Hey everyone. These are the Commander decks I keep around. I have played all of these at the local Commander Challenge tournament at least once. I’ll try and link all of them eventually (I’m using Archidekt currently), and provide decklists for the retired ones. If there is any demand for lists or breakdowns, I’ll be happy to do them. Just ask.
Kozilek, The Great Distortion. My first build. Tons of value in the manabase, powerful artifact ramp, and lots of high-end Eldrazi Titans. This deck usually ends up playing Archenemy, but that’s ok. List here.
Xenagos, God of Revels. My second build. This has gone through a number of changes. When it started it was all high-power low-cmc, trying to get the biggest creature on the earliest turn possible for a one-shot. Later, it evolved to cheaper one-shot kills, including infect. This was no fun to play with or against. The deck is currently leveraging hexproof creatures with explosive damage multipliers and tons of extra value. A really fun glass cannon. List coming soon.
Karametra, God of the Harvest. This was built for a friend to play with and ended up being a favourite of mine. While I do not tutor on principle, I will look for basics, and when I play this deck, I’ll grab the value forests/plains too. I love springtime, especially because it means fresh fruits and vegetables become better and more available. Ramps, a sort of garlic/onion/leek hybrid, are a favourite. This deck is all about ramp, growing things, sunshine, good times, landfall, and indestructible. List coming soon.
Liliana, Heretical Healer. I always wanted to do a zombie concept in magic, even years ago when I first played. Hordes and Lords. At the time, there were a handful of zombies and Zombie Master. You couldn’t even make your Scathe Zombies big enough to contend with the Goblin or Kobold guys. This scratches that itch. Powerful black cards, with an emphasis on Zombie Lords. List here.
Queen Marchesa. This was originally Zurgo Helmsmasher’s deck. I wrote about why it changed here. TL DR? Zurgo got hate. The rest of the deck is Allies. Lots of cool synergy, ETB tricks and diverse ways to win to the game. Lots of fun, plus the Monarch on command! List here.
The Ur-Dragon. Originally a Scion of the Ur-Dragon deck, but got hated out. The big one is more fun anyway. The deck is dragon goodstuff. This was supposed to be awesome, with all sorts of cool legendary dragons across Magic’s history. It plays like a bunch of asynchronous flying beaters. I have a subtle reanimator theme, and am just looking for the right combo of new cards to make it happen. List coming soon.
The Ur-Dragon 2 – Alt Dragons. This is my Changeling tribal deck. I think the Ur-Dragon is an awesome changeling option because it changes the math. The deck can explode easily, and is terrific fun to play. List here.
Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons. This is classic Hapatra, but instead of combos at the top end, I have big sneks like Massacre Wurm and Elderscale Wurm. The deck is still very strong, consistent, and fun to play. My Yawgmoth, Thran Physician is in this deck, despite the combo potential. We’ll see how that works out in the comics. List here.
Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow. This is mostly classic ninja, but I’ve dropped the unblockable 1-drops for the most part in favour of a more mid-range approach. I wrote about some of the spicy tech I use here. It works much better. Full list coming soon.
Xantcha, Sleeper Agent. This changed a lot since I played at Challenge. Originally it wanted Xantcha to pull off Commander damage kills in combat. While I wanted my opponents to kill each other, it didn’t really work so well, and I had no back-up plan. This is now a damage-over-time concept that leverages Xantcha for cards and such. It’s more controlling and evil, with all the espionage flavour I can sneak in. List coming soon.
Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder & Reyhan, Last of the Abzan. This is my dinosaur deck. The two Commanders give me the colours I want and also let me do a few classic adventure story tropes. Brains and brawn is one, but there are lots more. Bullwhip does a lot of work. Otherwise it’s dinos and some group ramp to make everything feel giant-sized. List coming soon.
Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker & Tana, the Bloodsower. Ishai took over from Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus and added white. Both white and green are splashes, though, as this is primarily an Izzet deck that wants to make thopters and copies of thopters and copies of dorks who make thopters and copies of anything cool. I played (and wrote about) this deck at Commander Challenge recently. I placed 3rd. It’s also great fun to play. I call it thopulator even though I cut the one populate card I was playing. The list is here.
Ravos, Soultender & Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus 1 – Heaven. This is a pair of decks that function independently, but also as a whole concept. They share the two Commanders, Ravos and Kraum. The greater concept is a take on Dante’s Inferno, in which a pair of travellers see Hell and Heaven as voyeurs, able to move through them and explore without obstacle. Each of these decks is a take on either Heaven or Hell, and each has one Commander of the two that’s the ‘real’ Commander, and one visiting voyeur. Both decks are also a take on the afterlife. The Heaven deck is Ravos’. The deck currently leverages spirits, lords/anthems, sacrifice for value, and recursion. It’s clunky. Usually the best thing it can do with 5 mana is cast Kraum. I’m looking to make it better. List coming soon.
Ravos, Soultender & Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus 2 – Hell. This is Kraum’s deck. It leverages individually powerful Zombies, lifeloss, and death triggers. It’s okay. Some of the Zombies are exciting, like the God Eternals. This evolved from Varina (retired, listed below) so I could add red. Kraum is always a great play. One cast of Kraum drew me 11 cards over the course of one game. List coming soon.
Phenax, God of Deception. This is my mill deck. Big surprise, that’s what Phenax does. Phenax used to be my only mill concept, but I’m trying another, so Phenax is a bit more focused on using permanents to mill with, rather than spells. Toughness boosts are the deck’s meat and potatoes. This deck has a high hill to climb, like all mill decks, but it’s worth playing. I was once stopped cold by an opponent with no cards in deck, but Necropotence in play. Oops. List coming soon.
Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper. I don’t love playing draw-go Magic, but when the payoff is a gigantic land creature, I can’t say no. I don’t play this much, but it surprises me how fun it ends up being, and how well-received. I don’t play table police, but I will stop your game-winner if I can. The lands in this deck are all beautiful. My Christmasland kill is with original Tolaria. List coming soon.
Vaevictus Asmadi, the Dire. This deck is great jund goodstuff with a twist: all permanents! This maximizes my Vae triggers, and supports some other cool cards, like Aid from the Cowl. I like this deck and want it to be good, but most of my opponents are really scared of Vae, and tend to nuke it whenever possible. At 6 CMC, this makes for fewer Vae games than I’d like. This deck does lots of theft as well, so opponents usually have their guard up when the dragon comes down. A candidate for change if something interesting is printed in these colours. List coming soon.
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. I played this deck under Jodah, Archmage Eternal, but Golos is a better fit. I have the Maze’s End/gates package in here, but it’s a last resort or to fix my mana. The deck is 5C Heroic. It needs all the help it can get. Sisyphus would play this deck. But it’s fun, and has a few tricks up its sleeve, like Cascade. List coming soon.
Melek, Izzet Paragon. I have a cool, full-art foil promo Melek that I’ve been dying to use, and after a few false starts with copying mass damage and Threaten spells, derpy spell mill was a blast to play. This is going to change. The deck needed some graveyard hate, and my recent acquisition of Rest in Peace is going to push me to change this to an Elsha of the Infinite deck, and put Melek in the 99. I played it recently enough that I won’t need to touch it for a while. My best moment was killing an opponent with mill one turn after I’d been killed by Aetherflux Reservoir. List coming soon.
Ramos, Dragon Engine. I had another couple of Ramos decks, but they were retired. They’re listed below. This one is the jankiest deck I have. It wants to put different kinds of counters on things. I wrote about playing it in Commander Challenge here. It can win, but it’s more of an experiment than anything else. Lots of weird cards. The list is here.
Marisi, Breaker of the Coil (semi-retired). I played this recently at Commander Challenge, and wrote about it here. It was effective at goading, but didn’t make any friends. It lacked an endgame, but adding one probably wouldn’t change what it is. I’m already scrapping it for parts. The list is here.
Varina, Lich Queen (retired). This was my Commander Challenge winning deck (Oct 2018). I built it for strong performance, and it didn’t disappoint. I’m struggling to put a list together but I think I know roughly what I played. All Zombie, lots of cheap, early game interaction back up by classic Esper control, efficient lifedrain. This deck became my Hell deck, and includes Varina. List coming eventually….
Atogatog (retired). This was my Christmas deck, played during the brief period when silver-bordered cards were legal (Holidays 2017-18). The deck was built to try and tell the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I hit Christmasland game one, when my opponent (Max) played Incoming! and I was able to sequence my permanents in such a way that I could tell the story. It was awesome. Max killed us all with Gleemax afterwards, but I got the love. My other games were no-fires. I hardly played anything. But the story had reached a lot of ears, and I finished tied for the Challenge win on points (no kills). I accepted 2nd place with great delight. List coming eventually….
Tetsuo Umezawa (retired). This was one of my original builds. I have a sweet copy of old Tetsuo, the original Bolas-killer, and once one of the most efficient cards in Magic, at 3/3 for 3CMC. Not kidding. With other cool abilities, mostly controlling and assassination oriented, the deck was a variation of Stax. Any game with this deck in it was slowed right down, but it always seemed to be killed first if anyone was. It didn’t run enough answers or defense, and individual cards that hosed entire strategies got me a lot of hate. It wasn’t fun. List coming eventually….
Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh (retired). This deck was simply too strong and apt to take down entire tables in just a few turns. It was big burn, lots of mana, lots of redirection, amplification, and spell copy. It would drop Glacial Chasm and copy a massive Earthquake a few times, or leverage Repercussion for all sorts of nastiness. While it felt right, and very Chandra, it created more non-games than any other deck I built, simply by virtue of power and consistency. List coming eventually….
Etali, Primal Storn (retired). This was too crazy for me. I don’t think you really tone something like this down, either. It had lots of mana rocks, haste and trigger-copies to get Etali out and casting my opponents’ spells. It either worked too well, or I got all the hate. Sometimes both. The crazy board states were too much. I had turns with dozens of cast triggers to work out, not to mention ETB, death, and other triggers. And the stack as my opponents’ responded. List coming eventually….
Kambal, Consul of Allocation (retired). I tried to do taxation with specific building restrictions, including on CMC. It was a meticulous piece of math that never panned out in practice. Lots of interaction, no payoffs. Kambal was the best thing the deck could do to get a win, but wasn’t high impact enough. Had I built with no restrictions, it would have been okay, but not enough to keep it long term. List coming eventually….
Ramos, Dragon Engine – Curses (retired) and Enchantments (retired). I had Ramos at the helm of these decks, mostly because I thought I could get more use out of him than Cromat. It really didn’t matter than much. Curses was okay, but had issues with more than one powerful opponent. It relied too heavily on a few specific curses, and the games were really inconsistent in a bad way. Enchantments was really consistent, powerful, and drew a lot of cards. It was too Simic for me. It could pillowfort like a champ, too. I had an easier time drawing my deck than figuring out how to kill my opponents. I wanted to do stuff with cards like Maelstrom Nexus, but it was slow compared to other things I was doing. Like playing Wild Growth with a half dozen draw triggers in play. That’s not my style. Lists coming eventually….
Firesong & Sunspeaker (retired). I was so excited for Spellcows. It was the dawn of a new age for Boros decks. No more just aggro combat. But it turned out it was something worse. F&S were like Chandra Burn, powerful, effective, table-killers, but with the added resilience of lifegain. The way it played was durdle til you bomb everyone out. Every time. I was running Chandra then, and could only keep one. Chandra stayed because it was more of a game to figure out how to nuke a table without taking yourself out too, not just hide behind inflated life and pillowfort enchantments. List coming eventually….
Thantis, the Warweaver (retired). The big spider was an experiment that failed miserably. I wanted to have everyone attacking all the time, sometimes forced to attack into my growing spider. Eventually I planned to Fling it at someone for a kill. It was not to be. People don’t like to have combat forced on them, and Thantis ate removal, not chumps. People also assumed I was looking to clear the way to voltron them to death, and it was a better plan than I had, really. And it seems I like spiders in general more than almost everyone else. Some people did not want to touch the card. Not something I would do again. Thantis needed to have defender or be immune to the must-attack clause. That might not have helped either. List coming eventually….
Horde of Notions (retired). This deck tried to jam a bunch of multi-colour cards together and see what happened. Nothing. There were a few games where my various charms did work, and I managed to land a powerful creature or something, but it rarely did much before turn 5, and by then it was too far behind. The Commander was a big fail, either being too threatening or too small, or too tough to cast. I tried some elementals, but it wasn’t happening. Getting them in the yard, then out, was too much work for too little payoff. As more elementals are printed, this might be worth another look. List coming eventually….
Vorel of the Hull Clade (retired). This deck was a problem. The plan was a sort of Rube Goldberg machine, where I could tap this thing to do that, and then the other, and so on, like a wacky mad scientist. I wanted to leverage charge counters as the deck’s basic strategy. The problem was that there were a few cards that won outright, and all the rest that just durdled. In my very first game in Challenge with this deck, I asked the table on turn 5 if they had any instant-speed interaction, and they said no. The previous turn, I had used my Power Conduit to move a counter from my Saprazzan Cove to my Magistrate’s Scepter to make 3. I untapped with Vorel in play. Vorel made the counters on the Scepter at 6. I revealed Mechanized Production from my hand, to prove that it wasn’t going to be me struggling to find a win-con for the next twenty minutes. It still was one of the worst feel-bads I’ve ever had in Magic. It sucked all the air out of the table, and while I got some kill points, I got no votes, and hid my head sheepishly through a second, fun game where I did nothing. It was interesting to do once, but once only. I had a few bright moments with Deepglow Skate and Darksteel Reactor, but not enough to keep the deck. List coming eventually….
Other builds and ideas I’m working on:
Kenrith Chess. I wrote a full breakdown of this deck. It’s not one I’m likely to build myself, but I think it’s pretty cool.
Mono-Green Spirits. Playing spirits in every colour except green has made me want to check out the grass on the other side. Not sure when, but it’ll probably happen.