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Building For Yourself: Multani's Huge Tracts of Land


For my last three articles, I've been building or teching decks for my friends and family. It has been great fun and I hope to revisit this process again sometime. There's a neat challenge in building around someone else's playstyle.

But for my last article in this series, I'd like to build a deck for myself. Here I am:

Eat 'em up, Cats!

Longtime readers of my columns know my first deck was my Mono-Black Sheoldred, Whispering One kill-all-the-things (really observant readers may know that evolved from an Anowon, the Ruin Sage Vampires deck). My second deck, though, was Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer Commander Damage. It was as straightforward as they come: ramp for lands, play Molimo early, and attack for massive Trample damage until people are dead. I played that deck for years and had great fun with it. I remember untapping after a Wrath of God and casting Genesis Wave for X=26 or something. And discovering Tower of Calamities and Tower of Fortunes was awesome! It was common for me to have eight leftover mana at the end of a turn.

Then a card came out which made my poor Molimo obsolete. I decided I would retire the big guy, put the cards back into my collection, and someday return to the style with the new Commander. Today is that day.

Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar

For one mana less, we get a Creature which likes Lands we control and Lands in our 'yard, plus it has Reach and we can return it from our 'yard to our hand by returning Lands to our hand, which turns on Landfall? This is so. Much. Better.

When I built Molimo, I still believed 33 Lands was perfectly reasonable for a Commander deck. In a deck which ran at least 20 ramp spells, I still sometimes got mana screwed! That problem will happen no more: I will run 40 Lands in this deck, and 34 of them will be Basic Forests, so I can always have a target for my Cultivates.

Speaking of Cultivates, I have a lot of them. I know some people like to run Rampant Growth and other one-Land fetches, but I like getting two cards for one (card advantage!), so the ramp spells in Multani will do two things. The most basic iteration is Cultivate: two Lands, one on the Battlefield, one in my hand. This is great because it means I hit my drop this turn if I missed it, or I have my drop for sure next turn. There are versions of this which cost a touch more and do extra stuff. One of my longtime favorites is Peregrination, but now I have Nissa's Pilgrimage (which will likely get us three), Hour of Promise (which puts them both on the 'field), and Pir's Whim, which only gets me one but forces sacrifices or makes us some friends.

Sakura-Tribe Elder
Courser of Kruphix
Beanstalk Giant

If it doesn't get two (or more) Lands, it probably leaves a dude behind. Sakura-Tribe Elder is probably the best example of this, but we also get Farhaven Elf and Wood Elves. Just block with them if someone comes in for early damage and don't worry about losing them: once we have the Land, they've done their job. Beanstalk Giant is an early Rampant Growth and a later Molimo minus the Trample, but that could come in handy. Burnished Hart is really, really good, of course. I decided to run Topiary Stomper because, while I don't care it's a 4/4, I like that it's only three mana. In its place, I might decide to run Ondu Giant, which can block right away but is less fun in an opening hand. The Harrow-style effects (sac a Land, get two more) are particularly strong because they give Multani +3/+3.

Finally, I have a slate of Creatures which started with Oracle of Mul Daya. That card was bonkers in the first iteration of the deck, and I suspect with Courser of Kruphix and Augur of Autumn also in the deck, I'll get some good value out of the slots.

Another thing I liked about the original deck was how it never ran out of cards, and once again, I have a whole bunch more options. I'm still running Tower of Fortunes (a repeatable draw-four seems worth it), and Soul's Majesty will regularly draw me a quarter of my deck, but now I also get Rishkar's Expertise, giving me back much of the mana I spent for the spell, and I have the fantastic Hunter's Prowess and Hunter's Insight. Harmonize is still (and almost always) worth the slot, and Colossal Majesty and Drumhunter both keep cards flowing just for having our Commander out.

Multani is my win condition. I expect I will win 99% of the games I win with this deck because Multani kills everyone. The hope is ramp on turn three, ramp on turn four (and possibly a piece of Equipment), Multani on turn five with seven Lands minimum, swing on turn six for at least eight, if not nine, Trample Commander damage. By turn eight I should be able to one-shot someone.

Much of the Equipment in the deck is designed around facilitating this. The classic Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots join with Chariot of Victory and Haunted Cloak as ways to grant Haste to Multani, while Blackblade Reforged, Belt of Giant Strength, and Staff of Titania buff up Multani quite a lot (any of those spells landing should mean I can kill someone with that attack). In that spirit, I have a few other spells which should simply mean someone dies: Animist's Awakening, Boundless Realms, and Traverse the Outlands should all get enough Lands to make sure Multani is deadly. I love Jaheira's Respite here; ruin someone's attack then kill them on the backswing! Zopandrel, Hunger Dominus is a shoo-in, too.

Helm of the Host is specifically really strong, because two Multanis is better than one for killing your opponents. Nothing like casting Boundless Realms on turn seven for 11, killing someone, then the next turn killing everyone else with Helm of the Host.

I intend to beat the absolute snot out of the rest of the table, and I don't really care what they do, except when they try to stop me from doing that, so most of my interaction is in the form of keeping people from stopping me. That means cards like Gaea's Gift and Tamiyo's Safekeeping to prevent Multani from dying to a Doom Blade or whatever. Also, if someone has some massive blocker or something which might kill me if I attack and don't have my own blocker, we have a few Fight spells like Khalni Ambush // Khalni Territory and Ram Through. Tower of Calamities makes stuff die, too. I'm also running Bane of Progress as a reset for silly decks which aren't trying to win with Creatures; that card has gotten me out of more than one tough scrape. I'm keeping it.

Zendikar's Roil
It might seem weird not to have Avenger of Zendikar here; after all, that's kind of the poster-Creature for Green decks which run a ton of Land fetch. The thing is, for me, decks with Avenger kind of become all about Avenger. I don't want to get distracted trying to make an Avenger win happen. I don't have ways to give all my Plants Haste, which means I have to untap with Avenger and all the Plants, then I have to ramp again to make sure they're relevant, then I'm thinking about Overrun effects... it turns into a whole thing. Instead, though, I am running Zendikar's Roil and Rampaging Baloths, both of which just come out and do their thing. I like that the Roil survives a standard Wrath of God, and it lets me start building up a board presence again immediately after the board gets wiped. If left unattended, Rampaging Baloths can really get out of hand, and suddenly I could find myself in a place where I have enough Beasts to do some serious damage, but mostly I like it because those 4/4s prevent people from attacking me. Three or four of those things will make someone think twice about attacking with their 6/6 Commander.

There are cards I'm missing, for sure. One which jumped in and out a couple of times was that Genesis Wave, because it is really, really good. It drops a ton of Lands plus any random Equipment and stuff it turns over. That's great, but Traverse the Outlands or Zopandrel should have the same effect of making Multani a one-shot killer and for less mana, so I felt it wasn't necessary. There are other power doublers, too, but because Multani's power is tied to Land count, I only ever need one of the big "make Multani huge" spells in a single game. If a 34/34 Multani isn't able to kill an opponent because they have too big a wall of blockers, well, that's what Rogue's Passage, Trailblazer's Boots, and Commander's Plate are for.

Vigor and Sandwurm Convergence are both fun and quite powerful in the deck; I'll be keeping both on the sidelines if I find I need them. And any land-based deck like this will probably look at Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger. That card is so horrible for a table I simply won't play it, but it would be very, very strong.

Tower of Calamities
The other thing I'm lacking is any sort of board wipe. I used to run Oblivion Stone, Nevinyrral's Disk, and All Is Dust, all because I believed every Commander deck should run board wipes. I still think that's generally true: a board wipe will almost always be a net positive for the player casting it, because it will kill more stuff of their opponents' than theirs. And it's possible this deck will ultimately need a few board resets. But for now, I'm going to run without. I have a plan, and I intend to see if I can pull it off with minimal manipulation of the rest of the board. I feel like beating someone but dropping and activating Tower of Calamities to kill their blocker they were counting on to keep them alive is more fun than Wrathing, then playing a Hasty Multani. Why? I don't know - just a feeling. But I'm going with it... for now.

One final thing if you decide to build this: much of the Land-fetch is interchangeable. You don't have to run exactly what I'm running. Thaumatic Compass, for example, could be great, and running more Rampant Growths could speed things up. Got a Seedguide Ash? Toss it in! Just run a ton of ramp, and the deck should do what it's meant to do.

I'm going to build this deck in paper over the next few weeks, and I'll make a point of reporting back. In the meantime, I'd love to hear from you! How do you like olde-tyme Battlecruiser Commander? Do you have a favorite deck you've completely rebuilt? How about cards which you won't take out no matter what? Please let us know!

Thanks for reading.

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