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Deus Extus



Lately I have been taking a different approach to building 75% decks with new commanders, namely brewing two decks rather than just one. There isn't one "right" way to build a 75% deck, after all, and approaching a new build a few different ways will show you all that there are a lot of possibilities and could help you create your own novel approach. So far it hasn't been that difficult to find two distinct and equal approaches, but this week it easier than normal because I got an idea that is so off-the-wall but still powerful and fun that I can't wait to get the deck sleeved. The commander in question? Are we still doing that bit where I pretend you don't already know?

Extus, Oriq Overlord // Awaken the Blood Avatar

Extus, Oriq Overlord is a very powerful card that marries older, more established strategies with the chaotic energy of making a crazy 3/6 token that domes everyone. Having creatures to sacrifice by the boatload ensures you can play Awaken the Blood Avatar early and often, making them lose a creature and making a ton of Avatar tokens to make their lives miserable. The first thought I had when I saw this card, because I'm a monster, was Grave Pact. In fact, I decided to scrap my Tesya Karlov deck that has been sort of boring me a bit lately and turn it into a fun, exciting new deck with access to Red. Grave Pact effects will help make sure the board is clear for your Avatars to swing in, and White gives you access to cards like Anointed Procession and Blind Obedience to make things even easier for that strategy. Imagine having a deck with both Dictate of Erebos and Assemble the Legion in it. Not only that, there are plenty of ways to Fork the Awaken the Blood Avatar to make them sac even more creatures and get even more Avatar tokens.

The stock Extus list runs a lot of ways to make tokens and Grave Pact them, which was my first inclination, but I wasn't entirely satisfied with that. People look at a deck like this and their first idea is to make a bunch of creature tokens because they think cheap, plentiful, expendable creature tokens are the perfect creature to sac. They're wrong. The best creature to sac is your opponents' creatures, and that's what my 75% take on this deck would lean into. By running a few threaten effects, we could ensure that we have a steady supply of their creatures on our side, which deprives them of board presence and gives us the fodder to fuel our spells. Sacrificing their creature to our Ashnod's Altar to trigger Grave Pact and kill a second creature of theirs and play Awaken the Blood Avatar to kill a third creature of theirs is the most 75% thing I can think of in these colors, and that's a fairly routine play. Spicing up the stock list with some Threaten effects ensures this is a very 75% deck. Here's how I think that would look.

Extus? I hardly knew us | Commander | Jason Alt

With a lot more sac outlets than the stock list, we have plenty of ways to trigger Grave Pact and also ensure we never have to return a borrowed creature alive. I didn't steer too hard into forking the back half of our commander, opting instead to try and get more value out of it with Grave Pact effects. If we can sac a bunch of creatures to reduce the cost and wipe their board, our Avatar tokens should wrap things up fairly quickly. Borrowing their blockers to add to both our attack and our mana in the form of Ashnod's Altar or the cost reduction on Awaken the Blood Avatar will quickly help us break parity by keeping our creatures and using theirs to do our dirty work. We'll generate a ton of tokens of our own, sure, and we're happy to use them as cannon fodder, but nothing quite compares to snagging something with Captivating Crew and sending it back home in a body bag, drained of all of its delicious nutrients (Ok, so I have no idea how Phyrexian Altar works, I assume nutrients are involved).

This is a fine list and it's fun and its quite 75%, but I had another idea looking at Extus, one that barely involves White cards at all but which is going to give me a home for the piles of Goblin cards I've been moving around from deck to deck in search of a forever home. Can Goblins generate a ton of tokens? I don't know, why don't you ask Krenko? Can Goblins find you the Artifacts you want? I don't know, is Daretti an acceptable answer to this question? Goblin Engineer? Welder? Goblins can give us the utility of being able to tutor for the exact creatures and Artifacts we need, the ability to spit out a ton of tokens with everything from Muxus to Goblin Assault and a backup plan of just "swarm the board" if they start gumming up the board so much that our Avatar Tokens can't get through. Is Extus an obvious place for Goblins? Nope, but it's fun and I'm going to build it, if only because I want to prove it can be done. Not only is Extus an acceptable deck for a Goblins package, it's downright synergistic.

Deus Extus Goblina | Commander | Jason Alt

Finally, my Welder/Slaver package has a forever home! Until, you know, they print another Mardu or Rakdos deck. Still! I think this has a lot of upside, even with the complete lack of a reason to include White beyond Anointed Procession. You can tutor for the Goblins you need to tutor for your Mindslaver, but you're mostly going to focus on being the best Goblin/Grave Pact deck you can be, and there is a lot going on here synergistically that I like.

If you want more White, go nuts, but I think keeping a very strong Goblin theme with minimal White is where you should at least start. You may want to consider adding a few more Instants and Sorceries in case you want to cast the Extus half, because saccing a Goblin with an ETB ability then bringing it back with Extus is a lot of value, and any time you decide you want to cast the back half, you should have no problem saccing Extus to replay Awaken the Blood Avatar. We don't have a ton of ways to copy the spell, but with damage we'll deal just being a normal Goblin deck, we won't need a ton of Avatar triggers anyway.

This is a pretty radical departure from how people are building Extus, but I think these are both fine decks, they play to the commander's strengths and they're most importantly fun to pilot. You can cut the Mindslaver if you know your table will hate it and there are myriad fun Goblin cards, decent Instants and Sorceries and powerful, tutorable artifacts that can take that place.

What do we think? Am I too far outside of reality with my crazy Boggat Shenanigans, or am I onto something? How are you building Extus? Leave it for me in the comments. That's all for me this week - until next time!

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