I fell in love with Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder the moment I saw him. As a big fan of Commander/EDH, I instantly started thinking about ways to break the card. Even if I couldn’t, a four-color commander gives you the ability to play all the cool cards you could want within his color identity.
Like many players, I started with the Entropic Uprising precon. After playing a few games with the baseline deck, I opened my binder and got to work.
I spent hours building up piles of cards I wanted to play, then trimming them down one by one. I dug through lists on EDHREC, scrapped old decks for parts and goldfished over and over while listening to podcasts.
Then, after all that work, I played the deck a dozen times and decided to put it back in the box forever. No one likes to play against this deck, strangers find it annoying, and worst of all, I didn’t enjoy playing it with actual people.
Yidris Storm & Wheel
At its heart, this is a storm deck that’s fueled by both Yidris’ Cascade triggers and wheel effects. With a decent draw and a single Yidris trigger, it can sometimes win on turn 4 or 5, filtering through nearly every spell in the deck.
One particularly powerful interaction can be seen by casting Scapeshift with Amulet of Vigor on the board. If Yidris has gotten through for damage that turn, you can cast Scapeshift, Cascade into a free spell, then end up with the best lands in your deck untapped to play more spells. It gets out of hand quickly. With the large amount of tapped lands played in Commander, Amulet of Vigor is worth playing on its own.
Since Cascade is all about cheating on mana, I’ve added cards that allow you to cheat further. Evoke a Mulldrifter for 2U, and you get to Cascade into any spell with converted mana cost four or less. Beseech the Queen can be cast for only BBB, but the hybrid mana allows it to Cascade into 5 CMC spells. Gitaxian Probe can hit one of the many 0 CMC spells for the cost of 2 life. Treasure Cruise has Delve, allowing you to Cascade into pretty much anything in the deck for as low as a single blue mana.
This is one of the decks of which I am the proudest. Perhaps the only EDH deck I’ve been happier with was my Merieke Ri Berit control. However, I have more or less completely given up on the deck as it currently stands. In one-on-one games, Yidris is incredibly easy to shut down. In group play – where it’s almost always possible to get through with damage if Yidris lives to a combat phase – it’s miserable to play through your entire deck.
Even if opponents don’t get annoyed and scoop before you hit Tendrils of Agony, I have ended up wanting to concede out of boredom after only partially going off. It’s just not fun to win that way.
I’m left, then, with the option to dismantle the deck for parts, or significantly alter it in some way. The obvious route may be to increase the amount of useful tools like spot removal, and add trade off massive turns with several spells for ones where I make myself less of a target. It may be easier to count on a handful of Yidris triggers throughout the game to gain smaller edges, rather than go off on turn 4 or 5.
At the end of the day, I still love Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder. But Commander / EDH is just about the most casual of formats. I’d rather have opponents willing to play with me week after week than necessarily win every game in the most time-consuming, annoying way possible.