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Ayara's Death Machine

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Hello!

I hope that you are having an awesome week!

I came back from an Iceland trip this past Sunday, but that was well past the time needed to explore and craft an article for today. Thus, I have written today's article prior to me leaving on my trip two weeks ago, and it won't be anything current. No problem! This. Is. CW. (Casual World) Here we are fine looking at fun Commander cards, variants, fun deck ideas, and more!

Ayara, First of Locthwain

Today I want to build an Ayara, First of Locthwain deck.

I built an game-winning combo around her for you. This used her to tap and sacrifice a free Black dork to draw a card and put it on top of your library with Mortuary, which you'd draw with her trigger, and then recast and kill folks with her trigger, untapping her with a Stick.

Priest of Gix
Mortuary
Thornbite Staff

Put the Stick on her and then win the game. But I haven't seen her built to win the game with some of these deep strategies in online articles, so I felt I should take a moment and build a proper, game-winning commander build around her.

The main power of Ayara is twofold. Some Black legendary creatures that play into her combo will have a death-trigger that can win you the game.

Syr Konrad, the Grim
Kothophed, Soul Hoarder

We have great options like Syr Konrad that can cause a big number of triggers that can provide a killing-level of deaths over time. Lots of other Black leaders can draw cards from other folks's creatures dying, like Kothophed.

Some Mono-Black dorks that can lead your deck will be a great sacrifice engine instead:

Bontu the Glorified
Ghoulcaller Gisa
Sidisi, Undead Vizier

We have a number of poweful Black dorks that are popular as leaders and offer a sacrifice effect so you can churn dorks or other cards into better things. Sometimes they can only do so once/turn or at times on arrival. But they all can do so.

Typically, when you wanted to build around a combo-winning shell you needed to choose which one you wanted to build around. Then you would need to assemble the other part of the combo. But with Ayara, you won't need the other stuff. She's both the winning trigger and the sacrifice engine, and her sacrifice is a simple tap to kill and draw, without the need to use any mana.

Bontu's Monument
Jet Medallion

Add in Bontu's Monument and now we are making a giant amount of Black mana for your Priest of Gix and having a cast trigger that will also win the game. All of those cast triggers will load up, and will cost fewer mana. For that reason, we are also adding in Jet Medallion. We also have Cloud Key for your creature-spell reduction needs.

Black Market

You can also load up Black Market very quickly for a ton of mana that can win the game quickly. Note that it will only trigger once pre-combat, but you can fire off for a big, fat, mana bump. Mana wins games.

Carnival of Souls

We don't have a bunch of free Black dorks like Priest of Gix that are free, but we do have Carnival of Souls that will give you a bunch of Black mana as something arrives. If is a Black creature that cost just one mana, then it is now free and trigger Ayara, so you'll gain life from its arrival, thus negating the life loss. I also added in a few 1-drops to help the deck out, like Viscera Seer and Typhoid Rats. (Actually I pulled the Rats for Foulmire Knight after I added in something else below with some Zombie love.)

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
Triskelion

Dark Mike! He's so much fun! He adds in another element of recursion with his undying. I added in Triskelion for another kill with those two. You pull a counter off Trike to deal a damage to a foe. Then you shoot it twice and kill it. It comes back with a +1/+1 counter. Pull off two counters for damages to others, and then self-kill again. Keep going. Everyone (else) dies, assuming they can be targeted.

You could also just kill with Triskelion coming back over and over again if it's a black dork. Check out a way to do just that! You could also kill with stuff like Blood Artist instead.

Sanguine Bond
Exquisite Blood

Because Ayara causes you to gain life and yours foes to lose it, I tossed in these common kills for the table too. One Ayara trigger later and everyone else dies.

Witchbane Orb
Nihil Spellbomb

You may see the Witchbane Orb in the decklist and wonder what it's doing there! One of the best ways to answer your deck is to remove stuff from your graveyard. Most of these target the player, so by running Orb, you can proactively deal with many effects that might otherwise hurt. There are a few here and there that won't, as they'll grab all graveyards, but for the most part, it will keep you safe. In addition to graveyard answers, you'll find a surprising number of combos and stuff shut down by this too.

We also have a fun loop for you:

Pawn of Ulamog
Sifter of Skulls

The first two are cool ways to turn your central sacrifice into ways of winning the game. Every time one of your proper creature cards are killed by your deck, you can make a fat token. Now, note that tokens arriving to the battlefield will trigger Ayara's first ability. And they can be sacrificed too. They just need to be Black, and unfortunately, these extra dorks don't count. Unless you control Painter's Servant and named Black. Now they will! It will also let your Trike kill as a Black dork too.

Painter's Servant

Also note that this is not the main reason these are here. The real reason is to sacrifice to make mana to recast something that was sacrificed and then recurred. Basically, it's best to be seen as giving you a colorless mana for each non-token that dies. Only it's in a more synergetic creature-y shell.

Want to make some colored mana instead?

Pitiless Plunderer
Revel in Riches

If someone is able to stop your key combo with graveyard disruption en masse such as Planar Void or shut down the life-gain/life-kill combo, this can provide another path to alternate victory. You only need ten treasures to win with the Revel in Riches. Both the Plunderer and the Revel can grab you Treasures as things die, the former for your stuff, and the latter for opposing dying stuff.

However, you can use the Plunderer to basically make a mana each iteration of a sacrifice. If you tap Ayara for a death, then you get a Treasure which you can use immediately, or store for later. You can easily get the ten needed for a Revel win, but you can also use it to recast your dork. It's another way to loop free stuff. You can cast a 1-drop, cast to Ayara, loop like normal, and then use your Treasure to make the mana needed to recast, and then you just keep on trucking.

Cloudstone Curio

While discussing built-in-in backups, here's another. If you have a non-artifact dork that's free, such as Priest of Gix, then you can bounce it when another dork arrives to the battlefield. For example, if you have Carnival of Souls, then you could chain two Black 1-drops or a Black 1-drop and Priest of Gix easily and collect enough Ayara triggers to win (you gain an amount of life equal to that lost with the Carnival).

Cauldron Familiar
Maggot Carrier

We also have dorks in here that you can loop that will win the game as well, such as Cauldron Familiar and Maggot Carrier. The Carrier hits everyone for life on arrival, but then you gain a life from Ayara and basically clock everyone. The Familiar is a fun chain too, even without an Ayara. You just need a Curio and two 1-drops. Like Maggot Carrier or Deathgreeter.

Gravecrawler

Another combo that skips right on past the Priest of Gix and Mortuary is this one. Here you'll need a way to make a Black mana from something (such as Carnival of Souls). As long as you control a Zombie, and we have a few here and there, you can recast it for the mana you gained, and then keep on going and win with Ayara triggers! You also won't need an untap effect with this one if you sacrifice it to another non-Ayara. You will only need your leader, this, a sac engine for free, another Zombie, and a way to make Black mana on death. Two of those can be the same if you look two cards down, hint hint. If Ayara has been killed, you can use something like Bontu's Monument instead to rack up cast triggers or a Blood Artist style effect for its death.

Reassembling Skeleton
Bloodsoaked Champion

You'll need two mana-making ways like a Sifter of Skulls and the another, but you can also sacrifice a Reassembling Skeleton, recur, and keep going. In this shell, you won't need another Zombie, just her, this, two mana dorks, and an untapper. The Skeleton can't even be countered, as it just keeps coming back over and over again without being cast. If you've attacked, then you can do the same with the Bloodsoaked Champion as well.

Phyrexian Altar

Phyrexian Altar can net you kills too. Here you need to sacrifice a 1-drop to it, and then Mortuary it on top. You can draw a card with its death from effects like Liliana, Dreadhorde General. Then you draw, cast with the mana, trigger Ayara, and keep the flow moving. In this case, you won't need to use Ayara for sacrificing or untapping. Merely the trigger will kill everyone.

This is a fun sac outlet I alluded to above with Gravecrawler. You can sacrifice it for the mana needed to recast it and repeat ad nauseam and then win with any trigger, and recur with any Zombie.

K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

Note that another fun way to loop stuff is K'rrik. Suppose you have a Black 1-drop. You can spend two life to drop it for free, and then get a trigger that gains you a life. Total cost - free dork, lost a life, everyone else did too. K'rrik can help to turn every one-drop into a free Priest of Gix with a Maggot Carrier ability. It's not infinitely repeatable, but it should do enough to win the game.

Thousand-Year Elixir

Ayara doesn't care about traditional haste and such. Nope. She cares about tapping on arrival. We have the normal suspects of Lightning Greaves and friends. We also have this Elixir that will let her, or any other dorks you may be running that care, tap on arrival, thus speeding her up a full turn and removing the ability for foes to interact with her by killing her and slowing down your engine by a turn.

Umbral Mantle

If you are looking at this build and seeing a key weak point, you are correct. Other than the Staff, how am I getting my Ayara untapped? Great question! This works nicely. Now it does require three mana, which means you need three mana makers to loop and re-loop Ayara, but it does give you a nice way to loop Ayara.

You only need two loopers if one was a Plunderer and the other made a dork. It makes a Treasure token when any dork you control dies. If you control Pawn of Ulamog and itself, you can make a Treasure and an Eldrazi token when something dies, then sacrifice the Eldrazi for mana, and get another Treasure token, and then sacrifice the treasures for the other two mana needed.

It also can make a dork infinitely big as a way to use extra mana. For example, if you are looping a one-drop and Priest of Gix and a Carnival of Souls with a Curio out, then you are getting an extra Black mana each time, which you can use to make a giant 5000/5000 dork and swing and kill.

I've added in Ashnod's Altar and things like Onyx Talisman and Sword of the Paruns to help out.

I've added in redundancy for other key cards like Mortuary and Priest of Gix. This deck really wants and needs Mortuary to work. There are a few non-Mortuary combos like the Curio loop and the Treasure kill and just recurring a Gravecrawler over and over, but most of the combos want Mortuary. It also keeps you from decking yourself as well.

I've added in a number of Tutors to help find the keys to winning, like Liliana Vess and more. Get your game on!

Ayara's Death Machine | Commander | Abe Sargent


And there you are! What did you think of my build? Anything I missed or want to try out! Let me know, and thanks for your time.