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Reach Out and Hit Someone


If you’re a long-time reader of this column, you’re by now aware that my favorite way to build a 75% deck is to scale to the power level of their deck by stealing as many of their things as we can manage. Powerful spells like Bribery and Treachery are a great way to accomplish this, but other, less powerful spells can have the same effect and require you to do a bit of work to get those sweet, sweet enemy permanents onto your side of the board. Are we above doing a bit of work here at the 75% theory? We are not. That’s why Thada Adel, Acquisitor is my spirit animal and Daxos of Meletis is tied for my favorite Daxos. Doing a little work and being rewarded by a two point permanent swing in your favor is exactly what we’re about and it’s what I wanted to focus on today. How much value can we get out of hitting them, and how can we make sure we hit them a whole lot? More on that later.

I was first inspired to try and aspire to hit them with my creatures when I read Silas Renn, Seeker Adept. In addition to having a name that makes him sound like a Star Wars bounty hunter, he has a pretty powerful effect that triggers when you deal combat damage to your opponent. You can cast artifact cards out of your graveyard, making him pretty potent paired with cards like Executioner's Capsule, Commander's Sphere and a third thing. SIlas is just begging to be paired with Red, giving us access to Trash for Treasure, Daretti, Goblin Welder, Hellkite Tyrant . . .  the list goes on and on. So why do I want to pair him with . . .  not Red? The answer is pretty simple — I want to hit them a lot and there is a commander Silas can partner with who can make sure we hit them more often. His name? Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa.

Silas Renn, Seeker Adept
Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa

While a partnership of Silas and Sidar doesn’t give us any of the sicko goodies in Red that we’d like to play like the ones I listed above and doesn’t give us access to cards like The Shattergang Brothers, we do have a partnership that means all of your smaller creatures get Kithkinshroud. (Is that a word? I swear I have heard people use this term but now the only instances I can find on the internet are the times I’ve used it in articles.) Like Amrou Kithkin before them, they are unblockable by large creatures under most circumstances, making it easier to hit the opponent with them. As much fun as it would be to try and brew some sort of Doran, the Siege Tower deck around Sidar Kondo (Or flanking tribal, right guise?!?!!!!1) I think we just want Kondo for the access to White and the way he makes sure our Dimir Cutpurse and Augury Adept connect with their faces. We can (and probably will) look at some sort of toughness-based build with Kondo at a later date.

What better way to build this deck than by loading up on a ton of smaller creatures that steal things from the opponent, draw us cards, make them discard cards or otherwise wreak havoc when we hit them? We can use their bigger creatures to win the game and focus on grinding out advantage with our creatures which will be difficult to block. Will this deck be amazing on paper? Maybe not, but I imagine it’s going to play out a little smoother than it would appear. At first it seems like it won’t be very exciting to attack with a bunch of Phantom Warriors, but once you start doubling their triggers with Grappling Hook, speeding up your clock with Quietus Spike and swelling your ranks with Bribery, you’re going to really see the appeal of a deck that uses so many 2/2 creatures. Just looking at the gatherer listing for cards in our colors that have effects that trigger when we deal combat damage is a blast. Do you guys remember Blinding Angel? What about Caustic Wasps? This is going to be fun.

Kithkin Finkels ? Commander| CREATOR, TOURNAMENT

Artful Dodge
Like I said, this deck looks like a little bit of a pile on paper, but I have to imagine it works pretty well in practice. I had to cut down on the number of spells I normally run in order to maximize the number of artifacts we had and creatures we could hit them with. I think the spells we are running are pretty necessary and I’m happy to include them. I did have a few cards like Distortion Strike and Artful Dodge in the first draft, but I couldn’t justify keeping them after some cuts. I do like those spells in principle, but I had to make a lot of cuts.

I really enjoyed going through the list of creatures that had effects when they hit opponents. I was bad and included some that have greater than 2 power which means they won’t be as tricksy to block with Sidar Kondo out, but a lot of them have flying which is essentially what Kondo grants smaller creatures. Cards like Trygon Predators and Caustic Wasps are going to really do work and people won’t see them coming while cards like Blinding Angel and Medomai the Ageless have obvious, powerful effects. Strap some equipment on there to give those creatures double strike or the ability to halve their life total and you have some serious offense. The triggers you get from sneaking your creatures in are just a bonus.

I wish I could have found room for more creatures like Aether Adept. Maybe you can find some more cuts. With the inclusion of ninjas, suddenly your small, hard-to-block creatures are a much bigger threat. Taking 2 from a Precinct Captain doesn’t seem so bad, until that Precinct Captain becomes an Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni or a Silent-Blade Oni. We’ll take plenty of their spells and permanents with creatures like this hitting them and sneaking them in on the back of a smaller creature that Kondo helps you serve with feels dirty, but the kind of dirty we like when we’re playing a deck that makes us attack with creatures.

Quietus Spike
I added equipment that increases the amount of damage the creatures do without increasing their power. While it was tempting to just jam a bunch of cards like Sword of Fire and Ice, I opted to go with Fireshrieker effects and Quietus Spike effects. These cards have lower raw power than swords, Umezawa's Jitte, etc, but they synergize better with the deck we’re trying to build so they make more sense. If your opponent tries to blow them up, get them back with Silas Renn.

I tried to squeeze in a few artifact creatures and I’d like to find room for more if I can. Sacrificing Solemn Simulacrum to Attrition then re-buying it with Silas is the kind of play we hope will be the backbone of this deck. If you decide to monkey around with the build, try and find some cuts that allow you to do more of that. I had a lot more sac outlets get cut but one I decided I needed to leave in the deck because I wanted to make sure I remembered to discuss it is Ritual of the Machine. This is a card I keep forgetting exists and keep rediscovering every few months or so. This is a great 75% scaling card and if you need sac outlets, its additional cost isn’t a drawback at all. I wouldn’t jam this in every deck, but if you want to swap a dead Filigree Familiar for an alive Consecrated Sphinx, it will feel even better if the Familiar comes back to life.

Is this deck a mess? Did we accomplish our goal at all? Will this play well on paper or will we suffer from mana issues? Is getting there with tiny creatures too slow a process? I’d love some feedback. Remember, just because we built according to our 75% guidelines does not necessarily mean we ended up with a 75% deck at the end - the final test is “Is this deck terrible?” because 75% does not mean terrible after all. My “All artifact creatures, sac outlets and Grave Pact effects” deck proves that just because an idea is good doesn’t mean you’ve got a 75% deck. Still, I’m happy with how this looks. The mana balance may be a little off and we may be relying too much on Green to help us hit spells like Cultivate and Kodama's Reach when Green should be a fainter splash. Some play with this deck will help smooth those issues out. For now, though, tell me what you think in the comments section. Thanks for reading, and happy spell-slinging until next week.

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