I have decided to try out Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow in place of Sygg, River Cutthroat. Sygg is great and the original list is still one of my favorite EDH decks. However, Yuriko does everything I wanted my Sygg deck to achieve, and it does it better.

Why chose Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow over Sygg, River Cutthroat? In my opinion, Yuriko is a much more proactive commander whereas Sygg tends to be more reactive. Also, in order to trigger Sygg's card draw ability, 3 damage/life loss is required. While not overly difficult to achieve, it does considerably constrain deck building options. In contrast, Yuriko requires combat damage, which in its own right is limiting, however, her ability allows us much more flexibility in deck building. Lastly, she always costs which is amazing.

The goal of this deck is two fold: 1) Use evasive creatures to eek through combat damage to constantly trigger Yuriko's ability. 2) Maximize Yuriko's ablity with top deck manipulation and damage doublers

I have seen many lists that go all in on 1-drop evasive threats that allow for Yuriko to trigger as early as turn two. While this is ideal, many of the evasive threats I see being included are mediocre at best, and they are absolutely terrible late game draws. The few one drops that I have included are generally useful in all stages of the game: Hypnotic Siren, Viscera Seer, Siren Stormtamer, and Deadeye Tracker.

Turn three Yuriko is as nearly as good as turn two. Plus there are a lot of good two drops to choose from. All of my choices have built in evasion. There are many in this list, but I'll just mention the important ones here:

Augury Owl - ETB top deck manipulation

Cavern Harpy - Can be used in concert with Yuriko to consistently ninjutsu

Dimir Infiltrator - Unblockable creature that tutors for Unnatural Selection, Cyclonic Rift, and Counterspell

Inkfathom Witch - A late game finisher that allows all of our 1/1's to hit for a four instead.

Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive - While just about all of the creatures in this deck have evasion, sometimes flying just doesn't cut it. Tetsuko makes sure everyone gets through (including Yuriko who doesn't have evasion herself).

Thalakos Seer - Ninjutsu + LTB card draw is a lovely combo

Honorable mention to Thopter Spy Network. This card serves as a substitute for Bitterblossom. While much slower than the latter, I actually prefer it due to the added card advantage (and it doesn't cost $45).

Other forms of evasion come from Rogue's Passage and Thassa, God of the Sea.

Another issue I have seen with other Yuriko lists is the tendancy to run too many overly expensive spells that make it difficult to cast anything. I have tried to strike a nice balance here with 17, 5+ cmc spells that all have built in cost reductions (no I am not running Draco and neither should you):

Elder Deep-Fiend, Vexing Scuttler, Distended Mindbender all shoot opponents for eight, but also can reduce their cost by sacrificing Yuriko.

Emrakul, the Promised End is the big-momma of the deck. Nail everyone for 13, and then control someone for their next turn.

Decree of Pain is a board wipe that can be cast at a cheaper cost.

Commit//Memory and Curtains' Call are solid spot removal spells that pack a punch (10 and 6 damage respectively).

Silent-Blade Oni, Okiba-Gang Shinobi, Throat Slitter are the only other natural ninja that I thought were good enough to include. All have 5+ cmc and powerful abilities.

Some of the best card draw spells ever made in Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time are also included. These spells are great because they are never cast for their natural CMC, provide excellent card advantage, and deal a ton of damage off of Yuriko.

The deck also attacks opponents hands. Scythe Specter not only forces discarding, but it costs 6 man itself and punishes folks with extra damage when they discard cards. Larceny and Okiba-Gang Shinobi makes sure every hit strips a card while Distended Mindbender provides more targeted discard.

Twilight Prophet is this deck's #2. She provides another way to profit off of the top of the deck. Sakashima's Student and Phyrexian Metamorph just gives this list more flexible bombs.

Oh wait, we already know what is on top of the deck? Well never mind then....

This list pacts a ton of ways to ensure that we are never flipping the top of our deck blind. I'll only address a few of the more impactful ones.

Sensei's Divining Top - I's pretty much THE top card in this deck (ha get it?)

Crystal Ball - Top's steller stand-in and my substitute for Scroll Rack

Haunted Crossroads and Bone Harvest - I am very surprised that these don't show up in more Yuriko lists. They are great sources of recursion that synergize well with Yuriko.

Lim-Dul's Vault - Let's just go find the best 5 cards to put on the top of our library shall we?

Prognostic Sphinx - Top deck manipulation, evasive threat, protects itself, fills the graveyard for delve, what's not to like?

You honestly didn't think I'd finish this description without addressing the most exciting reason to build Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow did you? It's tribal ninjas!! This list runs three ways to turn all the non-ninja creatures into ninja's:

Xenograft and Arcane Adaptation passively turn all our creatures into ninjas

Unnatural Selection changes one creature for only a turn. However, at two cmc it can be tutored for by Muddle the Mixture and Dimir Infiltrator.

I purposely left out Conspiracy because it cost the most $$ and while redundancy is good, I didn't feel the need to devote an additional card slot dedicated to ninjas.

Thanks for taking a gander at this deck. I would really appreciate any suggestions for improvements to the list. And please +1 if you like the deck.


Updates Add

Brought in Temporal Trespass as another finisher.

Switched out Prognostic Sphinx for Doom Whisperer . The demon doesn't have a natural way to protect itself, but being able to Surveil at any time I want adds another great form of top deck manipulation. Plus Surveil is just straight up better than Scry.

Switched out Dowsing Dagger  Flip for Gilded Lotus . Essentially a like for like replacement. I found that equipment are actually pretty weak in a Yuriko deck as creatures are consistently entering and leaving the battlefield mid combat.


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Date added 5 months
Last updated 4 weeks

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.30
Tokens 3/3 Ape, 1/1 Bird, 1/1 City's Blessing, 2/2 Manifest
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