Universal Automaton

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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
Historic Brawl Legal
Legacy Legal
Leviathan Legal
Limited Legal
Modern Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Pauper Legal
Pauper Duel Commander Legal
Pauper EDH Legal
Planechase Legal
Quest Magic Legal
Tiny Leaders Legal
Vanguard Legal
Vintage Legal

Universal Automaton

Artifact Creature — Shapeshifter

Changeling (This card is every creature type.)

rckclimber777 on Build a Deck with me …

2 months 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.

king-saproling on i like draw card

3 months ago

Looks good. Personally I would make these swaps:

Kefnet the Mindful -> Apprentice Wizard
Teferi, Master of Time -> Vodalian Hexcatcher
Lorthos, the Tidemaker -> Ominous Seas
Stormtide Leviathan -> Atemsis, All-Seeing
Tidal Force -> Dramatic Reversal
Arcanis the Omnipotent -> Universal Automaton
solemn simulacrum -> Unstable Obelisk
burnished hart -> Relic of Legends
steel hellkite -> Martyr of Frost
Master of Winds -> Malevolent Hermit  Flip
cloudkin seer -> Voidmage Prodigy

trey12321 on Lathliss, the Hungry Queen

8 months ago

Azoth2099 thanks for the suggestions!

I think I'm more inclined to include rocks than rituals, I am a green player at heart and always prefer continual rather than burst ramp! Thran Dynamo is definitely one I'll be looking at, but I've also considered Heraldic Banner and Throne of Eldraine as solid options. The biggest issue I'm having is generally what to cut for them, the same issue I have for most of these options. Any suggestions there?

Treasonous Ogre isn't one I'd seen before, I'm definitely interested in that. Birgi, God of Storytelling  Flip seems more relevant if I'm trying to cast more than 2 spells in a turn, which in most cases I'm not and even then, the payoff seems too small for what the deck does generally speaking, I.E. ramp into Lathliss, then overwhelm the field with every dragon dropped after. Even most of the artifacts and enchantments currently tend to have pretty immediate effect.

I do tend to prefer to have my lands hit the field, though, so Tectonic Reformation seems mostly situationally useful. I tend to need more land draws than action draws with my current high curve, as I'm usually only doing 1 or 2 spells a turn and they're 5-8 CMC. Gamble for sure I'll be looking into, but to be honest I don't regularly find myself looking for any specific cards in the deck, my Sarkhan's Triumph is usually just finding my Utvara Hellkite, so a "win-more" situation generally, but I could see using it particularly for something like Sol Ring early to ramp more consistently. For those same reasons I couldn't really see justifying Fervent Mastery or Reckless Handling. I like being able to plan, and the random discard would be bad enough with Gamble. And yeah, Imperial Recruiter is fantastic but not so much here.

Molten Echoes 100%, I totally spaced that one. Sneak Attack seems good as well but I'd been running in mostly casual circles so I hadn't seriously considered including it before. Mana Echoes=better Birgi? Absolutely interested in this one now, I'd forgotten it existed as well! I'll be honest though, the Underworld Breach+draw spells/wheels is definitely outside of my desired playstyle with the deck, I don't tend to need anything differently than what I have in hand other than making sure I have a good mix of mana/spells in practice. I am running the Blood Moon, mostly because I happened to open the fancy foil one! My playgroups don't tend to justify a Price of Glory and all of my cards tend to be about equal in value, so I don't mind a few getting countered here and there. It tends to be board wipes that are the most impactful to me, or repeated removal of Lathliss, Dragon Queen. Stranglehold does seem good though, I may pick one up.

As far as Universal Automaton, I avoid changelings where possible mostly due to personal preference. I play a lot of tribal decks and it always feels a bit like cheating haha. I use it in decks that want multiple tribes though, like Rin and Seri, Inseparable. I assume you suggest Wandering Archaic  Flip in monocolored to specifically cover what the chosen color can't do? I.E. a red deck and Naturalize? I could see it being good, but also giving my opponents the ability to choose doesn't tend to work out too well for me, they tend to focus fire me no matter the game because I play politics whether I'm ahead or behind.

Thanks again for the suggestions, and if you have ideas for what to take out please let me know!

Azoth2099 on Lathliss, the Hungry Queen

8 months ago

trey12321

You need way more ramp in this list if you want it to be consistent with it's curve. Pyretic Ritual, Desperate Ritual, Seething Song & Battle Hymn are all great here. A few more rocks would do you some good as well, like Thran Dynamo & Basalt Monolith. The ones that you usually see in multicolor decks like Arcane Signet & Fellwar Stone are still pretty solid in monocolor builds that aren't .

Treasonous Ogre & Birgi, God of Storytelling  Flip are classic bangers that can help ramp you out, with the added benefit of pseudo card-draw on Birgi's flip side.

More card draw and tutors never hurts, either. Tectonic Reformation is pretty nice here since you're running so many lands, & Gamble is one of the best tutors in the game. Fervent Mastery is worth considering, but can obviously be especially punishing for non-graveyard decks. Reckless Handling is pretty nice if you're running some dank artifacts, which you are! Imperial Recruiter is another classic that I wouldn't necessarily recommend for this iteration of your list, but may come in handy later.

Other enchantments to consider here in my opinion are Molten Echoes, Sneak Attack & Mana Echoes as grease for your deck engine. Running Underworld Breach would allow you to more comfortably run draw pieces like Faithless Looting, Thrill of Possibility, Cathartic Reunion, Tormenting Voice, Wheel of Fortune, Magus of the Wheel & Wheel of Misfortune. Also certain stax pieces like Blood Moon, Price of Glory & Stranglehold to help shut down whatever your opponents are trying to do.

Universal Automaton seems like great value here as well, but I could understand not including it. Wandering Archaic  Flip on the other hand I would 100% recommend for any & all monocolor decks.

Good luck refining your list!

ASalesman on Unesh, Ultimate Guide (Tribal)

10 months ago

That's a fair point about meta, that explains our different stance on the card. I don't usuaully play against players who are full blue. My opponnents usually splash it.

I haven't noticed the loss of Imprisoned in the Moon, because Gilded Drake feels so much better. I think an argument can be made to put both in the deck. I am theoretically playing around with the Unsummon slot right now, I haven't been able to physically test it out much in my games.

I appreciate you noticing that detail about Universal Automaton, I will have to make it more clear. Universal Automaton dosn't trigger Cloudstone Curio, but it can be targeted by it. That means when Universal Automaton and Cloudstone is on the field while you cast non-artifact Sphinxs, you can double your Unesh triggers and storm count for free.

Have you ever tried playing MTG on 'Tabletop Simulator' from Steam? You can pull a deck list from tappedout or moxfield and play it virtually at no expense for testing, it's quite easy and convenient.

ASalesman on Unesh, Ultimate Guide (Tribal)

10 months ago

Thank you, that's an interesting take! You already know my reasoning for Cryptic Command. The reason I do like Rewind is not actually for the counterspell, but for mana generation. With Extraplanar Lens (or other mana doubling effect) on the field, a Universal Automaton (or other cheap spell) followed by Rewind countering Universal Automaton nets a nice chunk of mana. I will say though rewind does feel like one of the weaker cards in the deck now following all of the revisions. Definitely worth revisiting on my part.

ASalesman on Unesh, Ultimate Guide (Tribal)

11 months ago

BIG REVISION HERE

Here is all the big changes I've made to this list, and an explanation for each. Guide edits will come in a little bit!

  • Replaced Burnished Hart with Mistwalker. Burnished Hart feels too slow, Mistwalker is a cheap sphinx that makes the deck go fast. Mistwalker is a nice addition because it benefits from the full 2 cmc reduction from Unesh. 1/3 and flying on Mistwalker makes it the best changeling when it comes to combat.
  • Replaced Guardian of Tazeem with Aetherflux Reservoir. Aetherflux Reservoir is a new win condition in this deck. With all of the added changelings and ability to bounce changelings to your hand, it is easier than ever to play a lot of spells on your turn. In addition to being a 50 lifepoint cannon at instant speed, it is the only lifegain in the deck. It can make up for all the health you lost from Mana Crypt and Ancient Tomb. Guardian of Tazeem's effect is underwhelming most of the time. Having the other cheaper sphinxes there is still 20% sphinx, and are easier to play.
  • Replaced Leyline of Anticipation with Narset's Reversal. Leyline's effect is honestly underwhelming at 4 CMC. It's great if it starts in your opening hand, but it is Force of Will fodder otherwise. Debatably it is worth for synergy with Sphinx of the Second Sun, but adding emergence zone (description below) gives you a cheaper Leyline effect at the cost of it only being one turn. One turn with the effect is all you need to win the game though, or to get very far ahead with Sphinx of the Second Sun. Narset's Reversal is a great card because it can be great in a counterspell war, but it can also be used to augment your other cards such as Frantic Search or High Tide or Ghostly Flicker. I love Narset's Reversal because it is great on it's own, but also sees some great synergy.
  • Replaced Myriad Landscape with Emergence Zone. Myriad landscape is noticably too slow, similar to burnished hart. The utility from Emergence Zone can be outstanding. Emergence Zone is a more easily accessible Leyline of Anticipation essentially. It is less mana to use at the price of using it for only a turn. Presumably the turn that you would use it you would also win the game, so you don't need it more than once anyway.
  • Replaced Treachery with Cloudstone Curio. Treachery is a clunky card that rarely resolves. If the mana doesn't untap after this card is played, it feels very bad. Cloudstone Curio is an engine in this deck. It really keeps the BFOF's coming. Playing this card with Universal Automaton on the field means you get to double all of your BFOF's that you play. Additionally, it works particualrly well with the newly added Aetherflux Reservoir.
  • Replaced Long-Term Plans with Chain of Vapor. If you are playing the deck right you are seeing enough of your deck to get your game winning cards without using long term plans. Long term plans also scuffs one of your BFOF's because your opponent knows which card it is. Chain of vapor has many uses. As well as being spot removal, it can be used to protect Unesh, and to return other cheap sphinxes to your hand to be played again which grants additional synergy with the Aetherflux Reservoir win condition.
  • Replaced Sphinx of Uthuun with Sakashima of a Thousand Faces. Sphinx of Uthuun is expensive for what it does. It will normally be chaper to play Sakashima, and it becomes a second Unesh which doubles all of your BFOFs rather than getting you an extra regular FOF. Having a second Unesh on the field also grants you protection from spot removal targetting only one Unesh.
  • Replaced Riddlemaster Sphinx with Bloodline Pretender. Riddlemaster Sphinx's ETB isn't as good as the others (Enigma Thief and Dream Eater). Bouncing one creature isn't super great because your sphinxes already have combat superiority most of the time. It feels expensive for what it does, which means it is too slow. Another cheap sphinx in this slot speeds up the deck, and provides extra synergy with the other added cards.
  • Replaced Island with Lotus Field. I want to try this out. I am skeptical that it is actually better than an Island, but we will see! Let me know what you think here.
  • Replaced Island with Sea Gate Restoration  Flip. Becasue why not really? Worst case scenario, you pay 3 life to have it enter as an untapped island. Having it your hand later game can get you a lot of cards in a pinch.
  • Replaced Imprisoned in the Moon with Gilded Drake. Gilded drake is 1 mana cheaper. It not only takes your opponents creature away from them, it also gives it to you, at the cost of them having a 3/3 flyer. In cEDH this trade is insanely good for you. Imprisoned in the moon can be removed to return the creature back to their side. Nothing happens when Gilded Drake dies. He can also be easily blocked by one of your sphinxes, which means it might be chip damage to a different opponent. To me Gilded Drake is a no brainer here.

Azoth2099 on Atla Palani, Eldrazi Shepherd

1 year ago

SyrenDelphi

Hey, man! Have you considered Changelings for this deck? They count as every creature type ("Egg" is a creature type), and there are a few that I think could be good here.

Changeling Berserker, Changeling Titan, Changeling Hero & Mirror Entity could work. As could Universal Automaton, Bloodline Pretender, Birthing Boughs & Maskwood Nexus.

Cheers!

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