Preorder MTG March of the Machine today!
   Sign In
Create Account

How to Build Around Tocasia, Dig-Site Mentor


My first article with CoolStuffInc was published in August of 2014. That means I've been a Magic: the Gathering content creator for over eight years. Wow! It's weird to think about it that way. (I'm not going anywhere - I love this game and love doing this.)

One of the things about being a guy who writes about Commander on the internet is sometimes people ask for help with their stuff. Someone will ask me to look at their deck they just built, or request help with cuts, or ask for ideas for how to use a specific commander or card. I thought it'd be fun to spend some time working on some decks which are requests from friends and family (plus one I've been meaning to do myself).

I'd like to start out with my friend Todd. Todd is a supremely nice guy, huge Dallas Cowboys fan, and highly conscientious about how his decks are affecting the experience of the table. He has retired multiple decks because they were too oppressive for the table.

Todd recently opened a few packs, and got a copy of this girl:

Tocasia, Dig Site Mentor

He was interested in having a deck using her, but between school, work, and just getting married in October (congrats again, dude!), he doesn't have time to build it, so he asked if I might be willing to help out. Challenge accepted!

Tocasia, Dig Site Mentor | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

Card Display

There are a couple of ways one could go with Tocasia, but not a lot without moving outside of her usefulness. We're in the colors of Bant (gwu), so we could do an Exalted thing or any number of other stuff Bant wants to do, but Tocasia is interested in, well, digging up artifacts. If we have artifacts in our 'yard, we can do this weird thing where we exile Tocasia from our Graveyard (from death to... afterdeath?) and return a whole bunch of our bobbles to the 'field. Because the Command Zone lets us get around losing her forever, we probably want to be doing that.

So, the directions we can go are: aggressively seek to loop her from 'field to 'yard to 'Zone, flipping Artifacts in and out of the 'yard the whole time, or run an Artifact value deck which uses her second ability as a bonus when she dies. I chose to go the second route, but it could be fun to go the first.

The Mightstone and Weakstone
Here's challenge number one. Her Exile ability is expensive at eight mana, and if we use it a couple of times she's also going to get pretty expensive just to cast from the Command Zone. So, we need a lot of mana! My mantra of 40 lands will be helpful here, as will a bunch of Artifact mana. Normally when in Green I prefer to run Land fetch, but in this case we can get rocks like Mind Stone and Hedron Archive, which we can sacrifice for value and return to the Battlefield with her ability later. I often use Liquimetal Torque as a budget rock in cheap decks, but in this case it's relevant if we need to cast Organic Extinction. One rock worth point out is The Mightstone and Weakstone, which is worth it for the ETB ability, even if it can't help us recast Tocasia. Etherium Sculptor and Foundry Inspector both reduce the cost of our Artifacts as well, which can be fun because there are a bunch we can cast for free. Solemn Simulacrum and Burnished Hart seemed like good fits here as well.

Rather than go with traditional methods of draw like Divination, we're leaning into the Artifact thing. We have stuff like Combat Courier, which comes down early and cheap, can block something, sac itself to draw a card, then be returned with Tocasia to do it again. Chromatic Star can be looped for cards or the random color fix; Barbed Sextant would work too. You're looking for any cheap artifact which draws a card and sacrifices itself. We also have a bunch of Spellbombs, all of which can be sacrificed for a card, and sometimes we get an extra effect. Vedalken Archmage can end up drawing us a bunch if it sticks for a couple of turns, Thought Monitor is expensive but can still be looped, The Reality Chip can keep us rolling through the top of our Library, and our Commander allows us to Surveil until we get what we need on top. This is very useful for digging for lands or more draw as the game goes on.

Bronze Guardian
Bronze Guardian is one of my favorite threats in this deck. It's kind of unassuming, but that Ward ability will really add up and it can be quite large, making Double Strike even more serious. I also like Cityscape Leveler here; it's a bit of an Eldrazi without the stigma, and the fact we can get it back with Tocasia makes it even better. Myr Battlesphere is a classic for a reason, and if we can loop it a couple of times we can wind up with a lot of little tokens, and Shorikai, Genesis Engine is pretty big.

Most likely, though, we're going to win because we have a Sai, Master Thopterist, Thopter Spy Network, or Sharding Sphinx on the 'field. It's funny, because when you have five Thopters it doesn't seem like a big deal, then suddenly people are losing chunks of their life totals or you drop a Tempered Steel and it gets real really fast. You'll be surprised at how often you're threatening lethal with this deck.

It's worth running a few Wrath effects, especially in these colors, so we have a couple. Organic Extinction is certainly our best, but Austere Command should also do nicely. We have a few point removal spells in Dispatch and Swords to Plowshares, and a couple of counterspells (in fact, Counterspell!), because whenever you run Blue and play a counter, everyone will assume you have it for the rest of your life. Just smile and say "I'll allow it."

Enhanced Surveillance
Because Todd enjoys play so much, I wanted to add a bunch of fun to the deck. Enhanced Surveillance is a great one which allows us to dig a little deeper with our Surveil ability. Scaretiller and Perennial Behemoth both let us dig Lands back up if we Surveil past them, so don't be afraid to do that. Hulking Metamorph seems like a fun card in a deck like this. And a pair of Planeswalkers in Karn, Living Legacy and Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh should add to the chaos and fun of having all these Artifacts. With Etherium Sculptor and Tezzeret out, you could play and sacrifice a Combat Courier for free!

I didn't want this deck to cost a fortune, so I left out a few things I think would be good. You want the Vedalken Archmage, which is around $10, and Cityscape Leveler is pretty good in the $15 range, but everything else is decently cheap. If I had more scratch to put into it, though, I'd consider adding Academy Ruins and Urza's Saga to the Lands, and I'd really like to have an Urza, Lord Protector (if for no reason than the Meld ability, but making things cheaper is never bad) and a Wurmcoil Engine. Esper Sentinel isn't sexy, but it'd be really good too, and benefits from being cheap so it'd be easy to return with Tocasia. Nettlecyst isn't expensive, but might be a fun add and could replace the Leveler if you want a cheaper huge thing. The deck will play quite well as-is, but sometimes you can just add a bit of fun with a few extra cards.

One thing to remember is we don't have a way to get Tocasia into the 'yard, barring Trading Post, so we'll sometimes need to get aggressive with her. She gives herself Vigilance, so we can attack with her into superior forces (or force an unbalanced trade, or just get something with Deathtouch off the 'field), Surveil in response, then pay the eight mana to get some Artifacts back. We probably want to avoid attacking the Tokens player who can chump all day, but if we try to bait a nasty block and they let it through, well, we did four Commander damage. That can add up too!

All in all, I think this will be a fun deck to pilot and (more importantly for me) to play against. I'll let you all know if Todd builds it! In the meantime, what would you like to see in a Tocasia build? Let us know on Facebook or Instagram!

Thanks for reading.

Limited time 30% buy trade in bonus buylist