No-Cash Commander – Lavinia of the Tenth

Hi all, Crazy in the house.

Upcoming this week is a colour combination we haven’t done yet in this series – That of Blue/White. Less unusual is “Creatures, creatures everywhere.” Clocking in at $49.75 we have Lavinia of the Tenth:

Tappedout list available here:

The Plan

Flicker, Jump, Bounce, Shift – Whatever you want to call it, that’s our plan. Almost all of our creatures (Including the lady of the hour up there) have some devastating effects on entry, and we’re going to abuse the hell out of them. The win-conditions as such are to generally out-value our opponents and play a midrange game or to use the combo finish that we’ve also slipped into the deck. We’ll go ahead and get that out of the way:

The Combo

Deadeye Navigator + Peregrine Drake = Infinite mana: Pretty much everyone should know this one – There’re a couple other cards you can replace the Deadeye with but this is the easiest way to make your infinite mana. Especially with the deadeye this means that you can use the Enter the Battlefield (ETB from here on in) ability of any creatures on your board forever with your newfound mana. There are some other cards in the deck that’ll let you win off of your mana but – again – we can discuss that in a minute.

For now – Let’s talk about some of the creatures we’ll be flickering:

Spells on Legs

Lavinia of the Tenth – I wouldn’t normally give the commander her own segmant in the deck, but this week’s is a little different in that she’s not a “Driving force” behind the deck. What she is is an absolute haymaker for our archetype – crippling decks focused on their early game or that ramp hard via nonlands with impunity each and every time she lands – And she will be landing a lot.

Angel of Serenity – Starting with one of our biggest creatures, this answers a huge amount of threats every time it lands. It also works with what I’m going to describe as “Fiend Hunter-ing”:

Sub-section – “Fiend Hunter-ing”

If a creature has a separate ETB effect and LTB effect in two different paragraphs – Such as Fiend Hunter. If a creature lands and triggers it’s ETB but then is removed from the battlefield before it resolves the LTB will happen first. In the case of Fiend Hunter this results in exiling a creature permanently, as the “LTB” the exile was linked to has already resolved.

Archaeomancer, Mnemonic Wall – Brings back high-value instant and sorcery targets on a hell of a budget. It’s also part of one of our alternate combo loops, constantly bringing back Ghostly Flicker to hit either of these and Peregrine Drake

Banisher Priest – A Fiend Hunter variant, this one doesn’t interact as well with flicker but it does let you change target or do other interesting tricks like flickering out your own creatures.

Cloudblazer, Mulldrifter – Cloudblazer might have some more marginal benefits and Mulldrifter might come down a bit sooner but they’re effectively the same card here – A Divination on a body.

Diluvian Primordial – Another particularly high-value target, this lets us steal a powerful spell from each opponent’s graveyard. Some decks you’ll probably just grab a piece of removal or two, but you might get lucky occasionally and be playing against, say, a big-spell Jeleva deck.

Fiend Hunter – The one and only. Flickering this guy as he enters will permanently exile the first target and let you hit a second too.

Frost TitanFrost Breathing something on ETB and attack is pretty excellent, and so is taxing your opponent for trying to deal with him and his 6/6 body.

Karmic Guide – A premier flicker target, because it also lets us bring back another thing, preferably with it’s own ETB. And since we have some creatures which flicker a creature on entry? Well that’s just silly value. Pro-Black is not irrelevant either.

Luminate Primordial – We all know how good Swords to Plowshares is right? How about a 4/7 Vigilance creature? What if I said you could have both for the low, low price of 7 mana? Yeah that’s what I thought. The Primordial even layers the value on, giving us a Swords for each opponent!

Lyev Skyknight – For when things are just a little too big for Lavinia, the Skyknight can step up and start locking things down himself.

Reflector Mage – Too powerful for Standard means just perfect for us! Removes a threat for at least the next couple of turns, which can give you or another player time to assemble a way to deal with it more permanently.

Sphinx of UthuunFact or Fiction on a Fat Five power Flyer? Clever alliteration aside, this is a pretty excellent target for all of our flicker effects, providing a silly amount of card advantage on a reasonably commanding body.

Stonehorn Dignitary – Lock out a punchy player for a turn every time you flicker it? Sounds hella unfun for someone (Me). But not you so that’s all fine!

So that is a LOT of excellent targets for our flicker spells. But how are we doing that, you may justifiably wonder? Well:

Do the Bounce

Clone, Vizier of Many Faces – So it’s not a flicker strictly speaking but it does let us re-use the ETB of any creature we already have on the board. Twice, in the case of the Vizier.

Deputy of Acquittals – Puts a creature back in our hand to be re-cast at a later date. Conveniently it has flash so we can also use it to save a higher-value target.

Emeria Shepherd – Pulls cards from the graveyard back to your hand half the time, straight up reanimates it the rest. A bit expensive at 7 mana for a 4/4 flyer maybe but still pretty excellent.

Flickerwisp, Glimmerpoint Stag – All of these “Slow Flicker” a creature on entry – Which is to exile a creature and then bring it back during the end step. Different costs and different bodies between them but they all fill effectively the same role.

Felidar Guardian, Wispweaver Angel – See above, but they “Fast Flicker” a creature, so it leaves and re-enters immediately. Standard players around during the reign of “CopyCat” will know a thing or two about that.

Galepowder Mage – Another one that lets us slow-flicker our creatures, but this one lets us do it every time he turns sideways.

Mistmeadow Witch – Another creature that lets us slow-flicker things, but in this case it’s repeatable more than once a turn as long as you have the mana to sink.

Restoration Angel – A proper Modern staple, this lets us “Fast-flicker” a creature at instant-speed while also bringing a pretty reasonable body into play. Excellent creature.

Stonecloaker – Like Deputy of Aqcuittals discussed above but with the upside of also being able to counter reanimator decks. Excellent card, and criminally cheap!

Conjurer’s Closet – A bit of a pet card of mine, but works really well in this deck. One free flicker at the end of each of your turns can get pretty dirty.

Panharmonicon – Everyone’s favourite combo piece from Kaladesh, here it also just generally provides value for almost literally all of our creatures.

Strionic Resonator – Another one that’s not really flicker but since we can use it to get extra value out of our ETBs or even double up on the flicker ETBs I’m going to count it.

Nonpermanent flicker spells:

There’s a lot of these and most of them do the same thing, so I’m just going to split these into Fast and Slow flicker and talk about any special ones a bit below.

Fast: Cloudshift, Essence Flux, Ghostly Flicker, Momentary Blink

Slow: Eerie Interlude, Turn to Mist

The main two worth drawing attention to here are:

Ghostly Flicker – Hits 2 targets, meaning it can be used to set up the Peregrine Drake combo with either of the creatures that bring back a spell

Eerie Interlude – Slow flicker your entire board at instant-speed. Perfect for dodging a fat boardwipe, be it an opponent’s or your own.

Of course – Not everything can be creatures and bounce – We also have a lot of removal and countermagic up our sleeves:

Nope.jpg

Aven Mindcensor – Doesn’t quite counter a tutor spell, but considering it also has a reasonable chance to Stone Rain their fetch I’m going to include it here. Thank god for reprints – This thing is now less than $1.

Azorius Guildmage – The mage of nope from the original Ravnica block, Stifle on a stick is nothing to sneeze at.

Aetherize – There’s nothing quite like bouncing a full alpha-strike. Especially when they get fully cracked back on by everyone they tried to kill.

Capsize – A convenient temporary answer to any permanent that never quite goes away. Which also makes it one of our win-conditions from achieving infinite mana – We can just bounce every other player’s permanents (including land) on a whim.

Condemn – Put the biggest thing trying to hit you on the bottom of their deck. A pretty big middle finger to anyone who was planning on reanimating the thing after you killed it as a bonus.

Dissipate, Dissolve – 3 mana Counterspells with upside. Very playable.

Evacuation – A great way to clear out the board while also retrieving all of your valuable ETB effects. Powerful stuff.

Ojutai’s Command – I remember how oppressive this thing was back in Standard. It might not be quite as good here but it still does a hell of a lot.

Rapid HybridizationBeast Withins a creature for only 1 mana. Super good card.

Reality Shift – Exiles a creature and leaves them with essentially a morph – One they can’t even flip if it isn’t a creature.

Rewind – a completely free* counterspell! *note – requires 4 mana

End Hostilities – 5 mana to nope all creatures. Best led with an Eerie Interlude for maximum effect.

Prahv, Spires of Order – This might seem like an odd inclusion, after all that is a very expensive effect. Now consider that it doesn’t use the word “Target” and realise that this stops things like Rafiq and Uril.

Then there’s a lot of card advantage and ramp:

Being resourceful

Ephara, God of the Polis – With a reasonable setup this basically reads “Draw a card every turn”. Could also be interchanged as commander for this deck if you’d prefer this to be more permanently available with Lavinia as a haymaker in the deck.

Blue Sun’s Zenith, Stroke of Genius – Draw X cards. Notably – Target player draws X cards. That player can be us if we want card advantage, but with sufficient mana (Infinite lol) we can just eliminate a player from the game.

Dig Through Time – Yes Robbie, we CAN dig it. This should be in every blue deck.

Mystical Tutor – This was a good chunk of the budget so I won’t judge you if you decide to leave it out, but primarily it’s here to dig up a win-condition after we’ve made our infinite mana, or a powerful flicker spell like Eerie Interlude if we have a good opportunity.

Treasure Cruise – The other blue spell that should be in every deck, Ancestral Recall Treasure Cruise is a true staple lately.

Mystic Remora – Cumulative Upkeep can suck but if you can slap this down you should be drawing off of every noncreature, because very few people are going to pay 4 per spell to stop you drawing.

Wayfarer’s BaubleEvolving Wilds but also a rock. It’s pretty fine.

And in our rock suite we have:

2 mana: Azorius Signet, Mind Stone

3 mana: Azorius CluestoneCommander’s Sphere

And that, Lads and Ladies, is the deck. With some budget though, we can go some real places:

Full-Cash Commander

Better Flicker – Venser, the Sojourner, Ghostway

Our creatures like to bounce. These cards like to bounce things. There’s a unity of purpose there. Ghostway is kind of a worse Eerie Interlude but there’s no denying that’s one of the better cards in our deck and redundancy is a-okay. Venser, on the other hand is a source of repeatable flicker with some other huge benefits – We want to get him in and keep him there.

Combo Stuff – Palinchron, Planar Portal

If you want to sink some cash into improving the combo potential of this deck, look no further than Palinchron, since he doubles up our count of Peregrine Drakes and also just goes infinite by himself as long as you have Panharmonicon down. Worth noting though is that tutoring for creatures isn’t in the colour pie for Blue or White, so to improve our tutor suite we need to turn to colourless tutors like Planar Portal.

General Card QualityCyclonic Rift, Terminus, Force of Will, Path to Exile and many others.

You all know what these do and why they’re in most decks, so I’m not going to treat you all like you’re 5.

And that is the list (With upgrades) – I had a lot of fun putting together this list, if you end up playing it or just want to chat about things you’d put in differently go ahead and drop us a message via our Facebook page!

One last thing before I clock out – We’re thinking about doing a Podcast soon and we’d love to know what you want to hear! If there’s anything you think should be done on a podcast that you haven’t seen or even something you have seen but want to see us do then please do let us know.

Crazy out.

This article was suggested by /u/draakeragon in a comment on our previous article on Reddit’s /r/EDH

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