For those who might not’ve caught this series’s first parts, we’re building a tricksy, Instant-speed Commander deck helmed by Wydwen, the Biting Gale, using the 8×8 Theory as our guide. In this edition, we’re going to add our deck’s penultimate effects, tutors/recursion and win conditions.
Up to now, our deck’s been content messing with (and stealing) our opponents’ stuff. But every Commander deck needs ways to win. With the additions we make here, we’ll gain not only a few clear paths to victory, but also paths to those paths.
Let’s dive in by looking at Wydwen’s tutors and recursion, which’ll allow us to find and re-use our deck’s most important cards.
- Clutch of the Undercity. We’re starting with a few weird tutors. Dimir’s original Ravnica mechanic, Transmute, allows you to exchange a card with Transmute (in your hand) with a card that has the same converted mana cost (from your deck). Because Clutch of the Undercity costs four mana, we can use it to tutor for cards like Cryptic Command, Empty the Pits, and Stunt Double. Clutch is also decent by itself, letting us bounce a troublesome permanent in situations where we don’t have time to Transmute.
- Perplex. Perplex is bad; I will admit that. In fact, Perplex is likely worse than any other three mana counterspell. However, Perplex is the best Transmute card for our deck, due to an inclusion we’ll cover near the end of this article …
- Muddle the Mixture. And finally, we’ve got our last Transmute card. You’ll notice we added only Instant-speed Transmute cards to our deck, keeping with our deck’s theme. Muddle provides us one additional, narrow counterspell and also allows us to tutor for important cards like Cyclonic Rift, Snapcaster Mage, and Pull from Tomorrow.
- Mystical Teachings. Mystical Teachings is a more conventional tutor and a mainstay of Dimir spellslinger decks. Because nearly our entire deck is comprised of Instants and cards with Flash, Teachings tutors for whatever we might need. Additionally, its Flashback ability plays into our deck’s self-milling theme.
- Mystical Tutor. Mystical Tutor also tutors for nearly our entire deck, for the low, low cost of one mana. And while Mystical doesn’t put the card it finds directly into our hand, we can always cast the tutor on our draw step (or after a card draw spell) to make sure we have what we need when we need it.
- Demonic Consultation. Demonic Consultation is one of my favorite cards. At first, that’s the only reason Demonic made it into this deck. The gamble of naming a card you need and then either revealing it in your top six (meaning you’ll deck yourself) or finding it with too few cards left in your deck creates tense moments where every card you reveal could change a game’s outcome. However, Consultation has an additional, nefarious mode as well, one I’m not quite ready to reveal.
- Snapcaster Mage. I wasn’t about to build an Instant-speed deck without my favorite pseudo-Flashback spell. Snapcaster Mage allows us to re-use key cards we may have already burned in the early game, such as tutors, cheap counterspells, and even win conditions. Snappy also allows us to chip in for two damage at a time, although that’s not likely to matter in Commander …
- Torrential Gearhulk. Five damage at a time, however, might matter. Torrential Gearhulk is a Snapcaster Mage on steroids, and notably allows us to re-cast any Instant from our graveyard without paying its mana cost. That means we can flash in Gearhulk and re-play Dig Through Time without Delving. That sounds like a good deal to me.
Now that we’ve set up (most of) the rest of our deck, it’s time to include some actual win conditions.
You’ll notice we’re a little light on effects in this section. I said before that the 8×8 theory doesn’t leave enough room for lands. This is where we find that room, by scaling the number of true win conditions back from eight to four (with one more coming, as you’ll see):
Wydwen’s Win Cons:
- Empty the Pits. I’ve been waiting for a Modern Blue-Black Control deck to win using just one copy of Empty the Pits. While nobody’s made that happen yet, I can at least take the card out for a spin in Commander, and earn it some of the respect it deserves. The fact that Empty creates an army at Instant-speed should let us catch at least one unsuspecting opponent unaware, with their creatures tapped and their defenses down.
- Rise from the Tides. Rise from the Tides will likely create more zombies than Empty, but forces us to tap mana on our turn to do so. Still, our self-milling sub-theme should give us quite the wicked army of ocean-borne zombies.
- Army of the Damned. Army of the Damned also fits our self-milling theme, as Flashback allows us to cast it from our graveyard. Army’s army is big enough to kill most opponents, especially if we both cast it and flash it back. The trick will be making sure we survive long enough for those damned zombies to untap.
- Runechanter’s Pike. And finally, Runechanter’s Pike allows our flying, flashy Commander to get in on the combat action herself. First Strike alone makes Wydwen a credible threat, and the +X attack effect (based on the number of Instants and Sorceries in our graveyard) will help Wydwen knock opponents out with just three or so attacks.
Above, I hinted there may be one more Wydwen win condition coming, and I’ve dropped clues as to what it is throughout this series. In the series’s final part, we’ll add one more package of eight related cards, but they won’t all have the same effect. Instead, they’ll all be focused around utilizing one of Magic‘s most noteworthy one-card strategies.
That’s right, folks; get ready to talk Doomsday. Until then, may you search up a path to victory.