MTG Wilds of Eldraine available now!
   Sign In
Create Account

Commander Combos with Tivit, Seller of Secrets


This week, I'd like to introduce you to my dad. Here he is with my daughter and his dog, Sancho (who's the bestest boy, in case you're wondering).

I was 14 when I first got into Magic. My first starter deck was from Unlimited. My dad took me to an early limited tournament in 1995 which he entered too, and where I helped him build his deck. He went on to win but did not continue to play. A year or two later I sold my collection for a guitar and I was out for quite a while.

A long time later, I went through a break up shortly after a move which unearthed the few cards I'd gathered since selling off. Looking for community and stuff to get my mind off the relationship, I did a little digging and found a shop near my house which was running something called a "Prerelease." I signed up. My dad came with me. We've been playing together ever since.

When the pandemic shut down my local play group, my dad and I played a lot of Jumpstart. We got into Commander together back in the time of Shards of Alara. And most importantly to all of you, he's been editing my articles since I started writing. (If any of you has any desire to be a writer, make friends with someone who can edit your stuff. Every writer - no matter how good - needs an editor.)

He throws ideas at me for columns all the time, and when I told him I was thinking about doing decks others asked me to build, he said, "oh good! I want to see what you do with this guy."

Tivit, Seller of Secrets

One fun thing about building for someone else specific is that you can build to their tastes, rather than your own. My dad is Spikier than I am, more likely to lean into optimization, and more interested in winning than I. (Just ignore his love for the card Swerve for now.) He also plays in a broader field; I have one group I'm mostly limited to and rarely play anywhere else. He plays in a few shops at any given time, and often plays internationally!

That means I want Tivit to be able to win a game. A 6/6 flier with built-in protection is pretty good, and with a pump or two can get into three-hit or even two-hit kill territory... but I don't want to win with combat. I want to win the game straight-up in a single blow. That means we're going to combo. Let's take a look.

One-Punch Tivit | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

If I were writing this "normally," I'd go through the mana first and talk through the combos at the end, but that seems like less fun than just jumping right in so I'm going to organize this a bit differently. Here we go!


Our combos are going to rely on Tivit's Enters-the-Battlefield (ETB) effect. When he enters, we will create some amount of Clues and Treasures. With a four-person table and assuming we have our extra vote from Tivit, we will get at least two of what we want, and it's possible we'll get more. In our case, Treasures are worth far more than Clues, because with a whole bunch of Treasures we can do all sorts of degenerate things. We have a couple of ways of generating Infinite Treasures. We must have, in addition to Tivit, either:

The two Creatures give us an extra vote, bumping our definite two Treasures to three. Illusion of Choice lets us make all the Treasures we can. So, we play Tivit with one of these Creatures on the board or cast Illusion of Choice so we can choose how voting goes. We have a couple of options from here.

If we have Ghostly Flicker in hand and Archaeomancer on the board, we can play Ghostly Flicker with the three Treasures we generated and flicker both Tivit and Archaeomancer. Archaeomancer gets back Ghostly Flicker. Assuming our friends didn't give us any Treasures, we'll be left with a massive pile of Clues. (If we had Illusion of Choice, we just got all Treasures, but it's worth considering how to proceed if we wind up with extra Clues instead.)

The other way this works is with Deadeye Navigator, although we don't need one of the Creatures or Illusion of Choice to go infinite with Deadeye. Two mana is enough to get that pile of Clues. With one of the Creatures or Illusion, though, we then get our infinite Treasures.

Setting up either of these two combinations (Tivit + Deadeye or Tivit + Archaeomancer + Ghostly Flicker) along with some way of guaranteeing more Treasures (Illusion, Ballot Broker, or Brago's Representative) for the basis of our combo. The goal is to put one of these two groups of cards together. This creates an infinite loop of Tivit entering and leaving the Battlefield, and (in most cases) creating infinite Treasures.

Grudge Keeper
Nadier's Nightblade
Marionette Master

From there, we can pair this with a few things. Grudge Keeper, Nadier's Nightblade, and Marionette Master all kill the table. Grudge Keeper will force our opponents to vote with us eventually, unless we've cast Illusion in which case we can force them to vote however we want; that's fine, because after giving us Clues for a while they'll give us Treasures, which we can sacrifice for mana to crack the Clues and draw until we draw something we can use to kill them. Nadier's Nightblade will simply count all the Treasures we sacrifice as we go along, as will Marionette Master, killing them in chunks of two or three. Marneus Calgar on the Battlefield will draw us through our deck, and give us a way to use that extra mana if we want. Finally, we can use our infinite Treasures and Clues to take infinite turns with Time Sieve. Play it, sacrifice five Clues to take an extra turn, rinse and repeat. If you want to be really obnoxious, flicker it with Ghostly Flicker and Archaeomancer and get all the turns stacked up right now. I wouldn't, but Dad might.

The final thing the deck might want, depending on how aggressive you want to be with the combo, is some ways to hunt down the particular pieces. We're in the right colors: Black can get you anything with its various Demonic Tutors, but you've also got Transmute. If you just want to dabble, run Dizzy Spell and Ethereal Usher or Netherborn Phalanx, just to serve as copy #2 of Illusion of Choice and Deadeye Navigator. There are two which Transmute for three and three which Transmute for four for Ghostly Flicker and Archaeomancer, too, if you really want. On the other hand, if you want all in, run three or four Demonic Tutor variations and just go get the pieces you want. I chose to run none so the deck has to draw into different combo options and fight to survive along the way.

Mana & Cards

We're going to need a fair bit of mana to get the combo started, so let's get some. We want to hit our drops, so we're running that 40 lands I keep going on and on about. Additionally, we've got 10 mana rocks, some which tap for extra, some which draw us cards, some which fix our colors. We should see a couple of them, which will help get us up to the eight-to-10 mana range we'll want to go off.

We've got a few Creatures which draw us cards when they ETB. Mulldrifter and Thought Monitor both do. Because we have a few ways to flicker Creatures, those should pay for themselves quickly. I really like Shimmer Dragon here, since we will often have a big ol' pile of Clues kicking around. We can also always sacrifice Clues for cards; Tamiyo's Journal makes us one each turn, and with a few can start being that tutor I said we weren't running.


Despite our desire for our opponents to just sit there and not do anything, there's a good chance they'll try to foil us in different ways. It's probably worth it to put some energy into staying alive until we can pull off one of our combos.

We have some board wipes in Merciless Eviction, Supreme Verdict, Farewell, and Damn. Additionally, we can get rid of problematic permanents with stuff like Void Rend, Utter End, Swords to Plowshares, and Anguished Unmaking. Whenever I'm in White, I like to run at least one Oblivion Ring-style effect, so we have exactly that here. Counterspell and Split Decision are here just to throw that Counterspell thing into the mix. Finally, Ghostly Prison and Propaganda should keep bigger armies off our backs until we can stabilize.

Other Stuff

Venser, the Sojourner
We have a couple more things going on. Because flickering our Commander is valuable even if we're not going off, we have several ways of flickering creatures. I had high hopes for Flickerform until I was reminded it returns the Creature at the end of turn. (Eldrazi Displacer is also a problem; we can't make Colorless mana with a Treasure. Still worth having.) But even Momentary Blink and Ephemerate can be quite useful. Conjurer's Closet it always a good time. Old-school Venser, the Sojourner can do solid work for us, and in the event we wind up with a bunch of Tokens from Marneus Calgar we might be able to alpha strike for the win. (If you find you want more ways to flicker, there are others: Teleportation Circle and Thassa, Deep-Dwelling both would serve as additional Conjurer's Closets. Displacer Kitten would also be good, but I don't have one and I don't think my dad does either.)

Because of all that, we have other Creatures worth flickering. The dudes-that-draw, of course, are great targets but Solemn Simulacrum is the standard-bearer here. Aether Channeler is another fun one and can be used to clear the board with infinite mana and Deadeye. We also have a bit of a voting theme, with several cards that cause us to vote when they ETB. Flicker them, we get to do it over and over!

Panharmonicon is too obvious here to ignore. We get to vote twice, draw four cards off Mulldrifter, kill twice as fast with Marionette Master... the list goes on. And Academy Manufactor actually works just like Illusion of Choice in the deck with the combo, because they can vote for Clue and make Treasures anyway, but it also helps us along the way as we generate Clues and Treasures from casting our Commander or various other ways.

This deck might need more counterspell capability to hang at a super-powered table, but it should fare quite well at casual tables, and might even be a bit strong for easygoing groups. One thought might be to have a suite of tutors which you switch in or out depending on level of competitiveness. However, combo decks like this are among my favorites - we have options, rather than just going for the same combo each time, and we still need to be playing the game and interacting, because we might end up winning some funny way.

Thanks for reading.

Limited time 30% buy trade in bonus buylist