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A Is For...


Atraxa, Praetors' Voice
Aggregator sites like EDHRec.com can't lie. Atraxa, Praetors' Voice is the legend from Commander 2016 that's got everyone most excited. Already, there are over 500 decks with her at the helm. Amazingly, all of them missed my deck theme, and it's Kaladesh-heavy and therefore fresh-feeling.

Artificer tribal.

Allowance for new and interesting tribal decks has been made with Commander's new four-color legendary creatures to Commander — you no longer have to use Karona, False God for tribal synergies. Against that backdrop, Breya, Etherium Shaper might be who you'd expect for an Artificer queen, even as she's just a Human and not an Artificer (possibly because they ran out of room on the type line). Arguably, Breya might make more sense, but Kaladesh gave the world Green Artificers. Architect of the Untamed, Cultivator of Blades, and Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter are the rare Green Artificers, and they're all quite playable in Commander. All three can create tokens and the first two use counters — energy and +1/+1 respectively. Atraxa's proliferation works great with the fabricate mechanic; either put counters on the Artificers or create tokens to put counters on later, and it's a win-win situation. At this point, the ranks of Artificers and good energy producers might be thin, but the quality increases with four colors. And Aether Revolt should give more Artificers and energy to send this deck over the top.

Allocation for improving this deck is all toward Aether Revolt, so this isn't fully optimized (I didn't have a spare Wing Splicer to complete the Splicers!), but here it is in its current glory:

Admittedly, this is a mess that holds together because Atraxa, Praetors' Voice is such a good commander, but it will cohere better when Aether Revolt comes out and I can cut a theme or two. Absent that set's release, what other A-things do I have with Atraxa?


Armorcraft Judge
As noted, fabricate gives the deck options of going tall or wide while synergizing with proliferate either way, and Artificers are the bulk of fabricators for now. Angel of Invention is an exception, but no one can doubt it pulls its weight here. Anemic as her base stats sometimes are, they get a lot better when Atraxa can make her a 5/4 at the end step. Armorcraft Judge loves fabricate, proving a vital source of card draw. Abzan Ascendancy isn't in-tribe, but it thinks of Armorcraft Judge as an honorary member of the clan.

Although I didn't know it until the Breya deck's reprinting, Hanna, Ship's Navigator has been an Artificer since the Grand Creature Type Update. Adding recursion and a long resume of playability to my tribal collection was a no-brainer. Asterisk: I don't know if Sydri, Galvanic Genius does loads in this deck, but she's worth a shot. Abilities like hers don't come on just any old card. Activated abilities like hers are even rarer.

Any Commander builder knows of the big stock tribal enablers. Arming myself with coats is riskier than I like. Add counters, like Door of Destinies does, to a more one-sided tribal pump and you have my attention. Attention should also be paid to the Nameless Inversion and Crib Swap in the deck; Door of Destinies asks for all spells of that type, so they count as Artificers. Ain't tribal great?

Aetherworks Marvel and friends

Aetherworks Marvel
Amassing good energy cards is tough unless you're in several colors. Attenuated as proliferating energy is, compared to poison or experience, Atraxa is at least capable of doing so. Accrual of energy is tough too without playing mediocre cards, so in this deck I've stuck with the repeatable sources. Aetherstorm Roc and Aethersquall Ancient are the heavy hitters; Aetherstorm Roc even gets +1/+1 counters when it spends energy, so Atraxa has more fun things to do. Animation Module, Decoction Module, and Fabrication Module are here for fun combo times. Assembling the combo isn't necessary, either; Animation Module plus Cathars' Crusade is a glorious producer of Servos and +1/+1 counters. Absurdity reigns when they're together.

Apologies if this is obvious, but Era of Innovation is one of the build-arounds in the deck, the biggest reason I went for Artificer tribal. Abject desperation might be the only reason I sacrifice it for three cards; more often, it will be a source of energy. After Aetherworks Marvel's out, why would I draw cards when I'm getting such good card selection?

Aether Hub is the only land I specifically listed. Along with Servant of the Conduit, it means that, at minimum, energy gives me near-perfect mana. Anything beyond that is to some degree a bonus.

All-stars of counter decks

Champion of Lambholt
Again, the next set might push these out, but for now they prop up the themes. Altered Ego is the newest kid on the block, but it's not of lower quality than the others. Avacyn Restored gives Champion of Lambholt; just before its release was Gutter Grime, which Atraxa makes oozily delicious. Ascensions of all types are worth proliferating, with Beastmaster Ascension the obvious inclusion here. Ancients of Forgotten types can give a wealth of counters as well. (Apropos of nothing, isn't that a bad name given its subsequent reputation? Azorius players know Vanish into Memory well, but of the You Make the Cards, Vanish into Memory has largely vanished, while Forgotten Ancient isn't forgotten.)

Adjunct proliferators to Atraxa include Inexorable Tide and Contagion Engine. Acting like he has the keyword, Vorel of the Hull Clade does great work too. Anywhere there is a counter deck, these three are likely to appear. Appear they do, dear reader — appear they do.

Afterthoughts (a.k.a. Conclusion)

A-grade efficiency is easy with Atraxa; A-grade fun might be a little harder. Alter your perception of what she can do, and cool themes can pop up. Amperes of energy, all manner of historical Artificers . . . Atraxa can do it all. Ajani and his super friends don't have to be the main thing you group with her. Active imagination in deck-building can go a long way. Anticipating the next set in my deck themes didn't work the first time — I expected more Gorgons in Journey into Nyx for The Mimeoplasm — but it should work great here.

Alliteratively yours,

A Gathering Magic writer

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