Hello! My name is Bob, I’m new here and I’m helping Jordan (Frantic) and Luke knock out these Partner Commander articles. Today’s article brings us a pair of not-green commanders from the Invent Superiority commander deck: Akiri, Line-Slinger and Silas Renn, Seeker Adept. These partners form the basis for a commander decklist with only one thing in mind: artifacts! You can look at the Invent Superiority decklist for a lot of great cards to pair with these commanders, but I’ve chosen to only talk about cards that weren’t included in that deck. Let’s get this party started with a breakdown of the partners themselves.
Akiri, Line-Slinger enters the game early and only gets better over time. With a converted mana cost of just two, and the beautiful mana base Wizards managed to put together for these commander decks, you should have no trouble slapping her onto the battlefield by your second or third turn. This card is really nothing but upside! With Vigilance, there is practically no reason not to attack someone with Akiri every turn. By the time you enter the mid-game, if you’re playing it right, her first strike damage will be high enough that most creatures can’t touch her. She can, however, be killed by direct damage and removal, and that’s where our first bit of brewing comes in: equipment like Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots can keep spells and abilities at bay, plus each equipment you control gives Akiri +1/+0 because they’re artifacts.
Silas Renn, Seeker Adept is less straightforward to play. His ability is difficult to build around, and is better suited to helping you play and replay important artifacts that form the real theme of your deck. With that said, Silas is an incredibly useful commander and his talents will help you overwhelm opponents. Silas will only help you recast dead artifacts if he can make contact with a player, and while Deathtouch can help him deal combat damage to players since nobody wants to lose a big blocker to a 2/2, it is not reliable (especially once people realize you can bring back a Mindslaver or a Scourglass every turn!). You can get maximum value from attacking with Silas by adding Whispersilk Cloak or any of your favorite evasion equipment cards to your deck. Trailblazer’s Boots is another good choice, because in the Commander format it basically reads “Equipped creature cannot be blocked”.
Build a Board Workshop
A deck commanded by Akiri and Silas needs to have artifacts. A LOT of artifacts. Luckily, one of the things artifacts are best at is creating more artifacts! For instance, Thopter Assembly: If you’re short on thopters, it can generate a swarm to get you started, plus once it sticks its 5/5 body is nothing to sneeze at! Keeping thopters in mind, Thopter Spy Network can net you an extra artifact every turn. Those thopters add up quickly for Akiri’s power, plus most turns it also lets you draw a card, which means more artifacts in your hand to put on the battlefield. Sharding Sphinx can get out of hand very quickly if your opponents can’t block flying creatures, basically doubling your number of thopters every turn.
Late in the game, Mirrorworks basically reads “double the usefulness of all your artifact cards”. Similarly, Prototype Portal lets you squeeze a LOT of value out of a single artifact by playing many copies; Imagine getting another Myr Matrix every turn! How about imprinting a Lotus Bloom or an artifact land? Want to be a real asshole? Imprint a Lodestone Golem! If budget is not a concern, a Phyrexian Metamorph imprinted on Prototype Portal means you can copy almost anything on the battlefield once per turn.
Now that we’ve built our presence, it’s time to keep it safe:
Guardians of the Galvanized
There are a lot of cards that destroy artifacts, and many more that destroy (artifact) creatures. This deck counts on having a big pile of artifacts at all times, so you need to keep them protected. Padeem is the ideal card here – he keeps your opponents’ spells away from your pretties and he draws you extra cards to boot. Darksteel Forge makes all your artifacts indestructible, which is especially useful if you have a huge army of small artifact creatures. It also allows you to use “destroy all” effects and keep your artifacts intact! I can go on all day about how useful Indestructible is, but let’s address the Elepha… er, Loxodon in the room. Yes, Darksteel Forge costs NINE mana. That is a lot, but artifacts are great at making each other cheaper. With a few cards in your deck like Semblance Anvil, Cloud Key, or Foundry Inspector, you can get that forge out a lot sooner than you might think.
Another very important way to protect your permanents when you have access to blue is counterspells! Of course you could run GOOD counterspells if you want to, but you’ll have to decide on those for yourself. I’m going to stay on-theme: yes, there are artifact-themed counterspells! Override makes an opponent pay an extra mana for each artifact you control; in the early game, most players will be tapping out for big spells and by the time they have extra mana laying around you should have more than enough artifacts to shut their spells down. Stoic Rebuttal is just “Counterspell” if you have enough artifacts, and Assert Authority is essentially the same, though exiling the spell is more powerful. Confirm Suspicions is expensive for a counterspell, but it’s my favorite card in this category because it creates a great segue to my next section…
Clues are artifacts! In addition to being useful tools for drawing cards, Clues can also add a big bonus to your total number of artifacts! Humble the Brute kills a scary creature, Trail of Evidence gives a bonus artifact when you play an instant or sorcery, and Tamiyo’s Journal gives you a growing stack of artifacts that you can use to find whatever you need in the moment. A steady supply of clues can keep your board OR your hand full, depending on what you need most.
So, here we are, a heap of artifacts in front of us, nobody can seem to break them or even hit them with anything, and they seem to be multiplying constantly. What can you do with something like that? You can attack with a massive swarm of 1/1 thopters, or you can drop a bomb like Broodstar or Darksteel Juggernaut to really bring the pain! These creatures are absolutely massive in the late game, and they are artifacts themselves, so they benefit from our protection cards.
Marionette Master is less bombastic than a Broodstar, but with the right combo of cards, she can be devastating to your opponents. An Extruder makes a great sacrifice engine because it can buff up your Marionette Master, so each artifact takes one more life from your opponent than the last! Blade of the Bloodchief is another great way to increase her power. Even without extra power, a sacrifice outlet lets you drain an opponent for 4 life per artifact, and that should be more than enough to close out a game.
Another direction you can take your tokens is mass buffing! Tempered Steel and Intangible Virtue make for a very scary swarm of thopters. Chief of the Foundry can make your team even scarier. With so many creatures on the battlefield, even a single buff card can mean certain death for your opponents!
Artifacts are very versatile and very powerful, and unfortunately that means that there are a lot of artifact related cards that are rather expensive. If you have unlimited resources, or any of these cards, I would absolutely include them in this deck:
Guardian Beast, Mycosynth Lattice, Mycosynth Golem, Mishra’s Workshop, Tezzeret the Seeker, Tezzeret Agent of Bolas, Lotus Bloom, Krark-Clan Ironworks
These make excellent additions, but acquiring them is not necessary to have a functional, fun deck.
End of the (Assembly) Line
In conclusion, artifacts are awesome, play artifacts, play lots of artifacts, make more artifacts with those artifacts. Kill your friends with artifacts. Artifacts.
One of the beautiful things about the commander format is that even if you used every single card I have mentioned in this article, you would still have tons of choices to make about how your deck would play, how it would look, what kind of support you add for the cards you chose and the synergies you could string up between them. You could add loads more “wacky” artifacts like Mindslaver for Silas to keep around far longer than your friends would like. You could add some really powerful equipment to slap onto Akiri like Argentum Armor, Nim Deathmantle, or Scythe of the Wretched. Hopefully some of my ideas have inspired you to do something with these delicious, artifact-loving commanders! I’d love to see some of your brewing tips in the comments below. Thanks for reading my first article here at Frantic Talks, and I’ll see you next time.
Edit: This article was written before the release of Aether Revolt. I have written an extra segment for some of the Aether revolt cards that work well with the deck. I have also edited the decklist, which means that a few of the mentioned cards have been cut to make room.
A Revolting New Set
Wizards has just released Aether Revolt, and with it came a BIG handful of new cards that find themselves right at home with Silas and Akiri! First of all, Mechanized Production is going to be incredible in this deck. If you have ANY token generators on the field you can win the game outright (as long as you and the enchantment survive until your next upkeep). If your play group frowns upon that sort of thing, you can always use it like a better Prototype Portal, pumping out a big threat or a crazy synergy per turn. Whir of Invention will let you use all your tokens to dig out exactly the artifact you need from the deck, and Indomitable Creativity lets you turn all the tokens you don’t want into much more useful artifacts and creatures from your library. Gonti’s Aether Heart gives you an extra turn after anyone else’s, and generates so much energy that I’ve included Whirler Virtuoso just as a sink for the leftovers. Battle at the Bridge and Herald of Anguish let you use all your artifacts to remove problem creatures your opponents have.
I’ve put more Aether Revolt cards than the ones I mentioned here into the final decklist, because this set is just crazy with synergies that this sort of deck can use! Check out the rest of the cards in the set for some interactions I didn’t think of.