Rin and Seri, Inseparable | Illustration by Leesha Hannigan
Some commanders catch your attention because they’re super powerful or potentially because they utilize a strategy that you’re a big fan of. However, sometimes a commander comes along that stands out just because you love the artwork. That was the case with me and Rin and Seri, Inseparable, a card so cute I just knew I had to make a deck around it.
As a big fan of both cats and dogs, Rin and Seri was the perfect choice for a themed deck as opposed to one that was strictly about gameplay. I admit that this deck leans a little heavy on cats, but mostly because there really aren’t as many great dog cards in Magic.
As much as this deck started as a fun-themed deck, one I actually initially put together as a wedding gift for a friend, that doesn’t mean it isn’t also powerful. This deck can generate a lot of tokens and has powerful interactions that show the kitties in this deck certainly have claws.
Feline Sovereign | Illustration by Dan Scott
Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea
Jetmir, Nexus of Revels
Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second
Kaheera, the Orphanguard
King of the Pride
Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva
Marisi, Breaker of the Coil
Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist
Mondrak, Glory Dominus
Prava of the Steel Legion
Skrelv, Defector Mite
Path of Ancestry
This deck has a ton of cats and dogs in it, meaning each of your creatures provides additional benefits thanks to your commander. The creatures that aren’t cats or dogs, like Mondrak, Glory Dominus, are here to help with this deck’s strategy in other ways, so it doesn’t matter that they aren’t on theme for the dual typal deck theme.
This deck also has a good amount of support for the tokens you’re making, with cards like Anointed Procession increasing your token output and cards like Cryptolith Rite that help take advantage of having a large board state.
Rin and Seri, Inseparable is a great commander because it can both build value and then act as its own payoff. With the right build, you can be getting multiple creatures most of the time you cast one thanks to this commander. Rin and Seri’s activated ability can deal a good amount of damage once you’ve generated a lot of tokens, and gaining extra life can help keep you in the game longer. If you wanted to you could also build a deck that focuses more on lifegain, though that isn’t necessarily the route I took with this deck.
When choosing cat cards for this deck, there were a few different things I looked for. One of the qualities I looked for were effects that benefited other cats like Feline Sovereign or King of the Pride. Kaheera, the Orphanguard is one of the better cat support cards in this deck since it acts as an anthem and gives your cats a good keyword ability.
I also looked for cats that had abilities that helped with this deck’s strategy for going wide. Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist is great for decks with a lot of creatures, because you can swing out and deal a lot of damage knowing only one creature will be blocked. You also won’t have to worry about getting attacked back by too many creatures even if you swing out.
While there are only about half as many dogs as cats in Magic, there are still good ones to choose from for this deck. Loyal Warhound for example is a good way to make sure you aren’t getting too far behind on lands.
Pack Leader works as an anthem for your dogs and allows you to attack with them knowing they most likely won’t die in combat. While not as extensive of protection, Selfless Savior can also help keep a creature safe and is good for keeping your commander on the board.
Because creating tokens are a big part of this deck’s strategy, having some cards that help with token production or are a payoff for having a lot of tokens are a good inclusion.
Cryptolith Rite is a great way to make use of your many creature tokens outside of just attacking with them. Beastmaster Ascension is another great payoff for creating a lot of creatures, and it also gives them a huge buff if it sticks around.
Most of the lands in this deck are just focused around getting all the colors you need to cast spells. Fetch lands like Windswept Heath can help you find dual lands like Temple Garden or the Naya triome, Jetmir's Garden.
Cards like Secluded Courtyard and Unclaimed Territory can also help with mana fixing for either your cats or dogs. With a couple similar options in this deck, you could always use one of the lands for dogs and another for cats.
The main strategy for this deck is to use Rin and Seri, Inseparable’s triggered abilities to build up a large token army. Apart from the inherent benefits of having a lot of creatures, you can also be dealing damage with Impact Tremors or Rin and Seri’s activated ability as well.
You have a good number of protection spells like Flawless Maneuver and Heroic Intervention that you’ll want to use to maintain your large board state. While I wouldn’t use it to just save a few creatures, don’t be too stingy with them because you don’t want to get caught rebuilding over and over.
Once you have a bigger board state, you’ll want to use your tutors to find one of your finishers like Craterhoof Behemoth or Moonshaker Cavalry. This allows you to swing out with your buffed-up tokens and hopefully take out all your opponents. Jetmir, Nexus of Revels can also be very helpful in finishing out a game once you have nine or more creatures.
Infect doesn’t care if the damage you deal is combat damage or not, this means it works with Rin and Seri, Inseparable’s activated ability. If you equip your commander with Grafted Exoskeleton or you’ve cast Triumph of the Hordes, as long as you have more than 10 dogs on the field, you can eliminate one of your opponents.
One thing to keep in mind with this deck is that not all players enjoy when you use infect to win games of Commander. This is because some players feel the mechanic was specifically balanced for a 20-life format, and being able to do only a fourth of a players’ starting life but still kill them is too powerful. It might be worth checking with your playgroup if they’re okay with you having some infect cards in this deck. There are so few that it would be easy for you to swap them out, even if you’re just plugging in a few extra lands.
The unfortunate truth about this deck is that it is pretty expensive, and there aren’t just one or two cards to blame that you could easily take out. Instead, there’s a higher proportion of cards in the $5-$40 range, meaning there aren’t necessarily obvious cuts you can make to cut down on price.
One option you have to cut down on price in this deck is to take out some of the fetch lands. I’ll admit this build might be a little heavy on them and you could easily take some out. Bloodstained Mire and Wooded Foothills are currently two of the more expensive ones, so you could easily but them for cheaper alternatives like Myriad Landscape or Fabled Passage.
Token doublers, while pretty helpful for your strategy, are also some of the more expensive cards in this deck. Anointed Procession is currently the most expensive, so you could always take it out and still have the others, saving yourself about $40. While this cuts down on consistency, it can be a good way to make the deck more affordable.
If you wanted to take this deck in a different direction, you could focus on lifegain effects instead of doing damage. Rin and Seri, Inseparable does a good job of gaining you life, so building in payoffs for it can be another strategy. Since you’re going to be creating a good number of creatures, cards like Essence Warden can help you gain a lot of life too.
You can use cards like Aetherflux Reservoir as a way to spend your extra life. You’ll also want payoffs like Heliod, Sun-Crowned that give you good benefits each time you gain life. A card like Well of Lost Dreams can also give you a good source of card draw, that can be a little lacking in a few of Rin and Seri’s colors.
King of the Pride | Illustration by Jonathan Kuo
Rin and Seri makes for a very cute thematic build, but one that can also hold its own. I like the flexibility you have with building around this commander because you have a lot of cats and dogs to choose from, and you can decide if you want to focus on lifegain, damage, or tokens. While this isn’t the most competitive build out there, I think it is good enough to compete in casual games and it’s cute enough to make up for its relative lack of power.
Would you build this deck more focused on cats or dogs? What commanders do you like more from the art than the card itself? Let me know in the comments or on Draftsim’s Twitter/X.
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