Pieces of the Puzzle - Displacer Kitten

(Displacer Kitten | Art by Campbell White)

I Might Know Who You Are?

Aye! We hit article #3, so welcome back to Pieces of the Puzzle! I’m your host, Goldshot, a Head Editor on the Commander Spellbook project. Pieces of the Puzzle is a series a looking into combo decks, both how they function and how they are made. My overarching goal with this series is to look at each new set and showcase a bit of what they do for combo players or interested individuals. In my first two entries, I covered commanders; this time I'm going to focus on a non-commander card. I'm going to talk about my third favorite Cat (after Lurrus of the Dream-Den and the kitty in her art), Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate's Displacer Kitten.

This set has a lot of really interesting combo pieces to look at, like Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward, Raggadragga, Goreguts Boss, and Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter, but our dear kitten friend stood out to me, both in cuteness and as a card in the 99, rather than a combo in the command zone.


The Card

Displacer Kitten is the first card with "kitten" in its name which is legal in Commander, and it's by far one of the cutest things I've ever seen. Aside from this, it has an extremely powerful ability: "Avoidance — Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, exile up to one target nonland permanent you control, then return that card to the battlefield under its owner’s control."

This is one of the most powerful blink effects I think we've seen to date. For the cost of casting a noncreature spell, we get to blink not just any creature, but any nonland permanent we control. Not only that, we get it back immediately and we don't even need to wait for our end step. Blinking anything other than a creature tends to be extremely rare. Our options include the likes of Brago, King Eternal, a famously powerful card and commander, Felidar Guardian, with more than 50 combos to its name, and Ghostly Flicker, to name a few.

These cards are all powerhouses, so Displacer Kitten has the potential to pull off some incredibly powerful combos like its predecessors. Not only that, but Displacer Kitten has the ability to function as a very strong value engine. Simply blinking a card that enters to draw cards, like Wall of Omens, allows Displacer Kitten to do an Archmage Emeritus impression. Displacer Kitten can also blink mana rocks, common staples of Commander, to act as a cost-reducer for all of our spells.

This allows our favorite almost-seen kitty to slot well into most enchantment decks, artifact decks, spellslinger decks, and superfriends decks, and this is all without even combing. So what does it look like when these kinds of cards do combo?


Time to Talk Combos


Inspiration

Luckily, with Blink and you might miss 'em, we have plenty of inspiration to draw from, so quickly searching Brago, King Eternal, Felidar Guardian, and Ghostly Flicker will give us a lot to work with. So much so, in fact, that I'll list out only a few that stood out to me.

Our first stand-out combo is Archaeomancer, Ghostly Flicker, and Peregrine Drake. In this case, our triggered blink effect targets a way to get it back and a way to recast it. Those roles are filled by Archaeomancer for recursion and Peregrine Drake for mana. Interestingly, Blinky Boi can act as half of this, because we only get one blink. Normally this would kill the combo, but instead, we can use the spell we cast to trigger Card Name Displaced as the remaining half of our combo.

For example, we could keep the Archaeomancer, but replace our Peregrine Drake with a ritual, and a second spell to cast. This way, a ritual, like Turnabout, can become our source of mana. Then, we just need to point Never There When You Need 'Em's trigger at our Archaeomancer to get back our spell.

"But wait," I hear you cry, "the blink trigger will resolve before the spell, we can't get it back!" You are mostly correct. While we can't get back our Turnabout, we can get back a different spell and use the extra mana to cast that spell, getting back our ritual to do it all again. Following that example, Brago shows us yet another way to use our blink ability to enable itself again.

Lastly, the combo I think is the most interesting for us to observe is Felidar Guardian with Aminatou, the Fateshifter. This shows us a way to use our blink ability with a planeswalker. By using Felidar Guardian's blink ability, we can reset Aminatou, making it a new object in the eyes of the game. As a result, we may lose any extra loyalty counters we may have accrued, but we get to activate our planeswalker again. This combo takes advantage of that by using Aminatou's ability to blink Felidar Guardian, putting us back where we started.

I think this revelation is perhaps the most powerful because it will act as the foundation for the coming deck. Planeswalkers' abilities are quite varied, giving us plenty of opportunities to get a noncreature spell to cast. Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge allows us to bring an artifact card back from our graveyard with his second ability, allowing us to recur a card like Lotus Petal or Tormod's Crypt which we can then immediately cast again to trigger Displacer Kitty, then get sacrificed to make prime targets for Tezzeret to start us over. Jace, the Living Guildpact (RIP his guildpactness) can pick up one of our artifacts, such as Sol Ring, with his second ability, and then allow us to cast it again, putting us up a mana and resetting Jace so we can repeat it yet again.

Not only that, but once we have repeated the loop enough to have infinite colorless mana, we can then instead pick up something like Dimir Signet to make infinite mana, and then any planeswalker we control for infinite activations of the 'walker. One such outlet is Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools; he can make infinite 0/1 tokens, and his second ability can turn those tokens into cards.

Where Does This Leave Us?

With so many confirmed spots in our decklist, the deck begins to build itself. The insane synergy of Displacer Kitten comboing with our 'walkers and generating extra activations of them, causes us to want to go into a Superfriends build. Blue Felidar Guardian can even blink our 'walkers at instant speed, getting them out of trouble in case anyone tries to attack them.

With this established, we want to play more planeswalkers to allow ourselves to be a true Superfriends list. Planeswalkers like Narset, Parter of Veils allow us to dig through our deck while also giving our opponents trouble in the process. Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor acts as protection for our other 'walkers, making not only blockers, but giving our planeswalkers Ward 2. A quick glance at EDHREC's planeswalkers theme page reveals to us that we'll want to play The Chain Veil, Flux Channeler, and Silent Arbiter.

Oh, and who better for our commander than yet another planeswalker? Tasha, the Witch Queen can give us slow value and blockers, and she's when used with Displacer Kitten, she can activate her minus ability as many times as we want in a given turn. This even goes infinite with the Chain Veil, allowing us to both put cards into exile with page counters and then cast them with each new instance of Tasha. We can also use the existence of rituals, like Dramatic Reversal (okay, it's technically not a ritual, but with mana rocks, it essentially is) to combo with cards like Isochron Scepter.


Revealing Those Cards and Putting the Rest in the Graveyard

From there, we just want to support our planeswalker plan while also adding some mill to support our commander, Tasha. I think the coolest spice I could fit into this deck was exploiting token creation and our low creature count to play Polymorph effects. Worst case scenario, we flip into Archaeomancer and use it to get back our Polymorph!

The Third-Best Kitty of the Witch

Commander (1)
Creatures (9)
Planeswalkers (15)
Instants (12)
Enchantments (7)
Sorceries (7)
Artifacts (16)
Lands (33)

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What do you think of the deck? What do you think of the Kitten's combo potential? Let me know in the comments below!

Goldshot picked up Magic when Theros came out, but truly found his calling when the Retraction Helix and Mirran Spy on his desk started looking at him funny. Eventually, Goldshot swapped out Sphinx's Disciple for Reckless Fireweaver and Kitchen Table for EDH, and the rest was history. Goldshot currently sits on the head editor team where you can find him today at Commander Spellbook.