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Maximizing Atraxa, Grand Unifier in Commander


Hello awesome folks! I hope that your day is going incredibly well! Today I want to do something fun for you, so let's build my first Commander deck from Phyrexia: All will be One around the new version of one of the most popular Commanders ever made, Atraxa.

Let's take a look at the new one:

Atraxa, Grand Unifier

Newtraxa costs a massive seven mana, so that's rough. She won't be played nearly as often for that reason alone. Your seven-mana investment does net an on curve 7/7 with four keywords. I love flying and vigilance, and a 7-power flyer can swing in the air three times for a Commander Damage kill while staying back for blocking, each hit bringing a 14 point life swing. That's nasty. Then when she enters the battlefield (ETB) you reveal the top ten cards from your library and then draw one of each card type. You'll reliably get a land, a creature, probably an artifact or enchantment, and then one sorcery or instant even if you aren't building around her. So, the seven mana spent to cast Atraxa is worth it since you can easily draw 4-5 cards when she ETBs. Ideally, you'll split types up to maximize your options. For example, if I reveal a Solemn Simulacrum and I want to draw it, I could make it my artifact or my creature.

Let's aim on having 40 lands in my brew since she's seven mana and four colors, and don't want to be in a position where we can't cast her. In order to maximize the other 59 cards card types, I'd want to split them up:

Instants - 10

Sorceries - 10

Artifacts - 10

Enchantments - 10

Planeswalkers - 9

Creatures - 10

That way, revealing 10 cards should likely hit most card types for maximum card draw. Finding ways to add ramp, removal, and card draw in 20 instants and sorceries will be rough, and I'll lean on other types to help me out here and there. Since Newtraxa costs seven, and we need to get to that reliably; that'll be my maximum casting cost in the deck since we should be able to cast other 7-drops we draw after playing Newtraxa, even without dropping a land the next turn.

Let's start with mana because that's the most important thing in a four color deck that includes Green:

Circuitous Route

Let's start with my green ramp sorceries. Normally most Commander players are running 2-drop ramp like Farseek and Rampant Growth. I'm not, since we need a seven mana for our leader and then more for Commander tax. Therefore, I am running three cost Cultivate and Kodama's Reach and four cost things like Circuitous Route that cost four and ramp two like Explosive Vegetation. One Route on turn four will give us a turn five Newtraxa.

Font of Fertility
Sakura-Tribe Elder

Now I need non-sorcery ways to ramp us out. Did you remember Font of Fertility? This 1-drop will sacrifice for two any time to Rampant Growth a basic tapped. I love doing this at the end of your foe's turn and then untapping and going. I also used one of my precious creature slots for Sakura-Tribe Elder. This 2-drop can attack, block, and then get sacrificed for a basic, also anytime.

Expedition Map
Courser of Kruphix

Expedition Map is an artifact slot and like the Font will drop on turn one, get sacrificed for two, and then will search your library for any land, but it goes into your hand. We have some nice lands to grab, like Command Tower. We also have a pair of win-cons in land form you can tutor for. I also am running Sylvan Scrying for any land too! For example, you can grab Bojuka Bog to exile a graveyard. The Courser is my enchantment slot. This three-cost 2/4 will let you play with the top card of your library revealed, and then you can play lands from there. It also has landfall "gain a life," so don't sleep on that!

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Greater Tanuki

Let's finish our mana and ramp section with two more enchantment dorks. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove is also a 2/4 for three. This will let you play another land each turn and plays nicely with your card draw, Courser, and Cultivate effects. Then your lands are every basic land type so you have the right color for anything! Greater Tanuki is a six-mana 6/5 trampling game winner that also is here to channel ramp out a basic into play tapped. Unlike Krosan Tusker, it doesn't go into your hand, but your battlefield, and at instant speed.

Total Non-Lands After Mana:

Instants - 0

Sorceries - 6

Artifacts - 4

Enchantments - 4

Planeswalkers - 0

Creatures - 1

15 cards

Card Flow

Stinging Study

The next place I went after ramp was card draw. The first draw spell I added was the instant speed Stinging Study. This was the first instant added. This draws you 7 cards, loses you 7 life, since that's the mana value of Atraxa, Grand Unifier. That's a lot of cards! The 'Blazer is a 5-drop 2/2 with flying, and when it ETBs, you draw two cards and gain two life. I am also running Mulldrifter.

Font of Fortunes
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

Font of Fortunes sacrifices for two cards. This drops for 1u, sacrifices for 1u, and then nets you two cards. Jace, Unraveler of Secrets is the first planeswalker added to my brew. He's a 5-drop with 5 loyalty with a strong +1 to scry one and then draw a card. Then, as an emergency, you can -2 to bounce an opposing thing, like their Commander or one of yours with a negative Aura like Pacifism on it.

Sylvan Library

Let's turn next to another Blue planeswalker, this time a 6-drop. Mordenkainen has 5 loyalty and can +2 to draw two and then put one onto the bottom of your library, so you'll see two more cards each turn. Then he can -2 to make a Dog that's power and toughness are twice your hand count, so that could easily be 8/8 or 10/10 with all the card flow also making him a win con too. I also tossed in Teferi, Hero of Dominaria for mad card flow with his + ability. Check out Sylvan Library! It's a classic card in here since you'll easily be able to pay four life to draw critical cards. I also tossed in another Commander Classic Rhystic Study.

Total Non-Lands After Card Flow:

Instants - 2

Sorceries - 7

Artifacts - 4

Enchantments - 7

Planeswalkers - 3

Creatures - 3

Ten cards plus some elsewhere will have card flow attached.


Utter End
Garruk, Apex Predator

I wanted some generic removal for anything, so I reached for Utter End! This four-cost instant can target anything that's not a land and exile it. Exiling removal is very important at the kitchen table! I also tossed in Generous Gift and Beast Within as instant targeted removal. Check out Garruk, Apex Predator! It's a 7-drop, 5-loyalty 'walker with four abilities. His +1 will destroy a planeswalker, and his -3 destroys a creature and gains life equal to its toughness. You can take out both key types. Then his second +1 will make a 3/3 Beast with deathtouch which is likely here!

Karn Liberated

Let's turn to another seven-mana planeswalker - Karn Liberated! His +4 will exile discard, so when you start targeting your foes, and that's pretty quickly going to get cards cast. Exile discard is nasty since they cannot target it for reanimation like Zombify. You can also -3 to exile any permanent, even lands. You can do that twice with his starting loyalty. I wanted an emergency sweeper, so I turned to Damn. You can target one dork at sorcery speed for two mana. Or you can overload it for four to sweep all creatures on the battlefield.

Mystic Snake

Let's turn to more answers with this creature duo! Duplicant is a six mana, counts as artifact in my brew, and then exiles a dork on arrival to your battlefield and then copies its size and creature types. Nice for opposing Commanders. Mystic Snake is a 4-drop that counts as a dork with flash and when it ETBs, counter something. I also have pulled a dork in my count for Draining Whelk. Then I added in counters like Negate and Counterspell as generic answers.

Total Non-Lands After Answers:

Instants - 9

Sorceries - 9

Artifacts - 5

Enchantments - 7

Planeswalkers - 4

Creatures - 5

Done with a few counters and answers with a few cards left.

Synergies and Win-Cons

Sensei's Divining Top
Whispersilk Cloak

Now let's turn to synergies and win-cons. Sensei's Divining Top is a key synergy with its cheap one cost and one to activate to sort the top three cards of your library anytime you want. This great to see what you might reveal from a Newtraxa arrival, as well as the aforementioned Sylvan Library. The Cloak is a 3-drop, 2 to equip, and then you put it on Newtraxa to protect her from targeted removal. Then you can swing unblockably, winning in just a few smashes with the lifelink gains making it hard to race. Then after mass removal kills her, just cast and equip again.

Venser, the Sojourner
Blackblade Reforged

Venser, the Sojourner is a key win-con here. He's five mana for a smaller 3 loyalty, and his +2 will blink something out and then recur it in your end step, so it's a slow blink. You can also use it to blink your Newtraxa for another ETB trigger, Simulacrum, Mulldrifter, Duplicant, and more. He's here for that -1 to make your team unblockable so that's your goal. The Equipment costs 2, equips Newtraxa for 3 and your other non-legendaries for 7. Your equipped dork will get power and toughness equal to your land count, and here in a ramp build like this, that's quite high. This can turn Newtraxa into player-killing machine, and gaining 13 life or more per hit is nasty. And no one is attacking into a 13/13 flyer with lifelink to give you more life.

Archetype of Imagination
Steel of the Godhead

The Archetype is taking up a key enchantment slot. It gives my team flying, and Newtraxa and many others already fly. Why is it here? To remove flying from your foes. Now your flyers can't be blocked at all, save by reachers. It' brilliant here as another way to get your team through. Steel of the Godhead is another enchantment, this time an Aura. It gives the enchanted dork unblockable and +1/+1 if Blue and +1/+1 and lifelink if White. You are looking to enchant Newtraxa and pump by two. Nasty!

Spark Double
Sorin, Grim Nemesis

Check out this pair. We have nine planeswalkers and a lot of creatures. Enter Spark Double, which copies any dork or planeswalker you control, but it's not legendary so you can get another Newtraxa and win much faster and get another refilling of your hand. It arrives with a +1/+1 counter if it copied a dork, or another loyalty if a planeswalker. Nasty synergy here. Check out Sorin, Grim Nemesis, who would be a great copy target. He's a 6-drop with a six loyalty, then you +1 him to reveal the top card of your library and deal damage equal it's cost to every foe, and then draw it too. Card flow attached to player removal! With your Sensei's Divining Top or Sylvan Library? Then you can -X him to shoot a non-player target for damage and gain life so he's also creature and planeswalker removal too.

Faeburrow Elder
Nyxbloom Ancient

Let's finish up my synergies with this pair. Faeburrow Elder was the final dork slot added to my deck. This 3-drop with vigilance will be a 2/2 if you drop it on a naked board, a 4/4 with Newtraxa or Blue and Black things, and then will tap for mana equal to your colors in your permanents. Drop this turn three after a turn two Font of Fortunes and you can tap for three and now have a 4th turn Newtraxa. Nasty. Also don't forget to swing first and then tap for mana in your second phase with that vigilance. Nyxbloom Ancient was one of my final enchantments. This seven-mana 5/5 trampler will triple your mana you tap your permanents for. Nasty. That can blow through the cards you drew post Newtraxa's ETB ability firing.

Non-Basic Lands

Rogue's Passage
Boseiju, Who Endures

Let's finish by looking at some lands! Rogue's Passage is my win con in land form I mentioned above. It arrives untapped, taps for colorless, and with four it can tap and make anything unblockable. Even your foes so you can play politics. Also, Shizo, Death's Storehouse will give her fear, which can still be blocked by Black stuff and artifacts. Boseiju, Who Endures taps for Green, doesn't arrive untapped, and then can be discarded for two to Naturalize or Demolish a non-basic but they can ramp a basic like Path to Exile. Good removal and a key land to grab if you need an answer from your Newtraxa trigger.

Plaza of Heroes
Zagoth Triome

Check out this pair! The Plaza enters untapped, taps for colorless or to cast Newtraxa or your planeswalkers for any color of mana. And then you can also tap for any color as long as you control that color in a legendary. Then you can exile it with 3 mana to give Newtraxa hexproof and indestructible for the turn, nice combo from an instant source to protect from key removal. The Triome is a key triple land that ETBs tapped, but also cycles for a card after your mana is set. I am running all four that are our colors.

Roadside Reliquary
Reliquary Tower

Let's finish with this Reliquary pair! The former taps for colorless, can be sacrificed with two mana in order to draw one if you control an artifact or enchantment, and then two if you control both. Nice card flow over time! The latter one also taps for colorless without entering tapped, and then you don't have a max handsize. Since we are drawing mad cards when Newtraxa ETBs, we need to be able to not discard. I also tossed in mana rock Decanter of Endless Water to do the same.

Ready for my deck! I got you!

Newtraxa | Commander | Abe Sargent

Card Display

And there you go! My numbers were a little off here and there from my initial thoughts like I only have nine instants. What did you think? How would you build this brew? What did I miss? This is very deep as you can play anything. I thought about the recursive lands Volrath's Stronghold, Academy Ruins and Hall of Heliod's Generosity, but I felt I needed more basics and didn't have enough of any type. Yavimaya Hollow? Gilded Lotus? Mana Reflection? Mirari's Wake? Let me know!

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