I hope everyone got a chance to taste Ixalan at the local Prereleases this past weekend! As is tradition, I went to my LGS midnight Prerelease last Friday night and had a great time. My pool was fairly mediocre and I finished a disappointing 1-2-1, but the bad performance didn’t much damper how much fun it was to see new cards in action, even if a lot of the really good ones were across the table under my opponents’ control! I did open a few cards I was excited to see, including a foil copy of Search for Azcanta!
One thing I learned the hard way was the flipped side Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin’s ability is not strictly Impulse—you can only choose a nonland, noncreature spell from among the four cards. In most Sealed pools, the odds of hitting are fairly slim. But I have to say, the flip side of these double-face cards look positively gorgeous in foil!
As I gear up for Ixalan for Standard, my Commander mind is still turning over all the new goodies we got in Commander 2017. In particular, I am really intrigued by all the cool second-string new legendary creatures they peppered into the 99. Today I wanted to talk about Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist.
For a longtime player like me, Mirri brings back a lot of nostalgia. Magic’s first attempt at having a large story and big characters that span over many expansion sets, the Weatherlight saga was really cool and I have fond memories of many of those characters. Mirri, Cat Warrior was a fan favorite and I am glad that she got a reintroduction to newer Magic fans who can now go back and read up on her backstory.
I am particularly glad she got another color added. For a long time I had a three-color Commander deck that featured as many of my favorite green, black, and white cards throughout Magic history as possible crammed in. First, I had Doran, the Siege Tower as my Commander, and then I switched to Karador, Ghost Chieftain. The problem was that Wizards has done a great job churning out fantastic Commander cards, not only in Commander expansions but regular Magic expansions too. There were just too many favorites across those three colors to fit into one deck, so I recently peeled off my favorite green and black cards and put them in my Meren of Clan Nel Toth deck.
I hadn’t yet chosen the commander to house many of my favorite green and white cards yet, but then along came Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist and I think I’ve found the home!
Let us take a closer look at the card. On the surface she looks relatively simple—relatively inexpensive to cast, and you get a 3/2 first strike creature who attacks and forces a “duel” with your opponent, who can only block with one creature. Then, after she attacks and is tapped, your opponents can only attack you with one creature, forcing another “duel.” The flavor is very cool… but when you really look at the abilities, the flavorful way of looking at her abilities is not actually how the abilities work. When Mirri attacks, your opponent can only block with one creature, but that does not mean you cannot attack with more creatures! Moreover, when your opponents attack you, they may only attack you with one creature but that does not mean you cannot block with more creatures!
Now, my first impulse was to stick with the flavor and build a deck where Mirri attacks alone and Voltron her up with equipment and exalted triggers to make her a force to be reckoned with in her duel with a blocking creature. I even thought about ways to untap her so I could untap Mirri when my opponent attacked with a creature and have her duel that creature as well.
But I have built many, many Voltron-style creature decks with Equipment and exalted over the years, and there is even a new legendary creature from the same Feline Ferocity deck that screams for that exact same style deck—Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith. For Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist I wanted to build a deck different than I had before, but still have plenty of my favorite cards. So let us get to it!
Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist mucks with the rules of combat for your opponents, so once you cast her, your opponents may be tempted to go ahead and attack you with everything before you can start attacking with Mirri and changing the rules. I thought we should include ways to tap Mirri the turn you cast her so that your opponent’s attacks are restrained right away. What jumped out right away were Vehicles, and Mirri has that magic number three for power that lets her crew most of the Vehicles you would want to play. Right now, I am just going with Smuggler’s Copter and Skysovereign, Consul Flagship but I might consider adding in some other ones. I am disappointed that Conqueror’s Galleon has “crew 4” because I really love that card for Commander.
Another slam-dunk inclusion here is Glare of Subdual. You can pass the turn, and during your first opponent’s upkeep, you can tap the one creature you least want attacking you with Mirri. Then there is Honor-Worn Shaku, which has gained a ton of Commander cachet now that planeswalkers are becoming legendary permanents under the new rules being implemented for the release of Ixalan. Tap Honor-Worn Shaku for mana to cast Mirri, and then tap Mirri to untap Honor-Worn Shaku.
Dealing with One Attacker or Blocker
I know a lot of players scrimp on pinpoint removal in Commander in favor of global removal, but I’ve always believed that you should always have some amount of it in case you need to handle a particular threat rather than simply wiping the battlefield clear (for instance, you have a battlefield presence you’d like to maintain).
Pinpoint removal gains a lot of power when you have Mirri as your commander constricting the creatures you need to worry about attacking or blocking you. For instance, Blessed Alliance is an okay Commander card that may or may not make the cut in white decks, but if your opponent can only attack you with one creature, they are going to make it count, so making them sacrifice it is quite sweet.
Citadel Siege set to Dragons lets you tap down the one creature you do not want to attack you during each player’s turn, or the one creature you do not want blocking when it comes back around to your attack. Endbringer works nicely too if you have a fair amount of colorless mana, and with Honor-Worn Shaku, you will likely have all you need. Speaking of Eldrazi, if you do not have pinpoint removal or a way to tap down a threatening creature, there is always Eldrazi Displacer that can do the job. You can even use Eldrazi Displacer to tap down Mirri if you need to.
What I find exciting is pairing up an attacking Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist and Nacatl War-Pride, especially against an opponent with a bunch of creatures! You get all those attacking Dats and your opponent can only block one creature.
Finally, the best way to deal with a singular attacker or blocker is just to give your creatures indestructible, so I have stuffed quite a few of those cards in here.
We should not forget that Mirri does have first strike, so ways to boost her power can have a big impact on which player you can attack. Mirri is a Warrior, so Obsidian Battle-Axe is a great choice. Mirri is also a Cat, so the boost and lifelink from Regal Caracal are appreciated.
Unfortunately, Mirri only restricts the number of creatures that can attack you, not the number of creatures that can attack planeswalkers you control. That said, there are a fair number of green and white planeswalkers that I love to play in Commander, and given their new legendary status I wanted to have some fun with them in my Mirri deck. I mean, who doesn’t want to make an emblem with Gideon of the Trials and have multiple Gideons on the battlefield? And now that Captain Sisay can tap to search up planeswalkers, that is just way too much fun.
Of course, the main reason for building this deck is to add all my favorite green and white cards that were orphaned when I took apart Karador, so I am excited to include many of them here. Novablast Wurm plus indestructible creatures is a big favorite of mine. I also love pairing up Saffi Eriksdotter with Deadwood Treefolk and Reveillark. I like some of the new favorites too, like Oketra’s Monument working with Monastery Mentor to help “go wide” with token creatures that can feed Eldrazi Monument or just swarm an opponent alongside Mirri. Alms Collector is just a spectacular card to curtail mad card drawing and I cannot wait to flash it onto the battlefield in response to something like Wheel of Fortune—talk about brutal! Then there is Qasali Slingers, which is a fine card on its own that gets better the more Cats you have in your deck, but I am really looking forward to pairing that up with Nacatl War-Pride.
Finally, brand-new card from Ixalan Shapers’ Sanctuary is sure to be a Commander all-star, and I will be picking up quite a few copies of that to sprinkle into my green decks.
Here is how the deck shaped up:
- 1 Mother of Runes
- 1 Masako the Humorless
- 1 Captain Sisay
- 1 Nullmage Shepherd
- 1 Saffi Eriksdotter
- 1 Deadwood Treefolk
- 1 Nacatl War-Pride
- 1 Reveillark
- 1 Dauntless Escort
- 1 Novablast Wurm
- 1 Monastery Mentor
- 1 Kytheon, Hero of Akros
- 1 Bastion Protector
- 1 Endbringer
- 1 Eldrazi Displacer
- 1 Selfless Spirit
- 1 Regal Caracal
- 1 Alms Collector
- 1 Qasali Slingers
- 7 Forest
- 7 Plains
- 1 Kor Haven
- 1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
- 1 Yavimaya Hollow
- 1 Krosan Verge
- 1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
- 1 Selesnya Sanctuary
- 1 Temple Garden
- 1 Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
- 1 Mistveil Plains
- 1 Wooded Bastion
- 1 Bant Panorama
- 1 Naya Panorama
- 1 Sunpetal Grove
- 1 Emeria, the Sky Ruin
- 1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
- 1 Stirring Wildwood
- 1 Command Tower
- 1 Thespian's Stage
- 1 Opal Palace
- 1 Temple of Plenty
- 1 Myriad Landscape
- 1 Throne of the High City
- 1 Scattered Groves
- 1 Rancor
- 1 Wrath of God
- 1 Swords to Plowshares
- 1 Sylvan Library
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Rampant Growth
- 1 Honor-Worn Shaku
- 1 Skullclamp
- 1 Invulnerability
- 1 Rout
- 1 Aura Shards
- 1 Aura Mutation
- 1 Glare of Subdual
- 1 Return to Dust
- 1 Sprout Swarm
- 1 Obsidian Battle-Axe
- 1 Path to Exile
- 1 Eldrazi Monument
- 1 Basilisk Collar
- 1 Bear Umbra
- 1 Cultivate
- 1 Swiftfoot Boots
- 1 Darksteel Mutation
- 1 Ajani's Presence
- 1 Valorous Stance
- 1 Citadel Siege
- 1 Verdant Confluence
- 1 Zendikar Resurgent
- 1 Seasons Past
- 1 Blessed Alliance
- 1 Collective Effort
- 1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
- 1 Smuggler's Copter
- 1 Blossoming Defense
- 1 Sylvan Reclamation
- 1 Heroic Intervention
- 1 Oketra's Monument
- 1 Shapers' Sanctuary
Do you have any questions about my choices here? How would you go about building a Commander deck around Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist?
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 Primer Part 1
(Why play Commander? Rules Overview, Picking your Commander)
Commander Primer Part 2
(Mana Requirements, Randomness, Card Advantage)
Commander Primer Part 3
(Power vs. Synergy, Griefing, Staples, Building a Doran Deck)
Commander Starter Kits 1
(kick start your allied two-color decks for $25)
Commander Starter Kits 2
(kick start your enemy two-color decks for $25)
Commander Starter Kits 3
(kick start your shard three-color decks for $25)
Commander write-ups I’ve done
(and links to decklists):
• Zurgo Bellstriker (Bellstriking Like a Boss)
• Dragonlord Ojutai (Troll Shroud)
• Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Dragons, Megamorphs, and Dragons)
• Dromoka, the Eternal (One Flying Bolster Basket)
• Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (Tempests and Teapots)
• Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Hatching Evil Sultai Plots)
• Scion of the Ur-Dragon (Dragon Triggers for Everyone)
• Nahiri, The Lithomancer (Lithomancing for Fun and Profit)
• 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)
• Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)
• Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)
• 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)
• Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)
• Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)
• Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)
• Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)
• Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (Tribal Birds)
• Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)
• Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)
• Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)
• Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)
• Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)
• Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)
• Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)
• Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)
• Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)