you spend with
Thassa, God of the Sea to make something unblockable by untapping a mana. Getting extra mana can help generate more tokens with Heliod, God of the Sun.

If you’re under Plan B with Endless Swarm, Derevi will do some crazy things with Gavony Township

Okay, so here’s how the deck turned out:

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 05-29-2015
Magic Card Back

Pretty epic, huh? I’m sure there’s some crazy interactions I’ve missed, so feel free to enlighten me with your own ideas!

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

Commander write-ups I’ve done
(and links to decklists):

Zurgo Bellstriker (Bellstriking Like a Boss)

Dragonlord Ojutai (Troll Shroud)

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Dragons, Megamorphs, and Dragons)

Dromoka, the Eternal (One Flying Bolster Basket)

Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (Tempests and Teapots)

Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Hatching Evil Sultai Plots)

Scion of the Ur-Dragon (Dragon Triggers for Everyone)

• Nahiri, The Lithomancer (Lithomancing for Fun and Profit)

Titania, Protector of Argoth (Titania’s Land and Elemental Exchange)

Reaper King (All About VILLAINOUS WEALTH)

Feldon of the Third Path (She Will Come Back to Me)

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (Calling Up Ghouls with Sidisi)

Zurgo Helmsmasher (Two Times the Smashing)

Anafenza, the Foremost (Anafenza and Your Restless Dead)

Narset, Enlightened Master (The New Voltron Overlord)

Surrak Dragonclaw (The Art of Punching Bears)

Avacyn, Guardian Angel; Ob Nixilis, Unshackled; Sliver Hivelord (Commander Catchup, Part 3)

Keranos, God of Storms; Marchesa, the Black Rose; Muzzio, Visonary Architect (Commander Catchup, Part 2)

Athreos, God of Passage; Kruphix, God of Horizons; Iroas, God of Victory (Commander Catchup, Journey into Nyx Edition)

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)

Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy (Possibility Storm Shenanigans)

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (All-in Yisan)

Selvala, Explorer Returned (Everyone Draws Lots!)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (Cleaning Out the Cellar)

Karona, False God (God Pack)

Child of Alara (Land Ho!)

Doran, the Siege Tower (All My Faves in One Deck!)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (my Magic Online deck)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (GREED!)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind ( Chuck’s somewhat vicious deck)

Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)

Skeleton Ship (Fun with -1/-1 counters)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)

Anax and Cymede (Heroic Co-Commanders)

Aurelia, the Warleader ( plus Hellkite Tyrant shenanigans)

Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)

Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)

Damia, Sage of Stone ( Ice Cauldron shenanigans)

Emmara Tandris (No Damage Tokens)

Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)

Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)

Ghave, Guru of Spores ( Melira Combo)

Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)

Glissa, the Traitor ( undying artifacts!)

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge ( Suspension of Disbelief)

Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo’ Myrs)

Karona, False God (Vows of the False God)

Lord of Tresserhorn (ZOMBIES!)

Marath, Will of the Wild ( Wild About +1/+1 Counters)

Melira, Sylvok Outcast ( combo killa)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker ( Outside My Comfort Zone with Milling

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)

Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)

Nylea, God of the Hunt ( Devoted to Green)

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (by reader request)

Phage the Untouchable ( actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)

Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)

Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)

Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)

Riku of Two Reflections (

steal all permanents with
Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts


Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)

Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari ( Demons)

Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)

Sigarda, Host of Herons ( Equipment-centric Voltron)

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave ( how big can it get?)

Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)

Thelon of Havenwood ( Campfire Spores)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

Yeva, Nature’s Herald (living at instant speed)