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Ezuri, Wall of Progress

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The things green and blue like to do together—ramp, draw cards, and play bombs—are the pillars of Commander play, so it's difficult to envision a nonbroken commander in those colors. The two newest ones, Kaseto, Orochi Archmage and Ezuri, Claw of Progress, are probably the least broken since they only affect creatures, but that's like saying Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre is the nicest of the legendary Eldrazi.

If I'm going to have a Commander deck in every color combination, I have to play an amazing commander in G/U. And if I'm going to have a deck that isn't so oppressive that it annoys me while I play it, I have to make it clearly offbeat enough that my first few plays mitigate the Archenemy-style heat my commander draws.

Fortunately, for what Ezuri, Claw of Progress wants—creatures with low power and outlets for +1/+1 counters—there's a tribe that meets all my needs. Welcome to G/U Walls.

This is version 1.1 of the deck after sinking a few dollars into it (mostly to acquire a bunch of random old Walls). In version 1.0, there were too many situational cards left over from the Commander (2015 Edition) preconstructed deck (like Caller of the Claw), too few attackers, and too few Walls. Adding more Changelings and removing almost every card that didn't fit a theme of Walls or counters gave enough room to make this deck cohesive.

So what's going on in each category?

Walls

Wall of Kelp
Besides offering high toughness, many Walls offer random benefits. Coral Barrier, Infested Roothold, and Homelands all-star Wall of Kelp bring additional bodies (Wall of Kelp's tokens are even Walls). Wall of Tears will bounce anything it blocks; Wall of Junk will bounce itself, which gives Ezuri more opportunities for experience counters. Floodgate can wipe a significant part of the board, even though its ability is weakened in a two-colored deck. Wall of Deceit, Mistform Wall, Wall of Wonder, and identical twins Mobile Fort and Walking Wall can make themselves attack through various curious means.

Importantly, Wall of Mulch can turn spare Walls into cards. It's among the biggest reasons to go specifically into Walls for this deck rather than defenders; as sweeper protection and a way to dig deep, Wall of Mulch does good work here. Joining Wall of Mulch in the tribal theme are Stoneforge Masterwork, Glyph of Delusion, and Glyph of Reincarnation. I don't know if Glyph of Reincarnation is any good yet, but it functions as removal in this deck, it gets around hexproof creatures because it targets the blocking Wall instead of the attacking creature, nobody will see it coming (for costing 1 green mana and being obscure), and I already had an Italian one. Glyph of Delusion is more obviously useful; it does have to target the attacking creature, but it's similarly hard to spot coming, and depending on the size of the creature, it has a chance to disable something for a long time.

Non-Wall Creatures

Hornet Nest
As cute of a theme as Walls is, the rest of the deck has to be less cute to get anything done. Hornet Nest, Hornet Queen, Mycoloth, and Chasm Skulker help the deck go wide, potentially generating a mass of experience counters all at once. Fathom Mage and Prime Speaker Zegana have the potential to draw a load of cards; Mulldrifter is quietly reliable, and its flying is appreciated in a deck expected to create a load of ground stalls. Like Zegana, Mulldrifter, and Mycoloth, Forgotten Ancient came in the preconstructed deck and is an obvious inclusion; Champion of Lambholt didn't come in the preconstructed deck, but it’s also obvious. Grave Sifter was in the 2014 batch of preconstructed decks and fits perfectly here. The deck needs sweeper protection where it can get it, and as cheap as Walls are, a lot of what's returned can be cast on the same turn (avoiding the problem many cards like this have, where they effectively read, "Put your graveyard into your hand; put it back down at the end step").

Sagu Mauler is a fantastic recipient of +1/+1 counters that can enter the battlefield as a 2-power creature if it needs to. Profaner of the Dead is this deck's Cyclonic Rift, turning a spare Wall into a devastating removal spell while leaving a body behind. And there's Stuffy Doll, whose Boros Reckoner–style damage trigger becomes far more relevant when it has +1/+1 counters on it and is rumbling in the red zone.

Spells

Assault Formation is what made me want to build this deck in the first place. Letting defenders attack is usually associated with white, and dealing damage equal to toughness is usually associated with Doran, the Siege Tower; giving G/U access to these effects is a big deal. Warmonger's Chariot also allows defenders to attack; if I had more options for this effect, I wouldn't include this one, but getting those options will probably take years. Simic Keyrune, along with Lumbering Falls in the list of lands, are important as extra creatures and extra hexproof; if a creature sweeper seems imminent, going for the long game by putting +1/+1 counters on the Keyrune or Falls is a comparatively safe plan.

Assault Formation
Fathom Trawl is sort of the safe plan of card-draw. It's great at what it does—finding three business spells—but its usual problem is occupying a clunky spot on the curve and being a sorcery. In a Wall deck, it's at the top of the curve, so it gets more opportunity to shine. Verdant Confluence, part of the preconstructed deck, does more for this deck than for the deck it came in, mainly because buying back a few of the engine pieces, such as Assault Formation, is critical for the deck to work.

I wouldn't have spent the money on a Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, but I had one lying around, and she does exactly what this deck wants: makes small creatures, gives out +1/+1 counters, and threatens high upside if left alone (which, given the deck's focus on defense, is likely). Speaking of high upside, Dragon Throne of Tarkir can get out of hand quickly when placing a Wall on it. Giving the equipped creature defender is barely relevant text in this deck, and it only takes a couple counters before the bonus is huge. It's also among the only ways to pump Ezuri, Claw of Progress, who otherwise sits around like an enchantment.

Finally, there's Feed the Pack, which can take a Wall that's been building up counters to no good purpose and create an army from it. ("This Wall was flavorful. Five stars; would eat again." - T. Pack.) If Feed the Pack is on the battlefield, Crenellated Wall lets any random Wall become four more Wolves than it otherwise would. That speaks to Feed the Pack's being frightening in this deck in which it's just fine elsewhere; the investment this deck makes in getting high toughness—and its concern for keeping a specific creature around—is much less than in other decks. It might be a tough decision to sacrifice Tornado Elemental for a bunch of Wolves; Wall of Tanglecord is much easier to part with.

Conclusion

Much as with my Xira Arien deck, I am a fan of entering high-powered games with an emphasis on innocuous defense. Innocuous defense sends the high-powered decks at each other, it favorably leverages the metaclock, and it lets you get long looks at opponents' decks before deciding how to invest your powerful plays. If all that appeals to you, or if G/U commanders have been too broken for you to feel safe playing them in your group, try building something like this. At the very least, you aren't likely to encounter the mirror match.


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