Official preview season for Adventures in the Forgotten Realms will be starting soon, so next week I’ll be shifting gears to do deep dives on the new crop of cool legends we’ll be seeing in that set, but I didn’t want to close the book on Modern Horizons 2 without seeing what’s cooking with Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar!
One of the big advantages of still being a written content creator in the modern world is that I don’t need to actually try to say the name Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. I can just type Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. In fact, I can copy and paste the name Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar with barely a pause in my typing. But if you want to build a deck with Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar and you want to know how to say the full name Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar, here’s a handy video to help you with that:
When I first saw this card, I thought it was neat—a creature that can’t actually be cast through normal means but needs some special condition to unlock. Leaving out a casting cost in the upper right corner actually added enough card real estate to be able to cram the full name Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. In some ways it reminds me of Rakdos, Lord of Riots.
With I considered what sort of deck would run this card as its commander, my initial thought was “discard” which isn’t a strategy I find enjoyable in Commander. But what if I looked at discarding for profit that only affects me? And that’s when it occurred to me: cycling discards a card for profit! Once I had that thought, I was off to the races.
Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar has two interesting abilities. The first is an enters-the-battlefield trigger which searches your library for a card named The Underworld Cookbook.
This little artifact bridges both sides of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar by being a discard outlet for zero mana that also makes Food tokens, and once you get two or more Food tokens Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar’s activated ability comes online. Let’s read the release notes on that ability for clarification on how it works:
The target creature of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar’s last ability is the source of the damage, not Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar itself. If the creature has deathtouch or lifelink, both will apply to the damage it deals to itself.
But wait, there’s more! If you’re done making Food tokens – or an opponent destroys it – for four mana you can tap it and sacrifice it to return a target creature card from your graveyard to your hand. Maybe something like a Myr Retriever?
All right, let’s get cooking!
For me, the first order of business is a good number of cycling lands and I would probably count half of them as land slots and half as spell slots since you don’t necessarily want to miss out on land drops in the early-game just to cast your commander. Cards that cycle for just one mana are at a premium because you want to have enough mana to cast your commander even if there’s some tax tacked on.
Next up you’ll want to add in other cycling cards. There are old-school cycling spells like Decree of Pain and Starstorm, newer cycling spells from Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation like Sweltering Suns and Razaketh’s Rite, and even fresh cycling spells from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths like Footfall Crater. I really like the spells such as Without Weakness or Brand that are primarily here for cycling but have niche effects that will occasionally be amazing.
There are also some sweet cycling creatures we can include in the mix. I really like Undead Gladiator here since it cycles, but you can also discard a card to bring it back to your hand, so both sides can help enable the casting of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. I’m also a big fan of Yidaro, Wandering Monster (even better if you have the Godzilla series version Godzilla, Doom Inevitable) since it keeps shuffling back into your deck and slowly increasing the density of cycling cards—and if you draw it late-game it can just be an 8/8 trampler with haste for seven mana.
There are a lot of cards that let you discard for some effect that we can put into our Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar deck, and I’ve pulled together a list of some of the best or coolest ones above. I usually put Phyrexian Reclamation in my decks over Tortured Existence, but Tortured Existence does some good work in this deck by being a discard outlet and being quite cheap to activate. Skirge Familiar is an old-school card that has been recently reprinted in Modern Horizons 2, and you can discard a card to generate a black mana, which happens to be enough to cast Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar. I also think Squee, Goblin Nabob in here as a card you can discard for profit and get back during your upkeep to discard again, while in a pinch can be a chump blocker if you need it.
Another way to discard for profit are to use Spellshaper creatures that have spell-like effects attached to them. Jaya Ballard, Task Mage offers a Swiss Army knife of potential abilities, and even the very narrow blue-card-destroying ability is going to often be good—wouldn’t you discard a card to remove Rhystic Study? Heck yeah, I’ll pay the one—one red mana for Jaya to blow that card away!
I’ve been feeling high on Hammer Mage these days as Commander players seem to be more and more leaning a bit too heavy on cheap artifact mana alongside a proliferation of cards that make lots of Treasure tokens. Three mana to blow up all Treasures, Mana Crypts, Mana Vaults, Sol Rings and Signets sounds well worth a discarded card.
Cares About Cycling / Discarding
Another huge upside to building a deck around Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar is getting able to play both Bone Miser and Surly Badgersaur at the height of their powers. Cycle a land card and get two black mana and a Treasure? Yes please! And if you get to pop off Magus of the Wheel with both of these on the battlefield? That is a feast for the history books!
The madness mechanic is another way to squeeze value out of self-discard strategies. I love that we finally got a red version of Basking Rootwalla in Blazing Rootwalla to go alongside Reckless Wurm, the red version of Arrogant Wurm. Archfiend of Spite is going to be a nasty surprise blocker if someone is charging in with a giant creature that doesn’t have trample and you have an instant-speed way to discard a card.
Since Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar likes to have a lot of Food around to use as creature removal, it behooves us to have a bunch of other ways to make Food to go along with The Underworld Cookbook. I really like Witch’s Oven here since it can keep making Food from any creatures that might be dying otherwise. Academy Manufactor doesn’t make extra Food, but it does bring along a Clue and a Treasure for each Food, which will be quite helpful!
Your opponents will likely be incentivized to destroy The Underworld Cookbook once you get things going with it, so you’ll probably want to have some ways to shuffle it from the graveyard back into the library to be fetched again by Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar.
Since you’re making a lot of Food tokens, one angle you might want to lean into are artifact synergies. If you’ve paid attention to Modern with the release of Modern Horizons 2 you may have seen the Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar deck and seen the crazy synergy between Ovalchase Daredevil and The Underworld Cookbook, so you’d at the very least want that card in this deck. But with extra artifact synergies you can make use of Food to power up Inspiring Statuary, Trading Post, Kuldotha Forgemaster, and Clock of Omens. If you’ve got a way to boost the power of Marionette Master, you can make sacrificing Food into a win condition!
Another approach to an Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar deck would be a reanimation element. Discard some gigantic monster like Etali, Primal Storm; Myr Battlesphere; Vilis, Broker of Blood; Grave Titan; or Wurmcoil Engine and use any number of great reanimation spells to put it on the battlefield ahead of time. You can even just copy it with the activated ability of Feldon of the Third Path. Blood for Bones is another interesting choice since you can reanimate a big creature directly to the battlefield while bringing a smaller creature to your hand that you can cast later—or maybe a creature with cycling.
What do you think? Are there any other cards you think would play great alongside Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar? And are you able to actually say Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar out loud?
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And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy.
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