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Convertible Commander: Momir Vig, Simic Visionary


Way back when I was getting into Constructed Magic for the second time, Shards of Alara was releasing. Planeswalkers were new, some artifacts gained color identity for the first time, and players were realizing Cruel Ultimatum could be cast in a five-color shell with Vivid lands and Reflecting Pool. Budget has always been important to me, so I was a regular reader of Jacob Van Lunen's Building on a Budget column on the Mothership. JVL has been responsible for a number of interesting decks -- he effectively invented the Pyromancer Ascension deck which did well -- and his understanding of card interaction is solid and, for a player just starting to move past the kitchen table, was very helpful.

Meanwhile, one of the first rares I opened from the set was Stoic Angel, a card I still love. So imagine my delight back then when I looked at his offering of a deck, not using the Angel, but at least in the Bant shard, which looked like it might have some game.

Shorecrasher Mimic
Bant Charm

Of course! Bant Charm was u and g, so it would trigger Shorecrasher Mimic. We'd forego 1-drops to play a tapped land early, land a Mimic on turn two, then start bouncing creatures off our opponent's board and swing in for 5 on turn three. Snakeform was more solid "removal," Rhox War Monk and Jhessian Infiltrator brought the beats, while Rafiq of the Many meant turn four was 12 trampling damage. In Standard!

The deck was fun and powerful. Why this trip down memory lane? Especially when today's deck isn't even Bant? Because the thing this deck did well was build around Shorecrasher Mimic, which meant we could play other cards which might not be the world's best, but in our deck, were solid. So let's see if we can make Shorecrasher Mimic relevant in Commander, shall we?

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary -- Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
This deck goes all in on the commander, Momir Vig, to lead our toolbox. We play any creature in our deck with Momir Vig on the 'field, and we get to search up any other creature in our deck, then draw it immediately. If we have enough mana, we can cast that creature and do it again. Meanwhile, all our support cards are great at countering things, bouncing things, drawing cards, and playing extra lands, so we'll have plenty of mana and plenty of cards to keep active during the game while we pick from among our creatures the best one to have at the time. Plus everything will activate our Shorecrasher Mimic, which we can grab right after we land our commander.

Mana is always where it starts. Our 40 lands do a good job of getting us both of our colors, along with some nice utility we're coming to expect from most of Wizards' Commander decks like Arcane Lighthouse and Homeward Path. Alchemist's Refuge can turn our creatures into combat tricks, which can be quite useful, and Mystifying Maze offers some nice, if expensive, hard protection from something giant. Nissa, Steward of Elements and Kiora, the Crashing Wave both let us Explore a bit, as do Unexpected Results and Urban Evolution.

Several of our creatures have abilities which draw cards; Shapers of Nature, for example, is a great choice if plenty of lands have already hit the field. Bounty of the Luxa is a weird personal Howling Mine, because it draws every other turn but gives us free mana to cast those cards on the other turns! Sages of the Anima is a sort of Sylvan Library for us; sure, it only grabs creatures, but that's really mostly what we want anyway. And Prime Speaker Zegana will simply refill our hand when played correctly.

Fable of Wolf and Owl
Speaking of which, the good Speaker is one of our major win conditions . . .  such as they are. Shorecrasher Mimic, too, with a Favor of the Overbeing can get pretty out of hand. Fable of Wolf and Owl will make dudes every single time we cast a spell, which can allow us to go wide with our stuff. Biomass Mutation can turn a reckless all-out attack into a surprise death, while Invert the Skies can ground an army long enough for our weird guys to get through. Finally, with enough mana and time, we can Spitting Image our Biovisionary for one of the strangest and coolest wins in Commander.

Meanwhile, we have some nifty counters like Voidslime (who plays Stifle in Commander?) and Plasm Capture. Mystic Snake will surprise some people. Snakeform, of course, because honestly that's just cool. Simic Charm can bounce in a pinch. Plus we have a few Flashy Deathtouchers who work as strange Murders; Winged Coatl can pretty much block anything for three mana and most of the things it blocks will just die.

There's some fun stuff in here with +1/+1 counters, but I'd hesitate to even call it a subtheme. The thing is, Momir Vig lets us craft our board to lean into synergies we discover. Played Kaseto, Orochi Archmage? Maybe Lorescale Coatl would be a good next choice. After that, maybe Overbeing of Myth? Since we're drawing all these cards, perhaps Horizon Chimera would be great. Thrasios, Triton Hero could be next. Okay, but what if we start on Elusive Krasis? Maybe next we go simple, grabbing Coiling Oracle. Edric, Spymaster of Trest will then give us an extra card when we hit with our unblockable Krasis, plus encourage others to attack away from us. Horizon Chimera again, then, to continue to Evolve. Experiment Kraj will buff the Krasis once more, and now we're getting into counters, so we grab Ezuri, Claw of Progress and start nabbing little dorks to keep adding counters to stuff, like, say, River Hoopoe, which gives us an Experience Counter, a mana sink to draw cards and gain life, and when we get to combat, puts another counter on something like, how about that early Elusive Krasis? Draw your hand and just start chaining stuff together; the fun is in the interactions created, not so much the winning.

Of course, sometimes the fun is about the winning. Our Commander gives us an unusual method of piecing together a win, too. While there are no specific game-ending combos in the initial 100, we can use our Optionboard to create one. And what better than looping an Avenger of Zendikar into a Craterhoof Behemoth?

Swapping in these 15 cards tunes our goofy, casual, Rube-Goldberg-style deck into a much more carefully focused killing machine. It's not going to pull off any crazy turn four wins or anything, but we're going to start working toward a very specific goal. We add in 12 creatures which get us mana. Most of them are just g, so they're going to be able to chain with each other but we won't draw them right away, so we'll have to make do with playing one a turn. Some of them ramp us like Farhaven Elf, putting the land right on the battlefield, while others like Civic Wayfinderjust grab one to make sure we're not missing any. Gatecreeper Vine will nicely find us the Guildgate, which can be useful, and Weaver of Currents is like a big Llanowar Elves in our deck, but at least it's Simic so it'll draw our next one right away. Nissa, Vastwood Seer is a cheap way to ramp plus we'll almost certainly flip her if we choose her late in our chain. Pygmy Hippo might be a bit greedy, but sometimes there's a weird moment where someone doesn't have a blocker and we can get in and steal all their mana, which could lead to one big, bad turn. Once we've got enough lands out on the 'field, we'll search up our Avenger of Zendikar and make a ton of little plants, using Avenger to search up the Behemoth. Untap, play Behemoth, and swing out, hopefully killing some opponents on the way. It's a bit of a glass cannon, but with some patience (and hopefully baiting out the Wrath of God effects our opponents are holding) we might just pull off some massive swing for the win.

Avenger of Zendikar
Craterhoof Behemoth

We'll want to replace an Island with the single Forest; we get a bit Green-heavy after applying our Optionboard. Choose 14 of the other creatures and yank those, too. It's probably better to leave the support cards in place; Urban Evolution might just save a game. It's also worth noting Beastmaster Ascension instead of Pygmy Hippo might be right -- we can't search for it, but if we find it in our opening hand it's kind of a back-up Craterhoof. Personally, I like the deck a bit less consistent, but hey, different strokes, right?

So, is it a mistake to not run Yavimaya's Embrace? Is a two-mana 5/3 trampler (sometimes) a silly thing to build a deck around? Is there any value in building a deck which doesn't have a distinct plan, but rather a general idea which plays out completely differently every time? Please let me know answers to all those questions and anything else you want in the comments!

Next time around, we're going to explore a general from Rivals of Ixalan.

Thanks for reading.

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