Hello, I'm the Minotaur Reviewer. If you read my Unfinity Minotaur Set Review, you'll know the most exciting commander in the whole set is . The good folks here at Commander's Herald have invited me back for a deck tech, so stamp your hooves, sharpen your horns and let's get into it!
Magar of the Magic Strings
The most interesting thing about the Astortorium performer is the new direction it takes Minotaur tribal. Most legendary Minotaurs are designed around combat, such as , , or . Now, there are a few exceptions, such as and , but these commanders clash with Minotaur tribal themes. Moreover, their colour identity restricts the number of Minotaurs you can fit in a deck.
, on the other hand, is in Rakdos colours, which has the largest pool of Minotaurs to build around. However, he also pushes in a new direction; big instants and sorceries.
You could build Magar solely around big instants and sorceries, and that would be just as correct to do, but as the Minotaur Reviewer, I would be remiss to not highlight how Minotaur tribal functions and even can flourish under .
Call the Herd (Minotaur Enablers)
The most important thing to establish out of the gate is that the tokens that creates lack a creature type. That means these tokens, the key to our deck, won't benefit from Minotaur synergies.
We can alleviate that issue through the use of and . These permanents allow Magar's tokens to exist as Minotaurs and gain the boons from our lord Minotaurs and increase their combat effectiveness to ensure they can trigger their face-down instant or sorcery.
So which Minotaurs are we running? They break down into two categories: Minotaurs that enable , and Minotaurs that synergize with other Minotaurs.
Our enablers are the Minotaurs that cause us to discard or benefit from self discard, because in order for to make a token, we need an instant or sorcery in the graveyard.
You can run cheap spells to make the deck more aggressive, but for the most bang for our buck, we need to run the big boys who we can't realistically expect to cast, so our Minotaur enablers come in the form of , , , , and . Each of which either allows us to discard and/or benefit from doing this so we can get those 8-mana spells ready to be strung up.
In addition, we have a few non-Minotaur creatures that also help enable (although with or , technically these could count as Minotaurs). These include: , who discards us but can bring back discarded creatures, , who can tutor any instant or sorcery to the graveyard every turn, or , who creates value when we discard.
Lords and Heavy Hitters (Minotaurs)
For our synergy Minotaurs, we have a solid but familiar package to anyone that is a Minotaur-Enjoyer, these being the Lord Package and the Heavy Hitters.
The Lord Package includes all the Minotaurs whose purpose is to buff the rest of the herd; these include: , , , , , and . Each of these will improve the combat effectiveness of our tribe and help ensure that the tokens can break through our opponents' defences.
The Heavy Hitters
The Heavy Hitter Package are the Minotaurs that can be threats in themselves that can help us tide the turn of battle and are often the great targets for . These include , , , and .
Shoulder-to-Shoulder, Steady in the Ranks (Enchantments)
Now that we have assembled the horde of our Minotaur army, we need to be able to attack effectively so that Magar's tokens have a chance of breaking through the walls our opponents may set up.
The most important enchantment has to be , where it removes the ability to block in combat. For only four mana, we can always allow our tokens to break through and cast their spell copies. This is a bit of a double-edges sword as it also allows our opponents to focus on us unimpeded.
Another similar effect is . This enchantment forces all creatures to block if able, but the attacker can choose how the defender blocks. This can make it so that our opponent blocks only one of our creatures, allowing the rest to slip past. It also has the benefit of forcing our opponents to block with creatures they try to protect, such as mana dorks or utility creatures.
Maybe you need something more budget and less likely to make you the archenemy of the table. For that we have and . These enchantments give our creatures menace and double strike, respectively, improving our combat step.
Tools of Destruction (Payoffs)
Now that we have our hoofs on the ground, what spells are we using with to maximize our value? The basic idea is to run the best instants and sorceries in black or red to try and run away with the game.
When looking at ' abilities, the first card that came to mind was . This card effectively doubles your land mana by making that many Treasure tokens. You could be cheeky and play , but that's not my style of play. Instead, I see Bounty as a great way to run away with the game. Assuming we can deal combat damage with the token, we should be able to hard-cast all our best spells rather than hoping to discard them.
But this primarily is a Minotaur deck, and what sort of self-respecting Minotaur deck wouldn't run ? This is a slam dunk to repeat as we flood the board with our Minotaur cards. In most games I play, casting usually signals the end of the game, but if it doesn't, then we're sure to end it the next turn.
One of the things I learned making this deck is all but one extra combat spells need to be cast on a main phase to function, the exception being . If this card is allowed through, it means we have infinite combat steps and have effectively won the game. It's a shame that this is the only card to do this, as redundancy would have been appreciated.
Let's say you want to be a bit mean at your table. By far the meanest I could find with is . This spell, especially with all our red Minotaurs, can easily be a targeted . And if we repeat, well... if you want to play this kind of fire, be ready for the salt your opponents might dish.
Maybe you don't want to be that mean. Another option to achieve a similar effect, but with less salt on the side, is . This is normally a bulk precon board wipe, but here it really shines. The main problem with the card is that, for a board wipe, it costs too much to be useful; however, it doesn't affect our board. Without any creatures or planeswalkers for our opponents, our combats should be unimpeded, which will allow us to finish the game without much resistance (unless an opponent also has a board wipe).
But let's be honest, what is your worst fear in a game of EDH? ? ? ? How about having your turn taken over with ? With we have the potential to do this on repeat! Since this card exiles itself, we need to have it discarded first in order to work, but man, we can really screw people over with this as a token if it's allowed to exist, and with it, your play group's worst fear will be you.
The Strings that Bind (Spell-Enablers)
We know what we want to cast, but how do we get them into our graveyard for ?
The most obvious one in my mind is . This instant for just one black mana gets any of our payoff spells into the grave, which is the perfect way to set ourselves up for a big turn, and being an instant means that we can choose to use it on the end step before our turn to minimize their ability to interact. Then can also animate the spell to repeat this effect every turn.
Other enabler spells to consider are self discard spells, the likes of and . These make it so that we can put the payoff spells into the graveyard and refresh our hand for cards that we will be more likely to cast.
Finally, we have a package of ritual spells to help hard cast the payoff spells or even to have multiple activations with : , , , and of course, .
Fillet Mignon (Fun)
Now that we've covered all the ways this deck functions, let's get into the fun stuff, the secret spice that your opponents won't see coming.
is a fun card to play over and over again. It not only stalls a threatening creature (such as a Voltron commander or an Eldrazi), it also punishes that player by taking damage equal to its power. That can add up fast in a game of Commander. It's also good defensive tech as it can prevent a creature from attacking you or an ally early on.
, I'll admit, is a bit of a gamble. It forces everyone to lose half their life and sacrifice half their creatures. This can put you in a danger zone, and you may even need to sac some tokens. However, it does help keep the game in check as it brings everyone's life total to more manageable levels and removes a lot of chump blockers opponents might be holding up.
is a great way to get people scared. If they know your deck, they know they can't allow us to have an extra turn as we can then just recast Temporal Extortion. The alternative is an opponent needing to bite the bullet and lose half their life, which only furthers our gameplan and speeds the game up.
There Ain't No Strings On Me...
There you have it. is a truly worthy Minotaur and one of the most interesting ones we've seen in a long time, but this is just how I've built it. How will you? I can't wait to see what you all come up with. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
Magar of the Magic Strings
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