Hidden Strings - Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant

Luca Appi • January 2, 2024

(Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant | Art by Christopher Moeller)

The Sisaya Ship

Hello everyone, and welcome to another installment of Hidden Strings, the article series where we can add a color to our commander's identity without the need for a "Rule 0" conversation.

That's right, one of the many benefits of hiding your commander into your library is the opportunity to build around it in the context of a wider color identity. While it is true that restrictions breed creativity (a reason why I wouldn't recommend this gimmick for legendary creatures that are already multi-color), a little more leeway can sometimes help mono-color commanders challenge some established deckbuilding notions.

As proof of this, today we're going to take on the idea that basic Plains will never get you anywhere ramp-wise, and we'll do so with the assistance of an unlikely team-up:

Plains Janes

Sasaya is a neat little card: flipping him grants you access to unrivaled amounts of mana, but reaching the requirement of having seven lands in your hand can be a nightmare. Luckily for us, the one color that has traditionally been the worst at both drawing and ramping has simultaneously always been the best at doing one very niche thing: drawing heaps of useless Plains.

Captain Sisay then ties it all together thanks to her Selesnya identity and the ability to search for both Sasaya and the legendary land needed to cast him while operating on a 40-Plains manabase. Sprinkling in a couple more legendary lands for Sisay to retrieve, as well as a few other ways to either search for Plains or bounce them back to our hand from the battlefield, will give us good chances of casting and flipping Sasaya in relatively quick fashion.

X Gon' Give It To Ya

It's now time to figure out what to do once we start needing square meters to measure our mana pool. Of course, X-spells are the first mana-sinks that come to mind, and white has its fair share of options that also double as interaction pieces:

However, juggling between hoarding lands (which we'll always need more of) and finding the right cards to rapidly capitalize on Sasaya's cartwheel can be tricky, especially in the instances where we can't avoid going through a discard phase. This is where Sisay's versatility really shines, allowing us to also search for some legendary payoffs:

Nissa here is particularly egregious, as we can use her first ability to untap both Sisay and a couple of lands (which will typically result in adding eight to ten more mana), thus chaining the planeswalker into an even bigger spell on the same turn... which ties in with the next point.

Sisay's Support Crew

Activating Sisay multiple times a turn will be key to press the advantage before our opponents have the chance to respond to such threatening plays. A package of cheap untappers will then be particularly useful.

The two Rangers allow multiple Sisay activations in a single turn cycle all the while helping with the activation cost of Sasaya's ability. Though less powerful, most of the other spells have the upside of being able to target one of our turbo-charged Plains in a pinch. Speaking of which, this is also a feature that we should look out for when choosing our ramp cards:

Untapping lands with a flipped Sasaya on the field feels disgusting, and that's enough of a reason to run two of Santa's helpers and the Christmas lands over regular basics. Cards that grant haste also act as functional acceleration pieces for commanders with a tap ability. Lastly, among classic mana rocks, the two-mana ones that produce green are particularly suited for pumping out Sisay a turn early and for fixing our colors without diluting our land base.

Cards like Hall of the Bandit Lord, Tithe, and Finale of Devastation can easily make the deck more powerful, but the list starts from a decent power level even without these pricier options.

View this decklist on Archidekt

Final Parting

And there you have it! A land-heavy white-based deck that can rival the ramp power of dedicated green decks with their Nyxbloom Ancient and The Great Henge.

Do you love it? Do you hate it? Are there any particular cards or interactions that I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time!

Luca picked up a random Scourge pack in a game store at age 9, and hasn't looked back since. An inventive deckbuilder trapped inside the skin of a competitive player, he resorts to Commander whenever he needs to scratch his creative itch—which is pretty often. When he is not brewing decks in his head, he can be found shoving inefficiently cute synergies into his draft pile and enjoying the satisfying snapping sound of card flicking. Yes, he is a monster.