This week, I’m back with Parts 2 & 3 of the 8×8 with Wydwen series. For those who might not’ve caught the first part, we’re building a Commander deck helmed by Wydwen, the Biting Gale, using the 8×8 Theory as our guide. In each of the next few installments, I’ll add two new effects to our Wydwen deck. In the final installment, I’ll add something truly wild.
This month, however, I’ve chosen to add two of Blue-Black’s bread and butter effects: card draw and removal. These effects are fairly standard, but in an attempt to keep our deck “tricky,” I’ve worked to include at least a couple non-standard versions of each. Let me know how I did, after you read through the lists below.
Wydwen’s Card Draw:
- Think Twice. Sometimes, you’ll hold up exactly two mana to cast Counterspell or Remand, but your opponent won’t play a spell. When that happens, you’ll be thankful you included Think Twice in your deck. Think Twice may not seem to do much, but it fills out our early-game curve and, if we can dump it into our graveyard, we can play it without even drawing it. Some of the other “card draw” spells we’ll add will allow us to put cards into our graveyard, giving Think Twice a little extra utility.
- Forbidden Alchemy. Did I mention we’ll be dumping spells into our graveyard? Forbidden Alchemy fulfills much the same function as Think Twice: filling out our early-game curve and allowing us to cast something when our opponents do nothing. However, Alchemy also sets up graveyard synergies we’ll be adding throughout this series and can be cast from the graveyard itself.
- Fact or Fiction. Fact or Fiction is my favorite (and possibly the best) Magic card and synergizes extremely well with our deck. ‘Nuff said.
- Moonlight Bargain. The original Black Fact or Fiction, before Dark Bargain hit the scene. Moonlight Bargain’s no FoF, since it forces us to pay life for the cards we want, but it’ll do in a pinch. And if we have the life to spare, Bargain even allows us to take all five cards.
- Wretched Confluence. Including Wretched Confluence in this section is a slight cheat, since it does more than draw cards. However, I expect to use Confluence as “Kill a utility creature, draw two cards” far more than I expect to use it for anything else. As I’ve stated before, building using the 8×8 Theory offers more flexibility than it might seem at first, since so many Magic cards produce multiple effects.
- Pull from Tomorrow. The next few cards are here for the late game, where we’ll need to draw a win condition or a boatload of answers. Pull is a giant draw spell that also allows us to pitch a Flashback spell into our graveyard for use later. In our deck, the discard effect is as much a feature as a bug.
- Blue Sun’s Zenith. Blue Sun’s Zenith costs one more mana than Pull from Tomorrow, because it doesn’t require a discard. It is, essentially, Stroke of Genius with an additional minor upside: it shuffles itself back into our deck. This means we can find and play it again and, if we’re incredibly lucky, maybe even use it to avoid losing to a mill deck (by casting it for X=0 and drawing it forever).
- Dig Through Time. Probably the best “draw spell” in Commander. Note we’re fueling Dig by a) playing nearly all spells and b) putting additional cards directly into our graveyard. Knocking Dig’s mana cost down to two or three should be fairly trivial.
- Snuff Out. We start with the Force of Will of removal spells. No (non-Black) creature is safe, even if we’re tapped out, as long as opponents know we have Snuff Out in our deck. This card is a prime example of what I meant when I said we’d try to include tricky, non-standard cards in our deck. I don’t know that Snuff Out is actually good in Commander, but I hope it’ll be fun.
- Dismember. Dismember also plays into our deck’s tricksiness, allowing us to cast a meaningful removal spell for just one mana. Since we likely won’t be ramping, our spells need to be as mana efficient as possible. Dismember fits that bill, as does our next inclusion.
- Murderous Cut. Cut fulfills much the same function as Dismember, leaning on our “dump cards into the graveyard” sub-theme to do so. There may be times where Cut is stranded in our hand, because we don’t have the mana or enough cards in our graveyard to cast it. But hopefully, those times will be few and far between.
- Hero’s Downfall. The next few additions are much more straightforward. Hero’s Downfall is simply one of the best spot-removal spells ever printed, destroying any creature or Planeswalker for the low price of three mana. Downfall is a Commander staple, for good reason.
- Vraska’s Contempt. What Hero’s Downfall does, Vraska’s Contempt does (arguably) better. Note that a lot of our Black cards ask us to pay or lose life (including Wydwen), so the minor lifegain tacked on to Vraska’s Contempt could allow us to cast a Dismember or draw an extra card.
- Silumgar’s Command. One final answer to resolved Planeswalkers, Silumgar’s Command can also remove utility creatures, bounce a permanent (including our own), or counter a spell. That flexibility (plus its amazing art) earns Command a spot in the deck.
- Decree of Pain. The best boardwipe for Commander, hands-down. The Cycling effect cleans up boards full of aggressive creatures or tokens, while the full eight mana version of Decree answers all your opponents’ current (creature-based) threats and also draws answers for whatever they serve up next.
- Consume the Meek. And here’s one last oddball before we go. While this spot should likely go to Damnation, Consume the Meek plays into our Instant-speed theme so well that it’s impossible to pass up. Opponents likely won’t see this spell coming, and furthermore, Consume the Meek is tutorable by a card we’ll add later in the series …
And that’s it for Wydwen’s card draw and removal! Is there a spell you think I missed, or an addition you disagree with? Let me know in the comments. In the series’s next part, we’ll focus on bouncing and stealing our opponent’s stuff, bringing the number of effects in our deck up over the halfway point.
Until then, may you always draw the answers you need.