Commanding Respect: Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
Needs More Toad.
Welcome back to Commanding Respect, the column where we pull underplayed commanders out of the cracks, dust them off, and set them walking in the direction of a beautiful decklist. Today, we're taking a look at a tweak and a twist on one of my favorite decks: it's Momir Vig, Simic Visionary, with special guest Aluren!
Aluren is a build-around card in manner very distinct from Trinket Mage or Trophy Mage (whom we described at some length in my Patron of the Moon article). The Tr- Mages encourage you to play a few distinct cards that they can search for, giving you flexible responses to a given situation. Aluren is the inverse: it wants the majority of your deck to play nicely with it, even more so with Aluren being a symmetrical effect (i.e. applying to all players, not just to us). If we play Aluren without properly preparing for it, our opponents will take better advantage of it and run us over. With that in mind, what exactly can we do with Aluren?
I intend to use our commander (Mr. Vig, in case you've forgotten) primarily as a card advantage engine capable of searching up answers and other relevant creatures. With that in mind, Aluren can fuel our engine. A handful of cards, most prominently Shrieking Drake and the slightly-more-flexible Cloudstone Curio, combo with Aluren to give us infinite spellcasts. Add in any source of card draw, and we can put our entire deck into our hand, closing out the game by casting Laboratory Maniac and drawing one more card.
Comboing out is dangerous business, especially if an opponent has instant-speed removal handy. I can't tell you how many times I've moved to win the game with Laboratory Maniac only to have other players attempt to remove him. Actually, I can tell you how many times: at least twice. Maybe three times. The thrust of the matter is, protect your combos folks! We can return targeted creatures to our hand with Quickling (or Shrieking Drake, as it happens). Mizzium Meddler can eat a kill spell in place of our more valuable asset. Void Grafter can protect a single creature directly, and though it can't be cast for free off of Aluren, Mystic Snake is an on-theme counterspell here to keep us safe.
Even if we're not making waves and winning games with Aluren, we can generate serious value. A large selection of our three-mana-and-under creatures are common in creature toolboxes: Reclamation Sage to destroy artifacts and enchantments, Eternal Witness to return any card from our graveyard to our hand, Loaming Shaman to shuffle away a problematic graveyard, and more. Moving slightly further afield, Somberwald Sage and Selvala, Heart of the Wilds are highly efficient mana generators for a deck as creature-heavy as ours.
"Plan" is Not a Four-Letter Word
If our Aluren game plan fails, or can't be brought online, we have a few other tricks up our sleeves. Probably the most straightforward of those tricks is Mycoloth. In short order, Mycoloth converts a handful of small creatures into an <em>overwhelming force</em> of small creatures. The term "army-in-a-can" comes to mind, and left unchecked (or protected competently), a Mycoloth usually <em>will</em> run away with the game. Those interested in a more oddball path to victory can take advantage of Biovisionary, a strange inclusion in a singleton format. Our deck contains a solid handful of clone effects, including two cards capable of copying the Biovisionary repeatably: Progenitor Mimic and Spitting Image.
I will confess one ulterior motive in building this Momir Vig deck: finding a home for one of my favorite pet cards, Fable of Wolf and Owl. Fable is a strange enchantment from Eventide, which plays off of the set's color-matters theme. In a deck like this, already so focused on casting numerous blue-green creatures, Fable can act as a small token swarm win condition given enough time, especially when combined with Aluren, Cloudstone Curio, or Shrieking Drake. Is it notably efficient? No, not really. I called it a "pet card" for a reason!
Characteristically, blue-green is a great color combination for land ramp. However, with all the creature's we're casting, I lean much more towards cost reduction than any other form of ramp. Cost reduction for this deck comes in a couple of forms: you have the Medallions (Sapphire Medallion and Emerald Medallion), which reduce the cost of all spells of their respective color; there's Kefnet's Monument and Rhonas's Monument, which only reduce the cost of creatures of their specific color, but contribute a small effect whenever we cast a creatures; and finally, Cloud Key reduces the cost of cards of a chosen type (which will almost certainly be "creatures", except in very particular circumstances).
There aren't quite enough cost-reducers to make them our only form of ramp. I made an earlier remark about Trinket Mage, who fetches Commander-staple Sol Ring like it's nobody's business. Expedition Map secures us any land from our library, and lets us choose from a nice variety of utility lands. Looking at our emphasis on multicolored creatures, I put in a Simic Signet to filter our mana and keep us casting spells.
The Quiet Tyrant
Before we close out this week's article, a brief note on politics in Commander, and with this deck. Tutoring for a card is powerful. Having a repeatable tutor, on your commander, is liable to put a target on your head, as long as your opponents understand the value of searching your library. When playing Momir Vig, do your best to keep your head down until the last possible moment. Sometimes, it might be worth it to get a harmless value creature like Shardless Agent or Wistful Selkie, just to continue flying under the radar. Furthermore, think about how safe it is to combo without a form of response or countermagic backup. If disruption seems likely, continue to evade suspicion until you can surprise players with your combo, or else produce the protection you need.
Momir or Less
Thank you all for joining us on another obscure-commander jaunt in my favorite color combination. Want to suggest a commander for future Commanding Respect articles? Find me on Twitter, or find my work on edhrec.com! And remember: you can command any deck you want, as long as you command respect.
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