The Ninja tribe just got a sweet new commander in the form of Satoru Umezawa, who can turn every creature in your deck into a Ninja. While there are plenty of powerful Ninja cards to choose from, being able to open up the door to other cards that fit the theme without actually being Ninjas offers a plethora of new ways to build a ninja deck, and that’s just what Winthrop Hubbard has done.
From all the usual Ninja suspects to a bunch of other cards build around the Japanese/East Asian theme, this deck is able to pull off the sneaky combat steps Ninja decks are known for, or alternatively go a little bigger and cheat huge monsters into play with Satoru Umezawa’s ninjutsu ability. Given it’s a Dimir deck, there’s no shortage of interaction – between all the instant speed cards and ninjutsu, your opponents won’t know what to expect!
Satoru Umezawa Ninjas by Winthrop Hubbard
First, let’s get across the stuff that’s typical of Ninja decks. Changeling Outcast, Network Disruptor and Siren Stormtamer are all evasive one-drops with relevant abilities, and set the tone for sending in cheap attackers that can’t be blocked in order to sneak in some Ninjas with ninjutsu. There are no shortage of traditional Ninjas too, both old and new – everything from Mistblade Shinobi to Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow (in a rare appearance as a non-commander) to Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scion.
Thanks to Satoru Umezawa, however, ninjutsu isn’t just restricted to these Ninja cards. As any creature can be snuck into play for just four mana, this deck plays huge beaters like Sphinx of the Second Sun, Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant and Toxrill, the Corrosive. It’s a little hard to imagine Toxrill sneaking anywhere, but it somehow manages it in this deck – quite a surprise for your opponents!
As I mentioned, there’s a suite of instant-speed interaction that will help to keep the table guessing. It’s not optimized, by any means, but there are some sweet cards that come out of the woodwork when sticking the Japanese/East Asian theme. Hero’s Demise, Reduce to Dreams – Kamigawa has some hidden gems up its sleeve!
There’s a limited ramp suite, with a few mana rocks providing a bump in the early game, but it’s clear that this is a deck that prioritizes its theme over power level. I really like that. As I’ve said before, Magic teaches us to think and play optimally and always take the most “correct” action – most of the time this is a good way to be, but sometimes it gets in the way of just having a good time. I like that Winthrop has stuck to the deck’s theme, and hasn’t even worried about an optimized mana base. Swamps and Islands, mate!
By now it’s probably clear I’m not all about showcasing the most ruthlessly powerful, min-maxed decks in the format – sharing lists like these, with a thematic purpose, is no less interesting and fulfilling. Winthrop has put together a magnificently cohesive deck in terms of theme, and in EDH it’s not all about winning or having the most powerful deck – it’s about expressing yourself, doing the thing, and having a good time.
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