In Commander there’s nothing better than getting free stuff, unless it’s getting free stuff twice and then giving all of that free stuff haste and evasion and smashing through with good old combat damage. This week I’m updating another one of favorite my personal decks in a timely fashion, adding in a number of cards from 2020’s Commander Legends. Hey, when you have like 40 decks, sometimes it takes a while to cycle through them.
The Commander: Maelstrom Wanderer
Cascade is one of my favorite mechanics, combining both free value and randomness, and this deck is built to flip over massive threats and ways to get them through, then take advantage of the haste that Maelstrom Wanderer grants to punch our opponents with serious damage before they can react. Since you actually cast the spells you cascade into, this means they can trigger further cascades and also resolve before Wanderer so they will be in play already by the time it enters for effects that trigger on creatures ETB. Because we want to be triggering the double cascade as often as we can, this is a Commander that we’re stoked to have die and should regularly be flinging it into combats where it will either be getting through for a damage based kill in 3 hits, or it’s being killed so we can recast it.
With an 8 drop Commander and a deck full of big threats, we really want to be ramping early and often. There’s an assortment of traditional land ramp like Rampant Growth, Cultivate, and Explosive Vegetation which is great to chain together early game. We also have a number of creatures that help us like Wood Elves, Sakura-Tribe Elder, and Yavimaya Elder. Averna leverages what our deck already wants to be doing and lets us grab lands out of our cascade piles in addition to what we’re casting which is outstanding. Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma helps us get to our big creatures quickly, including our Commander. The Great Henge gets very cheap very quickly for us, and then it ramps us, gains us life, and draws us a bunch of cards. Similarly, once we get going, Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient gives us huge bursts of mana. Finally we have a couple of enchantments in Mana Reflection and Zendikar Resurgent that turbocharge all of those lands we’ve been pushing out and enable some heinous turns.
Since our game plan is for Wanderer to die multiple times, it means all of this ramp doesn’t feel wasted late game either. Yes you’d still rather get something massive but if you got the two extra lands to pay for the Commander tax next turn it still gets you where you want to be.
The Card Draw
In addition to the draw already tacked on to The Great Henge and Zendikar Resurgent, we have great staples like Rhystic Study, Guardian Project, and Consecrated Sphinx. We also have some less standard fare like Nissa’s Revelation and Garruk’s Uprising, which also gives us the very valuable Trample. Guided Passage is a fun pet card I don’t get to run much that gives us good options, and can be very useful politically. Etali, Primal Storm gives us additional advantage by casting off of the top of everyone’s deck. Genesis Ultimatum also can give us a big swing of advantage since the majority of our deck is permanents, and Cream of the Crop offers additional selection.
On top of our straight up draw, we have our big advantage engine: Cascade spells. Each of these gives us the option to cast additional free spells, which can in turn cast more spells with cascade, all the way down the line. With the addition of the new cards from Commander Legends, we have a solid chunk of them: Apex Devastator, Aurora Phoenix, Bloodbraid Elf, Etherium-Horn Sorcerer, Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty, and Shardless Agent. Even better is that Imoti hands it out to all of our big beaters as well. Thicket Elemental is a sweet older card that gives us a pseudo-cascade too.
We largely plan to deal with problems by eliminating players, but we do have some ways to deal with serious problems in a pinch. Kogla is a triple threat, removing a creature and then repeatedly blowing up the artifacts and enchantments most likely to hamper us. Acidic Slime, Trygon Predator, and Hull Breach offer us redundancy. Balefire Dragon and Dragonlord Atarka give us a way to deal with pesky creatures and fit with our small Dragon subtheme, and Blasphemous Act acts as our big sweeper. Eternal Witness gets us a crucial piece back from the yard, Kruphix, God of Horizons lets us use last turn’s leftover mana to fuel an even bigger turn, Phyrexian Ingester lets us exile, Soul of New Phyrexia protects our creatures from board wipes, Stalking Vengeance punishes our opponents if they do manage to kill our creatures, Urabrask the Hidden and Temur Ascendancy gives us redundant haste, Woodland Bellower lets us fetch a couple of the above utility pieces, and Warstorm Surge lets us fling around big damage when our big creatures enter.
The Win Conditions
Now that we have our giant monsters on the field, it’s time to use that haste and start knocking people out of the game with 15-20 damage out of nowhere. Normally our opponents would rudely try to chump block our threats so they can deal with us in a turn or two, but fortunately we have ways to get things wrapped up right now. Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma and Thunderfoot Baloth give us trample which is great but does still allow some damage to be soaked. Better yet, Archetype of Imagination and Sun Quan let us get through completely unblocked and Siege Behemoth effectively does the same. Atarka, World Render and Xenagos, God of Revels serve to supercharge some of our big threats as well.
Finally, we have a little combo package with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Zealous Conscripts, both of which can be useful outside of the combo, and a way to instantly fetch both with Defense of the Heart.
Thanks for joining us for our latest kitchen table Commander deck! Make sure to keep an eye out for the other decks in the series! If you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.