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More Derevi Than You Can Handle


Last week, the comments section of my article in which I took a 75% Derevi, Empyrial Tactician deck through the deck garage became interesting. I had several people ask me in the comments about how I would tune up the precon if I took a crack at it for myself, and I had several more people e-mail or tweet the same request. I receive a decent amount of feedback on my articles, but I have rarely received the same request from so many people independently of each other. I usually don’t like to do the same Commander twice, and I certainly don’t like to do it in back-to-back weeks, but this felt important.

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
I spent the last few weeks under the impression that I had already done Derevi in the past. I specifically remembered writing a section about how much I loved Diviner's Wand on Derevi for flavor reasons as well as efficacy reasons. It turns out my brain was playing tricks on me and I was misremembering—that discussion was about Diviner's Wand on Talrand, Sky Summoner, something else I think is great. So since I haven’t taken a crack at Derevi, but only modified someone else’s 75% list, so we’re charting relatively new territory here because I would probably have my own spin.

The thing is that I fell into a pattern of making an “easy” 75% deck with a problem commander by either building Voltron or tribal. That’s a simple and elegant solution since both of those reduce your card pool significantly, allowing you to build 75% by merely selecting the best cards from the limited pool. That’s a great way to do it, but it felt a little bit too much like cheating after a while. However, I think it’s only cheating if I stop there. This week, I decided to do both lists: I am going to show you what Voltron and tribal would look like. Both of these decks will be 75%, and maybe the different lists will give you something to think about. With three Derevi decks in two weeks, you’ll probably be sick of Bant for a while—something I will take into account for the rest of the next few months!

Not that I feel super-sorry for you; Bant lets you play green and blue, and that lets you play Prophet of Kruphix, and it’s impossible not to smile while Prophet of Kruphix is on your mat.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the precon that we will be using as our starting point for both decks.

Evasive Maneuvers ? Commander | Wizards of the Coast

  • Commander (0)

There is a lot to work with here. Our best assets are the new cards, Derevi, Roon of the Hidden Realm, and the creatures that generate value with Roon.

If I wanted to take this in a Voltron direction, I would want to play a bit of a draw-go game as well as have the ability to go wide. If you go wide, you can generate a lot of untap triggers and use that mana for evil purposes. Let’s look at how I would build Voltron!

I tried to keep some elements of the precon and mesh them with a Derevi Voltron deck. We have some good Auras to stack on Derevi or another creature, and we’re mostly trying to go wide with a few creatures and generate some hit triggers to untap some stuff. Nature's Will, Bear Umbra, and Sword of Feast and Famine all benefit us greatly for hitting with the enchanted creature. Battle Mastery and Grappling Hook aim to create a lot of hit triggers; Sword and Mastery on a creature are going to make for us so many untap triggers, and that gives us a lot of mana to pump into Kruphix, God of Horizons, Omnath, Locus of Mana, or even Helix Pinnacle.

Derevi suits up well and becomes a Voltron nightmare. If he dies, he is easy to recast, and if we can Retether our Auras, we are in good shape. Countermagic and hexproof should help us in our quest to keep him alive long enough to strike. Is this deck 75%? Yes, and it can probably be a lot better and still be 75%. I would need to play this to see how it struggled, and the mana base is pretty far from the precon to the chagrin of some. The important thing to me was making sure I included Seaside Haven, which is a great card to have in a Derevi deck. This Voltron list looks like fun, although it might not be the most competitive deck ever. Flashing stuff and jamming Auras is a bit of a nonbo, but I think Derevi can be kept around so you benefit from the Auras, a lot of which draw extra cards and make Diviner's Wand even better.

Still, if battlecruiser Magic isn’t your bag, how about a Bird and/or Wizard tribal jam?

This looks like a lot of fun! I don’t know how strong it is, but punishing opponents for not having flyers while having mono-flyers for yourself is rad. I like Talrand in here, so he stays even though the Drakes you make aren’t gaining Bird bonuses from stuff like Soulcatchers' Aerie and Coat of Arms. You don’t like Talrand? Make your own tribal deck, jerk.

Gravitational Shift
This is straightforward. I wanted to make Wizards tribal, but this looks like a lot more fun, and I am in a fun mood today. This is on the weak side of 75%, but Wizards tribal seemed so . . . basic. I am happy with how this turned out, and frustrating opponents with Bower Passage, Gravitational Shift, and Magus of the Moat seems worth it when you have a flock of 5/5 Bird tokens. Seems like a winner!

Either way you look at it, Derevi lets us build fun, exciting decks that don’t have to be the oppressive Stax monsters that cause people to throw things at you. Using the precon as a base, you can go full Roon or go Voltron or tribal or a dozen other directions. As long as we stick to our 75% principles for guidance, we can guarantee a fun experience for everyone at the table, and we can make sure we ultimately win in the end. What more could you ask for?

To those among you who asked for me to give you my spin on the precon, how did I do? Did I stray too far from the precon and too far into how I’d ideally build tribal and Voltron? I’m not doing a third article, but I could be persuaded to put up a TappedOut list if you want to see more of my thought process or how I’d mod the precon to make a generic Derevi deck.

To those who are satisfied, keep me posted—I want to see if you go on to build your own deck around the Evasive Maneuvers precon. Send me your lists, send me your questions, and send me money. I promise to spend it on a non-75% Daretti Mindslaver deck to wipe that smug smile off the face of my group’s Rafiq of the Many player. That will teach him to go Bant Voltron without Derevi!

That does it for me! Until next time!

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