It feels like Magic has been moving at light speed for the last few months. I was just getting my bearings with all the new cards from War of the Spark when it occurred to me that Modern Horizons had its prerelease last weekend. While I have the seeds of ideas for new decks with legends like Morophon, the Boundless or Ayula, Queen Among Bears, nothing has hooked me enough to start making frantic scribbles in a notebook yet.

That said, I am eager to build a new cycling deck. The printing of Astral Drift (and to a lesser degree Tectonic Reformation) has led me to explore cycling in a new way. Previously I had tried to port over the Living End deck that was running around Modern led by Horde of Notions, but today I wanted to be a little more nuanced. If you love card draw and you’re looking for a deck that has more win conditions than Laboratory Maniac or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, today’s article might be for you.

Another in the Cycle

Cycling has always been one of my favorite mechanics. I’d say I would like to see it become evergreen, but I think I would take it for granted if it were always around. One of my favorite qualities of cycling is that it gets attached to spells that we would want in the typical deck already. You can include all sorts of situational spells, which you can cycle away if those spells happen to become useless in our hand.

My only complaint is that even after five appearances in Standard legal blocks, we still have no legendary creatures that have cycling or explicitly care when you cycle a card. This has been the prime reason I have never put too much thought into building a deck around the mechanic. Once I saw Astral Drift, I wanted to try to find a legendary creature that could if nothing else be a placeholder while I awaited a more on-theme general. Something other than Horde of Notions.

The next bit of inspiration came from Fluctutator. If a majority of my cycling was going to be free, maybe that meant I could make the act of drawing through my deck for game-winning spells my win condition. Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix sounds like a perfect general, but Astral Drift needs the deck’s color identity to include white. It never dawned upon me until I did my searches, but Tymna the Weaver actually has a fun overlap with Kydele. This was all I needed to spark a brand new deck.

Plan of Action

Playgroups certainly define how a player should view their win conditions. For me, that means I need to design my decks with win conditions ranging from explosive wins within the first dozen turns of the game, all the way down to casually going wide and winning through double digits worth of attack steps. Kydele is our explosive win general, either winning through a focus on draw triggers to sculpt a victory with Psychosis Crawler or X spells like Debt to the Deathless or Damnable Pact. By contrast, Tymna rewards us for going wide and possibly spread out damage every turn.

One of my favorite ways to go about a game of Commander is to stay under the radar as long as possible, while playing politics to my best ability. With Archfiend of Ifnir as my Massacre Wurm, I can keep the board manageable while saving Akroma’s Vengeance for when I really need it. With Chasm Skulker sitting in play accumulating +1/+1 counters to become a viable win condition, my bases will be pretty well covered under the guise that my deck is doing almost nothing until it’s suddenly a threat at the table.

Meeting in the middle, we can take inspiration from Astral Slide and Astral Drift to focus attention on cycling interactions. If flickering creatures is going to be our main focus, we can include Mulldrifter, Eternal Witness, and Archaeomancer to help us dig further or reclaim cycling spells. For my own personal flair, I also want to do silly things like flickering Deranged Hermit to quickly go extremely wide alongside other solid token producers like Drake Haven. On the whole, the big theme is going to be card draw and irreverent ways of winning through it.

Untapping Potential

One of the important factors to consider before attempting the lofty goal of winning through something like Debt to the Deathless or Finale of Glory is just how we’re going to be generating to mana to finish the deed. Getting Kydele to produce infinite mana isn’t impossible, but I think Sword of the Paruns might be my favorite way to turn Sphinx’s Revelation or Pull from Tomorrow into all the mana we could ever need.

At the moment I would say that deck I’ve drawn up probably is missing a few more ways to untap Kydele on the regular. Dedicated methods like Vizier of Tumbling Sands and Fatestitcher are a good start, but this is one area I will be keeping in mind as other cards start falling out of contention. Even before adding Tymna to our command zone, we were in the right colors of untapping shenanigans; but white gives us quite a few spells that not only untap our creatures, but also buff them. What has already made the list is Chakram Retriever, which can turn our cast spells into a way of untapping our general or potential blocker.

Deeper Synergies

I am not opposed to winning through decking ourselves via Laboratory Maniac or the new Jace, but to me that seems like such a tread path that it doesn’t intrigue me as much as trying to win through something like Exsanguinate or a giant mass of creatures. At present I am enthralled by the interaction between Horizon Chimera and Drogskol Reaver. These two create a loop that allows us to draw through as much of the deck as we feel that we need to. Be warned though, you need to have a way to break the loop—like Expunge or Boomerang—or you will draw yourself to death.

One option is to draw towards Villainous Wealth, taking all our excess mana and grabbing as much as I can from other players’ strategies. Or maybe Increasing Confusion, which could be used to mill two separate players out of the game in one or two turns. Finale of Revelation also becomes important as a draw spell that also protects us from decking ourselves. I honestly have never seen someone deck themselves in a way that didn’t involve Inverter of Truth, but in this deck it just might happen.

Without some proper testing I don’t really know if there is much more to say about the development of this idea. I’m not usually one to build towards a combo endgame, but this might be the nonsensical version of a combo deck that best speaks to me. I will actively take whatever guidance more seasoned masters of decks like this have to offer, as I honestly am currently more intrigued by the concept of this deck than I am invested in my idea being the best idea. Until next time, thanks for reading.

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH and the EDH community. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.

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