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60 to 100 — CopyKess and Her Primal Search for Azacanta's Amulet
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming...
Welcome back to 60 to 100 everyone! Thank you so much for the amazing response to my last article; it was awesome to see and hear what you all had to say. I will certainly keep the door open to adding some feedback from you all.
But this week we have something special. Something that caught my eye while watching the Star City Games first Standard event of the new Standard after Battle for Zendikar and Shadows Over Innistrad rotated out. Check out this spicy number from the new standard from Zac Elsik right here.
Oh yea, that's hot. There's SO much here for us to work with. Like, so. Darn. Much.
For a quick reference here is the list.
Yeah, get you some of that. It's got a little bit of everything you could want for a Commander deck, only it's all Standard legal. I don't play Standard, but I would totally go to a Game Day tournament and just roll the dice with this deck. There is card draw with Glimmer of Genius, board wipes with Hour of Devastation, there's even my favorite card from 2017 in Torment of Hailfire! Does Zac even realize that he wasn't playing the same format as the red aggro players?!
Bad, bad Bolas decks...
Similar to what we did with Aetherworks Marvel a while back(check it out here for a refresher) opening the card pool up to the world of Commander decks means we have some absolutely insane plays available, so who's ready to dig in?
Leading the Charge
As with many of these deck transplants, we have many different routes to follow. Do we want to go down the improvise route and use artifacts twice, or are we going to double down on the coolest new cards from Ixalan with Primal Amulet and Search for Azcanta to make sure we only draw the spells we want to play the most? First off I think we need to make sure we have the right commanders for the job.
Some nutty new toys coming out!
Staying with the Grixis color scheme of blue/black/red like the source deck provides quite are a few legendaries that jump out to me. Kess, Dissident Mage has made a name for herself as the "Snap-Kess-ter,"(get it? Because it's like Snapcaster Mage?! Ok you all need to pick up the puns better folks...) Mage, casting all sorts of spells from the graveyard. If you want a spellslinger type of deck this would be my choice without a doubt. Everyone loves playing big crazy spells in Commander, so whats better than casting crazy big spells? Casting them twice, duh! I feel like you should have known that already. That's what I'm here for though, helping you figure out what's fun about Commander.
You can always count on me!
Anyways, picking a commander...oh yea!
So I've always been REALLY intrigued by going with a Vial Smasher the Fierce and Silas Renn, Seeker Adept lineup. Vial Smasher just can sit there and generate value while giving extra access to black and red. I wrote about Silas Renn, Seeker Adept in a previous article , mimicking an Affinity deck from Modern and the list was a blast and a half. So while I'm tempted to go with the partner lineup, I imagine you all don't want to read the same article twice though.
There are some other fun options out there in Grixis colors, Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge is great if you want to go deep on the "play the opponents," idea. Nekusar, the Mindrazer is the most popular choice of Grixis commanders in EDHREC history at almost 2,200 decks currently, but this new kid on the block intrigues me, so let's roll with Kess!
You're never in short supply for diverse Commanders.
You said you wanted value...
Now, as I was brewing up the decklist I had what some might call a revelation. An epiphany if you will. Once Primal Amulet, a key card in our deck, flips into Primal Wellspring we can do some pretty wild things in blue. Urza's block offered lots of different ways to exploit lands that tap for more than one mana, so why wouldn't we want to untap and use a land that let's us copy spells more than once? Spells like Frantic Search already are awesome, so why not bank a couple mana to make our Torment of Hailfires even more tormenting?
Since blue usually is paired with green to help ramp and REALLY get ahead (as if blue needed any more help) instead we're turning to some cards that let us take advantage of using lands more than once. Time Spiral is a favorite of Storm decks and even Turnabout isn't bad necessarily, if a bit narrow. The great part about Primal Wellspring is that every time we use a mana from it on a spell we get to copy it another time, meaning if we find a way to untap it and use it again and use both mana on say, Cruel Ultimatum, we get to do some absolutely bonkers stuff. Like, certifiably insane.
If it's worth casting once, it's worth casting twice
Copy Cat, Can't Cast Your Crap
Say what you will about the 75% Theory of Commander, where you never build a deck to full optimization and instead skew towards power OR consistency but not both, I think there is a special kind of fun for beating people with their own stuff. Say you have a "friend" in your playgroup who loves to playExpropriate in their deck. I have a solution for you; don't let them play it themselves. Stuff like Nightmare Incursions and Worst Fears will give your buddies cold sweats in their sleep after you've been able to rock their world a few times. Just picking out their best cards or choosing how they play them will tilt even the most stable mind at the table!
If you like hearing "what card is this?!" pick these
Getting to play in blue and black means we have countless more options for stealing things. If you want to read an entire article on decks like that, check out my Marchesa, the Black Rose brew that I wrote about here. It's worth your time. I promise. There are a few carryovers here from that deck though. Memory Plunder is a card fans of the Commanderin' Podcast are very familiar with and is one of my favorites. Acquire is a $2 card that I feel should get played more, and that sounds weird considering the card is already in 2,400 decks. So if you want some fun with other peoples toys...
So let's cut down to the decklist!
Hit You With My Best Note!
- Have you ever wanted to just rain on someone's parade? Head Games is the PERFECT card to do it. Be honest, you didn't know what that card did before I just name dropped it. If you don't want the blue player to draw more cards, cast this! If you want the aggro player to have no more fatties and all their "comes into play tapped," lands this works too! Want to copy it so you cast it on the table all at once!?!?! Don't tempt me.
- Choice of Damnations never got the chance to take off when you only had 20 life. In 40-life formats though...........
- As much fun as the deck is when you do get Primal Wellspring fully rolling, the deck just functions as a great value deck and casts some haymakers to stay involved and active with every game. Kess, Dissident Mage is such a powerful card on her own right that unless your buddies start running some major graveyard hate you will be sure to reap some rewards of just untapping with her in play.
- You may have heard lots of people talking about how bug nutty Sunbird's Invocation is. And it's all true. Just remember who told you it would be one of the most fun cards of the set!
You're welcome everyone! The most cross-referenced article in all of my offerings, so enjoy! Our research methods are top notch here at EDHREC, obviously. But really, I hope you all enjoyed the return to 60 to 100 and come again soon. Next time around we have another reader request for a deck to port over, so get ready and bring some more suggestions! Thank you everyone!