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75% – Do Your Thing


One thing I like about the 75% philosophy is coming up with ways to do a “thing” and deal with the opponents’ “things.” It doesn’t take much creativity to prevent things from happening, and it makes the game interesting when things happen. Couple my desire to make and allow things to happen with my desire to build 75% decks around a theme, and you have a recipe for a spicy brew.

Genju of the Realm
This week, I thought about how I would build a deck with no creatures. It’s a fun theme, and I think it can be quite potent. The first thought I had was some sort of artifact combo deck, but without creatures, I am not sure how much fun it would be.

The next thought I had was perhaps a better one, and that was to play enchantments. If your group will allow it, you can go fully creatureless and have Genju of the Realm be your commander. He gives you access to all five colors and isn’t a creature, and therefore, he sets the tone for how tough we’re going to be on ourselves, and he is capable of dealing 21 commander damage if need be. This is a very loose interpretation of the rules, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if your playgroup forces you to pick an actual creature as your commander, so pick Child of Alara or Progenitus or whichever five-colored legendary creature you designate. Sliver Overlord could be a funny one—and confusing when you don’t summon a single Sliver. However, we’ll only run a creature in our commander slot if our hand is forced. Otherwise, we’re going fully creatureless.

So, how does this hurt us? We’re missing out on some great cards that interact with enchantments. Eidolon of Blossoms joins an already-impressive pantheon of enchantresses, including Argothian Enchantress, Verduran Enchantress, and Mesa Enchantress—cards that all happen to be in your colors. Purphoros, God of the Forge can certainly enable some shenanigans while being less of a liability than the painfully-symmetrical Pandemonium. Heliod, God of the Sun would be solid—really, any God would be a benefit to the deck, but I am ruling them out categorically. Even something harmless and cute like Auratog is out of contention. Remember: If I don’t have to, I won’t even jam a creature in the commander slot. Let’s do this all the way if we’re doing it at all.

Enchantress's Presence
Since the list of cards not going into the deck could fill volumes, I’m going to cut it off now, and we’ll talk replacements. Enchantress's Presence is a poor consolation prize for missing all of our “constellation” triggers from our legged enchantresses, but it still gets there. Pandemonium can hurt you more than Purphoros would, but we’ll make some sacrifices for the sake of thematics. Heliod might be fun, but we can make tokens other ways. As good as Heliod is with Serra's Sanctum, we’re limiting the power level by sticking to a theme here. When you’re making infinite Squirrel Nest tokens with Earthcraft, you won’t miss Heliod.

The basis for this deck is one I played in Standard a very long time ago. The goal was to quickly ramp to an Enduring Ideal and then spend every turn building a deadly pile of enchantments and building a protective bubble of glamers around yourself. Have you ever wanted to murder someone in the mouth with Form of the Dragon? That’s right—we aren’t allowed to summon any dargons, but with this deck, we’re going to actually be a dargon, and this will fulfill a childhood dream of mine to someday be a dragon—something Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire to the readers) popularity isn’t attenuating.

Meishin, the Mind Cage
I don’t want any enchantment tutoring because I want to run some potent two-card combinations and not violate any 75% rules. However, Enduring Ideal is able to find any enchantment, so we will need to bear that in mind. We want to shoot for the Humility–and–Orim's Prayer side of the spectrum rather than the Sanguine Bond–and–Exquisite Blood side. I also think that combo pieces that synergize with other cards in the deck are far more welcome and that may shape our inclusions more than most other factors. Grabbing Meishin, the Mind Cage was going to give me a huge nostalgia boost, but are there enchantments I’m missing?

I took to reddit to do a little research, and it wasn’t long until I found this reddit post in which /u/ensouled was going to town on the concept, laying out his picks for a three-colored Zedruu the Greathearted deck. Unfortunately, we can’t play a few of the cards he mentions, but we can play a lot of cards he doesn’t, so I think it will come out in the wash.

Let’s just get a decklist out of the way and talk choices after, shall we?

Genju of the Realm (or Karona, False God) ? Commander | Jason Alt

I wasn’t very far into this deck when I realized I could get away with having Enduring Ideal be the only nonenchantment card in the deck. I want to leave it—the entire impetus behind this deck was me wanting to relive the glory days of Enduring Ideal for slightly worse cards than are in this deck. Last time I played Ideal, I didn’t have Paradox Haze, but I sure welcome it! I tried to avoid having degenerate combos and focused on having answers instead.

Decree of Silence
I wish there were more spells like Decree of Silence that I could do work with despite not being able to play spells are Ideal. Decree is a Counterspell when I need it despite not being an instant, and I like the many different things it can do in different situations. Decree of Annihilation blows up nonenchantment permanents, but I decided not to run sorceries, and that made me have to think a little harder. This could have been five-color good-stuff if I’d let it.

Does this look like five-color good-stuff? I think there are a ton of synergies buried in here, and it’s fun to find all of them. I like Manabarbs and Pyrohemia with Sphere of Law, for example. Prismatic Omen makes Pyrohemia much easier to activate. Your tokens’ deaths trigger Vicious Shadows, allowing you to just win the game.

I like pillow-fort decks that run Luminarch Ascension. I tried to keep my token-producing enchantments in white since Serra's Sanctum is a powerful engine. Keeping yourself from being hurt is tough with so many other players, but if you are left alone for a turn cycle, go to town. You should make quite a few Angels between Ascension and Sigil of the Empty Throne.

I made the choice to run all five Hondens. Deal with it.

Sigil of the Empty Throne
All in all, this deck is an excellent embodiment of the 75% principle that states we can limit the power level by building with restrictions, and the restriction to just enchantments (well, fifty-nine sixtieths of the nonlands anyway) limited the power level nicely. Replenish, Crystal Chimes, Purphoros, Hanna, Ship's Navigator—there are so many cards can make this deck next-level very easily. Artifacts like Coalition Relic and Chromatic Lantern would really help with the mana. Prophet of Kruphix with mana-based token-producers would be degenerate. Even tutors like Enlightened Tutor could fetch us combo cards—that is, if we allowed Enlightened Tutor in a 75% deck.

Was this deck too full of stuff I personally liked? Can you make a compelling case for cards like Vile Consumption and Breathstealer's Crypt? Are you going to brew an Ertai, the Corrupted enchantments deck based on cards like that? That’s not for me to say. Leave it in the comments section!

Thanks again to /u/ensouled and /u/Demonzero on reddit and to everyone who reads this noise, leaves me comments, tweets, posts on reddit, votes in my polls, or describes his or her decks as “75%.” You guys are the actual best. Until next time!

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