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Commander Deck Updates With Zendikar Rising

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times; every Magic player loves new cards. I have found a new aspect of this joyous time of year, updating my Commander decks. I’m aware that this is something that Commander players have enjoyed for some time now but, I’m new to being this deep into the format.


Though I have built more decks since I wrote my last Commander deck deep dive, I will only be updating those decks that have previous deep dives written.


Let’s start with the most obvious place; with Niv-Mizzet, Parun. As you may imagine, there are some powerful inclusions for this archetype. The first card that caught my eye was Valakut Awakening. Who knew that new “wheel” spells would go into a “wheel” based deck? This card also has two powerful additions that a lot of these types of cards do not typically have. First, it’s an Instant; and second, it is one of the Modal Double-Faced (MDFC) Cards from Zendikar Rising. Valakut Awakening allows me to play an extra land without actually increasing my land count. These are two cards that were obvious updates to the “wheels” archetype. I would also loop Riverglide Pathway in with these two cards as well. It’s always nice to get another dual land.


Now onto a more interesting future update, currently I am considering trying out a copy of Sea Gate Stormcaller in my Niv-Mizzet deck. So why this creature and not something that has previously existed, such as Dualcaster Mage? The first consideration is the mana cost, one and a blue is drastically more reasonable to cast in comparison to one and two red. The Kicker ability that Sea Gate Stormcaller provides is also extremely powerful when you are copying our “wheel” spells. Whether this will become a part of my current build of Niv-Mizzet, Parun will remain to be seen.


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That brings us to my Pir, Imaginative Rascal and Toothy, Imaginary Friend counters based deck. This deck has the least updates from the newest set release. We won’t have access to the blue and green Pathway until the release of Kaldheim. Unfortunately, the counters based themes in Zendikar Rising are predominantly in green and black. There are some cards that I’m interested in trying out in the future, but for the time being; I have only updated this list with a card from the Ikoria Commander decks.


Slippery Bogbonder provides me with a powerful tool, a Hexproof counter. This gives the deck some security when attempting to get set up with Pir or Toothy. That’s just level zero for the utility of this card as well. When you have a game that involves The Ozolith, this card’s power really becomes apparent.


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Lastly, we are at Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. This deck was the most difficult deck for me to make changes to. The easy addition was the blue and red land Riverglide Pathway, of course. I feel like these are automatic inclusions in two color decks. Three color decks can also utilize these lands, though your mana requirements are much more of a consideration.


The card that I am really excited about for this well oiled machine is Lithoform Engine. This Mythic artifact does everything you want it to do. The card type matters, but it allows you to copy triggered and activated abilities. My Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain list has a lot of those. There are also a lot of important permanents that are nearly irreplaceable, so the ability to copy permanent spells on the stack is amazing. Creating copies of permanent spells on the stack, thus creating token copies, is a new aspect to Magic. Through the activations of Lithoform Engine, I can break the status quo of Commander; I can have more than a single copy of my permanents. The only limitation is the amount of mana that I have access to.


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This is a shorter article than I typically post, but I have been busy with some other content projects that you all will see very soon. I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe.


Good luck, I hope you lose!


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