August 10, 2018

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Commander 2018 Breakdown Part 3 – Subjective Reality

Hello again everyone, and welcome back to another year’s edition of the Commander Breakdown. As with last year’s review, we’ll be reviewing and revising these decks through the lens of multiplayer functionality, and trying to keep individual card cost manageable. Unlike last year’s review, we won’t be limiting ourselves to just five cards.

“Subjective Reality” is the name of today’s game. This Esper top-deck themed Commander deck has brought us some great new cards (like Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow), and with a few adjustments can be a real threat to a table.

Here are the new Esper commanders we can potentially make use of:

Most three mana Planeswalkers are nuts and Aminatou, the Fateshifter looks like it could join that club, given the right home.

Faster than any other Commander in this set, her first ability grants us immediate card advantage and helps set us up for next turn. Her second ability is a bit more situational, requiring permanents on the board we own with ETB effects. It can also help us recover our prime value cards from her ultimate.

And speaking of her ultimate… wow. This is a constant threat to the rest of the table. With her second ability to reclaim our own lost permanents, we can clear a path to our toughest opponent – or just take their stuff late game.

We shouldn’t judge a Planeswalker purely by the strength of their final ability. However, between having the lowest mana cost among the new Planeswalkers and slotting into a control deck, this ultimate will almost certainly see play.

This card seems a little out of place in our deck since there are only four other cards that synergize. She does turn used spells into zombies to help herself, at least.

We can cut Varina, Lich Queen, but keep it safely aside for building around The Scarab God and all those other sweet white zombie cards from Amonkhet.

Free spells on our declare attackers step? Sign me up!

Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign also comes with double evasion, in the form of Flying and Menace.

In order to properly leverage our free spells, we would need to do a pretty major rebuild. Best to save this for later, but it’s something we’ll keep in mind as we’re making changes.

Here’s what we’re looking at out of the box:

Subjective Reality

Commander (1)
Aminatou, the Fateshifter

Creature (26)
Enigma Sphinx
Varina, Lich Queen
Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign
Boreas Charger
Magus of the Balance
Night Incarnate
Sower of Discord
Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow
Serra Avatar
Adarkar Valkyrie
Conundrum Sphinx
Djinn of Wishes
Jeskai Infiltrator
Sphinx of Jwar Isle
Sphinx of Uthuun
Phyrexian Delver
Duskmantle Seer
High Priest of Penance
Silent-Blade Oni
Loyal Unicorn
Loyal Subordinate
Geode Golem
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Sigiled Starfish
Pilgrim’s Eye

Sorcery (12)
Aminatou’s Augury
Entreat the Dead
Skull Storm
Entreat the Angels
Army of the Damned
Akroma’s Vengeance
Devastation Tide
Dream Cache
Treasure Hunt

Instant (9)
Aethermage’s Touch
Utter End
Banishing Stroke
Return to Dust
Telling Time
Esper Charm

Tribal Instant (1)
Crib Swap

Artifact (8)
Azorius Signet
Commander’s Sphere
Crystal Ball
Dimir Signet
Mind Stone
Orzhov Signet
Seer’s Lantern
Sol Ring

Enchantment (3)
Primordial Mist

Land (40)
Isolated Watchtower
Forge of Heroes
Arcane Sanctum
Azorius Chancery
Azorius Guildgate
Barren Moor
Command Tower
Dimir Aqueduct
Dimir Guildgate
Dismal Backwater
Forsaken Sanctuary
Halimar Depths
Jwar Isle Refuge
Lonely Sandbar
Meandering River
Mortuary Mire
New Benalia
Orzhov Basilica
Orzhov Guildgate
Scoured Barrens
Secluded Steppe
Sejiri Refuge
Submerged Boneyard
Tranquil Cove


Since we’re building around Aminatou, the Fateshifter, our main focus is going to be manipulating the top of our library. We’ll want to be planning several cards ahead to account for extra card draw, and to avoid leaving a ton of permanents laying around in case we ult.


Multiple Card Scry



Hand to Library Interaction



With our own affairs well in hand, it’s time to bring focus to keeping ourselves in the game. Thankfully the deck comes pre-loaded with a number of Miracle cards to help sustain us, but we still need to make sure we’re not overrun. Board wipes are often the answer, but we can get a little creative and make them synergize as well:


Mass Removal



Now that we have a few bounce effects ready to go, our next step is to make sure we have some permanents with strong ETB triggers to swing the game in our favour.


Flicker Targets



Esper has access to some of the best card filtering in the game. We currently have a plan for fixing a small portion of our library, but what do we do when the starts just won’t align?





That should render our deck reliable. We have the power to manipulate our entire library and fix the battlefield. All that’s left is to maintain control and win the game:


Additional Win Conditions



That about wraps it up for this deck. We can probably stand to jam a Counterspell or ten into the mix, but otherwise we’re in a good place. We have some testing ahead to see what works, and what we might have missed.

If you’re looking for a place to do just that, check out your friendly local game store. Wizard’s Tower in the Ottawa area is hosting a Commander 2018 League on Saturday evenings starting August 11th. You can check out the details on their Events Calendar here: