I may not have mentioned this before, but back in the day I ran a Magic: the Gathering site called Red Site Wins. One of the best writers on the site was Sean Patchen, aka @SwordstoPlow, who was our Commander writer. Whenever anyone had a question about Commander, Sean was our go to guy. So, when I wanted to make a budget Edric, Spymaster of Trest Commander deck, Sean was the man to get to make it happen.
Originally, this deck was designed with a modest $80 price cap. When the deck idea was first conceived I had a lot of friends who were just getting into Commander. They had trouble playing against my Rafiq of the Many and Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir decks. They were just too powerful and too expensive for new players to match up against. The original concept was to make a casual deck to play people 1v1 and could maybe kill 1 or 2 people in a group game. But those days of Commander are long gone for me. My play group has evolved in such a way that no one is new to the format and the decks have reached the same power as the rest of my decks. So, here I was, stuck with a pretty fun commander and a deck that couldn’t compete. I needed to fix this. Time to bring Edric up to snuff.
The very first thing I wanted to do with my Edric Commander deck was NOT follow a stock list. Certainly you will find cards that will be in one. I run Coastal Piracy and Prophet of Kruphix and Ninja of the Deep Hours. But a stock list? Nope. There is no Gaea’s Cradle. No Craterhoof Behemoth. I didn’t want to make this deck unfun. I wanted an element of fair to be felt. So, how did I attempt to achieve fair? For one, if you haven’t noticed the tutor effects are kept to a bare minimum.There is Brutalizer Exarch, Momir Vig, and Yisan. Once Momir Vig is in play, sure the tutoring gets real. But we have to get there first.
The other neat part of this deck is the attempt to make use of Primitive Etchings. With that in mind I designed a deck with a very high creature count. To that end, there are a lot of “enter the battlefield destroy artifact/enchantment” effects in this deck. This was to make the most of the very high creature count and make up for the lack of spell based removal. And with a high number of “enter the battlefield” effects comes the return of Conjurer’s Closet.
The plan in playing this deck is surviving till the mid game. You do not do a whole lot till about turn 5 or 6. But once you get there, things get a lot easier and you’ll be able to use the tools in this deck to consistently gain incremental advantage until you inevitably draw into a way to win.
I Will Do Things On Your Turn
This deck has a major flaw. It heavily relies on creatures to win the game. Not just one or two big dudes to beat over the head of your opponent. Nope. We’re talking about a creature swarm. With this in mind, we want to limit the amount of creatures we play on our own turn. Teferi, Yeva, and Prophet of Kruphix all allow us to cast our creatures at instant speed. Yes, Yeva says Green creatures. But more than half of our creatures are Green. So, she fits the bill nicely.
Thanks to both Prophet of Kruphix and Murkfiend Liege, our creatures are able to untap on our opponents’ turns. However, our deck doesn’t really power out a lot of mana. How are we going to be able to make use of all the resources in our hand on our opponent’s turn if we don’t have the mana to cast them? Enter Citanul Hierophants. Giving our Green creatures the ability to tap for Green mana gives us a very decent surge of mana on each of our opponents’ turns.
Of course, Alchemist’s Refuge is a solid fit inside this deck. Refuge has the nice caveat of allowing us to cast the few noncreature permanents we have at instant speed as well.
When Edric Isn’t Around
The biggest threat to this deck is when Edric is not on the table. When that happens, things tend to grind to a halt. The issue with keeping the power level down, is you lose out on some of the mainstream ways to dig yourself out of holes. So, with out cards like Worldly Tutor, Green Sun’s Zenith, Survival of the Fittest, and Sylvan Library at my disposal I needed to find another way to keep the advantage grind going.
Coastal Piracy and Bident of Thassa are Edric copies two and three that only help you. The card draw gets a little dumb when you have these and Edric in play, but they do a good job of standing in when he isn’t around. If I know I am in a pod with creature heavy decks, I prefer playing them over Edric. If only because their effects are asymmetrical.
Overbeing of Myth is one of the secret heroes of the deck. Besides generally being one of the biggest bodies in the deck, he also allows me to get some extra card draw in. Alongside him is Sphinx of Magosi. Another one of the few large body creatures in the deck, Sphinx of Magosi also allows you to pay 2U to add a +1/+1 counter to him and draw a card. Making a 6/6 flyer even bigger and getting to draw is pretty strong for a deck lite on big threats.
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard is my way of acknowledging that I’d like some consistent creature tutoring in the deck to go along with Momir Vig, Simic Visionary. Sure, the curve on this deck stops at around 3-4 mana and there is a lack of high impact 2 drops. Most of the power creatures for the deck’s synergy and functionality sit at 5. With this in mind I can use Yisan a few turns in a row to get the meat and potatoes out of the deck. Because the deck is reliant on creature swarm, it is unable to make great use of Birthing Pod. Also, Yisan plus effects like Prophet of Kruphix and Murkfiend Liege allow us to use his ability on each opponents’ turn. If I need to keep looking for creatures in the lower bracket of the deck, I can always just reset Yisan with Conjurer’s Closet.
The Way You Win
Now that we’ve had fun drawing cards and doing some shenanigans with Conjurer’s Closet, how exactly does this deck win? Since this deck really gets going when you have a swarm of creatures, Overrun effects are greatly appreciated. Speaking of Overrun, our deck runs three versions of it. As you can see, we do run the classic mainstay of Overrun itself.
Kamahl, Fist of Krosa is Overrun number two in the deck, is reusable and can be activated more than once, and is a creature. Being a creature makes him easy to tutor up via Momir Vig, Yisan, or Brutalizer Exarch.
Triumph of Hordes is the Overrun that never feels great to cast. Very few people like losing to Infect. The thing about Triumph of the Hordes is it allows you to take someone out early if you view them as a late game threat.
Beastmaster Ascension was one of the easiest choices for the deck as a win condition. The fact that just attacking with seven creatures can cause them and every future creature to get +5/+5 is a hurdle very few can handle. The mistake I have seen a lot players make is playing this card early and swinging every turn, creating this looming threat. Yes, there will be times where your opponent can’t handle it and you just win. But, there is also the large risk that they hold onto a response until the time is right. Playing it early also causes players to want to board wipe a seemingly dull board of weenies. Which, is pretty bad for us. It is better to play Beastmaster Ascension when you know you have seven creatures to attack with.
Champion of Lambholt is one of the newest editions to the deck. Originally a card I failed to make great use of when it was Standard, Champion of Lambholt came to mind for another creature solution to getting through a blockade of enemy creatures. Sometimes, not even an Overrun is enough to defeat your opponents, especially if they have blockers. Landing her early allows you to snowball pretty hard and with the help of Conjurer’s Closet things can progress to being out hand pretty easily.
Why should you play my build of Edric, Spymaster of Trest? Are you looking to see how a midrange deck plays in Commander? Do you want to play a creature deck that isn’t tokens? Do you like drawing a lot of cards? If the answer is yes to any of these questions this Commander is made for you. My focus of late is to try find a universal sense of fun, fair, and casual. To that end, some of my decks will not be up to certain people’s standards. The idea is to experiment until I reach a level where I can take decks to any play group and anyone will enjoy playing against them.
A fear for this deck is people playing a heavy board wipe theme or cards like Massacre Wurm. If you have a play group with decks like that, you may want to run cards like Creeping Renaissance and Eternal Witness. My version runs Hua Tuo, Honored Physician and Loaming Shaman for recursion instead. A card combination I am strongly considering borrowing from my Yeva, Nature’s Herald deck and running here is Riftsweeper and Praetor’s Counsel. This would give my deck an infinite hand size and a great graveyard recursion set up.
Who is a commander you all would like to see me build around next? Let me know in the comments below!