33 MANA PRODUCING LANDS
Fixing and Base Lands:
1. Breeding Pool *
2. Command Tower
3. Exotic Orchard
4. Flooded Grove
5. Flooded Strand
6. Hallowed Fountain *
7. Misty Rainforest
8. Mystic Gate
9. Savannah *
10. Temple Garden *
11. Tropical Island *
12. Tundra *
13. Windswept Heath
14. Wooded Bastion
15. 3x Forests *
16. 3x Islands *
17. 3x Plains *
1. Dryad Arbor *: Free critter, retrievable many ways. Shines in an equipment deck.
2. Eiganjo Castle: Surprises many opponents in combat.
3. Halimar Depths: One of only two “into play tapped” land in the deck. That mean it must be worth it. It is.
4. Homeward Path: Thievery hurts this deck badly. The Path solves that problem.
5. Kor Haven: Poor man’s Maze that produces mana.
6. Reliquary Tower: Key card in a draw/go deck.
7. Rogue's Passage: Win’s a lot of games late. Like, a lot of games.
8. Strip Mine: There’s always something that needs to go away. Bonus fun w/ Crucible of Worlds.
9. Tolaria West: Finds any land, or Mana Crypt. The other "into play tapped" land.
10. Yavimaya Hollow: Regeneration via land is almost impossible to remove.
(* Searchable as a land type)
65 OTHER CARDS (w/ CMC)
Mana Ramp and Development
1. Mana Crypt (0): Free two mana for an average 1.5 life per upkeep. In a 40 life game, that's nothing.
2. Expedition Map (1): Fetches any land (inc. Strip Mine, Maze of Ith, Homeward Path and Rogue's Passage).
3. Sol Ring (1): The one, the only.
4. Land Tax (1): Fixes mana, provides spare cards for tossing (to Crucible, Brainstorm, etc.), and thins the deck.
5. Tithe (1): Two plains for one mana. 'Nuff said.
6. Gift of Estates (2): Three plains for two mana.
7. Crucible of Worlds (3): Synergy w/ Land Tax as well as sac/fetch lands, and potential for a Strip Mine lock.
8. Cultivate (3): Two lands from one card, dropping one directly into play. A green ramp staple.
9. Gaea's Bounty (3): Two lands for one card, finds Forests.
10. Kodama's Reach (3): Same as Cultivate.
11. Thran Dynamo (4): Brings you from mid- to late-game mana state w/ one card. Very underrated.
12. Oracle of Mul Daya (4): Two potential land drops per turn, and you're almost never drawing land into hand.
13. Skyshroud Claim (4): Two Forests, into play, untapped and ready to go. Sick.
14. Mirari's Wake (5): Land mana doubler.
15. Mana Reflection (6): All mana doubler.
16. Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger (8): Mana doubler, halves you opponents mana, and a 7/6 trampler for bonus fun.
Draw and Search
1. Skullclamp (1): Crazy draw power in a Derevi deck.
2. Brainstorm (1): One mana searches three cards. The real power comes from the fact that it puts back any cards from your hand to the library (Terminus fun, Mul Daya ramp). So good.
3. Enlightened Tutor (1): 25 potential targets. Instant speed.
4. Mystical Tutor (1): Over 30 potential targets. Instant speed
5. Ponder (1): One mana peruses three cards. Free reordering + draw. It's no Brainstrom, but it's still strong.
6. Preordain (1): Scry lets you ditch trash. Its banned in Modern for a reason.
7. Eladamri's Call (2): Any creature, at instant speed, with no loss of card count.
8. Muddle the Mixture (2): Transmute it for any 2 CMC card. Typical targets are Regrowth (graveyard), Sylvan Library (search) and Cyclonic Rift (control).
9. Regrowth (2): If you cast a card once, you probably want to cast it again.
10. Sylvan Library (2): Sick with shuffle effects (of which the deck has many), and four life for an extra card isn't too painful in EDH.
11. Eternal Witness (3): Regrowth on a critter is just stupid good. Usually a target of Eladamri's Call.
12. Rhystic Study (3): Funny how often opponents don't want to pay 1 extra mana...
13. Fact or Fiction (4): You choose the pile, meaning you absolutely will get the one of five cards that you want.
14. Foresee (4): Big scry + card advantage.
15. Natural Order (4): Abusive with Derevi as a Commander. Fetches Witness (graveyard), Vorinclex (mana abuse) or Slime (problem solver).
16. Consecrated Sphinx (6): Borderline ban candidate in multiplayer.
17. Overwhelming Intellect (6): Late game counter + mass card draw? Sign me up.
18. Recurring Insight (6): Six mana typically nets 6-8 cards. Better than Braingeyser, Sphinx's Revelation, et al.
19. Wargate (3x): Puts any permanent into play for a +3 CMC, making the ramping pay off. 31 potential targets (not counting land).
Control and Denial
1. Maze of Ith (0): Make friends and play politics by using the Maze to save other players.
2. Mana Drain (2): Counter anything, plus ramp. Ridiculous.
3. Scavenging Ooze (2): Graveyard hate. Every deck need some way to handle recursion decks.
4. Aura Shards (3): Derevi's best friend.
5. Beast Within (3): Universal problem solver.
6. Nevinyrral's Disk (4): Derevi can potentially get the disk to fire off immediately.
7. Day of Judgment (4): Cheap sweepers are good.
8. Supreme Verdict (4): Cheap sweeper, uncounterable.
9. Wrath of God (4): Another cheap sweeper.
10. Acidic Slime (5): Problem solver, and deathtouch to boot (rattlesnake card).
11. Force of Will (5): ...you need an explanation, really?
12. Hallowed Burial (5): Tuck sweeper? Too funny.
13. Akroma's Vengeance (6): Restart button.
14. Austere Command (6): Designer restart button.
15. Phyrexian Rebirth (6): LOL weenie decks.
16. Planar Cleansing (6): Nev Disk, right now.
17. Terminus (6): Another tuck sweeper? Sure, why not...
18. Cyclonic Rift (7/2*): Usually a game winner when overloaded late.
19. All Is Dust (7): Sacrifice solves a lot of problems. In this case, nearly all of them.
1. Basilisk Collar (1): So cheap, so good. Deathouch changes a lot of decisions in multiplayer.
2. Rancor (1): Trample that almost never goes away.
3. Swiftfoot Boots (2): In an equipment deck, hexproof gets the nod over Lightning Greaves' shroud.
4. Umezawa's Jitte (2): So versatile. Picks off a ton of creatures. Great political card.
5. Darksteel Plate (3): Indestructible that never goes away is huge.
6. Quietus Spike (3): Insanely strong in EDH. Waring - playing this card makes you the "must kill" player.
7. Sword of Feast and Famine (3): Like all Swords, color protection is incredibly underrated. And reloading all lands for your second main phase party is borderline broken.
8. Sword of Fire and Ice (3): Cards advantage, and blue players absolutely hate prot blue.
9. Sword of Light and Shadow (3): Animate Dead each turn is nuts.
10. Defense of the Heart (4): Always goes off in multiplayer. Always.
11. Pariah's Shield (5): Got seven mana? Gratz - you probably won’t lose this game. Lots-o-lutz w/ Darksteel Plate or Sword of X and Y protection.
1. Phyrexian Metamorph (4): Flexibility is king in multiplayer. Often copies an early Sol Ring. Late game? Go on and get crazy.
(Note that the sideboard shown here is the “Maybe Board”. All these cards were being considered at one time or another, based on the strategy under which Derevi was potentially going to be used):
* Voltron: An aggressive strategy, whereby one creature (usually the Commander) is loaded up with equipment and auras. This tactic could be exploited via Derevi’s second ability by avoiding the Commander tax, thus allowing a reduction in total creature count and a corresponding increase in equipment and auras.
* Stax: A reactive strategy in which board-wide effects prevent permanents from untapping, creating a lock. Derevi would be able to exploit this tactic via her first ability (coupled with artifact mana and evasive creatures).
* Control/Denial: A reactive approach, where threats are regularly eliminated, often via mass removal. This tactic could be exploited via Derevi’s second ability.
* Swarm/Weenie: An aggressive strategy of creating numerous low value creatures. Derevi would be able to exploit this approach via her first ability, primarily by untapping lands to fuel an explosive mid-game.
I eventually settled on a hybrid strategy of Control/Denial approach, backed up by a touch of Voltron. Build and play theory follows.
Derevi’s ability to skip the Commander tax changes a fundamental rule of the game – a rarity in card design. Any card that does that has the potential to massively exploit certain strategies (i.e., Omniscience). A game changer on a legendary creature in Bant colors? Such a general was too good an option to ignore.
I decided to focus on Derevi’s second ability (vice her first), since it was so unique to the format. Control/Denial and Voltron strategies both had potential, and I liked the balance between aggro and control. I decided on Control/Denial, given my play style, the format, and my local meta. As such, I quickly went away from including Stax/Lockdown cards (which tends to have an “un-fun” vibe in friendly EDH games, anyways), as well as Swarm/Untap cards.
Thinking about Control/Denial + Voltron, I realized that I needed very few creatures (because I nearly always had access to Derevi). As such, I could up the sweeper card count considerably – after all, why not drop nukes when you don’t need to worry about losing your own critters? The few critters that I did include where added purely for their utility value (rather than their beatdown value). They also function as a backup WinCon is Derevi if tucked or stolen.
I then looked for equipment and auras which were cheap, and leaned toward those that emphasized a valuable secondary effect that helped me (as opposed to simply increasing lethality). I’ve found that in multiplayer, dropping large, direct threats (regardless of strategy) usually ends badly because you quickly end up becoming the focus of attention. It’s often better to play cards that strengthen your position (as opposed to threatening your opponents), helping to keep some the heat off, and frequently resulting in your opponents beating on each other, rather than you.
In the end, Control/Denial + Voltron cards made up about a half of the spells in the deck. The other half was devoted to ramp/development spells, and to draw/search spells. This game (like many) is ultimately about resources, and mana and cards are the two forms of resources that Magic: The Gathering employees. Players who get ahead on either one or both nearly always do well. Although it’s tempting to cut a few resources developers in the name of “win” cards, Derevi helps to mitigate that temptation because, again, it breaks a fundamental rule of Commander – it’s a win condition that is always there, regardless of how many times it's been dealt with previously.