The Spirit of EDH – Aminatou’s Esper Value


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Hello everyone! I’m Literally a Ghost That Pushes Over Candles and welcome back to The Spirit of EDH. Today we’re going to talk about an even newer commander; Aminatou, the young girl with control over fate. A lot of people were very divided on her when she first came out because her plus ability wasn’t card advantage and her ultimate seemed… underwhelming to say the least. I wasn’t deterred though, and combining the advantages from her plus and minus abilities have shown me that my faith was well placed. Let’s take a look at the decklist I’m currently running:

Commander
1 x Aminatou, the Fateshifter

Creatures (22)
1 x Champion of Wits
1 x Agent of Erebos
1 x Brago, King Eternal
1 x Clever Impersonator
1 x Conundrum Sphinx
1 x Palace Jailer
1 x Ravenous Chupacabra
1 x Solemn Simulacrum
1 x Thought-Knot Seer
1 x Cataclysmic Gearhulk
1 x Mnemonic Wall
1 x Mulldrifter
1 x Night Incarnate
1 x Peregrine Drake
1 x Perplexing Chimera
1 x Phyrexian Delver
1 x Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign
1 x Azor, the Lawbringer
1 x Deadeye Navigator
1 x Massacre Wurm
1 x Noxious Gearhulk
1 x Ashen Rider

Planeswalkers (4)
1 x Ajani Steadfast
1 x Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 x Venser, the Sojourner
1 x Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
Spells (36)
1 x Brainstorm
1 x Land Tax
1 x Path to Exile
1 x Ponder
1 x Portent
1 x Azorius Signet
1 x Dimir Signet
1 x Mind Stone
1 x Momentary Blink
1 x Orzhov Signet
1 x Predict
1 x Thought Vessel
1 x Act of Authority
1 x Commander’s Sphere
1 x Crystal Ball
1 x Dream Cache
1 x Entreat the Angels
1 x Entreat the Dead
1 x Imprisoned in the Moon
1 x Oath of Liliana
1 x Profane Procession
1 x Vindicate
1 x Phyrexian Scriptures
1 x Utter End
1 x Cleansing Nova
1 x Devastation Tide
1 x Fumigate
1 x Gilded Lotus
1 x Liliana’s Contract
1 x Mystic Barrier
1 x Oath of Teferi
1 x Primordial Mist
1 x Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering
1 x Akroma’s Vengeance
1 x Banishing Stroke
1 x Terminus
Lands (37)
1 x Arcane Sanctum
1 x Azorius Chancery
1 x Bojuka Bog
1 x Celestial Colonnade
1 x Command Tower
1 x Dimir Aqueduct
1 x Drowned Catacomb
1 x Flooded Strand
1 x Forge of Heroes
1 x Ghost Quarter
1 x Godless Shrine
1 x Hallowed Fountain
1 x Ifnir Deadlands
1 x Ipnu Rivulet
1 x Irrigated Farmland
3 x Island
1 x Marsh Flats
1 x Morphic Pool
1 x Mystic Gate
1 x Orzhov Basilica
3 x Plains
1 x Polluted Delta
1 x Prairie Stream
1 x Sea of Clouds
1 x Sunken Hollow
3 x Swamp
1 x Temple of Deceit
1 x Temple of Enlightenment
1 x Temple of Silence
1 x Reliquary Tower
1 x Watery Grave

Now, the deck I’ve made has taken advantage of consistent, cheap access to the ability to manipulate the top card of our library and blink permanents we own. I haven’t made much inclusions for Aminatou’s ultimate, but there is certainly some measure of power there as well. For the most part, our cards either benefit us for knowing the top card of our library, benefiting from being blinked, or offers us protection. As is befitting for an Esper (White, Blue, Black) commander, we aim to play a controlling long-game as we accumulate advantages and remove anything that threatens us.

Top-of-the-Deck-Matters cards

Creatures
1 x Conundrum Sphinx
1 x Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign

Planeswalker
1 x Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Spells
1 x Brainstorm
1 x Land Tax
1 x Ponder
1 x Portent
1 x Predict
1 x Thought Vessel
1 x Crystal Ball
1 x Dream Cache
1 x Entreat the Angels
1 x Entreat the Dead
1 x Devastation Tide
1 x Banishing Stroke
1 x Terminus
Lands
1 x Flooded Strand
1 x Ipnu Rivulet
1 x Irrigated Farmland
1 x Marsh Flats
1 x Polluted Delta
1 x Temple of Deceit
1 x Temple of Enlightenment
1 x Temple of Silence

Since we can only control the top card, or in some cases the top few cards, of our library there is a lot less cards that benefit us for knowing the top card of our library than the other theme of our deck. We’re only playing the best, or most efficient, versions of those effects.

Conundrum Sphinx and Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign — These are our two creature payoffs to being able to control the top of our deck, either offering an efficient beater that draws us a card when it attacks or, in the case of the Sphinx, allows us to get a cast for free on an attack in the air.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Brainstorm, and Dream Cache — These are our brainstorm-type effects, allowing us to put cards back on top of our library. This does allow us to control the top card of our library where appropriate but there is a second way to use these type of effects too…

Land Tax, Crystal Ball, Flooded Strand, Ipnu Rivulet, Marsh Flats, Polluted Delta, Temple of Deceit, Temple of Enlightenment, and Temple of Silence — Being able to shuffle our library, mill ourselves or scry makes our brainstorm abilities way better. We can Brainstorm to draw three cards, then put back some cards we don’t want then shuffle them away. Anyone who watches or plays Legacy will be familiar with these lines of play!

Portent, Predict, Thought Vessel, and Irrigated Farmland — We also have some ways of drawing a card at instant speed to trigger our miracles at instant speed after setting them up another way. Note that predict only works for miracles if it’s the second card down.

Blink-Matters cards

Creatures
1 x Champion of Wits
1 x Agent of Erebos
1 x Brago, King Eternal
1 x Clever Impersonator
1 x Palace Jailer
1 x Ravenous Chupacabra
1 x Solemn Simulacrum
1 x Thought-Knot Seer
1 x Cataclysmic Gearhulk
1 x Mnemonic Wall
1 x Mulldrifter
1 x Night Incarnate
1 x Peregrine Drake
1 x Perplexing Chimera
1 x Phyrexian Delver
1 x Azor, the Lawbringer
1 x Deadeye Navigator
1 x Massacre Wurm
1 x Noxious Gearhulk
1 x Ashen Rider
Planeswalkers
1 x Ajani Steadfast
1 x Venser, the Sojourner
1 x Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

Spells
1 x Momentary Blink
1 x Act of Authority
1 x Imprisoned in the Moon
1 x Oath of Liliana
1 x Profane Procession
1 x Phyrexian Scriptures
1 x Gilded Lotus
1 x Liliana’s Contract
1 x Mystic Barrier
1 x Oath of Teferi

Land
1 x Bojuka Bog

We have a lot of creatures with some solid enters the battlefield effects which are powerful when used over and over during the course of the game, but the biggest draw of Aminatou’s flicker is the fact that it can hit all permanents you own, not just creatures.

Clever Impersonator — One of my favorite uses of our commander’s blink is the flexibility it offers us. Clever Impersonator can copy any nonland permanent on the battlefield, including opposing planeswalkers or enchantments. Once a better target comes along, you can blink the Impersonator to reset him and choose a new copy target!

Thought-Knot Seer — We did have to make some concessions in our mana base to afford to play a colorless cost card, but the benefit is impressive. You can strip cards permanently from your opponents hand, and blink the Thought-Knot Seer to do it again and again. When you flicker Thought-Knot Seer, like with Aminatou’s -1, both abilities wait until the effect is complete, letting you put them on the stack in whatever order you like. This allows you to have them draw a card, then reveal their hand for you to strip a card from.

Night Incarnate — A card that came with her preconstructed deck, the Infest-style leaves-the-battlefield-trigger will let you wipe away smaller creatures without having the threat of the effect die. It is also a powerful deterrent against attacks, as the Deathtouch on Night Incarnate will kill whatever it blocks, then wipes any smaller creatures left around.

Ajani Steadfast and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion — These two planeswalkers are getting a callout for having strong minus abilities. The reason for this is that after getting very low on loyalty you can use Aminatou to flicker and reset their loyalty: Elspeth, board-wipe, reset, and make an army.

Act of Authority — A powerful removal effect that seems custom made for Aminatou. When it enters the battlefield, you exile an artifact or enchantment. Then on your upkeep, you can exile another at the cost of donating them your Act of Authority. Aminatou can then exile it then return it to the battlefield under your control, and exile a third. The other benefit is that you can choose not to use the upkeep ability until you want to flicker it with Aminatou.

Peregrine Drake and Gilded Lotus — Both of these cards allow you to accelerate your mana for whatever use you may have for it. Whether it be tapping lands, flickering the Drake, then tapping the same lands again or tapping the Lotus, flickering it, then tapping it again.

Agent of Erebos and Bojuka Bog — Graveyard hate is important. Repeatable graveyard hate is even more important, as it plays a measure of defense against the same decks rebuilding.

Cards to Consider

Palace Jailer  — I’m not going to lie, I originally misread this card when it came out. I thought that it exiled a creature until Palace Jailer left the battlefield and just happened to also make you the monarch. What it actually does is makes you the monarch, then exiles target creature until you stop being the monarch. This means that if you flicker it without losing the monarchy you can keep multiple creatures jailed!

Oath of Liliana — This enchantment works double duty. You can either flicker it to use it as a repeatable edict effect or you can get zombie blockers for flickering planeswalkers you control even after they’ve been played.

Profane Procession — This was my favorite inclusion in this deck. It starts as an enchantment that offers repeatable creature exiling, then flips into a land that lets you activate it to get those exiled creatures back under your control. The key part is that it flips automatically after exiling three creatures, then is just a land once you reanimate the same three creatures. This is especially troublesome if you exiled something you don’t want back in the game. Luckily, Aminatou lets us exile the Tomb of the Dusk Rose and return it as the enchantment again, letting us start over on our exiling!

Mystic Barrier — Being able to limit your aggressor to a single opponent is well worth the slot, especially if we’re playing a more controlling game. You can also flicker it with Aminatou to change which direction the aggression goes if your aggressor has become too much to handle while you search for a board wipe.

The Spice Corner

Perplexing Chimera — This card is weird. You can exchange control of it for any spell an opponent casts, allowing you to re-choose its target and have it resolve under your control if it’s a permanent spell. The idea is that you can wait for it to grab something you really want, then flicker it back to your control with Aminatou. The threat of its existence can mess with every opponent, and its very hard to get rid of if you exchange control if it with whatever they were going to try to kill it with.

Azor, the Lawbringer — Azor has had some mixed reviews since his release but he has preformed well for me so far. The fact that he disallows instants on each opponents’ turn is largely bonus, as the ability to disallow sorceries is much more relevant. If you’re worried about a powerful hay-maker, a slew of extra turn cards at sorcery speed, or even just a board wipe, flickering Azor to keep those sorceries locked out has proven to be a worthy inclusion. If you’re ahead enough, as well, you can attack with Azor and Sphinx’s Revelation to draw cards and gain some life. It is certainly a powerful ability, and the one most people were talking about when he came out, but as you already have a lot of card draw you won’t need to use the ability as much as you might think.

Liliana’s Contract — This card has proven itself to be so very worth it. The second line of text is basically trinket text in this deck, but is a very worthy inclusion for its first ability. When it enters the battlefield you draw four cards then lose 4 life and then, because it’s an enchantment, it will sit around until you want to blink it and draw more cards!

Notable Exclusions

Felidar Guardian — I’m not a big fan of infinite combos, especially not ones that involve your commander as they’re so easy to get. While Felidar Guardian doesn’t do anything other than infinite entering-the-battlefield for it and Aminatou, a third card to take advantage of these will win you the game fairly easily. (And yes, I’m aware that Peregrine Drake and Deadeye Navigator is an infinite combo, but without any tutors in the deck and neither being my commander, I feel less bad!)

Panharmonicon — Seth, probably better known as SaffronOlive, might be disappointed in me for not including it, but I like how much Aminatou cares about flickering non-creature permanents. It is certainly a powerful card, and I don’t even think it would be a bad inclusion in the deck, but I’ve chosen to forgo it.

Sensei’s Divining Top — I had it in this deck originally, but the amount of power it offered for so little felt almost like cheating. It may be a staple in miracle decks, but it is something that I’ve chosen to forgo for the sake of my playgroup.

Other Considerations

Temporal Mastery — One of the only powerful miracles I chose not to run, I try to limit the number of decks I play with extra turn spells. It is certainly a powerful inclusion into anyone that owns one. This would also be a good time to include your copy of Sensei’s Divining Top.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury — I love the new templating that these cards have. Being able to spend mana as if it were mana of any color, and cast it for as long as it remains exiled instead of being dependent on the creature that exiled it is so nice. Flickering Gonti is like drawing a card from your opponents deck and I’m sure that a lot of people enjoy doing.

Rune-Scarred Demon — An enters the battlefield tutor for any card can be especially sickening when you can reuse it with your commander. Though it does require a strong up-front payment of seven mana, being able to grab whatever you need from your library can certainly be worth it.

Parting Thoughts

This deck has proven to be a ton of fun to play, drawing cards and flickering your permanents. It always feels like you have a hundred options on every turn. The deck’s ability to take advantage of both of your commander’s abilities and the threat of your miracles makes even your cantrips carry a weight to them. I’m all on board of the young planeswalker and am very impressed with her design, even if her ultimate could have been… a little more on theme, perhaps?

So tell me, what did you think? Did I offer information you thought was helpful, raise some insights you might not have thought of, miss stuff you thought I should mention, or any other thoughts I didn’t call out? Leave a comment below to let me know, or you can haunt me directly on Twitter (@FrigglishTGhost) or spook my email (AMillionDifferentColors@Gmail.com).
Make sure you join me next week, where I’ll be talking about the second of my favorite decks, Jodah, Archmage Eternal!

Until then, may the Spirit of EDH possess you with creativity.
— Literally a Ghost that Pushes Over Candles

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