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Dominaria's Commander Misfits: Tori's Tokens


Many of the world's greatest stories are that of an underdog. Put simply, a character overcomes impossible odds to beat a superior enemy. Rocky beats Apollo Creed. Rey takes down Palpatine (Rey is better than Luke. Fight me). Sophia defeats Vor (that one is for all the parents out there).

Like a lot of others, I love an underdog. And as sets come fast and furious from WoTC these days, I've barely had a second to breathe and take in Dominaria United. My fellow writers have done an excellent job with many of the new Legends; I've particularly enjoyed Paige Smith's coverage of the new versions of old Legends, because her understanding of the lore and story is so deep. But now I want to take on Dominaria, and I'd like to do it from the perspective of the misfits. The ignored. The unnoticed. The underdogs.

Abe Sargent has taken to putting how many decks a specific commander has over on EDHREC.com, so I'm going to use that as my metric. For perspective, Ivy, Gleeful Spellthief has over 1,800 decks. Today's commander has 53. Let's take a look.

Tori D'Avenant, Fury Rider

Boros (rw), while being home to my favorite card of all time (hi, Ride Down), is not really my favorite way to play Magic: the Gathering. Angels are cool, and I dig the whole martial, regimented military vibe, so the flavor is cool, but as decks go, they're just not my favorite to build. How many token decks can one really build? And how different are they? As long as I'm name-checking other writers, I may as well point out that Jason Alt reminds us often that restrictions breed creativity. So, we can build a token deck, but what if it's a restricted token deck? I see potential here.

Tori's Tokens | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

Notice anything? Every token is Red and White. (Okay, it does make two tokens which aren't. But they're side effects of making one which is!) This means a number of things, but we'll get to that. First, the mana!

40 lands, my friends. For more on that, see my collected works. We've also got plenty of ramp, most of which is designed to help us get Tori out on turn three. Don't worry, we'll find use for the mana.

Mentor of the Meek
Smuggler's Copter
Investigator's Journal

One of the biggest complaints about Boros is the lack of card draw... and it's a decent complaint. It's doable, but despite some excellent new additions (Welcoming Vampire, Rumor Gatherer), we're still having to do just about whatever we can to draw extra cards. Mentor of the Meek is helpful here, and Skullclamp is fantastic in any deck which runs small Creatures. Smuggler's Copter is a neat way to at least sift through some stuff, and Rogue's Gloves will more than likely just force a block, but might help us get some cards. Investigator's Journal is a nifty new way to care about having a bunch of Creatures, and Bonders' Enclave is likely to be turned on most of the time. We're never going to keep up with the Blue player, so we shouldn't try. We'll do our best with what we've got and try to apply pressure to the board and make them answer our threats.

Now let's talk about those tokens. Of course, the reason to lean into Creatures of both colors is we get maximum benefit: +1/+1, Trample, and pseudo-Vigilance. And if we can make several of them, the attacks we make can be a serious problem for the table; a 1/1 or two isn't a big deal, but when it's eight or nine Creatures, all with multiple abilities and a power boost, it starts to get real.

Because we can only make one specific color-pairing of token - and one that isn't particularly common for tokens - we end up with some weird stuff. One of my favorites is Mascot Exhibition, which ends up making a motley assortment but leaves us with a 3/2 Spirit in our colors. Illuminate History gives us a mini Wheel of Fortune and likely leaves behind another Spirit. Make your Mark is a nifty Combat trick which lets us trade a Creature up and leave behind another token. But my favorite goofy one is probably Goblin Trenches, which is weird but potentially useful since we have plenty of land.

Outlaws' Merriment
General Ferrous Rokiric
Assemble the Legion

On the other hand, we do wind up with some decent cards as well. Outlaws' Merriment is fantastic if it sticks around for a few turns, and the randomness doesn't matter, because it's the colors we care about. General Ferrous Rokiric can do work for us, given roughly eight-million percent of our deck is rw spells. Then there's Assemble the Legion, a criminally underplayed card which will absolutely take over the game if allowed to run unchecked. Anointed Procession will help pump out more tokens.

We've also got some stuff to turn our weird collection of tokens into an even more formidable force. Balefire Liege, Nobilis of War, and Iroas, God of Victory are all examples of cards which work kind of like anthems for our team, making them stronger, giving them more keywords, and often being affected themselves since most of them have the same color identity. And Figure of Destiny seemed worth it in this deck, despite just mostly being a big Creature.

We do get some answers in this pair, and few answers are more fun than Chained to the Rocks. I will run that spell over Path to Exile just because I love it so much. Justice Strike seems like a very Boros way to deal with a problem creature. Austere Command and Hour of Reckoning seemed like the best options for Wrath effects, given our plan, and I can't build a deck with these colors without including Ride Down. What's awesome about Ride Down is absolutely no one expects it, then BAM! They get ridden down. They lose a big guy and take the damage. And you get to laugh because you just stomped them with Ride Down.

Don't be afraid to use Key to the City. Discard excess Lands or even less-useful token-makers to keep churning through the deck, and while you're at it, make Tori unblockable so we don't have to recast her every two turns. Same with Smuggler's Copter. I don't like to discard, but I'm getting better about it and sometimes it's worth it to keep moving through your cards.

If you wanted to power it up a little bit, there are a few things you could do. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and many other Red effects which add damage to Red sources would make our tokens even more aggressive. Granting our Creatures Haste (Fervor) or Trample (Archetype of Aggression) could similarly make us more lethal. Mascot Exhibition is a bit awkward, and cutting it for something more broadly applicable could be good; similarly, Reduce to Memory can be used to upgrade something random to a 3/2 rw token on our side or Exile a pesky problem, but Path to Exile is probably strictly better. I wanted the deck to run every card it could to make tokens in our color pair, but limiting our use might make the deck win a bit more often. Inspiring Leader, even as a non-Background, certainly makes your tokens larger.

This deck is going to play a little funny, but don't be afraid to just lay it all out there. With many commanders it's worthwhile to show restraint, but in this case, just go all out and have a blast with it. It's a Commander people will need to read and an angle they won't expect. Lean into that and go hard into the weirdo tokens.

Who's your favorite underdog Commander? And what do you think of rw tokens? If the comments are working, please let us know!

Thanks for reading.

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