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WWW: Wizarding World of Wizards

I mentioned in BlueStein that I also play EDH, otherwise known as commander. As a format, commander is, in my opinion, the best long-term format to play in. It’s primarily a casual format, which allows players from any walk of life to play with relative ease and without a high barrier of entry. That’s similar to kitchen table, but because it’s a legitimate format with rules, it offers easier play with strangers. Financially, even $100 goes a very long way, especially if you pick up a solid precon at $40 or better. Plus, even janky decks have the opportunity to hold their own against something a bit more competitive, which is primarily thanks to the multiplayer format and variance. Most commander games are played with at least three, preferably four players, in free-for-all combat. The games do not last very long, but they also aren’t necessarily over quick, unless cEDH is the goal. Multiplayer games put pressure on everyone trying to aggro out quick, because that usually brings on hate and very few people like playing as the archenemy:

…one player—the archenemy—takes on the role of a merciless tyrant bent on total domination. The other players form a team dedicated to stopping the archenemy at any cost…

The deck I’m featuring today is based on the Arcane Wizardry precon featuring Inalla, Archmage Ritualist from 2017. Arcane Wizardry was a solid precon deck, and with a little bit of love, while still maintaining a pretty strict budget, it has been transformed into a very fun casual deck to pilot (play) named Wizarding World of Wizards, or WWW.

Inalla, Archmage Ritualist: Eminence — Whenever another nontoken Wizard enters the battlefield under your control, if Inalla, Archmage Ritualist is in the command zone or on the battlefield, you may pay 1 Colorless Mana. If you do, create a token that’s a copy of that Wizard. The token gains haste. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step.

To put it bluntly, the eminence triggered ability is far more powerful than Inalla’s secondary ability allowing you to drop a single player’s life total by 7. In fact, I don’t think in practice I’ve actually summoned Inalla more than once, and I’m pretty sure when I did I used her as a blocker. I’ve never used her second ability, but it’s nice to have as an option. Being able to duplicate any wizard’s ETB triggers while Inalla is safe in the command zone is truly powerful. Let’s take a look at some of the win conditions I run.

Winning is a ritual

Because Inalla is all about duplication, almost every wizard with a valuable trigger can become a powerhouse. There are only a few wizards that are truly expensive, which makes this tribe an easy budget target. For WWW, there are a few truly fearsome paths toward an interesting win.

Wanderwine Prophets: Champion a Merfolk (When this enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless you exile another Merfolk you control. When this leaves the battlefield, that card returns to the battlefield.) Whenever Wanderwine Prophets deals combat damage to a player, you may sacrifice a Merfolk. If you do, take an extra turn after this one.

Timestream Navigator:  2 Colorless Mana + 2 Blue Mana + Tap Timestream Navigator, Put Timestream Navigator on the bottom of its owner’s library: Take an extra turn after this one. Activate this ability only if you have the city’s blessing.

Master of Waves: When Master of Waves enters the battlefield, create a number of 1/0 blue Elemental creature tokens equal to your devotion to blue.

Dire Fleet Ravager: When Dire Fleet Ravager enters the battlefield, each player loses a third of their life, rounded up.

Let’s go down the list, shall we? The most prominent choice, and the absolute best finisher of this deck is Wanderwine Prophets. Now, the combo here is quite complicated, but as long as no one beats you in interaction, you’ve basically assured yourself a victory. A former rules advisor by the name of Rezzahan lays out each step of the combo in this post here, but I’m going to try and simplify it:

  1. When Wanderwine Prophets enters the battlefield both champion and eminence triggers. You decide the order for the stack, so place eminence above champion, allowing eminence to resolve first.
  2. Eminence resolves, and you pay 1 Colorless Mana to duplicate Wanderwine Prophets, and another champion trigger goes on the stack.
  3. The second champion trigger resolves, and the original Wanderwine Prophets is exiled.
  4. The first champion trigger resolves, but because the original Wanderwine Prophets is no longer on the battlefield, so you can’t sacrifice it when you choose not to champion a merfolk.
  5. You proceed to combat and attack an opponent, and once combat damage is dealt, the token’s ability triggers and you sacrifice it to gain an extra turn. Note, you need evasion or an undefended opponent to make this part work.
  6. Step 1 through 4 is repeated, and then eventually the turn ends.
  7. On the end step, the token triggers and is exiled, which allows step 1 through 4 to occur again.
  8. The turn ends, an extra turn begins, and the process is repeated.

I think I have that right. In truth, whenever I go off with Wanderwine Prophets and there’s no control or removal present, the table stops me and we finish the game before I get to the end step.

The biggest caveat here is that while the token does have haste, it can be blocked, and further, the entire combo is susceptible to interaction. However, interaction is always the bane of combos, and even if you eventually run out of unblockable combat steps, all of the extra netted turns allow you to do plenty of other shenanigans to set yourself up for a win. It’s worth the potential downsides and luck needed.

Timestream Navigator is also pretty similar in that you can use the token to force an extra turn. As long as you can bounce the original back to your hand, or flicker it each turn, you can continue the combo infinitely.

Like Timestream Navigator, both Master of Waves and Dire Fleet Ravager really profit from the extra token coupled with bouncing and flickering. Although neither can end the game like an infinite turn loop, both can significantly adjust the field in your favor. Master of Waves lets you create a tremendous number of tokens as long as your devotion to blue is relatively high. In this deck, that isn’t difficult. Dire Fleet Ravager, on the other hand, is a much riskier play, but reducing everyone’s life by a third is very powerful. Let’s do the math to see what that looks like with just two triggers:

  1. Dire Fleet Ravager enters the battlefield and both ETB and eminence triggers. You decide the order of the stack, so place eminence above ETB.
  2. Eminence resolves, and you pay 1 Colorless Mana to duplicate Dire Fleet Ravager placing a second ETB on the stack.
  3. If a player’s life total is 40 when the first trigger occurs, it reduces their life total by a third, rounded up, which results in a reduction of 14 (40/3 = 13.34 rounded up) leaving them with 26 life.
  4. The second trigger occurs, and they lose a third again (26/3 = 8.67 rounded up) leaving them with 17 life. This is a total life loss of over half with just one spell to each player.

More triggers more problems

Every time the eminence trigger goes off, value is obtained. Clearly, there’s a great foundation here, but what if we had numerous eminence triggers instead of just one? Now that sounds spicy. There’s two ways we can go about this. We can either outright multiply the eminence triggers when a wizard enters the battlefield, or we can flicker or bounce those wizards in and out of play. Most trigger duplicating cards are expensive, but realistically, they aren’t that expensive since it’s a singleton format.

Deadeye Navigator: Soulbond (You may pair this creature with another unpaired creature when either enters the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.) As long as Deadeye Navigator is paired with another creature, each of those creatures has “1 Colorless Mana + 1 Blue Mana: Exile this creature, then return it to the battlefield under your control.”

Naban, Dean of Iteration: If a Wizard entering the battlefield under your control causes a triggered ability of a permanent you control to trigger, that ability triggers an additional time.

Crystal Shard: 3 Colorless Mana + Tap Crystal Shard or 1 Blue Mana + Tap Crystal Shard: Return target creature to its owner’s hand unless its controller pays 1 Colorless Mana.

Portal of Sanctuary: 1 Colorless Mana + Tap Portal of Sanctuary: Return target creature you control and each Aura attached to it to their owners’ hands. Activate this ability only during your turn.

Helm of the Host: At the beginning of combat on your turn, create a token that’s a copy of equipped creature, except the token isn’t legendary if equipped creature is legendary. That token gains haste.

Panharmonicon: If an artifact or creature entering the battlefield causes a triggered ability of a permanent you control to trigger, that ability triggers an additional time.

The absolute best option we have available when it comes to both flickering and protecting a creature is Deadeye Navigator. For just two mana, you can flicker either Deadeye or its soulbonded target. That’s on-demand triggers. It gets better, because you can trigger the flicker at instant speed. Since eminence doesn’t explicitly say that you may only trigger in your turn, with Deadeye, you have the freedom to play during other people’s turns. This will seem annoying for your opponents, but it allows you to leave up mana for interaction while also having the option to generate value.

Naban is a solid option for duplicating wizard triggers because as a wizard enters the battlefield it is a permanent, and therefore, gets double the triggers simply by entering the battlefield. If you pay for the eminence trigger, that’s four triggers off a single ETB.

Both Crystal Shard and Portal of Sanctuary provide a cheap and efficient way to bounce a wizard back into your hand, at least once per turn, to be recast. While they aren’t nearly as efficient as duplicating triggers, they can also be used to protect particularly important wizards. In Crystal Shard’s case, it can be used to bounce opponent’s creatures, and can be used at instant speed.

Helm of the Host is an expensive equipment in terms of mana cost, but it provides the ability to duplicate any creature at least once per turn. Because it triggers at the beginning of combat, you have the entirety of your first main phase to decide who gets the ability. It also allows you to duplicate legendaries, which can be very effective if you, say, had the option to have multiple Inalla’s for multiple eminence triggers.

Panharmonicon, for the sake of this deck, is a better version of Naban because it’s harder to remove.

Sacrificial wizard

One of the downsides to the eminence trigger is that the token that is produced is eliminated from play. Most wizards are pretty weak, which means using them for combat is somewhat worthless even if your opponent is undefended. I might attack to whittle opponents down for a Dire Fleet win, but otherwise it’s not very effective. What if we could make use of that token in other ways to generate even more value?

Thoughtpicker Witch: 1 Colorless Mana + Sacrifice a creature: Look at the top two cards of target opponent’s library, then exile one of them.

Carnage Altar: 3 Colorless Mana + Sacrifice a creature: Draw a card.

Vampiric Rites: 1 Colorless Mana + 1 Black Mana + Sacrifice a creature: You gain 1 life and draw a card.

These utilities are all pretty straight forward: sac the token and get value.  Most sac generators are expensive financially, but the ones I’ve chosen here are perfect for this deck.

Thoughtpicker Witch is what I would define as a strong play, especially early on. It allows you put a value engine on the board and sac the token of the witch you just made with eminence for value. Further tokens are just fuel. Plus, the ability is effective against specific tutors or decks who filter.

Both Carnage Altar and Vampiric Rites were chosen over numerous other sac engines because they turn tokens into card advantage, and they’re very affordable financially. If you’d like to take a look at a good number of different sac engines, check out this link. If you like these kinds of shenanigans, well, keep reading!


Because of the high synergy of ETB effects and wizards in this deck, there are numerous combinations of cards that create plenty of shenanigans and value. As such, it might be too much to list everything in this article. Instead, I’ll pick one of my favorite non-combo setups that can be performed fairly early on in the game.


Tribute Mage: When Tribute Mage enters the battlefield, you may search your library for an artifact card with converted mana cost 2, reveal that card, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.

Sundial of the Infinite: 1 Colorless Mana + Tap Sundial of the Infinite: End the turn. Activate this ability only during your turn. (Exile all spells and abilities from the stack. Discard down to your maximum hand size. Damage wears off, and “this turn” and “until end of turn” effects end.)

Wishclaw Talisman: Wishclaw Talisman enters the battlefield with three wish counters on it. 1 Colorless Mana + Tap Wishclaw Talisman, Remove a wish counter from Wishclaw Talisman: Search your library for a card, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library. An opponent gains control of Wishclaw Talisman. Activate this ability only during your turn.

For four mana, and thanks to Inalla, Tribute Mage can tutor up two 2-mana artifacts. I’m sure there are a few combos that could be leveraged, but for WWW, there’s two solid targets that I would prioritize when I make this play.

The first is Sundial of the Infinite. On first glance, this card looks a little complicated, and also fairly niche. But for Inalla, this card is perfect. Eminence requires that we exile our tokens at the end of the turn. That’s why there’s so many sac effects in the deck. But, what if we didn’t have to lose our tokens? Sundial of the Infinite can be triggered at any time during your turn, so why not trigger it to skip these effects all together? It can also be used on your turn to stop opponent interaction, and sometimes that’s more than enough to take control of the game.

The second spell that I would dig for is Wishclaw Talisman. This card trends under a dollar because it gives one or more of your opponents the opportunity to also tutor. I think this card gets a bad rap, because for three mana, you can tutor directly into a win condition and win that turn. Dropping it on the battlefield and letting it sit is almost as powerful as an untapped Nev’s Disk, too. Even if you do pop it, and don’t go for the win condition, Wishclaw Talisman offers you the ability to play politics or kingmaker, which is an effective tool to sike your opponents out. It’s all about the mind game.

I’m a sucker for control

As we’ve seen, spells that provide utility to protect your play and prevent your opponents from succeeding are just as important as win conditions.  This is more true for EDH, where the stakes are a bit higher given the inherent variance and multiplayer format. Interaction like this—removal and control—is paramount. You might find that on sites like EDHREC, there are numerous spells that just keep appearing, depending upon the color. There are almost always budget equivalents to these top spells, and since I personally prefer blue and black, you’re bound to see them repeatedly on this blog. Let’s take a look at some of the utility that we have available to us. I won’t list everything, since interaction accounts for more than half of the nonland spells, but I will discuss some rather interesting options.

Voidmage Husher: Flash (You may cast this spell any time you could cast an instant.) When Voidmage Husher enters the battlefield, counter target activated ability. (Mana abilities can’t be targeted.) Whenever you cast a spell, you may return Voidmage Husher to its owner’s hand.

Imprisoned in the Moon: Enchant creature, land, or planeswalker. Enchanted permanent is a colorless land with “{T}: Add {C}” and loses all other card types and abilities.

Split Decision: Will of the council — Choose target instant or sorcery spell. Starting with you, each player votes for denial or duplication. If denial gets more votes, counter the spell. If duplication gets more votes or the vote is tied, copy the spell. You may choose new targets for the copy.

Misdirection: You may exile a blue card from your hand rather than pay this spell’s mana cost. Change the target of target spell with a single target.

Devastation Tide: Return all nonland permanents to their owners’ hands. Miracle 1 Colorless Mana + 1 Blue Mana (You may cast this card for its miracle cost when you draw it if it’s the first card you drew this turn.)

Coastal Breach: Undaunted (This spell costs {1} less to cast for each opponent.) Return all nonland permanents to their owners’ hands.

Voidmage Husher is a bit of a powerhouse, despite its high mana cost. On ETB, it counters an activated ability, with eminence it can potentially stop a combo, and it can be recurred to your hand at a later date. I think that’s well worth the 4 mana.

Imprisoned in the Moon is a better version of Kasmina’s Transmutation, allowing you to hit lands or planeswalkers. Like Kasmina’s Transmutation, it can stop an enemy commander in ways that other removal can’t.

Split Decision is a unique politics card that, more often than not, helps you out tremendously. It forces all players to decide how it resolves, but the choices are either countering the spell outright, or duplicating it. The person who has cast the offending spell is affected the most, because neither choice is regularly a good one, especially if it has the ability to end the game.

Misdirection offers an alternate way to ricochet a spell, and potentially free is always good.

Both Devastation Tide and Coastal Breach are interesting alternatives to Kindred Dominance, which is also featured in the deck. However, unlike Kindred Dominance, which destroys creatures, Devastation Tide and Coastal Breach give you a chance to recast all of your wizards, which usually results in incredible value. The bonus here, is that bouncing permanents doesn’t upset the table in the same way that destroying everything but your own wizards does. Devastation Tide’s miracle cost makes it an excellent choice, and the more people at your table, the easier Coastal Breach is to cast.

Bring them back again and again

Recursion is generally a big part of EDH, because you have to be comfortable losing everything on your board. When that happens, you need to be able to recover quickly. But don’t get too caught up in recursion, because graveyard hate is prominent in this format.

Apprentice Necromancer: 1 Black Mana + Tap Apprentice Necromancer + Sacrifice Apprentice Necromancer: Return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield. That creature gains haste. At the beginning of the next end step, sacrifice it.

Bloodline Necromancer: When Bloodline Necromancer enters the battlefield, you may return target Vampire or Wizard creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield.

Havengul Lich: 1 Colorless Mana: You may cast target creature card in a graveyard this turn. When you cast it this turn, Havengul Lich gains all activated abilities of that card until end of turn.

These three are part of the Inalla precon, so the choice is obvious. However, there’s some nifty interaction here worth touching on. Apprentice Necromancer’s eminence clone can go off immediately, which then brings in another wizard, which can then be duplicated. You might think that Apprentice Necromancer not being able to trigger immediately is a downside as opposed to Bloodline Necromancer, but like the earlier discussion on mind games, it actually acts a bit like a long-term play. Your opponents know you can bring something from your graveyard back, and since it’s an at-will ability, it offers you the capability to keep your opponents on edge. Havengul Lich is a monster of repeatable recursion, especially if you pick the right card to gain activated abilities from. Imagine dropping a powerful wizard ETB every turn, and saccing it for more value. Amazing. Fantastic.

Final thoughts

I hope this post explains my methodology when approaching the wizard tribal EDH deck commanded by Inalla. WWW is a truly interesting deck to me, but far from unique. Everyone has their own version, and she’s a fairly popular commander (like most commanders printed in a precon.) I’ll admit that it’s not easy to produce stable wins with this deck, but what I like most from this deck is the pure value that comes from doing even the smallest gestures, like summoning a 1 CMC wizard onto the battlefield. Variance is a big part of EDH, and synergy is really important when it comes to deck building. WWW showcases just how fun it can be when everything plays together, regardless of what you draw.

Remember: never cast a wizard unless you can get full value for their eminence trigger.

Because EDH decks are a little cumbersome to keep track of, and because my decks tend to evolve over time compared to their 60-card alternatives, instead of a deck list, I’ll be providing a link directly to the current version of this deck. Here’s the link for that. There are, at the time of this post, about five or so cards that need to be swapped out that I haven’t gotten around to yet. I also didn’t go into lands, but there’s really nothing special in the mana base right now that I won’t cover in a future article.

If you have any questions about the deck, feel free to leave a comment. I’ll explain my reasoning behind card selections, or whatever else you might be curious about. If you have any suggestions, leave those too! But remember, this blog is about the budget, so try to keep it under a dollar or so!

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