After playing the Entropic Uprising deck for an evening, playing decks built around partnered commanders is intriguing. The partners that come in the deck offer 3 different styles of decks to build around and exploring each one is a wonderful brewing exercise. The Entropic Uprising deck also comes with a nice variety of good spells to select from that can create a nice core to begin the deck brewing process.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to a file error, we published a version of this article missing some key paragraphs about Vial Smasher, Thrasios, and Bring to Light. They have been amended.
Inspiration came from sifting through the preconstructed Entropic Uprising. Curtain’s Call, Decimate, Bituminous Blast, and Bloodbraid Elf were cards that ended up on the top of pile from the sifting process. Two-for-one, Four-for-one, all-for-one value plays with unending interaction fueled by the engine of Thrasios, Triton Hero to continuously dig through the deck. Jund with Blue, Jund Blues, Flooded Jund, Watery Jund, Jund Whatever seems to be a deck of unlimited options and potentials to build around.
Coiling Oracle is a wonderful creature that always provides a card when it enters the battle. Since Thrasios provides Coiling Oracle on demand, Thrasios shall also be considered wonderful. Activating Thrasios’ ability just a couple of times between turns 4 and 5 sets up being able to activate Thrasios even more in the following turns. During commander play, it is important to be able to hit land drops between turns 1 to 6 at least. Thrasios accomplishes this by not only putting lands directly into play but by digging to lands that can be played during the turn. Successful ramping then allows multiple activations of Thrasios outside of our turn and providing the ability to recast Thrasios from the command zone many times. Thrasios is the engine of the game plan; Jund ‘em, Jund ‘em out, Jund. Beyond the handful of boardwipes, Thrasios alters targeted removal into premium removal. All of the one-for-one, two-for one, some-for-one options shall exhaust opponents’ resources while Thrasios keeps providing a bountiful amount. Premium removal doesn’t win game on its own though and this fair commander deck has a fair way to win.
Vial Smasher the Fierce of all fierce goblins on Tarkir is a nasty source of political damage. Normally, I dislike the roll to see who I plan to attack this turn mantra because of the excuses opponents use to try to convince me that 20 points of commander damage wasn’t their fault. Vial Smasher makes this random damage okay since she clearly is tossing those explosive vials of dragonfire randomly around. Vial Smasher turns most of our targeted removal and creatures into direct points of damage to random opponents. As long as the targeted removal keeps dangerous recurring life gain and hexproof granting permanents away, Vial Smasher will poke and ping each opponent down to zero life. Further, Thrasios helps keep the mana flowing to help keep casting Vial Smasher from the command zone time after time and Thrasios keeps finding more cards to cast for a continuous source of converted mana costs that Vial Smasher will drop on any opponent in the wrong spot at the wrong time.
The mana base will hopefully be reasonable to achieve. Reusing the mana base from the preconstructed deck feels optimal from an efficiency and cost standpoint. Wizards of the Coast designed a beautiful mana base that seems to always find four colors. The mana base is even good enough to have UBGR on turn four followed by 2RRR for Kiki-Jiki by turn five with a nice handful of combinations of cards. Last, curve into Dragon Broodmother at 2RRRG without requiring a Chromatic Lantern to help out with fixing colors. Seems worth it.
Controlling the Board
Targeted removal is the premium core to success. Dealing with the problematic dependably requires solid judgment during the game. Deciding what stays and what goes can be the difference between winning and losing a multiplayer game. To help with the decisions, multiple target removal helps ease the decision making process. Casting Hex can dismantle multiple creature-based combos with single wave of targeted destruction. Decimate clears a healthy variety of permanents in pinch while Spelltwine creates a repeat of disaster. Annihilate and Repulse draw a card in addition to removing a creature and Agonizing Demise can end the game for the players with extra large Maulers or Giants. Chaos Warp, Echoing Truth, Desert Twister and Beast Within each are extremely versatile being able to remove most permanents from play. Finally, Twisted Justice can knock down a lone pesky creature with hexproof along with likely replenishing the grip. Removal is a third of the game plan with Jund with creatures bashing into the red zone being part two.
A big fattie or two can close out a game and pinning an opponent down under creature pressure is gratifying. Especially when different creatures can bring a diversity of problems to the table. Mindleech Mass closes out games in chunks of 6 while wasting your opponent’s hand! Being able to cast a nonland card after connecting for damage is nuts. This can steal away an opposing combo, grab more fatties to sit back on defense and even use opposing removal on opposing threats. Dragon Broodmother and Hornet Queen bring in a family of tokens to allow for the deck to swing wide and play pretty good defense. Stonehoof Chieftain is insane either attacking alone or with some friends. If attacking isn’t getting through, utility creatures will help seal the game.
Vial Smasher and Thrasios are crucial to keeping the momentum in favor of Jund. Vial Smasher creates random amounts of opponent damage for just casting a spell each turn. This random damage helps pressure an opponent’s life total to either put them in range of being trampled down by big creatures or get the final points of damage in after the assault. Thrasios keeps the land drops coming and cards flowing into the hand which is great in the late game or an option early in the game to help get the game started. Golgari Guildmage can continously recur crucial creatures while buffing other dudes for extra beef. Eternal Witness and other creatures with enter the battlefield abilities are nuts with Kiki-Jiki. Finally, Scavenging Ooze returns to commander to help slow down graveyard shenanigans while being a source of life gain. Birds of Paradise helps smooth out the color requirements and can generate white mana for Bring to Light.
Bring to Light brings a budget option of a tutor to the deck. Without to much trouble, Bring to Light can find many options in the deck and then immediately cast that option for free. As a four-color deck at the base, the converge part of Bring to Light appears as an upside by rewarding the spread of colors sitting in the mana pool. Finding utility creatures or an answer in the form of an instant or sorcery that costs less than 5 isn’t difficult. Further, with the semi-recent alteration of mana production rules in commander, cards that can produce any color of mana can produce white, pushing Bring to Light’s converge requirement up to five. Just to note, that means Bring to Light has the potential to bring Kiki-Jiki into play in a pinch.
Constructing Thrasios and Vial Smasher is a puzzle that has many solutions backed with many opinions about what is optimal. Personally, I like the idea of attrition Jund backed with Thrasios and blue spells to keep the Jund cards available in bountiful amounts. The best part about building commander decks based around what abilities commanders can grant is the variety that each Magic player includes in their list. Hopefully this simple build provides some different insight or inspiration for your own Thrasios and Vial Smasher deck. The partner commanders provide many new commanding options and even more options to brew around.