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Putting Opponents on Lochdown with Emry


Throne of Eldraine as a main set doesn't seem especially optimized for Commander. That's not really a problem because Throne of Eldraine also gave us the Brawl decks with a lot of cards that ARE optimized for Commander by virtue of being optimized for Brawl and if future sets not being optimized for Commander means we get fewer lazy, high-impact, low-supply cards like Arcane Signet (which you can't splice onto and doesn't have a one mana activation to produce two mana, making it neither Arcane nor a Signet), I'm OK with that. Brawl cards impacting Commander makes sense, but there is a card in Throne of Eldraine that seems like it was made for Modern Urza decks but which is pretty fantastic for us and I am going to make a 75% deck with it. "Is it Blue?" I'm pretending you ask. Yep. Good cards usually are.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch

Emry, Lurker of the Loch is no basis for a system of government, that's for sure, but she is absolutely the basis for a deck that's going to make a lot of mana and steal a lot of their permanents with Memnarch. The best part is, Emry is basically a Reanimator commander and therefore Chamber of Manipulation and Overtaker, cards I want to be better than they are, are very good here because they are a solid discard outlet.

The "stock" or "obvious" way to build Emry is to mill ourselves to dredge our combo pieces into the 'yard where we can replay them. While that's going to be a factor in how we build here today, I want to focus on being able to steal a lot of their stuff and use it. My strategy will be mana-hungry and having some extra mana rocks will not only slow them down but it will give us the fuel we need to do degenerate things. We'll have infinite mana loops and my goal is to use Memnarch and infinite mana to steal every permanent on the board and end the game. That is not going to happen often and it's going to be seen coming a mile off but when it does happen, it's going to be glorious. Let's look a bit at the cards and combos my build will include that aren't standard.

Their mana rocks are very important, so Thada Adel, Acquisitor, Acquire, Steal Artifact, Master Thief and cards like Phyrexian Metamorph and Echo Storm will get us the rocks we want. Copying their stuff isn't quite as good as stealing it, but since we plan to cast Emry a lot to mill more cards, Echo Storm is going to do a ton of work in this deck. I want to be careful not to play Mycosynth Lattice, though, so someone doesn't lock everyone down and make the game boring. In a 75% deck, you also don't want the possibility of someone Shatterstorming whether or not you have a Darksteel Forge out because either of those outcomes are pretty boring. We'll have to focus on their stuff that is already an artifact or use Memnarch or Liquimetal Coating in a pinch. Stealing their rocks and mana producers in a mid-game strategy and being able to pivot to the late-game and start taking their creatures with the exact same cards is key so we're including a lot of flexible cards.

Blasting Station
I am going to need my own way to win if they don't cough up creatures or artifacts worth stealing so we don't just scoop to spell-based combo decks. Blasting Station is one way to do it, especially with creatures like Myr Battlesphere that can give us a lot of fodder and are easy to loop. I want to play cards that add to what everyone at the table is already doing, namely, attacking each other, so Altar of the Brood is out because it requires me to go infinite with it to win. Infinite combos are a possibility but I don't want them to be a necessity and chipping away or finishing them off with Blasting Station is much less daunting than having to mill 300 cards. Another way to win is a March of the Machines strategy where all of my baubles grow legs and beat face. Words of Wind can help me not deck myself and also clear the board of troublesome blockers, but if there are a lot of blockers, I don't have to lean so hard on my own win conditions, I can just steal those creatures. Finally, Mechanized Production, my favorite way to win in Blue Artifact decks, will make an appearance.

I mentioned infinite loops and while I will have a few, they'll be incidental rather than central to my strategy. I will lean on a few ways to untap Emry because I don't want to play fair and Intruder Alarm is a good, manaless way to reward yourself for fishing a dead Artifact Creatures out of the bin. Ashnod's Altar or Krark-Clan Ironworks with Katamari Damacy (Myr Battlesphere for those of you under 30) with Emry and Intruder Alarm makes all the mana you need. That SEEMS like a complicated thing to assemble, but you have multiple ways to get that setup. Intruder Alarm, Umbral Mantle, Mirran Spy, and Thornbite Staff all fill in for the untap effect, Phyrexian Altar, Ashnod's Altar and Krark-Clan Ironworks all work as mana outlets and multiple creatures can help you generate the mana. Not only that, you don't even need Intruder Alarm if you have Mirran Spy which can generate infinite mana with Lotus Petal and doesn't need KCI either. There are quite a few ways to get a combo going and it SHOULD be kind of hard to get infinite mana, by the way. We aren't aiming to do it every game which is why I won't run common stock cards like Fabricate, Drift of Phantasms, and Muddle the Mixture. We should see enough of our deck to get the cards we need, anyway.

That's a lot of ideas but a finite amount of deck real estate. What does our extra stealy edition of this deck end up looking like?

This looks like a lot of fun. Any build of this deck is mana-hungry and setting ourselves up to take their mana rocks as often as possible should make things go very smoothly because it both slows them down and speeds us up which equates to a whole extra turn worth of value if it goes well.

If you want more ways to win, consider adding Laboratory Maniac and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries as another way to win. It felt cheesy to me, but also kind of linear. In my experience, if a deck can win with Lab Maniac, that's basically all it tries to do. If you are someone who can try to win one way and quickly pivot to a Lab Man strategy when all else fails, you're not me, and you may want to add those two cards to the deck.

The deck doesn't function as much like a Reanimator deck as I wanted. I couldn't find the slots for big creatures. If you can, cards like Overtaker and Chamber of Manipulation are perfect. Right now they are ways to borrow creatures before you sac them for mana or to Blasting Station if they survive combat. If you want to dump a few big artifact creatures into the bin and bring them back later, that's something the deck is set up for even better than a stock Emry list. You could cut some of the cutesy stuff. In fact, cards that aren't artifacts are a bit of a liability so Steal Artifact could be the first to go. If you have your own fat creatures, stealing theirs is less of a priority.

Since we aren't on a lab man plan, I don't want to use Emry as aggressively as other builds. Emry is very useful in that her ability to reduce her own cost applies to Commander tax which means if you have a lot of artifacts, you can continue to sac and replay Emry (or watch her eat removal) and play her a bunch to mill yourself fairly greedily in search of the cards you want to win. I included quite a few non-Artifact creatures and some Enchantments I don't want to see milled and I know I'm going to have to play Emry carefully - far more carefully than in a build where milling my Mechanized Production means I can shift to a self-mill plan.

What do we think? Is the Memnarch + infinite mana idea a pipe dream or does this deck have the juice to make it happen? Would you pick a different way to win? Does stealing their stuff not go over where you play? Did anything overperform at the prerelease that you want me to talk about? Leave it for me in the comments section. As always, thanks for reading. Until next time!

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