Last updated on January 18, 2023
Magus Lucea Kane | Illustration by Bartek Fedyczak
The Warhammer 40k Commander decks brought lots of great new cards, from commanders to cards for the 99. The decks are pretty well put together and can be played right out of the box, but there are a few great commanders to build around if you want to step up the power level a bit, like Magus Lucea Kane.
Zoanthrope | Illustration by Billy Christian
Winged Hive Tyrant
Old One Eye
Terror of the Peaks
Magus of the Candelabra
Ashaya, Soul of the Wild
Invoke the Firemind
Finale of Revelation
Finale of Devastation
Curse of the Swine
Awaken the Woods
Path of Ancestry
Cave of Temptation
This deck uses lots of ravenous Tyranids to get the most out of Magus Lucea Kane’s copy ability. A lot of Tyranids also have great ETB effects that make casting the creature also feel like casting an extra spell. For instance, Sporocyst can help you ramp and give you a good blocker. It also includes some good spells like Curse of the Swine, which is even more effective when you can copy its effects.
Cards like Warstorm Surge can also help you deal out some damage since you’re going to be dropping lots of high-power creatures and hopefully copying them. The more effects you get off your initial casting, the more mana you can comfortably pump into a single spell with an X cost rather than spreading it around multiple spells.
Magus Lucea Kane lends itself to a few different builds. Its ability to copy X spells can allow you to focus on instants and sorceries with X in their cost. This ability also makes Lucea a good hydra deck commander.
But one of the easiest ways to start your build since Magus Lucea Kane comes with the Tyranid Swarm Commander deck is by the Tyranids from that deck that have X costs. These creatures also have some great abilities, and the new ravenous keyword that synergize well with Magus Lucea Kane’s ability.
Magus Lucea Kane synergizes well with the cards in this deck thanks to its two abilities. The static ability helps to buff one of your creatures each turn. This can make you feel comfortable playing an X creature for less mana because you know you can buff it up later.
Even more impactful is Magus Lucea Kane’s activated ability. It helps you to cast spells for more mana but also allows you to copy some of your more powerful spells. That means getting two powerful creatures like Broodlord for the price of one or getting to deal double the damage with Rolling Earthquake.
Any ravenous creature works well with Magus Lucea Kane because its activated ability allows you to draw two cards instead of one if you’ve paid enough mana.
Termagant Swarm feels like it has two lives thanks to its ability to replace itself with 1/1 Tyranid creatures.
Zoanthrope can deal lots of damage to a player later in the game or be used for some early removal if need be.
Exocrine has a similar effect, but it’s even more powerful. Not only can it act as a board wipe, it also damages every player. You also won’t have to worry as much about your own creatures being damaged because you’re likely making them stronger with +1/+1 counters.
Apart from the Tyranids in this deck, there are also some great hydras and creatures with X in their cost that can be very helpful.
Lifeblood Hydra can be even more impactful because its death lets you refill your hand. Opponents may shy away from destroying this card to prevent you from drawing cards, letting you swing out with it without worrying about its destruction. You can also choose to block with it if you need the extra cards and life.
Primordial Hydra is a pretty powerful card on its own, but giving it more counters with Magus Lucea Kane helps it to grow even faster. Counter doublers also interact well with this card, quadrupling the number of counters you get instead of just doubling them.
While Voracious Hydra can’t do this every turn, it can when it enters the battlefield. It can be a very big creature for very little mana in the right circumstances.
Stonecoil Serpent is a great blocker for Commander. A lot of players play multicolored decks. This can stop you from taking too much Commander damage or just stave off some powerful creatures. It can be played very early and still be an effective blocker thanks to its protection thanks to having no additional cost.
One of the best ways to enhance your +1/+1 counters in this deck is by doubling them.
Branching Evolution doubles your output of counters, while Doubling Season and Primal Vigor both double counters and creature tokens. When you copy creatures with Magus Lucea Kane you get two copies instead of just the one. Each of these copies also enter with double tokens, making this one of the strongest interactions available to you.
The First Tyrannic War is an amazing form of support for +1/+1 counters. You’ll likely be getting a lot of counters on one of your creatures when it’s first played because this deck runs mostly creatures with X in their cost. You can double any of your creature’s +1/+1 counters on each subsequent turn, allowing you to buff whichever creature seems best.
Winged Hive Tyrant is a great way to pay off all the +1/+1 counters you have by allowing your big creatures to fly over some blockers. You also make it easier to drop a big creature and have it deal damage without its risking removal on a trip around the table by giving your creatures haste.
Simic Ascendancy is a way to get counters and benefit from them. You easily reach the 20 counters necessary for this card to become an alternate wincon, though keeping it on the table might be difficult.
Aside from your ravenous creatures that deal direct damage, there are also a few cards that allow each of your creatures to deal damage when they enter.
Warstorm Surge has the same effect, and it can be more difficult to remove for decks that aren’t running green or white.
Invoke the Firemind and Rolling Thunder both allow you to do lots of damage to a single player. Copying them with Magus Lucea Kane means you can deal double the damage to a player or to multiple players. Rolling Thunder can also be flexible and hit a variety of targets, making it a good versatile option for this deck.
Most spells in this deck get better the more mana you have to spend on them, so producing large amounts of mana can be one of the best ways to win the game.
Cultivate helps you to get a land ahead and also ensure you have another land to play.
Farseek also gets you extra land on the battlefield while allowing you to search for a dual land in the colors you need.
Animist’s Awakening can be an incredibly powerful card in this deck. If you’re casting it after you have Magus Lucea Kane out you’ll be able to double it and find even more lands. It’s even possible for the copy to put out more than the amount of mana you started with for the turn if the lands come in untapped.
Sporocyst is difficult to cast for too high an X value thanks to the double X in its cost. But when copied with your commander it becomes a great form of ramp while also giving you a few blockers.
Zendikar Resurgent doubles up the mana you produce with your lands and probably acts as a good form of card draw given how many creatures you have.
Nyxbloom Ancient triples mana produced by lands and any other permanent, so mana rocks and creatures that tap for mana also count. These can both be huge advantages toward casting X spells for a large number. Remember, you can tap lands at instant speed once these are on the board. Feel free to tap all your lands in response to at least get one explosive turn out of them if a player tries to remove one of them.
Ashaya, Soul of the Wild turns all your creatures into a mana source, which can also help to pump X spells. It’s important to remember that copies don’t count towards this because they enter as tokens.
Ravenous creatures are a great form of card draw in this deck, especially when copied with Magus Lucea Kane.
Elemental Bond basically gives ravenous to any non-Tyranid that has more than 3 power, allowing you a similar benefit. Creatures with ravenous abilities also draw you two cards if X is greater than five instead of just one with this card out, or 4 cards if being copied.
Greater Good can be a great form of card draw in this deck thanks to all the powerful creatures you have. Pairing this card with another of your great card draw abilities like Lifeblood Hydra can get you lots of extra resources in your hand.
Blue Sun’s Zenith and Commander’s Insight can both draw you lots of cards if you have a lot of mana. They can also be copied by Magus Lucea Kane, making them even better choices. You can even use one of these spells to deck an opponent and take them out of the game if you have enough mana.
Inspiring Call is a cheap draw spell that can be very effective in this deck. Most of your creatures enter with +1/+1 counters, and those that don’t can be given one with Magus Lucea Kane’s static ability. This card also serves as a form of protection, allowing you to swing out with some of your big creatures and know they’ll be safe.
The Mana Base
There are some expensive cards in this deck, so I opted to keep the land base a little more budget-friendly. That means no fetch lands in favor of cheaper dual options like Dreamroot Cascade and Rootbound Crag.
Command Tower is an obvious inclusion so you can access all your colors with it.
Path of Ancestry is pretty helpful because lots of your creatures are Tyranids like your commander.
Cave of Temptation helps support your +1/+1 counter theme and can make a big difference if you have payoffs for your counters or a counter doubler.
You have a few mana rocks in this deck like Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, and The Great Henge. The Great Henge is also a great way to ensure all your creatures are getting at least one counter so they receive benefits from cards like Winged Hive Tyrant.
Ashaya, Soul of the Wild also turns all your nontoken creatures into mana dorks.
The main strategy of this deck is to tap out for big X spells and get the maximum value out of them. The simplest way to get extra value from your spells is by copying them with Magus Lucea Kane, but enchantments like Doubling Season are also very helpful.
You have your choice of how to play once your battlefield is full of big Tyranids and hydras. You can be aggressive and start chipping away at your opponents’ life, or you can use your big creatures as effective blockers and bide your time until you can end the game all at once.
You have a few options to finish the game. Rolling Thunder or Invoke the Firemind can take out players when cast at a high enough X value. Rolling Earthquake can take out all your opponents at once, but it also hits you so you need to be ahead on life. Finale of Devastation can buff all your creatures, and it’s hard for your opponents to stop all that damage coming through when copied with Magus Lucea Kane. Alternatively, you can use Blue Sun’s Zenith or Commander’s Insight to deck an opponent if you have a ton of mana.
There are quite a few good interactions in this deck, including a possible infinite combo. That said, this isn’t a combo-reliant deck. It plays perfectly well even if you don’t end up meeting all the conditions to go infinite.
Doubling Season doubles your counters as they move from your destroyed creature to The Ozolith and then doubles them again when they move back to the next creature thanks to the specific wording on the card.
The Ozolith also pairs very well with Greater Good. You can sacrifice a powerful creature to draw a lot of cards and not feel like you’re getting behind because all that creature’s counters are moved onto a different creature.
Candelabra of Tawnos can be used to help with mana fixing on its own. It allows you to create a lot of mana when combined with Magus Lucea Kane’s activated ability. Just tap your commander and then all your lands. Activate Candelabra of Tawnos, targeting all your lands. This initially leaves you with two additional mana thanks to Magus Lucea Kane.
Then your commander’s ability copies the ability of Candelabra of Tawnos. After the copy resolves and untaps your lands, but before the initial effect resolves, tap your lands again. You basically double your mana output for that turn.
Magus of the Candelabra works the same way as Candelabra of Tawnos, but it can also be used to go infinite in this deck. This combo requires you to have Ashaya, Soul of the Wild on the board too, making Magus of the Candelabra and Magus Lucea Kane into lands themselves.
Use the same trick as you did with Candelabra of Tawnos, except use the extra two mana produced to untap Magus of the Candelabra and Magus Lucea Kane. You now have all your lands untapped thanks to the copied ability, as much mana as they’d produce, and the ability to continue doing that as many times as you’d like.
There’s an immediate cut to make to this deck if you’re intending to play on paper, and that’s Candelabra of Tawnos. The card runs somewhere between $800 and $1,000, and it frankly isn’t worth it, especially given it can’t go infinite the same way Magus of the Candelabra can.
Force of Will is also a very expensive card. I included it because it allows you to tap out for an X spell but then still have a counter available. Pact of Negation isn’t as good, but it still fulfills that role and is about ten times cheaper.
One different direction you could take is focusing on just the best of the best X spells and forgetting about the Tyranid sub-theme. This is a similar build but you’d add in great spells like Crackle With Power, Walking Ballista, and Altered Ego. Some of the Tyranids can definitely stay, but you may also want to consider some more hydras like Steelbane Hydra.
You may also want to alter this deck slightly to include spells that care about modified creatures or creatures with +1/+1 counters on them. Herald of Secret Streams can make a lot of your creatures unblockable in this deck.
If all you want to do is remove the infinite combo from this deck then you just have to get rid of Magus of the Candelabra. Replacing it with Kiora’s Follower still gives you some pretty crazy turns without going infinite if that’s something you tend to avoid.
Tyrant Guard | Illustration by Xavier Ribeiro
Magus Lucea Kane can be a very powerful commander. Its ability to copy most of your spells allows you to get lots of value out of each turn.
I’d definitely recommend trying this deck out if you’re looking for a powerful deck that also offers a unique way to pay. You can get a lot of the building blocks from the Tyranid Swarm precon, so this would be an easy deck to experiment with if you’ve already picked that up.
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