The Great EDH Challenge: Ink-Treader – Thrasios and Bruse’s Shirtless Studs

Decklist: https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/shirtless-studs-thrasios-and-bruse


Power Level: 6.1

The first of my 4-color decks is one with a theme that is very near-and-dear to me. Although the best of them are in black, I decided to go with a shirtless men theme for this one. It was even more of a definite choice when I realized that both Bruse Tarl and Thrasios are shirtless! When I realized that, I felt that my decision to make this deck was divinely-ordained! Haha, but anyway, yeah, this is a deck where each non-artifact and non-land card depicts a shirtless male character.

This deck has a wide mix of cards, but there are two main themes to it; Beatdown and Pillow-fort-y Control. I guess some would call it a Midrange deck, but I have never been too clear about what midrange actually is. In any case, this deck can prevent us from being clobbered by making it harder for our enemies to attack us via interaction and tax effects. It can also straight up clobber our enemies with big, value-generating creatures. It is a bit janky, but that arises more from the gimmick of requiring shirtless hotties on so many of the cards.

We spend the early game setting up, doing things like ramping and protecting ourselves. Playing Thrasios early is usually the best bet, because he can make our draws better as we approach the mid-game. We also tend to play signets and small value-generating creatures like Orcish Lumberjack and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove in the early game. Expect to do very little in the first 4 turns, and spend that time sizing up your opponents so that you can decide what strategy you will be using in the later turns.

For the pillow-fort-aspect of the deck, we have a few interesting tools at our disposal. Collective Restraint and Ghostly Prison are the obvious pillow-fort cards. We also utilize interactive planeswalkers like Ajani Vengeant and Oko, Thief of Crowns to further keep pressure off of us. Oko is probably the best card in the deck, and the games this deck wins usually involve using Oko to turn off enemy commanders. Komainu Battle Armor is great at making threatening opponents attack people other than us, while Frozen Aether slows opponents and keeps hasty decks at bay. Balancing Act is a very interesting Balance-effect that can really save us when we fall far behind our opponents, or when one opponent gets really far ahead of everyone else.

And for the Beatdown-aspect of the deck, we have plenty of muscular studs to crush our opponents. Frost Titan and Inferno Titan do a lot of work when they land, and are absolute houses if they are able to attack a few times. It is a crime that there isn’t a version of Sun Titan that depicts him shirtless, but we make do. Ruric Thar, the Unbowed just shuts down entire archetypes that our opponents are playing while also being a very good attacker. Xenagos, God of Revels turbo-charges our team, especially after we play Bruse Tarl to give our biggest creature double strike and lifelink. Also, never underestimate the power of Garruk Wildspeaker‘s -4 to overrun everyone, especially since he can do it the turn after you play him. And lastly, an entwined Savage Beating is oftentimes enough to destroy at least one opponent when we have at least 3 big boys out.

This deck can be fun to play, but keep in mind that it isn’t much stronger than a precon. If you are playing in a high-power playgroup, this deck will not perform well enough to keep up. This is a slow deck whose win-condition involves attacking with creatures. There is only one infinite combo in this deck that can’t even be tutored for, involving Sage of Hours and Simic Ascendancy. I’ve never pulled it off before, probably because it takes a total of 19 mana to win with it. If you are fine with a silly low-powered deck that has a lot of variance between games, this is a great deck for you. Pull it out when you are playing with a bunch of new players for maximum enjoyment.

The Great EDH Challenge: Abzan – Kethis Black People

Decklist: https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/kethis-black-people


Power Level: 6.5

Yes, I know that there aren’t actual “Black” people in MtG, but I did it. This is a deck featuring dark-skinned characters, many of which are legendary. And hey, there is one actual Black person in the deck; Michonne, Ruthless Survivor!

The rule is if the creature or creatures are humanoid, there has to be a dark-skinned person featured prominently within the card art. In regards to that rule, there are two cards that some may be a bit torn about. Ob Nixilis Reignited in his Secret Lair art looks pretty black, especially when you look at his facial features, though I know that he was portrayed as a white character when he was human. Captain Sisay is quite the redbone, and many I have played with don’t see her as dark-skinned persay, but she is too good to pass up in this deck. Heck, she is Jamuraan, which is basically Dominaria’s Africa, so yeah.

This deck plays much like a precon; we simply play our cards and hope that we can win somehow. There aren’t any obvious combos or anything that high-powered, just a bunch of random cards that are a mix of interaction, value, and threats. Humorously enough, the most powerful card in the deck is probably Peacekeeper. There have been numerous games in which she has effectively stopped all combat for 10+ turns, simply because my opponents couldn’t find a way to get rid of her simple 1/1 body. She can really help us build up our board state without fear of being overwhelmed by our opponents. And hey, we can always sac her on our upkeep so that _we _can then attack.

There are many planeswalkers in this deck, and they tend to put in a great deal of work. Kaya the Inexorable both protects our creatures (such as Peacekeeper) and removes problem nonland permanents. Her ult is stellar in our legends-matter deck, and can be gotten too relatively quickly. Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate is a house who just does it all. She can tutor up creatures (such as Peacekeeper) onto the battlefield, and also make versatile 3/3’s that can be defensive and offensive threats. Kaya, Ghost Assassin can practically o-ring a commander each turn, essentially eliminating commander-dependent decks.

This deck mainly wins by assembling a board of sheer value, then overrunning our opponents. Our planeswalkers definitely help with that, but there are other ways to do so in our deck. Mangara, the Diplomat is phenomenal card draw, especially in the mid-to-late game. Sarulf, Realm Eater is removal-on-a-stick, especially against tokens. Crovax, Ascendant HeroAscendant Evincar, and Kaervek, the Spiteful are all mini Elesh Norns that can hose many go-wide decks.

All in all, this is an original deck that offers a more casual form of play. I always get humorous comments and compliments on this one, mainly because of its silly gimmick. It also harkens back to a day when people made EDH decks to show off their style, not so much their winning ability. Though I must admit, this deck is deceptively powerful, despite being a themed deck. I know many won’t put this together and play it, as it is admittedly jank-city, but I appreciate anyone who can look it over and appreciate what I tried to do. 😀

The Great EDH Challenge: Naya – Samut’s Anthem

Decklist: https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/samuts-anthem/


Power Level: 3

I love commanders with haste. You know what’s better than a commander with haste? A commander with haste, double strike, and vigilance, that gives all your creatures haste!

I was amazed by Samut when she was first spoiled. This was a legendary black woman with a heck of a lot of power and utility. Plus, as an anarchist myself, “Voice of Dissent” sounds pretty badass. She wasn’t played much in Standard, but I knew that I wanted to make a commander deck with her at the helm someday. Well, that day came a little over a year ago. This deck has a special theme; it revolves around anthem effects, or effects that buff the power and/or toughness of all of your creatures. I originally wanted to make a voltron deck, but I figured that that would be a waste of Samut’s ability to give your other creatures haste.

This deck usually spends the first few turns ramping with cards like Three Visits and Into the North so that we can play our mana-hungry cards during the mid-game. This deck has a pretty high mana curve, so we usually need to spend longer setting up than our opponents. One spell a turn is what you should expect for the first seven turns. Because of this, this deck is really only suited to play with other casual decks, and makes a great companion to precons. If you don’t mind the slower pace of the deck, you will enjoy doing the math when you’re swinging a board with 4 or more anthem effects in play. Swinging a board with Iroas, God of Victory made a creature with devotion heavy lords like Balefire Liege and Angel of Jubilation is quite fun, but does take a bit of set-up.

All in all, this tends to be a battle-cruiser deck that sets-up to play a board of big creatures that empower each other for big swings. Samut can be a quick clock on her own, but is especially dangerous when you have a creature like Boartusk Liege out. And hey, our buddy Odric, Lunarch Marshal loves sharing her Double strike and Vigilance with the rest of the team. If you don’t want to get blown out shortly after playing a few creatures with this deck, hold back until you can make a decisively big swing against a problem opponent. This is generally a very weak deck, so choose your opponents wisely.