Yuriko, Tiger's Shadow Primer

Yuriko is a resilient commander, capable of dealing massive damage quickly. Your goal is to play Yuriko on turn 2, get ninjas in play while deploying some stax pieces to slow your opponents, and manipulate the top of your library to maximize the damage she deals with her ability.

Yuriko can be built differently based on your preference and meta. This build includes an extra turn card package in additional to the Thassa's Oracle + Demonic Consultation combo, but there are other viable builds that focus more on stax elements, reanimation, and even doomsday lines to win. The strength of Yuriko is that she is a such a valuable card draw engine that also provides inevitability in the form of damage. We try to maximize this damage by adding cards to our deck with high CMC that have alternate casting costs that let us cast them for free, such as Force of Will and Commandeer.

In order to consistently be able to ninjutsu on turn 2, your deck should play 10 to 11 creatures that have CMC 0-1. Some of the most powerful starts Yuriko has include a 0 drop creature. Ideally, these creatures have a form of evasion to help get past blockers for ninjutsu. If you are in a creature-light meta, then you may be able to play stronger enablers that have ETB effects or other bonuses as the evasion becomes less necessary.

Turn 1-2 involve getting Yuriko into play via her ninjutsu ability. From there, you play pattern will depend on the type of cards available to you.

Option 0 - Combo: The newly printed combo of Thassa's Oracle + Demonic Consultation gave the deck a compact win condition that only costs UUB. Cast Oracle, and with its ETB trigger on the stack, cast Demonic Consultation naming a card that's not in your library. Demonic Consultation will resolve, you will exile your library, then Oracle's trigger will resolve, and you will win the game.

Option 1 - Stax: Yuriko can grind, and she looks good doing it. The deck can play out stax pieces while gaining incremental advantage and advancing its board state. This takes the form of playing other ninja to trigger Yuriko and snowballing card advantage. If your stax pieces are particularly effective against your opponents you will want to use your disruption primarily to keep them in play and prevent opponents from comboing off. Winning from this position involves naturally draining them over the course of several turns with Yuriko's triggered ability.

Option 2 - Turn and Burn If you have a quick start and the right pieces, its entirely possible execute an Edric-like turns strategy. You'll typically find yourself on this path if you have multiple ninja's in play, at least one extra turn spell in hand, and protection to back up your first turn spell. From here, the goal is to play an extra turn spell each turn for as long as you can string them together, all the while adding more ninjas to the board so you can get more triggers each turn. Eventually you will reach a point where either all your opponents are dead from Yuriko triggers, or you've run out of extra turn spells. If the former, congrats, you've won! If the latter, don't panic. By this point you are likely far ahead on lands, with a grip full of reactive cards, and your opponents are hopefully near death.

From here, when you know you can't take another extra turn for lack of turn cards or mana, you have two options. You can either try to grind out the game for another turn or two and win naturally off of Yuriko triggers, OR you can try to knock the remaining players out in one fell swoop by tutoring one of the big bads like Draco to the top. I'd recommend trying to end the game, because if your opponents didn't have the counterspells to stop you taking extra turns, then they most likely don't have them to stop the coup de grace. But this is not always an option if get unlucky draws, so be ready to stick it out for another turn cycle.

Option 3 - No Turn Only Burn These lines typically come together when you have access to Scroll Rack or Brainstorm and have tapped into the luck of the universe. In essence they revolve around revealing your highest CMC cards to Yuriko's triggers, then putting them back on top to reveal them again for massive damage. For example, hitting Draco, then brainstorming it back on top deals 32 to each player. From there, you're opponents are either dead from prior damage, or are hanging by a thread and easy to finish off. Notably, many decks lose access to winning lines, such as ad nauseum and Necropotence when they are reduced to such low life total. But most decks will not be outright neutered, so be careful if you go full ham on this strategy and go shields down.

  1. Brainstorm and Scroll Rack are some of the single most potent cards in the deck. They allow you to put high CMC cards that you have drawn back on top of your deck so that you can hit them again with Yuriko's trigger. You can even do this mid combat if you reveal a high CMC card off of a Yuriko trigger and still have more Yuriko triggers on the stack. There is no feeling quite like revealing Draco twice in a single turn!

  2. Any and all of your topdeck tutors not only allow you to find the cards you need, but let you stack high CMC cards for damage. For example, if you have two Yuriko triggers on the stack, you can let the first one resolve revealing, say, Vampiric Tutor. While the second Yuriko trigger is on the stack, cast vampiric tutor finding Draco and putting him on top of your library. Then let the second Yuriko trigger resolve revealing Draco and doming your opponents for 16. The key takeaway is to let each individual Yuriko trigger resolve one at a time, and consider if there is any action you want to take before it resolves.

  3. Sidisi's Faithful and other effects that let you sacrifice or return a creature to your hand can be used to reset Yuriko if you opponent is presenting a wall of blockers. This should allow you to ninjutsu her in off of an unblockable creature and get a trigger where you otherwise may not have been able to connect.

  4. Your extra turn spells are win-cons, but they can also simply be used to create card and board advantage. Don't feel you need to be in a position to chain together a string of extra turn spells to cast one. Even one extra turn spell can generate large amounts of card advantage depending on your board, and can most likely find you the disruption you need to make it around another turn cycle.

Creature Enablers

The deck needs a density of cheap creatures in order to get out Yuriko early and start accruing card advantage. The best of the best are cheap, evasive, and have relevant abilities/card types.

  • Ornithopter The best enabler. Comes down for free and has evasion. A staple of the deck.

  • Memnite Another free enable. Lack of inherent evasion can be rough in creature heavy metas.

  • Phyrexian Walker See Memnite.

  • Changeling Outcast Unblockable and a ninja? Outcast is the cream of the crop as both an enabler and a payoff.

  • Faerie Seer Great evasive enabler with added utility to help stack the to of your deck.

  • Sage of Epityr If nothing else this smooths your draws. Repeated used can be devastating if you keep putting high CMC cards on top of your library and bouncing this with ninjutsu.

  • Siren Stormtamer The protection is very relevant and helps your spells resolve.

  • Spectral Sailor Flash is nice. It helps us keep our mana open on early turns in case we need to stop someone else from winning. You won't use the mana ability often, but its basically gravy.

  • Universal Automaton We will not turn our noses up at 1 drop ninjas. Despite this being the worst of the bunch and lacking any evasion, the typeline is enough to justify it. 1 drop ninjas pair well will 0-drop creatures which allow blisteringly fast starts.

  • Wingcrafter Enabler with pseudo-evasion. This can make give your ninja's flying, and a flying Yuriko is a dangerous Yuriko.

  • Mothdust Changeling Another great card that was arguably the best 1-drop until Changeling outcast came on the scene.

Other Creatures

These creatures benefit from being returned to hand or help make our ninja's unblockable. Your choices here

  • Filth Discard it to the graveyard and voila, all your creatures are unblockable. Common play patern is to play an enabler on turn one, then ninjutsu in yuriko turn two, returning it to hand and drawing a card. This leaves you with 8 cards in hand and can allow you to discard filth to hand size. Wonder is also a valid considertation for the deck if you are not facing my decks that play black and you aren't having luck finding your Urborg.

  • Draco/Emrakul, the Promised End/Blinkmoth Nexus This card is your behemoth. Blinkmoth Nexus competes in this card slot with with Emrakul and Draco. Draco deals more damage but is stone cold uncastable. Emrakul can at least rarely be cast in a long game for 8/9 mana. I feel that the extra damage from Draco closes out the game faster and for that reason it is better than Emrakul. Despite this Blinkmoth Nexus is the current choice in the deck because you are able to discord it to Force of Will, Force of Negation, Commandeer and misidrection. Notable synergies include using brainstorm and scroll rack to re-reveal the cards once they are in your hand. While they may look clunky, two Blinkmoth trigger = 28 damage. That's enough to put an opponent one lucky flip away from death. But even if this doesn't outright kill a player, it will neuter any ad nauseum or Necropotence lines that they may be relying on to win.

  • Gilded Drake Just a great cheap interactive card. Some players just can't come back from having their commander stolen.

  • Snapcaster Mage Insane value when bounced back to your hand for ninjutsu.

  • Spellstutter Sprite We play a number of faeries (read changelings) and the fact that it can be replayed can generate good value in grindy games.


The advent of modern horizons injected exciting new ninjas in to the format for us to play with. Notably, we are only playing the best ninjas with reasonable ninjutsu costs.

  • Ingenious Infiltrator Wow. This card is everything we dreamed of and more. Getting this card out at the same time as Yuriko feels like cheating with the amount of card advantage it generates.

  • Mistblade Shinobi Cheap ninjutsu cost is key to most of the ninjas. This comes down early and helps out-tempo opponents and keeps the way clear for future attacks. A great card.

  • Ninja of the Deep Hours Though it is now overshadowed by Ingenious infiltrator, I continue to like the classic. It does just enough to justify keeping it.

  • Mist-Syndicate Naga I love this card. It is a riff off Spawnwrithe, which is genuinely my favorite magic card of all time. But personal feelings aside, this card is nuts. It doubles every turn you leave it out, creating more ninjas and more advantage. It demands an answer or else it will run away with the game.

  • Skullsnatcher Though not particularly exciting it has a cheap ninjustsu and clear graves. Its one of the weakest ninjas but its efficient enough to play.

-Fallen Shinobi Currently Testing. The ceiling on this card is high, but the it costs a lot of mana considering it might just hit two lands off the top. I want to ninjutsu this in after casting Scheming Symmetry for maximum value. d


Many of our instants have alternate casting costs. The benefits of this are twofold. First, they allow us to safely tap out while still holding interaction. Second, they drain for high amounts off of Yuriko triggers. We run a fairly standard counterspell package, with some notable inclusion that I will focus on.

Generic Counterpell Suite: Counterspell, flusterstorm, mana drain, memory lapse, and Negate. You bread and butter.

  • Brainstorm Sets up the top of deck for massive damage. Also just a great cantrip.

  • Force of Will Drains for 5 and "free" to play. This is the epitome of what we are looking for. It lets us advance out board while stopping out opponents from comboing off.

  • Force of Negation Another narrower Force of Will.

  • Chain of Vapor Good cheap interaction. It hurts us very little if the opponent bounces our creatures as they are all cheap.

  • Abjure Cheap, catch-all counters allow the deck to commit to the board more aggressively with less fear. Our 1-drop can be fodder for this or it can even be used to reset Yuriko for ninjutsu.

  • Commandeer The spice that keeps on flowing. Commandeer plays like a bad Narset's Reversal, but that is good enough for us because... it drain for 7, can be played for free while we are tapped out, and can snatch tutors and game winning plays from out opponents.

  • Cyclonic Rift Clears the way for attackers and can tempo opponents. Considering other options it is likely one of the weaker bounce spells in the deck. On the chopping block.

  • Dig Through Time Hits hard off Yuriko and can dig deep for answers of more gas. Notably, this competes with Temporal Trespass, and its the reason treasure cruise is not included, as that would be too much delve without great ways to fuel it.

  • Lim-Dul's Vault Similarly to Insidious dreams, this can stack your deck to put high CMC cards on top. Don't be afraid to be greedy with this. I've even looped through my deck twice to put high CMC cards together to burn the table.

  • Misdirection This card is in the same camp as our other free spells. It is definitely the weakest of the bunch, but target changing can win a counter war and has other niche application. Its in for now.

  • Mystical Tutor Grab Temporal Trespass and put it on top and take an extra turn while burning the table for 11.

  • Snuff Out Phenomenal at clearing blockers for free.

  • Submerge Similar to Snuff Out, with the added bonus of blanking an opponents next draw.

  • Vampiric Tutor Not only a tutor, but one that like drains for 10-13 depending on what you put on top.


  • Capture of Jingzhou, Temporal Mastery, and Time Warp These are your bread and butter extra turn spells. They are all cheap at 5 mana and they allow you to start chaining turns early.

  • Temporal Trespass This card slaps. Hard. One of the meanest cards Yuriko can reveal that also has the ability to be cast for only UUU. It should be noted that Yuriko's additional draws help fuel the delve cost and allow us to cast this early and consistently.

  • Temporal Mastery This is more finnicky to set up properly but it can be used to great effect. This deck has lots of top deck control that allows us to take advantage of the miracle cost better than any other deck I can think of. If we happen to reveal it off of Yuriko's trigger we are also happy because it will dome out opponents for 7, and then we can either cast it if we are in a grindy match up, or put it back on top of our library to set up the miracle with Scroll Rack or Brainstorm. I can see this card being too cute, but it has been working well for me lately and packs a punch, so it stays for now.

  • Demonic Tutor Grabs our win cons. Sometimes tutoring something as simple as Brainstorm is enough to stack our deck and win the game.

  • Diabolic Intent We will almost always end up with excess ninjutsu fodder we are willing to sacrifice. While worse that Demonic Tutor, this still holds its own in this build.

  • Scheming Symmetry Testing. This card can accomplish two roles in this deck. I can an extra turn spell on top of your library, which you can reveal off of Yuriko's trigger and then use to chain extra turns. The other possibility is that you reveal a fatty CMC finisher and finish the table off in one fell swoop. In either case, Yuriko allows you to access the tutored card before your opponent, which was the main downside of a two person sorcery speed tutor. Its risky, because if the opponent has card draw in hand and extra mana, they may be able to access their tutored card first and combo off; so use it wisely.


This deck plays a light stax package. We are not the fastest deck at the table, but we do have a proactive game plan. What this means is you will need to assess what you position is at the table when deciding whether to deploy a stax piece or advance your own board.

  • Back to Basics Hurts greedy mana bases (and whose mana base isn't greedy?). This buys us lots of time if we have already deployed threats, and even if we haven't our deck can operate on very limited mana.

  • Cursed Totem Totem hoses so many decks and leaves us almost entirely unscathed. Ninjutsu is unaffected, which lets us sneak past this effective stax piece.

  • Null Rod Shuts down those pesky artifact win cons. While this does hit our Scroll Rack we don't need it to win. A meta-call.

Your ideal opening hand consists of a 0/1 cmc creature, two lands, mana acceleration, and countermagic/stax pieces.

The creature is non-negotiable. The deck needs this to enable Yuriko and ensure she hits the field early to get the ball rolling.

Lets look at some example hands:

Great Hand Changeling Outcast, Ornithopter, Mox Amber, Island, Swamp, Brainstorm, Flusterstorm.

This hand is about as good as it gets. On turn one you can cast ornithopter and changeling outcast. On your second turn, you ninjutsu Yuriko, returning the ornithopter to your hand, and draining for the top two cards of your library. You can then replay the ornithopter, play the mox amber, and hold up flusterstorm. Keep.

Good Hand Siren Stormtamer, Force of Negation, Null Rod, Island, Swamp, Commandeer, Snuff Out.

This hand lacks the an incredibly fast start and has no mana acceleration, but it contains excellent interaction that can be cast for free. With this hand, look to play a more controlling opening. Keep.

Fine Hand Faerie Seer, Fallen Shinobi, Mist-Syndicate Naga, Island, Island, Swamp, Force of Negation

This hand is slower. It contains two midrange creature that we hope not to see until later. Our interaction isn't free, so be wary about tapping out T2 for Yuriko if you know there is a combo deck looking to go off and no other stax on the table. Despite the shortcomings, it still enables a T2 Yuriko with powerful cards for the later game and adequate mana. I'd probably keep it, and not be too unhappy about it.

Bad Hand Spectral Sailor, Sol Ring, Blinkmoth Nexus, Island, Island, Abjure, Temporal Trespass This is a stinker. It is close to being playable and yet so far. Starting with your high CMC drain pieces in your hand is a great way to do nothing. The caveat is if you have either brainstorm or scroll rack in your opener as well to leverage the damage or shuffle them away. Further, despite having sol ring we are unable to cast Yuriko on T2 due to the lack of black mana. Mulligan.

March 2020

A couple changes based on player discussion and my own testing. Ashiok has a great effect but we just can't effectively protect planeswalkers. The shift to a more combo based deck means that pact of negation is a more appealing counter to help us go off. I've come to accept that insideous dreams, while massively powerful effect, is simply too expensive and risky should it get countered. Blinkmoth is 2 less cmc than Draco, but it is blue and pitches to our free counters.

April 2020

February 2020

January 2020

August 2019:

Theros brought the addition of Thassa's Oracle + Demonic Consultation as a compact win condition. This new line may warrant the inclusion of Doomsday to facilitate the combo.

Updated to match my paper list.

July 2019:

Draco simply hits harder, and the ability to cast Emrakul has come up seldom. Thief has been under-performing and clunky, so he's hitting the bench for a 1cmc "ninja".


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Top Ranked
Date added 1 year
Last updated 6 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

10 - 0 Mythic Rares

44 - 0 Rares

12 - 0 Uncommons

21 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.44
Tokens 2/2 Bird, Copy Clone
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