The Kitchen Table: Random Commander #2

What random commander will Abe be forced to build a Commander deck around this time? Read on to find out and be sure to post suggestions for next time!

Have you ever wondered if you could build a Commander deck around a random legendary creature? What would happen if you flipped over something really random like Atalya, Samite Master? How would you handle it?

I love the idea of getting a random result and being forced to figure out a way to make it work. Let’s do it!

So I hit Gatherer. Then I smash the "random card" button until a legal legendary creature arrives. And I must build around it no matter what. The last time I did this project I wound up hitting the button for an eternity before I got a random commander. This time I expect the same. But it doesn’t happen. Here are the random cards I get:

Steadfast Guard Swamp Yomiji, Who Bars the Way

Well, there you go then! We have to build a Yomiji deck.

The good thing about a Yomiji deck is that there is little flexibility. It has to be mono-white and include a reasonable number of legendary stuff. That’s it! Sweet and simple. So let’s build a deck that should suffice.

And there’s our random deck!

To begin with I pushed a lot of legendary permanents so that they’ll work with Yomiji’s ability. Our good spirit Leader is sort of a legendary mana-free Sigil of the New Dawn. I know, I know. But it’s still a fun theme!

The very first place I went was the Oath Brothers. This trio of main characters from Portal: Three Kingdoms gave a Peach Garden Oath to support each other for their entire lives and protect the Han Dynasty against the Yellow Scarves Troops and their rebellion. That seemed like a fun centerpiece for the deck. I also added in one of the Tiger Generals with Zhao Zilong. (In addition to Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, the other two Tiger Generals of Liu Bei were Ma Chao, Western Warrior and Huang Zhong, Shu General). Finally, Kongming served as the military advisor and strategist for Liu Bei and was his greatest asset. So I included all of those characters to fit in the shell of Yomiji.

I stayed clear of the other strategist, Pang Tong, "Young Phoenix" or Huang Zhong. I just wanted the core characters of Liu Bei, his Oath Brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, another Tiger General in Zhao Zilong, and finally Kongming to bring them all together.

Once I included those characters from the Three Kingdoms set, I moved on. I looked for high quality legendary dorks, and in jumped obvious choices like Akroma, Reya and Avacyn. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Crovax Ascendant help out the team while hurting others, so they were added.

I love Lieutenant Kirtar here. Sacrifice him to exile an attacker and he goes right back to your hand for another go under the Yomiji engine. Drop our good Bird friend again for just three mana to keep up the pressure. While not a sacrifice engine, Mikaeus, the Lunarch can be used up and then reloaded with a subsequent play. Between him, Kongming, Crovax, and Elesh Norn, we’re pushing a pump theme, and I’ll embrace that further in a bit.

More defensive cards were included. In went Commander Eesha; Eight-and-a-Half-Tails; and Cho-Manno, Revolutionary. They give us cheap legendary bodies. We can’t have everyone costing Avacyn levels of mana! I’m also running Heliod, God of the Sun because this deck should have an easy path to devotion. Konda, Lord of Eiganjo has always brought his A game when I’ve played him, so I’m happy to give him another run.

I like Jareth, Leonine Titan. Because of how much white mana is included in his cost, I suspect you don’t see a lot of him today, but he’s very flexible. Again, he has a good size, and his abilities are prone to either an aggressive or defensive role. He’s also really hard to take out when you have a bit of mana untapped. In a white deck like this one, we dig and uncover some forgotten gems like Jareth.

Yosei, the Morning Star is no forgotten gem. And with a death trigger, when Yosei dies we can trigger the tapping and also return it to our hand for another go. Thanks Yomiji!

The next place I explored was legendary creature enablers. While I skipped past some (like Sword of the Chosen), a few options were too explosive to pass up. Consider Heroes’ Podium. Not only does it allow you to pump your team, but you can pseudo-draw a legendary creature every so often with its tap ability. The deck has twenty non-commander legendary creatures. That gives us a good chance of hitting with the Podium.

While Day of Destiny was an easy selection as well, enablers like it and the Podium are also legendary. So if someone destroys them when we have Yomiji running around, they return to our hand ready to drop again and thus give the deck a strong current of resiliency.

And that current continues into a wave! I added in Umezawa’s Jitte for that very reason. I did the same with Akroma’s Memorial and Spear of Heliod. These give Yomiji noncreature ways to recur things to our hand.

Sick of blue having all of the fun with Mindslaver? I mean, hey, with Academy Ruins it would sac the Mindslaver, restock it, replay it, and then sac it again and again. Well, now you can skip the land and just use the mana-free notions of Yomiji. I’ll bar the way to death and force you back on the battlefield after a quick rest stop in my hand!

And that’s not all—we have six legendary lands that can be brought back. Consider the nastiness of Dark Depths. In addition to getting an incredibly large Marit Lage by pulling off the counters, we get the land back too? That’s awesome! Now when Marit Lage is invariably answered by anything from Swords to Plowshares through Gild, you have begun the process of producing another threat.

Remember that we have Eiganjo Castle; Kor Haven; Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx; Miren, the Moaning Well; and Flagstones of Trokair to run as well. Miren introduces a new theme to the deck: sacrifice outlets. Because of our commander, it seems suitable to run a few sacrifice effects here and there. We have Spawning Pit to make more creatures, Carnage Altar to draw cards, Helm of Possession to sacrifice one creature in order to steal a better one, and Trading Post to churn both artifacts and creatures into better resources.

After that it was simple to begin to wrap the deck up. We needed mana fixing. I included the typical Sol Ring, Everflowing Chalice, and Dreamstone Hedron along with Solemn Simulacrum and Armillary Sphere. I also felt that Eternal Dragon was a good choice for the deck along with Kor Cartographer. Finally, Weathered Wayfarer screamed for a slot. I haven’t run it in a while, and this deck’s mana needs is a good fit for what our Wayfarer friend brings to the table. Because I’m running him, I also added both cycling lands (in order to tutor for a cycling land and thus turn the Wayfarer into a bit of a card draw engine).

Like the Wayfarer, I wanted some cheaper stuff to fill my needs. Mother of Runes is a great early drop for a deck like this, as is the self-replacing Wall of Omens. Kor Sanctifiers filled a nice removal niche.

Speaking of which, removal was the next place I peered. This deck was crying out loudly for Mass Calcify. After that I wanted two more mass removal spells: Martial Coup and Fated Retribution. The scry should prove quite useful in this deck. Then some exiling removal was added so we can handle stuff. That’s what white’s pinpoint removal is known for, and I didn’t want to upset the fans! In went Crib Swap, Path to Exile, and Swords to Plowshares. I also have a tuck spell in Unexpectedly Absent and a brilliant way to handle a problematic Commander in Darksteel Mutation.

I wanted Marshal’s Anthem to give the deck a late game blowout card, post-mass removal option, or early game Glorious Anthem, whatever’s needed. That sort of flexibility wins games. I wrapped up the deck with suitable cards and tricks like Staff of Nin; Emeria, the Sky Run; Brave the Elements; Decree of Justice; and Lightning Greaves.

And the deck was done!

I want to thank Yomiji for barring the way and always keeping things real.

These random deck projects are always a blast because I’m forced to build around such an unusual idea.

I hope that you enjoyed it.

I have an idea. What would be the hardest legendary creature to build around? Let me know and I’ll try to build a deck around someone you mention that’s a real stinker.