Hello and welcome to A Seat at the Table, the column where I pick a commander and talk about what I’d include in the 99. This week, a pair up legend from March of the Machine that has Dimir once again in the combo seat but isn’t completely wedged in that direction.

Hidetsugu and Kairi are one of at least two Dimir coloured commanders from this set that have unique play patterns and interesting builds for them. It’s quite exciting to see that the treatment Rakdos got in how fresh and new designs have been for years is translating to Dimir now.

Let’s start with the card!

For 2UUB, Hidetsugu and Kairi are a 5/4 Legendary Ogre Demon Dragon with a familiar enters the-battlefield trigger and a death trigger that’d make Vial-Smasher the Fierce proud.


When Hidetsugu and Kairi enters the battlefield, draw three cards, then put two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.  

When Hidetsugu and Kairi dies, exile the top card of your library. Target opponent loses life equal to its mana value. If it’s an instant or sorcery card, you may cast it without paying its mana cost.”  

A few things to note:

  1. That ETB ability is straight up Brainstorm! A powerful instant that we get to see on a big beefy body with evasion. It’s a lot of upside!
  2. H&K isn’t really a deck that wants to Panharmonicon, as you’ll be looking at the same cards unless you’re cracking fetch lands between abilities.
  3. The death ability targets a single opponent, so you’ll need to be exiling lots of spells and H&K needs to die a bunch. That said, favour instants and sorceries as those are the only spells you can cast from this ability.
  4. Remember! Instants and sorceries you cast from exile will hit the stack and then go into the graveyard!
  5. A 5/4 flying commander is nothing to sneeze at! Don’t forget you have a big body on this commander.
  6. Demon and Dragon are creature types with quite a bit of support, so keep an eye out for synergistic cards that might be a surprise nudge in a flavourful direction.
  7. You won’t always be getting your instants and sorceries for free, so make sure you have a ton of mana to actually play your deck!

Let’s get into the 99.

  1. Big Mana Spells

The best way to reduce mana in a format like ours is to play cards with Delve or Affinity. Delve lets you exile cards from your graveyard to help pay down the cost and Affinity says you get a discount depending on what its Affinity is toward. I say this because you won’t always get to play these for free.

Cards like Treasure Cruise, aka budget Ancestral Recall, can be exiled with your commander or played for a single mana, assuming you’ve got seven cards in the yard you don’t mind exiling. Similarly for Dig Through Time and Temporal Trespass costing a single blue more and more cards from the graveyard. Dig is a super powerful card selection spell and Trespass gives you an extra turn which… I don’t have to tell you how powerful that is.

Other big mana spells that are fun are Rise of the Dark Realms, Decree of Pain, Sea Gate Restoration, Expropriate, etc. I think my favourite one is Beacon of Tomorrows which you can cast when you exile it and then it goes right back into your library.

Of course, don’t forget that you can play Omniscience, you just have to be okay with potentially exiling it for good.

  1. Top Deck Manipulation

Aside from your commander setting up the next two cards on top of your library, you should probably have more ways to manipulate the top. Sensei’s Divining Top allows you to pay one to rearrange the top three cards of your library, making sure you avoid exiling anything you’d rather keep.

Future Sight is an oldie but a goodie that The Reality Chip does a decent impression of, allowing you to extend your hand into the top of your library. Haunted Crossroads can put creatures from your graveyard back on top from your graveyard if want to nug an opponent for its mana value or just to recur the card at your next draw.

  1. Reanimation

Your commander wants to die, come back, and die again so that it can be a value cannon. It’s time to make sure they keep coming back.

Beacon of Tomorrows is good, so it stands to reason that Beacon of Unrest is going to do a lot of work in this deck. Getting to hit somebody for five mana and reanimate your commander as a free roll is pretty sweet. Fated Return is seven mana and grants indestructible to whatever you reanimate (your commander probably). Grave Endeavor can bring your commander back  potentially as a 15/14 and drain each opponent while already having hit one for seven. Rise of the Dark Realms gets you everybody’s creatures from their graveyards and hits someone in the face for nine. There are a lot of reanimation spells that are worth running in this deck that otherwise don’t see much play because they’re deemed too expensive in today’s meta. I am  ecstatic that this is changing. Pick up your Breach the Multiverses!

  1. Sacrifice Outlets or Copies

Sacrifice outlets are some of my favourite cards. Altars in particular are among my favourite designs. So clean. Ashnod’s Altar, Phyrexian Altar, and Altar of Dementia when paired with Feign Death or Malakir Rebirth or Undying Evil can get a whole run of effects going and even might enable a mill win with Altar of Dementia. There is no Warstorm Surge in these colours, so save a copy of H&K for Be’lakor, the Dark Master if that’s how you want to build it.

Hidetsugu and Kairi are a legendary creature and how does one kill a legendary creature without sacrificing it? Turn the legend rule drawback into a massive game winning plan by making copies of H&K. See Double, Rite of Replication, Quasiduplicate, Cackling Counterpart, Sublime Epiphany as well as just clones like Phantasmal Image, Mirrorhall Mimic, and Stunt Double – all make a copy of H&K which nets you a Brainstorm and an immediate death trigger. Do you keep the token or the original? Who knows! Pack a Drivnod, Carnage Dominus to double up their death triggers and really tell your opponents to say hello to your not so little friend.

That’ll do it for this edition of A Seat at the Table! Let me know which commander you’d like covered next time! Check me out on Twitter and Instagram @mikecarrozza!

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