Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait | Illustration by Viktor Titov
You can do absurdly powerful things in Magic. You can create infinite hordes of tokens with ease, draw the entirety of your deck, storm off to deal infinite damage, or just play cards with “you win the game” printed in their text boxes. But as good as all of this is, fundamentally, two of the most powerful game actions you can take in Magic are drawing cards and making land drops.
Drawing and making land drops gives you more resources than your opponents, especially if they stumble along the way. This commander deck looks to maximize these simple yet powerful game actions, making every land drop put you far ahead. Let’s get into it!
Nissa, Who Shakes the World | Illustration by Chris Rallis
Oko, Thief of Crowns
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
Birds of Paradise
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Oracle of Mul Daya
Ashaya, Soul of the Wild
Tatyova, Benthic Druid
Kogla, the Titan Ape
Avenger of Zendikar
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
An Offer You Can’t Refuse
March of Swirling Mist
Slip Out the Back
Veil of Summer
Green Sun’s Zenith
Awaken the Woods
Bala Ged Recovery
Sea Gate Restoration
Imprisoned in the Moon
Court of Bounty
Talisman of Curiosity
City of Brass
Field of the Dead
Otawara, Soaring City
Simic Growth Chamber
Snow-Covered Forest x2
Temple of Mystery
Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth
This is a really simple deck. There’s no frills or bells and whistles here. You’re playing straight-forward, honest Magic by making land drops and drawing cards. This isn’t really a synergy deck; it’s more of a value-oriented deck.
You’re playing some of the best cards Simic () has to offer as a color pair without much regard to how well they work together. None of them are contradictory, per se. This deck just isn’t a machine looking to play multiple cards in conjunction with each other to achieve something greater than the sum of its parts. It just leans on each of your cards being stronger than your opponents’, and overwhelming them beneath a tide of card and mana advantages.
Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait is a fantastic commander for this kind of value-oriented deck. It does everything you need it to do: lets you make extra land drops and draws you cards for doing so, making it a powerful draw engine right in the command zone.
Aesi’s abilities help fuel each other. Either of these abilities can falter on their own. Making extra land drops doesn’t always help without a steady draw engine letting you have multiple lands in hand at once. Likewise, drawing cards when a land ETBs is powerful but also limited by only making one land drop a turn.
Aesi is also an incredibly efficient beater. This deck’s only win condition is combat damage, and a 6-mana 5/5 with tons of upside perfectly embodies what this deck wants to do: make use of pushed blue and green cards with big bodies and lots of text.
Landfall is a powerful game mechanic because it benefits you taking a basic game action. You want to make land drops anyway; getting extra value is just the icing on the cake. These cards work great with Aesi to make every land drop fill up the stack with triggered abilities.
Tatyova, Benthic Druid is basically a secondary copy of Aesi. It doesn’t let you make extra land drops but it does draw plenty of cards and provide a bit of lifegain to help buffer aggro decks.
Lotus Cobra is a powerful mana generator. It basically turns every land you play into Ancient Tomb for a turn while fixing your mana and really going off with fetch lands and multiple land drops.
Scute Swarm swells out of control quickly. Making 1/1s isn’t super impactful, but once you have enough lands to start making tokens that are copies of Scute Swarm that’ll generate more tokens that copies of Scute Swarm that generate more tokens that are copies of Scute Swarm… You might want to have some dice on hand to keep track of these token copies.
Tireless Provisioner also provides bursts of mana alongside your land drops, but you can keep them around as Treasures. You’ll rarely want to make Food tokens with this card.
Rampaging Baloths is one of your bigger finishers, pumping out multiple massive beaters with ease.
Avenger of Zendikar also acts as a finisher, coming in with tons of tokens and pumping them turn after turn until they’re unstoppable.
Now that you’ve got your landfall cards, you need tools that let you make as many land drops as possible. This has the double benefit of triggering your best cards while also ramping you way ahead of your opponents.
Dreamscape Artist is a funny little card from Planar Chaos that lets you make a bunch of land drops. Discarding a card doesn’t matter much when you’re drawing so many cards, and you can hold the ability up alongside counterspells so you can always make use of your mana.
Springbloom Druid is another card that generates two landfall triggers off its ability for tons of value. Playing a land drop and then this lets you get three landfall triggers in a single turn for three mana.
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is so powerful it was banned in Standard, Pioneer, and Modern, and it shines in this list. You’ll churn through your library fairly quickly, and the extra card draw and land is everything this deck wants.
Exploration is a classic ramp option that was recently reprinted in Dominaria Remastered. It provides a ton of land drops to go with your card draw engine.
Court of Bounty similarly lets you put extra lands into play while drawing you cards via the monarch and has the extra benefit of occasionally cheating in a massive beater.
Ashaya, Soul of the Wild enables landfall by turning all your nontoken creatures into lands. This makes so many of your cards into landfall enablers and also lets you ramp hard, plus Ashaya is a massive creature in its own right. Just be aware that it does lead to odd interactions, like your opponent getting to Strip Mine your commander.
You’ve also got Scapeshift as the mother of all landfall enablers. You can drop as many lands as you like into play to get endless triggers. It also finds Field of the Dead for a potential finishing blow.
Oracle of Mul Daya is another Commander staple that lets you play multiple lands and provides something akin to card advantage by playing lands straight off the top of your library.
Ancient Greenwarden is one of your best landfall enablers. Doubling your triggers à la Panharmonicon makes this elemental one of the stronger cards in the deck. Letting you play lands from your graveyard just extends the value train further.
Is it really a green deck without big beaters? These cards help you to close out the game with massive combat damage.
Questing Beast is a pushed creature that provides pressure the instant it comes into play. It’s hard to block with the pseudo-evasion and deathtouch makes it hard to profitably block. It’s also effective at punishing players trying to sit behind a wall of planeswalkers.
Speaking of planeswalkers, Elder Gargaroth is basically a planeswalker stapled to a 6/6 body. You generally want to create 3/3s with the attack trigger since the lifegain isn’t always super relevant. You also draw plenty of cards, but the flexibility makes this even better. Vigilance also helps you stay on the offensive while retaining defensive capabilities.
Kogla, the Titan Ape is a super powerful card that kills a creature when it comes down and destroys artifacts and enchantments while it stays on the board and attacks. There’s not a ton of humans to use with the activated ability, but it provides so much value with Eternal Witness.
Hullbreaker Horror is one of the strongest creatures printed in recent years. It’s a massive beater, it’s got flash, it’s uncounterable, and it provides endless bounce value, interacting with the stack and the board. It does everything you want from a creature.
Koma, Cosmos Serpent is another card that dominates a game. It makes 3/3s every turn and can shut off opposing threats while protecting itself. It’s staying in play if your opponent doesn’t have a removal spell the turn this thing comes down.
Craterhoof Behemoth is another crazy finisher that works well with your various token producers. It’s a great way to excuse yourself from a Commander table to grab a drink.
Interaction For Days
Green provides the muscle for this deck, so blue comes through by giving you the brains and interaction you need to make sure your opponents can’t stop you from accumulating value. You’ve got a heavy emphasis on cheap mana countermagic since you want to play big creatures and hold up as little mana as possible. Blue also lends some creature interaction.
Miscast can get blanked in the late game, but it’s pretty strong early or if your opponent is trying to play multiple spells in a turn.
Swan Song and An Offer You Can’t Refuse both counter any noncreature spells for a single mana. The Bird token is basically never relevant, and the Treasures are a small price to pay to protect your threat or stop a combo in its tracks.
Counterspell is one of the best counterspells every printed. Deprive is basically a second copy of Counterspell; you’ll play so many lands that bouncing one won’t put you that far behind and probably provides even more value by letting you replay it.
Delay is a sneakily powerful counterspell. Giving an opponent’s card suspend can put off a threat for a few turns, but it’s especially powerful against opposing countermagic and X spells.
Arcane Denial is an unconditional counterspell that replaces itself. Letting your opponents draw some cards can be rough, so make sure to use this on a target more threatening than giving your opponent two cards off the top.
Pongify and Rapid Hybridization both remove problematic creatures. The 3/3 your opponents get doesn’t really matter because your creatures easily outsize that.
Slip Out the Back pulls double duty as a disruptive piece to stop your opponents from going off while protecting one of your creatures from interaction and board wipes.
March of Swirling Mist is basically Slip Out the Back’s big brother. You can protect your entire board from a wrath, stop a lethal attack from an opponent, or even enable a lethal attack of your own.
Imprisoned in the Moon is a fantastic removal spell that often removes a card forever unless your opponent has a way to destroy their own lands. This is especially powerful when attached to a commander.
The Mana Base
You’ve got a strong base of ramp to start. There are several 1-mana dorks with Birds of Paradise, Elvish Mystic, Fyndhorn Elves, and Llanowar Elves to help you burst out of the gate from turn 1.
There’s also some typical land-based ramp spells like Rampant Growth, Nature’s Lore, and Cultivate that ramp and can trigger landfall. There’s also some artifact ramp with Sol Ring and 2-mana ramp artifacts. It’s also worth noting that a lot of the landfall enablers ramp you too.
You’ve also got a few value cards in your lands. There are two modal double-faced cards in Sea Gate Restoration and Bala Ged Recovery that do work to keep your spell and land counts high.
You’ve also got Field of the Dead as another landfall card that pumps out a swarm of tokens. It’s also why your basics are split between regular and snow-covered variants.
Ghost Town is a neat little card that you can bounce back to your hand to ensure you’ve always got at least one land drop each turn.
Similarly, Simic Growth Chamber and Guildless Commons help facilitate multiple land drops per turn.
You’re playing a pretty simple game here. You want to ramp hard, making land drops and drawing cards, and winning through combat damage because your creatures are just better because you’re in green and have got excellent interaction thanks to blue. In many ways, this is a quintessential Simic deck.
The most important thing to do with this deck is make sure you’re using your mana as efficiently as possible. You’re making plenty of land drops to stay ahead of your opponents, but that won’t matter if you never use the extra mana you’re producing. Ideally you want to play a creature and hold up a bit of interaction each turn.
You also want to make sure your opening hand has ramp. Ramp is really important to this deck. Your best cards cost a lot of mana, so you want to get to them as quickly as possible. Most of the cheaper spells in this deck are ramp spells or countermagic sitting around one or two mana. The countermagic isn’t often useful in the first few turns of the game, so the ramp is important to make sure you’re using early mana efficiently.
This deck does pretty well against other fair decks. You’re basically constructed to do the fair thing better than other decks because you make more land drops and see more cards. Aesi is a bit slower, so it could struggle against fast and combo-oriented decks.
Combos and Interactions
There’s not much to look at here. Your cards are pretty straightforward and do what they say on the surface. You have one nice little interaction that can get you infinite turns, it’s just pretty costly.
You need Kogla, the Titan Ape, Eternal Witness, Time Warp, and 10 mana. Cast Time Warp to take an extra turn and then play Eternal Witness to get Time Warp back into your hand. Bounce the Witness to your hand and pass to your next turn.
You can rinse and repeat until you’ve taken all the turns you need to play out a billion tokens and wrap things up with a Craterhoof Behemoth.
Rule 0 Violations Check
This is a pretty fair deck, so there’s not much to make other players salty. You have the one infinite turns combo, but the cards are good enough on their own that you don’t have to use them to make the loop if your table doesn’t like infinites.
There are a couple of pricy cards in this deck, so you’ve got a few options to help bring the cost down.
Craterhoof Behemoth is one of the best finishers, but it’s hardly the only one. You can easily swap this out for another pumping trample spell like Overrun or Garruk Wildspeaker.
Field of the Dead is super strong, but it could be cut. You’ve got other ways to make tokens, plus cutting the Field lets you cut the snow basics for cheaper versions. This can be replaced with another value land like Emergence Zone.
Oko, Thief of Crowns offers one of the best planeswalkers ever printed at a fairly high cost. It’s mostly in here as permanent interaction and could easily be swapped for something cheaper like Beast Within.
Sea Gate Restoration offers tons of flexible value, but it could be replaced with a basic Island.
Ancient Greenwarden offers lots of power, but you can cut it for something else that gets lands out of the graveyard like Conduit of Worlds.
Swan Song is a powerful counterspell that’s also sort of pricy and could be swapped for something cheaper like Negate.
This is the most obvious way to build Aesi, a solidly midrange deck that’s kind of doing what the card says on the package, but you could take it in a few different directions.
You could build a more controlling version. You’ve already got lots of countermagic that could be bolstered with cards like Frilled Mystic and Mystic Snake to lean into flash subthemes and control to make use of your mana advantage in a longer game.
You could also try and do something more flavorful with Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait. It’s perfectly poised to helm a deep-sea themed deck brimming with serpents, leviathans, and other deep sea monsters galore.
Questing Beast | Illustration by Igor Kieryluk
While there are endless combos and powerful interactions you can do in Magic, sometimes you want to return to a simpler time in the game. A time when the best way to win was smash face with massive creatures. Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait lets you do this and maximizes the most powerful, basic game actions in Magic. Drawing cards and making land drops is the best way to grind out a long advantage over your opponents and will win you games where your opponents fail to keep up with the steady progress you’ll make.
What did you think of the deck? Any other ways you see to build Aesi, or is this the best? Let me know in the comments below or over in the Draftsim Discord.
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