Narset From The New Set

David McDarby has been meditating. It looks like he plans to ascend to monkhood by joining The Jeskai Way! His master (and commander) is the newly spoiled Narset! Prepare to fight!

I Khan’t believe it’s almost time for the new fall set! If they Khanstantly Khantinue to Khanvey Khancealed Khards, they may Khampletely Khanvert me. The
eKhanomics of this Khanplete set are much more Khansumable than both the Khanspiracy and Khanflux expansions were. If this paragraph is too Khanfusing or
about give you a Khantusion or Khancussion for another seKhand, I Khan use a different lexiKhan.

At any rate, we know very few “actual” cards at this point for Khans of Tarkir. But what we do know is extremely exciting. I started playing in Zendikar
(that other fetchland set), and I honestly have never been excited for a set since Worldwake (it was my first “new” set), or possibly New Phyrexia (have
you seen the power level on some of those cards?).

Why is this set going to be awesome? Let’s list some reasons:

The Setting Looks Awesome.

Do ya like Avatar OR Legend of Korra? What about Mulan? I’m sure on the Magic side of things, you enjoyed Shards of Alara or Ravnica? All these things are
making this new plane look like the new Zendikar. It’s connected to one our oldest planeswalkers, a bit of a whipping boy then really. But now Sarkhan of
Tarkir is ready to kick some serious butt.


Clearly the next plane we go to is going to a jungle of sorts (Return to Hedrons of Zendikar!) because Theros and Khans are in the same order that Disney
released Hercules and Mulan. The movie after Mulan was Tarzan. I’M ON TO YOU WOTC.

Dragons are Awesome

Larry Elmore’s may “look” lame but are quite iconic, at least to me.

People like dragons. I, for one, LURVE dragons. I actually just got back from an entire convention named after Dragons. The last couple of sets, WotC has had to downplay the status of everybody’s
favorite completely real, and not mythological at all creature. Dragons aren’t exactly a horror trope. They aren’t exactly that big in Slavic history, and

there is quite the prominent dragon in Ravnica

, he’s killed all but a couple of the others. And finally, they weren’t really a big deal in Greco-Roman cultures. So after all this hush-hush, it is
finally time to revel in their awesome majesty. I hear a movie about an undisclosed number of armies and a mighty, terrible, and tyrannical dragon is coming out. I know all of you are just as excited as I am about
dragons, as I’m sure I’m not the only one with a shrine to dragons complete with a collection of plushies to roll around in (I’m not joking). While the
plane currently doesn’t contain any giant lizards yet, Sarkhan is hearing whispers of that dragon with that weird land from Worldwake, and something big happens in the third set
of this block, the last block to even have a third set. I BET IT’S DRAGONS.

Fetchlands are Awesome

When Deathrite shaman was banned in Modern, that all but confirmed to me a reprint of these guys was coming. Most people assumed so, but they are willing
to do anything for their pet format, and making a new set of fetchlands available for a newer generation of players is an easy decision. They may be the
loading screens of Magic and increase the odds of carpal tunnel in all of us, but they will sell a boatload of packs from this set. Not to mention it makes
one of Standard’s best cards even better ahem*COURSER OF KRUPHIX*ahem. If you bought twenty cases of this set, you’re not going to lose money. I’m no
financial guy (oh wait, I buy cards for a living), but I would call this set a wise buy.

Wedges are Awesome

Dem heels doe.

Do you know why people love being in groups? Why shards, guilds, and even non-Magic-related things like the Harry Potter houses or even classes such as
Wizard and Fighter in roleplaying games or heralded as some of the best gaming mechanics ever designed? It gives us common ground. It allows us to “raise our banners” in a united group as a whole to fight against a common enemy, which may just
be our gaming buddies. It gives us a goal to reach and makes me want to splatter the Izzet League insignia upon everything I own to personalize my life and
represent myself. In short, they allow us to belong and fit in with likeminded individuals. So, after Brooding about the next set, WotC has turned
to wedges as the last frontier of banners for the Hordes of Magic players to unite under, in the same Way of the Hogwarts Houses.

But I think I’ve rambled on enough about the set (stream of consciousness is just narrative for the lazy). Okay, and I know you all love decklists, so let
us dial up the magnification on this Smell-O-Scope and focus in on a particular card. As it so
happens, there was some party or something at PAX that I wasn’t invited to, where they revealed a few new cards. One card in particular is a
creature of a legendary status and Izzet inclination. That would be Narset, Enlightened Master.

I’m not going to theorize on her applications in Standard. While I can whip up a mean 60 card brew every once in a while, we hardly know any cards in this
set, so how can we even begin to determine the value of a card? I just know she’d love to have haste (Hammer of Purphoros) and can do some mean things (In
Garruk’s Wake). So perhaps we should hold off on our opinions of the Jeskai Khan for just a bit longer.

But what I can talk to you about is her uses in a format a little closer to home: Commander. She is a sort of color-shifted Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge in that she allows you
to bring the mana curve down to a more “reasonable” level. She does cost two more mana and doesn’t have evasion, so those are minuses. However, her main
plus is that she has hexproof, a mechanic WotC is more understanding of nowadays (have you ever had Invisible Stalker cast against you?), and they know it
is essentially the ability that you slap onto expensive creatures that don’t have enters-the-battlefield effects to prevent Doom Blade Guy from raining all
over your parade.

The fact that she looks at the top four cards (I thought it was three until about ten minutes ago), makes her especially fun. She doesn’t allow
your experience to change each game and be more powerful in multiplayer like Jeleva does, but she does benefit from being able to attack the player who
can’t trade with her in combat to use your spells to focus your efforts on that other person who’s about to win. I’m going to be breaking a couple of my
rules with this particular list, but I still have no infinite combos, and even though it’s slightly more spikey than normal, Narset does cost six
mana, has no immediate effect, and dies to even the lowly Drown in Sorrow. So let’s break her down!

I have consciously made a list with exactly zero creatures in it. The Jeskai are the mystical monks of Khans, and while all five mechanics are oriented
around creature combat (the most interactive part of Magic, and something that while I personally dislike, I’m extremely glad it is being made that way),
the Jeskai requires specifically non-creature spells to juice them up. Narset, Enlightened Master is the very personification of that idealism. While you
can’t cast non-instant spells before–she will have to beat up on the likes of Trinket Mages and Oracles of Mul Daya everywhere, but four toughness gets a bit dicey–you can still cast the
spells after she’s bitten the dust, much like Mind’s Desire or even Daxos. Start the clock on how long it will take for a Korra alter to be seen.

But what all can we do with her?

Multiple Combat Steps

You say she has a trigger that occurs when she attacks? Well let’s do it more! This is one of Red’s precious few mechanics that is actually viable in
Commander. Not as viable as some, but extremely useful under the right circumstances. Narset uses them almost too well, as they allow you to dig
four cards deeper again to get even more spell goodness.


Do you know what other type of Commander deck works well when your commander has hexproof? Why Voltron, of course! Equipment (the Swords of X and Y in particular) allow her to not be
bested in combat, so you don’t have to worry about having to recast her every other turn. It also gives you the goal of equipping all five swords and after
attacking, exclaim everybody’s favorite phrase from some other unmentioned card game. I almost
got to do this versus Danny in a video, but like usual, he just takes all the fun away out of
everything I try to do.

Time Walks

And here’s the part where I justify doing things I never do. I hate time walk effects in Commander. (On the other hand, I love them almost as much as Ali
Aintrazi does in Constructed.) They turn all your opponents into mirrors as you gaze at yourself and keep playing without letting everybody else have a
turn. That being said, they work almost too well with this Commander, not only being a Blue Explore to ramp up to Narset but clearly allowing you to dig
again and attack next turn should she survive the first combat step. Since she does cost six mana and makes you have to survive to really start abusing
taking extra turns, I figured it was alright to include most of them. Note that this deck has exactly zero recursion, so even though Mystic Retrieval would
be quite powerful, I haven’t included it in order to try to be “that guy” as little as possible.

Library Manipulation

Since Narset is a “top matters” Commander, we need some ways to care about the top. Scroll Rack is the best way to do this, but we’ve got a couple other
tricks up our Jeskai sleeve. Yes we’re playing with Personal Tutor and its ilk, but it’s not like we’re tutoring up Ruination or such with it. Just big
cards to cast off our lovely lady.

Big Spells

Funnily enough, with all the ramp and lands you need to cast this monster in a timely fashion, combined with the aforementioned ways to abuse her and keep
her alive in combat, there are precious little slots remaining to actually have huge splashy cards to cast fo free. I’m sure there are some big
spells down the road in this block that will have to be included, but I’ve got a few in here already as placeholders. Others are just genuine Izzet
goodness. Have I mentioned how much I love Lightning Bolts and Brainstorms? Attacking into a 4/4, only to spin the wheel and flip Prophetic Bolt is my
absolute favorite things to do in Magic. You have no idea how much I wanted to include Ember Shot in this list. It harkens back to my first Limited format
where I had to attack a Windrider Eel wearing an Explorer’s Scope into a 3/3. You don’t truly feel alive until you almost aren’t.

I think that about does it, but where’s the actual list you say? Oh, here you go.

Narset, Enlightened Master
David McDarby
Test deck on 09-03-2014
Magic Card Back

There you have it. This looks like quite a bit of fun, and I might have to take a similar deck for a spin on the Commander VS series soon. Temur is going to have to have quite the Khan
to pull me away from The Jeskai Way. An especially fun card to play within this deck is Proteus Staff. Since your Commander is literally the only creature,
you get to stack your deck! I hear this commander in particular is good with that sort of effect. There’s always a downside though, and for this deck, it’s
tuck effects. Without your Commander in place, you can’t really do a lot. Kobolds with Swords most often won’t be getting there (but it will be hilariously
awesome if you do).

If you want to make this deck more combo-y, well these colors have ample ways to do so. A simple add would be Enter the Infinite with Beacon of Tomorrows
(yeah, have fun playing this deck again with the same people). Or since you’re red, you can turn all lands to Mountains or just simply blow them all up.

I can’t wait for more spoilers, and since this is a set with lots of multicolored cards in it, the power level is already looking to be higher than Theros
(not to mention the mechanics look far more strategy based, and not just slapping a guy onto a guy and creating an unstoppable monster).

While nothing will ever replace Melek in my heart, Narset does a good impersonation. She also allows you to cast noncreature spells for free, and I do love
smacking people upside the head with a creature that I would imagine just floats five mythical swords around her as she repeatedly wallops the opposing
mage into oblivion… How else could you use five swords?