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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Jun 16 2010 2:54am
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I.  Introduction

So when I was doing the ROE Overview last week, I noticed Awakening Zone.  I thought that it would be good for a deck using Asmira, Holy Avenger, as you could sac the tokens to make Asmira bigger.  I actually remembered that I had built an Asmira deck when Commander first was available online.  So I decided to put it back together and updated it with the cool new stuff we have received recently.

On a side note, I was going to use a picture of Tinkerbell to start off the column, since she is green and white and flies, like Asmira.  Plus she has a mean streak.  Seriously, watch Peter Pan again and see how mean she is: She admits to trying to have Wendy killed!  (skip ahead to 3:30)  (Peter Pan is a prick in the movie also.  One of the advantages of being a dad is seeing these movies all over again.  And again.  And again.)  However, everything I found online was either too cutesy or too slutty.  Some people have too much time on their hands to be drawing some of the stuff I found.

II.  The Deck

Let's first take a look at our Commander:

Asmira, Holy Avenger

You may not be able to tell when you first look at her, but she's really choking that kid in front of her, and not holding the kid in a loving embrace.  Her base stats aren't the best, but it's her ability that is intriguing.  She basically get stronger when your creatures die.  However, you can't always depend on your opponents to kill your creatures for you.  As a matter of fact, you want to make sure that Asmira is around while the rest of your creatures die.  So the easiest way to do this is by making a bunch of tokens that you can sacrifice to make Asmira bigger.  Doesn't this seem sort of bloodthirsty for a cleric in these colors?  She wants you to kill your dudes to get stronger!  Well, I guess technically she "avenges" the loss of your guys that are killed by your opponents, but most of the time you are going to be the one offing your little critters to basically feed her.  Good times.

Unfortunately, Asmira doesn't get bigger right away.  You have to wait until the end of the turn for her to get her bonus.  Ideally you can sacrifice a bunch of guys just before your turn so that she is huge when you attack.  Let's see if we can do this:

Asmira, Holy Avenger
A Commander Deck
1 Acidic Slime
1 Ant Queen
1 Asmira, Holy Avenger
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Darien, King of Kjeldor
1 Duplicant
1 Emeria Angel
1 Eternal Witness
1 Genesis
1 Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
1 Krosan Tusker
1 Mirror Entity
1 Mycoloth
1 Nullmage Shepherd
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Rampaging Baloths
1 Regal Force
1 Rhys the Redeemed
1 Seedborn Muse
1 Skullmulcher
1 Twilight Drover
1 Verdant Force
1 Vigor
1 Wayward Angel
1 Woodfall Primus
1 Yavimaya Elder
26 cards

Other Spells
1 Eldrazi Monument
1 Helm of Possession
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Phyrexian Altar
1 Skullclamp
1 Spawning Pit
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Aura Shards
1 Awakening Zone
1 Beastmaster Ascension
1 Doubling Season
1 Earthcraft
1 Luminarch Ascension
1 Mana Reflection
1 Mirari's Wake
1 Mobilization
1 Perilous Forays
1 Sacred Mesa
1 Squirrel Nest
1 Chord of Calling
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Krosan Grip
1 Sprout Swarm
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Worldly Tutor
1 Austere Command
1 Decree of Justice
1 Explosive Vegetation
1 Gaea's Bounty
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Martial Coup
1 Nomads' Assembly
1 One Dozen Eyes
1 Primal Command
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Wrath of God
36 cards
1 Arctic Flats
1 Brushland
11 Forest
1 Gaea's Cradle
1 Grasslands
1 Khalni Garden
1 Kjeldoran Outpost
1 Krosan Verge
1 Miren, the Moaning Well
1 Mosswort Bridge
1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
7 Plains
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Savannah
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Springjack Pasture
1 Temple Garden
1 Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
1 Vivid Grove
1 Windbrisk Heights
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Bastion
38 cards



So let's look a closer look at the cards.

Token Generation
Ant Queen
Luminarch AscensionMycolothMobilizationDarien, King of KjeldorAnt QueenEmeria AngelRampaging BalothsRhys the RedeemedVerdant ForceAvenger of ZendikarSacred MesaSquirrel NestDecree of JusticeMartial CoupOne Dozen EyesNomads' Assembly
Luminarch Ascension, Mycoloth, Mobilization, Darien, King of Kjeldor, Ant Queen, Emeria Angel, Rampaging Baloths, Rhys the Redeemed, Verdant Force, Avenger of Zendikar, Sacred Mesa, Squirrel Nest, Decree of Justice, Martial Coup, One Dozen Eyes, Nomads' Assembly:  The deck needs to make tokens.  So you need a lot of token makers.  Some of these are situational, and some require more mana, but all of these can help you out.  Darien can help you out when you are behind or about to get beaten down.  The rest fulfill a variety of functions.
Sacrifice Effects
Phyrexian Altar
Eldrazi MonumentSkullmulcherHelm of PossessionMycolothPerilous ForaysSacred MesaPhyrexian AltarSkullclampSpawning PitWayward AngelAwakening Zone
Eldrazi Monument, Skullmulcher, Helm of Possession, Mycoloth, Perilous Forays, Sacred Mesa, Phyrexian Altar, Skullclamp, Spawning Pit, Wayward Angel, Awakening Zone:  Devour creatures are great for making Asmira bigger, but unfortunately  you can only devour during your turn.  However, there are some ways, such as Phyrexian Altar, Spawning Pit, Perilous Forays and Helm of Possession, to make Asmira bigger during opponents' turns.  Awakening Zone tokens can be sacrificed at any time as well.  Spawning Pit plus Doubling Season actually gives you more creatures than you start with, and can make Asmira really big.
Mana Help
Perilous Forays
Kodama's ReachExplosive VegetationPerilous ForaysSylvan ScryingGaea's BountyMana ReflectionMirari's WakeGarruk WildspeakerGaea's CradleYavimaya Elder
Kodama's Reach, Explosive Vegetation, Perilous Forays, Sylvan Scrying, Gaea's Bounty, Mana Reflection, Mirari's Wake, Garruk Wildspeaker, Gaea's Cradle, Yavimaya Elder:  I had a weird series of games where I was either drawing all land, or no land.  The no land games sucked, but I could usually do something with the all land games.  Anyways, Sylvan Scrying is in there specifically to get Gaea's Cradle.  The Cradle with Garruk Wildspeaker can generate stupid amounts of mana.  Combine with this with Mana Reflection, and you can spit out a ton of tokens.  Perilous Forays works great with landfall creatures, and you can pull out all the basics in your deck over a couple of turns.
Aura Shards
Nullmage ShepherdAura ShardsSwords to PlowsharesAcidic SlimeKrosan GripDuplicantWoodfall Primus
Nullmage Shepherd, Aura Shards, Swords to Plowshares, Acidic Slime Krosan Grip, Duplicant, Woodfall Primus:  This deck is very good at getting rid of artifacts and enchantments.  With Aura Shards and Nullmage Shepherd the board will be kept clear of these problems.  Acidic Slime hits other problem permanents.  I added Krosan Grip due to various combos I was seeing that I wanted to get rid of.  Plus it does a great job dealing with Sensei's Divining Top

Mass Destruction
Martial Coup 
Oblivion StoneMartial CoupAustere CommandWrath of God
Oblivion Stone, Martial Coup, Austere Command, Wrath of God:  Sometimes you just need to wipe the board clean.  Austere Command gives you the option of keeping all your little tokens around, and Martial Coup can help you make tokens after cleaning the table.  Pretty standard stuff here.

Card Draw
Regal ForceSkullmulcherSkullclamp
Regal Force, Skullmulcher, Skullclamp:  Probably the biggest weakness of the deck are the limited number of ways to draw cards.  The idea is to create a huge token army, which becomes virtual card advantage.  However, there were problems with this reasoning, as you will see in the mini-report.  In addition, nothing made me more sad than to have a bunch of Soldier or Angel tokens out, then to draw Regal Force, which only works with green creatures.  Skullmulcher was always a champ, though.  One card that I never tried but that I thought of while writing this was Slate of Ancestry.
Enlightened Tutor
Worldly TutorPrimal CommandEnlightened TutorChord of Calling
Worldly Tutor, Primal Command, Enlightened Tutor, Chord of Calling:  Sometimes you need that specific card.  Whether it's Kamahl, Fist of Krosa so that you can Overrun your opponents, Eldrazi Monument to make all your dudes indestructible, or Earthcraft to go along with your Squirrel Nest, you should be able to get what you want with these cards.
Wayward Angel
Wayward Angel
Wayward Angel:  I was going through my collection when I found this guy.  I thought it would be cool to have a late game super aggressive Serra Angel that could help with my sacrifice theme.  Unfortunately, I rarely achieve Threshold in this deck, and the few times I did, I never saw the Angel.  It made me sad.  I guess if you really want to, you could take out the Angel for a Harmonize or some other card draw.  But it will be cool when I finally am feeding Insect tokens to my hungry Angel while pumping Asmira.

So there are actually a couple of little combos in this deck, but most revolve around Earthcraft or Doubling Season.  The first that you can probably see real quick is Earthcraft and Squirrel Nest.  Infinite squirrels for the win!  Don't forget that you have to put Squirrel Nest on a basic land for this to work.  Also, I didn't put Concordant Crossroads in the deck, because I wanted people to have a chance to respond.

Earthcraft can also combine with Perilous Forays and a landfall creature like Emeria Angel to pull out every basic land from your deck.  Just keep in mind that this is very click intensive, and some people may get annoyed.  

Obviously Doubling Season should help you out a ton with this deck.  However, I have never drawn the card.  Ever.  Usually I have better targets to tutor for when I get Enlightened Tutor.  Hopefully it will come up soon.

Like I pointed out, the lack of serious card draw is an issue.  If you have a Skullclamp out, you should be good to go, so don't be afraid to tutor for it.  I didn't add a lot of graveyard hate, but I haven't had the lack thereof become an issue recently.  In addition, some of the cards in the deck are situational, and require that you have a decent amount of tokens to really make them useful.  Drawing Nomads' Assembly without any creatures and no way to make them can make you frustrated.  When the deck really gets going, it's hard to beat, but when you are drawing useless stuff you can have a hard time.

III.  The Game:  Fight!

And who are our contestants today, Bob? 

Wrexial, the Risen DeepUril, the MiststalkerSliver Overlord
You know what to expect from Uril and Sliver Overlord.  Uril is going to use a bunch of enchantments and enchantment search to make Uril a wrecking ball.  Sliver Overlord is going to play a bunch of Slivers.  Wrexial is typically some type of blue/black control deck.  Luckily, I'm not playing Swamps or Islands, so he can't landwalk me.  Right now Uril scares me the most, because if he gets trample and really large really fast, I might not have a great way to deal with him.  I win the roll and decide to go first.  My first hand: 
I had recently been mulliganing myself to oblivion, so when I saw a hand with 4 lands I decided to keep.  Everyone else keeps as well.  As usual, W = Wrexial, the Risen Deep, U = Uril, the Miststalker, and S = Sliver Overlord
Round 1
Me: Draw Oran-Rief, the Vastwood.  I play Mosswort Bridge. I see Primal Command, Gaea's Cradle, Krosan Verge and Selesnya Sanctuary. I figure that if I'm going to be able to activate the Bridge I will have a decent amount of tokens, and pick the Cradle to put under the Bridge.  This becomes an issue later.
W: Thawing Glaciers.
U: Plains.
S: Swamp.
Round 2
Me: Draw Savannah, play Oran-Rief.
W: Salt Marsh.
U: Forest, Boros Signet.
S: Selesnya Sanctuary, bouncing the Swamp. Discards Spined Sliver to get to 7 at end of turn.
Round 3
Me: Draw Temple Garden, play it tapped.
W: Temple of the False God.
U: Forest, Lost Auramancers.
S: Swamp. W uses Glaciers to get an Island.
Round 4
Me: Draw Forest, play Forest.
W: Glaciers, SDT, spins the Top.
U: Lost Auramancers drops down to 2 counters.  Plains, Selesnya Signet, Qasali Pridemage.
S: Forest. Explosive Vegetation for an Island and a Mountain.
Round 5
Me: Draw Reliquary Tower. Play Savannah, then Asmira, giving her a counter with Oran-Rief.
W: Swamp.
U: Lost Auramancers is down to 1 counter. Forest, then Uril.
S: Swamp, Fungus Sliver.
Round 6
Me: Draw Forest. For those of you keeping track, I’ve drawn six lands in a row since the game started. I was having real weird draws with this deck.  Play Forest, and I attack U with Asmira (37). I'm worried about the Auramancers searching up Eldrazi Conscription or Runes of the Deus or something horrible to enchant Uril with, so I cast Wrath of God to clear the board. 
Runes of the Deus
Otherwise known as a horrible beating when on Uril.
W searches up an Island with Thawing Glaciers, then spins the Top.
W: Glaciers, Loxodon Warhammer.
U: Forest, Uril for the second time.
S: Essence Sliver.
Round 7
Me: Draw Mirror Entity. Finally, a non-land. Play Reliquary Tower, then Asmira for the second time, and give her a counter with Oran-Rief. W spins the Top.
W: Island, then Solemn Simulacrum, searching up a Swamp. 
U: Celestial Ancient, then Cage of Hands on Asmira. This pumps the Ancient to 4/4 and Uril to 6/6. Attacks me with Uril (34). Highland Weald.
S: Harmonic Sliver, targeting Cage of Hands. At first I think this is because S is trying to be helpful, but he admits that he did this because U was tapped out and couldn't bounce the Cage.
Round 8
Me: Draw Nomads' Assembly, play Forest. Then attack W with Asmira (37). Cast Verdant Force.  That's the good thing about not missing a land drop.  Let the token making commence!!! W spins the Top, then uses Glaciers for a Swamp.
W: I get a Saproling. W plays Glaciers, then Blatant Thievery, targeting Verdant Force, Essence Sliver, and Celestial Ancient.  Well that sucked.
Blatant Thievery
W then casts Lightning Greaves, and attaches it to Verdant Force.  Attacks me with the Force, and I block with my lone Saproling token. Asmira grows to 4/5 at the end of turn.
U: W gets a Saproling. U plays a Forest and attacks me with Uril (28).  Plays Auramancer, returning Cage of Hands to his hand, then casts the Cage on Asmira. Seems like there are bigger threats out there.   I make a comment about how I'm probably not the most threatening player on the board at the moment, but U states that since I attacked him first, I'm his main target.  Great.
S:  W gets a Saproling. Casts Firewake Sliver, destroying W’s Lightning Greaves. Then Talon Sliver, destroying W’s Loxodon Warhammer.
Round 9
Me: W gets a Saproling. Draw Beastmaster Ascension. Play Forest. At this point my plan is to cycle Decree of Justice when someone, probably U, attacks me.
W: Gets another Saproling. Plays Island. Attacks S with Simulacrum, Celestial Ancient and Verdant Force. S doesn’t block, and drops to (27).  
U: W gets a Saproling. U plays a Forest, and attacks me with Auramancer and Uril. I cycle Decree of Justice for six Soldiers, drawing Darien, King of Kjeldor. Darien can definitely come in handy when I'm taking damage.  I block Uril but let Auramancer through (26). Asmira grows to 5/6.
S: W gets a Saproling. S casts Distant Melody, drawing 3. Plays Vivid Marsh, then Harsh Mercy
Harsh Mercy
Great with tribal decks.
At this point, U concedes, citing kid issues.  It's a bummer, but I've definitely been there before. S chooses Sliver, I choose Soldier, and W picks Elemental. Due to some sort of bug, W appears to keep U’s Celestial Ancient, but looses all his Saprolings. I lose Asmira. W uses Glaciers for an Island and spins the Top.
Round 10
Me: W gets a Saproling. I draw Regal Force, which is useless to me at the moment since all my creatures are white. Play Forest, then Nomads' Assembly, getting 5 more Soldiers. At this point U’s permanents finally go away, and W looses the Celestial Ancient
W: Gets a Saproling, plays Glaciers, then Echo Mage. Levels the Mage up to Level 4, but says that the Mage never lives long enough for him to use it. We will see…
S: W gets a Saproling. S plays Sliver Overlord, targeting W’s Top, but W puts it on top of his library. S uses the Overlord to gain control of Essence Sliver from W. Then he attacks W with the Overlord. W blocks with a Saproling, and S gains 7 going up to (34). This is where I think I screw up. Since I have 10 power on the table in creatures, I try to use Mosswort Bridge to play Gaea's Cradle at the end of S’s turn. 
Mosswort Bridge
Oops.  Can't play a land when it's not my turn?
Unfortunately, the client won't allow me to play the Cradle at this point.  I thought that you could activate these hideaway lands at any time, and play sorceries as instants.  However, I guess this doesn't work with lands, and I would have had to play it during my turn?  That's what my opponents are telling me, and I couldn't find anything that specifically ruled on this situation.  Instead, the Cradle gets exiled. This sucks.  I don't know if this is a bug, or I just screwed up due to my lack of rules knowledge. 
Round 11
Me: W gets a Saproling, and Nomads' Assembly rebounds, giving me 10 more Soldiers. Draw a Plains and play it. I then play Beastmaster Ascension, and attack W with 10 soldiers. They all grow to 6/6, and take W out. I then play Darien, King of Kjeldor.
S: Casts Might Sliver, taking out Beastmaster Ascension, then Mortify, taking out Darien. Attacks me with the team, which is Sliver Overlord, Might Sliver, Harmonic Sliver, Firewake Sliver, Talon Sliver and Essence Sliver. I block the Overlord, Essence Sliver and Might Sliver, dropping to (17). S gains life to go to (61).
Round 12
Me: Draw Rhys the Redeemed. Play Mirror Entity, and pump all my dudes to 8/8. Mirror Entity makes all my dudes Changelings, so they get the Sliver +2/+2 bonus, plus the pseudo lifelink from Essence Sliver. It doesn’t matter, as I basically attack with 10 guys for the win.
IV.  Mini-Game Report
The game I really wanted to report on was one where I was facing Zur the Enchanter, Teneb, the Harvester and Rubinia Soulsinger. Unfortunately the replay didn't get saved, so I will just summarize it.  I get a turn two Luminarch Ascension, while Teneb gets a turn 2 Mirari's Wake, and turn 3 Teneb. Basically Zur goes on the defensive, searching up answers. I manage to pull out 3 Angels before Zur Oblivion Rings my Ascension, while Teneb pulls out a turn 5 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre that gets sent on a Journey to Nowhere. I get an Emeria Angel out and a couple tokens from that while beating down. Around turn 9 or so, I have enough of an Air Force to take out the Teneb player after taking out his Mirari's Wake with Woodfall Primus, but he concedes. I have Gaea's Cradle out, so I search up Kamahl, Fist of Krosa with Worldly Tutor, take out Zur and drop Rubinia to 5 after using Kamahl's ability to pump my guys with Overrun. The whole time while the rest of us were fighting, Rubinia was laying low, not really doing anything.
It looks like I have the game in hand, but Rubinia clears the board with Final Judgment, then plays Hibernation's End along with a Behemoth Sledge. Although I was at 35, I couldn’t hit R for the last 5 points of damage. I top deck useless junk while R chips away at me with random little dorks that get larger each turn, drawing cards with Opportunity and Mulldrifter before finally dropping Akroma and knocking me out.  My lack of card draw killed me, while he was able to tutor up creatures and gain life with the Sledge.  It was heartbreaking, especially after doing well against the other two decks. 
V.  Conclusion
In all honesty, this deck works as mainly a token deck, while using Asmira to throw people off the scent.  However, once you do manage to start sacrificing creatures and making Asmira huge, it will paint a big target on her.  I did once get her up to 10/11, but someone cleared the board right after.  Having her out with Awakening Zone also makes people very wary of you and her.  But if you want, you could definitely push the token theme more and go with Rhys the Redeemed as your General.  Rhys is also a more consistent form of token production, and the lack thereof can be an issue at times.  However, Rhys isn't nearly as cool as Asmira.
I did have some real strange issues with the land in this deck.  I would either be mana screwed or mana flooded, and I had a couple of games where I mulliganed myself into oblivion.  There was no in between.  It didn't matter if I added more land search or not.  The curve isn't out of whack, and I had around my typical number of lands and land search, so I was confused by the whole thing.  I don't know if it was just random (bad) luck, but I definitely felt like the shuffler was hating me.  I could usually deal with being flooded, but being screwed was just annoying
Finally, the deck can be improved through the addition of a couple more ways to draw cards.  Mind's Eye, Harmonize, and maybe even Momentous Fall can be added to help with these issues.    Also, now that Urza's Legacy is almost out, you can be that guy and add Saffi Eriksdotter, Karmic Guide, Reveillark and a sac outlet for some infinite shenanigans.  But I don't recommend this for online play.
Hope everyone enjoyed the article.  The next article is going to be something different, but the same.  Until next time!
Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO.


Seems to me U was right to by Paul Leicht at Wed, 06/16/2010 - 04:00
Paul Leicht's picture

Seems to me U was right to target you. You imho were the clearest threat. In addition you won proving that you needed to be kept in check. Nice deck. Very synergistic for the most part. I probably wouldn't play Royal Force at all. I would definitely play Harmonize and Elvish Visionary. Wall of Blossoms, and his clone would be a boon to you too. Also Sensei's Divining Top is just a beating (particularly with some of the wacky enchantments you were running and with dealing with flood/famine) which you know since you included Krosan Grip to deal with it.

Well, I think I was annoyed by Leviathan at Wed, 06/16/2010 - 12:42
Leviathan's picture

Well, I think I was annoyed because all I was drawing was land, and my first non-Commander spell of the game was stolen from me. But you're right, I did turn out to be the biggest threat.

I like your ideas about the Walls and Visionary, I hadn't even thought of those.

Another couple cards that i by ShardFenix at Wed, 06/16/2010 - 14:25
ShardFenix's picture

Another couple cards that i was shocked to see missing were Fecundity and Beacon of Creation. I can almosy understand the lack of the beacon due to the low number of actual forests you run, though I think Fecundity would be awesome in this deck.

p.s. If i missed it i'm sorry i always have the hardest time reading commander decklists just due to the sheer size. And remembering what i did and did not see.

Yeah I've been there. It gets by Paul Leicht at Wed, 06/16/2010 - 20:11
Paul Leicht's picture

Yeah I've been there. It gets aggravating when you are not obviously the main threat (someone has something out that breaks the game) and you get pounded anyway. Commander is as much about sociability as it is about strategy. I have seen totally harmless decks win because no one bothered them until they were suddenly unstoppable with a combo from hell. Also the art of whining is a subtle one in the game. Might have been better to take that guy aside and say "Hey Im really not the biggest threat, and as soon as Im gone you are next." or something to that effect.

Card drawers I use in my by Mr Littlejeans at Wed, 06/16/2010 - 14:33
Mr Littlejeans's picture

Card drawers I use in my Verdeloth deck not listed in your deck:

Fecundity (Seems perfect in your deck)
Mind's Eye (this has won me my last 2 games ... no one killed it, heh)
Slate of Ancestry (really pretty good ... sometimes it almost feels like you draw too many cards)
Collective Unconscious (with all of greens mana ramp ... the mana cost is usually not an issue)
Harmonize (boring but whatever)

Fecundity should definitely by Leviathan at Wed, 06/16/2010 - 16:25
Leviathan's picture

Fecundity should definitely be added. I know it was in there at one point in time, I think I must have accidentally taken it out. Other suggestions are great as well, thanks guys.

Forgot to rate the article. by Paul Leicht at Thu, 06/17/2010 - 09:25
Paul Leicht's picture

Forgot to rate the article.