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Commanding Legends: Akroma and Tevesh Szat

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If you've read some of my previous work, you'll know I'm a huge fan of Orzhov, aka wb. My love of this color pair has funny roots. After a long hiatus from the game, I reintroduced myself to it with a $30 1,000 card box from eBay ("includes 25 rares!" the ad proclaimed). It was Lorwyn, and my dad and I eagerly sat down to sort through them and build decks. I was drawn immediately to Shorecrasher Mimic, because even though it had been a while, 5/3 Trample for two mana seemed good. My dad, on the other hand, found Nightsky Mimic. He stuck in some Nip Gwyllions and all four Edge of the Divinities, and before I knew it he was swinging for 4/4 Lifelink on turn two. His deck regularly trounced mine. It made me mad... but it also made me fall in love with the color pair.

So, as I was looking through the various Legendary creatures and other Commander options from Commander Legends, I was drawn immediately to an Orzhov deck.

Akroma, Vision of Ixidor
Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools

Akroma wants lots of creatures with keywords to attack. Tevesh Szat makes creatures and draws cards. Seems like a perfect pair to me. Let's take a look at the deck, then talk through the ideas behind it.

Akroma/Tevash | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper


Great Hall of Starnheim
The first thing to notice is we have a five-mana Planeswalker and a seven-mana Creature as our Commanders, and we want them both on the battlefield, so we're going to need mana. I am officially a broken record, but start with 40 lands and go from there, so we've got 40 lands. We have a number of dual lands to help us hit our mana, a few spell lands like Arcane Lighthouse and Great Hall of Starnheim, and a couple of Basics to round out our mana needs. We're not going to be terribly fast, so it's okay if our lands come in to play tapped. We're going to win in a slow, steady assault by lots of little creatures made big and a constant flow of cards from Tevesh, not by having an untapped land on turn one.

Additionally, we've got several mana rocks, most of which also tap for either White or Black. A few of our lands sacrifice themselves for their effects, and even with a relatively mana-hungry deck like this, mana rocks can help stave off the pain of using a Cradle of the Accursed or whatever. Just jumping to turn six for Akroma can make a pretty big difference, since often we can start attacking the turn she comes into play.

Any deck that makes little tokens should run Skullclamp for card draw, so we are. What's nice is we can also sacrifice creatures to Tevesh to draw cards, so we can attack, make them bigger with Akroma, then equip the 'Clamp and sac to Tevesh and draw four cards. But because Tevesh draws us cards, we're not loaded with the stuff. We have Mentor of the Meek, which is nice, and a few lands that help, but mostly we're going to rely on Tevesh (and a bunch of Vigilant tokens keeping him alive) to draw.

One thing about token decks is figuring out how to win with the tokens. Sometimes you can simply make an arbitrarily large number and win by outnumbering your opponents, but without some sort of infinite combo, we're stuck doing something else. In our case, it's going to be making them big. Akroma's +1/+1 till end of turn buff stacks for each keyword a creature has, so if we can put four keywords on a 1/1 creature, it'll be a 5/5 attacking. A few of those will add up pretty quickly. To do this, we need two things: tokens and ways to give them keywords.

Thalisse, Reverent Medium
example, because they almost always have flying and they tend to be in this color pair (at least, they were before Innistrad). So we have a few ways to make Spirits. Someone like Thalisse, Reverent Medium is great, because even if we only make a token or two, we get a couple extras that fly and will get an automatic bonus because of it. We can also make some Bird tokens (those fly too), and of course, something like Divine Visitation makes Angel tokens that fly and have Vigilance.

We can also make Soldiers, Cats, Humans, Zombies, Thrulls, and Warriors (oh, and Heliod, God of the Sun makes Clerics). None of those has any keywords. That means we're going to need to give them some. We do that with cards like Archetype of Courage and Archetype of Valor, Whip of Erebos, and Filth. Righteous War will normally only give one Protection, but occasionally it'll give two. True Conviction is great here, but the real beast is Akroma's Memorial, which will give a whopping +7/+7 to our attacking creatures.

As long as we're doing this, we may as well give them bonuses the old-school way too, so of course we're running Intangible Virtue and Phantom General. Any opportunity to run one of the Lieges is always worth taking, so Deathbringer Liege is here, being gross and awesome. This is also useful if we lose Akroma somehow and can't get her back; those times are rare, but it's nice to know we won't be left with a pile of 1/1s in that event.

We have a couple of Wrath effects; I picked the ones I picked, but they really don't matter except for Hour of Reckoning and Martial Coup, both of which work really well here. Otherwise, run your favorites or the ones you have around. We've also got a few spot-removal spells. My guess is there is going to need to be some amount of adjustment after playing the deck a few times, because there are probably too many spells that give keywords to creatures and not enough token generators or answers.

It's pretty simple, but should be fun. We play a few lands, maybe a rock, make a couple tokens. We play our 'Walker and start making more tokens, maybe draw a few cards. Then we play Akroma and start smashing with big tokens that get bigger every time we give them an additional keyword. We get wrathed, we rebuild. We get attacked, we probably have Vigilance. Eventually we'll be doing so much damage it'll be hard to stop it all.

Pro tip: always Foretell Starnheim Unleashed. The benefit of multiple Angel Warriors is well worth the extra turn or two.

What's your favorite Partner combination? Heck, what's your favorite color combination? Any Orzhov fans out there? Let us know!

Until then, have fun helping out the little guys.

Thanks for reading.

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