Rhystic Study: Ishkanah, Grafwidow

by Prophet of Kruphix on 26 July 2016, Tuesday

Prophet of Kruphix

The "Prophet of Kruphix" is the biggest EDH fan, and presents "Rhystic Study", a dedicated Commander column! Previously known as EDH (Elder Dragon Highlander). Commander is a casual format that is designed for everyone to have a lot of fun!

Rhystic Study


Rhystic Study: Ishkanah, Grafwidow

Greetings, chosen one... Welcome to the 16th column of "Rhystic Study"! Ishkanah, Grafwidow is one of the most newly-printed Legendary creatures and it is our very first Legendary spider to boot!

In addition, deck construction promises to be a great part of the fun, since it will be the first time we have a Commander that warps deck construction criteria so much! Our quest to achieve Delirium as quickly as possible will be the cornerstone of how we are going to approach building this deck, and we will also focus on what is the best way to have a sustainable match in a multiplayer game!

Ishkanah, Grafwidow

You ready? Let's fill up the deck with cards of varying types! Just for your information, there are a total 8 card types which we can meddle with. Assuming we're playing around 40 lands, that leaves 60 extra cards. However, let's try to aim to have 10 cards of each card type! You'll find out in a moment why this is not only possible, but very doable!



Building Blocks #1: Artifacts


Artifacts and enchantments are easy to include, because many of the cards, a typical Black-Green deck will want anyway! For example, Sol Ring is a no-brainer, while Expedition Map can help you get fetch a utility land in a pinch. Coat of Arms is especially good with Ishkanah, Grafwidow!


Also, because Black-Green decks generally have a recursion theme, you want some way to sacrifice your creatures, especially if you can always sacrifice Ishkanah, Grafwidow to make yourself more spiders! Ashnod's Altar and Phyrexian Altar are very good for this purpose, while Altar of Dementia isn't too shabby in helping out with self-mill and Delirium.


Sol Ring Coat of Arms Expedition Map Ashnod's Altar Altar of Dementia Phyrexian Altar


That's only 6 artifacts though?


Building Blocks #2: Creatures


Well, did you forget that there are artifact creatures too? By playing cards with multiple card types, we are able to maximise our chances of achiving Delirium as soon as possible. We're not just selecting any random artifact creature, these are the real good cards that most decks run anyway, with the exception of Milikin.


Duplicant Solemn Simulacrum Millikin Steel Hellkite Wurmcoil Engine


As for real creatures, we want those that either help us put cards in the graveyard, pick up cards from the graveyard, or perform some kind of important utility!


Eternal Witness Sakura-Tribe Elder Deathcap Cultivator Satyr Wayfinder Acidic Slime Greenwarden of Murasa Craterhoof Behemoth Stinkweed Imp Genesis



Building Blocks #3: Enchantments


Did you also forget that there are Artifact Enchantments and Artifact Creatures? Nyx-Weaver is perfect for this deck. Not only does it have two card types, has a self-mill ability and the ability to recur a card, it is also a Spider!Bow of Nylea and Whip of Erebos also provide great utility!


Nyx Weaver Courser of Kruphix Pharika, God of Affliction

Bow of Nylea Whip of Erebos


Also, these enchantments all play very well alongside our Commander. Parallel Lives and Doubling Season turn Ishkanah, Grafwidow into very scary threats. Having one of these on the board also protect you from opponent's board sweepers. By the way, Strionic Resonator and Rings of Brighthearth are also worth inclusions if you're in the mood for more doubling!

Parallel Lives Primal Vigor Doubling Season

Honorable mentions are Grave Pact and Dictate of Erebos. You won't feel so sad when your 1/2 Spiders are wrecking havoc on the board. Vessel of Nascency and Deadbridge Chant fill your graveyard, giving you Delirium instantly. Cryptolith Rite also goes very well with Ishkanah, Grafwidow since it provides 4 bodies!

Deadbridge Chant Cryptolith Rite Oversold Cemetery Grave Pact Dictate of Erebos Pernicious Deed


Building Blocks #4: Instant


The instants are mostly enablers such as Grapple with the Past and Grisly Salvage, as well as removals and tutors!


Grapple with the Past Grisly Salvage Putrefy Chord of Calling Vampiric Tutor Arachnogenesis Golgari Charm Crop Rotation



Building Blocks #5: Sorcery


Well, I don't think I need to explain any of these choices except the Confluences. With a lot of self-mill in the deck, our "Regrowth" effects all act like pseudo-tutors, making Life from the Loam, Verdant Confluence and Wretched Confluence awesome choices!


In particular, I would like to highlight that you can use Buried Alive (and to a lesser extent,  Jarad's Orders) to search for Genesis, an artifact creature and an enchantment creature to instantly hit Delirium! Cool!


Damnation Jarad's Orders Decree of Pain Kodama's Reach Cultivate Traverse the Ulvenwald Life from the Loam Seasons Past Demonic Tutor Toxic Deluge Verdant Confluence Wretched Confluence



Building Blocks #6: Planeswalkers


Planeswalkers aren't usually good in Commander because there are multiple players capable of taking them down. However, each of these cards you can treat them as a "sorcery" card. For example, Liliana, the Last Hope is basically Grapple from the Past, while Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is like an Akroma's Vengeance. Garruk Wildspeaker functions as mana acceleration, while Sorin Markov is perfect for knocking an opponent down to 10!


Liliana, the Last Hope Sorin Markov

Garruk Wildspeaker Ugin, the Spirit Dragon



Building Blocks #7: Tribal

For flavor's sake, I'm going to throw in a few Tribal cards as well. I initially considered Lignify and Eldrazi Conscription as well, but they don't seem very synergistic and a little weak.

All is Dust Eyeblight's Ending



Building Blocks #8: Land


Lastly, you want to build your manabase carefully. Fetchlands are crucial, as are cycling lands such as Barren Moor and Tranquil Thicket. Command Beacon is very important as well, because it lets you cast your Ishkanah, Grafwidow should it skyrocket to over 10 mana!


Verdant Catacombs Volrath's Stronghold Swarmyard Grim Backwoods Barren Moor Command Beacon Strip Mine Oran-Rief, the Vastwood Dakmor Salvage



The Final Product!


Rhystic Study: Ishkanah, Grafwidow (Commander - Others)

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Definitely going to build this deck, swapping out Nath of the Gilt-Leaf! Why? Because spiders are way cooler, that's why! Have fun draining your opponents to death with your horde of spiders!



Prophet of Kruphix

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