Alexi, Zephyr Mage is a 3/3 Legendary Human Spellshaper from Prophecy for 3UU. Not fantastic stats, but modest for a creature with a tap ability. Being a Spellshaper instead of a Wizard is a big downside, though. Being a Wizard is the main reason to play a lot of the mono-blue Commanders. Synergy with Azami, Lady of Scrolls for example is one of the main reasons Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is now more than 20 dollars a piece for From the Vault: Legends copies.
Anyway, onto the actual card.
For XU discard two cards, and tap, you return X target creatures to their owners’ hands. This ability is pretty powerful – the cost of the ability gets more and more worth it, depending on the number of creatures you’re bouncing – better if they’re gone permanently, with a card like Dismiss into Dream.
Dismiss Into Dream makes your opponents sacrifice their creatures whenever they becoming the target of any spell or ability, whether it he yours or theirs. It’s actually a fairly solid card in Commander already. It shuts down Voltron decks aside from Bruna, Light of Alabaster and Zur the Enchanter due to them getting around targeting with their respective abilities. It also turns off all equipment, as activated ability to equip a piece of equipment is a targeted ability and would destroy the creature – making staples like Lightning Greaves completely useless.
Being able to easily bounce things makes it a huge bonus as long as you can offset the discard easily. Cards like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, while all expensive, work well this this ability. Due to the fact that whenever any of them are put into the graveyard from anywhere, you shuffle your graveyard into your library, with those cards included. This essentially lets you recycle everything you discarded to his ability before back into the library. Other not-as-great options include Blightsteel Colossus and Darksteel Colossus. Both of those at least shuffle themselves back in, guaranteeing that you’ll always have at least one card in your deck to discard to him.
It does not, however, see a whole lot of play for the time being. As far as metamox is concerned, it’s seen play in all of 4 decks and didn’t commander any of them.
I personally like Alexi, and there’s a lot of cool stuff you can do with him. Another idea is to return your own creatures to your hand at the same time as your opponents to get their ETB effects again.
Cards to play in Alexi, Zephyr Mage:
- Blightseel Colossus
- Caged Sun
- Dismiss into Dream
- Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
- Extraplanar Lens
- Gauntlet of Power
- Jin-Gitaxis, Core Augur
- Kosilek, Butcher of Truth
- Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
To explain a few of the choices, Caged Sun, Extraplanar Lens, and Gauntlet of Power are all artifact based mana doublers. I especially recommend them because of the fact you wants as much mana as possible to be able to cast your commander and use his ability repeatedly. As you’re also playing Eldrazi, you’ll need the mana regardless. Palinchron is an automatic inclusion as with that many mana doublers in the deck, you’ll likely end up with infinite mana when you finally find him.
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur is another legendary creature that causes you to draw 7 cards during your end step and causes your opponents to have a maximum hand size of zero. While this effect is cancelled out by the ever-present Commander staple-land Reliquary Tower, it’s still very much worth a slot in the deck on the chance they don’t have it in play yet – and it gives you 7 cards a turn to help balance out the discard from Alexi.
Things to play alongside Alexi, Zephyr Mage in other decks:
I think that Alexi could see some decent play in Nekusar, the Mindrazer.
The play-style of Alexi works well with Nekusar, as he fills up your opponent’s hand with their creatures, and then you make them discard their hands for new hands to deal damage. Other cards I included are simple hand removal – doing the best to remove what you bounced.
I think Alexi, Zephyr Mage deserves to see more Commander play. Hopefully in the future we’ll see it appear more on sites like metamox and on simulators like Cockatrice.
Until next time.