Commander Exercise 37 – Minsc, Beloved Ranger

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

This weekend is the prerelease of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (in fact I’m writing this right before fleeing to my LGS to join one of the events) and so I thought it was the perfect time to brew with some of the new Legendary Creatures we got in this new set.

The one that immediately got my interest is Minsc and I have to admit that it was more for a visual reason as I love the Boo tokens it comes with. Still, Minsc’s ability of adding a creature type and changing the base power and toughness can have various uses; we can use it to change the power of creatures that have some abilities that usually come with small bodies to make them a lot more destructive… like Infect and Double Strike! So, yes, we are going the infamous route and going to build a Naya Infect deck with Double Striker as a backup plan!

The main plan of the deck is to take small creatures with Infect or Double Strike, give them unblockable and then drop mana into Minsc to make them big and swing freely; luckily we are in Naya colors that are able to give us all the means to do that.
Another nice thing that we can do with Minsc is use it as a sac outlet: by paying 0 for his ability we can make one of our creatures a 0/0 and kill it on the spot; this gives us the possibility to run a Protean Hulk in the deck that will let us immediately fetch some of our best creature or our only combo in the deck.
Because if we weren’t already hated for playing Infect we are also running an Infinite Mana combo that will let us make our creatures infinitely huge with our Commander; however this combo shouldn’t be too obnoxious as it doesn’t win on its own.

The deck will cost you around 250$ and you can find the full decklist by clicking here.

Ramp
Some classic spells and rock to ramp in these colors and between them we also have an Infect mana-dork in the form of Plague Myr.
The more mana we can produce, the more we can get off from Minsc’s ability and so we are running Nyxbloom Ancient and Zendikar Resurgent to multiply our mana’s output; Zendikar Resurgent also lets us draw when we cast creatures and this isn’t bad at all. For almost the same motivation we also run Fires of Invention: it doesn’t multiply our mana but it let us cast two spell for free and so leaves our mana open for our Commander’s ability; mind the downsides of being able to play only in our turn and only two spells per turn as they aren’t too hindering in this deck but they could make some games harder as we won’t be able to answer to threats in our opponents’ turns.
Devoted Druid is one of our mana dorks and also one piece of our combo. I’m sure many of you at this point have understood which is the combo, but I will be back on it later with the second piece.

Wannabe Giants
Apart from our lovely Boo token we run this pack of Infect and Double Strike creatures that want to become Giant with Minsc’s ability.
Swiftblade Vindicator is surely one of the most notable ones as it has Double Strike, Vigilance and Trample making things easier for us as we won’t have to give it unblockable sometimes to deal huge damages to our opponents.
Ghostblade Eidolon can be played as a Double Strike creature or we can use it to give Double Strike to one of our Infect ones.
Rot Wolf will draw us cards when it kills creatures while we can use Fallen Ferromancer to ping creatures down or to deal the last Infect Damages to our opponents.

Unblockable
Red has a plethora of cards that will give unblockable to our small creatures and so we are going to use them to swing to our opponents unbothered.
Many of these are creatures that will have to be tapped to give unblockable, making this a 1 for 1, but we also have cards like Break Through the Line and Subira that will do it for mana and multiple times in a turn.

Card Advantage
Apart from the aforementioned Protean Hulk we also run to more tutors in the form of Congregation at Dawn and Eladamri’s Call that will be able to get us some creatures or fetch us the Hulk itself.
We also try to get more from our commander’s ability of making creatures big by running Momentous Fall and Rishkar’s Expertise, try to draw a lot from them.
Prophetic Flamespeaker is a really nice Double Striker with Trample that will also give us some card advantage every time it damages a player.

Removals
Many staple of the format for these colors but we also run three cards that aren’t seen much often.
The first one is Cindervines, a card that I’m starting to love and lately I’m sliding in every of my decks that runs the Gruul colors; you can use it to ping down your opponents when they play non-creature spells and then you can sacrifice it in a pinch to destroy a dangerous artifact or enchantment.
Viridian Corrupter is a removal for artifact with Infect and so it is perfect for the deck. Realm-Cloaked Giant‘s adventure can be really cool in this deck as it’s a wrath for non-giant and we have a Commander that can make creatures into Giant; we can spend some mana to make our important creatures become Giants and then drop Cast Off and clean the board.

Other
Calamity Bearer: our deck makes small creatures become Giant and this doubles the damage of all Giants? We absolutely want it.
Sometimes the unblockable route isn’t feasible and with our Commander being able to make a creature huge by sinking mana in it, Overwhelming Stampede become the prefect cards to close games by stomping our opponents’ down.
Vizier of Remedies is the second piece of our combo with Devoted Druid: with both on the field we can the tap the Druid for mana and then untap it by putting a -1/-1 counters on it; Vizier will then trigger and put that number of counter minus one on the Druid, so basically zero, untapping the Druid for free. Tap the Druid again and repeat generating infinite green mana in this way.

Lands
Apart from the classic Naya lands we run utility lands like Access Tunnel and Rogue’s Passage to have some backup Unblockable-enabler.
Another land that acts as a backup is Kessig Wolf Run that we can kinda use to replace Minsc if he is not available at the moment.
I didn’t want to add a Proliferate sub-theme in the deck despite playing Infect because I didn’t want to have even more of the decks being unusable if for Infect did become an unavailable strategy in the game (like due to Solemnity); but I felt like that it could be useful to still have something that could add the last Poison Counter if needed and so I slotted Karn’s Bastion in the deck.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I hope you will all have an amazing prerelease. Let me know how you would have built it differently, what you will have added and what not…
Also don’t forget to tell me what I should try to build next.

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