MTG Commander Deep Dive: Wayta, Trainer Prodigy

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has a commander who’s Dino-mite in a fight! Bennie Smith takes an MTG Commander Deep Dive into Wayta, Trainer Prodigy.

Wayta, Trainer Prodigy
Wayta, Trainer Prodigy, illustrated by Magali Villeneuve

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Commander has some fantastic new cards for our favorite format, and those precon decks have been flying off the shelves!  I’ve been trying to snag a copy of the delightfully named Veloci-Ramp-Tor since release without any luck, but thankfully I’m able to snag singles from the deck that I need, and one legendary creature I definitely need is Wayta, Trainer Prodigy, which is pretty cheap to pick up right now.

Wayta, Trainer Prodigy

I love the name, and I’ll be saying “Way-ta smack ’em!” every time I see it activated whether I’m doing it or someone else is. I’m definitely going to build this eventually! Brash Taunter is one of my all-time favorite Magic cards, so having a commander that makes it even better, and the Naya color identity with a ton of ways to go find Brash Taunter, is truly exciting. 

Release Notes

Let’s take a look at the release notes on Wayta so that there’s no confusion on how this sweet card operates:

Wayta, Trainer Prodigy’s last ability affects only triggered abilities whose trigger conditions refer specifically to damage being dealt, such as the ability granted by Mephidross Vampire or the last ability of Wrathful Raptors. It does not affect triggered abilities that would trigger because of the results of that damage. For example, if you control an Ajani’s Pridemate (“Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on Ajani’s Pridemate”) and you activate Wayta, Trainer Prodigy’s second ability targeting a creature you control with lifelink and another creature you control, the triggered ability of Ajani’s Pridemate will still trigger only once.

Wayta, Trainer Prodigy’s last ability doesn’t copy the triggered ability; it just causes the ability to trigger twice. Any choices made as you put the ability onto the stack, such as modes and targets, are made separately for each instance of the ability. Any choices made on resolution, such as whether to put counters on a permanent, are also made individually.

If you somehow control two copies of Wayta, Trainer Prodigy, a creature you control being dealt damage causes abilities to trigger three times, not four. A third Wayta, Trainer Prodigy causes abilities to trigger four times, a fourth causes abilities to trigger five times, and so on.

Making the Most of Wayta

To maximize Wayta’s potential, you’ll want to have two of your own creatures fighting and each of them have some sort of ability that triggers from it being dealt damage. This will cost just one mana for Wayta to activate, and you’ll get four beneficial triggers. But even the floor of just using Wayta to fight an opposing creature is good enough to be a removal spell if your fighter has enough power to deal lethal damage.

Let’s jump into the ring and see the Way-Ta go with this deck!

Fighting for Profit

Neyith of the Dire Hunt

I was hoping to find more cards that care about specifically fighting, but the only thing I ran across is Neyith of the Dire Hunt. That’s okay, since Wayta is our commander, so we can reliably count on having the card. Neyith certainly deserves a slot in the 99, providing an excellent source of extra card draw along the way. 

Taking Damage for Profit

Donna Noble Brash Taunter Stuffy Doll Hornet Nest Boros Reckoner Vrondiss, Rage of Ancients Ill-Tempered Loner Spitemare Flumph Truefire Captain Metropolis Reformer Gideon's Sacrifice Druid's Call Saber Ants

Here we’ve got Brash Taunter, and its spiritual predecessor Stuffy Doll. Wayta can arrange a fight between one of these and the biggest creature on the battlefield, and have that damage reflected back to an opponent, twice!  Donna Noble’s soulbond ability can provide that effect for any of your creatures, or you can double up on Brash Taunter or Stuffy Doll.  Truefire Captain can do a similar thing, but with three toughness it will often just be a one-shot deal unless you can boost its toughness or give it indestructible. Keep in mind, indestructible doesn’t prevent damage; it just means that lethal damage doesn’t destroy a creature with indestructible (which is why Brash Taunter and its ilk work).

Boros Reckoner, Ill-Tempered Loner, and Spitemare all let you deal damage to any target when they take damage, but again with that three toughness they’ll need some help surviving a fight with a larger creature.

Hornet Nest, Saber Ants, and a creature enchanted with Druid’s Call will generate token creatures when dealt damage, so they can make a good matchup for fighting something huge. And if you’ve ever been looking for a deck to play Flumph in, well this is the one!  Even small fights are worth it if it keeps Flumph around each turn, giving you and an ally some extra cards.

Dinosaur Synergies

Wrathful Raptors Apex Altisaur Ranging Raptors Ripjaw Raptor Cacophodon Bellowing Aegisaur Polyraptor Trapjaw Tyrant Needletooth Raptor Temple Altisaur Forerunner of the Empire Sun-Crowned Hunters Imperial Ceratops

The enrage mechanic present on so many Dinosaurs make them the perfect creatures to round out the deck, and having one of them fight your own Brash Taunter is going to feel amazing. Apex Altisaur’s enrage trigger fighting Brash Taunter up to ten times with Wayta on the battlefield is likely going to end all games that haven’t involved infinite life gain.

Then we have Wrathful Raptors, which turns any Dinosaur into a Spitemare! I’m just imagining Wayta setting up a fight between Ripjaw Raptor and Bellowing Aegisaur with Wrathful Raptors on the battlefield. That makes two cards drawn, two +1/+1 counters on each other creature you control, four damage twice to any target, and three damage twice to any target.  Boom!

More Fighting

Ulvenwald Tracker Tail Swipe Dromoka's Command Savage Stomp Bushwhack Primal Might Gimli's Reckless Might

Wayta might end up dying at inopportune times, so we’ll likely want some other ways to trigger a fight, such as the Dinosaur-centric Savage Stomp. I also really love the flexible utility built into Dromoka’s Command. I’m looking forward to picking up some copies of Gimli’s Reckless Might from the new edition of Tales of Middle-earth Commander cards to put in some decks, and it seems great here; giving your other creatures besides Wayta haste is awesome when you’ve got a bunch of Dinosaurs, and it should be relatively easy to satisfy the formidable trigger and fight something.

Other Ways to Damage Your Creatures

Marauding Raptor Raging Swordtooth Blasphemous Act Star of Extinction Chandra's Ignition Deafening Clarion Powerstone Minefield

A few Dinosaurs like Raging Swordtooth are great for triggering enrage, and mass damage spells like Blasphemous Act are awesome with something like Brash Taunter or Wrathful Raptors on the battlefield. I really like Deafening Clarion too, since three damage won’t kill many of your creatures – Wayta survives it – and the lifelink is likely gaining you a bunch of life if damage is flying around.

How awesome is it that we can dust off a weirdo enchantment from the old expansion Apocalypse with Powerstone Minefield? Most enrage Dinosaurs will easily survive the two damage, and the enchantment will make it very awkward for many of your opponents’ creatures to attack or block. This is a classic from old Bulk Rare boxes from the early days of EDH.

Untapping Wayta

Seedborn Muse Drumbellower Samut, Voice of Dissent Thousand-Year Elixir Saryth, the Viper's Fang Patriar's Seal Halo Fountain

While Wayta is capable of doing awesome things just with one activation, Commander is the format of Doing Even Bigger Things, so let’s untap Wayta and run it back again, and maybe again!  Seedborn Muse and Drumbellower will let Wayta activate during each player’s turn, while cards like Thousand-Year Elixir and Samut, Voice of Dissent will let you untap Wayta once during your or another player’s turn.

Halo Fountain’s “ultimate” is going to be difficult to leverage in this sort of three-color deck, but the first two abilities are still going to be useful for your gameplan.  And if you find yourself regularly having fifteen creatures you can potentially tap down in games with your Wayta deck, find a slot for Skyshroud Elf to help make all that white mana and live the dream!


Boromir, Warden of the Tower Selfless Spirit Boros Charm Heroic Intervention Flawless Maneuver Tamiyo's Safekeeping Shielded by Faith

If you’ve been reading me this year, you’ll know that this deck is the perfect home for Boromir, Warden of the Tower. Giving your entire team indestructible so it can survive a Star of Extinction is going to win games, so it’s definitely worth putting several of those effects in your list. I might even play Tamiyo’s Safekeeping and Shielded by Faith to protect a key creature you want to fight with using Wayta’s ability.

Make Big

Blackblade Reforged Zopandrel, Hunger Dominus Unnatural Growth Colossification Giant Inheritance Mossbridge Troll

To kill opposing creatures more easily with Wayta or maximize the damage you can do to Brash Taunter, we might consider ways to make your own creatures big.  I’m a huge fan of Colossification, and even though the enchanted creature becomes tapped, you can still fight with it!  And if we’re playing ways to untap your own creatures, you can potentially attack with that creature right away. I also really like Giant Inheritance and have been looking for decks to slot it in. The card feels really pushed in power level and deserves a slot in a lot more decks than it is so far.

Mossbridge Troll does awesome work in my Grothama, the All-Devouring deck, and I think it’ll be another all-star in this deck too. It should be relatively easy to tap enough other creatures to add up to ten power, so the Troll gets +20/+20, and then fighting Brash Taunter with Wayta on the battlefield?  That’s some serious damage to somebody’s life total!

Make Small

Reprobation Humble Kenrith's Transformation Lignify

Since Wayta is Naya, we have access to some cards that can make even the burliest of an opponent’s creatures into something small and squishy that will die to a fight. They key is looking for cards that make the creature lose all abilities, negating things like indestructible. Most of these effects are in blue, but white and green have a few.

What cards do you think I’ve overlooked for the deck?  Which cards from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Commander are you most looking forward to playing in your decks?

Talk to Me

Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter!  I run polls and start conversations about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!  You can also find my LinkTree on my profile page there with links to all my content.

I’d also love it if you followed my Twitch channel TheCompleteCommander, where I do Commander, Brawl, and sometimes other Magic-related streams when I can.  If you can’t join me live, the videos are available on demand for a few weeks on Twitch, but I also upload them to my YouTube channel.  You can also find the lists for my paper decks over on Archidekt if you want to dig into how I put together my own decks and brews. 

And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy. 

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