Collected Company – Gyruda

(Gyruda Doom of Depths| Illustrated by Tyler Jacobson)

Time to Make a New Friend

Companions are a game-changer. They give us access to a free card from the start of the game in exchange for some deckbuilding restrictions (and, of course, they now have an extra three-mana tax). Here on Collected Company, we’re going to take a look at all of them and see how we can build around their quirks.

In this article, we’ll be discussing one of the most powerful Companions; its build-around potential is so great that it created an entirely new combo archetype in many formats, Legacy included! Yes, it’s Gyruda, Doom of Depths time!

Dive Down to the Depths of Doom

Gyruda, Doom of Depths is a powerful Companion; its ETB trigger is already strong on 1v1 formats, and it works even better here. Unlike most Companions, Gyruda is better as a build-around than a random inclusion: unless we get multiple ETB triggers, Gyruda’s reanimation is quite expensive.

Even in spite of the Companion tax, Gyruda is still a powerful card to build around, nonetheless.

There are many ways to fuel Gyruda’s trigger: blink, creating tokens that are copies of it, bounce, or even straight-up reanimation. However, Clone effects are probably the best way as they are creatures, themselves, and, uniquely, have some chance of sticking around (if we use Spark Double, for example).

Having Gyruda out is crucial for a dedicated deck. It’s access to black makes dying manageable; however, we’re very vulnerable to exile-based removal.

Most Gyruda decks will feel similar to one another. The biggest differences will be how the support suite looks, given the color identity.

Notable Exclusions

Endless Possibilities

Lazav, Dimir Mastermind combined with Gyruda is a bit interesting. Lazav gets plenty of opportunities to “steal” creatures right from under our opponents’ noses with all the milling that Gyruda provides. We lose some of the mill pieces that would fuel Lazav, making our deck that much more reliant on Gyruda, but the power is there. It might not be the most powerful Lazav build, but at least it might be just fresh enough to be a nice change from time to time.

Notable Exclusions

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant is amazing with Gyruda. Sidisi allows us to grow our board even bigger by providing a constant flow of tokens for each Gyruda activation. Sidisi’s notable exclusions are mostly tribal support pieces that would only be included if we were building a tribal deck. That just goes to show how homogenizing Gyruda is.

Notable Exclusions

Sedris, the Traitor King‘s recursion targets have to be explosive, and what’s more explosive than Gyruda? We lose some of the graveyard selection cards like Entomb and Buried Alive, and a few key reanimation targets, like Kiki Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Phyrexian Delver. The benefit, however, is a powerful enabler for our commander. They complement each other pretty nicely: Gyruda fuels Sedris, and we can Unearth whatever we missed/died. We can even Unearth Gyruda, itself, and use a clone effect cast from our hand to permanently substitute it if we can’t find a proper reanimation spell.

Notable Exclusions

I Repeat Myself When Under Stress… I Repeat Myself When Under Stress… I Repeat…

Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder‘s color identity allows us to have most of the Clone effects available in the format. We also get a unique benefit from each of its colors: red’s explosiveness, black’s recursion, green’s acceleration, and blue’s clones.

Now let’s talk about the real reason to why we chose Yidris to helm our deck. By playing Yidris on turn four, we get to untap on turn five with at least five mana, enough to pay the Companion Tax and then play a two-drop (after dealing combat damage), which will Cascade into Hypergenesis, the only card under two CMC in our deck. This allows us to cheat Gyruda, any number of Clone effects, and even any support piece we have in our hand into play. This play can even be achieved as early as turn four with a two-mana accelerator!

Our main plan is to gather enough bodies, using Spark Doubles non-legendary clause, to eliminate our opponents; however, sometimes that’s not possible. In that case, Thassa’s Oracle is a valuable tool, as it’s a way to not have to rely on combat step. This is usually a late-game solution, but it’s quite a realistic one as we can get a pretty high blue Devotion count.

Ah, Ha, Ha, Ha, Stayin’ Alive, Stayin’ Alive

We need Gyruda alive and well, so we have Lightning Greaves to protect our Companion, but that’s not enough. One thing that Gyruda has going for it is that it’s a great reanimation target, since we get to trigger its ETB once again. We also naturally fuel our graveyard with all kinds of different bodies, from clones to powerful haymakers. This just goes to show how crucial our recursion spells are: they’re our ways to protect our combo against removal, and they allow us to accelerate our gameplan. Animate Dead and Dance of the Dead are two cheap ways to get a single creature out, while Wake the Dead and Command the Dreadhorde are powerful late-game haymakers that can very easily win us the game.

Gyruda is one of those cards that has countless support pieces. With that many options, it’s very easy to go overboard, so we need to remember that we’re already packing loads of Clone effects. Panharmonicon powers up all of our non-clone creatures, especially Gyruda, which makes it considerably harder to whiff. Warstorm Surge and Purphoros, God of the Forge are great way to chip at our opponents, and this damage is crucial, as it makes our all-in strategy that much more reliable.

Finally, there’re Anger and Wonder, two crucial enablers in our deck that’re more powerful than any of the aforementioned cards: they allow us to have huge all-in turns, which makes our deck less vulnerable to board wipes.

Aside from the combo pieces, we’re still having some standalone threats to play if we whiff with our clones. Considering that we’re going to cheat most of this into play, mana isn’t that much of a concern. Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur is a card that we just need to live through the end of our turn to get more value than most of our cards. Sire of Insanity can be an efficient way to avoid getting blown out by board wipes if we can’t outright win the game when we develop a big board. It won’t stop our opponents from finding answers to our board, but it might slow them down just enough for us to be able to close the game. Grave Titan can act as our “second” Gyruda; its powerful kit is a prime target for Clone effects, making it our go-to threat if Gyruda gets exiled.

Yidris Gyruda Combo

Commander (1)
Companion (1)
Artifact (7)
Creature (37)
Enchantment (4)
Instant (3)
Sorcery (10)
Land (38)

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer

This is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

While white wasn’t covered in this article, it offers plenty of powerful tools for Gyruda. For one thing flicker creatures, like Felidar Guardian and Restoration Angel, are a great way to avoid whiffing Gyruda’s ETB: if we choose Breya, Etherium Shaper as our commander, for example, we have the good ol’ cat lady combo of Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian. It’s impressive that both parts of the combo work great with Gyruda, with Saheeli allowing another trigger on demand and Felidar Guardian being a blinking Creature. Aside from that, white is lacking in the commander department, with maybe Sharuum, the Hegemon or Varina, Lich Queen being the better ones for Gyruda.

Overall, Gyruda, Doom of Depths provides decks a clear combo direction. One might find its existence a bit redundant for the format, as it fills a space that was supposed to be the commander’s. However, some disagree with that take. We already had decks that used “hidden commanders” to great effect, so the only difference between a Gyruda list and a General Tazri with Zada, Hedron Grinder acting as a hidden commander (or any hidden Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, for that matter) is the reduced number of tutors that we need to play to be consistent, which is a good thing. That being said, I can see how this might be a problem if we started getting more and more cards like that.

That’s it for this Collected Company! What do you think about this article? What are your thoughts on Gyruda, Doom of Depths? Which Companion do you want to see covered next? Share your opinions in the comments.

Bernardo has been playing(on and off) since portal and somehow manage to survive mirrodin block while being a total casual(beast tribal ftw?). He loves all the shades of blue and being the one saying "nope", while holding a full grip of cards in hand.