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Building Around Extus in Commander


Hello happy folks! I hope that you are having an awesome day today!

This is the fourth article in a row where I have dedicated a Commander deck for you all for someone new debuting in the set called Strixhaven!

Want to check out my first three articles?

  1. First, I built my deck around the Elder Dragon Galazeth Prismari who founded the Prismari School! I added in a ton of artifacts as well as some big spells to cast more easily with his ability to tap any artifact for mana for instants and sorceries. I hope you enjoy it!
  2. Second, I built a fun deck around Killian, Ink Duelist and fellow Strixhaven card Reflective Golem and the copying tandem they'll make! I then created a bunch of self-targeting instants and sorceries which felt much like an Orzhov version of a Feather, the Redeemed list. Do you like it?
  3. Third, I built a deck around another Elder Dragon called Tanazir Quandrix. Around this Simic colored fun force I added in cards that went big with counters for him to double like Hydras, Fractals, and other friends, and then I went wide with support dorks to use his latter ability to change things into 4/4s. Want to check it out? It's here!

So...who am I building around this time?

Great question!

Extus, Oriq Overlord // Awaken the Blood Avatar

It's this modal double-faced card that gives you access to three powerful and fun colors of game wrecking fun. You are the removal kings! From burn to exiling removal to sweeping removal you can handle any permanents from lands to artifacts to planeswalkers. I called this card to build around because it's three colors with its back side.

Check out Extus first! It's got double strike so it's really a 4/4 for four mana and really likes Voltron if you wanted to build around it. I'm not doing it, but you could build a three-color deck that gives your leader power and evasive abilities with Auras and Equipment. Note that it has magecraft so to trigger it you'll need to run enough sorceries and instants and ways to copy things rather than permanents. Note that its magecraft will bring back a dead nonlegendary dork from your graveyard to your hand, so this deck also needs to be graveyard-literate to make that reliable. You need enough creatures to recur and enough spells to trigger it, a delicate balance.

Then look at the back side's Awaken the Blood Avatar! It's pricey and I doubt you'll play it often with commander tax a big issue with Commander spells. You can sacrifice your stuff as you can cast it to drop its cost which will put them in the graveyard for Extus's recursion ability. Then you force foes to sacrifice a dork and then you make a 3/6 token with haste and it shoots foes for three damage each time you swing with said token. Pretty underwhelming for eight mana, unless you drop its cost.

What do I want to do with this brew?

  • Spells. We need to have enough spells to use to trigger our magecraft for Extus. I'll also add in a few copy effects for said spells.
  • Flashback and Other Graveyard Spells. We need to be able to cast our spells multiple times as we won't have many slots dedicated to them. The first way to get multiple triggers that came to my mind is flashback. You'll net two triggers per card which is good for winning the game. We can also run other mechanics like jump-start that are graveyard using. Also, a shoutout to buyback which can be cast again and again.
  • Creatures. We need to have enough creatures in the build that Extus's trigger is reliable. My goal is to run creatures that help push my main theme.
  • Magecraft. Since our leader has magecraft I'll run stuff in our three colors that also have the same trigger and are Commander-playable. Many magecraft in Orzhov are cheap and then pump themselves and play better in Standard or Limited than here but we'll unearth a few here and there. Also, other triggers can help here as well.
  • Graveyard Literacy. To get Extus to work we need bodies in the graveyard. That means we'll need ways to get bodies in the graveyard. We'll need self-milling, self-sacrificing, tutoring for creatures to the graveyard, and more. I also want other non-Extus card that care about my graveyard or recursion therefrom.
  • Support. Finally, we'll need support for our stuff. Ramp in the form of mana rocks and land fetching, card drawing, and removal will head in.

Ready? Let's do it to it!

Professor Onyx
Sedgemoor Witch
Storm-Kiln Artist

Let's kick things off with our magecraft trinity of power for Extus fun times! I am also running cards like Monastery Mentor and Guttersnipe as well as these. I also tossed in cards like Mirari to net more copy triggers of magecraft. Anyways, let's look at these three. The Professor is my only planeswalker in the build below. I love her magecraft that can kill and can keep you alive at the same time. Her +1 is useful card flow and fuels graveyard-based synergy. Her -3 can force a foe to sacrifice a dork with the highest power, which is good at getting around hexproof and indestructible. Check out the magecraft trigger of the Witch of Sedgemoor. It will make you a bunch more 1/1 creature tokens that are of the Pest variety. Nice! Our only non-black magecraft is the Storm-Kiln one that can create treasure tokens in order to make that mana for later stuff! It's pretty nice and I am running it for that, not for the first ability.

Let's look at some buyback fun times! Check out the duo of Reiterate and Disturbed Burial! Reiterate is awesome as it can be used to copy a spell for your magecraft triggers and counts as an instant as well. Cast something like Generous Gift and then cast this. That's three triggers not two! Use its buyback to keep on keeping on! Disturbed Burial is another great way to net more than one trigger. You can spend five total mana to return a graveyard creature to your hand and net a trigger for your stuff! Keep it up and keep it going! It's not in the EDHREC.com page for Extus, which seems weird as it plays into the space quite ably.

Shattering Pulse

Here's another removal buyback duo that also aren't on the EDHREC.com page as well! Sad, right? The first one is great at killing stuff with a four-life buyback. You cannot do that forever and you cannot kill Black stuff, but it's pretty good at the removal. Also good at the removal is the second card, which you can buyback and cast for five total mana. Destroy that artifact! Both are removal effects you can buy back and trigger repeatably.

Let's turn to flashback now. Check out this pair of power: Chainer's Edict and Unburial Rites. The Edict will force someone to sacrifice a dork which works best on players with just one or two dorks, you don't want to turn it on someone with a sacrificial lamb like a 1/1 Llanowar Elves. I love the Rites here as well as you'll net two creatures for your tandem of reanimation loving sorceries. I am running other flashbacks like Dread Return as well. These are both great at netting two magecraft triggers!

Devil's Play

Check out this burn duet as well! The former was played heavily in Standard when it was legal as well as heavy play at the kitchen table! It can serve here to kill two X/2s or one X/4 or less by spending six mana and getting two triggers. Check out the latter card here which I like so much I run in my Commander Cube. You can get the X spell of damage on the front side quite ably, and then on the backside you can flash back it for three Red mana to start rather than the one red normally you spend for it. Getting two damage effects from this burning duet is pretty saucy, am I right?

Now let's look at some creatures! I like removal a lot and I am running these two Ozhov flying beauties: Ashen Rider and Angel of Despair. The Angel is great at Vindicate-ing something on arrival to the battlefield, and it's pretty strong here as a body you can recur and then recast quite ably for another trigger of removal. And then another! The Avatar costs another mana, but it exiles the permanent rather than destroys, and becomes a like Utter End on legs that can hit lands. It's also body you'll want to recur and re-trigger. I love these flyers! (Neither of these are on the EDHREC.com page either...)

I need value from my dorks, and nothing says value more than tutoring for more creatures with Imperial Recruiter and Recruiter of the Guard! These Humans are awesome possum! I have a lot of 2/2 dorks that these will grab as well as ones like Flametongue Kavu's 4/2 for the Guard to recruit or Duplicant's 2/4 for the Imperial one. Also, cards like Karmic Guide love this duo! (And how Karmic Guide is missing from this brew on EDHREC.com I have no idea!)

Chittering Witch
Pia and Kiran Nalaar

More 2/2s for the win for you! Both will make 1/1 dorks when they enter the battlefield. The Witch scales up and makes more dorks the larger your foe count is. Pretty big at the kitchen table where you can have a lot in multiplayer formats. The Nalaars can make two dorks that fly, which is better in duels but worse in multiplayer. They both can sacrifice their tokens for value, and I am also running Siege-Gang Commander that plays into similar space. You can sacrifice the tokens for your Awaken the Blood Avatar to make it easier to cast.

Did you forget about Mothra, also known as Luminous Broodmoth? You shouldn't have! Check this bad Insect out! As your non-flyers die they come back badder than ever with a flying counter. That will reload our triggers and give you a better version of cards like Solemn Simulacrum and Burnished Hart. We have very little natural flying in this build, and you can punch above the rest with this great self-recursion once each.

Gravebreaker Lamia

Let's finish up our creature deep dive with this duo that's also not on the EDHREC.com page. No idea how as we want to fill up that graveyard with juicy targets. Both will, on arrival to the party, bring a party favor of a dead dork to your graveyard. I love these pair a lot as they count as creatures and fill our graveyard for our Commander's trigger. I am also running Buried Alive and Entomb.

Goblin Bombardment
Blasting Station

Let's finish by looking at sacrifice engines that we're running. I only have these two as I want to steer clear of too many engines and not enough stuff. You can sacrifice a dork and then recur it with your Extus and then recast it and then net its ETB trigger again. It's a deep amount of sacrifice-ery. These outlets sacrifice dorks for damage and neither costs mana to use. Use them before a mass sweeping effect would kill your stuff or to get the best dork in your 'yard for a Dread Return. Enjoy them!

And now let's look at the deck list proper!

Extus Commander | Commander | Abe Sargent

And there you go! Anything in here that you liked or that I missed? Just let me know and have an awesome day today!

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