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Anima, Naya Dreadnought | Mayael the Anima

Commander / EDH Battlecruiser Primer RGW (Naya) Stompy

crazyloudaudio


The End of the Age of Battlecruisers

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It's been quite awhile since 1993 when Magic was first released. While it would still be a few years until I was born and Elder Dragon Highlander began, it would be even longer until EDH, now sometimes plainly referred to as Commander, would find it's feet in official support from Wizards in 2011 with fully built 100-card decks. It was around this time that Battlecruiser Magic really took hold, especially with the release of cards in Rise of the Eldrazi like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, 2 absolute titans of creatures that receive groans and complaints from everyone in the EDH pod. Swinging into another player with just ONE Annihilator 4 trigger would be devastating, let alone doing it with multiple at a time or back-to-back turns. However... This was 10 years ago, and the state of Magic has changed. Much like Naval Warfare in the modern era, the age of large, slow battlecruisers is believed by some to be a thing of the past.

I am not one of those people.

Mayael the Anima is a Commander whom I've had my eye on for a while but never had the chance to play until now. I've gotten my sea legs with a budget battlecruiser built around Rakdos, Lord of Riots, but I always felt he was missing something due to his method of CMC cheating emphasizing ping damage from sources that are normally easy to deal with. This deck, while still able to cheat costs via it's Commander, is not reliant on it's Commander being fully utilized to be a threat at the table. This cruiser is fully loaded with medium to large creatures that bring pressure and pain to as many opponents as we can.

But this deck is no battlecruiser...

...This is a Battleship

Planeswalker, you will be taking command of this deck as we make way to Dominiria. We have a long stretch of fighting ahead of us and I need you to be up to speed on what this vessel is capable of. Below you will find your debriefing and battle plans for effective shelling and battlefield dominating. Happy Hunting.

Hey there! I just to take a moment to say thank you, yes you too, for making this deck the #1 Battlecruiser and #1 Naya deck on the whole site! This deck was my first attempt at ever building a Naya deck and the first time I've been able to put together a Battlecruiser deck without a strict budget due to my circumstances, so it means a lot to me that all of you like what you see! I really hope this deck was able to interest you into making a Battlecruiser of your own, or gave you some ideas of how to make one or improve your own! Battlecruiser magic, I feel, is Commander in it's purest form and can be a great way to breakaway from meta, spell-slinging decks that win in 3-4 turns. I wouldn't go as far to say this deck is competitive overall, but it's a nice mix up from the rest of my decks. Again, thank you for the support and have a good one!

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Before we head below deck and get acquainted with what this deck can really do, I'd like to give some pretense on where this deck comes from and what mentality you should be in before drawing your first hand. Naval combat and commander aren't too different. Both are reliant on strategy and making calculated moves to maximize the chances of you winning and your opponents losing. Games such as World of Warships are quoted as "the thinking man's MOBA", and this deck is the thinking man's big creature deck. When pulling this deck out at a pod, it is very likely that you have the strongest and scariest creatures amongst all players, but this does not make you invincible. Once we are at full steam, it can become easy and incredibly tempting to play as many of the biggest creatures you have in one turn. The other player holding a Cyclonic Rift is practically begging you to do it! However, you will not be remembered nor intimidating in a match for doing such a thing, but instead for keeping pressure and allowing only a handful of creatures to keep the table tense. It does us no good to fire every shell we can if we have no ammo left in reserve.

The best way to maintain pressure is to hold cards even when you'd still have mana open after playing them as long as you've still played 1-2 cards per turn. If you pass with a bunch of mana open, it's not the end of the world, because we can still use Mayael the Anima on an opponents turn, plus you'll more than likely have a few instants in your hand in the form of Swords to Plowshares or Krosan Grip. There's no need to use every possible mana source before passing a turn, especially if you know a few opponents are looking to send some spot removal your way before your next upkeep.

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The battle has begun and we have enemies on the horizon! You'll want a starting hand of land, rocks, dorks, draw, and ramp. Below are the cards you'll want to look for in an opening hand or within a few card draws to setup our mana base.

CMC 1: Sol Ring, Llanowar Elves, Birds of Paradise
CMC 2: Bloom Tender, Druid of the Anima, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Cream of the Crop, Rampant Growth
CMC 3: Chromatic Lantern, Knotvine Mystic, Colossal Majesty, Cultivate, Kodama's Reach

While it may come down to luck, getting nonbasic lands like Command Tower, Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse, and Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth will help us get the right colors we need for future creature casting. Additionally, cards like Scroll Rack can help us do a little bit of deck manipulation to find the right cards for the job. This could also be a good time to get Quicksilver Amulet on field. Dropping a large creature this early will not only disrupt the table, but could bait out a spot removal spell if it's a secondary creature instead of a wincon creature, a distinction we will delve into further below.

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Once we've got a decent land base started, we can start ramping up our efforts and picking up more steam. The easiest way to use all this mana is going to be casting creatures and getting them onto the battlefield, but we have a few ways to spend it and a few more to make it easier. From here we need as many cards and as much mana as possible.

Mana: Nyxbloom Ancient, Old Gnawbone, Mana Reflection, Smothering Tithe
Draw: Dragonborn Champion, Soul of the Harvest, Guardian Project, Return of the Wildspeaker

Certain cards like The Great Henge actually fit both of these categories and can even be cheated in as long as we have a large creature on field. The amount of cards in this deck that can ramp or draw may seem limited to some, but the amount of synergy between these cards can be insane. For example:

Forest + Mana Reflection + Nyxbloom Ancient = 5 green mana
Chromatic Lantern + Mana Reflection + Nyxbloom Ancient = 5 mana of any one color
Knotvine Mystic + Mana Reflection + Nyxbloom Ancient = 15 MANA, 5 OF EACH COLOR, PER TAP

Please keep in mind with Mana Reflection and Nyxbloom Ancient that these trigger separately and do not stack off each other, as I initially thought. They both target the permanent that produces mana, not each other.
Additionally, our card draw options have a ton of triggers in the deck and will go off regularly.

Soul of the Harvest: 32 triggers
Guardian Project: 33 triggers
Return of the Wildspeaker: up to 15 cards on cast, even more if a creature has counters on them like Hamletback Goliath
Dragonborn Champion: multiple triggers in a single combat and triggers off cards like Warstorm Surge and Where Ancients Tread

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We are approaching full speed and it's time to batter our enemies and their battlefields. This is where the power of this deck really starts to shine and where, if left uncontested, will be the beginning of the end for a game. We can do a little bit of picking and choosing with Mayael the Anima and Cream of the Crop, for example, so we need to pick the right creature for a situation. But first, let's address some of the AA fire we can conduct in the form of spell slinging.

Single Removal: Chaos Warp, Krosan Grip, Nature's Claim, Path to Exile, Return to Nature, Swords to Plowshares
Multiple Removal: Aura Shards, Warstorm Surge, Where Ancients Tread, Terror of the Peaks

Mind you, Terror of the Peaks, Warstorm Surge and Where Ancients Tread won't work on indestructible creatures, but those that are not indestructible and players themselves can take damage from up to 32, 33, or 26 triggers respectively, and Aura Shards is great for removing in-play utility. These three cards in particular add a ton of value to simply playing the deck the way it's meant to be played.

We've more than likely sustained some damage at this point, and cards like Verdant Sun's Avatar and Zacama, Primal Calamity will help us gain life points back while Paleoloth, Moldgraf Monstrosity, and Naya Charm will get us back some creatures we may need for the combat phases ahead.

Below are cards that are really great to have on field for pressure and damage but don't necessarily win the game on their own:
Avacyn, Angel of Hope: All permanents having indestructible makes it much harder to be dealt with.
Balefire Dragon: The bane of token decks and small creatures alike.
Dragonlord Dromoka: Effectively gives us our turn all to ourselves, very beneficial since we don't have access to .
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight: Doubles damage we do, halves damage we take.
Hamletback Goliath: This card gets huge after just a few creatures ETB.
Iroas, God of Victory: Makes our creatures hard to block and destroy.
Marisi, Breaker of the Coil: Other creature-heavy decks don't fight us and those who don't want to swing must.
Vigor: Prevents all damage to creatures, buffs them for the damage done, shuffles itself into library on death.
Xenagos, God of Revels: One creature each combat will deal double damage and have haste to swing the same turn it comes in.
Worldspine Wurm: A 15/15 that makes 3 5/5 tokens when it dies and then reenters the deck. Need I say more?

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This battleship is at full speed, the enemy is weakened, and our guns are locked onto our target. It's time to flex our might and sink an opponent. Any one of the following cards can be enough to knock a player out, potentially multiple all in one swing.

Blightsteel Colossus: Removes a player from the game with just one full swing (Remember we have Rogue's Passage).
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth: A 12/12 with Annihilator 4. Additionally, if he dies, shuffle entire graveyard into library.
Siege Behemoth: Effectively makes an entire boardstate unblockable.
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre: An indestructible 10/10 with Annihilator 4, destroys target permanent on cast, shuffles graveyard into library on death.
Overwhelming Stampede: Makes creatures huge and grants trample. Easy way to swing lethal damage.
Triumph of the Hordes: Grants infect and trample, multiple creatures will swing lethal with this by themselves.

To be perfectly honest, you can still win the game without playing a single one of these cards. Most creatures who are not in this deck for mana purposes are expressly chosen due to their board presence and interaction with other players, usually in the form of damage or removal. This deck doesn't need every single creature on field, or the same creatures every single game, just enough to put pressure on our opponents until they crack.

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I'm going to be honest with you Planeswalker, winning is no guarantee with this deck. Much like it's real-world comparison, this battleship is slow to start and predictable to fight. Stopping this deck from dealing damage in the form of attacking and ETBs can severely limit our ability to be a threat at a table. This is the reason the amount of removal is so high in this deck, and honestly I wish I could have made it higher, but a 100-card limit is something we have to live with. Being shut down early do to a player who is afraid of you just by seeing your commander, something that seems to happen when playing Naya, is a reality you will have to face while commanding this ship.

It's going to be important to play strategically with this deck. Playing one card too early or at the wrong time could put you at a disadvantage you may never recover from. Your tactics for winning a game have to be deduced before you play your first card. Look around at the table, see what every player is bringing, and be aware of the kind of players you're going against. There will be situations where this deck just isn't going to thrive, and that too is the nature of current naval warfare.

Additionally, this deck could have been structured in a much more efficient, much more expensive way, but there's no point of me putting time and effort into something the vast majority of us will never be able to own and play, myself included. I know things like Gaea's Cradle would do wonders here, but I'm simply not someone who is willing to invest that kind of money into a single deck. My playgroup has around 30 decks combined between just 4 of us, and I need to be able to spread my resources across all of them, not pile everything into one deck HOPING I'll like how it turns out. If you have the kind of cards that could make this deck better, feel free to use them in place of an in-deck option that makes sense to you!

Even if you didn't look through the primer, thank you for taking the time to check out my deck! It's been quite a number of years since I've worked on a deck like this, and it was a blast! Of course, feel free to comment what you like, don't like, and ways that you think that this could be improved. Much like real battleships, I'm certainly not opposed to retrofitting this one if new, better ideas come forward. If you liked what you saw, an upvote is always appreciated!

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Top Ranked
Date added 2 years
Last updated 8 months
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

21 - 0 Mythic Rares

36 - 0 Rares

13 - 0 Uncommons

10 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 4.61
Tokens Day, Night, Treasure, Wurm 5/5 G w/ Trample
Folders Tapped Out - User Decks, EDH, EDH Decks
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