Card Highlight: Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor on Standard, Pioneer & Commander!

Magic: the Gathering

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Card Highlight: Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor on Standard, Pioneer & Commander!

06/11/22 Comment regular icon1 comments

We finally have a Gix card! But is one of Yawgmoth's most powerful praetors good enough to see competitive play in Standard, Pioneer, Commander, and/or Conquest?

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Who is Gix?

With the return to the past of Dominaria, we were able to re-encounter iconic characters from the nearly 30 years of Magic: the Gathering. Among them, one of the most important and that, until then, hadn't received a card in the game was

Gix

. For those who have never heard of it, Gix was none other than one of Yawgmoth's top lieutenants, one of the first living beings to be compleated, and a Phyrexian praetor. It was originally a human from the Thran empire, being converted by the Father of Machines himself, transformed into a demon of bone, flesh, and metal that would terrorize entire planes and bring great consequences for the multiverse, such as Mishra's conversion during the Brothers' War that triggered key events in Magic's lore.

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In its first representation as a playable card, we have Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor! It's a legendary Phyrexian praetor-type creature, cost Magic Symbol 1Magic Symbol BMagic Symbol B and 3/3 body, a cost commensurate with its power and toughness, but nothing incredible. Its first ability triggers when a creature deals combat damage to an opponent, causing its controller to pay 1 life to draw a card. Basically, you have access to a mono-black Edric, Spymaster of Trest. For

multiplayer

there is the drawback of opening up the possibility for your opponents to draw cards at your expense, but it is worth noting the detail: it does not trigger if the damage is to the Gix's controller, which can help to take the focus off opportunistic attacks against you, while you can abuse a good deck built around that synergy. It should be noted that in

two-player

formats, this is an ability that stands out, since your only opponent will not be able to take advantage of it, which makes Gix have enormous potential to generate massive card advantage in these formats. His second ability has a very high cost of 4BBB and the discard of X cards, causing the target opponent to exile X cards from the top of their library. You can play lands and cast spells without paying the cost from among the exiled spells. In a game that allows you to reach this stage of the game with 7 mana available, basically what you have is a super spare. Exchange your bad cards at this stage for opponents' spells at no cost, which, in practice, can easily end a game.

Gix on Standard and Pioneer

In the current Standard and Pioneer, we can see a strong presence of black-based decks. In the first format we have Grixis Midrange, Esper Midrange, Jund Midrange, Mono Black Midrange, Rakdos Midrange, Jund Windgrace among others. On Pioneer (and Explorer), we have as main representatives Rakdos Midrange, Rakdos Sacrifice and, although a bit forgotten in the corner, Mono Black Aggro. These are decks that, at first, make good attrition trades, with resilient creatures, but that fail in the card draw. Some of them have an important piece released in Dominaria United: Sheoldred, the Apocalypse.
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Since this praetor was launched, it has gained space in some strategies. In addition to a good body for its cost, it has an ability that creates a relevant difference between your life points and that of your opponents and that can entirely change the course of a race in the game. And this ability is triggered by something that interests us in this article:

card draw

. When playing Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor, you can start out a strong sequence, as Gix enters on turn 3. If you are preceded by some creatures that allow attacking in the early game, you can already dig some advantage over your opponent. If you then cast Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, you will punish opponents' draws while transforming the damage from the draws provided by Gix into life gain, which makes the decision on what should be dealt with harder, for example.

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However, Gix competes for space with other powerful three-drops such as Liliana of the Veil, Graveyard Trespasser, Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Bonecrusher Giant. In Standard, I believe it is easier to test it and even fit it permanently, especially in the Jund Midrange, Rakdos Midrange and Mono Black Midrange lists. On Pioneer, it can probably be tested on Rakdos Midrange, but it will be more difficult to get a foothold due to competition. However, it may be the part that allows Mono Black Aggro to start to appear as a more solid option. And who knows, maybe Gix won't allow new strategies to emerge, right?

Gix in Commander and Conquest

For Commander and Conquest, it is possible that we will see the presence of Gix within decklists that are based on relevant amounts of creatures and that need to generate card advantage consistently. Within the lists, he will have to compete for space with Toski, Bearer of Secrets, Ohran Frostfang, Edric, Spymaster of Trest, Tymna the Weaver and Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar, which makes it likely that he won't find his home on decks that are green or/and blue. I think Gix is ​​more likely to be found in decks run by Tymna the Weaver, perhaps in their Mardu, Abzan, and Esper versions. In Conquest, without Tymna present in the command zone (because she is banned as a commander) it can be found on decks such as Rankle, Master of Pranks, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, Anafenza, the Foremost and Kodama of the East Tree and Ravos, Soultender.

Is Gix viable as a competitive commander?

Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor Commander Decklist

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I put together this list to do this test in Commander. It is important to note that the construction took place from the perspective of cEDH, the competitive Commander. So, there are no budget restrictions and the focus is on seeking victory as effectively as possible. The decklist proposal is a Gix Farm. For those less adept at the term, Farm decks, also called Turbo Naus, are decks based on casting an Ad Nauseam or Peer into the Abyss as quickly as possible, having access to insane amounts of cards and, from there, dig a victory line.
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To make this game plan effective, it's critical that we can speed up our plays with a high density of mana rocks (mana-generating artifacts), rituals, and tutors. These cards, in addition to accelerating the enabler to victory, are fundamental to being able to effectively win after resolving it, as it will normally be necessary to generate enough mana from 0.
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To effect the victory, we have some combo lines. The most relevant of these is using Buried Alive, playing Necrotic Ooze, Asmodeus the Archfiend and Skirge Familiar, in the sequence reanimating Necrotic Ooze.

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In this state, Ooze will have all activated abilities of creatures in the graveyard, so you can pay Magic Symbol BMagic Symbol BMagic Symbol B, draw 7 cards with Asmodeus' ability, discard 3 cards to generate Magic Symbol BMagic Symbol BMagic Symbol B with Skirge, and repeat the loop to draw almost your entirely library. In this state, you can cast enough spells to win with Aetherflux Reservoir, using a finisher from one of our opponents with Praetor's Grasp (hello, Thassa's Oracle!) or using our commander, Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor, activating his second ability to discard your huge new hand, exiling many cards from an opponent's library to cast them and win using their deck. If you need to repeat the dose, remember to keep a tutor on hand and use Elixir of Immortality to shuffle the discarded cards, use the tutor to pick up Buried Alive again, and replace the key pieces in the graveyard. Another combo line we have access to is Bolas's Citadel, Sensei's Divining Top and Aetherflux Reservoir.
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With Citadel and Top, we can use Top's ability, draw a card, and recast it from the top with Citadel, effectively losing 1 life for each draw (or casting cards from the top at the cost of life). In this situation, what would limit the number of draws would be our life, but for that, we turn to our dear "water box", Aetherflux Reservoir. Which will make us come to life in arithmetic progression with each cast, accumulating enough health in the process that we can blow up the table. Another fundamental point of the structure of this deck and what makes it different from other Farms without Tymna is that we have a draw engine in our command zone. For this, we have a high density of creatures with evasion, so we can connect attacks and draw cards. This solves a problem of less consistent Farms, since even if we are answered, we can continue playing, since we will be able to keep the gas due to Gix's ability.
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The rest of the deck's structure is ways to interact with opponents and protect yourself (Duress, Feed the Swarm, Toxic Deluge, Imp's Mischief, Opposition Agent , etc) or generate more value (Dark Confidant, Braids, Arisen Nightmare, Evolved Sleeper, Dauthi Voidwalker, Mindblade Render and Vilis, Broker of Blood). In this regard, remember that reanimating Vilis, Broker of Blood on turn 1, discarding and using Reanimate, is 8 cards to draw.

Conclusion

Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor is far from being a broken card or one that goes deep into any of the formats, but it is a strong card, with at least interesting abilities and that should not be underestimated. It is possible that it will be tested in formats like Standard and Pioneer, with greater chances in Standard, and that it can find its home in Commander and Conquest, including in the command zone as a reasonably strong option.

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That's it for today, I hope you enjoyed the article! Don't forget to comment, if you agree or disagree with my point of view, if you have anything to add or if you have any doubts about any interaction. Until next time!
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Mateus Nogueira

Olá! Sou Mateus Nogueira grande entusiasta do Conquest e cEDH e fundador do cEDH Brasil e Conquest Brasil. Apreciador de midranges sujos, combos degenerados e stax desalmados!

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