One Epic Spell
Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, where I take a Magic card with a drawback and build a deck to turn it into a strength. Today I’m excited, because I get to talk about one of my favorite cards in Magic. If you like casting big spells that change the shape of the game, this one’s for you because today I’m building around .
Once an Epic spell resolves, you can’t cast any other spells for the rest of the game. In return, you’ll get to copy that spell, without its Epic ability, during each of your upkeeps. So after you cast you won’t be able to cast other spells, but you will get to steal the best artifact, creature, enchantment, or land one of your opponent’s is playing during your upkeep.is one of five spells with the Epic keyword.
The idea for this deck really crystallized when the Commander 2021 decks were revealed and we got our first look at. costs 10mana, triggering the full suite of Zaffai’s abilities during each of your upkeeps. Dealing 10 damage each upkeep covers for the other downside of , you have no idea what your opponents are playing. But 10 damage a turn still may not be enough. If one is epic, why not aim for more?
An Eternity of Eternities
Once an Epic spell resolves, you’ll copy that spell without the Epic keyword during each of your upkeeps. This stops you from getting more and more copies ofas the game progresses. But if you copy the original Epic spell on the stack, it will still have that keyword and you will then get two copies during each of your upkeeps for the rest of the game. will then get to deal 10 damage twice, and create two 4/4 Elemental tokens, in addition to stealing two cards from your opponents.
To help us get there, I’m including as many permanents as possible that copy spells.and are great, but already costs 10 mana. and both help ramp up to 10 mana, and copy our best spells on the way. I’ve found to be more awkward, but it helps to consistently have a way to copy spells.
If you really want to step up the number of copies you can make, though, you’ll needand . Even though this isn’t a true Storm deck, we will still be running enough rituals and cantrips that can end the game. The real threat, though, is . Doubling the impact of all our other spell copiers is huge, but the staff also works with on its own. You copy during your upkeep, so will make an additional copy. Unlike every other card mentioned so far, continues to copy after you’ve cast it, which in turn doubles the amount of damage deals.
may be the only card that keeps copying , but it isn’t the only card that gets more Zaffai triggers. and both double your Magecraft triggers. While that doesn’t let you steal more permanents, it does cause to deal twice as much damage, and create twice as many 4/4 tokens. If everything goes according to plan, it shouldn’t be difficult to deal thirty damage in your upkeep, and that’s before you even resolve any copies of
Securing Your Dominion
For as much damage as this Zaffai EDH deck is capable of dishing out, castingis still a big risk. Being unable to cast spells make sit very hard to protect your creatures, or even to stay alive. This is where itself comes in. Choosing what to steal will be vital for staying alive and keeping your combo pieces in play.
According to data on EDHREC, nearly a quarter of all decks play, and just over a quarter include . In just about every game you sit down for, one of your opponents is likely to be playing at least one for you to borrow for your commander. and are also popular in equipment focused decks. If you play against tribal strategies a lot, you may instead choose to search for or . If a vital creature does die, you can borrow an to revive it.
The other approach is to end the game before you can be interrupted., , and are all popular win conditions. If you are able to copy you can even grab an opponent’s combo to win the game. is a solid option for this. If you know your opponent likes infect, makes the 10 damage deals immediately lethal.
The rest of the deck is dedicated to findingreliably, and surviving long enough to cast it. Along with classics like and , I’ve been having a lot of success with bigger model spells, especially in this take on Zaffai EDH.
One of the big problems with a five-manais that you often end up wasting an entire turn. Choosing to not cast a spell during your turn is a devastating loss of tempo if none of your opponents cast a spell you need to counter. And countering a spell just to use your mana can attract attention you’d rather avoid. But those drawbacks don’t really apply to and , since they are worth casting just to draw cards and copy your creatures. The 4/4 Elemental tokens from do a lot of work too. They attack and block well, ensuring you survive long enough to put your combo together.
The same logic applies to the draw spells I’ve selected for the deck.and help smooth out the early turns, but Zaffai EDH really wants you to be casting bigger spells. and are perfect for this, because their mana value shifts to match how much mana you have available. In the mid game you cast them for five or six mana to draw some cards and make an elemental. Later on, you can poor more mana into X and start dealing damage with . That flexibility means you don’t have to balance 10 mana spells in the deck’s curve, since so many cards fit at any point.
For a little extra insurance that you get to cast spells for ten mana, I’m also addingand . These might be a little contentious, but I think both cards could stand to see a little more play. effects keep other decks from out-grinding you by punishing greedy mana bases. They’re also a great answer for decks relying on or to win. If you find you’re getting more grief than its worth though, these two slots are easily filled by counterspells, or more targeted land destruction.
With that out of the way, here’s the full list.
Zaffais Eternal Dominion (Zaffai EDH)
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This deck is very close to a typicaldeck. She was overshadowed by , but don’t underestimate what this thunder conductor is capable of. Building around also helps to streamline to Spellslinger game plan, since you always know the end goal is to cast one specific spell. Once you’re familiar with the deck, your turns can be quick and definitive.
Let me know in the comments if you’d like me to tackle any of the other Epic spells, and anything you thought about my take on this with Zaffai EDH! Until next time, when I’ll be building around a new legend from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt.