Outside My Comfort Zone With Commander Mirko Vosk

Bennie steps outside of his comfort zone this week with a Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker Commander deck. Share your thoughts about his build in the comments!

For my final Commander treatment of the various legends from Dragon’s Maze, I decided to build a deck around Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker. I have to admit that he doesn’t really appeal to me as a commander, which is why I chose him. I think he’s obviously pretty powerful but really not my style, so this is an exercise in stepping outside my comfort zone.

To Protect and Serve

Writ of Passage; Lightning Greaves; Swiftfoot Boots; Nim Deathmantle; Trailblazer’s Boots; Whispersilk Cloak; Rogue’s Passage; Shizo, Death’s Storehouse

Magic creatures have come a long way baby, so a 2/4 for five mana feels pretty small and inconsequential, especially around a Commander table. We certainly want to make sure to protect him from the numerous ways there are for creatures to die in Commander, so cards like Swiftfoot Boots and Nim Deathmantle help. Given his special ability requires dealing combat damage, we also want cards to help him connect. Flying helps, but I also picked things like Writ of Passage, Trailblazer’s Boots, and Rogue’s Passage to make it even easier. The awesome Whispersilk Cloak helps on both fronts.

The Miller’s Tale

Bloodchief Ascension; Nihil Spellbomb; Duskmantle Guildmage; Mindcrank; Glimpse the Unthinkable; Praetor’s Grasp; Bitter Ordeal; Mind Funeral; Memory Erosion; Sword of Body and Mind; Fireshrieker; Induce Paranoia; Jester’s Cap; Whispering Madness; Consuming Aberration,; Archive Trap; Nemesis of Reason; Memory Jar; Psychic Spiral; Mind Grind; Nephalia Drownyard; Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

As soon as you reveal that Mirko Vosk is your commander, your opponents will know what your plan is so there’s no use in trying to hide it. There is a ton of milling options found throughout the history of Magic, so I tried to find what I thought were the most powerful in a game of Commander. After all, your opponents are all sporting 99-card decks, and some of them likely have an Eldrazi titan or two that just incidentally shuffles their graveyard back into their library and can easily undo a lot of hard work you may have done depleting their library.

To help with that, I included some cards that let you look through your opponent’s library and remove one or more cards from their deck: Praetor’s Grasp, Bitter Ordeal (especially nice after a board sweeper), and Jester’s Cap. A well-timed Nihil Spellbomb can help too. Fireshrieker lets you double-up Mirko Vosk’s triggered ability and is an easy include.

Even if you can’t necessarily mill someone to death, Bloodchief Ascension and Duskmantle Guildmage can turn your milling muscle into life loss that can suddenly kill someone from a totally different angle than they were expecting from you.

Mad Loot

Spoils of Evil; Necromancy; Memory Plunder; Lazav, Dimir Mastermind; Beacon of Unrest; Spelltwine; Geth, Lord of the Vault; Wrexial, the Risen Deep; Chancellor of the Spires; Diluvian Primordial; Sepulchral Primordial

One problem with being on a mill plan as a win condition is that it doesn’t actually kill anyone until you drain their libraries dry and they go to draw a card. You can work your butt off to get them down to just a handful of cards in their library, and they may still draw what they need to kill you or have your death right there on the board. So I thought it might be helpful to your survival to include many of black and blue’s ways to use other people’s graveyards as resources considering everyone’s graveyard should be well stocked by your milling along with the general progress of the game.

I’m particularly looking forward to seeing what crazy combo I might be able to assemble with Spelltwine or Diluvian Primordial, along with what insane creature I might be able to transform Lazav, Dimir Mastermind into—having a Seedborn Muse with hexproof seems pretty good, no? Or how about having a hexproof Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre as a consolation prize for your opponent shuffling their graveyard back into his deck?

Uncomfortable Control

Arcane Denial, Remand, Cyclonic Rift, Oblivion Stone, Sudden Spoiling, Cryptic Command, Damnation, No Mercy, Tawnos’s Coffin, Hellfire, Life’s Finale, Time Stop, Decree of Pain

Going with the mill plan against 99-card decks obviously means I’ve got to play towards the long game and figure out ways to survive that long, and while I’ve played my share of sweepers and a smattering of other "control" cards, I think this deck demands a bigger dedication to control than I’m used to. Of course, black and blue offer plenty of options in that regard, so I’ve tried to pick the best multiplayer options available. I’ll need to remember to be stingy with my control cards and only use them to keep me alive or to win temporary allies. I don’t really have much myself in terms of graveyard recursion, so I’ll need to be extra careful when and where I use them.

With these guiding principles, this is what I’ve cooked up with Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker:

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pull off milling the entire table and winning that way, but I think I can easily kill one or two people at the table by milling and then kill one or two others on the strength of some of the other cards in the deck. I actually feel good about the balance between cards that stick to the mill plan and cards that are just powerful things to do in a game of Commander.

Since this is quite a departure from what most people—including myself—would consider a Bennie-style deck, I’m even more curious to hear your thoughts on the deck. What do you like, and what don’t you like? What must-includes have I overlooked?

I also have an update to the article I wrote about my son’s first game of Magic. This past weekend my daughter stayed with her mom to study since she’s in the middle of her very first battery of final exams (she’s in 6th grade), so I got some more father/son time with Aaron. We went to go see After Earth, which featured father/son actors playing father and son in a sci-fi action/adventure movie. Seemed like the perfect father/son movie to go see, and we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Afterward, I tried to convince him to play some more Magic with me, but he had other ideas. He’s been watching Yu-Gi-Oh! on TV and really loves the show, and he’d picked up some random booster packs and has been dying to learn how to play. Since I’m the gaming parent, it has fallen to me to teach him to play, so we ran out, picked up two starter decks, and went about learning to play the game.

It brought back some memories of trying to learn Magic way back in the day, when my friend Scott and I learned to play strictly from reading the rules. We got so much wrong, but we had fun playing wrong until we found someone who knew the rules better to help us play correctly. Aaron and I played a couple games of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and I’m fairly certain we were screwing up left and right, though his knowledge of the show helped us with a few things.

One thing that was amusing was that Aaron wanted to play the water-themed deck so I played the other one. It was fire-themed, and as I played it became clear that many of the cards involved sacrificing creatures and then bringing them back out of the graveyard for funky combos. In other words, I somehow got handed the Golgari of Yu-Gi-Oh! decks…

Before I go, I want to give a shout-out to my friend MJ Scott, who wrote a great column this week about building a Commander deck inspired by her family heritage. It’s funny, it’s thought provoking, and it features a sweet mono-white deck built around Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker. She asked me for some ideas while building the deck, so you might recognize some Bennie-style cards in there, but it’s another deck that’s a bit outside of my comfort zone. It was such an interesting thought exercise to think about how to best utilize Michiko Konda that it’s inspired me to build one of my own, so be sure to check out her column!

Take care,


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