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Around the Wheel: Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

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There is no way to mince words about this. I hate building Simic decks. It feels like every single Simic deck is the same: figure out some way to abuse +1/+1 counters. I jumped on, and built in real life, Abe Sargent's Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle deck just because it was a Simic deck that didn't abuse counters. (That deck is a hoot, by the way.)

But alas, as we go around the wheel, we eventually have to do Simic. I was desperate for something different, something that didn't feel like just another take on Vorel of the Hull Clade.

Then my dad opened this guy at a Prerelease.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

There we go! Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath has great stats, fun limitations, and an ETB ability just asking to be abused, with not a +1/+1 counter in sight. Just the thing for a Simic deck that does something different.

This commander suffers from a similar problem with our Glissa, the Traitor deck from a few weeks ago: we want to figure out a way to break Uro. There are some ways, but they are not really quick. Sometimes the best way to manage a commander like this is to focus on grinding out value over time. Remember, the point of the game is to beat the other players, not go infinite or break some card (okay, sometimes that is the point, but not in this case. We're actually going to try to win with our Titan).

We're going to make use of Uro's ability to draw cards and play extra lands. We're going to take advantage of the mechanisms that allow us to use that advantage to gain more advantage with other cards. Eventually, we're going to draw our way into a win. Oh, and we're never going to pay a commander tax for our commander. EVER.

There is one important rules thing we need to get out of the way before we can talk about the deck. Uro's abilities are triggered. That means they go on the stack, and that means we can respond to them. This is key to making the deck work; more often than not, we're going to respond to his ETB self-sacrifice, either with a sacrifice of our own (Ashnod's Altar) or a bounce (Crystal Shard).

We're running a whopping 42 lands in this deck, and 29 of them are basic. We have a few utility lands, but if it can't be fetched, it has to be really important. Reliquary Tower is one example, because no hand size limit is going to be clutch with all the cards we'll draw. Temple of the False God's extra mana is worth it, because it turns out we tend to use every bit of mana we've got. Temple of Mystery's scry is too good, and Command Beacon can help us with our goal of no commander taxes. Otherwise, we have lands that search for lands and a bunch of basics. 42 may seem like a lot, but when you get to play two a turn, you want to capitalize. Besides, the mana comes in really helpful when we're trying to eek out one more Uro activation. We're also running Ramunap Excavator and Crucible of Worlds, which is the reason for all the fetchlands. By having lands in our 'yard and one of these out, we can continue to use Uro's land ability even when we don't draw another land. This, too, is the reason for all the basics; yes, we can play and simply fail to find, which will still give us other triggers, but ideally we want to be increasing our land count on the field, and that means basic lands.

Uro is our primary source of card draw, and it works well. He comes out on turn three and draws us a card. Then he heads to the graveyard. Most of the time, he escapes on turn four, and draws us another card. By that point, we've also got at least one extra land, and sometimes two. We've probably found some way of getting him back into our hand or into our graveyard again, and we'll just keep on doing that. However, Mulldrifter is a card that loves to be bounced, sacrificed, copied, and reanimated, because evoke also uses the stack. The two cards it gives us are worth the slot. Coiling Oracle is similar, though there's little sweeter than hitting a land with it on turn two. Tatyova, Benthic Druid is quite silly with our extra land thing. Add in Alhammarret's Archive and we're drawing a lot of cards. Don't miss your triggers, and find your Spellbook.

We are also running the three small mages - Trinket Mage, Tribute Mage, and Trophy Mage. We have artifacts at all those mana costs we're going to want, and besides, they're great on a Mimic Vat, y'know?

Trinket Mage
Tribute Mage
Trophy Mage

We're pretty thin on the ground with answers; we've got Beast Within, Reality Shift, and Cyclonic Rift as ways to handle creatures, plus Reclamation Sage and Acidic Slime to help with other troublesome permanents. In a more aggressive meta, it's possible this number will need to be upped, though one of the hopes is we'll look rather durdly and won't attract too much attention until our deck gets completely out of hand.

We have a bunch of synergy in the deck. Let's deal with the more mundane things first, then talk through the ways the deck can explode and ultimately win the game.

The first way is with Crystal Shard or Erratic Portal. These cards are wonderful, because we can bounce Uro back to our hand before he goes to the 'yard, so we can recast him for another activation. Temur Sabertooth is a bit more expensive but still worth the slot. We can also use them to bounce an Eternal Witness or a Frilled Mystic when we need to use their abilities again.

Crystal Shard
Erratic Portal

The second is Mimic Vat. We can let Uro sacrifice itself and put it on the Vat instead, which lets us get an additional activation. Again, great with other ETB effects too.

The third is Stifle and Tale's End. They let us keep Uro on the battlefield if we want. Sometimes we do: Blade of Selves, Helm of the Host, and Rite of Replication are all good reasons.

Then we have Ashnod's Altar and Phyrexian Altar. These are great ways to get some value out of Uro heading to the graveyard, and make it easier to get him back out for his escape cost, at least with the Phyrexian version.

Deadeye Navigator, of course, works great with Uro; we can flicker him in response to his sacrifice trigger and get an additional activation instead. In fact, we can activate him as many times as we have u and any other mana.

Elvish Piper is fun too, because it gives us a cheap way to get an Uro activation. With Crystal Shard and Retreat to Coralhelm, it costs gu for each Uro entering and returning to our hand (Uro's extra land lets us untap the Elf). With a way to play lands from our 'yard and a Misty Rainforest, we can keep the chain going for quite a while. With any fetchland and a Lotus Cobra, it can go until we run out of lands to fetch.

And now we get silly. With a Lotus Cobra, a fetchland in the 'yard, and a way to play it with every Uro activation, plus Ashnod's Altar and Nim Deathmantle, we can also go until we've run out of basic lands to fetch. It also works with Rampaging Baloths, except any land will do because we sacrifice the token and Uro to Ashnod's Altar for 4 mana and use that for Nim Deathmantle. We play the land and get another token to sacrifice and do it again. Every time we can fetch, we get an extra Beast token which we can use to win the game or something. Tack on Alhammarret's Archive to all of this and we really can draw out our deck if we're not careful. Note that we've got a couple of ways to sacrifice lands just so we can take advantage of the play; landfall can matter if we have Tatyova or Roil Elemental out, or just to trigger Retreat to Coralhelm.

We're not really trying to assemble a specific combo. We're just drawing a lot of cards and using what we've got to keep doing just that. We'll gain life and make a bunch of mana while we're at it. At some point, we'll come across a win condition. We have a few.

The first are Soramaro, First to Dream and Sage of Ancient Lore. These are two creatures with evasion which care about how many cards we've got. Since we'll probably have a bunch, they can be pretty big.

Soramaro, First to Dream
Sage of Ancient Lore

The second is Aetherflux Reservoir. We're not all that excited about the life we're gaining, but this is one way to use it and, y'know, kill somebody. Being over 100 life will be fairly normal for this deck, so we should be able to use the Reservoir.

The third is Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, as our stand-in, more useful Laboratory Maniac. Sometimes the pieces will fall just so the only thing that makes sense is to tap out and flicker Uro with Deadeye Navigator until we run out of cards. Having that way to win is helpful.

The final is some combination of random dudes and Beast tokens, Avenger of Zendikar, Craterhoof Behemoth, and Finale of Devastation. Oh, and Crashing Drawbridge. The theory is once we've gone crazy with the card draw and are looking at over half our deck in our hand, we have some combination of these cards, any two of which should win us the game. Since we'll have run out almost every land we've got, Avenger will make a ton of creatures - say, 30. Then we play Craterhoof. 31. Uro's out, of course. 32. Now we've got 32 creatures with trample, all of which get +32/+32, which is a lot of damage. Crashing Drawbridge will give everything haste so we can do it all at once. Finale getting Craterhoof is even crazier, because everything will get the power boost from Finale, then the Behemoth. Eight or more random creatures ought to do it. And all without a single +1/+1 counter. Hooray.

This deck is expensive. It could do with fewer fetches and the shock could be an Island, but the commander is pricey and the Crucible of Worlds is really important. It's also hilarious and fun and quite probably strong, though further testing is needed. And Psychosis Crawler is a way to potentially win the game, but tends to paint a target. Might be worth considering.

How do you get around the obvious? And what would you do to this deck to make it your own? Let us know!

Play Uro. Play him again. And again and again and again. And never pay commander tax.

Thanks for reading.

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