Conditions Allow - Hakim, Loreweaver
(Hakim, Loreweaver | Art by Alan Rabinowitz)
An Enchanting Character
Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, the article series where I take a legendary creature with a drawback and try to turn it into a strength. Last time, I talked about Ormos, Archive Keeper, a new commander who does something unique but stays solidly in Blue's section of the color pie. Drawing cards and playing counterspells is all very familiar territory for mono-blue, so let's switch things up and do something that no one expects: mono-blue enchantment Voltron.
Hakim, Loreweaver is a funky mono-blue commander that interacts with the graveyard. Unlike most other blue cards that reference the graveyard, however, Hakim doesn't particularly care about instants or sorceries. Instead, he'll let you pay two blue mana to put any Aura from your graveyard into play attached to Hakim, Loreweaver. However, you can only do this during your upkeep, and only if Hakim, Loreweaver isn't already enchanted. Sitting at a respectable five mana, himself, this means that your opponents will have plenty of time to deal with your commander or your graveyard before you get the chance to sneak a powerful enchantment into play.
This is where Hakim, Loreweaver really suffers in comparison to Bruna, Light of Alabaster. Bruna can surprise your opponents with an Eldrazi Conscription or Corrupted Conscience from your hand, where Hakim will have to telegraph his moves a turn or two in advance. On the other hand, Hakim doesn't have to attack in order to activate his ability, and he benefits from being less familiar, and therefore less threatening, than the much more popular Bruna. Don't let Hakim, Loreweaver's obscurity fool you, though: he can perform many of the same tricks as Bruna, Light of Alabaster.
There is a significant amount of overlap between Hakim, Loreweaver's and Bruna, Light of Alabaster's EDHREC pages. Expensive Auras, like Auramancer's Guise and Octopus Umbra, dominate both of their Top and High Synergy Cards. Hakim does lose access to great enchantment tutors, such as Heliod's Pilgrim and Three Dreams, instead highlighting Iridescent Drake and Sage of Mysteries. Lots of cards from Theros Beyond Death show up on Hakim's page, in fact. His innate ability to destroy the enchantments attached to him at any time and then bring them back in your upkeep makes Constellation a tempting build-around mechanic for Hakim.
Enchanters Play Support
We may not think of blue as a color that cares about enchantments, but there is a surprising amount of support for them. Sage of Mysteries and Meletis Astronomer are both great targets for early enchantments that help us dig through our deck. We can also make use of Merfolk Looter to sculpt our hand and put bigger Auras into our graveyard for later. Looter il-Kor and Wharf Infiltrator do the same thing while also encouraging us to get in some early damage. Academy Researchers might be the best creature to play early, with the right Auras in hand, while Artisan of Forms lets us copy the best creature in play while improving it with an enchantment.
We've also got access to some creatures with a little more hitting power. Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea, in particular, gets very big very quickly, even if we draw her after casting a bunch of Auras. The added protection for our creatures is a nice bonus. If you're worried about Callaphe's low toughness, Whitewater Naiads will ensure that your creatures don't have to worry about being blocked. Shoal Kraken, on the other hand, is a good blocker that lets us keep digging for the most powerful Auras in our deck.
One of the weaknesses of Shoal Kraken, however, is that it only lets us discard during our turn. Putting an Eldrazi Conscription into our graveyard will make us a prime target for Bojuka Bog, leaving Hakim, Loreweaver disappointingly unenchanted. Being able to act at instant speed, with Merfolk Looter or Dreamscape Artist, in the end step before our turn lets us take reclaim at least part of the element of surprise. Luckily, blue has access to lots of instant-speed looting effects, from Frantic Search and Careful Consideration to Jace's Archivist. I'm also a big fan of Pulse of the Grid as a reusable looting spell. And while most of these effects aren't actually card advantage, and some are even card disadvantage, Teferi's Ageless Insight will ensure that we still have plenty of cards in hand.
We've got support creatures, and plenty of ways to put Auras into our graveyard at instant speed for Hakim, Loreweaver to grab before our opponents can react. So which Auras will Hakim be choosing from?
I wouldn't normally call myself a fan of Annihilator, but it is impossible to doubt the power of Eldrazi Conscription. Corrupted Conscience has a similar reputation, and for good reason. Both Auras can knock players out of the game incredibly quickly, especially when paired with the power boost of Auramancer's Guise, which turns all of our other enchantments into a significant power boost.
Auramancer's Guise isn't our only power boost enchantment, either. Illusionary Armor and Octopus Umbra also give Hakim a big boost, and we have the ability to duplicate any of our best enchantments with Mirrormade and Estrid's Invocation. Estrid's Invocation has additional synergy with all of our Constellation effects since it can flicker itself every turn.
If you're worried about Hakim being destroyed, blue has plenty of Auras to protect him. Most grant Shroud, which seems like a real problem since it will prevent us from enchanting our commander with additional enchantments, and we can't activate Hakim, Loreweaver's ability if he already has a Protective Bubble. But Hakim doesn't stop us from activating his ability multiple times in a row. This means that we can hold priority and activate Hakim, Loreweaver again for each Aura we want to target in our graveyard to enchant him with multiple Auras at once. If we have enough mana, we can then tap Hakim to destroy those enchantments and bring them all back out of the graveyard for a second time in the same turn.
If we have infinite mana, and a way to untap Hakim, Loreweaver, we could potentially put all of the Auras in our graveyard into play as many times as we want. This could be a win condition with Sage of Mysteries or Thassa's Devourer in play. Even if we can't put together an infinite combo, however, being able to bring the same Aura back multiple times also lets us refill our hand with Rousing Read or any of the other Auras that draw a card when they hit the battlefield. This is an expensive way to draw cards, and most often we will just want to bring back three or four Auras that buff and protect our commander. That way we can still hold up some mana for our own removal.
Tricks of the Trade
Another sneaky loophole in Hakim, Loreweaver's restrictions is that he only checks if he is enchanted. We are free to use Equipment to protect our commander and still activate his ability during our upkeep. Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots are format staples for a reason, and each lets us skip the protective Auras in our graveyard to save a couple mana. Hakim's page also features Helm of the Gods, and this may be the perfect deck for it. Since we don't rely on casting enchantments to draw cards, Helm of the Gods won't slow us down as much as it might in other enchantment decks.
Even if we don't plan on including an infinite combo, this deck is extremely mana-hungry. Being able to create a lot of mana at the right time is critical, so cards like High Tide and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx are a must. I'm not going to include any other utility lands, since Hakim, Loreweaver puts a high priority on blue mana, specifically. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx might not be the right pick, either, since we could only have our commander in play when we need to bring some Auras back. It has such a high ceiling, however, that it's almost certainly still worth including since we can normally expect to have a fairly high Devotion.
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This was a really fun deck to do research for and a very fun deck to play. Hakim, Loreweaver is one of those commanders that you will have to read once or twice before the rest of the table really understands what he does. Most importantly, he plays really differently from most mono-blue decks that you'll run into. I've opted to lean into that and leave out Counterspell, instead prioritizing enchantments and cards that let us loot through our deck. My goal is to quickly get Hakim, Loreweaver online, but it could easily be more effective to aim for a longer game. Because we have to wait a full turn cycle to activate Hakim's ability, he'll perform best if we play him after an Evacuation or Engulf the Shore while our opponents are focusing on rebuilding.
I want to know what you think, though. Would you try to play fast with Hakim, or stick to a classic blue control plan? Is there any secret tech that I overlooked? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading.