Dear Azami: How I Met Your Mayael

This week Sean tackles tuning Bez’s Mayael the Animar Commander deck into something that’s still fun to play while being more competitive.

Dear Azami,

I am a longtime casual player and was fascinated by EDH the first time it was introduced to me. Of course, being the green Timmy that I am, Mayael was the obvious choice. Over the past four years, I’ve tuned Mayael, taking cards out, putting cards back in, trying new cards, etc., but in almost every game it feels like the deck is "missing something."

I admit I am terrible at the mana math and my optimization of cards is slow at best. I tell most people that are starting that deck evolution is an ongoing thing, but frankly I’m finding it hard to evolve my own deck when it feels like it is in some need of change. I’d love to take Mayael to a local tournament and win, but it never seems to be a choice that’s in the cards (haha). As much fun that I have playing her, she always seems to fall a tad short, most likely because I try to stay away from stuff like Zealous Conscripts + Kiki-Jiki. Anyway, here’s my list.


Mayael the Anima

Creatures With 5+ Power

Angel of Serenity
Avacyn, Angel of Hope
Balefire Dragon
Blazing Archon
Blightsteel Colossus
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
Hoard-Smelter Dragon
Inferno Titan
Iona, Shield of Emeria
It That Betrays
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Novablast Wurm
Platinum Emperion
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
Scourge of Kher Ridges
Sigarda, Host of Herons
Sylvan Primordial
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Worldspine Wurm
Wurmcoil Engine

Other Creatures

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (essentially a board wipe)
Eternal Witness
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Realm Razer
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Seedborn Muse
Urabrask the Hidden


Austere Command
Blasphemous Act
Primal Command
Reap and Sow
Skyshroud Claim
Tooth and Nail


Congregation at Dawn
Enlightened Tutor
Krosan Grip
Path to Exile
Return to Dust
Swords to Plowshares
Worldly Tutor


Chromatic Lantern
Darksteel Ingot
Lightning Greaves
Scroll Rack
Sol Ring


Cream of the Crop
Defense of the Heart
Greater Good
Lurking Predators
Mirari’s Wake
Mirri’s Guile
Privileged Position
Sneak Attack
Sterling Grove
Survival of the Fittest
Sylvan Library


2 Forest
2 Mountain
2 Plains
Arid Mesa
Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]
City of Brass
Clifftop Retreat
Command Tower
Copperline Gorge
Exotic Orchard
Forbidden Orchard
Fire-Lit Thicket
Grove of the Burnwillows
Homeward Path
Jungle Shrine
Karplusan Forest
Kessig Wolf Run
Krosan Verge
Mosswort Bridge
Mystifying Maze
Raging Ravine
Razorverge Thicket
Reliquary Tower
Rootbound Crag
Rugged Prairie
Sacred Foundry
Spinerock Knoll
Stomping Ground
Sunpetal Grove
Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
Temple Garden
Verdant Catacombs
Windbrisk Heights
Wooded Bastion

Pretty much anything is open to cuts. My general playgroup is what many would consider "degenerate" and "cutthroat," so anything goes. Of course, a Timmy deck can only do so much (in my opinion), so here I am asking you.

Thanks for your time good sir(s),


I have never met a Mayael deck that I had to take seriously.

I don’t know exactly what it is about them, but I’ve found as opponents I can safely ignore them, leave them in their fun-with-creatures ghetto, and build towards my own proactive game plan. They "just" attack and block, making them linear and straightforward in a way that is not really threatening to me. What they don’t do? "Anything." Anything interactive, anyway, forcing me to take pause and pay attention as things go south if I continue to just bully my way past them.

How do you make a Mayael the Anima deck that actually, you know, does something? That’s the challenge we’re taking on for this exercise, and it’s a challenge that is probably overdue. We need to dig to the core roots of the strategy and build to take advantage of it, and at least a part of this comes down to the fact that the plan of leaving six mana up every turn in order to have the option to use Mayael’s Impulse-a-fatty-into-play ability would be a lot more attractive if the lands we were keeping untapped were blue.

Mayael’s attention needs to be able to leave the sphere of influence of "your creatures and the things that target them" if we’re going to do this, and we’re going to need to be able to get more card advantage than just Mayael’s activated ability and whatever comes-into-play triggers you happen to get off of that. These are some tough places to build outward into given the colors we have to work with, but we can get there if we try hard enough I’m sure.

Mayael wants to defend its own board, and requires that all of the effort put into getting that payoff doesn’t suddenly disappear the first time a sweeper effect comes along. Protecting the board is hard, but we know it’s possible thanks to cards like Avacyn, Angel of Hope that basically lock the game into a favorable state once you’ve managed to put her into play. Pinpoint removal that exiles a creature, creature theft, bounce, and sacrifice effects can all still remove her from play, but it requires a specific answer that is from a fairly narrow class of cards rather than just the usual bunch of Oblivion Stones and mundane wrath effects.

We can build on this aspect of the theme beneficially, designing the deck to follow the basic sort of logic that [author name="Adrian Sullivan"]Adrian Sullivan[/author] discussed last week in his analysis from the coverage booth of Legacy’s Death and Taxes deck—overlapping protections of your board state that narrows your opponent’s meaningful interactions and then focusing on the ways they can still win (and presenting a significant clock) until they’re worn down and eliminated.

We’re going to focus on maximizing Mayael, maximizing our ability to keep our board preferentially intact, and then start hassling our opponent’s key permanents as part of our game plan. Let’s get to work!

The Lands

We’re going to get a little bit spendy in this deck because I’m trying to build towards an ideal proof of concept rather than "just" suggest possible fixes to your deck within what appears to be a realistic budget range. While I’m not going to suggest the original Revised dual lands and add a Mana Crypt besides, those things would be in the maximum power level ideal version; they just happen to not be the first and most important way to spend a couple hundred dollars on making the deck fit our ideals.

If you’re reading this, want to play the home game, and have access, by all means include them; these cards are awesome. They just happen to also be quite expensive, and we’re going to target our expense on things with a meaningful synergistic overlap. It’s more important to draw a fetchland in this deck than it is to draw a Savannah, and we budget accordingly.

OUT: Reliquary Tower, Razorverge Thicket, Copperline Gorge, Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author], Brushland, Karplusan Forest, Exotic Orchard, Forbidden Orchard, City of Brass

Reliquary Tower is not that important in a deck without significant amounts of card draw, and we need space for the rest in order to get good lands that work with a few additions we’ll be making shortly in the artifacts section. These lands may be perfectly serviceable—at the very least, some of them are, though I’m not optimistic about the Scars of Mirrodin duals in this format and don’t like giving my opponents free creatures when playing a beatdown deck.


Slayers’ Stronghold – You have a strong set of utility lands that affect creature combat, and Slayers’ Stronghold adds the dangerous ability to staple haste to any creature for free while we’re at it. It doesn’t care whether you’re casting the creature, as Hall of the Bandit Lord does, so it works with Mayael’s ability to make your board position significantly more dangerous than it might first look. Things might just pop out of the top of your for free and start attacking immediately, which is a good place to be for what ultimately must be a proactive, aggressive deck.

Winding Canyons – Longtime fans of the column are probably yawning at this, but casting your creatures after opponent’s main phases have passed give them a greater chance of doing something useful and Mayael wants the help that this brings to the strategic options we have to decide between. This lets us keep mana open for Mayael through our opponents’ turns and then decide whether we’re going to cast our creature spell or spin the Wheel of Fish.

Dust Bowl – I felt it important to be able to break up Cabal Coffers setups or other very beneficial land arrangements that were putting your opponents at a distinct advantage, and Dust Bowl gives you the option to use one card slot in the deck on multiple problems answered.

Stirring Wildwood – We want to keep the threat count high, and since I figure Razorverge Thicket was almost always coming into play tapped anyway, this is just a free option on a creature later that is an option worth retaining. I don’t really like Windbrisk Heights very much in this deck—we’re about big creatures rather than swarms of creatures—but adding another manland increases the chances it will work out.

Misty Rainforest, Scalding Tarn, Marsh Flats – More fetchlands means you’ll put your Ravnica dual lands to harder work. They also work favorably with the next class of cards we’re going to add, letting you get more mana on the cheap because you’ve drawn one, so they’re just awesome all around. I think having the Zendikar fetchlands is a vital investment to be able to play the format effectively, and all five of them touch at least one color in your deck. (All five touch every tricolor shard, which is why they’re important to have.)

Naya Panorama – A fetchland on the cheap, we wanted another card that worked with the same types of things but without much hassle.

Horizon Canopy – A reasonable dual land, basically the same as your Brushland and no worse on your life total than the City of Brass we cut was, but with the enablers we’re adding this can potentially let you trade in your land drop each turn for an additional card.

It’s worth noting that we’ve left off a fairly conspicuous set of inclusions by not adding the Ravnica bouncelands to your deck. I think they would be very solid, but we’re starting to get near the place where we have too many lands that come into play tapped and have to worry about being thin on the basic lands, so there’s some tension for the slots we want to put these in. I think they’d be very helpful to get to six mana consistently to use Mayael’s ability, but it’s not as easy as picking the class of dual lands we’d swap out for them (probably the hybrid lands?) because we really do have to pay attention to lands coming into play tapped, so at least one substitution would probably need to be Windbrisk Heights.

You have some play to this, but I have to assume that you’ve left them off by choice rather than by accident as they are that obvious and am trying to be respectful of that choice since you’ve clearly played your deck more times than my stone-cold never. If you were allowed to play Primeval Titan still, I’d say they were too good to have none of because bouncelands and Hideaway lands play awesomely together, but with Prime Time on the banned list this exclusion may make sense purely on a mana-curve basis since Mayael doesn’t want either the third or the sixth land coming into play tapped and that means we have to be very sensitive to the number of lands that might slow us down.

The Artifacts

OUT: Chromatic Lantern, Darksteel Ingot, Lightning Greaves

I don’t believe that mana rocks are the thing you really want to add, and I’m not as big of a fan of Lightning Greaves when you’re not playing equipment searchers like Godo or Stoneforge Mystic that make it show up at will and on time to be a part of your defensive arrangements. It’s probably here to put on your commander, but I’d be more interested in putting it on Avacyn as part of your defense set, which means we need to either flesh it out or cut it. Rather than get boring and add Godo, Stoneforge, and a few equipment friends to help along the way, I just cut them and focused on other things. It’s a well-tread path, even if it is fun to stick a Behemoth Sledge on a fatty and crash in.

We’re going to make five additions, borrowing two slots from your spells. One is basically a straight swap for the same basic effect that is an improvement in a different card type, but we’re cutting your least relevant spell in order to add an awesome artifact that improves your ability to keep the right creature around. We want to keep up the pressure, and this helps us put defensive board measures in place and set the level of aggression as high as we can get it.


Crucible of Worlds – All that land stuff now makes a bit more sense, and in fact I’m pretty sure I telegraphed it from a mile away. The thread in common is they do something neat while going to the graveyard, where you can replay them via Crucible. The really awesome trick comes when you start using that Dust Bowl (which could also have been Strip Mine, Ghost Quarter, or other things, but I like this trick!) to reset your Mosswort Bridge-type lands to get bonus free spells each turn. The synergy elements we get access to here are very nice, and this gives us a great way to just gain a mana advantage through the middle turns of the game.

Mimic Vat – The replacement for our "random creature," I was faced with the choice of cutting Enlightened Tutor or making sure there really were enough things to tutor for and realized I really wanted both of these choices. Mimic Vat can take over a game by itself if left unchecked, much like Lurking Predators, so we wanted as many of those sorts of cards as we could get that are at a super-high power level but only good if you have awesome creatures. Having awesome creatures is our job after all.

Sensei’s Divining Top – Spoiler alert, I cut Mirri’s Guile for the Top. Sensei’s Divining Top is better so long as you have the mana to work with because you can use it multiple times a turn around shuffle effects, which we’ve added a significant number of while we’re at it. It also works with our next addition as well, but really it’s just plain better and that’s most of the reason. Mirri’s Guile gets swept up when an Oblivion Stone goes off, but Sensei’s Divining Top basically never dies, which is important given how focused we are on controlling the top of our deck. That focus will only grow from here, so we want the right card for the right job while we’re at it.

Rings of Brighthearth – If one activation of Mayael is good, two is clearly better. We’ve added fetchlands that suddenly turn into ramp effects, Sensei’s Divining Top now reads "3: Draw a card," and there’s far more that we get to double than it first appears. I didn’t realize Rings of Brighthearth was ridiculous with Survival of the Fittest til the first time it just accidentally happened, and there are other stealth interactions sitting there just waiting to be found. Doubling any of your combat-shifting lands is good, but who sees you doubling the activation of your Mystifying Maze coming?

Strionic Resonator – Double, double, toil and trouble. The effects you have that don’t work with Rings of Brighthearth do work with Strionic Resonator, letting you fire off not one but two Primordial triggers, draw eight cards with Kozilek, get a rebuy on your Eternal Witness, or go even crazier with Angel of Serenity. The subtlest—and awesomest—interaction I’ve found so far comes from doubling Hideaway’s come-into-play trigger, and finding little things like that just made me want to put in a good home. Your deck is pretty much chock full of triggers that are worth doubling, so we’re going to put the Resonator to work for you.

The Spells

This one’s harder to work around with, as I had to fight my knee-jerk reaction to cut Tooth and Nail and its close cousin Defense of the Heart. Ultimately, I was able to live with them once I changed around your creature base a bit, but I kept finding this to be the hardest section to work with since we have too many options fighting for too little space. The supporting nature of your spells is clear but it’s certainly not narrow, and I had to tool around a while before I ultimately found my way.


Farseek, Reap and Sow, Skyshroud Claim – While I do think you want a bit of mana ramp, I don’t think these specific cards are the right ones. Reap and Sow I like mostly for being able to hunt up a Hideaway land, but we could do that cheaper with Expedition Map if that were the utility we wanted. We do want things that help you get a proper amount of mana available, but these specific cards aren’t it.

Blasphemous Act, Terminus – We don’t want to wipe our own board, so we want our removal effects to show greater discrimination than these do. We’re going to focus on having a better board than our opponents and using spot removal for whatever problems come up that absolutely require addressing.

Krosan Grip, Return to Dust – I like having cards that work to keep problem permanents off the board, but you can get more of this functionality without having to be quite as specific as these require. Sometimes the problem will be a creature, and sometimes it will be a planeswalker, so we need versatile spells rather than narrow ones. Our supporting cast has to work in a wide variety of situations, so we can’t focus on the good-stuff removal spells just because they’re good stuff.

Mirri’s GuileSensei’s Divining Top is a strict upgrade, even though Mirri’s Guile never asks you for a second mana.

Privileged Position – I don’t think this really helps provide a defensive benefit, and if this were the effect I wanted, I would be reaching for Asceticism first since it offers the regeneration option as well.

Sterling Grove, Congregation at Dawn – I don’t like Enlightened Tutor enough in this deck to want a more expensive, less effective second copy, and for Congregation At Dawn we can get much of the same benefit at a considerable discount if we’re really just using it to set up  Mayael.


Sylvan Tutor – We’re cutting Congregation at Dawn, which tutors three times for three mana, in order to add a card that tutors one time for one mana. We’re even downgrading our instant for a sorcery. The reason we’re cutting down the power level is to ramp up the effectiveness—we want to find the right protective tool and put it on top of our library where Mayael can put it directly into play and to use the tutor and Mayael in the same turn cycle requires seven mana to Congregation at Dawn’s nine.

The difference between one and three is within reason, but the difference between seven and nine can feel like a boatload when it comes down to putting the plan into effect. There isn’t that much ramp that we can be insensitive to the real costs to be paid to use our tools effectively, so we really do want to cut the more powerful card for the cheaper tool that serves our purpose better.

Molten Disaster – I am a huge advocate of split second for breaking through opponents who are in a defensive posture, and a split-second spell that can kill players with no chance for them to respond is the powerful sort of non-interactive tool this deck is looking for. I like Krosan Grip a lot for breaking up combos, but Molten Disaster breaks up people. The spell also lets you stagger it just right so that your team stays in play while the relevant enemy creatures die, making it much more useful to us than the Blasphemous Act that killed everything indiscriminately.

Kodama’s Reach, Cultivate – We cut your Farseek and four-mana ramp spell for a pair of three-mana ones, as they’re more likely to hit that sweet spot on your curve while doing enough of the job that truly matters to us. They do just the right amount of color fixing and card advantage, so they tend to be the first ones I reach for.

Oblation, Beast Within – We’re cutting narrow removal for highly flexible removal and are willing to pay the drawbacks it costs to do so. Calling them "drawbacks" doesn’t even necessarily do them justice—I’ve played more than my fair share of Oblations on my own stuff just to draw the two cards, so it’s not even all downsides all the time. We need to be able to keep the worst whatever off the board, no qualms about it, and these alongside your one-mana creature removal make sure that we have enough flexible removal to have the ability to interact with the board at instant speed without needing to overcommit slots to handle different situational problems.

Reiterate, Wild Ricochet – Part of what we need to build into this deck is "spell control" effects, things that make sure we have the ability to interact not just with what’s in play but also with the stack. Mayael isn’t dangerous because Mayael doesn’t punish you for doing your own stuff, and thus we need to reach for the tools that are accessible in order to break this stereotype if we are going to keep up with the people who try to do unfair things.

The coolest trick I’ve seen so far is Wild Ricochet on a Sphinx’s Revelation as a "counterspell," gaining twice the life and drawing twice the cards while making sure the pesky blue mage went die, die, die. This can help control the board and keep the worst from happening or can just build a situation your opponents can’t get past. There are a lot of things you can’t really justify doing into a Reiterate and open mana, and Wild Ricochet is a blowout at the right moment.

Lapse of Certainty – Mayael decks "can’t counter spells"—that is what the rule is—so if we are going to break that problematic restriction on never being able to say "no," we have to play this card. It’s an incredibly weak counterspell—what blue mage even plays Memory Lapse these days, which costs a full mana less—but when it’s the only one of its kind you have to work with, it’s important from a tactical standpoint even if it’s not as potent as a proper blue spell would be.

We get enough "no" out of this to credibly stop the threat and move on to our turn and hopefully attack them, and at worst when you stop the game-ending bomb from dropping, you are buying enough time for the other players to likewise help bolster their defenses. We cut pinpoint removal that targeted stuff in play in favor of versatile removal that doesn’t care about card types, and this is on that list as well even if it is a lousy counterspell all told. Naya doesn’t get a counterspell naturally, so just be glad we get to touch one at all.

Stepping away from this section, I want to mention the almost-rans: Dawn Charm, specifically as another counterspell (and being able to access a Fog occasionally can be nice too), Vicious Shadows (it’s sort of wrath protection since you can’t wrath without dying to this), Boros Charm (because indestructible is a good thing to have) and Faith’s Reward (to do basically the same job of preventing you from losing board presence to a sweeper spell). Accessing some of those spells would push me further down the Stoneforge Mystic route, specifically to get Sunforger, and that’s another direction you could go if you wanted to add some equipment to the package. I liked where we’re building to without it, but you can build flexibly to your own tastes as you see fit.

The Creatures

Let’s be honest, Mayael will succeed or fail more because of what we put in these slots than anywhere else. We’ve built some effective ramp in, though not as much as you had before, preferring to build more slowly and dependably to the higher reaches of mana through reusing or even just doubling the activated abilities of our fetchlands over the course of the game. We’ve gutted the Disenchant section of your spells, so we need to build some more functionality there back into the creature base if possible, and if we can increase the number of five-power creatures overall, we’ll likewise benefit from seeing more options (and just hitting more consistently) when we activate Mayael.

We’ve added in spell breakers but really still want to add layers to our board presenting a defense to the efforts our opponents are likely to put into killing our stuff, but we also have to be mindful of the fact that having too much fun—following down the path of having combo cards in our deck—makes our opponents target us (or hold a grudge) rather than actually do something effective themselves. Kiki-Jiki and Seedborn Muse both lead us down that path and need to be pared away to keep us in the sweet spot where we’re not so broken we need to be messed up right away as a twitch reflex.

We want to find some two-creature combos that are the right cards to get off the Tooth and Nail effects without going infinite, and I think I’ve settled on the ideal pairing to have an awesome turn but not an unfun one. We want to kill people in a memorable fashion, not use the word "infinite" and spread the word that this is just another grubby combo deck.

OUT: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker; Seedborn Muse; Blightsteel Colossus; Realm Razer; Blazing Archon; Hoard-Smelter Dragon; It That Betrays; Platinum Emperion; Sakura-Tribe Elder; Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre; Urabrask the Hidden; Worldspine Wurm


Molten Primordial; Aurelia, the Warleader – Your go-to package for a Tooth and Nail when you want to kill a bunch of people with style and finesse. Molten Primordial has five toughness and thus is an easy addition regardless, but Aurelia has to earn her keep even though she’s invisible to Mayael. She does this admirably by dint of the fact that it’s like having access to a second copy of Gisela, Blade of Goldnight that you can have in play at the same time if Tooth and Nail for that tag-team kills the appropriate number of people instead. Both these slots add a lot of explosive potential to the deck, letting you up the number of cards that ramp up the damage, and thus they’re very good additions.

Sun Titan – A creature-based way to replicate the Crucible of Worlds effect and just an all-around solid creature that does good work. Sun Titan is never the flashiest creature when it comes into play, but it consistently returns relevant permanents to play and has a significant impact each turn, which will help build up your mana base and also just rebuild a board that has gotten worn down over the course of a game.

Steel Hellkite – This replaces some of your wrath effects, as we swap out things that mess up your side of the board for something that has surgical precision instead. While it’s being a creature that has to attack unblocked is a predicament, if something absolutely positively needs to die right now, it will always have something worth doing to an opponent worth attacking, giving you consistent value and a way to affect the board.

Vigor – We add to the board defense while still adding a fatty, though someone is undoubtedly going to be sad that I am adding Vigor and cutting Blasphemous Act. This helps keep our creatures in play, and that’s all we want to do. It doesn’t need to be flashy while we’re at it, but sometimes Vigor is anyway just by interacting with your opponents’ cards.

Conquering Manticore – Things that change the tempo flow of the game are very important for you, and Conquering Manticore has an immediate game-shifting impact while leaving behind a Dragon. And because we’re opting for the Dragon-sized version of this ability rather than the 3/3 Zealous Conscripts that can get up to more shenanigans, we add another card that interacts with Mayael to our roster. We’ve cut seven cards that work with Mayael but add eleven back in, so even before we got to focusing on how we manipulate the top of our deck we were going to hit something more consistently anyway.

Twilight Shepherd – Another addition that adds an overlapping layer to our defenses, if the board gets wiped while the Shepherd is on the table, we’ll get everything we just lost right back again. We can also pull off some crazy turns with this and Greater Good, so there’s bonus synergy there as well—ditto for Sneak Attack. It’s another card that really makes me want that Winding Canyons in play, not that I need much twisting of my arm for that particular suggestion.

Yosei, the Morning Star – We’re not abusing the triggers by doing this every turn, so really this is just a pretty fair card that does good work for us. It wards off wraths by promising whoever pulls the trigger will be left without any defenses for the next two turn cycles and can play both beatdown and defense very effectively.

Patron of the Orochi – The "safer" version of Seedborn Muse still does a lot of the same job, like letting you reuse Mayael on each players’ turn (if you’ve searched up your dual lands) if you want to tip over into hyperdrive. It comes with enough of a delay and enough restrictions that it won’t get the twitch must-kill reflex response automatically and can be found via Mayael instead of being invisible. Sometimes a downgrade is a clear upgrade, and Seedborn Muse is not a happy thing to put on the table when people are playing nice. But worse yet it’s not even interesting, while this Snake God at least is.

Avenger of Zendikar – Boring, I know, but nonetheless an awesome five-power critter that also provides an army in a can. Tooth and Nail for Avenger + Sylvan Primordial is a thing if you want it to be.

Woodfall Primus – Another somewhat-boring good-stuff card, but we’ve cut Disenchant effects out of the deck and like five-power creatures anyway as well as still having stuff after sweepers get played. That makes this card basically perfect, though we do have to watch the top end of your curve and not put too much ponderous weight on the higher costs.

Stalking Vengeance – This one is actually a bit of a stealth card in most playgroups, though admittedly not in any group Sheldon’s ever played in since Stalking Vengeance is up to very good no good in his Kresh the Bloodbraided deck. This is another card that puts people in the box; if you wrath the board, you are almost certainly the player who’s dying, so don’t wrath the board. We want to build barriers between the opponent and their board sweepers, and Stalking Vengeance threatens death (and can even do it as a surprise with Mayael around).

Putting it all together, we get the following:

Mayael the Anima
Sean McKeown
Test deck on 08-18-2013
Magic Card Back

As always, for your participation in this week’s Dear Azami, you’ll receive a $20 coupon to StarCityGames.com. This one got a little spendy, and if you can’t afford the fetchlands plus Crucible package then I expect that the trio of Ravnica bouncelands will do an acceptable job for you on the cheap. I’d prefer to fit them into this deck as well, but like I said I assume you left them out on purpose from your own experiences. If not, add those in for some of the duals you’re already playing and sub out that Windbrisk Heights; your weakest cards seemed to be hybrid lands and Windbrisk Heights to me if you want to put them to work.

There were a lot of directions we could’ve gone here, but they all looked pretty expensive to navigate. Stoneforge Mystic would get you Sunforger, which suddenly makes Eladamri’s Call more attractive as well, but it also starts to suggest things like Sword of Feast and Famine or Batterskull and we end up really wanting those fetchlands to get Mistveil Plains, so things get spendy no matter what we do. So long as you’re building your board and have spell breakers in reserve if your opponents try to do something unforgiveable, I think you’ll do fine, and while we aren’t going to get Mayael into top-fighting form where it can hang with the broken decks, this brings Mayael to a much stronger place.

Putting this together in chart form, potential expenditures for your consideration look as follows:

Just a few small programming notes before we leave. First, Cassidy is going on a family vacation this next week, so you’ll see two editions from me followed by two from Cass before we fall back into the normal rotation again just in time to start sinking our teeth into Theros.

Secondly, you most likely noticed Dear Azami was on Tuesday last week and again today—we weren’t able to put out advanced notice at the top of last week’s column, but Dear Azami has been moved to Tuesday permanently for the foreseeable future. We will see you again next Tuesday, same bat-time, same bat-channel, and this is part of what I’m told will be a shift towards providing Commander content every day of the week here on StarCityGames.com. I’ve been told ruminations of what is to come in the future of the Monday slot, and it sounds intriguing, intriguing enough to be worth breaking a two-year rhythm of articles first thing on Monday morning.

More news as we have it, and I’ll see you again next week!

Sean McKeown

Want to submit a deck for consideration to Dear Azami? We’re always accepting deck submissions to consider for use in a future article, like Dirk’s Ruhan of the Fomori deck or JP’s Good Guy Zur the Enchanter 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 StarCityGames.com!

Email us a deck submission using this link here!

Like what you’ve seen? Feel free to explore more of Dear Azami here! Feel free to follow Sean on Facebook; sometimes there are extra surprises and bonus content to be found over on his Facebook Fan Page, as well as previews of the next week’s column at the end of the week! Follow Cassidy on his Facebook pageor check out his Commander blog GeneralDamageControl.com!