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Kydele and Thrasios are Boring


Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix
I was really excited about brewing a deck with Kydele and Thrasios and reading back through the article where I did so, I can remember how much fun I had whittling my list down to 98 cards. All of that seems odd in hindsight since I’m from the future and I know how the deck turned out. If I could go back in time and do one thing, I would go back to the night I was building that deck I would give myself winning Powerball numbers because I’m not an idiot. Can you imagine? “Jason,” I’d say to my past self, “I’m here to warn you that if you go through with building that Kydele and Thrasios deck, it’s going to be super linear and boring and you’re going to want to tear it apart and build something else!” and my past self would be like “What are the winning Powerball numbers for next week?” and future me would be all “Oh, I don’t know that. I just came to warn you about a decision you were going to make about a children’s card game.” And then past me would smash his head into his keyboard so hard that future me with still have visible letters on his forehead. So while I wouldn’t waste my one magical trip back in time to tune my deck when I could win the lottery or impart some sort of spooky future wisdom on myself (“Call your Dad and tell him you love him.” I’d say to my past self. I mean, my Dad’s still alive but he wouldn’t know that) I can use the fact that I live in his future to just cut my losses and scrap the deck. If past me had been warned by future me, I wouldn’t know exactly why I was tearing the deck apart because I wouldn’t have learned all of the valuable lessons I learned with this deck by never losing a game I played with it.

Thrasios, Triton Hero
This deck just finds a way to win, and by “A way” I mean “A way” because it does not have a second way to win. I find myself always making infinite mana and drawing my whole deck with Thrasios and then winning with Laboratory Maniac. I knew something like this would happen when I added Laboratory Maniac to the deck but I knew taking it out would just forestall the inevitable and make the deck both unsatisfying to play and less capable of winning. The deck was never going to be a 75% deck and that’s why it took me a few months to get games in with it because I didn’t have a regular group and didn’t want to play it until I did. Having jammed some games, I can say definitively that I never want to see this deck again because I’m not about what this deck is about. The deck’s not bad; it’s arguably too good. But it’s linear and linearity is something I cannot abide. However, neither is waste. Therein lies the rub.

I want to keep a lot of the core of the deck intact and that means transitioning the deck to something else without spending a lot of money. It’s bad enough that I have decks at all; financiers shouldn’t get high from their own supply after all. Since I’m not going to be able to resist the urge to build decks, at the very least I can tell myself not to spend too much money. Accordingly, I wanted to try to see if I could keep a certain percentage of this deck intact when I transitioned over to a new deck. I thought to try keeping 75% of the deck intact, but is that doable? I’m already switching commanders and that’s two cards,which means I can only change 23 cards. With so many cards being devoted to a strategy I wanted nothing to do with, I wouldn’t have much room to maneuver at all. Would the new deck be different enough? Here is the current list.

Do Not Try This Build At Home ? Commander | Jason Alt

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
If I give myself a break and say the new deck can only have 25 cards other than the new commander not currently in this list, can we make a deck that actually does things? Is this restriction needless? Can it be both? The first task is to find a commander that has a lot of the same cards as this list. EDHREC came to my rescue on this one, allowing me to check each card and see if there was a commander or two that kept popping up. There were two that really stuck out — Rashmi, Eternities Crafter and Momir Vig, Simic Visionary. I have done both Momir Vig and Rashmi in this series and, in fact, I am going to have a very hard time finding a Simic Commander I haven’t done before. I haven’t done Prime Speaker Zegana and that’s already in the deck, but there’s a reason I haven’t done Zegana and that’s that I think it would be boring. I had to think about what I found appealing about the idea of Kydele and Thrasios as a deck and figure out how to accomplish that with mostly the same cards. I could probably pick a commander once I thought about what I wanted to do.

Intruder Alarm
What got me excited about Kydele and Thrasios the first time around was how I could go all tokeny. The build I came up with in my article was probably a lot more fun than the one I ended up with — it had tokens. I wanted to recreate the Squirrel Nest/Opposition deck that I used to love playing. Intruder Alarm and Sprout Swarm found their way into the deck I ultimately ended up playing, but it was perverse somehow as they were the means to generate infinite mana and win in a very linear fashion. It feels akin to using a vintage Gibson guitar as a canoe paddle — sure it got the job done, but it seemed blunt and inelegant. However, I literally already made that deck when I did my Kydele and Thrasios article; it had Intruder Alarm and Opposition and Cryptolith Rite and all kinds of noise like that. I bet I could turn my current Kydele and Thrasios deck into that without changing more than 25 cards, but that would mean my entire article this week would be “I should have built the deck I came up with initially” and that teaches us nothing about building 75%. Worse, doing that sort of violates the spirit of a very important 75% rule which is to take a weak deck and make it stronger rather than weakening a stronger deck to try and get it to be 75%. Is there a way I can have it all? I want to retain the explosivity of a deck that runs cards like Intruder Alarm and Paradox Engine but cut out all of the linearity of a deck that always wins with Laboratory Maniac. I also don’t want to build a deck that really should have Laboratory Maniac in it and just exclude that card because then I made a bad deck. If all of this seems like it’s overwhelming to you, imagine how I felt.

Everything I thought about doing felt like something I’d done before. I started to wonder if it wasn’t Kydele and Thrasios that was boring, but Simic. Is Simic really that boring? Is there really nothing to do but ramp your mana and draw a bunch of cards and then bore yourself and everyone else to sleep? I refused to accept that. I thought about building some manner of Edric, Spymaster of Trest deck but I wasn’t going to get there from where I was with only 25 changes. Then it finally dawned on me — if what I was bored with was linearity, wouldn’t the total opposite be a lack of linearity? Wouldn’t a very narrow game plan be contrasted with a wide open one? Instead of running a ton of cards to serve one strategy, what if I had a deck full of answers to any situation? I could run a toolbox deck of sorts and, with Momir Vig at the helm, I could find any answer I needed in the deck provided I could cast another creature to be able to tutor. I don’t like tutoring for combo pieces but I sure do love the idea of tutoring for answers. Finding creature-based answers to my problems seems challenging and fun and just like that, I’m back on board. What does a Momir Vig deck that is only 25 cards different from the deck I’m tearing apart look like?

Momir Vig ? Commander | Jason Alt

Thousand-Year Elixir
This is what I wanted! Not only did I not do something I’ve done before, I’m playing a TON of cards I’ve never put in a deck. Glissa Sunseeker. Djinn of Infinite Deceits. Citanul Hierophants. I got a huge kick out of how this turned out!

If you couldn’t tell, I decided that with Paradox Engine, Intruder Alarm, Kiora's Follower and Thousand-Year Elixir in the deck, creatures with tap abilities are pretty strong. I figured that since Momir Vig let us get any creature we wanted, why not go get creatures with tap abilities that can solve our problems? Lots of Momir Vig decks run Reclamation Sage, but how many run Nullmage Shepherd? Problem permanent? Find a way to bounce it, or use Temporal Adept to bounce your Coiling Oracle to get more Momir triggers. We even run goofy creatures with tap abilities like Empress Galina to steal their stuff.

I removed a lot of cards that did nothing but support a boring, linear combo deck but when I was done making 25 cuts, I had a very good shell of a deck. I had mana rocks, I had ramp spells, I had cards like Burgeoning and Rhystic Study and I had cards like Weaver of Currents, Kiora's Follower, Thousand-Year Elixir, Intruder Alarm and Sprout Swarm that ended up serving the new direction of the deck well. Intruder Alarm and Paradox Engine are still powerful but they’re not going to be as boring. We can still make infinite saprolings or elves but with no way to tutor for our combo pieces and the fact that we still have to contend with cards like Propaganda, Frozen Aether, Fog effects and our opponents doing stuff to stymie our plan of “attack them with a lot of creatures” your games will even feel more exciting when you combo off, which thankfully won’t be every game you win with this deck. Having a toolbox full of creatures with useful tap abilities feels so much better than playing a bunch of tutors and card draw spells.

What do you think? Should we have left the deck alone? Did you take Kydele and Thrasios in a different direction? Not enough gold creatures? Did I leave your favorite creature with a tap ability out of my list? Hit me up in the comments section and let me know. I really enjoyed doing something with most of my previous list (75% of it, in fact) and making a fun deck out of a boring one. You can’t ask for much more than that. Until next week!

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