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Kydele's Kids


Hello folks and welcome back to all things Commander 2016. I’m your host, Abe Sargent!

As I mentioned before, Partner is a very compelling mechanic. You can partner all 15 legendary creatures with each other, creating more than 100 potential pairs. And each of those pairs looks different.

Let’s take a look at one example. Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder is a simple Commander. When he arrives or swings, something is getting double strike and lifelink. He’s a simple 3/3 Boros leader. There’s not a lot under the hood right? Wrong!

Here are some differences between BruseTarl and other partners:

Akiri, Line-Slinger

Akiri, Line-Slinger

This deck uses a bunch of artifacts to swing with an engorged Akiri with double strike and lifelink to finish someone off quickly. It will likely have a good equipment subtheme as well for cards like Stoneforge Mystic rocking the block.

Ravos, Soultender

Ravos, Soultender

Bruse and Ravos both go big into the combat step, and Ravos will bring back dead creatures while pumping the team and getting a double strike and lifelink from the +1/+1 bonus to one creature.

Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker

Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker

This deck turns Ishi into a flying beacon of destruction, with the flying and occasional boost from BruseTarl. As Ishai grows, your threat level does as well, and you can smash in the air for a bunch of damage.

Reyhan, Last of the Abzan

Reyhan, Last of the Abzan

This combo seeks to use some creatures with counters to swing powerfully in the red zone, ready to move dead creatures’ counters to other stuff you have in order to load up counters on other stuff you have. Plus you can load up counters on one creature to smash hard with BruseTarl.

Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper

Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper

With double strike, Ikra can get double the triggers from hitting someone as well as lifelink, you get 20 life, not 7. Since Ikra works with any creature of yours that hits home, you can BruseTarl something else instead. You could also run some toughness matters cards like Doran, the Siege Tower too.

Silas Renn, Seeker Adept

Silas Renn, Seeker Adept

Since Silas Renn only triggers if you hit someone, you are likely running a few effects like Rogue's Passage or Whispersilk Cloak already. Well, BruseTarl can make sure you hit twice, giving you two artifacts a turn rather than one, and you’ll get 4 life as well to slow down the speed at which people can harm you while you load up.

Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa

Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa

Sidar Kondo makes sure that your small stuff gets through. BruseTarl makes sure you are doing more damage, and gaining life, without pumping up the size of the creature. So you can get double the triggers from a key player, double the damage, and gain a little life in the process as well.

And that’s just a handful of different deck options from one simple BruseTarl! I’m sure you see the point. Partner is the best mechanic for Commander we’ve seen in these various sets, and it increases the options we have as deck-builders geometrically. That’s why I want to keep seeing these things get printed! Right now, we only have one option with ally colors next to each other on the color wheel. How about another slate?

Anyways, another one of the benefits of using partners is you can add a color or two to your deck if you want, even if that partner makes no sense. Take Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix. I like it with cards that make everyone draw, like Howling Mine or Kami of the Crescent Moon. That way you can tap for a ton of mana yourself while everyone is happy. And there are some explosive things you can do with her while helping everyone. But I’d like to add in a few “Ha ha” cards into that mix, like Underworld Dreams and Fate Unraveler to the mix. Well, that’s Black, and guess what? Kydele sure isn’t Black! But you could partner her with Silas Renn, Seeker Adept despite the lack of an artifact theme, or Reyhan, Last of the Abzan, despite the lack of +1/+1 counters.

Or I could add in, say, Vial Smasher the Fierce who gives me Black and can let me use Wheel of Fortune stuff as well if I want. Or I could stick with Simic Kydele, and just partner with Thrasios, Triton Hero just to give me a guaranteed 2-drop who plays on theme.

Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix
Vial Smasher the Fierce

Another question to ask is if there are any partners who works with the mass “everyone draws” of Kydele? Only one that I see — Kraum, Ludevic's Opus. You are going to be giving away so many cards that folks are going to have to play two or more cards in order to keep from discarding. You might as well draw a card from that second card each turn, right? But do you really need that many cards?

But there is one more. Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker. Given the sheer number of cards I’d like people to draw, they are naturally going to be playing a lot of spells, which will naturally make Ishai big very shortly. But White is the least synergetic color to add to this mix. What else am I going to add? Sunscorch Regent? And that’s about it.

So where to go from here?

Add Black? Red?

Let’s do both!

Kydele?s Kids ? Commander| Abe Sargent

Leovold, Emissary of Trest
And there you are!

Once of the things I wanted to do here was to run a variety of Legendary creatures you would often see at the head of the mass draw cards. Take Nekusar, the Mindrazer. You would run cards like Howling Mine with Nekusar to kill people faster. You’ll see that Nekusar made the grade. Another example is Leovold, Emissary of Trest. Leovold cuts other people off from drawing more than one card, so a Howling Mine only gives you cards. Enter Leovold. I also see Edric, Spymaster of Trest as more of a fun card that leads a group hug, “Everyone likes me,” strategy. So he’s here too.

Now I spent a lot of time building this deck up right, and then realized just how many of these cards are reprinted in Commander 2016 in various decks. Ah well. There are some fun cards here that are coming from nowhere that I think fit the theme, like Lazav, Dimir Mastermind. Whenever a creature an opponent controls hits the graveyard from anywhere (death, milling, discarding, whatever), you can make Lazav a hexproof copy of that, and can use Lazav to mimic abilities from other folks as well. You’ll be seeing tons of discarded creatures with the massive number of cards drawn. (You could also hit discard with Megrim, Waste Not, Nath of the Gilt-Leaf, Liliana's Caress, and other stuff)

Some other major cards entice me as well, but I ran out of space. The afore-mentioned Nath of the Gilt-Leaf; Omnath, Locus of Rage; Rashmi, Eternities Crafter; Nin, the Pain Artist; Maelstrom Wanderer; are all Legendary creatures that give something nice to this build, but space was limited. Ah well. If only I could make this a 150 card deck!

Spiteful Visions
Given the central conceit of the deck, what works with it? Well, there are a lot of cards that punish you when you draw, all of them are here. Some will hurt you as well, while others won’t. Spiteful Visions hurts everyone, and Phyrexian Tyranny can as well. This is in addition to cards we mentioned above like Underworld Dreams and Nekusar. All of those cards are here. You can also shoot people for damage with Psychosis Crawler as you draw a bunch of cards as well, so that’s sort of an Underworld Dreams in reverse. You can also gain life with Horizon Chimera.

Considering the sheer number of cards drawn, the major brake on your foes doing anything is how much mana they have access to. So playing with mana and tempo is an interesting path to consider. I tossed in Cyclonic Rift, but you could easily run cards like Frozen Aether or Root Maze if you want to hit everyone from the beginning of the game, and similar cards with a tempo-slow theme.

Another avenue to pursue is expecting people to play cards. While we can’t run White for Sunscorch Regent and friends, we can run Taurean Mauler and Forgotten Ancient. I was even running Hamletback Goliath in my first cut, but I pulled it for Lord of Extinction. However, keep in mind that the Goliath can swell quickly due to all of the creatures that people are forced to play.

Kruphix, God of Horizons
Now I want to drop as many cards as possible so we can use mana efficiently. I am running a trio of ways to keep my grip past my turn — Reliquary Tower, Venser's Journal, and Kruphix, God of Horizons. And those are keen at keeping us at 8 or 10 or 19 cards. But what if we either can’t find it, or they get taken out? So I kept my “answer” cards to a minimum. I’d rather run cards we can drop on the main phase, and then reduce our reliance on that trifecta. So I have permanent-based solutions, such as Garruk, Apex Predator or Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker rather than Hero's Downfall or other targeted removal. I don’t have time for Krosan Grip or Into the Core or Putrefy.

Some of the cards on that decklist seem obvious, like Consecrated Sphinx. But why are cards like Ral Zarek here? All he does is either grow and tap one thing while untapping another or losing two counters to Lightning Bolt. He’s not that strong in Commander world, so why is he here? Untapping Kydele is a thing. Using him to +1, untap Kydele after you’ve tapped her for mana, and tap something else is pretty swell. You can also use him to untap a key land to use again, or to untap Gilded Lotus for three more mana, or for untapping a creature after you swung to keep it back to mug up the ground, to use Dakra Mystic and other tap-creatures, and more. He’s no joke. The same is true of Kiora, Master of the Depths or Kiora's Follower. This is not a major theme of the deck or anything, but it’s there.

Staff of Domination
Please note that there is an intentional combo here. Should you draw a total of at least five cards on any turn, Staff of Domination and Kydele will combine to make any amount of colorless you desire. (spend 3 mana to untap Kydele, and one to untap the Staff). Now there are not a ton of things to do when that happens. I just have one card that can kill outright, so my deck sort of backs into that combo. But given the prolific rate of cards drawn, I expect that you’ll occasionally see the double-Black leading into an Exsanguinate. And we’re not running counter Magic to stop your counters. (Unless you count Kozilek, the Great Distortion, whom I would play first, so you can have potential counters for their counters when you drop Exsanguinate). The mana is really meant to help you play all of your stuff from the Howling Mine draws.

And you can see the layered cards here as well. Sarkhan the Unbroken, Zendikar Resurgent, Burgeoning, land fetchers, and more. And again, the goal is to be able to play all of the cards we draw each turn when possible. So having mana accelerants, cheaper cards like Gilded Drake, and helping to tap and untap Kydele are all in line for mana production and bringing the heat. You should have the mana to keep the heat off Phyrexian Tyranny, dropping big Eldrazi beats, and more. And don’t forget you are getting an epic amount of cards from other cards like Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder or Consecrated Sphinx.

Another way to ensure you are playing your stuff as much as possible is . . . Jhoira of the Ghitu! You can suspend anything for a few turns to bring it out later for 2 colorless mana a pop. Shoot, a simple tap of Kydele can activate Jhoira enough times to suspend many cards you just drew, while you play the rest!

Jhoira for the win!

One key to this deck is not decking yourself. I included Gaea's Blessing as a brake to your graveyard. You will notice that despite the sheer amount of cards drawn, played, and likely discarded into your graveyard, I didn’t include a single copy of reanimation. There’s no Living Death or Extract from Darkness or Torrent of Souls or anything else here. That’s because I want to occasionally throw cards back from my graveyard to my library to keep going. Gaea's Blessing can be played to send three cards back to your deck, while also replacing itself, so it’s not a dead card. However, after playing with the deck, one card to keep in mind may be Reminisce.

And that’s pretty much a deck right there for you! So what do you like here? Does anything jumop out at you?

And there are other places to hew. We have the colors of Temur, Sultai, Grixis, and Jund to pull from as well, so I included some cards from those trios, but there are many others out there as well. Would you like to run:

Megrim? Liliana's Caress? Damnation? Obliterate? Lavalanche? Expedition Map? Waste Not? Force of Will? Gem of Becoming? Shard Convergence? Future Sight? Joiner Adept? Kaervek the Merciless? Etched Oracle?

There are so many great cards for this deck concept. I’m sure you have plenty running around!

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