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: RUG – Rampy Stompy Maelstrom Wanderer

Decklist: https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/rampy-stompy-maelstrom-wanderer/


Power Level: 5

One of the first commander decks that I went up against was a Maelstrom Wanderer deck. All it did was ramp into Maelstrom Wanderer, who then cascaded into big, powerful creatures. That deck was deceptively powerful, and won almost every game it was a part of. I hated it with a passion for years, since I mainly played mono-blue decks with little to no creatures. Well, that was long ago and far away. Now I know who freakin’ fun it is to play the big ole cascading crab!

This deck is very easy to play. You simply play lands, ramp spells if you have them, and then play Maelstrom Wanderer. If you have good creatures to play before you can cast him, then play them! All of our creatures are good, and most of them make great offensive threats. Why do we prioritize casting Maelstrom Wanderer whenever we have the mana to, you ask? Well, not only does he usually get us two stompy threats onto the battlefield for free, but he also gives all of our creatures haste, including himself! I can’t tell you how many games that I have played when I cast Maelstrom, get creatures like Pathbreaker Ibex and Siege Behemoth, and proceed to kill a player who asks “Wait, how do they have haste!?”.

And if Maelstrom Wanderer dies, no problem. You want to recast him, so he can quickly build your board up with more threats! You will most definitely have the mana to recast him 90% of the time.

So our deck is primarily split between ramp spells and big creature spells. Casting mana-efficient ramp cards like Farseek and Three Wishes pushes us towards Maelstrom Wanderer quickly and stealthily. Cards like Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma and Ashaya, Soul of the Wild serve as both rampy and stompy cards. We have a few such dual-purpose creatures. Our most powerful rampy/stompy creatures in the deck are probably Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient and Nyxbloom Ancient. Klauth is just…busted. I couldn’t believe when I saw his textbox. He can easily make 40+ mana in any combination of colors from a single combat. And well, everyone knows that the triple-mana Nyxbloom is uber-strong.

Despite this deck being focused on ramping and stomping, there is a large amount of disruption in it. Some of our creatures, such as Phyrexian Ingester and Kogla, the Titan Ape let us get rid of problematic creatures when they ETB. Other creatures like World Breaker and Bane of Bala Ged give us repeatable ways to remove our opponents’ threats. We have a few more traditional spells to interact with our opponents, like Force of Vigor and the classic Aether Gale. But for the most part, our badass creatures are more than enough to mess with our opponents’ game-plans.

Koma, Cosmos Serpent can literally lock certain opponents out of the game by tapping down their lands and even shutting down their planeswalkers on their upkeep. And yeah, I put one of the most toxic creatures in EDH in my deck…Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger. He doubles our mana and ices over our opponents’ lands when they use them. I can’t even cascade into him, since he is eight mana. He is, at worst, a spiteful pet card. And hey, let’s not forget about the most destructive green creature in EDH, Bane of Progress. He usually comes down and destroys 6+ permanents, significantly altering the course of the game. I call him the most powerful green creature of EDH, since the format is so artifact-heavy.

This deck is STRONG. It may not look like it on paper, but when you play it, you will be blown away by how easy it is to win. There is no need for grand strategizing or politics. You simply play your cards, play your commander, and run over your opponents. It really is that simple. If ramping into beaters appeals to you, then this is definitely the deck for you.

The Great EDH Challenge: Jund – Lord Windgrace’s Ruination

Decklist: https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/lord-windgraces-ruination/


Power Level: 6.25

There is no sugar-coating it; this is a MLD deck. For those who don’t know, MLD stands for Mass Land Destruction. The purpose of this deck is to continuously destroy all lands throughout the game, while recovering our own lands with our commander Lord Windgrace. His ability to get two lands back from our graveyard to the battlefield UNTAPPED is just begging to abused. Not only that, but he synergizes wonderfully with the best MLD cards such as Obliterate and Jokulhaups, because he is unaffected by them. Being a Planeswalker commander makes him especially powerful, and there is a minor super-friends theme to the deck.

So, blowing up lands is not going to make you any friends. I love doing it, but there are real ramifications to doing so. You can lose friends playing this archetypes. Heck, be prepared to close the door on potential friends if you sit down with strangers and use a MLD deck. If you are playing with old-school MTG players who used to jam Armageddon in Type-2, then you won’t get many complaints. Newer MTG players haven’t had to deal with MLD archetypes very much, so they are especially pissed off when they get their lands destroyed. In my opinion, discovering players who will not scoop after a Decree of Annihilation while you have a Planeswalker out makes it all worth it. Those sorts of players are the sort of people you want as friends, because they’ll stick around during hard times. ♥

If you are still okay with playing MLD after reading that, then let’s get into the finer details of the deck. This deck tends to spend the first four turns ramping, ironically enough. Birds of Paradise into Sakura-Tribe Elder into Harrow is always fun in a green deck. We tend to play our commander on turn five, mainly because our MLD cards become symmetrical without him. We run several creatures to help defend him, such as Geode Rager and Multani, Yavimaya’s AvatarSandwurm Convergence is a great way to protect our green deck from flyers, while also creating tokens to further protect Lord Windgrace from ground threats. It is also an enchantment, which evades our board wipes. Constant Mists works as a great repeatable way to protect ourselves and our walkers from pesky combat damage, especially since we can recur the lands we sac.

I recommend having at least two value-generating permanents out when we decide to blow up everything. Planeswalkers and Enchantments dodge our boardwipes, so these are the two to focus on. Abundance seems harmless to most opponents, but is a great way to refill our hands with lands after a Boom / BustThe Mending of Dominaria gets our lands out of the graveyard eventually, and is a surefire way to especially piss people off if you blow up all the lands with this saga out. Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter can steal lands he exiles from opponents, while Wrenn and Seven digs for lands we may not have in our hands.

There is a Lands subtheme to the deck, though this deck does lean pretty fully into the MLD theme. Repeatable Dark Depths tokens with Thespian Stage can be made slowly with recursive cards like Crucible of Worlds and our commander. Evolution Sage let’s us turbo-charge our Planeswalkers with its bonkers landfall-proliferate ability. I have won this way a few times. Field of the Dead can make many zombies when we aren’t blowing up lands (duh), and The Gitrog Monster can draw us a lot of cards when we are destroying or sacrificing lands (also duh).

This deck tends to win mainly by making opponents tap out of the game of endurance it forces. Destroying all lands multiple times during a game wears on people pretty quickly, especially when we don’t seem that badly affected by it. Despite that, we can still win through more conventional means, such as through attack with big dumb creatures and directly dealing damage with Seismic Assault.

This may not seem like a powerful deck, but I win with it pretty consistently. It is deceptively powerful, mainly because EDH is a very lands-reliant format when you aren’t playing with money-decks full of low-cost mana rocks. Just remember to let people know that you are playing Land Destruction before starting a game with them, if you want to keep or make friends while using this deck. Some men just want to watch the world burn, though. If that’s you, take this deck into a random shop and watch people curse at you for playing such a meanspirited archetype. ☻

The Great EDH Challenge: BUG – Volrath’s Infect

Decklist: https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/volraths-infection-1/


Power Level: 3.25

Ah, Infect. EDH players love to hate Infect. You should see the amount of panic that ensues once people realize that I have brought an infect deck to the table…

I’ve always had a soft spot for Volrath since first reading about him. He is the sort of colorful villain that makes stories worth reading. A rather despicable sort, he makes the perfect representative of the Phyrexians’ powerful keyword, Infect. It also helps that he is a 7/5 that can become a copy of an infect creature while still remaining a 7/5, hehe. The deck is mainly built around having him do just that.

There are only a handful of powerful Infect creatures worth running in Commander, as many are otherwise vanilla creatures with a slight upside. Creatures like Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon and Phyrexian Crusader are better than most, and play invaluable roles in making sure our opponents get to 10 poison counters, since they are reasonably evasive. We usually want counters to be placed on non-legendary creatures though so that Volrath gets the most value. Blighted Agent is a great low mana creature to put a +1/+1 counter on, while Spinebiter is an absolute house to utilize as a copy target in the late game. We usually use Volrath’s -1/-1 counter ability to kill one toughness creatures out opponents control, not to put on our own creatures. We use effect such as a Master Biomancer and Experiment Kraj to put more beneficial counters on our own valuable infect creatures. There aren’t many of these effects in the deck, so you may have to use Volrath’s -1/-1 counter on your own creatures to utilize his copy ability. And don’t forget; you can have Volrath become a copy of your opponents’ creatures if they have any kind of counter on them as well. This is helpful when you are playing against an especially powerful commander with abilities you could benefit from.

There is a clone subtheme to the deck that keeps it quite interesting. Cloning your opponents threats is always fun, especially if you neutralize that effect at the same time with cards like Wall of Stolen Identity. Both our Sakashima creatures allow us to make more Volraths, increasing both his ability to whittle away at our opponents weak creatures AND put pressure on our opponents. Remember, a 7/5 commander only has to hit 3 times for it to kill an opponent with commander damage. There are also effects that aid us in killing with even minimal infect on our opponents, such as Proliferate. Contagion Engine is a powerful threat when our opponents have any poison counters on them, even allowing us to degen their creatures at the same time. Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider is a bit of a win-more card that doubles the amount of poison counters we give to our opponents. Giving him Infect with Grafted Exoskeleton can definitely kill an opponent, and is quite flavorful!

Being BUG, we have to run plenty of removal. And hey, there is plenty of fun removal in Golgari colors. Culling Ritual has been a blast to play with since its release. This card really punishes efficient decks, destroying their mana rocks and dorks while ramping us into Volrath most of the time. Soul Shatter is a great threat hoser, since it deals with each opponent’s biggest creature or planeswalker at once. Languish is a great mid-game boardwipe that doesn’t kill Volrath, and Maelstrom Pulse is incredibly versatile, albeit at sorcery speed. Corrupted Conscience just takes an opponent’s creature, usually their commander, and gives it infect! Some of my favorite games with this deck were when I killed an opponent with infect using their own commander.

As you can probably tell, this deck is a bit all over the place. Mixing Infect with Clone effects may seem strange, but it provides us to nearly double the amount of good infect creatures in our deck. And if the infect plan doesn’t work out, we can always use our opponents’ creatures as a way to beat them. And lastly, be mindful that despite this being an oft-feared Infect deck, it really is only about as powerful as an average Commander precon. With a few tutors and more draw power, it could be a lot more powerful. But I’m happy with my sole Infect deck being a bit underpowered. It makes most of the people I play with rethink their fear of the archetype!

The Great EDH Challenge: Green – Sekki Spirits

Sekki, Seasons’ Guide

Decklist: https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/19-11-20-sekki-spirits/?cb=1605790857


Power Level: 4.2

This is my casual mono-green spirits deck. It has been the butt of many jokes by my playgroup, who think that this deck is incredibly weak. Despite their views, this deck has a pretty good win rate. When people see my commander, and the weird spirits that they’ve never even heard of, it takes pressure off of me during the game. I have been able to amass a ton of spirits, lord them up, and swing for lethal several times. This deck may not be fast, or flashy, but it is always interesting to play in a more casual pod.

Sekki can make a lot of spirit tokens, especially when he has been given an additional toughness. His damage prevention / token creation replacement effect makes for very interesting combat, when I am able to get him out. By the time the uninitiated realize that he has this ability, I have probably created dozens of spirit tokens. Heck, even my regular playgroup makes this mistake time and time again.

The rest of the creatures in the deck are primarily incremental value engines and minor threats, to put pressure on my opponents until I play Sekki. There is a good amount of removal in this deck as well, as much casual interaction that I could manage in green while keeping the budget within acceptable limits. I would run Wave of Vitriol merely to watch the wave of vitriol it usually causes when you make a 4 or 5 color deck sac all their lands without replacements to search for, but I run too many utility artifacts and enchantments for that.

I look forward to changing out Sekki for Kamahl, Heart of Krosa and Kodama of the East Tree when I get ahold of them soon. Should make for an interesting boost in power! Interestingly enough, a friend of mine who always speaks ill of this deck told me that changing out the commander would be disrespectful to Sekki. Despite me rolling my eyes at his duplicity, I did feel a pang of guilt about getting rid of Sekki as the commander. But alas, change is the spice of life!