Cheap Cantrips (12)
Other Synergy Pieces (6)
Imagine my shock when Extus, Oriq Overlord became (at least for now) the most popular commander from Strixhaven. Between this and my Tergrid ('s Lantern) deck, I'm becoming mainstream. Cringe.
But much like Tergrid, I'm determined to use the other half of the card everyone is so fired up about. In this case, that'll be the front side. Let's get magecrafting!
So Extus is a pretty solid body as a 2 power double-striker with an unboltable butt, and thus makes a decent voltron commander, but his other ability seems at odds with that - voltron doesn't trigger magecraft, nor does it generally run many creatures to recur, and 2-power, Mardu Rafiq of the Many isn't exactly thrilling in 2021. So how do?
My plan is basically 2-fold
First, run instant and sorcery pumps to buff and protect Extus in lieu of equipment. This should hopefully minimize his threat level while enabling us to spike sudden death upon people. As Extus also triggers off interaction, we'll have plenty of space for that too, while we look for an opening.
The second part is how to use creatures without really have much interest in keeping creatures on our board, and there's a lot of good options on that front. Mechanic-wise, we've got:
Adventure (needs sac outlet)
The Fleshbag Marauder family
etbs/ltbs (needs sac outlet)
So here's where we come to a crossroads, because depending how we go, the deck could work in vastly different ways. Intuitively, we want a lot fewer creatures than spells (I'm going to use spells as shorthand for instants + sorceries), because every spell could recur the same creature over and over, provided we can easily bin it for value. Additional creatures don't really provide extra value so much as extra options (and occasionally value if we cast a storm spell or something where the ability requires multiple targets simultaneously). Of course we still want a reasonable density so we're likely to have something to recur at all times - probably on the order of 15-20. So we could go for all the best cards from each category to give ourselves maximum diversity of options, or we could focus on some subset to synergize more strongly with that mechanic. For example, Fluctuator is amazing with cycling, but nothing else. Grave Pact is great with evoke, sac abilities, etc but not with cycling, channel, or bloodrush. And if we want to go with adventures and/or etb effects, we'll need a decent number of sac outlets - lands alone may not be enough. or may overburden us with colorless mana. And then there's some randos like Faerie Macabre that defy categorization.
This is where I'm a little stuck. I'm kinda leaning towards cycling, since cycling has some of the strongest synergy, as well as a lot of synergy within the cycling cards themselves, and is basically always good value whereas Embereth Shieldbreaker // Battle Display isn't necessarily going to be useful all the time. But on the other hand, fleshy can be pretty devastating when looped, as can Shriekmaw, Night Incarnate, etc. So I haven't quite settled yet. I've got a big stack of 45 or so creatures that are all awesome and it's hard to cut any of them tbh.