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Rigo's Scrappy Gang of Tokens


I looked at today's Commander and had exactly one thought. Let's take a look.

Rigo, Streetwise Mentor

How awesome is this? Every turn we make another 1/1, then we can attack and draw a card and...


Shoot. You're right. Ooh, ooh, wait! What about this one from Shards of Alara?

Rigo, Streetwise Mentor
Goblin Assault

This one forces us to attack, but we want to do that anyway! So, we make a dude, then...


Wait a second. I've got it.

Rigo, Streetwise Mentor
From Beyond

There we go. This is great. Let me try one more time.

Every turn, we make a 1/1. Then we can attack with it and automatically draw a card. If it gets through, we have a 1/1 we can sacrifice like a Treasure token for mana (colorless, but still), and if it dies, who cares? We still got to draw a card, all for the low-low cost of existing this turn. It's not quite as cool, because it makes 0/1s, but its baby sibling Awakening Zone will still draw us an extra card every turn, just because our Commander is on the battlefield.

There are lots of ways one could go with this. We could lean into the Scion/Spawn thing and buff those dudes up, going wide with lots of little Eldrazi, maybe capped off with a few of the big ones. We could do a Soldier/Citizen token thing with Mentor of the Meek and possibly some Equipment, doing a combo Tokens/Equipment thing. We could even consider Auras as a route - we're in the colors, and we could have little tokens we suit up with Enchantments so we draw when we can't attack with something huge.

I decided to put a severe limit on how I'm going to build this one, though. Every single non-land card will, in some way, generate a 1-power creature (if you want to quibble, one puts a 0-power creature and another makes a 2-power dude). It might do something else in addition. It might give us options. But no matter what, every spell will be able to put a 1-power creature on the board, allowing us to attack and draw an extra card. Let's take a look.

Rigo, Streetwise Mentor | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

We have quite the motley assortment here, but I kind of like that, given Rigo's apparent life. This is a guy who takes in anyone and gives help where he can. He doesn't care about your past or how you wound up here. Elf Warrior? Thopter? Kor Ally? Come hang out. Rigo's got your back.

If you've read any of my stuff before, you know I generally like to go through Mana, Draw, Threats, Answers, and Synergy. In this case, there's no point in doing that, really. We have 40 lands, sure, but the vast majority of our additional mana sources are Eldrazi Spawn and Scion generators. Don't be afraid to use them for mana if you need it. We do get Farhaven Elf as a way to help fix a little and be a dude, and Growth Spasm does a similar thing, just making a Spawn instead of an Elf. Without access to traditional mana rocks or land search (Arcane Signet or Cultivate), we're super limited. Fortunately, we have a relatively low curve: most of our cards are three mana or less. As long as we keep hitting our drops, which we should do pretty well with our 40 lands, it'll be okay.

Otherwise, we mostly make little dudes, in a variety of ways. We have the two Enchantments we started with, plus stuff like Myr Turbine, Inspired Sphinx, and Mobilization. The deck prioritizes Enchantments and Artifacts which create 1/1 tokens, because those will stick around after most Wrath of God effects, allowing us to rebuild a board relatively quickly. It also tries to create tokens with Flying, because evasion is good. Specifically, I'm a fan of Haunted Library (keep that 1 up as much as you can!) and Rabble Rousing, which will spit out a bunch of dudes each time we attack, replacing any we lose and adding to any we don't. Plus, we'll probably get a free spell out of it. Nadir Kraken likes that we're already drawing extra cards, Master of Ceremonies may end up not getting us all that many Creatures but will definitely get us something, Ethereal Investigator will make us a flier every time we go through Combat, and Arasta of the Endless Web will keep cranking out Spiders every time our opponents do, well, anything.

Orochi Hatchery nicely scales up with the game; if we can put eight mana into it we'll be making four dudes for five mana every turn, which seems good. Retrofitter Foundry is super fun, though don't be afraid to stop at Thopter to keep drawing the cards. Shorikai, Genesis Engine makes Pilot creatures, which is super random and weird, but I suppose could be relevant because they can help us have an 8/8 and we get to do some serious draw with it. We probably don't want to sacrifice to Chitterspitter, and we almost certainly want to wait on Halo Fountain until we have the 15 creatures, then attack, tap them all, and untap them for wwwww and just win the game.

A slate of Planeswalkers help us build up our little army, too. Elspeth, Knight-Errant and Elspeth, Sun's Champion both make Soldiers, Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury makes Llanowar Elves tokens, and Tezzeret, Artifice Master makes Flying Thopters. Feel free to play around with the other abilities, but they're there to help us keep up a steady stream of 1/1s.

We actually do have a bit of interaction. Martial Coup makes us 1/1s at the same time it kills everything else. Sleep with the Fishes is a weird Pacifism but we get an unblockable Fish for our trouble. Access Denied and Geist Snatch make tokens as they counter, Adverse Conditions gives us a Scion while it freezes a couple of Creatures, and Flash Foliage will make a blocker for every creature attacking us, which should keep us alive for one more round against the Goblin player.

Here's the thing. I'm not really sure how this deck wins. I suppose the best bet is to crank out as mana 1/1s as possible and just attack all the time. Keep drawing and dumping 1/1s and with any luck eventually you'll overwhelm just about any army. We're probably hosed against Goblins, Elves, or Zombies, but maybe not? Halo Fountain is a solid option for sure, since we can win just by having a bunch of guys. Either Elspeth Emblem would probably help.

But that's not really the point. Just like Rigo is there for anyone who needs him, this deck is meant to be a bit scrappy. It throws together a bunch of random cards which drop 1/1s. They're not really tied together in any other way. It's not going to overpower many tables, but it will certainly come out of nowhere and make for some really fun plays. No one will expect you to counter their game-winning spell or outdraw them just by attacking with Eldrazi Spawns... but you will. And you might just be able to squeeze out a win with some tight play and a weird game.

If I were going to break away from my every-card-makes-a-token rule, the first thing I'd add would be Skullclamp. Wedding Announcement // Wedding Festivity came in twice and dropped out twice during construction, because we weirdly don't want the Enchantment on the back, but it might be solid if you'd actually like to try to win. Myr Battlesphere actually does fit the criteria, and could help with winning, too.

I'd love to hear your thoughts for Rigo. I don't think he breaks the game, but he's a three-mana, three-color Commander, and he draws cards. Those are three good things for a general to have. How would you leverage what he is for a deck? Let us know in the comments.

Building a deck in this way can be a fun starting point, or just be a different style of deck in your stable. Either way, I encourage you to have decks of all levels and with different goals. Having options helps you and everyone else have a great game.

Thanks for reading.

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