Kykar, Wind's Fury - Spellslinger Tokens

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MeowZeDung
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

Kykar, Wind's Fury - Spellslinger Tokens

"The arrow strikes one bird down, but the flock remains."
—Jeskai teaching

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Table of Contents

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Introduction

Magic is such a fascinating game with incredible depth of strategic complexity and decision making that it took me years of playing it to really get to the bottom of what I enjoyed doing most, which is resolving multiple spells each turn and going wide with dinky creatures. Spellslinging and token creation scratches an itch for me in a way I can't fully explain. As far as I'm concerned you can keep your degenerate battlecruiser spells, reanimator combos, and toolbox creature decks, just give me a pile of cheap instants and sorceries and ways to make a multitude of tokens and I'm happy!

Now, lest you think this is a sub-optimal strategy in a "go big or go home" format like Commander, I have created this thread to share my love of spellslinging and tokens with one and all and to show you just how powerful this approach to magic can be. Of course, both token and spellslinger strategies are fairly common, but I can't say that I have ever seen them built in a complementary and synergistic way in the same deck. This deck is my attempt to do so, and I think I have largely succeeded. Enjoy!



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Why play Kykar?

There are a multitude of ways to build around Kykar, and that is a big part of what makes our resident Bird Wizard such a cool commander.

Kykar's static ability triggers whenever you cast a non-creature spell to create a 1/1 white flying spirit creature token, and since it is a cast trigger, the spell doesn't even need to resolve. Moreover, "non-creature spell" is a pretty big umbrella to be under. The ability is enormously flexible and builds out your board state without a lot of work on your part. This triggered ability is both self-contained and powerful, which lends itself to a great variety of potential themes and deck variants.

Kykar, Wind's Fury is a great magic card and its goodness is largely independent of the supporting cast without needing much help, which makes for a great "build around me" commander with a lot of utility. When the only "restriction" in your deckbuilding is that you should probably jam a lot of noncreature spells, you aren't very restricted at all - atleast not in these colors.

My personal build specifically focuses on instants, sorceries, and token producers, but that's only one approach of many. My way is certainly not "THE" way to build around Kykar, but after taking a closer look I hope you'll understand why I chose the strategy I did.

You'll like this deck if you enjoy. . .
  • casting more than 1-3 spells per turn cycle
  • making mana from out of nowhere
  • making a token army from out of nowhere
  • sending that token army into the red zone
  • card selection and churning through your deck
  • having a suite of quality answers at your disposal





Commander Breakdown
Cost, Type, and Stats
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for a 3/3 Bird Wizard with Flying
4 mana is an average or maybe slightly below average cost for a commander. I have rarely found commander tax to be an issue in my games piloting Kykar, and this particular build isn't going to rely completely on its general, so there will be times where Kykar just hangs out in the command zone after the first couple of casts in a long game.

The three color cost does make casting Kykar more restrictive, but with a decent manabase and other fixing I typically don't struggle to cast this commander on or before curve. Jeskai colors are ideal for a combination of great spellslinger instants and sorceries, token production and support, and a wide range of answers. What Jeskai may lack in terms of the raw power of green and black it makes up for with speed, flexibility, and utility.

If you are a fan of super casual or jank decks you could certainly build Bird tribal with Kykar at the helm, but Wizard is likely the more relevant creature type in these colors. Or, you could just ignore Kykar's creature type and focus on goodies for maximizing spirit synergy with the tokens it makes. The build herein doesn't include any tribal synergies, but the potential is definitely there with Kykar if you want to pursue it.

A 3/3 with flying is deceptively good in this format. You will be amazed at how many decks fail to include a gameplan for dealing with fliers. Since you will usually want Kykar to stick around with that wonderful triggered ability, you won't often want to block with it, preferring instead to fly over opposing ground creatures. This means you should feel free to swing away and rack up 15+ points of chip damage throughout a game. I have been quite surprised at the number of times I've snuck through a commander damage kill with Kykar (and a little help) without really planning to.



Triggered ability
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Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, create a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying.
This line of text along with the Jeskai color identity are the biggest reasons I chose Kykar as a commander. This text is also the primary thing that makes Kykar so flexible. A relevant static ability that triggers "whenever you cast a noncreature spell" opens up so many possibilities.

Enchantress without green mana symbols? No problem! Jeskai colors give you access to some incredibly powerful enchantments, including a number of anthem effects that make your spirit tokens bigger threats.

Voltron with tokens? Sure thing! Kykar comes with some built in evasion, and only needs 4 more power to get to the magic number 7 for a 3 turn commander damage kill. Even fewer turns with some double strike or extra combats! Not to mention, after a few spirit triggers resolve you can leverage Kykar's activated ability to pay for your generic mana artifacts and equip costs for a discount other voltron generals have to work a bit harder for!

Going wide with artifacts? Yes please! Jeskai colors are THE artifact colors and you can certainly pull some shenanigans if you go this route.

Well, that's all fine and dandy, but at the end of the day a deck needs to be focused and can't chase every possible strategy, so you have to pick a direction. I chose the spellslinger route as previously mentioned. Instants and sorceries trigger Kykar, giving us a 1/1 Spirit with flying, and these colors have several other token generators that trigger when spellslinging, thus maximizing both the value of spells being cast and number of tokens being produced!

Regardless of the strategy you choose, fliers make for great attackers, and "free" tokens make for great chump blockers. This fact alone makes Kykar an outstandingly balanced offensive AND defensive commander.



Activated Ability
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Sacrifice a Spirit: Add
Now this is some spice! Kykar's triggered ability rewards you for playing noncreature spells, and this activated ability gives you the fuel to cast more noncreature spells, which Kykar's triggered ability rewards you for and allows you to once again activate this ability, giving you the fuel to... you get the point.

Of course the single is not fully refunding your mana cost from the noncreature spell you cast in most cases. With the list contained in this thread I am actually trying to activate this ability as little as possible (within reason) because I am looking to win with a token swarm and sacrificing said tokens for value is counterproductive in many cases. On the other hand, I have no intention of pretending such a powerful line of text doesn't exist, and the acceleration, flexibility, and utility it affords you is amazing. In a deck without green mana symbols any ability to ramp, even these one shot effects, are most welcome.
A free instant speed sac outlet that produces mana is also great when facing a board wipe, or even to just get some use from your blocked/blocking Spirits before they bite the dust.

With all that said, you can build Kykar specifically around this activated ability with what I think might be the most powerful version of a Kykar deck: artifact storm. The general idea is to play 0 cmc noncreature spells (also known as "cheerios") like Lotus Petal, Tormod's Crypt, Mox Amber, Mox Opal, Lion's Eye Diamond, and Mana Crypt - or 1 cmc non-creature spells in a pinch - to trigger Kykar and then use the mana from sacrificing the spirit to keep going for as long as you can. The printing of Underworld Breach allows for even more nonsense in conjunction with Brain Feeze and Lotus Petal and/or Lion's Eye Diamond.

There are other great cards like Paradoxical Outcome, Whir of Invention, Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, and Storm the Vault // Vault of Catlacan that help facilitate loops of cheap spell cast triggers, card draw/tutoring, and mana generation. With a well built list you can set up an explosive turn very early in the game where you cast an arbitrarily huge number of spells before resolving Grapeshot, Aetherflux Reservoir, Brain Freeze or something similar to win on the spot.






Why I mention this here
  • First, your philosophy of the commander format will determine how cutthroat you want to build your Kykar deck around its activated ability. I don't have the know-how, budget, or temperament for cEDH, but I imagine Kykar could compete with the cEDH decks I've seen in action. I play a Jeskai artifact storm deck in Canadian Highlander (a more competitive vintage singleton format) which includes Kykar, and it is indeed quite powerful. Since playing Kykar I have encountered several other competitive strategies in lists as well.
  • Second, whenever you sit down with folks who have never played against your deck they will usually assume that you have built the scariest conceivable version of the deck and will power rank your general against the rest of the table and target you accordingly. Kykar is seen as a very combo/storm driven general, so a little bit of politicking before the game begins by clarifying how competitive or casual your build is may be worthwhile. For example, it's known in my meta that I'm not going nuts with stuff like Lion's Eye Diamond + Brain Freeze + Underworld Breach, which probably draws some hate away from me in-game.
  • Third, because I want to emphasize that Kykar has a wide range of potential builds and I want to be clear about what my list is and what it is not before you invest your time in reading further. So, to reiterate: this thread covers a spellslinger and token swarm version of Kykar that, while quite powerful and tuned, isn't highly competitive and isn't particularly interested in an artifact storm or other turn 3-4 combo strategy beyond what I've already covered.




Why not play Kykar?

All of the above sounds amazing (and it is!) but there is no such thing as a perfect deck or commander or strategy, and we may as well face reality and admit what the weaknesses of any given deck are. Green and black are two of, or perhaps THE two, most powerful colors in EDH and this deck plays... *checks notes* ...neither of them. Spellslinger and token decks also have some pretty obvious and straightforward gaps to consider.

You won't like this deck if you enjoy. . .
  • ramping (with permanents) as much as possible
  • battlecruiser magic with huge creatures and 5-10 cmc spells
  • not having to remember multiple triggers
  • as few decision points as possible
  • not thinking about the stack and ordering of effects
  • gobs of tutors and broken combos


No green in Kykar's color identity means ramp effects will be less common and less potent. In fact, with this being a spellslinger deck that wants to ramp into a 4 cmc commander, nearly all of the ramp I have included outside of Kykar's activated ability is in the form of 1-2 cmc rocks. These are cheap and effective sources of ramp in the early game, but they are vulnerable to artifact removal and don't help get more lands onto the battlefield.

Token decks are notoriously weak to board wipes of nearly all shapes and sizes, and lo and behold, board wipes are commonly utilized in this format. I have included some ways to mitigate the downside of opposing wraths, but it nevertheless remains a chink in the deck's armor.

Spellslinger decks can be absolutely wrecked by tax effects. There's probably no other strategy out there that ruins Kykar's day more than oppressive stax builds.


WANTED: DEAD



Alternate Commanders

Jeskai Generals
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  • Zedruu the Greathearted - A fun and wacky commander with a powerful and unique strategy. Check out @tstorm823's Zedruu primer here for a great read!
  • Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest - Voltron kung fu master capable of some shockingly fast kills, but he struggles to manage a table with 3+ opponents.
  • Narset, Enlightened Master - She was the most popular Jeskai commander before Kykar came along. Well known cEDH general that likes to take extra turns for free!
  • Elsha of the Infinite - Elsha is sweet, and is probably a superior option if you want to play cEDH in these colors, but she doesn't really lend herself to a token strategy
  • Ruhan of the Fomori - One of the first commanders I loved the look of when I first learned about EDH years ago. Chaos embodied. Hilarious and fun.

Spellslinger and Token Generals
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  • Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer - A great option in two of the same colors as Kykar that looks to copy a bigger, badder token rather than swarm with a massive army.
  • The Locust God - An awesome general, and this Kykar deck originated in part from a Locust God list I used to run. More combo centered than it looks.
  • Slimefoot, the Stowaway - Pivoting completely out of Jeskai does give you a lot of great token tools: green gives you token generation/doublers and black gives you sac outlets and sick value.
  • Niv-Mizzet, Parun - One of the best spellslinger options out there. As with the other Izzet Niv-Mizzets, the Parun is known for the 2 card insta-win combos.
  • Alela, Artful Provocateur - A recently released legendary that is functionally very similar to Kykar. I think they are both amazing and the choice really comes down to color and playstyle preference.






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Deck History

When I started this thread, my first Kykar deck iteration was an incredibly humble spirit tribal build, and I won't hesitate to just come out and say it: the deck was pretty darn janky. I don't look to fully optimize my commander decks, but I do want to be playing powerful magic, and to say that this list has been improved upon during my time on the MTG Nexus boards would be a massive understatement. My deck construction and gameplay skills have levelled up tremendously, and this list has benefitted most of all.

I won't bore you with my entire magic history, but this section will give you an overview of why I ended up favoring the Jeskai wedge and relishing the challenge of winning with 1/1's and how Kykar fit into all of that. Otherwise known as: how I learned to stop worrying and love noncreature spells!
Spoiler
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It took me six years of playing Magic to really iron out my preferences and playstyle. I've spent a lot of money on manabases, staples, and engine cards in every guild, wedge, and color, only to conclude that I'm an Izzet Mage at heart. There's just nothing quite as satisfying in magic for me as resolving Brainstorm, Ponder, or Faithless Looting to smooth out my draws. Unless of course it's resolving a Treasure Cruise and following it up with a Volcanic Vision to get back the cruise and watch your opponents' graveyards fill. Don't get me started on the good times had with Epic Experiment, Mindmoil, and Psychosis Crawler


While I love me some good Izzet brews, I was always disappointed that Izzet token decks always seemed to be missing something. I ran The Locust God for a while and really enjoyed it, but the gameplan felt too linear. Play my commander, tutor up or draw into Skullclamp and Ashnod's Altar, draw a million cards, then turn haste bugs sideways. Every. Single. Time.


I spiced things up with a Zada, Hedron Grinder and Mirrorwing Dragon package that was fun to combo with. One of the craziest games I ever won ended with a Chaos Warp targeting my Zada and dozen or so Locust tokens, redeploying my The Locust God, an Impact Tremors, and sufficient on-board draw effects to get to the win. While the change was fun, I felt I was sacrificing power to make the token swarm strategy less linear and boring.


I decided that adding another color was the ticket to getting me where I wanted to go with a token deck. I felt that black or green would pull me too heavily out of the izzet flavor of spellslinging that I love so much, and white seemed to provide a natural support for tokens without interfering with my beloved cheap instants and sorceries.


Choosing a Jeskai Commander to lead a token army was the tricky part. Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest and Ruhan of the Fomori have their own aggressive gameplans, and Zedruu the Greathearted is its own unique deck. I debated between Narset, Enlightened Master and Numot, the Devastator knowing that either would likely draw hate from the table. I settled on Narset, and built a solid list that ultimately got pulled apart because everyone always assumes you're playing Narset to combo into infinite turns rather than go off with Docent of Perfection and a bunch of draw spells, so the deck played like archenemy often enough to not be fun.

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I set aside my hopes for a solid Jeskai token commander for the time being, but it wasn't long before I was pleasantly surprised with two new Jeskai legendaries in Elsha of the Infinite and Kykar, Wind's Fury. Elsha is really something else, but Kykar is an engine and enabler for a token build by itself and seemed a no-brainer to me. I've now been piloting Kykar for a little over a year and have had a blast with the list. I started off with a (bad) spirit tribal build, then pivoted to a spellslinger/swarm strategy. From there I slowly crept into storm/combo.dec without meaning too and have done a hard pivot back into spellslinger/swarm since that is what works best for my own personal taste, fun, and playgroup.





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Deck Philosophy

One of the great challenges of the EDH format is balancing power level and fun. Pre-con WOTC decks are fun to play out of the box against each other, but the second you play one in a pod of even slightly tuned decks it won't go well for you. Similarly, you could pour your heart and soul into building the perfect list, complete with expensive ABUR duals, Gaea's Cradle, Mana Crypt, Teferi's Protection, Expropriate. . . and no one in your available meta-game wants to play with you just to watch you combo off on turn 3, meaning your massive financial investment nets you approximately zero fun. To me this dilemma is hands down the most frustrating part about EDH, and magic in general. As such, most of my decks are built with this in mind and I look to strike a balance between fun and power, and this list is no exception.

You may look at the list below and immediately ask yourself "Where's the Sensei's Divining Top? Scroll Rack? Mizzix's Mastery? Mystical Tutor? Insurrection? Where's Counterspell and Swan Song for crying out loud!?!?!?" The fact of the matter is, I just don't think these cards preserve a balance of fun and power in my available meta. I don't think it's "wrong" to run them by any means. It may even be optimal depending on what one is crafting the deck to do and what you regularly play against. I might even include one or more of them eventually. For now, however, I want to to play powerful, but not oppressive, "broken", or cutthroat competitive magic.

This deck will consistently threaten lethal around turns 5-7 if it is not disproportionately targeted by the table, and the Plan A win condition is combat. That's pretty powerful. I'd say it's a 7.5-8/10 in terms of power, although that is a subjective rating and some players will certainly see it as a 5-6/10. Trying to win through combat is pretty "fair" magic, but I've built some options into the deck so there are a few non-combat ways to win because sometimes game just have to end. I'll emphasize here that these are secondary and tertiary win cons, so the deck is not stuffed with tutors and protection for combo pieces. The non-combat win cons are there as a mostly incidental way to close out a game and keep the deck from being too linear and predictable.

To sum it up, I like to say that this deck is absolutely NOT attempting to be a cEDH or even fully optimized list, but it ain't your daddy's pre-con either!





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Current Decklist

Kykar, Wind's Fury - Spellslinger Tokens

Commander (1)


Token Engines (12)


Head of Recycling Department (1)


Approximate Total Cost:




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Card Choice Discussion

Token Engines
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The cards in this category include several personal favorites and they are largely what made me want to build a token deck in these colors in the first place. Furthermore, a handful of them specifically require an instant or sorcery cast trigger, which is why I built the deck around a spellslinger theme rather than other noncreature spell types. They are the core of the deck, and there are enough that we will reliably see 1-2 either in our opening hand, or in the first few turns of the game. I rarely feel the need to land more than 1-2 of these in addition to Kykar and will frequently keep one in hand to rebuild if the board gets wiped and I can't mitigate the damage somehow.

Production

Young Pyromancer - Cheap, fragile, non-threatening from most opponents' point of view, but can go off just as easily as some of the beefier token engines. Spits out what are easily the weakest tokens the deck makes, but that doesn't matter much when you've got a Jeskai Ascendancy, Cathars' Crusade, or In the Web of War in play. The floor for this card is that it gets removed, and can you really be that upset if your opponent spent their card and mana to fry your 2/1 for 2?

Monastery Mentor - Cheap, fragile, and likely seen as more of a threat than Pyromancer, but if it doesn't get zapped on sight and manages to leave even a few tokens behind when your opponents do wise up and kill it, those prowess monks can really do some work. This guy plus a source of haste for the team is lights out.

Saheeli, Sublime Artificer - Slightly more expensive than Young Pyromancer, but she triggers on all non-creature spells while being a non-creature spell herself. Her -2 is pure gravy and can do some sick things, like copy a Monastery Mentor right before casting a bunch of cheap spells for the turn.

Anointed Procession - Double the fun. Not only can this set up for some big combat steps with a huge army, it is effectively a ramp spell with Kykar and spirit mana. Part of an infinite storm/pump combo along with Kykar, Sakashima the Impostor, and Haze of Rage which is detailed in the deck strategy section here.

Murmuring Mystic - Flying is a great keyword in EDH, and some people forget that until they lose to a swarm of 1/1 Spirits and bird illusions.

Talrand, Sky Summoner - Murmuring Mystic's older brother. The OG makes even bigger fliers.

Sakashima the Impostor - Kykar #2. Obviously Sakashima has more utility than that, but it really is the best thing you can be doing with it in most cases. Double token production or double spirit mana production depending on the situation is incredibly powerful. Part of an infinite storm/pump combo along with Kykar, Anointed Procession, and Haze of Rage which is detailed in the deck strategy section here.

The Locust God - Pricey, but hard for your opponents to get rid of. Hasty tokens are some of the best in the deck, which does feature some pretty good ways to trigger that wonderful "whenever you draw a card" trigger too. He's an outright win condition alongside Faithless Looting/Frantic Search + Underworld Breach, made quicker and even more potent with Anointed Procession, Impact Tremors, or Goblin Bombardment.

Buff

Jeskai Ascendancy - Not a token engine in the sense that it doesn't generate tokens, but oh boy do tokens love having this thing in play. Not to mention it plays really nicely with all the cantrips and card filtering spells the deck can chain together, and is one of the best hand and graveyard sculpting spells in the deck. One pretty sweet bit of synergy is to convoke Hour of Reckoning to wipe your opponents' boards and laugh maniacally as you untap all those tokens that just got pumped. Combos with Kykar, Faithless Looting/Frantic Search and Underworld Breach as detailed here to let you draw your entire deck and pump the team beyond recognition. On the short list of most busted cards in the deck.

Anger - With the manabase in this decklist you should rarely if ever have trouble getting a mountain into play, and there are several ways to pitch this guy including: Faithless Looting, Frantic Search, Jeskai Ascendancy, Fact or Fiction, Chemister's Insight, Gamble, or even just jamming him and sending him to his doom with a board wipe, burn spell, or Goblin Bombardment. Haste for all of your creatures is a very big deal in a token deck since it allows you to get value from your critters the turn they ETB instead of risking a trip around the table.

Cathars' Crusade - As long as Kykar and/or another token generating engine is in play, this lovely enchantment makes all the deck's noncreature spells also become permanent pump effects. This gets out of hand really fast and has been responsible for some very quick wins. It can be obnoxious to pilot though. You'll start to get awfully nimble adjusting numbers on multiple d20.

In the Web of War - Expensive, to be sure, but a two power pump and haste for the entire team on one card (which is a noncreature to boot) is quite strong.
Spells to sling
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Token engines are only half of the puzzle, and most of them need a spell cast trigger, so you'll need some spells. Lots of 'em. Cheap ones that either replace themselves, get cast twice, or have a big enough impact on their own.

Skullclamp - Not much explanation needed here. Drawing cards is powerful. Kykar spits out 1/1's. Chocolate, meet Peanut Butter. It is worth noting that Kykar gives an added advantage of being able to sac spirit tokens after clamping them even if they've been buffed above 1 toughness, which is one issue other token decks sometimes have with Skullclamp.

Land Tax - If you are not player one this little ditty can net you five cards in the current list that runs six basics. You can fetch all six of them in two upkeep triggers to force some discards on end steps that you can use to your advantage with something like Anger or Mystic Retrieval. Alternatively you can go fetch two of them at a time across three upkeep triggers to keep your land drops flowing. This card is great for setting up Mystic Sanctuary by getting those basic islands in hand, and just fixing your mana in general

Brainstorm - A fantastic T1 play if your opening hand needs help, and even better if played on T2-5 alongside a fetchland. Instant speed means tokens with pseudo haste, and The Locust God loves this spell no matter when it gets cast.

Ponder - Probably the best T1 play if you don't start the game with enough lands or a mana rock in hand. You get to dig for what you need and get to mulligan the top of your library if you don't like what you see. Great for the same reasons later in the game when all you want to draw is more cheap spells or need an engine piece.

Preordain - Slightly weaker than Brainstorm and Ponder IMO, but seeing up to three cards and taking the best is great value for u.

Faithless Looting - It's cheap and can be paid for by sacrificing a spirit. We can flash it back later if we get stuck with a grip full of lands or spells that don't help our current situation. You have some relevant cards to put in the graveyard and ways to get spells back from the yard, so the discard isn't particularly bad here. Combine it with Kykar, Underworld Breach, and Jeskai Ascendancy to draw your whole deck and pump the team in a big way, as detailed here.

Gamble - Great on T1 to get a mana rock or badly needed additional land, though obviously not risk free. If the board state is stalled this fetches Impact Tremors or Goblin Bombardment to give you a way to interact with life totals. In a pinch it can go get a draw spell if you're stuck with a hand of lands and no other spells and it's a cheap way to get a token trigger and fetch something like mystic retrieval or Sevinne's Reclamation that we don't mind discarding if the gamble doesn't go our way. If you have access to Underworld Breach, you should pretty much always use Gamble to go and get Frantic Search, which can subsequently dig you into Jeskai Ascendancy for the big storm/pump combo. Finally, as a last resort, Gamble can be cast even if it's the last card in your hand just to get a cheap token creation trigger out of your engine cards, though you really should avoid doing so unless it is fetching/pitching something useful or somehow gives you the win on board with something like Jeskai Ascendancy or Cathars' Crusade.

Gift of Estates - Land Tax lite. In the early game it gets dual lands that say "Plains" on them and can thus help set up Mystic Sanctuary by getting the ones that say "Plains Island" or "Island Mountain Plains" on them, two of which also cycle and can keep the cards flowing if need be. Great for color fixing early, cheap spell slinging later, and keeping your hand full to fuel discard/loot effects.

Mandate of Peace - This can be a protection spell if an opponent attempts to blow Kykar and company out with tricks/removal during combat, or a Fog, or just a quasi-Silence. It is a prime Sunforger target in the mid/late game when an opponent attempts a lethal attack. On top of all of this, it is cheap and triggers token engines. What's not to love?

Confounding Conundrum - I don't know if you have noticed, but green gets ALL the goodies these days. I think green mages have something like eight million ways to power out lands at this point, so props to WotC for printing a silver bullet against all the ramp/draw/value decks out there (I'm looking at you Chulane, Teller of Tales and Tatyova, Benthic Druid!) It's no exaggeration to say that this thing can win a game if it hits the table on T2-3 since you will be ramping almost entirely with rocks and spirit mana and can thus slingshot miles ahead of opponents sitting there with Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Cultivates, and Growth Spirals in hand. Oh, and it cantrips. Fun!

Impulse - A card like this is one that a lot of commander players look at and wonder why in the world you would run it, but oh man is it perfect in a deck like this one. It triggers your token engines, goes and finds gas and puts it in your hand, or finds a much needed land or rock missing from your opening seven. Impulse is never a bad topdeck. Top notch.

Impact Tremors, Goblin Bombardment - These give added utility for tokens in the form of an ETB effect and a death trigger. Tremors is downright deadly in the deck and attracts a lot of attention, so it's often best cast right before going off. Bombardment provides a way to make the best of bad situations and get value from a token army, and it can be used to control the board and not just go to the dome. However, its primary purpose in the deck is for the reach it gives to finish off opponents post combat.

Haze of Rage - A pump spell for the whole team with only r color requirements that says both "Buyback" and "Storm" on it. What could possibly go wrong? Combos with Kykar, Sakashima the Impostor, and Anointed Procession for infinite storm, creature ETBs, and creature pump (detailed here), but great even without the infinite.

Underworld Breach - One of the leading candidates for the distinction of most broken card in the deck. It absolutely explodes when combined with Faithless Looting or Frantic Search which mill/loot fodder to keep paying escape costs and use spirit mana or untapped lands to keep paying mana costs. Throw Jeskai Ascendancy into the mix and you have a combo (detailed here) that draws your whole deck and pumps the team to absurd P/T. Breach is great to get some big-time value out of in the early/mid game by either looping a cantrip/loot/draw spell a few times to sculpt your hand or by recurring some removal spells or token engines. Then in the mid/late game you can get Breach back with Hall of Heliod's Generosity or Sevinne's Reclamation to go off with Kykar + your full graveyard while you've got mentors and other engine cards on board.

Boros Charm - Sorcery speed spells that trigger your token engines come with the downside of your army often sitting on the board with summoning sickness before getting to beat down. This versatile spell, fetchable with Sunforger, helps keep the little dudes alive despite the inevitable board wipes to come. It also has some additional utility for killing planeswalkers or giving something huge double strike. The wombo ??combo?? is to equip Kykar with Sunforger, giving it 7 power, then hitting an opponent. On the next turn, unattach sunforger getting Boros Charm and give Kykar double strike before re-equipping it with sunforger. Hit that same opponent with a 7 power double strike Kykar for a 2 turn commander damage kill. Another little piece of secret tech if the graveyard is full enough is to escape Boros Charm a handful of times with Underworld Breach and burn an opponent out.

Sunforger - Mmmmmm... Yum. The swiss army knife of any deck running Boros colors. This card is a real treat to play with. It fetches so many different red/white instants out of the deck, most of which deal with a problem, protect your board, or keep your opponents from stealing the win before it comes back to your turn. While it's only occasionally relevant, it's worth noting that equipping it on Kykar gives it the magic power of 7 for a three turn clock of commander damage on a single opponent. With Boros Charm you can make it a 2 turn clock as mentioned above. Did I mention that Sunforger can search up Boros Charm? :shhh: :shhh: :shhh:

Flawless Maneuver - Sometimes you just have to resolve sorcery speed goodies and don't have a source of haste for the team. That's not a great place to be for a token swarm deck since it leaves your army exposed to wraths, but lucky for you WotC thought printing free spells would be fun and not broken at all... ok, so it's not "free" since you have to have Kykar in play, but that tends to not be a massive hurdle. It's also a fine card to have in your opening hand since you can safely tap out to cast Kykar on T3-4 with this in hand to protect it from removal.

Idyllic Tutor - One of only two tutor spells in the deck whose primary function is to fetch Underworld Breach, Jeskai Ascendancy, Whirlwind of Thought, Anointed Procession, or Impact Tremors/Goblin Bombardment depending on the situation. However, it is also fine as a moderately costed cast trigger that effectively cantrips for another cantrip in Confounding Conundrum if you just need to keep cards flowing.

Sevinne's Reclamation - Another card that was included primarily because of what it does for Underworld Breach, but is great in its own right. It functions as ramp with a fetchland or Ash Barrens, recursive value for many of your token engines and goodstuff, and it can deal with several problematic lands in conjunction with Strip Mine. It's a great card to loot away guilt free as it can be flashed back later, and it is one of only two ways to get back Underworld Breach. It can even do so when both it and breach have been looted or milled away. Fancy.

Frantic Search - One of my favorite things to do in magic. Fantastic in this deck since it digs deeper, does relevant things with the yard, and keeps the spellslingin' army-in-a-can train rolling by being functionally free, all at instant speed! The only downside is the need to be careful to avoid having this be the last card played out of hand, although even then it may send something useful to the yard that can be worked with aided by freshly untapped lands. Absolutely busted when combined with Underworld Breach and Jeskai Ascendancy as detailed here.

Mystic Retrieval - An incredibly versatile toolboxy spell for the deck. You know what's better than targetting the biggest creature on your opponents' boards with Swords to Plowshares? Doing it again two more times. You know what's better than tapping eight lands for mana, then spending half of it to cast Turnabout and untap those lands? Doing it again two more times. You know what's better. . . ok you get the point. It might secretly be one of the best draw spells in the deck since it effectively recycles your Impulse or whatever and netting you four additional cast triggers. Retrieval is also a fine card to pitch to an early Faithless Looting or end step discard courtesy of Land Tax.

Silundi Vision // Silundi Isle - Here's a cantrip that is roughly on par with Impulse, though more restricted, but is way better than it looks because it means the list gets to cheat a bit and trim a land in order to have a higher spell density. The margin is tiny to be sure, but every spell counts when you're slinging away and every land counts when you need to play one every turn (ie: always).

Role Reversal - "Alright, I'll give you this 1/1 Elemental, and you give me your 9/9 Korvold, Fae-Cursed King!" Or, how about "Here's a 1/1 insect, and I'll take that The Ur-Dragon!" Maybe "Here, take this 1/1 Servo and give me that Vedalken Orerry!" The possibilities are plentiful and hilarious.

Chemister's Insight, Fact or Fiction - You'll learn to love your cheap cantrips, but sometimes you just need some raw card advantage and haven't found your Skullclamp, Underworld Breach, Whirlwind of Thought, or Kindred Discovery yet. These two both fit the bill. FoF digs a bit deeper while Insight lets you spin the wheel a second time. Both give you an opportunity to get that Anger into the graveyard.

Turnabout - Another swiss army knife of a card. It is functionally a Fog, Twiddle, High Tide, and Sleep all on one card while simultaneously triggering token engines and increasing storm count. Exquisite. Copy it with Expansion // Explosion, replay it with Underworld Breach, recur it with Mystic Retrieval.

Heroic Reinforcements - What a gem. A cast trigger, it's own token creation, haste for the team, and a P/T boost for the team, all on a single magical card. The only way it could be better (ie: too powerful) would be if it was either cheaper or an instant, but you'll find it serves your needs just fine as is.

Whirlwind of Thought - One of the premiere card advantage spells in the deck. Being an enchantment makes it a slightly more difficult to remove threat for your opponents, and make no mistake it is a threat. It's often worth being pretty aggressive with this and running it out the turn after Kykar when you have five lands. The spirit it creates with its cast trigger plus the untapped land that remains will usually net you at least 1-2 more spell casts and help you recoup cards and make more spirits. If you get to untap with it on the following turn you quickly become a force to be reckoned with. Careful though, it is not a "may" trigger, so you can deck yourself with it. Hurray for Generous Gift and Forsake the Worldly saving you from yourself!

Mirrorweave - A silly, powerful, and Sunforger fetchable card that I learned about through this thread. On offense, it can turn all your tokens into Monastery Mentor, Giant Adephage, Utvara Hellkite, Pathbreaker Ibex, or similar nonsense. Defensively, it can turn everything into a 1/1 spirit allowing you to chump block everything that is going to revert back into something threatening the following turn. If you activate Celestial Colonnade then target it with Mirrorweave you can turn all creatures into unactivated creature lands for a number of applications: stopping an opponent's attack, getting blockers out of the way before animating and pumping a couple of your own lands to attack with, or making a bunch of mana if the situation calls for it. Truth be told, every new set probably contains a few cards that stretch the boundaries of what absurdities Mirrorweave can inspire: Nyxbloom Ancient, Elder Gargaroth, Scute Swarm, and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove come to mind from recent sets (why does green get EVERYTHING?!?!?)

Kindred Discovery - Slap this on the table and name whatever you have the most tokens of (usually "spirit") right before a big attack and you'll have instantly gotten your value. Even better news, if your token engine is still around post combat you get to cast the cards you drew and have more of those tokens ETB, thus drawing you cards which you can cast, making more tokens ETB, thus drawing you cards. . . and so on. Part of a particularly sweet/nasty "draw your deck and make a lot of haste bugs" combo (detailed here) with The Locust God and Swords to Plowshares/Path to Exile or any other instant speed spell that you can afford which gets The Locust God or Kindred Discovery off the battlefield.

Electrodominance - A big burn or removal spell that can be cast entirely with spirit mana to close out a game or in response to a board wipe to make use of the spirits if need be. The free spell cast from hand also makes sure that the mana invested is being used very efficiently. It has some great play with Underworld Breach and a full graveyard as well, especially if you've loaded up on a pile of spirits. You basically get to cast it plus one other card for "free" from the yard as long as you have the escape fodder to do so and you can repeat until you run out. It can even be played and replayed with Breach for X=0 to rack up storm count if you have a way to create two spirits with each cast trigger, such as Sakashima the Impostor or Anointed Procession.

Expansion // Explosion - A copy effect, burn/removal, and card draw all stapled on one card. Seems great. The Expansion half is stellar for piggybacking on an opponent's early ramp spell a la Cultivate or copying your own Turnabout to send your mana production to the stratosphere. Like Electrodominance, the Explosion half is a good way to use up spirits for value in response to a board wipe.
Interaction
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Everything in this category qualifies as "Spells to Sling" also, but I chose to keep it separate for ease of reference and because interaction is so obviously critical for any deck. Anyhow, the point is that all of these spells come with the added benefit of triggering Kykar and friends.

Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares - It doesn't get cheaper or more unconditional for creature removal. The hardest part of playing these cards is proper threat assessment. It's best to hold on to them until they either pave the way to victory immediately or are the only thing preventing certain death. Fetchable with Sunforger, repeatable with Underworld Breach, Expansion // Explosion, Mystic Sanctuary, or Mystic Retrieval.

Dovin's Veto - The "Um, I'd rather you didn't play that infinite combo/board wipe" card in the deck. Shut em down, no questions asked. The veto obviously doesn't shut down creature combos and it can be outmaneuvered with a well placed copy spell for some combos and wipes, but that is very rare. Ok, so there are some corner case questions asked. Uncle Veto is Sunforger fetchable though, and that's always nice.

Forsake the Worldly - Unconditional artifact and/or enchantment removal at instant speed. Cycle it away if you don't need it, fetch it with Sunforger if you do.

Generous Gift - Nearly unconditional removal for any permanent and another great use for Sunforger. The 3/3 is almost never an issue, but the fact that this can't hit indestructible permanents is annoying, but in a real sticky situation you can get around that with Mirrorweave if the issue is an indestructible creature.

Fierce Guardianship - Free spells WotC? Free COUNTERspells WotC? Alright fine. Play em if you got em. Anti-boardwipe and spot removal tech if ever there was any. Tap out like a boss.

Chaos Warp - Unconditional removal for any permanent. . . sort of. Careful pointing this in the direction of dedicated creature decks. Getting rid of a control or fellow spellslinger deck's nasty permanent with this is pretty safe since there are decent odds that they flip an instant or sorcery. No matter what it targets, there is a solid chance that permanent just gets replaced with a land. Of course, there are times when you target a massive Omnath, Locus of Mana and they flip a Zendikar Resurgent, laugh, and recast Omnath :omg: While mileage may vary with warps, it's always Sunforger fetchable, and that's reassuring.

Render Silent - What did the Azorius Mage say to the player in the lead? "NO!" You haven't lived until you've shut down someone's entire turn when they think they are comfortably winning. It's a 3 cmc instant with a white pip, so you know what that means.

Counterflux - Like Dovin's Veto this shuts down a combo, board wipe, or nasty spell no questions asked, but unlike Uncle Veto it costs an extra mana and can counter a creature. There is also some serious meme potential with the overload cost and a stack with multiple spells, but the stars really have to align for that. Sunforger gets it.

Tragic Arrogance - A great and underplayed board wipe. It won't completely wipe the board, but the fact that this hits multiple permanent types and you get to keep your best permanent of each type while choosing the worst of your opponents' permanents to stick around is sweet! The sacrifice clause is handy as it gets around indestructible, hexproof, shroud, and regeneration shenanigans. The only downside is that tokens are going bye bye, but you can sac Spirits for mana or make machine gun noises with your mouth while you activate Goblin Bombardment in response.

Hour of Reckoning - One of the absolute best cards in the deck, don't @ me. Convoke plus the fact that Kykar specifically makes white spirit tokens means that this is usually just free to cast and is almost entirely one sided. The downside is that Kykar and any other token engine creatures in play are biting the dust... unless you read the primer closely and remembered that you have Boros Charm and Flawless Maneuver in the deck. One truly fun play is to tap up to 7 creatures to convoke Hour of Reckoning with Jeskai Ascendancy in play, which then untaps and pumps the token army before it attacks now defenseless opponents. Got an Underworld Breach, Jeskai Ascendancy, a full graveyard, and seven white tokens in play? Convoke your Hour over and over to load up on cast triggers.
Mana Rocks
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When not playing green, you miss out on the best ramp in magic. Furthermore, since this is a spellslinger deck (without an infinite budget) that needs all the instants and sorceries it can get, it will miss out on some of the best ramp/fixing in white, the best ramp color in the wedge.

To make up for this the deck runs some good old fashioned rocks. They are more vulnerable than lands generally speaking, but there's good news too!

First, many of the deck's spells are cheap, cheap, cheap, so it's not as crucial that you be able to produce a jillion mana before you go for the win like a lot of EDH decks. Second, Kykar can usually pull mana from out of nowhere for generic costs and red pips if needed. Third, unlike rocks in many decks, these aren't necessarily dead draws later in the game. Casting a signet on T10+ still triggers Kykar and some other engine cards, which could in turn make for that one additional Cathars' Crusade trigger necessary for lethal, or some similar scenario. Finally, since the deck runs so many filter/draw/cantrip type spells, it can often allow a keep for an otherwise good hand without a rock in it and still find one on T1, but the hand needs to be good enough that it's not too sad if it whiffs and has to settle for T4 Kykar.

The real trick with rocks in this deck is that they need to help reliably cast Kykar by turn 3, so they need to be run out on turn 1-2, and/or they need to produce colored mana to satisfy the deck's heavy demands. This really narrows down options!

Sol Ring - It's great for obvious reasons and all, but it doesn't help out in this deck as much as most decks given the glut of cheap spells and their colored mana symbols. Still, it helps get Kykar out on T3 (potentially T2 with a signet/talisman in the opening 7 to go with it), but only if our lands fix our colors. It also eases the pain of commander tax, and it does go a long way over the course of a game with generic mana costs. Also stellar in the mid/late game when you're going off and you just want more cards, mana, and cast triggers since it is better than a free spell.

Arcane Signet - Enters untapped, fixes without needing to filter, 2 CMC. Beautiful.

Fellwar Stone - It's tough to find a table where at least one other player isn't playing at least one of the three colors needed, making this a perfectly serviceable 2 cmc rock which taps for mana right away without needing to filter.

Azorius Signet, Boros Signet, Izzet Signet - These do a brilliant job of fixing, allow for T3 Kykar, and enter untapped making them functionally cost only 1 mana for later in the game when all the deck wants is to chain together spells and drive up storm count. The filtering requirement can get you sometimes, so mind your sequencing with these.

Talisman of Conviction, Talisman of Creativity, Talisman of Progress - Pretty much on par with the signets, but probably slightly better because this deck would rather take the point of damage when necessary than find itself losing colored mana because it had to filter through a signet.
Lands
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As mentioned earlier, the deck is hungry for colored mana specifically, so various duals in Jeskai colors make up much of the manabase. However, I am not independently wealthy so I don't own some higher end duals, notably the ABUR duals that would be strict upgrades over what I have here.

Since the deck needs the jeskai color sources so much it also can't run a whole lot of utility lands, but I've included some. This may change as I test and tweak the deck, or if I find that the colorless sources are too much of a liability at a lower than usual land count. I am only running 34 lands + Silundi Vision // Silundi Isle since the curve is so low, and I've found it to be highly functional given the 9 mana rocks, Land Tax, Gift of Estates, and abundance of draw/cantrip effects.


Command Tower - Seems good.

Reflecting Pool, Exotic Orchard - Conditional tri-lands that enter untapped and are usually just Command Tower #2 and 3. The Pool can be a liability in the first few turns, but once Jeskai is assembled it's great. The Orchard can technically fix all three colors as soon as each other player plays their first land, and it's likely to do so in the early turns in a format where people run Mana Confluence, City of Brass, and Chromatic Lantern. Although sometimes you sit down at a table with Meren of Clan Nel Toth, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, and Slimefoot, the Stowaway and the Orchard is a total bummer. It's awful hard to find a pod of 3 other players without someone running at least blue though.

Raugrin Triome - Slower Command Tower, fetchable, cycles when you are flooding. Solid.

Mystic Monastery - Just slower Command Tower.

Fabled Passage - Solid fixing that can also help set up for a Mystic Sanctuary.

Flooded Strand, Polluted Delta - The only two proper fetchlands I run since I'd rather feed my family than buy $60 lands. Literal heaps of articles have been written about fetchlands and their utility and drawbacks, so I won't add to that here other than to say it helps you fix by grabbing any of the shocklands, Raugrin Triome, Irrigated Farmland, Prairie Stream, and most importantly sets you up for Mystic Sanctuary or fetches the Sanctuary itself. They also work well with Sevinne's Reclamation to ramp and fix simultaneously in a pinch. If you're looking to improve on the manabase, I'd recommend starting here by adding the other blue fetchlands followed by the other off-color fetches not named Verdant Catacombs.

Flood Plain - Slow fetches still get lands that say "Island" in the type line. Needs to be upgraded once I've struck it rich.

Hallowed Fountain, Sacred Foundry, Steam Vents - I'm sure no one is shocked to see these in the deck! *BaDoom Tshhh!* The best duals that don't require taking out a second mortgage to acquire.

Rugged Prairie, Cascade Bluffs, Mystic Gate - The filters are great in a deck with heavy colored mana requirements. Two of them allow a spirit to become two colored sources for casting a Cathars' Crusade or Talrand, Sky Summoner that couldn't otherwise be cast.

Irrigated Farmland, Prairie Stream - It's unfortunate that these cycles haven't been completed in Jeskai colors, but U/W is by far the most critical dual for the deck. These both say "Island" on them, thus satisfying Mystic Sanctuary, and the cycling on the Farmland is relevant more often than you might think.

Fiery Islet, Sunbaked Canyon - Sometimes you just REALLY need to draw a card. These also fix and enter untapped, so the pain is worth it.

Clifftop Retreat, Sulfur Falls, Glacial Fortress - More duals that will enter untapped often enough (90%+ I'd say) to not be a massive liability.


Celestial Colonnade - Manlands still tap for mana, meaning this guy can be animated and then go nuts with Jeskai Ascendancy. It is also a great target for Mirrorweave since it will turn all opposing creatures into *unanimated* versions that they will have to pay for if they want to activate. Colonnade's evasion and U/W dual-iness is why it is the only manland to make the cut as entering tapped is a liability.

Ash Barrens - Cycling this is a great T1 play to fix mana ASAP. Once it's cycled away, it can then combine with Sevinne's Reclamation for some ramp. Later in the game when fixing is solid this can just enter untapped and be run through a signet or used for generic costs.

Ghost Quarter - It's not great that it taps for colorless, but when you want to blow up a Cabal Coffers, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, or Dark Depths, you REALLY want to blow them up.

Riptide Laboratory - This is clunky, to be sure, but a really grindy game can make keeping Kykar at a reasonable casting cost extremely important. Fortunately you're running enough instant speed action that you can hold up mana and still find a use for it if you don't have to bail the bird (wizard) out.

Hall of Heliod's Generosity - White does give a lot of recursive effects, but you have limited slots to utilize, so double dipping on recursion with Sevinne's Reclamation and getting value out of a utility land in Hall has to suffice, and you'll find that it's enough more often than not. Hall buys back some important pieces in Goblin Bombardment, Impact Tremors, Jeskai Ascendancy, Underworld Breach, Whirlwind of Thought, Kindred Discovery, In the Web of War, and Cathars' Crusade.

Mystic Sanctuary - I won't go so far as to say that Sanctuary is the BEST land in the deck, because that is a relative and situational evaluation, but I will say it is the spiciest land in the deck. You can do so very much with it: Cast Idyllic Tutor to get your Jeskai Ascendancy, play Sanctuary, draw Idyllic, cast Idyllic, go get your Underworld Breach. Use Sunforger on an opponent's end step to go fetch and cast a Path to Exile, untap, play Sanctuary, draw your Path. Counter the most threatening opponent's first spell on their turn with Render Silent, shut down their turn, untap, play Sanctuary, draw Render, dare them to cast a spell on their next turn. You get the idea. Truth be told, this list isn't even using Sanctuary to it's maximum potential. There was a loop with Sanctuary and Ghostly Flicker that is no longer included, but if you're interested in doing more with this glorious land card you can look into nonsense with rav bouncelands, Meloku the Clouded Mirror, Deprive, Daze, Gush, etc.

2x Plains, 3x Island, 1x Mountain - So basic. You might be tempted to run no basic mountains because. . . well, read Kykar, but don't fall for this. Being able to Ash Barrens or Fabled Passage for that first red source required to cast Kykar is essential sometimes. Islands are important for Mystic Sanctuary, and plains are important for Gift of Estates. 6 is a good number for Land Tax. I don't recommend going lighter on basics having done so myself in times past.
Notable Exclusions / Maybeboard
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These are cards that have been excluded because of either budget, preference, or perceived power level, or have made their way in and out of the deck and are likely to continue doing so. If you are interested in building your own Kykar deck, these might give you some ideas about how you could go about it. I won't include an exhaustive list here, but I will paint with some broad strokes.

Mana Echoes - Definitely a Kykar card. Insane mana production capability here. My issues with it are 1) $ 2) it only makes generic mana and 2.5) that basically begs for something like Walking Ballista or Buyback combo packages, and that's just not a road I want to go down.

Authority of the Consuls, Blind Obedience - Speedbumps for the bad guys and lifegain for the good guys. I like these cards a lot, and you could lump in stuff like Propaganda, Crawlspace, and Ghostly Prison here too. I don't think I would gravitate towards full on pillow fort, but it's definitely viable in these colors. I think Blind Obedience would be a fine inclusion just for the extort and is on my short list.

Opt, Serum Visions, Careful Consideration, Deliberate, Anticipate, See the Truth, Visions of Beyond, Perilous Research, Thought Scour, Sleight of Hand - Wouldn't you know that blue has lots of cheap cantrips, draw, and loot effects? Many of these have been in and out of the deck before. As of the update where I am writing this these are the ones that don't quite make it. They are all defensible and have their pros/cons.

Keep Watch, Reconnaissance Mission, Glimmer of Genius, Deep Analysis, Compulsive Research, Distant Melody, etc. - The medium costed blue draw spells are all solid, but these are just priced out by Fact or Fiction and Chemister's Insight in the current list.

Blue Sun's Zenith, Stroke of Genius, Pull from Tomorrow, Read the Runes, etc. - The big blue draw spells are incredible, but I want the lowest curve I can get and I already have lots of card draw effects. The biggest selling point aside from the card advantage for these is that they are a good outlet for saccing spirits in response to chump blocks or a board wipe. Ultimately though, I'd rather pay a lower premium for an on-board repeatable draw effect like Whirlwind of Thought, Skullclamp, or Kindred Discovery that will keep fueling my turns.

Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time - Dynamite cards that I go back and forth on a lot. Mostly what keeps them out is wanting to keep a full yard for Underworld Breach action.

Honor the Fallen - A hidden gem of a cheap token trigger that hates on graveyard strategies while giving the deck a source of lifegain. I do miss it every now and again, so I keep it in mind for if my meta ever shifts in the direction of heavy GY strategies.

Favorable Winds, Intangible Virtue, Spear of Heliod, Dictate of Heliod, Eldrazi Monument, Call for Unity etc. - Anthems are sweet in token decks, and these all trigger Kykar, but not some of our other token engines. Also, many of them cost a fair bit of mana, slowing the deck down. Some of the more powerful or efficient ones could certainly earn their keep, but the effect isn't quite what I'm looking for.
Valor in Akros - This is more like the creature pump effect I like for the deck. Valor underperformed just enough to miss the cut though. It tries hard to be Cathars' Crusade but fair, but I just end up looking at it like a dead card in hand most of the time. Goldnight Commander, Soulblade Djinn, and Strongarm Monk have even less chance of making it in unless you want to build a Kykar variant that makes them somehow more relevant.

Docent of Perfection - It's a bit pricey and the tokens aren't remarkable on their own, but if you flip him and he remains protected or unanswered for a turn cycle, it's often game over. Kykar, Murmuring Mystic, and Talrand, Sky Summoner are all wizards that will flip Docent quicker and benefit from the resulting buff. Unfortunately Docent just ends up being a bit too expensive for my liking.

Mad Ratter, Nadir Kraken, Improbable Alliance, Gavi, Nest Warden, Chasm Skulker - Token engines that are asking just a bit too much IMO, but future cards may make them better.

Divine Visitation - A powerful effect, but one that interferes with spirit mana. I feel like the list is better of pumping the team with stuff like Cathars' Crusade, In the Web of War, Jeskai Ascendancy, etc.

Supreme Verdict, Cleansing Nova, Austere Command, Winds of Abandon, Settle the Wreckage, Flood of Tears etc. - More decent board wipe options that may or may not be better than what's in the current list depending on meta. I keep the list very light on board wipes just because I really only want the one sided ones and feel like in many situations I can win through a cluttered board. The fact that they are expensive and I want to be resolving multiple spells a turn also keeps me hesitant to run more.

Sephara, Sky's Blade - A great source of lifegain, and a big beater that is often easy to cast in this deck. The protection for flying tokens is the cherry on top of an already tasty sundae. I just struggle to include creatures in the deck unless they make tokens or do something really bananas. Sephara tempts me, but not enough.

Nin, The Pain Artist - Repeatable card draw from nuking some poor token. Lack of haste hurts her chances, and if I wanted to sink a bunch of mana into drawing cards, I'd probably rather run some big X costed instant/sorcery.

Aetherflux Reservoir - A little too spiky for my tastes. A great source of lifegain and a very effective win condition though. I'm trying to balance spellslinging and token production, and this just pulls the deck right into spellslinger only mode.

Fight to the Death - This can really be a blowout, especially if you hit multiple opponents' creatures. Blocking a bunch of big beasties with Spirits, casting this, and then sacrificing Spirits for mana in response seems pretty dang good too though. I've done it before and it feels good, but a lot of times this card is just dead in hand.

Deflecting palm - This strikes me as a very fun card, and sometimes your opponent has some massive trample critter you just can't deal with (it's Gishath, Sun's Avatar in my meta) or something unblockable with a sword equipped. The wording even gets around hexproof! Unfortunately it is highly situational and I hate having dead cards in hand.

Jeskai Charm - Removal, burn, pump, and lifegain all stapled on one card. Flexible as a rubber band in a yoga class. Unfortunately the flexibility comes with a significant reduction in power. It's already easy enough to find better versions of all three effects in these colors.

Rally the Righteous - Seems real good, but I get to be picky because I already have several pump effects that are either strictly better or do something in addition to pumping the team. There's also the downside (or political upside) of this card potentially helping an opponent, although you can mitigate by only casting it after favorable blocks are declared.

Make a Stand, Rootborn Defenses, Unbreakable Formation - A jeskai token deck really needs haste or indestructibility, and I'm leaning more heavily into haste since I get some added benefit from a couple of my haste enablers. These are still great though, but they get priced out by Boros Charm and Flawless Maneuver.


Mox Amber, Mox Opal, Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, Riddlesmith, Herald of Kozilek, Foundry Inspector, Fabricate, Whir of Invention, Paradoxical Outcome, Grapeshot, etc. - As I mentioned above, I think one of the most optimized/competitive versions of Kykar would probably be an artifact storm build. The general idea is that you would play lots of 0 cmc artifacts or "cheerios" and other cheap artifacts with any cost reduction and mana from thin air that you can get, all of which trigger Kykar and give you Spirits. Then you could sac the Spirits to generate mana and keep casting spells and racking up the storm count. Paradoxical Outcome sees play in older competitive formats for a reason, and that reason is to pick up all your cheerios, draw a bazillion cards, and play all your cheerios out again for an arbitrarily high storm count. Toss in Aetherflux Reservoir or Grapeshot and you've got your instant combo win.

Call the Coppercoats, Goblin Wizardry, Empty the Warrens, Secure the Wastes, White Sun's Zenith, etc. - I prefer my spellslinging take care of other things like draw and removal whilst my mentors take care of the token creation. That said, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to jam one of the better token creating instants/sorceries.

Rhystic Study - Results can vary depending on the playgroup, but this is generally one of the best blue draw spells around. It's not in the deck because on T3 you want to be playing Kykar and after that there is usually something faster or more explosive to be doing.

Smothering Tithe - This would easily be the best source of ramp and fixing in the deck if included, but it's out for the same reasons Rhystic Study is out.

Purphoros, God of the Forge, Vicious Shadows - Mostly not included because they aren't token engines or spells to sling, but also due to personal preference. They are great ways to win a game of commander with a token deck, but I find the victory pretty hollow when it's achieved in such a non-interactive "auto-win" fashion. Especially Purphoros. What a groan fest of a card. Vicious Shadows feels a little more "fair" because it's so expensive, but it turns Kykar's sac ability into a machine gun for an insta-win sometimes. Maybe I'm being a bit too "75%" in my approach, but I just can't help having a bad taste in my mouth from 1-2 card victories.

Midnight Clock, Windfall, Valakut Awakening // Valakut Stoneforge, Reforge the Soul - drawing 7 (or more) cards sounds like a good time, but they all seem fairly conditional and slightly akward outside of a deck dedicated to draw/discard and wheels.

Shared Animosity - It's a great card for the deck, but honestly it's a nightmare for combat math if you've got a mix of different token types. I think it lags behind the other pump effects too since it does nothing other than boost power and only on attacks.

Felidar Retreat, Moraug, Fury of Akoum - Even with a handful of fetches and a couple other cute ways to hit landfall triggers, this list doesn't provide a ton of support for these to be good. That said, they don't really need a ton of support to be good. My main issue is that they are expensive do-nothings unless you make a land drop immediately after casting them and they are good enough to draw removal for sure.

Spark Double - I gave the edge to Sakashima the Impostor here since it can target any creature on the battlefield, not just your own, and it can return itself to hand. I find I have a just right density of mentors in the deck and don't feel an urgent need to add another, but if I really wanted an additional mentor in the deck I would stick Spark Double in and tell him to start doing his best bird wizard impression.

Kyren Negotiations, Opposition, Intruder Alarm, Faces of the Past, Rakka Mar - Not token engines or spells to sling, but this is DEFINITELY my kind of nonsense! Negotiations and Opposition go nicely with Jeskai Ascendancy, and Rakka Mar goes infinite with Intruder Alarm and Iron Myr, and is good with Kykar even if it doesn't go infinite.

Savage Beating, Relentless Assault, Hellkite Charger, Fury of the Horde etc. - Extra Combats are also great for a token deck, and some of these are instants/sorceries, but they are higher cmc which makes me hesitate. The effect is powerful enough that it may just be worth running one or two though.

Berserkers' Onslaught - Sweet card and effect for decks trying to win during their combat phase, but it's expensive to cast and is not a token engine or instant/sorcery.

Cyclonic Rift - I don't own one, it's expensive, and it would be immoral to own one anyhow (I kid, I kid!), but it would certainly be the best board wipe in the deck if I ran it. I just... really don't like this magic card.

Cultural Exchange - "Ok, here's the deal. You get these five 1/1 Spirits, and I get your Omnath, Locus of Rage and his 4 5/5 buddies." :crazy: Expensive to cast and swingy, but loads of fun if you pull it off. The fact that it's conditional and so many decks run some sort of sac outlets to respond with keep me from including it.

Rite of Replication, Helm of the Host, Saheeli's Artistry - Hilariously fun cards! Overloaded Rite targeting your opponents' sweet thing or one of our non-legendary token engine creatures can end a game quickly. Helm on Kykar gets out of hand quick because every 1 mana non-creature spell you cast turns into 2 or more Spirits which can be sacrificed for mana to cast even more spells. Artistry really shines if someone at the table is playing an artifact themed deck and you get to make two copies of a Wurmcoil Engine or Steel Hellkite. You can always just copy the best mana rock and best creature on the board though, which certainly isn't bad. The problem with these in anything other than a casual meta is that they are just so darned expensive and slow.

Assemble the Legion - I love this card and want it to be good, and when it is good it's reeeeeeally good. Unfortunately, the only time that really happens is when you play it on T4-5 and it gets 5+ counters in a long game, or you're on proliferate.dec. It's a do nothing the turn you play it, and a dead draw in the mid to late game.

Elspeth, Sun's Champion - I keep telling myself I'm going to pick up a copy and try her out, but she is awfully expensive. That said, she's close to a perfect planeswalker for the deck IMO.

The Magic Mirror - I like it. I think it's just a smidge too slow though. If you run a proliferate subtheme maybe...

Earthquake, Magmaquake, Subterranean Tremors - one sided sweepers that ask just a little too much IMO.



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Deck Strategy

If I had to sum up this deck's strategy in a single sentence, it would be "to establish and maintain a board state that maximizes the value gained from casting cheap instants and sorceries, and then overwhelm my opponents with that value". That may be too vague for some of y'all, so I'll give a concrete example:

By itself, Faithless Looting is a good card and all, but it's not incredible. However, with Kykar and another token producer in play it becomes quite strong. Suppose I played an Azorius Signet on turn 2, Kykar on turn 3, and Talrand, Sky Summoner followed by Swords to Plowshares on an opposing commander on turn 4. I now untap and draw for turn 5 with 5 non-spirit mana sources, Kykar, Talrand, a 1/1 spirit, and a 2/2 drake on board and 5 cards in hand. I cast my Faithless Looting. For a single I have now: replaced the 1-2 least useful cards in my hand, put three cards in my graveyard, created a 1/1 flyer and a 2/2 flyer, and have given myself the opportunity to recoup the spent by sacrificing the spirit Kykar just made. Additionally, between the five cards I had in hand after my draw step and the two I saw by looting, I've almost surely hit my land drop. That's a lot of upside at a low cost! Now we can start to chain the value together with more spells!

Let's suppose I pass the turn with 3 cards in hand and 5 untapped mana sources after casting my sorcery and playing my land. One of my opponents casts Damnation, so I respond with Render Silent. Now I've protected my board, shut down my opponent's turn, and created another 1/1 and 2/2 flyer. Finally, on the last opponent's end step, I resolve Impulse. The cast trigger creates another 1/1 and 2/2 and end my opponents' turns with 2 cards in hand and Kykar, Talrand, 4 2/2 drakes, and 3 1/1 spirits in play (that's 14 power in the air).

To recap, for only 6 mana I have:
-Dug 2 cards deeper into the library, likely hitting my land drop and replacing 1-2 of the least exciting cards in my hand.
-Protected my board.
-Shut down at least part of an opponent's turn.
-Put 5 cards into my graveyard, at least one with flashback, to fuel future turns.
-created 3 2/2 drakes and 3 1/1 Spirits netting me 6 flying bodies!

I personally like that type of play a lot more than untapping, playing a land, casting a Grave Titan or some other fatty and passing!

It is absolutely worth noting here that while this strategy is incredibly mana efficient, it uses a lot of cards. As such, it is important that the list includes plenty of cantrips that replace themselves and at the very least do not create card disadvantage, as well as sufficient sources of raw card advantage. It is a tough balance to strike, and the deck can be slightly modified a huge number of ways to try to mitigate this, but if that is taken overboard it can sacrifice raw power in the name of having more cards in hand.

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The Combos
The deck's strategy really is primarily about value from cheap spells and token engines, but that strategy doesn't always play out as desired. As such, the list includes some infinite combos which can pull out a victory via other means. However, as previously stated, I am not looking to make a dedicated combo or "oops, I win" style storm deck, and these combos are pretty "fair" in my opinion. I do not run a huge suite of tutors to set them up, and I don't have a million ways to protect them. That said, it can certainly be done, and I'm sure some cEDH players have found some pretty intense ways to do so. Here's a breakdown of each combo and its various parts:
Combo #1
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Breach, Loot, and Pump
Underworld Breach + Jeskai Ascendancy + Frantic Search = pump your creatures a whole lot, generate a very high storm count, and draw your entire deck.

OR

Underworld Breach + Jeskai Ascendancy + Faithless Looting + Kykar, Wind's Fury = the same effect

This combo is pretty straightforward. You are looking to get both Underworld Breach and Jeskai Ascendancy into play and then start casting and subsequently escaping either Faithless Looting or Frantic Search over and over. Every time you cast one of the loot spells you get a Jeskai Ascendancy trigger that puts a card into your graveyard, then the loot spell itself puts two more cards in your graveyard giving you a total of three to pay for the next escape cost. Since Frantic Search untaps three lands it can be cast for "free" until you've drawn your entire library and pumped your team to epic proportions with Jeskai Ascendancy. In order for the same to be true for Faithless Looting you will need Kykar in play to keep making spirits on the cast triggers and generating r.

This combo pairs really well with a storm outlet like Impact Tremors. If for some reason you can't finish off your opponents with the combat step after you execute the combo, you can just play Goblin Bombardment and turn your tokens into bullets.
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Combo #2
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The Locust Discovery
The second combo is even more straightforward. Just play The Locust God and Kindred Discovery naming "Insect" then somehow draw a card. This will cause an Insect to etb, which will make you draw a card, which will cause an Insect to ETB, and so on. You can continue the loop until the draw trigger from Kindred Discovery for the last card of your library is on the stack, then you must either Swords to Plowshares or Path to Exile your own Locust God, or Forsake the Worldly/Generous Gift targetting your own Kindred Discovery to prevent decking yourself.

Combine this abundance of ETB triggers with Impact Tremors, Goblin Bombardment, or just good old pump + combat to seal the deal.
Combo #3
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Hazy Procession
The third combo is a bit more involved, but once you understand it there's nothing to it.

Kykar, Wind's Fury + Sakashima the Impostor copying Kykar + Anointed Procession + Haze of Rage = Infinite storm, infinite pump, and infinite creature ETBs.

This is the only truly infinite combo since the previous two are limited by your library size and this one is not. Once you have Kykar in play with Sakashima the Impostor in play as a copy of Kykar and Anointed Procession on board you have a setup where every noncreature spell you cast will result in four spirit tokens being made - one from each Kykar trigger, then doubled by Anointed Procession. You then sac those four spirits to cast Haze of Rage paying its buyback cost, creating four spirits off of cast triggers and allowing you to do it again. Storm builds up every time and you can repeat the loop to turn your creatures into arbitrarily enormous death dealers to kill via combat or a storm outlet.



Early Game Strategy

The early game for this deck is all about getting Kykar and another token engine into play as soon as possible. With Kykar being a 4 cmc color intensive commander, I've emphasized 2 cmc mana rocks that produced colored mana in the deck's suite of ramp cards so I can reliably cast Kykar on turn 3. A very common play pattern for the deck's early game is T1 card filtering spell → T2 rock → T3 Kykar → T4 token engine + a cheap spell.

With a lot of the cantrips and filtering spells in the list, riskier than normal keeps can be potent. 2 lands, a rock, and a cantrip in the opening 7 is often enough. Alternatively, 5-6 lands and a Faithless Looting or Frantic Search is probably better than a mull to 6 since I can pitch excess lands without feeling bad about it.

Some opening hands as concrete examples:
Hand #1
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I would feel pretty good about keeping this hand. It is lacking card draw/filtering or a token engine, but the mana is great and I have a rock to get Kykar out on T3. I would plan on: crack the strand for a UW dual on T1, play Sulfur Falls + Signet on T2, play Fiery Islet + Kykar T3. After my fourth draw step I will have likely drawn into a token engine or a filtering/cantrip spell that will help dig me to one. Even if not, Ghost Quarter, StP, and Mandate in my opening 7 for cheap, relevant interaction is a great fallback.
Hand #2
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This one is a tough call. On the one hand, your mana is fixed and Skullclamp is one of the best cards in the deck. On the other hand, there are no stand-alone card draw effects, no rocks, and no token engines. Unless you draw a cantrip on T1, or a rock on T1 OR T2, it's highly unlikely that Kykar hits the battlefield before T4, which is not great. However, Kykar and Skullclamp together are a beautiful thing. I think I would keep this hand and risk flooding on my first several draws because I have the failsafe of T4 Kykar → T5 Skullclamp + start drawing cards. Slower if you don't draw any gas, but definitely powerful.
Hand #3
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Any opening that includes Gamble is spicy! I would keep this hand, but the more interesting question is how to play it out. Option A is to T1 Steam Vents → Gamble for a sweet token engine like Monastery Mentor and hope you don't end up pitching the mentor or the diamond. Option B is to T1 crack Passage for an Island → T2 Vents + Signet → T3 Prairie + Kykar. I would go with Option B for a guaranteed T3 Kykar and hoping I draw into an engine by T4. If I don't, I can always Gamble for one at that point, although the risk of pitching it is higher.
With regard to filter and loot effects likely to see play early in the game, there are cards which are prime targets for sending to the graveyard for future use by themselves or with Underworld Breach/Sevinne's Reclamation. These include:
Of note is the fact that it's unwise to send more than 1-2 of these to the graveyard and expose them to Bojuka Bog, Tormod's Crypt and Soul-Guide Lantern, especially the outright win conditions like Impact Tremors and Goblin Bombardment.


Mid-Game Strategy

Once you've maybe filtered your hand a bit then ramped into Kykar, and ideally a token engine to go alongside Kykar, the mid-game is where you're looking to really sculpt your hand, deal with opposing threats, and generate a threatening board state of your own. This is the part of the game where you're looking to get some massive value out of spell-slinging multiple cantrips or set yourself up for the late game by sticking ridiculously good repeatable value engines like Cathars' Crusade, Sunforger, or Jeskai Ascendancy. If it's T4-T7, then you'll usually be looking to keep at least some mana open for plays on my opponents' end steps or to counter whatever busted thing they may be trying to do, and you'll know you're doing well if you're untapping with 3-5 freshly made, pseudo-hasty Spirits and the same number of some other token.

You're also trying to keep yourself from overextending at this point in the game. The sweet spot I've found is Kykar plus one additional token engine if it's a creature, or two engines if one is a non-creature. The reason is pretty simple: if someone wipes the board, you can sometimes recoup some value from Spirits via sacrificing them for mana on the spot, and while you're not stoked to see your 2/2 drakes or 1/1 elementals or whatever get nuked, they are replaceable. Kykar can also be re-cast, but you don't have many ways to recur creature based token engines, so while it may be tempting to run out Young Pyromancer, AND Monastery Mentor, AND Murmuring Mystic alongside Kykar, it's better to keep all but one in hand for rebuilding if the board is wiped, and use the mana on instants and sorceries in the meantime instead. Note: The Locust God is a bit of an exception here since it returns to hand.

This is also the point in the game where you should at least aware of any combo pieces, if not actively playing to them as my main outs. For example, if I have Haze of Rage and Sakashima the Impostor in hand, you might be a bit more reckless with your play patterns and focus on digging as deep as possible in your library looking for Anointed Procession. Or, if you have either Jeskai Ascendancy or Underworld Breach in hand, You might go all in on getting your hands on Faithless Looting or Frantic Search.

Late-Game

At the risk of sounding obvious, in the late-game this deck wants to throw haymakers and slam the door shut on my opponents. How are you doing this specifically? Well, there are several highly synergistic interactions in the deck that can do it. With enough card advantage and momentum from your setup in the early to mid-game plus mana from sacrificing newly created Spirits, you can chain an arbitrarily large, though not infinite, number of cheap spells together to make any of the following into game-ending effects once you are ready to declare attackers:



I don't mean this list to be exhaustive at all since there are many combinations the deck can utilize to make the token swarm unstoppable. Rather, it's just to give a flavor of what end-game punch the deck has to create a devastating attack. The combos are, of course, also viable late game options to generate large storm counts and build/buff a huge army.

However, the game can not always be won through combat, so in some games the end-game strategy will have to center around Goblin Bombardment, Impact Tremors, or both.
As with the finishers listed above, these two enchantments + Kykar and/or one of the token engines in the 99 + a salvo of cheap spells can do massive damage. Goblin Bombardment is also handy to use as a last bit of post combat reach if I just couldn't finish off all my opponents with an alpha strike.


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Alternate Decklists

Coming Soon!



.

Credit & Thanks

In no particular order I am grateful to the following fine individuals:
@Feyd_Ruin, @WizardMN, and @toctheyounger for help with formatting and forum code.
@OCPunisher, @WolfWhoWanders, @nimbaway, and @kirkusjones for being my fellow Kykar pilots and discussing card choices in this thread.
@darrenhabib for the usual high level of analysis and insight.
@pokken and @shermanido37 for great card discussions whether here or in one of the Ephara threads in the forum.
@3drinks for keeping the random card of the day thread going, which has resulted in food for thought for yours truly and more than one change in this list.



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Change Log

11/17/19
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11/17/19
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12/26/19
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12/26/19
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2/9/20
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2/9/20
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7/6/20
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7/6/20
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7/9/20
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7/9/20
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7/30/20
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7/30/20
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Last edited by MeowZeDung 1 month ago, edited 131 times in total.
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

I tried to follow the instructions in this thread, but it seems I've done something wrong. In my decklist and headers, the color is white even though I did .deck="name" color=jeskai] and in the decklist the formatting is odd so that it pushes two other categories in with the lands and make it a scrollfest.

Any insight from someone who understands BBCode?
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Post by OCPunisher » 1 year ago

I'll chime in with a couple observations I've made from piloting Kykar for the past couple of months:
- The deck is naturally light on creature cards, so anything that can take advantage of that is going to be useful. The most obvious one is that your wraths don't have as big of a downside. Some of them can allow you to rebuild a lot faster than others, while others don't affect you at all. Since you're in three colors, I would be a little more selective about running some of the wrath spells that do affect your board (Starstorm, Blasphemous Act).
- Try not to fall into the tribal trap. Just because a card says the word "spirit" on it doesn't mean it deserves a spot. Triplicate Spirits, for example, is a limited card.
- Conversely, just because a card doesn't make "spirit" tokens doesn't mean it's bad. Kykar's BFF should be Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, and the -2 ability on her is largely irrelevant. Field of the Dead is basically free value, and it's nearly impossible not to trigger it every turn.
- The "non-creature" wording on Kykar's trigger (and Saheeli's) is pretty broad, so you don't have to limit yourself to just one type of spell. You can go heavy artifacts, heavy enchantments, heavy planeswalkers, heavy spellslinger, or just a mix of any of the above.
- Counters are your friend. They're cheap, they almost always trigger Kykar for more value, some of them come from Sunforger, and they're usually versatile enough to take care of nearly any potential problem.

Finally, since it's always easier to suggest new cards, I'll go the other way and suggest a couple of cuts:
- Temple of the False God: It's too easy for this to brick in your opening hand, and in a three-color deck, colorless mana doesn't really mean as much.
- Myriad Landscape: You run a total of six basics, which means it's gonna be tough to get this to work out for you. Unlike the Temple, I actually love this card, just not here.
- All the Panoramas: Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse are cheap enough and just better.
- Arcane Lighthouse: This feels like a sideboard card against a meta full of Sigardas and Lazavs.
- Starstorm: this hits Kykar and all your Spirits, and there are other wipes that don't hit you nearly as hard.
- Slate of Ancestry: This costs 8 mana plus whatever's in your hand, plus you need a pretty big board state in order to profit. Also, you're in blue, so you have access to all the best options. Even little tiny cantrips like Opt and Brainstorm are gonna do more for you because they'll smooth out your draws.

Hope that helps!
A deck for every color: Rakdos | Lord | Heliod | Yeva | Tetsuko | Scarab | Kykar | Kozz | Athreos | Haldan/Pako

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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

Awesome feedback and much appreciated. Several points had already occurred to me and are already slated for changes in an update coming soon!
Part 1
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OCPunisher wrote:
1 year ago
- The deck is naturally light on creature cards, so anything that can take advantage of that is going to be useful. The most obvious one is that your wraths don't have as big of a downside. Some of them can allow you to rebuild a lot faster than others, while others don't affect you at all. Since you're in three colors, I would be a little more selective about running some of the wrath spells that do affect your board (Starstorm, Blasphemous Act).
Divine reckoning will probably get added to go with Time Wipe, and I will be adding Hour of Reckoning.
Starstorm/blasphemous act will get cut. Earthquake may get cut also since I am going to add several token engines that don't make fliers.

I'm considering Ixidron, but it runs the risk of removing Kykar and other token engine creatures for a long time since 2/2s won't be aggressively blocked.

For a great one sided wipe, check out volcanic vision. Goes great with hour of reckoning, time wipe, treasure cruise, and dig through time.
Part 2
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- Try not to fall into the tribal trap. Just because a card says the word "spirit" on it doesn't mean it deserves a spot. Triplicate Spirits, for example, is a limited card.
- Conversely, just because a card doesn't make "spirit" tokens doesn't mean it's bad. Kykar's BFF should be Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, and the -2 ability on her is largely irrelevant. Field of the Dead is basically free value, and it's nearly impossible not to trigger it every turn.
- The "non-creature" wording on Kykar's trigger (and Saheeli's) is pretty broad, so you don't have to limit yourself to just one type of spell. You can go heavy artifacts, heavy enchantments, heavy planeswalkers, heavy spellslinger, or just a mix of any of the above.
Tribal is definitely not the optimal build, but I did it with my initial list for casual fun. I'm ready to optimize though :cool:

Believe it or not, triplicate spirits has been great. Anything with convoke combos with jeskai ascendancy, and higher cmc spells are great targets for volcanic vision. However, that's pretty results oriented thinking and you're probably correct that it's ultimately too small an effect to deserve a slot.

Saheeli and some other non-spirit token producers will be added with my next update. I don't know if things like field of the dead or improbable alliance are fast enough since they'll only trigger 1-2 times per turn/round. Field is essentially free though, you're right. It will probably go in temple of the false god's slot.

The non-creature clause is definitely part of what makes kykar versatile and powerful. I did consider artifact storm, but ultimately I plan to settle on spellslinger out of personal preference.
Part 3
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- Counters are your friend. They're cheap, they almost always trigger Kykar for more value, some of them come from Sunforger, and they're usually versatile enough to take care of nearly any potential problem.
You make a great case, particularly for the sunforger synergies. I'll definitely make room for a few.
Part 4
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Finally, since it's always easier to suggest new cards, I'll go the other way and suggest a couple of cuts:
- Temple of the False God: It's too easy for this to brick in your opening hand, and in a three-color deck, colorless mana doesn't really mean as much.
- Myriad Landscape: You run a total of six basics, which means it's gonna be tough to get this to work out for you. Unlike the Temple, I actually love this card, just not here.
- All the Panoramas: Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse are cheap enough and just better.
- Arcane Lighthouse: This feels like a sideboard card against a meta full of Sigardas and Lazavs.
I agree on all of this and have plans to adjust most of it. Any suggestions for utility lands beyond field of the dead, or the colorless lands with izzet or colorless activation costs to loot (the names escape me)? Most token producing lands like castle ardenvale, kher keep, urza's factory etc. seem too slow to me. I guess westvale abbey since it turns a handful of tokens into a big evasive threat?
Part 5
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Starstorm: this hits Kykar and all your Spirits, and there are other wipes that don't hit you nearly as hard.
- Slate of Ancestry: This costs 8 mana plus whatever's in your hand, plus you need a pretty big board state in order to profit. Also, you're in blue, so you have access to all the best options. Even little tiny cantrips like Opt and Brainstorm are gonna do more for you because they'll smooth out your draws.
I already have ideas for replacements here. Slate has drawn me 20+ before with a huge board that couldn't attack profitably until I drew into buffs or eldrazi monument / Boros charm, but I agree is too situational and clunky.
Thanks for the input! Stay tuned for a big update in a week or two and I'll be checking out your list for sure!
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Post by WizardMN » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
I tried to follow the instructions in this thread, but it seems I've done something wrong. In my decklist and headers, the color is white even though I did .deck="name" color=jeskai] and in the decklist the formatting is odd so that it pushes two other categories in with the lands and make it a scrollfest.

Any insight from someone who understands BBCode?
You need to set the "style" to Jeskai, not the color. Change "color" to "style" and it should work. As for the ordering, either set the order to "fixed" and order them how you want or just move Lands to the top or elsewhere. It looks like being at the bottom *and* being the largest section causes some issues with the auto ordering.

See here for the above changes:
Spoiler
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Kykar, Bird Wizard and friends

Hello all!

I have been meaning to have my Kykar, Wind's Fury decklist saved somewhere since I often pull a handful of cards out of it to brew with in another deck, and some documentation will help me not mess things up when I piece it back together. I hope to keep this actively updated with changelogs, discussion, and game reports.

Some brief(ish) deck history:

Spoiler
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It took me six years of playing Magic to really iron out my preferences and playstyle. I've spent a lot of money on manabases, staples, and engine cards in every guild, wedge, and color, only to conclude that I'm an Izzet Mage at heart. There's just nothing quite as satisfying in magic for me as resolving Brainstorm, Ponder, or Faithless Looting to smooth out my draws. Unless of course it's resolving a Treasure Cruise and following it up with a Volcanic Vision to get back the cruise and watch your opponents graveyards fill. Don't even get me started on the good times had with Epic Experiment, Mindmoil, and Psychosis Crawler


While I love me some good Izzet brews, I was always disappointed that Izzet token decks always seemed to be missing something. I ran The Locust God for a while and really enjoyed it, but the gameplan felt too linear. Play my commander, tutor up or draw into Skullclamp and Ashnod's Altar, draw a million cards, then turn haste bugs sideways. Every. Single. Time.


I spiced things up with a Zada, Hedron Grinder and Mirrorwing Dragon package that was fun to combo with. One of the craziest games I ever won ended with a Chaos Warp targeting my Zada and dozen or so Locust tokens. While the change was fun, I felt I was sacrificing power to make the token swarm strategy less linear and boring.


I decided that adding another color was the ticket to getting me where I wanted to go with a token deck. I felt that black or green would pull me too heavily out of the izzet flavor of spellslinging that I love so much, and white seemed to provide a natural support for tokens without interfering with my beloved cheap instants and sorceries.


Choosing a Jeskai Commander to lead a token army was the tricky part. Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest and Ruhan of the Fomori have their own aggressive gameplans, and Zedruu the Greathearted is it's own unique deck. I debated between Narset, Enlightened Master and Numot, the Devastator knowing that either would likely draw hate from the table. I settled on Narset, and built a solid list that ultimately got pulled apart because everyone always assumes you're playing Narset to combo into infinite turns rather than go off with Docent of Perfection and a bunch of draw spells, so the deck played like archenemy often enough to not be fun.

+
=

I set aside my hopes for a solid Jeskai token commander for the time being, but it wasn't long before I was pleasantly surprised with two new Jeskai legendaries in Elsha of the Infinite and Kykar, Wind's Fury. Elsha could certainly lend itself to a token build, but Kykar is an engine and enabler by itself and seemed a no-brainer to me.

Current build

Currently the deck is a tribal build that looks to filter draws and sac tokens for card draw or value in the early game, then eventually build up a sizable army of spirits before sticking a lord or anthem effect like Drogskol Captain, Supreme Phantom, Obelisk of Urd, or Eldrazi Monument. I plan to keep the skeleton of this list, but swap out the tribal cards for a (hopefully) more powerful token engine with the likes of Young Pyromancer, Monastery Mentor, and Talrand, Sky Summoner. I am going to hold off on writing any sort of in-depth analysis of strategy for the deck until I've made the changes I'm considering.

Without further ado, here is the list as it currently stands:
Kykar, Wind's Fury - Jeskai Tokens

Commander


Approximate Total Cost:

There are some obvious upgrades to be made that are only being put off for budget reasons:

In the land section, Panorama's out and Mystic Gate, Rugged Prairie, and Sacred Foundry in. I don't know if I'll ever be able to justify Scalding Tarn and Arid Mesa, let alone ABU Duals.

Anointed Procession, Purphoros, God of the Forge, and Divine Visitation are a little more reasonable. Ish. I will probably get them over the course of time.

Honestly, I think the deck's biggest weakness right now is that it relies far too much on Kykar for token production. I hope to shore that up in a major way with a deck update in the near future. Stay tuned!

Critiques more than welcome!

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toctheyounger
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Post by toctheyounger » 1 year ago

Yep, can confirm, as mentioned by Wizard, style needs to be used, not color.
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MeowZeDung
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

Awesome, thank you!
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Post by OCPunisher » 1 year ago

@Part 4: I don't have too many utility lands in this deck. First, the curve is low enough that I can afford to cut down to 36 lands. Second, the amount of different color pips in the deck means that you don't have much room for utility lands. The only ones I have right now are Academy Ruins, Desolate Lighthouse, Ghost Quarter, Hall of Heliod's Generosity, and Reliquary Tower. The latter might become Field of the Dead soon, but everything else is duals.

Looking forward to seeing the big update! I hadn't considered Eldrazi Monument before, but it might be worth a try.
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

OCPunisher wrote:
1 year ago
Looking forward to seeing the big update! I hadn't considered Eldrazi Monument before, but it might be worth a try.
Yeah, wrath insurance in a token deck is great. I am at least going to consider rootborn defenses and unbreakable formation, though admittedly the monument is better than both.

I think you're right about lowering land count because of the low curve. I'll probably drop to 36-37 as well.
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

I recently sold a bunch of cards I had multiples of or wasn't using for anything and turned them into cards I actually wanted. That included lots of goodies for Kykar, and I finally made the sweeping changes to the deck that I was talking about. Most notably this means that I've cut the spirit tribal nonsense and am going all in on a token swarm and spellslinger strategy. I've lowered the land count to 36 due to the low curve, but made some notable upgrades. I finally got my hands on Rugged Prairie, Sulfur Falls, Clifftop Retreat and Sacred Foundry, but I just can't bring myself to purchase Mystic Gate, Arid Mesa, and Scalding Tarn. $20-80+ for a piece of cardboard that's not even exciting makes me sick to my stomach. Here's hoping Wizards reprints Zendikar fetches next year and maybe filter lands in a commander set sometime soon.

I've updated the decklist in the original post and have started fleshing out a strategy and card choice section. I will keep working on this in increments, so stay tuned for more updates!
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Post by WolfWhoWanders » 1 year ago

I have an old, old numot deck that when I saw kykar knew right away that I had to rebuild it. It's a token deck as well, but I love jank more than I love winning so the decks main premise is to do stupid stuff with mirrorweave. This is mostly a shout out to mirrorweave, as I think it could be a fun fit for your deck too
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

Woah, I've seen Mirrorweave before but never owned it so I forgot all about it! That actually could be pretty amazing, but awfully narrow because of the "nonlegendary" stipulation. Still, make a dozen Docent of Perfection/Young Pyromancer/Monastery Mentor and follow it up with some cheap spells would be fun and powerful. Or just turn all my tokens into copies of an opponent's Blightsteel Colossus, Steel Hellkite, Wurmcoil Engine, or similar nonsense would be hilarious too!
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Post by WolfWhoWanders » 1 year ago

The potential for nonsense is limitless... On the jank side you can mirrorweave a drooling ogre and drop an artifact. On the mean side you can mirrorweave an admonition angel and drop a land. Hell, mirrorweaving a dust elemental and swinging with your army is fun too
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Post by OCPunisher » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
$20-80+ for a piece of cardboard that's not even exciting makes me sick to my stomach.
This is just factually incorrect. Lands are always extremely exciting! :)

On another note, I'm curious about some of the non-blue draw spells you have, namely Cathartic Reunion, Thrill of Possibility, etc. I can understand Faithless Looting because it's initially one mana and has the flashback option, but what's the appeal of some of the other ones over their blue counterparts?

You mentioned Volcanic Vision earlier because of its synergy with Treasure Cruise and a few other more expensive delve spells, but your average CMC for possible targets looks pretty low (haven't done the exact math). I'd be concerned about having a yard with a lot of Opts and no Cruises, and having to pay seven mana, and at sorcery speed. I ran it in my Wort spellslinger deck and it was incredible, but that deck ran a lot of Cultivates and Harmonizes into Grizzly Fates and Goblin Rallys.
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Post by toctheyounger » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
That actually could be pretty amazing, but awfully narrow because of the "nonlegendary" stipulation.
As someone running Mirrorweave in my Esper zombie build at present, I can feed back that the card is less one-dimensional than it looks, it's actually pretty versatile.

Because it's instant you can use it defensively too. Say you have Kozilek, Butcher of Truth swinging at you. It's a one time thing obviously, but you can turn him into a spirit, chump block him, avoid annihilator trigger and get rid of the threat. Same applies to more voltron commanders like Narset, Enlightened Master. Because the target is the creature that every other creature becomes a copy of, Narset it still affected, loses her attack trigger and makes for an easy block. It's a nice way to sneak a rattlesnake into play.

Otherwise, turning all of your tokens into prowess monks, X/X constructs, or 2/2 flying drakes for a sneaky alpha strike seems great, and that's just covering what creatures you have. Turning your critters into something like Pathbreaker Ibex or Utvara Hellkite seems absolutely disgusting, who wouldn't want to do that?
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Post by OCPunisher » 1 year ago

toctheyounger wrote:
1 year ago
MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
That actually could be pretty amazing, but awfully narrow because of the "nonlegendary" stipulation.
As someone running Mirrorweave in my Esper zombie build at present, I can feed back that the card is less one-dimensional than it looks, it's actually pretty versatile.

Because it's instant you can use it defensively too. Say you have Kozilek, Butcher of Truth swinging at you. It's a one time thing obviously, but you can turn him into a spirit, chump block him, avoid annihilator trigger and get rid of the threat. Same applies to more voltron commanders like Narset, Enlightened Master. Because the target is the creature that every other creature becomes a copy of, Narset it still affected, loses her attack trigger and makes for an easy block. It's a nice way to sneak a rattlesnake into play.

Otherwise, turning all of your tokens into prowess monks, X/X constructs, or 2/2 flying drakes for a sneaky alpha strike seems great, and that's just covering what creatures you have. Turning your critters into something like Pathbreaker Ibex or Utvara Hellkite seems absolutely disgusting, who wouldn't want to do that?
You can even bring it out with Sunforger! Sign me up for shenanigans!
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

I'm at work on my phone, so I'll give an in depth answer to @OCPunisher when I get to my computer. Great questions!

@toctheyounger are you sure mirrorweave gets rid of attack triggers? I would assume that if they've already declared their kozilek/narset attack, the trigger would be on the stack already and changing the creature wouldn't matter at that point, at least for the trigger. Wouldn't you have to mirrorweave before attacks are declared?

Either way, you folks are doing a good job of selling this card. I'll have to pick up a copy and test it. Sunforger fetchable takes the cake.
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Post by toctheyounger » 1 year ago

I mean I think you'd probably need to cast before your opponent moves to attack phase, but that's easy enough. I guess once the triggers are on the stack you're screwed so that's probably your last chance to make annihilator or extra turns for free go away (temporarily).
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

Right, but then you don't get to kill it with an easy block, so it's either/ or but not both.
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

OCPunisher wrote:
1 year ago
On another note, I'm curious about some of the non-blue draw spells you have, namely Cathartic Reunion, Thrill of Possibility, etc. I can understand Faithless Looting because it's initially one mana and has the flashback option, but what's the appeal of some of the other ones over their blue counterparts?
I've been working on the "Card Choices" section of the first post, and I'll bump the thread when it's all done (only lands left to go). I go into a bit more detail there about the strategy and synergy of the deck. Basically, I'm really working to keep the curve low and cast as many spells each turn cycle as possible for maximum token creation triggers. So, everything that costs 3 or more mana and isn't a token engine needs to justify itself in a big way.

I've packed in all of the best 1-2 mana blue draw and cantrip spells I know of (and even the "big" draw spells I've included are the ones with delve that I'm looking to cast for only 1-2 as well) so I'm not short on card draw. With the goal of a low curve in mind and the glut of card draw already in the deck, great blue draw spells like Blue Sun's Zenith, Pull from Tomorrow, Stroke of Genius, and even Fact or Fiction seem out of place and redundant. Though I will admit, FoF still tempts me because 4 isn't all that much and it is an instant. It may make it's way into the deck as I tweak eventually.

The red alternatives check the boxes of being cheap or even free with mana from saccing spirits if I really need them to be, they dig me to even more cheap action, they trigger my token engines, and I'm looking to use the looting to my advantage by sending relevant cards to the graveyard. The deck can already set up for some explosive nonsense with Past in Flames, Mystic Retrieval, or Volcanic Vision, and the cheap red loot spells help even more with that.
You mentioned Volcanic Vision earlier because of its synergy with Treasure Cruise and a few other more expensive delve spells, but your average CMC for possible targets looks pretty low (haven't done the exact math). I'd be concerned about having a yard with a lot of Opts and no Cruises, and having to pay seven mana, and at sorcery speed.
I fess up in my card choice section that Volcanic Vision is probably the most questionable inclusion in the deck simply because it's a pet card of mine. I'm absolutely being results oriented and a bit unreasonable :crazy: , but I've never found myself with it stranded in my hand, and I've had it be a huge swing in my favor so many times that I'm blinded by my love for it.

The downsides you mention are very real though. There are currently only 7 instants/sorceries at 4+ CMC in the deck for vision to target. In my defense, I think having Cathartic Reunion, Faithless Looting, Thrill of Possibility, Strategic Planning, Geier Reach Sanitarium, Jeskai Ascendancy, Thought Scour, Frantic Search, and to a much lesser extent, The Locust God in the deck make it so much more likely to get one of those targets in the yard.

The other factor is that I already have relatively few board wipes in the deck and I hesitate to cut one. I feel it would be morally indefensible to purchase a Cyclonic Rift (kidding, kidding). You mentioned Divine Reckoning earlier in the thread and I am considering it, but just like with Time Wipe I don't like that it wipes out my tokens, and even worse, it lets my opponents keep their best creature.
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Post by toctheyounger » 1 year ago

MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
You mentioned Divine Reckoning earlier in the thread and I am considering it, but just like with Time Wipe I don't like that it wipes out my tokens, and even worse,
it lets my opponents keep their best creature.
You could meet halfway and use Tragic Arrogance. It lets you make all the choices, and hits all other card types. Sometimes it's worth losing your army to remove key pieces with undisputed authority.

Otherwise....Mizzium Mortars?
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

Yeah, I forgot about Tragic Arrogance. Could be what I'm looking for.

The problem with Mizzium Mortars is that it's overload is only 1 cheaper than Volcanic Vision and I don't get to get anything back from the yard. That and it only deals 4.
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Post by toctheyounger » 1 year ago

Yeah, I'm not a fan of mortars myself. Doesn't do enough for its overload costs. I guess there's Settle the Wreckage or Winds of Abandon too, but I'm generally loathe to ramp people with wipes unless I've got a win coming.
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Post by MeowZeDung » 1 year ago

I've finished my first attempt at the card choices and notable exclusions / maybeboard sections. I would love any feedback about not only my card choices, but also the layout and writing in the post. I hope to mold it over time into the primer template and maybe after playing with it for a good chunk of time applying for primer status, so any help with the layout, writing, and deck build is much appreciated!
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Post by OCPunisher » 1 year ago

toctheyounger wrote:
1 year ago
MeowZeDung wrote:
1 year ago
You mentioned Divine Reckoning earlier in the thread and I am considering it, but just like with Time Wipe I don't like that it wipes out my tokens, and even worse,
it lets my opponents keep their best creature.
You could meet halfway and use Tragic Arrogance. It lets you make all the choices, and hits all other card types. Sometimes it's worth losing your army to remove key pieces with undisputed authority.

Otherwise....Mizzium Mortars?
I'm a big fan of Tragic Arrogance for exactly that reason: you make all the choices. That's a huge deal that doesn't happen very often. You can always make more tokens.

Mizzium Mortars is another limited card that doesn't belong in this uber-constructed format. Even with the recent change to lower-curve decks, people still play things with 5 or more toughness on a regular basis. If you want a damage-based sweeper in this deck, you want the various Earthquake-type spells that hit non-flying creatures for as much as you can afford to pay, and being red spells makes them that much easier to cast. Some of them are even instant-speed!

Getting back to your strategy, if you want to make a bunch of tokens in one big turn, make sure you have enough ways to get paid off for your efforts before someone else untaps and wipes them out. That might be dong damage right away with Purphoros and the like, or having another sac outlet to gain extra profit (seems a bit redundant next to Kykar). I think the idea of "preventing" board wipes is a futile effort. You could run Negates, but then lose to Supreme Verdict or Wrath of God plus an opposing Negate, you could run Make a Stands like you have, but then lose to Evacuation and Cyclonic Rift and All Is Dust and Toxic Deluge. Regardless, the point is that spitting out multiple tokens in one turn will draw a lot of attention from the table, and trying to preemptively guess which way they're gonna die is difficult at best.
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