Welcome back to Commander Exercise, the series where I build EDH decks for fun and to improve my deck building skills.
Commander Legends is out and it brought us tons of new Legendary to build around, even more if we consider all the partner combinations. As for every new set, I decided to focus one of my Commander Exercise post on building around one of the legendary creatures appearing in it.
Maybe you can already smell something burning… in particular mana burning! Because, as you already read from the title, we are going to build around Yurlok of Scorch Thrash!
What immediately attracted me of Yurlok is that nostalgic feeling it has by bringing back the mechanic of Mana Burn. For the newer players, Mana Burn was a mechanic that was removed in 2010, and that caused you to take damage at the end of a phase if you had unspent mana in your pool.
300.3. When a phase ends (but not a step), any unused mana left in a player’s mana pool is lost. That player loses 1 life for each one mana lost this way. This is called mana burn. Mana burn is loss of life, not damage, so it can’t be prevented or altered by effects that affect damage. This game action doesn’t use the stack.From the Comprehensive Rules (May 1, 2009—Alara Reborn). This rule was removed in 2010.
Yurlok has also a tap ability that produces mana for all the players; it is a way for us to ramp while also damaging unprepared opponents. It also has Vigilance, that gives us the possibility to attack for some chip damage and then be ready to block and/or use its ability.
The deck I built is a combo deck that focuses around Yurlok’s Mana Burn ability, using a combo composed by the Commander, Leyline of Abundance and Umbral Mantle as main win condition. We are going to win by activating our Commander ability to produce four mana, use three of them to untap it and then the remaining one to reuse the ability; this way we can give our opponents enough mana to kill them all with the mana burn’s effect.
It was built with a budget of 250$ in mind.
Some classic cards to ramp in Commander plus some niche ones that work well with this deck.
Spectral Searchlight and Victory Chimes are two less-efficient ramp cards but that also let us produce mana for our opponents to damage them with our Commander.
Gemstone Array isn’t a ramp card on its own but it is more like a sink where we can throw our unspent mana to avoid being damaged by our Commander.
Keeping the Mana
These three cards are here to prevent us from losing life due to our unspent mana, letting us keep it and maybe use it in the following turns. Horizon Stone is the only one that can save all types of mana, while the other two are color specific. Omnath saves all the green mana and becomes bigger the more we accumulate it while Leyline Tyrant is the hardest to remove of the three as the more mana we accumulate the more damage it could do, slowly becoming a Nuke button.
Forcing the Mana
These are all cards to make our opponents produce more mana then they actually need.
We have cards like Citadel of Pain that punishes who doesn’t use its lands. Mana Flare and other cards will increase the production of mana and work really well with cards like War’s Toll that force our opponents to tap for mana for all the spells they want to play in one-shot.
Mana = Damage
These three cards are here to punish those decks that could abuse too much of all the mana we give them. Manabarbs and Overabudance punish the act of tapping lands while Zo-Zu hits more the decks that abuse land ramping.
Untapping the Commander
With our Commander activated ability we can deal quite a few damages to our opponents and so having a way to reuse it multiple times is always nice.
Umbral Mantle is also part of the main combo and both Sword of the Paruns or Staff of Domination can substitute it as the activation cost is the same.
Being a combo deck we have to find our combo pieces and so in the deck we run five tutors and four cards that let us draw a bit more. Eternal Witness is also always nice to have, especially if it let us recover our combo pieces from the graveyard.
The deck runs really low on creatures (we play only 11 of them and most of them aren’t things we are willing to sacrifice so easily) so to handle the various threats we run a nice pack of removals and interactions. Red Elemental Blast and Pyroblast are nice answers to pesky counters ready to stop us from comboing off.
The deck rotates a lot around our Commander, so having ways to protect it is mandatory. We have the two pairs of boots to protect it from targeted spells and Heroic Intervention to avoid boardwipes.
As told at the before, Leyline of Abundance is here as a piece of our combo but can also work as a mana sink if we have tons of mana.
Exsanguinate, Helix Pinnacle and Torment of Hailfire are alternative win conditions in which we can sink our mana to get some huge advantage on our opponents.
Even if we combo off there could be some players that have a mana sink on the battlefield and can prevent the loss of mana; to prevent them to stall the game like this we have Harsh Mentor that is going to punish them for each time they activate those effects.
Most of our cards have symmetrical effects that would also hit us as they hit our opponents; Wound Reflection is here to get things more in our favor.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Let me know how you would have built it differently, what you will have added and what not…
Also don’t forget to suggest to me what I should try to build next.