Watching more Magic has given me my Commander mojo back. Not playing much on paper has started to get me down, but hopefully I have broken out of my funk here. We’ve gotten a lot of regimented play out of the way—draft strategies have been cemented, and new Modern archetypes have risen to prominence. But that’s over, and now, it’s time to get wild.
I don’t know why the Mul Daya are dwindling in numbers with these folks in charge. Maybe it’s because one of their abilities is significantly worse than the other’s (I’m looking at you, Denn.) For real, though, let’s talk about what’s on offer here. The ability to play an additional land each turn is nothing to scoff at in a format that often ends up as Battlecruiser Magic, and the second ability can at least give you a way to use your extra land drop in cases where you don’t have extras. In order for that to matter, though, you’ll need some big beaters to trample up as well as some landfall effects as incentive to use both of these abilities to the fullest.
Let’s take a quick look through both Oath of the Gatewatch and Battle for Zendikar so that we can find some strong synergies to apply here.
On the one hand, these cards put your precious land in mortal danger. On the other hand, every land you play can become a threat for a turn. It’s hard to say whether these will do more good or harm, so start them and find out.
If you end up going the land animation route, Sylvan Advocate becomes very strong. Otherwise, meh.
With a surfeit of lands, you’ll have no shortage of resources for this horrific monster to use against your opponents. You’ll have to make sure that you can pay the colorless cost.
As long as you keep your creature count high, this is great. Otherwise, alternatives like Mana Reflection are likely to occupy this spot.
Just like how all small children want to be astronauts, all Dragon Whelps want to be volcanoes. This is what happens when you take idolizing Valakut too far. Lots of land drops mean lots of pinging—and if you want all of your lands to be Mountains, well, you have your ways (Prismatic Omen comes to mind).
If it gets going, great. If someone decides to use a more expensive card to get rid of it, well, okay.
For 4 mana, if you assume you’re playing 2 lands per turn, this is a 7/7 trampler. Good deal. In reality, it probably averages out closer to 5/5 or 5.5/5.5, but I’m willing to give it a shot to see if I can get a proper amount of value from it.
Okay, maybe having Omnath in charge would make for a stronger deck, but I like trying new things. Regardless, Zendikar’s angriest Elemental has a place here, and that place is churning out 5/5s and Lightning Bolts.
It’s just a big trampler, but those are nice, right?
Surviving damage-based board sweepers is a good trait, and being able to survive combat with most anything helps too. Growing at twice the “normal” rate can’t hurt either.
Now that I’ve done a rundown from the most recent block, let’s dip back into the past and figure out what else stands out.
This is quite possibly the most obvious inclusion. Sometimes Avenger gets phenomenal Plant armies with an itty-bitty growing space. Not so this time—with additional land drops, you’ll have plenty of Plant food.
Both of these are classic 1-mana ways to get more land onto the battlefield in the early game. If you’ve got either one in your opener, you’re off to a great start.
If you wanted a way to mitigate the danger of animating your land, this is it. Their death brings on the revenge of the 5/3s, and I can’t say I’d be too disappointed with that outcome in most cases. The combo with Perilous Forays here is worth noting as well.
More landfall! More triggers! More tokens!
One of the biggest problems with extra land drops is the loss of value when you don’t have land in your hand. Abundance lets you turn your draw steps into guaranteed lands when you want them and guaranteed nonlands when you don’t.
Rounding out my top inclusions here are these green reflections of Future Sight. They can only grab land out of the future, but that’s fine—you don’t need much more than that.
Here’s the list. To be honest, this wound up as a strong, if maybe a little archetypal, RG landfall/ramp deck. Not sure what I expected from this Commander other than that. I’ve seen Mina and Denn described as a great commander for just playing your best/favorite red and green cards, and to an extent, that’s true. It helps if your favorite red and green cards are mostly green, as far as I can tell. That being said, having a Commander that lets you play extra land but also allows you access to red is a great break from playing something like Azusa, Lost but Seeking.
Commander: Mina and Denn, Wildborn
I chose not to go the full-on Eldrazi route with this deck. I don’t find that including Ulamogs and Kozileks in every deck makes me happy. I like a sense of variety with my finishers, and if that means I can enjoy a trampling Savageborn Hydra in this deck while sating that Ceaseless Hunger to play the multiverse’s biggest, baddest creatures in other decks, that’s fine with me. Of course, if you’d prefer some world-ending legends, slot them in!
If you’ve got a different Mina and Denn build to share, drop it in the comments. Similarly, I’d love to hear how you’d build this deck differently. What cards did I miss? Which of my choices do you find suboptimal?
See you next time!