Greetings EDH fanatics, I have great news! It’s time for another deck tech! Griffin here with Command Valley. With C20 released just last weekend, we are ready to present a deck tech for Zaxara, the Exemplary! I can say with certainty Zaxara was the most exciting legendary creature to come from this product so without further ado I am happy to present the deck I like to call ….
As you can probably guess this deck is focused around spells with X in their mana costs and get massive hydras off of Zaxara. I’ve broken this deck down to 3 easy steps. Step 1: Ramp. Step 2: X-Men, Step 3: Win. I’ve included a deck list at the bottom of this post, so make sure you make it to the end and check out all of the cards I’ve ended up including. Let’s break these steps down.
Step 1. Ramp
Since we have lots of spells with X in their mana cost, we want to have as much mana at our disposal as we can. The first 4 turns we want to focus on ramping and getting as many lands in to play as we can, which mean we have lots of cards to do so.
For the mana dorks we have,
For our artifacts
Out of all of these cards, I especially like Animist’s Awakening, because it’s an X spell and if we have Zaxara out, we’ll get an additional token just for ramping with it. It may seem like a lot of ramp even for the strategy we have, but it’s all very important to have as much ramp as we can squeeze in so we can stay ahead of the game and get those massive spells before our opponents have answers for them.
Step 2: The X-Men
It wouldn’t be a Griffin deck if there weren’t silly names that don’t make any sense, BUT I felt this name was appropriate because after we ramp a ton and we have access to lots of mana, we can start casting our X spells, or the X- Men as I like to call them. Of course, we can’t talk about X spells without talking about hydras. Most of the hydras in MTG history contain an X in their mana cost, which is why Zaxara makes hydras and is himself a hydra. I have chosen to only include 6-7 hydras in this deck because there is a lot of other X spells we need, but you can add as many hydras as you want! Here is a list of the hydras you can slot into this deck:
Here are some other Non-Hydra creatures I recommend, my favorite of these probably being Stonecoil Serpent for being hard to deal with and a versatile protector against attackers.
Not only do these hydras get super strong with our large mana reserve, but we also get an extra beefy hydra along with them, it’s absolutely amazing. Our non-creature X spells are just as important, if not more because they allow us to make massive plays and have a hydra token included.
We’ll go more in depth into what we’re going to want to be tutoring with Diabolic there is specific cards that we want to get but I will talk about that later in our win cons section! Alongside big creatures, we have a lot of X Draw Spells. Almost all the draw spells we are playing contain X in their mana cost which, again, is important for Zaxara’s strategy.
These draw spells are very important for this build. Not only do we need card draw but the more mana we can ramp into the more cards we get to draw. These cards are also a piece of one of our win conditions so be sure to watch out for these draw spells during the game!
I’m a big fan of Villainous Wealth, and even though it’s not necessarily card draw here, it’s still a very, very powerful spell. In testing with my playgroup, I’ve found that this card can hose someone’s entire strategy by getting their win cons off the top of the library, and even if you don’t get the win cons, pumping a lot of mana into this is still going to get you something you can use, as well as a hydra onto the battlefield!
Before we move on to the win cons in this deck, let me first mention a few additional powerful cards that you definitely need to include in your brew!
Unbound Flourishing is an absolute unit in this deck. No card fits in better. Doubling all of our X permanents and copying our X spells can get absolutely WILD. With the way Zaxara is worded, when you cast a doubled X permanent spell, you will also get a Hydra with DOUBLE the counters! I have played this deck a few times already and Unbound Flourishing can win a game all on its own.
Step 3: Win!!
If you have been following the discussion around Zaxara in EDH, you probably have heard of his infinite mana generator using on of two cards:
Both of these enchantments allow us to untap a creature for a single blue mana, meaning if we put either one on Zaxara we can tap him to add 2 blue into our mana pool, use 1 blue to untap him with 1 blue remaining in our mana pool. We can do this over and over creating infinite blue mana, then we can create infinite mana of any colour by spending that blue mana into the untap ability once again. Pretty crazy right? But what can we do with that mana besides casting massive hydras or taking every creature on the board? Lets take a look.
The first three here are really straightforward: pump infinite mana into the spell and everyone else is not going to have the resources to survive them. With Thassa’s Oracle, you’re going to end up pumping the infinite X mana into a draw spell. Just spend as much mana as you need to draw your entire deck, and then cast Thassa’s Oracle to win off of having no cards left in your library.
If you don’t like playing combos and winning out of nowhere, here are some other amazing win cons:
As you can see there are lots of different ways to win with this deck, which means it’s up to you as the player how you want to win! Simic Ascendancy is especially great in this deck because just casting X spells is going to get you to where you need without pumping mana specifically into it.
Now, since Zaxara is so strong and can be very scary for your opponents, he will have what I like to call the “Kaalia Effect”. This comes from the first time I built Kaalia many years ago, and the deck was so strong that whenever Kaalia was cast, it would get immediately removed because it was such a huge threat on the board. We can’t avoid this dilemma as EDH players, so we need to have some sort of protection against this problem.
These counterspells are very important, especially in that moment where you can cast one of the two combo enchantments onto Zaxara. Immediately she will be targeted with removal, so we always want interaction to keep her safe. Along those lines, we also want to have interaction for our opponents to make sure we’re taking care of the threats that our big hydras can’t get through. Here are the cards I have slotted into the deck, but Sultai has a wide range of removal that you can slot in!
I hope you have found this tech helpful and makes you want to get a copy of Zaxara RIGHT NOW. This is a deck I have personally built and it is wicked fast and very strong, you are guaranteed to have a blast playing it even if you lose. Thank you guys for reading and please if you have not already, subscribe to our YouTube channel and stay on top of all our deck techs of which many will be releasing the coming weeks!
Here is the full Deck List: