Raging Levine – 5 for 50 Series 2, Episode 4: Teferi

Hey folks! I’m back with another entry in my 5 for 50 series, where we take the Commander 2014 precons and revise them with a total budget of $50 each!

$35 of that goes to purchasing a precon, leaving us $15 (or 15 tix, more accurately) to spend on cards to modify the deck. I will be using MarlonBot for all pricing for these articles—not because I like them in any special way or because of any endorsement deal, but because the web interface they have lets me search for any card and get its price in tix.

We’re going in GRBUW order (reverse of the normal order) because of the now-fixed (thanks!) Nahiri bug on MTGO. Last week we braved the evils of the Black Oath as we retooled the Ob Nixilis deck, and this week we’ll be talking about the much-maligned Teferi and the ways in which I was and wasn’t wrong about him. So what’s Teferi’s deal, anyway?

Nothing Teferi does seems particularly powerful at first glance. Starting at 5 loyalty is nice, but in the preconstructed deck, building toward the ultimate is a little bit goofy as your only planeswalker is Teferi himself! If you do get the ultimate off, being able to use the +1 every turn for a mini-Impulse is nice, and it obviously scales well with the number of opponents you have. The -1 is probably the best thing about Teferi when the ultimate isn’t active—the amount of mana you can generate by untapping mana rocks is insane, and the ability to fire off more activated abilities is wonderful, of course.

This deck seemed more like a chance to reprint some cards and introduce some cool new ones rather than a cohesive deck—it’s probably my least favorite of the five precons. It’s very good at being annoying, but it doesn’t seem to be great at winning games. (All 5 unaltered deck lists are available on the Mothership—go see for yourself!) We might, therefore, have to do a little more work on this deck in order to get it to a well-focused point, meaning we’ll be stretching our tix pretty thin. What are we cutting?

Fathom Seer – The morph theme is fun, but there are better ways to draw cards.

Willbender – I’d rather focus on what Teferi can do for us than support a cute morph theme.

Dulcet Sirens – Cool card, but not once we cut the morph theme.

Riptide Survivor – See Dulcet Sirens.

Shaper Parasite – Unless we can turn this face down and up a bunch of times, I don’t really care.

Reef Worm – I know this card is really fun, but I honestly don’t think it fits here.

Stitcher Geralf – There’s probably an interesting version of this deck where we mill everyone, but I don’t think we have the tix to get there.

Brine Elemental – Again with the morphs!

Turn to Frog – We can do better.

Intellectual Offering – We’re going to be very selfish with this deck.

Well of Ideas – Very, very selfish.

Swiftfoot Boots – Many of our threats will have hexproof anyway.

Commander’s Sphere – Hooray mono-colored decks!

Crown of Doom – Not really on theme here.

Assault Suit – A lot of our creatures will have abilities we don’t want to share.

Zoetic Cavern – Morph theme, deactivate.

Well, it looks like I was wrong. We’re only cutting 16 cards here, which is exactly as many as we’ve cut in the last two articles. We’ve cut 8 creatures, 7 noncreature spells, 1 land, and zero Coral Atolls, because that card is actually reasonable with Teferi’s -1.

So what are we going to toss into the deck now that we’ve made these cuts? Well, Tezzeret the Seeker is over 18 tix, so not him! Let’s see what we can afford:

Diluvian Primordial (0.05)

This card is so powerful so often that I can’t bear to exclude it. A lot of incredibly powerful spells get cast in Commander, and getting a big flying creature that lets us piggyback on our opponents’ successes is definitely a good deal for seven mana.

Arcanis the Omnipotent (0.71)

Everyone loves a good Ancestral Recall once in a while, and I’m no exception. I’m also a fan of Ancestral Recall followed by a second Ancestral Recall powered by Teferi’s -1 ability. This is just one of the many wonderful cards with tap abilities that I think we’ll want to untap with Teferi, and with the amount of mana we’ll be able to generate, we’ll have no problem keeping Arcanis safe from opposing removal spells and so on.

Tidespout Tyrant (1.38)

I wish we had more spells with buyback, but even with with what we have available to us, I still think the Tyrant is going to be great at keeping key permanents out of play and in our opponents’ hands. The large flying body is great, but since we’ll often be doing a ton of things in any given turn, I expect “bounce your stuff, kill you” to become a fairly common phrase as we play this monstrosity.

Memnarch (2.70)

Oh, Memnarch. He just wants you to be the best version of yourself: the robot version. Memnarch doesn’t care if you want to put your brain in a robot body—he’ll do it for you and convert you to the robot cause. While Memnarch’s transformation won’t automatically give the things we steal the strength of five gorillas, we’ll have so much mana that we can emphasize quantity over quality.

Duplicant (0.05)

We’ve already got Phyrexian Ingester, so why shouldn’t we also sign this wonderful friend up for duty? After all, the promo is incredibly cheap, and blue is fairly light on point removal anyway. Duplicant is very good at removing problematic creatures from the battlefield and being bounced in order to do it again and again.

Astral Cornucopia (0.05)

Sure, it seems worse than Everflowing Chalice at first glance, but when you get right down to it, sometimes we’re just going to need blue mana to cast our spells. Being able to untap this with Teferi is what makes this good for us, to be clear—I wouldn’t want to cast it otherwise.

Gilded Lotus (0.07)

A pretty classic Commander mana rock we can use again and again. Sign me up!

Rings of Brighthearth (1.02)

We talked about this one last week, and here it is again to wreak havoc. -1, pay a little mana, untap 8 permanents—or the same four permanents twice! Even just using this to untap four more Islands gets us an extra blue mana, but I’m sure we’ll be able to do better than that most of the time.

Recurring Insight (0.05)

We’ll run out of juice from time to time, but usually there’s someone at the table hoarding cards. It’s probably that stupid Ob Nixilis player! Let’s refill our hand a couple of times and show them who’s boss.

Blue Sun’s Zenith (0.26)

All right, an X-spell that draws us cards and reshuffles into our deck to be cast over and over again, at least until someone counters it and we have to get it back with Call to Mind or something. Well, that’s fine—we need more things to spend our mana on.

Mind Spring (0.05)

Hopefully this draws us into Blue Sun’s Zenith… and other cards too, I guess.

Coalition Relic (2.33)

A premier mana rock in Commander, Coalition Relic allows us to store up a bunch of goofy charge counters and make blue mana. I know we can sacrifice Commander’s Sphere, but using Teferi and this to store up mana for next turn seems quite hilarious.

Contagion Engine (0.05)

Double proliferate on Teferi is more the point of this card than the -1/-1 counters, although those are nice too, I suppose.

Sisay’s Ring (0.02)

A second Ur-Golem’s Eye.

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage (3.88)

I got a little spendy here, but that’s okay—we have the tix. Tamiyo is most often going to be used to draw cards, but if we can get a Teferi emblem, her first ability gets that much stronger. Obviously getting a Tamiyo emblem is the dream and allows us to take long, ridiculous turns where we draw lots of cards and laugh heartily. I’m in for that!

Reliquary Tower (0.04)

Gotta put the cards somewhere.

Okay! That’s it for our modifications. We’ve spent 12.71 tix, leaving us with 2.29 more to buy fancy Islands or something. One last question—what does the list look like?

Commander: Teferi, Temporal Archmage

Okay! That’s it for this week—come on back next week for the dramatic conclusion… or at least, a Nahiri deck!


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