Remember Streets of New Cappena, it might feel strange, but actually, this was only released on 29th April, less than a month ago. Commander Legend: Battle for Baldurs Gate has taken the spotlight. I thought whilst there is a break in the spoilers from legendary creatures, now would be the perfect time to talk about a super exciting commander from Streets of New Cappena. Queza, Augur of Agonies.
As ever, the full decklist can be found on Moxfield here. Let’s get into it.
Queza, Augur of Agonies is a 3/4 legendary Cephalid Advisor for 1 and esper (white, blue and a black) that reads, “whenever you draw a card, target opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life.”
So we are looking to draw a bunch of cards and drain out our opponents’ life. We are in esper, so some control would also be beneficial in this deck to slow our opponents down and keep them in check; we also want to maximize the life drain by including cards that hit all our opponents, not just a target. Early game ramp is essential in this deck, this may mean we have to mulligan to make sure we have ramp, but it is necessary. We want to get out our commander and be able to cast some more spells or hold up mana for interaction.
Get a Draw, Make em sore
In this deck, we run a lot of card draw spells; there are 25 in total.
Classic card draw spells such as Opt, Gitaxian Probe and Preordain are great efficient pieces, but we want to capitalize on our draws as much as possible.
Teferi’s Puzzle Box is an Artifact for 4 that reads; “At the beginning of each player draw step, that player puts the cards in his or her hand on the bottom of the library in any order, then draw that many cards (that player draws his or her card for the turn first).”
This is great in our deck with Queza out. We are practically always going to have a full grip, so we draw for the turn, ping a player, and then the puzzle box trigger goes on the stack and pings for another 8 damage.
We can pair this with Teferi’s Ageless insight, an enchantment for 2 and 2 blue that reads, “If you would draw a card except the first one you draw in each of your draw steps, draw two cards instead”.
With both of these out on the board at the same time, we can draw 16 cards and deal 16 damage out, Incredible.
Clear the mind is a sorcery for 2 and a blue that reads, “Target player shuffles their graveyard into their library. Draw a card.” Because we are going to be drawing a lot of cards, we are susceptible to milling ourselves out, and whilst we are running a Thassa’s oracle (more on this later) to avoid losing to this, it’s still advisable to have some ways to restock your library so we can keep drawing cards and dealing damage
Echo of Eons is another excellent card for restocking our library. A sorcery card that costs 4 and 2 blue which reads, “Each player shuffles their hand and graveyard into their library, then draws seven cards.” It also has a flashback cost for 2 and a blue, letting you play this from the graveyard.
Pairing this with Windfall is a great way to take advantage of the flashback ability. Windfall is a sorcery for 2 and a blue which reads, “Each player discards their hand and then draws cards equal to the greatest number of cards discarded by a player this way.”
By discarding Echo of Eons, we can reduce its cost, draw another 7 cards and will have dealt 14 damage out.
Slowing our opponent’s down
With this deck, we really need to control our opponents because we will be casting a lot of draw spells at once. We have some stax pieces to keep our opponents honest.
Monologue Tax is an enchantment for 2 and a white which reads, “whenever an opponent casts their second spell each turn, you create a treasure token.” Giving us access to mana when our opponents cast a second spell a turn will help us later in the game.
More taxing effects from cards like Rhystic Study, Mystic remora and Esper Sentinel will give us access to additional resources and punish our opponents.
Rhystic Study is an enchantment for 2 and a blue that reads, “Whenever an opponent draws a card, you may dray a card unless that player pays 1”. With our commander out, our opponents are going to have to decide if they want to give us a card and take damage, or pay 1 mana. That extra mana may be the mana that stops them from playing their best spells.
Mystic remora is a great early game card; it is an enchantment for 1 blue mana and lets us draw a card whenever an opponent casts a non-creature spell unless they pay 4. However, it has a cumulative upkeep cost of 1. (first upkeep after it is played, it costs 1 to stick around, 2 on the second, etc.)
Esper Sentinel from Modern horizons 2 is a 1/1 Artifact creature- Human Soldier for a single white. It reads, “Whenever an opponent casts their first non-creature spell each turn, draw a card unless the player pays X, where X is Esper Sentinel’s power. We won’t be pumping this creature’s power, but getting the additional resource early on will help us keep up.
Probably the meanest card in this deck, Notion thief, is a 3/1 human rogue for 2 a blue and black, with flash. It also stops our opponents from drawing more than 1 card a turn, and instead, we draw those cards. This pairs so well with Teferi’s puzzle box and Windfall. This card works for another purpose; it will become a lightning rod for removal, which allows us to set up for the win.
More gain, more drain.
The main obstacle we are going to have to overcome is Queza’s limited ability; she only targets one at a time rather than draining each of our opponents at a time. In a game where everyone has 40 life we would need 120 cards for that to be a viable strategy. So we need to amplify the ability.
Psychosis Crawler is a */* Artifact creature – Horror for 5. it doubles our Queza trigger but also amplifies it to all our opponents. Its power and toughness are also equal to the number of cards in our hand, so it can be a pretty big blocker if we need it to be.
We have other amplifying effects in the form of Epicure of Blood and Maurading blight-priest.
Epicure of Blood is a 4/4 vampire for 4 and a black, which reads, “whenever you gain 1 life, each opponent loses 1 life.” Maurading Blight-Priest is a 3/2 vampire cleric for 2 and a black which does the same thing.
Whenever we gain a life with Queza, our opponents now all take 1 damage, and we can still target another opponent for additional damage.
Cliffhaven Vampire is a 2/4 vampire warrior Ally, with flying, for 2 a white and a black that also has this wider impact with Queza.
How do we win
We actually have a few different ways to win in this deck, and because we are drawing all the time, we should be able to get to our win cons pretty reliably.
Triskaidekaphile is a 1/3 Human wizard for 1 and a blue and reads, “You have no maximum hand size. At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have exactly thirteen cards in your hand, you win the game.” you can also pay 3 and a blue to draw a card. In this deck, this is not impossible. We will have to time this right, though; we will need most of the cards in hand, some interaction and some card draw to make sure we can get to 13 cards before our next upkeep. We run some cheap counter-spells in this deck; use them wisely.
I alluded to Thassa’s Oracle earlier, a 1/ 3 Merfolk wizard for 2 blue that scry’s for x where x is our devotion to blue; if this is greater than the number of cards in our library, we win the game. Like before, if we are going to win this way, hold up counter magic to prevent anyone from stifling us or making us draw a card before the trigger goes on the stack.
My favourite way to win in this deck is Lich’s Mastery, an enchantment for 3 and 3 black. It has Hexproof and “you can’t lose the game” on it. Looking good so far. It also has “whenever you gain life, draw a card”.
With our commander out, this just goes on and on until our deck empties. Because we can’t lose from having no cards in our library, we can also use this to lean into our Thassa’s Oracle win. It does have a downside; if we lose a life, we must exile a permanent card from the battlefield or a card from our hand or graveyard. If Lich’s Mastery leaves the battlefield, we lose the game. So like before, protection and interaction are key if we play this card.
We have two more cards that are worth discussing; one is a finisher in Peer into the abyss, a sorcery for 3 and 3 black that reads, “Target player draws cards equal to half the number of cards in their library and loses half their life. Round up each time”. With Queza out, we won’t be losing the life, but an opponent will be. If we pair this with cards like Epicure of Blood, we can quickly deal 40 damage to all our opponents after restocking our library with Elixir of Immortality.
We also run an Approach of the Second Sun, a sorcery for 6 and a white. When we cast this spell, we initially gain 7 life and put this card back in the library 7 from the top. If we cast it again, we win the game. In a deck that is always drawing cards, it will be a reliable win con in most of our games. This is vulnerable to countermagic, so we need to keep up our interaction pieces.
And there we have it, this commander looks really fun to build around, what would you put in this type of deck? I will see you again Friday for the next article. Don’t forget to check out my Moxfield with all the other deck techs on and follow me on twitter @manadorkjohn . Until next time.