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Zada [Pauper EDH] (EDH / Commander)

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Zada, Hedron Grinder

> Introduction

  • This is probably one of my favorite pdh decks to pilot. It is designed to make a massive amount of mana and draw the entire deck.
  • The deck relies heavily on Zada's ability to copy spells that only target her. This deck needs her out almost 100% of the time. Keep this in mind as Zada will become a lightning rod for removal.
  • Generally, if you see a card that says "target creature" or "any target" it is going to be pointed at Zada to make copies of the spell.

> Opening Hand

  • There are a few pieces that you are looking for to make this deck work. The ideal hand has about 2-4 lands, 0-2 pieces of ramp, 1-2 ways to make tokens, and 1-2 pieces of card selection/draw.
  • It is critical to be able to see a line which you can cast Zada on turn 3 or 4. You may have to draw into an additional land or ramp piece in order to obtain that. If it doesn't seem like you can cast Zada by turn 3 or 4, it is better to mulligan.
  • Don't be afraid to mulligan! A solid 6 is always better than a mediocre 7. It is possible to go off with a solid 5 cards, but less than that will put you out of the game.

> Early Game

  • The setup for this deck works in one of two ways. You can either make some guys then cast Zada or rush to get Zada out then cast your guys. You'll usually want Zada out with at least 2-3 other creatures.
  • Once you have the beginnings of an army, it is time to start digging through your deck. When you have Zada and some goons out, cast something like Expedite targeting Zada, this will create copies for each of your creatures (excluding Zada who has the original spell).
  • Ideally, you are just trying to chain together the draw spells. If you have a piece of card selection, try to scry your way to a draw spell on top of your deck.
  • Slowly add to your board. Having more creatures on the battlefield enables the mass card draw, but makes board wipes look more appealing to your opponents. Try to keep a few cards that make tokens to help build your board quicker if that happens.

> Gameplan

  • Dump creatures on the field, cast Zada, use card draw spells.
  • Rituals and Explosive Mana will help you play the cards that you just drew or get Zada on the field faster. (And sometimes enable recasting her.)
  • One of the strongest cards in this deck is Inner Fire. The normal line of play is to draw cards, play some more creatures, cast an explosive mana card, draw more cards and eventually end up with the library as your hand. Once that is done, cast Inner Fire and net yourself between 40-60 red mana to play out the rest of your turn.
  • With all the mana you could ever want and all the cards in your hand, it's time to close out the game.

> Winning the Game

  • At this point, I assume you have all the mana in the world and your hand is the size of a standard deck. If not, look at Gameplan above.
  • There are four routes that you can take to end the game:
    1. Lots of Mana: Rolling Thunder with a ton of mana can also take someone (or everyone) out of the game. Especially if you end up making a ton of Eldrazi Spawn from Spawning Breath. (See below in the Sweet Tech! section).
    2. Cards in Hand: Scent of Cinder or Spiraling Embers can dome one of your opponents for about 20-60 damage after you have drawn your library.
    3. Wide Board State: Impact Tremors is another way to end the game. Spawning Breath, Make Mischief or Empty the Warrens all work great with it. Along those same lines, Make Mischief with a way to kill them can also be enough damage to end someone, but you have to use Flare or Rolling Thunder to kill off the devils. If you already have the board state and don't have Impact Tremors, Farideh's Fireball can also win you the game given that you have more than half of your opponent's life total. The last one in this group is Kick in the Door. So long as you can survive the drain of 1 each time then Tomb of Annihilation works great for killing everyone off since they will be taking 1, 3 or 5 damage each time you speed run the dungeon.
    4. The Back-up Plan: If everything is going sideways for you, then turn your creatures sideways and get in for some damage. The deck still has many pump spells like traditional Zada combat decks. Empty the Warrens and/or Fists of Flame can help secure victory with this method.

> Weaknesses

  • Zada is critical. Without her, the deck just doesn't work. There are very limited ways to protect her. You can hope that pump spells put her out of kill range for damage, but other than that it's up to Goblin Chirurgeon to regen her. There are blue hate cards with Red Elemental Blast and Pyroblast to fight through counterspells, but that is it.
  • Not believing in the heart of the cards can also lead you astray. Once in a while, opening hands are going to suck. That or you fail to chain draw spells together. If you can't dig deeper into the deck, you have to hope for gas off the top and sometimes lady luck is a cruel mistress.

> Sweet Tech!

  • Something I love about Zada is that target creature spells get amplified through copies. This allows for very explosive turns. A card like Samut's Sprint can turn into 10 instances of Scry 1. Expedite can become Draw 7! Listed below are other notable cards.
  • Spawning Breath and Make Mischief can double the number of creatures you have on the battlefield. Just make sure you pump the team with something that adds toughness first like Maximize Velocity. If you have both cards, cast Brute Force, Make Mischief then Spawning Breath. You will end up with an insane amount of Eldrazi Spawn that you can sac for colorless mana and will kill off the devils made from Make Mischief.
  • Kick in the Door is a very interesting card. It adds a +1/+1 counter to the team which can help you cast cards like Zap each turn without wiping out your board, but it also allows you to venture. The best dungeon is usually Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Lots of Scrying, make a treasure, play cards from the top of your library, and maybe even cast a free spell! Choose whichever dungeon works best for your current board state.
  • Kuldotha Rebirth can be used on treasure, Lotus Petal, or even Great Furnace to make the goblins!
  • Ardent Elementalist is in the deck to help get back whatever card you need to help win. Usually, it is to knab Inner Fire or Spiraling Embers but works great for a card draw spell like Crimson Wisps when you are in a pinch.
  • Otherworldly Outburst is in for anti-board wipe tech. If you think a board wipe is impending leave up one red mana and cast this in response so that you still end up with a board full of creatures. It also works as a way to upgrade the 1/1 tokens into 3/2 when you cast spells like Zap.

Maybeboard

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This deck appears to be legal in EDH / Commander.

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