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Tor Wauki the Younger in Commander


Chelsea Riverside by James Webb (1880s). Dragon Mage by Matthew D. Wilson.

I've been on a bit of a Rakdos kick lately. My Mahadi, Emporium Master deck has been doing relatively well, killing creatures, making lots of treasure, and occasionally letting me turn all that value into a victory. I actually notched my first (or second?) ever Revel in Riches win with Mahadi earlier this month. I've also built and played Garna, Bloodfist of Keld. While it's got room for improvement, I'm enjoying having a more combat-oriented mid-powered deck to play at the LGS.

Tor Wauki the Younger
Obosh, the Preypiercer
Dragon's Approach

Today's deck is built around another Rakdos commander: Tor Wauki the Younger. For the first time in a long time, I decided to see if it would be fun to throw a Companion into the mix. Current rules allow you to pay 3 mana and take a Companion and put it from outside the game into your hand. Obosh requires that every non-land in my deck has an odd mana value, so Tor Wauki fits right in. Another odd mana value card that fits in nicely with Obosh is a card I haven't yet built around: Dragon's Approach.

Tor Wauki is a 3/3 Human Archer who costs five mana and has reach and lifelink. If another source I control would deal noncombat damage, it deals one additional point of damage and if I cast an instant or sorcery spell he'll deal 2 damage to any target. Obosh will double the damage done by any source I control with an odd mana value. As a companion, Obosh requires that my deck only has odd mana value cards, so if Obosh is on the field everything I do should deal double damage.

Dragon's Approach is a sorcery that costs one Red mana and two more mana of any color. It deals 3 damage to each opponent. Upon resolving if I have four other copies of Dragon's Approach, I can exile those five cards, search for a Dragon and put it onto the battlefield. If that sounds unplayable in a singleton format like commander where you can only have one copy of any non-land card in your deck, it's worth remembering that you can have any number of copies of Dragon's Approach in your deck.

Dragon's Approach

I was very close to building this deck without any dragons at all.

It would have been a sort of Waiting for Godot theme where you'd be setting everyone up to wonder what horrible dragon you were going to tutor up, only the deck wouldn't actually have any dragons.

Then I started building the deck and realized that one of the most important things this deck is going to need to do is refill my hand.

Dragon Mage

Cheating out Dragon Mage and being able to attack, deal combat damage, draw a fresh seven cards, and keep trying to burn out the table made a lot of sense. I might not want to try to load up this deck with a bunch of dragons, but this one fits right in.

Locket of Yesterdays
Spellweaver Helix
Thrumming Stone

When I'm only running one burn spell in my deck and I have over thirty copies of it, an artifact like Locket of Yesterdays will go a long way towards letting me string a bunch of them together on a single turn. Just two copies of Dragon's Approach in the graveyard will make them cost a paltry 1 mana. Spellweaver Helix will let me take two target sorcery cards in a single graveyard and exile them. Then I can get an extra copy of Dragon's Approach when I cast that spell if I've got a copy of that spell exiled with Spellweaver Helix.

The most important card in any Commander deck that has dozens of the same card in the 99 is always going to be Thrumming Stone. This Legendary Artifact gives spells I control ripple 4. When I cast a spell, I'll reveal the top 4 cards of your library and I may cast any revealed cards with the same name as the spell I cast without paying their mana cost. I'll put the remaining cards on the bottom of my library. The cards I cast will also ripple, so on a good day with enough copies of Dragon's Approach I could cast dozens of them off of a single initial casting.

Thrumming Stone is an auto-include in decks built around Shadowborn Apostles, Relentless Rats, Rat Colony, Persistent Petitioners and of course Dragon's Approach. With enough copies of your target card in the 99 you should have a decent chance at casting one Dragon's Approach and rippling into enough copies that you just kill the table right then and there.

If you aren't interested in a deck that has that kind of win button, Thrumming Stone might not be for you. I expect that if I built this deck and pulled off that win once or twice, I might get bored of it. Fortunately, this deck should be able to win without Thrumming Stone.

Winning without Thrumming

This deck has tutors and a very serious wincon with Dragon's Approach and Thrumming Stone and I've thrown the nonbasic land Buried Ruin into the mix to get that artifact back if it finds its way to the graveyard. That doesn't mean I shouldn't make other plans.

Tor Wauki is going to add 1 damage to my Dragon's Approach, turning 3 damage to each opponent into 4 damage. Obosh, the Preypiercer will double my damage output, turning that 4 into 8 damage. While that's already great, I couldn't help but add a few more damage amplifiers.

Fire Servant
Gratuitous Violence

Guttersnipe will push out 2 damage to each opponent when I cast an instant or sorcery spell. That 2 would become 3 and then 6 with both my commander and my companion on the field.

Fire Servant will double the damage from any Red instant or sorcery spell I control, so it won't help Tor Wauki or Guttersnipe, but it will double my Dragon's Approach burn damage. Gratuitous Violence will triple my damage output. I'll probably never have all of these on the field at once, but it is fun to imagine one Dragon's Approach doing 3 damage plus 1 from Tor Wauki to make 4, then doubling (with Obosh), doubling (with Fire Servant) and tripling (with Gratuitous Violence) that noncombat damage. I'm sure it'll never come to pass, but if it did happen that one spell would hit my tablemates for 48 damage!

I actually got the chance to play this deck online in a five player Tabletop Simulator EDH game. I was able to get out Obosh and Fire Servant and held back my Dragon's Approaches until I had a clean turn where I could cast two of them. I was able to do 16 damage but the second casting got negated. Any hope of still killing the table was lost after someone played a Teferi's Puzzle Box into a Narset, Parter of Veils and a turn or two later the board got wiped. It was still great fun to get two damage doublers on the field and take my shot at taking down the table.

Staying Alive

I should admit that I'm somewhat inexperienced with building decks that have such a low creature count. I love to have blockers and there's nothing quite as effective at discouraging attackers than blockers with deathtouch.

Typhoid Rats
Foulmire Knight
Vampire Nighthawk

You might think that a little one mana creature like Typhoid Rats doesn't have much of a place in a format like Commander but this deck wants to sit back, get ready and then start burning the table with Dragon's Approach. That means running lots of copies of Dragon's Approach, and that also means running fewer creatures than your average deck. Just one Typhoid Rats on your field could keep your tablemates' ground attackers at bay through much of the early game.

Foulmire Knight has the added benefit of being able to be sent on an Adventure. You can cast it turn one if you have Black mana and have that deathtouch blocker ready to kill anything big enough to be worth killing. You can also use it as the instant spell Profane Insight to draw a card and lose a life and then cast it from exile as Foulmire Knight.

I only added a few of these deathtouch blockers. I couldn't resist throwing in a few three-mana flying deathtouch creatures and there are few better than Vampire Nighthawk. The Vampire Shaman has flying deathtouch and lifelink, as does Nighthawk Scavenger, a Vampire Rogue with a power equal to 1 plus the number of card types in opponents' graveyards.

Deathtouch blockers aren't going to save you from aggro decks for very long, but you're really only hoping to buy enough time to make it to the late game and have a chance at setting yourself up for enough Dragon's Approach castings to knock out some of your opponents.

A One-Trick Pony

I'm not really sure how this list would compare to a tuned mono-Red Dragon's Approach deck that had been upgraded and reworked after countless games. I like that I'm in black and have access to tutors, but I'll admit that Obosh's odd restriction does rule out a lot of quality even mana value spells. I think it's a pretty good start, but I'm sure there are upgrades that could be made.

My first list had Yawgmoth's Will and Wheel of Fortune, but the high price tag of those two cards led me to drop them out in favor of a slightly more budget-friendly list. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone as their first deck or as their only deck, but if you've got a Thrumming Stone lying around or always wanted to find a way to make burn work in EDH, this might be worth a try.

To tune this list up, you might throw in Wheel of Fortune and Yawgmoth's Will. You might also drop out Obosh, run some 0 and 2 mana fast mana and staples, add in more tutors, streamline the list to drop your average CMC and then see if you can push it up into high powered EDH. I don't think there's a place in cEDH for a Dragon's Approach list, but I imagine you could play with other high-powered decks and have some success. The real issue comes from the fact that everyone knows what you're trying to do, so one Nevermore naming Dragon's Approach will keep you off of your main game plan quite effectively.

If you wanted this list to be a bit more casual, I might try dropping out Thrumming Stone and adding in more Dragons. Don't get me wrong, I think Dragons are a lot of fun to play in Commander but tutoring out beaters like Terror of the Peaks, Drakuseth, Skithiryx or Bladewing the Risen isn't exactly going to win the game on the spot. Adding in more Dragons makes all the sense in the world, but also sets you up with a higher mana curve and a weaker early game. In casual EDH you can usually get away with having your deck take a little time to get rolling.

Final Thoughts

I still haven't built a Persistent Petitioners, Relentless Rats, Rat Colony or Shadowborn Apostles deck. Even though I tend to run my fair share of staples, I really do love being able to create decks that dig into the deep history of Magic cards we have available to us in Commander. Having a third of my deck made up of the same card stifles that creativity a lot, and it took the idea of adding in a companion like Obosh, the Preypiercer to really spark my interest in Tor Wauki the Younger.

I'm sure there are lots of other ways to build around Tor Wauki. Archer tribal might not work that well, given that you won't have access to any of the dozens and dozens of Green Archers in Magic. A more traditional burn deck might be fun, but burn is always a challenge in a multiplayer format where you have three tablemates who each start at 40 life. You might not have to deal all of those 120 points of damage on your own, but it's still quite a challenge to play burn in EDH.

Monday is Halloween. I'm going to try to think up something special for the holiday and may grab one last Dominaria United commander for that column before turning my attention to The Brothers War.

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

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