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The moment this was spoiled, I had it in my head that this is pretty much Dimir's version of Edric. Lacking is a significant decrease in replayabiltiy, since we don't have Reclaim effects or cheap mana dorks, but gaining access to gives us lots to work with, from a different angle.

This deck won't be a pound-for-pound Dimir turns build, mimicking a typical Edric deck. Instead, we're focusing primarily on Stax and Control, as our creatures can work through oppressive creature Stax effects, and because of Yuriko's unique ability to evade commander tax, we can reset our board using tools that should otherwise slow us down.

This version of Yuriko seeks to blend the pressure that aggro decks apply, while maintaining tempo and control through our Stax and interaction pieces.

One of the most notable advantages Yuriko has is that she can get around commander tax via Commander Ninjutsu. The most glaring downside to this is that it's completely reliant on unblocked creatures, so it's not as consistent at tax evasion like Darevi.

Another significant advantage is that Yuriko asymmetrically burns opponents equal to the CMC of cards revealed. The drawback to this is that by revealing cards you are providing opponents with information as opposed to simply drawing them, like Edric. We can however make turn this detriment a benefit by being able to synergistically work around effects like Chains of Mephistopheles simply because we do not draw these cards revealed off Yuriko.

This list was once devoid of any game-ending combos, like Doomsday or Turn chaining, and instead focused on a mix of stax, control and big flips with Blinkmoth Infusion and Draco. Since Theros: Beyond Death's recent spoiler of Thassa's Oracle, the game has significantly changed. The card is a two-card combo with Demonic Consultation and is particularly tricky to interact with if it resolves. On its own, Oracle is an adequate creature for Yuriko regardless, being able to scalably manipulate the top-deck. More refined builds incorporate cards like Tainted Pact as an additional way to extract your library, or Doomsday lines, however this deck still primarily thrives in a pro-Back2Basics environment, and as such, a Pact manabase won't help me as much as Back to Basics hurts other decks I face.

Despite utilizing Stax pieces we do not have a method to lock a game out by any means; there's no consistent way to do so. Stax in our case is a tool to slow other strategies while maintaining our own tempo.

Yuriko herself is a built-in inevitability factor, where she will increasingly apply pressure each combat step without the need to completely rely on huge spells. That being said, the deck still makes use of the largest spells we have access to: Draco and Blinkmoth Infusion - mainly because they're wildly efficient in hitting hard, and often.

While it's not a core strategy, knowing when to abuse Commander Ninjutsu will be an effective tool, as you can determine when you need to wipe the table with a Toxic Deluge, or when to reactively use a bounce spell like Snap to protect her from targeted removal. Because Commander Ninjutsu replaces the overall CMC of casting Yuriko, don't shy away from using this when it benefits you most.

Yuriko herself has no built-in evasion, so she will rely on connecting through creatures that either have an unblockable line of text, or have evasive keywords and can't be blocked. As a result, an array of cheap creatures that can't be blocked are utilized to ensure an attack is unblocked. Ninjutsu is a very interesting mechanic where we can return an unblocked attacker to then replace it with a Ninja. Since it's not dependent on dealing combat damage specifically, we can abuse cheap creatures like Ornithopter, who can swing in the air early on in a game. It's swinging for 0, however Flying is generally an evasive keyword ability so you will undoubtedly have nothing to contend with that early on in the game, which gives you an early advantage at getting Yuriko out.

This section breaks down single card selections by their card types, with further classifications within each type if need be.
Below are the sections for creatures, hopefully offering some insight as to why they are included, or are currently considered. Not that some may overlap due to filling multiple roles.

Changeling Outcast: an absolute unit of a card from Modern Horizons, and one of the best Ninjas ever printed. An unblockable Ninja for 1 mana is exactly where we want to be.

Fallen Shinobi: Not as commonly used, however I've had nothing but success with it in here. Being a heavy hitter on its own is great to soak up other beaters, and the ability to exile their top two cards and play those cards (lands included) can be extremely potent.

Ingenious Infiltrator: one of the other best Ninjas ever printed. This is a strict upgrade to Ninja of the Deep hours as it allows you to draw whenever a Ninja deals damage, not just itself. Having a decent body is nice, as well.

Mistblade Shinobi: a Ninja that can come early on, and provide a repeatable way to bounce creatures.

Mothdust Changeling: our other T1 Ninja. Giving itself flying can also come in handy.

Ninja of the Deep Hours: One of the most famous Ninjas of the Kamigawa block. While technically outclassed by Ingenious Infiltrator, I have a soft spot for it.

Sakashima's Student: One of the best Ninjas around; the layers this creature's clone effect offers is incredible. You can protect a Yuriko effect by sending her to die, and Ninjutsuing an unblocked creature to copy her anyway. It can be a copy of the best creatures your opponents have, it can also help copy opposing Gilded Drakes to get back anything taken from you.

Skullsnatcher: a Ninja that can come early on, and help extract cards from an opposing graveyard.

Throat Slitter: a Ninja that acts as conditional spot removal, with decent stats for blocks.

Universal Automaton: Another potent ninja from Modern Horizons. Aside from being by and large the best tribal-themed creature ever printed as it can go into any Tribal commander of any colour, it's especially powerful in Yuriko as we can bring it out T1 and perhaps an Ornithopter or Memnite, and have two ninjas in play by T2 when Yuriko enters - giving you two Yuriko triggers as early as possible.

These are creatures selected because the offer a unique effect that we can use.

Brazen Borrower: New card from Thrones of Eldraine, this is one of the most powerful cards Yuriko can abuse. Petty Theft bounces any nonland permanent for 2 mana, sending Borrower into exile. Having a creature we can cast from exile has some impressive applications, as we know we have a creature at the ready after a board wipe. But the real strength lies in the ability to reuse Petty Theft by bouncing Brazen Borrower via Ninjutsu. The end result is an incredibly oppressive way at reusing a Chain of Vapor, constantly keeping your opponents behind. I can't stress enough how impressive this card has been.

Draco: The big, gargantuan spell that you'll never cast. Draco hits hard for 16 mana, and serves as the largest spell we can possibly flip off of Yuriko. If you have two ninjas and available, you can connect with two ninjas, spend to Vampiric Tutor Draco to the top, reveal it off the first Yuriko trigger, and on the second trigger, Brainstorm it back on top again, and hit the table for a total of 32 life.

Fourth Bridge Prowler: A 1-drop that can be abused via Ninjutsu to help clear the path of any dorks in your way.

Gilded Drake: Self-explanatory at this point. The ultimate blue creature that trades for anything problematic.

Mistcaller: Very powerful stax piece against Hulk decks, keeping them off Flash for as long as need be. Also hits Doomsday piles seeking to Unearth creatures, Yisan tutors, all Reanimation, GSZ/Finale/Chord, Worldgorger, Blink. This card is straight gas.

Plague Engineer: An incredibly punishing creature that can do admirably in mirror matches, and also hose Elfball decks and Hatebears.

Sidisi's Faithful: A useful 1drop, with an exploit that encourages a Yuriko reset, and allows us to bounce something else.

Street Wraith: A free cycling card, and one that can also flip for 5. If you ever manage to cast it (or reanimate via Cauldron of Eternity), Swampwalk is also a decent means of evasion.

Thassa's Oracle: The dreaded FishWizard that has everyone hot-and-bothered. This thing does a lot of work for . The direct line of play we are interested in is to cast Thoracle, and with its ETB trigger on the stack, maintain priority to cast Demonic Consultation, naming any card you can legally run that isn't in your deck, forcing you to exile your library. Thoracle's trigger resolves, you scry X where X is at least 2 - which happens to be more than the total cards in your library, resulting in a win. Since this can be Stifle'd, I'd advise this to be your secondary line of play - or - if you are in a position where you can fire this off with mana up to protect yourself or free counters in hand.

These are cards I’m either currently testing, or adore too much not to run;

Nothing at this time

Instants and Sorceries have been broken down into the following categories: Tutors, Interaction, and Big Spell Targets.
Yuriko is in a unique position where tutoring to the top of your deck can actually be more beneficial to use, as we can in turn use those for Yuriko triggers.

Demonic Tutor

Diabolic Intent

Lim-Dul's Vault

Mystical Tutor

Scheming Symmetry

Vampiric Tutor

Interaction are cards that can counter other spells, or interact with cards in play by either bouncing them or removing them.

Blinkmoth Infusion: Our second spell that hits for an absurdly large amount, and also has the benefit of being a card we could pitch to a Force of Will if need be.

Brainstorm: all-star cantrip, and can set up some devastating Yuriko flips before damage occurs.

Chain of Vapor: Pretty much a staple piece of interaction for removing problematic nonland permanents.

Commandeer: Gaining control any noncreature spell is insanely potent, and often misunderstood. This affects Planeswalkers, Artifacts, and Enchantments, along with any Instant or Sorcery. This can effectively time walk someone's turn as they've just spent their resources for you.

Contagion: Black card from the Force of Will cycle in Alliances, and one that can quickly slow down opposing gameplans by killing off as many as 2 mana dorks at instant speed.

Cyclonic Rift: It's Cyclonic Rift.

Demonic Consultation: The entire purpose of this spell is to be used in conjunction with the Thoracle combo. In an absolutely desperate measure, you can also manipulate the top 7 with scroll rack, leaving the card you need as 7th from the top, and exiling those top 6 cards to get it.

Dispel: Great for playing the countergame.

Dismember: Incredibly strong piece of removal.

Drown in the Loch: New card from Thrones of Eldraine. A removal piece that gets stronger the longer you play, or depending on how aggressive a player is playing with their graveyard.

Flusterstorm: Exceptional counterspell.

Force of Despair: Useful board wipe that can be played for "free" that can effectively reset a player who spent a turn emptying their hand (or graveyard if they're on a reanimator build).

Force of Negation: A "free" negate. Wonderful card.

Force of Will: It's the greatest counterspell ever printed.

Gitaxian Probe: Fills a similar role as Street Wraith, allowing us to thin our deck for free.

Liliana's Triumph: Massive one-sided edict at instant speed is incredible. We're not running Liliana walkers but if you choose to, the spell only gets better.

Mental Misstep: One of the most powerful counterspells in all of MTG.

Mire in Misery: A very powerful edict for only 2 mana in a pod of four. This also may get rid of any problematic enchantments.

Mission Briefing: Fantastic way at recurring spells and fueling delve. One of the most important aspects behind this card is that it affects alternate casting costs, unlike Snapcaster Mage - so we can use this to cast Force of Will from the Grave.

Murderous Cut: A no nonsense piece of spot removal that hits anything.

Reanimate: Primarily incorporated to help recur Thassa's Oracle in case it gets countered, however it's versatile enough to capture opponent's creatures as well.

Snap: A bounce spell that pays for itself as you can untap the lands used to cast it. Useful at maintaining tempo, or can protect Yuriko in a pinch.

Snuff Out: "Free" spot removal for any nonblack creatures.

Spell Pierce: More early game interaction is vital to help protect us, or to engage in a counterwar.

Submerge: "Free" creature tuck.

Swan Song: A powerful counterspell. Most get turned off at the idea of giving an opponent a bird to block with, but more often than not this is also typically used when you're trying to protect Thassa's Oracle or Demonic Consultation - where combat isn't relevant.

Temporal Trespass: See Big Spell Targets. Otherwise, it's a one time time walk.

Toxic Deluge: The single best board wipe we have access to.

Unearth: Similar to Reanimate, with an upside that it works with 80% of the creatures we run. Additionally, provided either we have a Grafdigger's Cage in play, or opponents have some anti-graveyard tech, Unearth can be cycled away.

These are spells that can either be cast for "free" using alternative casting costs, or are used because their combined CMC result in devastating burns off a Yuriko trigger. They are all effective our payloads for Insidious Dreams piles, or Top Deck Manipulation.

Blinkmoth Infusion




Fallen Shinobi

Force of Will

Murderous Cut

Snuff Out


Street Wraith

Temporal Trespass

I've grouped these two together as they largely serve the same purpose. Artifacts and Enchantments will be broken into Ramp, Artifact Hate, Graveyard Hate, Creature Hate, Tempo Control and Miscellaneous.
Chrome Mox is the one of the two mana rocks I've decided to run. I'll give you time to collect yourself as you come to terms with the idea that a Commander deck doesn't run Sol Ring.

The reasoning behind only running this one in particular is that we don't need the surplus of generic mana that could be better in a Turns build, and we also run an assortment of artifact hate, so to save the possibility of being harmed by them, we've minimized what we run. Because we're on 30 lands, I don't feel as confident in running a Mox Diamond, whereas we have more than enough spells to imprint on Chrome Mox.

Mox Amber is the other mana rock I've chosen to run. It turns online early enough after Yuriko comes into play.

Scroll Rack: an exceptional top-deck manipulator. Coupled with cards like Draco and Blinlmoth Infusion and we have a consistent method at closing games.
Since we’re on Back to Basics, I’m trying to keep our basic count high, minimizing the number of nonbasic lands to certain Utility lands, or Fetch lands. The Utility lands will be explained in further detail.

Castle Vantress; Currently in its testing phase, the premise behind this is pretty simple; it offers the utility of scrying 2 in a pinch, and should always comes in untapped thanks to the number of islands we run.

Mystic Sanctuary: a new land I have high hopes for; getting it untapped shouldn’t be an issue, being able to fetch for it is very useful, and most importantly, being able to recur a big spell to flip (or re-flip) off Yuriko is exceptional.

Shizo, Death's Storehouse: Fantastic land for us. Comes untapped, and provides evasion in a pinch.

Witch's Cottage: another new land from Eldraine I'm testing. The premise is to hopefully make use of recurring Draco in case it's ever discarded, but it can also help grab other utility creatures (like Mistcaller) after we've already used their effect.

Doomsday: This may be revisited now that Thassa's Oracle + Demonic Consultation become more relied on.

Deep-Sea Kraken: I love the Kraken. It actually used to be in this list as both a way to keep a blocker large enough to soak up creatures that are larger than our tiny Ninjas, and its suspend forces opponents to choose how often they cast per turn, which operates as a pseudo-stax card. On top of that, it was another 10 mana spell that's nice to flip. It was ultimately taken out as I felt the suspend really never impacted my meta as best as it should have, and there were many cases where it was a dead card in hand as I'd rather spend 3 mana on other things.

City of Brass, Mana Confluence: It seems crazy not to run any of these. It feels crazy trying to defend why I don't. Ultimately, all were taken out because I've been negatively impacted by Back to Basics with them in play, and they've been replaced with other fetches like Prismatic Vista, and the third land was swapped as I'm currently testing Castle Vantress and while it only produces 1/2 colours, it has an activated ability worth looking into; and because we're so Island-heavy, it should always come untapped.

Imperial Seal: This one is easy to justify; I just don't own one anymore. So in interim, Scheming Symmetry serves basically the same purpose, and function as the next best 1 mana tutor to the top of the library.

Nether Traitor/Bloodghast: weeps in Grafdiggers

Insidious Dreams: Recently excluded from the list, and as a result, I'll be contemplating some of the other spells specifically included because of this. It requires cards that are otherwise less than stellar, and are only abused for the combined CMCs. Dreams is also reliant on having several creatures in play and several cards in hand to make use of the maximum payoff, at which point you already ought to be in a good position.


Updates Add

With the spoiling of Thassa's Oracle, we're adding a way to incorporate it and Demonic Consultation.

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