Lithomancing For Fun And Profit

If you haven’t built a Commander deck using a planeswalker as your leader, you haven’t lived! In today’s installment, Bennie Smith takes Nahiri and her friends through the art of using equipment to deal unheard of damage to the table!

Happy New Year! Hope those of you who were able to celebrate the wind down of 2014 and the arrival of 2015 had a jolly good but safe time. 2014 was a
decidedly mixed bag for me personally and professionally so I’ve got my fingers crossed that 2015 might lean a bit more towards the positive. As far as
Magic goes, I’m looking forward to attending my very first Starcitygames.com Invitational tournament right here in my home town of Richmond this March. I
continue to hone and hew my Green/Black Devotion Villainous Wealth deck into a fine-tuned winning machine, and keep my fingers crossed that Fate Reforged doesn’t knock midrange decks too far out the driver’s seat and force me to find some other deck to play in the Standard portion. For
Legacy, I’m feeling quite comfortable with Maverick and just need to keep putting in the reps and hoping the metagame doesn’t shift too far away from it
being a smart choice.

On the Complete Commander front (recently updated through Commander 2014!), I’ve been pondering writing an advanced strategy guide since the first book was
slanted towards bringing newcomers to the format up to speed on Commander as quickly as possible. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas on what they’d like
to see in an advanced strategy guide please let me know!

To kick off the new year I thought I’d give the Bennie treatment to another new card from Commander 2014, this time one of the new planeswalkers we can use
as our actual commander. After pondering a few of the choices, I landed on Nahiri, the Lithomancer because I’ve been itching to make an equipment-heavy
deck for a while now and a Nahiri deck seems like the perfect opportunity to do so. There are a lot of old favorites and a sprinkling of new cards that all
come together into quite the nice 100 card package.


Skullclamp, Basilisk Collar, Masterwork of Ingenuity, Flayer Husk, Illusionist’s Bracers, Nim Deathmantle, Manriki-Gusari, Ring of Thune, Godsend,
Loxodon Warhammer, Sword of Feast and Famine, Sword of Light and Shadow, Helm of Kaldra, Shield of Kaldra, Sword of Kaldra, Assault Suit, Bonehoard,
Dragon Throne of Tarkir, Batterskull, Argentum Armor

Most of the time when we play Nahiri we’re going to want to activate her +2 ability, which means we’ll want to have a sweet artifact already in play that
we can equip to our little 1/1 Kor Soldier for free. We’ll want to do it again next turn, and again next turn, and just crank out the 1/1 dudes and free
equips each turn unless there is a critical equipment card you need to return from the graveyard or play right out of your hand. Otherwise the goal is to
crank up her loyalty to eventually use her ultimate and get the sweet, indestructible Stoneforged Blade on the battlefield.

In the meantime though, we need to have a bunch of equipment lying around for Nahiri’s Kor Soldiers to pick up, so I’ve included twenty pieces of equipment
here, a full 20% of the deck. I’ve picked a lot of the usual suspects along with some spicy choices. I’m particularly excited about Godsend, which is a
powerful card but just a tad expensive when you consider you’ve got to invest six mana before you get any affect from it. Being able to shave away the
equip cost is a huge upside, and I like this card’s ability to lock out other commanders from being played (which pretty much means that commander won’t be
attacking you or blocking the equipped creature). You can give this or any equipment “vigilance” with Nahiri by attacking with the equipped creature, then
activating Nahiri to make another Kor Soldier and moving the equipment over to the new blocker. Argentum Armor is another powerful piece of equipment that
benefits greatly from being able to shave away the equip cost.

Of course, I’ve thrown in Helm of Kaldra, Shield of Kaldra, and Sword of Kaldra, because any equipment-heavy deck should try and assemble the pieces to
make your sweet Kaldra Avatar token-I even have a sleeved paper Kaldra token that was made from the token that pops up on Magic Online. Just remember if
you’ve got a way to search up a particular piece of equipment that you get the Shield of Kaldra first since your opponents will surely do their best to
prevent you from assembling all three Kaldra pieces, and making sure they’re all indestructible helps. Another helpful hint once you’ve assembled your 9/9
indestructible, first strike, trampling, hasted Kaldra token is for one mana you can give it “vigilance” by making another Kaldra token, destroying the old
one (since they’re legendary), and then putting all the equipment on the new one. Wait to do this so you can ambush an attacker with it if your opponent
isn’t familiar with how the Helm works. And for kicks, why not equip Kaldra with an Assault Suit and pass him around the table too?

Equipment Matters

Steelshaper’s Gift, Armament Master, Kor Outfitter, Puresteel Paladin, Stoneforge Mystic, Auriok Steelshaper, Leonin Shikari; Kemba, Kha Regent; Auriok Windwalker, Stonehewer Giant, Auriok Survivors

Since we’re playing white we don’t have to just stop with great equipment, but we can also take advantage of all the sweet “equipment matters” cards that
have been made over the years. Stonehewer Giant, Steelshaper’s Gift, and Stoneforge Mystic make assembling just the right equipment a snap. Puresteel
Paladin is the real hero in this deck by making all your equipment cards into cantrips regardless of how they’re put into play and shaving away all equip
costs if you happen to have three or more artifacts in play (and seriously, in this deck you will have metalcraft). Another piece of equipment I’ve been
interested in trying is Dragon Throne of Tarkir, but it’s really a clunky mana-hog of a card. However, if we can cheat it out with Stonehewer or Mystic or
even Nahiri and remove it’s equip cost with Puresteel Paladin, the two-mana activation cost is a breeze!

Artifacts Matter

Buried Ruin, Welding Jar, Liquimetal Coating, Myr Retriever, Etched Champion, Junk Diver, Leonin Abunas, Darksteel Juggernaut; Karn, Silver Golem;
Kuldotha Forgemaster, Scourglass, Salvaging Station

Lastly, since equipment cards are also artifact cards, we can pepper in some nice white and artifact cards that care about artifacts. Myr Retriever and
Junk Diver are nice ways to get back equipment that’s been destroyed while also providing a body to put other equipment on in the meantime. Kuldotha
Forgemaster can search up specific pieces of equipment (for a cost), but can search deeper and fetch up other non-equipment artifacts that could be
helpful. In particular, I think I want this card to fetch up Soul of New Phyrexia, freeing up the mana cost of casting it so I can use its activation cost
to make all my permanents indestructible for the turn. Nabbing a Scourglass at the end of my opponent’s turn isn’t a bad idea either.

Masterwork of Ingenuity is a sweet little equipment clone card that made me want to play Salvaging Station, so of course I’ve added a fair number of cheap
zero and one mana artifacts that we’ll want to recur back from the graveyard whenever a creature dies.

One final tidbit I’ll point out here in the artifacts matter section… we’ve got a way to actually inflict Commander damage with Nahiri, the Lithomancer!
Here’s how: turn Nahiri into an artifact with Liquimetal Coating, and then turn artifact Nahiri into a 5/5 creature with Karn, Silver Golem. To unlock the
ultimate achievement with this deck you’d want to use her ultimate to create a Stoneforge Blade equipment artifact, equip it to the animated artifact
Nahiri, and swing with your 10/10 double-striking commander. One more point of power and she kills with Commander damage-how’s that for taking down someone
who’s gained infinite life? If anyone pulls this off I want to hear about it, and send me a picture! I promise to do the same. If you do pull off this
combo and have your commander planeswalker attacking someone and wonder about the ramifications of having a planeswalker that’s also a creature, just
remember that rules for being a creature and a planeswalker both apply.

Okay, so here’s my deck:

While considering cards to round out the deck I figured I’d need ways to help protect Nahiri from being attacked too often. Planeswalkers are powerful
permanents that are often lightning rods for aggression from your opponent, and if you’ve got multiple opponents that want to get a planeswalker off the
battlefield it can be tough to stop their efforts. Nahiri benefits a bit because none of her abilities, including the ultimate, are really backbreaking
(compared to, say, Teferi, Temporal Archmage). Kor Haven and pinpoint removal like Swords to Plowshares were givens, but I also briefly considered Windborn
Muse and its ilk. Then I thought handing out the vigilance ability would be another way to protect Nahiri by ensuring I had blockers even if I wanted to
attack with them so I added Brave the Sands, Angelic Field Marshal, and Heliod, God of the Sun to the mix. Adding vigilance opened up the possibility for a
seriously cool haymaker play. Imagine if you will Stonehewer Giant, a Kaldra avatar token in all its equipped glory, Leonin Shikari, Puresteel Paladin, and
Angelic Field Marshal (with lieutenant in effect). You announce an attack with all these guys, everyone with vigilance. Then you activate Stonehewer Giant
to fetch up Dragon Throne of Tarkir and equip it to Kaldra. Tap Kaldra to use the Throne’s activated ability, then equip at instant speed using Leonin
Shikari’s ability and for free using Puresteel Paladin’s ability and do the same with each of them and finish up with Angelic Field Marshal, giving all
your guys +18/+18 and trample until the end of the turn. If my math’s right that’s 112 points of trampling damage!

So what do you think? Have you had a chance to play with Nahiri, the Lithomancer yet? What have been your impressions? Are there any cards I’m missing

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

Commander write-ups I’ve done
(and links to decklists):

Titania, Protector of Argoth (Titania’s Land and Elemental Exchange)

Reaper King (All About VILLAINOUS WEALTH)

Feldon of the Third Path (She Will Come Back to Me)

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (Calling Up Ghouls with Sidisi)

Zurgo Helmsmasher (Two Times the Smashing)

Anafenza, the Foremost (Anafenza and Your Restless Dead)

Narset, Enlightened Master (The New Voltron Overlord)

Surrak Dragonclaw (The Art of Punching Bears)

Avacyn, Guardian Angel; Ob Nixilis, Unshackled; Sliver Hivelord (Commander Catchup, Part 3)

Keranos, God of Storms; Marchesa, the Black Rose; Muzzio, Visionary Architect (Commander Catchup, Part 2)

Athreos, God of Passage; Kruphix, God of Horizons; Iroas, God of Victory (Commander Catchup, Journey into Nyx Edition)

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)

Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy (Possibility Storm Shenanigans)

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (All-in Yisan)

Selvala, Explorer Returned (Everyone Draws Lots!)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (Cleaning Out the Cellar)

Karona, False God (God Pack)

Child of Alara (Land Ho!)

Doran, the Siege Tower (All My Faves in One Deck!)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (my Magic Online deck)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (GREED!)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind ( Chuck’s somewhat vicious deck)

Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)

Skeleton Ship (Fun with -1/-1 counters)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)

Anax and Cymede (Heroic Co-Commanders)

Aurelia, the Warleader ( plus Hellkite Tyrant shenanigans)

Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)

Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)

Damia, Sage of Stone ( Ice Cauldron shenanigans)

Emmara Tandris (No Damage Tokens)

Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)

Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)

Ghave, Guru of Spores ( Melira Combo)

Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)

Glissa, the Traitor ( undying artifacts!)

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge ( Suspension of Disbelief)

Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo’ Myrs)

Karona, False God (Vows of the False God)

Lord of Tresserhorn (ZOMBIES!)

Marath, Will of the Wild ( Wild About +1/+1 Counters)

Melira, Sylvok Outcast ( combo killa)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker ( Outside My Comfort Zone with Milling

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)

Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)

Nylea, God of the Hunt ( Devoted to Green)

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (by reader request)

Phage the Untouchable ( actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)

Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)

Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)

Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)

Riku of Two Reflections (

steal all permanents with
Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts


Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)

Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari ( Demons)

Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)

Sigarda, Host of Herons ( Equipment-centric Voltron)

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave ( how big can it get?)

Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)

Thelon of Havenwood ( Campfire Spores)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

Yeva, Nature’s Herald (living at instant speed)