Conditions Allow - Titania, Gaea Incarnate
(Titania, Voice of Gaea | Art by Cristi Balanescu)
She Speaks for the Trees
Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow. In this series I take a legendary creature with a drawback and build a deck to turn it into a strength.
I've only had the chance to build around Meld creatures once before, so when The Brothers' War came out with three new Meld creatures, I knew I had to build at least one of them. Mishra, Claimed by Gix and Urza, Lord Protector are both powerful cards, so of course my attention was drawn to the more modest Titania, Voice of Gaea, and her full power form, Titania, Gaea Incarnate.
Titania, Gaea Incarnate is a classic green beater. She's big, she hits hard, and she makes your lands hit hard too. Under normal circumstances, the earliest you'll be able to Meld Titania, Voice of Gaea and Argoth, Sanctum of Nature is turn four, meaning Titania, Gaea Incarnate enters as a haste-y 8/8 at least. With trample, she's perfectly suited to an aggressive Voltron gameplan, while vigilance and reach let her play defense as well. Plus, she even stacks +1/+1 counters on your lands. Even without any other creatures in play, Titania summons the very land to battle her enemies.
What really makes Titania, Gaea Incarnate powerful, however, is her ability when she hits play. Having access to Splendid Reclamation (sort of) in the command zone gets you massively ahead on mana right away. Titania being an 8/8 on turn five also means you have eight or nine mana on turn five. Even if your opponents are able to deal with Titania, you'll be able to drop huge threats immediately after. The goal of this deck will be to Meld Titania, Gaea Incarnate as early as possible. If she sticks around to dish out commander damage, that's great. If not, then Avenger of Zendikar and The Tarrasque will step in to finish the job. With Titania, Voice of Gaea in the command zone, our top two priorities will be putting lands in the graveyard and finding Argoth, Sanctum of Nature.
Luckily, green gives us plenty of tools to do both of those things at once. Satyr Wayfinder and Grapple with the Past both fill your graveyard while letting you pull any land back to your hand. Sudden Reclamation and Druidic Ritual let you grab a land and a creature, making sure you have extra threats to back up Titania, Gaea Incarnate when she hits play. Of course, Crop Rotation and Elvish Reclaimer are the real all-stars here. They both let you get that fourth land into your graveyard and fetch Argoth, Sanctum of Nature in the end step before your turn. Being able to be patient and play around Wasteland effects is also vital for getting this deck off the ground.
Your lands can also put themselves into the graveyard. Fetch lands are obviously powerful, even down to the on-color options from Streets of New Capenna. I'm going to include some lifegain synergy down the line as well, so gaining one or two life from Riveteers Overlook isn't irrelevant. Cycling lands also give you some velocity through your deck. Finally, since this deck is going to include Conduit of Worlds and Erinis, Gloom Stalker, we can lean into Wastelands of our own. In addition to picking off Dark Depths and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, we can also use them to take out Demolition Fields and Ghost Quarters that threaten our own important lands.
Finally, I'm including a few ways to make absolutely certain we get Argoth, Sanctum of Nature into play. Hour of Promise, Pir's Whim, and Ulvenwald Hydra are slower than we'd like to be, but Melding Titania, Gaea Incarnate is much better than not. Additionally, the deck has enough utility lands that these spells are never dead. Sylvan Scrying lets you find that Slippery Karst to combo with Life from the Loam, and Hour of Promise sets you up with Darksteel Citadel and Cascading Cataracts to start making big, indestructible Elementals.
Reaping What You Sowed
If you look at the EDHREC page for Titania, Voice of Gaea, a lot of the most popular instants are dedicated to protecting Titania, Gaea Incarnate once she hits play. I am including Asceticism, but I'm not too worried about keeping Titania, Voice of Gaea in play. Instead of dedicating cards to protecting my commander, I'm going to add as many other big monsters do the deck as possible.
There are a lot of good options in this category. You could go as big as Impervious Greatwurm and Worldspine Wurm, but I want to top out at around nine mana. There was a lot of discussion about The Tarrasque not being scary enough when it was spoiled, but a 10/10 with haste isn't something you get very often in green. World Breaker gets rid of pesky permanents while being difficult to deal with itself, and Kamahl, Heart of Krosa makes your smaller utility creatures into legitimate threats as well. He also makes Avenger of Zendikar a much scarier creature, even if you don't get any counters on those Plant tokens.
I'm also including a few powerful creatures at five mana to make sure we stay in the game if Titania never Melds. Titania, Protector of Argoth is a natural fit in any deck that wants lands in the graveyard, and Cavalier of Thorns fits nicely into our self mill sub-theme. Kura, the Boundless Sky is another way to search for specific lands or to leave behind a large token. Rebuying Kura a few times with Sudden Reclamation, Timeless Witness, and Cavalier of Thorns actually gives this deck decent resilience against board wipes.
Gaining Life is Good?
Another major reason I'm okay with not protecting Titania, Gaea Incarnate is because Titania, Voice of Gaea is sneakily rather good. Incidental lifegain is often overlooked in Commander, but it helps you draw extra cards with Sylvan Library, and can keep you alive for that crucial extra turn. And while this deck won't win with Aetherflux Reservoir, green did recently get another excellent payoff for gaining life, Blossoming Bogbeast.
Between fetch lands, Cycling lands, and Ghost Quarters, Titania, Voice of Gaea can easily gain you six life in a turn. Combined with additional lifegain from Skola Grovedancer and Druid Class, it isn't difficult for Blossoming Bogbeast to make your creatures very, very dangerous. I'm also adding Turntimber Sower to help make a few extra tokens. That being said, even without extra tokens, Blossoming Bogbeast should be more than enough to turn Reclamation Sage and Tireless Tracker into lethal attackers, and if they're not, we can add Nissa, Ascended Animist to the mix to really make use of all those Forests Titania, Gaea Incarnate put into play.
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I wouldn't say that Titania, Voice of Gaea is an overlooked commander. She has over 1,000 decks on EDHREC after all. But I do think she is somewhat underestimated. Unlike Urza, Lord Protector and Mishra, Claimed by Gix, she doesn't appear to do much on her own, and it's relatively easy to stop any Meld creature from actually Melding. If you like big green spells, or just want a different take on mono-green lands, however, then this deck might be for you. It goes big very fast, and can settle in to long grindy games as well, thanks to the life gain provided by Titania, Voice of Gaea.
Have you built around Titania, Gaea Incarnate? What approach did you take? Are there any cards I overlooked? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!