CUT #21 Finals - Anikthea vs. Bright-Palm

Travis Stanley • May 26, 2023

Anikthea, Hand of Erebos | Illustrated by Magali Villeneuve
Bright-Palm, Soul Awakener | Illustrated by Mila Pesic

As I mentioned last time, Wizards is coming out with a bevy of products now, so much so that I think we have definitely entered a new normal. In this new Magic landscape, folks can drop out and hop back in at any time because there will be new products waiting for them to devour. With Universes Beyond there'll be other IPs that will drag people in for the first time or the fortieth time. Regardless, all that means for me is more content to challenge folks with. Enough about sets, let's get to the decks!

Congratulations to Jordan and Mike! You both have made it to the finals! A big thank you to Nick, I very much enjoyed your take on the angriest jelly bean, Omnath, Locus of All. After this article, make sure to go and check out Nick over on EDHREC, Myth Realized, or say hi to him over on Twitter!

Now onto our finalists and their challenges!

The challenges they faced this round were:

  • Must choose a "face commander" from the Commander products released this year*

  • Max 12 mythics/rares (not including your commander)

  • Must play 5 cards that have a showcase version

  • Must play 5 cards from March of the Machine: Aftermath

*It was asked if they could use a commander coming out later this year, and I said it was okay.

First up is Mike! What did Mike make? Let's find out!

CUT Anikthea

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I like Anikthea, Hand of Erebos, but with this many restrictions, I can't really go as hard as I wanted to for this commander. Yes, I acknowledge this precon isn't out yet for a little while, but this is a cool commander, one who deserves a graveyard full of powerful enchantments to cheat in with her ETB and attack trigger. But powerful enchantments worth cheating tend to be big and rare. That said, Oblivion Ring effects clear a path for combat, and a True Conviction from the 'yard on attack is a beautiful feeling.

Grim Guardian and Heliod, God of the Sun are another win condition that I wanted to highlight when you've got enough mana. Altar of the Brood almost made the cut, but the mill I included in here was all self-mill for obvious reasons.

I think Anikthea looks like a super cool commander, and I'm looking forward to both playing and playing against her in the near future! 🙂

Thanks, Mike! Short, sweet, and enchanting! Make sure you go and check out Mike's articles here on Commander's Herald, Am I the Bolas?.

In the other corner we have Jordan! Let's see what Jordan brought to his first finals!

CUT #21 - Finals Deck - Brightpalm Blink

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Commander (1)
Creatures (42)
Lands (31)
Sorceries (7)
Instants (14)
Enchantments (1)
Artifacts (4)


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Hey there! My name is Jordan, and I'm an actor and music producer, but more contextually important: I am an MTG content creator! I run the EDH Jank Center on Youtube, and I'm also a writer for EDHREC! My channel is all about janky, budget, and under-utilized cards. It is my belief that every card can shine given the right deckbuilding context, and I'm continuing to bring that spirit to the CUT series!

Today, I'll be building around Bright-Palm, Soul Awakener.

Let's not mince words here: there were 5 different precons released for March of the Machine, and all of them are pretty fun, but the one who stood out to me the most was this Fox Shaman from the plane of Kamigawa. It heavily features the new ability Backup, which is a sweet ETB ability that lets us grant counters (and abilities) to our other creatures, so my first thought when reading the card was How can we abuse this ETB ability?


Except I ran into a problem. A ton of blink cards want to blink something, then return it on our end step; however, Backup abilities are combat-focused, so a lot of the staple blink cards don't work for us in this build. But a challenge never stopped me! So I committed to building Bright-Palm as a +1/+1 counter blink deck. Oh, and also, my build is under $50!

Let's get into it...

The deck works like this:

  1. Play some cheap evasive creature or a creature with a dope combat-focused ability.
  2. Play our Backup creatures and blink them.
  3. Smash face!

With the general idea out of the way, let's have a chat about the nitty gritty challenges Travis has given us:

The Challenges

1. Must choose a "face-commander' from the Commander products released this year

I chose Bright-Palm, although Gimbal, Gremlin Prodigy was a close second for me.

2. Max 12 mythics/rares (not including your commander)

This is what my channel is all about, baby! We love to see commons and uncommons getting their turn in the spotlight. That being said, there were so many fun options that I had to ditch because of the stipulation. I focused mainly on including the best cards with Backup, with a few other cards that support our overall beatdown strategy thrown in there. Here they are in list form for your perusal:

1. Emiel the Blessed

2. Nahiri's Resolve

3. Restoration Angel

4. Conclave Sledge-Captain

5. Death-Greeter's Champion

6. Delina, Wild Mage

7. Emergent Woodwurm

8. Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin

9. Metropolis Reformer

10. Mirror-Style Master

11. Slippery Bogbonder

12. Drannith Ruins

3. Must play 5 cards from March of the Machine: Aftermath AND 5 cards that have a showcase version

I decided to combine these two! Each card I selected from March of the Machine: Aftermath is the showcase version.

These are:

1. Drannith Ruins

2. Animist's Might

3. Cosmic Rebirth

4. Metropolis Reformer

5. Nahiri's Resolve

The Rest of the Deck

The strategy is obviously pretty straightforward, so I thought I'd highlight some of my favorite janky inclusions:

1. Pegasus Guardian - I love a two-for-one deal, whether it's at a fast food chain or in a Magic card. The Adventure spell for this card is directly helpful for our strategy and is on the cheaper side in terms of mana cost, which helps us a ton. And then we get a 3/3 flyer (which won't remain that way once we start throwing counters around) that grants us 1/1 flyers every time we blink something or something dies! Pretty sweet synergy for a $0.15 common.

2. Augur il-Vec: This card is part of a suite of cards in this list that have Shadow. Shadow is an old keyword that essentially makes the creature that has it unblockable. The only thing it could be blocked by is another creature with Shadow, and you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone at the table running creatures with Shadow. The idea here is simple: this is our target for all of our Backup abilities! Buff this up and swing out to your heart's content!

3. Suspicious Bookcase: This is just Rogue's Passage on a creature, but I'm obsessed, to be honest. Not only does it allow for our beefy attackers to get through unabated, it is also a bookcase. The flavor is too good to pass up!

4. Soul's Fire: If combat isn't working for us but we still want to throw some damage around, this card only costs three mana and allows us to snipe anything we want for a ton of damage. I can't tell you the number of times I have been blindsided by a Fling effect, it's so sneaky good, and people (or maybe it's just me) never see it coming. Honestly, this is even better than Fling in some cases because we don't even have to sacrifice the creature!

5. Cosmotronic Wave: This has been a pet card of mine since I got into Magic, and I am no longer gatekeeping it! For any combat-focused strategy, this card can simply win you the game by ensuring your army of attackers get in with no threat of blockers, not to mention it also completely hoses most token decks. Hide your 1/1s!

In playtesting I really enjoyed this build. Was it the smoothest engine ever? Not at all, but man, was it fun to play.

Thank you, Travis, for having me, and thank you so much for reading. Hope you enjoyed it, and remember: every card deserves a chance to shine!

Thank you so much, Jordan! It was great having you on to flex your deck building muslces, and I really hope to have you on in the future! Let's see if Bright-Palm can awakener a win for you! After you've voted, go and check Jordan over on EDHREC, or his Youtube channel EDH Jank Center.

There you have it folks! The finals of CUT #21, and two very different decks, who will you vote for? Make sure you go and check out our guests' socials, Mike can be found on Twitter @mikecarrozza, and Jordan can be found on Instagram @edhjankcenter. Come back next time to see who won the CUT and who's up for the next, so until next time, remember, if you don't love it, CUT it!