Pieces of the Puzzle - Tameshi, Reality Architect

(Tameshi, Reality Architect | Art by Scott M. Fischer)

Who Are You?

Welcome to Pieces of the Puzzle. I’m Goldshot, a Head Editor on the Commander Spellbook project, and this article series is all about looking into combo decks. My goal is to look at each new set and showcase a bit of what that set will do for combos and combo decks.

To begin, I want to look at Tameshi, Reality Architect. To me, this new Azorius Moonfolk has the makings of a great combo commander.

The Commander

Tameshi has two abilities: a flow of constant card draw and a very interesting reanimation effect. Tameshi is reminiscent of Hanna, Ship's Navigator, Emry, Lurker of the Loch, and my favorite card, Lurrus of the Dream-Den, but with a bit of Landfall spice. As a result, many of Tameshi’s combos can be derived from those very same commanders. Tameshi puts our lands back into our hand, but they need to make it back to the field to allow us to activate Tameshi again. This means we want to make sure we can get as many lands as we can onto the battlefield in a given turn.

Azorius has a hard time getting extra lands into play aside from one-shot effects like Knight of the White Orchid, so let's look at what else we have. We have our must-plays of Walking Atlas and Ghirapur Orrery, which give us extra land drops for a turn, and Keeper of the Accord and Archaeomancer’s Map, which reward us for being behind on lands, a condition that our commander will handily help us meet.

Now to get creative. Azorius may not be able to play lands, but it can help us cheat out some artifacts, and we can use Ancient Den, Seat of the Synod, and other artifact lands to take advantage of that. Master Transmuter, Covert Technician, and Prototype Portal (as well as our commander) can cheat out these artifact lands and get around Azorius’s lack of land ramp, while Mirrorworks can provide us some extra benefit and lands.

Another interesting note is combo outlets. Sometimes it's not enough to go infinite, as even infinite death triggers need a Blood Artist or similar to turn that loop into something useful. Tameshi offers a unique opportunity in an abundance of combo outlets by using Landfall cards as outlets. Emeria Angel and Felidar Retreat can turn our infinite Landfall into infinite creatures. Hedron Crab can mill an opponent's entire library while also allowing us to mill ourselves to stock up our graveyard when we aren’t going infinite.

Time to Talk Combos

The Old

When looking at new combos, old combos are always worth taking inspiration from. Using Commander Spellbook’s search engine, we can search for infinite Landfall combos in an Azorius color identity. This will allow us to quickly find old combos that allow us to use our outlets. This gives us some interesting finds!

While Retreat to Coralhelm has always been a thorn in my side, once being a literal THIRD of Commander Spellbook’s combos, it is a pretty sweet card. It allows for infinite combos that want to put a land into play and then pick it back up just to do it again. We may not use Meloku, but with access to a zero-mana artifact that can sacrifice itself (like Tormod’s Crypt or Lotus Petal), our commander does a fair imitation.

Another interesting angle is similar cards to our commander. When searching via Emry’s combo page on EDHREC, some interesting results present themselves:

We may not be able to combo Tameshi with Mirran Spy and Lotus Petal, but with Emry’s similarity to Tameshi, we will be playing Emry. Emry’s Mindslaver lock is much more interesting for Tameshi, though, because Tameshi can directly replace Emry here, giving us another great combo for our deck.

The New

Tameshi has some combos of his own, so let’s dig into that. The second ability of Tameshi reads like this: “{X}{W}, Return a land you control its owner's hand: Return target artifact or enchantment card with mana value X or less from your graveyard to the battlefield. Activate only as a sorcery.” To combo with this, we have a few options: 1. Tameshi puts a land back in our hand. 2. Tameshi reanimates an artifact. The first is definitely the easiest, using Tameshi like Meloku in the previously mentioned combo.

The second requires a bit more work. To successfully combo with the second part of the ability, we need to be able to have a land ready and waiting for us each time we want to activate the ability. The payoff though is the ability to get back one of our spicy artifacts to keep us going. Our biggest issue is dropping the land back from our hand. Walking Atlas needs a way to untap, but that’s just the Retreat to Coralhelm combo, and we saw that earlier. This means we need to get tricky again. To solve the puzzle of limited land plays each turn, we just need to cast our lands. Now, Magic rules may not allow for that exact interaction, but Sculpting Steel only becomes a land on the way into the battlefield, not when it's being cast.

To have it become a land, we just need Ancient Den out. The last piece of this puzzle (hehe, see what I did there?) is paying the three mana for Sculpting Steel. Luckily, Tameshi doesn’t just pick up a land, he reanimates something for our troubles. So we just need three mana on a zero-cost artifact. Black Lotus fits that bill, but is banned, so we can just use Lotus Bloom as our zero-mana, three-mana source. It has a mana value of zero, so Tameshi grabs it back just fine. Overall, our combo looks something like this:

Display of the combo

The Tutors

Tutors aren’t needed for a combo deck. In fact, my favorite deck I play is a Lurrus combo deck without any tutors. Jake FitzSimons and Corbin Hosler of Commander’s Herald do a much better job than I can at fleshing out the argument, but with tutors comes consistency. This deck relies on a weird gimmick of artifact lands to get extra land drops in Azorius, so in my eyes, it's essential for this deck to have access to those artifact lands, so without any further ado: the tutors. Our tutor suite is comprised of eight tutors.

Weathered Wayfarer and Expedition Map give us access to our artifact lands or the other goodies tucked away in our land base, while Drift of Phantasms grabs our Retreat to Coralhelm or something else to finish a combo. Artificer's Intuition and Oswald Fiddlebender give us tutors while also stocking our graveyard with goodies to get back. Moonsilver Key can grab Krark-Clan Ironworks or an artifact land and can also be brought back with Tameshi just like Expedition Map. Trinket Mage grabs low-cost artifacts, and lastly, Whir of Invention grabs any artifact we need.

Lastly, to wrap up this deck, looking at the general vibe of the deck helps. Being an artifact-centric graveyard deck, using Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle, Scrap Trawler, Myr Retriever, and other similar cards that let us interact with our graveyard adds in a few extra combos while providing some extra glue to keep the deck running. Don’t question why glue makes things run, it's just magic. Well, it's just Magic: the Gathering.

The Deck

Landing Combos

Commander (1)
Creatures (24)
Enchantments (9)
Sorceries (3)
Instants (2)
Artifacts (27)
Lands (34)

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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.