Archetune-Up - A New Hope

(Hope of Ghirapur l Art by Lius Lasahido)

No, Luke: I am Your Thopter!

Hello, and welcome back to Archetune-Up, a weekly article series devoted to tweaking a deck with the help of the EDHREC Theme pages!

This week is another installment of my miniseries going through the last of the reader-submitted decks that I have in my queue. Today's deck will be from Amber Swope (@Tequilla_Nebula), featuring the first colorless commander in this series: Hope of Ghirapur!

Hope of Ghirapur by Amber

Comander (1)
Creatures (18)
Sorceries (1)
Planeswalkers (2)
Lands (31)
Artifacts (47)

When talking to Amber about her deck, a single word kept cropping up: aggressive. This list personifies that idea, sporting a handful of cheap Equipment to suit the Hope up with, as well as late-game haymakers that no opponent wants to see, like Wurmcoil Engine and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Colorless decks are a bit harder to build as their options are even more limited than mono-colored deck. With that as a given, which theme would best help supplement a colorless deck?

A Hero's Weapon, Not as Clumsy or Random as a Blaster

I wanted to make sure that I kept Amber's vision for the deck as intact as possible while considering my upgrades; I didn't want to accidentally fall into the trap of automatically adding big splashy colorless spells just because this is a colorless deck. To help avoid this, I sought help from the Equipment Theme page in order to help us retain our aggressive Voltron playstyle.

Blackblade Reforged is a trusty sword from Dominaria that does a fantastic job of pushing our creatures into the red; giving a creature +7/+7 is quite common with Blackblade, and adding that much of a boost to our one-mana flyer for only three mana is exactly the kind of thing we need. Sword of the Animist is a cheap Equipment that we can throw onto Hope early and quickly ramp with impunity. An added +1/+1 may not be a whole bunch, but that small boost is well worth it if we get to ramp a land onto the battlefield every time we attack. I added quite a few Wastes into the deck for a couple reasons, the most prominent being this nifty little card.

The final "aggressive" Equipment I added into the deck was Bloodforged Battle-Axe; it's a personal favorite of mine in my Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder and Akiri, Line-Slinger deck. With any form of evasion, they quickly populate out of control, creating more and more with each hit. Outfitting your army with an entire arsenal of axes or grafting them all onto your little Thopter is up to you. The power (and borderline silliness) is there for you to wield as you see fit. This is definitely my favorite card added from this theme.

While going through the Equipment Theme, I made mental note of all the great utility Equipment it showcased and decided to come back to them once I had gotten the most important aspects of the theme buttoned down. Let's start with two somewhat counterintuitive inclusions.

Whispersilk Cloak and Lightning Greaves are right at home in a deck like this: granting evasion and protection is exactly what an Equipment deck wants. The issue is that these Equipment grant shroud, meaning that once one of them is equipped to a creature, you won't be able to add any more Equipment to that creature unless you pass the shroud off to another creature... which leaves your commander vulnerable. That being said, it's still an important form of protection, as it will make a great "topper" to a suited-up creature.

Champion's Helm and Swiftfoot Boots help remedy this issue by granting the creature hexproof instead, which will allow you to target your own creatures, circumventing the previous two cards' biggest issue. I personally would still run all four of these since I prefer having more protection than less, but the Cloak/Greaves can be cut in favor of Helm/Boots. Mask of Avacyn is another cheap option if you are strictly looking for hexproof as opposed to shroud.

The final utility Equipment I added was Mask of Memory. Mask is a solid little card that helps smooth out our hand and helps us churn through our deck a bit faster, a necessary addition since we don't have many ways to draw cards in the deck. Discarding a card is a incredibly low price to pay for being able to see an extra two cards a turn and sculpt a perfect hand.

Sometimes equip costs can be too expensive, which is where our little buddy Brass Squire comes in. This friend can attach Equipment to whomever we want for free, and at instant speed! They'll have to survive a turn, but being able to add an extra Equipment to our best creature each turn circumvents a lot of mana that we would otherwise need to pay. When combined with Unwinding Clock or Clock of Omens (the latter isn't in the deck, but would be a good inclusion), we'll be able to attach an Equipment nearly every turn, easily giving us the reach to be able to knock an opponent out when it comes back to our combat step.

One of the things I mentioned earlier is that, because this is a colorless deck, our options are much more limited than usual. To help mitigate this, Mirage Mirror was a perfect inclusion. The Mirror can become anything on the field we want: one of our own Equipment, an opponent's enchantment, another bomb that we would want to utilize but can't put in our deck... the list is endless. For two mana we can have it change into another card to dodge removal, too. Is a Vandalblast going off? Easy: turn Mirror into a land. Tricks like this will force opponents to either try and two-for-one your Mirror, or will encourage them to point their removal elsewhere. Mirage Mirror is always the best card on the board, and while it's in 8,000+ decks, it should definitely be in more.

Karn, Scion of Urza was another inclusion from this theme that has put in a ton of work in my own Equipment deck. Ticking up to draw us cards or ticking down to make a construct whose stats are equal to the number of artifacts we control are both abilities we want. I mentioned before that card advantage in colorless can be a bit hard to come by, and Karn helps us out with that, even allowing us to play some politics with players who we are friendly with. We also have 59 artifacts in the deck, so any tokens we make with Karn will almost assuredly be Eldrazi-sized, so just slap a Whispersilk Cloak or Loxodon Warhammer on it and knock some heads!

The last card from this theme that made its way into the deck was Warping Wail. Wail is an innocuous little charm that gives us play against other decks when they least expect it. We're mainly going to be using it to counter powerful sorceries such as an Approach of the Second Sun, Flood of Tears, Exsanguinate, Vandalblast, or Rishkar's Expertise. The other two modes will be used much less frequently, but have their uses in niche situations. The way I see it, I would always pay two mana to be able to a counter a sorcery in a colorless deck. Any modes past that are just bonuses if I ever need to exile a Deathrite Shaman or need an extra 1/1 or extra colorless mana next turn.

I Have Altered the Deck. Pray I Don’t Alter It Any Further.

I do have a couple inclusions and highlights that weren't in the Equipment theme, so let's go through them real quick.

I only added three cards here: Sword of Sinew and Steel and Ugin the Ineffable, for more flexible removal (and ramp/card advantage with Ugin), and Karn, the Great Creator to slow down opponents' mana rocks as well as turn some of our larger artifacts into creatures to swing with. I was surprised to not see them in the theme, but they're right at home here.

Two cards that I did not include and that were not on the Equipment theme page were O-Naginata, and Manriki-Gusari. Both of these cards would slot into the deck quite well, giving us trample, a large power boost (if we had enough base power), and the utility to destroy opposing Lightning Greaves or Sword of Fire and Ice. I'm floored that I didn't see either of these on the page and wanted to mention them, as they would be fantastic considerations.

Overall, I really liked Amber's deck. Hope of Ghirapur is a unique commander, and utilizing it in such an aggressive strategy as opposed to trying to go big with colorless monsters was a nice change of pace! The screws on this deck were already tightened quite a bit, which is why some cards, like the two above, were left on the cutting room floor. There was simply not enough room to slot them in with all the other amazing stuff that was already included. Thank you for giving us the first colorless deck in our series, Amber! It was really fun and interesting to dig through!

Reader submissions for decks will be closed for the foreseeable future, but I'll be back with the last of the reader-submitted lists that were in my queue, so I'll see you all then! If you'd like to reach me I'm quite active on Twitter (@thejesguy), and have an email that I do my best to respond to ( If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or anything else of the sort, please don't hesitate to leave them below or get in touch!

As always, thanks for you time, and thank you for arche-tuning in!

Aether Revolt: A New Hope

Comander (1)
Creatures (11)
Sorceries (1)
Artifacts (36)
Planeswalkers (2)
Lands (36)
Equipment Theme (11)
Potpourri (2)

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Angelo is a Connecticut resident who started playing Magic during Return to Ravnica, and has made it his mission to play Jeskai in every format possible. Along with Commander, he loves Limited, Cube, and Modern, and will always put his trust in counterspells over creatures. He is still hurt by Sphinx's Revelation's rotation out of Standard.