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Not Just Good, Greater Good

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Readers!

We're neck deep in commanders from Modern Horizons 2 and the hype train continues to have no brakes. Because, like, obviously. You don't just develop brakes. If you're a runaway train and you have no brakes, brakes aren't an option. You have to have Chris Pine and Denzel figure out how to stop you by having a guy try to lower down from a helicopter or something? I don't remember, the point is, since braking isn't an option, why not steer into it (that doesn't work with trains, does it?) and build the most hype deck possible? I'm speaking, of course, about a deck that goes infinite, which is the most hype amount of mana there is.

Thrasta, Tempest's Roar

Thrasta is a chonky, 12-mana pain train that has an ability never before printed on a Magic card - trample over planeswalkers. I kind of wish all trample worked this way, but since it doesn't, Thrasta is the lone possessor of this ability, which is cool, but also, I think it's basically the least interesting thing about them. This Slamasaurus has so much more to offer. Trample and Haste are both very cool and will help us in our quest to flatten our foes, the hexproof the turn they're cast is helpful and fair (booo, who needs fair?) but for a lot of us who like to do degenerate things in Magic: the Gathering, the first line of text popped out the most. Thrasta, a 12 mana dino who laughs in the face of Planeswalkers even more than Garth One-Eye (read Arena, it owns) also laughs in the face of Commander Tax.

So, what is Commander Tax? Put simply, it's a way to make sure people don't all just play commanders like Venser with an ETB ability and keep saccing it. For each time a commander is played from the command zone, the player has to pay an additional two colorless mana as a "tax" which is a thing you all know and I feel silly explaining. By reducing its mana cost by 3 for each spell played this turn, playing Thrasta many times in a turn from the command zone is not only affordable, you'd be an idiot not to. If you get some other action going, you can start looping Thrasta with cards like Greater Good, Food Chain, Ashnod's Altar, or even cards like Altar of Dementia. If you have sufficient Green mana, you can loop Thrasta all day and swing for 7 right over the top of their Teferi if you want to. Not that swinging for 7 is the ideal outcome of generating a ton of Green mana and looping your commander, just sayin' you could. You know what else you can do?

Aetherflux Reservoir

Bet you thought I was going to say Chatterstorm, didn't you? OK, fine! Chatterstorm can join the party. The thing about this deck that rules is that there's no wrong way to go infinite. Since we're doing this without the aid of any Blue mana, it's even more important that we be as degenerate as we can, because not only do we not have Blue to give us Intruder Alarm, other people have Blue to counter our payoffs. The payoffs I want for this deck are many - I basically want to swing with our entire deck. Every creature. We achieve this by first generating all the Green mana in the world. We use that mana to keep sacrificing Thrasta to Greater Good or one of its still good if not great cousins like Momentous Fall, drawing our whole deck, then use our leftover mana to play our creatures.

These shenanigans remind me a lot of one of my favorite decks from my Magic history - the Blue/Green Elves deck I played at the tail end of Extended as a format. Using Intruder Alarm, you could go infinite with Sprout Swarm or Imperious Perfect at the end of their turn and untap to slap them with all of the tokens in the world. It felt good, and the fact that Sprout Swarm is pretty good in this deck makes me want to see if I can throw in Imperious Perfect, a card that does NOT work the way I want it to in this deck, for old time's sake. In fact, why not add a ton of elves?

Elves will help generate mana, give us random utility creatures like Gaea's Herald and Allosaurus Shepherd (flavor all DAY) and synergize to buff each other. Just kidding, that last part barely matters because when we swing, it will be with Craterhoof or Triumph of the Hordes online. Still, an Elf subtheme is something we have used before in 75% builds, just don't ask me which ones because I've been writing this column for like 7 years and I don't remember all of the decks I've made.

Since I'm building a 75% deck, I would be remiss if I didn't do a few deeply stupid things with this deck - namely adding Helix Pinnacle as a hilarious way to dump my arbitrarily large amount of mana and adding Helm of Possession and Mimic Vat to steal their stuff. We aren't going to run a ton of interaction since we're focused on our way to win, but other people can kill stuff for us and Mimic Vat does a lot of work when they do.

OK, the Hype Train is about to pull into the station AND KEEP ON GOING, NO BRAKES, REMEMBER?!


I think this looks pretty slick, and I would be excited to build this, I don't know about you.

There are some expensive cards that are indispensable to the deck, unfortunately, but if you wanted to make this not very 75% you could spend like 10k on this deck adding Gaea's Cradle, Moxen,etc. It would operate a turn or two faster, and that's neat depending on the table. If you wanted to not care how fast this deck goes, this doesn't strictly NEED Allosaurus Shepherd, Mana Vault, Emerald Medallion, etc. You need Crossroads and Food Chain, in my view, which kind of sucks, but also Food Chain is at least on the list and I keep opening them by accident. This could be OK as a non Food Chain deck but you'd need to retool it completely, and I'm not inclined. We don't have Griffin, but we have Eternal Scourge, so that's cool.

The deck speaks for itself to an extent, but I want to call special attention to Cloudstone Curio here. You may need to run more 1-mana Elves to loop with Curio unless one of the Elves you have is Priest of Titania or an elf that taps for more than one mana. With a way to give creatures haste, you can go off without Thrasta at all. I like Bontu's Monument, but you can net mana and blast them with Helix Pinnacle or Walking Ballista or tick up Aetherflux Reservoir until you can doom cannon the table. There's no wrong way to go infinite, is there?

That does it for me this week, folks. This deck needs a lot of pieces, struggles against pinpoint removal halfway through the combos and needs you to draw the right cards but it also draws a lot of cards, makes a lot of mana easily in a fair way and can let you stomp their Planeswalkers with your commander and still trample over enough to kill them, and isn't that what matters most? That does it for me for this week, until next time!

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