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Author Topic: Intro to cEDH  (Read 30668 times)

Morganator 2.0

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Intro to cEDH
« on: November 01, 2018, 02:33:46 pm »
While commander was designed to be a casual format, you can make decks that are really high powered. These are referred to as "Competitive Commander" decks or "cEDH" for short. This means stronger decks, new challenges, and much more strategizing in both deck building, and play. For this thread, I aim to explain how you can get into cEDH, and to resolve many of the misconceptions that people have about cEDH. Anyone else that is familiar with cEDH can feel free to jump on this topic. If you have any questions, don't be shy; ask away!

First off, let me emphasizes this: You do not need to spend lots of money to make a cEDH deck. If you're good at examining the decks you'll be facing, and good at threat assessment, you can bring these competitive decks down to size, even on a budget. Quick tips to deal with combo decks: Krosan Grip, Sudden Spoiling, Extract, Bitter Ordeal.

Second most important thing: Even cEDH is casual. This could just be my experience, but most (sensible) people don't care if you take back a move. Experienced players are happy to lend a hand to new players. And again, budget decks can topple powerful ones.

So, meat and potatoes time. How should you build a cEDH deck? Step 1, choose a Commander. If this is your first time, I would suggest one of the following, because they're really easy to make.
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
Baral, Chief of Compliance
Godo, Bandit Warlord
Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Brago, King Eternal
These ones are mono-coloured (except Brago, see below), so you don't have to worry about the land base. If you have any doubts about picking a commander, just remember these points.
1. Mono-white and mono-red don't really have good commanders, with only a handful of exceptions.
2. Make sure that the win condition of the deck is not combat damage. Only a few commanders can win this way (Najeela, the Blade-Blossom is a good example).
3. 3-color commanders have a large pool of cards to choose from, so deck building is easier.
4. There are lots of online lists for the best commanders. But they are mostly opinion-based, so take them with a grain of salt... or a tablespoon.

The first thing you should ask yourself after choosing your commander is "How do I win?". If you try to win with combat damage, make sure you can churn it out on a massive scale. You can also try a combo. There are simple ones like Bloodchief Ascension+Mindcrank or Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker+Felidar Guardian, or more complicated ones involving cards like Doomsday, Protean Hulk, or Paradox Engine.

Next up, mana ramp and card advantage. You need to be able to cast stuff, and get stuff to cast. For mana ramp, as a safe guideline, anything over 4 mana is bad, 2 mana and under is probably good, and 3 mana is a toss up (Example: Coalition Relic and Chromatic Lantern are good, Cultivate and Darksteel Ingot are bad). Then throw in some card draw and search effects, and you're set... mostly.

Finally, you want interaction. Turn 3 wins generally don't happen. This is another misconception. When you're trying to combo early, there are 3 people ready to stop you. Your interaction is your creature removal, artifact removal, enchantment removal, and counterspells. These should all be 2 mana or less, because that's often all you will have left at the end of your turn. Three mana is doable, but it has to be something special (Example: Sudden Death can cause a Laboratory Maniac player to lose the game instead of win).

Alright, question time! If you have any questions, whether it's something I haven't covered, if your commander would work for cEDH, or what cards you should/shouldn't use, ask away.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 04:58:24 am by Morganator 2.0 »


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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2018, 04:47:32 pm »
Recently I've been seeing a lot of people talk about competitive commander (cEDH) on this site, so I figured I'd make this thread a stepping stone into cEDH. I aim to explain how you get into cEDH, and to resolve many of the misconceptions. Anyone else that is familiar with cEDH can feel free to jump on this topic.

First off, let me emphasizes this: You do not need to spend lots of money to make a cEDH deck. If you're good at examining the decks you'll be facing, and good at threat assessment, you can bring these competitive decks down to size, even on a budget. Quick tips to deal with combo decks: Krosan Grip, Sudden Spoiling, Extract, Bitter Ordeal.

Second most important thing: Even cEDH is casual. This could just be my experience, but most (sensible) people don't care if you take back a move. And again, budget decks can topple powerful ones.

So, meat and potatoes time. How should you build a cEDH deck? Step 1, choose a Commander. If this is your first time, I would suggest one of the following, because they're really easy to make.
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
Baral, Chief of Compliance
Godo, Bandit Warlord
Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Brago, King Eternal
These ones are mono-coloured (except Brago, see below), so you don't have to worry about the land base. If you have any doubts about picking a commander, just remember these points.
1. Mono-white and mono-red don't really have good commanders, with only a handful of exceptions.
2. Make sure that the win condition of the Commander is not combat damage. Only a few commanders can win this way (Najeela, the Blade-Blossom is a good example).
3. 3-color commanders give lots of options.
4. There are lots of online lists for the best commanders. But they are mostly opinion-based, so take them with a grain of salt. Or a tablespoon.

Next up, mana ramp and card advantage. You need to be able to cast stuff, and get stuff to cast. For mana ramp, as a safe guideline, anything over 4 mana is bad, 2 mana and under is probably good, 3 mana is a toss up (Coalition Relic and Chromatic Lantern are good, Cultivate and Darksteel Ingot are bad). Then throw in some card draw and tutors, and you're set... mostly.

Finally, you want interaction. Turn 3 wins generally don't happen. This is another misconception. When you're trying to combo early, there are 3 people ready to stop you. Your interaction is you creature removal, artifact removal, enchantment removal, and counterspells. These should all be 2 mana or less, because that's often all you will have left at the end of your turn.

Alright, question time! If you have any questions, whether it's something I haven't covered, if your commander would work for cEDH, or what cards you should/shouldn't use, ask away.

I do agree, some “budget” decks can be more competitive then others. One of the players from one of my playgroups built a “voltron”/Pauper deck with Zur that is very difficult to score wins against, and is extremely fast to get going. So there is some truth in the comment on budget. However that being said, I’ve been around this game (on and off) for a very long time. The schtick hasn’t changed all that much since the days of 4th edition, traditionally speaking elevated budget gives you access to higher quality in individual cards. I’ve been saying it since my early 20s, there should exist a tournament friendly constructed format such as Pauper that puts a $$ cap on decks, but with a bit more flexibility then commons only... Sure it woudn’t be as popular or exciting as the all in, no limit. But it might appeal to a great number of folks that can only play on a “hobby” budget.

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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2018, 06:37:18 am »
Now that this is a sticky topic, I'm turning it into a much more general guide, where you can also ask questions. If you ask a good question, that I think more people should see, I'll edit this post to include it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to spend lots of money on my deck?
No. Not at all. Almost all decks will be made better by adding in cards like Gaea's Cradle, Mox Opal, Mana Crypt, and Imperial Seal, but they are not a necessity. You can make some strong decks with a modest budget of $100 to $200. If you have the core gameplan (your combo, your supporting cards) the rest is gravy. While Mana Drain is strictly better than Counterspell, go with what you can afford. Many playgroups will also be okay with proxies.

Do I need to spend lots of money on my land base?
This is a variant of the previous question, but it deserves special attention. The answer is no, but you do have to focus the land base. If you can't afford shock lands (Steam Vents), fetch lands (Windswept Heath), or the original duals (Tundra), don't buy them. Instead, focus on lands that give more than one color and don't unconditionally enter the battlefield tapped. Exclude lands like Boros Garrison, Swiftwater Cliffs, Seaside Citadel, Rupture Spire, Evolving Wilds and Bojuka Bog. Include lands like Inspiring Vantage (fast lands), Caves of Koilos (pain lands), and Rootbound Crag (check lands). And remember; basic lands work well too.

Does my deck have to constantly win turn 2/3/4?
Nope. Turn 3 or quicker wins are mostly dependent on luck. There are decks that can consistently try to win turn 3, but it doesn't always work. There are three opponents, each with counterspells, removal, stax effects, or even a timely Containment Priest. Just because a deck can win on turn 2, doesn't mean it will win on turn 2.

However, as a general rule, you want to get the ball rolling on turn 3. Turns 1 and 2 are setup to play mana ramp, protection, supporting effects, and stax effects. Turn 3 is when you start doing big moves. Often this means casting your commander. Start setting up to win the game, and/or prepare to stop other players from winning.

How many lands should I use? What about mana ramp? Creature removal?
This is a harder question to answer, because it really depends on the deck. Some decks want lots of removal, some want more ramp. I tend to use this guideline, but these are not hard-fast rules; there are many decks that go outside these ranges.
28 to 35 lands
12 to 16 forms of mana ramp
3-5 forms of targeted creature removal
3-5 forms of targeted artifact removal (if possible, get it to hit enchantments as well)
2-3 boardwipes (in a creature-heavy playgroup)
4-8 forms of card draw (mono-white and mono-red decks will have trouble with this)
2-3 forms of grave-hate (if you have graveyard decks in your group)

How many counterspells should I use?
This one requires special attention. Counterspells are actually card disadvantage, because you are going one-for-one with an opponent, and you had to leave mana open. So use them sparingly. Red decks should use Pyroblast and/or Red Elemental Blast, and white decks should consider using Mana Tithe. If you're a run-of-the-mill blue deck, 3 to 5 counterspells is enough to both protect your combo/boardstate, as well as disrupt opponents. If you want to make a counterspell heavy deck, you'll want at least 10 counterspells, and a commander that gives massive card draw, to make up for the loss of card advantage. To date, I personally have only seen 5 commanders that could effectively do this (Azami, Lady of Scrolls, Baral, Chief of Compliance, Damia, Sage of Stone, Edric, Spymaster of Trest, and Rashmi, Eternities Crafter). Counterspells should damn near always be 2 mana or less, with only a few exceptions (Rewind is not one of them).

What is stax?
The term originated from the card Smokestack. The release of this card lead to decks being made with titles like MoonStax (Blood Moon) or ArmageddonStax (Armageddon). In cEDH, stax is used to describe any card that slows the game down. Winter Orb, Cursed Totem, Aven Mindcensor, even Ruric Thar, the Unbowed, these are all stax cards. While you might not like that stax decks make the game harder to play (many will even argue that they make the game less fun), stax effects are excellent at stopping combo decks from winning.

What is the easiest cEDH deck to build?
I can think of two. First, Godo, Bandit Warlord. Godo makes infinite tokens and infinite combat steps if he's equiped with Helm of the Host. The deck is a race to 11 mana so you can cast Godo, and equip him with the helm. Using cards like Sol Ring, Treasonous Ogre, and Desperate Ritual, you ramp fast to cast Godo as soon as possible. You'll also want utility and protection, such as Hammer of Nazahn, Defense Grid, and Welding Jar. Your mulligans are super important, because you need a good starting hand to succeed.

Another really easy one is Yisan, the Wanderer Bard. Super consistent gameplan, with lots of ways to work around stax and disruption. The deck ramps fast, and finishes the game with cards like Craterhoof Behemoth, Temur Sabertooth, Umbral Mantle, or Staff of Domination. You can use untap effects like Quirion Ranger, Scryb Ranger, or Wirewood Symbiote to get multiple triggers off of Yisan on the same turn.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 04:36:29 pm by Morganator 2.0 »


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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2018, 03:56:07 pm »
To add on to that, specifically "does my deck have to consistently win turn 2/3/4?" The answer is yes and no (for fast combo at least, midrange and stax do their own things). Yes, you should consistently goldfish wins by turn 4, but in game it won't happen because of the other 3 players. Important distinction. Obviously different decks will have varying degrees of consistency or speed issues, hence the tier list, which should be taken as a loose guide at best. Best budget decks are Godo, Yisan (like Morganator said), as well as mono g Selvala and Marwyn, which cost around $1200 including cradle. Yisan shares a lot of pieces with Selvala and Marwyn (which are close to identical, Marwyn may be cheaper because no Phyrexian Dreadnought). So if y'all like having multiple decks, there's an easy way without breaking the bank :) also proxies are fine with like 99% of the cEDH community.

Another important note is that, while playing stax in a more casual pod draws hate, part of cEDH is playing optimally. They probably wont hate because you're playing stax unless it's stopping them from winning. You should also strive to play optimally, not just because you don't like what they're doing. The happy side effect of this is that playing stax is not taboo in cEDH, for all you degenerates out there ;)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2018, 04:07:08 pm by Soren841 »
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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2018, 07:33:03 pm »

Here's the tier list, it's the only one anyone ever uses, when it is used.Again, it'sa loose guide at best.,
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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2018, 03:18:47 pm »
Common Combos

When you're building a deck, you will most definitely want to put in a game winning combo or two. I'm going to list some of the more common ones, as well as the minimum colors required to make the combo work, and some ways to stop the combo. Note that there are different ways of doing these combos (often involving more colors), but I'm listing them in their simplest form.

Kiki-Jiki combo
Minimum colors: Red
Description: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker can make infinite copies of certain creatures, so long as those creatures have a way of untapping him. Some of the creatures you can use are Zealous Conscripts, Combat Celebrant, Great Oak Guardian, Felidar Guardian, and Deceiver Exarch. Because he gives the copies haste, you can launch a massive attack to win the game.
How to stop it: Anything that stops creature abilities (Cursed Totem) or massive attacks (Peacekeeper) stops the combo. Alternatively, remove Kiki-Jiki as soon as he taps to make the first copy.

Birthing Pod combo
Minimum colors: Green, Red, White
Description: This is an expansion of the Kiki-Jiki combo. Start the combo with Birthing Pod on the battlefield, 3 mana, and any creature with CMC 3. Sacrifice the CMC 3 creature to Birthing Pod, and get Felidar Guardian, which blinks and untaps Birthing Pod. Sacrifice Felidar Guardian to get Karmic Guide, which brings back Felidar Guardian, which "untaps" Birthing Pod. Sacrifice Felidar again to get Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. Tap Kiki-Jiki to copy Karmic Guide, bringing back Felidar Guardian, who blinks and untaps Kiki-Jiki. You can now make infinite copies of Felidar Guardian.
How to stop it: This combo is super vulnerable to artifact removal, creature removal, grave-hate, Cursed Totem, Aven Mindcensor, and Containment Priest.

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
Minimum Colors: Black
Description: Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Triskelion go infinite together. Remove two +1/+1 counters from Triskelion deal damage to a player, and then remove the last one to get it to shoot itself. It dies with no +1/+1 counters, so the undying ability (from Mikaeus) brings it back. Loop until all opponents are dead. This also works with Walking Ballista, but you need a sacrifice outlet (Viscera Seer, Ashnod's Altar, Varolz, the Scar-Striped).
How to stop it: Graveyard hate is the best bet with a deck like this. You can also use creature removal to get rid of Mikaeus.

Protean Hulk combo
Minimum Colors: Green, Black.
Description: Basically, if Protean Hulk dies, you win the game. There are many different ways of winning from this, but the one I'm about to describe is the simplest version. When Protean Hulk dies, grab Body Snatcher, Viscera Seer (or any 1 mana sacrifice creature), and Sylvan Safekeeper. Sylvan Safekeeper just protects the combo. In response to Body Snatcher's enter the battlefield ability, sacrifice it to Viscera Seer. Bring back Protean Hulk. Sacrifice Protean Hulk to get Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Walking Ballista. You now have to the combo described above.
How to stop it: if you can eliminate graveyards (Rest in Peace), search effects (Aven Mindcensor), or use Containment Priest, the combo is neutralized.

Consultation Oracle/Tainted Oracle
Minimum Colors: Blue, black.
Description: Play Thassa’s Oracle. With the enter the battlefield ability on the stack, cast either Demonic Consultation or Tainted Pact to exile your entire library. Win the game. Because this combo requires very little mana, it gets around a lot of stax effects.
How to stop it: Because this requires the casting of two spells in the same turn, Rule of Law and Silence can effectively stop this combo. Hushwing Gryff also works, but most people don’t use that.
Necrotic Ooze combo
Minimum Colors: Black.
Description: Cast Buried Alive to put Necrotic Ooze, Phyrexian Devourer, and Triskelion/Walking Ballista in the graveyard. Use something like Reanimate, Dance of the Dead, or Necromancy to bring Necrotic Ooze to the battlefield. Use Phyrexian Devourer's ability to start milling yourself, which puts +1/+1 counters on Necrotic Ooze. Once you have enough, use the ability of Triskelion/Walking Ballista to remove the counters to deal lethal damage.
How to stop it: No one in their right mind would cast Buried Alive with grave-hate on the battlefield.

Hermit Druid combo
Minimum Colors: Black, Green
Description: this is one of the more expensive combos, because you're not allowed to have any basic lands in your deck. The combo takes three mana to start. Activate Hermit Druid, milling your entire library (because you don't have any basic lands). Unearth Dregscape Zombie, and then cast Gravecrawler from your graveyard. Flashback Dread Return by sacrificing your three creatures, bringing back Necrotic Ooze. The relevant creatures in your graveyard are Wall of Roots, Blighted Bat, Devoted Druid, Channeler Initiate, and Walking Ballista. Put a -0/-1 counter on Necrotic Ooze to get one green mana (from Wall of Roots). Use that green to give Necrotic Ooze haste (from Blighted Bat). Tap Necrotic Ooze for 1 green, and put a -1/-1 counter to untap it (Devoted Druid's abilities). Then tap it and remove the -1/-1 counter to add one mana of any color (Channeler Initiate). You can now generate infinite mana, put infinite +1/+1 counters on Necrotic Ooze (Walking Ballista's ability), and then remove those counters to shoot everyone to death (also from Walking Ballista).
How to stop it: This combo is super fragile, until Necrotic Ooze comes out. Prevent this by killing any of the creatures, stopping Hermit Druid before he can activate, or strategically countering the Dread Return. This combo can happen early game, which is really what it has going for it.

Dramatic Scepter
Minimum Colors: Blue
Description: Imprint Isochron Scepter with Dramatic Reversal. Then all you need is non-land permanents that tap for 3 or more mana to generate infinite mana. Because blue has lots of artifact and instant tutors, this combo is really easy to assemble. Just remember that infinite mana on its own does not win the game.
How to stop it: Blue has counterspells, and a good blue player wouldn't start this combo without a counterspell ready, so if you use artifact removal, make sure it's Krosan Grip (Trickbind also gives you a turn). Otherwise, cards like Rule of Law or Null Rod stops the combo from starting.

Umbral Mantle
Minimum Colors: Green (this is for the most common versions of Umbral Mantle combos. Similar stuff can be done in other colors)
Description: Attach Umbral Mantle to a creature that taps for 4 mana (Priest of Titania, Marwyn the Nurturer, Selvala, Heart of the Wilds) to generate infinite mana. The good thing about this, is you also get an infinitely big creature in the process, so this can function as a win condition.
How to stop it: Usual suspects; creature and artifact hate. Linvala, Keeper of Silence works especially well, because mono-green doesn't have a lot of creature removal.

Beast Within Loop
Minimum Colors: Green
Description: This is a finishing move combo that is favored for a lot of big-mana green decks like Selvala, Heart of the Wilds and Marwyn the Nurturer. The initial setup requires infinite green mana. Something like the Umbral Mantle combo will do the trick. Then there needs to be some way to continuously re-cast Eternal Witness (Skullwinder also works). Something like Cloudstone Curio or (more often) Temur Sabertooth. After this, you can loop Beast Within by casting it and then getting it back with Eternal Witness, and destroy all your opponents’ permanents (including lands). Then you use either Kraul Harpooner or Somberwald Stag to fight the beasts. Your opponents have no boardstate, so you kinda just win. This may seem like a lot of pieces for one combo, but these decks have access to big draw spells like Staff of Domination.
How to stop it: You really don’t want to let the player get this far. Stop the infinite mana first.

Helm of the Host
Minimum Colors: Red
Description: We are still learning the potential of Helm of the Host, and I anticipate that we'll see many combos with this card in the future. For the time being, it goes infinite with Godo, Bandit Warlord, Combat Celebrant, and Aurelia the Warleader.
How to stop it: Remove the Helm on equip. That way, they've invested the mana before they lose it. Red doesn't have many good ways of protecting a boardstate.

Food Chain
Minimum Colors: Green
Description: Food Chain can sacrifice creatures to exile to help with mana ramp. But, if that creature is Eternal Scourge, Misthollow Griffin, or Squee, the Immortal, you can generate infinite mana, because you can re-cast them from exile for one less mana than what they give. Once more: infinite mana on its own does not win the game.
How to stop it: This combo is not instant-speed, so time your enchantment removal. Cast it when your opponent goes to cast the creature. Other then that, this combo dodges most stax, so Extract, Praetor's Grasp, and Nevermore are good solutions.

Deadeye Navigator combo and its derivatives
Minimum Colors: Blue
Description: Deadeye Navigator makes infinite mana with either Palinchron, Peregrine Drake, or Dockside Extortionist. You spend two mana to flicker the soulbonded creature, and untap at least 3 lands/make at least 3 treasure. Phantasmal Image can also be used with Palinchron to about the same effect. Pay 2 mana to play Phantasmal Image as a copy of Palinchron, and 4 mana to bounce it back. Each cycle nets 1 mana.
How to stop it: This combo is not instant-speed. Time your creature removal to hit while the enter the battlefield ability is on the stack, before your opponent untaps their lands/makes treasure.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2020, 05:06:00 pm by Morganator 2.0 »


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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2018, 04:40:36 pm »
There's also food chain combo. I can't format like Morganator can so look up Food Chain Tazri (: Also, storm is usually considered combo if you're more into that. Helm of Obedience is also entirely unplayed because it isn't good (maybe it used to be idk)

Important to know that most combo decks do not just have one of these combos. For example, Sidisi is Food Chain, Hermit Druid, and Flash Hulk. Breakfast Hulk is Flash Hulk and Hermit Druid. Najeela is Flash Hulk, Birthing Pod, Razaketh, and Kiki-Jiki (my own build also runs Boonweaver Giant combo, which was big before Protean Hulk unban).
A large part of building new combo decks is finding new combos that take less dead slots and layer well (look up Shuffle Hulk for the community's newest innovation, which is currently dominating the cEDH Discord' league)
« Last Edit: November 12, 2018, 05:07:12 pm by Soren841 »
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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2018, 05:09:56 pm »
There's also food chain combo. I can't format like Morganator can so look up Food Chain Tazri (: Also, storm is usually considered combo if you're more into that.

I tried to avoid complex combos, because they're harder to describe (storm, Doomsday, Ad Nauseam), as well as combos that are specific to one commander (Paradox Sisay, Paradox Arcum). But Food Chain is one that I missed. Adding it now.


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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2018, 05:14:01 pm »
Also if anyone is really interested, PM either of us and there's a join link to the cEDH Discords on the comeptitiveEDH Reddit.
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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2018, 06:28:17 am »
Quick Overview of some Commanders

This isn't the only way to play these commanders, and there is a lot of debate if this is even the best way to play these commanders. I am simply stating the most common ways that these commanders are played. I’ve included both competitive and high-powered commanders, because different metas will lead to different deck needs. I won't be posting decklists (it would take up too much space), and I also won’t be ranking these commanders, because that will cause way too many unnecessary arguments.

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
Playstyle: Use hatebears like Containment Priest, Aven Mindcensor, and Eidolon of Rhetoric to stax your opponents, ensuring that they can't combo off. If your creatures die, Alesha can bring them back.
Winning the game: Kiki-Jiki combo, or use a sacrifice outlet and Blood Artist with creatures that make a loop together (Ex: Reveillark and Karmic Guide)

Aminatou, the Fateshifter
Playstyle: The deck is mostly based around Aminatou’s second ability. Cards like Wishclaw Talisman and Gilded Drake have a lot of synergy with her. The deck is very adaptive, being able to either go for the combo, or use disruption.
Winning the game: Felidar Guardian goes infinite with Aminatou, but there is also Jace, Wielder of Mysteries with Demonic Consultation, Ad Nauseam with Angel’s Grace, and the Smothering Tithe loops (see the Kraum+Tymna entry for more info).

Anafenza, the Foremost
Playstyle: Another hatebears deck. Using Scavenging Ooze, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and Anafenza herself, you fine-tune this deck to be able to beat specific decks. Be warned; while this tactic is good at stopping other decks, it's pretty hard to win the game yourself.
Winning the game: Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite with Living Plane (Nature's Revolt for budget players) will soft-lock your opponents, so you can win with incremental combat damage.

Animar, Soul of Elements
Playstyle: A very creature heavy deck. Animar gives you a discount on creature spells. Make sure to also have card draw (Soul of the Harvest, Runic Armasaur) to get into your combo.
Winning the game: Ancestral Statue makes Animar infinitely big. Paired with a draw engine, you draw untill you get Walking Ballista, and then have it enter with lots of +1/+1 counters, to shoot people to death.

Anje Falkenrath
Playstyle: The madness cards are almost entirely in here for deck thinning, but some of them also have limited use. This allows Anje to very quickly rummage through the deck to find the combo pieces.
Winning the game: With Worldgorger Dragon in the graveyard (Anje can discard it), target it with an enchantment like Animate Dead or Dance of the Dead. Worldgorger Dragon continually enters the battlefield, exiles all permanents, gets sacrificed, returns all permanents, and then start all over. During this loop you can float infinite mana and use Anje to search for a winning outlet (Comet Storm, Avacyn’s Judgement).

Arcum Dagsson
Playstyle: The Paradox Engine ban knocked Arcum Dagsson’s power down. A lot. There is still a lot up in the air about the future of Arcum in cEDH, but it seems like most people have accepted that he will never be as powerful as before. He is still a combo deck that uses 0 mana creatures to search for things, but he has consistency problems.
Winning the game: Arcum Dagsson is used to search for Isochon Scepter. Take a wild guess what instant needs to be in your hand first. After imprinting Dramatic Reversal, activate it to untap Arcum. Then get him to search for Aetherflux Reservoir. With infinite casts off of Isochon Scepter, you get infinite life, and then super-nuke everyone.

Atla Palani, Nest Tender
Playstyle: Combo deck that uses smaller stax effects (Damping Sphere, Collector Ouphe) in the early game, to buy enough time before combo turn.
Winning the game: This combo is confusing, so read carefully. To start, Alta needs some kind of buff (a +1/+1 counter, or something like Mutagenic Growth) and Mirror Entity needs to be on the battlefield. Activate Mirror Entity's ability for X=0, about 10 000 times. This turns all your creatures into base 0/0, and they die as eggs (except Atla, she has a buff). For each of those creatures, you reveal until you hit another creature. Then the next instance of Mirror Entity resolves, and you do it again. This keeps going until Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre or Kozilek, Butcher of Truth shows up, and your graveyard gets reshuffled, starting the loop again. With enough cycles, Dockside Extortionist gives infinite mana, which lets Atla make eggs, adding more creatures to the loop. Village Bell-Ringer untaps Atla, so you can just keep making more eggs. Eventually, you will have all your creatures cycling through the deck. The loop stops, and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Village Bell-Ringer win the game.

Azami, Lady of Scrolls
Playstyle: Counterspell deck with tribal wizards. Use Azami and wizards to draw lots of cards to counter your opponent's win conditions, and build into your own combo.
Winning the game: Using either Dramatic Scepter or Mind Over Matter, draw your entire deck and win with Laboratory Maniac.

Baral, Chief of Compliance
Playstyle: Another counterspell deck. Use a heavy counterspell package and lots of card draw to stall the game for other players.
Winning the game: Generate infinite mana with Dramatic Scepter, and win with Blue Sun's Zenith.

Brago, King Eternal
Playstyle: Stax deck. Brago blinks stuff, which basically amounts to the same as untapping artifacts. You can untap your things that remained tapped from Static Orb. There are even some unique pieces like Stupefying Touch and Rishadan Footpad.
Winning the game: Accumulate more and more stax pieces, making it harder for your opponents to play, and then slowly eliminate their permanents with Rishadan Cutpurse, Rishadan Footpad, Armageddon, and other effects.

Brallin, Skyshark Rider + Shabraz, the Skyshark
Playstyle: Shabraz is just used for the colors. This deck is similar to Kraum + Tymna. Play lots of wheel effects until you can find a win.
Winning the game: Almost always starts with Smothering Tithe. That way, you have the mana to keep playing wheel effects. End the game with something like Molten Psyche or just Brallin.

Breya, Etherium Shaper
Playstyle: Amazing artifact deck. There are all kinds of infinite combos you can pack into Breya, so the goal of the deck is to build any one of them. Black, blue, and white have lots of artifact tutors, so you'll have little trouble getting the cards you need.
Winning the game: There's lots of combos, but the most common one is to generate infinite colored mana (with Dramatic Scepter, for example) and then sacrifice Breya and a thopter to repeatedly deal 3 damage to opponents.

Captain Sisay
Playstyle: Toolbox stax deck. Sisay can search for a whole suit of legendary stax cards (Linvala, Keeper of Silence, Gaddock Teeg, Thalia, Gardian of Thraben) to match most decks. She can also search for pieces to protect her own board-state.
Winning the game: The Paradox Engine ban hit this deck hard. Currently, the deck wins with locks. Karn, the Great Creator + Mycosynth Lattice, Brisela, Voice of Nightmares + Gaddock Teeg, or Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite/Linvala, Keeper of Silence + Nature’s Revolt/Living Plane.

Cazur, Ruthless Stalker + Ukkima, Stalking Shadow
Playstyle: Food Chain deck with Ukkima as the outlet.
Winning the game: Food Chain combo. Also uses other combos that layer well like Tainted Oracle.

Chulane, Teller of Tales
Playstyle: A hatebears deck that gets to use the best parts of Alesha and Anafenza. Chulane also gives good card draw and green creature tutors let the deck search for the ideal hatebear.
Winning the game: Using something like Cloudstone Curio, Aluren, or Intruder Alarm, Chulane can draw the entire deck to find a win condition.
Circu, Dimir Lobotomist
Playstyle: This is a pure combo deck (with slight control elements) that wins by using the dramatic scepter combo. Even if you don’t net positive mana, the copies are cast, so Circu will mill out all your opponents.
Winning the game: I just said how to win. Use the dramatic scepter combo to mill out your opponents. Pay attention next time.

Damia, Sage of Stone
Playstyle: Of the counterspell decks, this one is probably the weakest in terms of countering ability. Still, sultai colors are powerful in commander, so you can build a combo, and protect it.
Winning the game: Tooth and Nail is the go-to. You can get Protean Hulk and Viscera Seer (see the Protean Hulk combo in a previous post), or Deadeye Navigator and Peregrine Drake for infinite mana.

Daretti, Scrap Savant
Playstyle: Artifact stax deck, and one of the few mono-red decks that work in cEDH. If any of your artifacts get destroyed, bringing them back is really easy.
Winning the game: Daretti's emblem let's you out-value your opponents, but it's usually too hard to set up. Still, it soft-locks the game with either Possessed Portal or Smokestack. Alternatively, Mycosynth Lattice and Vandalblast.

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician
Playstyle: Stax deck. Because Derevi can untap things, she's less affected by cards like Static Orb, and the tap effect can turn off a Trinisphere if needed.
Winning the game: Soft-lock with Stasis or Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Living Plane (Nature's Revolt, for those on a budget).

Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Playstyle: Counterspell control deck. Use low cost creatures with evasion to hit your opponents and draw cards. Use counterspells and removal pieces to stop your opponents from comboing off.
Winning the game: Cast extra turn spells (notably, Notorious Throng) and bring them back (Regrowth). This is one of the few decks that wins with incremental combat damage.

Elsha of the Infinite
Playstyle: Combo-control deck, similar to most Jeskai builds.
Winning the game: Sensei's Divining Top with any cost reducer (Helm of Awakening) and Elsha lets you draw your whole deck. I’m sure you'll find a way to win after that.
Ugh! Fine, I'll tell you. Use Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, then draw with an empty deck to win. Happy?

Fblthp, the Lost
Playstyle: Deck with no creatures other than Fblthp. When Proteus Staff is used on Fblthp, it allows you to completely re-order your deck. You also immediately draw the first two cards you put on top, so that’s nice too.
Winning the game: There are multiple routes, but the most common is to make the first four cards (top to bottom) Gush, Mana Crypt, Dramatic Reversal, Isochron Scepter. Use Gush to draw into Dramatic Scepter, and generate infinite mana. Re-use Proteus Staff on Fblthp to draw Capsize. Infinite bounce loop.

General Tazri
Playstyle: The deck uses heavy tutor power to find Food Chain, and then either Squee, the Immortal, Eternal Scourge, or Misthollow Griffin, to generate infinite mana.
Winning the game: General Tazri can then be used to search for a win condition (Hagra Diabolist, Halimar Excavator), and then she will be continuously recast for infinite rally triggers.

Ghave, Guru of Spores
Playstyle: Weird combo deck. It can use cards like Phyrexian Altar and Young Wolf to make infinite mana and infinite tokens. Because this combo is pretty fragile, you’ll need to adjust this deck to your meta with relevant stax and protection.
Winning the game: Blood Artist, Blasting Station, Concordant Crossroads, or Zulaport Cutthroat with the above loop.

God-Eternal Kefnet
Playstyle: Kefnet functions as a light control deck, but ultimately builds into an infinite turn combo.
Winning the game: Using Scroll Rack, you put an extra turn spell on top of your library (like Time Warp). You draw the extra turn spell, and cast it’s copy with Kefnet. Then you use Scroll Rack to put the extra turn spell back on top. With infinite extra turns, you can win with commander damage.

Godo, Bandit Warlord
Playstyle: Massive mana ramp. The deck is a race to 11 mana (tip: use Treasonous Ogre). There are also cards like Brass Squire and Hammer of Nazahn that make it less mana.
Winning the game: Spend 6 mana to cast Godo, fetching Helm of the Host. Spend 5 mana to equip him. Come combat, you get a non-legendary copy that gives an extra combat step. Win with infinite combat damage.

Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
Playstyle: Combo deck that abuses one of Golos’ two abilities. More commonly the second ability, because it’s an infinite mana sink. Because Golos is all five colors, there is a lot of freedom for combo-crafting and meta adjustments.
Winning the game: Two ways. The first, more common way is to somehow make infinite mana (it’s a 5-color deck, you have every way of making infinite mana), and then activate Golos to cast your entire deck. The second, funnier way involves infinite flicker of Golos (or self-mill and then Splendid Reclamation) to assemble all the pieces of Maze’s End.

Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Playstyle: Stax deck that in my opinion is a little overrated. Grand Arbiter Augustin IV (nicknamed GAA4 or just Pope) discounts your stuff, and taxes your opponents. This means your stax pieces/counterspells/card draw cost less, and your opponents’ answers cost more.
Winning the game: Gradually stax out your opponents more and more, or just win with a combo (usually making infinite mana and then looping Blue Sun’s Zenith).

Grand Warlord Radha
Playstyle: Use mana dorks and tokens producers to generate lots of mana fast.
Winning the game: Radha goes infinite with Aggravated Assault or Hellkite Charger. Because you can gererate mana on a massive scale, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker is another combo that you can insert.

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
Playstyle: Pure combo deck. Search for Doomsday as quickly as possible (black has the best selection of tutors, so this isn’t too difficult). You need to have Grenzo on the field when you cast Doomsday.
Winning the game: There are two main piles you can make; one with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, and one with Murderous Redcap. The first pile goes (from top to bottom) [any card], Zealous Conscripts, Goblin Sledder, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Priest of Gix. Use two mana from lands to activate Grenzo getting Priest of Gix. Use two of that mana to activate Grenzo again, getting Kiki-Jiki. Tap Kiki-Jiki to copy Priest of Gix. You now have 4 black mana floating. Use Grenzo to get Goblin Sledder, and sacrifice the sledder to give Grenzo a +1/+1 counter. Activate him one last time to get Zealous Conscripts, and win the game. The second pile goes Metallic Mimic, Murderous Redcap, Skirk Prospector, Priest of Urabrask, Priest of Gix. You need three mana to start this combo. Activate Grenzo to get Priest of Gix (4 mana left). Activate again to get Priest of Urabrask (5 mana left). Activate again to get Skirk Prospector, and again to get Murderous Redcap (1 mana left). Sacrifice the Redcap to Skirk Prospector. With the persist trigger on the stack, activate Grenzo in response to get Metallic Mimic naming Goblins. You now have an infinite sacrifice loop.

Haldan, Avid Arcanist + Pako, Arcane Retriever
Playstyle: Control deck that aims to get Pako out on turn 2, followed by Haldan turn 3. Pako is able to get you into your control and removal cards and also allows you to use your opponents’ interaction and tutors.
Winning the game: Seasons Past loop. Cast an extra turn spell and use Seasons Past to get it back. Then use either Mystical Tutor or Personal Tutor to get Seasons Past back. Take infinite extra turns, and win with Pako’s combat damage. Because this combo takes a lot of mana, it has to happen in the late game.

Hanna, Ship's Navigator
Playstyle: Stax deck that uses irritating artifacts and enchantments. If they get destroyed, Hanna can bring them back.
Winning the game: Hard-lock using cards like Rule of Law and Knowledge Pool. Typically, the lock will only be engaged if Hanna has a stronger creature board (stuff like Wurmcoil Engine) than other players.

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons
Playstyle: Combo deck that has all sorts of synergies with -1/-1 counters. Cards like Wickerbough Elder, Devoted Druid, and Channeler Initiate can do some interesting things. Make sure you have lots of cards that support tokens like Concordant Crossroads and Skullclamp.
Winning the game: Hapatra has an infinite loop with Blowfly Infestation, which can win you the game if you have Blood Artist or Zulaport Cutthroat out. There are also the usual combos with Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Protean Hulk.

Heliod, Sun Crowned
Playstyle: One of two mono-white cEDH commanders. This build uses the mono-white hatebears and asymmetrical stax pieces to delay the opponent’s win conditions.
Winning the game: Walking Ballista is a one-card combo with Heliod. Just play Walking Ballista with two counters and then give it lifelink. Everytime you remove a counter and it deals damage, Heliod gives it another counter.

Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound
Playstyle: Mono-blue storm. Use Jace for card draw and recursion. This deck uses a lot of card draw spells (notably, Gush and Frantic Search) as well as lots of untap effects. Also High Tide; you want to get this card almost every game you play.
Winning the game: Because you’ll have lots of 0 mana artifacts in this deck (all the moxes, Mana Crypt) you can scrape out a win if you can cast Enter the Infinite (Mind’s Dilation is also really good). Once you’ve casted a bunch of stuff, you can win with Aetherflux Reservoir and Dramatic Scepter.

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge
Playstyle: Now seems like a good time to describe how grixis storm decks work. The goal is to cast a bunch of spells in one turn. To accomplish casting a bunch of spells in one turn, you need lots of card draw (Wheel of Fortune), and untap effects that net neutral or positive mana (one of the reasons why Frantic Search is so good). You also need ways to recur spells from your graveyard, using Past in Flames or Yawgmoth’s Will. While Jeleva is a good commander for this tactic, Kess, Dissident Mage and Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder tend to work better. The advantage with Jeleva, is that you can use your opponents’ spells.
Winning the game: Aetherflux Reservoir racks up a lot of life as you cast spells, letting you nuke your opponents once you hit 151 life. Tendrils of Agony also works really well (Grapeshot has fallen out of favor, but it’s an option).

Jegantha, the Wellspring
Playstyle: Proactive combo deck. Unfortunately, Kenrith is pretty much the same, only better.
Winning the game: Use something like Pemmin’s Aura or Dramatic Scepter to make infinite mana. You’ll also need something to filter Jegantha’s mana into something usable.

Jhoira of the Ghitu
Playstyle: Suspend really big spells. Usually mass land destruction and Eldrazi with annihilate. Mana ramp is super important; you want to get Jhoira out around turn 2, suspend something turn 3, and then use counterspells and stax to make sure no one else wins before you. Sadly, this deck is fairly slow, so it has fallen out of favor.
Winning the game: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker with Deceiver Exarch or Pestermite (both of these cards also help a little with the deck). Alternatively, lots of Eldrazi with annihilate.

Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
Playstyle: The better Jhoira. Use lots of 1 or 0 mana artifacts to draw yourself into a combo. Usually Isochron Scepter+Dramatic Reversal.
Winning the game: Use the Isochron Scepter to loop Capsize with buyback, mill people with Blue Sun's Zenith, or use Darksteel Forge, Nevinyrral's Disk, and Mycosynth Lattice to destroy everything your opponent's hold dear. Mycosynth Lattice with Vandalblast also works really well.

Jodah, Archmage Eternal
Playstyle: May as well be titled Omniscience: the deck. Jodah can cast really big mana spells, for 5 mana. There is also Sneak Attack and Show and Tell. If you can Show and Tell into Omniscience on turn 2, you basically just win.
Winning the game: If you have 10 mana (2 of each color) you can cast Enter the Infinite, and then Omniscience. You now have your whole deck in hand, that you can cast for free. You’ll win somehow (Time Stretch and Approach of the Second Sun is a simple option).

 Kaalia of the Vast
Playstyle: It really sucks that there aren’t a whole lot of good demons/angels/dragons that instantly win you the game. Master of Cruelties lets you insta-kill someone if he was cheated in and Hellkite Tyrant is a nice alternate win. In any case, you need to cast and attack with Kaalia as fast as possible, so don’t shrimp out on the mana ramp and haste enablers.
Winning the game: Use either Doomsday or Insidious Dreams to put five cards on top, in this order: Hellcarver Demon, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Combat Celebrant, World at War, Grand Abolisher. Draw Hellcarver Demon (somehow) and get him into play by attacking with Kaalia. When he deals damage, you lose your boardstate, but get Kiki-Jiki, Combat Celebrant, and an extra combat. Thanks to Grand Abolisher, your opponents can’t do anything, so you’ve already won. Then you use the Kiki-Jiki + Celebrant combo to win.

Karador, Ghost Chieftain
Playstyle: This was the Protean Hulk deck before Protean Hulk was unbanned. Unfortunately, all of the combos are super susceptible to interaction. Fortunately, Karador let’s you recur creatures, and makes Entomb and Buried Alive additional tutors you can use. Be sure to include hate bears; this deck is slow compared to other combo decks.
Winning the game: Boonweaver Giant combo. To start, you need a sacrifice outlet (like Phyrexian Altar). Cast Boonweaver Giant, and attach Pattern of Rebirth when it enters. Sacrifice it to get Karmic Guide from Pattern of Rebirth. Karmic Guide brings back Boonweaver Giant, which reattaches Pattern of Rebirth. Sacrifice Boonweaver to get Fiend Hunter, which exiles Karmic Guide. Then you sacrifice the Fiend Hunter to bring back Karmic Guide, Boonweaver Giant, and Pattern of Rebirth. Sacrifice Boonweaver to get Reveillark. Sacrifice Karmic Guide. Sacrifice Reveillark bringing back Karmic Guide and Fiend Hunter. Karmic Guide returns Boonweaver+Rebirth, and Fiend Hunter exiles Karmic Guide. Sacrifice Boonweaver to get Blood Artist. Sacrifice Fiend Hunter to get Karmic Guide and Reveillark. You now have an infinite sacrifice loop, so you win with Blood Artist.

Kenrith, the Returned King
Playstyle: There are so many different ways to play Kenrith that’s it’s difficult to say which is preferred. Having an ability that draws cards and another that reanimates creatures makes his a very versatile commander in 5 colors.
Winning the game: Deadeye Navigator + Dockside Extortionist gets infinite mana, and then Kenrith can force it’s opponents to draw their entire deck.

Keranos, God of Storms
Playstyle: Affectionately called mass everything destruction. The deck uses land-hate cards like Blood Moon and Back to Basics, as well as mass destruction cards like Jokulhaups and Decree of Annihilation (hard-cast). Because you will have Keranos (and a suite of enchantments and planeswalkers), these cards will hurt your opponents more than you.
Winning the game: After a massive boardwipe, Keranos can start attacking assuming the devotion is high enough. This is a little slow though, so the deck also includes some infinite mana combos with Dramatic Scepter into Walking Ballista, or Capsize loops.

Kess, Dissident Mage
Playstyle: A grixis storm deck. See the entry for Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge. It’s basically the same deck, but Kess makes a better commander.
Winning the game: Aetherflux Reservoir or Tendrils of Agony. Sometimes Dramatic Scepter and Capsize are used as a backup win.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Playstyle: Remember how I said Kiki-Jiki goes infinite with either Combat Celebrant or Zealous Conscripts? That’s basically what this deck does. The issue is that because this deck can win almost instantly mid to late game, but has little to no protection, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker dies almost immediately after you play him. Damn near every time.
Winning the game: There are other combos like Thornbite Staff and Mogg Fanatic, or the Lightning Crafter combo. With Kiki-Jiki on the battlefield, and a sac outlet (like Skirk Prospector or Ashnod’s Altar) you cast Lightning Crafter. The rest of this combo as at instant-speed, and in response to the initial Champion trigger, so it never resolves. Tap Kiki-Jiki to make a copy of Lightning Crafter, and get the copy to champion Kiki-Jiki, exiling him. Tap the copy to deal 3 damage to a player. Sacrifice the copy to return Kiki-Jiki from exile, and the loop repeats.

Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy
Playstyle: Make massive amounts of mana.
Winning the game: Basalt Monolith, Bloom Tender + Freed from the Real, and Dramatic Scepter are good ways to make infinite mana. Then you can use Thrasios, Triton Hero to draw your deck, and find Thassa’s Oracle to win the game.

Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
Playstyle: Another Food Chain deck. Korvold provides better value than Prossh, which allows different avenues than just pure-combo.
Winning the game: Start with the Food Chain loop to get infinite mana to spend on creatures. For best results, use Squee, the Immortal as the Food Chain creature. With infinite mana floating, cast Korvold, sacrificing Squee to draw a card. Exile Korvold with Food Chain, then re-cast Squee from the graveyard. Continue this cycle to draw the entire deck and find a win-con.

Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus + Tymna the Weaver
Playstyle: Combo deck that revolves around wheel effects (Windfall, Wheel of Fortune). The deck needs some kind of additional pay-off from the wheels to win. This deck performs very well against creature-based decks, because the lack of creatures with activated abilities cards like Suppression Field and Cursed Totem are used.
Winning the game: Four cards that do it; Notion Thief, Alms Collector, Waste Not, and Smothering Tithe. With either Notion Thief or Alms Collector, your opponents lose their hands after a wheel, while you draw a bunch of other cards, giving you a massive advantage and more-or-less putting them in top-deck mode (Narset, Parter of Veils is also used sometimes). With Waste Not, you get a bunch of value from having lots of black mana, and additional cards draw (zombie tokens are good too I guess). But the real combo involves Smothering Tithe. After a wheel, you draw a new hand, and get a bunch of Treasure tokens. This means you can cast whatever cards you just drew, which will likely include other draw spells… like another wheel effect. Keep the massive card draw going to either storm off, win with Laboratory Maniac + Demonic Consultation/Tainted Pact, win with Angel’s Grace and Ad Nauseam, or cast Molten Psyche after your opponents have drawn a lot of cards.

Krenko, Mob Boss
Playstyle: While not the best commander, he has always been my favorite. This is also one of the few decks that can win with combat damage. Your goal is to build up a board of goblin tokens as quickly as possible. Be warned; there is very little card draw in red, and the deck is susceptible to stax effects. Also, calculating damage takes a lot of math skills.
Winning the game: Either massive combat damage from something like Shared Animosity, burn spells like Goblin War Strike and Skirk Fire Marshal, or infinite token combos with Thornbite Staff, Umbral Mantle, or Breath of Fury.

Kruphix, God of Horizons
Playstyle: Generate lots of colorless mana. Keep in mind, if that mana has some property attached to it (like from Cavern of Souls) it keeps that property as phases change. The deck plays Stax and control until it’s ready to combo off.
Winning the game: Lots of combo potential, so do whatever strikes your fancy. Biovisionary copied with Rite of Replication, Laboratory Maniac, Blue Sun’s Zenith loops, or powerful Eldrazi (the Eldrazi one is a little weak).

Kykar, Wind's Fury
Playstyle: Strong combo/Storm deck that I find plays very similarly to Elsha of the Infinite. The deck uses only two creatures, which makes it very easy to get spirits with Kykar.
Winning the game: Cast Divergent Transformations targeting two of your spirit tokens. This causes you to flip into the only two creatures you have; Leveler and Thassa’s Oracle.

Lavinia, Azorius Renegade
Playstyle: A stax deck that is really good at hating on fast combos. The downside is that slower combos, or creature-based combos are harder for Lavinia to counter, so make sure you have regular stax effects to deal with those.
Winning the game: Knowledge Pool hard-locks your opponents.

Marwyn, the Nurturer
Playstyle: Elf Tribal. Use lots of elves, along with pump spells, to generate insane amounts of mana. You also want a significant amount of card draw, so you can keep playing stuff. You can also use Umbral Mantle or Staff of Domination for infinite mana.
Winning the game: Overrun effects like Craterhoof Behemoth or Triumph of the Hordes, or storm off and win with Aetherflux Reservoir.

Meren of Clan Nel Toth
Playstyle: The graveyard deck. No creature you lose stays gone for long. You can generate insane value off of creatures like Plaguecrafter.
Winning the game: Necrotic Ooze combo or Mikaeus combo that I described in a previous post.

Mizzix of the Izmagnus
Playstyle: Use low cost draw spells (Brainstorm, Faithless Looting) and counterspells to get experience counters, before moving up to extra turn spells. Use recursion to get the extra turn spells back, and just keep going until you find a win-con.
Winning the game: Typical blue stuff. Dramatic Scepter or Deadeye Navigator combo for infinite mana, and then use Capsize, Blue Sun’s Zenith, or Laboratory Maniac.

Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
Playstyle: This deck uses a card like Mind Blend, Sleight of Mind, or Trait Doctoring to change the “blue” text in Momir to “green”. Now, whenever you cast a green creature, you effectively search your library for a creature and put in into your hand.
Winning the game: This in a complicated combo, that is hard to give a quick overview of. Basically, once you have changes the text of Momir, you start a tutor chain, where you cast a green creature, to get another creature. The first one you get is Heritage Druid followed by Nettle Sentinel. Then you need to grab a bunch of mana dorks (Elvish Mystic, Llanowar Elves, etc.) that can also be used to tap for mana immediately, thanks to Heritage Druid. This allows you net a lot of mana, so you can then grab Wirewood Symbiote, Birchlore Rangers, Temur Sabertooth, and Phantasmal Image. Note that Phantasmal Image ends the tutor chain, so grab it last. Have Phantasmal Image copy Nettle Sentinel. Now when you cast a green creature, you untap two creatures. Now you can play a mana dork, tap it and the Nettle Sentinels to make 3 mana, return the mana dork with Wirewood Symbiote, and then return the Wirewood Symbiote with Temur Sabertooth. Each time you cast the elf/Wirewood Symbiote, you get 3 green mana, so you net 2 green mana each cycle. With Birchlore Rangers, you also make infinite blue mana. You also get to search out every creature in the deck. Use Heart Warden to draw a card, Nantuko Tracer to put Heart Warden back, and return Heart Warden with Temur Sabertooth. This loop let’s you draw your entire deck.

Muldrotha, the Gravetide
Playstyle: There is plenty of room for modification for this commander, because people are still trying to figure out the best way to play her. Stax/combo looks like the way to go. Play annoying stax effects (like Contamination) to mess up your opponents. If they get removed, bring them back.
Winning the game: Necrotic Ooze combo, Protean Hulk, and Food Chain combos seem like the way to go. I still haven’t seen a deck that has wowed me yet, so I encourage lots of experimentation.

Najeela, the Blade-Blossom
Playstyle: Najeela's activated ability is the win condition. Find a way to generate 5 mana at each combat (Druids' Repository, Bear Umbra, Sword of Feast and Famine) to get infinite combat steps.
Winning the game: I just said how to win. Generate 5 mana at each combat to get infinite combat steps. You really need to pay more attention.

Narset, Enlightened Master
Playstyle: Cast a bunch of free stuff. Most notably extra turn and extra combat spells. You'll want heavy mana ramp to get Narset out fast (and preferably haste). You usually start the extra turn chain with just one attack.
Winning the game: Eventually, Approach of the Second Sun, Beacon of Tomorrows, and Nexus of Fate will be the only cards left in your library (this is expedited with Enter the Infinite). At some point, you'll draw Approach of the Second Sun and be able to cast it to win the game. Alternatively, combat damage with +21 extra turns and combats.

Nin, the Pain Artist
Playstyle: Nin is simultaneously a control deck to destroy enemy threats, and a draw engine. Use both of these aspects to stop your opponents, while looking for your combo.
Winning the game: Get Laboratory Maniac out and infinite mana, then get Nin to shoot herself so you draw your entire deck.

Niv-Mizzet Reborn
Playstyle: Food Chain deck similar to General Tazri. Build up the Food Chain combo, and then recast Niv-Mizzet to get every multicolored spell in your hand.
Winning the game: Four options. Using Circu, Dimir Lobotomist, you can mill out your opponents (Keep re-casting Niv-Mizzet through the Food Chain loop), using Sparkcaster you can deal infinite damage (it can bounce itself), or Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain or Hydroid Krasis can draw your entire deck.

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
Playstyle: Both similar and different from Nin, the Pain Artist. This version uses more untap effects as well as draw cards to control the board, while Nin uses her mana pool.
Winning the game: Cards like Curiosity, Ophidian Eye, Tandem Lookout, and Mind Over Matter allow Niv-Mizzet to deal lots of damage and draw out the deck. Laboratory Maniac and Elixir of Immortality are used to prevent yourself from losing from drawing your whole deck.

Omnath, Locus of the Roil
Playstyle: Food Chain combo deck. Unfortunately, this is the weakest of the Food Chain decks. Without access to black, it’s hard to search for Food Chain.
Winning the game: After getting infinite mana from Food Chain, sacrifice and re-cast Omnath for infinite damage.

Oona, Queen of the Fae
Playstyle: Weird combo deck that revolves around making infinite mana. Dramatic Scepter and Basalt Monolith + Rings of Brighthearth are common ways.
Winning the game: Dump that infinite mana into Oona's ability to mill out an opponent. Then do it to the other opponents.

Prime Speaker Vannifar
Playstyle: Combo deck with an excellent protection suite. Vannifar is used to search up a creature combo.
Winning the game: Chain Hulk combo, that can start from any creature at 2 or less mana. Note that you don’t have to start from 0 mana, but I’ll explain this combo assuming that you start with Dryad Arbor. Sacrifice Dryad Arbor to get Quirion Ranger. Return a forest to untap Vannifar. Sacrifice Quirion Ranger to get Scryb Ranger. Return a forest to untap Vannifar. Sacrifice Scryb Ranger to get Trophy Mage. Trophy Mage searches for Thousand-Year Elixir. Play the elixir and untap Vannifar. Sacrifice Trophy Mage to get Fatestitcher. Use Fatestitcher to untap Vannifar, thanks to the Thousand-Year Elixir. Sacrifice Fatestitcher getting Peregrine Drake. Unearth Fatestitcher and tap it to untap Vannifar. Sacrifice Peregrine Drake getting Great Oak Guardian, which untaps Vannifar and Fatestitcher. Sacrifice Great Oak Guardian to get Protean Hulk. Tap Fatestitcher to untap Vannifar. Sacrifice Protean Hulk finding nothing with Vannifar's ability (or Archetype of Endurance). Use Hulk's death trigger to find Sage of Hours, Ezuri, Claw of Progress, and 4 creatures with 0 power and CMC 0 (like Memnite, Ornithopter, Endless One, and Shifting Wall). You instantly get 5 experience counters. Come combat, you put 5 +1/+1 counters on Sage of Hours. You now have infinite extra turns.

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher
Playstyle: Combo deck that revolves around Food Chain.
Winning the game: Use Food Chain to Sacrifice Prossh and all the Kobolds. Recast him and do it again, making infinite mana, along with infinite enter the battlefield triggers (so you can win with Impact Tremors or some effect).

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter
Playstyle: This deck focuses a lot on casting spells on your opponents’ turns. Counterspells and removal are usually the options, but even Brainstorm has its uses.
Winning the game: This is a weird combo. First, you need infinite mana, and a way to draw your whole deck (Enter the Infinite). Seasons Past is the main win-con. Repeatedly cast Seasons Past, alternating between bringing back Noxious Revival + Reality Shift + Frantic Search, and Ponder + Regrowth + Beast Within. This let's you destroy any permanent with Beast Within, then Reality Shift to get one card off your opponent’s library. Keep going until all opponents are milled out. Alternatively, just use Blue Sun’s Zenith or Stroke of Genius to mill your opponents.

Ramos, Dragon Engine
Playstyle: This is basically the Kraum+Tymna deck explained earlier, but with green added to the mix. Ramos is better at the mana ramp aspect of the deck, but loses consistency without Tymna, the Weaver.
Winning the game: Same ways as Kraum+Tymna.

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
Playstyle: In order for this deck to be successful, you must do a good job tuning it to the meta. Many cEDH decks use few creatures and many non-creatures, so Ruric Thar himself is a stax piece.
Winning the game: With many decks (notably storm decks) Ruric Thar himself can kill an opponent. You can also use a Kiki-Jiki combo (there are many creature tutors in green) or mass land destruction.

Scion of the Ur-Dragon
Playstyle: Toolbox Dragons. Dragons like Dragonlord Dromoka can be used for protection, and a firebreathing dragon + Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon can one-shot someone.
Winning the game: Use Scion of the Ur-Dragon to put Worldgorger Dragon in your graveyard, then use Animate Dead or Dance of the Dead to bring Worldgorger Dragon to the battlefield. In response to its enter the battlefield effect, float all your mana. When it enters, everything gets exiled, including the Animate Dead. It promptly leaves the battlefield and brings everything back (including the animate dead). Repeat to generate infinite mana. You can stop this combo at anytime by getting the Animate Dead to target something else. Then use Scion of the Ur-Dragon to become a copy of Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius. Pour all that mana into his effect, and shoot everyone to death.

Selvala, Explorer Returned
Playstyle: This commander provides both card draw, and mana ramp, in the same blow. Using untap effects lets you draw even more cards, and make even more mana. Then you can use stax effects to keep your opponents down.
Winning the game: Keep pilling on the stax, and finish off your opponents with Craterhoof Behemoth or something similar. There is also the Beast Within Loop.

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
Playstyle: Fast combo deck with consistent turn 3 or 4 wins. Get Selvala out on turn 2. On turn 3, you play a low-cost, high power creature so Selvala can tap for lots of mana (Phyrexian Dreadnought, Lupine Prototype, Phyrexian Soulgorger, etc.). Then you use draw outlets (Greater Good, Momentous Fall) and untap effects (Staff of Domination, Umbral Mantle) to generate lots of mana (possibly infinite) and look for a win condition.
Winning the game: Use either Temur Sabertooth or Cloudstone Curio to bounce Eternal Witness, giving you infinite graveyard recursion. Insert Beast Within to destroy all your opponents’ permanents. Then use Somberwald Stag to kill all the beasts. There are many other combos, but this was the easiest one to explain.

Seton, Krosan Protector
Playstyle: Mono Green storm. Each druid you play can immediately be tapped for mana. You chain up casting one mana druids, as well as draw spells (Recycle, Shamanic Revelation) to search for a win condition.
Winning the game: Usually Aetherflux Reservoir. Umbral Mantle, Staff of Domination, or a Craterhoof Behemoth also work.

Shattergang Brothers
Playstyle: Battlefield control deck. If your opponents play something you don’t like, you destroy it with Shattergang Brothers. Simple as that.
Winning the game: Kiki-Jiki combo, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed combo, and Hermit Druid combos.

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
Playstyle: Pure fast combo. Low cost mana ramp, lots of tutor power, and effects to protect the combo. This deck aims to consistently win on turn 3 at the latest.
Winning the game: Protean Hulk, Hermit Druid, or Food Chain. For this Food Chain combo, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant is repeatedly cast until the whole library (or enough of it) is milled to bring back Necrotic Ooze (using Dread Return) and then win in the same way as the Hermit Druid combo.

Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Playstyle: Having a search effect in the command zone is kinda good. Keep in mind that she can exploit herself (ignore the innuendo).
Winning the game: Search up Ad Nauseam. Resolve it to get lots of mana from 0 mana artifacts (ex: Chrome Mox), and Skirge Familiar. From this you find some way to make infinite mana (or just a lot of mana) then either win with Aetherflux Reservoir, or a super big Exsanguinate/Torment of Hailfire.

Sisay, Weatherlight Captain
Playstyle: A toolbox deck that tries really hard to do what Captain Sisay did before the Paradox Engine Ban. The advantage to being 5 colors is that other combos can be thrown into the deck.
Winning the game: Note that I’m only listing the way that the deck wins with Sisay. There are other combos that win independently of this commander. With three colors among legendaries you control, activate Sisay searching for Jace Wielder of Mysteries. Then cast either Demonic Consultation or Tainted Pact, to exile your entire library. Activate Jace’s +1 to win the game.

Sliver Overlord
Playstyle: Tribal slivers. You can look for mana ramp (Manaweft Sliver), protection (Crystalline Sliver), and removal (Harmonic Sliver).
Winning the game: Jeskai Ascendancy with Gemhide Sliver/Manaweft Sliver, Sliver Overlord, and some other slivers. This way, you can get every sliver out of your deck (including the haste enabler and buff slivers) to win the game.

Sliver Queen
Playstyle: Not tribal slivers. She is a 5-color infinite mana sink. With infinite mana you get infinite 1/1 sliver tokens.
Winning the game: Global haste enabler, Impact Tremors, Altar of the Brood,  all with those infinite tokens I mentioned earlier.

Sram, Senior Edificer
Playstyle: The other mono-white commander. Play lots of 1 and 0 mana equipment to draw lots of cards.
Winning the game: Voltron is the backup win. Primarily, you want to storm off and win with Aetherflux Reservoir.

Sydri, Galvanic Genius
Playstyle: Artifact-based stax/combo.  The downside is that Breya, Etherium Shaper tends to be better for this strategy. Still, Sydri is filled with soft-lock land destruction loops, and all sorts of combos involving artifact creatures.
Winning the game: Use Aetherflux Reservoir to get to 50 life. Then use Sydri to turn it into a creature and give it lifelink. Now when you deal 50 damage, you also gain 50 life, so you can do it continuously.

Taigam, Ojutai Master
Playstyle: Weird control deck that rebounds draw spells (to get double the draw) and extra turn spells.
Winning the game: Enduring Ideal to search out Dovescape. This locks out your opponents from casting non-creature spells, but you'll be making more birds than them. Because Enduring Ideal can't be countered (thanks to Taigam), you still get a free enchantment each turn. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is the cherry on top.

Tana, the Bloodsower + Tymna the Weaver
Playstyle: Stax deck. Threat assessment is very important for this deck, because you need to know which stax piece is going to slow down your opponents the most. All three of them.
Winning the game: Birthing Pod combo.

Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Playstyle: Arguably the best commander for these colors. His mana cost is easy to pay thanks to delve, and his ability is really good recursion if you know how to play the deck. You need to strategically choose which cards in your graveyard to exile with Tasigur when you cast him, so your chosen opponent has little choice on what to give you when you activate his ability.
Winning the game: Protean Hulk is a go-to, but any combos in this color work well with Tasigur.

Tatyova, Benthic Druid
Playstyle: Land-storm? No really. This deck uses lots of cards that grant extra land drops, to function as drawing lots of cards. As a result, this deck uses an abnormally large number of lands.
Winning the game: Using Sakura-Tribe Scout, Oboro, Palace in the Clouds, and Retreat to Coralhelm, you can get infinite landfall triggers, which means you draw your whole deck with Tatyova, and win with Thassa’s Oracle. Cloudstone Curio works as a replacement for Oboro.

Teferi, Temporal Archmage
Playstyle: Stax deck. Because Teferi can untap your permanents, cards like Static Orb and Stasis will hurt you less.
Winning the game: This is hard combo to wrap your head around, so pay attention. Use The Chain Veil to get another activation of Teferi. Use Teferi to untap The Chain Veil, as well as some permanents that tap for mana. Each time you activate The Chain Veil, you can activate another Planeswalker's ability. This includes Planeswalkers that enter afterward. So keep using the Chain Veil until Teferi Leaves the battlefield, due to having 0 loyalty. When you recast him, you'll be able to activate his +1 and -1 a bunch of times before you have to start using the Chain Veil again. This means each cycle you get 5 additional times of alternating between his +1 and -1 abilities. You generate infinite mana and draw your whole deck. Now you either win with Thassa’s Oracle, or loop Blue Sun's Zenith to force your opponent's to draw.

Teysa, Orzhov Scion
Playstyle: Pure combo. This deck uses sacrifice effects, taking full advantage of Teysa's abilities. Sacrifice outlets (especially Phyrexian Altar) are a must. An example combo is Phyrexian Altar and Nether Traitor with Teysa, Orzhov Scion, to generate infinite mana.
Winning the game: Darkest Hour allows Teysa to make infinite spirits with a sacrifice outlet (like Blasting Station).

The First Sliver
Playstyle: Also not tribal slivers. Currently, this is the most powerful Food Chain deck. No slivers needed.
Winning the game: By continuously re-casting The First Sliver, you can Cascade through your entire deck, and cast pretty much every spell. You can pretty much make anything your win-condition at this point.

The Gitrog Monster
Playstyle: Sacrifice lands to draw lots of cards and look for a combo. Fetch lands get significantly better with The Gitrog Monster, so be sure to include all 7 for these colors. You can also use discard outlets to discard lands from your hand and draw cards.
Winning the game: Using a discard outlet (example: Skirge Familiar), discard Dakmor Salvage. Instead of drawing a card, dredge 2 and get Dakmor Salvage back to your hand. If any lands get milled, draw some cards. Because the deck uses cards like Gaea's Blessing, you don’t need to worry about milling yourself out. But with these cards you can basically keep looping your graveyard, and any cards in it. For example, you can loop lotus petal for mana, Sunscorched Desert to deal damage, and then crop rotation to sacrifice the Sunscorched Desert so you can do this all again.

Thrasios, Triton Hero + Tymna the Weaver
Playstyle: Arguably the most consistent combo deck. With the large amount of tutors this deck boasts, a commander that gives card advantage (Tymna) and another commander with an infinite mana sink that wins the game (Thrasios) it is very easy for this deck to threaten early game wins (turns 1 to 3).
Winning the game: Infinite mana combos, so that the deck can draw out and then win with Thassa’s Oracle. Also common for the deck to just play Thassa’s Oracle + Demonic Consultation to win. It’s the new Flash Hulk, now that Flash Hulk is gone.

Thrasios, Triton Hero + Vial Smasher the Fierce
Playstyle: Control deck the tries to stop everyone else from comboing off by countering/destroying all combo pieces.
Winning the game: Notion Thief + a wheel effect to put all your opponents in top-deck mode, making them much easier to control. There is also Divergent Transformations, which can be used to get both Notion Thief and Whirlpool Warrior to initiate this.

Titania, Protector of Argoth
Playstyle: Sacrificing lands gets you some pretty strong tokens with Titania. While this mono-green strategy isn’t as combo-centric as elfball, it still packs a punch. Use lands that sacrifice themselves, spells like Crop Rotation and Scapeshift, or even Zuran Orb and Crucible of Worlds.
Winning the game: 8 of these tokens is enough to take a player out. Because pillowfort isn’t really used in commander, a large enough attack can take out whichever player you fear the most.

Urza, Lord High Artificer
Playstyle: Super powerful stax deck. There are a lot of stax cards that get disabled when they are tapped (Static Orb, Trinisphere, Winter Orb). Urza is able to tap these artifacts for mana, disabling them when needed. Aside from that, the deck has powerful mana ramp, and can play a light control strategy well.
Winning the game: By generating infinite mana, Urza can exile the entire library, and then cast all of the spells in the deck. The first one to get cast is Aetherflux Reservoir or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries.

Varolz, the Scar-Striped
Playstyle: Deck that makes use of creatures with death abilities. Varolz is used to sacrifice those creatures.
Winning the game: So I know I pluralized creatures, but it's really only Protean Hulk that matters. The deck uses the Protean Hulk combo described in a previous post.

Yarok, the Desecrated
Playstyle: Panharmonicon: the deck. Yarok gives extra value for each creature entering the battlefield. Draw extra cards with Ice-Fang Couatl, search for two cards with Spellseeker, or net positive mana with Cloud of Faeries.
Winning the game: Some kind of infinite bounce loop. With just creatures it can be Shrieking Drake with Cloud of Faeries (infinite mana) and then Wall of Roots (infinite draw). Cards like Aluren and Cloudstone Curio can help with this. In the end, Words of Wind can be used to lock your opponents, while preventing you from decking yourself.

Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder
Playstyle: A luck-based deck that makes its own luck. If you keep a low mana curve, with lots of 0 mana artifacts that give mana, you can storm off… or completely flop. It’s possible to win off of just one Yidris attack, but you never know for sure at the time.
Winning the game: Aetherflux Reservoir after casting a bunch of spells. Doomsday is another option.

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
Playstyle: Build up your mana ramp, then use Yisan to search for strategic creatures. There are some weird ways of getting around stax. By responding to Yisan's ability with untap effects (like Quirion Ranger), and then activating him again, you can get two creatures at 3 mana, instead of one at 2 and one at 3.
Winning the game: Overrun effects like Craterhoof Behemoth, or combo loops with stuff like Temur Sabertooth.

Zacama, Primal Calamity
Playstyle: Board control deck. Ramp hard and cast Zacama. Then, strategically use his abilities to destroy creatures, artifacts, and enchantments. Mana doubling effects also help tremendously.
Winning the game: There is a way to do infinite combat steps with Hellkite Charger and Bear Umbra, or you can generate infinite mana and win with lifegain and Aetherflux Reservoir. I've seen both.

Zaxara, the Exemplary
Playstyle: Another Sultai combo deck. Haven’t seen a lot of those.
Winning the game: Stick a Freed from the Real on Zaxara. Get infinite mana and find a way to win from there.

Zur the Enchanter
Playstyle: Use Zur to search for Necropotence... That's it. I mean, you use a lot of search effects to find combo pieces... But Zur is used for Necropotence. A more fun version of the deck uses Zur as a toolbox to find pesky stax enchantments to mess up your opponents, but this is at the cost of combo power.
Winning the game: Use Necropotence to draw Doomsday (or a card that gets you Doomsday) and make a stack that wins with Thassa’s Oracle, or use Ad Nauseam with Angel's Grace to draw your deck and win with Thassa’s Oracle. You can also play it like a storm deck and use Aetherflux Reservoir paired with Shimmer Myr to get multiple lifegain triggers in one shot.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 03:24:34 pm by Morganator 2.0 »

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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2018, 02:38:35 pm »
*Placeholder post in case I exceed Deckstat's character limit again*
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 12:58:37 am by Morganator 2.0 »


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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2018, 04:15:22 pm »
Marwyn actually wins by looping Beast Within and Somberwald Stag or looping Memory Jar. Zur also wins by stacking Aetherflux Reservoir triggers with Shimmer Myr.

As a general rule, most stax decks have fallen far out of favor, especially dedicated stax that locks out the game. Flash Hulk is definitely the most played right now, and storm is a good option because it can race and is very resilient. Stax decks like Blood Pod work because they just seek to disrupt the other decks enough to win, while Sisay and Teferi both work because they can switch from stax to combo at the drop of a dime, and are very powerful.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2018, 06:04:35 pm by Soren841 »
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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2019, 08:42:57 pm »
Budget Building

I've gotten a couple private messages about building on a budget, so I'll see what I can do to help. Remember, having an unlimited budget is generally what you want when building a cEDH deck, and most people won't mind if you use proxies. But if you need to spend money and don't want to spend too much, follow these suggestions.

Combo and stax
The combo is the only place where you should pour money into. There are no replacements for cards like Food Chain or Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. But there are still budget combos. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Felidar Guardian won't break the bank. The dramatic scepter combo is another one that is cheap, effective, and goes in (almost) any blue deck.

With stax effects, there are often cheaper opportunities, but they might not be available in your colors. For example, Null Rod usually goes in green decks, but it's $32 USD. Stony Silence works as a replacement... if you're a white deck that doesn't use artifacts for mana. With stax effects, you need to gauge how badly you need it for your meta, and if it's worth the cost. If you're mono green and everyone else in your meta uses artifacts, spending the money on the Null Rod might be worth it.

The support for your combo is harder. Tutors definitely have a cost-efficiency trade-off. The best tutors, tend to cost more money. When possible, your deck should include the big 5: Demonic Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, Worldly Tutor, Mystical Tutor, and Gamble. Budget replacements would include Beseech the Queen, Eldritch Evolution, and Merchant Scroll. Notice how there isn't really a good replacement for Enlightened Tutor or Gamble in those colors.

Other budget tutors include Muddle the Mixture, Whir of Invention, Fabricate, Reshape, Diabolic Intent, Sylvan Scrying, Uncage the Menagerie, Time of Need, Traverse the Ulvenwald, Crop Rotation, Signal the Clans, Eladamri's Call, and Expedition Map.

Mana ramp
While Mox Opal, Mana Crypt, and Grim Monolith are all great additions, the core of your mana base should be mostly budget already. Green decks use mana dorks (Arbor Elf, Elvish Mystic, Llanowar Elves, Elves of Deep Shadow, Wild Growth, Avacyn's Pilgrim, Tinder Wall). All other decks will use artifacts. The signets (ex: Izzet Signet), talismans (ex: Talisman of Progress), and Fellwar Stone should be easy includes. Mind Stone is another addition that is okay. High Tide, Bubbling Muck, Dark Ritual, Cabal Ritual, Orcish Lumberjack, and Generator Servant are also cards you should look out for. Jeweled Amulet also recently dropped in price (I have no idea why it went up). It's not great, but mono-colored decks that aren't green can't really complain. Also, notice how everything I mentioned is 2 mana or less. Turn 1 and 2 are your setup turns for mana ramp.

Almost forgot; Sol Ring! You almost always want a Sol Ring. I have only ever seen one deck that didn't use Sol Ring (Seton, Krosan Protector), but there might be more out there.

Fortunately, a lot of removal is already in the budget range. Keep in mind that not all of these cards are good for all decks (notably, Fall of the Hammer, Outnumber, Ancient Animus, and Ulvenwald Tracker).

Disenchant, Return to Dust, Swords to Plowshares, Dispatch.

Expel from Orazca, Chain of Vapor, Reality Shift, Rapid Hybridization, Imprisoned in the Moon.

Vendetta, Doom Blade, Victim of Night, Sudden Death, Tragic Slip, Go for the Throat, Snuff Out.

Smelt, Mogg Salvage, Goblin Welder, Abrade, Fall of the Hammer, Outnumber, Sudden Shock, Chaos Warp.

Tribute to the Wild, Deglamer/Unravel the Aether, Caustic Caterpillar, Beast Within, Ancient Animus, Lignify, Ulvenwald Tracker.

Card draw
This one isn't so bad. Aside from stuff like Rhystic Study, Sylvan Library, and Timetwister, a lot of card draw is already budget-friendly. Unfortunately, mass card draw is going to cost a bit.

Nothing. White is terrible for card draw... and mana ramp... and tutors... I mean they got good stax effects. Good right?

Yeah, white needs a buff in the worst way.

Treasure Cruise, Impulse, Brainstorm, Windfall, Gitaxian Probe, Dig Through Time.

Sign in Blood, Night's Whisper.

Faithless Looting.

Shamanic Revelation, Runic Armasaur, Rishkar's Expertise.

Now here's a special case. I said this in a previous post, but it bears repeating.

If you can't afford shock lands (Steam Vents), fetch lands (Windswept Heath), or the original duals (Tundra), don't buy them. Instead, focus on lands that give more than one color and don't unconditionally enter the battlefield tapped.

The pain lands (Battlefield Forge, Karplusan Forest, etc) are excellent, as are the check lands (Isolated Chapel, Glacial Fortress) and tango lands (Canopy Vista, allied colors only). Spire of Industry, Exotic Orchard, and Command Tower go in every multicolored deck (nearly, Spire of Industry is most decks.) Decks with black in them have access to the tainted lands (Tainted, Field, Tainted Peak, Tainted Wood, Tainted Isle). Nimbus Maze is another special land.

In a lot of cases, you don't really need to worry about mana fixing that much. Your mana providing artifacts need generic mana to be played, and they'll do some of the fixing for you. Don't stress yourself with the land base. But for the love of Gond, do not include lands that enter tapped (Izzet Boilerworks, Scoured Barrens, Rupture Spire).

Budget Commanders
Alright then, cheap and effective commanders. Mono-colored are easy, because you can shaft the land-base.
Baral, Chief of Compliance is counterspell mayhem, as is Edric, Spymaster of Trest. Not that hard to do.
Brago, King Eternal, and Derevi, Empyrial Tactician allow you to work around simple stax effects (Static Orb and Stasis don't cost that much).
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, Sidisi, Undead Vizier, and Godo, Bandit Warlord are straightforward combo decks. Not that hard to make on a budget.


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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2019, 11:10:34 pm »
tl;dr stax is essentially impossible to budget, and mono color combo decks (usually green) are the easiest. Tatyova and Edric are also pretty simple to budget (Edric is just 1/1 evasion for 1 and Tatyova is 50% lands)
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Re: Intro to cEDH
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2019, 03:19:11 pm »
Thought it may be a good idea to post the link to the cEDH tier list in the thread...,42720.0.html
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