Release the Krakens: Theros Beyond Death Commander Deck Tech
- Ryan Scicluna
This EDH deck puts Arixmethes in command of an army of huge Leviathans, Krakens, Octopi, and other monsters of the deep sea. Including new cards from Theros Beyond Death, it's a fun way for casual players to flood the board with giant behemoths and crush opponents with their tentacles.
I was always fascinated by the sea and the mysterious creatures that lurk in its dark depths. So when I saw Serpent of Yawning Depths, my brain immediately started brewing a Commander deck focused on Leviathans, Serpents, Octopi, and other big sea creatures. As if that was not enough reason to build such a deck, Kiora Bests the Sea God was recently previewed as well. This card is one of my favorites from Theros Beyond Death, as it perfectly combines flavor with function: It depicts the story of when Kiora stole Thassa's bident and also makes the in-game actions reflect this perfectly.
This all means that we have to wake up one of the most ancient creatures from Theros, which coincidentally was also involved in the conflict between Kiora and Thassa. That's right, Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle, it's time to wake up!
An Ocean to Thrive In
Before we start looking at giant sea creatures that will populate our deck we need to look at the ramp. Most of our creatures will have a high casting cost. Our commander helps us by tapping for blue and green. Still we need to be able to generate huge amounts of mana to avoid a position where we can only cast one spell at a time.
Arixmethes entering the battlefield as a land gives it a form of temporary pseudo-protection. It won't die to the usual removal that targets creatures — and everybody knows that land destruction is a sensitive topic in Commander. This means that we can just slam it as soon as possible without worrying that it might be destroyed immediately.
It goes without saying that our deck will include the usual ramp cards and other artifacts such as Kodama's Reach, Cultivate, Rampant Growth, Sol Ring, Simic Signet, et cetera. I am trying to keep this deck on the average side of my budget, so I did not include super expensive cards for myself; however you can update this package to your liking. The Great Henge is perfect in this deck as it can easily be cast after we put a behemoth into play. Seeing as most of our creatures will most likely have a lot of blue mana symbols in their casting cost, we can include Nyx Lotus to exploit our devotion to blue — sometimes even green — to generate even more mana. Cards such as Fatesticher, Kiora's Follower, and Voyaging Satyr let us untap our lands for extra mana.
But ramp is only one way to play big spells. There are other tools we can use to make our deck faster …
New cards from Theros Beyond Death can help us reduce the casting cost of our spells. Nylea, Keen-Eyed and Thryx, the Sudden Storm are good examples of this. Other similar cards include Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma and Sapphire Medallion. We can even include Naiad of Hidden Coves since we are running Vedalken Orrery and Alchemist's Refuge, with Seedborn Muse to help cast spells on each opponent's turn. Quicksilver Amulet cheats colossal creatures into play at instant speed. Kruphix, God of Horizons can help us accumulate an enormous amount of colorless mana, while Awakening Zone gives us creature tokens we can use as blockers or sacrifice for mana.
Being Big Is Not Always Safe
After investing a lot of mana to cast a huge leviathan, the worst feeling ever is to see it destroyed or exiled by a cheap spell. To mitigate that we need protection. Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea is not a giant creature, but it can make it harder for opponents to target our creatures. Heroic Intervention is a very useful spell against either targeted removal or board wipes. Even a counter spell can be effective, so I included a new card Whirlwind Denial to help stop any situation with multiple triggers on the stack. Sometimes, either for protection or to clear a path for our creatures to attack, we might need Whelming Wave, Displacement Wave, or Engulf the Shore — all of which fit the sea theme by the way.
The Monsters of the Deep
Once we generate a lot of mana we need big spells to cast. Since the tribal theme of the deck is Krakens, Leviathans, Octopi, Serpents, and other sea creatures, I selected a few of my favourites, all of which have a huge impact on the board. Breaching Leviathan, Elder Deep-Fiend, Kederekt Leviathan, Lorthos, the Tidemaker, Scourge of Fleets, Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep, Stormtide Leviathan, and of course Serpent of Yawning Depths make it easier for us to attack or stall our opponents. Nadir Kraken and Chasm Skulker help with card draw, while Nezahal, Primal Tide and Tromokratis are bombs on their own.
Even Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath can give us incredible value both when cast for 3 and when it escapes later in the game. Speaking of value, let's not forget about the enchantment Kiora Bests the Sea God. Not only does this give us an 8/8 body with hexproof and then makes it easier to attack with our army of sea creatures, but before it leaves the field, it let's us steal something from an opponent.
The Real Monster
All those humongous creatures might take the attention of our opponents away from the real monster of the deck. A quick way to finish the game is to give our commander some form of evasion when it can attack and attach Grafted Exoskeleton to it. This will make Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle hit someone for 14 with infect, killing the player on the spot. Another way to use our commander for its full potential is to attach Freed from the Real or Pemmin's Aura to it. This lets us tap Arixmethes for 2 mana and untap it for the cost of 1, thus generating infinite green mana, which can be game ending:. You can force an opponent to draw all their library with Blue Sun's Zenith or pump Arixmethes enough with Pemmin's Aura and attack for lethal commander damage.
Anyone Want Sushi for Dinner?
This is deck is a lot of fun if you like to play big creatures and swing with them. It also combines two things that I like, sea monsters with Magic. What do you think of the deck? Any suggestions or cards that I have missed? Let me know in the comments below!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.
If you're interested in picking up any of the new cards, check out our Theros Beyond Death page!