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I’m here to talk about my favorite commander to build around in EDH. Breya, Etherium Sculptor might be the most flexible combo/control commander in the game right now. Her flexibility comes from various elements: (1) unconditional removal at instant speed, (2) an infinite mana outlet, (3) a value engine, (4) and life gain (write something snarky). Beyond this you get access to the colors that an aspiring artificer dreams of, giving you cards like thopter foundry (esper card) and scrap mastery/daretti (monored cards) in the same deck is absolutely fantastic. In addition, Breya is also just a really great body–4 mana for a 4/4 with 2 1/1s is so above rate in EDH that once you cast Breya it’s very unlikely for you to get attacked after that. Also look at that art. In this article I will talk about how I like to build breya (more inconsistent and janky), and a non competitive thopter tribal build at the end.
Here is the main deck list so you can follow along
Firstly let’s go through Breya herself.
Breya is a 4 color (non green), artifact creature, that summons 1/1 thopters when she enters the battlefield. She has 3 abilities that require an activation cost of sacrificing 2 artifacts: deal 3 damage to a player, give a creature -4/-4 until eot, and gain 5 life. The most common play pattern with breya is play her on 6 mana and leave up mana to kill a creature at instant speed, looking at one of the previous deck techs on this blog, Grenzo, Dungeon Warden almost just folds to that play pattern. But there is so much more. Her next ability, deal 3 damage to target player, is the win condition of this deck,. This is where it gets a bit complicated. You see breya herself is an artifact creature, so she can sacrifice herself. This means that with infinite colored mana the deck wins on the spot, because you can just sac breya and a thopter to recast breya and deal infinite damage to every player. It also means that combos like nim deathmantle with Ashnods Altar/Krak Clan ironworks are also instant wins. Her last usefull ability is her enters the battlefield effect, make 2 1/1 thopters. This is a massive effect for cards that care about hitting your opponent, providing chump blockers (which often gains you more life than if you sacrificed them), and most importantly sacrificing them to skullclamp, essentially turning breya into a 6 mana draw 4. Her final ability, gain 5 life, is situational at best, only really good when you have a card like necropotence or ad nauseam.
How I build the deck.
The biggest concept that makes my breya deck unique is my focus on one huge theme, making salvaging station and artificer’s intuition appear not just good, but broken. Essentially the combination of these two cards in this deck is equivalent to survival of the fittest plus recurring nightmare, a massive recursion plus tutor engine that wins games by itself. As such, there is a large focus in this deck on artifacts that cost 1 mana or less with around 10-15% of the deck being made up of these trinkets.
The next biggest concept in the deck is this set of cards (open the vaults, faith’s reward, scrap mastery, second sunrise) Yes, this is an eggs deck, albeit a tame one. Lots of wins will come from sacrificing your whole board, and then casting a massive open the vaults that nets you like 20 mana 6 draws, and hopefully a way to recur your mass reanimation spell. I personally love this way of winning the game, it feels powerful to grab your graveyard and just dump all of it onto the battlefield, the perfect combination of a timmy feeling with a johnny combo.
Another key element of my version of breya is its control elements. The deck runs six counterspells, four board wipes, 4 targeted removal spells (including breya herself), That’s around 25% of the spells in the deck being devoted specifically to disruption. And if you count the approximately 10-15% of the deck that’s devoted specifically to card draw and tutor it’s pretty reliable that you can stop the opponent from winning. Standouts from these categories include Merciless Eviction, which is the second best boardwipe in EDH outside of Cyclonic Rift in my opinion, mostly because of how often it’s a one sided mass exile for the most problematic category of permanents that you are facing. The counterspell suite is geared towards either costing one mana (mostly so you can force through whatever it is you are trying to do even with constrained mana), hitting every type of spell possible, or at the very least drawing a card(because if you set yourself and an opponent back you are oftentimes helping the opponents you aren’t countering more than yourself, at least with Arcane Denial and Dream fracture you aren’t setting yourself back).
So, let’s go through how this deck wins. Almost every combo in this deck will involve some combination of Krark-Clan Ironworks and a mass recursion spell (Scrap Mastery, Open The Vaults, Second Sunrise, Faith’s Reward), mostly because if you have any number of artifacts with a beneficial effect you can often win off of the 20-infinite mana that you generate. Say you have 5 artifacts that draw a card when they go to the graveyard and 3 artifacts that do literal nothing, then Krark-Clan plus a 5 mana mass recursion spell becomes draw 5 cards get (18-5-4=11 mana) then have Krark-Clan and the artifacts back in play getting you another 18 mana and another 5 cards. Now you’ve drawn a 10th of your deck and have 29 mana which means you can likely find another way to bring back all your artifacts or if you find a Codex shredder you just win on the spot because you infinitely recur your mass recursion spell. At that point if you have the colored mana which you should have because you’ve been drawing a bunch of artifacts that make mana you should be able to repeatedly recur Breya and ping everyone to death.
Key cards that makes this combo nuts.
Artificer’s Intuition-if you have a hand with artificer’s intuition in this deck you keep it no matter what. This card finds you artifact lands, sol ring, nihil spellbomb, skullclamp, artifacts that draw cards, fills your graveyard with reanimation targets, basically if you have this card in play it feels very hard to lose unless your opponent is playing a very hateful deck.
Ichor Wellspring-An unassuming card, it basically draws 2 cards off of every time you cast a mass recursion spell, this card often times is the difference between your open the vaults comboing off and doing nothing.
Thopter Foundry + Sword of the Meek
Sacrifice the Sword to the Foundry -> Sword returns the battlefield. Basically means that every mana you have turns into a 1/1 flying thopter and 1 life. Combo also works if you have thopter foundry in play and sword of the meek in the graveyard and another artifact in play.
Salvaging Station + Artificer’s intuition
Basically Gets an absurd amount of value for this deck, getting you a 1 mana artifact that you tutored from your deck every time a creature dies for every blue mana you have
Salvaging Station + Sol Ring + Skull Clamp + Thopter Foundry-
Tap sol ring for 2 colorless, sac sol ring to thopter foundry (1 colorless, 1 thopter), return sol ring to the battlefield with salvaging station and tap sol ring for mana (3 colorless, 1 thopter), sac sol ring to thopter foundry (2 colorless, 2 thopters), attach skullclamp to thopter untap salvaging station and return sol ring again and tap it (3 colorless, 2 cards, 1 thopter). The combo draws your deck and nets a large amount of colorless mana. This is the main back up plan if your Krark-Clan Ironworks gets exiled.
Nihil Spellbomb+Salvaging Station-
1 player can no longer use their graveyard
There is a lot more I could talk about but that’s probably enough for now
And here is a fun thopter tribal list i’ve been working on