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, another team-up card – Zimone and Dina! Immediately after being previewed, this card was being called the most busted of the bunch so far.

A Sultai commander in colour identity, Zimone and Dina are a 3/4 Legendary Creature – Human Dryad for Sultai mana (BUG) with a hell of a textbox. Let’s take a look at what people are raving about:

Whenever you draw your second card each turn, target opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.  

T, Sacrifice another creature: Draw a card. You may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield tapped. If you control eight or more lands, repeat this process once.”  

Hot damn. That’s nuts! Here are some things to note.

  1. The first ability triggers each turn. This means that if you draw two cards on each of your opponents’ turns, you will trigger the targeted life drain.
  2. The first ability triggering thanks to your second card drawn each turn means that it’s capped at one trigger per turn.
  3. The first ability isn’t an “each opponent” but rather “target opponent”. This drain isn’t going to end the game so quickly, but it will put a dent in your opponents’ life totals.
  4. The tap ability requires another creature to sacrifice.
  5. The tap ability allows you to put lands into play directly. That means make sure your deck is packing about 40 lands for optimization.

With that in mind, let’s put some cards in.

  1. Down the Drain!

Let’s maximize the damage! Cards like Sanguine Bond and Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose turn your life gain into more life loss for your opponents.

When you’re aiming to drain an opponent for two life every turn, multiply that life loss every end step with absolute bombs like Archfiend of Despair and Wound Reflection. A Transformer steps up – Blitzwing, Cruel Tormentor can keep the life loss going every end step and when it doesn’t, it becomes an evasive beater. Even Warlock Class, requiring a bunch of mana to get there, can be levelled up for an additional nine mana to double life loss on your turn, but with all the lands you’ll have in play, that’s peanuts.

  1. Land Ho!

You’ve got a commander that puts lands into play, you’re going to have some Landfall synergy. You can have creature token generators like Tendershoot Dryad for every turn, but what about Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer, Scute Swarm, Sporemound, Zendikar’s Roil, or Rampaging Baloths? You can use Landfall to take control of your opponents’ creatures to sacrifice to Zimone and Dina with Roil Elemental. Get a little more life loss in with Ob Nixilis, the Fallen and Retreat to Hagra. Need more mana? Lotus Cobra, Stone-Seeder Hierophant, and Tireless Provisioner have your back.

Bloodghast is my favourite for this because you can sacrifice it to the ability and put a land into play, getting Bloodghast right back onto the battlefield and keeping the cycle going. There’s plenty more landfall, but we’ll get to those…

  1. Untap

To use the second ability, you’ll need to untap your commander. Thousand-Year Elixir, Seedborn Muse, Freed From the Real, Aphetto Alchemist, Fatestitcher, Minamo, School at Water’s Edge, Magewright’s Stone, Mind Over Matter, Murkfiend Liege, Patriar’s Seal, Pemmin’s Aura, Instill Energy, Quirion Ranger – there’s no shortage of ways to untap in blue-green-black.

My favourite’s are Intruder Alarm and Retreat to Coralhelm. With Intruder Alarm, anytime a creature enters, as long as you have another creature, you’ll be drawing a card and ramping, maybe even draining an opponent. Retreat to Coralhelm can untap your commander when a land enters the battlefield. Slam a land from the second ability and get to untap again. Don’t forget your Amulet of Vigor and Tiller Engines!

  1. Draw Some More

You need to draw two cards a turn to be able to trigger that first ability. Cards like Howling Mine, Kami of the Crescent Moon, and Font of Mythos help that happen on your turn, but also give your opponents cards. Temple Bell can get that second card if you’ve got that tap activation ready.

You’ve got a lot of untapping already, Arcanis the Omnipotent can snap three cards for you every activation.

Rhystic Study and Mystic Remora are classic cards that people hate to play against but love to play.

Consecrated Sphinx is probably the cleanest way to get Z&D’s first ability to trigger every turn. Alhammarret’s Archive and Teferi’s Ageless Insight turn the single activation of Z&D’s tap ability into an immediate trigger of the their first ability.

Teferi’s Puzzle Box keeps your hand rolling like the tides to be sure you always have a land to put into play.

Remember Landfall? Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait and Tatyova, Benthic Druid give you a card when you pop a land into play. Nissa, Vital Force’s ultimate ability is easy to reach and turns all your land drops into cards. Will you always have lands to play? No. But how to get more?

  1. Bouncing Back

Moonfolk are very useful for getting lands back into your hand to put into play again. The best one is Meloku the Clouded Mirror. For just one mana, you return a land to your hand and create a 1/1 creature that you can sacrifice to Zimone and Dina. Soramaro, First to Dream is an expensive activation, but turns a land to hand into a draw. Soratami Cloudskater, Soratami Mirror-Mage, Soratami Rainshaper, Soratami Savant, Soratami Seer, and Uyo, Silent Prophet each have their advantages. Flooded Shoreline brings two Islands back to hand to bounce a creature. Trade Routes allows you to pick up a land for one mana which doesn’t seem worth it if you’re not discarding it to its second ability, but with Zimone and Dina putting lands back into play and all that landfall synergy, Trade Routes is like double dipping, baby!

I cannot wait for this set!

If there’s a commander you’d like covered, please message me @mikecarrozza on Twitter and Instagram!

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