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Stop Trying to Hit Them and Hit Them

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Paradox Engine
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t necessarily trying to build the deck I ended up building, but I like where I ended up. Commander 2016 has been out for a little while and while it was a deep font of inspiration for many weeks, it’s getting to the point where a lot of the ideas have been tapped already. I have been building some of the decks I was excited about, including Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix and Thraisos, Triton Hero with Paradox Engine and I have to say, while I expected K&T (as they like to be called) not to be a 75% deck, I didn’t expect it to do the same thing every game quite so efficiently. I am sort of feeling frustrated with it because I know it’s not a 75% deck and didn’t expect it to be but I have basically goldfished with it and played one real game and I’m looking to tear it apart already. I put Laboratory Maniac in the deck and as soon as I did, I basically decided I wasn’t going to enjoy playing it. Paradox Engine lets you draw your entire deck the turn you play it if you manage to keep them from destroying it or a bunch of your other permanents. It ramps quickly, disrupts your opponents a ton and bores the actual bejeebus out of me. I used to like playing decks that weren’t 75% when I could but now I guess I’m getting set in my ways. Hopefully cheating with Maelstrom Wanderer stays fun because I’m building Yidris soon, too.

Paradoxical Outcome
I needed to wash the taste of abject failure out of my mouth. I built a deck that I hated despite being so stoked for it that I couldn’t wait for the physical cards to come out so I built it with proxies before C16 hit stores so I could goldfish with it. I wanted something that felt fun but not linear and I wanted to include some cards from the newest set, Aether Revolt. My plan was to try and Ripple Rats variation with Secret Salvage (I have been keen on Ripple Rats this week) but I got sidetracked looking at another spell that I find super interesting — Paradoxical Outcome. Paradoxically, I got into a bit of a paradox where Paradox Engine seemed a little too good for the spikey deck I built with Kydele and Thraisos but underperformed in a 75% build I tried it out with and I thought since that outcome was such a paradoxical outcome I should build with Paradoxical Outcome. I like the idea of using it as a slightly better Retract in a deck with cheap artifacts and maybe an Aetherflux Reservoir. However, I’m not looking to build a bad Cheeri0s deck and besides, we already Sram Jrammed a few weeks ago. I did, however, find a deck that used Paradoxical Outcome in a very Paradoxical way — it uses it as a kill spell.

Vela the Night-Clad
Some of you know exactly which deck I mean because you’re nerds or the twitter summary of the article gave it away or something. You EDH players are nerds and nerds know a lot of stuff so it’s not a huge surprise that a lot of you know I’m talking about Vela the Night-Clad. With Vela and a pile of other creatures in play, Paradoxical Outcome draws you a pile of cards and gives them a pile of damage. I realize it’s hard to visualize damage in a pile, but my science training taught me to keep my units consistent. The idea of KOing one or more players with a low life total by returning a bunch of creatures to my hand made me laugh. I especially like the idea of having cast them for a ton of value in the first place. Vela is also a dandy commander to use in conjunction with Deadeye Navigator, probably the most powerful creature (that or Consecrated Sphinx) that has managed to escape the banhammer. Chipping at their life total by blinking a Shriekmaw is so much fun I wonder how I went this long without building this deck already. I also got really excited about Teferi's Veil for like 30 seconds until I check the rules about phasing and realized phased-out creatures haven’t technically left play and won’t trigger any “leaves play” abilities and that I’m not a genius for thinking of Teferi's Veil, I’m a dumb dumb for thinking it would work. In my defense, if you have a good grasp on the rules governing phasing, you’re the kind of nerd even other nerds bully. That or you took 30 seconds to read the wiki like I just did. WHAT HAVE I BECOME?!

I’ve become the kind of person that wants to see the look on my opponents’ faces when I tap 4 mana and murder them with Paradoxical Outcome and a full board. I have to keep a full board, but if there is a color that can keep them from wiping you out, it’s Blue. I can even Snapcaster Mage or Archaeomancer or Torrential Gearhulk it back if I want. I’m not primarily relying on this spell to do that, but in the games where I do either win or take a hunk out of their hides with it, I’m going to be a happy camper. Considering campers are the most despised sort of person in FPS games, I’m going to go full Dimir and really embrace the role, stealing as much of their stuff as I can with my sneaky “Hit them to do cool stuff” cards like Thada Adel, Acquisitor and Dimir Cutpurse. I play cards like that when I can, anyway, and giving them intimidate means I’ll hit more often and put them in lethal “Outcome” range. Even casting outcome with 2 creatures in play and no Vela means I can bounce creatures like Mulldrifter and Solemn Simulacrum to recast them for even more value. There’s a lot that this card can do in the deck it inspires but let’s not pretend we’re not a lethal fighting force without it because we absolutely are. I’m jamming a ton of ninja in the deck because of course I am. How would a Vela deck optimized for Paradoxical Outcome wins look?

Smooth like VelaBeata ? Commander | Jason Alt


Omniscience
I like how this turned out. It’s not a gigantic departure from how a typical Vela deck will play out, but I weighted it much more heavily toward permanents than usual. One reason for that is that I like to get my hands dirty and do work with my creatures in decks like this, dealing them damage as much as possible. The other is that I want to get more value out of Paradoxical Outcome if and when I draw it. The ninja in the deck are already going to help us get additional triggers from our creatures with ETB effects so Outcome is just gravy. Make sure you get Vela out ASAP so you can fully take advantage of those ninjitsu shenanigans.

I think the mana curve of ETB creatures may be a bit high. If you Outcome mid-game, you may not be able to recast much of that stuff very easily. One way to combat this was with the addition of Omniscience, a card that should end the game fairly easily if you have lots of ways to bounce permanents. Equilibrium, a few mana and Omniscience should be enough to get you a game-ending number of Vela triggers. It’s expensive, but “I win” spells should be and its inclusion here is going to be fun and if they can’t deal with it, they deserve to lose. I may try and lower the curve on my ETB stuff if I tune this deck, but I added Filigree Familiar in an attempt to mitigate it already. I may want to add creatures like Tormented Soul just to make sure at the very least I’m able to play some early ninja.

Desertion
I have quite a few ways to swipe their stuff but I was flirting with adding even more. If you’re going to be slightly handicapped by having to do your business up close and personal like with Thada Adel, you should have a trade-off in the form of being able to filch their goodies. Drawing cards when you hit them is cool, stealing Sol Rings is even cooler. Make sure you get mana rocks early with Thada to help smooth your late game – we’re Dimir and we don’t get good mana. Maybe I relax how I feel about Demonic Tutor since we might use it as a Farseek in this deck. Nah. But I thought about it. Treachery, Vedalken Shackles, and Bribery are all spells I employ, but with Thada Adel, Wrexial, the Risen Deep, and the gang here already, I think we’re OK. I even added Desertion to help pilfer their stuff or stave off a big wrath before we’re ready in a pinch. It’s hard keeping 5 up for Desertion but it’s worth it.

I added fewer of my pet cards than normal, which feels bad, but I’ll get over it. Vela is built a specific way and I didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater by changing too much. I like where this ended up and I think trying to optimize a deck that already exists to interact more with a new card is a fun way to spruce a tired, old deck up. If you had Vela built and got sick of it, why not try to optimize it to interact with a new card? I picked Paradoxical Outcome but you could easily pick Aetherflux Reservoir or Mechanized Production or Aether Poisoner. It lets you build a “new” deck without scrapping one. Believe me, those of us in the finance community love it when EDH players (myself included, I’m super guilty of this) build new decks and never tear old ones apart. Financiers love to talk about how Legacy players will buy 4 Tarmogoyfs but EDH players only buy one Puresteel Paladin but they forget about my 11 foil Perilous Forays and 8 [card]Chromatic Lantern[/cards.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Got an idea about how to change up an old deck to interact more with a new card? Hit me with a list in the comments section. Until next time!


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