A Gentleman's look at Magic the Gathering

Deck Tech: Maelstrom Wanderer EDH

Deck Tech: Maelstrom Wanderer EDH

Hello Ladies and Gents

So I am going to share a very special deck for me today as it the deck I have had assembled the longest and I have no plans to get rid of it anytime soon.

I am here to show you my Maelstrom Wanderer EDH deck!

The Wanderer

So before I get into my deck building process and explain my choices you need to see what those choices are first so without further ado the decklist:

 

Artifacts:

- Birthing Pod

- Chromatic Lantern

- Crystal Shard

- Lightning Greaves

- Scroll Rack

 

Basic Lands:

- 7 Forests

- 6 Islands

- 4 Mountains

 

Creatures:

- Balefire Dragon

- Bloodbraid Elf

- Consecrated Sphinx

- Deadeye Navigator

- Dominus of Fealty

- Duplicant

- Eternal Witness

- Etherium-Horn Sorcerer

- Garruk’s Horde

- Glen Elendra Archmage

- Inferno Titan

- Izzet Chronarch

- Manaplasm

- Master Biomancer

- Oracle of Mul Daya

- Overbeing of Myth

- Palinchron

- Phyrexian Metamorph

- Rubblebelt Raiders

- Scavenging Ooze

- Seedborn Muse

- Shardless Agent

- Solemn Simulacrum

- Sylvan Primordial

- Trygon Predator

- Yavimaya Elder

 

Enchantments:

- Abundance

- Druids’ Repository

- Leyline of Anticipation

- Mana Reflection

- Rhystic Study

- Rites of Flourishing

- Sylvan Library

 

Instants:

- Beast Within

- Cyclonic Rift

- Spell Crumple

 

Legendary Creatures:

- Animar, Soul of Elements

- Azusa, Lost but Seeking

- Intet, the Dreamer

- Nin, the Pain Artist

- Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

 

Non-Basic Lands:

- Alchemist’s Refuge

- Breeding Pool

- Command Tower

- Desolate Lighthouse

- Gruul Turf

- Hinterland Harbor

- Homeward Path

- Izzet Boilerworks

- Kessig Wolf Run

- Misty Rainforest

- Mosswort Bridge

- Reliquary Tower

- Rootbound Crag

- Scalding Tarn

- Simic Growth Chamber

- Spinerock Knoll

- Steam Vents

- Stomping Ground

- Sulfur Falls

- Temple of the False God

- Wooded Foothills

 

Planeswalkers:

- Garruk Wildspeaker

- Jace Beleren

 

Sorceries:

- Boundless Realms

- Cultivate

- Decimate

- Disaster Radius

- Explosive Vegetation

- Genesis Wave

- Kodama’s Reach

- Mind’s Desire

- Past in Flames

- Praetor’s Counsel

- Rite of Replication

- Time Warp

- Unexpected Results

Theme:

So when I put this deck together I had been playing Magic for years but my forays into Commander were fairly recent. After playing Planechase with my friends I fell in love with Maelstrom Wanderer and, upon discovering he was legendary, immediately made him my general. As you will notice there are a few cards that have hung around from the original Planechase list but overall the deck has done a lot of shifting and (other than the release of new cards) has changed very little in the past couple of months. I am happy where it is at power level wise and I find it is inexorable but still entertaining. This inexorability comes from cascade and that is the theme for this deck unsurprisingly. What cascade (and effects like Mind’s Desire and Unexpected Results that are functional cascade) does is allow this deck to, within the span of a turn, come back from most any form of mass removal. I just wanted to play fun awesome cards on a very particular curve and play those cards for free which this deck does EXTREMELY well.

The General:

Maelstrom Wanderer, or MW, is a 7/5 for URG and 5 colorless. This in and of itself is okay mostly because of the magic number 7 in the power slot (21 general damage wins the game) but the cost to power ratio leaves room for improvement. What makes MW so amazing is the fact that when he comes in he brings 2 buddies along for the ride in the form of any 2 nonland cards off the top of my deck (with the exception of Praetor’s Counsel which costs 9… it’s worth it when you need it). The other line of text is what most people skip over but is probably the reason he can seem so unstoppable: “Creatures you control have haste.” Any creature, whether it be Balefire Dragon or Yavimaya Elder, that you rip off of his 2 cascades is gonna be hitting the turn they come out alongside the big man himself (it is ALL creatures not OTHER creatures). All in all you may be paying 8 mana or 12 mana after he goes to the command zone a couple of times, odds are you will get more than your manasworth in cascade and the power of almost omni-present haste.

The Combos: I am not going to go into every combo in the deck I just want to give a basic overview of some of the more important combos to fall back on when the Sisay hits the fan (so to speak).

 

- Deadeye Navigator + Palinchron: This combo is fairly straight forward but is one that was initially put in on accident. Using Deadeye ,Soulbond with Palinchron when it or Deadeye comes into play. Next pay U and 1 colorless to flicker Palinchron, in response to doing this tap however many lands you need to have 7 tapped producing either mana or power (in the case of Kessig Wolf Run). After Palinchron re-enters play you will untap 7 lands leaving 5 or more mana floating. Using that mana repeat this process as much as your opponents need to get the hint that you have infinite mana. Have fun…

- Deadeye Navigator + Izzet Chronarch + Time Warp:Same concept as before play Izzet Chronarch and bond with Deadeye or the other way around either returning Time Warp or having Time Warp in your hand. Now initially assuming the Chronarch and Deadeye are already in play and you have not spent any mana you will need 7 mana 3 of which must be Blue. Play Time Warp. Then use the remaining two mana to flicker Chronarch returning Time Warp when he comes back into play. The next turn play a land and rinse and repeat until you have enough mana to play additional cards alongside the seven needed to maintain your infinite loop always remembering to leave 3 blue as part of that 7 mana.

Crystal Shard + Maelstrom Wanderer: This isn’t so much a combo as it is a favorable interaction but it can be life saving late game so it is worth writing about. Now if you find MW dying a lot his already high cost can grow pretty quick and, while he is worth it (MW is a L’Oreal girl), there is an easier way. Now there is a sort of loophole in general tax that will help you get around his now high cost: whenever a general is cast from your hand or your deck you get to avoid general tax. This is where Crystal Shard comes into play. Hopefully you have 2 Blue mana sources at this point if not you have bigger problems, regardless use 1 of the Blue mana to activate Crystal Shard targeting Maelstrom Wanderer. Decline to pay the 3 colorless and return him to your hand. Not brain surgery from here. Granted you do have to add a blue to his cost and you lose the utility value of Crystal Shard but it is probably worth it to get a 9 cost MW instead of a 12 or 14 cost MW. Another application for this is as a sort of counter to removal sent MW’s way. Leave Crystal Shard and U (1 Blue) open until it is either the end step of the opponent before you or MW gets targeted. Then in response return him to your hand effectively avoiding the spell saving you general tax (since he didn’t return to the command zone) and allowing you to get 2 more cascades. Always remember that doing his never really sets you back as everything will have haste so summoning sickness is a non-issue.

Seedborn Muse + Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir/ Leyline of Anticipation: This is the final combo I’m going to go over as this is a pretty long Deck Tech but this is perhaps the most oppresive so I feel it is necessary to include. Those of you that have played EDH for any decent amount of time have probably come across or played with this combo before. The basic premise is this: Teferi and Leyline both allow you to play everything barring lands at instant speed, meaning that they can be played on any opponents turn. Now Seedborn Muse lets you untap all creatures (allowing for activation of abilities or just giving them psuedo vigilance) all other permanents and most importantly all lands on every upkeep, even your opponents. What this sums up to is the ability to take a “turn” during every other players turn. You simply use the now untapped lands to play out your hand or activate abilities at instant speed (Etherium-Horn Scorcerer is a godsend when this combo is out) during your opponents end step or really anytime during their turn tapping out again. Then during the next opponents turn do it again. This combo functionally quadruples the value of your mana and, if not properly answered, will allow you to easily run away with the game.

Tips: So here are some final tips on playing the deck for those interested in putting it together that I have learned through trial and error and a LOT of table time.

- Cascade only happens when you “cast” the card so if it is “put” into play you get nothing. Note you do get cascade from cascading into cascade cards ince you still cast the card you just don’t pay the cost (ex. Shardless Agent’s cascade still triggers if you cascaded into it off of Maelstrom Wanderer)

- Don’t go off too soon. If you have ramp in your hand unless you have 12+ lands keep going. Even if you are behind once you get enough land Maelstrom Wanderer will bring you back from the brink. Being able to cast multiple spells per turn to fuel cards like Mind’s Desire, Past in Flames, and Manaplasm is the key to sealing up the game in your favor. Be patient your time to blow everything up will come, I promise.

-Try to scare your opponents into action without using MW. Maelstrom Wanderer is best used as a sort of recovery plan. Unless there is very little on the board, you are about to die, or you have 2 cascades set up try to use your hand and other cascade cards to scare your opponents into board sweeps and the like. Then when the way is clear play MW and hit for 7 plus while they play 1 or 2 summoning sick blockers.

-Don’t go all out in the very beginning. This kind of goes along with the ramp point. The beginning of the game is when you are vulnerable. Once you hit a certain point nothing short of Armaggedon can stop you. By keeping a low profile and playing nice you can get to that critical point then there is very little your opponents can do to stop you. Remember EDH is as much about politic as it is about cards and play skill otherwise Group Hug decks would lose everytime and they don’t, I can say that from experience.

- Finally be on the lookout  for certain cards that can shut you down and try to prepare answers or manipulate you opponents (allies?) into doing it for you. Cards like Blind Obediance, Spin into Myth (any “tuck” effect really), and Manabarbs will make your life miserable. Try not to play MW into open blue mana if at all possible to avoid the chance they are packing heat that will send your safety net away for a long while.

Well thank you for those of you still with me! I hope you enjoyed a look at an EDH deck that has been close to my heart for a quite a while. I would really appreciate your feedback on how you liked the format of this article, what you want to see more or less of, how you liked the length (Do you want as much detail as I gave or do you want the quick and dirty details?), any generals you want to see in the near future, and just general suggestions!

And always remember:

“A deck is only as good as the gentleman who wields it”