Xyris, the Writhing Storm

Published April 19th, 2020

The Temus/Ketria Arcane Maelstrom deck received a very interesting Commander option in the form of a flying snake leviathan. This 5 cost 3/5 has two triggered abilities that scale in power and effectiveness depending on the number of opponents you have. We’ll address the combat damage effect first which is the more politically confusing for a game. Would you like to draw cards? Would your opponent like to draw cards? Well take some Commander damage and we can both Ancestral Recall, power depending. When you have opponents asking to be hit that’s a pretty interesting Commander to me. The ability to create snake tokens for any additional cards drawn from your opponents besides the first is what we’re going to abuse here though. A swarm of snakes and a deck full of draw power, let’s see just how we’re going to unleash them.

//Commander (1)

Xyris, the Writing Storm

//Lands (37)

Ancient Tomb
Arid Mesa
Bloodstained Mire
Breeding Pool
Cascade Bluffs
Cavern of Souls
Command Tower
Fire-Lit Thicket
Flooded Grove
Flooded Strand
Gaea’s Cradle
Geier Reach Sanitarium
Hinterland Harbor
Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Reflecting Pool
Reliquary Tower
Rootbound Crag
Scalding Tarn
Snow-Covered Forest x3
Snow-Covered Island x3
Snow-Covered Mountain
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Ketria Triome
Sulfur Falls
Taiga
Tropical Island
Verdant Catacombs
Volcanic Island
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills

//Artifacts (16)

Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Sensei’s Divining Top
Skullclamp
Sol Ring
Arcane Signet
Lightning Greaves
Thought Vessel
Chromatic Lantern
Coalition Relic
Commander’s Sphere
Crystal Shard
Phyrexian Altar
Sword of Feast and Famine
Teferi’s Puzzle Box
Memory Jar

//Enchantments (7)

Earthcraft
Search for Azcanta
Sylvan Library
Rhystic Study
Squirrel Nest
Opposition
Kindred Discovery

//Instants (7)

Brainstorm
Crop Rotation
Mystical Tutor
Remand
Blue Sun’s Zenith
Mystic Confluence
Nexus of Fate

//Sorceries (10)

Winds of Change
Cultivate
Kodama’s Reach
Molten Psyche
Wheel of Fortune
Capture of Jingzhou
Temporal Manipulation
Echo of Eons
Seasons Past
Time Spiral

//Planeswalkers (4)

Dack Fayden
Narset, Parter of Veils
Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Jace, the Mind Sculptor

//Creatures (18)

Bloom Tender
Coiling Oracle
Lotus Cobra
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Snapcaster Mage
Eternal Witness
Jace’s Archivist
Trophy Mage
Oracle of Mul Daya
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Shaman of the Great Hunt
Solemn Simulacrum
Magus of the Jar
Consecrated Sphinx
The Locust God
Craterhoof Behemoth
Maelstrom Wanderer
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Synergies

Phyrexian Altar: Turn all the snakes into mana and keep all the card draw going. The power scales to the amount of snakes you can build which typically coincides with how many opponents you have. Xyris makes a great multiplayer Commander for sure.

Kindred Discovery: Snakes, all the snakes, so many snakes that you could deck yourself. The Commander is a snake, your tokens are a snake, even a couple of other creatures are snakes. It does depend though, it could be insect, it could be squirrel, name whatever suits your hand and board best.

Purphoros, God of the Forge: Whether a win condition by dropping in all these snakes or some +1/+0 power boosts this indestructible enchantment god fits right into this deck.

Card Name: Phyrexian Altar. Mana Cost: {3}. Card Oracle Text: Sacrifice a creature: Add one mana of any color.
Card Name: Kindred Discovery. Mana Cost: {3}{U}{U}. Card Oracle Text: As Kindred Discovery enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.Whenever a creature you control of the chosen type enters the battlefield or attacks, draw a card.
Card Name: Purphoros, God of the Forge. Mana Cost: {3}{R}. Card Oracle Text: IndestructibleAs long as your devotion to red is less than five, Purphoros isn't a creature.Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, Purphoros deals 2 damage to each opponent.{2}{R}: Creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn.. Power/Toughness: 6/5

Combos

Narset, Parter of Veils + Teferi’s Puzzle Box: This combo doesn’t exactly win you friends. The first thing you do during your draw step is draw a card. Then Teferi’s Puzzle Box Triggers and you put your hand away then draw that many cards, except you don’t. While this is a bit of a nonbo with Xyris it’s effective at destroying your opponents hands.

Earthcraft + Squirrel’s Nest: Running Earthcraft with a swarm of tokens is pretty high value and when you have that you may as well slot in Squirrel’s Nest for the win condition.

Kindred Discovery + The Locust God + Phyrexian Altar: A familiar combo to those with Locust God decks. Kindred Discovery quickly draws your deck with Locust God if you name insects. Sacrificing Locust God when you have enough is key as well. Thanks to Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre though you can sacrifice a few insects to draw and discard to reshuffle your graveyard for reuse.

Card Name: Teferi's Puzzle Box. Mana Cost: {4}. Card Oracle Text: At the beginning of each player's draw step, that player puts the cards in their hand on the bottom of their library in any order, then draws that many cards.
Card Name: Earthcraft. Mana Cost: {1}{G}. Card Oracle Text: Tap an untapped creature you control: Untap target basic land.
Card Name: The Locust God. Mana Cost: {4}{U}{R}. Card Oracle Text: FlyingWhenever you draw a card, create a 1/1 blue and red Insect creature token with flying and haste.{2}{U}{R}: Draw a card, then discard a card.When The Locust God dies, return it to its owner's hand at the beginning of the next end step.. Power/Toughness: 4/4

Draw

Things like Wheel of Fortune are so impactful their effect is named after them. We’re looking to make our opponents draw cards too and we have quite a few options.

Echo of Eons: A powerful resource in this category from the Modern Horizon set. Time Reversal was deemed strong enough to exile itself, not even mentioning Timetwister but Day’s Undoing would end your turn. Echo of Eons can be cast and remains in your graveyard afterwards to flashback for access to at least two full draw effects. It’s incredibly powerful and disrupting while getting you a new hand of resources.

Time Spiral: When you case a 6 mana spell it tends to use up a good portion of your mana making you unable to use all the new cards you may have drawn From a small list of spells that untap your land Time Spiral is essentially deemed a “free” spell because it can untap 6 lands, what is normally equivalent to the cost. It could be less if you were supplementing mana with artifacts or creature and don’t actually have the lands to untap but with a doubling mana effect such as High Tide or Mana Reflection it provides plenty more than that. In this deck it does nicely if it can untap Gaea’s Cradle for all those nice new snakes that get made.

Winds of Change: The lowest costed option we have in the deck to force opponents to draw so we can have snakes. The low cost and high return synergy with Xyris is directly affected by your opponents but a new hand can just be a Skullclamp away.

Card Name: Echo of Eons. Mana Cost: {4}{U}{U}. Card Oracle Text: Each player shuffles their hand and graveyard into their library, then draws seven cards.Flashback {2}{U} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)
Card Name: Time Spiral. Mana Cost: {4}{U}{U}. Card Oracle Text: Exile Time Spiral. Each player shuffles their hand and graveyard into their library, then draws seven cards. You untap up to six lands.
Card Name: Winds of Change. Mana Cost: {R}. Card Oracle Text: Each player shuffles the cards from their hand into their library, then draws that many cards.

Summary

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Xyris is an exceptionally fun Commander in my opinion. If you like The Locust God or play decks like Nekusar, the Mindrazer I would consider giving this green option a try. I think this will make a nice fit as a multiplayer Commander with interaction, politics, and impact. I’ll definitely be giving it a try anyhow. There are a lot of options so it should keep games and deckbuilding interesting for quite awhile.

I’ll have to say this for every blue/red/green deck but I may be bias or just swept up with the excitement. I’d like hear your opinions, comparisons, and suggestions for the deck. When your maybe pile of cards is as big as the deck that’s pretty fun to balance in my eyes. Let me know in the comments what you think of Xyris, the Writing Storm.

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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