Epic Experiment - Eutropia Infect
(Eutropia the Twice-Favored | Art by Sara Winters)
Hello, EDHREC fans! I’m Bernardo Melibeu, and this is Epic Experiment, a series where we throw all common sense aside and experiment with some unusual strategies, changing how we normally build our deck. Is it going to work? Who knows?! We’re making science here. When you’re an Izzet mage, blowing things up is half the fun.
In today's article we'll be looking into a commander that was eclipsed by all the other goodies that was released along with Theros Beyond Death. She's a three-mana build-around with a lot of potential in enchantress shells, but the loss of white might make people stay away from her: Eutropia the Twice-Favored
Constellation — Whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature. That creature gains flying until end of turn.
I really like Eutropia. She's a cheap engine that's versatile enough to enable multiple builds, and her kit is strong enough to reward us for building smart.
She has some potential as a Voltron commander; being able to come down on turn two while having a way to grow and natural evasion is something that shouldn't be overlooked. However, given the nature of her growth (+1/+1 counters) and her likely power-up suite (Auras), she has a rather risky nature and does get shut down by some timely removal.
As a less-obvious choice, Eutropia could be a pretty interesting Modular commander. Even if we aren't focusing on playing enchantments, just by playing Aura mana acceleration and some enablers, we'll be able to grow our creatures.
Losing white is definitely a downside when playing an enchantment-heavy deck.
The Old Formula
It's not a surprise to see this particular list of High Synergy cards, as it could simply be called Simic list of enchantment staples. However, looking a little bit closer, we can see that there's more things going on than this initial analysis might suggest: there's a high priority on aggressive cards, such as Ordeal of Nylea and Ancestral Mask, which shows that we're looking at a deck centered around creatures with enchantments as support.
The Epic Ingredients
Eutropia's ability to not only grow our creatures but also making them harder to block is extremely valuable for many archetypes, but the archetype that benefits the most from this is, arguably, Infect. It's not hard for Infect to trigger Eutropia's Constellation ability by constantly playing Auras. The fact that Eutropia can both grow and give evasion to our creatures takes the pressure off of our Aura suite, which is amazing because it allow us to have a more utility-focused kit.
Whenever someone criticizes Infect or argues that it should be nerfed, I recommend showing our creature suite or to ask for a top five infect list. Infect, as a secondary win condition, is quite powerful; however; the cards that give strength as a backup plan aren't the de facto Infect cards in the format. You see, Blightsteel Colossus is more combo-/ramp-oriented, and Triumph of the Hordes is a mid-range/aggro haymaker. That being said, Infect is much more than the sums of its parts, so let's go through those parts: Phyrexian Hydra is an expensive beater but has the benefit of needing almost no support to be a straight OHKO; Corpse Cur is pretty much an on-theme Gravedigger, which, while not very exciting for most decks, can help us by providing an on-board threat; Phyrexian Swarmlord and Viral Drake are there for grinding our opponents out of the game, as they can provide threats even without the combat step. The rest of our creatures are basically french vanilla, sometimes with minor upsides like Ichorclaw Myr.
The Aura suite is quite interesting because Eutropia is great at growing our creatures and giving them evasion as long as we keep casting enchantments. This means that we get to play Curiosity effects, which is great for our aggressive play style. The Ordeal cycle from original Theros is also a pretty great addition; both Ordeal of Thassa and Ordeal of Nylea provide a solid bonus to our threats (we have to remember that we only need to count to ten), and their effects are quite powerful for the mana cost that we're paying. Stratus Walk, Setessan Training, and Cartouche of Knowledge are cheap cards that provide some small value; however, their real value is that they replace themselves, which is pretty important. As a general rule, we should focus on cheaper enchantments, and if it's going to cost more than two mana, it needs to pull double duty, like Boar Umbra.
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
Eutropia provides quite a challenge to balance out all of its parts, such as interaction, threats, mana acceleration, and enablers. To make the deck more consistent, I glued it together with a "Xerox" shell, which is a shell that uses the power of cheap cantrips to dig through our deck. This type of shell allow us to have fewer copies of each effect, using the digging potential of our cantrips to find what we need. Xerox is hard to do in EDH because, unlike the non-highlander formats, we lack the sheer number of good cantrips; however, this doesn't stop us from using them as an early-game tool to get us started.
Another key aspect of Infect is the reliance on interaction due to the small number of threats that we're bringing. Counterspells and combat tricks are a natural fit in a Xerox shell, and they play well into the "do they have it?" mind game; knowing when to leave mana open is a necessary skill, as the punishment can be game-ending.
Our opening hands are a bit trickier than the usual lists, as we're carrying a bunch of one-mana cantrips and just 33 lands. Overall, we need a hand with at least one cheap threat and the combination of either a few cantrips, counterspells, or Auras.
The early game is the most crucial for us. I'm not gonna lie: we fall off pretty hard as an aggressive deck. Our gameplan varies a lot depending on our keep: do we have two cheap threats in our hand? Then we can afford to tap out. Did we keep a one-lander? We could either dig for more with our cantrips, or we could try to spend the initial turns accelerating our mana. Either way, we need to have a threat online by turn two, or three if we have a good hand, to start putting pressure on our opponents. Eutropia is great both early to trigger off of a bunch of Auras from our hand or as a late-game engine to push those last bits of damage through. I'd recommend waiting to play her until we have another creature online and we have enough mana to cast an Aura.
By the mid game we have to be either fast or disruptive because this is the time where board wipes start coming down. The mentality of going fast is to use player elimination as a sort of a crowd control by eliminating the person who's more likely to disrupt us (I'm looking at you, Oloro player; hopefully they won't have enough creatures to block. The earlier we eliminate a player, the easier it is for us to snowball. If we go the other route, we should play a more tempo-oriented game, being careful to not tap out and holding interaction (or bluffing them).
In the late game, we'll probably be on life-support as we have a bunch of possible "dead draws" (they aren't really dead cards, just drawn at the wrong time). The one thing we'll hopefully have going for us is the combination of Concordant Crossroads plus surprise creatures or using Karn's Bastion (or even Sword of Truth and Justice on our commander) to do some Proliferation. Either way, the priority is holding cards as long as possible to try to assemble a game-winning string of cards.
Infect plus Eutropia is such a fun combination that has so many possible themes that we could've build around! Here are some suggestions:
If you want to be better at grinding in the late game I would suggest cards like Hadana's Climb, Sword of Light and Shadow, and Putrefax. Going harder on the Proliferate theme could also help, like Thrummingbird that can act as a pseudo-Infect creature.
Cards like Season of Growth could help us in the mid game by giving us plenty of card advantage. Early game cards might be a bit of a coin flip, but given the nature of the deck we wouldn't be sacrificing all that much to begin with, say, Spell Pierce and Berserk as two great examples of good early-game cards.
Alternatively, if you prefer a more straightforward approach to the archetype, we could ditch the Xerox shell and build it more like a traditional deck. I'd strongly recommend to not do this, however, since this type of deck is starved for space, while the cantrip suite allows us to have fewer of each card type.
That’s it for this Epic Experiment! What do you think about this list? Do you have any questions about the deck? Which cards did you like? Which didn’t you? Was the Epic Experiment a success? Please let me know in the comments below!