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Friday, October 20, 2017

Set Review Commander 2015 – Ezuri, Claw of Progress

July 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Soul of New Phyrexia

There are many villains in the multiverse of MtG that threaten the multiverse if they will to have their ways. From the worlds devouring Eldrazi to the evil mastermind Nicol Bolas; they all have their way of thinking which spell doom and annihilation to all who oppose them. Another one such villain is the Phyrexians, an ancient old enemy to many generations of Dominaria. Although they along with Yawgmoth, their God-like leader, were destroyed in their attempt to invade Dominaria, they were recently resurrected due to Karn accidentally leaving his own Phyrexian Oil (Karn’s power source heartstone was of Phyrexian origins) on his self-created plane Argentum, later Mirrodin. The oil corrupted Memnarch, the then guardian of Mirrodin. After his downfall, the oil continue to corrupt the plane and eventually conquering it, with the New Phyrexia rising and taking over the entire plane and its inhabitants. Many heroes of the plane were caught and compleated, a process which the Phyrexian transform beings into Phyrexian beings by replacing weak organic body parts with stronger machine parts. Today article is about one of such hero during that invasion who was unfortunately transformed.

steady progress

Beginning of the End.

 

From Zero to Hero to Negative

Ezuri, Renegade Leader

Unexpected Hero.

 

The hero in question is Ezuri. An ex bandit who changed his way during the Phyrexian invasion on Mirrodin. He was among the first few to detect the Phyrexian invasion and organized his fellow Viridian Elves to fight the invaders and established refugee camps for the Auriok (White aligned Mirrodin humans), Sylok (Green aligned Mirrodin humans), and Vulshok (Red aligned Mirrodin humans) survivors. They would eventually lost the fight in the Tangle to the corrupted Glissa and were forced to move to the Treetops with the remaining Elves and Sylok. Soon after, they joined the resistance movement for Mirrodin in hopes of something positive to happen that would end their plight.

 

Karn_Venser_Koth_Elspeth

World’s Final Hope.

That positive help would come in the form of the Planeswalker trio, Elspeth, Koth, and Venser who were on their quest to find Karn. Ezuri was however reluctant to help the trio and unwilling to allow them to continue on with their quest as he revealed that the invasion had profited him greatly; catapulting him into heroic leadership position which he was loathe to give up on. However Euzri was backed down after being threatened by Elspeth and his followers fled after Venser’s display of his magic. The trio eventually found Ezuri’s rebel camp after saving Melira, a human who was immune to Phyrexian corruption. In an attempt to be more influential, Ezuri tried to convince Melira to stay during a council and telling her Planeswalkers companions to leave. Melira denied to comply and went on with her companion to find Karn. While they were leaving, the camp was attacked by Tezzeret’s Phyrexians.

Tezzeret with Phyrexian

Unexpected Ambush.

 

Due to the hasty change of events, Melira and the Planeswalkers left Ezuri’s camp before he could be inoculated against Phyrexian infection. He was eventually captured and compleated by the Progress Engine, the Blue-aligned fraction of Phyrexia led by Jin-Gitaxia. Following an excruciating process of transformation, he became an agent of New Phyrexia’s will called the “Claw of Progress”. Now he seeks to extend the Phyrexian’s gift of “perfection” to his former allies. Joining us today in the Commander 2015 set Commander Review is the new Ezuri with his new stats below.

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur

“With a little mollification, you shall be fine.”

 

Ezuri, Claw of Progress

Card Name: Ezuri, Claw of Progress

CMC: 2GU

Types: Legendary Creature – Elf Warrior

Card Text: Whenever a creature with power 2 or less enters the battlefield under your control, you get an experience counter.

At the beginning of combat on your turn, put X +1/+1 counters on another target creature you control, where X is the number of experience counters you have.

P/T: 3/3

As the Claw of Progress for the Progress Engine, Ezuri abilities truly embraced the ideals of his status in his story plot with a top down design. I like it how he earn us experience counters by seeing the “weak” entering the battlefield under our control and extend the gift of “perfection” at combat to another Creature. The gift in the form of +1/+1 counters are given to the Creature according the number of experience counters you have. As with all Experience Commanders, Ezuri ability becomes more powerful with the more experience counters you have. Every 2 power or less Creature that enters the battlefield under your control, even a 1/1, can be a huge powerhouse beat stix at your combat. One way to go about it is to make tokens as most tokens usually comes with low enough power to meet the requirement of Ezuri. Ezuri color identity has Green in it and it is one of the top color for producing small tokens. Whether it is putting just one token or multiple tokens onto the battlefield, Ezuri gives out experience counters for each of them as long as they meet the power 2 or less requirement. Thus it can be quite a major boost of experience counters if you can produce huge amount of tokens simultaneously. Below are some ways to get numerous tokens or constantly get tokens to get experience counters which you may consider to use.

 

Acorn Harvest / Æther Mutation / Arachnogenesis / Carrion Call / Cobra Trap / Crush of Wurms / Fertile Imagination / Fungal Sprouting / Gilt-Leaf Ambush / Grizzly Fate / Hunting Triad / One Dozen Eyes / Predator’s Howl / Rise of Eagles / Saproling Symbiosis / Scatter the Seeds / Sosuke’s Summons / Spontaneous Generation / Talrand’s Invocation Spells which put multiple tokens onto the battlefield when cast.
Avenger of Zendikar / Benthicore / Deranged Hermit / Guardian of Cloverdell / Hornet Queen / Kozilek’s Predator / Master of Waves / Patagia Viper / Verdeloth the Ancient / Whirler Rogue Creatures which bring multiple tokens as they enter the battlefield.
Awakening Zone / From Beyond Gets Eldrazi Spawn and Eldrazi Scion token at your upkeep.
Bramble Elemental Gives two Saproling tokens whenever an Aura is attached to it.
Broodhatch Nantuko / Druid’s Call / Hornet Nest / Saber Ants / Sekki, Seasons’ Guide Produce tokens for each damage dealt to the Creature.
Chasm Skulker Produces as much Squid tokens as the number of +1/+1 counters on it when it dies. Also gains a +1/+1 counter for each card you draw. Combo with Ezuri for the +1/+1 counters before it dies for more Squid tokens.
Dreampod Druid Gets a Saproling token each upkeep if it is enchanted.
Doubling Season / Primal Vigor Best combo with Ezuri. Doubles the number of tokens to get double the amount of experience counters and doubles the +1/+1 counters given by Ezuri.
Earthcraft + Squirrel Nest / Intruder Alarm + Presence of Gond Infinite tokens combo when active.
Feed the Pack A life cycle like combo where you can sacrifice the pumped up Creature to get Wolf tokens for more experience counters that will provide more +1/+1 counters. Rinse and repeat every turn.
Fists of Ironwood / Raised by Wolves Aura which produces tokens when they enter the battlefield.
Hangarback Walker / Mongrel Pack / Symbiotic Beast / Symbiotic Elf / Symbiotic Wurm Gets multiple tokens when the Creature dies.
Jade Mage / Nemata, Grove Guardian Produce as much Saproling tokens as you can afford the activation cost.
Liege of the Hollows Gives whoever pays mana a number of Squirrel tokens equal to the amount of mana they paid when the Liege dies.
Living Hive Gets as much Insect tokens as the amount of combat damage it deals.
Mycoloth Gets a Saproling token for each +1/+1 counter on it at your upkeep. Super combo with Ezuri who provides the +1/+1 counters which in turn allows the Mycoloth to produce more Saproling tokens that will generate more experience counters. Rinse and repeat process over turns to get insane number of counters and tokens.
Night Soil Exile opponents’ graveyard of Creatures and get Saproling token at the same time. Anti-Reanimator.
Notorious Throng Gets a Faerie Rogue token for each damage dealt to opponents this turn. Gets an extra turn if Prowl is used.
Parallel Lives Doubles tokens for more experience counters.
Phyrexian Swarmlord Produces an Insect token with Infect for each poison counter your opponents have.
Springjack Pasture Produce Goat tokens which can be sacrifice for mana and life.
Squirrel Wrangler Sacrifice Lands for Squirrel tokens.
Wolfcaller’s Howl Get Wolf token for each opponent who has a hand of four or more cards. Great punisher card against Control players.
Verdant Embrace / Verdant Force Gets a Saproling token each upkeep.

 

Ezuri's Predation

“No one is weak.”

 

And then there is the Proliferate which I cannot emphasize enough to be the best ability to combo with all the Experience Commanders. There are many Proliferate cards that can be use; like Contagion Clasp; Contagion Engine; Inexorable Tide; Plaguemaw Beast; Throne of Geth; Thrummingbird; Viral Drake.

 

Another most common way which I seen in many Ezuri decks is using Faerie Impostor & Shrieking Drake; low cost Creatures which bounce a Creature as they enter the battlefield. The Drake can bounce itself as it enters the battlefield and be recast again and again; only limited by the amount of mana you can pay to recast it. They can also be combo with Aluren creating an infinite loop for infinite experience counters. Another combo would be Cloud of Faeries with Deadeye Navigator. The combo also produces infinite experience counters when activated. The same can also be done with Peregrine Drake; except with the Drake you get infinite mana as well. The combo can also be done with Cloudstone Curio in place of the Navigator; saving the mana needed for the Navigator’s Soulbond blink ability.

 

With all that set, you can make short work of your opponents with even the tiniest Creature on your side by pumping that Creature up at your combat step for the attack; although you do not really need to have infinite experience counters if you are pumping up an Infect Creature like Blighted Agent or Glistener Elf.

Blighted Agent

The shortest route to victory.

 

Simic Combine

Besides being the Claw of Progress, Ezuri is also a Simic Commander. He also works well with Simic themes. Graft, the first Simic guild mechanic, is a mechanic which allows things with it to share their +1/+1 counters with other Creatures that enter the battlefield. Some of them are also notable to be able to share their other abilities with other Creatures with +1/+1 counters. The other guild mechanic, Evolve, although mainly focusing on self-growth also has some Creatures which have abilities that trigger on Evolve. As both of Guild mechanics work with +1/+1 counters, they are a natural fit with Ezuri. And if we look beyond the Simic guild, there are also many abilities which deal with +1/+1 counters. Since Ezuri deals a lot with +1/+1 counters, you are going on the track to have a lot of cards which deals with those in your deck. Below are some ways you can utilize the Ezuri’s interaction with +1/+1 counters.

 

Spike Feeder + Ezuri Combo to gain massive amount of life.
Aquastrand Spider / Cytospawn Shambler / Helium SquirterSimic Basilisk / Sporeback Troll Graft Creatures which give their abilities to other Creatures with +1/+1 counter on them. Ezuri can help to refill or increase the +1/+1 counters of the Graft Creatures after they have given out their +1/+1 counters.
Aerie Ouphes / Glen Elendra Archmage / Grazing Kelpie / Trapjaw Kelpie / River Kelpie Persist Creatures which make use of Ezuri to negate the -1/-1 counter they get after coming back from Persist.
Battlefront Krushok Make all your Creatures with +1/+1 counters on them can’t be blocked by more than one Creature.
Bloodspore Thrinax / Master Biomancer+ Ezuri Combo which when activated turns all small Creatures entering the battlefield after into huge monstrosities; although it is to be noted that either the combo or Biomancer alone will shut down Ezuri’s experience counter gaining thereafter since all Creatures will enter the battlefield being pumped up. This is true unless the Creature has zero power with a un-pump Biomancer.
Bramblewood Paragon / Crowned Ceratok / Tuskguard Captain Gives Trample to all your Creatures with +1/+1 counter on them.
Cytoplast Manipulator Graft Creature which can gain control of Creatures with +1/+1 counters on them. Use Ezuri to refill or increase the +1/+1 counters on it.
Etched Oracle / Mindless Automaton / Sage of Fable + Ezuri Convert +1/+1 counters into card draws.
Fathom Mage + Ezuri A crazy card draw engine.
Gyre Sage + Ezuri A super mana ramp  combo for massive G.
Longshot Squad Gives Reach to all your Creatures with +1/+1 counter on them.
Plaxcaster Frogling Gives Shroud to other Creatures with +1/+1 counter on them. Act as a form of counterspell to protect Creatures against single target abilities or spells.
Sage of Hours + Ezuri An infinite turn combo if you have five more experience counters.
Simic Manipulator Evolve Creature which remove +1/+1 counters from itself to gain control of Creature with power less than or equal to number of +1/+1 counters removed this way. Use Ezuri to refill or increase the +1/+1 counters on it.
Triskelavus / Triskelion + Ezuri Convert +1/+1 counters into damage.
Vigean Graftmage Untaps Creatures with +1/+1 counters on them.

 

Sage of Hours

“Infinite Turns anyone?”

 

Conclusion

Ezuri, Claw of Progress

“There is no weak. It just needs some mollification.”

+1/+1 counters have been around MtG for a long time and is well developed to have more than enough cards to use. Ezuri can really do a lot with his experience abilities combine with all the +1+/1 counter themes using the methods mentioned in this article. I will strongly recommend using the Claw of Progress as your Commander if you are looking for one to lead in your +1/+1 counter theme deck. Ezuri is also good as an Infect Commander as he pumps up your Infect attacker for the kill. The Infect theme can also be used with Blighted Agent or Inkmoth Nexus, chosen for their evasion abilities, as a sub-theme to the deck to use as a kill con. Regardless of how you use him, the Claw of Progress is a very strong build around Commander or a powerful Creature pumper.

 

So how would you use the fallen “Hero” of Mirrodin lost? Will you use him as your Commander or a common Creature to pump other Creatures in the deck? Share with us what you think in the comments below. That is all we have for the Claw of Progress. We hope to see you in the next article for Commanders from Commander 2015. Thus till then….

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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