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Commanding Dina, Soul Steeper


Hello folks! I hope that you are having a rock-tastic day today! I want to present my sixth article featuring a guy from Strixhaven or Commander 2021 for you! Today we'll be returning to the former.

Would you want to check out my previous work?

  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!
  4. Fourthly, I built a deck around Extus, Oriq Overlord // Awaken the Blood Avatar. In this deck I created a graveyard based synergy to use Extus's magecraft trigger to Raise Dead a dork as well as enough sorceries and instants to trigger said Extus. It's pretty fun, as you can see here!
  5. Fifthly, I built around the popular Osgir, the Reconstructor who has 1045 decks over at EDHREC.com and is the most popular leader from the mega-set. I built an artifacts matter deck around cards with awesome enters-the-battlefield triggers and artifacts loving things like Goblin Welder and Armillary Sphere and new cards from the Commander deck that features him. Enjoy it here!

What Strixhaven leader am I building around?

Dina, Soul Steeper

As of today, when I am writing this, Dina has 607 and counting decks registered over at EDHREC.com! I have now built around every one of the colleges. Let's take a deep dive into Dina. Her creature types aren't that pertinent. Her cost is great as a leader and can come out early and remain out even through a few Commander taxes. Let's look at her abilities. Did you gain life? Great! Now your foes lose one. Great clock! Note that they only lose one life, so it doesn't matter how much you gain. If you Stream of Life yourself for 7, then you only trigger this once for 1 lost life from your foes. Check out her second ability! You can invest a generic mana to sacrifice another dork. When you do so, you'll get a bigger Dina and she swells in power equal to the sacrificed one's power. Not bad for killing off a foe with Commander damage. How do I want to build around her?

Great question!

  • Slow, Repeatable, Life Gain. She'll do better with smaller life gain over time to trigger her ability more often than all at once. If you can unearth permanents that can trigger over and over again with mana or other resources that gain you life that'd be ideal.
  • Pests. Have you seen the scholar mascot? It's a 1/1 Pest that can make a life for you when it dies. Since Dina will sacrifice a dork, you can sacrifice a Pest for a mana and make a single life and then trigger Dina and use her two abilities together! Any reasonable card that makes Pests are in.
  • Life Gain Support. There are several cards in Commander 2021 and Strixhaven that have a Golgari life gain support theme that I want to include.
  • Other Support. Then I want to lean into non-life gaining support like mana and ramping, removal and card drawing. Loads of stuff for the win!

Ready for the deck? Let's get Dina done!

Beledros Witherbloom

Have you seen Beledros the founder of the Witherbloom school? Great! I like it as well! This powerful Elder Dragon was the first addition to my deck. It makes an epic ton of Pests with its "beginning of each upkeep" trigger rather than just your upkeep. In a multiplayer game with four players, that is four Pests every loop. Sacrifice for a bunch of triggers of Dina! And if you want somewhere to spend your life gain don't sleep on the Elder Dragon's second ability to ramp you a lot with your extra life! Enjoy it!

Blight Mound
Pest Infestation

Have you seen this duet of cards from Commander 2021? I have! They are pretty cool here! I love the Mound in here. As your nontokens die you'll net a Pest token, and you can sacrifice for the Dina which will be a 2/1 menace. Pretty good for the cause! When someone goes to exile your non-Pests sacrifice them to Dina for death triggers like this one. And then the Infestation can destroy artifacts and enchantments from your foes. And you can make a bunch of Pests when you do! A three-mana Infestation will destroy one permanent and make you two Pests. 5 mana? Two targets and four Pests! It ramps nicely as well. Love it here!

Look at Veinwitch Coven. As you can see it's a solid 3/3 menace for 3 mana and as you gain life you can spend a mana and then recur a dead dork to your hand. Pretty nice, right? Especially given the massive number of triggers this deck generates. Now check out Marauding Blight-Priest. As you gain life, each foe loses a life. It duplicates Dina's life loss trigger and I tossed in everyone that I could find in Gatherer to join the pair. Love them!

Essence Warden

We have loads of life gain triggers in here! Did a foe (or yourself) drop a land! Trigger for life with the first card which triggers Dina and other cards. Awesome! Did a foe (or yourself) drop a creature? Trigger for a life gain and more with the second card. They are both bringing many triggers to the table!

Are you sacrificing Pests to Dina? Are you sacrificing other cards to her? Are you losing creatures to things like combat and removal? No problem! You can draw cards as they die and gain life to trigger Dina and Friends. Say hello to Moldervine Reclamation! One great way to keep the card flow and life gain moving in this bad boy!

Pestilent Cauldron

Check out this flip artifact from Strixhaven! Did you see it in the spoilers or have a chance to play with it? Check it out! I am playing in for the front side. Discard a card to make a Pest, pretty good way to keep the life gain and sacrifice engine flowing, and you can turn unneeded land into Pests. You can tap it and mana and mill cards equal to your life gain, and you can exile cards in a graveyard (don't choose yours) to draw a card. You can cast this on the flip side to Regrowth two permanents if that's needed but the front side is the reason it's here!

Valentin, Dean of the Vein // Lisette, Dean of the Root

We are running another modal card that's in our colors, again looking at the front side for Valentin. 1 mana for a 1/1 menace and lifelink. Gain that life! As opposing stuff dies you exile it, which is a nice brake on graveyard abuse. As you do you can spend two generic mana and make a Pest token! It fills your battlefield with more bodies which is a good 1-drop! You can drop Lisette and go wide with the life gain, but you'll be sacrificing too much for that to matter than much.

I added in some sacrifice engines like High Market along with Blasting Station and Phyrexian Tower. The former can sacrifice for damage to a foe or another target. Finish someone off! It untaps as more stuff arrives to the party. I also like the latter card in here as well to turn sacrifices into mana! Make that mana. Backup sacrifices for the cause are needed, not just Dina. Note that, oddly, Miren, the Moaning Well is missing from the EDHREC.com page despite being a life gaining sacrifice engine. I have added it in here!

I have increased the number of creatures in my deck to 39 including Dina. That's enough to run creature impacting cards like Soul of the Harvest that draw cards for stuff that arrives to the battlefield. I also tossed in Bontu's Monument. Check it out! As you cast those 39 dorks, you'll drain a life from your foes which can kill them and you'll trigger your many life gaining goods. Welcome to the deck!

Sapseep Forest
Radiant Fountain

Let's finish with some lands! We've added in life gain lands like Radiant Fountain and Gingerbread Cabin. Have you seen this Sapseep Forest? It counts as a Forest for fetchability and you can tap to gain life and inspire Dina as long as you control two more green stuff. Dina counts as one, so you only need one more! Enjoy the life gain!

Want to see my coolyhighharmony deck? It's here!

Dina and Friends | Commander | Abe Sargent

100 cards later there you are! I hope that you enjoyed my Dina and Friends deck! What did you think? Anything that I missed or that you like here? Just let me know!

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