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The Expendable



This year I promised to get more into Instants and Sorceries, something I'm beginning to wish I hadn't committed to at all and it's only January. It's not that I have anything against Instants and Sorceries per se, I mean, excepting the fact that they just... go away when you play them. I like Enchantments because they do something all the time but you only have to pay the mana once, usually. That's neat, I like that. Paying mana once for something you get more than one use out of is what I ASPIRE to. Since I'm learning to value spells that you cast once and then they go away, what would be a good commander for teaching me to use Instants and Sorceries?

Let's be clear here, I'm not talking about building a spellslinger commander that lets me play lots of Instants and Sorceries and win that way. I have that deck - it's called Kykar, Wind's Fury and it's a $50 deck that I will confidently play on streams. I'm not talking about getting lots of opportunities to play Instants and Sorceries - I am talking about being trained to understand and value playing a spell and just throwing it away. I need some real training. Remember in Karate Kid when Mr. Miyagi made Daniel paint his fence, sand his deck, wax his cars etc? I want THAT kind of training, where you do something over and over until it's ingrained in your muscle memory and when someone throws a new application at you, your muscles take over. Playing lots of Instants is like going to a Karate tournament and getting kicked in the face, which is apparently allowed for some reason. I don't want to get kicked in the face, I want to paint a house and then hop off the ladder and beat up a bunch of guys dressed like skeletons. My plan for doing this is hundreds and hundreds of reps of playing and immediately binning the one card you never want to do that to - the commander.

Atsushi, the Blazing Sky

Sushi boy, as he likes to be called, is a creature. However, I'm not fooled by what an insane card this sort of is - a 4/4 for 4 with both Flying and Trample? And I'm going to ignore that body completely? I'm afraid so, because we're not attacking with creatures here, we're learning to Wax On / Wax Off and while you might be tempted to Wax On, attack a bunch, let them Wax Off, then Wax On again, we're in training here. There's a nonzero chance Jacob Bertrand sees this and gives me a hard time for 75%-assing my training and no one wants that. If I want my training to mean anything, I'm going to have to climb up into the metaphorical cement mixer and hope no one notices the weird metaphor I keep belaboring is starting to wear kind of thin.

If we're not going to cast and then, you know, use Atsushi, what ARE we going to do with this deck? Put simply, I am going to kill Atsushi. A lot. When Atsushi dies, you either get card advantage or you get some Treasure tokens. It's not terribly cost effective to keep recasting Atsushi for four, then six, then eight, then 10, then I don't know what happens because I don't like to cast my commander that many times. Instead, we're going to make copies of Atsushi as much as we can. The copy can die, leaving us an intact commander to try and copy again. This has the added benefit of letting us just go nuts and make a deck with as many chances to copy Atsushi as possible, and even some like Kiki-Jiki that can't, but can copy other things. Flameshadow Conjuring, Twinflame, even Molten Echoes naming Dragon can all give you a lot of value. "Merely" copying a utility creature like Molten Primordial is actually a very good worst case scenario, so putting as many copy effects into the deck as we can muster, whether or not they can copy Atsushi, is a very good idea.

Are we a Treasures deck? We sure can be! We can run other ways to make Treasure Tokens and, more importantly, we can run ways to weaponize those tokens such as Ghirapur Aether Grid and Hellkite Tyrant, a card that a lot of people forget has a "you win the game" clause on it as if Flying and "75% an entire board" weren't powerful enough abilities on a single creature. I'm going to resist the impulse to also make this a Goblin Welder deck at first, but you better believe if I find room to jam some sort of Mindslaver package in here, I will. This is going to be a delightful pile of cards, courtesy of the worst mono-color in Magic. Enough yakking, let's make with the list already.

At the last minute, I decided to jam in a Sundial of the Infinite. It came up in Discord today so I went and found this primer on turn-ending by CAG member Charlotte Sable and it helped me pick the cards that actually work with Sundial (bad news - Threaten effects do NOT work with Sundial) the way I want them to. Keeping some temporary copies around at the end of the turn is exactly what we want to happen, but there's no need to rely on it.

There are some infinite combos in here you may have feelings about. Kiki-Jiki and Conscripts/Recruiter is one that you need both pieces of but Godo and Helm of the Host is a 1 card combo if you draw Godo. I could see using Godo to go grab Blade of Selves and I could see Helm of the Host going on any creatures in this deck and being good. If you want to break up that combo, pick which piece you see doing more work in the deck - either one is fine on its own.

The treasure subtheme here is cool, and you can steer into it even more by adding some more Pirates. I know Ragavan would be happy joining this crew and even weaker Pirates like Captain Lannery Storm could generate a few dubloons for the cause. Just remember to be as cavalier with Atsushi as you want and if you need to replay it, you're good for it. Until next time!

Commander HQ: Decklists and Strategy for Kamigawa Neon Dynasty's Legendary Creatures!

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