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Finding Your Ideal Saga Package


I left the title for the article blank this week and decided the let the editor handle it because I don't know how to title an article where I want to keep what it's about secret. I think this week's subject matter will give a lot of people a lot of different reasons not to read it, and I'm not trying to make that happen. What I want to do is to introduce concepts to you slowly so you're not overwhelmed. Ready?

1. I am going to write about a Lord of the Rings card.

Specifically, this one.

Tom Bombadil

It's our reality now that everything we liked from our childhood is going to be repackaged and sold to us and Magic is no exception. If you're mad that we're getting The Lord of the Rings cards, keep reading because I'm barely going to mention Tom Bombadil. In fact, I won't even include a decklist. I won't mention him again.

2. The commander in question seems like you just jam every saga in the deck.

Another reason I don't want to include a decklist here is that I don't want to tell anyone how many sagas they should run in a Tombadil deck. Instead, this article will be focused on which of the Sagas are good Thesis Enchantments, which is to say are the best ones to build around.

This week I will be discussing good Sagas to use as Thesis Enchantments but I'll also be talking about the packages of cards that go with that particular build. The goal is to offer you a bit of a smorgasbord, a package built around removing counters here, a package for returning Enchantments to play en masse there, maybe some Enchantress creatures, and you'll be able to craft your mana base and the deck will be essentially built. I did have one small reservation about this commander this week, however. I tend to see commanders that only focus on a set-specific (thankfully evergreen at this point) mechanic as kind of gimmicky and a bit stale since the small card pool requires you to play with most Sagas. I won't do that when I build it, I'd rather play with good Sagas and work on keeping them around or bringing them back rather than just slapping a pile of them in sleeves. The cards I talk about will be primarily cards that make the most of our sagas, enhance them or synergize with lots of different sagas. Here are my suggestions for building a Sagas deck.

Counter Reset

Thrull Parasite
Binding the Old Gods

The way I'll likely build this deck is bound to be a bit heavy on Green for Enchantress cards and heavy on Black for the Parasites - Thrull and Hex. The ability to remove counters from your sagas to continue to keep it on the board or continue to trigger the same chapter each turn is a primary motivator for me to tackle this deck at all. Even basic Sagas like Elspeth's Nightmare or Braids' Frightful Return can get pretty nasty if you trigger chapter one every single turn. For this package, you'll focus heavily on Black Sagas because a lot of them have a removal mode that you can keep resetting to with your parasites. Thrull Parasite even has Extort, what more could you ask for?

A few Sagas I think really benefit from counter removal include Azusa's Many Journeys // Likeness of the Seeker, Binding the Old Gods, Firja's Retribution, Inventive Iteration, Kiora Bests the Sea God, and The Eldest Reborn. Basically, all Green and Black Sagas are playable here. More ways to remove counters include Ferropede, Medicine Runner, Power Conduit, Scholar of New Horizons, and Vampire Hexmage.


Satsuki, the Living Lore
You'll likely want some value engines, and another Sagas deck can provide us with some insight there. Specifically, Satsuki the Living Lore. A lot of Satsuki decks started playing Brought Back, a card that can get quite a bit of value if you can get 2 things to enter the 'yard on the same turn. Sagas set to expire concurrently are excellent targets for a spell like this. Expanding out of Green and White, though, you get Sagas like The Mirari Conjecture that can bring back Brought Back.

You have other cards like The Binding of the Titans that can loop with creatures like Tragic Poet or Restoration Specialist. I realize I am still very much in Green-White, but that is the part of the color pie these cards occupy anyway, so looking like we're a bad Satsuki deck at this point is a little bit inevitable. I think it's a mistake to ignore something working because we feel pressure to blaze a trail at all times. Something Satuski decks lack is access to Blue, and cards from Archaeomancer to Tamiyo, Collector of Tales to fill in the gaps that Green and White can't manage alone, and big payoffs in Blue and Red. Reflection of Kiki-Jiki copying an Eternal Witness on a turn-by-turn basis seems kind of fair if you're looping mediocre Saga cards, but you could loop anything in the deck if you plan ahead, so think bigger. The reason we have thesis Sagas is that we can play fewer of them, so use the space to explore.


Kardur's Vicious Return
A fun approach I reserve the right to sleeve up in case I want to swap it into the deck would be trying for Hellbent. Black gives us ways to keep resetting the Sagas, and if we are concerned with using Enchantments to give us value while our opponents struggle to topdeck answers, keeping hand sizes low for everyone with Kardur's Vicious Return, Braids's Frightful Return, Elspeth's Nightmare et al. Being safe from your own Gibbering Descent, being unassailable with Ensnaring Bridge, having Infernal Tutor be good for once, or murdering someone with an Anthem of Rakdos 10 turns faster than they expected, building around Hellbent has advantages. But you don't have to be so literal, either, only looking at cards with actual Hellbent. You are allowed to just play good Enchantments that bring creatures back from Graveyards every turn like Debtors' Knell does and laugh at everyone in topdeck mode while you play their decks.

Card Draw/Foretell

Niko Defies Destiny
Card draw is every important, and as much as we want to run a lot of non-Saga spells to keep our decks running, it would be a shame not to take advantage of our Saga-based card drawing, especially if we plan to double our triggers, bring a completed Saga back or any other sort of shenanigans. Birth of the Imperium is an excellent example of a card that can cost you between 5 and 0 mana and draw you 6 cards a turn or two later. Both Esper and Grixis explore the card drawing design space, and drawing from a Saga and having all of your mana ready to go with your full grip is an advantage some players don't fully realize the benefit of until it happens to them (I'm telling on myself). If you're tempted to jam a bunch of cards like Brainstorm because you're a five-color deck, consider if any of the card-drawing Sagas are worth building around. Niko Defies Destiny, in particular, makes a strong case for including a ton of Foretell cards because they're all perfectly fine cards with no Saga and you get a bunch back if you get the Saga. People already play cards like Ravenform, so why not?

Steal Their Stuff

Kiora Bests the Sea God
You knew it was coming. Blue gives us a lot of opportunities to steal their cards, and if we're looping and replaying the Sagas, we can steal quite a bit from them. Make sure your mana is good, because Kiora Bests the Sea God is very mana-intensive. However, you won't be totally helpless early in the game because of cheap Sagas like King Narfi's Betrayal that let you plan how to spend your mana ahead of time by revealing a ton of juicy options to you. The non-Saga part of a deck that takes a while to get set up like this one might contain pillowfort cards to slow them down. We actually have a ton of really good sagas for this, including King Narfi's Betrayal, Kiora Bests the Sea God, The Cruelty of Gix, The Eldest Reborn, The Horus Heresy, The Shattered States Era, and The Trickster-God's Heist. Add some of your favorite cards like Confiscate and you have a stew goin.



I have been jamming both Phantatog and Auratog when I can for a few reasons. The first is that those cards are old and fun and remind me of when Magic was fun and we got to play with a new set for a few months before they started spoiling the next set. Secondly, they can be good finishers, eating enough Enchantments to alpha strike someone for lethal or, filling your yard with Phantatog, should your build require it. Thirdly, a way to get Enchantments into the 'yard is paramount if you're going to run any sort of Reanimation from Replenish to something as simple as Hall of Heliod's Generosity. Sweepers exile now, as boring as that is, and if you allow your opponents to exile your board, you'll be sitting there like a dope with a Second Sunrise in your hand. This only works if they don't choose to exile all graveyards when they cast the spell, something a lot of people do anyway, and likely only works once against someone who will choose to hit 'yards next time, but it's better than scooping to the laziest card ever designed. Our choices are all bad ones, I'm afraid. You could at least play around Merciless Eviction, Farewell means you have a Teferi's Protection or you concede. Cool card, guys.

Cards in this package apart from Auratog and Phantatog are some cards I played with Auratog in the past such as Hatching Plans as well as cards like Duelists' Heritage, Finest Hour, and True Conviction. The great thing about non-auras is that you can play it and impact the best creature at the time so you don't need to load up a creature that could die or one that could be outclassed later. Finest Hour et al is especially good if you're going to be threatening creatures and then giving them back if they live.


I don't want to get too deep into this, but I made a Sagas deck already with Zur, Eternal Schemer at the helm and it was fun. Zur can just be somewhere in the 99, lurking until you draw him because he synergizes with all Sagas. Zur doesn't often get to turn The World Spell or Kiora Bests the Sea God into a lifelinker, and it's going to be a lot of fun when your tales about the titans are titans themselves.

Mana Fixing/Ramp

There are a few decent Sagas in this pile, but there are a lot of staples I'd always play in a deck like this which unfortunately means we're loading up on Green lands so we always have the mana we need early. If you have Green, you can find a way to make the other colors, so remember that. My list of cards I think are vital here include Azusa's Many Journeys // Likeness of the Seeker, Burgeoning, Druid Class, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, Exploration, Jugan Defends the Temple // Remnant of the Rising Star,

Sanctum Weaver, Song of Freyalise, The Mending of Dominaria, and Utopia Sprawl. Chromatic Lantern and Arcane Signet are going to be good rocks here, but I wouldn't play any signets or anything like that and I don't think we need bad three-mana rocks like Manalith or Basically Manalith (Darksteel Ingot). It's wild that Darksteel Ingot went from staple to basically unplayable, but that's what you get when your format is ripe for monetization.

I think a deck that combines a few of these approaches and maybe throws in a couple of good* planeswalkers like Calix, Destiny's Hand, Estrid the Masked and Kaya, Intangible Slayer can be a ton of fun. There is no "wrong" way to build a Sagas deck except for throwing too many bad Sagas in the deck. Just play the good ones and build around them and you'll have a way better time. That does it for me, thanks for reading and as always, hit me up on Twitter if you have any questions. Until next time!

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