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Kaima Chameleon



I am 85% sure I have written an article with a "Karma Chameleon" pun in the title in the last 12 months but I really can't remember what it could have been. One issue with 32 new Legendary creatures every couple of months is that it becomes tougher and tougher to come up with names that don't sound exactly like a name you've already used. That's how you end up with this mess.

Kathril, Aspect Warper
Lathril, Blade of the Elves

Very cool, team. Great work.

We're not here to talk about my snappy title, although I am proud of my ability to potentially make the exact same joke a second time, or at least come by it so easily I assume I have done it before. No, we're here to discuss an article I wrote two weeks ago that would have flowed so nicely into this one. It was all about embracing your role as Archenemy when you do certain things in Commander and making sure that even if the table all gangs up on you, they lose. One avenue I explored a bit during that article and want to explore even more here is the concept of Goading.

Goad is the mechanic that everyone thinks they understand, but don't. "Has to attack" they grasp, and when you remind someone their creature has been goaded, they say "Oh, well then I'll attack you with it" which is not how goad works but which is how everyone thinks goad works. I think the issue is that goad is so broken as a mechanic, everyone assumes it's a more fair version of that mechanic. It's the Berenstain Bears of mechanics. If you're going to be the game's arch, reminding people that their creature has to attack and then following it up by reminding them that the creature can't attack you is going to take you quite a long way toward the finish line. If they have to attack and have to attack not you, the only thing that can attack you is creatures you haven't goaded. I recommend goading a lot - it kills utility creatures unless people agree to not block and take damage, it chips away at their life totals and leaves them too busy fighting each other to mess with you. It's honestly kind of perfect, except it annoys people and makes them want to swing at you with the ungoaded creatures. All we need to do is make that not happen. Piece of cake, right?

I've said Kaima's name and described the concept of Goading and now I'm like a third of the way through the article and I haven't even revealed our build-around. I'm sorry for that, but I have to assume you already know the exact card and you think this pretend reveal I do is nothing more than a bit that is mostly for my benefit. Is that what you think? Don't bother answering, I can tell by the look on your face. That's fine, you've wounded me but I'm still going to edify you with the other 2/3 of this article because I'm a professional and I assume they won't pay me even 1/3 if I don't finish it.

Kaima, the Fractured Calm

It's not always ideal to slap auras onto your opponents' creatures and thereby make them even more lethal killing machines, but if they don't end up pointed at you, it seems fine. Every Aura is now an Impetus - did you ever play an Impetus? They are very good Magic cards, and now every Rancor is a Rancorous Impetus, and that's very cool. Buffing their best creatures makes a ton of sense if they're not attacking you -you're not the Archenemy, you're a real chill player, helping the entire table out in their goal of attacking with a creature you made them attack with and not being allowed to punish you with it. We're going full Assault Suit, if this deck were any more of a hype train it would have Crew 5. Let's take a look at some individual cards.

Keen Sense
One with Nature

The tech we're dusting off for this deck fully rules. Rancor is cool and obvious, but imagine slapping them with an enchantment that fundamentally changes their turn, or gives you a bonus when the creature hits your opponent. Imagine giving their creature bad Exalted. If you slap Errantry on one of their creatures, you don't have to worry about the rest of them. Sure, they're going to try and get rid of the creature with Errantry on it, in which case Errantry is a Red Doom Blade that makes them waste resources. Otherwise, it's a Crawlspace, also a rad card. There are so many cards we haven't read since the 1990s because we never really thought about what it would be like to Enchant their creatures. Keen Sense lets you draw when Opponent A hits Opponent B. If you have to tilt the board in your favor a bit to win a game of Commander, these sorts of shenanigans can really help with that. Goading fundamentally alters their gameplan, helping you or further hurting themselves alters it more, until they can't do much to stop you because they never got to play the game their way.

Kaima Chameleon | Commander | Jason Alt

This looks like a lot of fun. I say that a lot, I guess that's what finishing a decklist does to me. If it helps you to know I had fun in order to evaluate this deck, I did. If you think that would tamper with your ability to be impartial, by all means let's forget I said anything. I totally did, though.

This isn't a typical Enchantress deck - it's very sneakily a Voltron deck. I nearly spent a LOT of my 99 card budget on a crazy package to make this play like a landfall deck. I can't guarantee if I build this in paper that I won't do that, given how good Rogue's Passage is in this deck. It wouldn't even take that much - Expedition Map, Realms Uncharted, Ramunap Excavator. I could just feel my brain picking up speed, though - why not Moraug, and if we add that, why not... until the list cascaded into something that looks like some other decks I've built in the past. We're trying to get out of my comfort zone and resisting a landfall deck's siren song was a big step toward becoming a more complete deck-builder.

You can play up the Voltron angle a lot more. We're going to draw a lot of cards and a piece or two of equipment that grows with your hand, or the number of auras you control, could make you finish them much faster. I toyed with Grappling Hook which made me remember that they just printed Lizard Blades. If you want to be more of a Voltron deck, Godo tutors for Equipment. I wouldn't try to add any auras - I feel like all of the good Umbra are taken already. If we're adding Equipment, though, Lizard Blades is one I'd test out. At that point, the magic number is only 11, not 21, and that's only 8 +1/+1 counters on Kaima. Embercleave goes it at that point and you can decide if you're the kind of degen who will run Fireshrieker. Have fun with it, I think people are going to be genuinely surprised the first time you crack them for a ton with Kaima, especially if you don't equip and enchant it until you first attack with it. Kaima hits hard, that's sort of the point of goading all of those creatures. Well, that and seeing everyone else tenderize each other for you.

Red and Green are sort of poor colors for this, but Crawlspace isn't much in terms of protection. Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs is basically the Red Propaganda, but you could run some Fog effects. Another package I was tempted to lean into but resisted is my Snow lands, Glacial Crevasse, Sunstone, Constant Mists package. I have Glacial Chasm sitting very awkwardly in the deck now and it makes me wish I'd budgeted the cards for Crucible, Excavator, maybe a Splendid Reclamation or Life From the Loam. A package like that could fog them down when they attack you but leave them free to beat on each other, giving you and even tighter grip over the flow of the game.

What do we think? Does this do enough to keep you safe from the heat you're going to generate? Do you just always win when your opponents are too busy wailing on each other to notice you adding a 3rd d6 to your Commander? Will this make you the Archenemy? Leave it in the comments below or hit me up on twitter@jasonealt). Until next time!

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

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