Last updated on February 3, 2023
Maelstrom Wanderer | Illustration by Victor Adame Minguez
Commander decks come in all colors and flavors. Some are very aggressive, some like to take things slow and build card advantage synergies through their turns, and some are one-trick ponies that rely on the same combo for the win. Sometimes a deck comes along that doesn’t fit any of those molds but still has a straightforward plan. In this case it’s to cast your commander fast and then cast spells for free.
That’s right! It’s time to cover a Maelstrom Wanderer build that’s explosive and hard for opponents who stumble or aren’t prepared to keep up with.
Are you the type of player that likes to roam around? D’you stay in one place, or do you roam from town to town? If, like Dion DiMucci, you’re a wanderer (yeah, a wanderer), this may just be the deck for you!
Titania, Protector of Argoth | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve
Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Tezzeret the Seeker
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Venser, Shaper Savant
Oracle of Mul Daya
Titania, Protector of Argoth
Thirst for Knowledge
Fact or Fiction
Force of Will
Dig Through Time
Anger of the Gods
Walk the Aeons
All Is Dust
Sensei’s Divining Top
Boseiju, Who Shelters All
Cavern of Souls
Kessig Wolf Run
Temple of Abandon
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Mystery
Maelstrom Wanderer is a unique creature because its base power and toughness aren’t the only big things on it. It’s fearsome that you have the potential to cast three spells for eight mana.
Sure, there are times when you can hypothetically hit two ramp spells. But even if that’s the case it still serves you to cast this powerful commander on the following turn if it dies.
These are the spells that let you cast your commander ahead of schedule. The most prevalent types are artifacts and sorcery-speed base spells that tutor for lands and put them into play. You can rely on something other than mana dorks like Llanowar Elves, which are vulnerable to removal and are easier to answer.
The most outstanding of the bunch are Sol Ring and Mana Vault as solid mana rocks.
Farseek and Skyshroud Claim are the main sorceries to search for Forests with other basic land types on them.
Narrow creatures like Solemn Simulacrum and Oracle of Mul Daya can serve as ramp outlets that provide value even if they die.
This deck packs a bunch of ways to refill your hand to stay supplied.
The dream is to hit an Ancestral Vision out of one of the cascade triggers from your commander, but hitting Harmonize or Urban Evolution is the same in that particular scenario.
Other forms of card advantage come in the form of Rhystic Study and Consecrated Sphinx that can take over games on their own when unanswered.
You can count some of the ramp spells as “tutors” for dual lands or triomes, but what I’m referring to in this section are cards like Worldly Tutor or Mystical Tutor that can fetch a specific kind of card in the colors of your commander.
Trinket Mage may seem like it could be more impressive as an artifact tutor, but some hands that involve it can be mighty. You could be potentially casting Maelstrom Wanderer as early as turn 3 if you start with a Sol Ring and fetch your Mana Vault.
Plans don’t always come together as you expect. When opponents realize what you’re up to they come after you and try to stop you from developing your game-changing commander sooner than later. This deck packs a good mix of spot removal and board wipes that can put you back into the game in challenging scenarios to put the brakes on their threats.
All Is Dust is by far the best board wipe you could access. It doesn’t destroy anything, but it makes your opponents sacrifice their permanents when it resolves.
Slagstorm and Anger of the Gods work in the same way to reset the board on more minor battlefields.
The infamous Cyclonic Rift is now an auto-include spot/board wipe for any deck that runs blue.
Another way to protect your plans, creatures, and life is through counterspells.
While there are a lot of cards like Counterspell, this deck just runs the best of their kind like Force of Will, Mana Drain, and Cryptic Command.
I know this isn’t pretty and there’s nothing more annoying than an opponent playing solo. Still, I think Maelstrom Wanderer is one of the best commanders that can abuse Time Walk effects. The main plan is to ramp fast, and sometimes one of these cards can be used as a glorified Explore.
Time Stretch is the only one you won’t be hitting with your commander, but its power is such that it would be unfair otherwise.
As you may have noticed, this deck is very “vanilla” because you don’t have to do anything extravagant with it to win. Instead, it’s straightforward in what it does, and the rest of the cards are just raw power.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Scroll Rack are powerful on their own, but they excel when they’re in play and you’re close to casting your commander. They let you reorder what you want to cast for free.
Speaking of cards that go well with your commander, Crystal Shard is a handy one. You can keep bouncing the Maelstrom Wanderer and abusing its triggered abilities every turn.
Hitting Bribery or Hullbreaker Horror can also be backbreaking for some tables.
The Mana Base
This deck’s mana base is probably the priciest part of it because fetch lands, shock lands, and duals are affordable to next to no one. I mention them here to set a base on what the perfect mana base should look like. From there you can upgrade your cards to be closer to it little by little.
Aside from those, some utility lands are worth mentioning, like Boseiju, Who Shelters All, a card that makes some of your spells uncounterable. The same is true with Cavern of Souls, but it helps directly with your commander.
Ancient Tomb is very good at casting your commander ahead of schedule, and Kessig Wolf Run fits perfectly in a deck whose primary goal is to generate massive amounts of mana in little time.
This deck’s plan is straightforward: ramp your mana base and cast your commander. It’s a simple but effective strategy that can win the game in the blink of an eye depending on the combination of cards you hit with your commander.
In a perfect world you cast one of your heavy hitters like Inferno Titan along with Time Warp to apply tons of pressure on a single turn. Other times you just hit your board wipes and make a clean hit with your the Wanderer.
Regardless of the result, casting three spells in a single turn is insane and a lot of other decks can’t match the value behind it.
Combos and Interactions
There are some neat tricks you can pull off with this deck despite its simplicity. Here are the most common that you should be aware of.
You can double up your mana and jump from turn 3 to 7 with Tezzeret the Seeker and either Sol Ring or Mana Vault when played correctly. The planeswalker can also use the first tutor for one of the combo pieces and then start abusing its power.
If you already played your Phyrexian Metamorph as a creature and want to copy something else, you can bounce it with Crystal Shard and recast it to select new targets.
Garruk Wildspeaker and Ancient Tomb is similar to the Tezzeret the Seeker interaction, but with lands.
You can bounce Maelstrom Wanderer to replay it with Venser, Shaper Savant even if you reveal Venser as one of your cascade triggers since the Wanderer will be on the stack.
You can return your lands from your hand and put them on top of your library to be played from there with Oracle of Mul Daya and Scroll Rack. This creates a pseudo-card draw effect.
Since this deck is very straightforward it doesn’t need a narrow card to perform at its best. You could argue that the Time Walk effects are pricey, especially the older ones, but there are some cheaper ones that can be used instead. If I could make a change to the deck, it would be in the mana base to replace duals and fetches with more affordable options to make this deck cheaper.
All these lands have something in common: they’re very cheap. The one that caught my attention the most is Tangled Islet, which can be tutored with Farseek. The other options are there if you don’t want to spend hundreds on duals or shock lands, but be aware that bounce lands are somewhat fragile to land destruction. Remember that Beast Within is very popular in the format.
There are a wide variety of cheap artifacts you can choose from if you can’t afford some of the pricier ones, like Simic Signet and Talisman of Curiosity.
Shifting the focus toward cascade can also make the deck cheaper. In that case you should consider running all the other good cascade creatures, like Annoyed Altisaur, Shardless Agent, Etherium-Horn Sorcerer, and Bloodbraid Elf.
There’s a vast list of fatties you can run so it’s just a matter of choosing the ones that best fit your game plan. One of the ones with the highest synergy with this commander is Etali, Primal Storm, whose price tag is under a dollar.
The deck can be built in a bunch of ways since this is a 3-color commander. Some are more aggro-oriented, and others are just combo versions of it.
This build focuses on running big creatures in Temur () colors that hit hard and fast. Some of the combos that can be run include:
- Xenagos, God of Revels + Atarka, World Render: almost a one-turn kill.
- Savage Ventmaw + Aggravated Assault: infinite mana and combat steps.
This deck can perform similarly to how some Riku of Two Reflections Commander decks tend to by copying spells or creatures. To give you an idea, this deck can use Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Pestermite as its main win condition, or generate infinite mana to cast the Wanderer indefinitely with a Temur Sabertooth, Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, and Maelstrom Wanderer combo.
Worldly Tutor | Illustration by Cristi Balanescu
The deck may not be the most exciting version, but it’s one of the most powerful and straight to the point. It may struggle to keep up against some of the most combo-oriented decks but you can always rely on the rest of the table to handle them and surprise them by taking the game in consecutive turns.
What do you think about the deck? Were there any cards you’d have liked to see? Was this what you were looking for? Are you interested in other versions? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
That’s all I’ve got for now. Take care, and I’ll see you next time!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: