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Budget Commander: Kamikaze Keiga

Commander / EDH Budget Control Mono-Blue


Kamikaze Keiga is a deck that plays differently not just from every blue deck, but from every commander deck you can make. Because of the color identity and death trigger, Keiga is literally the only commander that can support clone-killing value out of the command zone (Child of Alara comes closest, destroyed by its own clones).

The core concept is simple: When you have two of the same legend, one of them dies. That means you get its death trigger. That means that every clone is a Mind Control that can't be Disenchanted. The rest of the deck is built to enable this interaction.

Many of the cards in this deck are listed above under multiple categories. Below, I tend to list them in only one category. Just be aware that yes, Hedron Archive makes mana and cards, Monastery Siege draws cards and protects your mans, and Set Adrift gets a problem off the field and digs Keiga out of the bin.

You're casting spells on your turn and holding up counterspells. Some of those cards are 6 mana. In fact, the most important spell, the one you want to cast earliest, that's 6 mana. You want mana.

Combine your high land count with reasonably efficient mana rocks to get your spells out posthaste. A lot of the rocks are 2 mana, like Sky Diamond, Mind Stone, and Everflowing Chalice if necessary.

Synergy worth noting: Dragon's Hoard draws a card whenever you clone Keiga. After all, the clone entered the battlefield as a dragon!

Upgrades to make: Sol Ring (DUH), Thran Dynamo. Many upgrades in other categories improve your mana situation: Ponder and Preordain help draw lands, Arcane Lighthouse is a land, and I've Cleverly Impersonated mana rocks more times than I'd like to admit.

The main category of cards in this deck is ones that take stuff. Mostly this is in the form of Clones. Play a clone, copy Keiga. The clone dies to the legend rule and its trigger goes on the stack. Take creature. Rinse. Repeat. A lot of the clones are upgrades, with a few sidegrades in there. Fated Infatuation is a 3 mana instant. So is Cackling Counterpart, which, like Vizier of Many Faces, can be used twice!

Many decks, at least non-competitive decks, find it hard to compete when you control all their stuff. In fact, I've gone pretty far taking some Kesses and such here and there.

Synergy: After you've taken control of 2 or 3 creatures, and your opponent plays even better creatures that beat those creatures. cast Infinite Reflection. All your current captives die and are replaced with better options. Note also that Mirror Mockery gives you a Keiga every time you attack, good for getting blockers out of the way!

Upgrades: This is a long list. Clever Impersonator, Blade of Selves, Phantasmal Image, Phyrexian Metamorph, Stunt Double, and Rite of Replication are my favorites not included due to budget.

Besides literal "control," this is also a monoblue deck and that means interaction. The main categories of this are counterspells, bounce spells, and card draw.

First of all, you want to counterspell things like game-winning ETBs and hasty threats, removal spells, board wipes, and other rude moves. This deck wins by attacking with creatures: There are no infinite combos, unless you can steal them (and sometimes you will). Weird as it sounds, sometimes you're playing a tempo gameplan, throwing away cards to protect your board advantage from 3 separate people trying to tear it down. This is where spells like Negate, Confound, Dismiss and Misdirection come in. You may notice the counterspells lean a bit towards noncreatures. That's because half the creatures people play will actively give you value if they resolve. It's the other stuff you have to worry about.

Next, you'll want to get rid of other problems. The deck comes equipped with many bounce spells. I like the simplicity and versatility of Into the Roil and Blink of an Eye. We also have AEtherize for alpha strikes and Temporal Adept for an "answer or you'll lose" land-bouncing threat, especially in 1v1. Oh, and River's Rebuke can do a Rift impression if you squint a lot.

Finally, you need to dig for more stuff. We can draw cards with cheap spells like Impulse, moderate ones like Fact or Fiction, or big hand-fillers like Rush of Knowledge and Flow of Ideas.

Synergy: Some cards in our "Grave" category, as well as a few others (like Back from the Brink and Vizier of Many Faces) reward discard, either for drawing over 7 or for Fact or Fiction piles.

Upgrades: For counterspells, I'd look to the usual suspects. Counterspell, Swan Song, and if your budget allows it, Force of Will are all plenty great.

For bounce, Cyclonic Rift. Did I really need to type that?

This deck really wants 1 mana plays like Ponder, Preordain, and Serum Visions. Depending on how you go with draw spells, you might want a Reliquary Tower, and you definitely want Thought Vessel.

Finally, a few cards cross all these categories, like Cryptic Command and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

The thing about a 6 mana commander is she's hard to recast. And the thing about a commander with a death trigger is that you have to go through nontrivial work to get that death trigger (hence the deck).

As a result, sometimes you'll be letting Keiga die, and sometimes you'll fight tooth and nail to keep her alive.

In the first category we have cards marked "Grave." They let Keiga hit the yard, trigger, then dig her out later. Some are proactive, like False Demise (a rattlesnake card if I've ever seen one), while others only come out later. Letting Keiga die with a Treasure Cruise in hand is one of the sweetest plays you can make. Pulling double duty, we have Scrabbling Claws.

In the second category we have items marked "Protection." These cards prevent people from killing Keiga in the first place. Swiftfoot Boots is one of the cards I considered good enough to break the 1$ limit. Mystic Veil looks like a worse Alexi's Cloak on its face, but it's secretly a modal spell, because sometimes we don't want Keiga having shroud and countering a removal spell is good enough.

Synergy: Vodalian Illusionist. THIS LITTLE FISH DOES IT ALL. Remove an attacker. Remove a blocker. Remove a blocker, untap, then remove a second blocker. Counter a removal spell. Counter a pump spell. Survive a wrath. Make Keiga survive a wrath. Interrupt infinite combos at instant speed. Anything is possible with Vodalian Illusionist.

Oh, and don't forget that Back from the Brink is a workhorse. Gives all clones 2 uses, gives an extra Keiga for each Keiga, and those extra Keigas only cost 6! Sadly, they don't deal commander damage, but you're probably just planning to kill them when you cast her from your command zone so not too much lost.

Upgrades: Lightning Greaves for protection. Relic of Progenitus for grave stuff.

There are two commonly played problems you should expect to encounter. One is Shroud and Hexproof. The other is Brooding Saurian and Homeward Path. Each of these categories is approached slightly differently.

First, Homeward Path. To answer this card we have Encroaching Wastes, Tsabo's Web, Annex, and Confiscate. These are all cards with very low opportunity cost. The worst that can happen is your Encroaching Wastes nonbos with your Tsabo's Web, but depending on your draw order, you can choose to either not play one or to sac the wastes first. One's an ETB untapped land and the other costs 2 mana and cantrips, so they're both low deckbuilding cost.

Next, Brooding Saurian. You gotta bounce this and counter it on the way down. Sorry. The card is designed to be hard for blue to deal with. Your other option is to Meteor Golem it or Galecaster Colossus to bounce it before its caster's end step. (As a side note, this is also how to fight the worst hate card of all: Mirror Gallery.) Worst comes to worst, playing another meteor golem every turn is a workable wincon.

Finally, hexproof and shroud are hard to hit. The only card I could fit into the budget was Glaring Spotlight. But remember: While the A-game is to turn every clone into "I have your commander and you don't!" even with hexproof you still say "now we both have your commander." Clones are not bad creatures in 75% games.

Upgrades: Arcane Lighthouse.

I will be the first to admit that this looks really weird here. All I can say is that when building a creature-based AgroControlTempo deck, I found plenty of wizards that could hold their own as value pieces, so throwing in some tribal payoff was just free money.

For instance, we got Willbender and Riptide Entrancer turning enemy stuff into our stuff, Daring Apprentice protecting Keiga while we tap out for her, and Archaeomancer. Hell, most of our wizard tribal cards are also good on their own. Azami, Lady of Scrolls draws a card or two even as she eats a removal spell, Galecaster Colossus gets value while summoning sick and says "answer me or get rifted every turn," and Wizard's Retort is at least a cancel. But once you start assembling a few of them on the field together, you're just drawing things for free, bouncing things for free, casting Counterspells and cantripping mana leaks, and even getting value off of your "this isn't even a card anymore" face-up willbenders.

Synergy: Yes, that is a word I'd use to describe this category.

Upgrades: You can drop Wizards for a different package if you're remaking this deck. If you don't, though, consider Patron Wizard and Voidmage Prodigy.

Other Notes

The following cards break the 1$ price limit:

Swiftfoot Boots. This is just the most efficient protection spell short of Lighting Greaves, and lets you target Keiga. Clones don't target, but Infinite Reflection, Cackling Counterpart, Cryptoplasm... plenty of things in the deck still do.

Strionic Resonator. A dead clone goes from a mind control to two mind controls. Pure liquid value.

Mimic Vat. A clone becomes a clone every turn, for 3 mana. The original clone still gets its death trigger due to the Vat's trigger timing, and you can swap out your vat target if something weird comes up (no clones drawn, hexproof creature, someone loses a Draining Whelk, your Meteor Golem dies, anything.)


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Date added 2 weeks
Last updated 2 weeks

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.52
Tokens */* Generic, 0/0 Zombie Shapeshifter Cleric, 2/2 Morph
Folders Uncategorized, Thoughts, Cool Decks, If you build it..., EDH, EDH, Commander Reference, Commander Decks, Nice Decks, Budget EDH/Standard, See all 16
Top rank #5 on 2018-09-16
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