Earlier this year, Franck Da Silva piloted this list to the top 8 of a French Duel Commander tournament (http://mtgtop8.com/event?e=12318&d=271048&f=EDH). The deck is highly refined, putting staples and unusual cards to good use.

Commander (1)

1x Azami, Lady of Scrolls

Creatures (19)

1x Archaeomancer

1x Deranged Assistant

1x Glen Elendra Archmage

1x Laboratory Maniac

1x Martyr of Frost

1x Palinchron

1x Patron Wizard

1x Sea Gate Oracle

1x Sea Scryer

1x Snapcaster Mage

1x Stonybrook Banneret

1x Surgespanner

1x Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir

1x Æther Adept

1x Trinket Mage

1x Vedalken AEthermage

1x Vendilion Clique

1x Venser, Shaper Savant

1x Voidmage Prodigy

Planeswalker (1)

1x Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Artifacts and Enchantments (7)

1x Candelabra of Tawnos

1x Chrome Mox

1x Extraplanar Lens

1x Mind Over Matter

1x Mox Diamond

1x Relic of Progenitus

1x Sapphire Medallion

Instants and Sorceries (33)

1x Brainstorm

1x Capture of Jingzhou

1x Complicate

1x Counterspell

1x Cryptic Command

1x Cyclonic Rift

1x Daze

1x Dig Through Time

1x Fact or Fiction

1x Foil

1x Force of Will

1x Force Spike

1x Frantic Search

1x High Tide

1x Into the Roil

1x Long-Term Plans

1x Mana Leak

1x Memory Lapse

1x Mindbreak Trap

1x Miscalculation

1x Misdirection

1x Mystic Confluence

1x Pact of Negation

1x Preordain

1x Remand

1x Repeal

1x Sleight of Hand

1x Spell Pierce

1x Temporal Manipulation

1x Time Spiral

1x Time Warp

1x Turnabout

1x Wipe Away

Lands (39)

1x Cavern of Souls

1x Minamo, School at Water’s Edge

1x Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

1x Riptide Laboratory

33x Snow-Covered Island

1x Tolaria West

1x Wasteland

 

 

 

 

This deck’s strategy is very streamlined. There is really only one win condition – Laboratory Maniac. If Laboratory Maniac gets exiled, it’s extremely bad. At that point, the plan would be to protect a couple creatures or a Jace, the Mind Sculptor and hope that gets the job done. If Laboratory Maniac ends up in the graveyard, the only saving grace is Time Spiral.

Azami in combination with Mind Over Matter allows you to cycle through your whole deck, cast Laboratory Maniac, and tap it to win. You will always have access to Azami, but Mind Over Matter can only be retrieved by Time Spiral, so make sure when you cast it that you can immediately combo off, or that you have enough counterspells ready.

High Tide plus Palinchron produces infinite mana. High Tide plus Candelabra of Tawnos or Time Spiral produces a large amount of mana. Extraplanar Lens acts like a permanent High Tide. All of this mana allows you to cast the combo pieces while keeping counterspell mana up.

The whole deck is essentially just draw, disruption, and a handful of combo cards. The fact that the win condition cards are such a small percentage of the deck means that we have more room for draw and disruption. There are a couple tutor effects (Long-Term Plans, Trinket Mage), but the main way we find the combo pieces is through Azami’s draw engine. Every Azami commander deck has a Wizard package to generate card advantage, which really goes to show that the card’s draw ability makes the deck consistent and able to outlast opponents.

It’s great having your commander be a combo piece. You don’t need to be too scared when casting it, and it will almost always draw a card anyway. Including Azami, there are 19 Wizards in the deck. Azami makes Wizards with just a little bit of utility good. A lot of them don’t need any help though – Snapcaster Mage, Vendilion Clique, Venser, Shaper Savant. Patron Wizard is like Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, sometimes even more annoying to deal with. Vedalken Aethermage is a 3 mana, instant speed tutor that finds almost any creature. Glen Elendra Archmage provides a sticky way to protect important spells, and you only need to hold up 1 or 2 mana to do so.

We’re running a few Time Walk effects. They’re amazing if Azami is out, but they’re also perfectly fine as Explores plus untap steps.

As far as counterspells go, trading one for one is generally good considering the deck’s reliable draw engine. Try to use soft counters like Force Spike earlier on than hard counters. However, they can still be backbreaking in the late game against commanders with high taxes on them.

We have four reliable 0 mana counterspells. Of course, they are great in a pinch to counter big threats, but most importantly, they protect the combo. You need to cast Mind Over Matter, Laboratory Maniac, and maybe Time Spiral, and opponents will always target them if they can.

If you enjoy playing counterspells and drawing a lot of cards, you’ll enjoy playing this deck.

For my EDH article last week, click here.

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