Deck Build – Inalla, Archmage Ritualist (EDH)


After having played Magic: the Gathering in the EDH/Commander format for several years and having a blast with my Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder deck that spawns a bunch of Eldrazi, I decided to branch off and get myself a second deck to play with our group. I had had an Inalla pre-con deck that had been laying around for quite a while since it wass very underwhelming. This deck ended up being influenced by and based on the Commander’s Quarters budget deck tech for Inalla, Archmage Ritualist.

Inalla, Archmage Ritualist Card
Inalla, Archmage Ritualist

Inalla has a sort of unique Commander ability since it may be activated without actually having to play her and it is actually quite powerful. As long as you have (1) mana, you effectively “get haste” on “every creature” you play, since the token copy can tap and/or attack immediately instead of waiting a turn for summoning sickness to wear off. Additionally, if you have ETBs (enters-the-battlefield triggers), these can be multipled using this ability. Should you choose to play Inalla, a 4/5 isn’t huge, but it isn’t anything to disregard either. Here is my working deck list.

Win Condition(s)

Obviously the objective is to win, so how do I accomplish that with Inalla? There are a couple of ways to build around Inalla’s Eminence ability, including bouce and blink. Alternatively, I decided to go Wizard Tribal + flicker/blink , since Wizards are a pretty strong group, and flickering and blinking the Wizards will provide as much value as possible from the creatures’ triggers and abilities.

There are a ton of Wizards that have ETBs that we can abuse using Inalla’s Eminence ability. And not only that, but Wizards are quite easy to combo off of as well.

In one instance, assuming we have the necessary mana, if we have Anathamancer in our hand we can play it, create a token copy with Inalla’s Eminance ability, then use things like Siren’s Ruse, Into the Roil, Illusionist’s Strategem, Ghostly Flicker, Essence Flux, or Displaceto flicker or blink it away and back in. When it re-enters, we can pay the (1) again to create yet another token copy of it. If you opponents have a decent number of nonbasic lands, this can deal a lot of damage quite easily.

Other situations let you go infinite or close to infinite, such as Archaeomancer and any flicker, coupled with the Wizards of your choice with a good ETB triggers.

Additionally, if you’re leading in life total, copying and flickering Dire Fleet Ravager can run the rest of the table down quickly while you’re ahead.

There are also other fun cards such as Lighthouse Chronologist that will let you take a bunch of extra turns.

Deck Specs

Colors: Grixis (Blue/Black/Red)

Commanders: 1 | Planeswalkers: 0 | Creatures: 42

Enchantments: 0 | Artifacts: 13 | Sorceries: 0 | Instants: 10

Lands: 34

Mana Curve (Average CMC): 3.26

Why Inalla?

InallaArchmage Ritualist is a legendary human wizard from an unknown plane.

Inalla is a masterful wizard whose quest for power led her to probe the depths of the darkest sorcery. She concealed her arcane practice from the elders of her conclave, impressing them with her talent and working her way up to the position of archmage, an ascent aided by the forcible removal of anyone who stood in her way.

As Archmage, Inalla devised an inner council, ostensibly to protect the conclave from external threats, but in truth to act as a dark wizards’ circle where she could teach forbidden magic. Her machinations hint at her greater plan to augment her power and influence.

(GamePedia, 2019)

Okay, so when I picked up Inalla, I honestly thought it was a different deck. Some friends had introduced me to Commander a long while back and I had borrowed one of their blue/red spell slinger decks and had a blast. I thought this was it, but was definitely wrong. Playing the pre-con deck, it felt really underwhelming and it performed poorly. I ended up setting it to the side and not touching it for the better part of 6 months. But I eventually picked it up again when I wanted a second commander deck. Grixis has become one of my favorite color combinations. Also, being less experienced at the game format, I am often shy to get my commander out because I feel like it’ll just get targeted. Well, Inalla solved that problem for me at the time. The ability to use Eminence from the Command Zone is hugely valuable and works well for the way this deck plays. Beyond that, I like the concept behind Inalla, as well as the card art, and for those reasons I ended up putting this together. After quite a bit of play with our group, this deck has perfomed well consistently. I’ll have some tweaks and upgrades to it in the future, but for now she does the trick.

Additional Reading

Inalla, Archmage Ritualist – EDHrec

Inalla – MTG Wiki on GamePedia

Got lore on Inalla? Post in in a comment below!

Deck Build – Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle (EDH)


Magic: the Gathering. I’ve been playing MTG for about 5-6 years now and particularly love the EDH (“Commander”) format. My first EDH deck was built for my by a close friend, Preston. A lot of time and love went into that deck and I’ve enjoyed it tremendously. In the past year, I’ve been wanting to build more decks myself and see what I could do. Most recently, I built a new Commander deck from scratch (without basing it off an existing deck list), with Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle at the head.

Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle Card
Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle Card

The card shown above is fairly self-explanatory. Arixmethes is a legendary Kraken that is not a creature when it enters the battlefield–but a land, due to the slumber counters on it. While Arixmethes sleeps, it only taps to produce {G}{U} mana. But once all slumber counters have been removed from the card, the Isle awakes and becomes a 12/12 Kraken that also still taps for the aforementioned mana. At a converted mana cost of only four–two of which are colorless–Arixmethes is a great ramp spell in the beginning of the game, and a great finishing move at any point thereafter. Here’s my working decklist.

Win Condition(s)

The goal is obviously to win. But how does Arixmethes do that in this deck? A common theme to build around the sleepy island is an army of huge sea creatures featuring Krakens, Leviathans, Octopuses, and Serpents. Other flavors include bounce, Merfolk tribal, +1/+1 counters, lands, X spells, and Keruga companion. But I chose the one other route: cantrips.

A cantrip, in Magic: the Gathering, is a (often low-cost) spell that in addition to any other effect, makes you draw a card. So what’s the goal here?

The deck is loaded with ramp and bonus mana. From things like Mox Diamond and Llanowar Elves which can give you that early mana edge to land finders like Cultivate and many more, there are tons of ways to search your library and put 1-3 lands into play–sometimes untapped! Things like Burgeoning let you continue to ramp during other players’ turns. With each spell that is cast to accomplish this while drawing an extra card, you can continuously roll down those slumber counters on Arixmethes, leaving it at 1 counter until you are in a position to strike.

At 12/12, you only need hit an opponent during two combat phases (or one, if you have doublestrike, though I don’t have that in the deck currently) to kill them with Commander Damage in excess of the 21 threshold. Equip Arixmethes with Whispersilk Cloak and enjoy your win.

Though that can’t be the only win con, and it isn’t. There is also a balance of sea creatures available for summon as well including Krakens and Leviathans. While waiting to get these out or make Arixmethes unblockable, a host of counterspells, boardwipes, and other spells fill The 99.

Deck Specs

Take these specs with a grain of salt. I am still refining this deck. In the next week, I’ll be adding approximately 6 more lands in place of 6 other nonland cards and balancing mana color production to mana costs. Additionally, I will likely add Cyclonic Rift and a couple of other cards as well.

Colors: Simic (Green/Blue)

Commanders: 1 | Planeswalkers: 1 | Creatures: 20

Enchantments: 6 | Artifacts: 9 | Sorceries: 14 | Instants: 19

Lands: 30

Mana Curve (Average CMC): 2.40

Why Arixmethes?

So why, of all the commanders out there, would I choose Arixmethes? Well–for one–I think concept of a sleeping island is humorous, but also ominous and mysterious. I’ve always liked the mysterious. From a lore standpoint, Arixmethes is just as mysterious as the name implies; we know very little about the Kraken-island and its history. Obscure legends say that Arixmethes was a major polis that once existed on Theros, and that Heliod smote this coastal city with Khrusor and cast [it] into the sea. In fact, Arixmethes is a massive Kraken with the entire city built upon it… (GamePedia, 2020).

In brief summary, Arixmethes is indeed the legendary lost city/island that Kiora came looking for and to claim during the events of the Theros block and the novel Godsend. Seeking the greatest denizens of the seas of many words, she posed as the navigator Callaphe and boarded “her” recovered ship the Monsoon and sailed to find Arixmethes:

Kiora’s heart pounded as the prow of the Monsoon came to rest at the edge of a vast and ruined city. The surface did a fine impression of land, if you didn’t look too hard, but it was too dark, too rubbery. She frowned at the ornate buildings dripping seawater, clinging to this great curved surface like barnacles. How could anyone mistake the great kraken Arixmethes for an island?

The human, Elspeth, asked something about Kruphix’s temple, and the cat-man answered her, but Kiora wasn’t listening. Finally!

“Welcome to Arixmethes!” she cried, leaping off the ship and onto the soft, pliable surface. “The sunken ruins! At last, I’ve found him.”

“Him?” asked Elspeth. They still didn’t understand. But she and the leonin, Ajani, stayed on the Monsoon just the same.

“You’re not Callaphe, are you?” asked Ajani.

“Not even close,” Kiora replied, smiling back at him.

(Digges, 2015)

Kiora and Thassa would fight for control of the legendary, lost city-creature, during which Kiora reached out to Arixmethes, begging for help with Thassa, acknowledging that Arixmethes was not Thassa’s–nor hers– to control, but it’s own. Though Arixmethes did not answer to either Thassa nor Kiora, and the two continued to battle in vain. In the end, while Thassa arguably won out by injuring Kiora and forcing her to flee, Kiora managed to snatch Thassa’s Bident and disappear. To be on flavor, Arixmethes, Kiora, Thassa, and Thassa’s Bident are all in this deck along with a host of sea-related spells such as Whelming Wave, Displacement Wave, and others.

While we know quite a bit about this battle and Kiora’s time on Theros from the novellas and other lore, we know relatively little of the history of Arixmethes himself. And there’s just something to that which I can’t ignore.

Additional Reading

“Drop for Drop,” Kelly Digges, Wizards of the Coast

Arixmethes – GamePedia MTG Wiki

Arixmethes, Slumber Isle on EDHrec