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Mind Bend – Spymaster of Mardu
Too flashy to ignore. Too fast to catch.
When it comes to aggressively attacking at the Commander tables, you would probably expect there to be some red involved, right? Both Boros and Gruul are all about the smashy smash, using combat to end players’ days. However, one of the most aggressive decks you can find might just be helmed by. That’s why in this Mind Bend, the article series that breaks down the conventional notions of the color pie to forge new ground outside the confines of the already established, we’re shifting Edric’s Simic game back where it belongs – in red, white, and black.
All Spies on Me
For those of you wondering why one look at his average decklist on EDHREC will sort out your concerns. Let’s go over it a little more here in order to make the Mardu conversion.is very aggressive,
Air Force One
For one, the averagedeck plays 26 different versions of : tiny one-mana creatures that have flying or are in some way either unblockable, like , or have odd blocking conditions, like .
The bevy ofserve a singular purpose: deal combat damage to your opponents so that Edric can draw you cards. The more of these evasive low-cost creatures you can have in play to swing with once Edric hits the battlefield, the more cards you’ll have to cast on later turns. The first swing is for replacing those already deployed, the subsequent swings are just sheer value.
So what do you do with all that draw? How about… draw more cards? The averagelist runs six extra turn spells, once again for a singular purpose: to give you more combats, mana, and cards. Digging deep with your gets better and better when you keep striking extra turn gold. Each or in hand means a better chance at finding the next.
Now, you could draw cards and take turns until your library is empty, but winning the game is a whole ‘nuther problem. Poking with a small army of 1/1s is only going to get you so far. Since you’ll be speed-running your deck into the ground, you only need a few ways to close out the game.
In the average list on EDHREC, Edric players run about four win conditions, and they include pumping your team via, coming out of nowhere with poison from , or killing players without even attacking them directly via .
The rest of the typicaldeck is filled with the usual Commander staples, mostly removal, ramp, and answers, plus a few secondary “Edrics” in the form of and .
The end result is a deck that wants to hit early and often, then steal the game away by never giving anyone the chance to play again.
The Tangled Web We Weave
When changing this deck over to Mardu, the question then becomes “Who can helm the deck on a level similar to Edric?”has no direct analogue, but we do have one that gets close: .
With her in the command zone, we can replicate Edric’s early turn strategy and net the same amount of cards. Luckily, both black and white have a plethora ofof their own to get in on the early aggro-for-cards train. For example, there are bombs like that can come down as a 6/6 flyer at the opening of the game.
We can even recoup that life loss from Tymna’s ability with some low-mana evasive creatures:, , and , for example, will give us the life we’ll happily pay.
So what about the next step in the Edric game plan: extra turns? Also, what about the red portion of this deck? To both of those I say to you, what about extra combats? Red is tops when it comes to swinging more than once in a turn; just look at, or, new from Zendikar Rising, .
Since we’re in white, we also get the versatileand the absolute beating that is . An extra combat spell you can cast again and again from the graveyard? Yes, please.
We’re Pirates Now!
But we can’t play these extra combat cards with just Tymna in the command zone. It’s time to Partner her up! Welcome aboard.
offers another route to “card draw” by stealing the top of our opponent’s deck upon damage. If we have additional Pirates, we can aim them at different opponents for full effect. Unfortunately, our , like , are not Pirates. Or are they?
has long been a staple for messing with your creature types, and it’s perfect with Breeches. Plus, you can’t spell “conspiracy” without “piracy”, arr! The brand new gives us another way to turn our team into Pirates. For a one-shot effect, we can boost our team for extra damage with .
To mirror thein Edric’s list, why not add a way to make our team all Pirates and turn them huge? For this, fits right at home. Speaking of ending the game with large creatures, does a wonderful impression that’s actually stronger with more combat steps. adds to the damage and makes it even easier to get a lethal attack through, even on other turns!
We even have a feweffects to slot in. can play both offense and defense, netting us opponents’ cards to cast or sending a large threat elsewhere. can give us a brand new hand whenever we want.
Mardu You Do
I will admit that this decklist is still a little rough around the edges. I feel that the build will require some heavy in-game testing before the final list is achieved. But the start here is a great one, considering the pedigree it is modeled after. It does run a little slower than Edric, to be sure, but not much slower. Taking advantage of its pace of play would be the first thing to upgrade here.
Edric, but Mardu This Time
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Time to Trest (For Now)
I feel like this archetype of aggressive creatures barreling into value is still somewhat unexplored.has been around for a long time, but he can’t be the only iteration out there. I’d like to see other color combinations and commanders follow suit. Decks like these win fast or die fast, but the will leave their mark before they’re gone. So if that sounds like a strategy for you, go all in!
See you all soon for another mind-bending deck!