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Quandrix Quandry $50 Precon Upgrade | Tokens | +1/+1 Counters


Commander 2021 preconstructed decks have been revealed which means it's time for another round of my precon upgrades! I'll go over how each preconstructed deck plays, why you should buy it, analyze its strengths and weaknesses, then use that information to recommend an optimal and impactful $50 upgrade.

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Today we're covering the precon Quantum Quandrix, a Quandrix Token deck with a strong +1/+1 Counter subtheme. These two different archetypes merge together for the first time thanks to the introduction of a new type of token: Fractals, 0/0 creatures that come with +1/+1 Counters. The goal of the deck is to fill the board of tokens, most notably Fractal tokens, with cards like Paradox Zone, Deekah, Fractal Theorist, and Geometric Nexus, and then enhance those tokens, drawing cards off Curiosity Crafter, adding counters to them with Master Biomancer, or bouncing away non-tokens with Perplexing Test.  The end result is a Stompy deck that merges Tokens and +1/+1 Counters in a way we've never seen before, essentially becoming a Stompy deck that smashes face with huge beaters but has a ton of tricks up its sleeve.

The precon's main themes merge together with its face commander, Adrix and Nev, Twincasters:

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Adrix and Nev, Twincasters is a ridiculous commander. In a deck all about making tokens, having a commander that doubles all of our token generators is absolutely insane. It's essentially a Parallel Lives in our command zone, and it's even resilient to targeted removal thanks to Ward 2. Cheap, resilient to removal, and one of the best cards in the archetype, it's hard to imagine a better Token commander than Adrix and Nev, so we're going to keep it in the command zone for our upgraded version of the deck.

Oh and just to clarify since there's been confusion: extra tokens made by Adrix's replacement effect come with the same number of +1/+1 counters, so it works just fine with fractal generators like Geometric Nexus and Fractal Harness. The extra tokens enter with the same number of +1/+1 counters.

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Alright, let's check out the decklist and see how well it accomplishes its goals:

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Right out of the box, Quandrix Quandry does a great job focusing on its primary theme, Tokens, with 32 cards that either generate tokens or directly support tokens. The secondary theme, +1/+1 Counters, also has a strong showing, with 19 cards that either put create counters or directly support counters. Fractals tie the two different archetypes together, as they are both tokens and come with +1/+1 counters.

Now that we've glanced at the list as a whole, let's take a look at the deck's ratios.

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Analyzing the Precon

As I often explain in my Budget Commander articles, every time I build a rough draft of a deck, I make sure I have a certain ratio of mana, interaction, card advantage, etc. This gives me a reference point to compare to the deck and see which areas may need improvement. My general ratio is:

  • 50 mana; lands and ramp, usually a 37–13 split
  • 10 card draw; cards that net you 2+ cards in hand
  • 8 targeted removal; split between creature / artifact / enchantment removal and countermagic
  • 3 board wipes; creature-light decks might want one more, creature-heavy decks might want one less
  • 2 graveyard recursion
  • 2 flexible tutors; higher budgets I recommend more tutors
  • 1 graveyard hate; since you need to keep Graveyard decks honest 
  • 1 finisher; something that can win games the turn you cast it without too much setup

That's always my starting point, which is then tweaked to suit the individual deck's strategy and further tweaked with playtesting. I always find it immensely useful to figure out some quick ways to improve the deck in question.

Let's see what the rough ratios are for Quantum Quandrix and how it compares. I count:

The numbers here look very good, which is thankfully the norm these days for precons. There's only two things that caught me by surprise: the lack of graveyard recursion and the inclusion of an actual piece of graveyard hate!

Now that we have the ratios in mind, let's take a look at the individual cards, highlighting the strongest and weakest in each category.

40 Lands. There are a higher than average amount of lands in the deck, which makes sense since there are ramp spells that get better with higher land counts like Zimone, Quandrix Prodigy and Eureka Moment. Plus two of the lands, Lonely Sandbar and Tranquil Thicket, can cycle.

Notable land highlights include Oran-Rief, the Vastwood as a mana-efficient way to put extra counters on your creatures and untapped mana-fixers Command Tower and Yavimaya Coast. There's aren't any terrible land choices here, even Temple of the False God is as good as you can reasonably ask for, though Llanowar Reborn is a weak card even if thematic.

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10 Ramp. The ramp is a mixed bag, with some fast format staples like Rampant Growth and Sol Ring mixed in with some weaker options like Nissa's Expedition and Quandrix Cultivator. It's fine but we can easily improve things here.

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11 Card Draw. The deck's greatest strengths is its card draw: we have tons of insane burst draw options like Commander's Insight, Return of the Wildspeaker, and Curiosity Crafter to instantly refill our hand. We also have incremental draw like Idol of Oblivion that is cheap but efficient, plus flexible draw like Zimone, Quandrix Prodigy. This deck will rarely run out of spells to cast. A+

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8 Targeted Removal. The targeted removal is pretty good but not great. We've got some format staples like Rapid Hybridization and Beast Within mixed in with some less efficient options like Incubation // Incongruity and what appears to be a Kamigawa lover's pet jank card, Arashi, the Sky Asunder. I see you, Daniel!

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2 Board Wipes. The two board wipes in the deck are phenomenal: Oversimplify is great in just about any Simic deck as a mass exile option, but exceptional in this deck due to fractal synergies. Perplexing Test is a new Token staple, an asymmetrical instant speed board wipe is just beautiful.

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0 Graveyard Recursion. The total lack of graveyard recursion is very surprising since precons usually include a few. Ruxa, Patient Professor has a recursion ability, but this precon offers no targets for it. I would definitely add a few recursion cards here.

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0 Flexible Tutors. Tutors are super helpful for any Commander deck to help you find the right card for any situation, but I'm fine with them not showing up in precons. These are decks that are meant to pick up and play without being intimately aware of the deck's contents so tutors would only serve to confuse new pilots.

1 Graveyard Hate. Sequence Engine isn't the most efficient graveyard hate piece since it requires a lot of mana and it's sorcery-speed, but it still works, so it's something. It's primarily here to make fractal tokens, and it does a great job of that.

2 Finishers. This deck is jam-packed with threats that can end games, but there's two cards added specifically to push lethal damage through: Biomass Mutation and Return of the Wildspeaker are both amazing instant-speed ways to surprise opponents with a fatal attack. Mutation is especially good with fractal tokens as they are 0/0's that get maximum benefit from its effect.

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The Verdict. Overall, this deck is incredibly well-built. The card draw, board wipes, and finishers are amazing here. While the ramp, targeted removal, and lack of recursion can be improved on, this is a precon that I'm confident in recommending right out of the box.

Making Quandrix Quandry Better

I have some specific goals when upgrading the deck:

  • Strengthen the themes of Tokens and +1/+1 Counters
  • Add better ramp
  • Upgrade the targeted removal
  • Add graveyard recursion

The precon is really solid right out of the box, but there's always room for improvement. Let's get started!

$50 Upgrade

Disclaimer: Card prices are volatile, especially during preview season. The prices listed here may be different at the time you read this article.

I'm going to show you how to give the precon a huge power boost for less than the price of a single Parallel Lives or Doubling Season.

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Here's how I'd swap in $20 worth of upgrades:

In Out Reason
Sakura-Tribe Elder Coiling Oracle More consistent ramp.
Rishkar, Peema Renegade Quandrix Cultivator

Faster ramp that supports our counter theme.

Growth Spiral Eureka Moment

Faster, better ramp.

Search for Tomorrow Nissa's Expedition

Faster, better ramp.

Hadana's Climb Primal Empathy

Way stronger card that supports our counter strategy, ramps, and acts as a win condition.

Scute Swarm Kazandu Tuskcaller Better token generator.

Avenger of Zendikar

Biomathematician

Best token and counter generator in the deck.

Sylvan Offering

Hornet Nest

Offering is amazing on-demand tokens. Nest doesn't do anything unless someone attacks into it.
Body of Research Desolation Twin Way better token generator for cheaper.
Stolen Identity Geometric Nexus Very efficient token generator, can make 2 tokens on the first turn and 1 token each subsequent turn. Nexus is too slow.
Chasm Skulker Crafty Cutpurse

Skulker supports both tokens and counters very well. Cutpurse is too situational.

Tanazir Quandrix Biomass Mutation

Mutation is good, but Tanazir does the same role but way better.

Fathom Mage Champion of Wits

Mage draws way more cards and fits the counter theme.

Inspiring Call Golden Ratio

Amazing card draw and better protection.

Bane of Progress Arashi, the Sky Asunder

Amazing removal plus counter synergy.

Evolution Sage Kaseto, Orochi Archmage

Insanely good with counters.

God-Pharaoh's Gift Ruxa, Patient Professor

Great token recursion.

Decisive Denial

Incubation // Incongruity

Amazing versatile removal.
Negate Curse of the Swine

Deck needs more counters.

Khalni Ambush Temple of the False God

Better land.

Crashing Drawbridge Study Hall

Deck needs haste.

Hall of Oracles Llanowar Reborn

Better counter land.

Littjara Mirrorlake Island

Token synergy.

Reliquary Tower Island

I like keeping all the cards I draw.

Here's how the cuts look in lists.

Additions:

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Cuts:

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And here's the deck with the upgrades installed:

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One Down, Four To Go!

Next up is Prismari Performance and the rest of the C21 precon upgrades!



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