The Path of Stone: A look at a Damia Commander Deck

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There are some people who are delusional when they call themselves casual players. Their assumption is that because they don’t compete in tournaments and stick to slinging spells at the kitchen table is what makes them casual. But we’ve all played against a certain group of players at out LGS’s and our kitchen tables. These are the “casuals” who play 100 card singleton Vintage; not Commander. Their decks are oppressive as all hell and they just grin and say “but it’s my casual deck.”

Well, I am not that bad. Although I have been guilty once or twice of calling my Damia, Sage of Stone Commander deck a casual creation. To be fair, she had very humble beginnings.

The Deck List

Creature (23)

1x Acidic Slime
1x Azusa, Lost but Seeking
1x Butcher of Malakir
1x Chainer, Dementia Master
1x Disciple of Bolas
1x Eternal Witness
1x Extractor Demon
1x Gravedigger
1x Magus of the Bazaar
1x Masticore
1x Mulldrifter
1x Nezumi Graverobber
1x Oracle of Mul Daya
1x Palinchron
1x Phantasmal Image
1x Phyrexian Metamorph
1x Putrid Imp
1x Sakura-Tribe Elder
1x Solemn Simulacrum
1x Soul of the Harvest
1x Stormtide Leviathan
1x Wild Mongrel
1x Yavimaya Elder

Artifact (4)

1x Claws of Gix
1x Crucible of Worlds
1x Lightning Greaves
1x Staff of Nin

Planeswalker (3)

1x Jace, Architect of Thought
1x Kiora, the Crashing Wave
1x Liliana Vess

Land (33)

1x Alchemist’s Refuge
1x Breeding Pool
1x Cabal Coffers
1x City of Brass
1x Command Tower
1x Deserted Temple
1x Khalni Garden
1x Overgrown Tomb
1x Rupture Spire
5x Snow-Covered Forest
6x Snow-Covered Island
6x Snow-Covered Swamp
1x Strip Mine
1x Sunken Ruins
1x Temple of the False God
1x Thawing Glaciers
1x Twilight Mire
1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1x Watery Grave

Instant (12)

1x Blue Sun’s Zenith
1x Bound/Determined
1x Capsize
1x Chord of Calling
1x Entomb
1x Fact or Fiction
1x Foil
1x Forbidden Alchemy
1x Grisly Salvage
1x Impulse
1x Plunge into Darkness
1x Spell Crumple

Sorcery (14)

1x Beseech the Queen
1x Buried Alive
1x Cultivate
1x Demonic Tutor
1x Dread Return
1x Harmonize
1x Head Games
1x Increasing Ambition
1x Kodama’s Reach
1x Life from the Loam
1x Living Death
1x Regrowth
1x Search for Tomorrow
1x Stitch Together

Enchantment (11)

1x Abundance
1x Animate Dead
1x Burgeoning
1x Grave Pact
1x Lifegift
1x Necropotence
1x Preferred Selection
1x Saproling Cluster
1x Survival of the Fittest
1x Sylvan Library
1x Underworld Connections

The Concept

The Concept

My very first Commander deck was Rafiq of the Many. The deck centered around equipments and creatures that could abuse them and Rafiq’s abilities. Or, you know, just killing you with Rafiq. The next deck I made was Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. Teferi is arguably the strongest of my current Commander decks. But both decks suffered from a fatal flaw. In Rafiq, I had to wait until it was safe to cast spells or there was an open avenue to attack. With Teferi, my deck needed a few turns to get going. Once it did, I sat back and waiting for my finisher. Until then, I was trying to mitigate all the unfair things everyone else was trying to do.

I realized I was getting bored of Commander. Unlike Standard and Legacy, there were turns where I did absolutely nothing but draw a card and passed turn. Not someone who was ever a fan of “draw-go” Magic, I was about to quit Commander. Then, I saw Damia.

She had three immediate qualities that I liked. She was Black, Blue, and Green. These colors presented the ability to do something every turn without being an aggro deck. Her ability was nifty and would allow to build a combo oriented deck. Lastly, she’s a Gorgon Wizard. How cool is that?!

The general idea that started when I created this Commander deck was that I wanted to make sure I was doing something every turn. The green portion of the deck centered around land ramp and had a little deck manipulation and some creature tutor effects. The black portion was focused primarily on tutors and reanimation. Blue was centered around card draw and the actual combo.

The Mana Combo

The Combo

The way this combo works is pretty simple. Your ideal ingredients are:

  • Palinchron
  • Phantasmal Image
  • Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
  • Cabal Coffers
  • Temple of the False God
  • Sunken Ruins
  • 2x Snow-Covered Lands
  • Deserted Temple

At this point in the game, you will probably have more than seven lands in play. Those seven are just the ones you ideally want in play. Start the turn by activating your Cabal Coffers with Temple of the False God which will produce 7 Black mana. Use one of that seven mana to activate Deserted Temple to untap Cabal Coffers. You are now at 6 Black mana. Use two of that six mana to activate Cabal Coffers once again. You now have 11 Black mana.

Still with me? Okay.

The next step is to cast Palinchron. You are going to take one of the Black mana you have floating and use Sunken Ruins to filter that into 2 Blue Mana. Now you have 10 Black mana and 2 Blue mana floating. Using the mana available, cast Palinchron and enjoy untapping your lands. Repeat the above above process before you cast your Phantasmal Image as a copy of Palinchron. Congrats, you now are set to have infinite mana.

The Tutors

Tutors banner

The mana combo is cool and all, but how do we even get there?  Lucky for us, Damia is made of the colors best suited for deck manipulation, drawing, and tutors. Blue gives the deck three major cards that contribute to assembling “Exodia.” Jace, Architect of Thought, Fact or Fiction, and Impulse. These cards let you dig deep to get what you need with negligible drawbacks.

From Black we get the meat and potatoes of the tutors. Demonic Tutor, Beseech the Queen, Plunge into Darkness, and Entomb. The one of note here is Plunge into Darkness. This card is not a tutor. However, in a deck that is a one trick pony, this card is necessary. You have to take a calculated risk of losing cards. Try not to use it unless you already have a combo piece or finisher in your hand. Otherwise, say good bye to that card forever. There is no Rift Sweeper in this deck.

In Green, we have three cards of note. Survival of the Fittest, Life From the Loam, and Chord of Calling. The big champion of this deck is Life From the Loam. While not a tutor, Loam allows us to get through our deck faster. Because the deck has a strong reanimator backbone, we can make use of the cards “lost” to the graveyard.

The Finishers 

Finishers

This deck light on ways to end the game. Extractor Demon naturally works well with the mana combo described earlier. Since you have to keep bouncing and replaying Phantasmal Image to generate all the mana, you will be able to keep milling your opponents. What’s nice about Extractor Demon is that he has Unearth. So you don’t have to be too concerned about him being in the graveyard.

Capsize is just a demoralizing win condition. With all the mana you’ve generated, you can return all of your opponents’ board. While this doesn’t actually win you the game, very few players will play after their board is gone.

Blue Sun’s Zenith is pretty awesome. Early and mid game, you get to use it as a draw card spell. Thanks to it being a Zenith, it will return your deck to be used later. Also, there is the ability to use all the mana to make your opponent draw their entire deck. If you have Soul of the Harvest, you can draw back into it and do it to another opponent.

The Final Word

When playing this deck be mindful that it’s the mana combo and its finishers or bust. If possible, try to play as passive as possible. Take advantage of your tutors and do not be too aggressive on your use of cards like Life from the Loam, Sylvan Library, and Magus of the Bazaar. Using cards like that, especially Sylvan Library to draw extra cards, will raise everyone’s warning flags.

You have some very off beat cards to keep you ahead, so make sure you use them. Abundance + Damia’s ability is a great source of deck filtering. Head Games can cripple the control and combo players in your group. Stormtide Leviathan is one part Moat and one part beat stick. Please do not make the mistake I do and forget he attacks for free.

Also, be mindful that this deck is designed for multiplayer. This is not a 1v1 deck in the slightest. A lot of my list’s tools are designed to take advantage that there are at least three other players at the table. Cards like Burgeoning and Lifegift want there to be other players. Assembling the combo quickly can be hit or miss, so despite being a strong finisher, you may not be able to handle another deck just head’s up.

Hopefully you decide to sleeve this deck up. It’s a lot of fun and the build up to the combo is a thrill ride.