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The Many Faces of Sakashima


Few mechanics of the past few years have been as divisive as the Partner mechanic. Debuting in Commander 2016, the mechanic seemed intriguing yet quickly proved to be filled with problematic play patterns and absolute powerhouse combinations. When it was announced Commander Legends would feature the mechanic once more, the announcement was met with some strong hesitation from many. As it turned out, most of the partners weren't all that bad and ended up being fairly innocuous, providing an interesting level of depth without breaking the format.

One card stood out from among the rest though: Sakashima of a Thousand Faces

Sakashima the Impostor
Sakashima of a Thousand Faces

I remember the first time I faced a Sakashima the Impostor deck back at my local shop, Anthem Games, back around 2012. I got crushed. Turns out having a clone at the ready in your command zone for whatever shenanigans your deck may bring with it was tremendously powerful. We saw a small callback to him with Sakashima's Student in Planechase 2012, but nothing beyond that. It was a tremendous surprise then to see Sakashima show up as a partner with a really sweet and powerful ability as the Commander Legends previews started rolling in.

I've been wanting to write about him for some time now but have been putting it off for a while. To make up for lost time I thought I'd pair him up with not one but three legendary partners and see what kind of cool lists we could brew up and copy at our discretion. Let's check out the first one!

Sakashima and Radiant | Commander | Kendra Smith

One of my first ever sets I got to play with when I started playing Magic back in 1999 after the advent of Pokemon was Urza's Legacy. In fact, my very first booster packs were of the set, bought at a small sports card shop adjacent to the bowling alley I played in as a kid. I opened cards like Quicksilver Amulet and Shivan Phoenix and soon found myself enamored with the game. Then the owner of that tiny shop showed me his binder where he'd open packs and toss cards in them, indifferently pricing every card at a mere 25 cents. I picked up some real big hits from that binder like Mox Diamond and Sliver Queen but I'll always remember how quickly I fell for Radiant, Archangel.

Radiant, Archangel
Radiant, Serra Archangel

Radiant just looks seriously cool and seeing her on several cards in the set really gave me some of my earliest taste of the world within the game's flavor. When she was brought back in Commander Legends, I was over the moon. It seems quite fitting to bring two legendaries I was tremendously excited about together. Using Sakashima to copy the partner Radiant isn't exactly the most ideal play, but there's tons of other excellent creatures that can be copied instead. Double your token fun with a second Emeria Angel or give your creatures bigger buffs by copying an Angel of Invention or an Angel of Jubilation. There's even a minor bird subtheme to help with our fliers that lets us use both Kangee cards to great effect, so maybe copy them!

We've got plenty more to check out, so let's look at another Sakashima partner deck!

Sakashima and Keskit | Commander | Kendra Smith

Those damned Phyrexians have me building yet another sacrifice deck, but this one's a little bit different. Sure, we're still doing the usual sacrificing of cards like Bloodghast and Gravecrawler, but here we're looking to sift through our deck and fill our graveyards up with tons of big creatures that we can then reanimate. We sometimes don't even have to sacrifice creatures, either, as the deck makes quite a number of Clue and Treasure tokens that can be sacrificed to Keskit's ability instead.

Sheoldred, Whispering One
Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor
Gonti, Lord of Luxury

Much like with Radiant, we're not really in the business of trying to copy Keskit. One copy should be plenty enough most of the time to help get through our deck and find exactly what we're looking for. The beauty of Sakashima here is all the options he has to copy other creatures. There are quite a few undying and persist creatures in this list, and by copying them Sakashima can go to the graveyard only to get brought back and copy an entirely different creature with the added bonus of a +1/+1 counter! The deck can do one better though by copying some of the bigger reanimated cards. Copying Sheoldred can wipe out your opponents' boards that much faster while filling out your own more or you can get an extra Gonti to steal your opponents' goods.

So now we've had our fill of sacrificing creatures and filling up boards with big armies of angels, let's try something a bit different and get absolutely manic with our spellslinging!

Sakashima and Krark | Commander | Kendra Smith

If there was one combination that really made me want to talk about the new Sakashima, it was this one. In the midst of the preview season, one of my co-workers started talking about the pair of Krark and Sakashima and how silly it would be if it worked the way he wanted it to. The way I'm referring to is that if you have two Krarks on the battlefield, you can win a flip and lose a flip and you'll still get a copy of a spell while also bouncing the card back to your hand. As you might imagine, this can cause all manner of shenanigans.

Birgi, God of Storytelling // Harnfel, Horn of Bounty

Krark, the Thumbless
Mind's Desire

While my co-worker's list was a lot more cEDH focused and finely tuned, I just started throwing some generally good Blue and Red spells together. As it turned out, I basically just put together Storm: the Commander Deck. It plays exactly as you'd think, casting ritual after ritual while netting more and more mana each time, using the pair of Krark and Sakashima to keep your chain going. A handful of additional clones and Krark's Thumb really drive home how powerful the deck is and it quickly spirals out of control. There're tons of ways to win and it storms off by simply sneezing. If you want something wild and solitaire-esque to try out and bore all your friends, this is the way to go. Double or nothing? How about double and everything?!

And that's all I've got for you this week. Truth be told, I considered going even deeper because there's just that much Sakashima can do, but it seemed like leaving things here would be a good stopping point for the time being. Perhaps one day soon I'll have to revisit him and come up with some more wacky partner pairings for our favorite clone to impersonate. Give these decks a try and let me know what you think! What other kinds of pairings would you like to see in the future?

Kendra Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: Kendra Smith

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