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TL;DR – cast a cantrip on each of your opponent’s turns. Pew, pew.
Mischievous Chimera is an interesting card from Theros Beyond Death that deals one damage to each opponent when you cast your first spell during each opponent’s turn. This deck is built entirely around enabling this ability with a plethora of instant speed cantrips, all of which will have Scry 1 so long as our commander is on the field.
Our deck is light on creatures, with only 14 including our commander. This is to make room for the plethora of instant and flash speed spells that will trigger our commander’s ability. What we do have, however are a small number of key creatures that will amplify our gameplan.
First up are a trio of creatures that will also ping each of our opponents for one when we’re casting one of our spells: Firebrand Archer, Kessig Flamebreather, and Thermo-Alchemist each mirror Chimera’s ability to ping each of our opponents, though aren’t limited to resolving their ability during your opponent’s turn.
Additionally, we have a trio of creatures who gain +1/+1 counters for each of our non-creature spells. Arena Trickster, Spellgorger Weird, and Pyroceratops can quickly become beefy enough to pose a real threat, but with so few creatures will be a lightning rod for removal. That’s why we’re also playing a copy of Fling so that beefy body won’t go to complete waste. Speaking of Fling, we also have a copy of Serpentine Curve to take advantage of all those instants in our graveyard and to top it off, one of our cantrips is god ol Shadow Rift.
The rest of our creatures include the likes of Naiad of Hidden Coves and Goblin Electromancer to make our cheap spells even cheaper, Vodalian Arcanist to help pay the cost, and Archaeomancer and Ardent Elementalist to get some value out of our graveyard.
With your mana up on every opponent’s turn your opponents will often ask you for permission to resolve their spells since the majority of our deck consists of instant and flash speed spells to enable our commander. A total of 48 of our spells can be cast on the opponents turn, about half of which draw cards to keep our tempo up. The great thing about Mischievous Chimera is that our spells cast during each of our opponent’s turn has Scry 1 on top of a lot of our cards that already dig. Even if you’re unable to shuffle away a bad Brainstorm, you can easily bottom dead cards (though this deck will have very few). As long as your commander stays on board you’ll likely never have a dead draw and will be able to easily play on curve while always having a few spells on hand to keep up our ping-down game plan.
Speaking of keeping our Chimera, we have several methods of protection. Obviously counterspells work well enough to prevent any nastiness, but cards like Clout of the Dominus provide shroud and a small buff. Eel Umbra is instant speed totem armor and Alexi’s Cloak / Mystic Veil essentially provide us with hexproof.
Besides counterspells, we have a few ways to interact at a speed befitting our commander. Cards like Stunning Strike, Blink of an Eye, and Snap provide us with a few pieces of interaction plus a few burn spells out of red like Lightning Bolt. If you’re able to resolve Sigil of Sleep while Chimera does ‘the thing’ you’re going to run away with the game very quickly.
Since we’re light on creature’s were forgoing any “crown” mechanics like monarch and initiative, so instead we’re relying on our cantrips for drawing cards but if you’re able to resolve and keep Tandem Lookout and/or Ophidian Eye you’re going to draw three per instant per turn, sending the deck into overdrive. Because of this our second mana rock beyond Arcane Signet is Decanter of Endless Water.
This is a great tempo deck for those who love playing their turn during everyone else’s turn. Let’s face it, waiting to play for 3 turns isn’t the most exciting, so this deck allows a lot more play than usual. If you’re able to keep your commander and synergistic creatures on board you can easily run away with the game, though be warned cards that deal damage to all opponents will quickly put a target on your head and effectively exclude you from any deal making.
- Lots of interesting lines to choose from given the flexibility to cast spells whenever you’re given priority.
- Lots of low cost spells and tons of digging mean you’re always cultivating the perfect hand and game plan.
- Tons of counterspells give you lots of choices on how the game goes.
- Low creature count means you’re likely going to get the brunt of most combat damage.
- “Each player” damage means you’re quickly going to be the archenemy.
- Very little interaction for resolved spells.
- For some, having lots of options like a free Scry 1 per spell is a good thing, for others it can mean endless decision paralysis.
- Being unable to choose your targets means you can’t make deals or bargain, so you’re probably going to sit out of politics while the rest of the board discusses how best to deal with you.
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