Dear Azami: Karametric Ton Of Enchantments

David McDarby concludes his stint as extended guest author of Dear Azami with a Commander deck built around Born of the Gods legend Karametra, God of Harvests.

Bal’a dash, malanore, and welcome back to another enchanting edition of Dear Azami! By now everybody’s studied all the new Born of the Gods spoilers, been brewing new decks, and in the case of yours truly thinking new spells are instants and as a result dying to a bestow creature combo in Limited. But enough about Limited; let’s talk about formats that have 250% more cards and 250% more fun!

This set has introduced seven new commanders: Simba, Davy Jones’ Beast, and the five Gods. Most of the Gods have already been covered, but one in particular hasn’t. While her color combination is something my Commander Versus series opposite would be keener on, I’m much more interested the card type her divine body manifests as. I’m talking about Karametra, God of Harvests and the Theros card type of choice: enchantments. There haven’t been any requests for her in the Dear Azami mailbag as of yet, but I wanted to go ahead and get her done while the gettin’s good as they say. Plus this is more like proactive advice from the past for a troubled Commander player in the future next year when we all dress in kaleidoscope hats and self-inflated shoes.

Theming a Commander deck around a particular card type (or subtype) is a noble pursuit that not only earns you serious Flavor Flav Points but also stretches your deckbuilding prowess to include cards you normally would scoff at as you construct your Super Omega Three-Color Good Stuff deck. I’ve already built around artifacts with Jaya Ballard, but Glenn Jones left me shaking in my little mono-red booties. Instants and sorceries are my guild’s dragscoop ionics and electropropulsion magnetronics so to speak, so I don’t need any more help there.

Creatures are lame, I mostly covered planeswalkers two weeks ago, and Borborygmos has lands under control. (Did you hear he proposed to Radha recently? Now he’s Borborygmos Engaged!) So that leaves us with the oft-maligned card type that either doesn’t affect the board, makes creature removal even better, or causes a million judge calls every tournament for oracle text: enchantments.

Even if you don’t read comic books, listen to Tchaikovsky, play DotA, or watch Beauty and the Beast, everybody can appreciate Enchantresses. Karametra is not only in the two most prominent colors for these spells; she’s also an enchantment herself! I mourn for the days when Terese Neilson and Rebecca Guay were hammering out amazing-looking art for enchantments, but Karametra ain’t lookin’ too shabby herself.

While we won’t be using her static ability all that much, she mans (Gods?) the helm of an Enchantress Commander deck much better than the likes of Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice or Captain Sisay ever could, and enchantments are an easy conduit for devotion. Our goal for this deck is to draw tons of cards (who doesn’t like that?) and get all sorts of weird interactions cooking all while generating value with our unique card type. Rather than lay out the cards by card type (obviously), I’ll be sorting them by role. But enough with the blabber—let’s make some magic!

Mesa Likin’ Drawin’ Bombads

Mesa Enchantress, Argothian Enchantress, Verduran Enchantress, Enchantress’s Presence

Here’s our Flux Capacitor, our Energon, our Heart of Atlantis. These are what label any deck as "Enchantress." It lets most of our spells cantrip, and our goal is to have at least one of these in play every game for as long as we can. There are other Enchantresses but none of which draw us cards, and as we all know, no spell is too bad as long as it says "draw a card." You need to get these in play faster than you can say "do I still draw a card if the spell is countered?" (Yes, yes you do.)

That Show About King Henry VIII’s Reign

Eladamri’s Call, Worldly Tutor, Sylvan Tutor, Green Sun’s Zenith, Chord of Calling, Survival of the Fittest

I don’t normally include such a wide swath of tutors in a Commander deck, but we absolutely need one of the aforementioned Enchantresses in play to make our deck run as smooth as Brian Braun-Duin’s head. Survival of the Fittest is the "loosest" way to find one since we don’t have a terribly high amount of creatures in our deck, but its card type is quite relevant.

Enlightened Tutor, Idyllic Tutor, Plea for Guidance, Sterling Grove

Er mah gurd, I luuuurve toolboxes, and these let our entire deck be one! Shout outs to Wizards of the Coast for their truly amazing design on Plea for Guidance. It’s totally not just two Idyllic Tutors stuck together—it only costs a single white!

I’m still waiting for a Sterling Archer Grove altar to be made. Come on people!


Wild Growth, Utopia Sprawl, Overgrowth, Dawn’s Reflection, Fertile Ground, Exploration, Burgeoning, Mana Reflection, Mirari’s Wake, Into the Wilds

We all know Commander is about getting yourself a Ramp Stamp, and this deck is no different; we just get to use neato enchantments to increase our hand size (in theory) as well as our mana production. The only downside is that it leaves us much more vulnerable to cards like Oblivion Stone (not to mention Strip Mine). So just watch out for that, will ya?

Exploration and Burgeoning don’t actually give us more mana by themselves per se, but we’ll be drawing tons of cards with this deck as long as things are going right so they allow us to be bottlenecked less on the ability to use cards in our hand. Kinda like how the GameCube was structurally weaker than the PlayStation 2 or Xbox but had a much higher capacity for data transfer that allowed it to not have to render polygons and textures until it absolutely needed to. Yeah, I know that information is pretty worthless, but I’m used to hearing that about everything I talk about.

It’s You That I Need (To Not Be There)

Oblivion Ring, Prison Term, Faith’s Fetters, Aura of Silence, Aura Shards, Exclusion Ritual, Nevermore, Darksteel Mutation

We have to stop the things that will hurt us, and these things make the hurting stop. Pacifism effects are surprisingly good in Commander, what with the rule that you can just keep recasting your commander if it dies or is exiled. Cards like the newly minted Darksteel Mutation offer no such reprieve from the horrible fate of just sitting there being useless like a workout room at Gen Con.

Nevermore might be kinda rude, but true masters will name a card that will wreck their board (Oblivion Stone, Austere Command, Bane of Progress) as opposed to just somebody’s commander. That’s what Exclusion Ritual is for, which is included not only because of its amazing art and flavor but because it’s actually good in this kind of deck in that dual tech of form and function kind of way. We may not have as many creatures as we would like, but Aura Shards can still pull its weight.

EnchantMENts AT WORK

Heliod, God of the Sun; Nylea, God of the Hunt; Knight of the Reliquary; Oracle of Mul Daya; Eternal Witness; Sun Titan; Academy Rector; Courser of Kruphix; Auramancer, Dowsing Shaman; Angel of Finality

We do need some creatures, after all, as our commander likes them and we are in two creature-heavy colors. Heliod and Nylea offer us deep mana sinks, interact favorably with Survival of the Fittest and Replenish (doho!), and still let us do things post Enduring Ideal, which later we’ll see is a sort of side quest of this deck.

Oracle of Mul Daya and his little brother Courser of Kruphix just let us draw cards and pretty much go in every green deck I make. Creatures that rebuy enchantments (or fetch them from our library) are particularly good with Karametra, as it fits both her Rampant Growthing and our theme, but just a couple should be enough. Sorry Griffin Dreamfinder. Knight of the Reliquary seems odd, but she’s just a good gal in addition to being able to find us this deck’s most relevant land: Serra’s Sanctum.

I couldn’t find a good enchantment for graveyard hate that also didn’t mess with our stuff (Ground Seal, Rest in Peace) so I opted with a creature in the form of Angel of Finality. Hey, it can ramp us with our commander! Not everything has to be an enchantment, you know. If you go hard and strict on the theming, you’re going miss out on a lot of deck utility and function (like if somebody were to make a deck just starting with one letter; how crazy would that be?).

Dominate, Daze, Enslave, Heroism, & Sleep In An Alternate Reality

Replenish, Open the Vaults, Commune With The Gods, Genesis Wave

A popular way to build decks in Constructed Magic is to turn a symmetrical affect into a one-sided advantage (Death Cloud, Wildfire). Here we do just that with Open the Vaults. It will assuredly do us more good in the late game when we’ve loaded up our graveyard with Survival of the Fittest, Commune with the Gods, or just due to our opponent’s blowing our stuff up (how rude!) than it will do our opponents. Of course, Replenish does all this too, but only for you! And for less mana! What a deal! Too bad we can’t include Attunement and rock this deck 2000 style.

As it turns out, enchantments are permanents, and when we get to fifteen or so mana, Genesis Wave is just the big haymaker we could use and is no stranger to this format, even if Wistful Selkie and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx has caused it to ascend from bulk rare status.

Enchanted Suite

Karmic Justice, Greater Auramancy, Sylvan Library, Beastmaster Ascension, Collective Blessing, Eldrazi Conscription, True Conviction, Opalescence, Sphere of Safety, Island Sanctuary, Sigil of the Empty Throne, Enduring Ideal, Endless Horizons, Curse of Exhaustion

Ah yes, feast your eyes on this veritable cornucopia of goodness. Endless Horizons and Sylvan Library lets us draw even more cards, and Karmic Justice and Greater Auramancy try to protect our investments.

Curse of Exhaustion is a surprisingly effective defensive measure. Snapcaster Mage notwithstanding, this card was never really used, even if it did combo with Knowledge Pool in Standard for a time. Although it only hits one opponent, just try casting it and see how much weight it pulls. It’s one of those things you never really notice until ya do it. I know my Melek, Izzet Paragon deck pretty much folds to it.

We do of course need a way to kill people, and while Sigil of the Empty Throne does an admirable job of this, it still pales in comparison to perhaps the most integral card of the deck: Opalescence. It is what gives our ethereal Auras the ability to physically kick somebody’s teeth in and achieve glory for our patron deity. Wars will be won with this card, enemies made, stories told, and confusion over what exactly happens when this and Gods are in play simultaneously will be had. Really, I have no idea. I’d like to think if I’d also included Humility this deck would be literally unplayable.

Speaking of Humility, I have decided to leave it out along with Solitary Confinement. Solitary Confinement can make games miserable, and I should have enough protection as it is, making Humility equally miserable. My Enchantresses don’t even draw cards anymore under it! And we can’t have that, nope nope nope . . .

Sure, Enduring Ideal makes us unable to cast spells, but do we really need to? We can get Opalescence, Gods, and other fightin’ enchantments to win with. And for backup, if anything gets destroyed, it can fetch Endless Horizons, which can find us our Mistveil Plains to recirculate the goods. Enduring Ideal does kinda turn the deck on autopilot mode, but I’d like to think that victory is actually rarer under the epic status than not. And as it doesn’t actually slow the game down (quite the contrary), I’d say this deck is the ideal environment for the Kamigawa card.

Harvest Moon

Savannah; Temple Garden; Krosan Verge; Windswept Heath; Wooded Bastion; Selesnya Sanctuary; Sunpetal Grove; Sungrass Prairie; Sejiri Steppe; Horizon Canopy; Mistveil Plains; Command Tower; Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx; Strip Mine; Wasteland; Stirring Wildwood; Dryad Arbor; Serra’s Sanctum; Gaea’s Cradle; Grove of the Guardian; Kor Haven; Temple of the False God; Maze of Ith

And of course we need some real estate to cast our magicals, eh? We have dual lands; Dryad Arbor for our Green Sun’s Zenith; Mistveil Plains to make sure our Enduring Ideal endures, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx; Serra’s Sanctum; and Gaea’s Cradle to give us more mana than one land should ever give and yet another toolbox for our Knight of the Reliquary.

37 total lands should be more than enough for a deck that is going to be drawing quite a bit more cards than the average Commander deck (and that’s saying something!). A healthy chunk of basics rounds out our deck in case anybody gets a little too keen on red spells that blow up our precious nonbasics.

It’s Harvest Time

So there ya have it folks. Let’s take a look at our completed list for everybody’s favorite G/W God that lets us ramp into an eight-drop on turn 7 with only one other creature (so fast!).

Karametra, God of Harvests
David McDarby
Test deck on 02-04-2014
Magic Card Back

I’ve tried to combine utilizing our commander’s affinity for creatures, it being an enchantment, and an easy way to turn on devotion all in one fun and interactive (as far as Enchantressing goes) package that won’t be miserable to play with or against. While some Enchantress decks want to combo you out with Enchanted Evening / Aura Thief or Omniscience (just another example of how blue is the jerk color—just look at its Born of the God’s tagline "Destined to Outwit"), this is just some good ol’ card drawing like we used to do back on the farm.

Take Kare

And with that my tenure as Dear Azami extended guest author superstar has come to a close. Cassidy McAuliffe will return to his post alongside Sean McKeown to deliver you much more thorough and much less erratic analysis of Commander decks than I ever could from here on out. I enjoyed my stint here, and I hope you all did too (even with all of my stream of consciousness style parenthetical asides). Of course my Commander content is far from being done. I’ll still be making videos on the Commander Versus series, where I get to beat up on Danny West week in and week out after getting my butt kicked one too many times on the Standard side of Versus videos.

Also, if there’s a StarCityGames.com Open Series taking place, I’ll more than likely be there either battling with some bad deck or buying cards over at the vendor booth. Feel free to stop by and chat. I love hearing that people actually do (!) enjoy my work, and if I’m free, I’d be more than game to play some Commander.

So until next time, may your sword stay sharp and your mana run deep!

David McDarby

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