Miriam, Herd Whisperer - Commander Deck Tech

Queen Of Cardboard • April 16, 2024

Hey friends, Beth, Queen of Cardboard, here with another deck tech for you. Today I'm covering a commander that will make every inner horse girl squeal: Miriam, Herd Whisperer. Miriam is a new card from the April 2024 Magic set, Outlaws of Thunder Junction. This western-themed Standard set features some interesting new mechanics, including crime, spree, and the one we'll most be talking about today, saddle.

Miriam herself is surprisingly good, seeing play in Limited as one of the stronger mechanics seen in limited during Early Access and Prerelease events. The only downside of Miriam in Commander is that her color identity only allows for 11 of the 17 Mounts available in the set. Read on to find out how I overcame this issue to build an entire 100-card Commander deck themed around the concept of harsh travel as one would in the Wild West.

Mount Up

Mounts are a creature new type introduced in this set that are similar to Vehicles, with saddle instead of crew, and they're still creatures whether or not they're saddled. Whether you'd like to focus on Vehicles or Mounts, Miriam buffs them both, giving Mounts and Vehicles hexproof on your turn and a +1/+1 counter when they attack. Saddle isn't required to use your Mounts; it just improves them, giving them a little more oomph when they're attacking while saddled.

While I would have loved to include Calamity, Galloping Inferno or The Gitrog, Ravenous Ride in this deck, they're outside of Miriam's color identity, I instead included all 11 of the Mounts that I could, with Bounding Felidar, Fortune, Loyal Steed, and Trained Arynx being some of my favorites. Outlaws of Thunder Junction also had several cards to help support your Mounts, like Shepherd of the Clouds, Intrepid Stablemaster, and Bucolic Ranch.

Going on a Journey

Since the support in Selesnya for our Mounts was great for a Limited deck but a little thin for an entire Commander deck, I decided to theme the entire deck about traveling across the metaphorical Wild West plains. I picked cards specifically that talked about travel. Even the lands included had to remind me in some way of something that you might see if you were traveling via animal-based travel, with one exception: Luxurious Locomotive.

After all, the railroad coming to the West is what changed the face of the country forever. While this deck is still a little short on creatures, coming in at only 15, I felt that both Kellan, Daring Traveler and Selvala, Eager Trailblazer both had a home in the deck. I also included The Wanderer, because who knows more about wandering dangerous unknown places than her?

Attempting to stay on theme here, my ramp package also needed to be journey-themed. This allowed me to use cards I wouldn't normally consider, like Map the Frontier, Tempt with Discovery, and Wildfield Borderpost.

Danger on the Trail

Anyone who's played Oregon Trail knows that something bad is going to happen on the way. Traveling with your entire house in a wooden box on wheels, poor health care, and wild animals can lead to some troublesome encounters. For the response and removal package in this deck, I leaned into cards that spoke to the danger of the trip. Overrun, Overwhelm, and Overcome were all great to help finish up the game via combat damage.

I also included direct removal, like Thornado, Return to Dust, and Path to Exile. Cards that were thematic to the danger theme, but were not necessarily direct response spells, included Harrow, Reach for the Sky, and You're Confronted by Robbers.

Pony Express - Miriam, Herd Whisperer

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Commander (1)
Sorceries (17)
Lands (33)
Enchantments (9)
Creatures (15)
Instants (14)
Artifacts (10)
Planeswalkers (1)

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The deck ends up being a pretty fun battle cruiser, so this isn't one I'd play at a high-powered table, but it is incredibly fun, especially when you get to play cards that are outside of the normal wheelhouse. I hope you enjoyed this deck and that it shows you a way to build a deck that does the thing despite limited creature options in whatever theme or mechanic you're attempting to build around without using the dreaded Shapeshifter to fill in the gaps.

While it took everything in my power not to build this around Selesnya Horses, Unicorns, and Pegasuses, I'm extremely happy with this and now I have all my cards set aside for Lathiel.

What commanders were you planning on building from Outlaws of Thunder Junction? Let me know in the comments below.

Beth is a casual Commander player who's passionate about silly decks, creating safe community spaces, and crowns. She loves to travel and play magic with friends. When not playing Magic, she's probably snuggling her dogs or playing some video games.