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 edition is more Brothers’ War goodness!

This time we’re taking a look at Tawnos, the Toymaker, truly the strangest iteration of Tawnos. Even if you’d given me a year to guess what he’d do, I’d start by saying the wrong colours to begin with.

Tawnos, the Toymaker is a 3/5 Legendary Human Artificer for 3GU – that’s right, GREEN! and BLUE! I would have never ever guessed, but here we are. Would I have guessed that he’s also a TRIBAL COMMANDER? Never in a million years. Let’s look at that text box:

“Whenever you cast a Beast or Bird creature spell, you may copy it, except the copy is an artifact in addition to its other types. (The copy becomes a token.)”  

Things to note and remember:

– Tawnos triggers on casting a creature and not it entering the battlefield. Panharmonicon will likely still be good in the deck, but not for doubling creatures.

– Tawnos costs five mana which while we are in green is easy, but we’re still going to need lots of ramp. Bonus points if the ramp is attached to a bird or beast.

– These copied spells are of the type that was cast, meaning that Ego Erasure and Wings of Velis Vel get doubled when you cast them with Tawnos out. While that’s cute, I don’t see this being very useful.

Time to start naming cool cards.

  1. Ramp

Green has the classics: Kodak’s Reach, Rampant Growth, Three Visits, Nature’s Lore, etc. But what about the other stuff? Who could forget the bird? Birds of Paradise gets out early and helps, but when Tawnos is out, two birds for one mana means a coloured Sol Ring with summoning sickness. Or you could play Lightning Greaves or Concordant Crossroads to mitigate that.

Other solid creatures to fill this need are Gilded Goose and Arboreal Grazer, assuming you have enough Food or lands in hand. Lullmage’s Familiar is a beast that is a colour producing Worn Powerstone when you cast it with your commander out.

Tribal decks usually want lands like Path of Ancestry, but not this deck. Unclaimed Territory and Secluded Courtyard are your friends, depending on how heavy you lean toward either bird or beast. If you’ve got an even split, you’ve got a decision to make. Think on it.

Cavern of Souls just got reprinted this year, so it’s the cheapest it will be for a little while. Heads up to all my Tribal lovers out there.

Pack your artifacts like Cloud Key, Herald’s Horn, and Urza’s Incubator for more reductions. These will also help you cast your Changeling creatures, like Masked Vandal and Moritte of the Frost. You could also go all out and include Maskwood Nexus and Arcane Adaptation to be sure it applies to all of your creatures.

  1. Mutate

A lot of great Mutate creatures in these colours are Beasts and Birds! And they copy on casting, meaning you can target different creatures! Migratory Greathorn belongs in the first category, ramping you a bunch. Draw cards with Dreamtail Heron or flip the top with Parcelbeast. Destroy things with Gemrazer and Sawtusk Demolisher. You can steal noncreature artifacts with Souvenir Snatcher. Bounce creatures with Pouncing Shoreshark. Make an army with Trumpeting Gnarr. Or you can spin the wheel with Auspicious Starrix. You can’t Mutate onto Tawnos because he’s a human, but otherwise, your deck full of Birds and Beasts should have a ton of targets to Mutate onto for all this sweet value.

  1. Utility and Bringing the BEEF!

Let’s bring the beefy heat first. Everybody’s favourite overrun on legs is a Beast, eliciting groans at tables it graces. I’m talking of course about Craterhoof Behemoth. Really overkill with Ol’ Hoof hitting twice with Tawnos. Blossoming Bogbeast does a fine impression if you gain life. Two of them! With the guaranteed four life a combat, that’s +4/+4 and trample for your team each combat they attack.

Aarakocra Sneak and Displacer Beast let you go dungeon diving twice. Not to mention Displacer Beast can be bounced to your hand and played again for another two moves through dungeons.

Crookclaw Elder comes down with two bodies, allowing you to draw immediately or make use of your Birds of Paradise and Gilded Geese for cards instead of mana in the late game.

With all the tokens you make, Curiosity Crafter and its token buddy allows for tokens to draw two cards per smack.

For removal, Indrik Stomphowler and Manglehorn can destroy artifacts and enchantments. Meanwhile, Aven Fogbringer can bounce lands back to your opponents’ hands.

Get yourself two Elder Gargaroths for two triggers per attack/block. With all of these copy tokens being artifacts, Broodstar is probably going to cost two mana for two at least 8/8 flyers.

Double up your Rampaging Baloths for two 4/4s per landfall! Thragtusk for 10 life on ETB and two 3/3s on leaving the battlefield.

  1. Self-Bounce / Erratic Portal / Crystal Shard / Cloudstone Curio / Keeper of the Nine Gales

A great way to make sure you get the most out of your cards, you should get them back in your hand to cast with Tawnos in play again. Cloudstone Curio won’t let you bounce for your artifact copy tokens, but the originals will let you send back another creature, like Arboreal Grazer or your Mutate pile. Keeper of the Nine Gales makes use of all your birds, turning these into ways to bounce opponents threats and your own goodies. Pair with Seedborn Muse for extra fun.

  1. Tribal stuff

Distant Melody draws you cards for how many of a creature type you control, Kindred Discovery gets cards on ETB and attack, and Vanquisher’s Banner gives you a card when you cast a card of the chosen type. Descendants’ Path lets you CAST a card you reveal from the top of your library, which will trigger Tawnos. Kindred Summons lets you get right through your deck if you’ve got a ton of creatures that share a type in play.

Reflections of Littjara is like a double Tawnos for one of the two types. Door of Destinies is a solid anthem as you make your way casting Beasts or Birds thanks to your Herald’s Horn and Urza’s Incubator. It might turn off your Mutate cards, but Steely Resolve is fantastic if you’re in a removal heavy meta.

Finally, a finisher that I love very much, even if it pumps all the the other tribal decks at the table – Coat of Arms. Buff all your Beasts and Birds for each other Beast or Bird out there. Make sure not to play this into Maskwood Nexus unless you’re ready for a ton of math.

And that does it for today’s A Seat at the Table! Let me know which commander you’d like covered in the series by messaging me at @mikecarrozza on Twitter!

Thanks and see you at pre-release!

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