Class is once again in session! Last week, I covered the Prismari Performance preconstructed deck and upgrade guide, and this week I’m crunching the numbers with Quandrix. This is Strixhaven’s math college, dedicated to life in numbers; from the patterns in nature, right down to the very building blocks of creation, it counts to Quandrix.
Today, I’ll be looking at the Quantum Quandrix deck, which looks to gain advantage through tokens and counters, and spiral out of control!
New Commander Cards
As I mentioned last week, the new Strixhaven decks are in a league of their own, especially when compared to recent offerings. There are 16 brand-new cards per deck on average, with some new format staples in every box. Here’s a quick look at some of the most important new cards in Quantum Quandrix:
Adrix and Nev, Twincasters are the face commanders of Quantum Quandrix, and are incredibly potent token enablers. Many players are already overjoyed at the idea of having access to Parallel Lives in the Command Zone, and Adrix and Nev will likely see a lot of play from now on. While creatures are usually easier to remove than enchantments, the ward ability will really help with their staying power.
Esix, Fractal Bloom is another incredible new commander from this deck. They are essentially a repeatable version of Mystic Reflection, meaning you can really abuse it with the right creatures. Master of Waves and Avenger of Zendikar spring to mind…
Ayula, Queen Among Bears players rejoice! Ruxa, Patient Professor is not only a lord for all of your Bears, but she is a fantastic Bear herself. She teaches a night class in Muraganda Petroglyphs, and can pick up any fallen Bears lost in combat. Finally, her ability to punch through damage is fantastic against players that may feel safe at a low life total, just because they have a decent board presence.
Deekah, Fractal Theorist is a mono-blue spellslinger commander and fulfils a similar role to Talrand, Sky Summoner. Unlike Talrand’s Drakes, the Fractal tokens may not have flying, but they grow to the size of the spell that was used to make them. They would work best with high mana value spells that can be reduced in cost, like Submerge and Treasure Cruise.
Theoretical Duplication is a fantastic way to keep up with any opponent that tries to advance too quickly, or just to grab yourself a copy of a sweet creature your opponent is getting. You want your own Niv-Mizzet, Parun? No problem. Blightsteel Colossus? Don’t mind if I do!
Perplexing Test is one of the best new cards, particularly for a token deck like this one. If most of your creatures are tokens, this can easily function like a Cyclonic Rift; the same applies if you’re a deck that doesn’t really produce tokens, but you have a token player in your pod.
At the risk of oversimplification… Oversimplify is incredible. A mass-exile spell that rewards you appropriately for the amount of board presence you just lost is extremely powerful, and there are very few cards that fill this role in green or blue. This will be a staple in every Quandrix/Simic deck going forward.
Token decks are nothing new, but Quantum Quandrix injects some new life into the equation. Blue is not a popular color for the strategy, but this deck looks to change that with many of the new cards. This would be a fantastic choice for any blue player that wants to see what life is like on the other side, but isn’t quite ready to give up the fairer color.
When it comes to financial value, this precon is very good. It’s worth picking up the deck for the commander alone, as they’re significantly cheaper than Parallel Lives. Many of the new cards are likely to see a lot of play, and will be easiest to acquire by buying the whole deck. There are a few decent reprints, too, like Ezuri’s Predation and Rite of Replication, which have held a reasonable chunk of their value while also becoming more affordable. As with the other precons in Commander 2021, this comes with Sol Ring and Arcane Signet, which are roughly $5 by themselves.
The deck also has a very solid power level. This is the kind of deck that will snowball wildly out of control if left unchecked, and it can make catching up a lesson in futility. I would consider this one of the stronger decks from Commander 2021, though they all fare very well against each other. Games against the likes of the Zendikar Rising or Kaldheim preconstructed decks will feel a little lopsided in Quantum Quandrix’s favor, so bear that in mind if you’re looking for other decks to pair against it.
There is certainly room to improve this deck, too; there are many different directions you can take token decks, and they’re all reasonably viable. Between the number of token enablers available in green and the disruption and card draw options in blue, upgrading this deck would be both a fair challenge and a joy to undertake.
Upgrading Quantum Quandrix
Playing this deck out of the box will give you a true precon experience: an overwhelming feeling of potential. It’s well-built, it’s fun to play, and there certainly is power there, but a few tweaks will truly unlock this deck’s strengths.
I tend to focus on one main game plan when upgrading, but this one will be slightly different. The main theme is tokens, but the counters subtheme is too ingrained within the primary strategy to be ignored. The Fractal tokens are all 0/0 creatures that have +1/+1 counters placed on them, so not taking advantage of that would be a glaring oversight. I’ll show you how to maximize on both themes to really supercharge the deck.
The main focal points in this upgrade are:
- Improving your token generation capabilities
- Adding more benefits for having counters on creatures
- Ensuring your deck is set up to take advantage of these improvements
Anything that doesn’t compliment either the game plan or strengthen any of the pillars of the deck will be replaced by something better suited.
Let’s start with the main theme: tokens. Avenger of Zendikar is a classic token maker, rewarding you for hitting your land drops. It also works exceptionally well with Esix: if you have seven lands when you cast Avenger and Esix is on board, your Plants will all become Avengers of Zendikar, which will then make their own Plant tokens. That’s eight Avengers and 49 Plant tokens! If you follow up this play with a land drop, the plants will each get eight +1/+1 counters, adding nearly 400 power to the table!
Body of Research might only make a single token, but considering it will frequently be a lethal attacker, it’s a token worth copying!
Progenitor Mimic is another classic Commander card that fits perfectly here. Getting a token copy of the best creature on the battlefield is fantastic, especially as you can often make multiple copies of it.
Esika’s Chariot is a sweet little inclusion from current Standard. Not only does it give you tokens and a Vehicle to help recover from wraths, but it creates even more token copies.
Lastly, there’s Helm of the Host. This takes up a decent chunk of the upgrade budget, but it’s really worth the extra few dollars. Attaching this to Adrix and Nev is ideal, as this will give you two copies, thanks to the commander’s ability. Every token you make from that point on will be doubled three times, resulting in eight tokens instead of one. If you get a second turn with this attached to your commander, you’ll certainly wish you had a math degree to try and figure it out!
As many of your tokens will have counters on them, Evolution Sage is an easy inclusion with no setup cost that will help swell your creatures over time. Hadana’s Climb is not only a repeatable source of +1/+1 counters, but once you have a big enough creature, it will transform to give you an excellent way to punch through damage. If that’s not enough, you can borrow from the Simic Combine with Simic Ascendancy. With the amount of counters you’re adding to the board, this alternate win condition can end the game in just a single turn, if you’re lucky! It helps that it has the ability to add counters at will, too, giving you a great mana sink in the late game.
The mana acceleration in this deck is pretty decent out of the box, but there are one or two minor improvements we can make. Skyclave Relic can make token copies of itself — which, in turn, can be copied by many of your spells. Rishkar, Peema Renegade not only commits more counters to the board, but turns most of your creatures into mana dorks. This can allow for some absurd plays, often doubling or tripling the amount of mana available to you. Finally, Emergent Sequence is often a better version of Rampant Growth in this build, as it commits another counter to the board; you can even proliferate the counter with Evolution Sage for even more value.
I’m adding nothing in terms of removal to this deck. Between your ability to commit a huge army to the board and the incredible sweepers already included, there’s no need to add more and risk diluting your game plan. There are also excellent catch-all staples already present in the deck, like Beast Within and Krosan Grip, which will serve you very well here.
The mana base is quite decent already, but just like the ramp, there’s some room for improvement. The best way to improve this mana base is by adding more utility lands, as you can sometimes find yourself with lots of mana and nothing to do with it. Littjara Mirrorlake acts as a copy spell and adds a +1/+1 counter; Karn’s Bastion is another repeatable form of proliferate; Bala Ged Recovery gives you the choice between a land or the best card in your graveyard. All of these cards help to mitigate flood while also increasing the likelihood of snowballing at the right time. I’ve also added Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse, and Fabled Passage as free ways to enable some of your new landfall effects, like Scute Swarm and Evolution Sage.
The Full Upgrade
The total cost of this upgrade is approximately $50-60. This level of precon upgrade tends to sit at the ideal point in Commander: the power-to-dollar ratio is at its highest here, and it can be tweaked or piloted differently to suit most mid-power tables. If you like this deck, you can buy all the upgrade singles at the same time as the preconstructed deck, saving you time as well as money.
Scott is an Irish content creator and the Head of Budget Magic for the Izzet League. He focuses on affordable decks in Pioneer, Modern, and Pauper, particularly ones that stray from the mainstream. When he’s not writing about his favorite decks, he can be found talking incessantly about them on Twitter and on The Budget Magic Cast.