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: Jeskai – Gavi’s Cycling Nest of Tokens

Decklist: https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/gavis-cycling-nest-of-tokens/


Power Level: 4.7

So when I saw a commander with a name so similar to my own, I had to make her. (My name is Gavin)

Gavi revolves around cycling, drawing at least 2 cards each turn, and making tokens. Hence, this is a cycling deck with a token subtheme. You’ll feel awesome when you have a hand full of cycling cards with Gavi out. You’ll feel hopeless when you have no cards with cycling in your hand when she’s out. It can be…a very bipolar experience.

This deck is fairly close to the original precon, so I will be careful not to call it completely original. Don’t worry, this is the only deck in my challenge that is close to an existing precon. What can I say; they jam-packed the original precon with a lot of great cycling synergies. The modifications I made are a mixture of toxic and value. Cards like Containment Construct and Nezahal, Primal Tide are amazing value adds, while cards like Decree of Silence and Decree of Annihilation are just…the epitome of toxic. As I said, this deck provides quintessential bipolar gameplay.

We spend the first 5 turns setting up value engines, and ramping to Gavi if we are fortunate to draw mana rocks in our opening hand. An early Fluctuator or Teferi’s Ageless Insight makes our cycling easy and extra effective. Once Gavi is out, we start cycling to success. For long-term survivability, we only cycle to ensure that we are drawing two cards on EACH turn, if possible. We want as many Cat Dinosaurs as we can get, since they block well and attack well. Speaking of tokens, we can make a variety of them.

Ominous Seas and Hoofprints of the Stag provide passive ways for us to turn draws into powerful tokens. 8/8s and flying 4/4s excel at killing opponents, and we make them pretty easily in this deck with our constant cycling and wheeling. Valiant Rescuer and Akim, the Soaring Wind give us additional 1/1s each turn, though Akim’s six-mana ability is often just too costly to be utilized. Anointed Procession doubles our tokens, which is especially powerful when paired with one of our best token generators, the almighty Shark Typhoon.

If you don’t want to win via the slow grind of making tokens to attack with, we have two alternative win conditions that our oftentimes my main ways to victory. Psychosis Crawler and Brallin, Skyshark Rider   work as a lethal pair to allow us to kill our opponents simply by cycling and wheeling through our deck. New Perspectives makes that game-plan trivially easy. Approach of the Second Sun wins us the game when we cast it twice. It is especially great in our deck, as we can often dig to it by our next turn.

If you have cleared the board of major threats and have a value engine setup, you can lock your opponents out of the game using the Decree of Silence/Solemnity combo. It counters all of your opponents’ spells, which is oftentimes enough to make players scoop on the spot. Well, that and blowing up all lands with a Decree of Annihilation cycled for free. This is especially funny when you have a Herald of the Forgotten on the stack when you cycle it, since it will get back some of your lands. I love that big cat; it oftentimes turns the game around for us.

There is a lot of interaction in this deck. Interestingly, a bit of it can be played for free with Gavi out. Dismantling Wave clears the board of artifacts and enchantments when it is cycled, and Nimble Obstructionist can stop a game-winning ability from resolving when it is cycled. Winds of Abandon is my favorite board wipe for aggressive decks, as it clears the way for you to swing for lethal against your opponents’ big board states. Flame Blitz is funny, as it just says no to keeping planeswalkers on the field. We don’t mind, since we only run Chandra, Flamecaller, who can act as a board wipe herself.

This deck may have a few powerful cards in it, but it still isn’t much more powerful than the precon. Blowing up lands and countering all your opponents spells sounds funny, but it isn’t usually a surefire way to win. That is especially true when you can’t reliably tutor for those effects. This is a fun deck to play if you enjoy building up value engines that synergize with drawing cards. Think of it as being a loving mother who watches her kids multiply as she feeds them yummy draws, in the form of cycling and wheels. Just remember to protect your nest.

The Great EDH Challenge: Red – Jeska / Rograkh Voltron Combo

Jeska, Thrice Reborn
Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh

Decklist: https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/jeska-rograkh-voltron-combo/


Power Level: 8.4

This is a fun deck. Being able to plop out Rograkh turn one, quickly start voltroning him up, and then making him deal triple damage with Jeska is a real joy. If you can manage to sacrifice Jeska with Claws of Gix after using her 0 on a 3+ Power Rograkh, cast her again, then use her 0 on Rograkh again, he will do NINE TIMES damage and swing for lethal! Haven’t managed to do that yet, but I was able to deal 15 in one swing by tripling his damage with Jeska. I’ve only played a handful of games with the deck, but it has already proven to be deceptively powerful.

Jeska is very versatile, with her ability to deal X damage to 3 targets. Most of the time, this will be used to kill 3 problem creatures. Recasting her throughout the game allows her damage to scale very well as the game progresses. She clears the way for Rograkh to deal combat damage, acting as a targeted board wipe later in the game. In the games I have played with this deck, my opponents get very frustrated when they realize how hard it is to have their creatures stick when I can easily destroy them with Jeska. It is this fact that makes me think of her as “busted,” and a return to the thing that makes Red great; dealing damage.

Of course, many have realized that she is a mana sink in the command zone, allowing you to deal infinite damage by making infinite mana. That’s why we run a few infinite mana combos, for when attacking with Rograkh just doesn’t cut it!

Infinite Red Mana Combos

Cloudstone Curio + Kobolds of Kher Keep + Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh

Reiterate with buyback + Mana Geyser that will produce 7+ mana

Reiterate with buyback + Jeska’s Will that will produce 7+ mana

Other combos

Basalt Monolith + Rings of Brighthearth = Infinite Colorless Mana

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

Cloudstone Curio + Kobolds of Kher Keep + Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh + Purphoros, God of the Forge = Infinite Damage to Opponents

Cloudstone Curio + Kobolds of Kher Keep + Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh + Outpost Siege = Infinite Damage to Opponents

I look forward to playing more with this deck, and really seeing what all its weird interactions can do!