Dear Azami: The Blind Eternities

Join Dear Azami to piece together the most exciting legend in all of Kaladesh! With a ton of mana to work with, how broken can this creature get?

Dear Azami,

Blue and green is such a busted color combination in Commander that I often find myself not wanting to play it. The legendary creatures are typically too “good stuff”-y for me, and I know I’m in the minority here, but I want to do more than just play efficient creatures and draw cards; I want to craft an enjoyable and unique experience. So when I first saw Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, my gut reaction was to yawn. However, the more I thought about her ability, the closer I got to something interesting. Rashmi either cheats on the casting cost of spells or allows you to draw cards. Both are good, but what deck would really love either option? A Maro deck.

Casting spells for free is great only if you want to cast them. So, in the event that the revealed card just gets put into my hand due to poor timing, Maro and his ilk just get stronger. Being able to cast a spell each turn to make my fatties even fatter sounds like a good beatdown strategy to me. Here is where my thoughts led me:

Creatures – 34

Prime Speaker Zegana

Acidic Slime

Coiling Oracle

Sakura-Tribe Elder

Overbeing of Myth


Chasm Skulker

Lifeblood Hydra

Arcanis the Omnipotent

Yavimaya Elder

Horizon Chimera

Nylea, God of the Hunt

Murkfiend Liege

Mystic Snake

Sage of Ancient Lore


Edric, Spymaster of Trest



Masumaro, First to Live

Multani, Maro-Sorcerer

Soramaro, First to Dream

Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer

Realm Seekers

Surrak, the Hunt Caller

Jushi Apprentice

Yeva, Nature’s Herald

Solemn Simulacrum

Hermit of the Natterknolls

Kruphix, God of Horizons

Stormsurge Kraken

Trygon Predator

Windreader Sphinx

Enchantments – 2

Imprisoned in the Moon

Bow of Nylea

Instants – 12

Blue Sun’s Zenith

Krosan Grip

Summary Dismissal


Simic Charm

Arcane Denial

Plasm Capture


Momentous Fall


Intellectual Offering

Keep Watch

Sorceries – 10

Kodama’s Reach


Urban Evolution


Praetor’s Counsel

Rampant Growth

Unexpected Results

Recurring Insight


Nissa’s Revelation

Artifacts – 3

Thought Vessel

Elixir of Immortality

Mind Stone

Lands – 37

Command Tower

Simic Guildgate

Simic Growth Chamber

Reliquary Tower

Alchemist’s Refuge

Evolving Wilds

Terramorphic Expanse

Terminal Moraine

Warped Landscape

Bant Panorama

Temple of Mystery

Thornwood Falls

Hinterland Harbor

Yavimaya Coast

Blighted Woodland

12 Forest

10 Island

First and foremost, I would love for this to become one of my flagship decks. I have always loved Maro if only for nostalgic reasons, but rocking a deck with a bunch of Maro-esque creatures hits both my nostalgia and my love for beatdown. My budget for this deck is $200, including store credit. If I’m going to do Simic, might as well do it right.

My first issue with the deck is that I am not sure if I am utilizing Rashmi’s ability to the best of my own. Twelve instants is not a lot, and Alchemist’s Refuge and Yeva are the only cards I’m running that offer a “flash” aspect. Am I missing some tools to ensure my hand will always be full? Also, I am imagining this as a beatdown deck with some disruptive elements. Is this deck truly aggressive enough to play the beatdown? Can I incorporate more cheap disruption to keep my opponents off balance?

The following are the cards I would be sad to see leave:

  • All the Maro variants – that is this deck’s theme, after all.
  • Nissa’s Revelation – I’ve been dying to put this into a deck for a while now, and I can’t think of a better deck for this powerful draw spell.
  • Urban Evolution – Another favorite Simic card of mine that I can’t seem to manage to find a home for despite its power.

Aside from those, no sacred cows are present. Slice, dice and remold to your heart’s content!

Thank you!


Rashmi, Eternities Crafter has of course caught my interest as well, so how could I not pick this submission? I remember back in the day, when we were still walking uphill to school both ways in the snow, that our only Simic commander choices were Experiment Kraj and Momir Vig, Simic Visionary. One of them did too much nothing while the other just did too much and was bound to draw the ire of a table, so there I was, casting Experiment Kraj and hoping it did something interesting like putting a +1/+1 counter on a Morphling and then going nuts.

We have a lot more options available to us now, but Rashmi is the one I’m most impressed with. It’s not hard to go broken with Momir Vig or Edric, Spymaster of Trest because they don’t have any built-in limits to their abilities, but Rashmi only breaks responsibly. A free card, maybe even casting it for free too? That’s a strong ability… but once per turn is a clear and effective limit.

I wouldn’t have thought to go the “Maro” route, but if that’s what makes you happy, it certainly works as a semi-tribal theme when you have a card advantage Commander at the helm. I will slay one of your sacred cows – sorry, Urban Evolution, we can still do so much better than you – but there will be more enjoyable aspects added to replace it and we’re going to add a few additional tweaks to the deck’s themes as well: being able to see the top card of your deck before it turns into a free spell would give us a lot more room for strategic planning.

While I would build a “marquee” or “flagship” deck differently, that is partly because my Big Box of Commander Goodness has a playset of fetchlands and Ravnica shocklands in it and I don’t usually have more than two or three decks at a time, so I can go fetch-heavy to find that Breeding Pool and might be more inclined to do things involving land recursion than you’re anywhere near starting with here. My U/G deck base naturally starts with Crucible of Worlds and Life from the Loam plus enough fetchlands and cycling lands to make both worthwhile, but that’s not important enough to dedicate any of that $200 budget towards – you can get a lot of good U/G two-color lands these days on the cheap thanks to several enemy-color land cycles in recent sets, there’s no reason for me to really advocate for a Misty Rainforest here when a Woodland Stream costs a quarter. As it is, I do think you can do your version of this manabase a little better; I suspect my tolerance for lands that enter the battlefield tapped is higher than yours, and you can get considerably better mana if you’re willing to accept a few more tapped lands in your manabase.

I have six changes to suggest here, and then we’ll get into the real meat of the deck:



After several columns in a row of not adding Winding Canyons at the drop of a hat, of course I’m going to include it here – anything that increases your ability to play a spell on somebody else’s turn will really benefit you in this deck, to the point where I am thinking about Vedalken Orrery or Leyline of Anticipation. (The obvious power move, of course, used to be adding Prophet of Kruphix and going full broken… but thankfully we don’t have to think about that insufferable quagmire anymore.)

I tend to like Expedition Map in order to find a Winding Canyons or Alchemist’s Refuge as well, and usually even go so far as to add a Trinket Mage to find it, but we’re building off of what you like to do rather than my well-worn biases when building U/G decks. We’ll just happily add the second land that allows us to play our stuff at instant speed and not go to my usual paranoid extremes to make sure I find one every game.

While I like to sit back and do a lot of nothing, planning my eventual victory an hour down the line like some complicated Rube Goldberg trap, your plan is to make big things as often as you need to and smash. Sitting on your hands is not your Plan A, so we shouldn’t build the deck like not having a Winding Canyons on the battlefield makes you physically uncomfortable.

Thawing Glaciers helps get a lot of mana over time without having to play all of those lands out of our hand, helping the various Maro creatures by letting you keep more cards in your hand, while Mosswort Bridge is another way to get a spell on somebody else’s turn as well as a cheap source of easy card advantage built right into our manabase. Cutting three basics for three two-color lands will also help with the colored mana strain I expect to put on things in just a bit, as we’re usually going to want both 1GG and 1UU on turn 3 and may even want 2GGG or 2UUU on turn 5. Hitting those marks requires us to include all of the easily-accessible two-color lands, and Kaladesh gives us two more in addition to a sweet Commander.

Moving on, we have 97 cards in this deck, so I can make two more additions if I want to, and I’ll be using that room here for two more artifacts. I also have one artifact to cut as well – Elixir of Immortality just doesn’t do very much for us. I’m from the old-school generation that used to play Feldon’s Canes in all of our decks and remembers when it was restricted in Standard, but I don’t think it’s much help here. The instinct to include an effect of this sort is one I well understand, but we can just do a lot better now that Rise of the Eldrazi exists in the format, as any of that set’s legendary Eldrazi will fill the same need while doing a lot more, and you can’t tell me this isn’t a deck that would be happy to have a Kozilek on the stack.

We have room for three additions, and two of them are ho-hum and super-boring: Sol Ring and Sensei’s Divining Top. I don’t see an active reason to abstain from playing Sol Ring here, not even because we have a lot of color-intensive costs, and Rashmi’s ability is not actually cascade – if your top card is a land, you draw it instead of keeping going until you find a spell that meets the condition. Playing cheap spells is not actually punished, so there is no advantage here to minimizing the deck’s one-drops. (There is however plenty of argument for wanting to cheat on costs in order to get expensive spells for free while playing only a few mana, so we’ll look into delve and alternate casting costs in just a bit.)

The actually interesting addition is based on the fact that this is a deck where hand size matters, so putting cards back into your hand will probably be quite welcome. We do of course have plenty of enters-the-battlefield effects to take advantage of as well, so Erratic Portal will let us use our Mystic Snake more often as well as save one Maro from removal while pumping the others. Especially when just casting anything results in drawing a free extra card or casting a second spell for free, Erratic Portal will help keep the engines firing on all cylinders through all stages of the game without depleting us of that vital cards-in-hand resource that you need to keep high in order to keep your creatures relevant.

Next we have your creatures. They’re really the distinctive part of this deck and the thing from which you will derive the most enjoyment, so a light touch is key. I have seven swaps I want to make, mostly to make sure we don’t run out of resources over the course of a game or otherwise get something extra for free along the way. The rest are happy to stay as “Maro Tribal” as you want it to be, as it’s the supporting cast that’s changing, not the primary theme that drew you to this deck and this commander in the first place. I’m actually going to cut two spells in order to make room for two more creatures here, so while I have seven cuts to make, we’ll be adding nine cards back in.


You said the Maro creatures were important, but despite being a Maro-Sorcerer, Molimo does not care about the same thing the other Maros care about and thus I don’t consider it to be nearly as important to hold onto as the rest of the tribe. Terastodon is getting replaced with something that I think is a bit fairer and a lot better, while Windreader Sphinx is just a weak card-drawing effect for how much mana it costs and we can do better than that.


Terastodon doesn’t really catch my interest because, as potent as the triple enters-the-battlefield trigger is, that same trigger draws a lot of ire – or even asks to be used wrongly, as I’ve seen a lot of opponents trade in three of their lands for three Elephants in order to get eighteen power out of the card.

Those opponents are always disappointed to find out that eighteen power forces a Wrath effect, but that doesn’t seem to stop them from trying to do the same thing the next time, and the next time, and the time after that too… which suggests to me that giving your opponent 3/3s seems too good to people, so why not just not do that?

Woodfall Primus is a more resilient threat, and splitting up the two enters-the-battlefield triggers makes sure that no one can really complain too much if their stuff gets targeted because at least they aren’t getting picked on. Few of the creatures in this deck are naturally resilient, but most of them could have eighteen power if you have eighteen cards in hand, so I think this is just the better version of that effect for this deck.

Drawing four cards is something this deck would like to do, and shuffling your graveyard into your library is also within the realm of things you’re potentially interested in – and in this form, you’ll even have access to it when you need it most, such as when an opponent is actively targeting your library to try to mill you out, without having to draw the card at the exact right time. While it’s true that annihilator is an incredibly feel-bad mechanic, “annihilator 4” attached to a creature that dies to Doom Blade is not actually a problem for anyone; it’s not like you’re trying to cheat Kozilek out rather than cast it honestly. In the late stages of the game, this is just about the best card you can draw, but you can only do that if it’s in your deck first.

I’ll admit that this did start leading me down the “Should we add Survival of the Fittest?” rabbit-hole, just to get the shuffle trigger whenever you want it, but I don’t think it would actually help with this creature base – does it really matter which Maro you draw? No, not really.

This one is more of a “for fun” addition than anything else, but I saw a bit of a subtheme for Evacuation-type effects and decided to run a little bit further with it as a way to disrupt your opponents while also keeping your hand size up. Thanks to Unearth we’ll have the option of doing so twice rather than once, which will help make up for the fact that this deck is a little light on non-counterspell removal effects.



A deck based around this many Maros is bound to love the idea of getting lands for free without having to play cards out of its hand, and these three help keep the resources flowing so you’re in a power position later in the game. Oracle and Courser fit in very nicely with that Sensei’s Divining Top that also lets you see what’s on top before deciding what to cast each turn, setting up very nicely to get the most use out of Rashmi’s ability. They’re pretty awesome cards in Commander just in general, but here they advance both your Commander’s innate benefits and the focus you’ve chosen for the deck and are well worth the $20 price tag attached to that Oracle of Mul Daya.

While I don’t think you missed a Maro creature that was worth playing – Psychosis Crawler is bound to get the attention of anyone with an itchy trigger finger, after all – I did notice that your Chasm Skulker could have another friend if we wanted it to, so Lorescale Coatl is going to make the cut here. Both of these keep their size boost even if you cast the card out of your hand and both enter the battlefield very, very quickly, making them more threatening than the more expensive drops even if they aren’t immediately as big as a Maro.

With two last slots open, I wanted something to help against opponents with recursion strategies even though we don’t have a lot of ways to find them when we need them. I had considered Relic of Progenitus in the artifact section to help here before ultimately rejecting it because we have our own recursion it’d get in the way of, but adding Scavenging Ooze is obviously all upside for us here. While it doesn’t necessarily fit in with the deck’s themes, it does fill the deck’s needs and is powerful enough to carry its own weight no matter what.

The second addition is, unfortunately, not nearly so able to rumble with the large creatures we tend to find in the format… but Loaming Shaman fills that role very well here and can serve as a second way to replicate that Elixir of Immortality effect you’d wanted whenever it isn’t needed to mess up an opponent’s graveyard recursion effects.

Moving on to the spells, I have thirteen cuts to make and room for eleven additions and mostly want to fix the deck’s overall balance here. I don’t think we’re really helped by good-stuff additions like Krosan Grip when we can rely on our creature base to cover those problems for us, I think we’re using some substandard ramp and card drawing effects, and as much as I like the idea of playing Evacuationlike cards, I don’t actually want to play Evacuation itself when there are better options available to us.


That Peregrination becomes Sol Ring instead, while Rampant Growth will be turning into Explore – we don’t particularly care where the land comes from, so later in the game, when the ramp effect is less important to us, Explore will still be a live draw by being a cantrip while a Rampant Growth would rot in our hand ‘just’ providing +1/+1 to all of our Maro creatures. Evacuation is being cut here because I’d rather play Crush of Tentacles instead, which lets us get all nonland permanents while also providing us with an 8/8 body. For two mana we can also just get Cyclonic Rift, whose power level is off the charts and which happens to leave our permanents right on the table where we want them, so this is both a problem-solver and a combat enabler… creatures that get bounced back to the hand can’t block, after all.

I wanted another “top of the library” card as well, so it wasn’t hard to add Future Sight as well – while it does have a problematic mode where Sensei’s Divining Top now says “1: Draw a card,” we aren’t able to hunt for either of these cards and can always opt not to use that mode even if we do find both. Urban Evolution is three cards for five mana, but Future Sight can be way more than three cards over the course of a game if we want it to be.

Because we aren’t really building this to be a control deck, tempo is going to matter a lot more here as we aren’t stopping an opponent’s battlefield from getting out of hand. That’s why I was happy to include so many more “mass delay” effects to cost our opponents time while advancing our own board, but that’s also why strong Fog effects are going to be exceptionally good in this deck. Spider-Fog is also just an awesome card and fun every time you cast it; who doesn’t love a spell that stops an attack by dropping Spiders on it? Constant Mists is pretty tough to beat without countermagic in your deck, especially out of a deck that is well-poised to get lands for free like we are now, and when used wisely it can really help sculpt your opponents’ decisions by telling the table who you will protect from an attack and who you won’t… it does more than just save your bacon if you want to use it that way.

I wanted a little more from the countermagic you were considering; I normally like Arcane Denial a lot because it is both cheap and a cantrip, but a more expensive spell will have a greater chance of casting something extra from Rashmi’s trigger and a counterspell with an alternate casting cost would let us cast our creatures and still be protected after we tap out. While Force of Will would be amazing in this deck, I couldn’t justify the expense even on this pretty high budget – but Mindbreak Trap meets a lot of your needs on the critical turns that will require a hard counter to break up a combo, and Thwart will still meet a lot of your needs while potentially putting cards back in your hand for the Maro tribe to beat down harder.

Thwart is not a perfect fit and would work better in a fetch/shock manabase that could easily rely on having a Breeding Pool on the battlefield, but the Island count is still high enough to support it when you’re actively searching for them with your Sakura-Tribe Elders and Solemn Simulacrums.

Our last three slots are going to go to card-drawing spells, starting with one that is obviously great when you’re playing cheap creatures with a lot of power: Garruk, Primal Hunter. In addition to having normal planeswalker abilities to make 3/3 tokens or ultimate into a whole ton of power, Garruk’s primary mode will be to say “Draw X cards, where X is the number of cards in your hand,” much like Prime Speaker Zegana offers us in this deck. That’s definitely better than Recurring Insight or Urban Evolution, but so are these:

Rashmi cares about casting costs in order to determine which spells she’ll cast upon revealing them, so a little bit of cheating on the mana costs will go a long way with her ability. Delve is a great way to play with that metric and both of these cards are ridiculously overpowered when you’re casting them for just their colored mana costs, so they’re going to easily get the nod over more speculative card-drawing spells. Worth noting, however, is the card I didn’t feel I should include: Greater Good is going to be absolutely busted in a Maro-centric deck like this one, but I felt it had a very obvious “you draw your deck” problem that would take over every time it appears and that would just get in the way of the fun you were otherwise trying to have. Just because you can play something doesn’t mean you should, and “just” getting to Treasure Cruise is plenty good enough for me.

Putting it all together, we get the following:

Magic Card Back

As always, for your participation in this week’s edition of Dear Azami you’ll receive a $20 coupon to the StarCityGames.com Store. You listed a maximum budget of $200 to put together a flagship version of this deck, and we’ve used about $150 to get us there – mostly to cover a few pricey additions that I’d otherwise have to shy away from, like Sensei’s Divining Top or Oracle of Mul Daya. While most of the suggestions are cheap, quite a few are not.

This is what the individual-card breakdown looks like when we price them out:



Lorescale Coatl


Treasure Cruise


Woodland Stream




Future Sight


Kederekt Leviathan


Loaming Shaman




Mosswort Bridge


Dig Through Time


Erratic Portal


Lumbering Falls


Constant Mists


Sol Ring


Courser of Kruphix


Crush of Tentacles


Tireless Tracker




Botanical Sanctum


Cyclonic Rift


Mindbreak Trap


Woodfall Primus


Garruk, Primal Hunter


Scavenging Ooze


Thawing Glaciers


Winding Canyons


Oracle of Mul Daya


Sensei’s Divining Top


Kozilek, Butcher of Truth



This deck has to thread a needle pretty carefully – what you find “fun” involves drawing a lot of cards, and it’s a hard thing to do without flipping over into un-fun territory pretty quickly. Focusing on using those cards to power attacking creatures is interesting and flavorful, but it does require us to exhibit some restraint as well – no cards like Psychosis Crawler and Greater Good that would form an instant-kill combo far too easily.

I think this deck does it nicely while still being able to play a pretty good game, and that the focus should be on that tension between playing your cards and dealing damage that Rashmi is intended to alleviate here by turning every spell into a Magical Christmas Land cantrip if you want it to be. Sometimes you’ll want the free spell and sometimes you’ll want a card in your hand, so it’s not like the deck can function on autopilot… your decisions will matter and will ultimately determine whether you can or cannot win with this deck.

That’s just how I like it in this format, and I suspect I’m not the only one.

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