Commander Deck Tech: Queen Kayla bin-Kroog

Magic: the Gathering

Deck tech

Commander Deck Tech: Queen Kayla bin-Kroog

12/16/22 Comment regular icon0 comments

A Lock Control decklist with some good combos from one of the funniest and strongest commanders in the Boros identity, Queen Kayla bin-Kroog.

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Today's commander, Queen Kayla bin-Kroog is a powerful option in the Magic Symbol RMagic Symbol W colors, thanks to her activated ability, which is a robust source of

Card Advantage

.

Decklist Queen Kayla bin-Kroog

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This list has strong elements of Lock Control, which can be defined as a deck that uses cards that, together, generate a board state that makes the opponent's interaction unfeasible.

Pros and Cons

The strategy is ideal for anyone who likes to regulate the pace of the game through symmetrical reducers and Stax pieces.

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We can play silver bullets, cards capable of completely derailing certain strategies, bypassing the vast majority of interactions, and we have the potential to generate immense value and break symmetry through the commander. Our main challenges are ironically some Stax pieces like Cursed Totem and Linvala, Keeper of Silence that trap us in a tedious symmetrical game, the reduced ability to interact with spells and the stack of effects, without being through regulators and high dependency on creatures.

Queen Kayla, the Commander

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The choice to use Queen Kayla bin-Kroog was defined by its ability to correct the greater fragility of budget Stax decks without access to Magic Symbol U. Its activated ability simulates the effects of red wheel spells, known as

Wheels

with a series of particularities that we will detail below. Its activation cost Magic Symbol 4 is one mana higher than most wheel spells, however when playing up to three cards, one cost Magic Symbol 1, one cost Magic Symbol 2 and one cost Magic Symbol 3, we are spending Magic Symbol 4 to simulate generating Magic Symbol 6 and still draw cards. Since the cards played in this way are put directly into play, that is, they cannot be countered.
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Interactions and Peculiarities

Advanced Mechanics

Queen Kayla bin-Kroog's activated ability has many complex interactions with Stax pieces and replacement effects, both ours and our opponents'. When consulting the rules in the Wizards tool The Gathererlink outside website we can read the following:

“If a replacement effect causes cards you discard this way to be exiled instead of going to the Graveyard, Queen Kayla bin-Kroog's ability can still find those cards in exile. You can still put cards discarded this way onto the battlefield with Queen Kayla's ability.”

- Wizards, 10/14/2022

Knowing this, we can use cards like Rest in Peace and Samurai of the Pale Curtain without fearing their effects. This faculty extends to the opponent's cards and effects of powerful cards like Dauthi Voidwalker and Tergrid, God of Fright bypassing their restrictions. Cards are still exiled, but will be returned anyway — which allows us to extract a higher value with cards like Weathered Runestone and Grafdigger's Cage which when added to exile replacements don't prevent us from playing our cards.
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Another important interaction is with the card Library of Leng, the Gatherer tells us the following:

“The ability replaces the normal discard action with a discard action that puts the card into the library instead of the graveyard.”

- Wizards, 10/4/2004

Therefore, we can select those who will or will not be sent into exile. Remembering that returned cards do not generate draws with Queen Kayla bin-Kroog, a positive aspect in ensuring that we don't lose by overdrawing cards.

Game Plan

This deck aims to drop Stax pieces and regulatory tools as quickly as possible to generate symmetry and dictate the cadence of the game.

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When playing our commander, the game tends to end quickly, given the asymmetry provided by its effects. Especially growing on boards with blue, as we dodge most of the interactions. In environments with plenty of removals, it is important to wait for the moment when opponents are incapacitated due to restrictions imposed by our cards, or through protections with effects similar to Silence. This deck is pretty consistent, in the games I played with it, its stances were variable given its

Combo and Control

characteristics. Building our board is a top priority, creating multiple layers of Stax as we select the best ones depending on each opponent. It is often necessary to prevent the strategy of one of the opponents from being developed, which leads us to postpone our victory to find the appropriate locks or silver bullets. As we have some ease in establishing the

board state

, this allows us to proceed with the plan in a solid way, truncating the game with a resilient

Lock

until turns 5 to 7 when developing one of your win lines. In ideal matches, however, we win proactively, performing combos quickly and ending the game in turns 3 or 4.

Win conditions

Unlike traditional combo decks, we have few tutors, since our commander guarantees a robust amount of draws every turn — something between 3 and 4 cards — and with a well-developed game, we multiply this number, reaching 20 or more cards, by using Alhammarret's Archive to double the value of each activation of our commander. One of the non-combo lines is the use of abilities triggered by draws using Glint-Horn Buccaneer and Library of Leng. The advanced rules of Library of Leng tell us:

“Discards trigger anything else they trigger on discards.”

- Wizards, 2004-10-4

This way we can regulate the number of draws and also replace the desired cards in the library while we reduce our opponents' life totals. The deck features different lines of Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Myr Welder and Zirda, the Dawnwaker and variations, let's see each one in detail:

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker

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Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combos are diverse in format and for this deck we opted to use Village Bell-Ringer for its synergy with the commander. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker's combos win the game through combat, so must be performed in the first main phase, as the created tokens are exiled at the end of the turn. Combo condition: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker on the battlefield untapped + Village Bell-Ringer on the battlefield; 1) Activate Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker's ability to copy Village Bell-Ringer. 2) Village Bell-Ringer's token entry triggers its ability, and when it resolves, it untaps Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to have infinite copies.

Dermotaxi

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Dermotaxi's combo is a speedy variant of Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker's combo, which has the advantage of dodging removals, when played through our commander.

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Starting Conditions

: Queen Kayla bin-Kroog in play with no summoning sickness, Magic Symbol 4 mana to activate her, Dermotaxi, Village Bell-Ringer and Kiki -Jiki, Mirror Breaker in hand. Alternatively, we can start the combo with Village Bell-Ringer on the battlefield and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker on the graveyard. 1) Activate Queen Kayla bin-Kroog, discarding your hand. Select Dermotaxi and Village Bell-Ringer as your cost options Magic Symbol 2 and Magic Symbol 3. Sending Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to the Graveyard. 2) When Dermotaxi enters the battlefield, resolve

Imprint

's ability targeting Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. 3) Village Bell-Ringer enters, untapping your creatures, including Queen Kayla bin-Kroog. 4) Activate the Dermotaxi, tapping Queen Kayla bin-Kroog and Village Bell-Ringer. When resolving Dermotaxi it becomes a copy of Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. 5) Activate Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker's ability, tapping Dermotaxi, targeting Village Bell-Ringer. 6) When the copy of Village Bell-Ringer enters the battlefield, untap all creatures. Repeat steps 5 and 6 to have infinite copies.

Myr Welder

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Myr Welder's lines are also based on

Imprint

, here spells are exiled for their tap cost. Combo condition: Myr Welder on the battlefield, able to activate its ability + Staff of Domination and a mana rock capable of generating Magic Symbol 2 or more mana in the graveyard and Magic Symbol 2 mana available. 1)Activate Myr Welder and exile Staff of Domination. 2) Activate Staff of Domination's untap ability. 3) Tap Myr Welder to imprint the selected mana rock, for didactic purposes we will choose Sol Ring. 4) Activate Staff of Domination's untap ability. 5) Tap Myr Welder to add two mana with Sol Ring's ability. Repeat sequence 4 and 5 for infinite mana. With infinite mana, you can draw any number of cards and gain an unlimited amount of life.

Zirda, the Dawnwaker

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Combo Condition: Zirda, the Dawnwaker on the battlefield + Basalt Monolith on the battlefield; The moment Zirda, the Dawnwaker is on the field together with Basalt Monolith, we can use the activated ability of Basalt Monolith at a reduced cost, untapping the artifact for Magic Symbol 1 manna. 1) We tap Basalt Monolith generating Magic Symbol 3 colorless mana; 2) Then activate its ability to untap it for one mana. Generating an infinite mana loop.

Using infinite mana

I really like the idea of playing an Aurelia's Fury dealing lethal damage to all opponents. We can finish it off with Staff of Domination activations, as described in the combos above. Using Prismite filters mana to any color, enabling the possibility of lethal damage with Glint-Horn Buccaneer when drawing and discarding the entire deck.

Deck's Packages Analysis

Within the diversity of existing cards in Magic, we can group resources in various ways.

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I chose to use the most popular model among Commander players: Ramps, Interactions, Card Advantage. I like to add a group of cards that are complementary to

Commander

, in this case Stax pieces.

Stax

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This deck was designed to avoid penalties imposed by our regulators, cards that prevent the use of ending mechanics and others that alter the natural flow of the game, known as

Locks

. This way of playing is known as

Stax

, which belongs to the Control deck family. The strategy has resource negation that uses permanents with abilities that deprive players of actions in the game, and most of these cards are symmetrical, as they affect all players equally.

Highlights

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Phyrexian Revoker is one of those silver bullets that, when played in a calculated manner, can ruin someone's day. There are many decks that depend on a specific activated ability to develop your game or combo, and this artifact creature is a very efficient solution. Leonin Arbiter at the beginning of the game has a huge impact, after all, tutors, fetchlands and other searches have an additional cost that, if not paid in advance, simply does not work. Believe me, these Magic Symbol 2 mana are a hefty price most of the time.

Ramp

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The list was equipped with the most different types of ramps — artifacts, filters, rituals. One of our main strengths is the activated abilities, and they have a high mana cost, starting with the commander whose activation costs Magic Symbol 4. To support activations and not be left unattended, we dedicate a fifth part of the deck just to accelerate game development.

Highlights

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Zirda, the Dawnwaker needs no introduction, but let's highlight some features, for its mana cost Magic Symbol 3 it can be played by Commander's ability. Its ability to reduce ability costs surprises opponents and allows for explosive turns and incredible combos. The quirk that makes this card exceptional is the fact that this reduced cost affects all activations, regardless of permanent type. Magus of the Moon allows us to accelerate our lands that come into play tapped, and thus adds speed to the deck. Another non-obvious ability it has is the capacity to remove the dependency on markers from

Depletion lands

. It is worth noting that our commander bypasses mana costs up to Magic Symbol 3, so we will rarely be negatively affected by Blood Moon and Magus of the Moon.

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Interactions

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Interactions are essential to remove threats and protect yourself High responsiveness, and added to the diverse layers of Stax, allows us to deal with most threats. After all, when you only have to deal with a single spell per turn and don't cast spells, the game flows at your favor.

Highlights

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Target changes are very efficient as we avoid removals and deal with a threat with a single interaction. The biggest advantage is to use the resources of your opponents in your favor, to protect your spells and respond to a second opponent. Aurelia's Fury is a brutal card which acts as a finisher, or a powerful protection, resolving spells and creatures with a single card. It's the safest way to guarantee that no opponent will interact with our combos.

Card Advantage

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The biggest driver behind building this deck is the powerful card advantage tool that is Queen Kayla bin-Kroog, and since she's available in the command zone, we've added cards that amp up her ability. We've already shown you the immense value afforded by Alhammarret's Archive, so let's delve into another highlight.
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Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner was one of my

"sleepers cards"

, many were the decks where I tried to fit this gem. By granting evasion to our creatures, we are guaranteed many additional draws, and if it is not quickly contained, it generates an immense advantage, often resolving the game.

Conclusion

Queen Kayla bin-Kroog has made the list of my favorite

Boros

Commanders, and I believe I'll be visiting this deck many times, refining and improving it. A joke that was really fun and that earned another deck came from the taunt "Queen Kayla bin-Kroog looks good in any Boros Artifacts". In this case, I took a personal list of Depala, Pilot Exemplar and added Queen Kayla bin-Kroog to the command zone, which was made for casual games:

Speedway's Queen

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I hope you found some interesting ideas to improve your deck and participate in the Commander universe. Thanks for reading and good games! If you have any questions or suggestions, leave it in the comments!

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Eduardo Silveira

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

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