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The 2016 Equinaut Update

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Hello all! It’s time.

So I have this deck. It uses some old school cards like the cast trigger of Equilibrium, the bounce trigger of Azorious Aethermage, the enters the battlefield trigger of Aura Shards, the tap ability of Opposition to play a creature that can self bounce, such as Fleetfoot Panther and then layer in a bunch of triggers. You win by assaulting folks with a bunch of triggers.

I built this deck as a Standard and took it to tournaments, and often won at the local LGS level, with the cards that were legal during Invasion Block. Cards like Equilibrium (in the Core Set), Meddling Mage, Fleetfoot Panther, Birds of Paradise, and more were key parts of the initial deck. I would eventually convert the deck to Commander, where it lives on today as arguably my banner Commander deck. So here it is!

Cards for Equinaut:

Here is the current pre-edit deck:

And I have it broken down by . . . 

LAND!

MANA!

Counters!

Self-Bouncers!

Beaters!

Engines!

Tutors!

Support Creatures!

MISC!

And that’s the deck right now. The last time I updated this thing was last year. That’s why I’m looking to update today. And I haven’t touched it since just after Magic Origins was released and tossed in Woodland Bellower.

So what cards strike me?

Kaladesh

Kaladesh has an epic ton of potential cards for my update of Equinaut! It has multiple themes that intersect with ours.

Angel of Invention

Angel of Invention

I love this card. When it arrives you get one of two things — a solid flying beater (which my deck needs more of) or a pair of dorky Servo tokens to add to my fuel. Both work. But the best part, in addition to that flexibility, is that this card also pumps my team like a nice Glorious Anthem. My creatures are smaller by design, so anything I can do to amp up my Watchwolf or Reclamation Sage is pretty good. This card is a quality consideration.

Aviary Mechanic

Aviary Mechanic

One of the major ways my deck works is by having cheap self-bouncing stuff like this. You need a critical mass of these to play and replay the good stuff, thereby racking up triggers. The best part about this is that you can bounce any permanent, not just a creature, if you need to. But it has two major issues. The first is the decided and sadly lacking flash that cards like Quickling, Stonecloaker, and The Death Kitty (Fleetfoot Panther) all run. The second issue is that it can’t bounce itself. I love playing and replaying a cheap self-gater to rack up the triggers. I can’t do this at the end of someone’s turn, in response to anything, and I can’t rank them up on my turn by using it on itself like I can with Shrieking Drake. Is there a space for it? Or do I have a critical mass of these?

Wispweaver Angel

Wispweaver Angel

This is not a blink deck. This is not a blink deck. This is not a blink deck. But do you know what? I will use any tool I have, including blinking. I have cards like Venser, the Sojourner, Deadeye Navigator, and Restoration Angel all here and helping the blinking cause. So this flying beater on a stick has something to proffer as it blinks on arrival.

Disappearing Act

Disappearing Act

I run Familiar's Ruse for the ability of both bouncing and countering without missing a beat. This deck is very mana sensitive. So I run stuff like Counterspell because of how cheap it is over better options. Is a 3 mana Ruse that can bounce anything, not just a creature, good enough?

Wild Wanderer

Wild Wanderer

Which is better? This or the 3 mana bodies that get any land for my hand? Do I want the ramp or the cheaper creature? The one good thing about the Civic Wayfinder and friends is that I can discard that land to Forbid if I need. I feel like the Wayfinder and Borderland Ranger might be a bit antiquated.

Arborback Stomper

Arborback Stomper

It’s 5 mana for a trampling 5/4 body that arrives with a five life blessing to your life total. It can play a variety of roles from beater to bouncer. Both work. And the better-than-Thragtusk card is really intriguing to me. Life gain? Beater? Love it!

Cloudblazer

Cloudblazer

Cloudblazer is amazing, and an automatic addition. My deck runs Mulldrifter already. Cloudblazer is just so much better. It doesn’t use the evoke on Mulldrifter much, because I don’t want creatures in my graveyard. But the Mono-Blue aspect of it hurts. Cloudblazer has a lot of things to commend it. As a White creature, you can bounce it with Fleetfoot Panther. It can be pumped by Tolsimir Wolfblood and Wilt-Leaf Liege. Before today I had five Mono-Blue creatures — Quickling, Mulldrifter, Draining Whelk, Deadeye Navigator and Shrieking Drake. But moving away from some of those would be really helpful, because the deck becomes increasingly more synergetic.

Paradoxical Outcome

Paradoxical Outcome

This is a great card for the environment. Bounce as many creatures you need (and artifacts/enchantments as well if you need) and draw a card for each one. It’s a great way to reset the board, triggers, and more. It’s a good answer to mass removal and you can do it for just one or two or three cards if you don’t need to go big.

Durable Handicraft

Durable Handicraft

It’s a nice way to pump up your stuff on arrival. It can make the small stuff big enough to matter, and there’s nothing wrong with swinging with a Birds of Paradise or something to actually hit for damage.

Panharmonicon

Panharmonicon

This card is amazing for my deck. We all know it. Panharmonicon rules. Did a creature just enter my battlefield? Then double triggers! It’s perfect. It answers a lot of problems that come up. Often I have a creature that is about to die to mass removal or something targeted. And I have Kitty, Jr. in my hand (Whitemane Lion). And I want to cast it to save my thing, but I don’t want to leave my self-bouncing gater exposed and on the table. So now I get two triggers — and I can bounce something and the Lion too. That is a good ability — no questions asked. Getting multiple Cloudblazers? Multiple Spirit Bonds? Multiple Aura Shards? Multiple Borderland Rangers? You get the idea.

But there is a problem. The Commander deck used to run just two artifacts — Sol Ring and Cloudstone Curio. But the problem was that by running such a small number of artifacts I was always losing my artifacts to artifact removal that was getting played, like Vandalblast, Return to Dust or Into the Core and stuff, because I only had a few targets. So my artifacts were getting killed at an overly quick clip. I felt the strategic advantage of that swap was worth the minor loss in power. But what about the loss of this musical instrument as well?

And I could slide back the Curio at the same that I added this, so amp up my deck as well. That’s not a bad plan, if I wanted to strengthen my deck.

What about Ninth Bridge Patrol?

Conspiracy: Take the Crown

There are only a few cool cards here, but they have some chops.

Recruiter of the Guard

Recruiter of the Guard

This is a powerful 3-drop that goes and gets a lot of combo and synergetic pieces from the deck. You can fetch out stuff like Whitemane Lion, Momir Vig, Simic Visionary, Azorius Aethermage, Mystic Snake, and more. Grab Acidic Slime for removal. Eternal Witness? Karmic Guide? I currently have 45 creatures in my deck and the Recruiter could fetch up 27 of them. Its creature status triggers my own stuff, and it’s great to self-bounce with a Deputy of Acquittals or Equilibrium trigger.

Custodi Soulcaller

Custodi Soulcaller

I don’t run that much reanimation, because I don’t like losing the goods. But given the focus on low cost creatures in this deck with the ability to swing and pull stuff back, this seems like a pretty useful engine to recur things that have died right back to the battlefield. I run 13 2-drops that I could easily recur by swinging at an open person and with the melee of this on another and bringing one back. I have another 4 1-drops. Considering that, this is an interesting route to consider.

Borderland Explorer

Borderland Explorer

Beater lashed to a cheap body and a useful enough looting effect for everyone. Sort of like a nice Veteran Explorer that sticks around. The early 3 powered 2-drop works, but is the 1 toughness enough to see it through? I don’t want my Watchwolves to get traded with a dopey Llanowar Elves or shook off by a low power blocker like Wall of Air.

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds

As a 3-drop that will tap to make at least two Green mana, it’s strong. Plus you can occasionally draw cards from her ability as well just by playing the deck. Don’t forget that a lot of key cards in your deck can bounce opposing creatures, so you can bounce bigger threats in order to ensure that something like Serra Ascendant or Serra Avenger will be of sufficient size to draw you a card.

Eldritch Moon

Eldritch Moon and Shadows before it have a few options, but not that many that really sell me. Here are a few from EM, but there are some interesting takes here.

Selfless Spirit

Selfless Spirit

I have regularly run cheap indestructible sacrificers before, like Dauntless Escort. This is a cheaper, flying Escort. We invest a lot into my board, and need some ways to keep my stuff from dying. This is a great creature-based way to do it, rather than stuff like Rootborn Defenses.

Thalia, Heretic Cathar

Thalia, Heretic Cathar

My deck has a lot of tempo attached to it. And Thalia, Take Two gives us some compelling tempo. We are already running Blind Obedience, and it works. We are recasting a lot of stuff, so the extort cast trigger is powerful, and opposing creatures bounced with stuff like Equilibrium will come back tapped for a turn, slowing them down even more. She even hits non-basic lands in addition to creatures. She is a useful adjunct to my tempo-ish ways.

Eldritch Evolution

Eldritch Evolution

Sacrificing a mana dork like Manaweft Sliver for a powerful 4-drop is pretty cool. If I wanted to run my deck around it, this is a useful Tinker variant, given how low the casting cost of my stuff gets.

Heron's Grace Champion

Heron's Grace Champion

Given the surprisingly high number of Humans in this deck, I find this to be a very interesting card. Flash on my creatures innately is amazing. Giving my other Humans some bonuses and lifelink is pretty nifty as well. This is not a bad card to consider, but at the end of the day, I don’t think I have quite enough Humans to make this work. If I did, this would head in forthwith.

Tamiyo, Field Researcher

Tamiyo, Field Researcher

I don’t run any planeswalkers other than the obvious Venser, the Sojourner. But Tamiyo has some very compelling logic behind her. I regularly swing with multiple lower power creatures, so I can swing with two and draw two cards while building her loyalty. You can also tap-lock two permanents and keep them from untapping for a turn, which is a great way to clear up a defense or to keep some powerful stuff from coming your way until you have a more permanent answer. She’s very compelling here.

Spell Queller

Spell Queller

I tend to use my countermagic to protect my stuff. For example, I recently played my deck at a Commander Night, and I won after I kept my Cathar's Crusade form dying with a Counterspell, had a bunch of giant creatures, and then Mystic Snake-d a mass removal spell that followed. Counters keep this deck ticking, and they are good, generic answers that work. Could Spell Queller swap in for one of my counters? Or is it too limited? Remember my deck wants to bounce and replay creatures to rack up the triggers. The “leaves the battlefield” trigger is anti-Equilibrium and anti-blink unless the card exiled was a very specific card that required a unique set to work (such as my foe’sCounterspell).

Shadows Over Innistrad

Duskwatch Recruiter

Duskwatch Recruiter

This is a very cheap creature that comes down in the 2nd turn. As I have extra mana, funnel it into the Recruiter and grab creatures from my deck. You know precisely how many creatures we have in this deck, so you are likely to get one each activation. And if you flip it you get a Watchwolf sized body that cuts your creature’s cost, and thereby increases your iterations. Imagine Whitemane Lion as a 1-drop. But it’s always going to flip back from the Krallenhorde Howler side.

Bygone Bishop

Bygone Bishop

Most of my creatures have a mana cost of three or less. And because this is a cast trigger rather than an enters-the-battlefield one, you can load up on the clue tokens. It’s like a Mentor of the Meek that doesn’t require you to spend the mana right there to draw cards. You can spend 2 mana when you want to, to grab a bunch of cards. You are going to load up on clues with this thing.

Eerie Interlude

Eerie Interlude

Read me again — this is not a blink deck. But this is an amazing blink card. Reset my board, blink only the stuff I want, and move around. It’s a powerful blink-a-thon effect for this Commander deck.

Inspiring Captain

Inspiring Captain

It’s fat and it pumps the team on arrival. That is not too shabby.

Ongoing Investigation

Ongoing Investigation

You will regularly be dealing combat damage to stuff. Investigate, and draw cards later by cracking clues. The reason to run this over something like Bident of Thassa is because you can also make clues and like with the exiling effect as well.

Tireless Tracker

Tireless Tracker

This thing starts as a 3/2 and grows from there. Also note that if you run the Investigation and Bishop, this could be very big very quickly. And it’s cheap as well.

Ulvenwald Hydra

Ulvenwald Hydra

Our deck needs land. And when you play this, you can go grab one and toss it onto the board. Temple of the False God is the obvious choice barring some special need.

Oath of the Gatewatch

Overwhelming Denial

Overwhelming Denial

I’ve talked before about how mana sensitive this deck can be. So running a Last Word is fine, but getting it for 2 mana post-playing stuff that turn is even better. Will I surge enough to make this matter? Is it better than Counterspell?

Sylvan Advocate

Sylvan Advocate

This deck likes big creatures for cheap. 2 mana for a 2/3 vigilance now that becomes bigger than a Watchwolf later after you get that 6th land. It sports a lot of features we want — cheap cost and big body.

Reflector Mage

Reflector Mage

I used to run Man-o'-War in this deck, but I pulled it because it wasn’t G/W. Do you know what Reflector Mage is? That’s right, it’s White! Now there is an issue. You cannot self-bounce like you could with Man-o'-War. But we have other things for self-bouncing. After tucking a Commander stopped working, the weapons we have against Commanders in Bant are weakened. This is a fun weapon against a Commander — you can’t replay it for a turn, which is good against problematic opposing dorks that are just really tough to deal with over and over again like Kaalia of the Vast.

Eldrazi Displacer

Eldrazi Displacer

Again, this is not a blink deck. But this card is amazing. Now can I deal with the colorless activation? As of right now, no. I have 4 colorless mana sources.

Battle for Zendikar

Beastcaller Savant

Beastcaller Savant

Is this better than something like Manaweft Sliver? I have 45 creatures in my deck right now. That’s a lot of creatures. Is the haste worth the swap?

Bring to Light

Bring to Light

It’s a great card to get anything from your library, and since you actually cast the card post-search, you can get the various cast triggers from the deck to fire as well. That’s not nothing!

Some of the Recruits I pulled and are sitting here by the keyboard:

So what will be heading in?

These are the obvious swaps.

Now what else entices?

I really, really want to find space for:

Those are all very strong stuff for my deck.

And for older cards Cloudstone Curio, Wood Elves, and Farhaven Elf are all in the conversation.

Okay, let’s commit:

While I am dithering, let’s massage my land base:

Can I cut GaddockTeeg? Saffi Eriksdotter? Loxodon Hierarch? Stormfront Riders? Grrr . . . 

Would pulling either Wilt-Leaf Liege or Tolsimir Wolfblood make sense? You would lose the pump and the double pump of my G/W stuff, but that would free up some spots. I could swap the Liege for the Angel of Invention and then give me a flyer that will pump my handful of Mono-Blue creatures as well. But I’d lose the precious double pump for my eight G/W colored dorks.

Now another possibility might be to pull my non-creature counters save for maybe Mana Drain. I could find Paradoxical Outcome and/or Eerie Interlude useful in similar roles in saving my stuff, and they have more synergy at other times. And then I could force in Panharmonicon, the Curio, and some of these good creatures.

I don’t know.

But this makes some sense to me:

Out Counterspell, Familiar's Ruse, Mystic Genesis

In Eerie Interlude, Paradoxical Outcome, Panharmonicon

And then:

Out Bronzebeak Moa for Angel of Invention

Out Stormfront Riders for Cloudstone Curio

That seems like a solid way to get everything in. The only cards that are excluded and sadden me are Thalia and the Recruiter.

Is that a sacrifice for three counters? And basically make Mana Drain and the three counter-based dorks my own answers writ large…

Yes, that seems right.

Let’s do it.

Here’s a picture of many of the new additions.

Equinaut, October 2016 ? Commander| Abe Sargent


And that’s a deck!

So what did you think? Anything you expected to make it that didn’t? Vice versa?

Thanks for reading!


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