Do Your Worst - Mono-Blue Aristocrats
Born to Die
Hello, everyone! Welcome to the fifth installment of Do Your Worst, where we take a popular archetype and find the most unusual home for it! I'm your host, Philomène, and in this column, we will be looking at decks that should not be – or should they?
Did you ever sacrifice all your precious creatures to Aristocrats strategy!? Did you ever die to a trigger? Do the words "free sacrifice outlet" make you shiver? Then you're probably already familiar with the
Aristocrats is a deck archetype that focuses on sacrificing your own creatures for value. This strategy often wants to go wide with tokens (), to sacrifice and recur value creatures with effects when they go to the graveyard ( ), and to gain benefits while doing all that ( ). Sacrifice outlets ( ) are a key piece of the engine, even more so when they are free to activate ( ). The most powerful sacrifice outlets, like , let you trade your creatures for mana, which can lead to many powerful gameplay loops.
As far as color combinations go, Orzhov is the most popular, with 5957 decks, most often played under. Mono-black (5743 decks) and Golgari (5105 decks) are close behind, helmed most often by and , respectively. (I must add, is also a popular option for mono-black.) We drop quite a bit in numbers with Jund and Rakdos, at 1778 and 1378 decks, respectively. We can see a pattern here: black is all over this archetype. This means that, to build our deck, we will avoid it at all costs! Green and white also have a lot of synergies with both the graveyard and token creation; I guess we'll have to let them go as well. Rakdos sacrifice is an archetype that has been supported in many sets, notably in Commander Legends with the likes of , so red is pretty much out of the equation too!
Well, you all read the title of the article, so let's not waste any more time: mono-blue Aristocrats, here we come!
The first thing to realize is that if we aren't careful, this task can be too easy. If we go with I already did pretty much that in mono-green, so no easy way out for us. Let's get to work!, or maybe , we could end up with an artifact deck that functions a lot like an Aristocrats deck. Cards like and feel like cheating. Let's make a conscious decision to stay away from "Artifacto-crats" and, besides,
Going down the list of mono-blue commanders, a few options present themselves.has a trigger when her Illusions die. Maybe we could get into loops with drawing cards and sacrificing our Illusions to put permanents on the battlefield? , , and all have a trigger upon dying or leaving the battlefield, but I feel like they would go in the 99 rather than in the command zone. There's also , although that would just be a Polymorph deck, wouldn't it? is a very powerful card, but it doesn't pull me in a strong direction for this deck.
There is a blue commander that caught my aristocratic eye:.
Geralf operates a lot like his sister,; in fact, his design could be described as "the opposite" of Gisa, which is very flavourful and cool. It's a real shame that Geralf can't sacrifice tokens, though. I was going to tell you all about the Geralf deck that I built where I sacrificed and made a 17/17 flying Zombo and how was a really cool way to recur creatures in blue, but every game I won was with big Zombie flyers. I mean, it's a legitimate win condition, and I was sacrificing things, but it just didn't feel aristocratsy enough for me.
Besides, I knew all along which commander I would really build. I just didn't realize it until I saw her near the bottom of the mono-blue commanders list.
Can't Stop Staring at those Ocean Eyes
Ever since she was printed in Kaldheim, I knew I would build a deck around. What can I say? I'm enthralled by her difficult set-up cost and very mild payoff. Three creatures have to die, in blue of all colors, only to draw three cards? She's challenging me. And I am so up for it.
First, let's see what we have in terms of our base ingredients in blue. Aristocrats strategies rely on several pieces to enact their plan. This includes sacrifice fodder, cards that trigger on creatures dying, sacrifice outlets, and recursion.
We have some ways of generating tokens in blue.is an old one, but it's a sacrifice outlet too. Plus Camarids are neat. Since it looks like we're going to be drawing cards, , , and will work perfectly. is a nice repeatable way to make a token, and we might get something spicy from our opponents as well. and create tokens on entering the battlefield, and they can be triggered additional times when we recur them.
Look, I really want to makework, so I'll put it in here. At one point, I will make a 9/9 Kraken, I just know it.
There are a lot of creatures that draw us a card when they die in blue. The dream of recurring several times to draw a ton of cards is real (kind of). , , , and are basically all copies of the same card. is like a supercharged version of that, while lets us loot. can technically kill our opponents if we get infinite die triggers... we'll keep a rune-etched eye on that one. People will groan at , and, with the right board state, will induce similar resentment. Heck, we might even end up with an or a !
Sacrifice Outlets and Recursion
That's where it gets a little difficult. But fear not!is here. It's... so bad. But we'll keep it.
, , , and will save our butt here. If you have a copy of , by all means, put it in your Inga deck. You'll need the help.
Now for recursion:is probably one of the best cards in our deck, and is a kind of recursion, when you think about it. and are essential since we don't have a lot of options.
Eyes on the Prize
Now that we've had time to see what we're dealing with, I think I can see a path to victory.
We don't have Commander Spellbook and tried to find some ways to win that would make sense with our plan of sacrificing stuff. Turns out that we have some good lines to go infinite and kill our opponents.or to help us, but there are other ways. After this initial Scryfalling, it occurred to me that we'll be drawing lots of cards. That can help us find some combo pieces! I think our safest bet is to combo off, which, admittedly, is what Aristocrat decks end up doing a lot of the time. I perused
infinite tokens, enters-the-battlefield, leaves-the-battlefield, triggers and infinite colorless mana. When is on the board, it's game over! and reach this goal as well., with and a creature that makes at least two tokens on ETB ( , ), gets us
for example, we can infinitely flicker Naru and draw our whole deck. Enter . It might not be exciting, it might cost a buttload of mana, but I'm trying here! With that combo, we can also win if is out and we have more cards than everybody's life total. Look, it's not the wincons we wanted, but it's the wincons we deserved for trying to build this deck!combos with a bunch of cards, including , , and . I won't get into every detail, but with Illusionist's Stratagem,
Where doesfit in this plan? For starters, her scry 3 is actually pretty useful to set up our next move and, in this deck, we'll meet the conditions for her death trigger pretty easily so she'll draw us plenty of cards, especially with out.
Behind Blue Eyes
No one know what it's like to be the bad deckbuilder. But we'll still try and check all the boxes in our template.
Aside from the usual mana rocks,and work well with our strategy, and will let us keep a nice, full hand. I also want to highlight two cards that are, in my opinion, worth an include in this ramp package. lets you put another on the field at the cost of a card. It's not super great, but it can lead to a fast start. is a for one more mana, and trust me, it always hits... most of the time.
is good, as is , everyone knows that. works really well with our plan, and it triggers from our opponents' permanents as well! We don't have much more than that dedicated to card advantage, but between our commander and all the little creatures that draw us a card when they die, we're covered.
We don't want our opponents to ruin our plans, but we do want to ruin theirs. award-winning piece of art. , , , and help us get rid of some singular threats, while and deal with wider problems. lets us steal our friends' creatures and then sac them when we're done with them.lets us sacrifice a creature to counter a spell but also an activated or triggered ability, which is pretty handy sometimes! is a useful spell in all its modes; plus it's an
Now, feast your eyes on this complete decklist:
👁️ Eyes Eyes Baby | Inga Rune-Eyes | Mono-Blue Aristocrats
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
These Eyes Have Seen a Lot of Decks, but They're Never Gonna See Another One Like I Built With You
I think we managed to build a pretty convincing mono-blue Aristocrats deck. Yes, we bascially need to combo off in order to win, but we're sacrificing stuff and making tokens along the way, while profiting from it. I say good job, us. Also, I discovered that a surprising numbe of songs have "eyes" in their title.
How would you build your mono-blue Aristocrats deck? Would you go foror another commander instead of Inga? Did I miss any spicy card or interaction? Let me know in the comments! I'm Philomène, and this has been Do Your Worst. See you next time!