Hello and welcome to another edition of A Seat at the Table where I pick a commander and talk about what I’d run in the 99.

This week, thanks to the non-stop roll of preview season, I’ll talk talking about Dominara

Un no. Wait, Warhammer 4ok?

No, that’s not it. Unfinity?

No… hmm.

Oh, yeah. The Brothers’ War, the newest set to come out in the middle of November, is the next standard set and already has a few spicy cards revealed. The Commander decks are led by Mishra and Urza, but another very spicy legend was spoiled – Urza’s wife, Jodah’s great-grandmother, Queen Kayla bin-Kroog.

For 1 and Boros (Red – White), Queen Kayla is a 2/3 Legendary Human Noble with a wild ability. Let’s see that textbox!

{4}, {T}: Discard all the cards in your hand, then draw that many cards. You may choose an artifact or creature card with mana value 1 you discarded this way, then do the same for artifact or creature cards with mana values 2 and 3. Return those cards to the battlefield. Activate only as a sorcery.”  

Hot damn. Here are my takeaways from reading through all that.

  1. The ability costs 4 and a tap, which isn’t cheap. We’re going to want cost reduction and plenty of ramp, as well as ways to give Kayla haste or something similar.
  2. Artifact or creature card means that we can lean in either direction or mishmash.
  3. The ability letting us have a cascading mana value worth of either permanent type added to the battlefield when activating is incredible, but presents a deckbuilding challenge for balancing these costs of 1, 2, and 3. That means artifact lands don’t work for this ability. That also means not running Mana Crypt, but realistically, with that ability, probably running Mana Crypt anyway.
  4. You have to discard your hand and draw that many cards. We need to keep our hand filled and we can take advantage of dumping it.

Obviously, there are some staples that sit right at the sweet spot for this commander, like Dockside Extortionist, Sol Ring, Esper Sentinel, Arcane Signet, etc. I want to focus on stuff that will be cool in this deck specifically. Let’s get to work.

Containment Construct / Conspiracy Theorist / Currency Converter / Crucible of Worlds

You will be discarding a lot. Of course, because Queen Kayla’s ability is only at sorcery speed, you’ll need to handle business on your turn. This means that when you discard a bunch of cards, sometimes you’ll have the mana to be able to cast those as well. Currency Converter and Crucible of Worlds help you make it so you’re not discarding lands in vain while Containment Construct and Conspiracy Theorist allow you to cast anything exiled with them this turn. The Theorist allows you to only exile one card to cast, while Containment Construct lets you play lands and exile all the cards for you to play this turn. These are all automatically part of the deck if you ask me.

Cost Reducers (Zirda, the Dawnwaker / Heartstone)

Four mana and tapping your commander at sorcery speed is not a small cost. Four mana in Boros? Oh, boy.

Zirda, the Dawnwaker and Heartstone both reduce the costs of activated abilities by two and by one, respectively. Both of them can be dropped in with Queen K and both of them will make you happy when you see them in your hand. Of course, if you cast a Sun Titan with these in the graveyard, you can bring them back and get the train rolling again, so there isn’t much fear in these getting destroyed… although that sounds about right for most of the deck. This is a very Sun Titan and Sevinne’s Reclamation friendly deck.

Once you have the activated ability cost reduced significantly, why not… 3.

Untappers (Thousand-Year Elixir / Magewright’s Stone)

Untap your commander! Thousand-Year Elixir offers up pseudo-haste and allows you to activate your commander again. Magewright’s Stone shaves a mana off of its mana value for the same ability, minus granting pseudo-haste.

I don’t want to run too many of these cards because they will not always come cheap for a second activation. We’re talking when you’ve got a huge burst of mana, go for it. Or if you can reduce the cost, too. Ultimately, 9 mana to run your commander’s ability twice is very powerful still if you don’t whiff. But sometimes, you will whiff. This is why you need…

Selection (Penance / Hidden Retreat / Reinforcements / Brainstone / Scroll Rack / Sensei’s Divining Top / Enlightened Tutor / Frantic Salvage / The Mana Rig / Quicksmith Genius / The Celestus / Reinforced Ronin / Skyscanner)

A brick ton of card selection. Boros does not get Brainstorm, but it does get Brainstone, which isn’t bad when you get to activate it and put card you want to hit off your commander back on top of your library. Same goes for Sensei’s Divining Top and Scroll Rack. Top lets you reorganize your top three cards and then you can put the Top on top of your library to satisfy the 1 mana value target of Queen Kayla’s ability.

Karn, Living Legacy and The Mana Rig create Powerstone tokens for you to use on your commander’s activated ability but also on their own abilities. Pop a ton of mana into Karn’s -1 or Rig’s XXX and you’ll get to pick cards you need before dumping it into play with Queen K.

Looting, Rummaging, all of the draw spells need to be in here. If you need heavier on artifacts, Quicksmith Genius is amazing. Penance and Hidden Retreat remove a draw from the wheel of your commander’s ability but at least it keeps cards you don’t want to ditch in your hand while giving you some decent abilities.

Wincons (Glint-Horn Buccaneer / Brallin, Skyshark Rider / Surly Badgersaur)

You need to close out the game. There are so many incredible cards and ways to do that in Boros, but unique to this deck in these colours. Glint-Horn Buccaneer and Brallin, Skyshark Rider are top of the list, pinging your opponents for each card you discard. Surly Badgersaur can get big and beefy if you have a creature heavy deck, but all in all, cashing in on your discards is a strategy that we don’t see in these colours often and that’s what makes this interesting!

I hope you dug this article. I think I’ll be building this commander! Let me know which commander you’d like me to cover next @mikecarrozza on Twitter. Thanks!

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