The Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths release is closing up as we proceed to the third Commander 2020 deck released on the same date, Arcane Maelstrom. The deck is Temur or blue-red-green colored and its focus is in instant cards!
The default commander for the deck is Kalamax, the Stormsire who will let you copy the first instant spell the player cast on each turn if it is tapped. In addition to that, Kalamax will get a +1/+1 counter each time a player copies an instant. The other possible commanders besides Kalamax are Xyris the Writhing Storm or partners Haldan, Avid Arcanist, and Pako, Arcane Retriever.
The main winning plan for the deck is to play a pile of instants and beat the opponents down with creatures that get buffed or create tokens by the instants cast. This is very common to precon decks to have combat damage as their main wincon.
The instant cards in the precon deck consist of removal, card draw, cards that let the player tutor for lands from their deck, and a couple of board wipes. Besides instants and creatures, there will be lands, mana producing artifacts, and some enchantments in the deck, all supporting the instant theme. From artifacts, you will find a new card Twinning Staff, that lets the player make an extra copy of a copied instant spell.
Looking at the decklist it really pops out that the best commander for this precon is probably the Kalamax. The other commander options are very interesting, but with these cards, Kalamax seems straight up the best option. Xyris would probably work better with a deck built around wheel effects when Haldan and Pako would work better with a deck that focuses on playing cards from opponents' decks.
The instants in the deck are fairly powerful and copying them will let the player draw a ton of cards. Among the instants can be found the red card Deflecting Swat which can be played for free if the player controls a commander. This card is, in my opinion, the second-best from the cycle of free-to-cast instants in Commander 2020 the blue one being the most powerful.
How to improve Arcane Maelstrom?
The first card that pops into my mind is the standard staple Expansion//Explosion which would fit the deck pretty well! Also Niv-Mizzet, the Parun could be worth to try even though it's mana cost is pretty hard one. I still think it would be worth trying! For a more budget build the Firemind's Research would fit in the deck. Some more damage potential could be achieved with something like Guttersnipe!
The legendary artifact Mirari lets the player copy instants and sorceries, so that would probably earn its place in the deck pretty easily. Another artifact to fit in would be Primal Amulet. The Green enchantment Unbound Flourishing could work if the player will put more spells with X in their mana cost to the deck. In any case, the Temur colors will allow you to build the deck to various different directions and strategies.
Out of the box, the deck seems to be pretty solid the only downside being that it also seems pretty commander centric thus making it vulnerable to removal spells. Anyways, the deck looks like it is fun and interesting to play. The commander also has a CMC of four making it pretty easy to re-cast in the later game.
Temur as a color combination has always been for me a quest for finding a nice balance between spells and creatures and I think I still haven't found the perfect balance myself. I though think that this deck offers a nice scale of possibilities and it will provide fun games even for players who already have some commander matches under their belt!
Pekka "Löhis" Löhönen