PokeDecks - Kaza the Inkay

Unsummoned Skull • December 22, 2023

Time to Get Flipped, Turned Upside-Down!

Sometimes decks are designed to fit into a traditional mold: Voltron, Chaos, Kindred, etc. Sometimes decks are designed around the commander: see what it does, build around its effects, and try to take advantage of what you have going on in the command zone. And sometimes, especially now that there are more and more cards being pumped into non-rotating formats, you find that there's a critical mass of previously unique effects, and you can stretch the commander into a unique place!

Just like last week, today's deck has a unique relationship with removal. Last week, Polymorphs were used to turn removal into tools of chaos to fuel exciting wins. This week we're looking at a kind of removal that's a bit more situational, but can easily be used for offensive or defensive purposes, making this an effective tempo deck. The problem is, there isn't really a commander for this type of a strategy... unless we're willing to be a little flexible.

Kaza, Roil Chaser

This deck is designed around changing power and toughness and then flipping them when it works for us. Since many of the effects are instants or sorceries, Kaza can make them cost less. This also helps the deck multi-spell, which is particularly important when we want to copy the effects that adjust the power and toughness. Kaza is a role-player, and she plays her role well!

One of the more intriguing aspects of the deck is just how little it costs. The initial version cost about $50, as quite a few of the cards either were draft chaff or have low pricetags because there weren't enough effects to make a deck until a critical mass was printed. This type of deck, which looks to elevate underrated rares, didn't-pan-out uncommons, and also-ran commons, is the kind of deck that makes the last few days of preview season exciting. When a torrent of new cards comes out, there are always cool little cards that slip through the cracks and add to decks like this.

The ability to play with power and toughness is part of Izzet's experimentation, encapsulated in cards like Schismotivate. But how does it relate to Pokemon? Turns out, there is a cute little Pokemon that has blue and red in its design and specializes in flipping things around! Inkay is a jellyfish-like Pokemon that specializes in inverting reality. And it floats, which works with the flying ability.

The best part of the alter, courtesy of Foxnoctom, is the background. The image of Inkay is right-side up, but the background has the sky on bottom and the grass on top, revealing that it has already warped reality!

Kaza's Abilities

Kaza, herself, is a bit of a role-player. It's an interesting position for a commander to find herself in: she provides the mana discount needed to push the deck's ambitious plans and fuel big turns. It needs that push, as the deck tends to be mana-hungry from using over-costed, under-powered cards. It's possible that Kaza might not be the perfect commander for a deck like this, but such a commander doesn't exist in this color identity, and sometimes you just need use what works.

Goblin Electromancer is what Kaza wishes she was. Seriously, if he was a commander, he'd be excellent for this deck. A permanent reduction to instants and sorceries saves a lot more mana in a turn of going off than Kaza's bursts. Thankfully, we don't have to choose, as he's a Wizard, too!

Maelstrom Muse is another amusing rootin', tootin', cost-reducin' Wizard! This one cares about combat and its size, so being able to manipulate power and toughness help to draw out additional value.

Mana Geyser is a one-stop shop for your red or generic mana needs. Seriously, don't leave home without it if you plan on having big turns in red-heavy ramp or spellslinger decks!

Inkay's Moves

Topsy-Turvy is an ability that swaps stat changes, making boosts turn to drops and drops turn to boosts. Inkay can use this offensively, to turn stat drops into setups for big damage, or defensively to undo the changes opponents have made for themselves. Swapping power and toughness is big game, especially when zero toughness means death!

Inside Out is an older power/toughness swapping card, and even comes with a cantrip! Perfect for a deck like this.

Dwarven Thaumaturgist, and its Merfolk Planar Chaos functional reprint cousin Merfolk Thaumaturgist, are Wizards that swap power and toughness. Cards that offer our effect AND fuel our commander? Sign us up!

Mannichi, the Fevered Dream helps these effects reach a fever pitch with a universal flip! If only they had blue in the cost or an ability, they'd have been a perfect commander...

Speaking of making the deck perfect, how do we take advantage of the flipping? And what do we do when cards don't care about being flipped?

The Perfect Fusion

How do we make zero toughness mean death, especially if opponents have both power and toughness? We drop the power and THEN flip it! Creatures don't usually care about not having power, but our ability to flip power and toughness means that we make it relevant, and dropping power means we can create exploitable weaknesses in others!

Stream of Unconsciousness is one of many draft chaff cards made all-stars in this build. It requires a Wizard to cantrip, but our commander fits the bill and is nice and cheap.

Downsize, like Mannichi, can hit a whole board. In fact, the two combine to wipe a board of small creatures, like tokens!

Will Kenrith used to command the deck, alongside his twin. He still does an awesome job of setting the power to zero instead of just shrinking it, meaning swapping power becomes deadly.

Kaza, Use Topsy-Turvy!

Here's the most recent iteration of the deck, which is still one of my favorites.

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
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How do you feel about removal spells in Commander? And how do you bring life to draft chaff? Let me know in the comments below!

Further Reading:

Five Budget Combos You Should Try Next!

Conditions Allow - Eternal Dominion in Zaffai EDH

Top Five Budget Commanders from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

Teacher, judge, DM, & Twitch Affiliate. Lover of all things Unsummon. Streams EDH, Oathbreaker, D & D, & Pokemon. Even made it to a Pro Tour!