Last updated on January 19, 2023
Tatyova, Benthic Druid | Illustration by Mathias Kollros
There’s a commander that solves both problems and acts as a powerful card advantage engine the more lands you play. That's right, I'm talking about Tatyova, Benthic Druid and its ability to take over games almost all on its own.
Tatyova is one of the cheapest commanders to build around and one of the most annoying to play against. But how does a deck centered around it work?
Growing curious? Let’s dive into this Simic () commander’s world!
Rampaging Baloths | Illustration by Steve Prescott
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Oracle of Mul Daya
Bane of Progress
Avenger of Zendikar
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Green Sun's Zenith
Grow from the Ashes
Walk the Aeons
Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
Tatyova, Benthic Druid may seem like an expensive commander for five mana. That’s true, but its ability to provide you with card advantage is worth the price.
It helps that green is the color with the most ramp spells and blue has the best way to protect Tatyova: counters. With that in mind, chances are you can start abusing your commander’s abilities the instant it hits the battlefield.
There are two kinds of ramp spells: mana rocks and land tutors. They aren’t pretty, though, and a lot of other players won't like to play against them so you should make sure that they’re at least aware you’re running them.
Walk the Aeons fills the same role as the previous two.
If Tatyova, Benthic Druid weren’t enough of a card advantage engine on its own, this deck also runs some other cards that give you the extra cards you may desperately need when your commander isn’t around.
Horn of Greed and Rites of Flourishing are the main ones in the deck because they fit perfectly with the theme of playing multiple lands a turn. Their particularity is that they can also help your opponents. Be careful with that, but you can expect to benefit from them more than other players.
This deck also runs Commander staple Sylvan Library as another way to get more cards for cheap.
This deck runs a lot of tutors as ramp spells, which are arguably tutors in a sense. There are tons of other tutors in this deck, but these are the main ones you should pay attention to because they usually get you pieces for winning the game.
Mystical Tutor searches for the instant or sorcery you need.
Of course, you won’t be lost with an Expedition Map.
Rude Awakening is here to finish things by letting you close games in the blink of an eye with enough lands on the battlefield.
This deck's mana base isn’t necessarily the cheapest one, but it’s recommended to stick with it. There are other options that I’ll recommend later on, though.
The rest of the lands are a mix of utility that serve a particular purpose in the deck. The most notable one is probably Oboro, Palace in the Clouds, which ensures you make a land drop on each of your turns for the price of one mana and returning it to your hand.
Buried Ruin brings back some of your most important artifacts if they somehow end up in the graveyard.
This deck’s strategy is to ramp fast and resolve expensive spells to end things quickly. It may be simple, but it’s the “fairest” thing a deck like this could do. Other strategies involve looping Time Warp effects or generating infinite mana with just a couple of cards.
Once you use your ramp spells you need to start seeing how the table is developing. You don't want to cast Tatyova, Benthic Druid blindly. Wait to cast it when you have a way to put multiple lands into play.
After that you just have to figure out your action plan and how you want to finish the game. Do you want to kill one opponent, or multiple? Depending on the answer you can play an aggressive turn on one single opponent or wait until you have a combination of Scapeshift and Turnabout into Rude Awakening.
Tatyova, Benthic Druid is usually known for getting nasty combos involving infinite landfall triggers, infinite turns, or infinite life, among others. I tried to avoid those as much as I could, but there are some intricate interactions like Eternal Witness plus Time Warp and some other cards that will act similarly. That just requires more narrow scenarios and hard work.
If you have Lotus Cobra in play, the trick is to cast Scapeshift to trigger the snake’s ability and add mana equal to the number of lands entering the battlefield. With enough lands sacrificed and new ones that entered the battlefield, use the mana from the cobra to cast Splendid Reclamation.
Lotus Cobra’s ability triggers once more, and from there you can do something like cast Turnabout and Rude Awakening to finish someone off. This is without considering the possibility of mixing Tatyova, Benthic Druid in.
Sakura-Tribe Scout and Oboro, Palace in the Clouds is a cute interaction that lets you put Oboro onto the battlefield twice on the same turn if required. This helps when you don't have any other land to play and trigger Tatyova, Benthic Druid.
Not all cards are created or distributed the same way. By that I mean that not all of them are accessible to everyone because some may be a bit pricier than others, like tutors or cards that only have been printed once or a handful of times. Here are some options you can consider running that aren’t listed in the main deck but are more affordable.
If you’re looking for different ways to recur Time Walk effects, Mystic Sanctuary helps you to do that. If you happen to find a way to return it to your hand, you can lock the game on the spot. Shoreline Ranger goes excellent along with it, and you should also be playing the other as a compliment if you’re playing one.
When it comes to cheap tutor spells, transmute cards like Dizzy Spell and Muddle the Mixture work exceptionally well. Tangled Islet is the budget version of a dual with the upside that you get to scry with it.
If you’re looking for a different win condition, look no further than Scute Swarm! This deck is the perfect home for it, and you can always rely on using a Time Warp effect to give them haste if you’re afraid you won't ever attack with the bugs.
There are other versions of this deck that you can build based on your preference, your playgroup, and your budget.
You can also assemble multiple combos with different results by adding some other cards to the deck. As I’ve already mentioned I left some out on purpose because they’re infinite, but it's worth knowing about their existence. They are:
- Infinite Mana: Bloom Tender + Pemmin's Aura
- Infinite Mana: Arbor Elf + Pemmin's Aura + Utopia Sprawl
- Infinite Mana: Basalt Monolith + Mana Reflection
- Infinite Turns: Archaeomancer + Followed Footsteps + Temporal Manipulation
- Infinite Turns: Conjurer's Closet + Eternal Witness + Temporal Manipulation
- Infinite ETB Triggers: High Tide + Archaeomancer + Snap
- Infinite Landfall: Retreat to Coralhelm + Scaled Herbalist
Splendid Reclamation | Illustration by Uriah Voth
Tatyova, Benthic Druid may not be the most enjoyable commander your opponents will face in all honesty, but that only speaks for its power. I hope the version I’ve shown you is more acceptable than others. You can't go wrong no matter how you build your deck around this commander as it’s one of the most powerful.
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