I need you to help me kill my husband.
We met over three years ago, and I have been playing Magic ever since. He’s been playing Magic since 1994, and he even proposed to me in the comic book store (Plan 9 in Boone, NC) with an altered art Sol Ring. We love to play Magic together. Mostly, we go to Prerelease tournaments and play Commander. Not long ago, my husband challenged me, "Without my help, build a Commander deck of your own and kick my ass with it." I am sad to say that I have not yet met this challenge, and I need your help.
I chose The Mimeoplasm as my Commander because those are my favorite colors, and I dream of making the perfect creature for the moment and crushing my husband as he watches helplessly. One of the problems with him is (we’ll get to my deck’s problems later) I never know what deck he’ll pull out. He has a Mayael (relentless assault of big ‘uns as he calls them), Trostani (ridiculous amounts of life gain), Jaya (he won’t use her first ability against me; he’s not a jerk), Zegana (big ‘uns with card draw and countermagic), Aurelia, Maelstrom Wanderer, Olivia, and Doran (kill with commander damage).
I have only been playing this game for three years, and I need you to help fine-tune my deck. I love the Consuming Aberration because he can get so large while fueling the graveyard for The Mimeoplasm. Everything else may go. I want to do cool things with my commander and make my husband cry. I have had mana problems in the past and think I have fixed them, but he says I don’t play enough lands (I told him to mind his own business; I’ll beat him without his help). When we went to GP Charlotte back in February, he bought a Sylvan Library and a Pernicious Deed for my deck. He is incredulous that I have not put them in (I am using the Phyrexian Dreadnought, Teferi, Kokusho, and Grave Titan he bought me though).
One final question: if I target a Consuming Aberration with The Mimeoplasm for counters, does it get zero counters or does it get X where X is the number of cards in his graveyard? What about other cards like Splinterfright and Lord of Extinction?
My list is below. Thanks for your help. It would mean so much to my husband for me to become really good at this game he loves so much.
Artisan of Kozilek
Curse of the Bloody Tome
Ramping up for the hundred-article mark, Cassidy and I took a close look at what commanders we hadn’t covered yet in order to aim at plugging the gaps in the near term. While we’ve had our (semi-meaningless) anniversary and gone on a tear with Commander classics that we couldn’t believe we hadn’t covered then followed it up with exploring some of the stranger space we hadn’t explored yet, I think it’s time for us to settle down and get back to the "mundane" task of us working in the comfortable space of fixing people’s decks (rather than getting Sheldon to guest visit or building decklists based entirely on suggested snippets). You did, however, give me the opportunity to work on The Mimeoplasm…while also playing the part of relationship counselor, at least a little bit.
The relationship advice is basically as follows: your husband should use the first ability on Jaya Ballard, Task Mage if you’re playing a blue deck—yes, he’s your husband, but choosing to give you an undue advantage will take away from your win when you do achieve it. Who wants to work to get better at this game, build a better deck, then finally win the game—only to be told "well, if I played the card as printed instead of being ‘nice’ about it, you’d have lost three turns before."
Your husband has issued you a challenge because he thinks it will motivate you, and you’ve written me to ask you to help kill him, which hopefully the NSA doesn’t misconstrue poorly because chances are good that the PRISM program intercepted that communication and "hey, can you help me kill my husband?" is somewhere within the virtual mountains of data banging around the Utah desert. You seem motivated enough, which means the kid gloves have to come off. When you earn it, we want it to be real.
To answer your question regarding creature size, the big */* creatures have their value set while they are in the graveyard, not just while they are in play, so yes, eating a Splinterfright or a Lord of Extinction will add a whole hell of a lot of power to The Mimeoplasm. Because of Sewer Nemesis’s "as this comes into play…" clause setting its values, unfortunately it doesn’t work with this particular card, but for the other ones that are based off of a specific variable at all times, that is true even when the card is in the graveyard.
And I even checked with Commander Guru, Rules Committee Guy, and Level 5 Judge Emeritus Sheldon Menery to confirm that The Mimeoplasm copying mundane creatures will still be able to kill via commander damage, which seemed a little off to me but he insists it’s infused in the nature of the cardboard that represents your commander, not necessarily to the commander itself having to be a legendary creature with any particular name at any given time. This suggests itself very strongly to me that we have a focus we can take on for your deck—deal 21 in one blow after softening your husband up to lower his defenses—and we’re going to focus on maximizing that capability while building a robust deck of cards that work well together.
That said, we’re going to have to make some initial structural changes in order to get your deck in working order. I don’t want to gang up on you and take your husband’s side because "being on a side" in an argument is a lousy place for a relationship counselor to be, but the facts back him up on this one—you need more lands in your deck in order for it to function properly. You have 32, one of which is Dryad Arbor, which has a very low half-life and thus barely counts as a mana-generating land, and another one of which is Maze of Ith, tapping for no mana at all.
We’re going to shift a few land slots around, but we don’t just need to shuffle them around; we also need more. We’re going to add six lands to your deck as we fix the mana base, as it is important that you be able to play your spells consistently if you’re to deliver the beating you want to lay out. So we’re going to write ourselves an IOU of six slots from elsewhere and fix what needs to be fixed.
Rupture Spire, Transguild Promenade – While these have the virtue of tapping for all three colors of mana, between coming into play tapped and needing another land tapped as well the turn you play them, you can do better if you try.
Dryad Arbor – This land is really only worthwhile if you can take advantage of the fact that it has both card types. Being able to sacrifice a fetchland to get a creature is one trick worth considering it for, as is recurring a creature with Life from the Loam or using a reanimation effect and getting a land out of the deal. You don’t have anything setting up to work off this so it’s better forgotten than built further around.
Vivid Marsh, Jwar Isle Refuge – We’re trying to cut down on the lands that come into play tapped, so these get cut as we put in other things because those are more important ways to spend our vital comes-into-play-tapped slots without overloading and having all our lands come into play tapped at awkward moments.
Simic Guildgate, Golgari Guildgate, Dimir Guildgate – While these are reasonable mana fixers, we can do better if we try.
1x Forest – Your color balance is slightly off and needs a minor correction.
Simic Growth Chamber, Golgari Rot Farm, Dimir Aqueduct – Drawing one of these is like drawing an extra land in your opening hand for free. We’re upgrading your Guildgates to bouncelands because the advantage you can gain in hitting the higher reaches of mana more easily are more than worth the price of bouncing a land when they come into play. But because we’re playing them, it was very clear we were crowding out the Rupture Spire duo, as too many lands that are reliant on already having one can lead to too many bad draws.
Woodland Cemetery, Drowned Catacomb – Cycle completion. You already have the Ravnica block dual lands and one M13/Innistrad dual, and since they work very well together we’re going to put them to work. While it’s true that Woodland Cemetery may be a little pricey right now, that won’t be true come September or so, and a little bit of waiting will make this a cheap little addition.
Bad River – The "fancy" fetchlands are very expensive, but not all fetchlands are. Bad River will search for any of your dual lands just like a Polluted Mire would, and instead of costing $60 it simply comes into play tapped. It’s a pretty good deal and does exactly the right job.
Tolaria West – We’re going to add a few lands worth searching up, so adding this makes it more likely you’ll complete the power mana combo of Urborg + Coffers or just get that extra chance to get a special land in play like your Maze of Ith.
Cabal Coffers – You’ve got cards like Increasing Confusion and Mind Grind; you can do fun things with a lot of mana if you try. It doesn’t take very much setup to make this work well enough to count as a land in the midgame and an awesome land in the later stages of the game, so we’re building those in to allow you to reap sizable rewards.
1x Swamp – I liked how many basic lands you had but felt there was one too many Forests and adding the Cabal Coffers strongly suggested another Swamp in its place.
Thawing Glaciers – This is like drawing a free land every other turn, which is a great way to get a lot of mana slowly but surely…and without having to spend a lot of cards to do so. If the game goes long enough, drawing this is like drawing all fourteen of your basic lands at once, just on layaway. For a cute trick, use this and play a bounceland to return it to your hand; it’ll feel like you’re coming out that little extra bit ahead for free.
Yavimaya Coast, Llanowar Wastes, Underground River – I agree you want more color fixing, but we’ve more-or-less exhausted our ready supply of lands that come into play tapped that we’re willing to play. These all access two colors of mana for the low price of one life per tap or provide colorless once your needs are already met; you have plenty of use for colorless mana, so these will be good fixing in the early game as you’re getting set up but the life loss won’t be obtrusive later on.
Alchemist’s Refuge, Winding Canyons – Your commander is so good at potentially dealing 21 from out of nowhere if you try, even without having to go for the dirty tricks department and aim to poison someone out with Skithiryx (as many a The Mimeoplasm deck tries to do). Being able to play your commander at end of turn then untap and attack with it will help keep your Commander from dying to sorcery speed answers as well as increase your tactical options over the course of a game by letting you shift your plays onto your opponent’s turn. Winding Canyons is basically my favorite card in any Commander deck, and since you’re both blue and green, you get to play its strictly superior cousin and upgrade the speed of your answer spells as well.
Before we go further, we’re going to want to look at how this deck is going to win the game. We’re envisioning sneaking a 21-power Mimeoplasm through any number of blockers using Rogue’s Passage, possibly playing the Mimeoplasm at end of turn with Teferi in play and no possibility for your husband to respond before it connects for lethal damage. Some would call this dirty pool because Teferi is an interactivity choke point that is fairly unique in the format and can have some feel-bad moments, but you said you didn’t mind your husband being entirely helpless as you delivered the killing blow and you don’t get more helpless than locked behind Teferi freezing your spells out.
So that’s the shape of what we’re building towards: break your husband’s ability to play back at you and stop you from killing him and then throw 21 commander damage across the red zone that he can neither stop nor block, but to get there we’ve got to get to the necessary preceding step that creates that board state. This means things like "living long enough" and "having enough cards" and "having enough mana" as well as having the right stuff in the graveyard (or at least someone’s graveyard) and some way to get to that non-interactive board state that turns a good game of Commander into a Kung Fu finishing move.
Your husband-slash-opponent has a variety of decks with a variety of defense mechanisms, so you need a plan that is robust and can beat a variety of possible board states and hand configurations, but thankfully a good chunk of your plan is to set things up so that none of those matter and you just need to swing through for lethal.
And one last note: yes, we’re leaving Sylvan Library out just to be ornery. Ditto for Pernicious Deed. Bad enough he had to be right about needing more lands; we don’t need to "just" play on-color staple "good stuff" to get where you want to go just because he said so.
Moving on to the artifacts, we’re going to make four cuts and five additions, going even deeper into debt (owing seven slots out of the creatures and miscellaneous spells) before we move on.
OUT: Dimir Keyrune, Simic Keyrune, Golgari Keyrune, Chromatic Lantern
Mana rocks are not quite as consistent as just getting more mana out of lands would be, and once we get to the point where we’re spending three mana to get our colored mana it starts being more expensive than it is really worth. If we were going to play a cycle of mana rocks like this because of how expensive these bodies are (and how small those bodies are relative to the size of the creatures you’re likely to see in the format), we’d prefer to play the Signets instead or the Cluestones if we didn’t really care how fast it was and appreciated the ability to cash out that rock for a card again later.
Instead, I am not thinking we really need any of these as themselves and would prefer to focus on things that put lands into play. Not all of these are artifacts, however, so this involves some shifting around of things from place to place on my neat little list with its segmented sections. We’ll deal.
IN: Expedition Map, Armillary Sphere, Kodama’s Reach, Cultivate
Expedition Map gets either an awesome utility land or your choice of a bounceland, effectively letting it make two mana out of one card or being awesome by getting you Rogue’s Passage or Maze of Ith depending on whether you need to defend yourself or are setting up for that final push. Armillary Sphere, Kodama’s Reach, and Cultivate all get you two lands to work with—better yet, basic lands that are really hard to mess with because there’s plenty of stuff like Back to Basics, Ruination, Blood Moon, Destructive Flow, or what-have-you that can punish people for nonbasics. So the best stuff to have is basic lands; they’re reliable and consistent.
Even I play cards that aggravate nonbasics, and I am loath to aim below the belt and go at someone’s mana base—my Godo deck has Dwarven Miner and Dwarven Blastminer as part of its early-game plan to frustrate someone who ramps too far ahead or even just to keep people honest. Basic lands are good, and these consistently increase your mana access by getting you more basics in play. They’re also a cheap shot of card advantage (as each one gets you two lands worth of mana) that helps set up for the fact that you have a who’s-who list of top high drops in your deck, all of whom need you to get enough mana before they do anything at all.
I hate this card. I see it as the ultimate do-nothing, as the decks that are playing it tend to not need the effect and I’d rather build in some utility that grinds out an advantage rather than play a pet equipment under the hope that it’ll be good. But in this deck, this is exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, and it fits accordingly. I cut this from so many decks and never play it myself, but when it’s the right card, it’s the right card.
IN: Oblivion Stone
You need a hint of mass removal, and Oblivion Stone gets all of the appropriate card types while also being able to leave your side of the board alone. It’s apparently gotten pricey lately despite being in the Commander precons, and I blame this on the fact that Legacy and Modern players are catching up to what we’ve known all along: that this is a hell of a board control mechanism. This will help you keep up with whatever deck your husband plays and come out ahead, which will allow a more interactive game by allowing you to send him and all of his wonderful permanents to frown town.
You don’t really care who you’re milling; the cards you’re playing care that there are cards in some opponent’s graveyard, and The Mimeoplasm gets more options as more cards get put in the bin. Whetstone doesn’t pick favorites; it mills everyone equally. Three mana means three cards. This also means that three mana gives Lord of Extinction +8/+8 permanently and can even be a kill card all by itself (especially alongside Cabal Coffers or Seedborn Muse or, worse yet, both). Just remember to watch out for Eldrazi in opposing decks before expecting the mill plan to work; don’t expose yourself to a kill that might get you but might not get them if you don’t have to.
Moving on to the nonartifact spells, we owe nine slots and have already filled in two of those spells by promoting Kodama’s Reach and Cultivate to the deck. I’m going to take a chainsaw to this section, pulling out things that aren’t quite good enough before we paste them back in with cards that fill the role you need them for the most.
OUT: Sorin Markov
You’re planning on dealing commander damage, so the "set your opponent to ten" function that is really the primary use of this card is not that relevant to you. I actually like him for casting Vicious Hunger turn after turn, but I’m weird and that’s not why most people play this card. He’s not part of your strategy, so he’s not really helping.
OUT: Whispering Madness, Curse of the Bloody Tome
We like the mill-people plan, but one of these is underpowered and the other has the misfortune of giving some of your opponents much larger hands to work with in order to resist your efforts to murder them to death. Whispering Madness is a neat card, but we want better ways to mill the opponent out and can find them accordingly.
OUT: Rise from the Grave
Your commander is your Zombify effect. You don’t need to add another one just because those sorts of cards might be good in your deck with the graveyard enablers you’re playing, and even if you did want to, this one probably isn’t the first best one to add. That’s probably Beacon of Unrest or Body Double (though I tend to go with Necromancy myself because playing as an instant is fancy).
OUT: Dimir Charm, Simic Charm, Vapor Snag
These are weak removal spells with backup utility for saving a creature from a removal spell, though it’s true Dimir Charm has additional uses by being able to counter any instant (like opposing countermagic). Very simply put, you can do better by playing harder removal, and once we start going in that direction we really want it to be mass removal.
Golgari Charm gets the nod still because enchantment destruction is a good mode, the -1/-1 mode will also likewise be strong against a fair variety of creature decks, and I love the "regenerate my creatures" mode against most of the mass removal spells in the format. Most of the removal there is out there allows you to regenerate from it, so I like that mode of that card and in fact want to build more regeneration into your deck as well if possible.
OUT: Dream Twist
I want to like Dream Twist, but it’s actually just not that good. I’ve built decks around Dream Twisting myself—my first foray into post-Return to Ravnica Standard was a Ghoultree / Splinterfright deck that was surprisingly close to competitive—so I know it when I see it that this isn’t good enough. We’ve already filled in its replacement, Whetstone, which is the much better version of this effect as it is repetitive and hits everyone.
You want another graveyard-filling enabler because when you get to a certain point you’ll have turned over Gnaw to the Bone and be able to flash it back for a huge infusion of life that should swing the game in your favor, but you need to have a better one than this small little effect, even if it is a free one to add to your overall plan if you’ve milled past it with a prior effect. It’s just not good enough to include in your deck; whether you’re drawing it or milling past it, you need to spend that slot on a more vital card instead.
Can you tell I’ve been burned by this one in the past?
OUT: Natural Affinity, Naturalize, Redirect
These are sort of loose utility cards, which begs the question of what they’re doing here. Natural Affinity can punish someone maybe or blow up all the lands in response to a Wrath effect, but I don’t see you coming out ahead in that scenario. Naturalize is a utility removal spell but I don’t think you really need it, and we’ve upgraded it to Oblivion Stone to hit all of the artifacts and enchantments instead of one of them with the potential for sweeping your opponent’s creatures but leaving yours in play while we’re at it.
And Redirect is probably just better suited as a counterspell instead of a Deflection effect, as it will still handle the same sorts of problems but without the predicament of being unable to handle a spell that doesn’t fit its narrow classification for utility. I think you want the slightest dash of countermagic so that late in the game when you’re ready to make your move you have the ability to make it with counter backup; we’d be better off focusing a little bit of space in that direction instead.
Hinder, Spell Crumple – When you want a dash of countermagic, you get to pick which perks you want to go with it. You don’t want a lot of counters, but you want them to provide additional utility, so I think Hinder and Spell Crumple are the best first counters for the job as they can shut down an opposing commander permanently and stop the abuse from ever starting in the first place. I tend to focus on three attractors: low cost, card utility, and the ability to solve impossible problems.
That means I tend to focus on Remand + Arcane Denial as the low-cost cantrip counters of choice and Time Stop; Venser, Shaper Savant; and Mindbreak Trap for their ability to handle literally any problem whether it’s uncounterable or not, and in this middle range between "minimal investment" and "maximum effect," we hit the sweet spot of utility: being able to neuter a Commander and thus potentially neuter a deck with a single counterspell.
Phyrexian Arena, Greater Good – You want more card drawing than you have, and while Sylvan Library is good, it’s pretty life intensive to get as an actual card-drawing effect. It’s much better if you have the ability to shuffle your deck regularly or things that work neatly with the top of your deck, and while I’d like adding the good-stuff addition of Oracle of Mul-Daya in general if we went down that road, without fetchlands as part of your mana base, the utility of Sylvan and Oracle are both significantly reduced. Phyrexian Arena is the first and best enchantment card-draw effect you can get unless you love Rhystic Study, in which case go ahead and piss off the entire table in hopes of drawing cards.
Greater Good is just fantastic with your self-mill theme and huge creature sizes that can just let this work at ridiculous proportions; just because it’s clearly a Commander staple doesn’t mean we have to cut off its consideration just to be too cool for school. It’s highly played for a reason and will do good work for you.
Phyrexian Reclamation – What’s better than drawing cards? Drawing specific cards. Phyrexian Reclamation will be an awesome card-advantage effect in the middle of the game after you’ve put a bit of work into dumping a segment of your library into your graveyard, and the fact that it is life intensive is a good portion of why I wanted to work on fixing how you turn over Gnaw to the Bone instead of cutting it and moving on. We can optimize both of these at the same time and get a major power boost out of the combination of the two.
Phyrexian Reclamation is powerful recursion with all sorts of cards in your deck, and there are entire decks your husband has in his arsenal that probably can’t beat a Reclamation alongside Kagemaro, First to Suffer. (Spoiler alert: Kagemaro gets added later…and like Lord of Extinction he counts your hand size while in the graveyard in case a Greater Good-fueled Mimeoplasm turn comes up.)
Living Death – Some people won’t really have much in the way of creatures to work with, and for the opponents who do, you can give their graveyard a hearty whack before you cast this. More importantly, if you’ve drawn Living Death, you can just turn all of your mill effects on yourself, fatten up your graveyard preferentially, and then get a huge board presence back for your trouble. I don’t play this often myself, but in your deck it fits right in; when we’ve got the right card for the job, we shouldn’t care if it’s popular.
Decree of Pain, Life’s Finale – We need a dash of mass removal to keep enemy forces at bay, and these two offer the biggest upsides to play with. Decree of Pain is removal plus mass card draw, which is basically the most absurd card in the format and is so good that it’s all I really want to be doing in Commander. Life’s Finale is not "just" a cheaper (on your wallet) version of Damnation but a mass removal effect that has major positive synergy with your commander. Wiping the board and setting up your next awesome play is a great bonus to add to a sweeper, and this card is a natural fit for what you’re trying to accomplish. (It also lets you see their deck and check for Eldrazi before trying to mill someone out; it’s always good to know, after all.)
We’re down to six cards owed and have covered everything but the creatures, which means we’re making six cuts out of your creature cards with no replacements in order to get you up to the appropriate number of lands. We’re going to cut nineteen overall, which gives us room for thirteen replacements after paying back our debt to other sections out of those slots.
OUT: Realmwright, Phyrexian Dreadnought, Utopia Tree, Frilled Oculus, Glissa, the Traitor, Riddlekeeper, Wonder, Brawn, Crypt Ghast, Lhurgoyf, Grimgrin, the Corpse-Born, Grave Titan, Dark Hatchling, Dinrova Horror, Extractor Demon, Szadek, Lord of Secrets, Damia, Sage of Stone, Demonlord of Ashmouth, Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
Scavenging Ooze – That this has been confirmed already for M14 means that I can finally include it in the list of cards I can generally suggest to add to decks; it will soon have a price tag close to that of a regular rare rather than the exorbitant price it’s commanded as a hard-to-acquire Legacy staple. The price is right, and it comes with upsides. It is highly targeted instead of taking out an entire graveyard at once and comes with the ability to grow in size and gain you life, the latter of which you’re not very good at for your average Commander deck. With you using opposing graveyards as a resource, you actually don’t want Bojuka Bog very much, but exactly this sort of effect will help keep a game under control or set up for your Living Death.
Yavimaya Elder – I like cards that fix your mana and provide more cards in the process, and Yavimaya Elder gets you two basic lands just like Armillary Sphere but comes with a replacement card back in your hand in the process. There’s a reason he’s got the nickname Landcestral Recall—when getting more resources is what you’re trying to do, he’s one of the best cards there is for the job.
Eternal Witness – You have a self-milling theme, but you also have a few cards that have very particular effects that you can’t access via The Mimeoplasm. Eternal Witness changes that by giving you the freedom to mill past Grave Pact and still access it rather than have to write it off, and since milling any creature gives you access to it with The Mimeoplasm, you can mill yourself with relative abandon rather than have to hesitate about what kind of damage you’re dealing to your deck and whether there are specific cards you’ll still need.
Varolz, the Scar-Striped – It seems really weird to cut the Dreadnought and add a card that would really be awesome with it, but you’ve got enough cards that are capable of putting a lot of counters on The Mimeoplasm without having to play a card that only does that. I wanted another regenerator but also something else that provided utility to cards you’ve milled past, and Varolz combines very well with your overall game plan. Adding a sacrifice outlet to go with your Grave Pact effects can’t hurt either.
Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord – You’re playing cards like Lord of Extinction and Consuming Aberration; Jarad would love to fling those at people’s faces. But most importantly of all, Jarad has the ability to show up of his own volition when you’re milling yourself; he has a self-resurrection ability that means milling yourself for a lot can be a victory condition in and of itself because you’ll mill past Jarad and he’ll be huge…and he’ll pop back into your hand for the low cost of sacrificing two lands, which we’ve given you considerably steadier access to so you can pay that cost but still have plenty of mana to work with. Like the addition of Gnaw to the Bone, adding Jarad gives you strategic inevitability once you turn the mill spells on yourself, letting you focus on that and trust that you’ll win the game somehow.
Mortivore – A strict upgrade to your Lhurgoyf, you lose the one automatic toughness but gain the ability to regenerate. Regeneration is surprisingly good in Commander, and this is an upgrade well worth making.
Filth – We cut Wonder and Brawn because the evasion they gave you was not necessarily evasion enough. Yes, giving The Mimeoplasm flying or trample would go a long way to helping them connect for damage, but your husband can still block and soak up the damage and thus might not die. Swampwalk is a true form of unblockability assuming your opponent has a Swamp, and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth has something to say about whether your husband controls a Swamp no matter which deck he pulls out to face you with.
Kagemaro, First to Suffer – This is another board-wipe effect, but one that may leave a good chunk of your team intact thanks to the relatively large size of your cards like Consuming Aberration. It is also an effective lock mechanism if you can recur it—which, by the way, you can.
Genesis – Milling yourself as Plan A with something coming out as a result is a strong place to put yourself. Kagemaro + Genesis may in fact be a hard lock, but just milling yourself and flipping Genesis lets you consistently grind out card advantage by returning massive monsters like Lord of Extinction or setting up your lock-down plan by buying Teferi back from your graveyard. Once you’re able to mill yourself a bit, this line of approach will consistently turn up something that will reward you, with this being the steadiest reward you could hope for turn after turn.
Shriekmaw – You had Dark Hatchling, but Shriekmaw is just better for the task. Being able to cost two instead of "a lot" is an important feature, and alongside Genesis this is a no-muss, no-fuss creature removal every turn thanks to the evoke ability. Sorry, Dark Hatchling, but we need to watch our curves. Just because we’re adding more mana doesn’t mean we can accept a ponderous tower of high-cost creatures, and anytime we can cut something expensive for something comparable but cheaper we gain in the exchange.
Geth, Lord of the Vault – You like milling, and Geth does that very well while providing you rewards for doing so. Geth is the perfect finisher card—he’s an army in a can all by himself, provides instant-speed interactivity with a whole host of options, and can even mill an opponent to death rather than have to connect for damage across a cluttered board state (or against infinite life). Everything you’re trying to accomplish, he does.
Chancellor of the Spires – We’re building in access to your opponent’s creatures through Geth and through your Sepulchral Primordial, and being able to access their spells too is a good way to build up some crazy exchanges in the process. I envision this card being bonkers in a game where you’re just spending mana into the Whetstone and flip your Genesis and the Chancellor as well but your opponents have flipped stuff like Time Stretch and Praetor’s Council that are ridiculous things that effectively say "you win the game" on them. And we’re going with Chancellor rather than Diluvian Primordial because you probably don’t need to ever hit both a Time Stretch and a Praetor’s Council, but the free "mill seven" effect if you start with it in your opening hand is very exciting to have at no real cost.
Myojin of Night’s Reach – This is replacing your Jin-Gitaxias; you’ll never draw seven cards with this, but you won’t ever miss either. You said you want to leave your husband helpless then crack in for the kill, and Myojin of Night’s Reach is another interactivity choke point in the format. You casting him effectively drops the opponent’s ability to keep interacting with cards rather than the board plummets to zero. This is promptly followed by your winning so you don’t need to draw seven cards to boot, and this always works rather than having to survive through each and every opponent’s turns in order to cut off their hand size.
We also get to cut a ten to play only an eight, meaning it’ll happen when you want it to more reliably, and since it has that fun clause that only works when you play it from your hand, it can never be turned against you via Bribery or a reanimation effect unlike Jin-Gitaxias. It’s the right card for the right job when that job is sending the table to frown town before you pick them off one by one with lethal attacks. Resource asymmetry is key in Commander, and Myojin of Night’s Reach creates that very effectively, boiling your opponent’s options down to only things you can already see.
Putting it all together, we get the following decklist:
- 1 Patron of the Nezumi
- 1 Avatar of Woe
- 1 Kokusho, the Evening Star
- 1 Vesuvan Doppelganger
- 1 Myojin of Night's Reach
- 1 Mortivore
- 1 Genesis
- 1 Seedborn Muse
- 1 Eternal Witness
- 1 Yavimaya Elder
- 1 Dreamborn Muse
- 1 Filth
- 1 Kagemaro, First to Suffer
- 1 Vulturous Zombie
- 1 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
- 1 Shriekmaw
- 1 Fleshbag Marauder
- 1 Lord of Extinction
- 1 Butcher of Malakir
- 1 Artisan of Kozilek
- 1 Geth, Lord of the Vault
- 1 Thrun, the Last Troll
- 1 Sheoldred, Whispering One
- 1 Chancellor of the Spires
- 1 Scavenging Ooze
- 1 Sewer Nemesis
- 1 The Mimeoplasm
- 1 Evil Twin
- 1 Splinterfright
- 1 Havengul Lich
- 1 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
- 1 Lotleth Troll
- 1 Consuming Aberration
- 1 Lazav, Dimir Mastermind
- 1 Duskmantle Guildmage
- 1 Sepulchral Primordial
- 1 Varolz, the Scar-Striped
- 5 Forest
- 1 Cabal Coffers
- 1 Llanowar Wastes
- 1 Thawing Glaciers
- 1 Underground River
- 5 Swamp
- 4 Island
- 1 Temple of the False God
- 1 Maze of Ith
- 1 Bad River
- 1 Winding Canyons
- 1 Yavimaya Coast
- 1 Dimir Aqueduct
- 1 Golgari Rot Farm
- 1 Overgrown Tomb
- 1 Watery Grave
- 1 Breeding Pool
- 1 Simic Growth Chamber
- 1 Vesuva
- 1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
- 1 Tolaria West
- 1 Drowned Catacomb
- 1 Command Tower
- 1 Hinterland Harbor
- 1 Woodland Cemetery
- 1 Alchemist's Refuge
- 1 Rogue's Passage
- 1 Hinder
- 1 Living Death
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Fellwar Stone
- 1 Grave Pact
- 1 Kodama's Reach
- 1 Decree of Pain
- 1 Oblivion Stone
- 1 Phyrexian Arena
- 1 Whispersilk Cloak
- 1 Phyrexian Reclamation
- 1 Whetstone
- 1 Greater Good
- 1 Memory Erosion
- 1 Armillary Sphere
- 1 Expedition Map
- 1 Cultivate
- 1 Life's Finale
- 1 Spell Crumple
- 1 Gnaw to the Bone
- 1 Increasing Confusion
- 1 Golgari Charm
- 1 Mind Grind
- 1 Deadbridge Chant
As always, for your participation in this week’s Dear Azami, you will receive a $20 coupon to the StarCityGames.com. The sum total price of the cards suggested this week is a bit higher than I’d usually go for a submission at the power level (and level of card access) that your deck is exhibiting, but some of the pricey cards are Commander staples you and your husband may already have access to (or want to acquire anyway just to have in general) and some of the other pricey cards are about to rotate out of Standard and see their price fall (hi there, Wooded Cemetery!) or are rotating into Standard in M14 (hi, Scavenging Ooze!—I mean "spoiler alert!") and thus will soon be more affordable.
While we did add a few staples, we also refused to add other staples you were proffered by your husband and didn’t even go in the Sensei’s Divining Top / Solemn Simulacrum direction because not every deck needs to play "all of the good cards" in order to be a good deck. We focused on increasing your ability to play your cards when you draw them, the consistency with which milling yourself will lead to a positive outcome, and cards that break the interactivity barrier so you can sneak more The Mimeoplasms through opposing spell defenses and then across the table unblocked. This brings your plan to a higher power level without necessarily needing to raise your cards to the "all good stuff!" power level because really, if the best card in your deck is your Whetstone, that’s way more awesome than if the best card in your deck were Yawnworthy Commander Staple #8.
Pricing the cards out for your potential acquisition and budget consideration, we get the following, though the most expensive one should soon be subject to change:
|Golgari Rot Farm||$0.29|
|Simic Growth Chamber||$0.39|
|Chancellor of the Spires||$0.49|
|Kagemaro, First to Suffer||$1.25|
|Myojin of Night’s Reach||$1.25|
|Jarad, Golgari Lich-Lord||$1.39|
|Geth, Lord of the Vault||$3.49|
|Varolz, the Scar-Striped||$4.99|
|Decree of Pain||$5.99|
Here’s hoping that you hit the target you were aiming for—and soon. Write back and let us know how that turned out for you!
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 Mike’s Crosis the Purger deck or George’s Lavinia of the Tenth 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!
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