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Crazy-Zur's Discount Enchantment Warehouse

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Open everyday 'cept Thanksgiving and Christmas

Since the earliest days of Magic's existence, players have recited the mantra "Removal is King." The ability to answer a threat is a cornerstone the game is built on. Most matches boil down to a matter of which player runs out of answers first. It's a tricky balance. Early aggression warrants a quick reaction, lest you be overrun. But that doesn't mean bigger threats aren't looming in the distance. After spending a Terror or two on that first wave of attackers, you'd best hope there's still some ammunition left to deal with the incoming Shivan Dragon.

Commander is unique in how all players will have at least one creature (or planeswalker) to aim a removal spell at. Legendary generals aside, most Commander decks run at least a few creatures anyhow, so packing creature-removal within your 99 is seldom a bad idea. The same can be said for artifact removal, as most artifacts could feasibly show up in any deck and are often pivotal for mana development in colors that aren't Green. Blowing up someone's turn one Sol Ring can make you the hero of the table.

Sol Ring

When someone announces "I am the archenemy" right from the get-go

However, there's one permanent type that is seldom prepared for, at least exclusively. These cards are most often targeted by flexible (Chaos Warp) or mass (Farewell) removal. In other words, cards that have the ability to target multiple types. Rarely, however, are they destroyed by spells specifically meant to kill them and only them. Which is odd, seeing as they can be some of the most impactful cards at the Commander table. With built-in permanence on board and effects that often trigger repeatedly, often getting better the more turns pass, Enchantments put in a ton of work for little initial investment. Once in play, you've often only to allow the game to play out in order to reap some form of reward, be it treasure tokens Smothering Tithe, card draw Rhystic Study, attackers Angelic Ascension, recursion Starfield of Nyx, or many other effects.

Now imagine if these already-resilient permanents had Hexproof to back them up?

Or how about extra combat potency?

Zur, Eternal Schemer

Zur, Eternal Schemer has arrived to turn an Enchanted Evening into a bloody one. Not only does this psycho gift Enchantments with legs to stomp over opponents, but he also makes them venomous to the very touch. And able to heal you whilst dishing out damage! Get ready to weaponize those Mystic Remoras, cause' Zur, Eternal Schemer is here to turn enchantment into enlistment. You'll still get all the triggered-ability benefits, only now they'll come with fists ready for the punching.

Doomwake Giant by Kev Walker

Let's start by breaking down our kooky Commander:

Nightmare Shepherd
Eidolon of Rhetoric
Agent of Erebos

1. At a glance, Zur, Eternal Schemer's first ability leads one to consider cards that start out as enchantment creatures (Doomwake Giant, Nightmare Shepherd, Eidolon of Rhetoric). These cards immediately pick up three relevant abilities on top of their own inherent powers. Traditionally, having a dual-typing was a drawback, as these cards were more vulnerable to different kinds of removal. Zur, Eternal Schemer negates this issue by granting Hexproof to your enchantment creatures. They also become excellent blockers, able to take down nigh-anything in combat via Deathtouch. What's more, enchantment creatures with stats lower than their mana value can essentially be given permanent boosts via Zur's second ability (Ex. - Agent of Erebos goes from a 2/2 to a 4/4).

Martyr's Bond
Dictate of Erebos
Enchanted Evening

2. Speaking of that second ability, Zur's power to animate any non-Aura enchantment allows us to make soldiers out of cards with already-powerful effects. Once these cards are made into creatures, they'll still retain their enchantment status and thus pick up Deathtouch, Hexproof, and Lifelink. This potentially makes our creature count much higher than it initially appears, and once legs are granted to bigger enchantments like Matyr's Bond, Dictate of Erebos, and Exquisite Blood, they become serious threats in combat.

Sanguine Bond
Enchanted Evening
Spirit-Sister's Call

3. The slower, more controlling nature of enchantments, coupled with our ability to animate them into vicious blockers, means our deck has high defensive potential. This provides the time to assemble a variety of combo-engines to end the game. Be it a massive life drain loop (Exquisite Blood + Sanguine Bond), massive one-sided wrath (Enchanted Evening + Cleansing Meditation), or swapping an early Mystic Remora for something expensive via Spirit-Sister's Call, we've a myriad of diabolical ways to end the game. Although these will be our primary conditions, beating down with an army of animated enchantments is certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

Dark Tutelage
Embargo
Nykthos Paragon

4. The Lifelink granted by Zur, Eternal Schemer means can amass solid bursts of life each combat, allowing us to mitigate the drawbacks of card-draw engines like Dark Tutelage, Treacherous Blessing, and Black Market Connections. Paying the 2 life tax on Embargo is of little drawback when entire the team wields Lifelink. If we prefer to take a more active (and dangerous) approach, a lone Nykthos Paragon has the potential to turn our army into giants with a single swing. Drawing cards while maintaining board control and a high life total increase our odds of a combo-win, alongside tutors and looting effects. Speaking of which...

Monastery Siege
Think Tank
Dance of the Manse

5. Our most powerful enchantments are expensive, mana-wise. If we're able to establish sufficient board control, we'll hopefully live long enough to cast them. Or we could simply take the easy route and recur them right into play. Deploying effects like Search for Azcanta, Monastery Siege, and Think Tank not only help optimize our draws, they also allow us to pitch an early Martyr's Bond or Enchanted Evening to revive later, alongside other deceased enchantments, via Dance of the Manse, Brilliant Restoration, etc. Having ample mass-removal certainly helps mitigate sweepers, but just in case something dangerous like Farewell rears its ugly head, we also pack counters like Swan Song and Dimir Charm.

Serra's Sanctum
Replenish
Academy Rector

6. Finally, you'll note we avoid some of the most powerful enchantment-centric cards in the game: Serra's Sanctum, Replenish, and Academy Rector. No surprise. They're all on the Reserved List and super-expensive. Thusly, they're not readily available. The vast majority of players, yours-truly included, don't have the capitol to spend a Benjamin Franklin on a single piece of cardboard. By all means, if you have these cards in your collection, throw 'em in the 99, but we won't be discussing them, today.

In summary, while Enchantments provide ample routes to win via combo-kill, Zur, Eternal Schemer also makes mystical combat an avenue for victory. When your enchantments-on-legs aren't smashing the opposition into bits, they'll be holding the fort via Deathtouch. All the while, you'll be working behind the scenes to end the game in dramatic, enchanting fashion. A flexible strategy, one that can switch from defensive to offensive and back as needed. Zur, Eternal Schemer might not have it all together sanity-wise, but he certainly knows tactics.

Starfield of Nyx by Tyler Jacobson

Crazy-Zur's Discount Enchantment Warehouse | Commander | Matthew Lotti


Athreos, Shroud-Veiled
Archetype of Courage
Perplexing Chimera

Armed Enchantments: The vast majority of our army is unsurprisingly made up of already-walking enchantment creatures. Each embodies more than just a stat box, with a variety of effects and utility brought to the table, all with intent to either control the board or advance our game plan. On the control side, Eidolon of Rhetoric and Spirit of the Labyrinth start things off with a prison-style ethos. We're bound by their restrictions as well, so sacrifice outlets like Dockside Chef, Arenson's Aura, and Spirit-Sister's Call are useful for recycling them away at the proper moment. Frequent sacrifice also works well with Nightmare Shepherd and the godly duo Athreos, Shroud-Veiled and Athereos, God of Passage. With the latter god, bear in mind that the life-loss effect can target any player, allowing you to take advantage of low life totals or political sway.

Doomwake Giant and Agent of Erebos introduce the Constellation mechanic to our deck, with the former wiping out token armies and the latter graveyards. Archetype of Courage and Nykthos Paragon synergize directly with Zur, Eternal Schemer, as the Archetype's gift of First Strike pairs with Zur's gift of Deathtouch and the Paragon takes Lifelink and turns it into massive series of stats-boosts. Heliod, Sun-Crowned also rewards our team with +1/+1 counters for gaining life, and can provide Lifelink, himself, when Zur's not around. Finally, keeping a Perplexing Chimera ready to swap out an opposing spell can save us a whole heap of trouble. The Chimera's at its best under our control, able to grow into a 5/5 with the ability-trio once activated by Zur, but losing those key abilities once traded away. Just be mindful of what spells you cast next, lest they be traded back for your Chimera!

Ertai, the Corrupted
Daxos the Returned
Zur the Enchanter

Our final trio of creatures aren't Enchantments, but synergize spectacularly with them. Dominaria United has shown us that the traitorous Ertai, long thought dead, is still hanging around to cause trouble. His new frame is Dimir, but the O.G. Phyrexianized-version came in the form of Ertai, the Corrupted, another excellent control/sacrifice outlet. Daxos the Returned is very much a 'kill it or suffer'-style card, as he'll accrue Experience counters quickly, and with them, churn out increasingly-large Spirit tokens. These tokens are also Enchantment Creatures, so they'll happily take up the bevy of abilities Zur, Eternal Schemer offers. Finally, our general's older counterpart Zur the Enchanter acts as a repeatable tutor, able to search up to 15% of all the cards in our deck. That is a ton of flexibility.

Search for Azcanta
Black Market Connections
Rhystic Study

Psychotic Synergies: Remove the 'creature' type from our Enchantments, and you find yourself with the classic lot. Zur, Eternal Schemer can certainly animate any of these, but their inherent abilities are why we include them in this combo-centric build. For card draw, Rhystic Study, Infernal Tutelage, Black Market Connections, Mystic Remora, and Treacherous Blessing are on hand to dig through the deck. Think Tank, Search for Azcanta, The Modern Age // Vector Glider, and Monastery Siege act to improve our draws while filling up the graveyard for future shenanigans. Over time, a full graveyard has the potential to turn cards like Dance of the Manse and Resurgent Belief into winning positions. If we opt for the direct approach, tutors like Plea for Guidance, Idyllic Tutor, and Enlightened Tutor fetch up exactly what we need to assemble a combo-kill.

Pestilence
Sanguine Bond
Cleansing Meditation

And what are those lethal combos, you ask? The first, more of a soft-lock than straight win-con, consists of combining Zur, Eternal Schemer with Pestilence. Once animated, this nasty enchantment picks up Deathtouch, making even a single activation deadly for all creatures in play. Keep Zur safe with a Gift of Immortality and employ one of our myriad recursive spells (Ex. - Starfield of Nyx), and you can bring Pestilence back to wipe away creatures over and over. If you'd instead prefer to nuke everything, drop an Enchanted Evening and pair it with Cleaning Meditation. Provided you have Threshold enabled, and frankly you wouldn't dream of attempting this without it, Cleansing Meditation will obliterate all permanents (lands included), then return yours back to play at the end of turn. This leaves you with the only board at the table, easily cleaning up over the next few turns. Finally, if you're more interested in the direct-kill, the pairing of Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood will easily drain the table in a final heartbeat. A single instance of life gain, easily achieved via Zur's gift of Lifelink, and the game is yours.

Arenson's Aura
Karmic Justice
Hallowed Haunting

Finally, we include Enchantments that further control the board, keeping us alive while we brew bigger enchantment-kills. Hallowed Haunting and Angelic Accord are useful in providing blockers early, evasive attackers later. The Haunting will make increasingly-bigger threats and eventually grant the entire team evasion. Angelic Accord, meanwhile, can easily dissuade opponent's from attacking you, as the 4/4-token Angel generation can occur every endstep and isn't tough to pull off on enemy turns when most of our army has Lifelink. That same lifegain also nixes the drawback of Embargo, which'll shut down most combat-based strategies. Karmic Justice, Martyr's Bond, and Dictate of Erebos all punish players for messing with our plans, with the latter of the two go quite well with sacrifice outlets like Arenson's Aura and Spirit-Sister's Call. Lastly, if any of the aforementioned cards strike you as particularly fun and/or exciting, Estrid's Invocation is included to double the fun. Its self-exile will allow it to reset each turn, but just be mindful it'll also remove animation if Zur, Eternal Schemer got his hands on it first.

Swan Song
Dimir Charm
Extinguish All Hope

Supporting Spells: Counter-measures like Swan Song and Dimir Charm are vital for halting mass removal, especially of the exile-variety (Farewell). Our Commander also requires protection, so in additional to the aforementioned Gift of Immortality, we bring in Malakir Rebirth // Malakir Mire as an efficient safeguard that can easily be used for mana if needed. The Fall of Lord Konda // Fragment of Konda acts as removal that can switch into a card-drawing, Deathtouch-happy blocker later on. Finally, the critical mass of Enchantments turns Extinguish all Hope into a near-Plague Wind that'll leave the vast majority of our army intact.

Smothering Tithe
The Restoration of Eiganjo // Architect of Restoration
Talisman of Dominance

Mana Support and Rocks: Smothering Tithe is brutally powerful without extra synergies, but here, it's made all the more potent via Enchantment status. The Restoration of Eiganjo // Architect of Restoration can also function as ramp, fetching a Plains for Chapter 1, then discarding and returning it via Chapter 2 to accelerate development. Transforming into an enchantment creature that makes Hallowed Haunting better is just gravy. The rest of our non-land mana production is composed of the expected Esper rocks: the on-color talismans (Talisman of Dominance), signets (Azorius Signet), and staples Arcane Signet and Sol Ring.

Hall of Heliod's Generosity
Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
Otawara, Soaring City

Welding Enchantment-recursion onto a land (Hall of Heliod's Generosity) is everything we could hope to ask for, even if it only puts cards atop the deck rather than into hand. It only gets better when you consider the number of sacrifice, looting, and graveyard-filling effects at our disposal, one of which is also a land! Takenuma, Abandoned Mire easily Channels away into a revived creature and stocked-up graveyard. The fellow Neon Dynasty Channel lands Otawara, the Soaring City and Eiganjo, Seat of the Empire are also included for more utility won't doesn't eat up a spell slot. In addition to our Commander, the deck contains seven other Legendary creatures, so these lands may even get a mild discount on occasion.

Estrid's Invocation by Johannes Voss

Budget Options: Even without bank-breakers like Serra's Sanctum weighing down our wallets like an angelic anchor, Magic: The Gathering can be an expensive game. To blunt some of that cardboard edge, here's some budget alternatives for Zur, Eternal Schemer. All cards over $20 will be noted and recommended for swap-outs. If anything seems interesting, regardless of price tag, give them a roll in the main! Creativity is an oft-forgotten cornerstone of Commander. One of the aspects that makes it special. Mix and match card choices to your heart's content!

Heliod, God of the Sun
Archetype of Imagination
Fate Unraveler

Creatures: Heliod, Sun-Crowned: $20.00

Starting on a positive note, only Heliod, Sun-Crowned comes in over budget. The original Heliod, God of the Sun is a great replacement, as he provides Vigilance alongside Zur's ability-trio and produces enchantment-creatures to carry these abilities. If you're looking for more of a combat strategy, Archetype of Imagination will grant the entire team evasion, Celestial Ancient will grow your army with each Enchantment played, and Katilda, Dawnheart Martyr // Katilda's Rising Dawn provides a potentially-gigantic threat that can 'recur' itself later. If a slower, more grind-heavy control style is more up your alley, cards like Fate Unraveler, Underworld Coinsmith, Brain Maggot, and Aegis of the Gods fit the bill. Or you can simply draw more cards via Spirited Companion and Ephara, God of the Polis.

Kiora Bests the Sea God
Doom Foretold
Sphere of Safety

Supporting Spells: Enlightened Tutor: $45.00, Rhystic Study: $38.00, Black Market Connections: $30.00, Smothering Tithe: $27.00, Exquisite Blood: $20.00

This hurts quite a bit more, as we lose a variety of card advantage and mana production, alongside half of our most potent combo (Exquisite Blood). Mass-Lifelink may warrant keeping Sanguine Bond in the deck, as even without its combo-counterpart, it'll still cause a lot of life lose. I'd also recommend upping other means to make your creatures more dangerous. Helm of the Gods, Ethereal Absolution, Duelist's Heritage, Always Watching, and Dictate of Heliod can drastically increase the danger-level on even the most humble starting creature. Kiora Bests the Sea God generates 15-power worth of creatures with Zur in play, and that's before you steal something from an opponent. Sigil of the Empty Throne adds to the army, while Doom Foretold slowly chips away at opposing armies whilst filling our graveyard. A greater emphasis on creature-combat also makes the Court cycle (Court of Grace, Court of Cunning, Court of Ambition) a solid source of card advantage, as players are less likely to attack us when all our blockers have Deathtouch.

Adarkar Wastes
Darkwater Catacombs
Concealed Courtyard

Mana Options: Polluted Delta: $44.00, Flooded Strand: $40.00, Mystic Gate: $25.00, Marsh Flats: $21.00, Sunken Ruins: $20.00

No surprise, our fetchlands fall off the budget train, alongside two-thirds of our filter lands. Dominaria United sees the reprinting of Adarkar Wastes and Caves of Koilos, which will drastically reduce the price of each. The original filter-lands from Odyssey also provide decent replacements in the form of Darkwater Catacombs and Skycloud Expanse. Concealed Courtyard is the only on-color fastland that comes in under budget, but plenty of the slowlands like Shipwreck Marsh, Deserted Beach, and Shattered Sanctum all come in at under twenty dollars, as do the checklands Isolated Chapel, Glacial Fortress, and Drowned Catacomb.

Archetype of Courage by William Murai

The local theatre group eagerly awaits the casting call for a '300' remake

Here's hoping your shopping spree at Crazy-Zur's Enchantment Warehouse is a productive one. By the time you're done, an entire line of animated enchantments is sure to be following in your footsteps. Whether that new army serves to vanquish your foe through their magical abilities or newly-sprouted fists, you'll have Zur, Eternal Schemer to thank. Plus, at only 2-mana per animation, his prices really can't be beat.

Thanks for reading, and may your Commander nights always be enchanting.

-Matt-

@Intrepid_Tautog

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