MTG Commander Packages – The Whip, Stoneforge Mystic and More, by Ru Macdonald

Commander Packages – The Whip, Stoneforge Mystic and More by Ru Macdonald

MTG Commander Packages – The Whip, Stoneforge Mystic and More

In the light of the recent Commander 2013 additions, I have some packages in store for you. Each contains between ten to fifteen cards that help form a synergistic package or engine. They can be added to any Commander deck that supports their colours, though some Commanders will appreciate the aid more than others.

[Shinfo] To the observant you may notice that the art for Treasure Mage neither shows the original nor promo art for the card. Yes, it is indeed Mind Control! I scoured high and low but could not find an image large enough of Treasure Mage. Mind Control was a fine replacement as it is drawn by the same artist (Ryan Pancoast) and shows Jace; the Mage of all Mages. [/shinfo]

Other than the first two, these are all tutor based packages. The idea behind them is that if you play Trinket Mage for example, there are certain answers you should include in your deck as you have more chance of drawing them. The card included can never be bad, as top decking situational drivel is the last place you want to be in a Commander game. What we want to do is load up our deck with powerful cards that also just so happen to work well together – like a Triple Fried Egg Chilli Chutney Sandwich. Awesome ingredients, and an even better snack.

To get us started we will kick off with a combo currently available in Standard



ESPER/DIMIR/ORZHOV Package : Best for Commanders Sharuum the Hegemon, Dralnu, Lich Lord, Ertai, the Corrupted, Grimgrin, Corpse-Born and Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter

For those of you unfamiliar of the interaction between Whip of Erebos and Obzedat, Ghost Council, it goes a little something like this…

  • You can use the Whip to return Obzedat to the battlefield from the graveyard.
  • At end of turn Obzedat will trigger intending to exile himself. The whip has a delayed trigger ability that will also occur at end of turn, with the intention of exiling Obzedat permanently.
  • We will stack the triggers to allow Obzedat to do his thing first.
  • The whip also has a replacement effect that will exile the creature should it leave the battlefield. This replacement effect will not apply if the creature is already getting exiled, and so the hungry whip feels satisfied.

Long story short, The Whip can return Obzedat to the battlefield, and at end of turn Obzedat will enter his flickering loop that we all love. The same can be done with Aetherling if you use its flicker ability.

I scoured Gatherer for other creatures that can exile themselves so as to dodge the Whip Tax. Additionally, I have added spells that can blink a creature for us, and more reanimation spells/permanents. I give you, The Whip package.



Whip of Erebos (0)

Dawn of the Dead (0)

Corpse Dance (0)

Shallow Grave (0)

Goryo’s Vengeance (0)

Only the Whip has the exile replacement clause, and so you can sacrifice the returned creature safely with the other reanimation methods. The idea will still be to exile/return the creature as that way it will stay permanently.


Self Exilers

Obzedat, Ghost Council (0)

Ghost Council of Orzhova (0)

Aetherling (0)

Deadeye Navigator (0)

Sengir Nosferatu (0)

Argent Sphinx (0)

Deadeye Navigator is especially effective as he allows you to avoid Whip Tax for any returned creature, while also providing instant speed protection and ‘enter the battlefield’ abuse. The rest are underpowered for the format though and we will want to rely more on blinking better creatures.


Exiling Aid

Venser, the Sojourner (0)

Momentary Blink (0)

Nephalia Smuggler (0)

Mistmeadow Witch (0)

Vanish into Memory (0)

Galepowder Mage (0)

Conjurer’s Closet (0)

Mimic Vat (0)

Conjurer’s Closet allows you to abuse ‘enter the battlefield’ triggers as well as avoiding exile tax from our reanimation spells. Exactly what the doctor ordered. Mimic Vat is completely sick in commander anyway, and does double duty here.

The rest of the deck should include all your favourite heavy hitters, preferably with ‘enter the battlefield’ effects. These play well with reanimation and sacrifice; partly why most of the ‘best commanders’ I mentioned help play a hand into the running of the engine. A different route is available with Dralnu, Lich Lord which could squeeze more value out of the one-off reanimation and flicker spells while also benefiting from the protection flicker spells provide himself (you do NOT want Dralnu getting Lightning Bolted).


The ESPER Package

ESPER Package – Primarily Blue, thus applicable for any Commander with a slice of the Blue pie.

Not a massive stretch of imagination for this one. Treasure Mage trustily searches up a whole host of useful artifacts. Be it utility, creatures or combo pieces – he’ll find ’em.

Being able to tutor for a card is very important as it allows you to find the specific tool for the job.

This package also overlaps nicely as a sister package to The Whip. Both packages will be packing large artifact creatures with ‘enter the battlefield triggers. Furthermore, we can reuse Treasure Mage by use of reanimation and blink spells.

Let’s take a look at some of the juicy cards TM can locate for us.


Heavy Squad

Wurmcoil Engine (0)

Steel Hellkite (0)

Sphinx Sovereign (0)

Sphinx of the Steel Wind (0)

Sharuum the Hegemon (0)

Myr Battlesphere (0)

Platinum Angel (0)

Duplicant (0)

Filigree Angel (0)

Enigma Sphinx (0)

If you are in the business of winning, then you will also want to include unfair cards like Mindslaver, Blightsteel Colossus and Memnarch.

Red variants also have access to the most fun minotaur – Etherium-Horn Sorcerer or Bosh, Iron Golem.



Akroma’s Memorial (0)

Staff of Nin (0)

Dreamstone Hedron (0)

Caged Sun (0)

Obelisk of Alara (0)

The Memorial is an immensely powerful anthem for token based creature decks. Assuming we have the means to reanimate what we sacrifice… it could be pretty strong here too.

The Obelisk is limited to Domain players, who also have access to the mighty Death Star – Legacy Weapon.


The Aid

Crystal Shard (0)

Scarecrone (0)

Fabricate (0)

Capsize (0)

Drift of Phantasms (0)

Trading Post (0)

Sanctum Gargoyle (0)

Argivian Restoration (0)

It is no accident that the first five cards all cost 3mana. While providing irreplaceable tools for the engine they also net Drift of Phantasms with a generous supply of cards to transmute for (including Treasure Mage).

Whoa – what’s Trading Post doing here? It is just that awesome in commander.

The important factor here is that all the cards included are decent in their own right, yet make a more powerful whole together.

Pro TipFierce Empath is the Green non-artifact loving version of Treasure Mage. Make sure to play a copy of Krosan Tusker so your Empath has a land fetching spell to tutor for early!


The UWR (Primarily) Package

UWR (Primarily) Package. Best for Zedruu the Greathearted, Numot, the Devastator and Riku of Two Reflections.

Capsize is one of the best spells in commander. Things get nasty once you can cast it twice a turn. Recursion, extra value from your cards, instant speed boomerang – it does it all! Buyback in general is a strong ability for commander. The games go long and the mana pools get large. This allows you to get more and more value from your pseudo infinite buyback spells.



Capsize (0)

Mystic Speculation (0)

Mind Games (0)

Spell Burst (0)

Invulnerability (0)

Evangelize (0)

Worthy Cause (0)

Allay (0)

Shattering Pulse (0)

Reiterate (0)

Mystic Speculation is a deck fixer that can help find you the next spell you want to add to your arsenal (also good at setting up a miracle).

Spell Burst can take over games with a soft lock once you have enough mana, plus is able to catch a Brainstorm or Swords to Plowshares early.



Memory Crystal (0)

Helm of Awakening (0)

Stone Calendar (0)

Fabricate (0)

Goblin Electromancer (0)

Grand Arbiter Augustin IV (0)

Mystical Tutor (0)

Firemind’s Foresight (0)

Now that our spells costs so much less, we can buyback so much more. With just a Memory Crystal on the battlefield we can dig 9 cards deep with a Mystic Speculation for just UUU.

Firemind’s Foresight looks especially nifty here, most commonly finding Capsize, Spell Burst and either Allay or Shattering Pulse.

Fabricate has it’s targets set on Memory Crystal, but has the two other artifacts to find should you have to.


The Blue/ESPER Package

Blue/ESPER Package – Mostly colourless so fits in any Blue friendly commander deck.

Well if it isn’t Treasure Mage‘s older, smaller brother – Trinket Mage?

I love this little guy. For 75 card Constructed he allows you to put niche yet powerful 1-of answers into your deck but maintain a initial consistency of 1/12 chance to draw them.

For commander we can only run one. At least we will be searching for Sensei’s Divining Top or a Sol Ring though! Unless you are playing by French rules… Regardless, if you are playing 3 or more artifacts of converted mana cost 1 or less, then you should also be playing Trinket Mage. Here’s what he can rummage around in his cupboard of junk for you.


Hate Cards

Tormod’s Crypt (0)

Relic of Progenitus (0)

Nihil Spellbomb (0)

Grafdigger’s Cage (0)

Chalice of the Void (0)

Pithing Needle (0)

Glaring Spotlight (0)

Hex Parasite (0)

Meekstone (0)

Nihil Spellbomb is the best gravehate if you have access to black, Relic of Progenitus if you do not. Hex Parasite can tear down a Planeswalker or +1/+1 counter based Commander. Meekstone, is just funny.



Sol Ring (0)

Wayfarer’s Bauble (0)

Expedition Map (0)

Everflowing Chalice (0)

Candelabra of Tawnos (0)

Chrome Mox (0)

Mox Opal (0)

Seat of the Synod (0)

Nothing boosts you like a turn one Sol Ring. As it happens, it’s still good on turn four after having searched it up with Trinket Mage. It’s useful to have the option to search for a land too in the form of Seat of the Synod.


Utilities and Removal

Skullclamp (0)

Voltaic Key (0)

Aether Vial (0)

Aether Spellbomb (0)

Sensei’s Divining Top (0)

Liar’s Pendulum (0)

Executioner’s Capsule (0)

Dispeller’s Capsule (0)

Engineered Explosives (0)

Elixir of Immortality (0)

Is Liar’s Pendulum not just a tasty little flavour packed nugget of fun? Realistically though, you will be searching for Sensei’s Divining Top over everything else 90% of the time.



Auriok Salvagers (0)

Dizzy Spell (0)

Fabricate (0)

Artificer’s Intuition (0)

Salvaging Station (0)

Academy Ruins (0)

Like we weren’t playing Academy Ruins already!! All these cards will help find/return the 1cmc artifacts for value intensive purposes. NB. Executioner’s Capsule and Salvaging Station make a bit of a c-c-c-combo.


The WHITE/x Package

WHITE/x Package – Playable in any deck with access to White.

Banned in Modern, popular in Legacy, and one of the best cards for Commander too. Stoneforge Mystic only costs 2mana, making it easy to protect in a counter war. She fetches either Batterskull or an over-powered Sword that offers the most protection against your opponent’s colours. It doesn’t stop there though. Her second ability allows you to save mana on the equipment casting cost as well as slipping it in at instant speed, uncounterable.


The Forge

Sword of Fire and Ice (0)

Sword of Feast and Famine (0)

Sword of Light and Shadow (0)

Umezawa’s Jitte (0)

Batterskull (0)

These are the three best Swords for Commander. The first two have very powerful abilities, while Light & Shadow has the most relevant protection a creature can have. The saving one gets on ‘flashing in a Batterskull is sick/sickening (depending on which side of the table you are sitting on).

Did you know

Umezawa’s Jitte was actually featured in a Magic: the Gathering theme deck for Betrayers of Kamigawa called “Rat’s Nest”. Imagine how fast that sold out once people caught on to how busted Jitte is!

During it’s legality in Standard, decks played Jitte in the sideboard solely to board in against opposing Jitte’s. I.e With the previous Legendary rule, they would both pop. Much like how Phantasmal Image was boarded in against Thrun, the Last Troll or Geist of Saint Traft.



Stonehewer Giant (0)

Steelshaper’s Gift (0)

Quest for the Holy Relic (0)

Taj-Nar Swordsmith (0)

Godo, Bandit Warlord (0)

This team of helpful hands allow us to keep the armoury stocked when Stoneforge Mystic is busy winning Stoneblade Legacy matches. Stonehewer Giant is quite the fierce-some attacker due to his Vigilance allowing him to find the specific equipment needed to win the dual.

Increase your chances of playing Stoneforge Mystic – Play an Imperial Recruiter. Only $300….


The UWR Package

UWR Package. Best for Zedruu the Greathearted, Numot, the Devastator and Ruhan of the Fomori.

This one runs as a sister package to the previous, due to the dual reliance on Stoneforge Mystic.

All credit for this goes to Mr LuBuFu, who wrote about the package as part of a Zedruu the Greathearted deck. It was part of a competition for best Zedruu decklist, ran by Eric Lavine and found here.

Without further delay, let’s see what he had to say.

One of the key things to have around to complete the deck is a Sunforger package. This offers a certain amount of consistency to the deck that keeps you alive and lets you tutor for basically anything you need. With Sunforger you can fetch counterspells (Counterflux, Absorb), creature removal, (Sword to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Chaos Warp etc.) or other artifact/enchantment removal (Dismantling Blow, Return to Dust etc.)”

says Mr LuBuFu.


The Sunforgee’s

Swords to Plowshares (0)

Path to Exile (0)

Oblation (0)

Chaos Warp (0)

Return to Dust (0)

Orim’s Thunder (0)

Dismantling Blow (0)

Absorb (0)

Double Negative (0)

Counterflux (0)

Wild Ricochet (0)

Steelshaper’s Gift (0)

Enlightened Tutor (0)

Tithe (0)

A great list of powerful, situational tutor-able spells at instant speed.


Additional Equipment & Creatures

Darksteel plate (0)

Swiftfoot Boots (0)

Lightning Greaves (0)

Stonehewer Giant (0)

Stoneforge Mystic (0)

Godo, Bandit Warlord (0)

There are a few more White/Red counterspells that have been printed since this package was made. Those, plus a few older ones I feel should have been included are shown below.


More Counters

Suffocating Blast (0)

Render Silent (0)

Odds // Ends (0)

Essence Backlash (0)

Dawn Charm (0)

Hindering Light (0)

Odds // Ends is especially spicy as you may cast either half of the card, even though Ends is technically a 5cmc spell. Sunforger gets a ‘YES’ from half of Odds /Ends and that is enough for it to be a legal target. The same can be seen when a Shardless Agent cascads into the Bust half of Boom // Bust.

Dawn Charm is actually an extremely useful card in Commander, and has never been left stranded in my hand. Furthermore, Essence Backlash is sure to deliver the pain when someone attempts to cast one of counter-able Eldrazi.



ESPER/DIMIR Package – Vedalken Aethermage for use in all Blue decks.

I had initially started building two separate packages based around Mystical Teachings and Vedalken Aethermage respectively. I gave up after recognising how colossally large the playable pool of cards for each one is. Instead, I have smooshed the two together (as Teachings can find Aethermage) and will highlight a few cards that help stack more synergy with your card choices.

Mystical Teachings – Include all your favourite counterspells, instant speed removal and card draw. Have a complete riot within the boundaries of your colours! Here are a few to consider though.

  • Lim-Dul’s Vault can be tutored for and then used to burn through your deck till you find that card you need.

The sometimes missed bonus is that Teachings can also find you creatures with flash. In a flash – here are some of the best!

Draining Whelk (0)

Snapcaster Mage (0)

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir (0)

Vendilion Clique (0)

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur (0)

Three of these are also Wizards. Vedalken Aethermage will have some powerful targets indeed.

In fact, 13% of all possible Commanders are wizards. In reality though, most of the best commanders are.. This makes sense, as the game is called ‘Magic’ and involves a lot of casting spells. It only follows that the more powerful creatures with unique ‘build around’ abilities would be wizards. Aethermage allows you to find these formidable mages; often including your own Commander when they frustratingly get shuffled into your deck.

Wizardcycling is an ability that can be used any time your could cast an instant, making sure you are not caught with your robes down.

Unfortunately there are not any Wizards that single handedly form a recursive loop with Aethermage to allow us to tutor the whole team. What we do have is Pit Keeper (Oversold Cemetery on legs) and Linessa, Zephyr Mage. We can tutor for Pit Keeper and assuming we have 4+ creatures in the ‘yard we can return Aethermage to hand when Pit Keeper enters the battlefield. This allows us to tutor for a wizard with a recursive Unsummon – in this case Linessa. We can then return and recast Pit Keeper returning Aethermage to allow us to wizardcycle into oblivion.

There are 539 targets in Commander that Aethermage can find. Sage’s Dousing can be found, as Aethermage searches for a ‘Wizard’ card, not specifically a creature. To really help seal the deal, take a look at some of the non-legendary Wizards you can find.

Duskmantle Seer (0)

Havengul Lich (0)

Master Biomancer (0)

Disciple of Bolas (0)

Echo Mage (0)

Etherium-Horn Sorcerer (0)

Glen Elendra Archmage (0)

Lich Lord of Unx (0)

Magus of the Coffers (0)

Mercurial Chemister (0)

Prophet of Kruphix (0)

Puppeteer Clique (0)

Shadowmage Infiltrator (0)

Sower of Temptation (0)

Azorius Guildmage (0)

There are heaps more when you include all Legendary warlocks and witches. If you are playing any of the following as your Commander – you should be playing Aethermage as an insurance policy against tucking.

Damia, Sage of Stone (0)

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (0)

Dralnu, Lich Lord (0)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge (0)

Jhoira of the Ghitu (0)

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary (0)

Nekusar, the Mindrazer (0)

Nin, the Pain Artist (0)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind (0)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (0)

Prime Speaker Zegana (0)

Riku of Two Reflections (0)

Sen Triplets (0)

Vela the Night-Clad (0)

Zur the Enchanter (0)


That’s All Folks!

That brings us to the end of the packages production line. It may appear that there are more, but those boxes in the picture are actually full of unwanted Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded‘s. Happy brewing folks and may your Commander games be ridiculously over the top and full of epic top decks!

Till next time nerds.


MTG Commander Packages - The Whip, Stoneforge Mystic and More, by Ru Macdonald
In the light of the recent Commander 2013 additions, I have some packages in store for you. Each contains between ten to fifteen cards that help form a synergistic package or engine. They can be added to any Commander deck that supports their colours, though some Commanders will appreciate the aid more than others.

Please let us know what you think below...

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