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All the Triggers with Alora!

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Hello happy people! One of my favorite decks I've ever created is a Bant colored self-bounce machine that uses cards like Whitemane Lion and Fleetfoot Panther to self-bounce and then all of the triggers - ETB (Aura Shards), cast (Equilibrium), tap (Glare of Subdual) and leaves play (Azorius Aethermage). It's my favorite deck and when I turned it into a Commander deck it was the Deck of the Day over at Wizards of the Coast, which was a humbling day for me.

So when I saw her on the spoiler for Battle of Baldur's Gate, I knew I had to build around her!

I'm talking of course about this fun mono-Blue uncommon:

Alora, Merry Thief

As you can see, Alora is a 3-drop 3/2 Halfling Rogue, and when you swing, you can make an attacking dork get unblockable for the turn and then it gets self-bounced back to your hand. Nice swing and self-bounce for the casting. Because we'll be running a bunch of recasting and normal casting I won't be playing a bunch of "ETB" Tapped stuff like the modal spell/lands or dual land like Temple of Enlightenment. Now I do want to run Azorius Aethermage here to draw all of those cards, so I am including a white background:

Far Traveler

As you can see, this is another easy to cast Background at 3 mana. When they are both in play, you can flicker out a tapped dork you control and then bring it back. That should prove quite strong as a backup option here, and I am ready to push into my plans...ready?

ETB and Leaves Play Creatures

Niambi, Esteemed Speaker
Circuit Mender

I am running a few Whitemane Lion effects here and there as well as Niambi, who is a 2-mana Whitemane Lion variant, a bit more to cast, and just 1 toughness, but it can gain life equal to the casting cost of the bounced card which is a nice little life bump. You can safely ignore the last ability usually, but it is there! The Mender is a recently printed Standard legal three drop 2/3 that gains you two life when it arrives and draws you a card when it leaves play, including bouncing and exiling from yourself. Good pair of synergy here!

Aven Riftwatcher
Watcher for Tomorrow

The Riftwatcher is a 2/3 with two triggers of life gain when it arrives and when it leaves play, and it has vanishing, so you cannot rely on it for too long. The Watcher is a 2-drop 2/1 with hideaway 4. As you can see, when it leaves play you draw the hideaway card, so that will be nice you wear it twice, and then you can use it over and over again for Impulses.

Triggers

Barrin, Tolarian Archmage
Stormfront Riders

Check out these two self-bounce triggers. The first is Barrin, which bounces another dork on arrival to the battlefield and when you have been bounced during your end step you draw a card! The Riders are a nice sized 4/3 with flying and they self bounce two dorks on arrival to the party. Each time you self-bounce a dork (or them) you make a 1/1 Soldier token, so you can go wide with the tokens, or just spend some mana to make one 1/1 token each turn by bouncing it over and over again.

Ninth Bridge Patrol is arguably a win-con instead of a "trigger" or maybe a "synergy" but your move may vary. When your other stuff leaves play (bounced or exiled) then this collects a +1/+1 counter that can turn into powerhouse quite quickly and threaten your foes. Don't target this for bounce or exiling, and then you can send this to swing in a Rogue's Passage.

Answers and Win Cons

Reflector Mage
Spell Queller

Now let's turn to creature-based answers. Check out this pair of 2/3 Azorius cards that dominated Standard. The former will bounce a foe's dork on arrival and then keep then from casting it, so that is a nice break on Commanders getting recast until this is answered. The latter has flash and flying and will exile a small spell until it is answered, which is pretty swell from where I am sitting, and works in response to targeted or mass removal like Swords to Plowshares or Chaos Warp targeting your things.

Solitude
Subtlety

These two Elemental Incarnations add to my removal suite. The 5-drop is a lifelink 3/2 with the ability to Swords to Plowshares on arrival to the battlefield. Nicely done! The four drop is a 3/3 with flying, nice evasion, which can counter a creature or planeswalker on arrival to the battlefield. You can self-bounce these with Alora and then get your Swords/Counter back for another round of removal. See also: Draining Whelk and Voracious Greatshark.

Thassa's Oracle
Cathars' Crusade

Since Alora makes something unblockable, we sorta have win-con there, but I tossed in these two. The first is a commonly played 1/3 that will dig and draw a single card on arrival to the battlefield equal to your devotion to Blue. If you dig deeper than your devotion, you win. You can just flicker/bounce this a few times and draw a bunch early on. The second is a 5 drop that gives your entire battlefield a +1/+1 each time a dork arrives and that can build up quite quickly into dealing out 40 damage as you go wide. Also don't forget Ninth Bridge Patrol.

Synergies

Sun Quan, Lord of Wu

Check out Sun Quan, here to make your team unblockable and then get some hits in and damage dealt, it really likes Cathars' Crusade, and then you can really punch the board around with him! Opposition was in my initial Equinaut deck so I had to include it here. Here is how it works here:

  • Cast a Whitemane Lion. Tap two mana.
  • Control Equinaut? Spend a mana to force your foe/you to bounce a dork
  • Control Opposition? When it resolves, tap another permanent.
  • Bounce itself
  • Trigger Barrin, Aethermage, etc.
  • Keep on trucking

It's a key card in this engine as you can tap key things before combat or a Sol Ring in their upkeep with your flash dorks.

Erratic Portal
Crystal Shard

Since we have several "leaves play" triggers and self-bounces ones, I wanted to lean onto more self-bouncers than just Alora or things like Whitemane Lion. Check out these two artifacts. Each will tap and then bounce a dork back to their hand unless they spend one. The idea here is to target your stuff, and then don't spend that mana and bounce. Don't sleep on your foes, if they tap out to cast that Commander with its tax, send it back, and if they only left one mana untapped, tap this, and then they tap their mana, and then untap and use it again and send it back. Don't cast both of these as they are key here, just use one at a time if you draw the other.

Panharmonicon

We need copies of ETB abilities since we have loads of abilities from ETB creatures. All my card draw is creature based, like Mulldrifter and Cloudblazer. Getting two triggers is nice. You also get double life gain, double bounce from something like Barrin or the Lion, and loads more. Love it lots here!

Our last synergetic card is Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar. This 3-drop 3/2 will let you draw cards as they deal combat damage, and loves getting paired with Sun Quan to have an unblockable team, as well as Alora's unblockable stuff. Also, when your stuff attacks and gets blocked, before damage is dealt, you can bounce it and save it from your deck, trigger your leaves play and bounce triggers, and then recast it later. Love it loads here!!!

Ramp and Lands and Baldur's Gate

Scavenger Grounds

I don't have a lot of crazy options in my brew, but I am not running any recursion here, so this is a nice emergency answer to graveyard use and abuse. Welcome it here!

Rescuer Chwinga
Stonespeaker Crystal

Check out these two cards just printed with Alora! The first serves as a new Whitemane Lion effect that also can bounce another permanent instead of just a dork, so it's an improvement. You can use it to save something about to die to a mass removal spell like Panharmonicon to Vandalblast. The Crystal is a 4-drop mana rock that taps for two colorless mana, and you can sacrifice it to draw a card and exile a bunch of graveyards, which is another way to stop those shenanigans. Use it early like Mind Stone, sacrifice it to draw a card, and then sac to exile opposing graveyards, it's really strong!

Let's turn to my decklist!!!


And there we go! I hope that my Equinaut style deck built around Alora really met with your approval! anything in here that you liked or inspired your own deck building fun times? Have I convinced you try out your own Alora deck? I hope so!


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