Wallet Warriors: Ephara, God of the Polis
Welcome back Wallet Warriors! Today I’m excited to share a port of one of my favorite constructed archetypes into Commander: Blue/White Flash!
There’s just something about untapping, drawing your card for the turn, playing your land and saying “go”. With an heir of confidence, you can seem like you have it all without ever having to cast a spell. This is the magical feeling of playing at instant speed.
We’re aiming to hold up our mana until the last possible moment and react to whatever our opponents are throwing at us. Ephara is an exceptional commander for this strategy. The Theros gods are incredibly difficult to get off the board, especially when they can be recast from the command zone. When you are building with an indestructible enchantment as your general, you can almost always assume they will be in play for most of the game.
When building around Ephara, we can free up some slots that would normally be dedicated to card draw and use them for utility creatures. I will get to those in a little bit.
First, let’s see the deck list
If you want to see the deck separated by the categories I talk about click here.
The ideal play pattern we’re looking for is to drop a mana rock on turn two then bring out our god on turn three. Most commanders that are key to the deck’s strategy want to stay in the command zone until they are ready to be used for immediate value or are protected. WIth an indestructible enchantment as our commander we just want to play her out as soon as we can.
From there we either want to continue ramping and developing our board or, depending on how fast the decks around the table are, we can hold up our mana for our flash creatures and countermagic.
Playing at Instant Speed
With access to such a consistent source of extra cards in our command zone we are free to play some very niche utility creatures that would otherwise likely not make the cut.
Merfolk Trickster, Crafty Cutpurse, Alms Collector, Nimble Obstructionist, Voidmage Husher, Stunt Double, and Aven Mindcensor all fall into the camp of “Gotcha!” cards. They all provide a unique angle of attack that not many players will be thinking about and the reason we can run them is because we will be drawing so many extra cards we can afford to have a few cards sit in our hand until just the right moment.
We’ve also got a nice suite of countermagic to disrupt our opponents in a more conventional way. Venser, Shaper Savant, and Draining Whelk are nice because they are counterspells with bodies for Ephara. We’ve also got Counterspell, Familiar’s Ruse, Foil and Misdirection. The latter two spells are especially potent because they can be cast even when we are tapped out and we are able to recoup from the loss of cards.
Enter the Battlefield Abilities to Abuse
Here is the meat of the deck, these are the cards we will primarily use to win the game.
Diluvian Primordial, Urbis Protector, Blade Splicer, Wing Splicer and Master Splicer are the cards we want to be flickering or casting multiple times in the late game.
Archaeomancer, Karmic Guide, Reveillark, Mulldrifter and Peregrine Drake offer powerful value engines that can generate tons of card advantage and mana when used multiple times.
Then we have Sunblast Angel, Lavinia of the Tenth, Azor, the Lawbringer, Reflector Mage and Ixidron as some powerful control creatures. Something to note with Ixidron is that when a creature is turned facedown it cannot flip back up unless it has an ability that allows for that to happen such as Morph. Ixidron is used as a pseudo board wipe in this deck, we flip all creatures face down so they become fairly useless, then we are even able to pick our creatures back up or flicker them to get them facing the right direction again.
Riptide Shapeshifter Toolbox
This is a super weird card that deserves its own section just because of the strange deckbuilding constraint it puts on us. What is key to realize with this ability is that if we only have a single creature in our deck with the creature type we name, we are guaranteed to pull that creature. This eliminates any randomness from the equation and lets us use this creature as a powerful toolbox.
This is the full list of creatures we can search up with the shapeshifter and what type to name (it is probably wise to bring a little cheat sheet with you when you are playing the deck because this is a long list):
- Diluvian Primordial: Avatar
- Eldrazi Displacer: Eldrazi
- Kor Cartographer: Kor
- Faerie Artisans: Faerie
- Stonecloaker: Gargoyle
- Crafty Cutpurse: Pirate
- Peregrine Drake: Drake
- Azor, the Lawbringer: Sphinx
- Knight of the White Orchid: Knight
- Lavinia of the Tenth: Soldier
- Stunt Double: Shapeshifter
- Karmic Guide: Spirit
- Burnished Hart: Elk
- Dreamscape Artist: Spellshaper
- Merfolk Trickster: Merfolk
Out of this list we have a bit of everything. Some ramp options, some value options and some control options. The best part of this card is that the ability can be activated at instant speed so we have access to all these different abilities and can choose just the right moment to bring one out.
If we have the time and mana to set this up we can always bring out Karmic Guide to reanimate the shapeshifter then get the Eldrazi Displacer to start flickering the guide allowing us to shapeshift as many times as we like!
Getting As Much Value As Possible
We have a lot of powerful enter the battlefield abilities but we need some ways to get extra value out of them.
Momentary Blink, Ghostly Flicker and Eerie Interlude let us flicker our creatures at instant speed meaning we can save them from removal and since the interlude lets them come back at the end step it can even save our stuff from a board wipe.
Stonecloaker and Whitemane Lion let us pick our creatures back up if we have enough mana to replay them. These two cards are mainly used as repeatable ways to trigger Ephara since they are able to target themselves.
Eldrazi Displacer, Angel of Condemnation and Equilibrium are versatile because we can use them to get extra uses out of our creatures or to disrupt our opponents.
Panharmonicon and Conjurer’s Closet are powerful artifacts that give us extra uses from our creatures without paying any additional mana.
Controlling the Board
Having answers at instant speed is something most people know is important however I still think it is an underrated feature. I see so many Oblivion Ring type effects and so many Vindicates and the massive problem with these removal spells is that they are being used on permanents that might not even be used against the player casting the removal spell.
In a multiplayer environment if someone has a must-answer threat in play. We only have to answer it if it is threatening us. It can be actively beneficial to keep a strong threat in play if it is being used against one of our opponents.
This deck makes great use out of instant speed answers because if we don’t need to remove something we always have the default of flashing in a value creature and draw some cards with Ephara.
We have three board wipes at instant speed in Rout, Evacuation and Aetherize. The two board wipes we have that are not at instant speed are Dusk to Dawn and Cleansing Nova. Two very powerful cards that come with a ton of added value.
Finally for removal we have two creature removal spells and two disenchant effects. Swords to Plowshares and Reality Shift both get rid of a creature for good at very efficient costs. Forsake the Worldly and actual Disenchant get rid of an annoying enchantment or artifact while similarly not being too expensive.
Developing our Mana
As I mentioned earlier in the deck overview, we want as many ways as possible to get Ephara out on turn three. Azorius Signet, Mind Stone, Marble Diamond, Sky Diamond, Gold Myr, Silver Myr, Knight of the White Orchid and Sol Ring all facilitate that play pattern.
Another key card to mention here is Oketra’s Monument. This card works incredibly well with Whitemane Lion and Stonecloaker as it allows you to create as many 1/1 warriors as you have the mana to spend.
We can easily upgrade our board wipes by adding two very powerful instant speed wipes.
Our ramp package can be upgraded by including a great creature with a powerful enter the battlefield ability and an additional card that lets us get Ephara out on turn three while eliminating our hand size restriction.
These cards are all very powerful and accomplish the goals we are aiming towards very efficiently. Deadeye Navigator is actually a power level upgrade rather than a budget upgrade. I did not include it in the actual list because a lot of players feel the card generates oppressive play patterns. If your playgroup hits that certain power threshold than definitely include the navigator because it is incredibly strong.
So that’s Blue White Flash in Commander! Porting this constructed deck into commander was a blast since it combined two parts of magic that I love. That’s what this format is all about in the end, expressing yourself with what you decide to bring to the table.
I hope I pleased some other mages that love to play at instant speed and I will see you all next time!
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