I had no idea this card existed.

It doesn’t take much to sway me into checking out, building, and/or playing new things. When I see a really cool commander which has a unique play pattern or mechanic, I’m immediately going to pay attention. 

This is where Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow comes in. 

I’m a rushdown/midrange kind of player. I love me some big and efficient threats, and I love casting them ahead of schedule. Because of this, I didn’t even put Dimir on my radar, given how so much of my focus was on green or red-based aggro. I was genuinely taken aback after seeing Yuriko, and I only saw it by chance via random browsing cEDH decks.

Yuriko’s Commander Ninjutsu is an extremely unique and powerful mechanic. Differing from the standard ninjutsu, you can activate it from your hand or the Command Zone. This enables some powerful interactions when used in tandem with her second ability. 

So, we are set on two hard rules when playing a deck with Yuriko:

  • Play ninjas
  • Play a lot of very large spells

The second part isn’t terribly difficult to do. Because we’re in both blue and black, we’re not short of ways of making this effect incredibly powerful, while also sneaking in ways of making our threats evasive, protected, and valuable. The first part requires a little bit of work, but there should be enough good ninjas available to at least threaten multiple triggers in one combat step. We don’t need a ton of ninjas; we aren’t necessarily trying to be a typal deck or anything. What we do want is to make sure the ninjas we do play are good enough on their own.

Some quick looks at the ninjas I’d be interested in playing:

Thousand-Faced Shadow This one is a one drop, which turns on our Yuriko on the front end, and can help snowball another attacker we have on the back. This feels like an easy include.

Biting-Palm Ninja This feels okay. Three mana for a exiling Thoughtseize effect is good, and if you already have something going with Yuriko, you can keep the menace counter on it and continue the snowball. Will likely include, but am not completely married to it.

Covert TechnicianThis takes a bit of work to make good, and it’s extra vulnerable due to it being an artifact. I’m sure there are a ton of shenanigans you can pull off with it, but I think I would play it as a pure value creature that may sneak in an extra mana rock or two.

Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scion This is a huge bomb, and exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to taking over a game. It’s cheap and efficient, and will incentivize me to play an even lower creature curve to ensure I get these effects as soon as possible.

Ink-Eyes, Servant of OniThe classic ninja will likely fit right into this deck. It’s a tad expensive for what I’m aiming for, but its effect is still very strong. It has a good chance of crushing any deck that’s trying to do some shenanigans with the graveyard. 

These are but a few of the spells I’m interested in playing, but it definitely doesn’t have to stop there. Ninjas are just a fraction of the synergies available, but any cheap creature that lets you do anything involving the top card of your deck is immensely worth it, on top of cheap cantrips and any form of manipulation. Cards like Ponder, Preordain, and the like will help a lot, but creatures that can do the same are even more valuable. I didn’t expect a card like Faerie Seer to be an all-star in any format, but here we are, auto-including it because of how strong Yuriko’s effect is. 

Being in Dimir also allows you to play some of the best tutors and interaction in the format, and even more lucky for us, we have a plethora of tutors that specifically allow us to put the searched card on top of our library. It’s giving us an easy-to-assemble, multifaceted combo engine which consists of tools we were already going to use, at costs well below rate, in a format that wants to push things forward quite a bit later than we plan to. This is a formula for success at all levels of Commander, and is why I decided to pivot so hard to this strategy. Mystical Tutor, Personal Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, all are essential to this.

Lastly, the payoffs. We want to go big. Very big, but we also want to go big in ways that allow us to keep the ball rolling. I don’t want to play big spells that probably won’t have an impact by itself. I want to play big spells that ensures momentum. Time Warp[/mtg_cards] effects are exactly that kind of effect, as well as any form of discounted card draw that would normally cost a lot, like [mtg_card]Dig Through Time or Treasure Cruise. We aren’t necessarily trying to combo kill on the turn we get going. We want to either take extra turns to magnify the effect, or hit the table hard and interact with whatever may try to impede that.

I am so incredibly excited to build this deck. It’s something that isn’t exactly my wheelhouse color combination-wise, but is exactly what I want to do at a table: disrupt, be proactive, and do powerful things! What cards do you think are worth including?

Anthony Lowry (they/he) is a seasoned TCG, MMORPG, and FPS veteran. They are extensively knowledgeable on the intricacies of many competitive outlets, and are always looking for a new challenge in the gaming sphere.

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