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Ultimate Commander


Hello folks!

I have a bit of a think piece for you as a sign-off to the various Masters sets.

What if I created a Commander deck using only cards that appeared in a Masters set? I think that's pretty workable. Masters sets have a lot of useful cards that have been reprinted during the years. There are cards like Kodama's Reach, Cloudblazer, and Eternal Witness that have been reprinted as well as high-profile stuff like Force of Will, Demonic Tutor, and Cryptic Command.

Eternal Masters alone has cards like Chrome Mox, Civic Wayfinder, Counterspell, Dack Fayden, Deep Analysis, Duplicant, Fact or Fiction, Future Sight, Harmonize, Green Sun's Zenith, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Karmic Guide, Mana Crypt, Maze of Ith, Mother of Runes, Nekrataal, Necropotence, Nevinyrral's Disk, Sensei's Divining Top, Swords to Plowshares, Sylvan Library, Unexpectedly Absent, Wrath of God, and Vindicate. That's a lot of cards you'd likely add to most builds with those colors.

I don't think there's much of a difference from an all Masters Deck and a normal Commander build.

What if, instead, I limited myself...

How about all Masters sets released in the last year? So Iconic Masters, Masters 25 and Ultimate Masters, all of which have a final, summative feel to them.

Sounds good!

Who's my leader?

Animar, Soul of Elements

There aren't a lot of options. I could try Gaddock Teeg or Garna, the Bloodflame. Leovold, Emissary of Trest is banned. Hmmm....

You know what?

Actually... let's do TWO decks for you:

First, pre-Animar...

Bladewing the Risen

This deck was inspired both by the graveyard infused fun times of Bladewing the Risen from the Dragon tribal fun times of Iconic Masters and then the later introduction of cards like Entomb and Buried Alive. This feels pretty cool to me, and I wanted to embrace that with our deck-building.

Enjoy the Draconic maneuverings! We have cards like Cavern of Souls, Crucible of Fire, Scourge of Valkas, and multiple Dragon enablers. We also have a lot of fun cards like graveyard fueling fun times with Faithless Looting and Anger, or the self-discard of Liliana of the Veil where you can force everyone to discard while you put a key Dragon target into your 'yard.

We loaded up on removal of various sorts, as well as cards with flashback that you can put in your 'yard with various effects or just use twice. Enjoy your Dragon'ing!

And now that the warm-up act has finished performing, and it's time for the main event!

Animar Awaits!

Mastering Animar | Commander | Abe Sargent

Because Animar cares about creatures, this deck tries to do so as well, and I sort of view it as creature-based deck. For example, take Animar's junior partner in crime, Ruric Thar, the Unbowed...

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed

Ruric Thar is pissed. If you dare to cast something that isn't a creature, our good Ogre Warrior is going to punch you in the face for six damage. Cards like Ruric Thar or Vengevine that care about creatures are all here.

For this reason, I've emphasized spells that care about creatures, such as the creature-fetching of cards like Pattern of Rebirth or Summoner's Pact. I even have Protean Hulk and Genesis Hydra in here that have useful fun effects

Pattern of Rebirth
Genesis Hydra
Summoner's Pact
Protean Hulk

But that ain't everything. Not by a long shot!

Fauna Shaman
Jalira, Master Polymorphist

Fauna Shaman is really fetching here as a solid place to tutor up the library in an ongoing manner to find some strong options. Fauna Shaman is an incredibly strong drop that can come down quickly and then find the precise and perfect card for your situation. The best part is the single mana activation that can easily be afforded while leaving you most of your mana to cast the creature you just fetched.

Jalira, Master Polymorphist is also pretty keen as a strong "sacrifice and see" sort of option. You can sacrifice right before something dies in order to get something else. You can use it after a creature's trigger on arrival to the battlefield has occurred and then grab something else. It's a useful adjunct to your strategy.

Additionally, I am looking to creatures for any effect that works in this color combination. Creatures matter!

What works?

How about removal? Or other controlling elements? We have cards like Mystic Snake or Willbender than can say, "No" while also including things like removal of dorks and artifacts or enchantments. We even have some cards that can answer planeswalker cards as well! We gots it all!

Woodfall Primus
Stingerfling Spider
Mystic Snake
Ainok Survivalist
Keiga, the Tide Star

And while answering things is important for a creature-based deck like this, I also want to ensure that we are keeping the cards flowing and the lands arriving. Consider Krosan Tusker, which can be cycled for a normal card and a basic land, so you get two cards from it.

Krosan Tusker
Satyr Wayfinder

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Jungle Barrier
Sphinx of Uthuun

Consecrated Sphinx
Magus of the Wheel

Sometimes these cards are as simple as a quick enters-the-battlefield free card that can keep up appearances. Jungle Barrier does that nicely. But Sphinx of Uthuun is better at that role with its free Fact or Fiction on resolution.

We can tap something like Niv-Mizzet for cards as well as drop the nasty Consecrated Sphinx that's well-worn in many Commander circles. Even Magus of the Wheel is here to help bring the cards to you from a creature!

And that's not everything obviously. You can bounce with Man-o'-War, or swing with Akroma, Angel of Fury for a face-punch of damage. You can sacrifice Glen Elendra Archmage twice for counters or give your sorceries flash with Hypersonic Dragon. There's a lot of fun cards here!

Clearly, that's not everything either. We can tutor for creatures with other creatures, such as Fierce Empath and Imperial Recruiter. We have typical tools such as Eternal Witness and defensive stalwarts such as Fog Bank. Creatures matter!

Then we round it out with a few obvious cards, and then call it a deck! From the land fetching of Cultivate to the power of Regrowth, it's here!

And that's pretty much a deck!

I hope that you enjoyed our little dip today into two separate and distinct builds using the same three sets. Animar Creatures and Bladewing Dragons. Both are looking at different tasks and are thus approaching their decks with a different set of needs.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you saw anything interesting here!

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