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Commander Deck Tech: Elsha of the Infinite

Magic: the Gathering

Multiplayer

Commander Deck Tech: Elsha of the Infinite

This article brings an Elsha of the Infinite deck, one of the most fun and popular commanders, with an unusual budget strategy.

By FELIPE, 12/16/21, translated by Humberto, with help from our readers

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Today, I bring you a budget Commander decklist based around Elsha of the Infinite. This list was built by me and the player Eduardo Lorram, with the focus on being functional and operate well against other decks under the same price tag.

Gameplan

This deck seeks to accelerate at the beginning of the game to guarantee extra mana and even ramp up the commander, to find a tutor for the deck's wincons or to hold opponents who try to win before you, and for that, we have a great package of ramps, tutors and interactions.

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Analyzing the Commander

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Elsha is the deck's centerpiece. Even though it has an average mana cost, it's not impossible to cast it on turns 3 and 4. When it's on the field, it allows us to look and cast the cards at the top of our library, it works as if we had an extra card in our hand, and it always resets when we use it, even if the top card in the library isn't a land or a creature, it allows us to cast it as if it had a flash. As such, Elsha manages to be a good way of securing spells, and even allows us to cast planeswalkers, enchantments, artifacts, and spells as if they had a flash, taking away the need to tap mana during our own turn.

Winconditions

This deck has two different combo lines:

Elsha + Top + Cost Reducer

The most consistent combo in the deck depends solely on the Commander, Sensei's Divining Top, and some artifact cost reducer like Etherium Sculptor or Starnheim Courser, plus it is necessary to have something that gives you the victory; for that, we have Laboratory Maniac, but it is only needed when the combo is finished.

Combo condition:

Elsha on the battlefield, a cost reducer and Sensei's Divining Top in hand and three available mana, one blue and the rest colorless. 1. Cast Sensei's Divining Top for zero mana. 2. Tap it to draw a card and place it on top of your library. 3. Cast it from the top with Elsha's ability 4. Tap it to draw a card and place it on top of your library. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no more cards in the library, then cast the Maniac and activate Top again, with that, you will win the game. Substitutions If Elsha is costing so much mana that you don't have the means to cast her, there is the possibility of using Mystic Forge to replace Elsha, but it does not guarantee flash for your spells.

TwinCaster

This combo is very useful because at the same time it can win you the game when you have both pieces, it can also be used for other things when necessary.

Combo Condition:

Dualcaster Mage and Twinflame/Heat Shimmer in hand, be in main phase 1, and have mana to cast the cards. 1. Cast the Twinflame/Heat Shimmer, targeting any legal creature, holding priority. 2. Cast Dualcaster Mage, copying the spell you cast, creating a copy of the spell. 3. With the copy of the spell, target Dualcaster. 4. With the Dualcaster copy, target the spell. 5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have creatures with enough haste to kill your opponents. With that, you will have enough damage to kill your opponents in the combat phase, winning the game.

Analyzing the Deck's Packages

Ramps and Reducers

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This deck has all possible artifacts costing one and two to speed up the game, such as Sol Ring, Talismans, Signets and other types of mana rocks. This added to the deck's manabase, greatly minimizes the chances of running out of mana of a specific color, in addition to this, the deck also has a card that helps a lot to maintain longer turns, which is Storm-Kiln Artist that helps to keep mana available, even though casting many spells on turn, thus maintaining the relevance of interactions.
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Reducers are an essential part of this list, literally being part of the main wincon, and for the most part, they reduce the deck's artifact costs, but since it's not a fully artifact-based deck, these cards may not be as useful throughout matches. However, they enable more explosive turns by turning negative mana stones into neutral costs. The Goblin Electromancer is on the list precisely because of its potential to reduce costs of more than a third of the deck. Even though it's just a reducer, just by using it, even though it's rare, you'll be able to keep more mana available, and thus generate more value and interact more with opponents.

Tutors

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This list has all possible viable artifact tutors,

more than Sharuum, but don't let her know that,

and all this to ensure even more consistency in finding the most important piece of the combo, Sensei's Divining Top, which can be found by Dizzy Spell, but in addition to the Top, there are key interactions that can be found by it. We also have Fabricate, Reshape, Goblin Engineer, Inventors' Fair and Whir of Invention which, in addition to finding the Top, can find the cost reducers, Trinket Mage, which finds the Top and Sol Ring, Tribute Mage and Muddle the Mixture who finds Etherium Sculptor, the lowest cost reducer on the deck and Twinflame, if you already have Dualcaster Mage in hand. And last but not least of the tutors, we have Solve the Equation, which can search for some critical interactions, and Twinflame or Heat Shimmer, if needed.

Card Draw

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This list is somewhat a spellslinger strategy, benefiting from casting multiple spells rather than one or two spells with great effect, but it's still more Control oriented, as your Wincon tends to be more expensive and time-consuming to achieve. Brainstorm is an indispensable cantrip in any blue deck, but when we talk about decks with Elsha as commander, it gets better, since it's possible, with Elsha on the field, to give flash to cards in your hand by putting them on top of your library, as long as they are not creatures or lands, this deck is also equipped with different ways to slowly and gradually generate extra cards in your hand such as Whirlwind of Thought, Verity Circle and Archmage Emeritus that generate an advantage card throughout the game, and Jeskai Ascendancy that doesn't generate card advantage, but it filters your hand. In addition, the list has many cards that function as interaction and can also filter your hand, such as Blink of an Eye, Into the Roil, Izzet Charm and Cathartic Pyre that can replace or filter the cards in your hand. This list runs cards with the effect of โ€œLootingโ€, which is usually a cheaper effect than simply drawing. An example of this is Faithless Looting, which do not generate extra cards in the hand, but is still good due to its low cost and the number of filtered cards.

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Interactions

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This deck's interactions are designed to affect and stop the most common combos played on budget lists, low-cost counters like Dispel, Miscast, Spell Pierce, Negate, Delay, Muddle the Mixture, and Counterspell are low-cost interactions that cover a good range of cards. Izzet Charm in addition to being able to counter, can kill problematic creatures, Abrade, Cathartic Pyre, Blink of an Eye, Into the Roil, Resculpt, Reality Shift, Flame Sweep, and Mogg Salvage deal with what's already on the battlefield, returning to the hand, dealing damage or exiling. It is essential to stress the importance of understanding how your opponents decks work to interact with them in the best possible way. Silence is a strong interaction to keep your opponents from interacting with your combo or keep them from continuing with theirs

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths

- The Deck can combo at instant speed and when the combo conditions are on the field it's very difficult to stop it, as there's almost no mana cost involved. - The Commander is fun and popular, and can often end up deceiving your opponents, as many of Elsha decks are leaned towards casual spellslinger lists. - It manages to protect itself relatively well from other decks, especially if you know when to combo, minimizing opponent interactions, as the deck's pilot.

Weaknesses

- The Deck can't lock all opponents at the same time, dealing with the burden of interactions alone with this deck is something that puts you too far behind. - Sensei's Divining Top can be considered an expensive card for a budget deck.

Conclusion

And that was my budget Elsha of the Infinite commander deck tech! If you want to see a specific budget strategy for a commander, leave it in the comments and I will see what I can bring in future articles! See you next time!
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FELIPE

Started playing Magic on M20 in 2019. Prefers control decks and seeks to improve his deckbuilding.

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