Previously, I’ve talked about when to let go of a Commander deck. (Not that I’ve entirely let go of Shu Yun — such a cool general, such a great colour identity, so handsome, much wow — er, anyway.)
Today, I figured I’d talk about when to come back to one.
A while back, I was working on a project where I’d build a Commander deck for each of the five khans from Fate Reforged (Daghatar, Shu Yun, Tasigur, Alesha, and Yasova) and recreate the story of the Khanfall with a game of Star Magic featuring the Commander decks.
The project fell by the wayside — I just could not figure out how to leverage Daghatar’s or Alesha’s abilities in ways that interested me — but one of the nice things that withstood that project’s collapse was an appreciation for Yasova.
As a commander, Yasova is able to function as the table police without drawing hate away from the more established boogeycommanders like Prossh, Talrand, and Nekusar.
Her starting 4 power isn’t going to steal a Consecrated Sphinx or a Deadeye Navigator, but I was constantly surprised at how few of those little combo-piece wizards I saw make it to the table. So afraid of Yasova-theft were my opponents that it made them hold back from their plans. And if she ever received a buff, she was easily capable of taking those Sphinxes and Navigators, along with almost anything else that doesn’t rhyme with Light Teal Galoshes.
But she never quite seemed to get there.
Here’s a link to my original build — and, if you scroll on down to the TCGPlayer Mid, you can see the beginnings of the problem. I first built Yasova as a budget control-voltron — I wanted to keep the whole deck under $75, but still make it capable of winning games. I accomplished this by leveraging the blue and red in Yasova’s colour identity, and building her mostly out of the pieces of a previous Melek, Izzet Paragon deck. But I still wanted to win through commander damage the bulk of the time.
The thing is, as with Shu Yun, I had hamstrung myself. Spellslinging doesn’t lend itself to commander-damage wins. Budget spellslinging doesn’t lend itself to much more than Shenanigans™. I didn’t include many things that could either protect or buff Yasova effectively. The price limitation I had set for myself stopped me from including the cards I really needed to help Yasova get into the red zone and finish games.
In effect, I had actually built an okay Shu Yun deck and put Yasova in front. And while I had met the limitations I set for myself, and they were satisfying in a way, it wasn’t fun.
When I took apart Shu Yun, though, I finally had the pieces I needed to build a proper Yasova deck.
So I put her back together. I threw in a lot of the equipment voltron from Shu Yun — various Swords of X and Y being the primary pieces, along with some one-shot buff effects and a LOT of protection — and a lot of the expensive cards that I had stopped myself from including in my previous build. I had gained a lot of deckbuilding experience in the interim, and I put it all to work in rebuilding Yasova.
And I don’t want to say money is the solution to all of your Magic problems, but you’ve already read one of the stories that came out of my new build of Yasova.
That’s it for this week! Coming up next, Wizards releases Eternal Masters and brings Magic back to my childhood. Check the A Muse N Games Facebook page for draft times — it looks like a blast! And don’t forget to pre-register for the Eldritch Moon pre-release!
Jesse Mackenzie is a regular contributor to A Muse N Games. Tune in every two weeks for The Mana Dork, his column about paying three mana to steal one of your creatures for a turn. (If you ask nicely, he won’t sacrifice it for value.)