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How to Build Chishiro, the Shattered Blade in Commander

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I love Gruul. For those who don't know, Gruul is rg. When I first played Magic, my very first deck was Gruul. There is something about my personality which loves Gruul almost as much as I love Mono-Black; they are wildly different playstyles, but I love both. And one nice thing about all the product coming out is we have a lot more Commanders to choose from. Gruul used to be all "Creatures good, Gruul SMASH", but now, we get lots of different ways to play.

Including this dude, who I think could be great fun to build around.

Chishiro, the Shattered Blade

First of all - Snake Samurai?! That's just awesome. I'd want to be friends with this dude.

Second, he creates evasive 2/2s just for playing Auras and Equipment. That seems good. Then he buffs them up if we modify them in some way? Even better. Plus he's a 4/4 for four mana, so we're in the pocket with cost as well.

Chishiro, the Shattered Blade | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

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A long, long time ago, I built a deck around Kemba, Kha Regent. (This was before I wrote for this website, so at least 10 years ago!) It was a cool deck, but I've written before about her problem of pulling in two different directions: was she Voltron? Was she tokens? She was kind of... both, and doing one watered down the other strategy. Chishiro runs the risk of being the same thing.

That said, they work differently. Kemba cared about what Equipment she had attached to her. Chishiro is interested in Equipment and Auras entering the Battlefield - and because that Spirit gets created when the thing enters the Battlefield, we can actually attach the Aura to the Spirit if we want, and not to Chishiro. That's better; we can lean in the direction of tokens and not try to go tall with Chishiro himself.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We need mana to do all this. Our 40 Lands get us going, and the deck is not wildly mana intensive so the 40 gets us a good distance toward where we need to be. Most of our Lands fix our mana like normal, but we have the regular cast: Rogue's Passage, Reliquary Tower. Kessig Wolf Run is always a good mana sink in a deck like this - fun to remind people you have it when they double block your Menace token. Karn's Bastion is nice here, too, since we'll wind up with some counters. And given what we do, Roadside Reliquary should be a good addition for us.

Rogue's Passage
Kessig Wolf Run
Karn's Bastion

Normally in Green I like Cultivate (and variations on it) for my ramp, but in this case, why not lean in to the theme? We've got Fertile Ground and Wild Growth instead; all of these Auras count toward making our Spirits, so we can use them early to ramp and later to make Spirits (and still ramp). We do also have Sword of the Animist, and Tanuki Transplanter works kind of like Treasures for a turn. Rampant Rejuvenator comes later but does a decent job too, plus it enters the Battlefield modified so it'll keep adding Counters. Fertilid is similar, though we can use its ability right away and keep pulling Lands out of our deck.

We can draw cards with Rogue's Gloves, which is great in a deck filled with Menace Creatures. Sixth Sense is an Aura that works almost the same way. But really we're working our way up to a big Soul's Majesty - at some point we'll have some large Creature, and we have a number of spells which draw cards based on a Creature's power. That will fill us up just fine. Shamanic Revelation is our one that counts differently, because it counts number of Creatures, but we should be able to get several cards out of that one too. With any luck, one of these will be all we need to push our victory through.

The idea is mostly to go wide with the Spirit tokens. We'll play out Chishiro, then we start dropping Equipment and Auras and spitting out tokens with Menace. Those Menace tokens pick up the Equipment and grab the Auras, and are therefore Modified and start to get bigger. Then we attack people with them and force them to make hard choices about how to double block and whether or not they can attack and is it worth it to block because they're just going to make another one... It should be fun. Of course, something like Embercleave or Blackblade Reforged can end up making a game-winning Creature pretty quickly, but mostly we're just going to pick on people throughout the game until they're dead.

Wild Growth
Sixth Sense
Embercleave

Champion of Lambholt is a real role-player here. That card out for more than a couple of turns can make surviving very difficult for your opponents. They'll likely kill it quickly, but if you can time it right or do something silly with it like immediately equip Bone Sabres or something, it should work wonders. It would also be fun to play it and immediately Enchant it with Giant Inheritance, though honestly Giant Inheritance is going to be pretty great on just about anything in our deck.

We have a few spells like Lignify to deal with truly problematic permanents, and we've got Silkguard and Inspiring Call to survive kill spells, but it's possible the deck wants more answers. There are some - Beast Within is a thing, and of course there's Blasphemous Act and such, but the deck is so dependent on its Creatures it seems silly to wreck them ourselves. We shouldn't have too much trouble rebuilding, especially if we've hit a card draw spell and have a few cards left in our grip.

We also have a lot of ways to modify our Creatures. Grumgully, the Generous is probably the most obvious example: we make Spirits, they auto-get a +1/+1 counter, and therefore they'll get more because they're modified. There are several of these: Oran-Reif, the Vastwood, Rhythm of the Wild, Loyal Guardian, Master Chef. We've also got ways to double up on those counters, like Kami of Whispered Hopes, Forgotten Ancient, and Rishkar, Peema Renegade. One of my absolute favorites is Smoke Spirits' Aid, which Modifies a bunch of our Creatures and makes it more painful for someone who kills them.

The truth is the Aura and Equipment selection is up to you. I chose the ones I'd want, but there are lots and they do lots of different things. I was kind of leaning into fun and feisty - Chariot of Victory, Mage Slayer, Etali's Favor, Elemental Mastery. But you could go for huge or Haste or resiliency with Indestructible Equipment and Auras which return to your Hand or come back from the Graveyard. There's also probably a deck which just runs one-mana Auras like crazy and spits out a ton of tokens really fast - six 2/2s with Menace on turn three would make the tables I play with pretty scared. I just want to throw some damage around and have some fun.

This deck also is fairly cheap to build, coming in under $100. There is a Land or two which you could swap out for a basic and save a few bucks, and if you drop Sword of the Animist, Embercleave, and Kodama of the West Tree you get down to around $50. The Bear Umbra is worth it, though.

What's your favorite way to Gruul? Let me know on social media and maybe I'll build to your idea!

Thanks for reading.

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