The Great EDH Challenge: Izzet – Aegar’s Giant Burn


Power Level: 4

I’d always wanted a Giant deck, but none of the Giant commanders really moved me. Then Aegar appeared recently, and I fell in love. I used to have a Keranos burn deck, but it felt clunky, and the commander wasn’t all that synergistic with what I wanted to do. Aegar incentivizes all my damage-based removal, and even synergizes with the X-based removal scaling over the course of the game. I didn’t have to make that many changes to the original UR burn deck; I just added a bunch of Giants!

Every nonland card in this deck can deal damage, whether it be the bird from Swan Song , the birds from Alrund’s Epiphany , the creatures, or from a classic Lightning Bolt . Being a damage-dealing deck, aka Burn, we can win through direct damage to our opponents. Spells like Comet Storm and Giant’s Ire usually end up finishing off low-life opponents. However, we put the most pressure on life totals by attacking with our high-powered Giants (and a few useful Wizards, too).

Our Giants have a lot of synergy. Calamity Bearer is a damage-doubler for a third of our deck, even for our upkeep-pinging Quakebringer Sunrise Sovereign remedies the problem of our powerful Giants not having trample, while Cyclone Summoner can clear the board of blockers completely (most of the time). Giants like Hammerfist Giant Magma Giant and Thundercloud Shaman double as removal, potentially being one-sided boardwipes. This includes my favorite Giant, Bloodfire Colossus , who sacs himself to deal 6 to everything!

We refill our hand pretty easily in this deck. For 3+ mana, we play Aegar, and then wipe the board with spells like Blasphemous Act . For each of our opponents’ creatures we deal excess damage to, we draw a card. It is important to save our high-damage boardwipes for boards full of creatures, so that we aren’t killing Aegar just to draw a few cards. Yup, most of these boardwipes will result in Aegar dying, so be mindful of that. Think of Aegar as “Sac, 5 mana (For the Board Wipe): Draw 7 cards”. There will be times when we are picking off our opponents’ commanders every other turn and drawing a card each time, but that doesn’t happen as often as you might hope.

This is a fun, yet powerful casual deck that swings big creatures while burning our opponents and their creatures. We find it difficult to remove non-creature threats, so save the few counterspells we have to deal with powerful enchantments and game-winning instants and/or sorceries. If your friends only have precons, this deck is a great choice to offer them a challenge while not overwhelming them. Quite an accomplishment for a Johnny like me. 🙂

The Great EDH Challenge: Azorius – Time & Space ~ Teferi x Venser


Power Level: 6.5

So err…I ship Teferi and Venser. Yes, yes, I know…it is a remnant of my LiveJournal days. 😀

This deck is a love letter to my favorite Planeswalkers, Teferi and Venser. This is a theme deck that revolves around these 2 characters, that tells a fanfiction love story, haha. I use Raff because he is what I’d imagine their son would look like. This deck has been through a lot of changes; from a combo deck, to a superfriends deck, to a control deck. I feel that UW control is where both Teferi and Venser work best, so that is the final archetype I have decided on.

This is a control deck that seeks to use card draw, removal, and a few planeswalkers to help us survive into the late game. In the late game, we usually win with Approach of the Second Sun , sometimes taking an extra turn with Nexus of Fate to allow us to dig for Approach and cast it again. The deck is modeled a bit after the Dominaria-Standard deck that also used Approach to win. Planeswalkers like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Karn, Scion of Urza generate value for us as we control the mid-game, while Venser, the Sojourner flickers powerful permanents like Coveted Jewel and Elspeth Conquers Death for even more value.

Counterbalance is a pet card that usually just puts a bit of pressure on our opponents. We can tutor for it with Muddle the Mixture , and it works very well with Sensei’s Divining Top and Scroll Rack . I have had opponents scoop from me randomly revealing and successfully countering a game-winning play they were going to make. it is a card I like more in Legacy, but it has its uses here. Venser’s Journal is also a pet card in the deck. It serves the purpose of unifying the theme of the deck with my seedy origins as a LiveJournaler…hehe!

There is one combo in the deck, involving all lands. It fits the theme of Time and Space, as it allows for infinite turns (time) using lands (space).

Nesting Grounds Karn’s Bastion Magosi, the Waterveil = Infinite Turns

This combo is a bit convoluted, and Magosi is the only piece that doesn’t synergize with anything else in my deck. It starts by putting an eon counter on Magosi, requiring us to skip our next turn. We then move that eon counter onto another land with Nesting Grounds, and then use Karn’s Bastion to proliferate that counter. Now that we have 2 eon counters, we can use Nesting Grounds to move an eon counter back onto Magosi on our next turn. On each subsequent turn, we then activate Magosi to take an extra turn by removing that counter, returning Magosi to our hand, playing it as our land for turn, then proliferating the eon counter we still have on another land. During the extra turn, we move one of the eon counters on Magosi again, allowing us to repeat the previous steps to take infinite turns. Probably best to do this combo when we have a good planeswalker out, like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria , hehe.

This is a typical UW control deck, that is sure to prolong any game it is a part of. I can desperately cling to life for several turns, and oftentimes end up grabbing victory from the jaws of imminent defeat. However, this is a very grindy deck, and requires a great deal of “try-harding” to not just win, but to survive. If that playstyle appeals to you, then give this deck a try! You can just dismiss the cringey slash undertones that the deck has!

The Great EDH Challenge: Orzhov – Vish Kal, Cruel Daddy


Power Level: 5.55

I hope you guys had a Happy Valentine’s Day! I will be sharing a real heart-throb with you folks today; a Cruel Daddy that really gets the blood pumping!

Vish Kal is the ultimate B/W commander. He combines both sacrifice outlet, removal, and powerful creature into one amazing package. Every creature in the deck can be thought of as both a pump spell and removal, when he is on the battlefield. Instead of a vampire build, I focused my deck’s creature base around etb and sacrifice effects, to synergize with Vish Kal and my recursion. I included plenty of recursion, so that I can get the most value out of my creatures. This is an Aristocrats deck first, and a Midrange Combo deck second.

This deck’s creatures act as a sort of toolbox of utility, providing crucial interaction as I either attempt to assemble a combo, or simply kill with commander damage. This is a pretty slow deck, and I learned over the years that it is necessary to disrupt my opponents during the early and mid-game so that I’m not just being beat down while I wait to play Vish Kal. Cards like Mesmeric Fiend and Tidehollow Sculler knock powerful opponents off kilter by messing with their hands, and therefore their plans. Mindslicer is especially brutal, more so when I have an engine like Phyrexian Reclamation or Bolas’s Citadel out. Ravenous Chupacabra has been a joy since he was released, dispatching even the most powerful creatures on a recur-able body. Ashen Rider is the overkill removal creature in this deck, as recurring it repeatedly with something like Nim Deathmantle usually ends up causing opponents to scoop.

This deck heavily revolves around Vish Kal, despite playing many combos that don’t require him being out. He simply does everything an Orzhov player wants. Vish Kal can kill someone out of nowhere, especially when I have a board full of creatures, or a Hatred in hand. Hatred is a very fun card to win with, but I’d recommend having a Grand Abolisher out if you plan on using it on Vish kal.

Vish Kal is amazingly useful, and puts a heck of pressure on my opponents when they realize he can pump himself as well as kill their creatures at instant speed. He is oftentimes confused with Oloro, Ageless Ascetic , as the art can appear similar. This mistake has gotten people killed, as they realize the Cruel Daddy flies and eats creatures. Many turns with him on the battlefield turn into me calculating how much power I have to have him eat in order to kill a dangerous opponent. The recursion in my deck oftentimes has Vish Kal eating the same creatures multiple times in a single turn, leading me to victory in quick order.

There are numerous combos in this deck, more than most would realize. I will list the best ones:

Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter Mikaeus, the Unhallowed = Infinite Sac of Vish Kal, Infinite -1/-1 of all creatures

Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter Mikaeus, the Unhallowed Cruel Celebrant / Zulaport Cutthroat / Blood Artist = Drain your opponents of their life totals

Leonin Relic-Warder Animate Dead Cruel Celebrant / Zulaport Cutthroat / Blood Artist = Drain your opponents of their life totals

Reveillark Karmic Guide + Sac Outlet = Infinite recursion of Reveillark, Karmic Guide, and another creature with power 2 or less

Ashnod’s Altar Wurmcoil Engine Nim Deathmantle = Infinite Colorless Mana / Infinite Wurmcoil Engine Tokens

Ah yes, and a “funny” combo that infuriated me years ago when my Teysa-playing friend revealed it to me in an especially toxic EDH game:

False Prophet Phyrexian Tower Volrath’s Stronghold to put him back on top of your library with the floating black mana = Exile all Creatures, at instant speed, over and over again…

This deck is a lot of fun, and can be played in numerous ways to fit your own playstyle. Its only big drawback is that it is usually pretty slow, and many of the creatures aren’t much of a threat on their own. But hey, EDH is a format that is all about synergy! 😀

The Great EDH Challenge: Gruul – Gallia the Party Girl!


Power Level: 3.71

Yo, Gallia is lit! She’s got haste, and I love commanders with haste! She’s a lord for one of my favorite tribes, Satyrs! She even has inherent card advantage built into her, synergizing with her aggro strategy! Man, this card just oozes synergy, and I truly realized that when I built this deck. Most Satyrs are 2 mana, making it easy to have a bunch of small hasty bodies to put pressure on my opponents. The only downside is that most Satyrs are pretty bad, especially in a high-power format like EDH. But who cares, let’s party!

The gameplan is to play Gallia as early as possible, alongside as many Satyrs as you can. When you have three attacking creatures, always utilize her triggered ability to discard a card at random and draw two. This ability is really what makes Gallia shine, as she lets you replace Satyrs as your opponents increasingly chump-block and board-wipe the annoying hasty party animals. You will oftentimes discard a useful removal or buffing card, but it is best not to lament what you’ve lost, but instead be happy for the 2 new cards that you’ve gained!

Choosing one opponent and focusing them is usually the best course of action when playing aggro, but it is okay to change targets if your chosen opponent starts playing fat-bootied blockers, or has pillow fort up. The biggest problem with Gallia and the Satyrs is that they are so small. We get around this by playing anthem effects like Door of Destinies Shared Animosity , and an actual anthem, Gaea’s Anthem Eldrazi Monument is amazing in this deck, as Gallia’s triggered ability usually lets us get more Satyrs to sac to the monument. We have a few more evasive measures to help us out during combat, such as Goblin War Drums to give our boys and girls menace, and Dolmen Gate to help them survive uneven combats. We also protect our team with Heroic Intervention of course, and the card I played before that one came out, Wrap in Vigor .

And of course, winning with a top-decked Triumph of the Hordes is always funny!

There is plenty of interaction in the deck, because sometimes you have to blow stuff up to win. Star of Extinction is always funny, and does a good job getting rid of a battlefield full of too many blockers. There are many Satyrs that destroy artifacts, so I usually don’t have a problem against those sorts of decks. Decimate is probably my favorite RG spell, as it usually decimates my opponents in the early game, haha.

There is one infinite combo in the deck that I’m aware of. This is a classic RG one, and I’ve always wanted to run it:

Druids’ Repository + at least 5 attacking creatures + Aggravated Assault = Infinite Combat phases and Main phases

I have a habit of calling Druids’ Repository -> Druids’ Suppository , so yeah, it’s always fun to play that card. I think it is a busted card in go wide decks, to be honest.

All in all, this is a very fun deck to play, even if most of my playgroup laughs at low-power decks such as this. This goes up great against a precon, and I enjoy having a fun, chaotic deck to play a table of new players. One thing is for certain; I’m always doing something when I’m playing this deck, even if it’s just playing my party girl for the third time. 😀

The Great EDH Challenge: Selesnya – Saffi’s Sacrifice

Saffi Eriksdotter


Power Level: 8.21

Little Miss Saffi just loves sacrificing herself for the Greater Good…if only she could tutor that card up all by herself!

This is a combo deck masquerading as a value deck, plain and simple. I think there are over 10 infinite combos in this deck…pretty strong eh? Yeah, this deck tends to win out of nowhere, especially if the game drags on. This deck is known to prolong the game until it wins using its wide selection of “combat denial” strategies, and it’s many forms of interaction. The sheer amount of interaction in the deck makes it a pleasure to play, as I’m always making an impact on the game.

What further pushes this deck’s power level is the sheer amount of tutors I run. Finale of DevastationWoodland Bellower, and Eldritch Evolution are some of the best, as they put the tutored creature right onto the battlefield. The funny thing is that I could put even better tutors into the deck to further augment it’s power. Amongst all the other strengths that Green has, tutoring for creatures is one of it’s best.

The primary strategy of the deck is to play Saffi on turn two, and deal with opponents while you slowly assemble combo pieces utilizing tutors/draw. The deck has a mix of removal, hatebears, and fog-effects, to deal with the assortment of deck archetypes that one can expect to encounter in EDH. Peacekeeper laughs at aggro decks, stopping them from even getting attack triggers. Gaddock Teeg laughs at control and combo decks, denying them boardwipes and various infinite mana win conditions. Scavenging Ooze laughs at graveyard decks, as it eats their win conditions. Stopping your opponents from winning is merely half of the winning equation, as we must win ourselves. We do that using the numerous infinite combos in this deck.

Saffi can infinitely recur multiple creatures in this deck, with the help of a sac outlet like Altar of Dementia:

Renegade RallierSun TitanReveillarkTimely HordemateShepherd of the Cosmos and Karmic Guide

Saffi + any of these cards + a free sac outlet = Mass or infinite effects from the sac outlet you are using, e.g. Altar of Dementia allows you to mill all of your opponents out, while Phyrexian Altar gives you infinite mana.

The primary struggle in this deck is getting to a free sac outlet. Green/White doesn’t have many options for free sac outlets on creatures, only having Reaper of Flight Moonsilver if you have delirium. I tend to tutor for cheaper, non-free sac outlets such as Starved Rusalka if I have a recursive creature early on, as getting delirium tends to be a bit difficult in this creature-heavy deck.

Other combos utilizing sac outlets include:

Sun Titan + Angelic Renewal

Sun Titan + Fiend Hunter

Renegade Rallier + Angelic Renewal

Shepherd of the Cosmos + Angelic Renewal

Reveillark + Karmic Guide

Luminous Broodmoth + Solemnity + A creature without Flying

Vizier of Remedies + Woodfall Primus = Destroy all non-creature permanents!! (I sure do love destroying all of my opponents’ lands!)

And here are a few other fun combos:

Vizier of Remedies + Devoted Druid = Infinite Green Mana

Vizier of Remedies + Devoted Druid + Finale of Devastation = Any creature in your deck onto the battlefield + Infinitely Big Hasty Creatures

Boonweaver Giant getting Pattern of Rebirth + Boonweaver’s death = Tutor for any creature in this deck and put it into play.

So, all in all, this deck is all about sacrifice. Will you sacrifice your creatures just for value, or to win it all? Only time will tell. 😀

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.

The Great EDH Challenge: Rakdos – Kaervek’s Merciless Enchantments

Kaervek, the Merciless


Power Level: 5.75

This is a typical Rakdos “Hazard” deck, where I play a bunch of permanents whose purpose is to slowly and passively damage and drain players of their life totals. I simply play nasty things, and watch as my opponents (and sometimes myself) die from playing the game. It just so happens that most of these permanents are enchantments, making this a weird Rakdos enchantress deck.

Kaervek the Merciless is a vicious, hateful, high-cmc creature that damages any target I choose when an opponent casts a spell, based on that spells cmc. Most people I’ve played with are always shocked by his ability, especially when I use it to kill their own commanders, even their planeswalkers. He is the finisher of this deck, what I play when I have no useful cards in hand and plenty of mana. He allows me to team up with my opponents to take down a problematic creature, planeswalker, or player; by simply having those opponents cast their spells.

There are many “mean” cards in the deck, that target certain players for extra cruelty. Rakdos’s Return is probably my favorite B/R card, and is usually my way for punishing a player for coming at me too hard. “Discard your hand and take X damage.” is what I say cooly as I cast it, followed by a gleeful chuckle. Mind Shatter accomplishes the hand hate angle as well. Captive Audience is a slow burn mean card, that usually spells the end for the player it enchants. Sorin Markov makes someone’s life total 10, which is usually merciless in a 40-life format. Thought Distortion is especially funny to play against a control player. And finally, most people new to the deck are shocked by Head Games. This cards lets me either king-make by giving someone a perfect hand for victory, or a hand full of lands. I usually choose the latter.

Death Cloud always pisses everyone off, as it is mass land destruction, hand hate, board wipe, and loss of life; all in one convenient package. It is the most hateful card in the deck.

As a Johnny (combo-player), I had to put an infinite combo in the deck. This one is a classic in Black/Red, and can be tutored for in it’s entirety with Final Parting.

Worldgorger Dragon in the graveyard + Animate Dead = Infinite Leaving/Entering the Battlefield of all your permanents.

This combo allows us to do a variety of things, such as make infinite mana for spells like Torment of Hailfire, gain infinite life with Bloodfell Caves, or draw most of my deck with Coveted Jewel.

This deck has a lot of fun pieces to it, and it lets me get my mean-spiritedness out of my system. However, it is a pretty bad deck. Many times I have gotten so low myself that I wind up dying to my own pieces. Also, it takes a long time to play my many costly spells and permanents. I take this deck out when I want to be casual, while passively affecting the game the whole way through.

I sometimes swap the commander out between 2 others:

Tsabo Tavoc when I want to be especially casual, and Xantcha, Sleeper Agent when I didn’t have a chance to play Kaervek in the previous game.

The Great EDH Challenge: Blue – Memnarch Control Combo



Power Level: 11.75

This is my pride and joy, the deck that best represents my passion for Magic the Gathering. Memnarch was the first foil legendary creature I drew, and remains my favorite character in the lore.

What’s easier than having an awesome mana sink that’s always available to you? Just make infinite mana and take all their stuff. ControlCard Draw, and Tutoring helps you get there, since you have to get your combo pieces and survive along the way. Counterspells are notoriously difficult to play in a game consisting of 3+ people, especially in a format as threat-rich as EDH. It is vitally important for me to keep my counterspells to either protect my own combo, or prevent other people from making a game-winning play. The sheer density of tutors that this deck possesses allows it to assemble combos with ease. The density of fast mana accelerates my gameplan, letting me do a lot of things early in the game.

This deck is a significant threat at all stages of the game, and most people who sit down with me realize how toxic Memnarch can be once they realize that he can permanently gain control of any permanent. I usually only cast Memnarch under two circumstances; when I have infinite mana, or when I need to put pressure on the board while I work on getting my combo together. Memnarch is a “Kill-on-sight” commander, and it is normal for people to hold up removal just to kill him when I play him. This deck is very rough to play when I’m not in the mood to get focused down, but it can be very rewarding when I unleash an easy two-card combo to make infinite mana and win the game. It is also fun when I set up a toxic board-state that allows me to steal multiple permanents each turn, such as having Unwinding Clock and Memnarch out with plenty of rocks. My opponents will usually scoop when they hear “On your upkeep, I’ll take two of your lands” multiple times. Fewer things bring me as much joy as taking my opponents’ lands!

This deck has quite a few number of game-winning combos. Here are the most relevant:

Chromatic Orrery + Filigree Sages = Infinite Mana and Unlimited Draw

Grand Architect + Pili-Pala = Infinite Mana

Grim Monolith/Basalt Monolith + Power Artifact + Walking Ballista = Infinite Colorless Mana and Infinite Damage

Etherium Sculptor + Sensei’s Divining Top + Mystic Forge = Unlimited Draw

Isochron Scepter + Dramatic Reversal + Gilded Lotus/Rocks that Produce 3+ Mana = Infinite Mana

I seldom play this deck, mainly because my friends refer to this as a toxic deck. Many of my friends refused to get what they call “Memnarched”, as no one likes having their permanents (especially their lands) stolen. I do tend to win relatively easy against low-interaction, slow decks, which are the majority of commander decks out there it seems. It may seem powerful, but having minimal access to boardwipes and permanent removal makes this deck very vulnerable to aggro and go-wide strategies. Also, mono-green really has fun crapping all over this deck, as a well-timed Bane of Progress usually destroys my entire board. Despite all of that, I love playing this deck, even if it is a constant struggle just to stay alive during a game! 😀