Conditions Allow - Monument to Perfection

Ben Doolittle • February 13, 2023

(Monument to Perfection | Art by Igor Kieryluk)

A Monument Most Perfect

Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, where I take a card with a drawback and build a Commander deck to turn it into a strength.

When I first started playing Commander, Maze's End immediately grabbed my attention. I could win the game by just playing lands, but it would require some creativity and craftiness, two things I really enjoy in Magic. I took my Gates deck apart when Golos, Tireless Pilgrim was printed however, because it simply made the strategy too easy, and with the extra support from our most recent visit to Ravnica and Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate, the Maze is once more becoming a little too easy to navigate, which is why I'm excited to build around Monument to Perfection.

A recently discovered New Phyrexian artifact, Monument to Perfection becomes a deadly attacker once you have a certain number of Basic, Sphere, and Locus lands with different names in play. That scratches the lands matter itch that made Gates so satisfying, but Monument to Perfection doesn't just win the game as soon as you meet its conditions. This actually makes the card more appealing to me, for several reasons. First, and most importantly, it means that four- and five-color decks don't have too easy a time making this card work. Thanks to snow-covered basics and Wastes, you can easily have the nine lands required to animate Monument to Perfection in just basics. Even in a three-color deck, this means you can fetch a significant number of the lands you need with Cultivate and Explosive Vegetation.

This also means that the first difficult choice we'll face is choosing a commander. Thanks to all the Spheres in Phyrexia: All Will Be One and basic lands, even a mono-color deck has access to ten Sphere, Locus, and Basic lands, more than enough to animate Monument to Perfection, so let's start off with the tools we'll need to make Monument to Perfection into a lethal threat.

Finding Perfection

First, and most importantly, we need to find Monument to Perfection itself. It helps us to find the lands it needs to wake up, so as long as we get it into play, everything else should follow. Fabricate, Whir of Invention, and Tribute Mage all ensure we find the Monument. I'm also including Muddle the Mixture to Transmute for it, and Tezzeret the Seeker to put it directly into play. Along with a healthy amount of card advantage, these will ensure we find our Monument to Perfection as reliably as possible.

Power From The Land

Speaking of card advantage, Eureka Moment and Growth Spiral are excellent ways to draw cards and get lands into play. Urban Evolution offers more substantial card advantage. They also pair extremely well with Valakut Exploration and Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait to really dig through your deck. I'm even including Broken Bond, although Exploration and Burgeoning would be more powerful if you don't mind spending a few extra dollars.

You can also go directly for the lands you need without using Monument to Perfection as an intermediary. Rampant Growths and Cultivates cover our basic lands, with Hour of Promise and Titania's Command grabbing any land you need. I'm also including Tolaria West to help search for lands, and Phyrexian Metamorph to copy Monument to Perfection and keep the lands flowing into your hand.

I also want to shout out Oblivion Sower for any deck with Monument to Perfection. Especially in mono- or two-color decks, being able to steal basics from your opponents lets you get up to nine differently named lands much faster.

Trample Past the Competition

While we're getting everything in place to turn Monument to Perfection into a 9/9 with indestructible and Toxic 9, we're also going to need to make sure that actually kills our opponents. It takes ten poison to kill an opponent, and our Monument will have to actually connect in combat.

Luckily, it doesn't really matter how much damage Monument to Perfection actually deals, since Toxic 9 will give the opponent nine poison counters regardless of the damage dealt. This makes trample an incredibly powerful mechanic for this deck. There are lots of ways to give your creatures trample, but Balmor, Battlemage Captain and Temur Battle Rage are some of my favorite. The extra power from Balmor isn't super relevant in this case, but it helps make sure that blockers really can't stop you from trampling over to the player behind them. Double strike is also very good with Toxic, and it turns Monument to Perfection into a one-hit kill.

Flying is the premiere form of evasion in Magic. If your opponent controls approximately a million tokens, then flying over the top helps in situations where trample won't let you get damage through. Archetype of Imagination ensures there won't be any opposing fliers to get in your way. Levitation only gives your creatures flying, but should be enough, especially in conjunction with trample.

In fact, trample is so important for this deck that I want to make sure we always have access to it, so I'm going to choose Surrak Dragonclaw as the commander for this deck. Perhaps more importantly, having Surrak in the command zone means that we don't have to dedicate any extra cards to finding Ferocity of the Wilds or Archetype of Aggression, so can spend those slots on finding and synergizing with [/el]Monument to Perfection[/el].

Counting to Ten

Of course, even with flying and trample, Monument to Perfection still only gives your opponents nine poison counters, one short of a lethal dose. They won't sit around to get hit a second time either, so we're going to need to figure out how to get one more poison counter on each opponent too. The simplest and most straightforward solution is, of course, to add some of the beefiest Toxic creatures from Phyrexia: All Will Be One.

Giving each opponent even just one or two poison counters before you animate Monument to Perfection makes it a much, much more threatening card. I'm not going all-in on a full Infect creature package, however. The real star here is Monument to Perfection, and I don't want the game to become a race. Luckily, Glissa's Retriever and most of the Toxic creatures are relatively expensive, so you can spend some time setting up and then attack with them and Monument to Perfection together.

Proliferation is also a powerful way to finish opponents off once they've been hit by Monument to Perfection. Tezzeret's Gambit feels like a perfectly flavorful add for this deck, along with Contentious Plan. Bloated Contaminator and Contaminant Grafter[/el] also help make sure Monument to Perfection really can achieve a perfect victory. It also turns out that instances of Toxic stack, so giving the animated Monument to Perfection Toxic 1, with Aspirant's Ascent or Plague Nurse, also lets it deal lethal poison damage in a single hit.

Rounding things out with a little removal gives us this final list.

Monument to Perfection

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Commander (1)
Creatures (13)
Artifacts (1)
Enchantments (3)
Planeswalkers (1)
Sorceries (16)
Instants (23)
Lands (42)

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When I first realized that Monument to Perfection could work in theoretically any color combination, I was stuck for a long time. I considered a lot of different versions, but I'm very happy with this Surrak Dragonclaw list. It supports Monument to Perfection well while still capturing the feeling of old Maze's End decks that I wanted to capture. Most importantly, though, it actually functions, hopefully without drawing too much hate for relying on poison to close out games.

But what do you think? Have you tried building around Monument to Perfection, and are there any cards I've overlooked? How would you build around it? Let me know what you think, and thanks for reading!

Ben was introduced to Magic during Seventh Edition and has played on and off ever since. A Simic mage at heart, he loves being given a problem to solve. When not shuffling cards, Ben can be found lost in a book or skiing in the mountains of Vermont.