Orvar, the All-Form - Copying Permanents with Card Draw

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darrenhabib
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Post by darrenhabib » 1 month ago

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I did the mandatory search of instants and sorcery that target permanents you control and a few patterns emerged.
Lots have in built replacement draw with either "Draw a card." or "Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep."
In this manner you can efficiently draw into further spells like these.
Another element is that there are some that allow multiple casting and that might be via flashback, rebound, jump-start, buyback or cipher.
This means that you can look to get even more value from copying your cards.

Targeting/Copying ANY Permanent

There are a lot of cards that target creatures, but there are also a set that allow you to target some variation of permanents.
For example Thermal Flux can target any permanent, while Enervate can target artifact, creature or land.

Cantrip Mono-Blue Land Ramp
With Orvar, the All-Form you can use these types of cards to target a land and copy it, meaning you get incredible quantity and quality of land ramp in the deck. For mono-Blue this is almost unheard of.
There are 17 cards that can target lands and they all cost between 1-3 mana and either have a draw effect or are able to be cast multiple times.

Glamerdye is a great example of a card that you can cast multiple times. If you are copying a land then you create another mana so you can potentially cast it multiple times in a turn because you are adding lands that you can use to help cast it again.

Copying lands means that a few utility lands can be used for value or even infinite's.

There are 3 x buyback cards that can target lands in Whim of Volrath, Mind Games, Clockspinning. If you can produce enough mana each time you create a land to be able to cast with buyback then you can go infinite.
High Tide cast a couple of times with a cost reducer like Sapphire Medallion is an example of how you might do this.
These buyback cards are honestly one of the key elements to the deck in both in terms of great value and also game ending infinite's.

Mystic Sanctuary can be copied to put an instant or sorcery back on top of library.
Aquitect's Will is a one mana card which means that you can cast it to make another Mystic Sanctuary.
Timing of resolutions is important here. Orvar, the All-Form is a cast trigger so a token of Mystic Sanctuary is made while the Aquitect's Will is still on the stack, meaning you couldn't specifically target the Aquitect's Will.
But if you have another land targeting card (with draw) then you can put the Aquitect's Will on top and then draw it to cast again.
You can keep looping effects like this for as much mana as you have and remember a new land is being created each time which can be used to cast the spells.
There are no other target land cards that only cost one mana but Twitch (untaps a land meaning virtual 2 mana) and Shimmering Mirage only cost 2 mana and therefore with Sapphire Medallion only costing u meaning that you could create infinite Mystic Sanctuary within these combination of cards.
Remember that Polluted Delta, Mystic Rainforest, Scalding Tarn, Flooded Strand can all get Mystic Sanctuary when you are ready for it.

High Tide is also a card that makes each land produce more mana so could be combined with other land targeting cards to really go off, if not infinite.
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If you can cast High Tide multiple times in a turn then you can look to go infinite with buyback cards that can target a land. These are Whim of Volrath, Clockspinning, Mind Games.
However you need 4 mana for Clockspinning and Mind Games to be able to create infinite Islands. Casting High Tide 3 times in a turn isn't really what the deck is designed to do but there are combinations of cards that can allow you to sequence this.
Copying Creatures

There are a bunch of efficient cantrip instant and sorcery that target creatures only. Therefore we want a set of creatures that are good to make duplicates.

Precursor Golem is like the signature card for the deck. You specifically copy the Precursor Golem creating 3 more Golems. Orvar, the All-Form is a cast trigger so you wouldn't be able to target the new copies yet, but it still an incredible cascading effect and because so many of your targeting spells contain draw you just get to draw heaps more cards for each Golem.

Sakashima of a Thousand Faces and Spark Double are able to copy Ovar. Because each time you cast a targeting spell you'll get to create another Ovar this has a cascading effect on number of Ovar you keep creating and the number of times a spell is copied.
These creatures are by far the most exponential way to take over a game by making creatures.

Enter the battlefield triggers are great for this to make sure you get value.
For card draw there is Augur of Bolas, Sea Gate Oracle, Mulldrifter.
Note with Mulldrifter that you can pay the evoke cost and then while the trigger is on the stack then cast a target spell on it so that you get a copy before you sacrifice. That way you get a permanent copy (token) in play that you can then use for further targeting.

There are some that allow you to search your library for various cards.
With Spellseeker you can keep getting further cards to make copies. There are 21 instant or sorcery spells that can copy the Spellseeker so in theory you can keep looping these to make an army of them.
However 1/1 is not an impressive stats even though you can literally put 22 of them onto the board.
Trinket Mage can get more artifact mana.
Kaho, Minamo Historian is great because it can get you instants and then when you have used all 3 you can then copy Kaho, Minamo Historian to create a new version and search for more. You can keep looping value because the last instant you search for can be another targeting spell to specifically target Kaho meaning you'll get at least 2 instants for additional value each cycle.
Solemn Simulacrum is more land ramp and of course a great creature to copy as you can get draw on death.

There are ways to cast or retrieve from graveyard in;
Snapcaster Mage, Torrential Gearhulk, Scholar of the Lost Trove, Archaeomancer, Shipwreck Dowser.

Torrential Gearhulk and Scholar of the Lost Trove represent potentially mid-late game finishers.
Given that you can keep making copies of them for as many targeting creature cards as you have in graveyard it is easy to create an army of them.
Torrential Gearhulk is specifically instants but that is still most of them as there are only 6 sorcery targeting cards.
Scholar of the Lost Trove can also target sorcery and the flying is nice as well.
Going back to the Spellseeker you can see that a mighty game plan is to simply filter through as many instant and sorcery from your library as possible to put into your graveyard and then cast Torrential Gearhulk or Scholar of the Lost Trove to easily put more than enough attackers onto the board to kill opponents pretty quickly.

Archaeomancer and Shipwreck Dowser can get back any instant or sorcery so you can keep looping copying it to make more copies.
If you are specifically using a draw type effect as well then it means that you can keep drawing cards.
A classic example would be to keep getting back say Cerulean Wisps and copying the Archaeomancer.
You get an additional 1/2 and draw a card for every u you have, which is pretty amazing value given that you can just keep doing this every turn.
Shipwreck Dowser is a lot better in that it's a 3/3 body with prowess that can set up lethal attacks actually pretty quickly. Think Monastery Mentor type antics.

Snapcaster Mage is similar but exiling your instant or sorcery does mean that you can't loop the same way, but you can still get great value.

Peregrine Drake is a nice way to unlock your mana which can be super important to efficient turns.
You can actually get infinite mana with any buyback spell that targets a creature and costs 4 or less which are Whim of Volrath
Mind Games, Clockspinning.

Gilded Drake can be copied while the trigger is on the stack so you can look to steal multiple creatures depending on how many targeting spells you have and how much mana you have available.

Glen Elendra Archmage is just a nice creature to copy for the sake of countering spells. Turning all your targeting spells into non-creature counters is pretty much a soft-lock.


Additional Synergy

Changeling and Wizards
A few little advantages you can get from the fact that Orvar, the All-Form is a changeling is that Aquitect's Will, Chilling Trap and Stream of Unconsciousness means that you have a Wizard and a Merfolk for the draw triggers.

Cavern of Souls and Path of Ancestry also work nice with Orvar, the All-Form being a changeling.
You can name Wizard with Cavern of Souls which 2/3 of the creatures in the deck are.

Riptide Laboratory can be used to return a Wizard and you can look to use it to protect Orvar, the All-Form when you can.

Swarmyard is another land that you can look to protect Orvar, the All-Form as he is all of those creatures.

Color me..
A nice little interaction is using the cards that change color words in Trait Doctoring, Whim of Volrath, Glamerdye, Crystal Spray can be used to alter Insight and Hydroblast to make them more effective.
Changing Insight to a more popular color in the game will also create another version of the card although it will default to Green as the copy is a cast trigger so would happen before the color change happens. However there is normally one or two Green color-pie inclusive mages at a table anyway.

Hydroblast can actually target any permanent for Orvar, the All-Form trigger and obviously also good against Red decks.
In a pinch you can use one of the color changing cards to turn it into a hard counter.



Orvar, the All-Form

Commander


Target permanent (buyback)


Target permanent (color change)


Target permanent


Target artifact, creature, land


1 Jolt

Target nonlands


Approximate Total Cost:

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 month ago

BeneTleilax wrote:
1 month ago
No Mystic Reflection ?
Unless I am missing something, it doesn't really add much value. You are already able to copy cards that you have in play so really it only comes down to if you specifically wanted to copy an opponent creature instead.
The problem there is that you wouldn't get an initial Orvar trigger (targeting an opponents creature), so you'd lose some value there if going for that play and then there is no draw with it either like most of the targeting effects have in the deck.
Let me know if there is a great sequence I am not thinking about?

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Post by BeneTleilax » 1 month ago

It just seemed like getting some redundancy in the copy effects might be handy.

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Post by Wallycaine » 1 month ago

darrenhabib wrote:
1 month ago
Sea Gate Stormcaller can potentially have a cascading effect with creating multiple copies in a turn.
Say you copy it, now the next time you cast a targeting card it gets copied. Two copies of Sea Gate Stormcaller will come into play and now your next targeting card will be copied twice. That means that another spell will creature another 3 copies of Stormcaller. You get the picture, the more targeting cards you can cast in a single turn you get to double the number of Stormcaller.
This is incorrect. Sea Gate Stormcaller copies the spell, which doesn't trigger Orvar, the All-Form because they care about spells being cast. You'll only ever get a single Stormcaller per targetting spell, even if you copy it a dozen times. It's the same interaction as Precursor Golem. Obviously the creature is still valuable, since it lets you double up on card draw while popping out 2/1's, but it's not exponential the way you spell out here.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 month ago

BeneTleilax wrote:
1 month ago
It just seemed like getting some redundancy in the copy effects might be handy.
Sakashima's Will does retrospective changing of creatures which means that you could put an army of Spellseeker into play and then look to make them Precursor Golem or whatever is on offer.

I was actually looking for cards that gave bonuses for having multiple creatures of same type in play, just because it is possible to do the consistently with Spellseeker and Archaeomancer.
I had all the other return instant and sorcery creatures lined up with Scrivener, Mnemonic Wall, Salvager of Secrets, Scholar of the Ages being additional targets.
However creating 20 Mnemonic Wall over the course of a few turns isn't all that appealing.
So I was thinking about a cards like Coat of Arms to really make use of this type of play.
But I felt that was going too deep for what is more than likely a winning setup anyway.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 month ago

Wallycaine wrote:
1 month ago
darrenhabib wrote:
1 month ago
Sea Gate Stormcaller can potentially have a cascading effect with creating multiple copies in a turn.
Say you copy it, now the next time you cast a targeting card it gets copied. Two copies of Sea Gate Stormcaller will come into play and now your next targeting card will be copied twice. That means that another spell will creature another 3 copies of Stormcaller. You get the picture, the more targeting cards you can cast in a single turn you get to double the number of Stormcaller.
This is incorrect. Sea Gate Stormcaller copies the spell, which doesn't trigger Orvar, the All-Form because they care about spells being cast. You'll only ever get a single Stormcaller per targetting spell, even if you copy it a dozen times. It's the same interaction as Precursor Golem. Obviously the creature is still valuable, since it lets you double up on card draw while popping out 2/1's, but it's not exponential the way you spell out here.
OK, I've cut it because I didn't even think it all that great anyway creating a bunch of 2/1.

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Post by BeneTleilax » 1 month ago

Master of Waves goes really well with Replication and Orvar in general, if you want.

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Post by narglfrob » 1 month ago

Lord of the Unreal seems nice with Orvar, hexproof for your boi and pumps him up.

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Post by narglfrob » 1 month ago

Some more spicy tech after a bit of brewing, in no particular order:
Curious Homunculus // Voracious Reader a cost reducer with a decent body
Phyrexian Metamorph Mirrormade Mirage Mirror Clever Impersonator , copy your opponents sweet things, so Orvar can start mass producing them.
Insight, multiple copies become bananas, we run cards that can change "green" to whatever colour is most popular at the table
Midnight Clock more card draw on a permanent.
Submerge generally just good removal, but can also be used to save Orvar for zero mana
Docent of Perfection // Final Iteration another army in a can we can make lots of copies of to get a huge board.
Spark Double Sakashima of a Thousand Faces, create an exponential army of Orvars
Sakashima the Impostor not as exponential as the previous two, but two Orvars is still pretty good! And can copy opponents stuff as well!
Scholar of the Ages another nice piece of top end

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Post by capitacommunist » 1 month ago

Spellskite and Fierce Guardianship seem very good here as additional protection. Time Spiral also seems worth considering here.
Is Patron Wizard potentially worth it here?
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Post by Kelzam » 1 month ago

Have you thought about including Alhammarret's Archive and Teferi's Ageless Insight to make your cantrips/chain casting power that much more effective?
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Post by darrenhabib » 1 month ago

narglfrob wrote:
1 month ago
Some more spicy tech after a bit of brewing, in no particular order:
Curious Homunculus // Voracious Reader a cost reducer with a decent body
Phyrexian Metamorph Mirrormade Mirage Mirror Clever Impersonator , copy your opponents sweet things, so Orvar can start mass producing them.
Insight, multiple copies become bananas, we run cards that can change "green" to whatever colour is most popular at the table
Midnight Clock more card draw on a permanent.
Submerge generally just good removal, but can also be used to save Orvar for zero mana
Docent of Perfection // Final Iteration another army in a can we can make lots of copies of to get a huge board.
Spark Double Sakashima of a Thousand Faces, create an exponential army of Orvars
Sakashima the Impostor not as exponential as the previous two, but two Orvars is still pretty good! And can copy opponents stuff as well!
Scholar of the Ages another nice piece of top end
Wow lots of great thought put into these suggestions I can tell you know your stuff.

The Insight working with Trait Doctoring, Whim of Volrath, Glamerdye, Crystal Spray is genius! The thing is that Green is often at a table anyway. I'll have to make room for it.

I actually had token generators (like Docent of Perfection) as potential includes to make plays like Spellseeker or Archaeomancer more meaningful but just didn't have the room for them.

Copying opponents creatures isn't something I thought about, just because you get so much value out of your own ones. But adding Phyrexian Metamorph is a pretty safe bet for most decks.
Of note Gilded Drake is a card that can get an opponents creature AND you can copy the Drake while its ETB trigger is on the stack to get more opponents creatures. I should add it.

Copying Orvar, the All-Form with Spark Double or Sakashima of a Thousand Faces is pretty nifty to double up on triggers.
You could keep investing your targeting into creating more Sakashima of a Thousand Faces (Orvar, the All-Form) so that future targeting triggers more times. I like this idea,

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 month ago

capitacommunist wrote:
1 month ago
Spellskite and Fierce Guardianship seem very good here as additional protection. Time Spiral also seems worth considering here.
Is Patron Wizard potentially worth it here?
I feel like you'd need a lot of Patron Wizard to stop all your opponents from exacting their plans.

I should definitely include Fierce Guardianship.

I should add High Tide to the deck as it does put token Islands into play pretty easily, so in many ways is prime for this card. This would make Time Spiral more appealing for sure.

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Post by BeneTleilax » 1 month ago

Helm of the Host is another card that can copy Orvar, though if you're investing that much mana, you might be better served with Mirror Gallery.
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Post by Stapler » 1 month ago

The great thing is that near a third of the cards in the deck can target Orvar, the All-Form for duplicating.
Before you go too far down this path: Orvar says "other" permanent you control, meaning targeting Orvar alone with an instant or sorcery will not trigger it. You can still do something like Ghostly Flicker targeting Orvar and an Island to protect Orvar from a Murder, and that will trigger Orvar, but Orvar's trigger will only let you choose to copy the Island, not Orvar (Orvar says "create a token that's a copy of one of those permanents", referring only to the "other permanents" you targeted). Compare to Ghostly Flicker targeting Archaeomancer and Island, where Orvar lets you clone either of the two.
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Post by cheonice » 1 month ago

darrenhabib wrote:
1 month ago
Obviously this deck is very Commander focused with Orvar, the All-Form remaining in play.
The great thing is that near a third of the cards in the deck can target Orvar, the All-Form for duplicating.
That means that if an opponent targets it for removal you can target it yourself with your own spells and create a token copy.
The legendary rule means you can only keep one, but you keep the token instead to negate the removal on the original.
In this manner it really is almost impossible to get rid of Orvar unless you're tapped out or it is non-targeted removal like a creature sweeper.
I'm pretty sure that this does not work. You need to target other permanents to make copies of them. You can't produce copies of Orvar, the All-Form with his own ability. Or am I missing something?

For reference:
"Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, if it targets one or more other permanents you control, create a token that's a copy of one of those permanents."

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 month ago

Kelzam wrote:
1 month ago
Have you thought about including Alhammarret's Archive and Teferi's Ageless Insight to make your cantrips/chain casting power that much more effective?
Actually I had a draft copy of the deck with Teferi's Ageless Insight in it for the additional draw.
That draft also had the rest of the return instant or sorcery creature cards in Scrivener, Mnemonic Wall, Salvager of Secrets, Scholar of the Ages.
With the way you can keep recycling cantrips with these creatures, Teferi's Ageless Insight was more useful to this cause.

I'll see how the deck fares first and then look to add it if I I feel the deck needs more action.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 month ago

Stapler wrote:
1 month ago
Before you go too far down this path: Orvar says "other" permanent you control, meaning targeting Orvar alone with an instant or sorcery will not trigger it. You can still do something like Ghostly Flicker targeting Orvar and an Island to protect Orvar from a Murder, and that will trigger Orvar, but Orvar's trigger will only let you choose to copy the Island, not Orvar (Orvar says "create a token that's a copy of one of those permanents", referring only to the "other permanents" you targeted). Compare to Ghostly Flicker targeting Archaeomancer and Island, where Orvar lets you clone either of the two.
cheonice wrote:
1 month ago
I'm pretty sure that this does not work. You need to target other permanents to make copies of them. You can't produce copies of Orvar, the All-Form with his own ability. Or am I missing something?

For reference:
"Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, if it targets one or more other permanents you control, create a token that's a copy of one of those permanents."
Ahh good point I didn't read the "other" part.

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Post by Wallycaine » 1 month ago

darrenhabib wrote:
1 month ago
capitacommunist wrote:
1 month ago
Spellskite and Fierce Guardianship seem very good here as additional protection. Time Spiral also seems worth considering here.
Is Patron Wizard potentially worth it here?
I feel like you'd need a lot of Patron Wizard to stop all your opponents from exacting their plans.
For Patron Wizard, he's strongest when you pull off those Archaeomancer/Spellseeker loops, as they're both Wizards that can be tapped for his ability. I'm not sure if he's worth a slot in the deck, but the general idea would be to create 8-10 copies of your 1/1's or 1/2's, and then dare opponents to try and mess with them. Since you can tap them 1 at a time, that adds a pretty massive tax on any attempts to blow them/patron wizard/your commander up.

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Post by capitacommunist » 1 month ago

darrenhabib wrote:
1 month ago
I feel like you'd need a lot of Patron Wizard to stop all your opponents from exacting their plans.
I was thinking more along of the lines that with Orvar and Patron Wizard out, someone will need to pay two more to be able to cast their spell to break your board position, potentially more if you also have other wizards out. Thereby Patron Wizard would serve as additional protection. But with mana open you could always threaten to create another copy, thereby increasing the tax to three or four.
My feeling is that opponents will hesitate to play into it, thereby buying you time and making it more difficult later to break the lock (as you naturally create further tokens).

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Post by narglfrob » 1 month ago

Stapler wrote:
1 month ago
The great thing is that near a third of the cards in the deck can target Orvar, the All-Form for duplicating.
Before you go too far down this path: Orvar says "other" permanent you control, meaning targeting Orvar alone with an instant or sorcery will not trigger it. You can still do something like Ghostly Flicker targeting Orvar and an Island to protect Orvar from a Murder, and that will trigger Orvar, but Orvar's trigger will only let you choose to copy the Island, not Orvar (Orvar says "create a token that's a copy of one of those permanents", referring only to the "other permanents" you targeted). Compare to Ghostly Flicker targeting Archaeomancer and Island, where Orvar lets you clone either of the two.
Oh oops, I missed this. I think I've been cheating in the test games I've played so far.

This reduces the explosiveness of Spark Double and Sakashima of a Thousand Faces, but they are still really strong probably. I wen't infinite with Clockspinning and Spark Double once I had 8 copies of Orvar, the All-Form in play (each casting of Clockspinning created 8 islands). I shouldn't have been able to get their as fast as I did (instead of going from 2 Orvars to 4 and then 8, it would have been 2 → 3 → 5, still enough to go infinite with Clockspinning), but regardless Spark Double enables those infinite shenanigans. For that reason I will be cutting both Spark Double and Sakashima of a Thousand Faces since I prefer to play without infinities.

Some more spice for review:
Top End:
  • Tidespout Tyrant Agent of Treachery: Courtesy of Commanders Quarters, these are a good fit for the deck. Once Ovar is online is very easy to get 7+ mana, and these cards, once cloned, end the game FAST!
Utility
  • Submerge I think I mentioned this above, but man it proved itself to be very good. Creating a copy of Spark Double for zero mana, and going infinite with Submerge on the stack was insane (granted I cheated, but still not by much). In addition to being very passable removal.
  • Unsubstantiate more cards that are useful interaction while also have a 2nd use to create copies of stuff
Lands that love to have copies made of them:

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 month ago

Wallycaine wrote:
1 month ago
For Patron Wizard, he's strongest when you pull off those Archaeomancer/Spellseeker loops, as they're both Wizards that can be tapped for his ability. I'm not sure if he's worth a slot in the deck, but the general idea would be to create 8-10 copies of your 1/1's or 1/2's, and then dare opponents to try and mess with them. Since you can tap them 1 at a time, that adds a pretty massive tax on any attempts to blow them/patron wizard/your commander up.
capitacommunist wrote:
1 month ago
I was thinking more along of the lines that with Orvar and Patron Wizard out, someone will need to pay two more to be able to cast their spell to break your board position, potentially more if you also have other wizards out. Thereby Patron Wizard would serve as additional protection. But with mana open you could always threaten to create another copy, thereby increasing the tax to three or four.
My feeling is that opponents will hesitate to play into it, thereby buying you time and making it more difficult later to break the lock (as you naturally create further tokens).
Alright gotcha. There are even some cantrips that untap creatures so you could sneak in enough activation's to counter a spell.

Voidmage Prodigy is another card that could be used to turn your cantrips into hard counters. The trade off is its more mana intensive, but easier to make sure it counterspells if you specifically hold up mana through turns.

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Post by darrenhabib » 1 month ago

Stapler wrote:
1 month ago
Some more spice for review:
Top End:
  • Tidespout Tyrant Agent of Treachery: Courtesy of Commanders Quarters, these are a good fit for the deck. Once Ovar is online is very easy to get 7+ mana, and these cards, once cloned, end the game FAST!
No doubt they'd be game winning. I've tried to keep my top end pretty low as tapping out could be risky.
Utility
  • Submerge I think I mentioned this above, but man it proved itself to be very good. Creating a copy of Spark Double for zero mana, and going infinite with Submerge on the stack was insane (granted I cheated, but still not by much). In addition to being very passable removal.
  • Unsubstantiate more cards that are useful interaction while also have a 2nd use to create copies of stuff
I'll find room for Unsubstantiate the versatility should be good.

I've added Hydroblast because you can target any permanent and it also doubles up counter for Red cards.
Plus you can use the change color spells to turn it into a hard counter for any colored spell.

I also added Dive Down and Mizzium Skin as way to protect Orvar, the All-Form or as a way to copy cards. With knowing that you can't make duplicates of Orvar, the All-Form protecting him is much more important.
Lands that love to have copies made of them:
I've added High Tide and so I'm working my mana base a little bit more around Islands now.
But I'm feeling Swarmyard that is great tech.

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Post by Ardeyn » 1 month ago

Dann it, you're fast with these well though out deck ideas for new commanders. 😳

Some ideas I had, that I haven't seen (discussed) here so far:
Energy Tap - for some mana in addition to a copy.
Primal Amulet // Primal Wellspring - cost reduction and eventual spell copies
Trail of Evidence - card draw
Vedalken Shackles - "removal" (which you're really light on) or so you can copy opponents' creatures, too
Teferi's Time Twist - Flicker, that targets any permanent for protection and/or copying
Naru Meha, Master Wizard - pump your Commander and combo with Ghostly Flicker for Infinite Mana / ETBs
Azami, Lady of Scrolls - card draw for that incidental wizard subtheme

I'd be really interested to read your thoughts on these.

Ardeyn
"A single spark of passion can change a man forever."

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