Verazol, the Split Current – Pumped Up Kicks – Commander Deck Tech – Command Valley

Hey guys, this is Peter bringing you a new commander deck tech: Verazol kicker tribal.  Thank you to Game Grid for sponsoring our channel and our content.  I was instantly drawn in when I saw this revealed and I’m excited to show you what I’ve come up with.  I hope you enjoy it as well.

Audio Link: https://rss.com/podcasts/commandvalleypodcast/78906

 

This deck aims to utilize Verazol’s copying abilities to get more value out of high costing kicker spells.  Obviously, it’s going to be expensive to cast these spells, but fortunately we are in green and blue and have some of the best ramp available to us.  So, the game plan is to use our ramp engines to get Verazol out with a bunch of counters, then start copying crazy valuable kicker spells to dig through our deck and find our win cons.

 

Ramp

 

Let’s start out with the ramp, because there is a LOT of it in this deck.  If we’re not ramping for the first couple of turns of the game, we’re on a slower track than we want to be.  There are a couple of these spells that synergize especially well with our commander, specifically Elfhame Druid, Grow from the Ashes, and Primal Growth.  Elfhame Druid will give us extra mana for kicker spells, tapping for 2 green if it’s used for a kicked spell.  Grow from the Ashes and Primal Growth are both kicker spells that search for 2 lands and put them right onto the battlefield untapped if you kick them.  With Verazol’s ability, these end up getting us 4 lands out at once, which is a great place to be.  We also have Vastwood Surge, a new card from Zendikar Rising, which is a bit more expensive to kick at 8 mana, but gives us 2 lands and puts 2 +1/+1 counters on each creature we control.  If we copy it with Verazol, it’s replacing the +1/+1 counters and then adding more, along with 4 lands.

 

I am including Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath in my list, but you definitely shouldn’t take this as a sign to go and pick one up, because he’s going to be expensive for a while.  I just happen to have access to one from my previous deck tech with him, so I’ll take advantage of him here.  Similar effects can be achieved with Growth Spiral (which is also in the deck) and Urban Evolution to get some extra lands from our hands onto the battlefield and get us some card advantage.

 

We’re playing a lot of typical ramp spells that you’d normally see, including Cultivate and Kodama’s Reach (which will both get us 2 lands, one in the hand and one on the battlefield), Nature’s Lore and Skyshroud Claim to get more Forests, and Rampant Growth for some cheap ramp.  For mana rocks, the notable inclusions are Everflowing Chalice and Skyclave Relic, which are both kicker spells which means they can be copied with Verazol.  Copying Skyclave Relic will give you 6 Darksteel Ingots and replace all the mana you spent on it, so this is an all-star card in the deck, and the same goes for Everflowing Chalice for any size that we want.  Additionally, we’re running Arcane Signet, Simic Signet, and Sol Ring, as well as Thought Vessel for the times when our hand-size gets too big.

 

We’ve got a couple more with Nissa, Who Shakes the World and Seedborn Muse which will both help us get more advantage out of our lands, Nyxbloom Ancient, which isn’t really a ramp card and more of an enabler for some big mana spells that we’re going to talk about in our Win-Con section, and Growing Rites of Itlimoc that flips to a sweet Gaea’s Cradle that you definitely want in your green creature decks.

 

Card Advantage

 

Moving into the card advantage section, we’ll see here that there are a lot of ways to get a lot of cards all at once in this kicker deck.  The kicker all-stars are Citanul Woodreaders, Sphinx of Lost Truths, and Field Research, all of which draw us extra cards if we kick it and can be doubled with Verazol to make them actually mana efficient.  It feels great to drop these early on in the game and get a hand full of cards after we’ve ramped a ton and emptied our hand as much as possible.  These will be the best cards to help us find our win cons.  Inscription of Insight is another new card that has kicker, which serves a couple of purposes including putting tokens on the battlefield, returning some creatures to hand, and scrying and drawing cards.  You’ll find a couple of cards like this that can return a creature or nonland permanent to our hand, and that flexibility is nice for both interaction and for helping us get more counters on Verazol.  See, returning Verazol to hand when he runs low on counters and casting him again will be cheaper than getting him back into the command zone and recasting him in most cases, and will help mitigate our commander tax.  Two other such cards are Blink of an Eye and Into the Roil, which are exactly the same card and both return a nonland permanent to our hands and, if we kick it, draw a card.

 

Beast Whisperer and Guardian Project are the only two card engines in this section that don’t have kicker, and that’s because they’re just too good with big creature decks to leave out.  

 

Jace, Mirror Mage gets nutty with the copy shenanigans of Verazol.  Copying Jace gives us not one, not two, but THREE Jace planeswalkers onto the battlefield (one will die from being legendary), and those will help give us a scry and draw engine that’s going to be very hard for our opponents to deal with.  

 

The last two kicker spells in this category are Murasa Sproutling and Tazeem Roilmage, which are both very helpful for getting spells back from the graveyard for some recursion action.  And again, copying them with Verazol makes them even more mana efficient; Murasa Sproutling turns into a more-efficient Eternal Witness for kicker spells, and the Roilmage costs two mana less than two Archaeomancers.

 

Interaction

 

Moving on to our interaction, let’s talk about our kicker pieces first.  Starting with our counterspells, we have Prohibit and Spell Contortion.  Both of these have kicker, which means they’re a little more expensive than your typical kicker spell, but Spell Contortion is actually a card draw engine in disguise and Prohibit will probably help us with most of the value pieces our opponents are casting.  We also have Plasm Capture, which isn’t a kicker spell but does protect us from every other type of spell, and can get us some extra mana to pump into Verazol or something else on our next turn. I’ve reasoned that putting more expensive counterspells in the deck is fine because of the kicker and because we’re ramping so much that we’ll have access to that mana in most cases.  There are definitely a lot of counter options though, so take your pick from what you have available.

 

Territorial Allosaurus can help us with some spot removal for a creature or two, and Mold Shambler can help us with the non-creatures.  Both are also great because we get a big body onto the battlefield with each of them, and copying them helps even more.  Vines of Vastwood is a great protection spell that only costs 2 mana if we kick it, protecting our commander or maybe pumping it up significantly for a swing at one of our opponents.

 

Our last kicker spell is also our one board wipe in the deck, Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep.  He’s legendary and he costs a TON if we want to take advantage of the kicker, so he’s actually one of the few kicker spells we don’t want to copy with Verazol.  Nevertheless, if we do kick him, we have a sweet 8/8 on the battlefield, and it doesn’t affect our commander because Verazol is a Serpent.  Also, feel free to swap other interaction spells for more board wipes depending on your meta.

 

Three more pieces in the interaction category include Beast Within, which is always a good spot removal piece for any occasion, Mirrormade, which will help us counter some of our opponents’ advantage by copying it and taking it for ourselves, and Leyline of Anticipation, which I’ve included because not a lot of spells in the deck can be cast at instant speed but would be much better if we could.

 

Kicker

 

I’ve already talked about a bunch of Kicker cards, but there are more in the deck that have specific functions that aren’t really falling into any of the other categories.  There are also cards that synergize well with Kicker, so I’m going to go through some of those cards here too.

Let’s start with Inscription of Abundance and Strength of the Tajuru.  The Inscription serves a lot of purposes, but it’s primary function is to add more counters to Verazol when it’s kicked and copied.  It’ll also gain us a bunch of life and give us some fight triggers, so those are nice plusses.  Strength of the Tajuru is in the deck for the same reason; it’s a crazy efficient way to add a bunch of counters to Verazol.  A note here though is that we can’t use the multikicker ability unless we have legal targets to pump up, which means we probably shouldn’t cast this unless we have our commander and at least one other creature out unless we want to pump up our opponents’ creatures.  But if we can copy it, we’re getting twice X +1/+1 counters on our commander and a lot of gas for copying.  

 

While it doesn’t have kicker, I’ll include Evolution Sage here because proliferating Verazol when lands enter the battlefield is very nice for not having to return it to our hand as often.  It also works well with all the ramp in our deck, because all of those double as counter engines if Evolution Sage is out.

 

Aether Figment and Cragplate Baloth are in the deck cause they’re beefy and basically no other reason.  Copying these will give us 2 unblockable 3/3’s, or 2 uncounterable, trampling, hasty 10/10s respectively, which is absolute insanity.  Also, pumping Aether Figment up with a Strength of the Tajuru is a nice bonus.

 

Arctic Merfolk is another spell in here for returning Verazol to our hand if it gets low.  The downside is that we can’t copy Arctic Merfolk’s kicker cost, just the creature itself, but it’s still a really efficiently costed bounce spell that has kicker and gets us two bodies, so it’s pretty good in the deck.

 

Gnarlid Colony is yet another new spell.  Kicking it makes it bigger, but the best part is that it gives everything with +1/+1 counters on the battlefield trample, which includes our commander since it’s always going to have counters on it.  If the opportunity is right, we can just make Verazol huge and use Gnarlid Colony to give it the power to get through our opponents.  There are lots of other big creatures that can take advantage of this in the deck too, and even if we don’t have any of those out, we get 2 4/4’s for 5 that have trample and that’s not bad either.

 

Krosan Druid I had to include just because the prospect of gaining 20 life was too good to pass up; it’s certainly not a big beater but it can definitely help in a pinch.  We then have Wolfbriar Elemental, which we can pump a ton of green mana into to get us lots of wolf tokens to help overwhelm our opponents.  On a similar note, Roost of Drakes is fantastic for this.  Copying it will allow us to get 2 flying Drakes every time we cast a kicker spell, and that adds up really fast.  Even just casting this for one and having that one drake every time we cast a kicker feels really good.

 

We have some kicker synergy cards in here as well, all from Zendikar Rising and really help make this deck perform well.  My favorite is Coralhelm Chronicler. He gives us some extra card advantage and lets us dig a bit for a kicker spell if we don’t have one readily available.  Vine Gecko will make our kicker spells cost less and get bigger whenever we cast one, Merfolk Falconer will get us some scrying power, and Lullmage’s Familiar is not only a mana dork, but also let’s us gain life whenever we cast a kicker.  All of these give just a little more gas to get us to our win cons.

 

Win Cons

 

Speaking of which, let’s talk about the most powerful spells in the deck.  I’d like to start with Sea Gate Stormcaller, which costs 7 to kick and will copy an instant or sorcery spell with CMC 2 or less if we cast it later that turn, and if we kick it will copy it twice instead.  Copying this with Verazol, that adds up to 4 copies of the next CMC 2 spell we cast.  We have a couple of options from earlier, but my favorite one has to be Maddening Cacophony.

 

Maddening Cacophony is the last CMC 2 spell that I’d love to copy with Stormcaller, and it’s a doozy.  If we kick it and copy it with Verazol, we’re getting 6 copies of the Maddening Cacophony effect of milling each opponent’s library in half.  I did the math, and no matter what size of deck they have, they’re going to have 1 or 0 cards left in their library after that.  If they have less than 64 cards in their library, then that’s their entire library they’re milling.  This isn’t a mill deck by any means, but you can’t deny that 6 copies of that kind of spell is going to win you a game or two.  If you can get to 13 mana, it’s most likely game over for your opponents if you have these cards in your hand.

 

A back up for Sea Gate Stormcaller, if you don’t have the mana to kick it or not enough counters to copy it, you can use Twinning Staff.  The staff will add an additional copy to every time we want to copy, so Sea Gate Stormcaller at its base rate of 2 mana will copy the next spell twice no matter what.  Then, using Verazol to copy the next spell if it has kicker, we’ll get 5 copies of the spell, which isn’t as good but it’s still pretty close to 6.  Twinning Staff does so much work on the battlefield and it’s definitely going to feel good to get extra copies off of everything that Verazol does.

 

We have two more kicker spells that are extremely powerful in the deck, the first of which being Rite of Replication.  Rite of Replication will make 5 copies of something for 9 mana, 10 copies if you copy it with Verazol, which is absolutely bonkers on any creature and is going to get you ahead very quickly.  There are actually not a lot of useful options in the deck to copy besides maybe Sea Gate Stormcaller to get a bunch of copies of whatever spell we cast next.  However, you should never underestimate the power of 10 of something in Magic; making 10 big beaters out of nowhere can be game ending on its own.  The other card which, unfortunately I cannot target with Rite of Replication, is Myriad Construct.  So first, for 7 mana, we get two big fatties that are already going to hard to deal with.  If someone else deals with them with targeted removal, that’ll just cause them to split into many, many constructs, and of course WE can also target them with something to make them split.  In a deck where we don’t necessarily have a good way to go wide but it’s still focused around creatures, Myriad Construct can give us the fuel we need to close out the game.

 

Manabase

Finally, we have our manabase, which isn’t much special especially because most of our ramp is going to be searching for basic lands, which is why we have 23 Forests and 9 Islands.  We included Reliquary Tower here, again in those cases where we have too many card advantage engines and we can’t cast spells fast enough.  For the rest, we have Breeding Pool (which is tutorable with anything looking for a Forest), Command Tower, and Hinterland Harbor, for a total of 35 lands.  You could potentially run even fewer lands if you need some extra slots for interaction or something else, just be careful not to go too low that you don’t get any into your opening hands.

 

Conclusion

Thanks for reading this post!  I hope you enjoyed the deck and the video as always and that you’ve enjoyed the set as much as we have.  If you liked any of these cards and combos, head over to Game Grid through this link to purchase the cards, and you’ll be supporting the channel by doing that.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.