Tempests And Teapots

As much as Bennie Smith is a fan of green and black cards, he just couldn’t resist testing his prowess at Jeskai! See the tempestuous results of his Jeskai Commander work!

To be honest, when Fate Reforged came out, Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest was the one I was interested in building a Commander deck around least of all the
other legends in the set. He has no green in his color identity, so that was strike one. He had no black in his color identity, so that was strike two.
He’s also rather small, and his abilities push towards stacking the deck with a lot of non-creature spells, and if there’s one thing I love the most in
Magic, it’s creatures, so that was strike three.

But as my mind, so quick to judge, started shutting the door on Shu Yun’s possibilities, the quote on Jeskai Sage stopped me in my tracks:

“The one who conquers the mind is greater than the one who conquers the world.”

Yes, Shu Yun isn’t really in my wheelhouse… but that very reason makes it a valuable exercise to build and play a deck outside my comfort zone. Thinking
outside the box – a box of my own making, crafted by my biases and comfort level – can make me a stronger deckbuilder and Magic player.

Yes… let me smash that box, step outside, and conquer my mind. What lessons can I learn from Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest?

Prowess Triggers

Brainstorm, Quicken, Searing Touch, Seething Anger, Whim of Volrath, Whispers of the Muse, Sensei’s Divining Top, Skullclamp, Basilisk Collar, Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Allay, Shattering Pulse, Remand, Arcane Denial, Ephemeral Shields, Jeskai Ascendancy, Reiterate, Turnabout, Cryptic Command, Stoke the Flames, Return To The Ranks

The first thing we want to do is to have plenty of ways to fire off Shu Yun’s abilities, and first on the list is prowess. This ability looks innocuous on
paper, but if you’ve played any Limited or Standard since Khans of Tarkir released, you are likely very aware at how quickly creatures with
prowess can grow to lethal size. While taking one opponent out with a fast and furious flurry of blows works fine in a tournament setting, when you’re
sitting down to a table with multiple opponents who start at 40 life, you need to make sure you have the stamina to take your aggression long. Luckily, in
Commander we have quite a deep card pool to find spells that can keep us flush with prowess triggers.

The first thing to look for are cantrips, spells that replace themselves so you’re getting a prowess trigger without costing you a card. We certainly see
some of those being used in Standard Jeskai builds, but in Commander we can make use of powerhouse cards like Brainstorm, Remand, and Cryptic Command.

Next up are buyback spells, which can be burned off cheaply if you need the effect or prowess trigger, but what you’d prefer is to pay the extra mana and
put the spell back in your hand. With cantrip spells you can sometimes “whiff” on them by just drawing lands or creatures, but with a buyback spell you can
ensure you always have something to cast that will trigger prowess. Allay and Shattering Pulse are some of the best buyback spells in Commander since they
can give you some great repeatable removal spells for enchantments and artifacts, and are instants so you can catch someone with prowess triggers if they
aren’t paying attention. Even though it’s a sorcery so you can’t very well surprise someone with it, I like Seething Anger since it’s relatively cheap and
gives a large power boost (along with the prowess trigger), which combines with Shu Yun’s double strike ability quite nicely.

We’ve all seen the insanity that Jeskai Ascendancy can pull off. Practicing resolving Ascendancy triggers will be a good learning experience.

Prowess Triggers

Monastery Swiftspear, Jeskai Elder, Jeskai Sage, Seeker Of The Way , Monastery Mentor, Mistfire Adept, Dragon-Style Twins, Sage-Eye Avengers, Pearl Lake Ancient

With Shu Yun as our commander we should nearly always have a creature out there with prowess, but it’s always a good idea to spread things around and not
necessarily put all your eggs in one basket. We can pretty easily port over some prowess all-stars from Standard: Monastery Swiftspear, Seeker of the Way,
and Monastery Mentor. While these guys can get outclassed pretty quickly against many of the monsters that roam the Commander countryside, Shu Yun’s
ability to give them double strike helps to keep them relevant. Mistfire Adept, Dragon-Style Twins, and Sage-Eye Avengers are great Limited cards that can
do some good work in the multiplayer arena. Pearl Lake Ancient is a big beat stick that’s pretty hard to kill that can get downright silly with double
strike and prowess triggers.

Double Strike

Paradise Mantle, Hero’s Blade, Braid of Fire, Soulbright Flamekin, Gold Myr, Iron Myr, Aggravated Assault, Sword of Feast and Famine, Scuttlemutt,
Fatal Frenzy, Sunforger, Fatestitcher, Mana Geyser, Tidewater Minion; Homura, Human Ascendant; Balduvian Rage

Shu Yun’s double strike ability works deceptively well on himself as a commander-one prowess trigger and one double strike activation means he can hit
someone for eight points of damage, which will kill someone with Commander damage in three hits. That’s perfectly respectable for a Commander card, and we
can do better! If you haven’t already stocked up on the new Hero’s Blade, I’d buy a few because this is a staple card that goes right in any Commander deck
where you’ll actually play your commander and have a chance to engage in combat with it. Hero’s Blade is particularly sweet in Shu Yun because the added
power hits twice as hard with the double strike activation, and it fits the mana curve perfectly: turn 2 Hero’s Blade, turn 3 Shu Yun, and equip for free.
With one prowess trigger and a double strike activation, Shu Yun is hitting for fourteen. As a human monk Homura, Human Ascendant fits thematically into
Shu Yun’s Jeskai deck, but his flipped enchantment form is particularly nice at boosting all the relatively small prowess dudes, and the firebreathing
dovetails nicely with double strike with enough extra mana floating around. You just have to figure out a way to kill him first!

Now, if you want to cast a spell with buyback and activate Shu Yun’s double strike ability… we’re talking a fair amount of mana needed for those
shenanigans over and above casting any creature spells you draw. White, red, and blue aren’t exactly known for producing mana, so I got a little creative,
starting with the artifact creatures Gold Myr, Iron Myr, and Scuttlemutt and then branching out a bit with Fatestitcher and Tidewater Minion, which can
produce mana by untapping lands. Soulbright Flamekin does a nifty job of converting six mana into eight red mana (which conveniently can power Shu Yun’s
double strike ability) while providing a bunch of trample abilities.

Mana Geyser can provide a nice flush of red mana if your opponents cooperate by tapping their lands for mana during their turns. If there are at least
seven tapped lands and you’ve got Reiterate in hand as well as enough mana to cast it, you can generate infinite red mana by putting Mana Geyser on the
stack, copying it with Reiterate with buyback, getting back Reiterate, and then using six of the mana to cast Reiterate with buyback again and again. Note
that this also nets you infinite prowess triggers too. This requires eleven mana to get the party started, which is quite a bit, but it’s Commander and
it’s entirely possible the game lasts that long. There’s no way to purposely assemble this combo, but it’s nice to have in the deck in case you need a big
haymaker to take down the table.

Oh, the Humanity!

Champion of the Parish, Avacyn’s Collar, Silver-Inlaid Dagger, Norin the Wary, Jushi Apprentice, Humble Defector, Soulfire Grand Master, Captain of the Mists, Devout Chaplain, Daring Thief; Jeska, Warrior Adept; Angel of Glory’s Rise

Looking at Shu Yun’s creature type, there’s not much we can do specifically with monks, but we can take advantage of him being human (as well as many of
the other prowess creatures). Avacyn’s Collar and Silver-Inlaid Dagger are pretty sweet when equipped to humans, so I’ve slipped in some other H=humans
that I think fit into the deck pretty well. Soulfire Grand Master is obviously pretty sweet when you’ve got a bunch of cheap spells to trigger prowess if
you’ve got enough mana lying around. And if you’ve got Jeskai Ascendancy out, along with enough creatures that can tap to produce mana… well, we can go
infinite again.

Jushi Apprentice and Humble Defector are humans that can help you draw some cards, and Daring Thief can arrange some nice trades. Jeska, Warrior Adept is
probably more Mardu or Temur in style, but her name is so close to Jeskai I kinda want her in the mix with her hasty human self, especially with her tap
ability that can get a workout with Jeskai Ascendancy if we chain together some non-creature spells.

Norin the Wary is a human and can provide a steady stream of triggers for Champion of the Parish to grow large or for Captain of the Mists to tap or untap
stuff. I went ahead and tossed Purphoros into the mix to go nuts with Norin the Wary too.

Okay, grasshopper-here’s what I’ve cooked up:

Shu Yun, The Silent Tempest
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 02-06-2015
Magic Card Back

37 is a little lighter than I normally run on mana-producing lands, but I’ve leaned quite heavily on the low end of the mana curve to better be able to
trigger prowess early and often. I’ve also made sure to steer clear of lands that don’t produce colored mana, so I’ve got plenty of colored mana to fuel
Shu Yun’s double strike ability. I made an exception with Homeward Path so I can get back Humble Defector or something traded away with Daring Thief if
need be. I also fit in a Winding Canyons to hopefully be able to say aloud, “I give my Soulfire Grand Master flash.” It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes
me wonder how I keep from going under.

I thought Opposition would be a nice way to provide some defense with my little dudes if I found myself light on spells to trigger prowess for a few turns,
and it can also tap down blockers if I need an opening to one-shot someone with a pumped up Shu Yun.

So, that’s my Jeskai Commander deck. I think it turned out pretty decent, but I’m certainly open to suggestions from others who may have gone down this
path already. Do you know of any cards that can improve the concept?

Wax on, wax off.

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)