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Letting Chaos Reign


While everyone was building their obvious Arcades, the Strategist decks (I did, too, not pretending I didn't), I was looking at the Elder Dragon Legend from the new set that I think is the most interesting and compelling. As much fun as it is to draw cards and have your deck mostly built by virtue of having to include a bunch of walls, I think it's even more fun to cheat at Magic. I don't mean drawing extra cards when your opponent isn't looking or always, always having Sol Ring in your opening hand (every game, even when I shuffle your deck. I know you're palming it, Brian, and when I can prove it, you're done for) I'm talking about stuff within the rules that's basically cheating. Paying 10 mana for Kozilek, Butcher of Truth is fair; paying 0 mana for Kozilek is cheating, even if you did it within the rules. Anything sufficiently powerful can feel like cheating and today, I'm all about that feeling. We're going to see if we can entreat the forces of chaos to befuddle our opponents and benefit us as much as possible. It's going to feel a lot like cheating, I promise. This is going to be fun.

Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire

On first glance, this card looks pretty chaotic. Whenever you attack, you're going to Polymorph, which is a super Jund thing to do. Not just you, though, everyone is going to Polymorph, meaning you're going to Chaos Warp the table. If they're not expecting it, you can thwart some carefully-laid plans by turning a combo piece into a Signet and honestly, those sort of shenanigans would be enough for me. It says, however, each player not opponent which means the shenanigans take on an entirely different angle because you can use that "random" polymorph to cheat big fatties into play, which I hear is good value and feels like cheating. It would be nice to be in Blue to be able to Brainstorm but Green is the second best color at arranging the top of our deck and colorless is the third best and we have access to both of those in this deck. Throwing a Noxious Gearhulk on top with a Worldly Tutor and playing it for free the same time you turn their Tymna into an Orzhov Signet is a great way to spend a turn, and if you're untapping Vaevictis and attacking again (because you have the same Aggravated Assault and Bear Umbra package I can't stop running in decks like this) you'll get even more value. Sure, sometimes you'll turn their Gilded Lotus into a Paradox Engine and that's not ideal -- unless you have a 75% deck in which case that potential for high variance in outcome means we can shave some variance from our setup. We can build our deck a little tighter and still aim for a 75% build because some kooky, unexpected things are going to happen when we introduce the possibility that our opponents will passively benefit from our target selection not going our way because of the top of their deck or will actively benefit because they cast a Brainstorm when we attack and we help them turn their copy of Propaganda into a Consecrated Sphinx. Either way, that's funny and a little chaos can help us lose a winnable match and win an unwinnable one and those are both 75% outcomes we like.

I like the idea of maximizing the number of times I do this and the number of times it benefits me. That means I have to do a few things.

  • Make sure Vaevictis can swing and survive
  • Try to swing multiple times in a turn if I can
  • Try to have tokens or creatures I want to sac in play
  • Try to have big or utilitarian creatures on top of my deck
  • Assume my opponent will lose the Chaos Warp lottery more than they win

I think this is pretty doable within a shell pretty similar to my Prossh deck, and although that was optimized for Food Chain combo, I think having a lot of token production in the Vaevictis deck will benefit us because we will always have something expendable to sac and try to turn into something better. This ensures we improve our board with the trigger. Having extra tokens lying around helps us with cards like Shattergang Brothers, Goblin Bombardment, and Warp World and being able to Craterhoof for the win is solid. Hopefully if we Vaevictis into Craterhoof, we'll have the mana to activate Aggravated Assault and really punish them. Value is value, though, so we'll have to chalk any sequencing errors up to "variance" and we'll laugh when our opponents watch their finishers get transmogrified into mana rocks. Having an existing infrastructure to modify seems a lot easier than reinventing the wheel, so if you happen to have a Prossh deck or even Prossh list you like, that might be a good starting point. My own Prossh build from previous articles is pretty close to where I want to be so I'll be using that as a jumping-off point but I imagine I will make quite a few modifications to make sure I optimize for Vaevictis, but I am excited to finally be excited about that deck again and I'll probably make the same changes to my own deck after I submit this piece.

What would a Vaevictis deck look like if we optimize it to make sure we are triggering the ability to polymorph as much as possible?

Let's Do The Chaos Warp Again! -- Commander | Jason Alt

Crucible of Worlds
This looks like a ton of fun. There are a few ways we can take this basic list and you should feel free to customize your list as you see fit. Here are some suggestions.

If you want to try transmuting lands into new stuff instead of tokens you can cut a lot of the token infrastructure. I don't recommend it because I love the idea of casting Warp World and coming out way ahead in the bargain but if you did, you could be more about lands. Cutting the token stuff frees up a LOT of room. You can add Crucible of Worlds (about to get way more affordable), The Gitrog Monster, Borborygmos, World Shaper, Boundless Realms, etc. Being a landfall deck helps you ramp with cards like Lotus Cobra and you won't whiff if you hit a land with Vaevictis because you'll at least get landfall triggers and all you sacced was a land which you can bring back with Crucible et al. It's not at all the build I set out to . . .  errr . . .  build but it's a good one and I think it's a very good way to build this deck, especially if you don't have an existing infrastructure like you might if you were building over Prossh.

If you want to double down on tokens, add Doubling Season, Goblin Bombardment, Goblin Sharpshooter, and a few other cards like that. We went pretty deep on it but you can always go deeper. You may even want a few tokens-y win conditions like Triumph of the Hordes. I don't advocate that but then again, I didn't include it in my deck and it's up to you. I don't necessarily think your deck isn't 75% with a win condition like that -- I would put Insurrection in every Red deck if it were up to me.

I didn't really lean as much into ETB effects as a I could have. If you want to jam those and Panharmonicon into the deck, Warp World will be much more powerful. Cards like Purphoros, God of the Forge, Impact Tremors, and Avenger of Zendikar can end games and Panharmonicon can make sure things go even faster, so consider that if you want more ETB effects.

I like the idea of flooding the table with tokens, disrupting their strategy with our commander and then casting a big Warp World and this deck can do that. I also want to get multiple attack phases with this deck and this can do that pretty well, too. I hope I come up with something other than "write about another Elder Dragon Legend" next week and to be honest, only Nicol Bolas is that exciting. Chromium makes a great Voltron deck but it's a pretty obvious and linear build and Palladia Mors is actual trash. I may write up Nicol Bolas or do something else entirely. Got a suggestion or request for next week? Leave it in the comments! That's all for me - enjoy letting chaos reign supreme. Until next time!

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