MTG Commander: Karametra, God of Harvests

This deck is an Elf Bomb: accelerate mana through mana elves and Karametra’s land drops, and win with large X creatures or hordes of elves.

Karametra, God of Harvests helps a lot with ramp, but she also requires a lot of tutoring and shuffling, so it can slow down the game considerably if you also want to time your plays correctly. The main reason I’m taking the deck apart is because I’m going to rebuild it around Chulane, Teller of Tales, who helps with both ramp and card draw, and avoids the delay of constant land tutoring.

This deck is reasonably good, maybe a 6/10 for power. Its fun comes from making giant creatures and/or a lot of creatures. It tends to win more when it goes wide than when it goes tall, due to lack of evasion or trample.

Now that I think about it, this deck has a problem I’ve had before in decks I build: it is basically two decks mashed together. It’s trying to do both Elf Tribal and Big Mana Stompy, but it should just choose one. I built a worse Elf deck with a poor commander, but it needs some of the cards from this deck to work well enough to bother with. I expect I’ll eventually end up with both a Chulane Big Mana deck and another Elf Tribal.

Karametra, God of Ramp

Commander (1)
Karametra, God of Harvests

Creatures (37)
Beast Whisperer
Birds of Paradise
Drove of Elves
Elvish Archdruid
Elvish Branchbender
Elvish Champion
Elvish Harbinger
Elvish Piper
Elvish Spirit Guide
Fyndhorn Elves
Heart Warden
Heedless One
Heroes’ Bane
Hydra Broodmaster
Imperious Perfect
Ironroot Warlord
Jaddi Offshoot
Kaysa
Krakilin
Llanowar Druid
Llanowar Elves
Lys Alana Bowmaster
Lys Alana Huntmaster
Quirion Elves
Priest of Titania
Sigil Captain
Stonecoil Serpent
Sylvan Messenger
Timberwatch Elf
Voice of Resurgence
Voice of the Woods
Wellwisher
Wirewood Herald
Wirewood Symbiote
Wolf-Skull Shaman
Wood Elves
Worldsoul Colossus

Enchantments (10)
Dictate of Heliod
Elephant Grass
Elvish Guidance
Gaea’s Touch
Guardian Project
Midsummer Revel
Oblivion Ring
Pacifism
Titania’s Song
Vernal Bloom

Sorceries (6)
Harmonize
Hunt the Weak
Hurricane
New Frontiers
Rabid Bite
Wrath of God

Instants (9)
Nature’s Chant
Swords to Plowshares
Mercy Killing
Condemn
Solidarity of Heroes
Dromoka’s Command
Hunter’s Insight
Ancient Animus
Warriors’ Lesson

Artifacts (2)
Prowler’s Helm
Slate of Ancestry
Lands (35)
20 Forest
Plains
Savannah
Selesnya Guildgate
Sunpetal Grove
Tranquil Expanse
Tranquil Thicket
Wirewood Lodge

MtG Commander: A Thanksgiving Story

“You should make a Thanksgiving deck with a bunch of Food cards in it,” Erik said.

“Ok.” So I did.

Finding cards to fit the theme is the easy part. I also wanted the deck to have a way to win, while still allowing for a bunch of janky theme cards. This deck isn’t competitive or consistent, but it has won games. It’s fun to play only because of the theme. I’d call it a 4-5/10 on the power scale, and fun enough to play once a year.

The Thanksgiving theme covers two very different perspectives on Thanksgiving: a progressive critique of the traditional story of pilgrims arriving in the bountiful new world on three ships, and a modern progressive stuck at a stereotypical dysfunctional family Thanksgiving dinner. I built this deck as a parody specifically because I don’t like Thanksgiving and what it stands for. Nothing here should be interpreted as endorsement of the holiday or the concepts traditionally associated with it.

(Update: I have learned, and changed my mind. If this article is accurate when it says that the national holiday of Thanksgiving was created by president Lincoln to help win the war against slaveholders, then I’m all for it. I just don’t like celebrating colonialism. https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/november-28-2019)

The theme cards are almost all green and white, and I wanted the deck to work, so Chulane, Teller of Tales seemed like a good choice for commander. A combo win condition could be added with only a few cards, and Chulane’s card draw and ramp make it that much easier to get the combo in hand.

I settled on an easy combo I am not likely to use in decks I play more often: Palinchron and Panharmonicon, for infinite mana. I added a handful of X spells for win (or just epic game end) conditions, but if I revise the deck I’d like to remove most of them. Playtesting revealed the other now-obvious benefit Chulane provides: with infinite Palinchron castings, you can draw as much of your deck as you need to find a win card, and then Chulane bounces himself back into your hand so you avoid milling yourself to death.

I didn’t add High Tide as a backup plan because of the low Island count. I did choose green enchantment ramp and multi-mana lands, to provide an alternative to Panharmonicon: If I can get 12 mana out of 7 lands, that’s enough for Palinchron to generate infinite mana.

The theme portion of the deck is used primarily as blocking fodder and ways to trigger Chulane, but there are also several theme cards that are more useful.

As for the budget… I didn’t actually buy the expensive cards for this deck, I had them on hand. I’m not that crazy… if I were, I’d add artifact tutor cards such as Enlightened Tutor.

Come on, tell me Palinchron doesn’t look like a roasted turkey?

A Thanksgiving Story

Storyteller (commander) (1)
Chulane, Teller of Tales

The Pilgrims (5)
Avacyn’s Pilgrim
Guardian of Pilgrims
Heliod’s Pilgrim
Nearheath Pilgrim
Samite Pilgrim

The Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria (3)
Fell Flagship
Shadowed Caravel
Dusk Legion Dreadnought

Disembark: The Spirit of Thanksgiving (2)
Settle the Wreckage
Annex

Bounty of the New World (8)
Dawn’s Reflection
Fertile Ground
Gift of Paradise
Market Festival
Overgrowth
Sheltered Aerie
Verdant Haven
Wild Growth

Wildlife and the Natives (5)
Fierce Witchstalker
Wicked Wolf
Wolf’s Quarry
Maraleaf Rider
Oko, Thief of Crowns

Settling the Wilds (12)
Dowsing Dagger
Defense of the Heart
Swords to Plowshares
Giant Opportunity
Fascination
Prosperity
Hurricane
Regrowth
Dive Down
Biomass Mutation
Pull From Tomorrow
Dawnglow Infusion

Taming the Natives (9)
Wrath of God
Allay
Worldly Tutor
Mystic Tutor
Sylvan Library
Growing Rites of Itlimoc
Mass Manipulation
Prison Realm
Wargate

The Feast (11)
Festival
Insatiable Appetite
Fell the Pheasent
Gilded Goose
Bartered Cow
Witch’s Oven
Fortifying Provisions
Sanguine Sacrament
Gingerbrute
Trail of Crumbs
Turn Into a Pumpkin

The Roasting Pan (1)
Panharmonicon

The Turkey (1)
Palinchron

That Tired Feeling After Dinner… (1)
Ixalan’s Binding

Starring: Father-In-Law (1)
Feasting Troll King

Mother-In-Law (1)
Mother of Runes

Grandpa (1)
Impassioned Orator

Racist Uncle (1)
Bishop’s Soldier

Your Cousin Who Has To Go Outside To Smoke (1)
Martyr of Dusk

The Kids (1)
Curious Pair

The New Land (35)
Azorius Chancery
Bant Panorama
Blossoming Sands
Bountiful Promenade
Canopy Vista
Esper Panorama
Evolving Wilds
Flooded Grove
Hallowed Fountain
Idyllic Grange
Lotus Field
Naya Panorama
Prairie Stream
Savannah
Scorched Ruins
Sea of Clouds
Selesnya Sanctuary
Simic Growth Chamber
Sungrass Prairie
Temple of Mystery
Thornwood Falls
Tranquil Cove
Tropical Island
Tundra
Forest
Island
Plains

MTG Commander: Elsha of the Infinite

This is a Spellslinger deck based around Elsha of the Infinite, the alternate commander from C19’s Mystic Intellect preconstructed deck.

The general idea of the deck is to get a bunch of mana out, and then play lots of spells off the top of the deck. This increases Elsha’s Prowess, allowing for some big attacks, and triggers other effects like Guttersnipe to win the game. In practice, this deck was a bit inconsistent: it stalls too often when you have a land or creature on top of the deck, and it hasn’t been easy to get win conditions into play before needing to play a lot of spells.

Casting tons of spells like this can be a lot of fun to play! However, it’s not fun to play against at all. Even though the deck is fairly effective, I’m taking it apart because it’s not fun for other players. My original plan was to rebuild Elsha as an Artifact Storm deck, but I decided to build Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain instead. Artifact storm is more effective, but spoiler alert: it’s also not fun to play against.

Now it’s time to take this deck apart, so I can use parts of it for Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest.

Elsha of the Un-funite

Commander (1)
Elsha of the Infinite

Creatures (9)
Burning Prophet
Crackling Drake
Gelectrode
Goblin Electromancer
Guttersnipe
Spellheart Chimera
Talrand, Sky Summoner
Thermo-Alchemist
Wee Dragonauts

Instants (26)
Anticipate
Arcane Denial
Brainstorm
Chaos Warp
Counterspell
Disenchant
Fact or Fiction
Fork
Frantic Search
Hindering Light
Increasing Vengeance
Jaya’s Greeting
Leadership Vacuum
Lightning Bolt
Magmaquake
Mystical Tutor
Negate
Opt
Pyretic Ritual
Refuse
Repeated Reverberation
Retraction Helix
Snap
Swords to Plowshares
Turnabout
Twiddle

Sorceries (12)
Beacon Bolt
Divination
Divine Reckoning
Faithless Looting
Mana Geyser
Ponder
Preordain
Serum Visions
Tamiyo’s Epiphany
Windfall
Winds of Abandon
Wrath of God

Enchantments (5)
Ghostly Prison
Jace’s Sanctum
Land Tax
Propaganda
Unifying Theory

Artifacts (14)
Azorius Locket
Boros Signet
Burnished Hart
Commander’s Sphere
Darksteel Pendant
Izzet Locket
Mana Vault
Marble Diamond
Mind Stone
Sky Diamond
Sol Ring
Traveler’s Amulet
Wanderer’s Twig
Whispersilk Cloak
Lands (33)
Boros Garrison
Boros Guildgate
Command Tower
Evolving Wilds
Exotic Orchard
Forge of Heroes
Highland Lake
Island
Izzet Boilerworks
Izzet Guildgate
Mountain
Myriad Landscape
Mystic Monastery
Plains
Prairie Stream
Swiftwater Cliffs
Temple of the False God
Temple of Triumph
Terramorphic Expanse
Tranquil Cove
Vivid Creek
Wind-Scarred Crag
Zhalfirin Void

MTG Commander: Bad Muldrotha

It looks like my blogging will never really catch up with the decks I’m actually playing regularly, as long as I only ever blog a deck once I’m done playing it. But that’s your problem, not mine. I’m just writing this stuff down in case I want to refer to it some day.

This was another early deck build. At this point I was more focused on “this looks fun to play” than “how does the deck win?” So, we have a pile of perfectly fine cards, but no real focus when it comes time to delivering a killing blow.

The deck isn’t focused on a specific strategy other than “play stuff out of the graveyard.” When it wins, it’s because it has longevity and lots of answers: it’s good at not losing, but not great at winning.

My list of cards to add include Lotus Petal to implement an infinite combo with Muldrotha… without enough mana to actually turn it into a useful win condition… and possibly Fa’adiyah Seer for more graveyard filling.

I haven’t played the deck since I added Hermit Druid and a few other cards, but it won’t help unless the deck adds a solid way to eliminate enemies. I’m setting this deck aside until I have an inspiration for a more focused deck with a specific win condition. At this point Muldrotha is hated enough that I’m not sure it’s worth putting effort into.

Muldrotha, the Rave Guy

Commander (1)
Muldrotha, the Gravetide

Instant (2)
Growth Spiral
Fact or Fiction

Sorcery (5)
Notion Rain
Severed Strands
Pilfered Plans
Windfall
Victimize

Artifact (8)
Darksteel Ingot
Ashnod's Altar
Perpetual Timepiece
Implement of Examination
Golgari Cluestone
Bloodsoaked Altar
Guild Globe
Nevinyrral's Disk

Enchantment (11)
Kaya's Ghostform
Elephant Grass
Seal of Primordium
Moldervine Reclamation
Retreat to Hagra
The Eldest Reborn
Font of Fertility
Animate Dead
Secrets of the Dead
Diplomatic Immunity
Mystic Remora

Creature (37)
Burnished Hart
Nyx Weaver
Pollenbright Druid
Rampaging Baloths
Agent of Treachery
Returned Reveler
Merciless Executioner
Spore Frog
Archaeomancer
Mulldrifter
Deranged Hermit
Dutiful Attendant
Lumberknot
Springbloom Druid
Scholar of the Ages
Ravenous Chupacabra
Corpse Connoisseur
Tatyova, Benthic Druid
Undercity Necrolisk
Acidic Slime
Shriekmaw
Wailing Ghoul
Reassembling Skeleton
Ramunap Excavator
Vigean Hydropon
Hermit Druid
Lhurgoyf
Silkwing Scout
Glowspore Shaman
Coiling Oracle
Golgari Rotwurm
Apprentice Necromancer
Farhaven Elf
Drooling Groodion
Gurmag Drowner
Gravedigger
Bloodbriar

Land (36)
10 Forest
Island
Swamp
Overgrown Tomb
Nurturing Peatland
Opulent Palace
Temple of Mystery
Dimir Guildgate
Dismal Backwater
Tainted Wood
Simic Guildgate
Evolving Wild

MTG Commander: Kazarov, Sengir Pureblood

I have no luck with Rakdos, and yet I feel compelled to try again. Once again, here’s a decklist before I disassemble the deck.

After some tuning I was able to get it to function, but the deck’s timing is very awkward. The objective is to get Kazarov on the board as soon as possible (never as soon as you want), and then use mass-ping spells to quickly add many +1/+1 counters. Kazarov costs a lot, but the spells are cheap. Keeping them in your hand long enough for them to be useful is hard, and all those turns give your opponents plenty of time to draw removal.

I originally ran Whispersilk Cloak to get attacks through more easily, but it’s really hard to keep Kazarov on the board unprotected for a turn. Swiftfoot Boots let you wait only one extra turn for Kazarov and still protect him. Now I know why Lightning Greaves costs more.

My next set of changes to this deck would be to increase my defensive base, probably with more creatures overall, more defenders, and fewer pingers. The pingers are too easy to kill with my own burn spells, not fast enough to provide adequate defense, and not necessary to add tokens to Kazarov late game

Kazarov, Sengir Pureblood

Commander (1)
Kazarov, Sengir Pureblood

Creatures (20)
Archetype of Finality
Blood Cultist
Clackbridge Troll
Cunning Sparkmage
Fire Ants
Frostwielder
Gang of Devils
Heartless Hidetsugu
Infected Vermin
Jeska, Warrior Adept
Kamahl, Pit Fighter
Needletooth Raptor
Raptor Hatchling
Sengir Vampire
Silverclad Ferocidons
Sun-Crowned Hunters
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Viashino Fangtail
Vithian Stinger
Vulshok Sorcerer

Spells (20)
Anger of the Gods
Arc Lightning
Blazing Volley
Chandra’s Fury
Dark Ritual
Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Earthquake
Electrickery
Flames of the Firebrand
Flame Sweep
Pyroclasm
Read the Bones
Rush of Vitality
Scouring Sands
Tremor
Twin Bolt
Unlikely Aid
Volcanic Spray
Without Weakness

Permanents (23)
Caltrops
Charcoal Diamond
Commander’s Sphere
Dauthi Embrace
Dictate of the Twin Gods
Fellwar Stone
Gorgon Flail
Gratuitous Violence
Jaya, Venerated Firemage
Jayemdae Tome
Last Laugh
Mana vault
Pestilence
Prowler’s Helm
Rakdos Cluestone
Rakdos Signet
Ruby Medallion
Sol Ring
Staff of Nin
Swiftfoot Boots
Theater of Horrors
Treacherous Link
Wishclaw Talisman
Lands (36)
14 Mountain
Swamp
Rocky Tar Pit
Thawing Glaciers
Evolving Wilds
Rogue’s Passage
Spawning Pool
Rakdos Guildgate
Rakdos Carnarium
Akoum Refuge
Urborg Volcano
Bloodfell Caves
Cinder Marsh
Sulfurous Springs
Tainted Peak

MTG Commander: Neheb the Unworthy

This is one of the first Commander decks I built, after tuning it a bit more towards Discard instead of Minotaur Tribal. The deck isn’t very good. The problem is that Minotaur Tribal is not awesome, but transforming it into a discard deck will just leave me with a deck I won’t enjoy playing.

I’m disassembling this to use the Rakdos color base in another deck, but thought I’d save this for posterity.

Neheb the Unworthy

Commander (1)
Neheb, the Worthy

Creatures (34)
Abyssal Specter
Anaba Bodyguard
Anaba Shaman
Anaba Spirit Guide
Borderland Minotaur
Deathbellow Raider
Emberhorn Minotaur
Fanatic of Mogis
Felhide Brawler
Felhide Petrifier
Felhide Spiritbinder
Frontline Devastator
Glint-Horn Buccaneer
Gnarled Scarhide
Gorehorn Minotaurs
Grisly Survivor
Hypnotic Specter
Kragma Butcher
Kragma Warcaller
Lavaborn Muse
Merciless Javelineer
Minotaur Abomination
Minotaur Explorer
Minotaur Skullcleaver
Ogre Siegebreaker
Pitiless Vizier
Rageblood Shaman
Ragemonger
Sadistic Hypnotist
Talruum Champion
Talruum Minotaur
Talruum Piper
Warchanter of Mogis
Warfire Javelineer

Artifacts (7)
Charcoal Diamond
Door of Destinies
Fellwar Stone
Geth’s Grimoire
Whispersilk Cloak
Rakdos Cluestone
Ruby Medallion

Instants (6)
Murder
Tragic Slip
Terminate
Doom Blade
Go for the Throat
Shattering Pulse

Sorceries (9)
Blightning
Dark Deal
Demonic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Flurry of Horns
Gild
Innocent Blood
Read the Bones
Tormenting Voice

Enchantments (7)
No Mercy
Bottomless Pit
Attrition
Megrim
Liliana’s Caress
Theater of Horrors
Dauthi Embrace
Lands (36)
Akoum Refuge
Badlands
Bloodfell Caves
Cinder Marsh
Evolving Wilds
Ghitu Encampment
Howltooth Hollow
12 Mountain
Rakdos Carnarium
Rakdos Guildgate
Rocky Tar Pit
Rogue’s Passage
Spawning Pool
Sulfurous Springs
Swamp
Tainted Peak
Thawing Glaciers
Urborg Volcano