Wallet Warriors: Experiment Kraj
“What does that guy do?”
“I can pay a blue to untap him and move a counter from one of my creatures onto another one.”
“Uhhh okay, resolves, and what does that guy do?”
“I can tap him to untap two lands”
“Hmm, alright sure.”
“Okay, put a counter on this guy with Kraj, infinite untaps and infinite mana?”
Hey there Wallet Warriors! What I have for you today is an incredibly fun combo deck for this lovely hundred card format. So long as you enjoy complicated board-states and a lot of “What does that guy do?”s, then this is the deck for you. Experiment Kraj can be difficult to maneuver at times but when you do go off it is very gratifying.
This is, at it’s core, a combo deck. But it is also designed to be interactive and versatile. For example, you will find a nice counter suite to be able to protect your combo and stop your opponents from going off. There is also the ability to just go big and punch people in the face for slightly less than infinite damage, remember, you usually only need about 40. What makes this deck so fun and flavorful is that every game can feel very different depending on your own decisions and strategy. Experiment Kraj is an ever changing being, and so, this deck can shift and mold to your will.
Now, let’s see the deck.
You can find a list sorted by utility here.
It seems necessary to start with the combos as there are a few and they can be quite complex to someone who has never seen them in action. The main combo you want to be aiming for has a few interchangeable pieces. The combo culminates with generating infinite mana, infinite untaps for Kraj, meaning you can use any of it’s abilities infinitely.
You’ll need three pieces, a mana generator, an untapper and the experiment gone wrong himself, Kraj. For example Argothian Elder untaps two lands so he’s a great generator. Horseshoe Crab untaps itself for only one blue mana making it a cheap untapper. Once Kraj copies both abilities he is able to tap for two mana and spend one mana to untap himself. Thus, creating the infinite loop.
Keep in mind that some generators and untappers do not work this well together as most of your generators produce only green mana and most untappers require blue mana to untap. If you have mismatching pieces they can generally still be powerful engines even if they don’t go infinite.
Another combo I actually discovered while playing the deck was Devoted Druid plus Hardened Scales or Illusionist's Bracers combined with Kraj. Once Kraj has the druid's abilities he can untap himself infinitely because the Hardened Scales or Bracers net him a +1/+1 counter.
Meat and Potatoes:
Card draw and ramp is something I believe almost every commander deck wants. Conveniently, a large part of the combos involving Kraj are ramp already. Therefore to fill out this section we just need a few more ramps spells and a heap of card draw. Here are some notable inclusions.
We want most of the ramp and draw in the deck to be creature-based so we can double up on their abilities with Kraj. Fertilid, on it’s own is just a couple lands but, combined with Kraj, is a renewable source of ramp. Arcanis, the Omnipotent is just not fair once you get to untap with him, plus he protects himself as well as giving Kraj the same benefit.
Spring to Mind is a card I am mainly speculating on. I’m trying it out in the place of Urban Evolution as having access to the ramp with 3 mana rather than 5 is a big deal.
The Krajfather is not a cheap commander by any stretch. Investing six, or more, mana into your main combo piece and having it removed is not a good feeling. So we want to be able to protect the purple mutant at all costs.
We have some creatures with defensive abilities. Instants to provide our things with hexproof or indestructibility. Counterspells when we just want to say no, and we have some utility artifacts to top it all off.
Aetherling, Thornling and Morphling are all great because they fill multiple roles. They all provide some sort of protection for themselves as well as Kraj once they have a counter on them. On top of that they all provide a form of evasion which is powerful because there are often situations where you can go infinite but your creatures can just be chump blocked. Morphling is a notch above it’s siblings because on top of all the other benefits, it is also part of the main combo as it just happens to be an untapper.
Cauldron of Souls is an incredible piece of protection that is specifically good in this deck because of the Experiment’s synergy with the persist mechanic.
We want at least a few ways to interact in the deck because interaction makes for fun magic! We’ve got some counter magic and some utility creatures such as Ulvenwald Tracker and Wickerbough Elder. We’ve also got a couple of board wipes. Curse of the Swine and Ezuri’s Predation, two interesting board wipes that are sometimes worse and sometimes better than typical wipes.
Some spicy includes here are the mind control creatures. Because who doesn’t love taking other people’s things and beating them up with them? Simic Manipulator, Cytoplast Manipulator and Willbreaker all combo with Kraj and are great at accomplishing the goal of making everyone else hate you.
This section is gonna be a little all over the place so hold onto your buns.
One of my favourite things to do in commander is play at instant speed. That’s why in my creature/permanent heavy decks I have always tried to fit in a few flash givers in those colors if they exist. For this deck we have Vedalken Orrery and Yeva, Nature’s Herald. Since a lot of our creatures have sweet tap abilities they love having haste. Flash is a form of pseudo-haste as you can flash your stuff in on the end step before your turn. Also you get the benefit of holding up a counterspell before deciding which creatures to play. Chord of Calling also lets you play at instant speed, the card is a little expensive but I think it is just too powerful and one of the more fun tutors to cast in the format.
Another group of cards here are meant to abuse the busted tap abilities in the deck. Murkfiend Liege, Quest for Renewal and Thousand-year Elixir are all great utility and provided great budget alternatives to Seedborn Muse. Another great card for untapping is Paradox Engine. This crazy artifact out of Aether Revolt has already shown that it can be insane in commander and this is a deck that can easily abuse it. The natural synergy with creatures that tap for mana exists, Rishkar, Peema Renegade is very good friends with the engine, plus even when you’re not doing busted things just getting to untap and re-use tap abilities like Archivist, Cytoplast Manipulator or Ulvenwald Tracker provides tons of value.
Finally, we get to our alternate finishers. These are the spells you’re really happy to have when Kraj has gotten countered or killed a few times and comboing off is pretty far out of the picture. Overwhelming Stampede and Triumph of the Hordes reward you for having so many creatures. Master Biomancer and Vorel of the Hull Clade let you make your things very large. Bane of Progress doubles as an answer to artifacts/enchantments as well as a large threat.
So the clear upgrades to the deck are just extensions on some of the types of cards we already have. Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, Leyline of Anticipation and Seedborn Muse are better versions of a few cards in the Utility section. You could replace the weaker versions or even add these ones while taking out something else less exciting.
Glen Elendra Archmage and Woodfall Primus are both very powerful creatures on their own but the fact that Kraj can let them keep coming back makes them specifically powerful here.
Walking Ballista and Ertai, Wizard Adept provide great synergy with Kraj and last but not least, Momir Vig, Simic Visionary very nearly made the cut as he is not that expensive but almost based solely on flavor I would snap one up if you’ve got an extra fiver lying around, he also happens to be a great card.
Now go, my Wallet Warriors, crush the tables with this crazy combo/control/go wide/go tall deck that will have people scratching their heads and provide very rewarding wins when you get there, all for about a hundred bucks! Seeya in a couple weeks with a spicy brew straight outta Amonkhet!