Burning Inquiry — Yelling "YOLO" with Yidris
I'm getting old and irrelevant FAST. However, being a high school teacher does keep one fresh to the way young people talk (pause while young people everywhere groan). Furthermore it affords you the opportunity to exercise patience and eventually summon language years beyond its appropriate use. Believe that there is joy in telling a room full of teenagers, "This parabola gets turnt up at x=4." The few that are not on their phones will hate you for it; and, for a second, you'll remember what it's like to be an adolescent, tangled in angst, as those different than you just don't understand your brilliant head filled with illogical dreams. In that spirit, today we brew a deck to do big, splashy, totally unreasonable things. Today we resolve to conduct ourselves with utter irresponsibility and ignore that hard-won wisdom that our youthful desires are easily foiled. Today we get lit and yell "YOLO!" into the wind while those around us demand we turn the volume down.
As always in this series we'll examine how inquiry plays a role in deck building. The first article considered the entire inquiry-action-reflection cycle and its application to revising a Mimeoplasm list based on experience. However, since today we are building a list from scratch, we'll look specifically at the various inquiries that guided the construction of my presented Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder list.
Inquiry #1: Teenage Dream
When the latest Commander product came out my playgroup committed ourselves to several weeks of playing the preconstructed decks without any changes. I only played Yidris, and I grinned like a Cheshire cat the whole time. However, I also noticed a few things.
First, the deck did not support the general all that well. There are few cards in the deck that protect the general or make it easier to connect with Yidris for some chaotic cascade action. It didn't help that another general had a stapled on Yidris kill spell — *cough* Breya. Basically, I learned to play the deck absent of Yidris. Now, as I turn my eye towards brewing my own Yidris list, my first inquiry is:
Is there a way to enable Yidris without jamming non-synergistic protection effects and combat tricks?
The irresponsible answer: I don't force it. I've never been a fan of predictable cards like Lightning Greaves as protection. Also, as much as I would love trampling over the top with Might of Oaks, it only synergizes with the front half of Yidris (allowing him to deal combat damage), but not the back half (fun spells to cascade into post-combat). The already included Whispersilk Cloak is a good fit, but my is it boring. What it comes down to is that when Yidris enters the scene, he is numero uno by most threat assessments, and haters gonna hate. I decided that if I brew a list I will not fight, but embrace this challenge. My radical idea is that perhaps I can make a deck that powers out enough big, ludicrous threats to make Yidris pale in comparison.
I also noticed that the preconstructed deck's strongest plays involved recurring spells from a graveyard stocked by wheel effects. I kept thinking to myself, "Mizzix's Mastery would be bonkers right now." In a chaotic deck, the graveyard was a source of certainty. Thus a driving question is:
Do I really want another graveyard deck?
Honestly, these colors are great for wheel effects and giant recursive spells. That's probably the most powerful direction to build here. But when I read the text of the Maelstrom Wielder I couldn't divorce myself from the fact that Cascade deals with the library, not the grave. So I will construct a deck that recycles cards by shuffling them back into my library. I want a library full of dreams, not a graveyard of uninspired ideas like my kids believe I have!
Yidris gets my heart racing with his Cascade theme (not some dank graveyard scheme)!
Be a teenage dream tonight!
That's what you call poetry, and it's also my latest snapgram status.
Inquiry #2: Instant Gratification
With a young mind full of ideas about how the world works, one thing I know to be true is that I don't want to wait until my board is all grown up until I have fun. I want Cascade now! Fortunately for this there is an inquiry that most Yidris deck builders immediately consider:
What zero-mana suspend spell(s) do I run?
Lotus Bloom, Ancestral Vision, Wheel of Fate, Living End, Hypergenesis; these are all cards that ask to be built around Cascade. I want to pin one of these cards down as the main flavor of my deck, s0 I choose the Eureka variant. Like I said, I want loud, obnoxious things on the board to minimize the bitter taste of Yidris. Along these lines I'm also including Show and Tell, Dubious Challenge, See the Unwritten, Selvala's Stampede, Tooth and Nail, Mind's Desire, and finally, a card I'm really excited about, Unexpected Results. For some added spice we can also cast Hypergenesis off of fresh ingredients like Bring to Light, Baral's Expertise, and Rishkar's Expertise. We're not done! Yidris demands MOAR flava in ya ear! Let's add some hot sauce with Melek, Izzet Paragon, Uyo, Silent Prophet, and Wort, the Raidmother. Baby, you got a stew goin'!
Inquiry #3: Party Boy Yidris
Well, now that the burners are set to "Phenomenal Cosmic Power!" you better believe I don't want to be condemned to the "itty bitty living space" of an exhausted hand of cards. Yidris is extra, as the kids would say, and we beg the question:
Can I keep this party going?
The fun doesn't have to stop after one stampede! There are more unwritten things to see. I showed you my tooth, but now I want to nail... you get the idea! In other words, if I'm cheating things onto the battlefield, I'm going to go with the value approach and include cards that compound my options for upcoming turns. This includes Rashmi, Consecrated Sphinx, Sire of Stagnation, Mindleech Mass, Primeval Bounty, and Mind's Dilation. I'm also going to make sure I continually see fresh cards by recycling my hand and deck with Whirlpool Warrior, Arjun, the Shifting Flame, Ancient Excavation, Fateful Showdown, Primal Command, Time Reversal, and Time Spiral.
Just when you thought the party was over, someone arrives at the front door with a keg and says, "My name is Yidris and I like to party."
Inquiry #4: The Obligatory Ritual
As you can probably tell, I've thrown out a lot of cards with high converted mana costs. Here's where all the old people in my life complain about this generation always wanting handouts, and I must ask...
How do I expect to pay for all this stuff?
OK, obviously I'm going to need some acceleration. Combo-Yidris decks include a lot of ritual cards (Dark Ritual, Cabal Ritual, Seething Song), but I've settled on including lasting value through ramp effects like Nature's Lore, Recross the Paths, Skyshroud Claim, and Tempt with Discovery which act sort of like a ritual since the lands come into play untapped. I might also sometimes sidestep my way into big mana using a cheat effect to get say Regal Behemoth or Great Whale into play (the 75% versions of Vorinclex and Palinchron).
However, my boldest acceleration choice is something that is unique in its abundance within a four-color green deck: "additional land" effects combined with bounce-lands. Let x be the number of colors in your deck, and believe me when I say, "bounce-lands get turnt up when x=4." With so many Ravnica lands (Simic Growth Chamber, Rakdos Carnarium, Golgari Rot Farm, Izzet Boilerworks, Dimir Aquaduct, Gruul Turf) as well as Crosis's Catacombs and Darigaaz's Caldera I can really take advantage of "additional land" effects. And I'm running almost all of them: Azusa, Oracle of Mul Daya, Mina and Denn, The Gitrog Monster, Exploration, Burgeoning, Explore, Summer Bloom, Journey of Discovery, and Urban Evolution. Wanting to play additional lands also has synergy with how many card cycling effects I'm running.
I'm still a bit worried about the curve, but YOLO. Here's my presented list:
I look forward to the wild ride this list promises. Unfortunately, the way my bank account is set up I might have to wait awhile before I get some actual cardboard experience with the deck. However, if this unbridled exercise in youthful spirit inspired you to build something similar, please let me know how it goes.
Just remember: no one man should have all that power. Drake said that.
Cheers to the Brewers!