Are there any legendary creatures out there that just seem impossible to build a Commander deck around? Have you ever uncovered a legendary creature in
your trade binder, Gatherer, or from a pack you opened and you have no idea how anyone could ever build a deck around it? Well, that’s where this project
comes in! The goal is to take Impossible Commanders and build decks around them.
The last time,
I built a deck around Mannichi, the Fevered Dream. I solicited suggestions for future projects, and received some good ideas heading forward.
Today’s Impossible Commander selection was suggested by Douglas Scheinberg in the comments section of the previous article. I’ve jotted down various other
ideas. How does one make a Brothers Yamazaki deck? As Douglas said, red isn’t really known for Clone effects.
At first I thought about running stuff like Splinter Twin, Twinflame, and Heat Shimmer. You might be able to uncover enough of those things to work with
your Commander. But that’s not the direction I decided to move in…
What could I do to make this impossible Commander idea work? What would make sense?
Well, these are two Brothers. They have slightly different weapons and armor, but the same style, abilities, and such. They work together.
So that’s what I’ll design. A Commander deck designed to work with itself at the kitchen table. So if you are playing Commander two-headed-giant,
or any game with allies built into the game structure–or if you just generally want to team up against the masses in the multiplayer chaos–then play two
copies of this deck!
- 1 Brothers of Fire
- 1 Brothers Yamazaki
- 1 Akki Lavarunner
- 1 Anger
- 1 Darksteel Gargoyle
- 1 Subterranean Spirit
- 1 Bloodfire Colossus
- 1 Jiwari, the Earth Aflame
- 1 Stuffy Doll
- 1 Scourge of Kher Ridges
- 1 Hostility
- 1 Fire Servant
- 1 Darksteel Sentinel
- 1 Darksteel Myr
- 1 Manor Gargoyle
- 1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
- 1 Colossus of Akros
- 1 Sowing Salt
- 1 Mana Flare
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Earthquake
- 1 Fanning the Flames
- 1 Mirari
- 1 Staff of Domination
- 1 Sword of Fire and Ice
- 1 Blood Moon
- 1 Fault Line
- 1 Extraplanar Lens
- 1 Dragon's Claw
- 1 Grab the Reins
- 1 Insurrection
- 1 Pentagram of the Ages
- 1 Sulfuric Vapors
- 1 Mages' Contest
- 1 Recoup
- 1 Flaring Pain
- 1 Pariah's Shield
- 1 Gauntlet of Power
- 1 Reiterate
- 1 Pyrohemia
- 1 Molten Disaster
- 1 Wild Ricochet
- 1 Banefire
- 1 Armillary Sphere
- 1 Chain Reaction
- 1 Comet Storm
- 1 Everflowing Chalice
- 1 Dreamstone Hedron
- 1 Into the Core
- 1 Sword of War and Peace
- 1 Devil's Play
- 1 Blasphemous Act
- 1 Past in Flames
- 1 Curse of Bloodletting
- 1 Staff of Nin
- 1 Pyromancer's Gauntlet
- 1 From the Ashes
- 1 Dictate of the Twin Gods
All of our Brothers Yamazaki gain our bonus whenever another is in play, no matter who the general is. So your friend and yourself can play them (cheaply)
and get in powered haste-fueled swings at other people with aplomb.
I kept this deck from having some very expensive cards that make sense (Gauntlet of Might and Rolling Earthquake come to mind). If you are playing online,
use proxies, or own the cards, then those are two other cards that have a lot of value for the deck.
Anyway, we have been doing battle long enough to learn a few tricks to pump up all Yamazaki. Sure, we don’t have that relic, the Gauntlet of Might, but we
do run Gauntlet of Power. Just cry out red when you drop it. Everybody’s Mountains will tap for extra mana and our best red creatures get pumped-which
helps our Brother and ally’s forces too. (Ditto Extraplanar Lens for Mountains.) We have even fought in the trenches under a Mana Flare before, and we
remember its effects to enhance mana production (these decks should reliably have access to big beefy mana effects).
So one of the things this deck does is classic. Use these sorts of effects to fuel a giant Fireball-style card to the face in order to take someone out and
destroy their battlefield. Our Yamazaki Clan learned long ago that in order to destroy an army, one need only destroy their Commander. Included are Comet
Storm, Devil’s Play, and Banefire. But the best of the lot is Fanning the Flames. You can buy it back for repeatable smashes to the face-no enemy leader
will survive for long!
Of course, the deck has a few other tricks. Sulfuric Vapors will amp up the damage of both Yamazaki burn spells. In order to enhance damage, feel free to
flash out Dictate of the Twin Gods to double damage (and that way support your Brother-in-Arms-and-Flesh). Another fun card to use is Flaring Pain, to
prevent any of the normal damage prevention (and it can be flashed back too-but be careful, for there are a few ways to hurt yourself with it too, as we’ll
Because of the nature of our deck, we included a few ways to Fork a spell. Our clan encountered a woman who could walk the planes. She has several
war-bonds forged in fire and steel with us, and we often call on her in battle. Chandra, the Firebrand can Fork our best spells without additional costs of
mana. Meanwhile, we can use the ancient Mirari artifact as well, unearthed from long ago. The major player here is Reiterate. We can Fork a spell by
duplicating it, and even buy it back if desired. Reiterate the nasty spells of your Brother once or thrice if you have the mana.
Note that sometimes our stuff unfortunately can be countered by spells. Cowards! To hide behind your Islands and instants like some mewling babe! So, we
have a few surprises from the Mountains. We are not ignorant savages, as some would believe. We can use our Forks to counter the counter. Reiterate will
create a copy of Counterspell to counter Counterspell. But we also have Mages’ Contest. People don’t expect it, and in a format with 40 life, you might be
able to force someone to pay too much life to keep their Counterspell. Their life is more fragile than these weaklings suspect. Take advantage of that to
use this as a three mana direct damage spell that can deal ten or fifteen damage to someone.
Consider this: Suppose your Brother flashes back Devil’s Play for fourteen damage against a Sydri, Galvanic Genius deck. Sydri’s controller Steve casts
Dissolve on it. Feckless fool! You tap three mana and play Mages’ Contest, and the Contest begins! You have to start with a bidding of one life, and your
foe will likely bid two. Now, bid thirteen life if you want to force it through, or something like eight if you don’t. (This gambit depends on you having a
nice life cushion.) Steve will be taking fourteen for sure if you need to hit him hard! If you don’t want to lose the life, you could easily bid Steve to
eight or ten life lost instead of fourteen, which Steve will take instead of fourteen, and your three-mana spell ensured he took double-digit damage.
We protect our Brothers!
In order to ensure that only our forces engage in battle, we have a lot of ways of removal. Since we are red, all removal played is damage-based sweeping
removal. If we have some indestructible and protection from red creatures, then some of our guys will be innately immune to damage, so cards like Pyrohemia
and Earthquake won’t destroy parts of our army.
We found this bum Akki Lavarunner in the land, and we use him well. After he swings and hits a foe with his haste-inspired speed, he has learned enough to
turn into the legendary Tok-Tok, Volcano Born. With both protection from red and pumping every red damage source (including creatures, planeswalkers, and
enchantments), Tok-Tok is our strongest ally on the battlefield. War makes strange bedfellows of us all; who would’ve thought that powerful samurai like us
would ever ally with those Akki scum!
After scouring a variety of realms, and with Chandra as a guide, we have brought in allies from other planes. Purphoros, God of the Forge wants to spread
his divine influence to Kamigawa. After learning about the spirit-worship we have, he was enraged, and he wants to bring his power here to teach us proper
faith. We have joined causes with him and others, from an oddly shaped stuffed doll to strange metal living artifacts like Darksteel Gargoyle and Darksteel
Myr. These various creatures are innately protected from our spells of fire and destruction and can charge down the battlefield while we summon
Earthquakes, Molten Disasters, and even perform a Blasphemous Act.
We have even tapped into a pair of spirits to assist. Subterranean Spirit is suitably protected from the eventual carnage we dole out. Meanwhile, the
legendary kami Jiwari, the Earth Aflame can be channeled to destroy many others, or harnessed to take out one at a time. If they are attached to his Earth,
they can be targeted.
Unfortunately, not all of our allies are so protected. We have many that will die to our removal. Creatures like Scourge of Kher Ridges and Brothers of
Fire will also be burned and destroyed. But many of these are acceptable casualties. Fire Servant and Hostility help to enhance our spells, while Anger
will inspire us to new realms of rage when it dies.
We understand the nature of battle quite well. Our clan has been embroiled in warfare from its very founding until today. We know when it use proper
weapons and armor to gird an army properly, and we know that wars are not usually won with steel and blood in the trenches, but with tooth, claw, and
sorcery in between. Enhanced equipment suits us quite well. We have two potent swords to keep a warrior alive through the onslaught we dole out. Don’t
forget to hand Pariah’s Shield to someone, preferably one of our indestructible creatures. The shield will absorb all damage meant for us and instead deal
it to the wielder. We have found this odd stuffed doll to be the best host.
We have other tricks and trinkets. This Dragon’s Claw captured by our ancestor from a great fallen kami will provide us life as either of us cast our red
magic. We find that fighting under a Blood Moon will empower our lands while weakening opposing links with other ones. From a gift from Chandra
(Pyromancer’s Gauntlet) to the useful Armillary Sphere to locate new mountains to tap, while we use a pair of Staffs that were stolen by our kin long ago
(Staff of Nin, Staff of Domination), we have a host of skills and tricks. Our clan has been successfully waging battle, and gaining its spoils, for
We have a mighty reputation to honor, and this deck allows us to continue fighting under the Yamazaki banner.
Some allies we’ve had in the past that were almost in this deck include Sisters of the Flame, Increasing Vengeance, Akroma’s Memorial, Warmonger, Splinter
Twin, Heat Shimmer, Gauntlet of Might, Ruination, Magus of the Moon, Creepy Doll, Myojin of Infinite Rage, and Rolling Earthquake.
This fool of a writer who is chronicling our exploits has requested that you advise him if there are any other of these “impossible” suggestions. Let us
now go out to battle again!