Wasitora takes flight!

wasitora banner.png

For the past half year or so, I’ve been tinkering with my Reyhan/Tana brew, but the pair were – despite me having some fun with the deck – abandoned in favour of Wasitora when Commander 2017 was released. I’ve long been a fan of Jund as a colour combination in EDH, but I haven’t found a commander that speaks to me until now. I guess I have a thing for 5/4 flyers for 5. Especially when they generate card-advantage.

The Commanderwasitora
Wasitora herself is an aggressively costed evasive (doubly so) beater which doubles aseither token producer or removal, depending on board state. She lends herself to a variety of different playstyles (which attracts me to begin with) – and I’ve chosen my favourite style to play: good stuff. Though we can call it Jund Stuff for this deck.

In the lore, Wasitora is an over-protective mothering cat dragon who ends up striking a deal with Tetsuo Umezawa himself, known for being the one who actually killed Nicol Bolas. The deal was that Wasitora were to protect a village in exchange for fish. How hilarious. She also has a number of kitten dragons in the story (they are all named – look it up!), and these are represented in her ability as well as in the strangely adorable Cat Dragon tokens.

Jund Stuff
Back in 2009, during Alara/Zendikar Standard, the true deck-to-beat was Jund. It was a very powerful archetype built around generating incremental card advantage through the broken Cascade mechanic, and beat down the opponent before he could recover. The deck was capable of such crazy plays as casting Bituminous Blast cascading into Bloodbraid Elf cascading into Blightning resulting in a crushing 5-for-1. Without magical Christmasland plays, the deck was still very efficient. Here’s an example list from the 2009 world championships:

Standard Jund 2009

Notably, all of the deck’s threats are generating card advantage aside Putrid Leech (which was just plain good). All of the other spells in the deck are either efficient removal, card-advantage machines, or both.

After rotating out of Standard, Jund continued to dominate in Modern eventually resulting in Bloodbraid Elf getting banned in 2013. The deck was different to its Standard counterpart, of course, but retained the same philosophy: grind your opponents out by generating card advantage and putting pressure on them at the same time.

What I mean to say by this long-wided reasoning is that I’ve tried to retain the same philosophy with my deck. I started out in the wrong direction, I think, but I’ve shifted to a more effective way to build and play the deck. To sum it up, I’ve created a pair of simple thesis statements, here’s my original and revamped versions:

Original thesis statement
“Play ramp, card draw, beaters, and efficient answers to everything threatening to my heros downfallposition.”

This looks good on paper. It’s got everything. However, it led me down the wrong path since the original build had too many one-for-one answers. This is fine in 1 vs. 1 Magic, if I trade a piece of removal for your creature we’re both out one card each. However, if I do the same thing to one opponent in a four-player game, I’m out a card and the unlucky opponent is out a card while in the mean time the two other opponents are having the time of their life since they have two opponents out a card each with no expense to their own.

I spent two nights getting my ass handed to me but didn’t let it get to me. The deck was brand new, I was heading in a different direction than most other Wasitora decks I’d seen – many others were playing dragon tribal, essentially a worse version of Scion of the Ur-Dragon but with slightly better mana.

Revamped thesis statement
“Play ramp, card draw, beaters, and efficient answers – but make sure that most of the cards in the deck will trade better than one-for-one.”

fleshbagmarauder.hq

This might seem like a small change, but the difference in philosophy has a huge impact on how the deck plays out. Instead of trading one-for-one as someone tried to threaten my board position, life total, or similar, which was a net loss in the end for the reasons stated above, I was trading two-for-one or even three-for-one. Fleshbag Marauder here is a good example of a creature that was in the original deck list, and has stayed since the revamped thesis statement was introduced, the amount of spot removal has gone down a lot. I’ve kept a few of the best pieces – Beast Within and Chaos Warp to name two that have stayed because of awesome flexibility.

The thesis statement is reflected on the creatures too of course – a fair few of them are able to generate card advantage on their own – Grave Titan and Inferno Titan are both in the deck and both are able to generate card advantage while also being big, excellent threats. Another quite recent addition is Overseer of the Damned who is in himself a three-for-one while also playing well with Wasitora and the other pieces of removal in the deck.

The list
I could go on and list the engine cards that make the deck tick – the most powerful being the ramp cards and the pair of Survival of the Fittest and Birthing Pod. I think you get the idea anyway. Here is a link to my latest up-to-date list and that’s where I’ll make changes as the deck gets updated. It’s playing quite well right now, the curve feels fine for most of the time, and the deck even has a couple of wins under its belt.


That’s all for today folks! I’m looking forward to play more with Wasitora, and maybe I’ll post another update on her if the list changes a lot. I hope this post has given you some insight to my deckbuilding philosophy, and perhaps some inspiration.

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