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Satoru Umezawa Ninjas & "Ninjas" |$60, $100

Hey everyone and welcome back to Budget Commander! This week we're brewing around the popular Satoru Umezawa and I've got not one but two sweet builds to share with you!

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Ninjas and "Ninjas"

The interesting thing about Satoru is he encourages two very different builds: Ninjas and "Ninjas"

The first build is actual Ninja Tribal: this is often led by Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow, and it's one of the most popular commanders of all time according to EDHREC. The only downside to running Yuriko though is that the commander is strong, oppressively so at more casual tables. Even if you're jamming the most mediocre ninjas, those innocent-looking Moonblade Shinobi are going to quickly destroy tables under Yuriko, who herself is incredibly difficult to keep off the battlefield. So people who want a more chill, lower power Ninja deck can use Satoru Umezawa.

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Under Satoru, Ninja Tribal is an aggressive low(ish) curve deck looking to sneak in your ninjas with the help of evasive 1-drops like Mist-Cloaked Herald and then keep them sneaky with evasion enablers like Aqueous Form or Wonder. Satoru provides both card advantage for all your ninjas and occasionally a ramp to some pricier ninjutsus like Silent-Blade Oni.

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The second (and far more popular) build of Satoru is "Ninjas," where we use evasive 1-drops to sneak in huge haymaker creatures like Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur that are honorary "ninjas" thanks to Satoru Umezawa. This build places a far greater emphasis on Satoru and his ability to cheat out 7+ mana monstrosities for a flat 4 mana, which is a massive mana discount.

Whether you want to play Satoru as a fair Ninja Tribal deck or want Nezahal, Primal Tide to become the next hokage, I've got you covered with two spicy budget brews!

$60 "Ninjas"

The first list is all about ninjutsu'ing out huge haymaker "ninjas" that provide the deck with card advantage / removal / utility all while being massive beater win conditions. I've placed a focus on haymakers that provide immediate or near-immediate value the moment they're cheated into play, so either combat damage (Demon of Loathing) or ETB (Lord of Change) or end step (Brainstealer Dragon). I avoided attack triggers because ninjutsu has them already attacking and we'd need to wait until next turn to get their attack trigger.

I've also snuck in an infinite combo:

Satoru Umezawa on the battlefield + Peregrine Drake attacking unblocked + Thousand-Faced Shadow in hand + any other unblocked attacker = infinite mana and infinite damage.

Basically if you have enough mana (12? I no good at math) you can ninjutsu in the Shadow to copy the Drake, eventually looping between ninjutsuing in the Shadow and original Drake and using the shadow to keep copying the token of the Drake for infinite attacking copies. It's a bit convoluted.

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$100 Ninja Tribal

The $100 list is full on Ninja Tribal and we spare no expense picking up even the most pricey of ninja. If it's good then it's in here! The deck is low to the ground, evasive, and packed with removal and protection. Unsurprisingly, the strongest card is Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow, which quickly kills the table if played with a lethal Ninja army.

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Further Upgrades

For "Ninjas" you can upgrade the haymakers to end games faster. Blightsteel Colossus is the easiest way to take someone out. Or you can expand on the Thousand-Faced Shadow combo by running the better untappers Palinchron and Great Whale along with tutors like Demonic Tutor or Rune-Scarred Demon to find them.
For Ninja Tribal, I've already added all the best Ninjas, so instead I'd focus on upgrading the other parts like better protection spells (Fierce Guardianship) or better evasion like Cover of Darkness.

That's All, Folks!

We'll be back next week with ... I don't know what yet. Feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below! Happy holidays!

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