Hello, lovely readers! It looks like it is about that time again, where we look at some of the most interesting legendary creatures in the game. Of course, I am talking about those that did not come with a rare or mythic rarity, but the silver-stamped uncommon commanders known as Uncommonders (at least, here that is exactly how we know them!) The series was inspired by the fact that Wizards printed a whopping twenty Uncommonders in Dominaria and we couple that by looking back in time at previously printed silver legendary creatures. Each time we look at how EDHREC.com would recommend the deck to be created, based on data by what you are all building and then we try to come up with crazy strategies that the table will not see coming. I normally decide who to write about by asking my Discord server for four options and then making a Twitter poll. I was extremely excited when someone suggested today’s choice and even more excited when this amazing card won the Twitter poll. What card can I be talking about? Why, of course it is the BEST Dominaria Uncommonder, the one, the only, the
Okay, okay… The name is not really value fish. However, I think we can all agree (some *cough cough editor cough cough* maybe begrudgingly) that Tatyova, Benthic Druid is a straight Simic value engine. Most of the game of Magic: the Gathering is based around putting lands onto your battlefield so you can consistently cast more and more spells. Taking that basic concept of the game and rewarding you for doing it even further seems… Almost silly. But when building the deck, there is nothing wrong with embracing the value! I must admit, after opening my initial booster box of Dominaria and only getting a single Tatyova (which my wife quickly called dibs on for her tribal Merfolk Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca deck she was brewing at the time) I snap went out and bought two more. One for my Muldrotha, the Gravetide and the other to make as the General of her own deck… Maybe even a deck that looks like this?
Looking through the deck list, we can see the overall point is to get tons of additional land drops. Obviously, this means we will draw a card each time and gain a life, but how do we close out the game? Laboratory Maniac is obviously a wincon, but I personally do not enjoy the card in most decks, and as soon as I saw it on the EDHREC.com page, I knew I was going to try to build away from it. My first thought was to do Landfall tribal, using the best Landfall cards in the Simic colors. Then I looked at the decklist above and realized “Oh… I guess… I guess we already did that, right?” A quick Scryfall search showed me that we already scooped up the best Landfall cards to use in the deck, along with the best ways to get multiple land drops and take proper advantage of the value. Then I scrolled lower on the EDHREC page for Tatyova and saw the Planeswalker section, which made me think; Why not build Tatyova and Friends?!
For starters, one of the best parts of this idea is that Planeswalkers are now all legendary permanents and there is this amazing card printed in Dominaria that we can play in the deck that cares about legendary permanents; Kamahl’s Druidic Vow! I am not going to name each Planeswalker we include in the list, since “Super Friends” should be justification enough. However, with enough mana, we can plop most of our Planeswalkers onto the battlefield and go off! Genesis Wave is a good card for redundancy and since we need to feed mana into these big spells, Mana Reflection can help in a big way. We could include Zendikar Resurgent as well, but there probably will not be too many creatures in the deck, so that seems like a bit of wasted value. And we cannot waste value in a Value Fish deck! Another way to “ramp” up could also be Kruphix, God of Horizons so we can store mana up for the big bomb spells. Again, Omnath, Locus of Mana could be redundant, but Kruphix has the bonus of not always being a creature and always being indestructible. Since we are playing Simic Super Friends and a good number of the Planeswalkers create token creatures, Doubling Season, while Primal Vigor helps make more tokens alongside Parallel Lives. Deepglow Skate can turn Planeswalkers nearly dead or brand new into Planeswalkers that can activate their ultimates and keep on kicking. A brand new card from Battlebond that seems great with Planeswalkers is Pir, Imaginative Rascal and since we are going to stick Pir in the 99, we might as well keep the duo together and play with Toothy, Imaginary Friend. It is also worth noting that Toothy is potentially going to get huge as we draw more cards from Tatyova and draw us even more cards when they leave the field, whether it is by death or exile.
Here is what the friends list would look like:
Tribal is a very big go-to strategy for me, because there are so many different tribes in Magic with so many insane synergies. Of course, I have professed my love for Goblins with my Krenko, Mob Boss deck while I also run Edgar Markov Vampire Horde and have run probably over a dozen other tribal decks in my years playing Commander. Tatyova is interesting because she has two tribes, Merfolk and Druid. I considered (briefly, mind you) about building a Simic Druid deck where we find and play Seton, Krosan Protector and possibly even being the meanest human being at the table by including Gilt-Leaf Archdruid and stealing all the lands, but I figure that is not nearly as fun to play against as it might be for the first few seconds after you steal lands once. So I looked harder at the Merfolk tribe and realized that Tatyova can actually be a surprisingly effective Voltron Commander with Merfolk support.
One of the biggest pieces of this kind of deck would be Blackblade Reforged since we are going to be getting most of our lands onto the field, while Fabricate helps us find the Blackblade when the time is right. Arcum Dagsson is another way to tutor out Blackblade, but I think the deck does not want to rely on having many artifacts, so it will be too difficult to have something to sacrifice Aquatic Incursion, Merfolk Sovereign and Aqueous Form, then Lord of Atalantis and Master of the Pearl Trident are ways to help sneak Tatyova through blockers, while Rogue’s Passage is an auto-include in most (if not all) Voltron-style Commanders. For Lord and Master, couple it with Tideshaper Mystic or Spreading Seas when facing opponents who are not playing blue or maybe do not seem to be running many basic lands.
Merfolk decks seem to be leaning toward a +1/+1 counter ideology (seen with Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca in Rivals of Ixalan) so Deeproot Elite and Shapers of Nature help us get counters onto Tatyova while Herald of Secret Streams then gives her unblockable for having counters. If we want to be safe and have some redundancy to the Blackblade, Vorel of the Hull Clade will further the +1/+1 counter way to hit blackjack on our opponents. Many of the Merfolk in the deck seem to have two or less power, so Ezuri, Claw of Progress can make any creature huge in an instant as we continue to cast small creatures to fuel our experience counters. Thrasios, Triton Hero may not seem to support the Voltron theme, but the two of them together make a great engine of repeatable card draw with a mana sink. With Retreat to Kazandu, Thrasios hitting lands can put counters on creatures, so we can tie it right back into our original mechanic. Two ways to tutor out the Merfolks we need are Merrow Harbinger and Forerunner of the Heralds. My wife has been running Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep in her Kumena deck and every time she drops and kicks it, the effect on the field is massive and Tribal Merfolk seem to really enjoy the clear road. Path of Discovery seems like a very supportive card the harder we lean toward +1/+1 counters being the means of our blackjack, while Hadana’s Climb should not be very hard to flip and help us with surprise kills. Let us look at the one-shot wonder that can be Tatyova:
Surprising the table is one of my favorite things to do. Making people think twice about how a deck or a specific commander can be built is fascinating and very fun. I mentioned during the Replacement Commanders series that the idea of building around a tribe when the legendary creature does not seem to be specifically tailored to be a tribal commander is always possible with the right synergy and expectations. The idea of using your commander as an engine is also very fun and we saw a few new “engines” in Dominaria with Tatyova, Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, Danitha Capashen, Paragon, Grand Warlord Radha, Muldrotha, the Gravetide and so many more that just do amazing things! For now, that is all I am going to have for Tatyova. She is one of my personal favorites from the set (to the point where her card art is my computer background art!) so please share your fun ideas and links in the comments down below! Also remember that you can follow me on Twitch and share ideas about Magic any time, and if you want to join my Discord, that is wear I get options for the Twitter polls to figure out which Uncommonder to write about next.
Keep ripping the bombs off the top! Thanks and see you next time!