One of the first tribes in Magic that I fell in love with was the Myr tribe. I was never big on lore, but I had an early kitchen table deck that ran a bunch of artifacts, a playset of Tinker and a few Myr Incubators. The idea was that you'd tutor up your Myr Incubator. It's a 6-mana artifact that lets you pay another 6 mana, tap and sacrifice it to go through your library, exile as many artifacts as you like and then create that many 1/1 Myr artifact creature tokens.
I really had no idea what I was doing back then, but it worked to win games, and I still have that playset of Tinker cards. They're sitting in a binder now that I exclusively play a format in which Tinker is banned. Back then, I didn't even know what a "format" of Magic was, but I knew I loved those Myr.
I started playing in Gatecrash and for the past decade I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a legendary Myr that will let us play all five of the Myr mana dorks - Copper Myr, Gold Myr, Iron Myr, Leaden Myr and Silver Myr. I even wrote a whimsical column a few years ago predicting the tribes that would be in Commander 17 and took the time to mock up some concepts for 5/c Myr legendaries. I dreamed up "The Myrmioplasm", "Experiment Myr" and "The Myrminator", each of which was more ridiculous than the one before it.
It took another five years, but we finally have our first 5/c legendary Myr!
As soon as I saw it spoiled, I knew I had to write a deck about it, so without further ado let me introduce Urtet, Remnant of Memnarch!
This unassuming 2/2 for three brings a lot to the party. Whenever I cast a Myr spell I create a 1/1 colorless Myr artifact creature token. At the beginning of combat on my turn I'll untap each Myr I control and pay and tap Urtet and put three +1/+1 counters on each Myr I control. I can only activate that last ability during my turn.
What I like most about Urtet is that he could be built in a few different ways. There are recursion combos around Myr Retriever and mana combos around Dramatic Reversal that might be fun to put into an Urtet deck. Any commander that spits out creature tokens can be built to go wide with token doublers and ways to get small creatures past blockers. Urtet also plays with +1/+1 counters, so that could easily be a focus of the deck with cards like Hardened Scales, The Ozolith and some of the outlast creatures that came out in Khans of Tarkir. Focusing on artifact synergy is also tempting, as Myr are artifact creatures so there will be a ton of artifacts in the list.
As with many of my mid-powered decks I'm going to play with a number of themes in this list. I enjoy decks that are focused and go straight for their wincon but I also enjoy decks that mess around with different ideas and can provide me with a variety of gameplay experiences.
Any Myr deck is going to benefit from cards that care about artifacts. Since any activation of Urtet's ability is going to eat up at least 5 mana, and 10 mana if I want to use it twice in a turn, I'm going to want to find ways to make extra mana.
I'm running as many of the Myr mana dorks as I can get my hands on, along with a number of mana rocks. Some of them deserve an extra mention.
Timeless Lotus costs a whopping five mana and enters tapped, but it can tap to make the exact mana Urtet needs to put three +1/+1 counters on each Myr I control. So can two nonbasic lands - Cascading Cataracts and Crystal Quarry, both of which are in the mix. Both Chromatic Orrery and Chromatic Lantern are also in the list. The former will let me spend mana as though it were mana of any color and the latter will let my lands tap for any color of mana.
Cryptolith Rite will let me tap my creatures for any color of mana. Urtet will untap my Myr before combat on my turn, so if I have at least 5 other Myr and I'm able to weather a turn without blockers, I should be able to tap, activate, untap before combat, activate in the second main phase, and on my next turn activate Urtet one more time before combat. Assuming I can pay for those Urtet activations, any 1/1 Myr I started with will be a 1/1 with a whopping nine +1/+1 counters on it. If you're interested in combo, you could also throw in Hellkite Charger, which could work with Cryptolith Rite to give you infinite combats if you have Cryptolith Rite and enough Myr to pay seven mana for Hellkite Charger's activation.
All those Urtet activations will eat up lots of mana, and I'll still want to cast spells and build my boardstate, so this will likely be a very mana hungry deck. Storm the Vault is a Legendary Enchantment that can flip to become Vault of Catlacan, a legendary land that can tap to produce a blue mana for each artifact I control. If that's not enough, Blinkmoth Urn will give me colorless mana equal to the number of artifacts I control at the beginning of my precombat main phase. It will do the same for each of my opponents, so I'll need to hope that I'm best positioned to benefit from having it on the field.
This deck should be able to pump out a lot of artifacts. Urtet gives us access to all five colors, so I'm free to pick and choose from the many ways that casting artifact creatures can turn into damage to my opponents.
Artifacts are historic spells, alongside legendaries and Sagas, and with Cabal Paladin on the field I can push out two damage to each of my opponents for each Myr I cast. Urtet will give me a Myr creature token when I cast a Myr spell, and Reckless Fireweaver will push out 1 damage for each Myr entering the battlefield. If I've got Purphoros, God of the Forge out, my Myr will deal 2 damage and the token will deal another two. With all three of these damage sources on the field, I would only have to cast five Myr creatures to kill the table!
Urtet's +1/+1 counter ability is going to be more impactful if I'm able to make more Myr creature tokens, so it makes sense to give myself ways to make additional tokens and add additional counters. Illusionist's Bracers can be equipped to Urtet to copy his tap ability so that he gives out six +1/+1 counters. Doubling Season will both double my tokens and double my +1/+1 counter output. I'm also running Anointed Procession and Parallel Lives, both of which will double the number of 1/1 Myr creature tokens I create.
With over 40 artifacts (including lands) in this deck, I should be able to push out a ton of damage if I'm able to play and crack my Myr Incubator. With a token doubler and an ETB damage source I should be able to easily kill the table. If I come up short, the only real drawback is that when I exile all of those artifacts from my library, they're gone. If my "flood the zone" Myr Incubator plan fails, I may not have much to fall back on for the rest of the game.
Finding a Balance
The right balance of artifacts, Myr, support cards and other basics like ramp and draw will probably take some time to get just right, but I'm comfortable with this list as a starting point. If you wanted to focus more on winning through combat you could drop out those ETB damage sources and throw in cards like Hellkite Charger, Beastmaster Ascension, Akroma's Memorial or even Coat of Arms. Evasion would also make sense, so Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa, Archetype of Imagination or Glaring Spotlight for a nice unblocked alpha strike would fit right in.
Urtet of Memnarch | Commander | Stephen Johnson
- Commander (1)
- 1 Urtet, Remnant of Memnarch
- Creatures (37)
- 1 Alloy Myr
- 1 Beast Whisperer
- 1 Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer
- 1 Cabal Paladin
- 1 Copper Myr
- 1 Craterhoof Behemoth
- 1 Etherium Sculptor
- 1 Foundry Inspector
- 1 Gold Myr
- 1 Hovermyr
- 1 Iron Myr
- 1 Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
- 1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
- 1 Leaden Myr
- 1 Myr Battlesphere
- 1 Myr Custodian
- 1 Myr Galvanizer
- 1 Myr Kinsmith
- 1 Myr Landshaper
- 1 Myr Propagator
- 1 Myr Retriever
- 1 Myr Scrapling
- 1 Myr Sire
- 1 Myr Welder
- 1 Padeem, Consul of Innovation
- 1 Palladium Myr
- 1 Parcel Myr
- 1 Perilous Myr
- 1 Plague Myr
- 1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
- 1 Reckless Fireweaver
- 1 Sarcomite Myr
- 1 Shimmer Myr
- 1 Silver Myr
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Tanglewalker
- 1 Vedalken Archmage
- Instants (6)
- 1 Arcane Denial
- 1 Counterspell
- 1 Cyclonic Rift
- 1 Path to Exile
- 1 Swan Song
- 1 Swords to Plowshares
- Sorceries (2)
- 1 Demonic Tutor
- 1 Fabricate
- Enchantments (5)
- 1 Anointed Procession
- 1 Cryptolith Rite
- 1 Doubling Season
- 1 Parallel Lives
- 1 Storm the Vault
- Artifacts (12)
- 1 Arcane Signet
- 1 Blinkmoth Urn
- 1 Chromatic Lantern
- 1 Chromatic Orrery
- 1 Fellwar Stone
- 1 Illusionist's Bracers
- 1 Mind Stone
- 1 Myr Incubator
- 1 Myr Turbine
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Timeless Lotus
- 1 Unwinding Clock
If you wanted to tune this list up you might load in some fast mana and maybe Krark-Clan Ironworks. You would also want to load in a lot more interaction, as high-powered and cEDH games require you to be able to answer all kinds of threats at any point in the game. This list is very interaction-light and arguably should run Darksteel Forge and Heroic Intervention if it's going to be played in a meta in which Vandalblast and board wipes see a lot of play. This list is all in on Myr, but if you pivoted to a higher powered build would probably lose a half dozen or more of the little guys in favor of interaction, protection and combo pieces.
The Isochron Scepter / Dramatic Reversal combo would fit in quite nicely to let you make your Myr arbitrarily large by getting as many activations of Urtet as you like. That army won't have built-in evasion or any other helpful keyword, but "IsoRev" Urtet builds are very likely to start popping up in high powered EDH metas over the coming months. You might also add in Memnarch, which while not a Myr, pairs up with infinite blue mana to steal everything on the battlefield, often giving you a victory through the table scooping.
Untapping your Myr before combat and having a built-in way to pump them up is great, but combat oriented strategies are usually no stronger than high power with a few exceptions like Winota, Joiner of Forces and Najeela, the Blade-Blossom. Competitive Najeela builds actually focus less on combat than you might think, often aiming for an Ad Nauseam or Thassa's Oracle win.
Tuning this list down for lower-powered play would probably involve pulling out some of the higher priced and higher power cards and trying to play a much fairer, simpler game. You'll be looking to win on the battlefield with none of my Myr Incubator nonsense, and you might not even run the token doublers. This "starting point" is already fairly low powered, so I'm not sure why you'd want to tone down this list. Everyone has a different budget and different power level constraints, so maybe a simpler, cheaper list would make sense for you, and I do think budget Urtet could still be a lot of fun.
As of this writing, Urtet, Remnant of Memnarch was not yet available, but I was able to get a game in with this decklist the night before the prerelease in my Thursday night Tabletop Simulator playgroup. It wound up being a three player game, which is never ideal, against a Krenko, Mob Boss deck and a Henrika Domnathi deck.
You all must know Krenko, and it looked like it was a relatively tuned list with combos and everything that makes Krenko go "brrrr." Henrika Domnathi was a mono-Black Vampire deck with lots of removal and piloted by one of our group's best players. I was not optimistic that Urtet would do well.
A single game is never a great way to get a real grasp on how a deck is going to play, but I was able to get Urtet out on time, cast a Copper Myr and a Silver Myr, play a Timeless Lotus and play an Unwinding Clock. The Henrika player was putting all his effort into making sure Krenko wasn't going to roll over us, and probably underestimated what Urtet could do.
The only major hitch in my plans came when the Krenko player slapped down a Treasure Nabber, and he even had a turn to use my Timeless Lotus when I tapped it to put 3 counters on all of my Myr. I drew into and played an Alloy Myr and was positioned to be able to double up my counter production thanks to having lands and an Alloy Myr that could produce 5 mana and a Timeless Lotus that could do the same.
I had a Swan Song in hand to protect against a possible boardwipe or Vandalblast and I was able to swing lethal on the Krenko player after going from three to nine +1/+1 counters on my army. I timed it so that I used the Timeless Lotus before damage, keeping Urtet back so that he could activate during combat and pump the rest of the team. Once the Krenko player was out, I had that Swan Song and soaked up a little damage before swinging for the win.
I love that Urtet can work as a combat trick after blockers are declared and might load in some ways to give my creatures vigilance if I do build this in paper. The fact that the Henrika player was hyper focused on keeping Krenko in check definitely gave me the room to push for a win, and I don't expect it would have been that easy at a four-player table. That extra player makes a huge difference in that one more person can have an answer for a player that is getting out of hand.
I was already pretty sure that I'd be building Urtet and this test game did nothing to dissuade me from that plan. It's a 5/c Myr with interesting and potentially powerful abilities that lends itself to a relatively fair game. When I build it in paper, I'm definitely going to include Isochron Scepter and Dramatic Reversal, but that's just how I roll. Combo is fun and I seriously doubt it will push the deck up into cEDH territory.
The more I worked on this list, the more it struck me that Urtet really can be built in a lot of different ways. I don't think it will make its way into cEDH, but nearly any artifact-oriented combo could be put into the list. The focus of your build could be nearly anything, and if you manage to match your deck with the power level of your meta, there's no reason it shouldn't be lots of fun to play.
I didn't even include in today's list one of the cutest Myr - Brass Squire, which can tap to equip an artifact to target creature. If you pair Brass Squire with the right equipment you could start knocking tablemates out with commander damage quite easily. Nettlecyst would give the equipped creature +1/+1 for each artifact or enchantment you control and Trailblazer's Boots gives you nonbasic landwalk. Chances are good you'll be able to put a tablemate on a two-turn clock with just those cards.
I do think a "Dramatic Scepter" combo build is going to be the most popular way to build Urtet. You'll be playing lots of mana rocks, you can run every tutor that is legal in the format, and having arbitrarily large attackers is a pretty good way to threaten to win games. My weakness for building lower powered tribal decks might be showing in this column, but Urtet, much like Ramos, Dragon Engine, looks like it's going to be a really versatile commander to build around.
That's all I've got for today. Thanks for reading and I'll see you next week!