A Deck Tech for Zaxara, the Exemplary, for Magic: The Gathering

Magic: The Gathering may have a large number of humans at the forefront of most conflicts in the game, but by no means is the game mundane. We recently went over a deck tech for a tribal Humans Commander deck, led by Jirina Kudro. Now, we get a chance to look into the monstrous beings of Ikoria, through Commander 2020's Zaxara, the Exemplary.

Zaxara the Exemplary art mtg Simon Dominic
The artwork for Zaxara, the Exemplary for Magic: The Gathering, illustrated by Simon Dominic.

Simply put, this deck is filled to the brim with "X" spells – that is to say, spells that have a cost of "X" somewhere on the card – either in its mana cost or in the cost of its abilities. That isn't to say that the deck is fully "X" spells, but there are enough of them to likely call this deck an "X" tribal build. In any case, to grasp what is going on with this deck, the decklist we will be discussing in this article can be found here. Without further ado, let's look at some of the notable inclusions for this deck!

Notable Inclusions

"X" Spells: There are so many spells with a modular cost in here that we can't quickly go over every single one in-depth. However, there are a few we can go over here. One favorite is Helix Pinnacle, a spell that requires 100 counters on it to win you the game automatically! It's a challenge to use the thing, but its payoff is legitimate.

Helix Pinnacle art mtg Dan Scott
The artwork for Helix Pinnacle, a card from Magic: The Gathering, illustrated by Dan Scott.

Hydras of all sorts: What good is an "X"-centric deck without the most versatile of creatures? Hydras are creatures that have so much utility in their sizes – early-game, they can come down cheaply, and later on, they can be massive. Zaxara even makes Hydras for casting "X" spells – including but not limited to Hydras! That's a great deal. Hydras, such as the incomparable Hydroid Krasis, are therefore somewhat necessary to make this deck shine.

Hydroid Krasis art mtg Jason Felix
The artwork for Hydroid Krasis, a card from Magic: The Gathering, illustrated by Jason Felix.

Simic Ascendancy: There are more ways to win than just stacking counters upon Helix Pinnacle or beating face with Hydras in this deck. Simic Ascendancy is arguably a more natural card to win with automatically in this deck than Helix Pinnacle as all you need is for the Ascendancy to see twenty +1/+1 counters being put on your creatures. This task is made so much easier with Hydras and other such creatures.

Simic Ascendancy mtg card
Simic Ascendancy, a card from the Ravnica Allegiance set for Magic: The Gathering.

The Ozolith: The Ozolith is probably the best card to combine with Simic Ascendancy – that and any other card that cares about counters that give a positive effect to your creatures. Most likely, if you have Simic Ascendancy and The Ozolith out, you've probably won within a turn or two! How is that for strong?

The Ozolith mtg card
The Ozolith, a new card from the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths set for Magic: The Gathering.

In Conclusion

What do you think of this deck in theory? Is it strong enough to compete in a semi-competitive environment, or even higher gaming levels? Let us know your opinions in the comments below!

Zaxara the Exemplary mtg card
Zaxara, the Exemplary, a new card from the Commander 2020 set for Magic: The Gathering.

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About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.
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