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My Favorite GIF I find building around Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow to be extremely interesting as there are a myriad ways in which to go about it. With the release of Theros: Beyond Death, the vast majority of Yuriko builds have adapted to include Thassa's Oracle and Demonic Consultation as an efficient two-card combo. Building around that combo has provided several interesting archetypes for Yuriko, most notably: midrange (or "Pivot" as the community has coined), TurboNaus, Stax/Control, Burn or Reanimator.

I built my initial deck around Yuriko the moment she was spoiled in Commander 2018. It was a jack-of-all-trades kind of build to essentially see which path I would ultimately want to take, including crude Doomsday lines, Turns, large CMC spells to abuse Yuriko's triggers, and Stax/Control. Over time I whittled away the other possibilities and decided to focus my time on refining my Yuriko list as a Control list that leans into several key Stax pieces. As a backup, my list also includes OracleConsult, however I should make a disclaimer that this list does not seek to aggressively tutor for the pieces, and that certain tutor omissions reflect that choice.

My version of Yuriko seeks to blend the pressure that creature based aggro decks apply, while maintaining tempo and control through our various 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. We can however turn this detriment into a benefit by being able to synergistically work around effects like Chains of Mephistopheles simply because we do not draw cards, but rather reveal them with Yuriko.

This list focuses on a mixture of Stax, control and applying constant pressure on their life totals with every spell we reveal, or with larger CMC spells like Draco. Since Thassa's Oracle , the list has adapted to include it, however I reiterate that it is not what I seek to do each game, and instead hold it for instances where games may be too drawn out or as a general last ditch effort. The card combos with Demonic Consultation and is particularly tricky to interact with if it resolves. On its own, Oracle is an adequate creature for Yuriko regardless, by being able to scalably manipulate the top-deck. Builds like Pivot and TurboNaus 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-Back to Basics environment, and as such, a Pact manabase will not work for me.

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 as best we can.

Yuriko herself is a built-in inevitability factor, where she will increasingly apply pressure each damage step with every card revealed without the need to completely rely on huge spells overloading the list. That being said, the deck still makes use of Draco mainly because it's pretty efficient in hitting hard, and for and two unblocked ninjas we can perform the Double Dragon, but more on that later.

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 Chain of Vapor 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 (generally) can't be blocked. As a result, an array of cheap creatures ranging from 0-1 cmc are utilized to ensure Yuriko is consistently out by Turn 2.

Ninjutsu is a very interesting mechanic where we can return an unblocked attacker to then replace it with a Ninja. Since it relies on unblocked attacks and not combat damage, we can abuse cheap creatures like Ornithopter , who can swing for 0 (unblocked), opening you up toa Turn 2 Yuriko.

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. Note 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 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.

Mothdust Changeling : our other Turn 1 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. It's a ninja for that offers card advantage whenever it deals combat damage.

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.

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 Turn 1 as well as one of the three drops we run, and have two ninjas in play by T2 when Yuriko enters - giving you two Yuriko triggers as early as possible.

Our enablers are defined by their CMC (-), and relavent keywords or abilities. Note that certain Ninjas also apply here as there will be games where you need to return one of them unblocked in order to get Yuriko out.

Changeling Outcast


Mothdust Changeling


Phyrexian Walker

Stonecoil Serpent

Thieves' Guild Enforcer

Universal Automaton

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

Baleful Strix : Legacy staple, Baleful Strix is primarily utilized as a piece of removal and to encourage metalcraft, however replacing itself upon entry and potentially repeating that effect via Ninjutsu is a nice bonus.

Brazen Borrower : My pet card from Thrones of Eldraine, this is a powerful card Yuriko can abuse. Petty Theft bounces any nonland permanent for , 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 post-boardwipe. 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 , 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 in one turn. This is what I call the Double Dragon. My Favorite GIF

Hullbreacher : New card from Commander Legends, Hullbreacher is an insance replacement effect on an instant speed creature. Like Notion Thief, this replaces each draw after the first by skipping that draw and creating treasure tokens for you. This is a step up from Notion Thief for several reasons: it's , meaning it's easier to cast, and in most cases we would rather have a large supply of Lotus Petals, rather than drawing our burn spells. Keep in mind, rule 616.1 states that as the controller of two or more replacement effects, you may choose which one applies -- so depending on your boardstate, you may want to refill your hand as opposed to creating treasure tokens. My Favorite GIF

Notion Thief : Like Hullbreacher, this is an exeptional creature in stopping opponents from card advantage like wheels.

Opposition Agent : A new card from Commander Legends, this is a very punishing creature at instnat speed that takes control of an opponent when they search their library and gives you that card instead. Keep in mind that this also means you have access to their hand to acquire information. For opposing fetchlands, you may cast this and gain control, declaring that you fail to find a land, thus putting them back a land.

Stonecoil Serpent : While typically an enabler, this is a considerable blocker we can leave behind. It has protection from all multicolored so it can block 2c-5c commanders and creatures for days, it has reach, meaning it can block menacing fliers, and if need be, can be cast for X=>1 as a mana sink into a largeer body. In most circumstances, it is always a 1/1 for .

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.

Thieves' Guild Enforcer : It's an instant speed enabler first and foremost, however it also possess some relevant topdeck control for opponents. You can flash this in after an opponent tutors a card to the top of their library and have each opponent mill 2 cards. And this triggers with every Rogue that enters the battlefield - since this deck (accidentally) runs several Rogues, including the Changelings, this effect can be quite potent. A minor upside is that it gains a form of evasion with Deathtouch so long as an opponent has 8 or more cards in their graveyard.

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

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.

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.

Cyclonic Rift : It's Cyclonic Rift.

Deadly Rollick : A card from Commander 2020 that we can relibaly cast for "free" as there is a high chance we control our commander. It's by and large the cheapest spot removal that exiles that our colours allow.

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.

Dig Through Time : Flips for and aggressively digs through our deck to find anything relevant. Since it does not draw, it also works through our Chains of Mephistopheles .

Dispel : Great for playing the countergame.

Fierce Guardianship : Another "free" card from Commander 2020, this is one of the strongest counters we were given. Having a Negate for potentially is exactly what we want.

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 that also exiles. Wonderful card.

Force of Will : Possibly the greatest, and certainly the most iconic counterspell ever printed.

Mana Drain : Technically the only we run, and it's in this build because there are cards that could make use of some of the colourless mana we generate.

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

Mindbreak Trap : My Favorite GIF A niche counterspell that circumvents uncounterable spells as it sends them into exile. This also affects storm players, or those who rely on cascade. Note that facing opponents with Maelstrom Wanderer , this will only counter Maelstrom and one of its cascade triggers, not both.

Miscast : One of the best 1 mana counterspells printed in a long time. This only hits instants and sorceries, however it provides an expensive tax for opponents.

Misdirection : a useful spell in a counterwar that allows you to redirect an opposing counterspell to target Misdirection instead.

Mystical Dispute : A great, albeit condition counterspell from Thrones of Eldraine that has a cost reduction so long as it targets a blue spell.

Nix : A niche counterspell that hits all mana artifacts, and cascade triggers or effects that say you cast a spell without paying its mana cost.

Sea Gate Restoration  : A new spell from Zendikar Rising, this acts both as a heavy-hitting burn spell, and as our 28th land with the backside of the card. I've been genuinely surprised how many times I've been able to hardcast this spell.

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.

Sterm Dismissal: A cheap bounce spell that also serves as one of the few pieces of enchantment removal we run.

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.

Treasure Cruise : Flips for and can effectively be an Ancestral Recall, thanks to delve.

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

Windfall : Fantastic Wheel effect that gets a huge upside with either Notion Thief or Hullbreacher.

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.


Dig Through Time


Fallen Shinobi

Force of Will

Mindbreak Trap


Mystical Dispute

Sea Gate Restoration  

Snuff Out


Throat Slitter

Treasure Cruise

I've grouped these two together as they largely serve the same purpose. Artifacts and Enchantments will be broken into Ramp, Graveyard Hate, Creature Hate, Tempo Control and Miscellaneous.

Grafdigger's Cage Perfect tech against graveyard strategies, this card denies cards being cast or creatures entering the battlefield from the graveyard.

Cursed Totem : An oppressive stax piece that shuts off any activated ability on any creature, including mana abilities.

Grafdigger's Cage : Perfect tech against certain creature toolbox strategies, this card prevents players from having spells cast or creatures entering the battlefield directly from libraries.

Arcane Laboratory : Since Ninjutusu isn’t a spell, we can mitigate the drawback of Rule of Law effects like Arcane Laboratory by having our Ninjas still enter the battlefield and still have the freedom of playing one spell, and not feel as much of a pain in being restricted by it. This will significantly disrupt spellslinger decks, storm decks, and is an effective way to disrupt cascade triggers.

Back to Basics : The cornerstone of most Yuriko Stax archetypes, Back to Basics is what our landbase is built around. It assumes you face a meta that largely has more nonbasics in play, which can be extremely effective against decks using a Tainted Pact manabase. Our deck is typically low enough to the ground to work on fewer lands than most, and any downside is alleviated by our mana rock package, as well as relying on certain spells with alternate casting costs.

Chains of Mephistopheles My Favorite GIF A pain to read for some, and sadistic delight for others, Chains is a brutal Stax piece that globally curbstomps all card advantage that specifically draws cards. That’s an important bit of info as Yuriko herself reveals cards, thus navigating around its effect.

Confounding Conundrum : An exceptional piece of anti-ramp hate, that only works against your opponents. This replaces itself as it enters the battlefield, and forces opponents to restrict their windows of opportunity for when they crack fetchlands.

Cover of Darkness : An incredibly cheap piece of evasion granted to all our Ninjas.

Scroll Rack : An exceptional top-deck manipulator. Coupled with cards like Draco, 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 fetchable dual lands. The Utility lands will be explained in further detail.

Gemstone Caverns : An incredible land that can offer potential Turn 0 interaction with its pre-game effect.

Mystic Sanctuary : a land I've used since it came out, and has proven to be one of the most consistent top-deck tutors we can run.


Updates Add

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

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