Do Your Worst - Sultai Equipment
Getting In to the Hilt With Equipment
Hello everyone! Welcome to the fourth 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?
Equipment is a very well-known and well-loved strategy, sitting at third place behind artifacts and lifegain on the EDHREC Themes page. I can see the appeal! It makes so much sense to give your creatures weapons to charge into battle. Equipment can also be reused multiple times, unlike Auras, which usually go to the graveyard once the creature they're attached to dies.
The Equipment artifact subtype first appeared in the Mirrordin block, with such staples as, and . The archetype also intersects with a Voltron playstyle: create one all-powerful creature with tons of Equipment, then smash face.
So, what colors love Equipment the most? Well, surprising no one, Boros (white-red) takes the cake, with approximately 7,900 decks specifically dedicated to this theme. The number of Equipment-matters commanders we got in Boros over the years is, quite frankly, spectacular. Mardu (white-black-red) is second, with ~4,800 decks, represented mainly by . Next in line are mono-white (~2,900 decks) and Bant (~1,700 decks).
This makes our life difficult, because every color is represented here. It doesn't help that Equipment are usually colorless cards and can thus be played in a variety of color identities. I'm gonna take a decision here and say that Boros is by far the best color combination for this. We shall then craft the ultimate anti-Boros deck: blue, black and green.
Sultai Equipment it is!
Now, I do feel bad about playing three colors, because it isn't as restrictive as two colors or mono-color. I find solace, though, in the fact that it's hard to find a single commander of this color combination that cares about Equipment. There is , but she misses blue, and to me she reads more like a Zombie tribal deck than an Equipment deck.
Let's turn more broadly to artifact synergies:, , and all care about sacrificing or discarding artifacts, but they don't seem like good options for Equipment. is all about combat damage and recurring artifacts. He could be paired with to reach the Sultai color identity, but I'm not sold.
All of this reminds me that a lot of Equipment trigger on dealing combat damage to a player. Evasion facilitates this strategy really well, and you know who has awesome evasion?
Two words: Whale Wolf.
People usually focus on "Swords of", for example). Cazur offers a nice pump every time we hit, as a bonus. Of course, people will want to remove Ukkima from the board, since it's so threatening, but it's going to be very hard to do when it has , , or . Plus, even if our lovely Mutant Beast gets removed, then it will deal an amount of damage equal to its power (augmented by our Equipment!) to the opponent who removed it.'s "leaves the battlefield" ability, or on the +1/+1 counters synergy found on . I have to say, though, that I think Ukkima being unblockable makes it the perfect bearer of weapons. There are a lot of Equipment that trigger on dealing damage to a player (the
I like where this is going. Let's get brewing!
Armed To The Fangs
Let's see what brutal weapons we can attach to our wonderful Whale Wolf.
Being unblockable is one of the best things you can hope for in an Equipment deck. Some effects that trigger on dealing damage to a player are very strong and are kept in check by the fact that the creature has to make itself vulnerable to reap the benefits. We can bypass that difficulty entirely. Sword of Dungeons & Dragons if your group is cool with silver borders!gets out of control very fast. can create a massive board of Zombies in a few strikes. Killing somebody with is so satisfying, even if it's the most telegraphed death ever. is decent against that player who likes drawing tons of cards - there's always one! You could also run
One of the reasons white in particular is so good at Equipment is the cheating of equip costs. We don't have access toor , so we'll have to get creative.
and are mana dorks that can help us pay for equip costs. The new gives us two mana off our first equip each turn. and help cheat the costs entirely. If someone gets rid of Ukkima at some point, we can always fall back on as a secondary Voltron target and, provided we have or somewhere on the battlefield, it can hit pretty hard out of nowhere.
, , and will up our firepower quite a bit. I think is cute: the tokens will get sacrificed immediately to the legendary rule, triggering its last ability. It's not that great honestly (6 damage and 6 life gained total), but I just think it's neat!
Weapons of Choice
Before we start dancing in a deserted hotel out of excitement, let's get our basics down.
Ramp. There are so many good Equipment options for ramping.is the easiest thing to flip ever, since we're unblockable. and get us a basic land per turn each. Hopefully, when comes down, you're already suited up and swinging, so it's going to fetch you some lands. The rest of our ramp package is mostly Signets, , and to take advantage of our artifact synergies.
Card advantage., , and will draw us cards when we connect with other players, which will be easy. and work in similar ways. grants us access to the top card of our library, and if we ever lose an artifact to some removal, can help us get it back. Speaking of artifacts, will trigger every time we cast one, and lets us tap our Equipment to draw cards.
Interaction. So,is pretty expensive to equip, but destroying a permanent every time we swing is pretty good. We don't have much more "synergistic" removal, but we are in good colors for some solid and flexible interaction: , , and , among others.
For protection, we can count on the ubiquitousand , as well as and . We also have a couple of counterspells and an . is an interesting card, too - we can save Ukkima from whatever removal our opponent had in store for it, trigger its leaves-the-battlefield ability, and reattach all our Equipment to another one of our creatures. Pretty good!
Now, let's see the decklist!
🛡️ The Old Man and the Sea-Wolf
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
One Last Sword
I'm glad we could put Boros, the objectively most broken and powerful color combination, in its place. How dare Boros monopolize the only thing it's good at! I mean, Sultai has to limit itself to aristocrats strategies, Mutate, mill, Landfall, +1/+1 counters, graveyard shenanigans, toolbox effects, ramp, removal, and pure value. Is it too much to ask to get a little bit of Equipment too? Sheesh, Boros, leave some for the others!
In other words, I think our deck came out pretty well! One of our weaknesses is that our Whale Wolf will probably the biggest threat on the table, and if your pod has a minimal amount of threat assessment, they will try to kill it as soon as possible. Ah, the true Voltron experience. Since we rely heavily on being unblockable, I've includedand as backups. The latter also doubles as a tutor! All in all, I'm happy where this deck ended up.
How would you build your non-Boros Equipment deck? Did I miss any spicy card or interaction? Areand the best commanders for this strategy? Let me know in the comments! I'm Philomène, and this has been Do Your Worst. See you next time!