Magic: the Gathering
By Thiago, 07/14/20
This article belongs to the series The most popular archetypes of the cEDH:
Food Chainto show the format's speed, going through
Demonic Consultationto say that only a card is not enough, it also has to generate value (which was reiterated in the speech about
Aetherflux Reservoir), and finally we hit the Hatebears to get a sense of the importance of creatures and board presence during the game. Now, we have reached a point where everything explained in the previous articles will converge on a single deck: today is the long-awaited day to talk about Wheels & Thieves.
THE COMBOWhen we talked about the Hatebears, I used this session to explain the general concept and function of the cards so named, which will be repeated in this article. The idea of a card characterized as a thief comes from
Notion Thief, which was part of the cEDH scene for a long time, generating value by locking the opponent. Recently, the format has undergone radical change. First with the launch of collections with a high power level and the printing of important pieces for the current builds (see War of the Spark and Modern Horizons), and then with the ban of
Flashleading to the death of the Flash / Hulk decks. All this culminated in a point where the gameplay leads the player to aim for the highest value in a short time. These fact might have motivated a player to, on a tedious day looking at our dear thief alone in the middle of a bulk of cards, improve what we already saw on the
Nekusar, the Mindrazerdecks, but this time, as efficiently as possible. With the concept in hand, it was all a matter of playing the Professor Utonium and using the companion commanders along with the
Demonic Consultationpackage and some drops of the Element X to bring the renowned Opus Thief to life.
Tymna the Weaverand
Kraum, Ludevic's Opusstarted to gain more relevance, mainly by competing with Flash / Hulk builds like Tymna & Thrasios (which were already presented as tier 0). Its strategy was to use ordinary cards in constructions optimized as wheel effects combined with stax related to opponents' draws to break the symmetry of the table. More and more, the archetype got popular among the players and was seen more, being better used and having the spotlight in a format that is now
COMMANDERSInitially, the Opus Thief build was exclusive to Tymna & Kraum, but over time the archetype became a way to assemble the deck, being able to integrate almost any list of three or more colors. So I decided to dedicate this session to show builds that have a different development for the same principle. With that in mind, I would like you to consider
Kenrith, the Returned Kingand so many others who adapt the idea of 4C T&K following the same construction idea, but with different generals.
Alms Collector. Together with Tymna, they guarantee extra draws, and, in addition, they also work very well at instant speed, and can be fitted in response to a spell or ability that an opponent controls. Next to them, we have
Narset, Parter of Veilsand
Smothering Tithe, cards from the same block and that, once they arrived, dominated the format. On the wheel side, we have the classics
Wheel of Fortune,
Windfall, which started to come together with
Whispering Madnessto guarantee redundancy, but, in the end , the biggest innovation in this sense was the addition of
Winds of Changeand
Burning Inquiry, promoting a great asymmetry when combined with a thief effect. To finish the game we have the
Jace, Wielder of Mysteriesand
Thassa's Oraclepack together with the
Angel's Gracecombo which is viable since we have acess to white.
Underworld Dreamscan be used as a thief effect. Here,
Dark Dealtakes the place of
Wheel of Fortune,
Vision Skeinstakes the place of
Time Spiralworks as
Winds of Change. Its win condition is the same as in the deck above, derived from
Rielle, the Everwise, even without having access to black and, consequently, to
VARIATIONSAs I said before, what was initially an archetype became a way to build your deck. Any strategy with a color pie compatible with the concept of thieves can take advantage of this type of synergy, even more nowadays with massive draw effects present in all builds of the metagame.
HONORABLE MENTIONS AND ALTERNATIVES BUDGETAgain, I will use this session to leave a list of cards that can help anyone who wants to build their deck with the thieves subtheme. Not all of them are viable for the cEDH , but they can cause an impact on a battlefield of a slightly lower power level.
CONCLUSIONI believe to have presented today an example of innovation. I have heard a lot that the cEDH is consolidated and that nothing new can come up, but I am always seeing strategies that have come up with more value than the previous ones. I will keeping insist on motivating you to always try to innovate. Of course, in certain situations, the performance limit has already been reached, but that is not a rule, and knowing that the format is based on value we can try to find something that takes us a step further. That's it for today. I ask you to leave your feedback so that we can always improve. The series aims to address only part of an entire sphere that covers an extremely diverse format, so I invite you to subscribe to my channel on YouTube, where I talk about Commander, not only competitive, but also in other varieties, as well as about other formats. Until next time, my friends!