The Command Zone – Yahenni, Undying Partisan

Hello there and welcome back to another edition of the Command Zone! Before we get to the typical, 100-card fare, I wanted to briefly talk about this weekend, when Starcitygames strolled through my hometown of Richmond, Virginia.

I played in the Standard Open wielding WR Humans. I didn’t do so hot, dropping at 3-3, and I don’t recommend the deck. It has some serious issues, as it seemed you have to have the near perfect draw and your opponents have to not have the right answers at the right time. If I did it over again, I would probably just swallow my pride and play BG Delirium.

I did get to play the role of cheerleader though, rooting for fellow MTGCardMarket teammates and friends who performed very well at the Open and subsequent Classic. Congrats to Charley Murdock for top 8ing the Standard Open and Charles League for top 8ing the Modern Classic. Also, congrats to Dylan Donegan for taking the whole thing down, although I don’t know him quite as well. I assume he’ll have something up on his win later in the week. 

I certainly wouldn’t write the weekend off as a complete waste as I did get to play some Commander with my good friend Wendy, my best friend Stephen, and famed Commander legend, Bennie Smith. Wendy hit me with an RKO out of nowhere. That is, if “RKO out of nowhere” means using her Progenitor Mimic that was copying my Eternal Witness (talk about insane value) to return Keening Stone in order to mill me out. I had about 40 cards in my graveyard after drawing about 23 cards just a few turns earlier because I took 23 counters off of my Forgotten Ancient to put on my Fathom Mage. This is why I play Commander.

Anyways, the last two weeks I’ve created decks for Sram and Baral. So, this week, it’s time to continue our jaunt around the color wheel and build a home for Aether Revolt’s black legendary creature, Yahenni, Undying Partisan.

“The Consulate pushed me to my limit, darling, and this is the result.”

Kill Them Creatures

Alright, so the most obvious combination with Yahenni to me is to pair it with spells like Plague Wind and In Garruk’s Wake. Casting either one of these while Yahenni is on the board is sure to pile a ton of counters onto our commander, at which point all we have to do is swing and profit. In addition to the previously named two spells, I’ve included some of my favorite board wipes: Tsabo’s Decree (great for answering tribal decks), Deathbringer Regent, Reiver Demon, Hythonia the Cruel, Massacre Wurm, and Overwhelming Forces. Of course, there’s also Yahenni’s Expertise which is a necessary part of this deck for obvious reasons. 

The best part about running all of these board wipes is that, in addition to getting rather large, Yahenni conveniently protects itself at the “cost” of a creature that’s going to die anyway! Pretty sweet.

Creature Death Triggers

Okay, since Yahenni can make itself indestructible all while giving us insane value, let’s make sure we can get value out of the creatures we’re sacrificing. In goes Abyssal Gatekeeper, Carrier Thrall, Clone Shell, Corpse AugurHangarback Walker, and Solemn Simulacrum. Abyssal Gatekeeper is extra sweet in this deck since when we sacrifice him, our opponents will end up losing a creature as well which will in turn make our Yahenni grow.

I also want to add some newer Kaladesh block cards to see how they play out, so let’s add Treasure Keeper and Filigree Familiar as potential food for Yahenni. The latter isn’t nearly as good as Solemn Simulacrum, but really what creature is? 

Sacrificing our Creatures

So, we’ve got creatures that don’t mind going to the graveyard huh? Well, maybe we should include some additional sacrifice effects since unfortunately we won’t always have our Commander. Even though our Commander can make itself indestructible, sometimes our opponents might banish him to the Command Zone with spells such as Terminus or Swords to Plowshares

Let’s make sure our deck can function without our Commander. To do this, I’ve added several sacrifice outlets like Attrition, Flesh Carver, and Viscera Seer. We also want some benefits to all these creatures going to the graveyard. That’s why I’ve included Blood Artist, Falkenrath Noble, Grim Haruspex, Harvester of Souls, Liliana, Heretical Healer, Sangromancer, Sifter of Skulls, Mimic Vat, and Shadows of the Past. I particularly like Sifter of Skulls since it can basically give Yahenni double the counters by sacrificing the Eldrazi Scion once a creature dies either to make mana or just to make Yahenni larger.

Doubling Down on our Commander

I foresee Yahenni potentially growing rather large rather quickly. As a result, Commander damage is actually a pretty likely way for this deck to win the game. To complement being indestructible, I wanted to turn off our opponents’ exile effects and other ways around the indestructibility, so I included EDH all-stars Swiftfoot Boots, Lightning Greaves, and Whispersilk Cloak. In order to make Yahenni grow faster, I included Blade of the Bloodchief and Eternal Thirst. Yahenni is indeed a vampire so Blade will make Yahenni grow at three times its normal speed and Eternal Thirst will give our Commander lifelink while making it grow at double the speed.

Also, just in case you need to kill somebody out of nowhere, I’ve included Tainted Strike. Yahenni only needs to have seven counters to kill somebody with a Tainted Strike.

Tribal Synergies

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Yahenni’s creature type. As I mentioned, Yahenni is a Vampire in addition to being an Aetherborn.

On the Aetherborn side, I included Midnight Entourage since it pumps our Commander while also giving us a way to draw cards. I also included Gonti, Lord of Luxury because I’ve had a lot of fun casting it in its own Commander deck so I’m sure it’ll be just as fun to cast in Yahenni’s deck. Finally, I wanted to include Gifted Aetherborn which, while not a card I would normally put in a Commander deck, is the only other Aetherborn Vampire. I didn’t want Yahenni to be lonely.

The Vampire subtype gives us a lot more to work with. I’ve added tribal pumps in Captivating Vampire and Vampire Nocturnus. Along with being a Standard all-star, I decided that Kalitas looks pretty sweet in this deck as it’s a sacrifice outlet that makes zombies when our opponents creatures die. Unfortunately, it does have some negative synergy with Yahenni, who won’t get any counters with him in play, but that’s just a sacrifice I’m willing to make. (Pun intended?)

Wrap Up

So, kill your opponents’ creatures while swinging for the fences and killing your opponents with Commander damage. Let me know what you thought about this deck.

Next week, I’m building a deck around Kari Zev and I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to include in her deck. If you’ve got any suggestions, don’t be shy. Let me know! Thanks for tuning in this week and I hope to see you back here again next week. 

Troy Bishop

Troy Bishop

Troy Bishop prides himself in his Magic accomplishments which include being the 2015 Modern Spring Virginia State Champion, an appearance at Pro Tour Magic 2015, and once equipping an Avacyn, Angel of Hope with Worldslayer. Troy likes to have fun while playing Magic regardless of whether it’s at the kitchen table or playing for the top 8 of an SCG Open. He also wants to be your friend. So, add him on Facebook today.
Troy Bishop




Published:January 30, 2017


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