Here we are again, folks. Welcome. Today I return to my ongoing series Let’s Build, where I go over the process of deckbuilding either for an EDH general in particular or the strategy that overlooks the colors that general’s confined to.
Today I’m here to talk about what has to be my toughest challenge yet, but definitely one I’m looking forward to getting done right – Daxos of Meletis.
When I initially took a look at Daxos on the spoilers, the first thing that came to mind was “Voltron“. (For those who aren’t aware, Voltron is an archetype where the general goal of the deck is to deal 21 points of general damage in order to win.) Now, I’m okay with this theory except for one significant detail, and that’s the fact that all my Swords and Voltron-esque cards are in another deck.
However, I soldiered on, I thought of my next move – making the deck work with a subpar Voltron theme, or trying to approach it from a different angle.
I assembled a base list and have been working with it, tweaking the curve and taking suggestions to change a few of the weaker spells for stronger ones, and this is the product I’ve arrived at.
Of course, it has its weaknesses, and they’re really starting to irk me on how I can sometimes just be holding a bunch of dead cards in my hand some games.
That being said, I’m still hammering away at the Voltron angle. That, in and of itself, could be the biggest issue the deck has – my stubbornness in sticking with the angle.
On the flipside, I’ve yet to have extensive enough testing to see how well this angle of the strategy works. Until I’ve put it through the ringer extensively enough to get the data and results I need, I’m sticking to my guns, regardless of how confident I am in the idea because its initial testing has been rather poor.
Through it all, I remind myself–trial and error–and I’m realizing that Daxos of Meletis is a rather hefty puzzle.
One I’m determined to solve.
CHOOSING YOUR GENERAL
Daxos has a very clear-cut purpose in EDH – attacking. You attack with Daxos, you hit someone, you gain life, you steal their spells. It seems like a really simple concept.
What I’m having trouble with is the fact that there are a lot of factors of the card I’m not taking advantage of, which will be explained later. Let me just go on record saying that there is a completely different way to really utilize Daxos, and while it might be difficult to understand on the surface, when you scratch that surface, you’ll find that Daxos has a lot of interesting plays and nuances.
Though I’ve mentioned it in several articles before, I’ll briefly reiterate my point here – I have a really big problem with UW. There are a lot of factors that contribute to my dislike of the specific color combination (I would like to make a certain flock of birds and a certain blue planeswalker the prime suspects here), but Daxos’ existence really caused me to see some potential in a fun, interesting deck idea that I wanted to utilize. Variance plays a huge part in this, and I’ll go over that in a moment, but I really find Daxos to be the legend from Theros with the most depth.
A BREAKDOWN OF YOUR GENERAL
First off, let’s discuss his mana cost, which is incredibly solid for the deal you get in return. I mean, UW for 1/1 would have probably been too much to ask (and probably would have just gotten me on the other angle of deck design that I somehow missed, which I’ll explain in a second), but 2/2 for 3 with the abilities he has just makes for a fluid experience overall, because 3 is a slot in UW filled mostly with reactive spells, anyway.
Legendary Creature – Human Soldier
Definitely a good place to be in terms of tribe, I’d say, but Daxos is not in the right colors to be making Soldier tribal, if you ask me.
Daxos of Meletis can’t be blocked by creatures with power 3 or greater.
This really was what drew me to the angle I took with the deck. Being a legendary Amrou Kithkin is incredibly huge due to the innate nature of the creatures commonly played in EDH. Whereas I understand that utility dorks are a thing, those creatures tend not to block, which makes Daxos great in almost all combat situations.
Whenever Daxos of Meletis deals combat damage to a player, exile the top card of that player’s library. You gain life equal to that card’s converted mana cost.
I need to split this part of his ability into two separate points for reasons I’ll explain in the second half. For now, what you need to know is that this ability is absolutely busted. Exiling is always better than putting it into their graveyard (I will stress this point forever, there’s no use trying to convince me otherwise), and the lifegain is an amazing, relevant bonus. The ability obviously incentivizes double strike, which again drew me to the general damage angle, but then…
Until end of turn, you may cast that card and you may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast it.
This line of text confused me for a while. Clearly, this ability is for EDH–there’s no denying that–but what I failed to realize is that the mana you’re spending doesn’t have to come from lands. (I don’t even know how my brain processed the ability and forgot that key factor…don’t judge me, even I have my dumb blonde moments, okay?!) The ability plays incredibly well with effects like Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Grim Monolith and others, and can very well be an ability you choose to get the most leverage out of with Daxos – and it may very well be the route I choose to design him if the angle of general damage doesn’t pan out.
2 is a nice number to be at for a 3-drop with that much power. He trades with most non-Wall creatures in his way, and there are most certainly ways to get around his shortcomings when Walls do inevitably get in his way.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH THE DECK?
With no spare Equipment to go the route of Equipment Voltron for Daxos (and, for anyone looking to go that route – you have all of the relevant cards for it in the colors, and you get Fabricate to boot), I decided to take the other route – Auras.
I’m not exactly a fan of the Hexproof Five, I’m not going to lie–I discontinued my Lazav, Dimir Mastermind just to make this–but not having hexproof really hurts for Daxos when opponents are easily able to not only dismantle your Build-a-Bear, but exhaust you of resources in the process. Opponents are even incentivized to do so just because of how much value you get for killing Daxos.
There are, however, ample ways to get around this weakness, however, and of course, they’re all here in the decklist.
I was, however, having an issue with the deck in testing. Sometimes, you’d sit unable to cast Daxos (Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Sheoldred, Whispering One, etc.), and every Aura in your hand becomes a dead card because you really don’t want to slap Ethereal Armor on something like a Mulldrifter (no matter how hilarious the play of Fencer Fish of Death actually is. I LAWNG FOR A WURZEE OPPONENT.)
That being said, the best-case for a deck like this is absurd. You’re netting card advantage, you get to play really fun cards, doing Tons of Damage (TM), and you can use your opponents’ spells to make hilarious plays. What’s not to love?
First thing’s first – Auras! It’s the foundation of how Daxos gets his 21 general damage in, so we need to establish that before anything else.
Next, we add the rest of the enchantments that fit our enchantment theme.
Aura of Silence
Leyline of Anticipation
Sphere of Safety
One problem Daxos can have in the first 2-3 turns he’s on board is not having enough mana to cast the spells you flip off hitting a player. In light of that, my first slew of comments helped me add a small ramp package to the mix.
Because what UW deck wouldn’t be complete without a flicker package, am I right?
To backup the mess of enchantments and Daxos, I’ve put in a light permission package with some sweepers.
Lastly, we go to a necessary haven of deckbuilding–the goodstuff!
Drift of Phantasms
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Open the Vaults
Blue Sun’s Zenith
One big incentive I had when building this was the amount of UW duals I had sitting around. So first, we establish color-enabling lands:
Of course, what manabase would be complete without its utility lands?
With our nonbasics out of the way, we then fill in the rest of the slots with basic lands!
And with that, we’ve arrived at the finished product!
Daxos of Meletis EDH
(This list as posted in this article will not be final. If you want to see what changes might have occurred to the list since the posting of this article, check out the decklist posting on MTG Salvation at http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=535722.)
That’s my take on one of the two angles of approach for Daxos. I’ll keep plugging away at the Voltron list, but if it ends up falling flat, I’m probably gonna gut the deck and start from scratch. I enjoy the pillowfort build and Serra’s Sanctum a lot, but when it comes to making use out of Daxos and winning the game, well, that’s where I have a little bit of trouble, heh.
Anyway, that may very well be it for my string of Theros-related content. Until next week!
Check out my previous articles here:
Adapting to EDH Metagames:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1177
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1252
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1317
Part 4 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1370
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1454
Building on a Budget:
Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Weekend:
Legen-Wait for It-Dary:
Part 1 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1606
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1595
Part 3 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2214
Part 4 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2278
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2303
Part 6 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2310
Part 7 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2323
Part 8 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2336
Part 9 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2341
Let’s Talk M14:
Planeswalking and You:
The Slippery Slope:
Trial & Error: