PokeDecks: Errant, the Bronzor
Errant, Street Artist by Justine Cruz
This Deck is a Reflection on Me
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what's the coolest deck of all? A deck that can play virtually any spell! And if someone wants to insult it? Well, I am rubber, you are glue, so whatever you cast bounces off me and sticks to you!
Blue is my favorite color in Magic for a reason: there is so much depth and breadth to the color. It draws, counters, bounces, blinks, copies, clones, scries, Storms, and so much more!
Errant, Street Artist is an underrated blue commander that takes the color in a unique direction and that has some really interesting niches: it's a remarkably cheap commander, it has haste, it's a solid blocker, and its ability is unusual but very powerful if it is built around. The aesthetic, however, made it a tricky PokeDeck.
What is a PokeDeck? A PokeDeck is a collaboration between brewer and alterist that results in a uniquely flavored Commander deck. The commander of the deck is altered with the visage of a Pokemon, and the deck, in turn, represents the moves of that Pokemon. The fusion of these elements takes commanders in distinctly new directions and creates a cohesive experience that both brewer and alterist can be proud of every time the commander hits the table.
This build of Errant has a remarkable backstory. It began when I tried to make a Pokemon Tabletop Roleplaying Game (which I'm still working on). One of the early gym leaders was a fighting-type gym leader, but one who specialized in Akido-type moves; his Pokemon would rarely use damaging moves, and preferred instead to use the challengers' energy against them. This enabled him to adjust his power level to what the challenger brought, which is precisely what this Errant deck does to tables.
With that idea in mind, I reached out to Foxnoctom. As a defender and defensive commander that was small and had a blue aesthetic, I figured Bronzor would be a cool alter. While not a fighting type, the Mirror Pokemon also resembles a shield, which is how it functions. But how could I get the aesthetic to show when the Pokemon is a mirror? By showing it using Mirror Coat, a move that reflects special attacks! In fact, that would be a perfect analogue for Errant's ability! But Errant's ability is kind of difficult to build around, as the copy can't have been cast. So, how could I build a deck that put these disparate elements together into something cohesive and functional?
The first challenge was to figure out what Errant brings to the table. As a cheap commander, it comes down early and often. This means that cards that care about the commander being cast or being out are helpful. Errant has defensive stats and haste, so it can present itself as a blocker and tap to use abilities the turn it comes out. Errant is able to copy spells that weren't cast, so cards that put copies on the stack work.
Errant's copying ability is a bit of a tough one to work with, as the spell specifically can't have been cast. Twincast, while powerful and thematic, is cast, so it can't be copied by Errant. Echo Storm is a perfect card for Errant because it cares about how many times Errant has been cast and it copies itself without casting the copies, so Errant can add another copy to it. Curse of Echoes creates a copy of any spells the enchanted opponent casts, again without putting them on the stack, so Errant can copy them, too! Replication Technique is another spell capable of copying itself without casting the copy, so Errant can turn a 2-for-1 into a 3-for-1! Only Curse of Echoes seems to reverse the opponents' spells, though, so how do we integrate the alter?
The next challenge is to figure out how to cross the IP from Pokemon to Magic. The Bronzor of my Gym Leader's team used Mirror Coat as its primary move, which sends any Special Attack back at the opponent, with double strength. Errant is able to copy spells that weren't cast, which imitates the doubling of the strength. But, how does the reversing of Special Attacks translate into Magic? And how can we do it without casting the spell?
Each of these spells requires casting, which might seem like it doesn't work with Errant, but they all put a copy of an opponent's spell onto the stack, under our control. Narset's Reversal bounces an opponent's instant or sorcery and puts a copy of it on the stack, under our control, in perfect position for Errant to copy. Why instants and sorceries? Those are the spells closest to the impermanence of the beam-like ranged Special Attacks in Pokemon, which is what Mirror Coat reflects. Psychic Rebuttal functions similarly to Reversal, but it counters the instant or sorcery and only copies it if we have Spell Mastery, which should happen, but graveyard-filling effects, like Windfall, can help. Split Decision is similar to Rebuttal, but weaves in Will of the Council, which always makes for fun and exciting moments. But, if all we are doing is copying, at what point do we get to move the game forward?
The Perfect Fusion
Arguably, the most difficult job is to fuse together the commander and the Pokemon. In this case, the commander and Pokemon actually fit together pretty well. The tough part is actually figuring out how to with the game while still being respectful to opponents. Not every opponent will serve up Fireballs, Storm spells, token-producers, or other juicy instants and sorceries to redirect. Similarly, the Gym Leader had to have a plan for opponents that didn't use special attacks, so how can we translate legitimate win conditions into something that works with Errant's abilities?
The answer is with one of my signature synergies: the combination of Mass Bounce, Forced Card Draw, and Windfall effects to force cards into opponents' hands and use that large hand size against them to mill them even faster! Evacuation and its functional reprints use the opponents' aggression against them, setting them back, making it so they have to spend time re-playing what they already played, and creating a situation where opponents have to overcommit to the board to avoid falling victim to Windfall effects, where players pitch the cards that were just bounced there, along with the rest of their hand, and draw cards equal to the biggest hand size! What's more, if the opponents aren't playing out bouncable boards, I can fill their hands with X spells that draw X cards, which work just as well with the wheels! All of this is quite nasty, and fits me to a T, but how does this translate to Bronzor?
One of Bronzor's attacking moves is Gyro Ball, which uses the opponent's speed against it. Using the opponents' board development to reverse it into a win condition and flip the game in our favor is very similar to what Gyro Ball does, and gassing up opponents is a fun way to play this deck and set up the defensive deflecting ability of the rest of the deck. Additional copying spells, such as Mirari, enable those huge X spells to go exponential, and they work with Errant's copying ability to create huge blasts of milling!
Bronzor, Use Mirror Coat!
Here is the most recent iteration of the deck, changed slightly from when it was used on my stream with Shapeshifters. The Shapeshifters were replaced with the Gyro Ball plan, which made the deck much more proactive and dangerous.
Errant Mirror CoatView on Archidekt
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View this decklist on Archidekt