Invent Your Superiority

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Strictly Average for some more Magic musings by yours truly. As much as I talk about Modern, there are other formats that I do play occasionally, and one of them is EDH.

EDH, or Elder Dragon Highlander, is a format where your deck is based entirely around a legendary creature. The deck can only have cards that share the same color(s) as that creature (often named “general” or “commander”). The deck is singleton, containing 100 different cards (though you can have as many basic lands as you need). Games are usually multiplayer. While there are other differences between EDH and traditional constructed play, one can still get some value out of playing this format. From practicing basic skills of the game, to spending time with friends (or meeting new ones) the foundation of what makes Magic great can be found within this format. Plus, where else are you going to play the cards you pulled that are not good in another format?

I started to get interested in this format when the “Commander” product line was launched by Wizards of the Coast. In 2011 Wizards of the Coast released pre-constructed decks for those who were interested in playing EDH, now called Commander by many. This product line also allowed them to reprint some cards, while making brand new cards not fit for a Draft or Standard environment.

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In the beginning…

I started my journey into EDH by picking up the Heavenly Inferno deck headlined by Kaalia of the Vast. She felt like the most D&D-influenced Magic card I had seen at that time, and was also a color combination (of White, Black, and Red…now known as Mardu) that I had only played once in Standard before Lorwyn left.

Her ability to cheat creatures into play for free was right up my alley. I worked on it a lot until I was comfortable with the build. At this time I was playing a lot of Standard on Saturday afternoons, and after that was over we would play EDH until well into the evening.

My interest in the format waxed and waned as the play group moved on to other things, Standard formats changed, and (for me) jobs changed. I bowed out of EDH, but looked at getting back in sometime later.

Along came an artificer

While I may have played a few times prior to 2016, I couldn’t find a way to stick with it. Nothing really drove my interest in the format at the time, and financially my focus was squarely on eternal formats such as Legacy (and getting cards signed), and Modern. Near the end of the year I started seeing a lot of Tezzerator decks appear on various coverage outlets, and was very interested in playing with Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas again. I had not played with that card since Scars of Mirrodin was in Standard, and in April of 2016 Sword of the Meek was unbanned, allowing it to be paired with Thopter Foundry. You can check out my article on this deck here.

However in November of 2016 the Commander pre-constructed decks were released, and for the first time ever the decks could be built around a four-color legendary creature.

I wanted to buy all five, but I knew that would have been silly. I barely had time to play this format, so I decided to choose just one. I was torn between Invent Superiority & Breed Lethality. After reviewing the decklists as well as the abilities of the generals I went with Invent Superiority, and haven’t looked back.

This Yore-Tiller based deck has a lot packed into it. I felt this design was unique; it seemed like they initially built the deck with five colors and then removed one, instead of starting from scratch. Breya hailing from the plane of Esper also provided me with more interest in the deck plus potential upgrades. Let’s take a look at the original deck list:

Invent Superiority pre-constructed deck

Commander:
1 Breya, Etherium Shaper

Creatures:
1 Akiri, Line-Slinger
1 Armory Automaton
1 Baleful Strix
1 Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder
1 Chief Engineer
1 Etched Oracle
1 Etherium Sculptor
1 Ethersworn Adjudicator
1 Faerie Artisans
1 Filigree Angel
1 Godo, Bandit Warlord
1 Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
1 Hellkite Igniter
1 Hellkite Tyrant
1 Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer
1 Magus of the Will
1 Master of Etherium
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Myr Retriever
1 Sanctum Gargoyle
1 Sharuum the Hegemon
1 Shimmer Myr
1 Silas Renn, Seeker Adept
1 Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Soul of New Phyrexia
1 Sphinx Summoner
1 Sydri, Galvanic Genius
1 Trinket Mage
1 Vedalken Engineer

Enchantments:
1 Curse of Vengeance

Instants:
1 Ancient Excavation
1 Grip of Phyresis
1 Read the Runes
1 Trial // Error

Planeswalkers:
1 Daretti, Scrap Savant

Sorceries:
1 Beacon of Unrest
1 Coastal Breach
1 Grave Upheaval
1 Migratory Route
1 Open the Vaults
1 Parting Thoughts
1 Phyrexian Rebirth
1 Trash for Treasure
1 Whipflare

Artifacts:
1 Blinkmoth Urn
1 Bonehoard
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Cranial Plating
1 Dispeller’s Capsule
1 Everflowing Chalice
1 Executioner’s Capsule
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Ichor Wellspring
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Mycosynth Wellspring
1 Nevinyrral’s Disk
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Thopter Foundry
1 Trading Post

Lands:
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Ash Barrens
1 Azorius Chancery
1 Boros Garrison
1 Buried Ruin
1 Command Tower
1 Crumbling Necropolis
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Mystic Monastery
1 Nomad Outpost
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Rupture Spire
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Temple of the False God
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Transguild Promenade
5 Plains
5 Island
4 Swamp
4 Mountain

The very first thing I noticed was the absence of Sword of the Meek. Beyond that, I also wanted to use Time Sieve in order to take infinite turns (assuming no one interrupted the combo). While the deck is fine out of the box, and can make a lot of thopters, I did a lot of research on the deck & played it as my primary EDH deck until I settled in a build I like. Let’s take a look at the current upgraded version:

Invent Superiority with upgrades

Commander:
1 Breya, Etherium Shaper

Creatures:
1 Arcum Dagsson
1 Baleful Strix
1 Etherium Sculptor
1 Ethersworn Adjudicator
1 Goblin Welder
1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
1 Hellkite Tyrant
1 Leonin Abunas
1 Master of Etherium
1 Master Transmuter
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Myr Retriever
1 Noxious Gearhulk
1 Padeem, Consul of Innovation
1 Sharuum the Hegemon
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sphinx Summoner
1 Thopter Assembly
1 Trinket Mage
1 Vedalken Archmage

Planeswalkers:
1 Daretti, Scrap Savant
1 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
1 Tezzeret the Seeker

Artifacts:
1 Ashnod’s Altar
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Cranial Plating
1 Darksteel Forge
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Dispeller’s Capsule
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Krark-Clan Ironworks
1 Mox Opal
1 Mycosynth Lattice
1 Nevinyrral’s Disk
1 Nim Deathmantle
1 Panharmonicon
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Spine of Ish Sah
1 Sword of the Meek
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Thopter Foundry
1 Time Sieve
1 Trading Post
1 Vedalken Orrery

Enchantments:
1 Storm the Vault
1 Thopter Spy Network

Instants:
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Disallow
1 Dispatch
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Mortify
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Stoic Rebuttal
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Whir of Invention

Sorceries:
1 Austere Command
1 Fabricate
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Reverse Engineer
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Thoughtcast
1 Vindicate

Lands:
1 Academy Ruins
1 Adarkar Wastes
1 Ancient Den
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Blood Crypt
1 Caves of Koilos
1 City of Brass
1 Command Tower
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Glimmervoid
1 Godless Shrine
1 Great Furnace
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Inventors’ Fair
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Spire of Industry
1 Shivan Reef
1 Steam Vents
1 Temple of the False God
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Underground River
1 Vault of Whispers
1 Watery Grave
4 Island
2 Mountain
2 Plains
2 Swamp

While the core of the deck is still here, this is by no means a final version. That’s the great thing about this game, and especially this format. There are different ways to approach playing with your general, and no one is necessarily “correct”.

How the deck works

Artifacts are the name of the game. You want to ramp into your bigger spells, or be able to play a combo piece with a counterspell in your hand to protect the combo. While I don’t run any signets, there are several artifacts that can help ramp into the key pieces of the deck. When upgrading the deck I wanted to focus on combos, and this deck has a lot of them.

Breya, Etherium Shaper; Nim Deathmantle; and a sacrifice outlet

With this combo you want to have Nim Deathmantle, Breya, Etherium Shaper, and Ashnod’s Altar in play. Breya will provide two tokens upon entry.

  • You start by sacrificing a token to the altar for two mana, then sacrifice Breya for two more mana.
  • You then pay four mana to bring Breya back equipped to Nim Deathmantle, getting two more tokens, and allowing you to repeat the process.
  • You create infinite mana, and infinite tokens this way, allowing you to use Breya’s abilities to deal three damage to each player an infinite number of times.
  • If you do not have Ashnod’s Altar you can also do this with Krark-Clan Ironworks.

This is a pretty simple combo, but requires you to use your graveyard. Breya could be exiled from your graveyard, putting her back in the command zone. If you don’t have enough mana to cast Breya, Etherium Shaper from your command zone again you’ll have to get the turn back to try again.

Thopter Foundry, Sword of the Meek, Time Sieve

I mentioned this one earlier, and have played this combo in Modern Tezzerator. However, it also fits like a glove here as well. With the amount of tutors and card draw we can reliably find these pieces and go off. You can start with any of these in play, but preferably you will want to have Time Sieve enter the battlefield last so you can start taking extra turns as soon as possible.

  • You’ll start out by sacrificing Sword of the Meek to Thopter Foundry. This creates a 1/1 blue Thopter token, but once that enters the battlefield the Sword will see it and come back from the graveyard equipping itself to the thopter just made.
  • You can then repeat the process with as much mana as you have.
  • Once you have five thopters (or other artifacts you may not need anymore) you can start taking extra turns by activating Time Sieve.
  • For each land you draw, just consider that as an extra thopter you can make that turn. You will eventually kill your opponent with the thopters made, stumble upon another combo (that we will get to in a moment), or land a Tezzeret the Seeker allowing you to, after another turn, make all of your thopters into 5/5s and kill everyone in one attack.

This is just an example of what you can find with extra turns. You also gain infinite life with this combo. Just like above, you can also land Krark-Clan Ironworks to gain infinite life without turns. You would sacrifice Sword of the Meek to Thopter Foundry just as described above, but after making your token sacrifice that to Krark-Clan Ironworks for two mana, then use one mana to sacrifice the Sword to the Foundry, and repeat. Netting you infinite mana as well as infinite life and thopters.

Darksteel Forge, Hellkite Tyrant, Mycosynth Lattice

 

This combo can be rough for your opponents. Have you ever wanted to control everything they have? With Darksteel ForgeMycosynth Lattice, and Hellkite Tyrant attacking, you can! When Hellkite Tyrant connects with an opponent, that opponent loses all of their permanents (since they are all artifacts). You will want to have Padeem, Consul of Innovation in play to protect your combo from your opponents. This combo is also effective when taking extra turns. This is probably the most simplistic combo of those in the deck.

Why you should play this deck

  • You enjoy complex mechanics found in artifacts, unique lines of play, and combos.
  • You don’t like playing green spells.
  • You like having multiple ways to win.

Why you should not play this deck

  • Cards that lock out a single card type (like Stony Silence) frustrate you.
  • You don’t like losing to Blood Moon.
  • Artifacts or combos are not enjoyable for you.

In conclusion

This deck can be quite complex, but the thought process over various lines of play can be rewarding. Some games you’ll win with a combo, and others will be won with Padeem, Consul of Innovation wearing a Cranial Plating while having Darksteel Forge, and Mycosynth Lattice in play. Each game is different, and provides a new way to choose your path to victory.

I thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the article, and hopefully it provided you a look at an EDH deck you may not be playing right now (or a way to attack it).

Were there cards I missed in my build? What suggestions do you have? Leave a comment below, and follow me on both Facebook as well as Twitter. Next time I’ll talk about how wrong we were, and that we should have been positive about Ultimate Masters regardless of the MSRP.

Until next time…

TAP MORE MANA!!!

 

 

Scott Campbell, better known as MTGPackFoils, has been playing Magic since he was 17 (which was in 1993). He’s known for loving decks such as Azorius Control, Jund, and others (especially in Modern). He is a husband, father, and a former nightclub DJ.

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