Commander Deck Tech: Hokori, Dust Drinker - Stax

Magic: the Gathering

Commander

Commander Deck Tech: Hokori, Dust Drinker - Stax

The proposal of this Hokori, Dust Drinker deck is a stax that deprives the opponents' resources through asymmetry to control the game.

By Eduardo, 01/22/22, translated by Humberto - Comment regular icon0 comments

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Introduction

STAX

is the strategy based on resource deprivation and uses permanents with abilities that prevent players from taking actions in the game. Hokori, Dust Drinker is a powerful

STAX

piece, as its ability prevents players from untapping their lands. Its effect is symmetrical, that is, it affects all players equally, however, decks with this theme are specialized in circumventing restrictions by taking advantage of the numerous prohibitions. Our goal is to play Hokori as quickly as possible, even in the initial turns, and to develop our game without relying on lands, using a wide range of artifacts to do so.

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The Commander

Hokori, Dust Drinker is a powerful

Kami

, that is, an ancestral spirit, connected to the sands and dry its manifestation is an immense dust storm that devours everything. Its origin is unknown and not yet depicted in Kamigawa's lore.
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As for the game, it generates a scarcity of resources by preventing lands from untapping, and even though it has a fragile body, it can set the pace of the game by denying access to mana, slowing down the game and making life difficult for our opponents.
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Strategy

The main objective of our strategy is to break the symmetry generated by mana scarcity to overcome our opponents. The first way to achieve this objective is to replace land with artifacts in mana generation and use cards with low converted mana cost. Using Angel of Condemnation or Flickerform allows for powerful asymmetry, both cards have activated

Flickering

abilities, "

Exile target permanent. Return that card to the battlefield under its owner's control at the beginning of the next end step.

". This way, when we activate a flicker in the end phase of the opponent that precedes us in the round, we exile Hokori, Dust Drinker until our end phase, so we can untap our lands and keep our opponents tapped. Basri Ket's ultimate is our primary finisher, spawning a significant amount of creatures and expanding our defenses. The advantage generated by Sun Titan gradually increases asymmetry, and combined with World Queller tends to bring the game to an end if this synergy is not interrupted.
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Mana Sources

We play prioritizing mana artifacts and therefore have a reduced number of lands. The Plains are predominant; however, we use some utility lands, among these we have the

Cycling Lands

- Secluded Steppe and Desert of the True that act as a

cantrip

guaranteeing extra draws. Karoo and Remote Farm are capable of generating two mana, as well as Ruins of Trokair that when sacrificed generates two mana. Icatian Store is a

Storage Land

that has an interesting synergy with our commander by accumulating counters while remaining tapped.
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We have a large number of mana rocks with different effects and from different CMCs. Two or less cost fast mana stones are Everflowing Chalice, Sol Ring and Mind Stone that come into play untapped and Marble Diamond, Ebony Fly and Guardian Idol that come into play tapped.
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The CMC 3 rocks are the most numerous in the format and the ones that best met my expectations were Darksteel Ingot, Commander's Sphere, Tooth of Ramos and Thunder Totem, which enters untapped. Worn Powerstone enters tapped, and Palladium Myr suffers from summoning sickness. We also have Starnheim Courser, which lowers the cost of artifacts and enchantments, and Oketra's Monument, which lowers the casting cost of white creatures.

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Our big rocks, that cost 4 or more, are Khalni Gem which allows you to return two plains to the hand, giving you an advantage in the game, Hedron Archive which generates two mana or can be sacrificed to draw additional cards, and White Mana Battery which accumulates unused mana for future turns.
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Card Advantage

Purchases are always a touchy subject in white decks and in this deck we use some mechanics like

cycling

and

monarch

to generate additional draws by having Court of Grace. Inheritance is a very consistent way to draw, especially when we have a lot of mana available through artifacts and few cards in hand. Mercadian Atlas is another very frequent card advantage source, given the choice to play with a smaller number of lands. Open the Armory is an important tutor to fetch Flickerform and generate the asymmetry we want. Sun Titan grants major recursion by returning any permanent of cost 3 or less.
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Tap Permanents

One way to keep your opponent's permanents tapped is to have them enter tapped, cards like Orb of Dreams and Kismet ensure that all of our opponents' permanents come in tapped. Imposing Sovereign does the same but only affects creatures, and Juntu Stakes prevents creatures with power 1 or less from untapping, locking the most popular

mana dorks

in the format. Scepter of Dominance is quite strong at holding opponents, trapping some especially troublesome players in a

soft lock

, further reducing their resources.
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Interactions

One of white's strengths are removals, Swords to Plowshares is the best creature removal ever printed. Dispatch and Condemn also cost one mana and are a quick way to deal with threats. Angel of Condemnation is versatile as it can either protect one of our creatures, or remove an opponent's creature. Disenchant and Abolish are dedicated to destroying artifacts and enchantments.
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Unexpectedly Absent, Generous Gift and Oblation spells deal with any kind of permanent. World Queller makes each player sacrifice a permanent during the upkeep.
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The protection spells selected were Brave the Elements which grants

protection against

the chosen color to all white creatures under our control, Mana Tithe a white counter, and Dawn Charm is a versatile spell that lets you prevent damage, protect a creature from destruction, or even counter a spell.

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Flickerform is an aura that has an activated ability that exiles the enchanted creature and all auras attached to it until the next end step.
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The sweepers present in this deck are largely the effects of Balance. Magus of the Balance causes all players to sacrifice permanents until they have the same amount of each type and the same number of cards in hand, Restore Balance is identical except that it is cast using from the suspend ability, Balancing Act makes the total number of permanents equal among all players.
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Heliod's Intervention destroys X artifacts or enchantments. Consulate Crackdown exiles all artifacts controlled by opponents for as long as it remains on the battlefield. Hour of Revelation costs only three mana if there are more than 10 nonland permanents on the battlefield, and destroys all of them.
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Taxes

Taxes are effects that increase the mana costs of spells and effects, or mana requirements to perform certain actions. We can bring, as an example, Ghostly Prison that imposes the payment of 2 mana to attack with a creature. Windborn Muse also works by overtaxing attacks. Tithe Taker increases the cost of spells and abilities cast by opponents during your turn, Suppression Field also affects all abilities except mana abilities. The God-Pharaoh's Statue increases the cost of all spells controlled by opponents by 2 and deals one point of damage to each opponent at our End Step.
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Chancellor of the Annex counters all spells played by opponents unless opponents pay an additional mana. Lodestone Golem and Vryn Wingmare increase the cost of all non-creature spells by one mana. Spelltithe Enforcer imposes a cost of one mana each time an opponent plays a spell, if this cost is not paid, that player must sacrifice a permanent. Magus of the Tabernacle charges one mana for each creature during that player's upkeep, if that cost cannot be paid, that player sacrifices that creature.
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Supression

Let's call suppression effects that negate or prevent certain abilities, states, or actions from happening. We can start with Tomik, Distinguished Advokist, its effect says that our lands can't be targeted by opponents' spells and abilities, and opponents can't play lands from the graveyard. The Spirit of the Labyrinth is a creature that prevents players from drawing more than one card each turn. Aven Mindcensor changes tutors, allowing to search only the first few cards in the deck. Hushbringer and Hushwing Gryff cancel all ETB effects triggered by creatures, while Damping Matrix prevents the activation of effects from creatures and artifacts. Rule of Law and Eidolon of Rhetoric decree that only one spell can be played each turn.

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Upgrades

Customization choices in

STAX

decks vary depending on the reality of the playgroup, so keep a close eye on your friends' and opponents' decks and research the best way to counter each strategy. There are cards that are universal, like Drannith Magistrate and Esper Sentinel. To tap your opponent's cards or keep them tapped, the additions of Loxodon Gatekeeper, Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Winter Orb are great. Leonin Arbiter is a great anti-tutor, especially in early turns. Solitary Confinement and Righteous Aura are an efficient way to prevent damage. Archangel of Tithes and Aura of Silence are some additional taxes and Angelic Arbiter is a very efficient lock, and we can also add Ethersworn Canonist to slow down the game. Eidolon of Obstruction creates taxes to activate planeswalker abilities.

Conclusion

STAX

is a solid and old strategy in Magic: the Gathering and has many defenders, but also offenders. While the infamous

hard locks

are very aggressive for casual tables, some stax pieces and control are healthy for the format, as they are the

main degenerate combo inhibitors

.

Fun

is always the goal of Commander and Magic, so pre-game dialogue is critical for everyone to meet your expectations of the game. So, keep in mind that the fun is often making great plays, amazing attacks and other times it's building a huge

pillowfort

and asking "are you going to pay one?". I also suggest reading my Azami, Lady of Scrolls deck tech, and you can also check out this article about Kamigawa's Lore. Thanks for reading and good games!
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Eduardo

Visual Artist and Art Mediator, passionate about Magic since the launch of Mirage, alternative deck builder.

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