Dear Azami – Bosh & Roll

Dear Azami takes a look at a color that’s been neglected by him recently: red. Check out the improvements he makes to an artifact-heavy Commander deck centered on Bosh, Iron Golem.

Hey Sean,

Just wanted to start off by saying I love EDH or Commander as the cool kids are calling it these days. Wow, that makes me sound like I’m an old pro at this, and well, I’m not. A buddy of mine got me into it at our night shift job, and while I may not be the best at all this, I make up for it in numbers. As of now I think I have about thirteen EDH decks and several others in the works. I really feel like EDH captures what got me interested in Magic in the first place. I’ve wanted to send in quite a few of my decks to this article but it’s the latest one that finally got me to write in today. This little Juggernaut that could happens to be a red artifact-based deck with Bosh, Iron Golem trying to swing the big shiny club.

I say “trying” because it doesn’t seem to be working too well. When it works it’s big, clobbering, Iron-Giant fun. When it doesn’t, I’m stuck at five or six lands with nothing to do. It’s too slow or inconsistent or something like that. I took apart my old fun for me/unfun for everyone else Arcum deck to build it, but without Arcum around to let me cheat at the game it just seems to be off. I’m ok with having every game come out differently, but I at least want them to come out like something and have that something not be just some lands and a bauble. Well enough from me, here’s hoping you’ll take a look at it…and here’s the cards:

Artifact Creatures

Mycosynth Golem
Etched Champion
Solemn Simulacrum
Myr Retriever
Myr Battlesphere
Karn, Silver Golem
Kuldotha Forgemaster
Blightsteel Colossus
Junk Diver
Copper Gnomes
Platinum Emperion
Platinum Angel
Darksteel Colossus
Steel Hellkite
Steel Overseer

Non-Creature Artifacts

Sword of Kaldra
Shield of Kaldra
Helm of Kaldra
Sword of Light and Shadow
Skyship Weatherlight
Myr Turbine
Wayfarer’s Bauble
Pariah’s Shield
Sculpting Steel
Forge[/author]“]Darksteel [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]
Planar Portal
Howling Mine
Ashnod’s Altar
Quicksilver Amulet
Soul Foundry
Sol Ring
Prototype Portal
Jar of Eyeballs
Clock of Omens
Ur-Golem’s Eye
Sisay’s Ring
Brittle Effigy
Spine of Ish Sah
Contagion Engine
Ichor Slick
Mind’s Eye
Caged Sun
Unwinding Clock
Hedron Matrix
Krark-Clan Ironworks
Lux Cannon

Other Creatures

Hoarding Dragon
Hamletback Goliath
Hoard-Smelter Dragon
Vulshok Battlemaster
Furyborn Hellkite
Goblin Welder
Hellkite Igniter

Other Stuff

Karn Liberated
Furnace of Rath
Warstorm Surge
Trash for Treasure


Temple of the False God
Mystifying Maze
Smoldering Crater
Forgotten Cave
34 Mountains

I like the weird artifacts like Mirrorworks and Prototype Portal, as well as the big fatties. These are the main reasons I built the deck. It’s my current solutions for finding them and getting them out that have me worried like Planar Portal, Skyship Weatherlight, Ur-Golem’s Eye, and Sisay’s Ring (although I figured with the last two if I was going to have to use boring old mana rocks might as well use ones worth letting Bosh chuck at things and people.) I’d definitely love a Skeleton Shard without that pesky black mana symbol, but hey, what’re ya gonna do. Anyway, the whole thing’s up for the chopping block, but it seems you like these little suggestions from us so there’s my two cents. Hope you have fun with it.

— Trevon

With the last two weeks being focused on mirror images of each other, one Bant-aligned and the other Esper, this week’s article should come as no surprise: my attentions were piqued by a deck of a different color, that being the one color not mentioned in the last two looks. I finally settled on picking a nice mono-red deck to play around with when Trevon sent me his Bosh, Iron Golem deck. Having already played around with Memnarch when the color-alignment rules finally updated to allow Memnarch and Bosh to be played, I suppose it was only a matter of time before Bosh caught my interest as well, and today he has.

Mono-red decks are difficult animals to work with in Commander largely because of the restrictions on what the color can and cannot do. Non-conditional creature removal, enchantment destruction, card drawing… none of these are exactly red’s strong suit, and so I find that the average red deck in Commander has to lean pretty heavily on artifacts to play out right. Fortunately, Bosh is a fan of this plan—playing with artifacts means he has things to throw at people!

Looking at Bosh’s strengths first, he has sort of weird stats, but those at least have the good graces of containing trample amongst the lines of text. His clunky size—definitely in the neighborhood of fatty in Commander though far from the biggest one you can find—is clearly not what he’s being played for, so it’s the ability to chuck things at heads that’s drawing the attention. To make the most use of this ability we’ll need to be able to get spare permanents on the cheap or otherwise recur things, because as you’ve noted more than a few draws end up with six lands and a Bauble when all is said and done. Multiplication of resources is what drew you to cards like Mirrorworks and Prototype Portal, and since those seem to be the things that are both the most powerful and the most fun for you, that’s the road we’re going to strive to proceed down. Card drawing efficiency is also something we’re going to focus on because you can do a lot more with ten lands and a Bauble than with six, so we’re going to try and build in some free resources to improve overall effectiveness. That’s where red decks succeed or fail, I think, so we might as well pursue it with that in mind.

We begin with the lands. Usually I touch these only a little, but with such a very basic land base as you have with your deck there’s a lot of room still for finessing, and to do it right I actually had to build up all the rest of the deck and see what was going on before being able to adjust this properly. With a basic grasp of the rest of this context, though, the big cards of note end with the word “Wellspring” or are named Crucible of Worlds. Sacrificing artifacts for fun and profit is something we’re going to want to be able to do in general, whether it’s Bosh that’s doing it or not, and even just counting as an artifact is going to be profitable thanks to cards of yours like Goblin Welder or Trash for Treasure.

And no, my frequent answer to everything of “-1 (pick something at random), +1 Winding Canyons” is not the answer. What can I say; I’m getting tired of getting razzed at the fact that I think the card’s bonkers, so for this one at least I’m leaving it out. Stubborn is as stubborn does, after all!

Out: 16 Mountain


Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle — A very easy addition; even if it’s not exactly a “focus” of the deck it’s still pretty true that you’ll tend to draw a lot of Mountains because, well, a lot of your lands are Mountains. This is a pretty free add-on that sometimes will kill an extra creature or two for free, and with a few other things working at top speed will actually be a dangerous threat in and of itself.

Great Furnace, Darksteel Citadel — Both work to potentially further enable Goblin Welder and the other artifacts-matter cards. They aren’t fancy, but sometimes, just sometimes you’ll Goblin Welder away your land to get back something major from the graveyard rather than having to compromise on which of your relevant permanents you kept in play. Small values add up, and with only one of the two having to worry about Akroma’s Vengeance you shouldn’t frequently have a problem with artifact lands disappearing at awkward moments; there just aren’t enough of them.

Thawing Glaciers — Getting more resources for free is one of the keys to making Commander decks work, and in this case Thawing Glaciers is the key way to solve that predicament of getting stuck with just a few lands in play and no action going on. Thaw by itself will make sure that instead of “a few” you have more than enough mana to operate on and cast your most serious of business spells, and with Expedition Map inevitably making its way into your deck as well that gives you two shots at it instead of just the one.

Bloodstained Mire, Wooded Foothills, Arid Mesa, Scalding Tarn, Grixis Panorama, Jund Panorama, Naya Panorama — “More resources for free” is the important factor in getting Commander decks to work right , with red decks being especially finicky about drawing the right balance of lands and spells (and getting the rest of the lands effectively for free). With Crucible of Worlds being a strategic player in the deck, these combine to give you enough copies of “a fetchland” to go with it every time you draw it, so that the combo is effectively “draw Crucible” instead of “draw Crucible and another card.” Hoarding Dragon, Skyship Weatherlight, Planar Portal, and so on will all very likely consider getting Crucible first; it’s that good and that important to your strategy to the point where I had to sit and ask myself if it wasn’t so good that it was worth Gambling for.

Eye of Ugin — An excellent late-game target for Expedition Map in that with so many colorless threats in your deck it will be able to find an awesome card every turn or every other turn and help you draw into more gas. There are also a few Eldrazi spells in the deck at the conclusion of my dabbling, as well, so its cost-reduction mechanism is even potentially useful to you as well…

Phyrexia’s Core — Given that Ichor Wellspring and Mycosynth Wellspring both made their way into the decklist and you already planned on playing cards like Spine of Ish Shah, having a land you can use to just rock those efficiently to begin with seemed like a good idea. Your colored mana needs are actually amazingly light, since so much of the deck is actually colorless, but jamming the deck full of weird lands has a cost when it comes to the effectiveness of the Crucible/Thaw effects and reduces the benefits of Valakut as well…so I was still hesitant to overload on too many extra effects stapled to the mana base. Beneficial sacrifice of an artifact at the time of your choosing is an effect worth adding while the same for a creature isn’t necessarily, thus Phyrexia’s Core but not High Market or Miren, the Moaning Well.

Dust Bowl — Previously you don’t actually have any way to interact with a problematic land on the opponent’s side of the board. With Cabal Coffers and other such problems all too common in this format, you’re going to want to find ways to deal with them, and having at least one effect in your mana base is pretty important. Dust Bowl’s the one addition best able to answer multiple problems since unlike Strip Mine it can address two lands that are getting out of hand without having to also draw Crucible of Worlds…and unlike Strip Mine you can’t use it with Crucible of Worlds to utterly demolish and demoralize an opponent’s mana base, so it’s even the friendlier addition!

Haunted Fengraf, Buried Ruin — While we’re talking about things that are good with Crucible of Worlds, these two start to extend the benefits of Crucible to your other permanent types. Buried Ruin can get back almost every nonland card in your deck with how strongly you’ve biased it towards artifacts, while Haunted Fengraf may suffer from the unpleasant randomness issue but at least it gives you the option to cash in a useless resource for a useful one even if you don’t quite know what you’re going to get out of the deal. Both are good effects without Crucible of Worlds active just based solely on your need to draw spells or spell-like things that can let you affect the board instead of just suffering resource deprivation in the later stretches of the game. It becomes bonkers with Crucible online.

Moving on, next we’ll move to artifacts…usually a small section when I work on these decks, for you it’s the large bulk of what you’re planning on doing over the course of a game. The bulk of the changes to your deck will come in this section as it defines what you can and cannot do and helps sculpt how your resources will flow over the course of a game. With sixteen cuts, we’ll start by talking about why each card’s going then come back and add back in for the other ones…and just for balance issues and deck-design functionality, I moved two slots over from artifacts to spells. This is so that you don’t completely suffer from the problem of only operating at sorcery-speed by adding room for two high-impact instants that will help with your self-defense over the course of a game.


Sword of Kaldra, Shield of Kaldra, and Helm of Kaldra — Kaldra is pretty cool. If you assemble all the equipment you get to make a ridiculously large creature with a whole ton of abilities as many times as you need to and for only one mana. The problem is, yeah, you get a 9/9 indestructible creature with first strike, haste, and trample, but you had to waste all these cards to do it and all that time, too. If you don’t draw all three pieces, you have some clunky equipment: only one confers a size bonus; the others grant abilities Bosh may or may not care about and your other creatures probably won’t much notice either.

Three card combos with no way to assemble them aren’t very good, and while you have Planar Portal and Skyship Weatherlight to try this out with, I think you’re better spent investing your time in finding the actual best cards in your deck (or the most important ones right now) instead of the cuteness of a Kaldra token generation machine. In a deck with Stoneforge Mystic or Godo, Bandit Warlord and some other ways to find them or even re-use them, I’m willing to play around with the Kaldra equipment and build towards that particular endgame, but this doesn’t really help you very much.

Myr Turbine — How helpful is tapping to put a token into play? It’s neither wonderful nor terrible, all told, but you can use this slot more profitably doing something interesting and meaningful instead. It’s boring and too vanilla, even if it’s a decent effect over a long game.

Pariah’s Shield — An unnecessarily defensive measure and one that probably relies on the long-term survival of token creatures such as those generated by Myr Turbine. I’d suggest being able to focus more on having the occasional board-control element rather than resorting to measures like this, as they will prove more reliable.

Forge[/author]“]Darksteel [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author] — An awful lot of mana to confer a benefit that can be sidestepped and which you don’t really seem to be trying to exploit—Darksteel Forge and Obliterate, now I’m listening, but just by itself it doesn’t do enough to catch my interest. Costing a lot of mana so Bosh can throw it at someone’s head isn’t actually a good enough reason to include a card since you could just as readily go with Akroma’s Memorial at this cost and get more bang for your buck if that was all you wanted.

Howling Mine — You want more cards for yourself, it’s true, but more cards for everyone then undermines the benefit of actually trying to draw. Sure, it’s more even proportionally if you draw two cards a turn and the opponent draws four on the average turn compared to one and three, but it’s even better to draw the cards yourself and not help the opponent out unless you have a political advantage in so doing. This isn’t really a deck for playing politics—it’s more straightforward and direct than that—so this “helpful” card gets cut.

Ashnod’s Altar, Krark-Clan Ironworks: Your sub-theme of sacrifice of resources for mana is very red of you but not especially helpful.

Sisay’s Ring, Ur-Golem’s Eye: You can do better than this if you just try a little, so we’re going to replace these with the more powerful and more efficient versions that are options instead.

Ichor Slick — I think this was intended to be Ichor Wellspring, which is why I’ve included it in the artifacts section… I in fact think Ichor Wellspring should be in this deck but am not entirely sure whether you meant to include it or not and didn’t get an email back in response to confirm that fact. I’ll list this as “blank slot cut” and replace it with the card I wanted which happens to also be the card I think you meant.

Quicksilver Amulet — This isn’t the kind of “mana savings” I tend to consider as worthwhile. Sure, you’re looking at this as a good way to get a cheap Colossus down fast, but I’m more convinced that a card that actually tries to solve the problem of being stuck on six lands and a Bauble with no action and too many expensive cards jammed in hand is more worthy of addressing by actually casting them than by reaching for more ways to work around having to do so.

Hedron Matrix — Not especially efficient equipment or really very interesting to me. If this were an effect you truly wanted, I believe Bonehoard would be considerably better at the job it’s tasked with, but I think you want more than “big dumb animal” equipment even if it’s good with a commander that naturally has trample.

Deathrender — Not quite good enough by its bare stats, and while you can do the occasional cute trick with the triggered ability, just like with Quicksilver Amulet I’m more interested in going a different direction than trying to figure out ways to potentially cheat something into play prematurely. Sustainable growth is much more important than rapid growth since it’s the sustainable way of building up resources that leads to longer games with better overall board positions and less high-variance games that are only exciting if your one specific cheaty-type card doesn’t happen to get killed.

Clock of Omens — Sure, good with tokens, but what are we actually accomplishing with this effect? Are you using it to go broken with free tokens off your imprint cards, get more taps out of your Contagion Engine, work your Steel Overseer harder, or what? It’s too conditional—I like the Unwinding Clock effect for this, but as far as timekeepers go, Omens are very unreliable and only work well with a few other cards. Sure, they work very well then, but you’ll get more mileage and more consistent results out of other cards.

Adding back into the deck, I pulled two slots aside for spells, wanting to add a few instants to the deck so it isn’t entirely sorcery-speed. Interesting as it can be to choose that restriction, I don’t see a compelling reason to hold to it especially when you have versatile lifesavers that are worth including and holding onto for a rainy day when you need to get out of trouble on an opponent’s turn or literally just die otherwise. This leaves us fourteen slots to fill back in, some of which are going to be a little boring as they’re purely supportive cards, but the rest are hopefully interesting things that will whet your appetite for fun just like Mirrorworks did and keep you interested in how the game can play out by your own design through accessing these sorts of resources.


Sensei’s Divining Top — Sure, downright boring addition, and one that requires no explanation. Here, look at a picture of a cat instead! Given the extra shufflers and duplication effects you’re getting into with this deck, having the Divining Top will go a long way towards helping out with the flow of good cards to your hand over the course of a game.

Crucible of Worlds — In this deck it’s going to effectively serve as an extra card drawn each turn, and that card will count as a long-term resource that will stay in play and help you reach the higher levels of mana you really want to be operating if you’re to play Spine of Ish Shah and throw it at someone’s head each turn. It also allows you to later convert these lands into other resources each turn, thanks to cards like Buried Treasure, so it’s development early and action late, exactly the kind of thing you wanted to accomplish with Howling Mine…except that it helps you, not everyone. It will also help thin your deck of lands so you’re more likely to draw action later on with those limited number of draws per turn that red decks get.

Rings of Brighthearth — What’s better than just buying back something expensive to throw it twice? Just throwing it twice. As an effect-multiplier, Rings of Brighthearth is already really efficient at what you’re trying to do with Bosh, but fortunately it works with a lot of cards you have in your deck, from fetchlands to Pentavus, in really interesting ways. It works with a lot of cards beneficially and helps your deck operate on a higher plane of efficiency at a very low investment. This lets it do its thing better and more spectacularly without being a high-variance card like Unwinding Clock that has to combine very specifically with the right conditions to really work out.

Minion Reflector — Doubling things is what you like to do, and Minion Reflector is another interesting way to get at least a temporary doubling effect while you’re at it. While it doesn’t work profitably with every creature, at the very worst any artifact creature that you cast gets a single-turn duplicate and throwing the token still counts as sacrificing an artifact of the appropriate casting cost. So as another way to build towards the same kind of interesting duplication effects later on it works quite functionally to bring out those interesting game states you’re building for.

Mimic Vat — Duplication and reuse of resources is what you’re trying to accomplish and having another way to capitalize on throwing Platinum Emperions at opponents’ heads “for free” each turn will help Bosh create additional damage and just get more done. That it also happens to be incredibly amazing at grinding out games by providing additional resources each turn, like a really efficient planeswalker, is also worthy of consideration, as is the fact that it lets you plan ahead very intelligently to make awesome stuff happen.

Nim Deathmantle — Much like Mimic Vat, another way to profitably sacrifice creatures to Bosh for damage at a low cost. While four to sacrifice and four to resurrect is not “low cost” by most standards, having fixed overall the outflow of resources you can expect to get during a game to improve your resource-building base, this will in fact somehow actually count as “affordable.” It’s almost like a one-card combo, then, as Bosh can even throw himself; it’s just Nim Deathmantle + mana.

Seer’s Sundial — More consistent card drawing is a boon for you, and with fetchlands aplenty Seer’s Sundial helps you rip through your library as you build up your resources. When lands replace themselves neatly, even before potentially getting two cards out of them, suddenly you’re drawing a spell every turn later on in the game. This is exactly the sort of effect you need to pull ahead in a long, grinding game instead of be left behind with no resources in hand and thus no ability to really affect the game.

Temporal Aperture — More free cards; by spinning the Aperture each turn you get a second draw plus the mana you put into the spell back for free. This was a staple card in artifact-based decks of every color back in Urza’s Block to take advantage of ready access to mana, so it makes sense to reach for it once again here. That you may get eleven mana’s worth of creature and draw the card for free makes this considerably better than Quicksilver Amulet, even if it’s also much more random. Just remember to spin the Aperture before playing your land for the turn, as otherwise if you flip a land you’re stuck drawing it next turn.

Ichor Wellspring, Mycosynth Wellspring — A little extra bit of resources over the course of a game is a good thing, and with cards like Goblin Welder you can get surprisingly a lot of mileage out of a little effect like this. Since we’ve added Phyrexia’s Core to help sacrifice these for fun and profit as well as potentially other sacrifice effects that will let you use these twice beyond just Bosh’s ability, these small little effects will have a noticeable impact on providing you with more resources over the course of a game.

Expedition Map — Not the most exciting card on the block, but given the high value of finding individual specific lands (Dust Bowl, Eye of Ugin, Thawing Glaciers, Valakut, anything to combine with Crucible of Worlds), it’s the little inclusion that comes with a big payback.

Thran Dynamo — Strictly better than Sisay’s Ring; why get two when you can get three?

Dreamstone Hedron — The other replacement for the effect you had; yes it’s considerably more expensive than Ur-Golem’s Eye, and six mana is not easy to get into play for a “ramp” spell. However, for this extra two mana you get one more mana out, and instead of being dead weight later it turns awesomely right back into a fresh pile of cards if you need cards instead of mana. It also combines awesomely with your copy and token-making cards like Mirrorworks and Prototype Portal to start getting truly nutty instead of just being a really good card—suddenly you have all the mana you could possibly want and a steady source of cards each turn at a price that very quickly becomes invisible as the game goes on. As a mana generator that interacts with your other interesting cards, this is quite neat to see since it’s already a card I love even without synergies like this.

Oblivion Stone — A little bit of defense goes a long way, and being able to blow up the world sometimes instead of never gives you strategic options for how you play the game. This is very much a deck that will try to save its key permanents and kill everything else, so it’s the right card for the job as far as pinpoint sweepers go. You can play in order to not wipe your own assets while you use it.

Moving on to the spells section of the deck, which was incredibly thin to begin with, we have two cuts and four additions.


Warstorm Surge — Given that this isn’t actually a very creature-heavy deck, this will not trigger as much as you’d like and should be moved to a more consistent card instead.

Furnace of Rath — Rather than doubling all your damage and thus also doubling your risk and your exposure to other cards, we wanted to double the damage Bosh dealt when he threw things at people. This was covered by Rings of Brighthearth, and thus this effect has already been obtained considerably more easily and without putting yourself in harm’s way or making enemies.


All Is Dust — Considering how very few red permanents you actually have in the deck, All Is Dust is just “mass sweeper targeting not-me” in this deck. Just like Oblivion Stone, the ability to negate an opposing board without wiping out your own is too valuable to turn down and worthy of inclusion even if you’re not especially interested in being a controlling, sweeper-filled deck.

Vicious Shadows — I believe this one is Sheldon’s love song, not mine. Given my choosing out of sheer stubbornness not to include Winding Canyons, we’re upgrading your Warstorm Surge into the incredibly lethal Vicious Shadows that Sheldon loves to abuse people with and actually forces himself to consider from a purely ethical standpoint whether or not to include it in a deck. When one of the guys on the rules council for the format feels potentially icky at putting a card in his decks you should be paying attention to that card, and Vicious Shadows will bring you to the place you want to be in the game while Warstorm Surge does not.

Chaos Warp — One of the two instants being added to the deck, this goes in because of its sheer versatility and the fact that it can handle almost any problem at a reasonable price as well as neuter an enemy commander that’s getting out of hand. A little bit of defense goes a very long way to being able to sculpt the game in your benefit, and this answers anything the game can throw at you.

Word of Seizing — While this one is a bit harder to apply usefully due to the fact that it steals rather than negates a permanent, the split second makes up in usefulness what the spell lacks in true versatility. Instead of “just” being a defensive card, you can actually use this quite aggressively and on any class of permanent—suddenly an opposing planeswalker about to go ultimate doesn’t seem like quite the problem it was before. You can find the chink in the armor your opponent didn’t even know they had on a complicated board.

With these filled out we’re going to finish up with the creatures, where I want to make just seven replacements and will note each substitution one-for-one directly as we try and make the deck work neatly towards the goals it’s seeking to reach.

Out: Blightsteel Colossus; In: Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

This substitution is mostly due to the fact that poisoning people is just kind of lame and uninteresting, and if you’re going to work for something this size you want it to have a bigger impact on the game than being just an incredibly blunt weapon. While Ulamog doesn’t trample, annihilator has a mighty sting to it and a tendency to eventually win the fight with the Maze of Ith… Poison is the kind of thing people remember disproportionately and take offense at disproportionately and deserves attention accordingly.

Out: Vulshok Battlemaster; In: Kozilek, Butcher of Truth

With the main equipment theme gone, Vulshok Battlemaster no longer pulls off quite the interesting tricks he had before, and instead we’re adding another card that works with the desire to get more cards in your hand while developing a board presence. As the surprisingly affordable Eldrazi, Kozilek will further your game very explosively thanks to the four fresh cards in your hand, which is also part of why we are building more to actually cast threats like these instead of plop them into play in other ways. There are more rewards to be reaped and more consistency to be had pursuing that line of thought…you might as well add the cards that pay you back for it.

Out: Hamletback Goliath; In: Megatog

Hamletback Goliath was just one of those cute cards that made it in because it was “good enough” for Commander, not because it actually did anything interesting or special in your deck. Megatog, however, may just literally kill someone out of nowhere without them seeing it coming and also works nicely with your sacrifice-for-profit cards while you’re at it. Spine of Ish Shah, om nom nom, trample time. How many times do you get to play a Megatog in your deck, and how can you resist once you do?

Out: Furyborn Hellkite; In: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

Furyborn Hellkite is just a dragon. That you’re red and thus capable of playing dragons is not especially compelling; you want things that fit your plan of action and help you get where you want to go. Kiki-Jiki is so good at doing that. Plenty of people play him as their commander instead in their mono-red decks, and making copies of your creatures for free every turn is even better than the minion reflector effect I felt was worthy of including in the first place. More things overlapping in that interesting way you felt was compelling is going to lead to more games that play the way you want it to; it may even lead to more games you win, but I don’t read this specifically as “a deck I’m trying to win with,” so I am jamming the flavor button as hard as possible here trying to build a good deck that hits the right nerve endings instead of just “an awesome red deck.”

Out: Hellkite Igniter; In: Duplicant

Hellkite Igniter is another flavor of just a dragon. Sure, this one at least works with your artifact theme and pays you off for chasing “artifacts in play” as hard as possible. It’s not, however, especially interesting or useful during the course of a game, and adding more cards that interact with the board state is going to lead to having greater ability to pull off fun shenanigans with Kiki-Jiki, Goblin Welder, Mirrorworks or Soul Foundry. All the cards you thought were interesting and compelling to reach for are just better with Duplicant on the roster.

Out:  Copper Gnomes; In: Shimmer Myr

Cheating on costs is not what we want to do, and that’s all Copper Gnomes does: nothing interesting or nothing fun. Shimmer Myr, however, effectively gives your entire deck flash—letting me not add Winding Canyons out of sheer stubbornness but still add a level of awesomeness to your deck while we’re at it. Shimmer Myr is a new addition to the Commander roster I’m learning to appreciate more and more over time; it’s amazing how big the difference is between it and Vedalken Orrery just because it has flash. Being a creature is potentially a liability—creatures die easy after all—but you have enough ability to recur creature cards that I’m not especially worried about that especially given the massive upsides that come with surprise effects and being able to even hide the fact that you can play your other artifacts as an instant until you absolutely need to. Even if Shimmer Myr’s small stature makes it easy bait when removal comes around, seriously, who doesn’t kill a Vedalken Orrery on sight anyway?

Out:  Hoard-Smelter Dragon; In: Myr Welder

Hoard-Smelter is just another just another dragon, and while it can kill an artifact and get some power for it that’s not actually really a mark in its favor—the artifact-based deck is you, not necessarily the opponent, and you don’t have any other ways to trick this into doing more than it looks like it could such as Liquimetal Coating. Myr Welder is coming in because it interacts strangely with the other cards in your deck—just tell me what happens if you imprint Mimic Vat and a creature card onto it besides “your head explodes”—and it’s these sorts of fun and bizarre interactions that attracted you to cards like Prototype Portal in the first place and drew you into wanting to play this deck. Why not embrace it more fully and chase what there is to be chased?

Putting it all together, we end up with the following decklist:

Bosh, Iron Golem
Sean McKeown
Test deck on 03-25-2012

As always, you’ll receive a $20 coupon to the StarCityGames.com store for your participation. Hopefully between your other Commander decks you have a lot of the more “staple” cards like fetchlands, Eldrazi, and Sensei’s Divining Top so that overall it won’t be too ridiculously expensive for you to try and get the missing cards. Pricing each of these suggested additions out, we have the following:

Mycosynth Wellspring $0.15
Dreamstone Hedron $0.25
Grixis Panorama $0.25
Haunted Fengraf $0.25
Ichor Wellspring $0.25
Jund Panorama $0.25
Naya Panorama $0.25
Phyrexia’s Core $0.25
Word of Seizing $0.39
Expedition Map $0.49
Megatog $0.49
Minion Reflector $0.49
Myr Welder $0.49
Vicious Shadows $0.49
Nim Deathmantle $0.75
Seer’s Sundial $0.75
Shimmer Myr $0.75
Buried Ruin $0.99
Darksteel Citadel $1.49
Great Furnace $1.49
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle $1.49
Temporal Aperture $1.99
Mimic Vat $2.49
Oblivion Stone $2.99
Rings of Brighthearth $2.99
Duplicant $3.99
Eye of Ugin $3.99
Thran Dynamo $3.99
Chaos Warp $4.99
Dust Bowl $5.99
Thawing Glaciers $7.99
Arid Mesa $9.99
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre $11.99
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker $12.99
Sensei’s Divining Top $12.99
Bloodstained Mire $13.99
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth $14.99
Scalding Tarn $14.99
Crucible of Worlds $21.99
Wooded Foothills $22.49

Sean McKeown

Want to submit a deck for consideration to Dear Azami? We’re always accepting deck submission to consider for use in a future article, like Phil’s Merieke Ri Beret deck or Collin Poirot’s Rubinia Soulsinger deck. Only one deck submission will be chosen per article, but being selected for the next edition of Dear Azami  includes not just deck advice but also a $20 coupon to the StarCityGames.com Store!

Email Sean a deck submission using this link here!

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