Let's Discover Cascade! - Averna, the Chaos Bloom $50 Budget Deck Tech

Benjamin Levin • January 4, 2024

Averna, the Chaos Bloom | Illustrated by Lucas Graciano
Maelstrom Wanderer | Illustrated by Thomas M. Baxa

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another installment of BathroomBrews. One of my best friends brewed this week's deck as a gift for a fellow friend, though I did tweak the deck to get it within the $50 budget. The commander for this deck, if it wasn't obvious from the picture above, is Averna, the Chaos Bloom. Why not use the Maelstrom Wanderer as the commander instead? That is a great question, and it comes down to whichever option you want. Our friend decided to keep Averna as the commander since they are less threatening and they enjoy ramping, so let's discover how powerful cascade can be!


Cascading

Basic Cascade

Let's kick things off with the main mechanic of this deck, cascade. First introduced in Alara Reborn, it is one of Magic's most broken abilities, in part because it allows you to cheat spells into play. Just look how powerful the evoke Elementals from Modern Horizon 2 are. There are a few other reasons cascade is broken, but that could be an entire article, so we won't get into it here. In the deck, we have a total of 19 ways to cascade, most of which are creatures. The basic cascade creatures are Shardless Agent, Bloodbraid Elf, Heralds of Tzeentch, and Maelstrom Colossus. They might have a keyword, but otherwise, they are here to cascade.

The next set of cascade creatures have some added benefits but are still mostly here because they have cascade. Noise Marine can remove a creature, planeswalker, or player if you've had a wild turn. Aurora Phoenix is a flying recursive threat with cascade. Etherium-Horn Sorcerer can be returned to our hand so we can cascade with it again. Sweet-Gum Recluse can help grow our board and is a flying threat all on its own. And Sakashima's Protege is a flash clone with cascade. Quick note: if you copy a creature with cascade, you won't get another cascade trigger; however, you can copy a creature with discover and get a discover trigger.

Repeatable Cascading

We also want creatures that can do more than just cascade, which is where Dark Apostle, Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty, and Wild-Magic Sorcerer come in. These powerful utility creatures give other spells we cast cascade. Multiple instances of cascade do stack, so if we cast Maelstrom Wanderer with Imoti out, we would get three cascade triggers.

Noncreature Cascade

And finally, let's go over the noncreature cascade spells. Ideally, we want repeatable ways to cascade, and Throes of Chaos is exactly that: retrace lets us cast it from the graveyard. There's also Into the Time Vortex, which rebounds if we cast it from our hand. Bigger on the Inside ramps and gives our next spell cascade. The last three are Volcanic Torrent, Let the Galaxy Burn, and Natural Reclamation. Volcanic  Torrent and Let the Galaxy Burn are powerful board wipes, and Natural Reclamation is removal with cascade tacked on.


Let's Discover

Discover vs. Cascade

While cascade is the main theme of the deck, discover is still a powerful and on-theme ability that provides value. There are two main differences between cascade and discover you need to be aware of. Firstly, if you discover a spell you don't want to cast, you can put it into your hand. Secondly, discover triggers upon resolution of the spell, not when it's cast, so if someone counters Hit the Mother Lode, you don't get to discover ten.

Let's Discover

Because discover is the newest mechanic, it has the second smallest card pool. The actual smallest pool of cards is paradox, which we'll get into in the next section. However, the few discover cards have easily earned their spots. There's Dinosaur Egg, which grows and discovers equal to its toughness when it dies. There's also my new favorite green removal spell, Contest of Claws; it's especially good if the creature you control has deathtouch. I already mentioned Hit the Mother Lode, which not only discovers but ramps you. Then there's a card already banned in two formats, Geological Appraiser, which is just a modern Bloodbraid Elf. And my favorite Discover card, Brass's Tunnel-Grinder; this artifact flips into a land that gives permanent spells discover.


Paradox

Paradox is an ability word first introduced in the Doctor Who commander decks and is used to indicate when an ability cares about cards being cast from anywhere except your hand. I built a PDH and EDH around this mechanic in my last article, which you should check out after this one. At the time of writing, there are nine cards with paradox; of those nine, I only included three, those being Memory Worm, Iraxxa, Empress of Mars, and Impending Flux. I originally had The Thirteenth Doctor in the list, but I felt her ability was underwhelming in this particular list. Memory Worm does double duty, acting as a card selection engine and win condition. Iraxxa is one of three token-generators in the deck, the others being Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald and The Lost and the Damned. And Impending Flux is both a board wipe and win condition.


The Good Stuff

Finally, I want to cover the cards I wasn't sure where to put. These are generically powerful pieces that synergize with the deck as a whole and deserve a mention. 

Utility Creatures

Let's kick things off with the creatures I'm dubbing "utility creatures". Tatyova, Benthic Druid gives us additional benefit when we ramp with Averna, Thryx, the Sudden Storm protects our large spells from being countered and is pseudo ramp, and Nalfeshnee copies spells we cast from exile. 

Resetting Cascade

Because cascade is a cast trigger, one of the only ways to cascade with creatures more than once is to bounce them to your hand. These effects are especially powerful if you use Maelstrom Wanderer as your commander. Temur Sabertooth and Crystal Shard are efficient ways to return creatures we control, while Release to the Wind lets us recast something from exile, which synergizes with the other mechanics mentioned above. 

Cascade At Home

Cascade and discover aren't the only ways we have to cheat on spells. There's Sunbird's Invocation, which gives spells pseudo-cascade if you cast them from your hand, and both Creative Technique and Unexpected Results let you cast a random card from your library. 

But my two favorite cheat spells are Dance with Calamity and Mind's Desire. Dance has become an auto-include in most of my red decks just because of how fun it is, and Mind's Desire is a powerful storm spell that can find you even more cascade spells. 

Setup For Success

While some effects make us shuffle our library before resolving, cascade and discover do not, so we can make sure we are set up for success by manipulating the top of our library with Ponder, Brainstorm, and Brainstone


Upgrades

If you're looking to spend a little extra to make that deck that much better, there are quite a few upgrades you could pick up, and instead of just giving three cards, I'm going to give you three sets of upgrades: one set which I'd suggest for either commander, one for Averna, and one for Maelstrom Wanderer. 

General Cascade Upgrades

For the general upgrades, I'd first cut Maelstrom Colossus and add Apex Devastator. Apex Devastator costs two more mana but cascades four times on cast. Next, I'd cut Brainstorm for Scroll Rack. Scroll Rack is a repeatable way to set the top of your library. And finally, I'd cut Ponder for Sensei's Divining Top. Again, this is a cheap way to manipulate the top of your library. 

Averna Upgrades

I'd cut Roiling Regrowth and add Lotus Cobra. While Lotus Cobra isn't traditional ramp, the burst mana you can get from it will often let you double or triple spell when you wouldn't have been able to. 

Next, I'd cut Brainstone and add Augur of Autumn. Augur doesn't let you set the top of your library in the traditional sense, but it lets you see and play the top card of your library. This helps mitigate the randomness of cascade and discover. 

And finally, I'd cut Maelstrom Colossus or Sweet-Gum Recluse and add Kamahl, Heart of Krosa. Yes, I'm cutting a cascade card, but in its place, I'm adding a win condition for the same mana value. 

Maelstrom Upgrades

Unlike Averna, we want to cast Maelstrom Wanderer as many times as possible, and the easiest way to do this is by returning it to our hand. 

The first cut I'd make is Rising of the Day and add Equilibrium. Our commander gives haste, and we don't care about the buff it gives our creatures. We can also use this to bounce an opponent's creature or remove a token.

Next, I'd cut Brainstone and add Erratic Portal, which is the better utility artifact. 

And finally, I'd cut Maelstrom Colossus or Sweet-Gum Recluse for Hullbreaker Horror. Just like with Averna, we might be cutting a cascade card, but we're adding a powerful effect. 


Let's Discover Cascade! - $50 Averna Deck Tech

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Commander (1)
Artifacts (5)
Creatures (23)
Instants (11)
Enchantments (5)
Lands (37)
Sorceries (18)

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Ben has been playing Magic since 2012 and started creating Magic the Gathering content in October of 2022 on YouTube under the name BathroomBrewsMTG (YouTube.com/@BRBMTG). Primarily focusing on budget EDH content. When he isn't thinking or talking about MTG, he is usually playing video games, spending time with his wife or playing with his two cats. You can find him on Twitter @BathroomMTG.