Commander Spotlight: Samut, Voice of Dissent

  This series is focused on designing your Commander cubes to support the highlighted commanders. These are NOT commander guides, but the information is applicable there. These post will feel like a hybrid between the single card and archetype spotlights within the Commander cube environment. Each post will discuss the functions of the commander in the deck, the game play options for the commander, what enablers and payoff should be included dependent on the deck, and win conditions. 


Samut, Voice of Dissent has not been a commander I hear a lot about in my area. Looking towards the great EDH site,, of all the Naya commanders, Samut still doesn't crack top 10, but barely scratches by at top 15. In short, this commander isn't popular and I remember that during her initial release, no one really gave her any attention. Like when was the last time you saw someone with a Samut deck. My guess on this is that she is a boring commander to look at. At face value, she doesn't do anything amazing or outside the norm, she's just a bunch of value and keywords and normal words. It for this reason that she is a perfect candidate for a Naya commander for EDH/ Commander Cubes.

Unlike our previous topic Sythis, Samut is an open ended commander that plays into the colors she identifies as really well, once you go deeper. At a baseline, Samut can function independently and become a threaten if left unanswered. Each of her abilities lends itself into different game plans that are common in the Naya colors, thus giving the drafters multiple routes of deckbuilding. This is great since playing will never be a poor experience for you or your drafters.


Deck Archetypes: Fires, Ramp, Voltron, Untap

Key Cards: Both Selvala, Combat Celebrant

Proliferations: Super Ramp, Hatebears +1/+1 Counters, Enchantments, Sneak Attack

Under Commanders: Saskia, The Unyielding

Special Notes: Can enable infinite due to untapping ability


Samut fills in multiple roles in creature based decks. In a vaccuum, she has double strike, flash, and haste which allows her to lean into a voltron based deck since on her own she can deal massive damage and end players, even more so if she has any sort of pump. Her other abilities allow her to gives all creatures haste, making her a great Fires commander especially since she's in the best colors to do it. Finally with that untap ability combined with her innate global haste, she is able to take advantage of creatures with tap abilities. This list would include Bloom Tender, Mother of Runes, etc.

Key Components

As an open ended commander, Samut is not reliant on certain cards or card types, thus this section will be shorter than other commanders. Though not a requirement, mana dorks that generate more than 1 mana play very well with Samut because of her untap ability.

Bloom Tender and Faeburrow Elder are both able to generate more than one mana. When synergize with Samut, you are generating 3 to 5 mana on avg.  By this logic, both Selvalas are an amazing addition as well. Selvala, Explorer Returned is able to draw you 2 cards a turn and generate an average of 4 mana. Selvala, Heart of the Wild is even more insane since she generates mana based on the highest power on your board. This is a huge boost in mana and allows you to reach for even bigger mana plays, which are prevalent in your colors. This makes scaling spells and mana sinks an essential part of playing this route.

Combat Celebrant is another card that plays really well. When the card attacks you are able to exert it (keep it tapped down during your next untap) to untap all your other creatures and gain an extra attack step. The exert is to prevent the card from triggering infinite attack steps, however when played with Samut, it can be untap and exerted again. As long as you have a white mana source that can be untapped, this will go infinite.

Edit: Combat Celebrant can not exert itself again unless you flicker it to make it technically a new card.

Build Routes

With how open Samut is in terms of builds, there really isn't a unifying factor that connects all the builds other than value cards. During the drafting process, sticking with value cards until you decide to lock in a strategy is always a safe bet.


For those unfamiliar with Fire decks. The deck is a midrange aggro deck that seeks to use haste enablers or hasted creature to unleash large threats the turn they enter. The name for the deck is derived from Fires of Yavimaya, but it applies to any deck whose main win condition is hasty fatties. The deck is typically Gruul, but you can do weird things to make it work in other colors. The deck really needs to things for it to minimally function: Haste enablers and fatties (duh). These are plentiful already with the Gruul part of Samut's colors with the white adding even more options to the mix.

Haste Enablers

Samut herself is already a haste enabler, but if you were looking to add more to the mix there are plenty available. These are some of the cards I use.

Fires of Yavimaya is the classic choice. There are variations that have been popping up more recently and they are quite solid. There are some minor differences that you need to consider, but they are all playable. If you are in the market for a card in the Gruul slot, you also have the options of including Rhythm of the Wild and Reinvigorating Hotsprings. They are all 3 mana and 2 of them have different conditions to giving haste. This makes fires the least thoughtful decision of the bunch.

Hammer of Purphoros is another option at 3MV in monored. It is the most similar to Fires of Yavimaya and I like the extra effect it has. It is capable of turning your extra lands into 3/3 golems with haste. This adds to your board and increases the pressure on your opponents.

Swiftfoot Boots and Lightning Greaves  are a solid colorless option that can fit into any deck is cube. They provide protection and haste to the equipped creature for 0/1 mana. They can only affect one creature at a time which makes them better in non token decks. Every other deck in your cube can use these, so don't be reliant on drafting these.


The fatties portion of this deck is the easiest part. Add large dumb creatures. That's it. I will be mentioning a couple of the ones you can use, but really almost anything could suffice. Creatures with attack triggers are great, but not required.

Inferno Titan has an attack trigger that can help you clear the way or deal more damage. The more swings the more damage and giving it haste should give it a swing the turn it enters. Not much else needs to be said about this classic red card other than it holds up well and thrives in these fire decks. (Note: Any other of the Titans would suffice as well since they all carry an attack trigger, while being a fatty.)

Etali, Primal Storm has an insane powerful attack trigger when it swings. When triggered, you are able to steal and cast for free anything you topdeck from your opponent's deck. In a traditional environment, you'd only get one card, however in multiplayer, this ability scales up with each opponent you have. This can single handedly win you games if your opponent's leave it alone for too long.

Any big Eldrazi is a great option as well. The "Old School" ones have Annihilator which is potentially game ending depending on who is being hit. Ulamog's Crusher is one of the safer ones to include since its powerful, but is not impossible or difficult to stop at the table.


For anyone unfamiliar with Ramp decks, your goal is to generate mana faster than the rest of the table and use it to make plays that will bury the table. The decks will feel similar to Fires, however these decks will have more options on how to use their mana. The two main components of the deck are ramp cards and payoffs. Within the ramp category, you have 3 approaches: creatures, artifacts, and spells. For pay offs, you have fatties like in Fires, mana sinks, and game endings spells.

Mana Ramp

Elvish Mystic and other one MV mana dorks are a key part of this deck. Being able to drop them on turn 1 and play 3 drops on turn 2 is a huge deal. Being able to play Cultivate or more mana dorks will let you drop your turn 5 plays by turn 3 putting you way ahead. These are your best turn 1 plays, next to playing the ramp auras. Most cubes will already want to be playing an abundance of these cards and are a staple of any green deck.

As an extension of mana dorks, creatures that can tap for multiple mana are great with Samut. This was already mentioned earlier as key components, but I do want to reiterate that Samut can use her untap ability to net gain mana with these cards. Even without Samut, the mana generated is still good or at least should be.

Land ramp has always been a viable option for mana ramp and its no different here. Land ramp is safer than mana dorks typically because lands are much harder to deal with than creatures. To offset this, land ramp typically comes slower than mana dork. Land ramp is available in all forms be it artifact, creatures, spells, etc. This variety of options assist in adding density to other card types. Generally, cards like Cultivate, Rampant Growth, and Kodama's Reach are common forms of land ramp found in any cube. There are some land ramp cards found on tap effects as well and these have synergies with Samut's untap ability.  

Payoff Spells

With all this mana generated you need spells that you can dump it into. Fatties are an obvious choice since they are typically powerful creature that are locked behind their mana costs. Some of the ones that play well in Samut were already mentioned in the Fires section of fatties. Some other fatties that weren't mentioned are cards like Terastodon and Craterhoof Behemoth that are either able to cripple your opponents or just win the game on the spot.

Aside from fatties, big spells are a solid option to ending games. This includes X spells. Cards like Tooth and Nail or Insurrection. These spells have powerful abilities that can steal/end games the moment they are played, but cost a ton of mana and are harder to cast because of it. When you are able to do so, you are rewarded with a powerful effect that should shift the game in your favor. 

X spells are a solid choice for a big spell as well. They include the classic Fireball or creatures like Walking Ballista. The X cost allows you to scale the card up as much as needed, making them great for dumping all of your mana into.  They are not strictly late game spells either as you can use them at any point, allowing them to remain relevant throughout the game. 

Lastly, another option you have are mana sink abilities. These are cards that allow you to use as much mana as you need or want into them. Great examples of these types or card are Ant Queen or Mobilization, both of which create tokens that will eventually over take the game. These cards are great to have on board as your hand becomes thinner since you still use their abilities if you can't play what you drew. Overtime, what you spend will turn into a win.


Samut's keywords are really strong and allow her to excel in dealing damage. Because of this, a voltron deck options is well suited to her and allows players who pilot her to option to take people down with commander damage. With this as the main game plan, there will be a greater emphasis on grabbing auras, equipment, and +1/+1 counters to modify Samut. If you are looking to one shot your opponents with her, you are trying to get her to 11 power. Though it may seem unfun, being able to one shot other players will expedite a game.

When deciding what kind of modifications to include in your cube, generally it is best to pick equipments and auras that are strong without support. This is to ensure that you do not have dead cards in your colors.This a much bigger issue with auras than equipment, thus some cubes will opt to run little to no equipment. Also I will not be discussing +1/+1 counters as aside from cards that place them on targets, there's little to discuss.

Equipment/ Aura Support

It is important that you get the right support for equipments/auras if you are going this route. Here are some that I think are great for commander cube.

Open the Armory is a great tutor for equipment and aura since it cost only 2 mana to look for any of those cards in your deck. Being able to find the right equipment for the current situation is great.

Ardenn, Intrepid Achaeologist is another great option for a variety of reasons. He is able to reattach any number of these cards onto one creature each turn. This will mitigate any equip cost and will allow you to choose different targets for your auras. The effect happens at the beginning of your combat, which means he's a threat the moment he enters. Since Samut has haste, you will be able to attach all of these things onto Samut right away and have her swing with them.

Danitha, Benalia's Hope is one of my favorite cards to have graced MTG. Something just speaks to me about her being a 4/4 stacked with keywords that allow her to be both a defensive and offensive powerhouse. She was one of the cards I was really hyped about from Dominaria United. The gravy on top of her as a creature is that she is able to reanimate or cheat from hand and equipment/aura into play attached to a creature. This will mitigate equip cost and act as a form of recursion for your voltron decks.


Samut is currently lacking evasion, which is solved by the equipment you are choosing to use. Raw damage pump equipments are good with her since she's already a 4 turn clock without help. Any bit of damage, she gets she becomes more of a monster.

Swiftfoot Boots or any equipment that provide protection should be a priority to grab in your deck. You are only playing this card for the hexproof with Samut. These will keep Samut safe from removal, making it safer to throw on any equipment or aura. Almost any deck will want the boots, so the card will be viable outside of just the dedicated voltron decks.

Maul of the Skyclaves is one of your best options for Samut. For 3 mana, she gets +2/+2 and gains flying, which will make her difficult to stop. The +2/+2 makes her a 5/6, making her a 3 turn clock against anyone. The first strike on the card is nonsensical since she already has double strike, but everything else is solid.

Loxodon Warhammer is great for Samut as well. With Lifelink and Trample, she will be a formidable attacker and defender since she will stabilize your life while trampling over any potential blockers. The +3/0 makes her a 2 Turn clock, which should be enough to scare anyone especially if you hit them prior to equipping the hammer.

Grafted Exoskeleton is a serious contender in the Samut package. +2/+2 and Infect turns Samut into a one shot machine.  Samut also has trouble with evasion as is and this card will not be the card to break her. The main problem is infect is parasitic and has little interaction with the rest of your cube, though you can design around it.

Mask of Memory is not a pump equipment that helps Samut deal more, but the on hit trigger is straight card advantage for this deck. With double strike, the ability will trigger twice and this will net you 2 cards, while letting you go through 4 cards. This will be good for helping you maintain a steady hand as the game progresses. 

Any of the Swords of X and Y are great options. They offer pump, protection, and evasion that allows Samut to push through damage. The on hit effects of each of the swords are devastating and the double strike from Samut will take them over the top. Sword of Truth and Justice would be the one I run since you can exponentially grow mid hit with Samut leading to two and one shotting your opponents. 


Much like equipments, the main functions of auras is to pump Samut to quickly finish off your opponents. The main problem with auras is that they can result in negative card advantage if the enchanted creature is ever removed and this could be outright game ending your voltron player. 

Unflinching Courage/Armadillo Cloak are the aura equivalent of Behemoth Sledge. They pump up Samut while giving her a form of evasion and much like Loxodon Warhammer, if left alone they will stabilize the game for you. The cloak is slightly different due to the lifegain being worded as a triggered ability vs lifelink. This will stack will lifelink letting your double up on life gain. They do take up a slot in the Selesnya section, but this is generally one of the best auras available.

Angelic Destiny is another crazy aura card. The card as a whole package is resilient and will turn anything into a serious threat. The pump and flying provided by the card turns Samut into a lethal machine able to 2 shot any of your opponents. What helps this aura stand out is that the card can recur itself back to your hand if Samut dies in a freak boating accident letting you continue using it the next time you resummon Samut or on another creature.

Rancor is a classic auras that will never go away as long as it is a viable choice. This card is the equivalent of Bonesplitter for auras. It's cheap, efficient, and effective. The trample is sorely needed for Samut as mentioned multiple times now and the pump to power is a serious clock to your opponents. Much like Angelic Destiny, Rancor can recur itself as long as it went from the battlefield to graveyard. This makes it better than Destiny in that regard as it gets around exile removal aimed at the enchanted creature.

Snake Umbra is not a common choice for cubes, but it's more than serviceable in general cubes and fills the roles you are looking for in a Samut Voltron build. Like any other aura with totem armor, they will protect your commander from being destroyed, while providing a small buff to them. Snake Umbra in particular grants the enchanted creature card draw for dealing damage. As mentioned with Mask of Memory, Samut will be able to trigger twice a turn by attacking thanks to double strike. It is important to note that the card reads damage, not combat damage. Cards that deal damage as a triggered or activated abilities will net you cards with Snake Umbra as well.

Special Notes
This is the section where I will cover other cards that fit into Samut decks, but don't really fit anywhere else.

Adarkar Valkyrie has strong synergies with Samut and plays well with any of the creature based decks. You can use the tap ability on any creature includng your opponent's stuff to bring them back to your board when they died. Samut being able to untap the Valkyrie lets you take an additional creature as well. This plays well in a control heavy meta letting you protect your creatures or steal your opponent's creatures against board wipes and spot removal.

Alternative Commanders

Samut as a whole package is hard to replicate. There's no other Naya commander that will fit in, thus a lot of the options presented here will be in different color sections. If you like some of the playstyle of Samut, but do not like Samut here are some of the alternatives you have available.

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician is a solid option if you want to try the tap/untap builds. Samut and Derevi share the Selesnya pairing together so many of the cards like Mother of Runes and the mana dorks can be used by both. What makes Derevi better is that she can untap not just creatures, but any permanents including artifacts and lands. This often leads her to being part of infinite combos and stax strategies. She also has an active ability that can be used to get her into the battlefield at instant speed. This ability does not cast her, so she can avoid being countered and gets around the commander tax. Do remember that she is a bant card, so she takes up a completely different slot.  

For the Fires route, Xenagos, God of Revels and Halana and Alena would be my choice. What is awesome about both of them is that not only do they give other creatures haste they pump them up. Fires of Yavimaya was already a threat because it gave them haste, giving additional damage is gravy. Xenagos comes in as an indestructible enchantment, which makes him hard to deal with. This can be problematic since when he is not a creature he can't do creature things like block or attack. Halana and Alena are 4 mana versus the 5 that Samut and Xenagos are sitting at, making them a faster option to play out. They also provide counters, so even if you have no new targets, you can continue to grow your current options. They are a little squishy, so you do need to protect them. Both of these commanders are Gruul, so you are losing access to white. This also means they compete in the Gruul section vs the Naya section.

For Voltron builds, the alternatives in Naya to Samut are Uril, the Miststalker and Mazzy, Truesword Paladin. Both of these commanders are entirely aura focused, which limits your choice of equipments. These are great if you support enchantments as a larger theme since these two commander are extremely narrow in their builds. Uril makes for the better commander because he has hexproof, limiting the amount of options that can kill him. Mazzy, though, isn't dependent on where the auras are equipped and on how many creatures. The big problem with these two is not wanting equipment, which is generally more playable than auras. 

For equipment Voltron builds, Stangg, Echo Warrior is an okay choice. You lose access to white, which is a huge downside as most of the equipment support is found there and a bunch of keywords. In exchange, Stangg can make temporary copies of any of your equipments and auras that are swinging at another person. This will allow you to get multiple on hit triggers and ETB triggers from your copied equipments. Be aware that you are not declaring attackers, so any attack triggers don't trigger. Also legendary copies will trigger the legendary rule. Stangg is overly dependent on attachments, which hurts this card, but I'm also the guy who runs Sythis.

One last commander to mention is Saskia, the Unyielding. If you want to play a commander that is meant to beat people up Saskia and Samut together that do that for you easily. She lets you spread damage more easily or double up the damage deck to a single player, quickly removing them from the game. She extends into the black color, which allows you to still include Samut. As a 4c commander, she occupies a very small space and might be the only option to occupy it, so she will not compete with Samut. Only reason I see not to include her is not wanting to support 4c decks.

Looking through all of the alternative choices for Samut, none of these will be able to match up to the versatility of Samut, which is why I highly recommend the commander for commander cube. You are also never wrong if you choose to run a value Naya commander like Marath as an alternative, but you won't be able to do the cool things of Samut.

Final Thoughts

Samut was one of my EDH that I took apart in order to condense the number of commander decks I had since I wasn't playing as many of them. I liked what the commander could do, but I found green decks unmotivating to play. She was one of the initial commanders included in my cube to give another chance to and surprsingly, my Naya players will overlook her as a commander option. The main reason for this is that Marath exists and he is just a higher value, generic, safe commander. Other reason is that Samut has a hard time being recognized as a Naya commander because of the white not being in the casting cost. I'm currently under the assumption that the commander is under appreciated by my players and we just need to do more cool things with her. I think she's in a really good spot and I can't see her leaving my cube anytime soon. For those of us with commander cube, I hope to see her as part of inclusions, but everyone is different. 

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