Venser, Shaper Savant
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Legality

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

Venser, Shaper Savant

Legendary Creature — Human Wizard

Flash (You may cast this spell at any time you could cast an instant.)

When Venser, Shaper Savant enters the battlefield, return target spell or permanent to its owner's hand.

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rckclimber777 on Build a Deck with Me …

3 weeks ago

Sometimes when I'm deckbuilding, I focus less on the commander and more on an interesting concept/combo that I want to use or exploit. This is the case with one of my favorite decks in my profile and actually one of the first commander decks I ever built. This deck began years ago when Magic finally started caring about the EDH format. It was a more simple time then, Rhystic study was $1.27 (exactly the price I paid for mine over 10 years ago), Cyclonic Rift was a bulk rare, and demonic tutor could be found for $10.

The combo that I was interested in was Palinchron and Deadeye Navigator. The latter was my favorite card at the time and is still one of my favorites. It was a great tool and with all the ETB effects that were out around then it was an underrated and uber powerful card. In fact, the entire blink mechanic was and is a very powerful strategy.

When I built this deck, I played a few times in shops and was quickly told that edh is a casual format and interaction of any kind is not fair (was told this by a land destruction deck...) So this deck is definitely more on the competitive side, but it would be the distant fringe of cedh. Alright with that let's get into it.

Initial thoughts

So we have a combo that we like Palinchron and Deadeye Navigator, but we don't even have a commander yet and going mono-blue seems not great, so we want to figure out what color(s) to add and what commander to choose. In a combo deck, there are generally three things that I like to make sure I include beyond the normal ramp, and card draw. That is redundancy, the ability to tutor up my combo pieces, and ways to protect my combo. So when thinking about tutoring up my combo pieces, I generally like to have the best tutors. Those are in black. So things like Wishclaw Talisman, Demonic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor and Imperial Seal (if you have money to burn or your playgroup is fine with you proxying the best cards so you can obliterate their precons j/k I proxy all my expensive cards and put them in a binder in case someone has an issue).

So we have Blue and Black and we can certainly add another color if we wanted to, but at the time I liked Dralnu, Lich Lord because Snapcaster Mage was in standard and flashback was cool. So I stuck with it when I revamped it, but decided that I wanted something that could ensure I can protect my combo from any threat and then also use it to win if I wanted to. The answer came in the form of Ertai Resurrected. He can counter basically anything from spells to activated abilities (which will come in handy) or he can take a threat on the field at the cost of letting your opponent draw a card.

So now that we have our commander, how to build the deck?

Redundancy

Combo decks need redundancy. If you don't get your two cards or one of them gets exiled, you need a backup plan, or scooping is your only option. Fortunately, there are some great redundancies here. We have Ghostly Flicker and Displace. Both of these will blink your creatures (ghostly flicker will also blink artifacts). Displacer Kitten can be helpful too, but I don't own it and it is a little more chaotic than I need it to be. Palinchron is great because you can return it to your hand and potentially play it again and create infinite mana through the use of High Tide, but a similar combo that has added benefits is Peregrine Drake, Archaeomancer, and Ghostly Flicker. This bounces both the drake and the archaeomancer untapping 5 lands, and returning ghostly flicker to your hand. Rinse and repeat for infinite mana. Archaeomancer also will help in returning key counterspells and tutors to your hand. Nothing like doing double duty. Mnemonic Wall and Great Whale also fit here. The great thing about this combo is that each component is useful in and of itself. Bring out your Great Whale early untap some lands and do some other stuff or play out the rest of your combo with the untapped lands. Cast Archaeomancer to grab a used tutor for another combo piece.

One note here, if you get Peregrine Drake (or one of the other two) paired with Deadeye Navigator and you generate infinite mana you can now draw your deck with Ertai as commander: Step 1: Bounce Deadeye, when he enters don't soulbond with anyone.
Step 2: Cast Ertai, don't choose anything or if you want kill one of your opponent's creatures. It doesn't matter.
Step 3: Soulbond ertai and deadeye. Step 4: Bounce Deadeye and while that is on the stack bounce Ertai. Step 5: Ertai enters the battlefield counter the Deadeye bounce on the stack Draw a card Step 6: Soulbond ertai and deadeye again rinse and repeat. Draw as many cards as you need. Which means draw until you find your wincon.

Wincon

Since this is an infinite mana combo we need something to use all that mana. Obviously the activated ability on deadeye is great, but we need something to actually win with. I went with Commander's Insight and Blue Sun's Zenith. Both of these cards are useful even when they aren't being used to force your opponents to draw their cards. Blue Sun's Zenith works nicely because once you cast it goes back into your deck, which I showed above you can draw as many cards as you need so you cast it once, put it in your library draw again until you find it, cast it again on the next opponent, then again. You can also tutor them up or bring them back from the graveyard with the tutors or the archaeomancer/mnemonic wall from earlier. I like this more than straight damage, because if you don't have infinite mana these cards will still draw you cards.

Tutors

This is a fairly simple step, we need some good tutors. There are a number of good choices in black so I won't belabor that too much. I don't have some of the standard ones and feel like the deck performs fine with the ones it currently has. I do have a Tribute Mage in the deck because nearly all my mana rocks are 2 mana and so is Wishclaw Talisman. I found that the consistency with the deck is vastly improved by being able to tutor up my ramp. Also with deadeye I can bounce it multiple times and get more rocks or the talisman.

Protecting the combo

So I needed to figure out how to protect my combo and do so in a way that is flexible or can be used as needed. So Counterspell. Honestly, this part was fairly simple, most blue counter magic is here. Only reason Fierce Guardianship isn't here is because I don't have it. Other than that we have the typical cards here Force of Will, Mana Drain, Cyclonic Rift, Force of Negation, Pact of Negation, etc.

I also have a couple other standouts. Venser, Shaper Savant is great here as it can be bounced with Deadeye Navigator to essentially boomerang my opponent's board and all their spells. Ertai Resurrected also protects the combo and with deadeye becomes a nice repeatable counter/removal spell.

glen_elandra_archmage can be bounced when she has her -1/-1 counter allowing her to be used again and again to counter noncreature spells.

Typical stuff

There is a lot of ramp in the deck, so Mana Crypt, Sol Ring, and other mana rocks including some larger ones like Gilded Lotus and Basalt Monolith to really get the ramp going, the sooner you can get to 7-8 mana the sooner you can combo out.

For card draw some key performers here are Rhystic Study, Black Market Connections, Phyrexian Arena, The One Ring. Mystic Remora. In my initial hand I want to have 3 lands, and one of these/tutor to find one or I typically mulligan.

Special notes

A couple other cards deserve mention here. Time Stretch and Time Warp. These are both repeatable with Archaeomancer and Mnemonic Wall and I can honestly say that if I'm able to resolve either of these, it is unlikely that I'm going to lose, especially Time Stretch. With the ramp in the deck or a well timed Dark Ritual/High Tide I can play this fairly early and get a huge advantage.

Lands

Since this deck tends to be fast, you don't want lands that come into play tapped, so this deck uses fetch lands, shock lands, and duals that have the ability to come in untapped. (there are a couple that come into play tapped, but they are fetchable so I fetch them only when I know that I'm not going to be able to use the mana and only on an opponent's turn.)

I've had this deck for a while and it performs far better than any of my other decks. It always presents interesting lines that if followed will lead to surprising victories. As always let me know what you think in the comments and if you have a commander in mind that you want to see me build put it in the chat.

Here is the final decklist: Unlimited Power!

wallisface on Blinking Cowards

7 months ago

Some thoughts:

Azoth2099 on Inalla - Wizard Tribal

8 months ago

Excellent Commander choice, Inalla, Archmage Ritualist is my undisputed favorite Commander, and perhaps my most powerful decklist.

The main wincons I'm using in my list are lines through Spellseeker and/or Micromancer which ends up creating infinite Archaeomancer or Scholar of the Ages Tokens after like 15 or 20 steps with a series of Instants and Sorceries (I can teach you, if you feel like learning all of it). I'm also running Dualcaster Mage + Heat Shimmer & Thassa's Oracle + Demonic Consultation.

Some trigger doublers like Naban, Dean of Iteration, Harmonic Prodigy, Panharmonicon & Virtue of Knowledge could go a long way, too. Not necessarily doublers, but Archmage of Echoes, Molten Echoes & Reflections of Littjara have a similar effect.

Venser, Shaper Savant is a must in budget Inalla. I'd also consider Patron Wizard, Sigil Tracer & Voidmage Prodigy if your intention is to run a crapload of Wizard creatures. In my experience, though, Inalla doesn't actually need that many Wizards, just the right ones.

Here's my own Inalla, Archmage Ritualist list if you wanna peep it: MICROSEEKER (INALLA)

Siosilvar on Colorshift Land Control

8 months ago

Color denial on its own isn't a win condition, it's just disruption, and you need something else going on to make the single-land deniers playable. Blood Moon shuts off multiple lands and Spreading Seas replaces itself, so that's why those are the ones that get play.

But that said... Contaminated Ground and Pooling Venom can be win conditions, if you use them as repeatable shocks in combination with Hidden Strings, Fatestitcher, or Icy Manipulator to force your opponents to use them even when they don't want to. There's a brew from about 5 years ago I have bookmarked that does that: For Assholes Only

Another idea I've had is a mostly-blue deck that denies the first few lands until resolving an Isochron Scepter with Boomerang imprinted to keep them stuck at 2 Islands forever. The final win condition is just Cephalid Constable and Venser, Shaper Savant beatdown.

KongMing on Wizard101 | FREE Download | Play Now!

11 months ago

As a post-script, in a lot of ways, this deck is more about Naru Meha than Naban when it comes to getting your wincon online. But Naban is the superior Commander when it comes to fishing through your deck without tutors, gives Wizards broad efficiency, is cheaper to get out, and doesn't draw as much aggro from the table when people see him. Naru Meha as the Commander can give a lot of expert players a heads-up on your combo. Naban lets you be a bit more stealthy and allows you to constantly bounce creatures.

That's part of holding off your opponent - with Naban on the field, Venser, Shaper Savant can bounce one spell/permanent and himself, so you can keep casting him over and over again. Same for AEther Adept and the like - they're meant to bounce themselves and one other thing, just buying you time and disincentivizing people from attacking you - you'll just slow them down and lose no resources in the process.

legendofa on Memnarch by ChatGPT

1 year ago

ChatGPT seems to have a pretty good grasp that people sometimes do certain things, but not why people do certain things, or whether it's correct to do certain things. Here, Command Tower is basically a nonbasic Island, the fetch lands aren't much more than that, and Inkmoth Nexus is very optimistic with no other infect or proliferate. Chromatic Lantern is basically decoration. Training Grounds only interacts with three cards, but one of them is Palinchron, so I'll give half a point back.

On the better side, it picked up a lot of the standard control options, and Deadeye Navigator has some good options to work with, like Draining Whelk and Venser, Shaper Savant.

voldetrist on Orvar, the All-Form

1 year ago

Venser, Shaper Savant is legendary so if you duplicated it, it would die.

Asder on Colossal Conscription

1 year ago

I feel like a playset of Vedalken AEthermage is too much. Maybe cut a couple for some utility wizards that you can tutor up? Malevolent Hermit  Flip, Venser, Shaper Savant and Gadwick, the Wizened could all be worth considering as toolbox options.

Its a bit janky but if you wanted you could also run Fool's Demise for an invincible Academy Researchers.

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