Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty just came out, like, last week. So of course, it’s time for previews of the next set! Streets of New Capenna card previews have already given us a ton of spice (or halo, if you prefer), including some fantastic new 3-color legends that can be your commander. So I’m here today to give you a deck tech for one of them. He’s hip. He’s stylin’. He’s already been killed by Ob Nixilis (spoilers, sorry). It’s Lord Xander, the Collector.
Wait, Seriously? He's Already Dead?
The salt is a little high with this one, as all three of his triggered abilities do things that some players don’t like. But for 7 mana, I think we’ll get a pass. Please? Maybe? Xander is a 6/6 vampire demon noble with no keywords abilities. When he enters the field, you make target opponent discard half their cards. When he attacks, the defending player Mills half their library. And when he dies, an opponent sacrifices half of their nonland permanents. Just a whole lot of stuff going to the graveyard.
So here’s the thing. 7 mana for a commander is a big deal, especially when you’re not in green. I rarely brew them, and even more rarely do I build them. Why? Because I like to build my decks around my commander, and that usually requires the commander to be out. And a 7MV commander takes a long time to get to the board. It's also difficult to play more than once with the commander tax. But with Xander’s enters and dies triggers, I’m not so sad to see him coming and going. In fact, I’m going to play into that. I’ve got a few flicker effects, like
Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, and
Conjurer’s Closet, to keep hitting that enter trigger. But I really want multiple instances of all of Xander's triggers happening each turn. And for that, we're going to need
Cloning Dead Things is a Bad Idea. Remember Jurassic Park?
Normally cloning your commander is bad news because the legend rule will make you automatically lose one of them, but here it makes a lot of sense. One clone effect makes an opponent discard half their hand and sacrifice half their nonland permanents as it quickly enters and leaves. Unfortunately, you won’t get the attack trigger. Unless…You know what? Let’s throw in
Mirror Box and
Sakashima of a Thousand Faces. With either of those on the board, your clones won’t immediately die. Board full of Xanders? Don’t mind if I do.
I went really heavy on the clones, including:
Vizier of Many Faces, and many more. And what’s even better, a lot of these clone effects can copy any creature on the board, so if Xander isn’t out, or if an opponent has something really powerful that you’re feeling jealous of, you can just drop your clone to copy that creature. This is really important since you won’t get Xander until turn 5 at the earliest, and you may need some blockers.
So how do we win with this deck?
Warstorm Surge is great when we’re pumping out Xanders, as that’s 6 damage a pop. Combine that with the flicker effects, or a Kicked
Rite of Replication, and that damage will add up quickly.
Syr Konrad, the Grim is also able to deal a lot of damage when our opponents are Milling half their libraries whenever we attack, assuming they’re not playing creatureless decks. And if we want to take our opponents’ stuff to kill them with, we’ve got
Tergrid, God of Fright // Tergrid’s Lantern and
Rise of the Dark Realms. Tergrid is going to steal all the permanents whenever Xander’s enters and dies triggers happen, and Rise will be amazing after you’ve Milled libraries in half several times from attacking.
Tergrid. Because the Deck Needed More Salt
Ramp is crucial with this pricey commander, so I’m running 12 pieces here. It’s mostly signets and other stones, but also a
Dockside Extortionist. With the flicker effects and the recursion, Dockside can be immensely powerful. The deck also needs extra draw/advantage effects, so I’m running 13 of those. Wheels are great with Tergrid out, so
Reforge the Soul are here. And if we’re dropping a bunch of Xander copies and swinging with them,
Kindred Discovery is going to be a solid card draw engine.
Check out the full decklist on Archidekt so you can playtest.
If Xander had been just 4 or 5 mana, it would have been too powerful. 7 mana keeps it in check, and keeps you, hopefully, from getting hated out of the game early. It’s slow, even with all the ramp, but when it really kicks into gear, it’s going to be hard to overcome. So if you've ever wanted to make a clone deck, or watch your opponents' libraries disappear, this is the deck for you! And don't let the price tag scare you. You can easily cut the deck cost in half with a more budget-friendly landbase and replacing Dockside.
So what do you think of Lord Xander? How are you liking the New Capenna previews so far? Hit me up on Twitter at @AndyZupke and chat with me about it. Or you can catch me streaming budget EDH with the Scrap Trawlers Sunday nights at 7:30 Central at twitch.tv/scraptrawlers.
Make sure to check back here in two weeks where we’ll do our compulsory set review for Streets of New Capenna. Until then, take care. And play lots of games!