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Aug 27 2015 11:00am
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CJB: It's a good day to Derevi, and the day's not yet over.........


Thanks for joining me once again for another article!

The subject of today's article is Derevi. I purchased this Commander deck (back when Commander decks were purchasable, instead of left up to speculation, chance, and decisions based on metric data that could be made up for all I know), specifically for Roon. I've had plenty of Derevi Commander decks-- some Bird Tribal, some Bant control. Some Timmy-influenced. Today, though, I finally present to you a Johnny-inspired Derevi deck that can be quite fun, and is certainly satisfying for Johnnies.

So, we all know she's awesome because her ability skirts around excess Commander costs. Her tap/untap ability, however, is the key to this deck. She goes absolutely excellently with anything that taps to do something, like, say, Wall of Kelp, but thinking outside the box allows unique things like Inspired, Outlast, and the untap Symbol.

Derevi, Empyrial TacticianTime Vault

If this was legal in Commander:

Everyone would cry.


Let's check out the deck:

Tradewind Rider 
Masako the Humorless 
Selesnya Evangel 
Stuffy Doll 
Veteran of the Depths 
Silkbind Faerie 
Order of Whiteclay 
Knacksaw Clique 
Patrol Signaler 
Patron Wizard 
1 Stonybrook Schoolmaster
1 Rhys the Redeemed
Gideon's Avenger 
Ertai, Wizard Adept 
Azami, Lady of Scrolls 
Ephara, God of the Polis 
God-Favored General 
Aerie Worshippers 
Arbiter of the Ideal 
Grimoire Thief 
Selvala, Explorer Returned 
Prophet of Kruphix 
Seedborn Muse 
Aphetto Alchemist 
Elvish Aberration 
Daring Thief 
1 Sunscape Master
Herald of Anafenza 
Storm Spirit

Other Spells 
Volrath's Gardens 
Basalt Monolith 
Aura Shards 
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon 
Dawn's Reflection 
Aura of Dominion 
Privileged Position 
Glare of Subdual 
Sylvan Library 
Dolmen Gate 
Council's Judgment 
Bant Charm 
Garruk Wildspeaker 
Riding the Dilu Horse 
Karn Liberated 
Banishing Stroke 
Beast Within 
Viridian Longbow 
Mana Crypt 
Staff of Nin 
Mirari's Wake 
Sol Ring 
Witches' Eye 
Mana Vault 

Reflecting Pool 
Krosan Verge 
Selesnya Sanctuary 
Azorius Chancery 
Strip Mine 
Maze of Ith 
Ghost Quarter 
Temple Garden 
Hallowed Fountain 
Breeding Pool 
Thespian's Stage 
Command Tower 
City of Brass 
Simic Growth Chamber 
Seaside Citadel 
1 Gaea's Cradle
Tropical Island 
Arcane Lighthouse 
Mikokoro, Center of the Sea 
Tectonic Edge 

Ok there's a lot going on here, and a lot of little combos, so I may repeat some cards, but only to explain exactly what is comboing with what.

Let's start out by mapping out the things that really like being tapped and untapped by you.

Basalt Monolith and Mana Vault love to have their drawbacks worked-around by Derevi's untapping ability, or by (Alphetto Alchemist) or Fatestitcher. Not to mention Seedborn Muse.

Grimoire Thief and Knacksaw Clique make up a tiny Oona milling portion of the deck. Grimoire Thief exiles face-down, which is brutal. We're playing Bant so we have a 66.6% chance (counting colorless) of being able to cast some cards from an opponent with Knacksaw. Knacksaw utilizes the untap symbol, as does Order of Whiteclay, Silkbind Faerie--which itself can tap something, whether it's something of yours or an opponent's, and Patrol Signaler which makes tokens.

Tokens? That leads us to Inspired, which loves to be tapped down, and also loves being tapped and untapped repeatedly. God-favored General and Aerie Worshippers produces tokens via Inspired, while Arbiter of the Ideal drops permanents into play for free, something always epic. Selesnya Evangel produces Saproling tokens, and taps a creature to do so, so, heck, why not an Inspired one? Herald of Anafenza outlasts to pump itself, and squirts out a token. Use Derevi to untap it and do it again. Stonybrook Schoolmaster taps for Merfolk Wizard tokens, and Rhys the Redeemed can produce an elf, or pay six and tap to double all of these tokens we have just talked about. Double Enchantment Soldiers! Double Kithkin Soldiers! Double Saps! Double Enchantment Birds! Double White-Green Elf Warriors! You get the idea.

Now, Daring Thief-- he's the last inspired guy to talk about, and he's Johnny fun here: Just trade one of your tokens away for the beefy stuff on the other side of the board. Scenario: Attack with Derevi and God-favored General, and a token of any variety. Untap the general, make two tokens. Tap and untap the Daring Thief, trade a token for the opposing Commander.

Storm Spirit loves being in this deck, for Vorthos nostalgia, and because you can tap and untap it with your shenanigans to do far more than 2 damage per turn with it. Don't have a creature to target? Why not your own Stuffy Doll? Pinging it for 2 each clip goes right to yer opponent's dome. Only have out Stuffy? Attacking with 6 tokens and a Derevi allows you to untap it 7 times, and can do 7 points to itself.

Tradewind Rider taps two creatures, maybe your Fallowsage for a card and your Surgespanner to not only return something with the Rider, but also the Spanner. Bramblesnap is also a tap-down engine, maybe tapping Veteran of the Depths? The Veteran gives itself a counter for tapping, but use it via a Glare of Subdual to tap down something of an opponent's, and then bam!-- Your Gideon's Avenger grows!

There's a lot going on and we've only talked creatures, not even spells (so much), but there's more to go. Sunscape Master can be used to either pump your creatures-- a veritable army of weenies for sure-- or to bounce a threat. Selvala can be untapped to repeatedly use her very fun ability, netting you life and mana hopefully. Prophet of Kruphix joins Seedborn in helping to untap everything you've been tapping down for various effects.

Ok. Notice anything? Sunscape Master, Fallowsage, Surgespanner, Derevi, the Schoolmaster and the tokens it produces: All wizards. Ertai, a megaultrawizard, who counters for 4 and can be untapped with Derevi, is a wizard. So, Patron Wizard fits in perfectly. Even by itself it's Tap, counter unless its controller pays 1. But now, it's alongside all these wizards! This subset trickles down to Azami, another Wizard epic in her own right, which can just be tapped to draw a card-- but, again, all these wizards!

That leaves three creatures to squawk about. Elvish Aberration is an epic inclusion. Late game it taps for three mana which can be abused by our various untapping abilities and in early game it is mana-ramp, tutoring up maybe even a Tropical Island.

(With all these token-makers, and a heavy dose of creatures making up over a third of the cards in the deck, Ephara just seemed right, like I'd be grabbing a lot of cards with her.

Finally, for creatures, Masako! If all your stuff is tapped, awaiting to untap for inspired triggers or because you attacked with everything, she is a tricky little bit of combat fun in Commander.

Moving on from creatures, there's still a lot of tech to talk about. 

Glare of Subdual as previously mentioned, is by far one of my favorite cards. I have an affinity for it, and the 60-card deck I've made around it has a lot of the cards from it in this build--at least, singleton. Volrath's Gardens also help tap things, and so does Opposition. Earthcraft can be very effective in this deck-- especially if one of those lands is enchanted with Dawn's Reflection. Aura of Dominion is great slapped onto something like the Inspired General. For one colorless, you can tap itself to untap itself, and then pay the three for two tokens. I've also got Witches' Eye and Viridian Longbow in here to help tap Inspired or Untap-symbol creatures, and even putting on a Fallowsage makes untapping the Fallowsage that much more satisfying.

Dolmen Gate means attacking every turn with everything, scoring some untaps with creatures that made it through to damage, and keeping all your critters. Staff of Nin is great because it nets you more cards and can be untapped a bunch to do a bunch of damage. Garruk is here to untap more lands. Since so many things untap lands potentially, I added in the three Ravnica bouncelands that produce two mana each,

Here's something fun: Asceticism. Even blocking with your Aerie Worshippers and regenerating them, taps them, thus triggering the Inspired trigger when they untap. Throwin' in the Position to really make sure none of your stuff is messed with is awesome. Mirari's Wake pumps your weenies but more importantly makes untapping lands with Derevi, Fatestitcher, or Garruk that much more beautiful. Even something as simple as using Derevi to untap a-just-entered-the-battlefield Krosan Verge is a glorious thing.

Hey! Guess what time it is?

Aura Shards, Ugin, the Spirit DragonOblationSylvan LibraryCouncil's JudgmentBant CharmRiding the Dilu HorseKarn LiberatedBanishing StrokeBeast WithinMana Crypt & Sol Ring

You could easily add Squirrel Nest since you have Earthcraft in here for unlimited shenanigans. You could add Midnight Guard and Presence of Gond as well, if you wanted for more infino fun. I was really hoping to include Reveka, Wizard Savant but the plucky Dwarf Wizard from Homelands (Ulgrotha) just doesn't stack up as a 0/1 for four mana.

How satisfying is a Derevi on horseback? With Derevi all Horsemanshipped up means no matter what, one creature is getting tapped or untapped. This iteration of my deck had Urban Evolution (graveyard) and Sand Squid... both of which didn't make the final cut of the deck presented above.

Now check out this board position! Here we have Aura of Dominion doin' its thang!! Also, Derevi can untap Azami for more card draws.

Here we have a field of Enchantment Soldiers and Birds, All of the tokens getting through for damage allow me to, via shenanigans, tap and untap the Worshipers for more birds.

Yes, I did mention I have a Bird-tribal version of this deck. It doesn't do so hot. I tried making a wizard themed tribal deck too, but, honestly, I liked having it as a subtheme in this deck too much to evolve the idea further. 

Thanks for joining me again, and checking out this Inspired, Outlasted, Untapped article!

Did I miss anything you would've included? Lemme know in the comments below, or maybe shoot me a message in Twitter: @CmdrJohnnyBoosh.

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As always a fun ride. I don't by Paul Leicht at Thu, 08/27/2015 - 17:22
Paul Leicht's picture

As always a fun ride. I don't ever want to see Time Vault in Commander. I play Derevi and like him but I think that would be awful. As it is there are a few OTHER items which might be totally broken doing the same thing (infinite turns). With enough mana Magistrate's Scepter could go infinite with Derevi. I like that your deck does not sport that.