We’re in that awkward in-between phase, where March of the Machine is on the horizon, but Phyrexia: All Will Be One is in the rear-view mirror. With that in mind, I have an original twist on a classic deck to bridge the distance between the old and the new. If you’re familiar with Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow, you might see some parallels between it and today’s highlighted commander. Few commanders can take such an iconic archetype in such a different direction. Welcome to the Commander Corner, and today we’re talking about…

There are quite a few differences between Rigo, Streetwise Mentor and Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow, but there are also some similarities. The color identity is the biggest, followed up by the freedom to play more non-Ninja creatures while still maximizing value. Additionally, your creatures don’t even have to connect to draw you cards, although you don’t get the reveal and life loss combination Yuriko grants. Also, when it comes to built-in protection, Rigo’s free shield counter is a nice parallel to Yuriko’s commander ninjutsu ability.

When I first set out to build Rigo, Streetwise Mentor, I took some time to Ponder building Falco Spara, Pactweaver instead. After all, they occupy the same color combination, they both have built-in protection abilities, and they both offer you card advantage if you work for it. However, if I’m being honest, the idea of attacking with an army of small utility creatures made me smile more than the idea of having a Future Sight in the command zone. There are a decent number of legendary creatures in this color combination beyond those two, including classics like Rafiq of the Many, Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, the more recent Chulane, Teller of Tales, and more. While some of those may have a higher ceiling in regards to power level, I’m not here to play casually with the most competitive decks, I’m here to play competitively with the most casual decks! Without further ado, let’s discuss the particulars of Rigo, Streetwise Mentor.

Choosing A Path

Rigo, Streetwise Mentor can function fine in a deck with 40 copies of basic Plains, despite being a three-color card. This is relatively unique, as there aren’t many hybrid-mana legendary creatures. While a Plains-only mana base may be cheaper and more simple, I don’t think it’s worth losing access to the other two colors. Additionally, there’s a huge question of what kinds of creatures to play. Evasive and cheap creatures are a bit obvious, but there’s also quite a few disruptive or utility creatures which could also be played. Ultimately, I’m settling on playing some of both. There’s also a huge question of how this deck intends to win games. There’s plenty of options, from heavyweights like Craterhoof Behemoth to lockouts with Drannith Magistrate and Uba Mask. Which did I choose? You’ll see in time. Should counterspells be featured in the deck? Probably at least a couple. There are so many more questions from here, but I do have this singular guiding principle: Draw as many cards as possible with Rigo every single turn.

Hatebears, Utility Creatures, and Suntail Hawk

Okay, maybe not actually Suntail Hawk, but you could play it and probably draw a few cards in a deck like this. Creatures like Cold-Eyed Selkie now do double the work, drawing cards on hit and on attacks. Grayscaled Gharial, Jukai Messenger, Marsh Boa, and others all represent the cooler side of evasion, targeting specific lands. Gudul Lurker, Mist-Cloaked Herald, Slither Blade, and others represent the more consistent, albeit more boring, side of evasion. Of course, you can also play Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive and have all of your small creatures avoid being blocked. When it comes to utility and disruptive creatures, Drannith Magistrate, Hope of Ghirapur, Mother of Runes and others are the easiest ways to interact with and inhibit your opponents. Truly, there are a ton of options, and many of them don’t cost more than one or two mana. Bonus points if you can fit Devoted Caretaker somewhere in there.

Secondary Card Draw & Token Production

In a four-player game, your commander does have a hard cap on how many cards you can draw each combat. Usually the number will be three. Rarely, you might be able to sneak in an attack against a planeswalker and get a fourth card if you’re lucky. The setup cost in this situation is real, as you require your commander and other creatures in play. There will be many turns where you don’t get to profitably attack every player and your draw power will be constrained. Fear not! Tamiyo, Field Researcher, Toski, Bearer of Secrets, and Skullclamp provide you with ways to squeeze extra value out of difficult situations, and as a bonus they’re even better when you’re ahead. If you’re low on creatures, there’s quite a few ways to pump out more. Skrelv’s Hive becomes a cheaper Phyrexian Arena with a higher ceiling. Aura Mutation pulls its weight in a number of ways. Exotic Pets even gives you creatures that can’t be blocked.

Removal, Counters, and Ramp

Premium white removal spells like Swords to Plowshares, Generous Gift, and Journey to Nowhere are available if you so desire them. Of course, there’s cards like Pongify and Rapid Hybridization if you’d prefer blue. Arcane Denial, Delay, and Fierce Guardianship, if you can justify the price, are all counterspells worth playing. Ramp? Wait, we’re putting ramp in here? I mean, I guess if you want ramp… Cryptolith Rite, Springleaf Drum, and even the expensive Mox Amber all work pretty well, if you’re into that sort of thing. If you’re looking to be extra spicy, Druids’ Repository can do some work.

How Are We Winning Again?

That’s a good question. If you’re building your own version of Rigo from scratch, the choice is yours, and I’ll give you a few hints. As I mentioned in the intro, Craterhoof Behemoth, End-Raze Forerunners, or almost any kind of mass-pump can get the job done if your creature count is high enough. If you’re in the market for combat damage without mass pump, extra turn spells like Time Warp, Karn’s Temporal Sundering, and Beacon of Tomorrows can facilitate additional combat steps. If you want to combo off, you can include classics like Deadeye Navigator plus Peregrine Drake, Faeburrow Elder or Bloom Tender plus Freed from the Real, or even Kodama of the East Tree and it’s ample infinite mana combos. In short, this deck gets access to all the classic green/blue combos while also having the removal suite within white and solid amounts of card draw. Which did I choose? Let’s find out!

The List

This is the deck as I would build it, and how I intend to build it once I finally sort my cards and find out which singles I still have to buy. Compared to other decks I’ve built and played, this has a lower power level than others, but it feels pretty fun. The core of the deck can remain the same while still allowing for plenty of flexibility in certain slots. While I’m not playing cards like Jeweled Lotus, Esper Sentinel, or Rhystic Study, you can play those cards if you so desire. I think Rigo, Streetwise Mentor has a ton of combo potential, especially in elf-ball style decks looking to go wild with mana producing creatures like Fyndhorn Elves and Priest of Titania, but that’s not the direction I’m going in.


Creature – 34

Devoted Caretaker, Mother of Runes, Giver of Runes, Triton Shorestalker, Gudul Lurker, Slither Blade, Mist-Cloaked Herald, Invisible Stalker, Cold-Eyed Selkie, Grayscale Gharial, Jukai Messenger, Drannith Magistrate, Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive, Hope of Ghirapur, Judge’s Familiar, Beast Whisperer, Treetop Scout, Looter il-Kor, Soltari Foot Soldier, Cloud of Faeries, Esior, Wardwing Familiar, Toski, Bearer of Secrets, Edric, Spymaster of Trest, Deadeye Navigator, Peregrine Drake, Spectral Sailor,Siren Stormtamer, Suspicious Stowaway, Gala Greeters, Soltari Trooper, Thalakos Sentry, Mausoleum Wanderer, Custodi Soulcaller

Enchantment – 8

Teferi’s Ageless Insight, Skrelv’s Hive, Abiding Grace, Rabble Rousing, Feywild Visitor, Oblivion Ring, Druids’ Repository, Deafening Silence

Artifact – 5

Mox Amber, Meekstone, Lightning Greaves, Halo Fountain, Springleaf Drum

Instant – 10

Swords to Plowshares, Reality Shift, Pongify, Arcane Denial, Dispel, Nature’s Claim, Swan Song, Aura Mutation, Miscast, Exotic Pets

Sorcery – 5

Patch Up, Unnatural Restoration, Neoform, Harvest Season, Notorious Throng

Planeswalker – 1

Tamiyo, Field Researcher

Land – 36

Command Tower, Path of Ancestry, Seaside Citadel, Spara’s Headquarters, Sunpetal Grove, Hinterland Harbor, Glacial Fortress, Yavimaya Coast, Adarkar Wastes, Deserted Beach, Brushland, Overgrown Farmland, Temple of Enlightenment, Temple of Plenty, Bountiful Promenade, Sea of Clouds, Selesnya Guildgate, Simic Guildgate, Azorius Guildgate, 6 Plains, 7 Island, 4 Forest

Across three colors there are tons of staples I haven’t included. Even though this is the deck I would play, you can change this to suit your desires as you like. If it means adding in Hermit Druid and Thassa’s Oracle, so be it! Feel like playing Serra Ascendant? By all means, go ahead. You can select any number of upgrades or downgrades to turn this into a more competitive, casual, or budget deck. Get those creative juices flowing! I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s exploration of a cool new commander, and I hope you’ll come back for next week’s Commander Corner!

[Luka V. Sharaska (they/them) earned the nickname “Robot” by having a monotone voice, a talent for calculating odds, and a perfect poker face. Robot has been playing Magic for more than a decade, starting during the days of New Phyrexia in 2011.]

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