The Great EDH Challenge: Golgari – Jarad, Golgari’s One True King

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord


Power Level: 7.3

Happy MLK Day! Today, I’ll be talking about one of my favorite “black” creatures, Jarad. Screw that Vraska crap; Jarad is the one true leader of the Golgari! Urgh I hate how dirty they did my boy…

So, Jarad is the first EDH commander I ever had. I used to really like Green, and wanted something really interesting to play with when I first got into the format. I chose Jarad because of his tragic backstory, and the fact that he had so many abilities that would keep the deck building interesting.

This deck has gone through numerous changes over the years (such as being a dedicated dredge deck), and this is the one I have ended up with for the longest period of time. It has always been a creature-centric deck, with a minor Elf theme, and I prefer to use creatures for most of my disruption and removal in this deck. Since I’m a “Johnny” player, I had to make it a combo deck (of course). This one has a few fun ones that usually take my opponents by surprise, seeing how easy they are to assemble in a graveyard deck with plenty of tutors.

Of course the classic combo is included, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Triskelion. I also have a variant, Mikaeus, the UnhallowedWalking Ballista, and a free sac outlet like Viscera Seer.

There is also the weird one, Phyrexian Devourer and Triskelion in the graveyard while Necrotic Ooze is on the battlefield. Exile cards from the top of your library, put counters on Necrotic ooze equal to those cards’ CMC, and then shoot everyone for the combined CMC of your deck! This combo works with just Devourer in the grave with Jarad out, because Jarad can sac a really big Necrotic Ooze.

Which makes me mention the next combo, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord and Phyrexian Devourer. This neat combo has Devourer eat your library enough to become really big, and then has Jarad sac the Devourer before it sacs itself in order to make your opponents lose a huge amount of life. Your opponents will need split-second to stop this combo once you have the untapped mana to sac the Devourer to Jarad, hehe.

Killing Protean Hulk pretty much guarantees you win (as with most decks). the winning chain goes like this:

kill Protean Hulk, Tutor up Viscera Seer and Phyrexian Delver, reanimate Hulk with Delver’s ability, sac Hulk to Viscera Seer, then get Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Walking Ballista to win the game. Just make sure you have at least 8 life before you perform this combo, hehe!

I’ve been contemplating putting Hermit Druid in as a fast combo piece using the “no basic lands” method to flip my deck while I have 2 other creatures out (most likely mana dorks), then Dread Return my Necrotic Ooze to win, but I haven’t decided to do it yet. Maybe someday.

This deck tends to spend the early game setting up for weird combos and value engines. It isn’t normal for me to win quickly with this deck, but it is possible if I assemble my pieces or ramp quickly. Nevertheless, I am always able to handle my opponents, which numerous ways to destroy permanents and mess with combat. Tuning the deck should fix the pacing problems, so I will revisit this at a future time.

The Great EDH Challenge: Boros – Gerrard’s Sunrise

Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero


Power Level: 7.1

Look at how handsome they made Gerrard! Our hero finally gets the busted card he deserves.

This is an “Eggs-like” deck, where my commander dies and brings back all of my other creatures and artifacts that went to the grave during the turn. This lets me get back mana rocks and artifact lands that I use for mana to then replay Gerrard, allowing me to repeat the process.

This is a value deck, with the potential to combo and win with damage-dealing cards such as Reckless Fireweaver and/or Impact Tremors. However, like many eggs decks, this is a time-consuming venture with the potential to whiff. We can instead draw lands when we’d rather draw more sources of mana or card draw. Because of how drawn out my turns can be when I am trying to loop Gerrard without Loyal Retainers out, I tend to simply use Gerrard as a value engine until I am sure I can tutor for combo pieces.

The most important combo pieces in this deck are sac outlets, such as Ashnod’s Altar and Thermopod. Our deck doesn’t function all too well without being able to sac Gerrard and our board to trigger his ability.

This deck lets you do mean things like continuously Oblivion Stone, since Gerrard will bring it back and all the mana rocks used to pop it. For the most part though, this is a sorcery speed deck, so we want to hold back our greatest plays until it is our turn. Gerrard can’t get things out of our graveyard that were put there during earlier turns, though we have a few spells that can.

Commander Legends granted this card an amazing combo piece that only requires my commander and a sac outlet to go infinite, Hellkite Courser. Courser yanks Gerrard out of the command zone when it etbs, and Gerrard brings it back after sacrificing them both, creating a loop. This loop occurs because Gerrard always ends up back in the command zone after bringing Hellkite Courser back. I was able to perform this combo in the first game after I put Hellkite Courser in the deck. It sure did feel satisfying!

This deck has the Station combo, utilizing Blasting StationSalvaging Station, and Flayer Husk.

This deck also includes the Bomberman combo, utilizing Auriok SalvagersLion’s Eye Diamond, and Pyrite Spellbomb.

This deck compliments my Saffi Eriksdotter deck, as they both are janky combo decks that usually just play out like value decks. This deck tends to have me playing solitaire, as is the nature of eggs decks when they decide to “go-off”. Prepare to deal with impatient players complaining as you take a 15+ minute turn, as they have every right to. But like most solitaire decks, it sure is fun to tinker around with your board as your opponents sweat bullets, wondering if they still have a chance to win. shrug

The Great EDH Challenge: Simic – Kumena, Merfolk Tyrant

Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca


Power Level: 6

Ah yes, Kumena. My smexy, strong, brash Kumena. Ixalan sure did give us a lot of beautiful and buff merfolk, and Kumena is the tyrant of them all. Well, at least he is in this deck. I try not to think about how pointless he was in the lore…

Kumena is a weird lord that allows his merfolk team to permanently increase their strength with +1/+1 counters, requiring five merfolk to be tapped to do so. This is why I call him the Merfolk Tyrant, as he is not a lord in the traditional sense. He taps a merfolk to make himself unblockable, which usually surprises opponents for some reason. I imagine him deriving strength from lesser merfolk bowing to him.

Anyway, this is a Simic merfolk deck, featuring some of the most synergistic blue/green merfolk in commander. This deck plods along, playing one merfolk per turn for the first few turns as we slowly assemble our value engine. Once we have three or more merfolk with Kumena out, we are usually drawing three cards a turn while assembling a lethal board of merfolk. It is a bit grindy, but this deck can overrun all of my opponents in about 10 turns if it doesn’t have to deal with an un-countered board wipe. I tend to avoid swinging out until I have at least 5 merfolk, so that I can avoid being focused and unprotected as I build up my boardstate.

Being a Simic deck, this list has many moving parts that keep things interesting, and has that signature Simic ability to overwhelm opponents with sheer card advantage and mana. Cards such as Merrow CommerceSeedborn Muse, and Curse of Bounty allow us to tap our merfolk multiple times to draw and give +1/+1 counters to the whole tea, while staying aggressive. A value combo that I adore in this deck is Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Merrow Reejerey. Merrow Reejerey untaps the Nykthos each time we cast a merfolk, leading to absurd amounts of mana being generated in the late game. There have been games where I cast 10+ merfolk in a turn with this combo, constantly tapping the new merfolk to draw into others. Kindred Discovery drowns us in cards for simply playing and attacking with our merfolk. The hard-bodied Seafloor Oracle also draws me plenty of cards when my merfolk hit my opponents.

The downfall for any go-wide decks are board-wipes, such as Wrath of God and even Cyclonic Rift. Fish decks are known to run counterspells, and this fish deck is no different. Counterspells, such as Counterspell and even Negate allow us to avoid having to rebuild our boards by stopping board-wipes from resolving. I tend to hold on to my precious few counterspells exclusively for board-wipes. Heroic Intervention is a staple for the same reason, and serves the same function as my counterspells. Lullmage Mentor is a fun one to have on the field for similar reasons, though I’m usually winning already by the time I have seven merfolk to hold up for his ability.

Now at the end of the day, this deck’s primary win condition is combat damage, so we have plenty of ways to bring the hurt. Deepchannel Mentor and Herald of Secret Streams make the team unblockable, acting as finishers. Hadana’s Climb   has often buffed Kumena enough to kill one opponent, since its flipped land form doubles his power as well. Beastmaster Ascension is a classic way to swing for lethal out of nowhere if you play it on a board full of merfolk. Quicksilver Fountain is in the deck to open all my opponents up to being killed by islandwalking merfolk. And lest we forget, it isn’t a Fish deck unless you are using the power of math to kill with multiple merfolk lords.

This deck tends to be very fun, and it shines at mid-powered tables. It’s never fun to be focused aggressively in the early-game, like this deck usually is by my wise playgroup, but I have found that this deck is capable of rebuilding given a few turns. I still have yet to win with Simic Ascendancy, and I will probably take it out for Cryptolith Rite when I get another one.