Commander Exercise 35 – Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp

Welcome back to Commander Exercise, the series where I build EDH decks for fun and to improve my deck building skills.

Modern Horizon 2 is out and so this time I decided to try fiddling around with one of the new legendaries introduced in the set. Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp.
Darksteel was one of the first sets released after I started to play Magic and Modular was one the mechanics introduced with the set. I always liked the fact that my creature once they died will still help me win by making my other creatures more powerful.

Zabaz is clearly supporting the Modular theme but it’s also suited to some Voltron-style plays thanks to its activated ability.

Zabaz itself is basically an Hardened Scales (but only for the Modular ability) with two activated ability that can support a Voltron playstyle: pay a white to give evasion to Zabaz and if we are going to connect with an opponent we can start pay red to destroy our other creatures with Modular and charge Zabaz with +1/+1 counter, trying to kill with Commander Damage.

The deck is trying to win with an Aggro plan based on artifact creatures and +1/+1 counter synergies and it comes with a price around 200~250$. You can find the full decklist by clicking here.

Ramp
The ramp package has nothing special: it’s composed of the card you will usually see in any artifact deck plus some rocks to help us cast our Boros spells.
Archaeomancer’s Map is one of the sweetest additions we had for decks running white: card advantage plus the possibility to ramp is always nice!

Modular
The foundation of the deck, where we keep all our creatures to enable our Modular shenanigans.
Modern Horizon 2 also gave us some new Modular cards and some powerful ones like Arcbound Shikari that will drop a +1/+1 on each of our artifact creatures upon entering the battlefield.

+1/+1 Counters Support
These are all cards that will help us put more counters on our creatures or let us take advantage of those counters.
Abzan Battle Priest will give Lifelink to all our creatures with counters on, making us more resilient against other aggro decks, while Ainok Bond-Kin will give First Strike to them, giving us the upper hand in combat.
A card that obviously shines when talking about counters is The Ozolith and in this deck will work even better: for how it’s worded The Ozolith will not move the counters from a dying creature on itself, but instead it will basically make a copy of those counters; so if a creatures with Modular dies, The Ozolith will copy the counter on it getting as many +1/+1 counters it had and then with Modular we will be able to move the counters from the drying creature to another artifact one.

Power Ups
The three creatures here are to power up our artifact creatures without +1/+1 counter.
Alibou is a really powerful card in the deck as it will let us do extra damage and manipulate the top of our deck: The damage from Alibou also can get directed to any target, so we can use it to hurt our opponents directly or as a removal.

Card Advantage
The card advantage from the deck is mostly by getting our artifact back from the graveyard with cards like Myr Retriever but we also have sheer card draw with Mangara or Ichor Wellspring (that we can destroy with our Commander to get another card).
Losheel will do the double job of protecting our attacking artifacts while replacing the first one we play each turn by letting us draw a card; the thing is even better because Losheel lets us draw when an artifact creature enters the battlefield and so we can get a card even when using Feldon’s ability. Speaking about Feldon it’s ability is really cool in the deck for the fact that we get to sacrifice the token he creates: this will let us “reanimate” a Modular creature and so have more +1/+1 counters moving around when we have to sacrifice it.
Osgir is another powerful card we got from the Lorehold preconstructed deck. His X ability is awesome for the card advantage it can give us but also the sacrifice one can be really useful in the deck, especially in supporting the Voltron plan: if Osgir is on the field we can use his sacrifice ability once we have an unblocked Zabaz, giving it +2/+0 for each creature we sacrifice plus all the +1/+1 counter from the Modular ability.

Removals
Most of the removals here are staples for the Boros color but I’m also running to unusual one only to support more one of the themes: Volt Charge and Wanderer’s Strike; mana-wise they are a lot more inefficient than the other removals we run, but the Proliferate ability can really help us out by giving more power to most our creatures.

Protection
Being a deck that focuses on Combat and Creatures is always nice to have a way to protect them. All this spell is to make them indestructible or to make them harder to target for our opponents.
I don’t recommend putting cards like Darksteel Forge that permanently give Indestructible to our creatures as they will shut down our own Commander ability. Unfortunately Zabaz says destroy and not sacrifice.

Lands
A Boros mana base where we focus a bit more on artifact lands as they can support abilities like Alibou’s one.
Buried Ruins and Inventors’ Fair are two ways to get some artifact we need into our hand, one back from the graveyard and the other tutored by our deck. Karn’s Bastion, Power Depot and Ruins of Oran-Rief are all ways to get some more counters around.
Slayers’ Stronghold enables us a more defensive strategy by letting us giving Vigilance to one of our creatures, freely attacking without renouncing to a blocker, while Sunhome‘s Double Strike really helps us out making the Voltron strategy even more reliable.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know how you would have built it differently, what you will have added and what not…
I really enjoyed building and testing this deck and so I’m tempted to make it one of my main ones… but I will think about it!
And you? Are you building around one of the new MH2 Legendaries? Also don’t forget to tell me what I should try to build next.

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