This entry is part 4 of 26 in the series Staple Remover

Posted by Chris-B

With Staple Remover I aim to help players who feel that their deck lists have become too powerful or too reliant on commander staples.   This week I’ll introduce another idea that may help you get more creative with your deck building, pick out a pet card and run with it.  Build around your pet card and make it dance in ways no one thought possible. The pet card doesn’t need to be good at all. In fact for my example I’m picking out a real stinker:


Scornful Egotist, I bet your playgroup isn’t complaining about seeing this guy cast every game. Sure you can build synergies around Survival of the Fittest or Rings of Brighthearth, but can you make a turd like the Egotist shine?  I consider myself a Johnny, so I love card combos and great multi card synergies.  This deck building handicap will most likely appeal more to other Johnnies but I don’t see why the concept can’t be tweaked to meet everyone’s playstyle. Here are a few points that summarize the spirit of picking a pet card to build around:

1. The pet card doesn’t have to be as bad as the Egotist, but it should be a card no one in your playgroup could reasonably expect to see the first time you play it.
2. A large part of the challenge and fun of the idea is actually getting the card to do something much more effective than it would seem possible at first glance.  The concept isn’t just to hard cast Scornful Egotist for the LULZ,  it has to have sort of strategy around it.

Think of it almost like a theme deck. Some people build decks where all cards picture people wearing hats, or the deck is built around an ability like Cycling. This deck is going to have the theme of insert pet card here matters.

How Do We Go About Building Around Our Pet Card?

Good question! How would one go about building around a card like Scornful Egotist?  The commander for this monstrosity is going to be Damia, Sage of Stone because she doesn’t beg to be built around.  She won’t mind sharing the spotlight.  Also her colors and mana cost fit the deck well. First off lets see how we can abuse the high converted mana cost that we are getting on the battlefield for cheap.

Birthing Pod – The pod cares about CMC, which is perfect. On turn 4 or 5 you could be podding into stuff like:
Artisan of Kozilek – Gets your egotist back to do it all again.
Inkwell Leviathan – Its a beater!
Spirit of the Night – Its a hastey beater!
The Bringers – If you go five color you can tutor them up.
Iona, Shield of Emeria – You’re a dick!






Now with this plan we will be running some higher CMC creatures, it will probably be a good to have a backup plan for helping to cheat out our bigger creatures if we don’t have Pod and Egotist out.
Quicksilver Amulet
Elvish Piper
Cards like these will help you cheat in those higher cost creatures.








Now assuming that we have either Egotist or another high CMC creature in play, what other spells care about high CMC?:

Accelerated Mutation- You know a game just went to a whole new level when Scornful Egotist swings in for 9.









Aether Mutation- Yes I’ll take 8 saprolings for 5 mana.  I’ll also take some sweet Ron Spencer art with that as well.









Homarid Spawning Bed- I don’t know how many times I’ve been overrun with a Camarid token army, it must have been at least… OH WAIT NEVER.  Camarid tech has been a secret for many years, but now I just let the crab out of the bag.










Hedron Matrix- Yet another a way to make a 9/9 Egotist.  A game improves exponentially every time Scornful Egotist has to be chump blocked.









Burnt Offering
Energy Tap
These cards all give us a way to use our scornful pal as a sort of turbo charged dark ritual.


Juxtapose- Card templating was a bit rough back in Legends so I’ll errata it for you:
Target opponent gains control of  Scornful Egotist, you gain control of that opponents most expensive creature.









Puca’s Mischief + Homeward Path- If you can get this combo going you will be a golden god.  If you are using the Egotist to gain control of a noncreature permanent, the Path grabs him back to do it all again on your next upkeep.









Rush of Knowledge- Draw 8 cards for 5 mana?  Who needs Consecrated Sphinx with all this gutter tech I’m bestowing on you?









Now if each game you are just tutoring for Egotist, other players are going to catch on to your tricks and it won’t be any kind of mystery what you just played face down.  It is a good idea to mix in some other strong morph creatures so you can mix it up and play a bit of a morph shell game.  There should be some element of surprise to what you are morphing into play.

Mischevous Quanar
Bane of the Living
These are very solid morph cards to include and it will keep your opponents guessing.  Playing one morph card in the entire 99 would be a wasted opportunity.

Dream Chisel- Dream Chisel solo!  Deeeedly deeedly deeedly waaahhh wahhh.









Bringing It All Together

These ideas all form a good core for our pet card.  However its certainly not an entire deck.  That’s the idea!  With your pet build-around-me card, you don’t really want the entire deck to rely on it.  We are mainly looking for some unusual synergies and combos that would not normally be played.  The rest of the deck can either expand on another theme in the deck like bomb creatures, morph creatures, control magic effects, etc or further support this core group of cards.  If you wanted to flesh this out into an entire deck you would certainly want to consider:

Tutoring- I think a healthy amount of tutors are going to be OK to run since they are an important part of getting Scornful Egotist into play. Vedalken Aethermage and Fierce Empath will certainly get the job done.  Worldly Tutor, Fauna Shaman, Demonic Tutor are cards I would consider fair game.

Ramp- You don’t need to go full blown ramp here.  Feel free to use stuff like Apprentice Wizard.  Cheap mana rocks and a few ramp spells should do the trick.

Recursion- If we are sacrificing creatures to cards like, well, Sacrifice then we will want to get them back.  Also if some poor soul blows removal on Scornful Egotist we will want to nab him back.

A win con- This deck is most likely to win with some big beater creatures that we get into play with something like Puca’s Mischief or Energy Tap.  Since we have cards that care about high CMC, we can run some higher cost creatures, perhaps some Eldrazi or Myojin.  Or maybe you are just going to cast a Deep Spawn, because what the hell right?

But wait!  Aren’t tutors, ramp and graveyard recursion staple strategies?  They certainly can be, but since we are using them all to pull off Scornful Egotist shenanigans its going to be much more entertaining than your standard off the shelf list.

As I mentioned previously, you can pick any oddball card to build around.  This theme works even better if your pet card has a card or two with a redundant effect.  The big drawback to Scornful Egotist besides him kind of sucking, is the fact that there isn’t really a functional reprint of him out there to give the deck more consistency.  Anyways, that’s what tutors are for.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks article.  Be sure to let me know in the comments if you have had an oddball pet card that you have built around.


Staple Remover of the Week 

For this weeks staple remover I present an alternative mass destruction spell to Damnation. Damnations aren’t cheap, but Barter in Blood is. Also it may draw a little less hate since it isn’t absolutely destroying every creature. It’s going to punish those players with 1-2 big beaters or critical utility creatures.








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