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Koma Chameleon

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Readers!

The Koma Chameleon may come and go, and it may change its appearance based on its surroundings, and I want to make the case that this is a very good thing. Koma, Cosmos Serpent is the first Simic commander printed in nearly 11 years that doesn't let you put extra lands into play or do absolutely nothing and I'm psyched to find something in that sweet spot. Koma can generate value and lots of it, and often. One drawback of being such a focused commander, though, is that the stock list for the deck basically builds itself. You want to ramp to get Koma out as quickly as possible, play some countermagic to protect it, run some token doublers to really get value out of that passive ability and maybe make some copies of Koma to boot. That's not a bad thing at all, and once you get over your aversion to sacrificing a 3/3 token the way you would a 1/1 token, you realize that saccing a Coil token to do something other than keep Koma alive could end up being worth it.

Koma, Cosmos Serpent

That's a lot of text! Being uncounterable is non-trivial, making a token on EVERY upkeep, not just your own, is very cool and being able to make Koma indestructible to protect that seven mana investment feels great. Being able to tap a permanent is gravy and like all gravy, only you can decide how much you want to focus on it. The analogy broke down there a bit, I almost made a pun about how gravy has lumps and I was potentially going to make a lump-based pun about combat - look, the point is that Koma has a pile of good abilities and all of them are excellent. But do we want to be aggressive in how we sac our Serpents to tap their stuff down? I guess that depends on how many we can make, and I aim to make a LOT.

Full disclosure - the first thing I did was check to see how many cards have been printed historically with the creature type "serpent" to see if maybe we had some more attractive creatures to sac so we could tap their blockers down. Maybe you won't be as surprised as I was - almost all of them are about 6 mana, a lot of them have islandhome, none of them have ETB abilities you'd like to see on a creature you're planning to sac and, oh, you'll love this - guess what the card "Serpent Generator" doesn't actually generate. If you said "Serpents" then you win. We can't even tap a stupid overcosted artifact to create cannon fodder to sac to our commander. I guess I was hoping something like Coiling Oracle or Sakura-Tribe Scout or some sweet two-mana ETB creature was given errata that made it count as a Serpent but, no dice. We're basically stuck with the Serpents Koma spits out, but here's the good news - we can get Koma to spit out a LOT.

If I were to offer a few tweaks to the stock list, I would take advantage of the fact that we're likely to run a ton of token doublers and therefore other creatures than just Koma that make creature tokens and therefore (stop me if you've heard this one) cards like Cryptolith Rite and Opposition. Saccing a 3/3 Serpent to tap a blocker is pretty cool, but tapping a Mycoloth or Avenger of Zendikar token is ICE COLD.

Here's how I'd make the stock list look if I wanted to keep pretty close to how everyone else is building but put a little English on it.

Koma Chameleon | Commander | Jason Alt


Everyone knew I was going to add the Squirrel Nest/Opposition package I love to run, and in a deck where token doublers are basically standard, there's no reason not to. Consider adding Sprout Swarm for more value, or maybe Mycoloth to go super wide. I think getting as many tokens into play as you can is valuable and can be a lot of fun.

I think it's a fine stock list and even if you don't want to shell out for an Earthcraft to make the deck really pop (or Gaea's Cradle, for that matter), it should still work great and be fun to play. Ramp to get Koma out quickly and stack those coils. I'm not here to tell you not to play that way. However, my mind went in a bit of a different direction when I saw Koma, and it has to do more with what Koma doesn't say than what it does say.

Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait came out very recently and is a cool card because it's exactly a card that already exists and I think that's very funny. Tatyova was a pretty powerful commander and it's not clear it needed a power upgrade, but I'll take it as a Simic enthusiast. With Aesi out there, there's no need to try and make a Simic lands matter deck that isn't Aesi, right?

WRONG.

I think Koma is a perfectly fine vessel for a landfall deck because Koma is a source of a lot of damage in the command zone and that's something Aesi decks sometimes struggle with. With Aesi and Tatyova lurking in the 99 and a bevy of good landfall enablers in your colors, you're bound to keep your hand stocked. Besides, I'm really loving how much more explosive Burgeoning on turn one is than Exploration and I've been loving cutting Llanowar Elves for Sakura-Tribe Scout. Getting lands into play quickly can save you from losing mana dorks to removal which can set you back turns. Who needs Farseek when we have Khalni Heart Expedition? Let's do some Koma stuff but let's also Roil Elemental all of their permanents, loop bouncelands with Retreat to Coralhelm and draw exactly what we need to end the game in a hail of stampeding Serpent coils. This is going to be FUN.

Koma to the Dome-a | Commander | Jason Alt


In a typical Aesi or Tatyova deck, you aren't running token doublers like we are here, so Avenger of Zendikar and Scute Swarm lack some oomph they could be getting. I haven't really have the opportunity to experiment with these cards with token doublers and I'm happy that Koma gives us such a compelling reason to do so that I basically have to. We can find more ways to benefit from Doubling Season and Primal Vigor, also since they do things other than give us more tokens - Doubling Season plays very nicely with Planeswalkers and basically anything named Kiora or Nissa would be good in this deck. It needs some tweaking because keeping our existing landfall package but pairing it with a somewhat incongruous creature tokens package will require us to get certain ratios correct. However, the cards in common between those two strategies like Avenger of Zendikar will really shine in a build like this one. I'm building Koma and I'm building it exactly like this. I'll keep you updated after I play some practice games and get it dialed in.

That's all for me, everyone. I think these are both very solid and powerful approaches to a very strong and interesting new commander. Simic can sometimes surprise us and playing to the color pairing's strengths will only make the game more enjoyable and winnable. Until next time!

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