Hello everyone! I’m Literally a Ghost That Pushes Over Candles and welcome back to The Spirit of EDH. This week, we’re going to be looking at one of the most flexible lists I have. Every commander has flexibility, of course, but in this case I’m going to be explicit in how much of this decklist you can change around and have a good time. For now, we’re going to take a look at my decklist for the sleeping Simic Growth Chamber himself, Arixmethes:
Thassa’s Greatest Kraken
Arixmethes is, at his heart, two cards: Ramp accessible through our command zone and a really big fatty. We have a version of Explosive Vegetation that we can reliably cast, sending us from four mana to six, or seven with a land drop, on our next turn. This wouldn’t be anything to write home about if it wasn’t accessible from our command zone. This means that we can build our deck to always have access to this weird Skyshroud Claim.
In addition, after five spell casts Arixmethes wakes up fully, becoming the 12/12 he always wanted to be. This, too, needs some support though. He’s a 12/12 with a lot of words, but none of them are keywords, meaning that he’ll easily be chumped until he’s removed by any stray Murder. The upsides to this are that it requires us to do nothing special to make him powerful, casting spells is what we were doing anyway, and we can time it to only turn on when we want it. Since removing a counter from Arixmethes is a may ability, we can hold him at one counter until we can get in with him.
What we get is a package that really just tells us to build a ramp deck, but really any ramp deck. This means that, besides certain cues, we simply don’t need to hold to a very specific deck type. For this reason, a lot of people play into the Sea-Monster themed decks for him, playing cards like Quest for Ula’s Temple, Whelming Wave, Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep, and as many Krakens, Leviathans, Octopi and Serpents that they can fit in a deck. Others just take him as a very consitent source of ramp for a U/G deck with a large number of counterspells. For me, I decided that this would be a great time to flex every one of my casual-loving muscles and include some of my favorite U/G cards and have a deck that feels powerful while doing so.
One Land Per Turn is Thinking Small
|1 x Magus of the Vineyard|
1 x Coiling Oracle
1 x Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma
1 x Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
1 x Garruk Wildspeaker
1 x Kiora, the Crashing Wave
1 x Ancient Tomb
|1 x Amulet of Vigor
1 x Sol Ring
1 x Explore
1 x Farseek
1 x Growth Spiral
1 x Mind Stone
1 x Rampant Growth
1 x Simic Signet
1 x Cultivate
1 x Skyshroud Claim
1 x Urban Evolution
1 x Dreamstone Hedron
1 x Nissa’s Renewal
1 x Boundless Realms
1 x Zendikar Resurgent
Magus of the Vineyard, Coiling Oracle, Sol Ring, Explore, Farseek, Growth Spiral, Mind Stone, Rampant Growth, Simic Signet and Ancient Tomb – The biggest signpost that Arixmethes shows to me is his mana cost of four. What this means is if you can skip over making your third land drop, you can consistantly make a skip into a hop into a jump with your mana. All of the aformentioned cards allow us to skip right to Arixmethes the turn after they’re played. Explore, Farseek, Growth Spiral (From RNA), Mind Stone, Rampant Growth and Simic Signet are turn two plays that allow us to play Arixmethes on turn three. Sol Ring and Magus allow us to play him on turn two and Ancient Tomb slots anywhere along the first three turns to give us access to four mana on turn three. This means without an overabundance on expensive artifact mana, like Mana Crypt or Mana Vault we can consistently skip from two to four, from four to seven, then the world is our oyster.
Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma – This scary bear (Stats Radical, Aesthetic Purist) is an answer to one problem while being the solution to a question we didn’t even ask yet. Goreclaw grants trample, and an additional power and toughness, to all creatures with power four or greater whenever she attacks. This means she can turn our island from a copy of The Abyss into a brutal beater that threatens leathal in two attacks. In additon, everything with power 4 or greater in hand costs two less to cast. This means that a turn four Goreclaw after getting out Arixmethes on turn three allows us to cast Kozilek on turn five, as well as any other fatty in our deck. Discounts like this are almost deceptively powerful, as we have enough mana that it is possible to take advantage of it twice in one turn, making it a crazy ramp card. It isn’t unbelievable to cast two six-drops made four-drops in one turn right after playing her.
Urban Evolution, Dreamstone Hedron, and Zendikar Resurgent – Our best ramp cards offer two uses. Urban Evolution nets us an extra land while drawing a card, while Zendikar Resurgent gives us all the mana we could ask for while drawing us a card off of every creature cast. Dreamstone Hedron, and to a lesser extent Mind Stone allow us to cash them in for cards when we no longer need them. We didn’t include Hedron Archive because it competes in space with Arixmethes on curve. These spells in specific, as well as Nissa’s Renewal and Boundless Realms provide us with a secondary benefit: Limiting our land draws. After a point, we want gas instead of more lands and pulling the amount of lands that these cards do out of our deck helps with that. This is the other reason why we want to run so many basics, that we can maximize value from these types of cards.
Ramp Big, Summon Big
Hydroid Krasis, Prime Speaker Zegana, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and Pull from Tomorrow – We have a lot of lands, now what to do with them? Well, one of the first things we can do is draw back our hand and make sure we have some haymakers to slam down. Hydroid Krasis, another new card from Ravnica Allegiance, nets us a scary beater with Flying and Trample while drawing us half its power in cards. This means if we can cast him for 8 mana, we’ll draw three cards and gain 3 life as well as summoning a 6/6 Flying, Trampling Jellyfish Hydra Beast. Zegana can be cast as the last spell to remove a counter from Arixmethes, allowing us to resolve her as a 13/13 and draw that many cards as well. Kozilek is a scary beater that draws us four cards when we cast him, and Pull from Tomorrow is a very efficent “Draw X” spell, since we’ll almost certainly have one land or ramp card we no longer need to discard. All of these offer us a threat as well as make sure we have more to do soon.
Nylea, God of the Hunt – An indestructable source of Trample for our commander that also allows us to sink mana into her to grow one of our threats? Sounds perfect for this deck! Nylea will make sure that Arixmethes will get in for damage one way or another, as well as giving trample to any of our other sea monsters that lack evasion. Cards like this are important to include and should be carefully considered when customizing the deck.
Tatyova, Benthic Druid– The type of card that can lead to insane scenarios, Tatyova is a Simic dream. If we can cast her into Boundless Realms or even just Skyshroud Claim can make sure we always have the gas to keep going. She also stops some of our later ramp spells from being duds. Rampant Growth doesn’t feel so bad when it cantrips!
Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep and Breaching Leviathan – These are two sea monsters that are powerful enough to include with no other tribal themes besides our commander. Slinn is an expensive Evacuation but one that will almost always feel like a blue Plague Wind. More than likely, you’ll only miss one creature of your opponents when you cast this, if that. What this does allow is an unimpeded attack on your opponents life total with Thassa’s pet kraken. Breaching Leviathan can often offer the same thing. A nonblue sleep can allow for some devistating turns if your opponents can’t play some new blockers the turn after. If they can’t, Arixmethes will make very short work of them. This can also save you from an alpha strike or give you a ton of tempo if you cast this into one of your other Evacuations, like Whelming Wave.
Spitting Image – Retrace is a godsend to ramp decks. What you end up with after ramping is a number of lands left in your deck that you don’t really need any longer. Retrace solves that problem very neatly, basically transforming any lands you don’t want into additional copies of whatever that spell is. Spitting Image is a repeatable un-kicked Rite of Replication that allows you to fill the board with multiple copies of the best creature on the board. Tidespout Tyrant, Shipbreaker Kraken, Thunderfoot Baloth are all excellent targets in our deck, as well as being able to steal whatever our opponents may be summoning.
Cards to Consider
Curse of the Swine – A card that a lot of people are familiar with, and everyone absolutely should be familiar with it when playing blue. Curse of the Swine is a very neat answer to many of the creature problems you could have. Any large or scary threat can be turned into a boar. With the amount of mana we have access to, we’ll never be short on taking care of any number of large threats. In addition, polymorphing their creatures into tokens plays well with our Evacuation plan, making them exiled with no drawback after we’re done.
Whelming Wave – I’ve said before in previous articles, if a card has strong enough synergies with your commander, a card that you will always have access to, you might want to consider it differently. Whelming Wave is a discounted, sorcery speed Evacuation that doesn’t return our commander. Sure, sometimes it will fail to bounce every creature our opponents have, but not often. More often, however, it will keep a clear path between Arixmethes and your opponents, saving as well a few other powerful creatures we have access to. However, it isn’t necessary to skew our decks construction to include sea monsters that aren’t good. This card proves itself worth the inclusion with only our commander behind it.
Fable of Wolf and Owl – My absolute favorite U/G card, this enchantment is a powerhouse. Each time you cast a blue or green spell you get a body for your trouble. Normally effects like this are only for certain card types, like Metallurgic Summonings or Talrand, Sky Summoner, but Fable only cares about the colors of the spells your casting. What this means is that you generate bodies very quickly just doing what you were going to do anyway: Casting spells. Growth Spiral and then Urban Evolution gives you four bodies, four cards and two more land drops. If that doesn’t sound like a good deal, then I don’t know what is.
The Spice Corner
Splitting Slime – This card is an endless mana sink, which is something I like having access to in this deck. Its also such a cool card that I love trying to fit it into decks, none of which have worked better than this. Splitting Slime is a 3/3 for five that allows you to pay 6 to turn it into a 6/6. When you do this, you get another 3/3 Splitting Slime that can, in turn, go monstrous and split again! This means that your mana nearly never goes wasted, as you can always pour it into splitting more slimes to kill your opponents with. The plan does fall apart to mass removal, but then again, a lot of mana sinks will. In addition, your opponents can stem the bleeding by removing a slime before it can split. If they can’t, however, it becomes a problem
Shipbreaker Kraken – A card that I’ve always thought should be considered far more powerful than it is, Shipbreaker Kraken is another card that demands attention once it becomes monstrous. A 10/10 that keeps four creatures iced down for as long as its alive, this monster can be awful to deal with, especially with some protection in the form of Spearbreaker Behemoth. So long as you only make it monstrous on a turn where it can’t die to instant-speed removal, you’ll always have at least one good turn with it, which seems worth it to me.
Bounty of the Luxa – Part ramp, part Phyrexian Arena this card always seems like upside to me. While it can be difficult to make use of it some turns in full capacity, both sides of this river are something we want to be a part of. Consistent advantage can often be better than one-shot advantage in commander, and your opponents will often not bother removing it because of how innocuous it looks. It will also replace itself the turn after you play it, which isn’t something to be understated. Is there an argument to be made to replace it with another X spell? Sure, by all means, but this card is fun to play with, and never feels bad. Cards like that are fun for me.
When it comes down to it, Arixmethes is really just a ramp deck that you can customize however you’d like. If you just got done with a bunch of Ravnica Allegiance events, you can replace some of the random ramp payoffs I have with some Adapt cards and make a deck with that as the the theme! You could also include the aformentioned sea monster theme by replacing cards like Tidespout Tyrant or Progenitor Mimic with cards like Quest for Ula’s Temple, Stormsurge Kraken, Stormtide Leviathan and Simic Sky Swallower.
If you have some Eldrazi you wanted to build a deck around, they curve out nicely in a deck like this. Really, if you keep the ramp package outlined above, you can include whatever random green and blue rares you’d like to finish out your deck. Adjust the power level to your group or just play whatever cool bombs you opened! You could even play this like a green ramp deck, with beasts and Craterhoof Behemoth and Overwhelming Stampede to end the game, and simply use the blue to draw you back into more gas! Mind Spring springs to mind and Blue Sun’s Zenith is a good spell too for this use.
This week, I’d love to hear back from any and all of my fans. This deck is very flexible, and there are so many cool cards to include that I’d love to see how you all would change the deck to make it your own! Anyone out there thinking of making this deck, upload it to a site like MTGGoldfish and tell me about it on Twitter or through an email. What kind of cards from RNA are you looking to try out?
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 a new Ravnica Allegiance legend!
Until then, may the Spirit of EDH possess you with creativity.
— Literally a Ghost that Pushes Over Candles
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