Welcome, guests, to this most joyous occasion! We gather here today to celebrate 5 legendary creatures from the latest Magic set, Innistrad: Crimson Vow. We’ll look at all the best cards to play with each of them in your Commander decks. And hopefully, you’ll be saying “I do” to at least one of them.
We’ll start with the bride herself,
Olivia, Crimson Bride. As a gift to her wedding guests she gives you a free creature from the graveyard whenever she attacks. So of course, we’ll want to make sure our yard is bursting with powerful creatures to reanimate. To do that, we’ll rely on cards like
Oriq Loremage, and
What kind of creatures do we want to pull out of the grave? We’ll be looking at things that have a massive impact when they enter, such as
Fanatic of Mogis,
Gray Merchant of Asphodel,
Archon of Cruelty, and
Massacre Wurm. We’ll even throw in a
Terror of the Peaks to deal more damage when other big nasties enter.
But what if we’ve already yanked everything out of the graveyard? Let’s include some creatures that we know will be going back there quickly, like
Blistering Firecat, and
Lightning Skelemental. We’ll also throw in some utility with
Olivia’s trigger is based on combat, and I’m not satisfied with doing it just once per turn. So we’ll throw in extra combat spells like
Moraug, Fury of Akoum,
Seize the Day,
Relentless Assault, and
Aggravated Assault. Or we’ll copy the trigger with
Strionic Resonator and
Last, we’ll want to make sure we’re getting more benefits from our creatures leaving the graveyard. So we’re gonna throw in
Tormod, the Desecrator,
Desecrated Tomb, and
Syr Konrad, the Grim. This deck can easily be fit to whatever power level you want. You can up your game with extra tutors and fast mana, or keep it casual. Either way, you're gonna have fun with Olivia if you like graveyard shenanigans and combat.
This party is likely to go all night, so be sure to keep the drapes closed so our guests don’t croak in the morning sunlight. Speaking of croaking, our next special guest is
Grolnok, the Omnivore. I'm a big fan of Grolnok, because we’re basically getting a second hand that has no limit and can't be touched by discard effects.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton of great frogs in Magic, but we’ll include the good ones. We’ve got
Plaxcaster Frogling, and
Trollbred Guardian. And there are changelings too, so we’ll drop in a
If we want more frogs, we can run clone effects, like
Sakashima of a Thousand Faces,
Cackling Counterpart, and
Croaking Counterpart. We’ll even throw in a
Maskwood Nexus so we can run cards like
Avenger of Zendikar for frog domination.
We can't just rely on attacking frogs, so let’s throw in some more self-mill. We’ll add
Fact or Fiction,
Tamiyo, Collector of Tales,
Otherworldly Gaze, and
Epiphany at the Drownyard. And like Olivia, we’ll be copying triggers with
Lithoform Engine and
Strionic Resonator. Oh, and if you're thinking of having everybody join in on the Mill fun, throw in a
If all goes right, we’ll be dropping a ton of lands into exile, so we’ll toss in some extra land spells, like
Azusa, Lost but Seeking,
Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait. And our nonpermanent spells will stay in the yard rather than go to exile, so we’ll add a couple of ways to get those back, like
Bond of Insight.
How are we gonna win? Well, if the goal is to Mill ourselves out, then the obvious answer is
Thassa’s Oracle, and
Jace, Wielder of Mysteries.
What do you get when a vampire eats Red Lobster instead of red blood?
Runo Stromkirk! The goal with this flying vampire monster dude...thing...is to drop some fantastic sea monsters so that we can copy them with Runo’s backside, Krothuss, Lord of the Deep. Our biggest baddies in this deck are gonna be
Nemesis of Reason,
Scourge of Fleets,
Serpent of Yawning Depths, and
Spawning Kraken. We’ll also throw in a
Brinelin, the Moon Kraken, even though we’re not likely to make copies of it because of the legend rule.
We’ll need to manipulate our top card to trigger Runo’s flip, so for that we’ll use
Sensei’s Divining Top,
Bone Harvest, and
Haunted Crossroads. We’ll need at least one creature in the yard, so we’ll throw in an
Selhoff Entomber as well.
For even more tokens, we’re running
Rite of Replication,
Helm of the Host, and
Kiora Bests the Sea God. To round things out, we’ll throw in a few non-sea creatures, like
Frost Titan, and
Consuming Aberration. These are all fantastic with
Amoeboid Changeling, or
Amorphous Axe to give them the creature types we need.
We’re gonna want to keep the combats coming, so we’ll throw in some extra turn spells like
Karn’s Temporal Sundering, and
Beacon of Tomorrows. Our friend
Thryx, the Sudden Storm will be there to keep our big spells cheaper and uncounterable. And let's not forget our best board wipe,
Halana and Alena
Olivia and Edgar aren’t the only couple being celebrated in this set. First introduced separately in Commander Legends,
Halana and Alena, Partners brings the two together on a single card. It’s easy to compare this one to
Xenagos, God of Revels, as they do similar things. But with Halana and Alena, the creatures are getting +1 counters permanently rather than a power boost that goes away at end of turn. So we’re going to lean into the counters strategy.
We’ll start with
Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin, who’s going to be providing a lot more goblins with H&A’s help.
Aerie Ouphes acts as removal for flyers trying to swoop in.
Incubation Druid and
Fertilid build up our mana,
Herd Baloth makes tokens, and
Inferno of the Star Mounts quickly gets to that 20 point damage spike.
Visions of Dominance and
Ruinous Intrusion add more counters, great for pumping up your commander so they dish out more counters themselves. We’ve also got
Hardened Scales, and
Biogenic Upgrade. If you’re in need of more mana, throw in
Rishkar, Peema Renegade,
Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter, and
Domri, Anarch of Bolas.
Ring of Valkas and
Ring of Kalonia are great for throwing on H&A.
Unnatural Growth is a bomb in this deck, and you can stack the triggers to get the most benefit.
Death’s Presence and
The Ozolith save our counters if we lose our creatures. And
Asceticism protects our creatures from spot removal.
Since we're pumping our creatures up, we'll add in some power matters cards, like
Stalking Vengeance, and
Soulblast for a finisher.
And lastly, we have our least welcome guest at the reception table.
Umbris, Fear Manifest makes short work of dismantling your opponents’ game plans while building itself up to swing for the commander damage win.
For extra exile effects, we’re running
Tasha’s Hideous Laughter,
Gonti, Lord of Luxury,
Ashiok, Dream Render,
Leyline of the Void,
The Scarab God,
Circu, Dimir Lobotomist, and
Fallen Shinobi. A lot of graveyard exile effects here, so make sure to mention that in your pre-game talks.
We’ll also need more nightmares and horrors in the deck. So we’ll serve up
K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth,
Falthis, Shadowcat Familiar,
Nemesis of Reason,
Thing in the Ice, and
Toxrill, the Corrosive.
Then to get Umbris across the finish line, we’ll use
Suspicious Bookcase, and
Aqueous Form. Or we can lower the damage needed for lethal to 10 by giving Umbris Infect with cards like
Tainted Strike, and
All right friends, we've come to the end of our analysis of Crimson Vow. What commanders are you excited to build for this set? What are your favorite cards for the 99? Hit me up on Twitter at @AndyZupke and let me know. You can also catch me streaming budget EDH Sunday nights at 7:30PM Central at twitch.tv/scraptrawlers.
Check back here in two weeks as we start our review of everything 2021. I can’t believe this year is almost over already! Until next time, take care. And play lots of games!