Wallet Warriors: $50 Tishana, Voice of Thunder
Welcome back Wallet Warriors! Today we’re exploring the new Simic legendary creature from Ixalan! This is a $50 Tishana, Voice of Thunder deck!
In my Ixalan Legend Review I mentioned that Tishana would be great for a budget strategy and my argument was so compelling I decided to follow my own advice! As I touched on in that article, Tishana is a merfolk and is in the colors of the merfolk tribe on Ixalan, but has no other synergies related to the tribe. This means we’re going to be largely staying on land for our creature selection but that doesn’t make it any less awesome.
Before I dive too deep let’s see the deck list.
If you want to see the deck separated by the groups I talk about click here!
Overall Game Plan
The two primary goals of this deck go hand in hand. First off, we’re aiming to flood the board with tons of creatures. The way we do this is pretty simple as we have plenty of creatures that come with friends when they enter the battlefield. This leads into our second goal, which is to get additional value from our creatures with enter the battlefield abilities (“ETB abilities” for short). We do this mainly with our suite of cards that return creatures to their owner’s hands, allowing us to replay our own and disrupt our opponents.
I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now but the biggest reason we want to flood the board and have ways to reuse our creature abilities is because our commander cares about both of these things! Having access to Tishana makes it so any mildly large board can let us generate a ton of card draw in an instant. Then it gets even crazier when we can just pick her up and play her again! This obviously will cost lots of mana but we have other ways to double up on Tishana that don’t involve doing it the “fair” way.
Abusing Enter the Battlefield Effects
“Everything’s better when multiplied by two” - Anonymous Magic Player
So I can neither confirm nor deny that I am the person quoted up there. However I do generally ascribe by this mantra. Doubling the abilities on your creatures almost feels like cheating at times. It alters a core aspect of the design on certain cards which, in some cases, makes for some extremely powerful outcomes.
Panharmonicon might be the best card in the deck for the reasons I just explained. Doubling all of our ETB triggers, if left unimpeded, will almost always end up with us having a huge board and more than a full grip of cards. The doubling machine not only doubles the creature tokens we make but it doubles the cards we draw when Tishana hits the table. This is definitely a card you don’t want to play into open blue mana if you can avoid it.
Ghostly Flicker and Deadeye Navigator provide some flicker effects (exiling a creature then bringing it back right away) and we would run more if we had access to White. They are great as they not only provide additional value with our ETB creatures. They also give us some protection because when you flicker a creature in response to it being targeted by a removal spell, the removal spell will fizzle because the original target is gone.
Moving on, we have our bounce package. These cards can be used as poor imitations of Panharmonicon by bouncing our own creatures and replaying them. Temur Sabertooth can only be used for this purpose but the bounce cost is low and repeatable which makes up for it. The other bounce spells will most often be used to disrupt our opponents by either getting rid of blockers for a big attack or just putting them behind on tempo by bouncing their huge guy they tapped out for on the previous turn.
I want to briefly mention the card Equilibrium as my “This is a card?!” of the deck. While deckbuilding and doing some research into blue/green bounce spells I stumbled upon this gem which I was surprised I had never seen before. Being able to bounce any creature by just adding a mana to any of your creatures as you play them means you can constantly be bouncing your opponents boards while developing your own. Then you can even use it to replay your own creatures.
Moving along, we’re getting into the core creatures of the deck. We have 8 eldrazi that create either eldrazi scions or eldrazi spawn when they enter play. These are fantastic because they not only accomplish our primary goal which is to make a big army, but they give us access to extra mana in a pinch.
Having cards that accomplish multiple goals is key in commander because we are playing a hundred card singleton format. Variance is a big deal. When you have a card that can fill the role of two other cards, you can dramatically increase the consistency of your deck and therefore increase the amount of times you’re able to do your thing in a game.
When you draw a Nest Invader early on it can be used as ramp to get you on the board a bit quicker. Then, when you draw it late it is one card that makes two bodies which can be just fine with Tishana’s card draw ability in mind.
Token Makers/Card Draw
We want a few more cards that generate bodies when they enter play as well as some extra card draw because we can’t always rely on our commander to refill our hand.
Something I struggled with a lot when I first started deck building in commander was not understanding that you won’t always get to freely cast your commander. Especially when they’re 5 mana or above they can often be dealt with by either a counterspell or piece of removal and if you did not build your deck with that contingency in mind you can be left way far behind.
This is why even though our commander is a great card draw source, we need other ways to fill our hand. Most of our card draw is self-explanatory and fit with the rest of the themes we are going for. Regal Behemoth and Zendikar Resurgent are the notable standouts but these are definitely worth the inclusion. They both provide card draw with the added benefit of doubling our mana produced from lands. These two effects go beautifully together. The behemoth is much more fragile as you need to retain the monarchy as well as keep it around but the benefit is that it’s just a big trampler when all is said and done. Also, who doesn’t want to be the guy that brings the monarch mechanic into a game? It almost always adds an extra bit of fun.
As always we have a suite of cards at our disposal to disrupt our opponents and help get us out of a jam. Our reactive package consists of some counter magic, a couple of board wipes, a few removal spells, some of which are attached to creatures, and one spell that lets us refill the board if we get wiped. Keep in mind we have plenty of bounce spells as well which do a good impression of removal spells when targeting expensive creatures. When someone spends their whole turn dropping a big fatty and you spend a couple of mana to put it back in their hand that can easily deter them from making the same play again.
With a tight budget it was pretty difficult to find creative ways to end the game. That’s why our most common path to victory will be the extremely original plan of “Make a ton of guys and cast overrun then kill everybody”. Hey, what can I say, it’s a tried and true strategy. What we do have to bring to the table that’s at least a tiny bit fresh is overrun in the form of creatures! We’ve got Great Oak Guardian, Ridgescale Tusker and Cultivator of Blades for end game that can also increase our creature count to synergise with each other and our commander.
We also have access to Psychosis Crawler and Diluvian Primordial as win conditions that might not involve having to attack anybody which can be useful in the face of annoying defensive enchantments.
There we have it! A super fun Tishana deck looking to flood the board, bounce some creatures and draw a million cards when the opportunity presents itself, for only $50! I may have disappointed some by not making this a tribal deck as Ixalan is very tribal focused but I guarantee that once Rivals of Ixalan hits and we get a few more Pirates and Dinos to play with, I’ll be donning my explorer's/deckbuilders cap and jumping right in!
Until then, seeya in a couple weeks! Cheers!
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