Going Brokkos - Iname, Life Aspect Mono-Green Soulshift Mill
(Petalmane Baku | Art by Rebecca Guay)
Wait, is this where the four grand I lent you went...
Iname, Life Aspect has intrigued me since I was a confused young lesbian browsing Google images for funky Magic cards in high school. It's always stood out to me that you can get an absurd number of cards back into your hand at once with it, and I've been trying to make a Commander deck that works for the better part of a decade now to no avail. Eventually I realized that It's just too durdly and slow unless you spent an absurd amount of cash on it.
So that's what I did because life is meaningless, Cheryl never loved me, and your old Pokémon cards aren't worth jack.
I present the first in a series of deck techs revolving around stupid Commanders that don't work very well without injecting the quarterly net profits of a small restaurant into them. Thanks to Commander's Herald footing the bill and putting multiple eatery families out of work in the name of research, the dream of forgotten legends getting the spotlight they deserve has become reality. In other words, today's deck costs thousands of dollars.
I'm naming this soul-shattering series of exposes after Brokkos, Apex of Forever since you're going broke, it takes forever to build this piece of garbage and c'mon look how cute they are how could you ignore them.
Disclaimer: Don't build this. Don't do this. Stop reading. It's a bad idea, please spend this money on charity or send it directly to my Paypal (@growboobsownnoobs) where it will do some good in the world instead of folding up hundred dollar bills into card sleeves.
With that out of the way, let's delve into the depressing reality of being a useless god nobody wants. We're gonna be running fetchlands, Gaea's Cradle, and Survival of the Fittest yeah whatever who cares. The real star of the show is Kamigawa Spirits, some of the prettiest and least competitively-viable cards in the game's history.
Speaking of great overpowered cards, we're gonna need to understand soulshift creatures like Burr Grafter as soulshift is the ultimate theme of our artwork. Soulshift triggers when a creature with the ability dies, letting you Raise Dead a Spirit card with CMC less than or equal to the soulshift number. What this amounts to is that your creatures dying bring back more dead creatures that grab more creatures, and thus the serpent devours its own tail.
The name of the game is getting insane levels of value out of unassuming creatures. To start off, I really have to thank WoTC for printing the most absurd X-cost creature in Magic's history in War of the Spark. Of course, you know what I'm talking about.
It provides crazy value whenever you play it...
it's Ugin's Conjurant.
I know you guys are sick of hearing about Conjurant by now and the fact that it was never banned before rotating out of Standard is the single biggest mistake Wizards has made in the last few years. Hear me out and give the little punchy guy another chance.
Being able to drop a Spirit for 0 mana just makes the deck run so much more smoothly. You can always soulshift for it, you can run it out and trigger any cast/creature ETB effects for card draw at 0 mana, and it shuts down deathtouch. Jeez, this card is busted; I guarantee this isn't the last you'll see of them in my competitive deck techs.
Speaking of ETB effects, we're gonna need a bunch of them to compensate for the fact that we have 20 or so Spirits that, while gorgeous and emotionally valid, don't do too much on their own. Soul of the Harvest, Beast Whisperer, and Primordial Sage are must-haves. Hey look, that last one's even a Spirit!
Let's go over the all-star team that'll be carrying you through this journey of masochism and self-discovery. Just a reminder, you could spend 1/40th of the money you'd drop on this pile of burning cardboard for a decently competitive Yisan, the Wanderer Bard deck. You don't have to do this, there are people out there who love you.
Anyways, Elder Pine of Jukai is a crab pterodactyl who does wonderful job at filtering through the deck while you're pooping out weak lil' ghosts. Combined with his best buddy Loam Dweller, these guys unironically form a formidable EDH ramp machine.
The deck doesn't run a lot of removal since you need to jam as much card draw and as many undeniably radical creatures in there as possible, but Permeating Mass is a great deterrent from ever swinging at you. It's especially fantastic at rebuffing Commanders since it turns them into piles of sludge their owners can't get rid of with a Naturalize (ala the usual Lignify effects). You can also retrieve Permeating Mass with any amount of soulshift, once again proving it to be the most OP mechanic since rampage.
Cryptic Gateway lets you move your cute lil' Spirits out of the way to drop some crazy murder ghosts. Gateway is specifically great in this deck because you return so many creatures to your hand at once and now you can replay them at a significant employee discount even if you don't shop at the store thank you Kohls grumble grumble.
Now we need to talk about the celestial body that wins you the game, Myojin of Life's Web. Sure, you need to get to 9 mana and have your engine set up, but slamming down 10+ Spirits for 0 mana makes you feel like a Kami with an army of crappy creatures ready to throw hands.
Another overplayed wincon you're sick of seeing in mono-green is Masumaro, First to Live. The idea with this fun old baby man is that you can get his power absurdly high after returning stuff to hand with Iname's trigger, then use either Altar of Dementia to mill your opponent or Greater Good to draw even more silly stuff.
Lifespinner went from a creepy little Bulbasaur gremlin to one of the most consistent engines in the deck. Having to sac three whole Spirits sounds like a lot, but when you consider how often we bring them back from the afterlife where they're reconciling with their loved ones, the cost becomes negligible. It can only grab legendary Spirits because Wizards hates me, but that means it can still grab Masumaro, Myojin but mortal, any of the Kodamas, and the Morophon, the Boundless that we can't play because the rules committee also hates me. Lifespinner also makes me feel less like a conformist for running an infinite mana package with Staff of Domination like a filthy casual who puts "good" cards in their decks and doesn't "waste" their "food budget" on "cardboard."
The deck's occasional glimpse of victorious light at the end of the guano filled tunnel usually rears its head in one of two ways:
A: Get Masumaro, First to Live absolutely jacked and start milling yourself and your opponent, then use soulshift/Iname, Life Aspect to get him back so you can rinse and repeat. It's expensive mana-wise, but if you can make it to the late game it's a sick wincon that will confuse your opponents and give you a raindrop of happiness in the empty rusted bucket that is your heart.
Or 2: Get Myojin of Life's Web, a bunch of Spirits in the yard and either Ashnod's Altar or Phyrexian Altar. At this point you can laugh at the puny mortals as you sacrifice Spirits for mana, use that mana to play Iname to retrieve the dearly departed, and run Myojin out to drop all of your Spirits again.
These two fatties often go hand in hand since you can use one to setup the other. Myojin can cheat Masumaro in play or you can sac Masumaro to draw/mill a ton of cards and get Myojin in your bin/hand to make your opponents cry/concede and your bank concerned/concerned.
In terms of weaknesses, the deck has virtually none.
Wait, that was my Cephalid deck. No, Iname has tons of problems. The most notable issue with the package is its lack of interaction. The list is pretty tight with all of the weird creatures clown-car'ed in there to keep the Spirit train choo choo chooing along, so my current build doesn't have much for removal or protection. It's probably worth it to plop a Heroic Intervention in there somewhere, but I mean even if you get board wiped you can recover pretty easily thanks to Iname, Ha-ha Wrath Of God Smells' ability.
The deck can also feel slow if you can't hit your ramp or find important pieces. It's all about getting a sac outlet and draw engine to start making babies together while Iname watches from a crack in the door. We run a lot of creature tutors so draw boys aren't too hard to come by, but you really need to find an Altar to keep the romance in the air. There isn't much for artifact tutors in mono-green outside of a few colorless books that are so slow even I won't run them. Ring of Three Wishes... ew.
If despite my many warnings you still want to turn some plant ghosts into weapons of mass destruction, I highly recommend Iname, Life Aspect as the February pin-up in your erotic card game calendar.
Iname, Life Aspect Mono-Green Soulshift What The Hell Is This MillView on Archidekt
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