Animar, Soul of Elements | Illustration by Peter Mohrbacher
Even since Commander 2011’s release, Animar, Soul of Elements has been one of the most popular commanders out there, and not just for Temur () colors.
But what makes an Animar deck tick? What are the advantages of building a deck around this commander? Today we’ll take a look at a fun, budget way to build an Animar deck, walk through some of the deck’s choices, and discuss strategy. Let’s dive in!
Steam Vents | Illustration by Jonas De Ro
Birds of Paradise
Illuna, Apex of Wishes
It That Betrays
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Ornithopter of Paradise
Soul of the Harvest
Toski, Bearer of Secrets
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Otawara, Soaring City
Boseiju, Who Endures
Sokenzan, Crucible of Defense
Eye of Ugin
Animar, Soul of Elements is a creature-centric Temur commander. An Animar deck will have lots of creatures, usually between 30 and 40. This deck wants to cast lots of creatures while Animar, Soul of Elements is on the battlefield, typically one or two a turn.
There are lots of ways to make interesting builds with this commander, and this build aims to take advantage of the mutate mechanic. When you mutate a creature onto another creature, you’re effectively casting a creature, and when more creatures with mutate are in the same pile, you’ll trigger their mutate abilities more often.
Eldrazi are typically too expensive to play, but with Animar’s cost reduction ability, they’re viable options. Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger are the best bang for your buck here.
Elvish Mystic, Birds of Paradise, and Ornithopter of Paradise are mana dorks, which means they both ramp and trigger Animar’s ability, so they’re never useless. Coupled with mana rocks and other creatures such as Sakura-Tribe Elder, you can have a quick start and start deploying your mutate army early.
The deck has some interaction to protect Animar or your mutate stack in the form of phasing spells like Slip Out the Back and Tamiyo’s Safekeeping. Swiftfoot Boots helps to keep your main creatures or commander alive.
Paradoxical Outcome allows you to save and replay your mutate creatures and get value all over again, especially if mana isn’t an issue.
The Mana Base
This deck ‘s mana base is a standard Temur mana base, taking advantage of some Temur tri-lands and on-color dual lands. You’ll have your shock lands, check lands, and slow lands. Couple that with some lands that add mana of any color, some mana rocks, and on-color signets and you’ll have a good mana base.
In the early game, as with all Simic () decks, you’ll want to make your land drops, play some mana rocks to fix your three colors, and cast your commander as soon as possible. From there, you’ll play creatures (ideally mutate a creature onto Animar, Soul of Elements) and go to town.
In the mid game, you’ll try to leverage your mutate triggers to obtain card and board advantage. An Animar with some mutate creatures protected by protection spells and counterspells can really snowball out of control, and every mutate creature you add to the stack will trigger the other mutate triggers again, so you can get another land, draw another card, deal damage to an opponent and more. Mutate will add some static abilities to your stack as well, such as flying and trample.
The late game strategy involves casting powerful Eldrazi and cascade creatures. Keep in mind that there isn’t much card draw in this deck, so it’s not the deck’s strategy to draw lots of cards and be the last one standing. The objective of the deck is to keep attacking your foes with big mutate stacks.
Combos and Interactions
This is a typical creature strategy with alternatives. You can build a Voltron Animar and hit your opponents hard, with each subsequent mutate creature creating value. The deck allows the player to go wide with Toski, Bearer of Secrets and draw a bunch of cards, but also to mutate onto it. Also, you can play a Slippery Bogle turn 1 and mutate onto it for your typical Bogles strategy.
Rules 0 Violations Check
None whatsoever! This is one of the fairest decks out there. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll have a hexproof creature with lots of mutations, or maybe cast an Eldrazi paying only two mana, but this will take a lot of time to happen. There are no “I win!” scenarios or powerful two-card combos (although this commander certainly supports a more combo-oriented build with Walking Ballista and creatures like that).
Look, this deck is already quite budget-friendly. If you really want to cut the price down even more, consider switching the more expensive rare lands with budget duals and Gates. Some of the more expensive Eldrazi can be replaced by other “big dumb creatures” like Hullbreaker Horror, Oblivion Sower, or Artisan of Kozilek.
On the other hand, it’s quite possible to raise the power level of the deck by adding expensive mana fixing options such as fetch lands, or adding expensive spells such as Mana Drain. A red staple like Dockside Extortionist is in the deck’s theme and can replace any ramp creature.
There are some variations of Animar decks that use Birthing Pod to chain lots of creatures, as well as to combo off. It’s possible to go infinite with Ancestral Statue if your Animar has four or more +1/+1 counters, and you’ll cast Ancestral Statue for free multiple times, putting an infinite number of +1/+1 counters on Animar. Walking Ballista can also be cast with a huge discount for a bunch of mana and kill everyone else at the table.
Boseiju, Who Endures | Illustration by Chris Ostrowski
This was a fun take on an already popular commander, and one that you should give a spin. A curious part of this build is that it has Illuna, Apex of Wishes and Maelstrom Wanderer, two popular Temur commanders, and the mutate build already works well with Illuna. So, this is truly a three-in-one EDH deck.
I know Animar is super popular, but do you think it’s overrated? Have you ever played with or against an Animar deck? What about against a mutate Animar deck? Let me know in the comment section below, or over on Twitter.
Stay safe folks, and keep mutating!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: