How They Brew It - The Most Important Member of the Heist

Michael Celani • February 22, 2021

Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis by Will Murai

Good evening. I'm glad you could make it. Your... connections, shall we say, in the criminal underworld have lead you to the illicit gambling tables, drug deals gone awry, and here's-the-church-here's-the-steeple-put-on-a-mask-and-stab-poor-people parties of the upper class. It's finally lead you back to me, Maximilian Crimeboy, the veritable God of crime, and now that you've joined the rest of the team at my beautiful Chateau Écureuil, we can begin. What I'm about to propose to you is both highly lucrative and highly dangerous; if that doesn't seem like your particular brand of Hot Soup, help yourself to as much food as you like, and have a safe journey, no hard feelings.

The rest of you, come with me.

Forty-five years ago, a group of thieves broke into GOGGS with intent to crack Her Majesty's Gigantic Bounty, a safe containing untold riches in precious metal. They hacked through three layers of door locks, avoided 15 separate laser traps, and then crashed into GOGGS with a bulldozer, which obliterated the west wing of the building, ripped off the top of the sealed underground vault, and secured their escape route. It was the perfect crime; to this day, nobody in the British government is even aware it happened.

A Crime of Passion

As the team was unable to crack the safe, Her Majesty's Gigantic Bounty was traded among tens of locksmiths, private collectors, and perverts who didn't know that it was a safe. It's now in the hands of a notorious psychopath and robot overlord named Mark Zuckerberg, who my lawyers stress I mention is a separate individual from the one you're thinking of. They just happen to have the same name, and I am categorically not asserting that Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive officer of Facebook, is a psychopath and robot overlord. To avoid confusion, I will now refer to our target by the pseudonym "Dick Wolf."

Make no mistake, pulling off the Dick job will be harder than anything you've had to do before, and you're the most important member of the heist: the diversion. Your deck's goal is simple: You want everything coming your way. Disenchant pointed at your Sol Ring? Perfect. Murder targeting your commander? Awesome. Vindicate targeting your Suleiman's Legacy? You've won. Exactly as planned.

Our commander for the evening will be Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis, whose end-step trigger will ramp you and keep your opponents juiced up with crispy removal spells.

The Payoffs

"But Michael," you ask, confused. "Why would I want to play a deck where all my permanents are accosted with removal spells? Wouldn't having all my permanents removed mean I lose the game?" It's true that in general, having more resources on the field means you have more options and are therefore more likely to win, but we're running a bevy of spells that ooze value when one of our permanents is targeted.

  • In addition to being what I call my combination gym-slash-hot tub, Shapers' Sanctuary rewards you with a card every time one of your creatures is targeted by an opponent.
  • You can also rain on an enemy's parade with Rayne, Academy Chancellor, who cares about all your permanents.
  • Battle Mammoth works much the same but has so much tuscc it's practically the entire piano on its own.
  • Every rose has its thorn, and Thorn Lieutenant's is an additional 1/1 Elf.
  • Thunderbreak Regent will bolt an enemy's face...
  • ...and Scalelord Reckoner will destroy one of their permanents. Dragons are the best!
  • Or if dragons aren't your thing (and you're okay with being wrong), Leyline of Combustion shocks your opponents for messing with you.
  • Gee, Warden of the Woods, how come your mom lets you draw two cards?
  • And while it doesn't exactly trigger when you're targeted, you'll have a whale of a time with Nezahal, Primal Tide.
    • This woulda been funnier if I remembered that this card is a dinosaur, not a whale while I was writing this.
      •  I'm too lazy to go back and fix it.
        • Anyone wanna play GoldenEye with me? Post a comment if you want to play GoldenEye with me.

The Protection

Of course, like the squishy body of a human being riddled by bullets while attempting to distract people during a heist, these permanents are all extremely fragile. But I've learned my lesson from the last three times we've tried this job, and packed in some extra protection to make sure you don't bite it. You've got nothing to worry about!

  • Pack a Spellskite to direct a removal spell away from one of your important permanents.
    • Bonus for you -- if you redirect a spell an enemy casts onto Spellskite, it'll trigger your on-targeted abilities a second time, since it just became the target of a spell or ability.
  • When the 'Skite is stuck in a tree, surprise your opponents with Redirect and Bolt Bend.
    • You don't have to just target removal spells. Try redirecting a powerful Aura onto one of your creatures!
  • Coalition Flag is an on-board method of forcing an opponent to target a permanent you don't care about.
  • If the Wrath of God concerns you, Make a Stand against board wipes.
  • Like a Chicago winter, run Cloud Cover to bounce your creatures when they're about to be removed.
  • You can also use my favorite get-out-of-jail-free-and-fire-the-guy-I-don't-like-at-work tactic Scapegoat to pick up your creatures for a measly one white mana at instant speed.
  • Take a page from me and my probation meetings and try Vanishing to protect a single important creature. Works great with Rayne!

The next section is going to be a bit counterintuitive; we're running some effects that tax opponents when they target you or a permanent you control. While there's tension between the elements of the deck that want you to be targeted and the elements of the deck that discourage you from being targeted, your board state will eventually have to be dealt with and players tend to remove these taxing elements first instead of your engines.

The Power

Now that everything's planned out for you to be the perfect distraction, it's time you power up the bullhorn and alert everyone to your presence. There's no card that shouts "gigantic snowballing threat" like Goblin Snowman. But in second place is everyone's favorite H.R. Giger Darkseed II rejects, Slivers!

Of course, Slivers don't get to have all the fun. Here's some shit that's just busted:

  • Annoy everyone at the table with Drannith Magistrate. It stops your opponents from casting their commander, so someone's going to point a loaded gun at it eventually.
  • Beast Whisperer cantrips all your creatures and is also a fan favorite to get offed.
  • Finally, The Locust God is just a huge problem for all your opponents, and it comes back to your hand when it dies.

The Pandemonium

Our heist plan doesn't have enough moving parts to fill a 90-minute movie yet, which means it's going to fail. It's time to bring out the twist that will blow your mind.

Most of the time, you're going to be at the mercy of your enemies targeting you to gain value. But there's a card that you can reliably trigger and force an enemy to target you, and there's nothing they can do about it: Pandemonium.

Suppose you were able to get Pandemonium onto the field under the control of an enemy, say with Harmless Offering, Puca's Mischief or Zedruu the Greathearted. When you play a creature, that ability is triggered under the control of your opponent, but you control the targets. The game thinks that your opponent is targeting you, yet, secretly, unbeknownst to them, you are actually targeting you! So when another creature enters the battlefield as a result, say, thanks to Thorn Lieutenant...

But wait, there's more!

Did you think we were only going to run a few Slivers? Turn your whole deck into Slivers (and incidentally, Dragons) with these two cards.

Or better yet, name Djinn, then donate it. Did you think I was kidding about Suleiman's Legacy?

The Prize: Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis in EDH

Thanks to you, our heist was a success! With Her Majesty's Gigantic Bounty safely in our hands, and our expert safe cracker on the case, we'll --

Oh, it's open? Get out of the way!


What do you mean it's just a Janet Robin vinyl!? Precious metal my ass!


Commander (1)
Creatures (26)
Instants (10)
Sorceries (11)
Enchantments (13)
Artifacts (4)
Lands (35)

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Newly appointed member of the FDIC and insured up to $150,000 per account, Michael Celani is the member of your playgroup that makes you go "oh no, it's that guy again." He's made a Twitter account @GamesfreakSA as well as other mistakes, and his decks have been featured on places like MTGMuddstah. You can join his Discord at and vote on which decks you want to see next. In addition to writing, he has a job, other hobbies, and friends.