Power Level: 6.2
I used to hate Derevi. I used to think that she deserved to be banned. Having the ability to always pay only 4 mana to put her onto the battlefield from the command zone at instant speed infuriated me. I thought that she violated the spirit of EDH, and that her insane value eclipsed all other commanders. She was the advent of the end of “EDH”, and the dawn of this corporatized version then officially dubbed “Commander”.
Then I built a Derevi deck.
So this deck is not as powerful as many of the Derevi decks I’ve seen over the years. It is a stax deck, so it is definitely still annoying to play. However, it always feels a tad bit slow and janky, so I think I have reached a casual-compromise, if that is possible with such a powerful commander. This deck plays a mix of evasive and value-generating creatures to put pressure on opponents. We hopefully lock our opponents out of playing a normal game by assembling a lock with combos like Heliod, God of the Sun, Stasis, and plenty of evasive creatures while Derevi is out. It is a simple mission, and one that I have rarely actually achieved with this deck.
This deck tends to durdle a bit, not having the tutors and sheer draw necessary to get the pieces we need consistently. This is intentional, as a consistent Derevi Stax deck is hell on earth. This deck takes it easy for the first several turns, as you play your unblockable, otherwise vanilla one-drops like Triton Shorestalker. We essentially slowly begin locking down the game and changing its rules by the middle of the game, playing cards like Hokori, Dust Drinker and the always-hated Static Orb. With Derevi out, we break stax parity with our opponents by using our attacking creatures to untap our own mana sources while sometimes tapping down our opponents’. This strategy is only good with cards like Brave the Sands out, which gives all of our creatures vigilance.
I leaned much more heavily into the blue/green side of things with this deck, enjoying the value Simic tends to generate. Cards like Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and Oko, Thief of Crowns generate a ton of value all on their own. Speaking of Oko, we have a planeswalker subtheme, running powerful walkers like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Tamiyo, Field Researcher to further outvalue our opponents. Since our deck is full of creatures, we oftentimes have little trouble protecting our planeswalkers. And hey, planeswalkers are pretty much unaffected by stax cards, making them even more powerful in breaking stax symmetry with our opponents. And speaking of cards that break symmetry, Narset, Parter of Veils is the definition of that concept.
I made this deck because I wanted to challenge my assumptions about the power level of certain cards. If anything, this deck has helped show me that it’s more about how you play certain cards that decide whether they are toxic or not.
This deck is what I’d like to call a “casual stax” deck, lacking many of the pieces that could make it far more powerful. I guess Derevi’s reputation has waned over the years, as I am rarely if ever complained to about running her. She tends to be a small bird that helps my creatures untap lands when they hit my opponents. Not very threatening sounding, is it? Well, looks can be deceiving.