The Equipment I Want to be My Commander

Last week, when I did my 75% set review of Dominaria (which you all loved because no one said they didn’t), I briefly touched on a card that didn’t really fit in with the parameters I had laid out for myself for the review. I didn’t want to talk about cards that were just vaguely good or even vaguely good in Commander; my aim was to talk specifically about cards that embodied some 75% principle. That was sort of a tough way to do the set review and if I hadn’t broken my own rule, I wouldn’t have even mentioned a card that is quickly becoming my favorite card in the set. That card’s name? Albert Einstein Helm of the Host.

Helm of the Host

If you played in a prerelease event or two, you likely saw how good this card is in at least one of your matches and you might have thought that it overperformed quite a bit. I know I thought so. Now, you may be thinking “Well of course a rare equipment that gives you copies of creatures is good in a slower, removal-light format like Sealed, but it’s too slow for a format like Commander where the high equip cost is sort of prohibitive”; and, if you are, I don’t know what to say. That’s an opinion I’ve seen online and maybe if you can’t play a four-mana artifact because turn four is the turn you need to play a Cryptic Command, Daze, Force of Will and Disrupting Shoal to keep your friend, Tim from comboing off, maybe Helm’s not for you. If that’s not Commander to you, good news; Helm of the Host is disgusting on basically any creature in a Commander deck, four mana is not too much to pay for an equipment that’s good (See Batterskull), five mana is not too much mana to make copies of stuff (See Progenitor Mimic), and making lots of copies of creatures isn’t too durdly for the card to be very good (see Blade of Selves, an equipment that makes tokens which don’t stay in play or circumvent the Legend Rule).

Helm is good, and it’s so good that the Godo deck basically builds itself. If you want to be all-in on the Godo combo, you can build a deck that’s basically mana ramp, Godo, Helm, a few other enablers and call it a day. I don’t know that it’s necessarily 75% to build such a linear deck, but it sure would be powerful and consistent. It is also going to bore you if it always wins the same way, but here’s a partial decklist for free off the top of my head.


This is a partial list because I didn’t want to waste a ton of time on this. It’s not what I want to be doing, per se, but I wanted to apprise everyone of a potential all-in build. You’ll probably someone running this or something like it and it’s nice to know what they’re up to so you can try to disrupt them. They’re very linear (I’m already catching myself saying “they” instead of “we” like I’m trying to psychologically distance myself from this build. That’s pretty funny) and rely on speed and you not being able to just kill the Godo before the loop starts. Once it gets going, they’re going to keep making a Godo and triggering an additional combat step which makes another Godo which makes another combat which makes another Godo which makes another combat which makes another Godo and if you’re bored already imagine building and playing this deck.

I think rather than spend more time talking about what I don’t want to do, I’m going to talk about what I DO want to do with Helm of the Host. Here are five creatures I really want to put a Helm on.

Krenko, Mob Boss — Godo is a fun, Mono-Red way to build around Helm, but Krenko decks are just begging for it, too. Throwing Helm on Krenko is great, and if you have any way to untap said Krenkos, copy their triggers, or double tokens, you could be going from a board state of Krenko and another Goblin or two to lethal Purphoros damage very quickly. While I am mostly excited about ETB triggers, I love the idea of Krenko going ham with a Helm.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight— Doublers are good. Things that double damage and also halve their damage are doubly good. With us finally having a way to double this doubler, a Lightning Bolt could carve someone in twain if you have a few Gisela tokens flying around. It will be very difficult for them to damage you and you’ll hit like a locomotive even with middling creatures if this is allowed to grow unchecked.

Primordials — I think any of the four legal Primordials are all good choices, honestly. Luminate (White) is probably the weakest and the most fair, but a repeatable source of removal is nothing to sneeze at and the big body you get chips away at any life they may gain from having a creature nuked. Sepulchral, Molten and Diluvian Primordial are all very good examples of 75% creatures, taking their resources and making them yours. I used to like to pair Primordials with Deadeye Navigator. I still do, but I used to, too. This is pretty expensive, but that’s why we have lots of mana ramp in Commander and we give each other a million turns to develop our boards so we can do big, battlecruiser stuff like jamming a nine-mana equipment investment onto a 7-drop. If you live long enough to do this, congratulations on killing the Godo player.

Eternal Witness — Card drawing is good, but getting stuff that’s in your graveyard back feels good, too. Choosing and drawing a card face-up will always be better to me than drawing one blind, and doing it every turn can start to really grind them down. I used to use Eternal Witness to get Plow Under in my Astral Slide deck and I used to love what you could do with two Witnesses and Echoing Truth in Standard. If you can copy tokens, you can really make dumb stuff happen with Helm on a Witness and I’m looking to make this happen in a lot of my Green decks, which also have cards like Acidic Slime, Yavimaya Elder, and Coiling Oracle. Helm is even OK on vanilla creatures, but it really shines on ETB creatures which Green decks have in spades.

Honorable MentionsHostage Taker, Sower of Temptation, Bane of Progress, Gray Merchant of Asphodel.

Here are the 5 cards I want to make sure I include in a deck where I’m relying on Helm.

Anointed Procession/Parallel Lives/Primal Vigor etc. — Making a token that’s a copy of any creature every turn isn’t rad. You know what’s rad? Making two tokens. Also, BMX VHS compilations and Crystal Pepsi and your parents not being divorced. The 90s were rad. Don’t forget the tokens have haste!

Panharmonicon — There’s no question that Panharmonicon is going to be a Commander staple for years to come. If something is worth triggering once, it’s worth doing twice as often, and unlike a lot of cards that double effects, you don’t have to tap this or pay additional mana. It just sits there looking pretty and making your opponent cringe every time you tap mana. If you have Helm on an ETB creature, you’ll really want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck by doubling the triggers.

Stonehewer Giant — This card does it all. It finds your Helm, attaches it for {1}{W}, cutting down on the expensive equip cost and it can even wear the Helm so that you can go on a tutoring spree and get all of the equipment in the world out of your deck. The Godo deck we built uses Helm to end the game, but Stonehewer would use Helm to start a value train where you get a new equipment every attack phase which could build a pretty big Voltron monster or equip a whole swath of weenies to help you go wide. Helm gives the token haste, which means you can throw the equipment onto the battlefield attached to something as soon as you search for it. I’m OK with this.

Hammer of Nazahn — Hammer can not only attach equipment for free, it can also make the creature harder to kill, ensuring you get multiple turns of copying value. Not having to pay five mana to equip Helm can be significant, and can help you start the value train a turn faster. The Godo deck wants this interaction, after all, and that’s worth taking note of. These two pieces of equipment go together so well they might as well be called Hammer and Helm of Kaldra. Except there’s already a Helm of Kaldra. I can come up with a better bit, come back to me later and I’ll have something.

Masterwork of IngenuityHelm of the Host copies creatures, but who’s looking out for how we’re going to copy Helm of the Host? Luckily, there’s a way out of this “Who watches the Watchmen?” riddle and it’s a 1-drop equipment that can be a Helm, or anything else you want. Having multiple Helms on one creature? Suddenly super doable! Tough choice between two creatures with great ETB triggers? ¿Por que no los dos? If you’re going to double, double your doubling whenever possible.

If you thought I was going to leave you hanging without a complete decklist, you’re nuts. I want to try and recreate a situation that happened at the prerelease wherein I put Helm on my only creature, Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy and realized it would be difficult to lose the game. My 1 1/1 became 2 2/2s then 3 3/3s. 3 3/3s in Commander, though?

Whatever you say, McConaughebro. I’ll get so many tokens on the battlefield, you’ll be like “Wow, you have a lot of tokens on the battlefield” and then you’ll probably say something really creepy about underage girls staying the same age and the cops will arrest you for playing the bongos shirtless or whatever.

Starting with a decent {G}{W} Token shell like Rhys the Redeemed, we can modify the deck to benefit from the games where we get Helm and benefit from a token-doubling infrastructure that will make Shanna gigantic and will make Voice of Resurgence genuinely terrifying. We may even run a few Populate spells. Let’s see how that would look.

Helm of the Horde — Commander | Jason Alt

Commander (2)
Creatures (25)
Instants (7)
Sorceries (8)
Enchantments (11)
Artifacts (9)
Lands (39)
Buy This Deck From CoolStuffInc.com

This is a lot of fun, it looks like. We can go wide or tall, there is a nice elves sub-theme and, best of all, we can play Helm on basically anything and get some value. This should be a great deal more fun than a typical Rhys build and our Commander is a very saucy target for Helm if you have a decent board. She can die to spells, but you would be amazed at how many abilities she can stop with her bad-ish semi-hexproof. All in all, this deck is a nice hybrid of the equipment shenanigans I want to be about with Helm and a typical Rhys tokens build.

That does it for me this week. A decklist and a half plus two Top 5 lists has left me feeling wiped. I probably won’t even start brewing until I’ve had a nap. But brew I will. Dominaria is packed to the gills with a ton of great Legendary creatures, but some of the non-creature historic stuff was too good to ignore, hence today’s article. I hope you liked it. if you did or if you didn’t, tell me about it in the comments and keep the e-mails and Twitter messages coming. Thanks for reading, readers. Until next time!


Dominaria is Now Available for Preorder!

Comments

comments