During the research for last week’s Card of the Week, Mushu and I came across another Cephalid. This Card of the Week is a little different as we will be looking at Llawan, Cephalid Empress as a commander.
The oracle text can he found here.
Llawan, Cephalid Empress is a 2/3 for 3U mana, but you are not running it for its stat line but for it’s effects. When it enters the battlefield you return all blue creatures your opponents control to their hands. Additionally for as long as it on the field your opponents cannot cast Blue creatures. This turns the Empress into quite an impressive Stax piece, Blue is a very common colour in Commander. You might be able to deny your opponents access to their Commanders or other key pieces.
However, this is a far cry from Iona, Shield of Emeria as it only prevents them from casting creatures and only Blue creatures. You have no guarantees that your opponents are even playing Blue, it could be one colour and not hinder them too much. Additionally they will still have access to the rest of their spells.
How the deck works
Luckily there is a card that when combined with Llawan, Cephalid Empress will make her ability “utter dirt” to quote Mushu.
Painter’s Servant is a rather unique Creature, when it ETBs you choose a colour for example Blue. For as long as it is on the battlefield all cards and spells that aren’t in play are that colour in addition to their original colour(s). If you name Blue this turns all creatures Blue, which means your opponents can’t any creatures. If you are playing a Gruul aggro deck this will decimate their strategy. Even decks that don’t seek to win through combat tend to need utility creatures or have creatures as part of their combo. It even stops them winning through Thassa’s oracle. As you are playing in blue you have access to multiple artifact tutors to find it, and counterspells to protect it. If your opponents cannot have cast creatures they will struggle to develop a board state allowing you to go wide or tall for the victory.