Etrata the Silencer

Just to make sure I have everything, and to have something that creates surprise and excitement, I have a deck around Vela the Night-Clad, and Ninjas.

The problem with Ninjas is that there aren’t that many, and since Kamigawa block is concidered a failure by WOTC, it isn’t likely that there are many more ninjas any time soon. Sure, sometimes they throw us a bone and print a new Ninja, like Yuriko, the Tigers Shadow, or something that fits at least thematically and has good evasion like Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive but it’s rare to see something mindblowing. And in general, Ninjas aren’t even that good. The on-hit effects are often a little marginal.

And while the options keep increasing, nothing beats Vela the Night-Clad right now as a Ninja commander because of the evasion she gives and she helps draining opponents when you ninjutsu something in. But at least there are some new cards that may add to the 99. In Guilds of Ravnica there is a new legend that at least shares some values with all the shadowy spy assassins in the deck. I love to put out hits on people, and while it’s not exactly a new Ninja, there are enough ways in which she synergizes with them. That new legend is Etrata, the Silencer.

So, what’s the synergy? Well, she is unblockable, so you can always use her to ninjutsu something out. this is important later. Further more she has an ability that triggers on hit, that straight out exiles the best creature the defending player controls ├índ possibly makes them lose the game right away.

Her wall of text hides a significant downside, though. After she hits, she’ll be shuffled in the library and in a 100 card singleton format, the likelyhood of getting her back naturally is very low. This is where ninjutsu comes in. If she hits, you can ninjutsu her out, so she goes to your hand instead of being shuffeled. Preferably, you find some way to give her first strike, so you’ll get her trigger, and that of the Ninja you warp in. Then you can simply replay her and attack to exile another creature.

Note that even if you can’t cheat the shuffle trigger, at least she’ll do some damage and counts as a four mana removal spell, which is pretty good by itself, but not the reason to run Etrata. You run her to murder things one after another.

Sadly, granting her double strike isn’t a solution either. She’ll always be gone after first strike damage, and won’t be able to deal the second, normal strike. Outside of bounce and blink tricks, there are some solutions to that. First, there is Helm of the Host, so you can make copies of her, and eventually take people out in one fell swoop. This option is kinda slow though. At least the copies are non-legendary, so copying those is a viable way to quickly have 3 or more Etratas on the battlefield at the same time. Another option is to imprint her on Soul Foundry, and work from there. The downside to that plan is that there is a big incentive to destroy the Foundry, and you’ll lose Etrata forever.

The best workaround however, is probably Strionic Resonator. You can simply copy her hit trigger (maybe even twice with a Voltaic Key or something) and then bounce her to your hand. I’m sure that killing someone on the spot out of nowhere that way will resonate with them. Strionic Resonator will ofcourse also work with the on-hit effects of your Ninjas and other creatures with saboteur abilities.

If all else fails, you can make her your commander and just slowly assasinate things from you command zone. Then, you can always choose to put her back in the command zone, instead of shuffling her. This raises the commander tax very quickly though, and she’ll probably costs before you take down the first player, so it isn’t ideal. And people will make her a priority, especially after two hits on them. You’ll have to decide if just exiling one of their things is enough value on its own, or if you really want to take people out with her. I think I’ll go for the latter option.

Posted under Commander / EDH