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Dream a Little Bigger, Darlings


I have pet cards and I think that's OK. Pet cards needn't be a crutch if they spark your creativity and cause you to see new possibilities for new cards. A lot of people looked at the commander we're building around today and saw a few spells like Time Stretch and called it a day but as soon as I thought about how to incorporate one of my pet cards, I was inspired to go in an entirely new direction.

Before we talk about how I'm reinventing the wheel, as it were, let's look at our commander of the day.

Thryx, the Sudden Storm

Old Stormy is a powerful Titanic creature who has "Blue haste" and isn't afraid to serve some damage, but he's also a powerful card. Part Boseiju, Who Shelters All, part Stone Calendar, all lightning monster who looks like Heihachi from Tekken, this beast on your mat means you'll be slinging big mana spells with impunity. Causing shipwrecks, cashing fat checks, keeping you safe like Norn's Annex. My favorite part of this card's art is the one solo archer in the corner prepared to venture out into a lightning storm with his metal armor with a quiver full of lightning rods on his back so that he can deal 1 damage to an attacking giant. Gods-speed, archer boy. We hardly knew you.

One thing I DO know is that while I don't think we'll be serving too often with this new-and-improved Air Elemental, I want to reduce the cost of my spells, and having him stick around to make as many spells as possible cheap is a good plan. It's a shame he's Legendary, though, since I'd love for his cost-reducing ability to stack. Enter pet card #1.

Helm of the Host

The token copy of Thryx wouldn't trigger the Legend rule which means every turn, you get to make a copy of a card that reduces your spells' cost by 1 and add it to the board. Our deck won't revolve around this goofy and frankly very fair (maybe too fair) play, but wanting to copy Thryx as much as possible made me go down a build path I don't see many others pursuing.

Since I want to get Helm often but don't need it, per se, I thought about running a few ways to tutor for it. Since I don't necessarily love tutors that are second copies of cards, I wanted to have a lot of other artifacts I could get with my Fabricates et al and that made me think about other artifacts that would be good for a deck like this. I thought about mana rocks at first but then it hit me like I was one solo archer standing underneath a guy radiating lightning and the idea was some of that lightning - why not run mostly artifacts? After all, Thryx reduces the cost of spells, not just colored spells meaning with enough copies out, you could slam a Spine of Ish Sah for 0 mana and use your mana to get it back into your hand. Not only that, but Thryx makes your tutors like Whir of Invention better and uncounterable.

There are other ways to make copies of Thryx that ignore the Legend rule such as Sakashima the Impostor and Spark Double, and we'll jam those, too. When it doesn't make sense to try and copy Thryx for whatever reason, those cards can copy other useful creatures and it's pretty 75% to clone their best creature after all. Cards that synergize with our commander but also other cards means that combo pieces aren't dead draws if you don't have the rest of the combo. Cards working differently in different situations means the deck is never stale or linear which is what an ideal 75% deck is. Since we adapt to the power level of the table, we need to be adaptable and clones are just that. Since we're so into Clones, why not run Clone Legion, a spell that's normally too expensive to run but which is great fun. We don't get to run the full complement of Clones, but the ones which are good in this deck are very good in this deck and not bad otherwise.

Finally, we need to decide which spells we're going to run, and in true 75% fashion, I want to be swipin'. Control Magic is the gold standard for creature theft with its 4 CMC, but since mana is no object here we can go with more expensive options that can target a greater array of cards. Kiora Bests the Sea God is quite expensive but does a ton of work and cards toward the Confiscate end of the Spectrum belong here. Add in Vedalken Shackles and Mimic Vat, cards we can tutor for, and we can make them regret summoning creatures. Being able to play uu for Bribery or Acquire and keep the rest of our mana open for a few well-placed Counterspells to keep them from wiping our board will protect the investment we made in having an army of Thryxes - it's even economical to use Desertion as a plain counterspell since it will be cheaper than five mana, uncounterable and able to stop a Blasphemous Act in a pinch.

There are no shortage of Blue-based Artifact decks to choose from and we're drawing inspiration from all of them.

Urza, Lord High Artificer can teach us how to build powerful Artifact synergies.

Memnarch can teach us how to take what isn't ours but also survive the early game when our spells are expensive.

Thada Adel, Acquisitor can show us how being a bit aggressive can keep the table on its back foot.

Padeem, Consul of Innovation.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch can help us learn to use our graveyard as a resource.

Let's take a look at how our deck will look, shall we?

This looks incredibly fun. The one thing I wish were different would be a way to make Helm of the Host better with cards other than Thryx, but copying an Emry, Treasure Mage, Spark Double copy, Urza or Phyrexian Metamorph copy doesn't exactly suck, so I'm cool with it.

The deck will play like a typical Memnarch or Urza deck early, trying to land some mana rocks and get out a few creatures that can make our artifacts cheaper or better. The sooner we land Thryx, the better. Even without copying Thryx, playing spells early or more per turn is a boon and if we can copy Thryx, we can "go off." The deck is full of powerful spells we wouldn't play ordinarily because they're too expensive, even for Commander, but they're powerful and once we can play them, we should be able to win easily.

Some cards I wish I had room for include Thopter Assembly, Retrofitter Foundry and Clock of Omens. I think some cheeky shenanigans are warranted in a build like this, but you will be able to find a lot of synergy if you just look so it's probably fine. There is never enough room for everything you want to include.

If you want more of a stock Memnarch or Urza build, that shouldn't be too difficult to work out, but if you want LESS of that, we can really have some fun. The more cards like Etherium Sculptor you cut to make room for cards like Shimmer Dragon, the more you can customize the deck to add your own really expensive pet cards that you can hopefully cast for 3 or 4 mana. Counterspells get a lot better when your spells are cheaper, so include ones like Dismiss and Spelljack if you want since you'll be able to get value but still play stuff on your turn with the significant cost-reduction. Want more of that? Helm of Awakening and Gauntlet of Power exist. Caged Sun was my 101st card, so if you're going that route, jam that back in first.

All in all, I'm happy with how this turned out. I'm not opposed to building this exact deck once I get an alternate art Thryx (for some reason I like "Alt" art, who knew?) and I think it breathes new life into a Memnarch or Emry deck that may have begun to feel stale. This is pure 75% and it was all made possible by my desire to jam Helm of the Host into every deck. That does it for me - until next time!