Conditions Allow - Alaundo the Seer EDH
(Alaundo the Seer | Art by Aurore Folney)
In Suspense? Ask a Seer
Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, where I take a legendary creature with a drawback and build a commander deck to turn it into a strength. Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate is finally out, with lots of new possibilities for us to explore. Between Backgrounds and new standalone commanders, the options seem endless and it can be difficult to know where to start. So why not turn to a seer for help?
Alaundo the Seer, similar to Jhoira of the Ghitu, puts your spells into exile with time counters so they can be cast later on for free. Unlike Jhoira, however, Alaundo doesn't give those spells Suspend. You'll need some other way of removing those time counters, such as activating Alaundo the Seer's effect on a later turn. If your commander is destroyed, you'll have to wait a little while to get access to those spells again. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that Alaundo's EDHREC page looks significantly different from Jhoira's. Where Jhoira hangs out with Eldrazi Titans, Inkwell Leviathans, and Ancient Silver Dragons, Alaundo plays much cheaper cards with a focus on untapping himself.
These spells make a lot of sense with Alaundo the Seer. The more you can activate his effect, the faster you get to cast free spells. One-mana spells are particularly powerful. As long as you already have one Suspended, the next one is essentially free. Using Alaundo the Seer even draws you cards, so chaining Vitalize into Chain Stasis into Emerald Charm is a powerful draw engine that also has the potential to cast bigger spells for free. There are seventeen one-mana spells that immediately untap your commander, so it isn't impossible to chew through a significant portion of your deck at once.
The two-mana variants could also be worth considering. While Alaundo can't immediately cast them, they can be layered with the one-mana effects to get double untaps. Saving a spell between turns also gives you some insulation against the combo fizzling out. It also gets you up to thirty spells that untap your commander. With cantrips and cheap draw as another third of your deck, plus thirty lands and Thassa's Oracle, Alaundo the Seer could command a decent combo deck.
That isn't the kind of deck I want to build today, though. I want to put some bigger spells in exile and be able to cast them for free a turn or two later. So I will be keeping all seventeen one-mana untap spells. But what are they going to be powering me towards?
There are a lot of options. Being online, I've heard all about the powerful tools Simic decks have at their disposal these days, but I don't know if I like these creatures for Alaundo the Seer. You can't start using Alaundo's effect until you have five mana, the turn after you cast him. So you could just cast Seedborn Muse, or you could wait a turn to cast Aesi or Koma, Cosmos Serpent. These are also creatures that I don't commonly see attack, and I want to take advantage of the fact that creatures cast from Suspend gain haste. So we're going to go bigger.
Worldspine Wurm is one of the biggest creatures you can play. Not only is it a 15/15 with trample, when it dies it leaves behind three 5/5 tokens and gets shuffled into your library. Ghalta, Primal Hunger isn't far behind, and Impervious Greatwurm trades trample for indestructible. Besides their impressive mana values, these creatures don't see much play because they're slow. Board wipes are still common in Commander, and single target removal has only gotten more common. On its own, Worldspine Wurm is unlikely to survive long enough to attack. Alaundo the Seer gives you something most Simic commanders don't have access to, however: haste. Power out one of these beaters with your commander and they'll get to attack right away.
I'm also including several creatures at more reasonable mana costs. These are more likely to be cast normally and protect your life total until you can launch a major attack with even bigger creatures. More importantly, they also serve as decoys to draw removal away from Alaundo the Seer, or backup threats if your Blightsteel Colossus gets stuck in exile. Of course, casting any of these with haste is also very powerful. Aggressive Mammoth lets you push through huge amounts of damage, and Pathbreaker Ibex ends games even faster than Blightsteel Colossus.
Paying the Piper
None of this really gets around the problem of having your spells stuck in exile, though. No matter how many untap effects the deck plays, Worldspine Wurm and Impervious Greatwurm are going to take a few turns to cast, and the easiest way for your opponents to deal with that is to not let it happen, which is why the real goal of this deck is to get Elvish Piper or Monster Manual into play.
Both of these cards let you cheat creatures from your hand into play. Do this during the end step before your turn and it'll be like they have haste. Do it during combat to create a surprise blocker. Monster Manual is a little more resilient as an artifact, and therefore isn't affected by summoning sickness, making it the more reliable of the two, but Alaundo the Seer helps mitigate that by casting Elvish Piper with haste. Building around these two cards also makes sequencing with Alaundo much easier. All you have to focus on is drawing as many cards as you can to pair a Piper effect with a big threat. No need to worry about lining up different suspended cards to be cast at the same time.
Holding all of this together is a selection of counterspells to keep Alaundo the Seer in play, cantrips to draw the cards you need, and a few ways to get rid of troublesome permanents across the board. In particular I've really been enjoying Mental Journey as a way to ensure you hit land drops early and late game.
Alaundo the Seer
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Alaundo the Seer is a prime example of a Simic commander who is primed to do a lot without actually doing anything. If you build your deck to untap Alaundo as much as possible, you will likely take long turns that don't affect the board as you build towards a win with Laboratory Maniac. I've tried to take this deck in a different direction, building to an explosive turn with huge creatures. If you take a long turn, there's a solid chance it ends with a 15/15 or 16/16 in play. Does that offset the annoyance some players express towards Simic? Is it the best way to play Alaundo the Seer? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and thanks for reading!