Pia, the Thoptometrist - A Deck Tech

Andy Zupke • May 29, 2023

We’ve got a little bit of a break from new sets (for a week), so I thought I’d do something I haven’t done in a while. A deck tech!

Welcome back to Cardsphere, where they let me post my completely mid Commander takes. Last time we did our review of March of the Machine: The Aftermath, so I thought it a fitting opportunity to look at one of the new legends from that set and see what shenanigans we can get up to with it.

Playing cards from exile has been quite hot lately. Prosper, Tome-Bound became one of the most popular commanders literally ever, and even Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald boasted a few thousand entries on EDHREC. Boros (red/white) has gotten a couple of commanders for this strategy as well, but none quite as good as the legend we’re covering today. Because today’s legend makes you tiny flying death robots. It’s Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival.



The latest edition of Pia Nalaar is a two-mana 2/3 Human Artificer that gives your Thopters haste. And she builds you a new 1/1 Thopter whenever you play a land or cast a spell from exile.

Obviously this isn’t far off from Faldorn, who gives you a 2/2 Wolf instead of a Thopter. But Faldorn has a one-up on Pia, as she has a built-in way to do the exiling.

Despite the similarities with Faldorn, there were two important differences that drew me to Pia. First, Thopters fly, and flyers are much harder to block. Second, Thopters are artifacts, and there are numerous ways to take advantage of dropping a ton of artifact tokens on the board. And you know I love a good artifact deck.

My Momma Told Me, You Better Thop Around

So how are we going to win with our Thopter momma? The most obvious path to victory is to take to the skies and thop some faces. So we’ll start there.


Coat of Arms is going to turn all the little 1/1s into massive warfare drones, while Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer is gonna help put some big gains on their front ends. Steel Overseer is a bit slower, but still worth it for the once-a-turn pump.

We’re also playing some combat finisher spells with Akroma's Will and Bond of Discipline, both of which can push our opponents’ creatures aside with ease. Nettlecyst can move a single Thopter into lethal range. And for damage so nice it happens twice, we’ll add Neyali, Suns’ Vanguard, who’s also bringing some exile advantage.

Combat’s not our only trick, though. Reckless Fireweaver and Ingenious Artillerist are dishing out damage whenever we drop a thop (or other artifact, of which there are many in the deck). And we’ve got Keeper of Secrets and Passionate Archaeologist serving some pain when we cast spells from exile (kinda the deck’s whole deal).

Two Wand Foo…

This is all great, but like we saw earlier, Pia doesn’t give us any way to exile stuff. That means we have to rely on the 99 to make that happen.

There are lots of little one-off spells here, such as Light Up the Stage, Reckless Impulse, and Rob the Archives. And of course, I don’t have to tell you how good Jeska’s Will is. You already know.

There’s also some solid creatures providing exile effects. The OG, Etali, Primal Storm, is here, as well as the more recent Plargg and Nassari. You can check out my comparison of those two in my review of The Aftermath. We’ve also got Professional Face-Breaker, Wild-Magic Sorcerer, Urabrask, Heretic Praetor, and Commander Liara Portyr.


And if you’re looking for other ways to cast your opponents’ stuff from exile (and you KNOW I am), then I’ve got two wands for you, Chaos Wand and Wand of Wonder.

And lastly, to increase our token output, I’ve thrown in Anointed Procession, Mondrak, Glory Dominus, Retrofitter Foundry, Hangarback Walker, Loyal Apprentice, and Thopter Shop.

A Veritable Cornuco-Pia

Here’s the final decklist, and a link to Moxfield to test drive it:

1 Pia Nalaar, Consul of Revival
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Great Furnace
1 Steel Overseer
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Hope of Ghirapur
1 Coat of Arms
1 Bond of Discipline
1 Goblin Engineer
1 Commune with Lava
1 Anointed Procession
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Rugged Prairie
1 Buried Ruin
1 Holy Day
1 Tomb of the Spirit Dragon
1 Foundry of the Consuls
1 Hangarback Walker
1 Reckless Fireweaver
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Retrofitter Foundry
1 Ancient Den
1 Command Tower
1 Spectator Seating
1 Needleverge Pathway
1 Inventors' Fair
1 Jeska's Will
1 Akroma's Will
1 Pilgrim's Eye
1 Maskwood Nexus
1 Tibalt's Trickery
1 Birgi, God of Storytelling
1 Alibou, Ancient Witness
1 Bronze Guardian
1 Sol Ring
1 Creative Technique
1 Rousing Refrain
1 Dispatch
11 Mountain
1 Rustvale Bridge
1 Breya's Apprentice
1 Ornithopter of Paradise
1 You Find Some Prisoners
1 Wild-Magic Sorcerer
1 Chaos Wand
1 Sundown Pass
1 Reckless Impulse
1 Organic Extinction
1 Wand of Wonder
1 Rob the Archives
1 Professional Face-Breaker
1 Urabrask, Heretic Praetor
1 Commander Liara Portyr
1 Ingenious Artillerist
1 Nalfeshnee
1 Passionate Archaeologist
1 Delayed Blast Fireball
1 Light Up the Stage
1 Smothering Tithe
1 Etali, Primal Storm
1 Battlefield Forge
1 Keeper of Secrets
1 Thopter Shop
1 Losheel, Clockwork Scholar
1 Liberator, Urza's Battlethopter
1 Ignite the Future
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Ornithopter
1 Mondrak, Glory Dominus
1 Loyal Apprentice
1 Boros Signet
1 Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer
1 Talisman of Conviction
1 Neyali, Suns' Vanguard
7 Plains
1 Invasion of Kaldheim
1 Wrenn's Resolve
1 Nettlecyst
1 Arcane Signet
1 Spire of Industry
1 Inspiring Statuary
1 Furycalm Snarl
1 Plargg and Nassari

We’ve got a respectable 3.35 average mana value, and more card advantage than you could ever want, so this machine is gonna hum. We’re lacking in removal, but the deck is more concerned with going aggro fast, so that’s not a huge concern.


While Rousing Refrain is in the deck, I left out the other combo piece of Rift Elemental. With these two cards, you could potentially (based on opponent hand size) go infinite, making the biggest Thopter army the world has ever seen. If going infinite is your thing, definitely throw it in the list. However, there’s no real way to tutor for the combo, and Rift Elemental is only good with Rousing Refrain. It’s otherwise a dead card, which I tend to avoid.

Also, Maskwood Nexus is in the list to turn all our creatures into Thopters. But be careful. You don't want to have it in play the same time as Coat of Arms. Or maybe you're into chaos, in which case this would be right up your alley.

So what do you think of the deck? Any crucial cards I missed? Anything I included that doesn’t deserve a spot? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know!

Lord of the Rings preview season is kicking off shortly, so check back here in a couple weeks to watch me dive back into another set review. Or if you can’t wait that long, go check out this deck tech I did for Tom Bombadil. I’m sure Tom is gonna have a lot more Sagas to play with once the set is released.

Until next time, take care. And play lots of games!