Wallet Warriors: Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper
Hey there! Welcome to my budget Commander deck tech for Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper. This merman has been one of my favorite commanders for a long time now and I want to walk you through a deck I have constructed that will only cost you about a hundred bucks.
Before I get into the thick of things I want to pose a question to you kind reader. Where do you think the spirit of Magic: the Gathering lies? What makes this game so great? A pro might say the high skill ceiling and rewarding feeling from the competition. Mark Rosewater might say the complexity of the color pie. TheMagicManSam (Popular Youtuber) might say the art on the cards themselves. I think it has something to do with all these things, however one factor stands above the rest for me. That is the creativity that this game incites. When you read a card you have never seen before and the gears start going in your head, you’re trying to remember other cards and mechanics that would fit into a machine alongside this new piece. That feeling stands above the rest in my opinion as the core essence of this game.
Commander is the best format for creativity, hands down. The fact that it is mostly a casual format, as well as a multiplayer format allows for an incredible diversity of decks in the meta, on a local or grand scale. Being multiplayer means that a complete janky brew can win a game simply by sitting back and not being threatening. If you are a great political player you may be able to pit your opponents against each other while you carry out your plans behind a fortress of kind words.
Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper, an oft forgotten legend from Battle for Zendikar, is the first legendary creature I was truly excited about when I learned of the format. Noyan Dar is a spell slinging fish man that wants to make the land angry. Now, The Dar might not be the most powerful general. But there is definitely something to be said for killing people in unconventional ways. Swinging in with a 20/20 flying island while making harsh guttural noises to incite fear in your enemies would certainly fit that description. Now let’s get to the deck tech.
The main strategy of the deck is to get Mr. Dar out early with some counter magic to protect him. Then once you untap you either unload by casting as many cantrips and draw spells as your little fish heart can muster or you sit back and hold up countermagic to control the table. One of the great things about this commander is that there is a lot of flexibility in deck building. Where you want to be on the spectrum of combo to control is up to you. The combo side wants more cheap card draw, lower land count, and lots of tutors. The control side wants more lands, more counter magic and more board wipes. The deck I have for you today is somewhere in the middle, leaning slightly more towards the control end. Without further ado, here is the decklist.
- Noyan Dar
- Talrand, Sky Summoner
- Metallurgic Summonings
These three cards are your win conditions. You obviously want Noyan Dar out for as long as possible but he can get relatively expensive as he starts at a whopping five mana. You have Talrand and Summonings in the deck mainly as back up plans in case Noyan Dar bites the dust a few too many times.
“One-Sided” Board Wipes:
My absolute favorite part of having your creatures also be lands is that there is a plethora of cards in magic with the glorious piece of exclusion text stating “All non-lands”.
- Planar Cleansing
- Kederekt Leviathan
- Devastation Tide
I want about eight spells of this kind in the deck to make sure you have at least one most games. These cards do hit Noyan Dar most of the time but the trade-off is well worth it.
I’d also like to make a special mention to Tragic Arrogance. Choosing Noyan Dar as your single creature makes this often feel like a five mana Plague Wind.
This is the bread and butter of the deck. You need a critical mass of cheap spells that replace themselves to make the deck hum and I’m not actually sure what the right number is. I’ve basically shoved in as many as I could reason myself to.
- Gitaxian Probe
- Frantic Search
Keep in mind that you often want to hold onto these cheap spells in the early game if you can to chain them together later on.
The deck runs effectively eight counterspells and five forms of single target removal. This version of Noyan Dar can play out very much like a control deck at times. There are tons of options for counter magic throughout the game’s history. I am a big fan of this counter suite and I will briefly go over a couple of notable cards that I have recently fallen in love with.
Credit where credit is due, TheMagicManSam introduced me to the pair of Foil and Delay. These are two powerful counterspells that you don’t see very often. Foil is basically the dollar Force of Will. Free counter magic is obviously incredibly powerful and this card has definitely been overlooked by many. Delay is a very efficient counterspell in the mid-late game when going around the table can take a very long time. You might have time to convince someone else to counter it if it comes down again.
- View from Above
- Mystic Speculation
- Contested War Zone
- Terra Eternal
- Sacred Ground
Something you really don't get in other formats is discovering the incredible power of a complete janky card when in the right spot. The first of these is View from Above and it is the single strongest card in the deck. Noyan Dar happens to be a white permanent so while he is strutting around you can get as many land pumps as you have the mana for while also giving practically any creature flying.
Another card that has a similar effect is Mystic Speculation. Getting endless Noyan triggers is great. This one also lets you manipulate the top of your library which is obviously very powerful.
The third card I want to mention is actually a two-card combo: Mirrorweave and Contested War Zone. If you don’t see the combo right away, don’t worry, it took me a long while before realizing how these cards interact. If you target your War Zone after making it a creature, every creature in play becomes a non-animated Contested War Zone. Then, if you deal an opponent combat damage, you gain control of all of their "Contested War Zones." When the Mirrorweave effect expires, they revert back to their usual forms but are still under your control.
Finally, I want to quickly mention the two cards in the deck designed to protect your lands. Noyan Dar can generate a lot of power very quickly but the drawback is that you are putting your mana at risk. Terra Eternal and Sacred Ground mitigate this slightly. Too many of these effects I have found clunky so I choose to just run the two most efficient ones.
There are way too many upgrades to this deck to name all of them. There are also other routes you can take with the deck when you up the budget a bit. A few notable cards are Oblivion Stone, All Is Dust and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. O-stone can set up a one-sided wipe while saving Noyan Dar with enough mana. Ugin can also wipe away pesky little things while keeping your lands intact as they have no color. All Is Dust is great for a similar reason. Making everyone sacrifice gets around indestructible creatures which is very handy in a pinch.
Another upgrade path open to the heavier pocketed Noyan players is the “Taking turns” route. This is where I have taken my current version of the deck. Now, fair warning, your friends will like you less with this strategy. Maybe not a lot less, they may not even mention it right to your face, but you have to be ready to be invited to slightly less hangouts because you decided to take an egregious amount of time in your commander games.
Well, there you have it folks. An extremely fun, interactive, and unorthodox commander deck. All under a hundred bucks! I have been playing with Noyan, the Wavy for over a year now and after a lot of experience and slow evolutions, I feel like I am in a great position to provide you with a sweet budget version of him. He remains my favorite commander to this day and I highly recommend you give him a try if you haven’t already. Happy spell slingin!
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