August 7, 2018

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Commander 2018 Breakdown Part 1 - Exquisite Invention

Hello again everyone, and welcome back to this year's edition of the Commander Breakdown. For those of you who missed last year's review, we'll be reviewing and revising these decks through the lens of multiplayer functionality, and trying to keep individual card cost manageable. Unlike last year's review, we won't be limiting ourselves to just five cards.

Today we're looking at the Commander 2018 deck "Exquisite Invention", some of its existing synergies, and ways we can build on that foundation.

But before we get into the meat of the deck, let's take a look at the Commander and their alternatives:

We have two modes to choose from for increasing devotion on Saheeli, the Gifted:
1) We can create a servo to protect her from an aggressive attacker or advance our board state.
2) We can make any spell we choose to cast next cheaper for the duration of our turn. Cue mad scientist laughter.

Option 1 isn't ideal in a multiplayer environment, but it also isn't going to make us any enemies. Option 2 is great, assuming we can maintain our artifact intensive board state. Since creating tokens will help us make our spells cheaper, both of these are more than sufficient.

If we can get to her ultimate without someone interfering in our fun, take note of the text "Exile those tokens at the beginning of the next end step". This final mode is a one-shot and either needs to win us the game, or at the very least eliminate a serious threat to the table. Use only when absolutely necessary.

Here's the Izzet aggro commander we never knew we wanted. If we were playing 1v1 duel, Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer would be the way to go. The most important thing to note about this token wielding champion is his ability to transform all of your non-creature tokens into creatures. Forever.

In terms of multiplayer, aggressive decks tend to fall flat. Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer gradually increases our token count, but we would have to make some significant changes if our intention was to overwhelm a large group of players. He stays in the deck as a win condition, but doesn't steal the spotlight from Saheeli (yet).

Now here's our combo engine! Tawnos, Urza's Apprentice is a great inclusion on our artifact deck. His ability's drawback is that it only works on our deck's theme (this is fine), but the upside is that it hits a broader scope than Rings of Brighthearth or Strionic Resonator. For extra fun, equip Illusionist's Bracers and watch the table panic.

With tons of triggers going off in our artifact deck, this creature is a good alternative to Saheeli as our commander of choice.


Our average converted mana cost out of the box is a little over four, conveniently about the same as our Commander. To be consistent, we'll need to get there as quickly as possible without leaving our artifact theme behind. Thanks to some intrepid pirates on Ixalan, we have a way to do both:


Treasure Tokens



Additional Mana Fixing



With a high curve and a way to reach it, we're going to be splashing into some pretty big spells. These will be important for us to keep our hand full and our options open.


Card Advantage



Next up, we want to make it difficult for our opponents to interact with our side of the board. Or, at the very least difficult to keep things dead.


Protection & Recursion



Our best cards are going to provide us an edge, no matter our current board state. We'll want cards that demand multiple answers or generate multiple threats, if we are to keep up with the rest of the table.


Value Spells



Now that we're finished shoring up the basic functions of the deck, it's time to make sure we have more ways to win than bashing our opponents with a million thopters.


Win Conditions



There we have a place to start making our changes. How we build will depend heavily on our local meta, and playtesting to see what works and what doesn't.

If you're looking for a place to do just that, check out your friendly local game store. Wizard's Tower in the Ottawa area is hosting a Commander 2018 League on Saturday evenings starting August 11th. You can check out the details on their Events Calendar.