Common Gold: Max’em Daxos

In Commander, big creatures are often the best creatures. Most decks can’t function without their big creatures unless entirely built around the idea of either swarm tactics or hard control. Even in those builds, larger creatures play a major role in the success of the deck, providing potent abilities and serious damage in key situations. Creatures like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and his brother Kozilek, Butcher of Truth can be found in a lot of lists, and if not the Eldrazi, power hitters like Avenger of ZendikarAkroma, Angel of WrathConsecrated SphinxGeth, Lord of the Vault, and Balefire Dragon have all become staples for their respective colors. Creatures like those mentioned are a threat that can’t be ignored, and playing around big creatures is something that most decks are prepared for, packing solid creature control in their 100 cards. Very few decks can honestly say that they simply don’t care how big an opponent’s creatures get, but one Commander comes to mind when I think about Legendary Creatures who just don’t give a crap:

 

Daxos of Meletis is a very interesting creature. He’s an early hitter, he gains you life, and he has a relevant form of evasion in the “Big Creatures Matter” format. Not only does he simply not care about your larger creatures, he doesn’t care about anything for the most part, including the Color Identity rules of the Commander format, bypassing them entirely for the sake of his effect. Daxos is a picturesque Voltron Commander. His low mana cost and inherent evasion makes him both quick and efficient, providing massive early game damage and turning opponent’s threats against them. But like most Voltron Commanders, you have to assemble Voltron to maximize his potential. Typically, “Voltron” requires you to have things like Sword of Feast and FamineUmezawa’s JitteEldrazi Conscription, and the like, but those cards are expensive and we’re building on a budget here. I mean, after all, Daxos himself will run you a massive $0.75  out of pocket. Breaking the bank, right?

So basically, we’re building the “Junkyard Voltron” of our dreams here, but if the movie Real  Steel has anything to say about it, that junk will take you to the top.

Artifacts

Empyrial Plate
Clocking in at a more than affordable $0.50, Empyrial Plate is able to be both played and equipped the turn after Daxos hits the table, allowing him to hit someone for a potential nine Commander damage on his first swing, nearly half the lethal amount. As the game goes on, it’s buff may decrease due to the need to play the cards in your hand, but it also has the potential to increase. You are playing Blue after all. You probably have some card draw.

 

Grappling Hook
For only $0.45, Grappling Hook capitalizes on Daxos phenomenally. Playable as a way to either double Daxos’s triggers, or as a source of removal, Grappling Hook does some serious work, giving you options as to the cards you could potentially play from an opponent’s deck, gaining you even more life, and potentially enabling one-shot kills.

Sword of Vengeance
Somewhat more expensive than the others, but in no way making your wallet cry, Sword of Vengeance weighs in at a moderate $2.50, but what kind of Voltron deck doesn’t have at least one sword? An overall six mana investment isn’t all that terrible for the effect, especially considering it gives the equipped creature haste, allowing you to play Daxos in the late game and not lose out on value. First Strike gives you the ability to efficiently take out those little creatures that can actually stand in his way, and Trample allows you to do so and still trigger Daxos’s ability. Vigilance, the icing on the cake in my opinion, giving you some wiggle room with your attacks and blocks.

 

Enchantments

 

Steel of the Godhead

At a little over a dollar, Steel of the Godhead gives some wonderful benefits to your two color Commander. Lifelink is always a solid ability, giving you some much needed sustainability in a format plagued by burst damage and wild swings of dominance during a game, while Unblockability simply gives Daxos even more of a reason not to care about your opponent’s creatures. It’s no Shield of the Oversoul, but a close second in my opinion and your only choice from that cycle of cards.
Righteous Authority
Sitting at a Quarter in price, Righteous Authority, while expensive mana wise, gives you everything you could possibly want. It provides card advantage, and that card advantage is what helps buff Daxos through the roof! An overall underrated card from the Return to Ravnica block, Righteous Authority can end games, especially with the aforementioned Emyprial Plate as well.
Sunbond

This card is an uncommon champ with Daxos. It may cost four, which seems like a hard pill to swallow for the effect at first, but attacking with Daxos, hitting a 6-drop and having Daxos become an 8/8 from that point forward is phenomenal. At four mana, you can enchant Daxos before his first swing, and from that point forward, he can easily get out of control, gaining power repeatedly until your opponents are dead. Overall, Sunbond is not a card you should overlook for the little Soldier. He does love gaining life after all.

Daxos is a MONSTER. The inability to block him with creatures power three or greater is both important and infinitely useful. This is what lets him hit people and do it quite hard. He is a profitable swing almost every time you turn him sideways, unless they have a good number of 2/3s. Unfortunately, he tends to hit a wall against…well…walls. Pesky Defenders brick wall Daxos rather effectively, but that is why you assemble Voltron. Daxos is a good guy to swing under the radar with because he only shines though when you hit that trigger.

Here are some useful tips to remember when playing Daxos:

  1. Keep as much mana free as possible  until after you’ve swung. If the card you exile is worth playing, you need the free mana to cast it. You don’t want to be one short of a game-changer.
  2. You don’t have to play the card immediately. If it’s an instant, his ability lasts until end of turn, don’t forget that.
  3. The life gain can be a massive game breaker. Gaining even small increments of life consistently can save your skin. Try to capitalize on this as well with effects like Rhox Faithmender or Boon Reflection.
  4. If your opponents have multiple small creatures, don’t swing unless you KNOW its beneficial. Losing Daxos to a quadruple block with tokens is just shameful.

You can get some good mileage out of this little guy for very cheap, and it’s that effect that makes him so good. Max him out, capitalize, add some extra triggers from things like Curiosity, and have fun.

As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to leave your comments, feedback, and ideas in the comment section below and keep an eye out for more content coming soon.

 


Austin Sutherland

 

Author: Austin Sutherland

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