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Apothecary White in Commander


This coming Friday the world will be introduced to a new variant of Magic: the Gathering. Ravnica: Clue Edition is set to hit the shelves as an "annex set" of cards. Annex sets are sets designed to be played as a standalone product - a "complete experience in a box."

While I'm on the record as not being a huge fan of Universes Beyond, I'm not going to pretend they don't exist and every now and then they even pique my curiosity. For today's column I decided I would explore what it might look like to take one of the characters from the Clue expansion and build a Commander deck around them. I chose one that seemed particularly abusable because that's one of the more fun things you can do in this format: try to break a new card wide open.

Apothecary White

This human cleric has vigilance and some pretty neat party tricks. Whenever you attack, you create a Food token for each player being attacked. The real excitement comes from her activated ability. You can pay one white mana and tap her and X food tokens to create X 1/1 white Human creature tokens.

Her milkshake does indeed bring all the boys to the yard.

That's a fun visual and a fairly powerful ability, though it doesn't get out of hand quite as easily as a Krenko, Mob Boss or a Marrow-Gnawer can. For this deck I'm going to lean into Food tokens, lean into Humans and see how busted Apothecary White can be. I can guarantee it won't be cEDH power, and it might have trouble at high-power tables, but this should still be a fun and explosive deck if you get the right support cards into play.

Preparing the Menu

This build starts with Food. My hope is I'll be able to play enough Food token generators to be able to use them to start building my army.

If Universes Beyond is turning our format into a ridiculous mess full of characters and cards from any and every IP that Hasbro thinks it can squeeze a dime out of, we might as well lean into the madness, at least for today.

Astrid Peth
Rosie Cotton of South Lane
The Battle of Bywater

Astrid Peth may have only appeared in one episode of Dr. Who, but the fact that singer Kylie Minogue played her was a big enough deal for this companion to be put on a Magic card. I may not know anything about Kylie Minogue, but I do know that when Astrid Peth enters the battlefield or attacks I'll make a Food token. She'll also explore whenever you sacrifice a Clue or Food token, but we primarily care about those Food tokens. I've got a bunch of other Food token generators, including Bartered Cow, Fortifying Provisions, Witch's Oven and Late to Dinner, but a bunch of our Food tokens don't come from anywhere on earth - they come from middle earth.

Both Rosie Cotton of South Lane and Eastfarthing Farmer will create a Food token when entering the battlefield, and Bill the Pony will create two. I'm also running Second Breakfast and the saga Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit. I don't know if a singleton format gives me enough to make this Food token subtheme really work, but it's worth trying even if we have to pull from all parts of the multiverse to make it happen. I only wish Mike, the Dungeon Master, brought a bowl of Cheetos to his Stranger Things games. Maybe we'll get a South Park set with Cartman's Cheesy Poofs as a food token generator in a future Secret Lair! One can only hope...

The Party Guests

Whether or not we're able to put out a decent spread for our dinner party, we've got to get those invitations sent out. This deck only cares about humans, and it doesn't really care why they came to the party. Apothecary White might be able to ring the dinner bell, pay a white mana, tap herself and tap a bunch of Food tokens to gather her throng, but I've got other token generators as well.

Thraben Doomsayer
Adeline, Resplendent Cathar
Call the Coppercoats

Thraben Doomsayer is a 2/2 human cleric who taps to make a 1/1 White Human creature token. If my life is at 5 or less, he'll give other creatures I control +2/+2. Adeline, Resplendent Cathar has vigilance and a power equal to the number of creatures I control. When she attacks, I'll create a 1/1 white Human creature token tapped and attacking each opponent or a planeswalker they control. These two are not equal by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm running both and can always drop out cards that underperform as the deck sees actual play.

Call the Coppercoats is a pretty nice way to grow my army to match any opponent who is going wide. This three-mana instant will let me make X 1/1 White Human Soldier creature tokens where X is equal to the number of creatures target player controls. I can pay this spell's strive cost of one and a white to add additional opponents. Usually only one or two opponents will be worth targeting, but it's nice to know this spell is so flexible.

Mondrak, Glory Dominus
Visions of Glory
Horn of Gondor

I'm running token doublers aplenty in this list. Anointed Procession and Mondrak, Glory Dominus will double the number of food tokens I create and also double the number of creature tokens I create. Since I make my humans based upon the number of food tokens I have, this could get out of control pretty quickly. Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation is also in the list. Ojer Taq is a creature token tripler, and while that won't help me make more milkshakes, it will most definitely help to bring more Human creature tokens to the yard.

Visions of Glory is a sorcery spell with flashback. For five mana I can create a 1/1 white Human creature token for each creature I control. This spell's flashback cost is a whopping 10 mana, but it's reduced by the greatest cost of a commander I own on the battlefield or in the command zone, so in this deck it will only cost six mana.

The real key to unlocking this deck's potential, and the reason I'm running Enlightened Tutor, is Horn of Gondor. This three mana legendary artifact taps for a cost of three mana to create X White Human Soldier creature tokens where X is the number of Humans you control. It's a great way from taking a decent board and making it scary, if not terrifying.

Vanilla Milkshakes

This deck, which I'm whimsically going to call Vanilla Milkshakes, should be able to build up a decent army, whether I'm making food tokens or not. I've got staples like Esper Sentinel, Archivist of Oghma, and Mentor of the Meek to keep a flow of cards going to my hand. I've got boardwipes and boardwipe protection in the hope that I can clear the field but have my army untouched.

I've got finishers like Moonshaker Cavalry, Mirror Entity, and Cathars' Crusade, though that card tends to give me a popsicle headache when things get too complicated. You might just run Akroma's Memorial in its place if you don't want to deal with +1/+1 counters. I left Elesh Norn out of the mix, as I have a longstanding aversion to Praetors. If you don't mind mixing a little nastiness into your brew, Praetors can go a long way towards powering up a deck.

To power this list up, you might add in some fast mana and as many iterations of Elesh Norn as you can stomach, but I don't see this commander as having an incredibly high ceiling. You're in mono-white and you're playing a weenies deck, neither of which I find that scary in EDH. You might throw in some cards that work with a commander damage strategy like Strata Scythe, Nettlecyst and All That Glitters but I don't like having a deck that goes in too many directions at once.

To power this list down, there are a handful of expensive cards you could drop out. I don't see the point in pulling all of its teeth, as a mono-White deck that is trying to go wide already has its work cut out for it. As always, you should make adjustments to fit your meta and your preferred strategies and power levels. You could run the few pieces of stack interaction and fogs in White because they're fun and unexpected. Kami of False Hope, a white Spore Frog, almost made the cut in this list, but it's less of a combat trick than an on-board way to blank a single combat.

Final Thoughts

If you're going to buy Ravnica: Clue Edition, you play commander, and you find yourself with a bunch of weird cards and you're not sure what to do with them, there are certainly worse things you can do than to build a commander deck.

Colonel Mustard looks like he would be able to pilot a real banger of a Boros (RW) soldiers deck. Mastermind Plum gives you card draw for casting spells with mana from Treasures, which are everywhere in Magic these days. Headliner Scarlett enables alpha strikes on a single opponent as well as any card I've seen in a while.

I enjoyed brewing up this list around Apothecary White, though I'm unlikely to play it anywhere except online in Tabletop Simulator. There are spicy nuggets in this set and some of them may start showing up at commander tables in the coming months.

That's all I've got for today. Thanks for reading and I'll see you next week!

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