Commander Deck Tech: Ashaya, Soul of the Wild
- Brent Terean
You don't see monogreen combo decks every day, but Ashaya, Soul of the Wild is here to change that! Fresh from Zendikar Rising, Ashaya can combo you out or beat you down, but, either way, it makes for an awesome commander. Come check out this draft of what an Ashaya EDH deck could look like.
The new set gave us a ton of awesome new Commander material. Among them is a somewhat innocuous commander that is incredibly unique and synergistic: Ashaya, Soul of the Wild. Today I want to take a look at some of the interesting interactions Ashaya offers and show off a first draft of a deck I constructed. Let's get to it!
Ashaya Combos/Win Conditions
The first line of text on Ashaya ensures they'll be a hard hitting threat in the late game. However, we're a lot more interested in that super bizarre second paragraph:
Nontoken creatures you control are Forest lands in addition to their other types. (They're still affected by summoning sickness.)
This text opens the door to a world full of wonky synergies and game-winning combos. For example, any effect that would untap a land could, instead, untap Ashaya or any other land-creature. This is where the cards Argothian Elder and Ley Weaver come into play.
Each of these creatures allows you to tap it to untap two lands. However, with Ashaya out, you can actually use them to untap themselves plus another creature since Ashaya makes them all count as Forests. This means that Ashaya plus either of these two cards equals infinite green mana!
But that's not the only combo hiding in Ashaya's repertoire . Quirion Ranger allows you to return a Forest to hand to untap any one creature. Well, with Ashaya out, Ranger can actually return any creature to hand — including itself. You can tap some other creature for mana to cast the Ranger, use its ability to untap that creature and return itself to your hand, then replay it with the mana so generated. This produces an infinite landfall loop, since Ranger is considered a land thanks to Ashaya, which we can take advantage of with Rampaging Baloths, Tireless Tracker, and Avenger of Zendikar for insane value.
If you throw a mana doubler like Nissa, Who Shakes the World, Lotus Cobra, or Vernal Bloom into the mix, that above infinite landfall loop will also produce infinite mana. So what do we do with this infinite mana? In the deck I built for this article, I decided to take inspiration from Modern Vizier-Druid combo decks. These decks use the combo of Vizier of Remedies plus Devoted Druid to produce infinite mana, which is then spent on looping through their library with Duskwatch Recruiter / Krallenhorde Howler until they reveal Walking Ballista. Then they make an arbitrarily massive Ballista to shoot the opponent for lethal. Our deck will seek to win the game the same way. Additionally, we can also find Craterhoof Behemoth to end the game if the Ballista plan doesn't work out.
This means, once we have infinite mana, we should be looking to find Duskwatch Recruiter — or Nylea, Keen-Eyed which serves a similar role — and/or Craterhoof. So, how do we find all these little pieces that combine for these awesome combos …?
To help us find all our unique pieces, we're running a handful of green tutors. Most green Commander decks probably include these — or at least some of them — and they're also what we're working with:
This is, all in all, a pretty standard line-up of green tutors. However, I want to draw your attention to the last card on the list, Vivien, Monsters' Advocate. This somewhat recent card from Ikoria is extremely good in our deck because it allows us to search up Ley Weaver, Argothian Elder, or Quirion Ranger when we cast Ashaya. That's right, she lets us deploy combo piece #2 just because we cast combo piece #1. (And combo piece #1 is our commander.)
Before we get to the decklist, I wanted to take a second to talk about a few more interesting synergies Ashaya has. Ashaya making all of our creatures into lands has some mind-blowing interactions with a few cards. For example, Cyclonic Rift can't bounce our creatures since it specifically says "nonland" and all our creatures are lands. In a similar vein, we have Perilous Vault and Oblivion Stone to act as one-sided board wipes as long as we have Ashaya on the field.
We've got Dungrove Elder and Kalonian Twingrove as absolutely massive beaters since they'll be getting buffed not only by our actual lands but also by the number of creatures we control. Also Blackblade Reforged can make any creature huge. I won't bore you with every single cool interaction in the list, but I will say we have to run Swiftfoot Boots and Lightning Greaves because, as you can see, this deck is heavily centered around having, and keeping, Ashaya on the field.
Overall this deck was incredibly fun to build and really explosive when played. I personally really enjoy decks that require their commander to be in play to function well and this deck fits that niche remarkably well. If you wanted to kick the power-level up a bit you could probably include some stuff like Concordant Crossroads so your combos go off a bit earlier or Allosaurus Shepherd to keep countermagic from ruining your day.
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