Pako, Arcane Retriever / Haldan, Avid Arcanist

Published May 20th, 2020

We’re finishing up the Commander 2020 legendary creatures with the partners. To what should be nobody’s surprise if they’ve seen any of my content I’m going to be starting with the Temur partners. Pako, Arcane Retriever is a 5 cost 3/3 elemental hound with haste and whenever he attacks exile the top card of each players library with a fetch counter, Pako then get’s a +1/+1 counter for each noncreature card exiled. In a standard multiplayer Commander pod Pako can easily hit all players making him a big 7/7 haste threat on his first swing. If he’s not dealt with this hound will play fetch until you have a pile of cards to play with Haldan.

Haldan, Avid Arcanist is here for the card advantage in every way. As a partner he is a secondary body and extra card from the start of the game. As the lower costed of the pair he can be played first as a decent 1/4 blocker. His true power shines once Pako had fetched some cards for him to play. Any noncreature cards in exile with fetch counters from lands to planeswalkers are all available as long as Haldan is on the battlefield. With that all set let’s take a look at how to use and abuse all this card advantage.

Commander (2)

Pako, Arcane Retriever
Haldan, Avid Arcanist

Lands (38)

Forest x3
Island x3
Ancient Tomb
Arid Mesa
Bloodstained Mire
Cascade Bluffs
Cavern of Souls
Command Tower
Fire-Lit Thicket
Flooded Grove
Flooded Strand
Hinterland Harbor
Karn’s Bastion
Ketria Triome
Misty Rainforest
Path of Ancestry
Polluted Delta
Reflecting Pool
Riptide Laboratory
Rootbound Crag
Scalding Tarn
Sulfur Falls
Verdant Catacombs
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Breeding Pool
Tropical Island
Mystic Sanctuary
Steam Vents
Volcanic Island
Stomping Ground
Minamo, School at Water’s Edge

Artifacts (12)

Arcane Signet
Chromatic Lantern
Coalition Relic
Commander’s Sphere
Crystal Shard
Lightning Greaves
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Scroll Rack
Sensei’s Divining Top
Sol Ring
Sword of Feast and Famine

Enchantments (5)

Mystic Remora
Rhystic Study
Sylvan Library
Search for Azcanta

Instants (13)

Cryptic Command
Cyclonic Rift
Fierce Guardianship
Force of Will
Growth Spiral
Mana Drain
Memory Lapse
Mystic Confluence
Mystical Tutor
Nexus of Fate
Noxious Revival

Sorceries (10)

Capture of Jingzhou
Genesis Storm
Genesis Ultimatum
Merchant Scroll
Primal Command
Temporal Manipulation
Kodama’s Reach

Planeswalkers (11)

Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Dack Fayden
Garruk Wildspeaker
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Narset, Parter of Veils
Ral, Izzet Viceroy
Sarkhan Unbroken
Tezzeret the Seeker
Nissa, Vital Force
Rowan Kenrith
Will Kenrith

//Creatures (9)

Oracle of Mul Daya
Eternal Witness
Dryad of Illysian Grove
Snapcaster Mage
Trinket Mage
Trophy Mage
Etali, Primal Storm
Venser, Shaper Savant


Sylvan Library: Greens best top deck control and draw enabler. At the cost of 4 life an extra card it can add up quick even in a 40 life format but with Pako you can leave some noncreature cards on top to boost him and exile it for Haldan to play later. On that note Sensei’s Divining Top will also check the top 3 cards for you but can put itself on top of your library to guarantee a noncreature card to exile and replay with Haldan. This applies to anyone’s Top you may control though as Pako will be exiling it upon attack.

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove: The Exploration and Prismatic Omen wrapped into one creature is great for the cards you take from others. Most mana sources in the deck lack the ability to generate white or black mana so without the need to also exile an opponent’s land before playing their spells this is a great alternative to having Chromatic Lantern on board. The extra land drop can be quite helpful since you can play ones that you may have exiled either yourself or your opponents.

Genesis Storm: The Commander storm cards were interesting when first spoiled due to the spells counting both partners casting rather than one or the other. Casting both Pako and Haldan even once a piece will make this into a 3 for 1 spell. As this is a Storm trigger your opponents will have to work if they want to counter both the original spell and the copies.


Noxious Revival: Whether you have something from your graveyard you want back, something in anyone’s graveyard to have Pako exile, or just want to disrupt someone’s graveyard target or next draw thanks to the Phyrexian mana cost this is essentially a free spell with great utility.

Primal Command: Modal cards are great and the Command series allows you to pick two options. The mode here that suits the the deck the most is putting a noncreature permanent on top of its owner’s library. Whether it’s a key piece to an opponent’s strategy or just a land to cut off someones colours all we need is for Pako to go fetch.

Memory Lapse: To counter a card and have it end up on the top of their deck is of course in line with this strategy. While in other cases it may just delay things it does hurt tempo and keeps the information of what their next card draw is. When someone is behind and trying to top deck a way out this is a way to keep them down or give something nice for Pako to exile for you. If choices need to be made between this and Hinder then Memory Lapse is the lower cost and revelavent option.

Top Deck

Scroll Rack: Have a noncreature card in hand or maybe just looking to dig deeper into your deck for more answers? Well Scroll Rack is happy to oblige. Whether you just want to play fetch with Pako or shuffle away some dead cards this artifact is amazing card manipulation..

Jace, the Mind Sculptor: There’s not much to say about JtMS. Fateseal for your opponents, Brainstorm your hand, Unsummon creatures to reuse etb effects or get rid of troublesome blockers, and if somehow the game ends up making you ultimate him then your opponents will need some help.

Mystical Tutor: The best top deck tutor we can run in these colours to synergize. The real question is what to pick out of all the choices. Exiling Fierce Guardianship is good defense with Haldan on board.

Mystic Sanctuary: Such a silly common land, it can be fetched for, it puts the spell where we want it, or you can just guarantee yourself a counterspell or other high value card for your next draw.


To avoid missing many hits from the deck itself this design went very creature light. It leans on the planeswalker strategy at its core to help support Pako and Haldan and as an alternative board threat when Pako may have been neutered and dealt with and Haldan has nothing fetched left. It scales in strength to the number of players but even one on one Pako can become a big and fast threat.

This pair is probably going to be my favorite Temur for interactive multiplayer games. It’s the first that isn’t purely combo or creatures just card advantage and value. It wasn’t until the deck was built and played until they sold me on their potential and I hope to shuffle all sorts of interesting games with them.

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Article by Cascade.Cascade

The editor-in-chief and creator of Command Beacon. They started playing Magic during the Scars of Mirrodin block and hasn’t been able to stop since.


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