The Great EDH Challenge: Mardu – Kelsien Human Equipment Deathtouch Pingers


Power Level: 6.5

Hey there, it’s been a while! I am finally playing EDH again, thank goodness! I will be back to writing a new deck article at least once a month again, hopefully!

The title is a mouthful, but it best describes the smorgasbord of stuff in this deck. You wouldn’t think such an “eclectic” mix of themes would mesh well together, but they actually do! This is a dynamic, powerful deck that assembles all sorts of pieces to gain a firm grip over the battlefield at all stages of the game.

Typically, this deck plays Kelsien as soon as possible, gives him deathtouch in a myriad of different ways, and starts attacking. It is usually best to ruthlessly go after problematic commanders shortly after they are played, so you can get the most out of Kelsien’s pinpoint removal ability. He permanently gets bigger when you do, after all. The fact that he has fast makes it hilariously easy for him to come out swinging if he gets killed. I have always had a love of hasty commanders, and Kelsien is one of the most versatile hasty boys! And hey, he was already masked up before mask mandates were being put in place!

So, let’s break down the 4 themes of the deck, and how they synergize.


The bulk of our creatures are humans. A versatile and diverse lot, this tribe is known for being able to do pretty much anything. In the case of our deck, humans serve two purposes; pingers and support. Our best pingers are humans, including Kelsien. Jeska, Warrior Adept and her brother Kamahl, Pit Fighter are hasty pingers that come out swinging or pinging. General’s Enforcer gives those three indestructible, and Riders of Gavony protects them from a specific tribal deck that we may be going against. Species Specialist rewards us for going after tribal decks (or having our own humans die), and Magus of the Wheel refills our hand. Keeper of the Accord keeps us from falling behind everyone else, as does an early game Weathered WayfarerPuresteel Paladin massively synergizes with our equipment theme, while Onyx Mage turns on our deathtouch theme. Another fun fact is that Sun Titan gets back almost all of our humans from the graveyard, including Kelsien!


This deck boasts over 12 equipment cards, and 4 of the premium swords of protection. These equipment are normally used to voltron up Kelsien, but they can be slapped onto many of our creatures if we need to go wide. Otherwise bad equipment like Gorgon’s Head and Gorgon Flail turn on our deathtouch theme when we attach them to pingers, so they play an important role. When you combine them with Thornbite Staff, you have mass creature removal on a stick. Illusionist’s Bracers sometimes allows Kelsien to get double experience counters from killing a two-toughness creature. And hey, cards like Sword of Feast and Famine are just good. Stoneforge Mystic and Stonehewer Giant are great tutors for our equipment, and Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist saves us from spending lots of mana to equip multiple things.


Lest we forget, our pingers are pretty mediocre as removal unless we give them deathtouch. Weak cards like Aspect of Gorgon and Retreat to Hagra are only useful in decks such as this. Archetype of Finality and Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats give our whole team deathtouch, which is awesome when he have 3+ pingers out. Gift of Doom is one of my favorite deathtouch-enabling cards, as it also gives indestructible, and can be one heck of a combat trick! Vorpal Sword can straight up kill someone, and Quietus Spike is pretty vicious too.


This is lowkey the most important theme of the deck to me. For me, Kelsien is pinger first, and a human second. Spreading death with toxic arrows seems to be what he is all about. He is the Plague, after all. He is what these four themes are built around, and why giving my pingers deathtouch is so important. You usually aren’t killing creatures with one damage alone, after all. Deathbringer Thoctar and Goblin Sharpshooter are board-wipes on a stick when given deathtouch, making them the ultimate plague pingers. Blood Cultist gets bigger with each creature she kills, just like Kelsien. She also lookts like a vampire, though she is a human for some reason. And hey, Death Pits of Rath turns all our pingers into instant-speed murderers, so no need to jump through extra hoops to give them deathtouch.

This deck is a lot of fun, and is also very powerful. When you combine the machinery of assembling instant-speed pinpoint removal engines with efficient tutors, you are constantly dominating the board in each game you play. This deck has little problem winning against creature decks, and can even go low to the ground to put pressure on midrange decks. This deck struggles against removal and board-wipe heavy control decks, as it is a creature deck itself. In those instances, focus on going after the control player first, so they don’t dominate you later on when you’ve already killed the non-control decks. Kelsien has haste, and stays big thanks to his experience counters, so don’t be afraid to have him kill creatures and beat faces!

The Great EDH Challenge: Grixis – Sol’kanar, Demon King


Power Level: 7.4

We are finally here….Three-Color Commanders! Let’s start with one of my old favs.

My main man Sol’Kanar…what a dirty boy he is. He is ordinarily the Swamp King, murking about in the marshes and mud. However, when he gets bored with that, he goes to Hell and recruits some of his old buddies to wreak havoc throughout the Multiverse. This is what this deck is all about; Sol’kanar and his Demon Entourage wrecking holes.

This is a Demon tribal Battlecruiser deck, where I play a bunch of really high-costed, powerful creatures that do all sorts of interesting things. There are a few low cmc creatures in the deck, like Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire and Kardur, Doomscourge (thanks Kaldheim!), which are still quite powerful. I lean very much on my big boy demons to affect the board throughout the game, especially demons like Dread Cacodemon and Razaketh, the Foulblooded , who can be game-winning plays in the late game.

The high-cost of most of my spells really slows down the deck, so we spend the first four turns mainly ramping with artifacts. We usually play Sol’kanar on turn 5, and begin controlling the game in the following turns while playing bigger and bigger demons. Sol’kanar acts as a five-turn clock, especially when I’ve got Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth or Blanket of Night out. He may seem underwhelming, but never underestimate a five-power beater. However, once Sol’kanar is killed, there are plenty of other ways to win without him. Remember, most of our creatures are big, 6+ power flying beaters! You’d be amazed how few commander players actually use creatures that have flying.

And lest you forget, I am a Johnny at heart! There are 2 combos in this deck, if the beater plan fails:

Nexus of Fate Planar Portal + 13+ mana each turn = Infinite Turns Liliana’s Contract + 4+ Demons with different names on your upkeep = You Win

All in all, this is a pretty casual deck that lets you sit back, relax, and play big stuff to win. There are plenty of tools to help you manage your opponents while you develop your board, and plenty of ways to shift the game in your favor when you fall behind. And don’t forget about the gleeful delight you’ll get from spitefully making an opponent take damage and discard their hand with a big Rakdos’s Return !

The Great EDH Challenge: Dimir – Silas & Keskit Take Turns

Decklist :

Power Level: 9

So, this is basically a Time Sieve deck with plenty of interaction and ramp. The goal of the deck is to assemble a Time Sieve combo that allows us to take enough extra turns to win. Time Sieve is my favorite non-creature artifact, so I’ve always wanted to build around it in EDH.

Silas and Keskit are at the helm due to their sheer utility. Silas Renn, Seeker Adept lets me recast useful artifacts that have probably been destroyed by my opponents or sacrificed by myself. Sometimes he is just a good blocker too, haha. Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor lets me dig three cards deep to find key combo pieces and interaction. He often sits there to sac things that my opponents are about to destroy. Sometimes I cast Keskit when I’m desperate to find something integral in the late game, or when I find myself with a board full of mana rocks and not much else. These two synergize very well together, though Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator might be a good replacement for either if mana acceleration is more your style.

There are numerous combos in this deck, as usual for me. Combining powerful, synergistic artifacts with versatile tutors makes for a very powerful, consistent deck. However, if you wish to simply play a long game with more casual friends, the deck can be played as more of a toolbox, slowly assembling value engines as you interact with your opponents. A few of the combos:

Chromatic Orrery Filigree Sages = Infinite Mana and Unlimited Draw

Basalt Monolith Rings of Brighthearth Staff of Domination = Infinite Colorless Mana / Infinite Life / Mass Draw / Etc.

Thopter Foundry triggering on Upkeep then recasting it on Main Phase + Time Sieve = Infinite Turns

Silas Renn, Seeker Adept dealing combat damage + Myr Battlesphere in your graveyard and the mana to cast it + Time Sieve = Enough Turns to Kill Opponents with no blockers

It is also important to note that this isn’t just an Artifact deck, but a Creature deck as well. We use creatures to tutor, interact, and ramp. We have the full Tutor Mage suite here, getting us our most useful artifacts at all CMCs other than 4, haha. Creatures like Duplicant and Meteor Golem act as premium, repeatable sources of removal. Master Transmuter is a classic favorite, letting us cheat expensive artifacts into play while simultaneously saving others. Chief Engineer Grand Architect , and Etherium Sculptor are excellent forms of artifact ramp. Vedalken Archmage acts as card advantage dynamite in our deck, while Muzzio, Visionary Architect gives us hilarious card selection in the mid and late game.

I love this deck, because it has almost all of my favorite artifacts and artifact interactions. It even has the three best Tezzerets in it! Despite it’s Time Sieve theme, there are many ways to play it, and each game tends to feel fresh.

Ah we finally made it through the 2-color commanders! Next time, we’ll be bumping up the complexity (and the jank!) a bit with my 3-color commander decks!

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: 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! 😀

The Great EDH Challenge: Black – Sidisi’s Ad-Nauseam

Sidisi, Undead Vizier


Power Level: 8.05

This is the deck you pull out when you want to win in a shocking and unexpected way. This deck is a glass cannon, winning pretty consistently, pretty early, but only when playing it for the first time against unsuspecting prey. This deck can win subsequent games, but it will become increasingly difficult. What makes this deck this way? It wins with a single card: Ad Nauseam

Ad Nauseam is an instant that allows us to draw our entire deck, for the low cost of 5 mana and 35 life. Yes, the total CMC of our deck (minus Ad Nauseam) is around 35. Keeping our life total above 20 is important before casting Ad Nauseam, so that we can utilize our all-or-nothing package to win without dying to our own win condition.

In order to win, we first get Ad Nauseam by casting and exploiting Sidisi, Undead Vizier to herself. We will try and avoid casting any spells other than Sidisi if we can help it before we cast Ad Nauseam, unless we are ramping up to an early Sidisi/Ad Nauseam. We then cast Ad Nauseam on our turn, at sorcery speed. Draw as many cards as you can, as long as your life total is above 5. Ensure that you at least have Skirge FamiliarDark RitualLotus PetalMana CryptExsanguinate, and 40+ cards in your hand. This is the easiest combo to win with, that doesn’t also kill you. Many first-time observers/opponents of this deck will be amazed at how you use Skirge Familiar to generate 40+ mana, or how you draw your deck (or most of it) while still being alive afterwards.

Other ways you can win include storming-off with zero-drops and one-drops, casting Tendrils of Agony to kill someone and gaining 40+ life, using Conjurer’s Bauble to put Tendrils back into your empty library, draw it, then cast it again to kill someone else, then cast Sickening Dreams to kill off the last remaining players while still surviving with your padded life total. Or, you could just draw your deck, play Glacial Chasm, then cast Sickening Dreams, discarding 60+ cards to deal 60+ damage to each creature and player other than yourself. There are…multiple options once you draw your deck. 😀

This is a deck I wanted to build for years, and finally did so thanks to my recommitment to completing The Great EDH Challenge. This deck is very fun to play, especially when you get a turn 3 Ad Nauseam using Lake of the Dead shenanigans combined with fast mana. It’s always funny to see people’s response to this weird deck, ranging from salt to genuine amazement. This deck really highlights how crazy powerful EDH can be, or perhaps just how busted Ad Nauseam is when you have a tutor for it in the command zone.