Beast Whisperer

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Legality

Format Legality
1v1 Commander Legal
Archenemy Legal
Arena Legal
Block Constructed Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal
Commander: Rule 0 Legal
Custom Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Gladiator Legal
Highlander Legal
Historic Legal
Legacy Legal
Leviathan Legal
Limited Legal
Modern Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Pioneer Legal
Planechase Legal
Quest Magic Legal
Vanguard Legal
Vintage Legal

Beast Whisperer

Creature — Elf Druid

Whenever you cast a creature spell, draw a card.

rckclimber777 on Build a Deck with me …

2 weeks ago

Welcome back to another episode of Build a Deck with Me. In the first two episodes I focused on a couple decks that want to go infinite and combo out. I realize that playing infinite combos is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but one of the things I enjoy is finding cool interactions/ways to break cards. So today instead of finding ways to break cards, I’m simply going to start with a card that is already broken and build a deck around it. That card is Voja, Jaws of the Conclave. Ok, so maybe it isn’t broken, but you have to admit, you see this good boy on the field and you need to find a response quickly.

Research

In the last episode, I had some comments that suggested I talk about some of the general research that goes into deck-building. One thing to keep in mind is that when you’re building a deck there are general archetypes that exist and are fairly well known. These can often serve as models when thinking about what cards to use, although relying too heavily on them long term can diminish creativity. If you’re just starting out though, by all means run over to EDHRec and find what cards usually go into a counters deck or a tribal deck (spoiler alert that is what we’re building here). One of the things that I do that helps my deckbuilding is watching youtube channels that play commander. This includes: The Command Zone, Tolarian Community College, Commander at Home, and Elder Dragon Hijinks. There are many others out there, but these are the ones that I’ve watched more than a couple episodes of. As I’m watching an episode, I find myself thinking, “Wow I want to build something like that” or “I really liked the interactions with that”. For instance, there was a Commander at Home game where I got to see the interaction between Dihada, Binder of Wills and Odric, Lunarch Marshal and now they’re sitting on my desk, waiting to be built. Today’s episode is the result of one such instance. I watched The Command Zone episode that covered Murders at Karlov Manor. In that game, the Voja deck was a beast. It was fast, it made huge creatures, it drew tons of cards, and it just couldn’t be stopped, oh and the commander was a big puppy dog (wolf, puppy same thing).

To start building, I went into Gatherer and just began looking for a few things like Wolves, Elves, and Changelings. I started to realize that there are very few changelings and the wolves out there really aren’t that great outside of a few like Hollowhenge Overlord. So I turned back to the Command Zone for some help. They post their decklists on the videos and I began scrolling through it and much to my surprise, the list was similar to the ones that I had found, but wasn’t sure about like Ferocious Pup and Universal Automaton. These aren’t good cards unless you have something that really wants creatures on the field. And that’s when things started to click. The support for Voja didn’t necessarily need to be super strong in their own right, it just needed to enable him to do more.

Changelings

First of all, Voja is an interesting card because it wants both Elves and Wolves on the field. Most tribal decks want just one tribe so it almost feels like you have to make a choice between one or the other here. Well I don’t like choosing between two good options. It’s like deciding between chicken nuggets or a chicken sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. I say both! (I also might need to reconsider some life choices, but oh well)

Changelings are great because they have all creature types which means any tribal deck can use them. Some are extremely powerful, while others just have an interesting creature type. In this deck, however, we want to focus on low cost creatures. If they do something cool, bonus!

Realmwalker is awesome because it is every creature type but it can also cast creatures from the top of your library which instantly gives you card advantage, we will likely choose elf as our creature type when it comes in because they generally are going to be our lower cost creatures, our mana dorks, and likely the more prominent tribal type in our deck.

Remember any changeling on the field will trigger both aspects of Voja’s triggered ability so a Universal Automaton becomes a 1 drop enabler for both adding counters and drawing cards. Irregular Cohort provides two 2/2 bodies both of whom are changelings and give us more counters and cards.

Of course there are two cards here that are just amazing. Maskwood Nexus which makes all your creatures all creature types, and Shields of Velis Vel which does the same thing in instant form. Both are game changers with voja.

Elves

When it comes to elves, we generally want to have mana dorks. This is going to ramp us out quickly, but also allow us to have bodies out there to add counters to. A couple standouts besides the normal ones like Llanowar Elves are:

Gyre Sage who is going to get huge thanks to Voja.

Beast Whisperer will draw you lots of cards because we are going to be a creature heavy deck.

Yeva, Nature's Herald is also helpful in being able to get your cards out on your opponent’s turns.

All the versions of Tolsimir are great because they often come with a wolf token in tow.

Finally there is Shalai and Hallar… When you’re adding counters to every creature on your board equal to the number of elves you control, this card can take out an opponent.

Wolves

There are a few wolves out there, but its surprisingly fewer than you would think. Hollowhenge Overlord is really good, and so is Ferocious Pup. You play it and suddenly you have two wolves which means two more cards when Voja attacks. Another great wolf is Roaming Throne. I know what you’re thinking, “it’s a golem.” In this deck, it’s a wolf… trust me. Roaming throne will double all of Voja’s triggered abilities and now you’re thinking “Voja only has one triggered ability.“ Actually, Ward is a triggered ability. Which means now in order to target him, your opponents need to spend 6 mana!! So you swing with Voja, let’s be conservative and say that you have just llanowar elves, Voja, and roaming throne, you add 2 +1/+1 counters to everything and you draw 4 cards. Speaking of doubling that trigger: Annie Joins Up. A super underrated card so far and triggers on Voja, Shalai, and Tolsimir.

Other fun stuff

There are a couple other things that help support Voja as well. Counter multipliers and additional combat steps are all good things for this deck. You don’t want to put too many of those in though because when push comes to shove you’re likely going to just want a creature to play instead of another counter multiplier. I have Kami of Whispered Hopes in the deck, because it adds counters, but it also produces a crazy amount of mana which I can use to empty my hand of creature cards. Hardened Scales is fine and even Branching Evolution feels worthwhile, but I chose not to add any others.

For additional combats I added only two cards, one was Relentless Assault and the other is Great Train Heist. The latter is great because it has more versatility, is an instant, and costs the same as relentless assault for its first ability. Both of these cards can win the game pretty easily.

There are also wolf producers like Howling Moon which I’ve played in Arena with great results. (also pairs well with Tocasia's Welcome). Sword of Body and Mind produces wolves, gives protection, and mills your opponent. Arlinn, the Pack's Hope  Flip is another powerful card since it produces wolves, but can also give you flash on your creatures.

Finally, there is a card that I’m proud to say I noticed before it became super popular. Silver Shroud Costume. I remember playing it in the dogmeat deck and thought, this is good, I’m going to put a copy into voja. At that time it was $5. It has since surged to $20 and there is a reason. It can flash out and attach to Voja, who is now hexproof, (in case ward 3 wasn’t enough) and unblockable gg.

Card Draw, ramp, interaction

Don’t forget your interaction. Just because Voja has ward 3 and is hard to spot remove, doesn’t mean he doesn’t need to be protected. Flawless Maneuver, Heroic Intervention, Teferi's Protection etc. will help keep him and the rest of your creatures safe.

As far as ramp goes, Voja wants creatures which means a lot of ramp is going to be in the form of mana dorks not mana rocks or traditional green ramp spells. I still added a few green ramp spells, but its definitely fewer than some of my other green decks.

Card draw is also a little different here. We’ve got Beast Whisperer and Tocasia's Welcome already and they work really well with the deck since the Beast whisperer is also an elf and tocasia’s welcome triggers with all of our mana dorks which we can flash out on other turns as well. Voja of course is the main card draw engine (seriously a commander who draws cards is just waiting to be abused). Other good cards here are Inspiring Call and Rishkar's Expertise.

About Card Draw

One quick note on card draw that has recently changed the way I think about it. I used to separate card draw into two different categories. Card draw engines which are ongoing effects that will give me cards as long as they remain on the field. The other is simply cards that draw more cards. Previously, I assumed that the former were excellent cards and the latter were well… not great. But as I was listening to The Command Zone they started talking about cards and the amount of triggers you can expect to get in a single game. This changed the way I thought about it. A card like Rhystic Study is great because you are likely going to get some cards from it, but your opponents can pay the 1 or they can remove it. The idea is to think about your card draw engines in terms of the average cards you get from it. This helped me starting think about the usefulness in a card like Inspiring Call which is likely to give me 4-5 cards when I play it, at least. Rishkar's Expertise similarly will net me upwards of 7-10 cards and play a spell from my hand. Meanwhile, rhystic study, which is a great card, will likely get me 5-6 cards before being dealt with, sometimes only a couple. It helped me shift my thinking and made me consider other cards that I had previously dismissed.

Lands

Not a lot of utility lands are needed in this deck, I did like Rogue's Passage, because a lot of times Voja is swinging for lethal commander damage. Making him unblockable is great.

Here is the final form: Voja, the good boy

And by final form, I mean the form I’m currently playing, but likely will change because decks are always being updated and changed. As always, hope you enjoyed the article and if you have any commanders or interactions that you want to see built, let me know in the comments.

rckclimber777 on Build a Deck with Me …

1 month ago

First a quick introduction. I've been playing magic off and on for years. When this site first started out, I was super active and then I stopped playing. I recently got back into it and plunged deep into the Commander format. I love building decks around interesting concepts and often trying to break cards.

My slightly ambitious goal is to create a series of threads that show my thought process as I build a commander deck. I figure it will serve two purposes: First, it will aid newer players who have some precon decks and perhaps are looking to upgrade them or they see a commander and want to build it, but aren't sure how. The second is purely self-motivated in that more experienced players can fine tune my own logic and make suggestions for my own improvement.

So with that, the first commander deck I'm going to build here is Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds. This is a card that begs to be broken and creates for interesting and powerful decks. There are also several different lines you can choose to go with. You can make it go infinite if you like degeneracy or don't like the people in your playgroup, or you can decide to go the way of building lots of tokens quickly and then turning them sideways and swinging. (Spoiler alert we are going infinite)

So first things first, we need to think about what the commander actually does and what it is going to need to do that effectively. First, it allows all nontoken creatures to tap and create tokens that I control that entered the battlefield this turn. So a couple things to point out: First is that it is tokens not creature tokens specifically, so treasures, clues, food, etc. are fair game. Secondly, it doesn't have to be my turn that the tokens came in, you can activate the ability at instant speed if you create a token on your opponent's turn. Now Ghired also is only 3 mana in Naya colors with Haste which means he's going to come down early in the game, so we'll want some other creatures out there when he comes down to start building up tokens right away.

With his abilities in mind, there are a couple things that we want to think about: Cards that create tokens, cards that double tokens, cards that untap things, and cards that do interesting things when they're tapped, example Wylie Duke, Atiin Hero, who comes down early as well, and when she is tapped I gain life and draw a card. We will obviously need to consider interaction, ramp, and card draw, but those are secondary in my thoughts. Every deck needs those, but what items you add often depends on what your deck is trying to do. In this case, we want to make tokens, tap creatures, make more tokens.

Token Generators

So a couple really good token generators here to start would be things that keep making them rather than one offs. In my playtesting Oltec Matterweaver is hard to beat. It comes in early (turn 2 if you can get a sol ring). When you cast a creature spell you can copy a target artifact or bring out a 1/1 gnome. Turn 1 you play a plains and a sol ring. Turn 2 you bring this out, turn 3 you bring out Ghired, creating a copy of sol ring, tap your Oltec Matterweaver and create another sol ring. You now have 3 sol rings on the field on turn 3... You are now the archenemy, congrats? EDIT: So as it was pointed out in the comments Oltec only creates copies of TOKEN artifacts. We could use Molten Duplication to create a copy of an artifact, but still Oltec still does great at producing consistent tokens.

Some other standouts are Emmara, Soul of the Accord who when tapped creates a 1/1 soldier with lifelink. So tapping will actually create two tokens. Also if you need a token for Sunstrike Legionnaire to go infinite you can tap her down (she's only 2 mana) create your 1/1 soldier, untap sunstrike, with Ghired on the field, tap Sunstrike to create infinite lifelink 1/1 soldiers. (actually happened in playtesting)

Generous Plunderer deserves a mention as you really need consistent tokens every turn and this does that. It gives you treasure tokens which is great and is likely to stick around since your opponents like the possibility of getting a treasure token as well. Dockside Extortionist can take the deck to new levels of degeneracy depending on when you play it/number of times you copy it with things like kiki jiki and jaxis.

Selvala, Eager Trailblazer is also great as you get 1/1 creatures every time you cast a creature spell. Her ramp also goes surprisingly well in the deck. I highly recommend it.

Thousand Moons Smithy  Flip is another beast of a card. It comes down turn 4, Ghired is already out along with any other low cost creatures. Let's say you have a Birds of Paradise and Ghired when this comes down and maybe a mana rock. You create a 5/5 Gnome (2 creatures, 2 artifacts, and the gnome itself). Now you tap the bird and Ghired and create two more Gnomes. You now have 3 7/7s, on turn 4...

Honorable mentions here are things like Smothering Tithe who will create treasures each opponent's turn, tap a creature and create another. Rain of Riches, create some treasures, copy them, cast something, and get cascade.

Also, populate is a thing, I like Growing Ranks and Nesting Dovehawk for that.

Doublers

Ok, so doublers is a pretty easy topic, there are quite a few out there, they are expensive and honestly for this deck you don't need much. I chose a couple that I particularly like for this and by like I mean I own them and didn't have to go out and spend $50-60. Examples are Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation  Flip, Mondrak, Glory Dominus, Primal Vigor (careful as this one applies to everyone not just you).

I ended up starting out with 3 of these and then cut it down to just the two creatures mondrak and ojer taq. Both are still great and can quickly overwhelm the opponent. I found myself holding onto the enchantments in preference to playing token creators and creatures.

Untapping Abilities

Untapping abilites can make it even worse as time goes on. If you have a Seedborn Muse you untap each upkeep so they draw a card, Smothering Tithe creates a treasure, during their end step you tap your creatures creating more treasures. Untap on the next opponent's untap step, rinse and repeat.

This is also where infinite combos begin to happen. Sunstrike Legionnaire untaps everytime a creature enters the battlefield. Make a creature token, tap sunstrike legionnaire, create another creature token, sunstrike legionnaire untaps, rinse and repeat, gg. Midnight Guard works too for one more mana. Other options include making copies of your own creatures that untap creatures when they enter the battlefield like Hyrax Tower Scout, Zealous Conscripts, Sparring Mummy. Mix that with notable salty cards like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Molten Duplication, Splinter Twin, Jaxis, the Troublemaker and you're off to infinite again. (Jaxis uses his ability targeting sparring mummy, sparring mummy comes in untaps him, now Jaxis just taps to make a copy of the sparring mummy token (from Ghired) which has haste, it comes in untaps Jaxis, rinse and repeat, swing with a legion of sparring mummies)

Don't got too heavy on these or you won't have enough tokens to copy.

Cards that do cool things when tapped aren't super plentiful, but the two I've mentioned already are great for this deck. (Wylie and Emmara).

Interaction, ramp, card draw

Now for the ramp, interaction, and card draw. Ramp is fairly straightforward, since we have the Oltec Matterweaver, I opted to put in some signets, but left some other stones out. Normally when I'm in green I go heavy on green ramp. I opted for cheap ramp spells like Rampant Growth, Farseek, Three Visits and Birds of Paradise (could maybe use more mana dorks since having a body later will help in producing larger tokens).

Interaction is super important in this one. Board wipes are coming, targeted removal is coming, so need to prepare, but we also need to be flexible in taking out our opponents. So to save us from board wipes, we have Heroic Intervention, the ubiquitous and hopefully soon to be reprinted (one can dream) Teferi's Protection, Boros Charm, and Smuggler's Surprise (which is heroic intervention in disguise).

Getting rid of threats is crucial, so Path to Exile, Swords to Plowshares are useful, but not as useful as Beast Within, Generous Gift, and Stroke of Midnight. These obviously target more than just creatures, but also produce tokens. There are situations where a well-timed beast within on your own treasure token to create a 3/3 beast that you can copy a bunch of times is the right play. That make it not just removal, but also a token generator.

Finally, we come to card draw. Since we are producing tokens (hopefully most turns) we can include things like Bennie Bracks, Zoologist and Idol of Oblivion. I also like Welcoming Vampire for this deck. It is creature heavy so Guardian Project is great, so is Beast Whisperer and Garruk's Uprising. Esper Sentinel is always good. We already have Wylie from earlier. Getting card draw is vital to the survival of any deck and particularly this one as we need to be producing tokens regularly and you need cards to produce them. I chose to run about 11 card draw engines in the deck to ensure I'm drawing regularly.

Lands... I mean... make sure you have dual lands in the deck and triomes if you can. One noteworthy utility land is Grove of the Guardian which can have a nice payoff when you create an 8/8 with a few creatures out along with Ghired.

I'll post the deck that I built from this thought process on my page in case you want to see the final product. And if you made it this far thanks for joining me on this, I hope it was helpful. Feel free to comment on how you would do it differently or cards that should have been mentioned. Also feel free to mention commanders you want to see built. I have a couple in mind to start but want to see suggestions as well.

Here is the final decklist: Ghired the infinite outlaw

ToonDeMeister on Simic Prime Speaker

4 months ago

I'm gonna test it out tonight. I think it's the best version I could make using my collection (Some cards are already in other decks, so if avoidable I would like to keep them in there). Small doubts on some cards though. Maybe its better to put Tormod's Crypt in, so that I can draw or get the creatures back that I sacrificed, but I don't know what to take out. And Maybe 40 lands is a bit much, online I read a lot of people have 38, some ramp decks even 34-36. But some of my ramp is about playing extra land from my hand, so not sure. Also I wouldn't know what to change.

Also my best card draw instants and sorcery's are in my Jace, Wielder of Mysteries deck. But I think with cards like Narset, Parter of Veils , Elder Gargaroth and Beast Whisperer and such in the deck that it will work out.

DreadKhan on Meren, Clan of Nel Toth

8 months ago

One of my favourite things to do in Meren is to ramp (my deck is on the clunkier side, and it runs very few lands), and one of the better ways to repeatedly ramp is to use more stuff like Sakura Tribe Elder, variations include Diligent Farmhand, Dawntreader Elk, Yavimaya Granger, and maybe Burnished Hart/Fertilid. All of these can find a Swamp for you, each sacrifices itself and thus they have some nice synergy with Meren. I think the only Meren decks that don't want multiples of that effect is if they are building a very high powered list, where this kind of play 'isn't advancing your board' sufficiently. I often find that farming XP isn't a waste of time early, so these recursive ramp sources offer that as well. I think it's very hard to justify running land ramp Sorceries when you can run creatures that do the same thing, and arguably do a better job of it. I would also shave stuff like Arcane Signet or the Talisman for creature ramp, Meren can't recur your rocks for you when they get blown up. In addition to Meren there are tons of things that synergize with creatures, stuff like Beast Whisperer and Liliana's Standard Bearer can draw lots of cards via creatures, and you don't get that synergy with a 2 mana rock. Using Meren to recur Liliana's Standard Bearer is a pretty impressive bulk draw option.

Some generically good cards for a Meren list that I love are Buried Alive, Final Parting, and Jarad's Orders, each of these offers real tutoring power, and none are especially pricey. Buried Alive can find a whole combo for you to win with. Old Stickfingers is probably worth a look for the similar reasons, Meren feels really weak if you have no creatures in your yard to reanimate. I'm not sure if it's too high budget, but Fiend Artisan has a lot of synergy with Meren. You don't have to dig out a combo piece for the card to do useful things.

In my Meren deck it's a much better Rhystic Study (I run a very high creature count), but I suspect you'd get some value out of Lurking Predators. There is also Heartwood Storyteller, in my experience both belong in a deck with even more creatures but they could still be useful I think.

In my limited experience Callous Bloodmage offers pretty good graveyard hate on a very low budget, and if you don't need that it can do other stuff, it's a great card to use in infinite loop since it can do a few useful things.

Mitotic Slime offers you a ton of bodies for only 5 mana, it's not especially hard to go infinite with as a result. I like using it with Demon of Dark Schemes and Pitiless Plunderer (and a sac outlet) to win, the nicest part about using a combo like this is that each piece is independently good. Phyrexian Altar is better than Plunderer, but it's even more money (though the difference has dropped sharply).

Dawnstrider is an extra Spore Frog, one that doesn't require reanimation but offers a discard outlet, letting you put creatures in your graveyard. Silverglade Pathfinder is another discard outlet, but offers ramp instead.

I hope this isn't too try-hard for your deck, Meren is a very fun Commander to build.

CHAREDot9 on Crouching Kadena, Hidden Phage [Ultimate]

8 months ago

Is Lotus Cobra something you could consider for early game ramp paired with Yedora, Grave Gardener Combo power? Could be a cute idea, I thought about it and it is kinda just win-more with the stuff your already doing.

Elven Chorus Seems good, its a solid card for when you board ends up super wide and also pairs well with Lightning Greaves

Primordial Mist Gets mentioned in your archives a bit. Maybe it does not align with the decks goals perfectly. Personally I think it could be too good to look past. 1. Passive value just by existing on the board 2. Mana sink options (With CMDR, and the Beast Whisperer draw doodads The card also can combo off with the right amount of cost-reduction and in general creates a lot of value. I realize this list does its thing in a pretty streamlined manor and probably benefits from staying on task. Final argument: Mists feels good on an empty board or a full one, it can do sneaky back end things like offering a way protect morphs if you have flash available.

It may also be worth noting that while Ugin, the Ineffable is expensive at 6 mana it makes your rocks and combo pieces cheaper and offers some removal and a body.

I LOVE what you have done with the deck btw.

Sir_Bebop on Gaddock Teeg

9 months ago

Thanks for the feedback DreadKhan! Card draw is definitely lacking in this deck. I was to play a game with it this week and it did pretty well, but it could be a bit faster. Beast Whisperer might be a good idea.

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