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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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Welcome! I am The Magic Person, not to be confused with The Root Beer Person, and I admit: I spend a tremendous amount of time on Magic: The Gathering™. Most of my time is spent building budget decks, and on occasion, playing kitchen table or casual, EDH or commander, modern, standard, and historic. I spend the majority of my time playing with paper, but I’m also on Arena (challenge me!) This website will serve as a place to curate and gather decks, from brilliant to jank, that I am most proud of. I may also write about favorite card combinations, or other card game related content. Today’s article is about deck building, and today’s deck is probably the one I am most proud of putting together, and it’s also one of the most enjoyable decks I have ever piloted. While this is a Modern format deck now, originally it was a Kitchen Table / Casual deck.

I’m a maniac, maniac! On the play~mat!

Sometime in 2013 after exhausting hours of research on what kind of deck I could possibly build to fit my specific casual playstyle, I happened across a very specific card that tickled the kind of manic shenanigans that blue can truly exploit: Laboratory Maniac.

Laboratory Maniac: If you would draw a card while your library has no cards in it, you win the game instead.

I got back into the game in 2012 when some friends of mine started picking it back up to avoid the repetitions of playing Halo every Friday. After getting stomped with cards from the Masques through Odyssey blocks, I started looking at what I could do to improve my chances of winning. I’ve always had this nagging feeling that despite this being a truly enjoyable hobby, dropping huge amounts of cash on cardboard just isn’t a financially sound investment. Therefore, most of the decks that I’ll feature on this site are going to be budget oriented.

The cards in the first iteration of this deck, BlueStein, were less than $15 USD combined. At the time, $15 USD was the maximum I was willing to pay for a whole deck excluding basic lands, and still, to this day, I’m well known for trimming my card costs down significantly. Ready for a well known secret? The best way to cut down on price is by playing a mono-color deck. One of the most expensive parts of Magic: The Gathering™ is the cost of lands, like fetches and duals. If you’re only playing islands, then you’ve already halved your deck price or more!

Back to Labman. On the surface, for anyone who isn’t already familiar with the plentiful combos that exist with this card, it looks like a dud. In order to truly take advantage of Labman, I need to walk a precarious line between defeat and victory. He needs to be on the battlefield, unharmed, and I need to draw a card while my library is empty. So let’s talk about each step of success, here, in reverse order.

An empty library is a pristine mind

As it turns out, there are a lot of cards in Magic that clean out your library, but they can be very situational; like Divining Witch (which isn’t in this deck.)

Divining Witch: 1 Colorless Mana + 1 Black Mana + Tap Divining Witch + Discard a card: Choose a card name. Exile the top six cards of your library, then reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a card with the chosen name. Put that card into your hand and exile all other cards revealed this way.

Quick anecdote: when I first started playing Magic in the early 00s, I didn’t play to win, or even understand the mechanics and foundations of the game. I played because my friends played, and I collected because I loved the art and atmosphere of the cards. I would routinely trade away anything of value for anything pretty. When I picked it back up again, my collection was trash. Divining Witch was one of the cards I had in my collection, but I didn’t have any win conditions. When I knew I couldn’t win, I’d play it, and choose something like Mox Sapphire, which I definitely couldn’t afford, and that would be my way to concede without outright scooping.

You might pick Black Lotus if you really needed an empty library.

Leveler: When Leveler enters the battlefield, exile all cards from your library.

Mirror of Fate: Tap Mirror of Fate + Sacrifice Mirror of Fate: Choose up to seven face-up exiled cards you own. Exile all the cards from your library, then put the chosen cards on top of your library.

Originally, this was the extent of the combo. Drop Labman, wait a turn, drop Leveler or Mirror of Fate, and then wait for the upkeep. Obviously this didn’t take into account removal, or draw to trigger the win, but it worked. It worked so well that it became a bit notorious among my playgroup. Plus, Mirror offered a secondary option to filter your deck, because according to 406.3:

Exiled cards are, by default, kept face up and may be examined by any player at any time.

That means that if Labman wasn’t in your hand, but you had access to Leveler or Mirror, you could search for anything you needed. Admittedly, this didn’t happen very often, but it was a neat trick.

Now, let’s figure out a way to draw a card before upkeep.

Blue draws cards

There are so many ways to draw cards at instant speed in blue, this should be a peace of cake. But if we’re going to draw cards, we need to get more out of it than a draw, because if we don’t have Labman out, it’s just not good enough. Even for a budget deck.

Peek: Look at target player’s hand. Draw a card.

Conjurer’s Bauble: Tap Conjurer’s Bauble + Sacrifice Conjurer’s Bauble: Put up to one target card from your graveyard on the bottom of your library. Draw a card.

These cards weren’t originally in BlueStein, but that’s OK. Things change and evolve. Normally you might say that Gitaxian Probe, which uses Phyrexian mana (replace each mana symbol with 2 life as payment) to do the exact same thing at sorcery speed, is better. But remember, it’s all about cantripping into Labman victory. Oh yeah, and git init probe is banned in modern. Peek’s not free, but it does let you take a look at your opponent’s hand on turn 1, and you cantrip into a win later.

Conjurer’s Bauble, on the other hand, can be triggered freely at a later time, which means it’s great for a win on turn 5 if you just dropped Leveler. I’ll also mention that Conjurer’s Bauble is absolutely perfect for this deck, not just because it’s a permanent with an activated ability that lets you draw for free, but because it gives you the option of putting a card from your graveyard on the bottom of your library if you just so happen to get Labman destroyed or might otherwise lose by decking yourself.


If we’re talking blue, we’re talking counter spells. Labman or Mirror removal is unacceptable, and we simply won’t stand for it. If you’re going after my crazy boy in blue, then you’ll have to sling some spells, Planeswalker. Protect the combo at all costs!


Siren Stormtamer: 1 Blue Mana + Sacrifice Siren Stormtamer: Counter target spell or ability that targets you or a creature you control.

Essence Flux: Exile target creature you control, then return that card to the battlefield under its owner’s control. If it’s a Spirit, put a +1/+1 counter on it.

Turn Aside: Counter target spell that targets a permanent you control.

Dream Fracture: Counter target spell. Its controller draws a card. Draw a card.

Siren Stormtamer is excellent because it does thrice as much work: it acts as Turn Aside for Labman, it stops weird ability interaction, and it can block a 20/20 legendary flying creature without trample. Essence Flux is pretty simple, just flicker Labman and let their spell fizzle. Turn Aside we’ve already covered. But Dream Fracture probably has you a little confused. Three mana Counterspell? What is this? Limited? Okay, if I could use Arcane Denial I would, but I can’t, so let me counter my own spell and draw a card.

Redundancy is key

With some recent sets, we’ve been privileged to see a few more redundant win conditions in the same style as Labman. They’ve actually taken a lot of formats by storm, including commander, and I’m a little peeved about that because they’re starting to push the bounds of what I consider budget buys. Since this combo is one of my favorites, I’ve been trying to incorporate it into an EDH deck, and dropping more than $10 on two cards just doesn’t feel right.

Thassa’s Oracle: When Thassa’s Oracle enters the battlefield, look at the top X cards of your library, where X is your devotion to blue. Put up to one of them on top of your library and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order. If X is greater than or equal to the number of cards in your library, you win the game.

Jace, Wielder of Mysteries: If you would draw a card while your library has no cards in it, you win the game instead. +1: Target player mills two cards. Draw a card. −8: Draw seven cards. Then if your library has no cards in it, you win the game.

Despite how verbose it is, Thassa’s Oracle really is straight forward. If we’re not ready to win, we get to filter our deck, and if we are ready to win, we win. I’m really not a fan of Jace as a character, but this Planeswalker really fits the theme here. Mono blue, with the inherent Labman ability and the ability to draw cards? Awesome.

We’ve got the path to success figured out, but what about the other elements that make a deck work?

Island paradise

Detection Tower: 1 Colorless Mana + Tap Detection Tower: Until end of turn, your opponents and creatures your opponents control with hexproof can be the targets of spells and abilities you control as though they didn’t have hexproof.

Ghost Quarter: Tap Ghost Quarter + Sacrifice Ghost Quarter: Destroy target land. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle their library.

Halimar Depths: When Halimar Depths enters the battlefield, look at the top three cards of your library, then put them back in any order.


Magosi, the Waterveil: 1 Blue Mana + Tap Magosi, the Waterveil: Put an eon counter on Magosi, the Waterveil. Skip your next turn. Tap Magosi, the Waterveil: Remove an eon counter from Magosi, the Waterveil and return it to its owner’s hand: Take an extra turn after this one.

Quicksand: Tap Quicksand + Sacrifice Quicksand: Target attacking creature without flying gets -1/-2 until end of turn.

Detection Tower takes care of hexproof creatures that we can’t deal with. Ghost Quarter takes care of enemy lands that are too oppressive. Modern threats need ghostly solutions, after all. Halimar Depths is a really unique land, for the cost of entering the battlefield tapped, it lets you filter your deck, and that’s incredibly useful for timing your win. Magosi is a bit of a Pandora’s Box. An early skipped turn can lend itself to a protected win condition, but using this card is really risky. Quicksand is a solid choice to take down ground aggro that just won’t quit.

Let’s talk sideboard

I’ll admit, this is an abysmally cheap and ineffective sideboard for modern. There are some choice cards here that do work, but there are much better options if you’re looking to be competitive. I guess you could say that about the whole deck! I’m not really that competitive with BlueStein, so I’m really happy choosing cards that are incredibly affordable and work with a neat little trick: Fae of Wishes // Granted. If you could access your sideboard like a second hand, wouldn’t you?

Fae of Wishes: 1 Colorless Mana + 1 Blue Mana + Discard two cards: Return Fae of Wishes to its owner’s hand.

Granted: You may choose a noncreature card you own from outside the game, reveal it, and put it into your hand.


Tormod’s Crypt: Tap Tormod’s Crypt + Sacrifice Tormod’s Crypt: Exile all cards from target player’s graveyard.

Pacification Array: 2 Colorless Mana + Tap Pacification Array: Tap target artifact or creature.

Sorcerous Spyglass: As Sorcerous Spyglass enters the battlefield, look at an opponent’s hand, then choose any card name. Activated abilities of sources with the chosen name can’t be activated unless they’re mana abilities.

Unsubstantiate: Return target spell or creature to its owner’s hand.

Whirlwind Denial: For each spell and ability your opponents control, counter it unless its controller pays 4 Colorless Mana.

Fae of Wishes, in a pinch, can block and bounce itself, which is great, but Granted is the real key here. Granted let’s you get any noncreature card from your sideboard, which really opens up your options. The first pick is obviously an island, so you can get that fifth land. Tormod’s Crypt deals with graveyards, Pacification Array deals with unblockable creatures, Sorcerous Spyglass deals with win conditions, Unsubstantiate can either stop a Grapeshot or protect Labman, and Whirlwind Denial is just an incredible answer to some ridiculous combos. Seriously, Whirlwind Denial is an amazing card. Don’t @ me.

Was SaffronOlive first and/or better?

In May of 2019, SaffronOlive put out an article using Leveler and Mirror of Fate and reinvented the concept to be fairly competitive while still focused on budget, using Jace instead of Labman as the primary win condition. When you’re deck building, it can sometimes feel like when you stumble upon a combo or synergy and you don’t find many resources about those specific card combinations, that you invented it. I certainly felt that way with BlueStein, but the truth is, deckbuilding in Magic isn’t about being first, and I don’t think anyone should choose what they play based on that. Excepting Popeye Stompy, featuring the enigmatic Ramirez DePietro, of course. Ultimately, you don’t need to invent the wheel to reinvent it. I’ve heard controversies about SaffronOlive in the past, and I won’t delve into that, but suffice to say, I don’t have anything against him. When the redundancy came out, he definitely popularized the combo. Is his version better? Probably, but I don’t really know. He has a lot more experience as a Magic player and as a personality. That being said, even tuned Magic decks need to be tailored to their pilot to be effective. Put your own spin on it!

I will note that based on a comment from when his version was released, SaffronOlive did not realize the combo between Leveler and Mirror of Fate, and if you ever do plan to build this deck, you should become comfortable with risky plays like that.

Bring this creation to life!

Now that we’ve unveiled the individual elements of this deck, it’s time to bring it to life! Here’s the deck list, including card count as of August, 2020. You can also check out the deck list here on Scryfall.



I hope you enjoyed this write-up of one of my absolute favorite deck builds.