I have played MTG for at least 9 years (ever since I was a teen), and for almost 100% of that time I played Commander. In the time I played, one of the commanders I played the most was this incredible Elf: Mayael the Anima, which stars in today's deck tech.
Commander and Mechanic
Mayael the Anima was one of the first commanders in pre-con decks. She was released alongside Marath, Will of the Wild. Mayael obviously has gotten mechanically older as time went on, due to the power creep the game went through throughout the years - Jetmir, Nexus of Revels and Atla Palani, Nest Tender are examples of other commanders in the Naya color combination that have "replaced" her when it comes to building a creature-focused deck.
Even then, today's deck tech star is this blind Elf, which calls upon gigantic creatures to help us in combat. Spending 6 mana to try and find a creature on the top 5 cards in your deck might seem a lot, but finding an enormous creature with a good effect is very rewarding. Let's find out how we activate this ability multiple times, and how to cheat out the cost of our creatures.
Mayael the Anima List and Deck Strategy
This is a Naya deck in its most basic essence: we have absurd creatures, be it because of their power or effect, that are ready to beat down their opponents. In general, the main win condition is combat damage, considering the idea is to be able to bring creatures to the board as soon as possible.
There are other damage sources to defeat your opponents in this deck in other ways as well. Let's get to it.
Artifacts and Dorks
We use the classic artifact kit that is included in almost any commander deck nowadays: Sol Ring and every Signet available in our color combination: Boros Signet, Selesnya Signet, Gruul Signet and Arcane Signet.
For quick play lines, we also use Birds of Paradise. Another very interesting mana dork we use is Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea, which, besides being a mana dork to cast creatures, the two mana it creates can also be used with Mayael's ability. Not to mention, it can be used more times if our mana is spent to cast a creature that costs 5 or more.
Last, but not least, we have The Great Henge. This card can almost always be cast for very little mana, creates value with life gain, creates mana, draws cards and buffs our creatures. It is almost indispensable in decks that focus on gigantic creatures.
We want to access the highest number of ramp tools available early game so we can activate Mayael's ability straight away, and use these low-cost ramp cards - Farseek, Rampant Growth, Nature's Lore and Three Visits - to look for lands, like the Jetmir's Garden triome or the Shock Lands Stomping Ground, Temple Garden or Sacred Foundry.
Cheating Out Creatures
Considering we can't 100% depend on Mayael, we need alternatives that have a similar effect so we can cheat out the high cost of our creatures. As a result, we use Quicksilver Amulet, Monster Manual // Zoological Study and Elvish Piper: they all have the same direct role, which is to place on the board a creature straight from your hand for a low cost.
With a similar effect, we also use Lurking Predators, and my favorite: Selvala's Stampede, which can always wreak a reasonable amount of havoc when used. Finally, we have Mirari's Wake to have access to a lot of mana early on, making our life easier when it's time to cast creatures.
Interactions with our Commander
As the final icing on the cake, we have one of, if not the strongest card in this deck: Seedborn Muse. This green muse makes it possible for us to get one creature per opponent's turn (and also your own, if you choose to use Mayael) if Mayael's ability activates. It is essential that you protect this creature because it has great synergy and harmony with our commander.
A nice point you can bring up is that Mayael can offer several ideas for builds: Eldrazi, Angels, Dragons, Beasts, Dinosaurs, whatever the pilot thinks is more viable. Throughout the years playing with her, I opted for a different path: I always added creatures that are more defensive, and offered some type of protection or advantage, and that disrupted the opponents in some way.
As a result, we use cards like Angelic Arbiter, Archetype of Endurance, Dragonlord Dromoka, Serra's Emissary, Void Winnower, Blazing Archon and Archon of Valor's Reach. Having creatures big enough to bother opponents through painful combats and that always protect themselves well and protect you well is essential, considering the idea is to always have a full board. These creatures have a slight tone of Stax, but nothing that is impossible to play against.
To have even more defensive resources, we also have Avacyn, Angel of Hope, Verdant Sun's Avatar, Sigarda, Host of Herons, Angel of Serenity and Spearbreaker Behemoth. These creatures will give us a certain safety: be it gaining life, preventing our creatures from being destroyed, or preventing our resources from being lost.
Additionally, due to this number of Angels and obviously other cards, using Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx becomes viable.
This deck can't stand on defense alone - this build is based on creatures, so these are the rest of the creatures in this deck.
Starting with the most aggressive ones, we use Terror of the Peaks as a possible win condition to deal damage to opponents, Xenagos, God of Revels, Etali, Primal Storm, Etali, Primal Conqueror (it's worth noting that its transformed version, Etali, Primal Sickness, is a way to possibly defeat an opponent), Gisela, Blade of Goldnight serves both as an aggressive resource and a defensive one, and Ghalta and Mavren, to create more creatures each time and deal even more damage.
Finally, to create value, we use Soul of the Harvest to draw cards and mainly Kodama of the East Tree, which has a great synergy with Mayael considering it can bring a creature from your hand any time Mayael's ability activates.
Answers and Other Interactions
This is basically the rest of this deck. We have target removals - Beast Within, Generous Gift, Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile, and also global removals - Blasphemous Act and Austere Command. Obviously, besides our own creatures, we have other removal options in spell-form, after all, we assume our opponents will always try to remove whatever's problematic for them.
Finally, we also have Garruk's Uprising to draw cards, Rhythm of the Wild to possibly avoid counters, Naya Charm to recover some lost resources or even tap some opponent's creatures and force their imminent defeat, and Triumph of the Hordes, to end the game at once.
Mayael the Anima Budget List
This is a way cheaper Mayael the Anima list, but it keeps its original essence: gigantic creatures. Some cards in both lists are aligned, and, even though their budget is different, it is still a fun deck to pilot.
Mayael was once my favorite commander, and bringing a list I played for so long physically (considering this one as the final list, as it went through upgrades throughout the years) is gratifying for me. I have a lot of love for this creature, so writing a deck tech for her was quite cool. It has been some time since I retired her, but she still holds a place in my heart, after all, it was one of the Commander decks I played the most in my time playing MTG.
Did you like this list? Would you build a typal focused on Angels, Dragons or Eldrazis? Or everything together? Comment down below!