Heads I Ydwen, Tails From the Crypt [EDH]


The Tentacled One
After waiting nearly a year since I ordered it, I finally got my Secret Lair commander deck. This is the adjusted version I devised early in 2022, when I labored under the foolish misapprehension that I'd get my hands on the Secret Lair much earlier. The list you're seeing here is different from the original preconstructed list by 18 card slots. My adjustments took three forms...
1. 300% more efreet. There are four efreets in blue/red that do stuff with coins, and the original list only runs one of them. I run all four. This was the perfect opportunity to run Ydwen Efreet in a deck, and I wasn't going to pass that up.
2. Upgrade the manabase. The original manabase is trash. I couldn't bring myself to play a deck with so many lands that enter the battlefield tapped. Temple of the False God? I just threw up in my mouth a little bit thinking of that. The list has too many lands anyway. That's easily fixed. Also, I'm running Mana Crypt because of course this deck should have a Mana Crypt.
3. Get rid of good cards and replace them with cards that flip more coins. Serum Visions? Propaganda? The Locust God? Good stuff, but that's not what we're about. I want to flip coins, and I'll run Aleatory in order to do it. Eat your heart out, Gavin Verhey. So yeah, I may have downgraded several cards. If it's got "Frenetic" in its name or if it makes mana, then my change is an upgrade. If it's anything else, I quite possibly swapped in a worse card on purpose, because dammit, I'm here to flip coins.

1 Okaun, Eye of Chaos
1 Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom

1 Academy Ruins
1 Aleatory
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Arcane Signet
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Boompile
1 Buried Ruin
1 Cascade Bluffs
1 Chance Encounter
1 Chandra's Ignition
1 Chaos Warp
1 Chaotic Goo
1 Chaotic Strike
1 City of Traitors
1 Command Tower
1 Commander's Plate
1 Counterspell
1 Crooked Scales
1 Daretti, Scrap Savant
1 Desolate Lighthouse
1 Embercleave
1 Fabricate
1 Fickle Efreet
1 Fiery Gambit
1 Flamekin Village
1 Footfall Crater
1 Frenetic Efreet
1 Gamble
1 Goblin Archaeologist
1 Goblin Bomb
1 Goblin Engineer
1 Goblin Festival
1 Goblin Kaboomist
1 Great Furnace
1 Impulsive Maneuvers
1 Inventors' Fair
7 Island
1 Karplusan Minotaur
1 Krark, the Thumbless
1 Krark's Thumb
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Long-Term Plans
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mind Stone
1 Mirror March
1 Mogg Assassin
8 Mountain
1 Mox Diamond
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Negate
1 Planar Chaos
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Prismatic Vista
1 Ral Zarek
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Reshape
1 Risky Move
1 Rogue's Passage
1 Sakashima the Impostor
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Seize the Day
1 Shadowspear
1 Shivan Reef
1 Skyclaw Thrash
1 Slip Through Space
1 Sol Ring
1 Spinerock Knoll
1 Squee's Revenge
1 Steam Vents
1 Stitch in Time
1 Sulfur Falls
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Talisman of Creativity
1 Tavern Scoundrel
1 Thought Vessel
1 Training Center
1 Tribute Mage
1 Vandalblast
1 Viashino Sandswimmer
1 Volcanic Island
1 Whir of Invention
1 Whispersilk Cloak
1 Ydwen Efreet
1 Yusri, Fortune's Flame

Here is a full list of my substitutions and reasoning...

Out: Frenetic Sliver
In: Frenetic Efreet
This one should be self-explanatory, but it's also one of the most powerful improvements I made. Frenetic Efreet is on the Reserved List, so WotC "couldn't" put it in the precon. It also enables huge, explosive plays with either commander in this deck, because you can flip as many coins as you want. My efreet subtheme wasn't just an excuse to run this card. I'd have run this card no matter what.

Out: Bloodsworn Steward
In: Fickle Efreet
Giving Okaun haste is pretty great. This is a downgrade, but something had to go for me to get Fickle Efreet into the deck.

Out: Niv-Mizzet, Parun
In: Ydwen Efreet
Quite possibly the biggest downgrade. The interaction of this card with Zndrsplt is broken. However, Cutting Niv-Mizzet does some important things here. The double-triple pip requirements on this one card warped the whole manabase around it. Also, it becomes practical to cut other cards that were part of the original precon's Niv-Mizzet support package, and I can use those cuts to make room for my own stupid ideas.

Out: The Locust God
In: Skyclaw Thrash
We don't need a token-generator. We need to flip more coins.

Out: Spark Double
In: Chaotic Goo
I was loathe to cut Spark Double, as it's a great card. But Chaotic Goo was coming in one way or another, and getting rid of a blue four-drop creature made sense.

Out: Sword of Vengeance
In: Viashino Sandswimmer
Again, I cut a haste-enabler. This one might be either an upgrade or a downgrade depending on how you look at it. The original deck has more ways to suddenly deploy Okaun and one-shot an opponent in the space of a single turn. My version has harder time setting that up, but it can draw way more cards with Zndrsplt, because it can flip more coins.

Out: Temur Battle Rage
In: Chaotic Strike
Downgrade, but it flips a coin. Okaun doesn't really need trample anyway, with how many cards this deck uses to make him unblockable.

Out: Serum Visions
In: Aleatory
This could have been Brainstorm, but I stuck to my theme. I regret nothing. Flip one more coin. It could make all the difference.

Out: Propaganda
In: Goblin Festival
I felt bad cutting the beautiful copy of Propaganda that they made for this deck, but we're not here to play control. We're here to flip coins.

Out: Temple of the False God
In: Goblin Bomb
It was satisfying to cut the most overplayed card in the format and replace it with an old favorite of mine. Also, I needed to bring the land count down a bit.

Out: Izzet Signet
In: Mox Diamond
I've made no secret of my general disdain for the Ravnican Signets. They're not necessarily bad, but they're not that great. Mox Diamond is better, obviously.

Out: Temple of Epiphany
In: Mana Crypt
So yeah. The original deck had too many lands, too many lands that enter the battlefield tapped, and not enough ways to rush out more mana and deploy the five-drop commanders faster. This change tackles all three problems at once.

Out: Izzet Boilerworks
In: Volcanic Island
Entering the battlefield tapped isn't cool. Entering the battlefield tapped is lame.

Out: Myriad Landscape
In: City of Traitors
The commanders are the heart and soul of this deck. Everything revolves around them. They're vital. Until we're working with them, we're just flipping coins for little reason. And they both cost five mana. So I've swapped out garbage like Myriad Landscape for all-in mana production. Yes, City of Traitors really is worth it.

Out: Path of Ancestry
In: Ancient Tomb
Instead of entering the battlefield tapped, Ancient Tomb taps for 2 mana. This is good. This is what we want.

Out: Wandering Fumarole
In: Steam Vents
Some of the land inclusions in the original list baffle me. Did Gavin Verhey actually use Wandering Fumarole's man-land ability? Why?

Out: Exotic Orchard
In: Scalding Tarn
Of all the land choices in the original deck, Exotic Orchard puzzles me the most. It's not the worst land in the deck. It's just kind of pointless. We're only running two colors, and we have approximately zero chance of ever wanting a third color. Why would we run a land that only makes sense in the mirror match? There are so many other options to choose from.

Out: Tolaria West
In: Prismatic Vista
The original deck has no zero-drop artifacts. The only cards you could ever transmute Tolaria West into would be other lands, most of which are bad anyway. Prismatic Vista performs a similar role, but better.


The Tentacled One
I'd been anticipating this for a year, and had a general outline of my modifications to the precon set up for most of that time. I wrote up a plan for the modifications by July and had the physical stack of 18 cards sitting on a table in my bedroom by September. So when I finally got the package yesterday, made my changes, and got to sleeve the whole thing up, I was trying to steel myself for disappointment. I modified this precon, but it was basically still the precon. I knew that this pile didn't stand a chance against a lot of the decks I'd seen at my LGS. I had become emotionally invested in a deck that I knew wasn't very strong, and which I had deliberately held back on for the sake of my theme. My mantra was to not get my hopes up, to wait and take my time with this deck, that good games would come eventually, and it could be a slow burn.

I didn't need to worry. I piloted this deck three times last night. It won all three games. We had some inclement weather and folks were slow getting to the store, so my first game was just a 1v1. My opponent got off to a bad start with a five-color deck, and I won with a mix of beatdown and Karplusan Minotaur ping damage. I feel like my topdecks were lackluster and I'd have lost this one if it had been a multiplayer game, but whatever.

Second game had me building up more slowly, but closing out the game with an unblockable 384/384 Okaun. No Krark's Thumb: I'd been losing my coin flips for a while and then suddenly went on a tear. Third game was a pitched battle. Zndrsplt took over, drawing me lots of cards. After getting an extra turn from Stitch in Time, I was able to ultimate Ral Zarek and get four more extra turns in a row, at which point my opponents all agreed to concede.

The deck isn't super-strong and I'm sure I'll experience my share of losses with it later. But for now, it's been a blast, and quite successful.
Last edited:


The Tentacled One
Played this deck and almost beat my own Titania deck when it was piloted against me. I had poor luck with coin flips on my last turn and that sealed the loss. But hey, that makes sense. Live by the coinflip, die by the coinflip.


The Tentacled One
I lost my most recent game with this deck in spectacular fashion. I flipped enough coins to make Okaun a 3,221,225,472/3,221,225,472 and killed one opponent with combat damage. Tried to finish the final opponent off with Chandra's Ignition, but he happened to be ready with Deflecting Palm. Yes, that's right. Deflecting Palm...

Wait, what? Why? I mean, it's the perfect card for that situation, and I totally didn't anticipate it. So there's that!