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Exploring Tajic In Commander

Boros has gotten a ton of press as being a dangerously powerful guild! But we’re not talking about Limited or Standard here! Bennie wants to talk about the ways to push this often maligned color combo to the top of Commander!

I hope that everyone had a good time at the
Guilds of Ravnica
prerelease tournament this past weekend? I was stoked to pick up my
pre-order box but I’m sad to report that I opened zero copies of Assassin’s
Trophy. I had specifically requested a box with at least five copies of the
rare included but somehow my instructions were ignored. However, there was
a kid whose mom paid for him to play in our local game store’s midnight
prerelease, and he opened up a copy of Assassin’s Trophy. After the
tournament, he traded it for entry into the Saturday noon prerelease, which
I was playing in. Of course, he opened up another Assassin’s Trophy.
Despite picking Golgari, I did not open an Assassin’s Trophy, so I offered
to pay for the kid’s entry into the 4:30 prerelease in exchange for his
Assassin’s Trophy. Once the noon prerelease was done, he got his two bonus
Guilds of Ravnica
packs, cracked them open… and got another Assassin’s Trophy. I told him
he’d probably open a foil Assassin’s Trophy at the 4:30 prerelease.

I mean, I’m a little miffed the Magic gods of Golgari gave their favor to
someone else, but hey-letting a teen free roll prereleases all weekend
wasn’t a bad thing to lose to.

On the flip side, Wendy and I seemed to be on a Niv-Mizzet, Parun kick the
whole weekend. We opened one in the box, she opened one in her Izzet
prerelease pack, and I opened one in my prerelease bonus packs. We also
played some MTG Arena this weekend and opened two copies in our virtual Guilds of Ravnica packs. Maybe
the super-cool dragon was pleased at my Commander write-up
a couple weeks back?

I’m really excited about one of the new Boros legends we have available to
build new Commander decks around, and that’s Tajic, Legion’s Edge!

The first time we saw this character was Tajic, Blade of the Legion. That
version was built to support the Boros mechanic battalion, which wants to
attack with other creatures to get a benefit. Being indestructible is quite
sweet as well, and makes for a decent Voltron-style Commander.

Tajic, Legion’s Edge misses being indestructible and is considerably more
vulnerable to dying, but like the previous version, is built to feature the
new Boros mechanic mentor, which also likes buddies to attack with. Being a
mana cheaper and having haste lets you play quite aggressively in the early
game so when building the deck we’ll want to make sure we have plenty of
creatures we can cast in the turns before Tajic hits the battlefield.

Eventually though our opponents will play out creatures that discourage our
attacks with smallish creatures, and even if we load up our deck with
Falter-style cards to keep pushing through attacks, I don’t think payoff is
big enough or consistent enough to waste precious deck slots on. Besides,
there’s more in Tajic’s text box that gives our Boros deck an amazing angle
to exploit.

Mark of Asylum is a very cool white enchantment that pairs quite well with
red spells that deal damage to all creatures, breaking the symmetry. While
there are certainly a fair number of ways to find enchantments in white,
trying to specifically abuse this interaction is risky. However, when you
attach the ability to a cheap commander you can consistently have access
to, now we’re talking about a deck concept that is distinctly Boros while
being something we haven’t really seen before.

A new Boros strategy to explore? Heck yes– let’s get brewing!

Symmetry Breaker

Let’s start things off with a bang.

These two cards together net you a crazy amount of life while also clearing
the battlefield of nearly all creatures, and the more creatures on the
battlefield the cheaper Blasphemous Act gets. While the lifegain is a great
upside, it’s often a feel bad that so many of your own creatures die,
including Firesong and Sunspeaker. Well, with Tajic you don’t have to lose
any of your creatures besides Tajic! You’ll also gain less life since your
creatures won’t be taking the damage, but sweeping your opponents’ boards
while keeping your own intact more than makes up for the tradeoff. There
are quite a few more spells where that came from-like Star of Extinction,
Inferno, Chain Reaction, and Magmaquake. I’m super-excited about setting up
this board state.

Archangel Avacyn does a good job of saving Tajic in some circumstances, but
it’s nice that Tajic protects your other creatures from the damage when
Avacyn transforms.

Tajic shuts down the downside of using Arena and Magus of the Arena to
fight. Arcbond has the potential of dishing out a ton of damage out of
nowhere – think a token chump-blocking a Lord of Extinction-and Tajic makes
it so your creatures survive the conflagration.

Protecting Tajic

Breaking the synergy of all those spells and effects is awesome, but the
downside is that Tajic can’t protect himself from the damage he’s
preventing. Being so cheap means that it’s generally going to be well worth
the trade off since you’ll likely still be able to bring Tajic back to the
party, but since Boros includes white we’ve got plenty of ways to help keep
Tajic on the battlefield. We can give Tajic back his indestructible ability
with spells like Ajani’s Presence and Selfless Spirit, or reusable effects
like Mother of Runes or Nahiri’s Machinations. Bastion Protector is a nice
tag-team here since Tajic protects Bastion Protector from the mass damage
spells, and Bastion Protector protects Tajic. Shaman en-Kor provides a
slightly more mana intensive version of Bastion Protector when it comes to
damage.

A lot of removal in Commander isn’t damage dealing, so I thought I’d shut
off the black targeted removal with Absolute Grace, which also happens to
let you keep attacking against black creatures.

Attack!

Tajic’s mentor ability triggers off attacking, so it would be tempting to
include some of the many spells that give us extra attack steps. But since
that’s already a very Boros thing to do – hello Aurelia, the Warleader-I’m
not going to dig deep there. However, we do still want a good amount of
creatures that want to attack so we can be aggressive in the early game and
also when we sweep away our opponent’s creatures with Tajic breaking the
symmetry. Many of the ones I chose are smaller creatures that will benefit
from Tajic’s mentor ability, particularly the double strike of Needle
Spires and Swiftblade Vindicator. Iroas, God of Victory lets us attack with
no worries about dying in combat and makes blocking very difficult.
Basilisk Collar can make our opponent be much less willing to block with a
superior creature.

Helm of the Host can spit out an extra Tajic, and then each of the Tajics
will prevent the mass damage spells from killing the other.

Sun Titan likes attacking and is just awesome in any white deck. You can
get back any of the earlier creatures that might have died, and combines
with Selfless Spirit to keep making your team indestructible. My new goal
is to chain Mirrorpool activations copying Sun Titan.

+1/+1 Counters

Let’s also remember there are some cards that like +1/+1 counters. Ashling
the Pilgrim has symmetrical mini-sweeper attached to it that typically dies
to its own ability, but with Tajic out you both add counters for free and
Ashling survives the triggered ability. Twilight Drover can benefit from
Tajic’s mentor and then turn it into two token creatures. Tajic can knock
off the -1/-1 counter from Kithkin Spellduster that’s been brought back
with Persist, and you can get the same effect for any creature with
Cauldron of Souls.

Archangel of Thune hands out +1/+1 counters too so I thought it would be
good to add to the mix. Its also a way to boost Tajic’s power so later on
his mentor ability can work on more creatures.

Removal

Boros has no shortage of removal options over and above the symmetrical
damage dealing spells we’re already running. Sometimes you’ll just need a
Wrath of God to clean up an out of control battlefield. Bounty Agent is a
great card to play on turn two that can benefit from Tajic’s mentor on turn
three, and later will make opponents hesitate on playing their commanders.

Crush Contraband joins Return to Dust in being just amazing artifact and
enchantment removal given that exile is so much better than destroy in
Commander.

Mana Ramp

We’re including the usual ramp suspects available in Boros. Path of
Mettle’s symmetry is broken with Tajic, and Tajic’s activated ability gets
you halfway to transforming the enchantment into Metzali, Tower of Triumph
which is quite a potent utility land.

Scuttlemutt’s inclusion should go without saying, but if I need to say it,
the scarecrow plays quite nicely with Absolute Grace.

Card Draw

Boros has traditionally had issues with raw card drawing in Commander
outside of Skullclamp and Wheel of Fortune style cards, but we’ve got a
nice new card in Guilds of Ravnica in Dawn of Hope. This is a fantastic
early drop that can do good work in the middle and late games.

Alms Collector does good work blunting cards like Sphinx’s Revelation and
Greater Good, and it’s a wombo combo with our Magus of the Wheel and
Reforge the Soul. By the way, getting Magus of the Wheel back with Sun
Titan? Now that’s good clean living.

Boros Goodstuff

Let’s round the deck out with some other good stuff cards for Boros that
don’t fit exactly into the buckets we outlined above. Soul-Scar Mage does
great work here, not only making our mass damage spells capable of
destroying even opponents’ indestructible creatures, but it’s small enough
and comes out early enough to take advantage of Tajic’s mentor ability. And
later, prowess can make it even bigger. Danitha Capashen is another good
creature that can make use of the mentor ability too.

One card I’m most concerned about with a deck like this that wants to
attack early and often is Settle the Wreckage. Since that card targets a
player, I made a spot for Aegis of the Gods.

Last but not least, any creature-centric white deck I always find room for
Gisela, the Broken Blade and Bruna, the Fading Light since who doesn’t want
the chance to play with Brisela, Voice of Nightmares?

Sweet deck! But wait… there are too many cards! Let’s figure out where to
make our cuts.

Let’s start by looking at our mana curve:

1 mana:
13

2 mana:
16

3 mana:
12+Commander

4 mana:
12

5 mana:
7

6 mana:
5

7+ mana/X-spells:
6

72 total cards plus 39 lands equal 11 cards too many, which isn’t bad.
Let’s start at the top of the curve and work our way down.

These variants on Earthquake are both pretty sweet. X damage at instant
speed, but only to creatures. Magmaquake follows in Earthquake’s footsteps
by not hitting flying creatures, but it can also hit planeswalkers.
Starstorm hits all creatures, no planeswalkers, but you can also cycle it
off in a pinch. They are similar enough I think it’s okay to cut one, and I
think I’m going to keep Starstorm. I want to deal damage to all creatures
when I’ve got Tajic on the battlefield to truly break the symmetry.

Inferno is a cool card, and it’s awesome that it’s instant speed and hits
players too. But I feel like when you compare it to cards like Star of
Extinction, Blasphemous Act and even Chain Reaction and I think it’s the
least mana efficient for what it does.

Both of these cards will do some good work in this deck, but won’t do their
best work here. There are other cards that do a lot more heavy lifting, and
since cuts need to be made, these two get the boot.

There are some great hits at four mana, but these two I think are the
weakest links. Since we’re not utilizing so many of Boros’s good equipment
cards I feel that Helm is just going to be rather clunky and mana intensive
most of the time. The new Aurelia is a great card but I don’t see cutting
any of the other cards at four. What do you think?

This is tough! I like all of these cards but I think ultimately the cards
that remain are better. One final card to go!

These two cards do similar things so I think I should cut one of them.
Thinking about it, you need three cards to make Arena work-Tajic, Arena,
and then a big enough creature to fight. With Magus of the Arena, all you
need is Tajic and Magus of the Arena since it can target itself and 5/5 is
a big enough body to make a difference. So I think Arena is the last card
to get cut.

Here’s how the deck ended up:

Tajic, Legion's Edge
Bennie Smith
0th Place at Test deck on 10-02-2018
Commander


So, what do you think? What sort of cuts do you disagree with? Are there
any cards that I overlooked?

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! Right now, I’ll be posting Top 5 cards from each of my Starcitygames.com
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Deck Database

Below I’ve got links to decks I’ve written about going back to January
2017. If you want to read the associated article, just put “Bennie Smith”
and the commander name into the Google and it should pop right up. I’ve
written a lot about Commander – and Magic in general – so if you want to
explore further the

Starcitygames.com article archives

have my articles all the way back to January 2000!

Guilds of Ravnica

Niv Mizzet, Parun
,

Emmara, Soul of the Accord

,

Lazav, the Multifarious (decklist in the comments)

Commander 2018


Aminatou, the Fateshifter

,

Xantcha, Sleeper Agent

, Lord Windgrace

Core Set 2019


Sai, Master Thopterist

,

Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma

,

Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire

,

Chromium, the Mutable

Battlebond


Grothama, All-Devouring

Dominaria


Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle

, Grand Warlord Radha
, Arvad the Cursed,

Muldrotha, the Grave Tide

,

Slimefoot, the Stowaway

,

Yargle, Glutton of Urborg

, Squee, the Immortal
,

Firesong and Sunspeaker

,

Jodah, Archmage Eternal

Masters 25


Hannah, Ship’s Navigator

Rivals of Ixalan


Azor, the Lawbringer

, Etali, Primal Storm
,

Nezahal, Primal Tide

,

Zacama, Primal Calamity

,

Tetzimoc, Primal Death

,

Zetalpa, Primal Dawn

,

Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Unstable


Grusilda, Monster Masher

,

Dr. Julius Jumblemorph

Ixalan


Vona, Butcher of Magan

,

Tishana, Voice of Thunder

,

Admiral Beckett Brass

,

Gishath, Sun’s Avatar

Commander 2017


Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith

,

Inalla, Archmage Ritualist

,

Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist

,

O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami

,

Mairsil, the Pretender

,

Taigam, Ojutai Master

Hour of Devastation


Razaketh, the Foulblooded

, Zur, the Enchanter
(Mummy’s Curse),

Djeru, With Eyes Open

, The Locust God, Karona, False God
(All the Deserts),Nicol Bolas, Neheb, the Eternal

Amonkhet

Oketra the True
,

Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun

, Atogatog
(Cartouches & Trials),

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons

,

Samut, Voice of Dissent

,

Rhonas the Indomitable

, Hazoret the Fervent

Kaladesh Block


Yahenni, Undying Partisan

, Nicol Bolas, Child of Alara (5
Color Energy),

Rishkar, Peema Renegade

,

Kari Zev, Skyship Raider

,

Sram, Senior Edificer

Commander 2016


Breya, Etherium Shaper

,

Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice

,

Tymna the Weaver // Ravos, Soultender

Other Commander Decks


Momir Vig, Simic Visionary

(no green creatures),

Kytheon, Hero of Akros

(Tribal Gideon)

Commander Strategy

Let’s Talk About Lands

Who Should I Attack?

Targeted Removal in Commander