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Conditions Allow – Tuktuk the Explorer
Exploring the Possibilities
Most discussion about new possibilities in EDH comes with the release of new cards or the unbanning of old ones. Recently, though, the rules of the format changed, allowing commanders to die before being redirected to the command zone.was the first card on everyone’s mind, but many people also dug through old cards to see if any other legendary creatures had suddenly gotten stronger thanks to this long-requested change in the rules. Throughout all this, I saw several jokes about finally being good. Well, this is Conditions Allow, where I talk about legendary creatures with a downside and try to turn it into a strength, and I’m going to try and actually get this Goblin explorer off the ground.
is a 1/1 Goblin for three mana. When he dies, you get to create Tuktuk the Returned, a 5/5 legendary Goblin Golem. You can think about Tuktuk as if he were a three-mana 5/5, which is a better rate than , and nearly as good as , if you’re very generous. Sacrifice outlets are plentiful in Commander, so it shouldn’t be difficult to have Tuktuk the Returned on the field by turn four. Unfortunately, you can’t then recast Tuktuk and sacrifice him again for another token, because the tokens are legendary. The token also isn’t your commander, so it won’t contribute to commander damage, either.
My first thought is to try for an Aristocrats-style strategy, using Tuktuk’s EDHREC page for any hidden gems or secret synergies that may help guide our brew.with and . Before committing to a strategy, though, let’s take a look at
Emerging Into the Unknown
Unfortunately, it looks likeisn’t popular enough to have much useful data. With only 10 decks to his name, most of the cards on his page are generic aggro or burn spells, from to . Interestingly, , another apparently do-nothing three-mana Goblin, appears on this page. Squee has a much more useful page that could lead us towards a Goblin Tribal deck focusing on Equipment.
I also compared Tuktuk the Returned toearlier, so let’s also take a look at her page. She’s also a popular aggressive commander, but one card in particular on her page catches my eye.
is one of several effects available in mono-red. Put this enchantment onto , and on your upkeep you’ll get the top creature out of your library to pair with a 5/5 Tuktuk the Returned token. That could be a or another lord to make Tuktuk more impactful, or to end the game immediately.
From a flavor perspective, I like both of these options.is transformed into a Golem by messing with a hedron buried deep underground, corrupted by Eldrazi magic. Changed into a powerful Golem, he becomes chieftain of his tribe. Morphing into an army of Goblins or into an Eldrazi monstrosity can both represent the life of Tuktuk after he’s transformed.
I’ll talk more about possiblepayoffs in a moment. First, let’s go over the rest of the cards that can get us there in mono-red. Most, like , don’t actually destroy the creature you control. It is exiled instead, so won’t trigger and create Tuktuk the Returned. is the only other card that destroys, and it can flip into a creature or an artifact, so you might get a , or you could find the you need to close out the game.
The most consistent (and probably most powerful) way to build this deck is to ignoreand play a few powerful creatures. , , and are probably the best three creatures to play. They are all easy to get back into your library, and each can quickly end the game after hitting the field on turn four. But I do like the idea of building this deck as a little chaotic, more in line with ‘s story and character, more than aiming for power. There are better commanders for that. Plus, I want to make sure this deck gets some use out of Tuktuk the Returned.
First up, the various members of the Tuktuk Goblin tribe. I still want to keep this list of creatures as slim as I can, so the rank-and-file Goblins are made up ofand . To make these tokens more threatening, I’m including three lords that each grant +1/+1 to all Goblin creatures you control. Finally, brings in even more Goblin tokens for the potential to get some big damage in during the early game.
Next are the various trinkets and baubles to be found in the caverns of Zendikar. It’s only because he finds a powerful artifact thatbecomes chieftain of his tribe, after all. is notoriously powerful, ramping you while ensuring your opponents don’t have the resources to recover. And while the Tuktuk the Returned token doesn’t deal commander damage, five power is halfway to lethal with Infect. is a great way to turn that token into a real threat, and can easily enable a one-hit kill with the other power buffs in the deck.
Finally, the real heavy hitters. Tampering with hedrons can have dire consequences, most usually unleashing eldritch horrors beyond mortal understanding. These are obviously powerful, but also have a couple of synergies of particular note here. Most importantly, they are easily shuffled back to the deck by being discarded withor , and the same applies with . Every upkeep, pulls a new creature out of your deck, until you don’t have any left. But will refill your library, letting you re-start the loop from the beginning. won’t shuffle your whole graveyard back in, but it does ensure you always have a final creature to hit.
An Adventurer’s Pack
This deck may not seem like much of a threat during the first couple of turns, but your opponents won’t underestimate it in game two. You’re going to want a couple methods to survive until your gameplan comes together.and are great ways to punish players for greedy mana bases, although you may want to check that everyone is okay playing against mass land destruction. can dramatically slow down decks reliant on tutors, with the upside of punishing Green decks that rely on and to ramp.
It can be difficult to get anywhere ifgets countered, so is a must. and can also either counter counterspells or copy an early ramp or draw spell to make sure you’re keeping up. can be a bit tricky to cast, but it’s a sneaky way to protect against most board wipes and other sorcery-speed removal. I’m also including a high number of board wipes to help slow down more aggressive token decks.
Of course, you won’t have to worry about board wipes and other aggressive decks if you can attack with your creatures immediately. Haste is vital for this style of deck, and it isn’t coming fromor . I chose to avoid and to keep the pool of artifacts in the deck small. This helps to keep as consistent and impactful as possible, while still hitting all the notes we need to achieve victory.
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I don’t usually build around character or flavor for this series, so this deck was a fun creative exercise. It can pack a real punch, too, which shouldn’t be that surprising. Anything with the potential to put an Eldrazi Titan in play before turn five should be respected. I just wish that more of theeffects actually destroyed to create Tuktuk the Returned more reliably.
How would you build? And what commander, other than , are you excited to play after the rule change? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!