Anax and Cymede is an (are?) interesting Legendary Creature (Creatures?) to say the very least. Similar to Sen Triplets and Tibor and Lumia, this is actually more than one person – it’s a married couple! The King and Queen of Akros are the greatest heroes of the city, and needed their own card.
At 1RW for a 3/2 with First Strike and Vigilance, the stats are pretty solid. The commander can hit the board as early as turn 2 with a turn 1 Sol Ring and Boros Signet, and easily hit the board consistently turn 3. They’re aggressively costed for an aggressive Boros creature.
The other half of the card is the Heroic ability – the gimmick of Theros – that gives all of your creatures +1/+1 and trample until end of turn any time they’re targeted by a spell you control. Note that all Heroic triggers are on cast, not on resolution, so even if they counter your spell, you still get the Heroic trigger. You can also get multiple triggers in one turn if you cast multiple spells. While multiple instances of trample are redundant, the +1/+1 from each trigger does stack, giving you a pretty solid board advantage.
A real Anax and Cymede list needs to be able to consistently trigger the Heroic ability, and needs to be able to make Anax and Cymede strong enough to wipe out players with Commander Damage (21 damage dealt by a single Commander). The easiest way to do this with this particular deck is to build it as a Voltron deck – the goal of which is to deal the commander damage as quickly as possible with equipments and auras. Plus, they have the evasion to get through easily.
While they don’t quite have “evasion” per se, the first strike lets them ignore non-first strike deathtouch blockers effectively and the trample on the Heroic ability lets you get past chump blockers.
So how do you take advantage of this the best? Auras, Enchantments, Buyback and tokens!
Cards to play in Anax and Cymede:
- Akroan Crusader
- Angelic Destiny
- Assemble the Legion
- Brilliant Halo
- Fabled Hero
- Ghitu Firebreathing
- Gift of Immortality
- Krenko, Mob Boss
- Livewire Lash
- Mark of Fury
- Rise of the Hobgoblins
- Seething Anger
- Spirit Loop
- Winds of Rath
Of course, these are only a few of the cards you can play – this is by no means an exhaustive list. Eventually, I may make a list for this deck and post it here, but it isn’t 100% guaranteed.
We can’t have just our Commander be Heroic, however – Fabled Hero is a fantastic Heroic creature. 2/2 double strike for 1WW and Akroan Crusader is a 1/1 for a single red, with two different Heroic triggers. Fabled Hero gets a +1/+1 counter whenever he’s targeted, while Akroan Crusader makes another 1/1 red Soldier creature token with haste. The later trigger is probably more important than Fabled Hero making himself bigger, as we want tokens to also reap the benefits of Anax and Cymede‘s ability.
Speaking of tokens, Krenko, Mob Boss is a fantastic red token generator, who taps to make a number of 1/1 red Goblin creature tokens equal to the number of Goblins you already control – between Krenko, Mob Boss and Rise of the Hobgoblins, it’s reasonable for Krenko to make a significant amount of goblins with his ability if you’re running other goblin stuff in the deck.
Assemble the Legion is another token generator; probably the best one in these colors. Every turn, you get X 1/1 white and red soldier tokens with haste, where X is the number of muster counters on Assemble the Legion. Being able to throw an army at your opponents every turn can get ridiculous after a while.
Angelic Destiny, Ghitu Firebreathing, Spirit Loop and Brilliant Halo are all recyclable Auras – either they return to your hand when the creature dies or they are put into the graveyards themselves. These support your Heroic trigger, as you can return them to your hand to replay them and get an additional Heroic trigger.
An honorable mention here is Auratog.
He lets you sacrifice your enchantments at any time to give him +2/+2 until end of turn, giving you the freedom to get the above auras at any time and reattach them to retrigger your Heroic again. I personally think he’s too situational, but he’s pretty cool.
Gift of Immortality is something that’s lets you get your Angelic Destiny back to your hand if your Commander dies.
Due to the way the Command Zone replacement effect works, if a Commander would die and is returned to the Command zone, you don’t get a “when it dies” trigger associated with that creature’s death. With Angelic Destiny and Gift of Immortality, you just let the grave-drop resolve and then let the cards trigger to get everything back.
Both Anoint and Seething Anger are one-drop spells that give your creatures a tiny bonus. They both have buyback, though – letting you do it repeatedly.They both trigger Heroic, and then you get them back and can do it again.
Mark of Fury is an aura for a single red that gives a creature haste, and then returns itself to your hand to reattach the next turn and give something else haste – or give another creature a heroic trigger again.
Now, there is a different route you can take with Anax and Cymede that I’m a fan of: Boros Soldier tribal.
You’ll still be playing the majority of the cards above, but you’ll be playing cards that specifically help soldiers, like some of the below:
- Ballyrush Banneret
- Captain of the Watch
- Daru Warchief
- Field Marshal
- Preeminent Captain
- Rhox Pikemaster
This is just a few of the cards that came to mind when I thought of soldiers – mostly buffing all creatures of that type or making them cost less.
Or in the case of Preeminent Captain, putting any soldier from your hand into play.
Outside of it’s own deck, Anax and Cymede don’t really do a whole lot. Without the consistency of being a Commander, it lacks much strength in the 99 of a deck. However, if you’re just playing with a bunch of heroic creatures, this is one you don’t want to miss.
Until next time,