Magic The Gathering What Is A Cheerios Deck

Magic The Gathering: What Is A Cheerios Deck?

A tasty breakfast or a powerful combo deck?

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Magic The Gathering What Is A Cheerios Deck

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Though you tend to hear more about Cheerios decks in Magic the Gathering formats like Modern, Vintage, or Legacy, they are still a scarily efficient deck archetype for Commander as well.

Don’t let the cute name fool you; Cheerios decks are ruthless, difficult to stop once they get going, and can win very, very quickly. So what exactly are they?

What Is A Cheerios Deck?

Magic The Gathering What Is A Cheerios Deck

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Cheerios are decks that use and abuse cards with zero mana cost (hence the name, with all the “0” mana costs looking like the cereal!). By using cards that don’t cost any mana to cast, Cheerios decks are focused on tearing through their libraries and building up massive storm counts to pull off a win.

You can think of Cheerios as an offshoot of Storm decks, as both care more about casting spells than necessarily resolving them. However, there are significant differences in what kind of spells both play: while Storm decks are happy to play around with low-cost instants and sorceries, Cheerios decks focus more on artifacts to pull out their win.

For example, take the popular Cheerios Commander Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. You draw a card whenever you cast an artifact, legendary, or saga spell. By combining that with the massive number of zero-cost artifacts in Magic, Jhoire Cheerios decks are effectively self-running: cast an artifact for free, draw another one, cast that, draw another one. Keep casting and keep drawing until you draw something like an Aetherflux Reservoire and then wipe out the game under the weight of all the cards you cast this turn.

Because Cheerios decks need to always have some zero-cost spells available to them, they’ll often run fewer lands than a normal deck. After all, with a mana curve this low, who needs land?

The Best Cards For A Cheerios Deck?

Magic The Gathering What Is A Cheerios Deck

Any Commander that cares about casting artifacts, or controlling a lot of them, tends to do well as a Cheerios Commander, especially if they’re in red and blue to benefit from cards like Fabricate, Paradoxical Outcome, Deflecting Swat, Pact of Negation, and Tibalt’s Trickery. Commanders like Jhoira Weatherlight Captain, Urza High Lord Artificer, and Birgi, God of Storytelling, work nicely.

From there, you’ll need lots of those zero-cost cards. There are loads of artifacts that fit this, like Mox Opal, Tormod’s Crypt, Mana Vault, Ornithopter, Jeweled Lotus, Everflowing Chalice, and Welding Jar. These will fill out your deck – the more you can fit in, the quicker you’ll burn through your deck and head to that win.

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By using cards that reduce the cost of artifacts, like Etherium Sculptor, Foundry Inspector, Starnheim Corser, or Cloud Key, you can also run a lot of low-but-not-zero cost artifacts in the same way as your true cheerios. Aether Spellbomb, Sensei’s Divining Top, Shadowspeer, Digeridoo, Amulet of Vigor, Blade of the Bloodchief, Stoneforge Masterwork, Commander’s Plate, The Ozolith, Skullclamp; there are so many artifacts that cost one generic that can be made free with just a single reduction card.

Though Cheerios decks don’t all win the same way, the most popular method is through using a Storm spell like Grapeshot, or the more popular artifact Aetherflux Reservoir. Whenever you cast a spell, you gain life equal to the number of spells you’ve cast that turn: cast one spell, you get one life, cast two, you get two, and so on. By paying 50 life you can take 50 life from someone else, which is almost always going to knock them out of the game.

By spamming all of your cheerios in a single turn and building up ludicrous amounts of life with Aetherflux Reservoir, you could easily be wiping the entire table out. And because Commanders like Jhoira only care if the spell was cast, the chance of being stopped with a lucky counterspell is also very low.

How To Beat A Cheerios Deck

As mentioned, Cheerios decks are tough to deal with because they run themselves. They’re very linear decks a lot of the time, meaning they’re focused on doing one thing, and will just keep trying that until they break through and get the win.

It isn’t impossible to beat one, though. Despite both being artifact-heavy strategies, Stax is the enemy of the Cheerios decks. By taxing them and increasing the cost of their spells with cards like Aura of Silence, God-Pharoah’s Statue, Grand Arbiter Augustin IV, and Sphere of Resistance, you literally take the core part of their deck away from them – the free spells.

Cheerios are combo decks, which makes repeatedly going for their Commander entirely justified. Creature removal, stealing them, Darksteel Mutationing them, any of it is fine as long as you get that key combo engine piece away from them.

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