Technically Playable - Tor Wauki the Younger
Technically Playable - Tor Wauki the Younger
Welcome to Technically Playable, where our mission statement is "Every commander is Technically playable" (the best kind of playable). The way this works is every article will have a commander generated using EDHREC's random button, I'll talk through the card and then write about how we can build around it!
This week's random commander is Tor Wauki the Younger!
While not a fully mono-red card, I'm a massive fan of burn decks, and this is one that has been living rent-free and unbuilt in my brain since it was released. I'm really excited to get the opportunity to dive into it and have a look through some fun cards for the deck. Both for the sake of this article, and to decide whether or not I'll build it in paper.
A lot of the text on this card would lead you to think it's a mono-red card. After all, it has similar text toand almost the same text as . But it has lifelink, so it couldn't be mono-red. And don't tell all of my red decks this, but that does make the deck quite a lot better.
If you've played Magic before, you know that red and black are two colors that love to kill creatures (and if you haven't played Magic just yet, welcome. Pull up a chair and enjoy the article!). Tor Wauki plays to these strengths and can sometimes seem like the best way to play the deck is like one of those Historic Brawl decks. You know, the ones led byor where you play your commander, stack the deck with removal and card draw, and hope your opponent concedes before you draw more than one land in a row. The main difference between Tor and cards like Onyx or Rusko is that Tor only hits one target, but the benefit of this is that it is any target so slap a deathtouch Equipment like on him and machinegun down all of your opponent's creatures.
While Tor Wauki doesn't benefit as much from being a pure removal deck as theBrawl decks do, there are some removal spells that work really well. Anything you can cast multiple times is amazing. gives you a slightly overcosted removal spell (that exiles which is pretty rare in Rakdos) that also works as a onesided board wipe against token decks. Unfortunately, there aren't many removal spells that you can cast multiple times and isn't that good in a game where board states become saturated with utility creatures and tokens.
Our solution to this problem is throughor the more broken . These cards allow us to double up on damage from Tor while also keeping control of the board state. This is a powerful effect combined with spot removal like or but if you have a way to keep Tor Wauki alive they become incredibly potent with board wipes like and especially since it'll probably only cost you one mana.
Removing creatures is great and there are a lot of ways to do it. What makes these spells even better is when they're able to help you win the game. Obviously, Tor Wauki is one way to leverage spells in this way, and I'll talk about similar cards below and why Tor Wauki by himself probably won't get you there. What makes these removal spells really good is when they do double duty as a way to get rid of threats and to threaten opponents themselves.is probably the most iconic card in this category but it has slowly been power crept. is obviously great if you're running fliers but if not I prefer since it hits players and all creatures, even fliers (and if you cast this into a board full of Horsemanship creatures I don't know what to say except, sorry?).
The best cards that do this double duty are probablyand . was, for a very long time, the go-to mana sink for red decks. It allows you to deal a huge amount of damage while paying the low cost of one to deal that damage to another target. This gives you control over when to use it, do you go for a big blowout in an attempt to end the game or are you better off killing some threats or planeswalkers? On the other hand, is arguably more powerful but with less control. Each mana you put into it is a potential 3 damage, but it's your opponents that get to control if they take that damage or if they remove creatures/discard cards. These are both incredibly powerful spells in their own right but they thrive in very different situations. I'd probably run in this deck if I had to choose just one but honestly, they both deserve a spot in the list.
When it comes to Tor Wauki, casting spells is the name of the game, and Rakdos is a great color combination to get the job done. Red is famous (infamous?) for being the color of Storm with variations of different Storm decks across lots of different formats. Whether you're playingand in cEDH or some pile of nonsense with in Legacy. Red loves playing lots of spells and Tor Wauki wants that. I definitely wouldn't go as far as to say you want to play Storm in a Tor Wauki deck. I don't even think that the rituals are good in this deck, but Storm decks of days gone past do give us some clues as to how we can take advantage of playing lots of spells and the cards that help us up our SPT (Spells Per Turn).
The majority of my Storm experience comes from Modern. The way these decks played was using cards liketo make spells cheaper than casting and to build up a huge mana reserve and then dump it into a ton of spells before dropping for the win. As I mentioned we're not looking to necessarily play but I do think we can take a lesson or two from this gameplan. Let's start with rituals. While Rakdos does have access to all of the completely overpowered rituals like these cards aren't great in Commander, they're a one-off and don't do anything if you draw them late game. Instead, we should look at cards that either have an even bigger impact on the turn you play them like , cards that give us mana that sticks around like or cards that are more flexible like .
Of these Dockside andare extremely well-known, but I do think that often gets left to the wayside due to its cost. Yes, it is a five-mana spell but I don't think I've ever seen it resolve for less than 15 mana. Using that mana to drop something key to your strategy like , , or some combination of these cards can put you several turns ahead of your opponent's gameplans.
I talked before about doubling up on our spells and how, and the aforementioned help us to do that. These cards give us access to spells we've cast before which is vital because if we only count the damage from Tor Wauki it would take... forty divided by two... carry the one... sixty instants and sorceries to kill all three opponents. On average, you're looking at around forty lands in a deck, probably thirty-odd creatures given the high power level of creatures in recent years, leaving us with thirty other spells including enchantments and artifacts. Tor only counts instants and sorceries... so let's say around half of those thirty other spells fall into those two card types and that gives us 15 cards to play with, around a quarter of the number needed to win the game. So as well as these permanents and spells that let us recast our spells we also need to look into other ways we can get extra spell casts.
I talk a lot in my articles about cards with Flashback. It's probably my favorite mechanic, of course I'm biased because I love graveyard decks, but I just think it's a subtle way to break parity with the Singleton rule and can make for some really interesting game states where an innocuous spell in a graveyard can make a huge impact late into the game. It keeps people on their toes and makes sure people are paying attention to what is going on. Retrace is something I never gave the same amount of love, but for this deck, it fits perfectly. Late into the game, you can turn flooding into extra spell casts which in turn become removal or chip damage that can cause your opponents some real issues.
I think my favorite Retrace card for this deck is. It's a bit cheesy and can sometimes backfire with any X spells but a lot of the win conditions and utility in this deck cost three or less mana making it a crazy amount of value and turning those lands into useful cards, taking into account the fact that you cast the spells you hit off of Cascade and you're suddenly looking at four or more damage from Tor Wauki from discarding a useless land and casting Throes from your graveyard.
Okay, okay. I've talked a lot about spells, killing stuff andbut if we have to cast 60 Instants and Sorceries to win the game, well that's just not going to happen surely? So obviously that was hyperbole. You're never going to just cast Tor Wauki and leave it at that, but what is a good way to win in a Rakdos burn deck in Commander? As I alluded to earlier the secret lies in which has the magical word that I wish Tor Wauki had. "each". What makes this word so magical is that it cuts that big 60 down to 20. Still a huge number of cards to play but it is significantly lower and only five more than the number of Instants and Sorceries I assumed a deck would have in the section above. Suddenly if you land just one of your cards that lets you rebuy instants and sorceries from your graveyard it's looking like a totally doable task.
I also really like redundancy though. Playingonly to have it eat a sucks. There are tons of creatures that deal damage or benefit from your casting spells so I'll just cover a few key ones. and [/el]Firebrand Archer[/el] only deal one damage but have the benefit of being cheaper creatures but the best option in my opinion isn't even a creature. is an enchantment that has the same effect as , it's two damage and says each. The best thing about this not being a creature is it allows you to pivot from a burn deck to a control deck at a moment's notice since it dodges board wipes.
But just looking at the creatures that trigger off of damage will make this deck take way too long to win in a color combination with far too few tools to keep itself alive. To solve this, we need to ramp up our damage exponentially.is amazing at doing this. Since all of our win conditions deal very small amounts of damage but do it incrementally, we get the most value we can out of Torbran's ability. If you're feeling particularly greedy you could also go for or to build up damage, I think that cards like Torbran and are much more efficient, but there is something really funny about hitting an opponent for lethal with just a and .
Probably the best new win condition in the deck though is. This means that even your low-cost pingers like are throwing around massive amounts of damage. Four per spell is a really quick clock and if that's on each opponent you will be closing games out very. While Ojer Axonil doesn't fully dodge removal like it does have some built-in resilience since it's so easy to fulfill the ability on its land side.
As with all Technically Playable articles, this was a very quick look atas a commander and a few of the cards that can really make a deck with him as the commander tick.
When I say this was a really quick look at Tor Wauki I'm not kidding. There are tons of sweet micro-interactions in this deck like usingin conjunction with Tor Wauki's lifelink to turn the reservoir into the biggest burn spell around. Or the great value you can get from and in combination with Tor Wauuki's ability (you can target a creature, trigger Tor to hit that creature and effectively have removal spells that replace themselves!). Or the interactions with which sadly don't make up for this deck not being able to use but do allow you to turn into a DIY one-sided . Like I said, this deck has been brewing on my mind for a while and I could talk about it for hours.
Let me know in the comments below if you play Tor Wauki, if you want to build a Tor Wauki deck, or even if you just enjoyed this article. And hey, if you want to see some more in-depth stuff let me know that too!