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Updating the DFC-Only Commander Deck with Innistrad

It’s been a while since I looked at my DFC-only Commander deck – the last time I updated it was back in the days of Kaldheim. With quite a few sets released since, we’ve had another 114 double-faced cards added to the Magic canon since – and no, I’m not counting the “reversible cards” in the Heads I Win, Tails You Lose Secret Lair, though they are sweet. Let’s take a look at the deck as it exists now and see what kind of upgrades we can make with two Innistrad sets and Strixhaven added to the pool! (The other sets released since Kaldheim had no DFCs, so they don’t help.)

 

MDFC-Only Commander Deck by Eric Levine

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Last update, we got to change our commander to Esika, God of the Tree, a proper five-color DFC commander, add five more Pathways, and strengthen the deck overall with 10 total swaps. Today, we’ll be trying to add some more legendary goodies to support Esika, add some Werewolves to support that subtheme, and of course, cut some of the garbage.

 

 

Header - The Absolute Garbage

Afflicted Deserter // Werewolf Ransacker

This is terrible rate for a 3/2, and while we do get to snipe an artifact if we transform it, that’s not enough of an upside.

Bloodline Keeper // Lord of Lineage

Between the double-black cost and the fact that it’ll take an absolute eon to transform this, I have to make the weird call to cut what is often an objectively good card.

Breakneck Rider // Neck Breaker

This is a mediocre card to begin with, and taking a turn off to give creatures haste is just nonsense in a deck that realistically isn’t double-spelling. Plus, the double-pip cost is hard to love.

Garruk Relentless // Garruk, the Veil-Cursed

It can be hard to flip this properly, and the low payoff for doing so combined with a low-loyalty, easily-cleared planeswalker does not get me hyped.

Hadana's Climb // Winged Temple of Orazca

A +1/+1 counter deck this is not, so let’s just pull the ripcord. It hurts to cut a potential land, but waiting three turns is just not worth it when you have to pay this much mana.

Kessig Prowler // Sinuous Predator

A one-drop that transforms for five mana sounds like something that would be a fine draw early or late, but when neither version is worth the mana investment, it’s time to look elsewhere.

Ludevic's Test Subject // Ludevic's Abomination

How long is it going to take us to pay a total of 6UUUUUU to this card? Obviously the UUUUUU is the sticking point. Hypergeometric calculator nonsense won’t get us the answer, and this card is not worth firing up the computer simulation part of my toolkit, especially because that part of my toolkit is pretty rusty to the point of being useless. Let’s just cut it.

Neglected Heirloom // Ashmouth Blade

A mediocre Equipment that turns into… a just-above-mediocre Equipment? Seriously, why are we doing so much work for Vulshok Battlegear++? See ya.

Ravenous Demon // Archdemon of Greed

While we do have plenty of Humans in this deck, we’re paying a lot of mana for many of them, so sacrificing to transform this in the first place is unlikely to be a winning proposition, not to mention continuing to feed this picky eater version of Lord of the Pit.

Shrill Howler // Howling Chorus

It’s Kessig Prowler, but worse.

Smoldering Werewolf // Erupting Dreadwolf

This deck is so heavily weighted toward red and green mana costs thanks to Werewolves, but we have no way to weight the actual land distribution. Double-pip cards have to be great to stick around, and this is not great.

Tangleclaw Werewolf // Fibrous Entangler

The idea of having to use two green mana – tough to generate in the first place – to cast this is just sort of insulting in retrospect.

Ulvenwald Mystics // Ulvenwald Primordials

Again with the two green pips. A 5/5 regenerator is nice, but I was trying to find some room for (and I know this is weird) good cards. 

Wolfbitten Captive // Krallenhorde Killer

The idea of a mana sink is adorable, but realistically, I don’t know where we are getting all this mana. Most of our lands come into play tapped and terrible.

It’s interesting how narrow the range of actual cuttable cards is in this deck. We have to keep all the MDFC lands, all the actually good cards, and some of the Werewolf synergy pieces. We also want to keep ramp and fixing at all costs, and the definition of “ramp” is really generous when you’re including Conqueror’s Galleon in that list. 

So we’ve cut 14 cards, which is probably great. I wish we could just leave the list at 88 cards and have a better ratio of lands to spells – after all, this is probably worse than many Limited decks and could therefore use the increased percentage of lands to shore things up – but that’s not legal, so let’s add 14 cards back.

 

Header - The Different Garbage

Foreboding Statue // Forsaken Thresher

This is one of the best cards available to us. No sentence has ever gone rancid in my mouth quite so quickly, but there you have it. We have to play this three-mana fixer because our mana badly needs the help, and honestly, when it turns into Forsaken Thresher it still plays pretty well. Is this card good? It’s at least good in context, so that’s good enough for me.

Weaver of Blossoms // Blossom-Clad Werewolf

Another fantastic piece of fixing, Weaver of Blossoms does unfortunately ask us to have a green mana up front. That said, by turn three, we may well be able to meet that qualification.

Ulvenwald Oddity // Ulvenwald Behemoth

Yes, I know, double pips, blah blah, but this card is just so strong that I can’t help it. This card gives us an actual respectable late game threat, and we’re surprisingly short on those.

Howlpack Piper // Wildsong Howler

With so many Werewolves in this deck, and with a number of creatures we might have trouble casting regardless, a Piper is perfectly at home in this deck. We may not be able to chain too many Werewolves in a single turn, but just activating this once a turn for a couple turns in a row should be enough.

Avabruck Caretaker // Hollowhenge Huntmaster

Remember when I said actual respectable late game threats were good? Well, Avabruck Caretaker isn’t just good, it’s ludicrous, and I’m willing to worry about it rotting in my hand. 

Voldaren Bloodcaster // Bloodbat Summoner

The idea of getting Blood tokens in this deck really hypes me up. Being able to discard some nonsense garbage to draw different, more castable nonsense garbage sounds exactly like what this deck needs.

Mirrorhall Mimic // Ghastly Mimicry

Finally, a clone! We need this so badly. Why? Well, we can clone someone else’s creature (making an actual good creature) and do something reasonable with blue mana at the same time. We’re bad at both of those things currently.

Wedding Announcement // Wedding Festivity

Card draw is card draw, even if it’s a little bit limited in terms of how long you can use it as such. Once it turns into the anthem, I’m less enthused, but if you can get two cards out of this, it’s an enormous win given how little access we have to draw effects otherwise.

Mystic Skull // Mystic Monstrosity

When I saw this card in MID, I knew it would end up in the revamped version of this deck. Transforming mana into different mana is going to be legitimately useful, and once transformed, it unlocks so much of our deck. It’s bizarre, but this is a must-play for us.

Tovolar, Dire Overlord // Tovolar, the Midnight Scourge

Being able to just blanket the board in night and transform our various and terrible Werewolves could really turn this deck into something vaguely medium, which is a huge upgrade from “totally awful.”

Arlinn, the Pack's Hope // Arlinn, the Moon's Fury

Adding mana on her night side is pretty strong, and even the front side has a lot to offer. I’m happy to play this alongside original Arlinn for now.

Outland Liberator // Frenzied Trapbreaker

A low drop creature that deals with pesky artifacts and enchantments is absolutely necessary in a deck that otherwise has very few tools of that nature.

Suspicious Stowaway // Seafaring Werewolf

Another piece of filtering that sometimes turns into a straight-up card draw engine? I couldn’t sleeve this up fast enough.

Wandering Archaic // Explore the Vastlands

A colorless card that lets us siphon off other players’ draw and removal spells sounds like a huge boon for us, and this deck might need to unironically cast Explore the Vastlands once in a while. After all, getting a land and an instant or sorcery is actually getting two lands!

 

Header - The New Deck List

Okay! Here’s the final updated deck list. 10 months actually got us some improvements! Keep in mind that this is absolutely a meme deck and shouldn’t be played outside of a group that appreciates low-power silliness unless you want to have a miserable time. Also, please try not to give yourself a repetitive stress injury transforming these cards over and over again.

 

MDFC-Only Commander (Updated) by Eric Levine

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