26, Aug, 21

Have You Considered Illusion Tribal?

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You didn't see what you think you saw, and you didn't think what you saw yourself think either.
Article at a Glance

Amongst all of the many, many, many cards we’ve had revealed and introduced to the world of MTG recently, one Commander has snuck in that offers a really interesting way of building a deck, and for a tribe that really hasn’t seen much love.

You may have missed it, because they’re tucked away in the Dungeon Commander Deck from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, but if you’re looking to build an interesting mono-Blue Commander deck, then you should look no further than Minn, Wily Illusionist.

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Nothing to see here

Minn, Wily Illusionist is a three mana Blue Legendary Gnome Wizard. They’ve got a power of one and a toughness of three, and they create a 1/1 Illusion Creature token every time you draw a second card in a turn that gets +1/+0 for each other Illusion you control. You’re in Blue, so you should be drawing lots of cards anyway, so that’s a strong ability.

That’s not all they do though, they also read, “Whenever an Illusion you control dies, you may put a permanent card with mana value less than or equal to that creature’s power from your hand onto the battlefield.” This is where things get really interesting. As long as you’ve got a good mix of permanents and the ability to draw cards, then you’ve got the ability to not only flood the board with strong Creatures, but also put stuff into play.

It means that you can not only make the most of one of the most intriguing Creature types of MTG, but you can also avoid casting things if you’ve got enough ways to make your Illusions stronger, and that means you could potentially end up doing things like putting Omniscience into play for free. If you’ve never put an Omniscience into play for free, we really do recommend doing it at least once in your life, it’s quite the rush.

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What good Illusions are there?

Of course, this is only worthwhile if there are a bunch of good Illusion cards. Oddly enough, Illusions are one of the few Creature types almost exclusively confined to one color, and that color happens to be Blue. That means you’re only missing out on a couple of Illusions at all, and that means there’s a lot of choices here.

Illusions aren’t always great, because they often tend to be under-costed, but incredibly frail. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some powerhouses in the tribe. For example, Somnophore is a four mana Blue 2/2 that reads, “Whenever Somnophore deals damage to a player, tap target creature that player controls. That creature doesn’t untap during its controller’s untap step for as long as Somnophore remains on the battlefield.” All you have to do is protect this one and get make them hard to block and you’ll be able to lock people out of combat.

You’ve also got Chronozoa, which is a four mana Flying 3/3 with vanishing three. That means it comes into play with three time counters on it and you remove one in each of your upkeeps, and you have to sacrifice it when it has no more counters. That sounds bad, but it also reads, “When Chronozoa dies, if it had no time counters on it, create two tokens that are copies of it.” This thing will keep going for as long as it has counters on it, and that’s the same with the tokens it creates too, which is great fun for triggering the death ability of Minn.

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Are there any more good Illusions?

Of course, there are plenty of other cool options to choose from too. One of the other new cards from the precons is Phantom Steed which is a four mana 4/3 with flash that exiles a Creature you control as it enters the battlefield until it leaves. Then, whenever the steed attacks, you create a copy of that Creature that’s tapped and attacking, but it’s also an Illusion that gets sacrificed at the end of combat.

There’s also Draining Whelp, a six mana 1/1 with flash and flying that counters a spell when it enters the battlefield. It then gets +1/+1 counters on it equal to the mana value of the spell you countered. Having a counterspell on a Creature is good anyway, but this does everything you need it to when it comes to beating down your opponents and also being a potentially massive Creature for Minn’s death trigger.

Finally, you’ve also got Phantasmal Image, a two-mana clone that comes in as an exact copy of any other Creature on the battlefield, except it’s also an Illusion that you have to sacrifice if it gets targeted by an ability or spell. A two-mana clone that’s also the right Ceature type is something that’s hard to beat. Of course, it’s not just Illusions you need in this kind of deck.

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What about the support cards?

Aside from all of the usual tribal cards, there are a few specific support cards for Illusions. For starters, it’s worth trying to get a copy of Modernkainen, a six-mana Planeswalker that lets you draw cards, create Dog Illusions, and also switch your hand and your library.

You’ve also got Mesmerizing Benthid, which is a five mana 4/5 that enters with two 0/2 blue Illusion tokens that stop anything they block from untapping in their controller’s next untap step. It also gets hexproof as long as you control an Illusion, which is no issue in this deck.

Finally, definitely get a copy of Lord of the Unreal. this is a two-mana 2/2 that not only gives all of your Illusion Creatures +1/+1 but also gives them hexproof, which is a huge boon when so many die if you perceive them. If you use everything we’ve listed as a skeleton for your new deck, then you’re going to be able to build something truly monstrous.

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