Extreme Tokens

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Sometimes I feel like a pirate searching for hidden treasure…

When I am working on a format, I typically spend a lot of time scouring Gatherer. Often I find myself looking through the Standard card pool many times because each time my perspective changes. One time I will be looking for creatures that pair well with Nightshade Peddler and another I will be looking for every creature with the subtype beast.

Many of these searches are dead ends (or missing parts of the map to continue the pirate analogy), but they provide a great overall picture of what cards exist in Standard. It can also help to augment the narrow searches with a broader one because it's easy to miss a card that doesn't have the exact wording you searched for.

Treasure Found

This story began with me looking for a sideboard card. This is a strange place to start a treasure hunt, but sometimes you find your treasure in the most unlikely of places. Ahrr you still with me?

Pirate jokes aside, I ended up looking through hundreds of Avacyn Restored cards searching for Appetite for Brains. My cards from this set are still unsorted so it took a while, but eventually I found them. As I was looking through cards from the set, I noticed some Nightshade Peddlers and I began to wonder what other hidden gems there were in Standard that had not been explored yet.

Sometimes all it takes in deck building is the tiniest of ideas to get the ball rolling in your head. As I was searching for my sideboard cards, I tried to keep my mind open about possible playable cards. Cards that would never have been playable in other formats could turn out to be quite powerful right now. There are limitations, but this principle will keep your eyes open for the next discovery.

Right before I came across the last Appetite for Brains, I noticed it. My hidden treasure. This card was very powerful in Avacyn Restored Limited. Could it really be playable in Standard? No one in their right mind would ever think it was constructed-worthy. But it doesn't take much for this card to pile on a lot of damage very quickly. These are the things that went through my mind.

After that, my thoughts spiraled into deck building mode and I had to refocus in order to find the last card I was looking for. You may laugh when you see the card, but stay with me. Just hover over the name because I guarantee you don’t know what it does.

Goldnight Commander

Stop and think about it for a minute. Yes, yes, it’s a four-mana 2/2 with no comes-into-play ability. Normally I would say that's unplayable but the Commander is very good. As long as you can trigger your bulk uncommon enough, it provides an Overrun every turn. The way we can get the most triggers each turn is by playing cards that make more than one creature, aka tokens.

Here’s a quick example. If I cast Lingering Souls and then Goldnight Commander, I can follow up by flashing back the Lingering Souls. That turn I'm swinging with two 3/3 flyers and a 4/4 guy on the ground. Often you'll have even more creatures but those two cards alone already add up to a lot of damage.

What really sold me though was Increasing Devotion. That’s right, your team gets +5/+5! Not only do you get five 1/1’s, you also get a huge pump effect as well.

Armed with my new weapon from the booty, I set out to build a deck. My goal was a solid tokens build that happened to run Goldnight Commander as well. What I came up with is basically a regular aggro deck with a combo win, pairing Goldnight Commander with almost any other card in the deck to go nuts. The closest comparison I can think of is Craterhoof Behemoth, but we get the effect for four mana. Also, the price tag is quite a bit smaller on our uncommon than the rising star mythic.

First take a look at the deck list, then we will analyze it.

Extreme Tokens

This a tokens deck and all of the normal heroes are included. There is nothing surprising about Lingering Souls, Midnight Haunting, Intangible Virtue or Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. Even the one mana-creatures, Elf and Pilgrim, are almost an auto-inclusion these days. I am not going to spend time discussing these known playable cards. Some of the others need explanation though.

Mentor of the Meek -- When this card was first spoiled players thought it was going to do amazing things for white-based aggro. Due to the dominance of the tier one decks that never happened, but now that the format is slower Mentor has time to draw a lot of cards. I have always liked the interaction between Mentor and planeswalkers. Alongside a planeswalker that makes tokens, Mentor will guarantee at least one extra card per turn. Since this deck wants as many creatures as it can find, a draw engine attached to a body is perfect.

Trostani, Selesnya's Voice -- Trostani is a new addition to the deck. While the populate ability may come up when the board stalls, the main reason I included it was for the life gain. Against the new Zombie deck particularly, you need an extra turn or two in order to win. Trostani lets you buy this crucial time to set up, and it's not bad as a blocker either.

Collective Blessing -- When I started seeing this enchantment appear as a one-of in decks, I was intrigued. After I saw how amazing it was, I wondered why players didn't play more copies. Three may seem like a lot but Blessing plus Increasing Devotion wins a lot of games. If you need to be active earlier in the game, these can be sided out.


As for now, I don’t have a sideboard together. I know there will be one Trostani and some spot removal like Tragic Slip and Sever the Bloodline, but I have not come up with a strategy against the controlling decks.

Against Bant Control this deck is well positioned because they do not have many counterspells and each of your cards makes an army all by itself. The worst matchup is certainly U/W Flash, and that's what I want many sideboard spots for.

Honestly, I have no idea what to bring in to beat them. They can literally counter all your spells. The best bet is to draw your Midnight Hauntings and cast them on the opponent’s turn, but they can still block with Restoration Angel so even that plan won't always work. I am open to suggestions for the sideboard, so please send me some ideas if you have any.

This deck is not just a casual FNM deck to have fun with, although it is a ton of fun to kill someone on turn three via Goldnight Commander. Extreme Tokens has the ability to beat most decks in the format. With the decline of U/W Flash due to the return of Zombies, I think this is the time to break out some Extreme Tokens.

Until next time,

Unleash Extreme Tokens!

Mike Lanigan
MtgJedi on Twitter

6 thoughts on “Extreme Tokens

  1. Hey Mike! We were matched 1st round at the sealed RtR PTQ a month or more ago. Thanks for being kind about my massive GRV and misplays.

    I’ve been thinking Tokens for quite a while now, and have thinking a lot about Geist-Honored Monk and Parallel Lives. What do you think about those in a list like yours? Parallel Lives in particular seems powerful with your effects.

    1. Hey, no worries about the event. Glad to see you checked out the article. I did consider both of those cards for the list and they certainly would be fine, but I don’t believe they would be optimal. Playing Parallel Lives doesn’t affect the board, but even when you aren’t doing anything else, Commander still attacks for two. As far as the monk, it almost made it in actually but I did not want the curve to be too high. I really like the list as is, but feel free to change some stuff up. The spots I would consider if you want to change something are either the two trostani or the two intangible virtue. You could maybe cut one Midnight Haunting but I probably wouldn’t.

      1. I see your point. I guess what I was thinking was: hold the Lives until there’s a Lingering Souls in the GY, then drop Lives and flashback Souls. It’s a 6cmc move, but gives a one turn boost (with a single Commander out) that’s greater than the Collective Blessing–and after that turn, almost all token production with Lives and Commander out becomes better than Blessing. Heck, Increasing Devotion from the hand turns into Game Over.

        Thanks for the great deck idea, and for resurrecting these cards in my mind!

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