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Partner Focus — Akiri, Line-Slinger
She’s a kor who is good at offensive fighting, enjoys high altitude travel with grappling cables, and gets more powerful with the more gadgets she has. Basically, she’s the Zendikar version of Batman, except she’s not a man and presumably doesn’t have deep psychological parental issues that result in an animal-themed alter-ego.
Akiri, Line-Slinger has first strike and vigilance and gets +1 bonus power for each artifact you control. This strongly suggests a voltron approach with equipment artifacts to inflict 21 commander damage to your opponents.
Much like the relationship between Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker and Reyhan, Last of the Abzan in the Commander 2016 Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice precon, you could take the Commander 2016 Breya, Etherium Shaper deck and put Akiri and Silas Renn, Seeker Adept as your two partner commanders with Breya in the 98 and you would still have a strong deck without making any more changes. The Breya precon already includes 17 regular artifacts, 2 artifact lands, and a slew of creatures that are either artifact creatures or have the word artifact in their rules text. Making no further changes would make this a boring article so let’s look at other options.
Voltron Commanders Who Like Artifacts
The closest strategic match among legendary creatures seems to be Maraxus of Keld, who only has 24 decks at this time. The low number probably has something to do with the fact that he is mono-red and costs 6 mana. However, he gets bigger with more artifacts (and creatures and lands too), so we can still pick up some ideas from his deck statistics. Tenza, Godo’s Maul, Sword of Vengeance, and Champion’s Helm are in the Signature Cards and are not already in the Breya precon. If we stick to using artifact creatures, then we duplicate that part of Maraxus’ ability, and if we can get a Mycosynth Lattice on the field, then Akiri gets a bonus from all of our lands and enchantments as well.
Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (269 decks) is already included in the Breya precon and is the next closest match with first strike and metalcraft, which gives a modest power bonus if you control a few artifacts. His page gives us a quick reference to the red and white artifact lands, Great Furnace and Ancient Den, as well as other metalcraft cards in red and white such as Puresteel Paladin and Molten Psyche. We could pair Akiri with Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder for a strictly Boros deck, but that seems like it would not diverge far from the Jor Kadeen template.
If we want to take metalcraft outside of red/white/colorless, we can find a few more with a card search…
The most EDH-relevant metalcraft cards outside of Akiri’s color identity are perhaps Bleak Coven Vampires in black and Lumengrid Drake in blue. Their enter-the-battlefield (ETB) effects, of course, become stronger if we can blink or recur them repeatedly. The problem with blinking is that there aren’t many blink enablers that are themselves artifacts outside of Conjurer’s Closet. We would have to dedicate part of our deck to blinking and Akiri doesn’t have an ETB effect herself that can take advantage of that approach. Graveyard recursion is a more likely tactic, since we generally would like to get our dead artifacts back on the field whether or not they have ETB effects.
Most of these return the artifact to your hand, but Scarecrone is a favorite card of mine that can repeatedly put a dead artifact directly on the battlefield with 4 mana.
Speaking of returning artifacts from the graveyard, Glissa, the Traitor has a page full of useful artifacts, even if most of them have a focus on self-destructing sacrifice abilities.
The improvise keyword from Aether Revolt lets us pretend that every artifact we have is also a small mana rock.
The most relevant of these seem to be Inspiring Statuary which is itself an artifact, and perhaps Sly Requisitioner which gives us more artifacts when our nontoken artifacts die. Herald of Anguish is also a possibility for repeatable targeted removal and opponent discard.
Creatures That Make More Artifacts
We can already find Myr Battlesphere in the Breya precon, which is a ubiquitous commander staple in almost 8000 decks. Jor Kadeen’s page also points us to other staples like Wurmcoil Engine (over 10000 decks), Thopter Foundry (over 3000 decks), and Hangerback Walker (over 4000 decks). With the addition of Anointed Procession we can get twice as many tokens, and if we add green then we get more of the usual token doubling options with Parallel Lives and (if you can afford it) Doubling Season.
Just like the great detective Batman, Akiri likes investigating clues to solve the mystery of how to best damage her opponents’ faces.
The most relevant to Akiri are the artifacts that can repeatably generate clue tokens, namely Tamiyo’s Journal and Magnifying Glass. Outside of artifacts, Tireless Tracker effectively gives us clues with landfall triggers, and Trail of Evidence gives us clues with every instant or sorcery. Whether our artifact deck includes enough instants and sorceries to make this worthwhile is another question.
Since Akiri is suited to a voltron approach, we can include voltron standards like Rogue’s Passage and Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion. If we don’t mind including a few non-artifact creatures, then the usual suspects like Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder, Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, and Aurelia, the Warleader each double Akiri’s attack power.
The cycle of legendary enchantment artifacts all give a passive combat bonus to all of our creatures and as a bonus they each boost Akiri’s power and synergize with the rest of our cards that care about artifacts. If you want Akiri and all the rest of your creatures to have haste, deathtouch, lifelink, or the “curiosity” card draw effect, give these a look.
Since a pairing with Silas Renn seems too straightforward, to make this a more interesting challenge I’m using Reyhan, Last of the Abzan as the second partner. There are only a few cards included that care about +1/+1 counters, so this could probably work just as well with Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper. However, I’ve already used Ikra in a few article decks so far, so let’s give Reyhan more time in the spotlight.
To focus on artifacts, this deck has a lot fewer instants, sorceries, and (non-artifact) enchantments that usual. I am including Saskia the Unyielding since we are in the right colors and she goes well with voltron commanders. Enjoy.
Akiri + Reyhan: Artifact Voltron
Next time: Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix