Token Up: A Trip into the Naya Jungle – by John McMullin

Man, what’s goin’ on there? That’s deep. Whoa.

These kinds of reactions are the reactions I crave. I want to GIVE those reactions to you. I want you to hunger afterwards. Hunger for understanding. What just happened there? How did you..? What did you..? HOW COULD YOU?

In essence, how did the Woodstock of colour combos – Naya – become so hypnotically aggressive? Well, let me show you.

It’s like this, really. There are synergies – cards that just work really, really well together. And my Naya Commander build takes full advantage of that. I’ll start with my list, and discuss in-depth some of the bigger end games I try to accomplish with it.

Marath, Will of the Wild

Other Creatures:
Avacyn, Angel of Hope
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror-Breaker
Mayael, The Aenima
Boartusk Liege
Restoration Angel
Deranged Hermit
Avenger of Zendikar
Sublime Archangel
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Ghaji, Honored One
Oversoul of Dusk
Birds of Paradise
Eternal Witness
Elvish Piper
Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
Wilt-leaf Liege
Hero of Bladehold
Thundermaw Hellkite
Trostani’s Summoner
Rhys the Redeemed
Knotvine Mystic
Wild Nacatl


Warstorm Surge
Primeval Bounty
Doubling Season
Parallel Lives
Goblin Bombardment
Sylvan Library


Garruk, Caller of Beasts
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion


Wrath of God
Day of Judgment
Tempt with Discovery
Tooth and Nail
Idyllic Tutor
Hull Breach
Titanic Ultimatum
One Dozen Eyes
Flame Rift


Path to Exile
Naya Charm
Worldly Tutor
Advent of the Wurm
Enlightened Tutor


Sol Ring
Mana Vault
Ring of Three Wishes
Lotus Petal
Swiftfoot Boots
Rings of Brighthearth


Sacred Foundry
Temple Garden
Stomping Ground
Sunpetal Grove
Rootbound Crag
Clifftop Retreat
Temple of Triumph
Temple of Abandon
Temple of Plenty
Rugged Prairie
Fire-lit Thicket
Wooded Bastion
Selesnya Sanctuary
Boros Garrison
Command Tower
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Rupture Spire
Jungle Shrine
Temple of the False God
Homeward Path
Shivan Gorge
Naya Panorama
Slayers’ Stronghold
Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree
Opal Palace
Ruins of Trokair
Dwarven Ruins
Mosswort Bridge
Spinerock Knoll
Windbrisk Heights
Slippery Karst
Scorched Ruins
Ancient Den
Great Furnace
Tree of Tales

It’s easy to tell this is definitely an Aggro build. Only 6 instants in 100 cards! But, that’s alright. Games of Commander can take many turns to complete, and tend to be more forgiving if you’re not a reactive player. With that going for me, I can instead focus my energies on trying to swing the momentum all-out at my opponents during my own turn.

Choosing Marath for a commander here is a pretty easy decision. He’s got three abilities that absolutely rock for the theme I’m going for with this deck. First, he can pass his counters off. This is great if I have an established board state, and want to hammer in with one or more big dudes. Second, he can create more dudes! Being a token deck, this is an absolute must! Lastly, straight damage-to-the-head is always great, and can save your butt in a pinch! Not to mention, every single one of those abilities can get messier and messier, when coupled with some of the other key cards in this deck:

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror-Breaker – An absolute bomb ever since he was released during the Kamigawa block, ol’ Kiki’s been beating down doors – either by copying your big creatures, or your opponent’s. There’s so many fun targets for him in this deck that it’d be ridiculous NOT to include him.

Avenger of Zendikar – Costing a big seven mana is no problem in Commander. And I’m thankful for that! This token-making powerhouse not only has guts at 5/5, but he makes a 0/1 plant-dude for every land you control. The party only gets better the longer you play, as every extra land makes those plant-dudes grow like little weeds!

Purphoros, God of the Forge – A god among men(and plant-dudes)! Purphoros is just what the doctor ordered – that is, if the doctor ordered mass amounts of pain! For every dude that crashes your party, you get to hit your opponents for 2 to the noggin. That one ability makes him a shoe-in for my deck, and he’s proven himself to be completely worth it.

Rhys the Redeemed – The original hippie Elf. This fella just wants more and more Elves to join him on his quest for peace and love. But he’s so much more than that. His big ability lets you double up your tokens, which means more Elves as well as more everything else!

Parallel Lives/Doubling Season – If you’re going to do something, you might as well do twice as much. Or, four times as much. Making tokens is vital to the deck, and to winning your game of Commander. Having these on the field will greatly increase your chances of winning in a number of ways. Doubling season’s counter-multiplying ability helps with Marath, too!

Warstorm Surge – Just like Purphoros, this card stays in the deck simply to add insult to injury. Have a creature entering the field can be trouble enough for your opponents, but, adding auxiliary damage on top of that is pure frosting. Unlike the short-sighted god, the Surge can take the beating to either a player OR their creatures – handy!

Goblin Bombardment – Probably in my top 5 all-time favourite cards to play, Bombardment is a simple enough tactic. Sacrifice your dude, and do a damage to something. It’s an elegant and timeless trade-off that I’m willing to make time and again to get the job done. With all these tokens loitering about, there’s never a shortage of living rubber-bullets.

There’s probably something good to say for the vast majority of cards in this deck, but the top seven I picked above are the heart and soul of my strategy. There are others I’m going to get into below as well, as we discuss some of the strategies the deck can run. The primary and most favoured tactic is to get some early tutoring in action. With three tutors and the Ring of Three Wishes, finding puzzle pieces to work with early in the game is usually not so difficult. The best case scenarios are going to work as follows:

1) Blow-out – Using Ring of Three Wishes, tutor for Rings of Brighthearth. That way, your next two wishes can be doubled for just two extra mana. In so doing, use wish #2 to grab two cards – Kiki-Jiki and Restoration Angel. Then, use wish #3 to grab two more cards – Tooth and Nail and Goblin Bombardment. You now have all the tools you need to utterly demolish your opponents! Play Kiki, Angel, and Bombardment, and wait for your chance to Entwine the Tooth and Nail. Play Avenger of Zendikar and Purphoros. Watch the blood drain from your opponent’s faces as you copy the Avenger with Kiki, and double the Copy effect with Rings of Brighthearth! Target the Angel with your copy, and use it to flash Kiki back into play. Do the Avenger dance again and make even more tokens. Eventually, if Purphoros doesn’t kill your opponents, your Bombardment of sacrifies will!

2) Keen Commander – Sometimes, you need to do it yourself. A fun and easy win with Marath is to just get your Doubling Season in play. As long as you have some mana, start removing Marath’s counters and target himself as the recipient – doing so will double the number of tokens you remove! Once you have enough, start pinging your opponents or their board for direct damage. Have a Bombardment or Warstorm Surge in play? Go the token route instead and rain down the damage that way instead. Even if you want to just smash people in the face, Marath’s the leader, and it only takes half as much of his damage to end an opponent. It’s a good idea to remember that.

3) Attack! – Yep. Attack. That’s not such a difficult concept to follow. Lots of folk just like to turn their dudes sideways. And, while this deck makes a LOT of dudes, an actual attack is fairly uncommon. Not for lack of trying! Sometimes though, there’s no better way to squash your opposition, than to just send in a horde of unrelenting doom! When you find that’s the case, send over Hero of Bladehold. Not only will the brave hero make you more dudes – she’ll also pump them up for you too! If you have Ghaji out that +1 becomes a +3. Put that on 40 attacking fungi-dudes or plant-dudes, and you’ll have a good, old fashioned Woodstock riot on your hands! What if you want to just send one dude? Well, pitch that eternal hippie onto the field. You know, Sublime Archangel. She’ll grant one dude the the power of all your dudes, so long as they’re willing to go it alone!

Support is always important. You’re going to find times when the trail-mix runs dry, or you can’t handle making any more tokens. Maybe, no one is coming to the party, and Purphoros is sitting there like a narc just waiting to crash your party. Keep your board-wipes close. I’ve only tossed two in this build, because ideally your critters are sticking around. But, if you can’t help it – try and get Avacyn there to keep your dudes partying even when you want to shut down everyone else. Keep Hull Breach and Decimate on hand until you’re really threatened by something. More often than not, you’re going to see a real problem appear late game more than early-on. Don’t bother targeting people’s support cards. Mana is going to be unstoppable in this format and so are dudes. Don’t pay attention to one lone dude, unless it’s really powerful. Instead, focus on setting up some defence – you’ll either keep them at bay, or force them to use their big board wipe or control-style spell earlier, and you may just win as a result of your patience. Feel like you need that ____ again? Eternal Witness is your friend. So is another of my favourites – Regrowth. Use them sparingly, and not to reuse your support cards. Grab Tooth And Nail again if it fails the first time, or grab Avenger of Zendikar after sacrificing him to Bombardment, so you can get a bunch more plant-dudes to join the party.

This deck is made of synergies – and I’ve omitted a lot of them from my strategy. Find them for yourself, or wait for a future article, where I’ll talk more about the importance of synergies and how using them improves the strength of your individual cards.

Thanks for reading.


Article submitted by John McMullin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *