|Commander / EDH||Legal|
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|Urza's Saga (USG)||Rare|
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Barrin, Master Wizard
Legendary Creature — Human Wizard
(2), Sacrifice a permanent: Return target creature to its owner's hand.
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Barrin, Master Wizard Discussion
7 months ago
8 months ago
This looks pretty controlling but I like that it is all about bouncing, my favorite form of control in blue! Not sure if I'm excited to play against this, haha, but it'd be a fun challenge once you get it tuned (Zada's horde might cry).
You said draw could be better so why not do a wizard sub-theme? This obviously means including Azami. But guys like AEther Adept, Aven Augur, Barrin, Master Wizard, Cephalid Constable, Echo Tracer, Profaner of the Dead, etc. play well within a bouncing theme. They can give you the bounce control you need until Heidar is up and running and be draw/chump blockers before/after that.
I know there's a bunch of pet cards in here that I'm unaware of so let me know if you want me to suggest cuts and I will. I realize too I'm suggesting altering your deck a bunch but I think it'd be more consistent this way while still being quite unique compared to other tribal wizard builds.
8 months ago
Just some random thoughts, sorry for the disorder. I don't really have time to organize this atm.
You're extremely light on way to interact with _non_creatures. You're gonna feel real silly as a green deck when you're facing an Asceticism and you don't have so much as a Reclamation Sage to deal with one enchantment. Consider taking out the tapping subtheme and adding Decimate, Beast Within, Hull Breach, or similar cards. Get Cyclonic Rift in there too. You need Turn to Frog much less than more noncreature interaction. Most any creature you can target, you can steal, one way or another, and the ones you can't probably aren't numerous enough to make Turn to Frog worth it.
17/39 is a lot of etb tapped lands. Try to replace some guildgates and Smoldering Crater at least, swap them for untapped dual lands, or conditionally untappeds or basics. I would guess that, while also etb tapped, the U and G vivid lands would serve better than guildgates. High Market has great utility with your gameplan. Opal Palace is possible, it helps with Yasova's power.
FYI, you can tag cards into multiple categories, so Helm of Possession, Grab the Reins, and Demonmail Hauberk can both go under Sacrificing as well. You might want even more sac outlets and fewer steal effects. Your general gives you the second but not the first, so the rest of your deck should provide more of the first and less of the second to ensure you have one of each every turn. It seems like you can do better than Barrin, Master Wizard. What about Ooze Garden? There's always the classics Fling and Birthing Pod.
You need card draw too, and a generous amount. A hand with 4 Threaten effects is a lot worse than one with 3 threaten effects and a Harmonize. At the very least, no Tibalt please. He doesn't even count as a steal effect, he's too slow for that. Shamanic Revelation, Rishkar's Expertise, and Treasure Cruise are all options. Skullclamp can turn your enemy's dorks into cards for you, or just pump up Yasova and give her death insurance. Add some more like Elvish Mystic of your own for more consistency out of the clamp. Life's Legacy and Momentous Fall do double duty. If Yasova is out, Life's Legacy is probably better than a hand of three threatens.
Under your ramp package, Temur Banner should be Commander's Sphere and Nissa's Pilgrimage should be Cultivate to fix your colors. You've got a pretty high curve, so adding even more ramp and bringing down the curve would help. Better to play a spell with 80% power than have a 100% power spell stuck in hand for three turns. Think about exchanging Clone Legion, Nissa's Renewal, and one of the expensive threaten effects with Rampant Growth, Farseek, and Primal Growth which gives another sac outlet. With more cheap fixing, you can run more basics, and therefor fewer etb tapped lands.
Rancor is nice for helping the general, much more efficient than Incremental Growth I think. Stormsurge Kraken seems pretty intimidating but it doesn't advance the gameplan and Yasova herself is pretty easy to remove.
1 year ago
Sweet deck! I didn't realize how interesting Yasova was to me until I started thinking of ways to use her ability better.
I see you have Willbreaker, letting you keep the creatures you temporarily steal. Some other options for keeping these creatures past the end of the turn could be Conjurer's Closet, Deadeye Navigator, Synod Sanctum, Cold Storage, Nephalia Smuggler, and Ghostly Flicker, which all return creatures back under your control without you having to return them to their owners.
With Glaring Spotlight, you can steal your opponents' creatures that have hexproof. To steal your opponents' noncreature artifacts, try turning them into creatures with options like Toymaker and Titania's Song, and to steal your opponents' noncreature lands, try turning them into creatures with Lifespark Spellbomb or Quirion Druid.
If you don't want to give the creatures back after you've stolen them, you can use sacrifice effect cards to get rid of them for profit. Some powerful sacrifice engines include Ashnod's Altar, Culling Dais, Barrin, Master Wizard, Bloodshot Cyclops, Jalira, Master Polymorphist, Profaner of the Dead, Scourge of Skola Vale, Evolutionary Leap, Goblin Bombardment, Perilous Forays, Shivan Harvest, Momentous Fall, High Market, Life's Legacy, and Primal Growth.
You can also make opponents' creatures easier to steal by increasing Yasova's power, with any of these or other boosting cards: Kessig Wolf Run, Ceta Disciple, Llanowar Augur, Moonveil Dragon, Ursapine, Wolfir Silverheart, Bonesplitter, Hero's Blade, O-Naginata, Ring of Kalonia, Sai of the Shinobi, Shuko, Sigil of Distinction, Silver-Inlaid Dagger, Sword of the Chosen, Boar Umbra, Briar Shield, Elephant Guide, Exoskeletal Armor, Forced Adaptation, Giant Spectacle, Goblin War Paint, Inferno Fist, Madcap Skills, Moldervine Cloak, Mythic Proportions, Quest for the Gemblades, Rancor, Seal of Strength, Shape of the Wiitigo, Spectral Flight, Spider Umbra, Taste for Mayhem, Volcanic Strength, Wurmweaver Coil, Blossoming Defense, Brute Force, Giant Growth, Groundswell, Invigorate, Might of Oaks, Mutagenic Growth, Prey's Vengeance, Strength of the Tajuru, Wax/Wane, Blessings of Nature, Elven Rite, Give / Take, Increasing Savagery, Phytoburst, Reckless Charge, and Soul's Might
1 year ago
Be a terrible person with Buyback, Flashback, and all their friends! Mizzix reduces the cost of all alternate casting costs. (Also reduced Awaken, but I didn't include anything with that, because I know how much a fan you are, and I think you have most the good Overload)
Buyback:Capsize, Reiterate, Spell Burst, Whispers of the MuseFlashback:Lightning Surge, Cackling Counterpart, Devil's Play, Fervent Denial, Increasing Vengeance, Past in Flames, Recoup, Volley of BouldersKicker:Elemental Appeal, Illuminate, Into the Roil, Jilt, Molten Disaster, Spell Contortion
Denying Wind, Searing Wind, Insurrection, Temporal Trespass, Volcanic Vision, Aether Gale, Crush of Tentacles, Fall of the Titans, Mindswipe, Counterlash, Izzet Cluestone (and other colored mana generation), Reality Shift, Fissure, Rapid Hybridization, Pongify, Comparative Analysis, Tezzeret's Gambit, Mirrorpool, Scour from Existence, Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise, All Is Dust, Mnemonic Wall, Archaeomancer, Izzet Chronarch also feel free to look at Niv's counterspell list.
Seal of the Guildpact, Artificer's Epiphany, Mystic Confluence, Repeal, Thirst for Knowledge, Meteor Blast, Arjun, the Shifting Flame, Barrin, Master Wizard, Broodbirth Viper, Dragon Mage, Etherium-Horn Sorcerer, Gigantoplasm, Illusory Ambusher, Lone Revenant, Warchief Giant, Rite of the Raging Storm, Thopter Spy Network, Thought Reflection
1 year ago
First of all, I can assure you that I'm not biased towards Rayne. I've never built a Rayne deck in my life and I probably never will when there are so many better mono-blue options. I may be biased towards the combo-control route for mono-blue over other strategies, but that's because I honestly think it's the best route to go with for that color identity. Swinging with creatures en masse is not mono-blue's strong suite and a voltron strategy is extremely slow in a multiplayer format, even with access to time walk effects. So yeah, I'm probably biased towards the combo-control strategy.
Second, perspective is important here. None of the commanders I mentioned in my post are better than Azami, Arcum, Teferi (either one), Jace, or even Talrand. Most of them are just straight-up bad cards and the only reason to run them as your commander is to hide a mono-blue combo-control deck behind a seemingly innocuous commander, which you probably won't even cast. The key is to look at how they compare to eachother and how the small advantages they provide benefit the deck's general strategy.
You have very good points about Uyo and Tomorrow. Copying Turnabout with Uyo didn't occur to me, and what also didn't occur to me was the possibility of stacking Tomorrow's and Lab Maniac's replacement effects or just bouncing Tomorrow. These did not occur to me at the time, and because of that you are probably right about them being as good or better than Rayne. This is largely due to my lack of inexperience with either of them and I apologize for my ignorance.
However, I disagree with you on most of your other points. I'll start with the board wipes argument. Take a look at the optimized lists linked for the tier 1 and tier 2 decks and look at how many board wipes are in each. Cyclonic Rift is in literally every blue deck (not hyperbole, it really is) and Toxic Deluge is in an overwhelming majority of the black decks. That's about it. For the decks that run both black and green, Pernicious Deed is usually in there, most red decks have Vandalblast if they don't have better options, and mono-green generally runs Bane of Progress although Gx typically doesn't. Those are closer to tech choices than anything else. It's true that most of those lists are for decks that gain a really significant effect from their commander (Zur, Teferi, Yisan, etc.), but any highly optimized list in those same colors is probably going to be similar in its construction. Based on this reasoning, it's logical to infer that the average optimized EDH deck runs maybe 3 to 4 board wipes. By comparison, most optimized EDH decks run about twice as much spot removal, making it more likely that your stuff will be targeted. The only real exception to this are mono-red decks who have to run a lot of board wipes, but that's mostly because mono-red is just so bad at tutoring that they need to run as many redundant effects as possible. Additionally, board wipes aren't cast unless the board state is really problematic. Your commander is a 1/1 with a situational ability and since you're mono-blue combo-control you're probably running less than 10 creatures in your deck, so if your opponents do board wipe, it's probably not because of you. And since you're blue, there's also the trivial argument of "just counter it". I was reluctant to bring this up because it's both a cop-out argument and doesn't work on Supreme Verdict, but that doesn't mean it's not true.
You also say that permanents won't be targeted until they're an issue, which is true, but I feel like you're forgetting how many powerful permanents blue has access to. A lot of people aren't going to let Back to Basics, Rhystic Study, Mystic Remora, Jace, Vryn's Prodigy Flip, or Consecrated Sphinx stay around for more than a turn or two. Heck, a lot of people will probably want to blow up your stronger mana rocks if you're accelerating too fast for their liking. So really it's not that uncommon for your permanents to be targeted.
Speaking of mana acceleration, I really, really want to know what kind of games you're playing where you can "get up to 15 mana easily" without being interrupted by MLD or stax effects. I run a ton of ramp in both my competitive and non-competitive EDH decks, and, infinites aside, I have never gotten that much mana, nor have I ever seen anyone get that much mana. Other than High Tide, I can see no way to reasonably do this. Even with High Tide, you need to have a lot of other mana at your disposal. And even if it was as easy to get to high amounts of mana as you say it is, why would you want to do anything besides immediately win the game at that point? I'd much rather play Enter the Infinite or Omniscience (or both) than Jin-Gitaxias if I get to that much mana.
Speaking of Jin-Gitaxias, let's talk about him. You seem to think I am underselling his strengths even though the first thing I said was that his effect was more powerful than anything else that any other mono-blue commander in tier 4 could do. Let me be more clear about Jin-Gitaxias and his strengths and weaknesses then. Jin-Gitaxias is the best creature to cheat into play in EDH bar none. However, because he costs 10 mana, you need to construct your deck around him if you want to actually cast him from the command zone. Because of this, you'll need to run a ton of mana acceleration which takes up a lot of card slots, and since he's in your command zone for all your opponents to see, they probably won't let you get to 10 mana if they can help it and will either blow up your acceleration or just win before you. Because of Command Beacon, cheating him into play with Show and Tell (or Quicksilver Amulet or Braids or whatever) is viable, but chances are your opponents are going to do whatever they can to stop it. In the example you stated, the card economy for Rayne seems kind of similar to what Jin-Gitaxias gives you proportional to their mana costs, with the only difference being that Rayne gives you that advantage slowly over several turns where as Jin-Gitaxias is immediate. You're right about Jin-Gitaxias having an extremely powerful effect though. If he cost 7 mana he would be tier 2 at least. If he cost 8 mana he would be a solid tier 3. If he cost 9 mana he would be at the top of tier 4, borderline tier 3. But since he costs 10, he's stuck in the middle of tier 4.
Now let's talk about the last general you mentioned explicitly, Ertai. First of all, I think you misinterpreted what I said about him. I didn't say that Ertai needed card advantage to function and that he was inferior to Rayne because he lacked it (I did say that about Hisoka, but anyway). What I said was that having a draw engine (Rayne) is better than having a way to counter spells (Ertai), and I stand by that statement. Also, I could have easily turned your argument against you nearly word for word: "She's blue. She has counterspells. there are more important things to do, like actually winning the game." I didn't do that because a) it's childish to do so and b) they both have access to countermagic and card draw, so the questions simply becomes which is better to have. Rather than countering that eldrazi (which won't prevent cast triggers btw), I would rather have a commander that lets me draw into my own win condition or threat or is a big threat on their own. Neither Ertai nor Rayne is a big threat, but Rayne can at least draw me into threats, which is more proactive. I guess ultimately it comes down to what type of deck you'd want to play, proactive or reactive. Personally I think proactive is better in a multiplayer setting, but that's likely just a product of my own playstyle.
As far as not explaining myself goes, I concede that I did slack off on a lot of the descriptions (seriously though, why aren't Lorthos and Tromokratis tier 5?). I spent the first paragraph talking about why Rayne is good, so I felt like I didn't need to repeat myself every single time. If I did that, most of the descriptions would be "X is good at Y but costs too much/is not well suited to multiplayer/doesn't have a lot of support in blue, and therefore Rayne is better because she costs 3 mana and draws cards." That's pretty much what my analysis of each general was anyway only without the last 8 words. I suppose I should elaborate on what I meant for each of the commanders that I said was "low impact" or something similar or just didn't write a whole lot on (except Lorthos and Tromokratis, I don't have anything more to say about them).
- Alhammarret, High Arbiter - Unlike most of the other commanders on this list, his effect is symmetrical, which is good in a multiplayer setting. However, since it can only target cards that are currently in your opponents' hands, there are ways to get around it (Brainstorm, Scroll Rack) and it doesn't necessarily hit your opponent's win condition. This makes it a relatively weak effect, and the fact that it costs 7 mana makes it even less desirable.
- Barrin, Master Wizard - Bouncing a creature on command can be good, but the fact that you have to sac a permanent in order to do so will usually leave you at a card disadvantage or, at best, only a temporary advantage. There's also the fact that a lot of EDH decks don't rely heavily on their creatures, making his ability sometimes completely irrelevant. The only real draw of Barrin, like I said before, is the infinite he has with Palinchron+Genesis Chamber. He has very little utility outside of this combo because of the disadvantages I mentioned before.
- Empress Galina - 5 mana to cast and then you need to either wait a turn or have Lightning Greaves in play and then pay 2 more mana to steal a legendary permanent. Stealing is a powerful effect, but if you can't win the game with what you've stolen then the impact is severely lessened. I mentioned stealing Gaea's Cradle before, but a much more efficient and immediate solution to Cradle is Strip Mine, which costs 0 mana and can take care of Cradle without any other cards in play. Only being able to steal legendary permanents is also quite narrow, even in a format where players are almost always guaranteed to have at least one legendary creature.
- Hisoka, Minamo Sensei - Hisoka is like a worse version of Ertai. He can counter stuff but he almost always puts you at a card disadvantage in order to do so. Even in blue, it's still difficult to continuously have enough cards in hand to answer all your opponents' threats. If something happens to your draw engine, you're in big trouble and will likely run out of gas. Compare this to Rayne, who is a draw engine (a very poor draw engine but a draw engine nonetheless) and you can see that Rayne has some good advantages over it.
- Kaho, Minamo Historian - Mana Severance combo is her best option and it's not a bad option by any means. However, it is fragile and if your opponents know what you are doing then you will be targeted down. Because you need to run so many lands for Mana Severance to work well, you have less room for things that would make your combo more resiliant (additional countermagic, etc.)
- Keiga, the Tide Star - Keiga is a lot like Galina - they both cost a lot of mana and they both steal things. However, because they are so similar they also both have similar weaknesses, namely that they both depend on your opponents having good things to steal and no way to prevent them from being stolen. Keiga is also notably vulnerable to Homeward Path, which many creature-based decks run. And additionally, if you can't win the game with what you've stolen, what's the point? Personally I'd rather cast Consecrated Sphinx when I have 6 mana since it's better than any other creature in EDH anyway.
- Lu Xun, Scholar General - Any card that can draw more cards is not a bad card, especially if it's an unblockable creature. The problem with Lu Xun is that he's just so slow. If you don't have Lightning Greaves, you need to cast him, wait a turn, and draw a card. Meanwhile, Rayne comes down earlier and can potentially draw more than one card per turn cycle. Unless you're going for a dedicated voltron deck, it should be pretty clear why Rayne is better.
- Vendilion Clique - This card is a staple in every other constructed format, so it's not immediately obvious why its effect is weak in multiplayer, but it is. When you play Clique, you target one of your 3 opponents, Distress them, and then they draw a card. You have an additional permanent on board so you're not down on card advantage, even if that permanent is very small and doesn't do much while it's actually in play. The opponent you targeted lost a card from their hand, but potentially drew another bomb, so they may or may not be down on card advantage. Your other two opponents are either completely unaffected by not being targeted or are benefiting from you forcing your other opponent to "discard", so they are the ones who are truly benefiting from it. So it doesn't really provide you with any advantage and helps your other opponents more. Rayne, however, gives you advantages.
- Zhuge Jin, Wu Strategist - I'm trying really hard to say more than just "Sun Quan is better", I really am. I don't have much more to say beyond that though. Making things unblockable to swing in and kill your opponent is kind of a slow way to win the game in a multiplayer setting. The best card you could make unblockable with this would probably be Blightsteel Colossus, and that card already has trample and infect so anything that blocks it probably won't block it a second time.
Also, if you don't care whether or not Rayne moves up or down on the tier list, why did you respond to me in the first place? Do you have a problem with me or something?
1 year ago
I don't usually talk too much about rearranging the lower tiers because who cares, but I think that Rayne, Academy Chancellor could potentially move up to Tier 4. Before I explain why, I want to point out the assumption I'm making: That any mono-blue general in tier 4 is going to basically be a combo/control deck that aims to deal with early threats until it assembles enough combo pieces to go off with an infinite combo (Palinchron+Deadeye Navigator, Metalworker+Staff of Domination, Future Sight+Helm of Awakening+Sensei's Divining Top, etc.). I feel that this would be the best strategy overall for this archetype, even though you could go different directions with some other generals (Tromokratis voltron, Sun Quan, Lord of Wu midrange, that one Kaho, Minamo Historian+Mana Severance deck with a million upvotes, etc.). With that in mind, let's look at Rayne and the tier 4 generals and see which of them lend themselves well to that strategy.
- Rayne, Academy Chancellor - Being able to draw a card whenever one of your permanents is targets is a very good effect. This helps out a lot in the early/mid game when you have effects like Rhystic Study or Back to Basics that your opponents will want to deal with and it protects your mana rocks from spot removal. It also helps on the combo turn - if one of your combo pieces is targeted by instant speed removal, you can potentially draw into a counterspell. The downside to this is that the format naturally favors mass removal, but if every list is optimized then spot removal will likely be more common since it's more mana efficient. There's also the relatively minor issue that you'll almost never draw 2 cards off her ability, but if you really want to then you can run Diplomatic Immunity.
- Aboshan, Cephalid Emperor - Aboshan is a card that's at odds with itself. He wants to be a stax general, but he costs 6 mana and doesn't do much to help you ignore your own stax effects. He also has no utility for your combo win condition, and his second ability is basically just a glorified Fog. I'd say Rayne is better.
- Alhammarret, High Arbiter - 7 mana Meddling Mage. Rayne is better.
- Ambassador Laquatus - Of all the mono-blue generals, Laquatus lends himself to the combo/control strategy better than most of the others on this list because he's an infinite combo outlet. I know people are going to talk about how mill is weak, so let me pre-empt those comments by saying that the win condition for Laquatus is not to mill your opponents but to mill yourself and then play Laboratory Maniac. I'm hesitant to say that he's better than Rayne because they both serve different purposes, but I'd say they're about equal.
- Barrin, Master Wizard - His ability is too narrow to do a whole lot. He does go infinite with Palinchron+Genesis Chamber but overall I just think Rayne is better.
- Braids, Conjurer Adept - Braids doesn't really lend herself well to the combo/control archetype. She's more of a midrange general who wants to drop eldrazi into play, and she's quite good at it. Because the symmetry can backfire, I'm still going to say that Rayne is better, if only slightly.
- Empress Galina - Stealing Gaea's Cradle is great, but overall I think she's just too slow. Rayne is better.
- Ertai, Wizard Adept - In my opinion, having a draw engine is better than having a repeatable way to counter spells. Although you could argue otherwise, I'd say Rayne is better.
- Hisoka, Minamo Sensei - See above, only even more so since Hisoka requires a way to keep his hand full to be viable. Rayne is better.
- Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur - The most powerful effect of any mono-blue commander in tier 4 is attached to the highest mana cost of any blue legendary. This might be a controversial statement, but I would say that Rayne is as good if not better than Jin-Gitaxias, if only because she can come down much, much earlier.
- Kaho, Minamo Historian - Yes, yes, we all know about the Mana Severance deck, but that deck is extremely vulnerable to hate and will likely only work on opponents once. It's like Sidisi Ad Nauseam with no backup plan. I'd say that Rayne is better.
- Keiga, the Tide Star - As much as I love this guy, he costs too much mana and the effect is relatively weak in a multiplayer setting. I think Rayne is better.
- Lorthos, the Tidemaker - I feel like the only reason this guy isn't tier 5 is because he can 3-shot people with commander damage. Rayne is better for obvious reasons.
- Lu Xun, Scholar General - 4 mana Shadowmage Infiltrator. Actually, Shadowmage Infiltrator would be a better general simply because it would give you access to black. Anyway, this is kind of simiar to Rayne but it's inferior because it's slower and only draws you one card at a time.
- Patron of the Moon - Goes infinite with Amulet of Vigor but requires you to run a bunch of moonfolk if you want to cast it for a reasonable mana cost, none of which are particularly good except maybe Oboro Breezecaller. Still, I think that this is one of the few mono-blue commanders in tier 4 that is even or better with Rayne.
- Sun Quan, Lord of Wu - On the one hand, Horsemanship is an ability that is almost impossible for most decks to deal with and effectively makes all your creatures unblockable. On the other hand, 6 mana is pricey and swinging with creatures is generally not the most efficient way to win in a multiplayer setting unless you have access to Craterhoof Behemoth. Rayne is better.
- Tomorrow, Azami's Familiar - Very cool effect, but 6 mana is a lot and since your draws will be replaced it means you can't win with Laboratory Maniac. I'd say Rayne is better.
- Tromokratis - see Lorthos, the Tidemaker. Seriously, what are these guys doing outside of tier 5? They're not playable in any constructed format and they're barely playable in limited.
- Uyo, Silent Prophet - I hate to sound like a broken record, but 6 mana with a weak effect is just not good. Rayne is better.
- Vendilion Clique - The best card on this list outside of a multiplayer format. Very low impact in multiplayer though. Rayne just does more for you.
- Zhuge Jin, Wu Strategist - Sun Quan is better, and Rayne is better than both of them.
So to sum up, although there are some mono-blue commanders in tier 4 than Rayne, she is better than a large majority of them. For this reason, I believe Rayne should be tier 4 instead of tier 5.
1 year ago
For Homeward Path, Voidmage Husher is my favorite way to deal with annoying activated abilities, since she's a repeatable counter. Only trouble is as a creature, Marath and Co. will happily pick her off with any direct damage/fight they can leverage...but her ability to return to your hand should help if you keep an instant (even just a cantrip or a bounce) at the ready. There's also one-tricks like Stifle and Squelch.
I also have a mono-blue commander deck helmed by Barrin, Master Wizard, and some of my favorite spells for all occasions for mono-blue that I can recommend are Opposition, Time Stop, Reality Shift, Pongify Rapid Hybridization, Nevinyrral's Disk, and Draining Whelk.
Honestly, for much of the deck, starting with the $40 Teferi commander precon is probably not a bad way to go...there's a ton of goodies in there for the price.