I took a little break for the holidays but I’m back with a strange brew aimed at going as big as possible in EDH. After diving headfirst into the 1v1 side of Commander for a while, I thought it would be fun to build a deck with multiplayer in mind. So what does this brew aim to do? Well, probably too many things all at once. It’s a ramp deck, a Dredge deck, a Combo deck and Control deck with a splash of Elf tribal for good measure. What does it aim to do? Go big.

Commander:
Damia, Sage of Stone

Planeswalkers: 3

Kiora, the Crashing Wave
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Vraska the Unseen

Creatures: 19

Deathrite Shaman
Priest of Titania
Sylvan Caryatid
Snapcaster Mage
Pharkia, God of Affliction
Reclamation Sage
Azusa, Lost but Seeking
Laboratory Maniac
Eternal Witness
Elvish Archdruid
Courser of Kruphix
Oracle of Mul Daya
Prophet of Kruphix
Oona, Queen of the Fae
Consecrated Sphinx
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Instants/Sorceries: 33

Worldly Tutor
Mystical Tutor
Stitch Together
Memory Lapse
Remand
Life From the Loam
Abrupt Decay
Cyclonic Rift
Regrowth
Treasured Find
Far // Away
Farseek
Counterspell
Exhume
Beast Within
Kodama’s Reach
Forbid
Maelstrom Pulse
Cultivate
Putrefy
Polymorphist’s Jest
Silence the Believers
Natural Order
Increasing Ambition
Traumatize
Aetherspouts
Bribery
Rude Awakening
Treasure Cruise
Praetor’s Council
Increasing Confusion
Chord of Calling
Villainous Wealth

Enchantments: 8

Exploration
Burgeoning
Rite of Flourishing
Bow of Nylea
Necromancy
Chamber of Manipulation
Deadbridge Chant
Omniscience

Artifacts: 2

Horn of Greed
Crucible of Worlds

Lands: 35

Command Tower
Opulent Palace
Watery Grave
Breeding Pool
Overgrown Tomb
Polluted Delta
Temple of Mystery
Temple of Malice
Temple of Deceit
Hinterland Harbor
Drowned Catacomb
Woodland Cemetery
Faerie Conclave
Treetop Village
Creeping Tar Pit
Thawing Glaciers
Slippery Karst
Swamp x5
Island x7
Forest x6

So what exactly are we trying to do here? Draw more cards, play more land and go as big as we possibly can. At its core the deck is a ramp strategy. Cards like Azusa, Rite of Flourishing, Burgeoning, Exploration and Oracle of Mul Daya let us ramp into our big spells. The deck makes use of cards like Consecrated Sphinx, Horn of Greed and ultimately Jin-Gitaxias to draw more cards. Damia, while quite good at drawing cards herself, is not really the deck’s main draw-engine since we will ultimately have a huge hand size. Damia helps if we stall out at any point in the game and need to refill our hand. She probably gets cast 1-2 times in the course of the game. The main draw-engine of the deck is actually Praetor’s Council coupled with either Traumatize or an Increasing Confusion for a large chunk of mana. Once we have a glut of lands in play, it’s only a matter of time until Vorinclex comes down and we can start casting haymakers and win. Outside of these inner machinations, the deck plays enough Control elements to hose opposing strategies or force through the important pieces of our incredibly wonky combo.

I’d like to admit that I haven’t technically won a game with the deck yet but if this Rube-Goldberg of a combo works out, most people end up scooping to a resolved Praetor’s Council that nets me >50% of the cards in my deck. It’s not unreasonable either. Forbid makes for a pretty serious soft lock with so many cards to keep fueling it and once Omniscience hits the table and all three Praetor’s are in play it can look pretty hopeless for our opponents. I just don’t want to give the impression that the deck has access to some kind of real winning combo besides Laboratory Maniac. Certainly resolving so much value off of Omniscience should put us in a position to run the table but it does not guarantee victory in the way that Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Pestermite does.

The Good: this list is very flexible and can be very explosive. I kind of enjoy the fact that so much can go so wrong or so right while piloting this deck. There is no singular plan for the deck to follow and I could easily see swapping around a variety of cards in the deck to suit your specific needs. There are certainly several “flex slots” to be had in cards like Pharika and I’ve experimented with several other options in her place. Nath of the Gilt-Leaf helps with the Elf tribal theme. Kruphix, God of Horizons could also fill a decent role in a deck that wants to have a huge hand size and generate enough mana for some powerful plays.

The Bad: If you came here looking for a lean, mean combo I hate to disappoint. One well-timed Bojuka Bog or Rest in Peace can certainly wreck our whole day and as I said above, if your opponents are really determined to fight through a resolved Omniscience I am sure they could do it with some perseverance. There are several “nonbos” (anti-combos) in the deck as well. If we happen to mill Ulamog by accident then the whole “combo” has been reset. Rite of Flourishing also doesn’t work well with Damia since she causes us to skip our draw step but getting an extra land into play is worth the slot in my opinion. There are many slots in this deck taken up by cards that just recur our combo pieces. Regrowth, Eternal Witness, Treasured Find and Snapcaster Mage are all pretty much there to get back our combo pieces from the yard. There are very few creatures in the deck and I suspect that a quick, aggressive opponent could run us over before we get to say “Traumatize”.

Key Cards: I definitely feel like Sidisi, Brood Tyrant could find a home in this deck as well as Whip of Erebos (although most of the things I want to reanimate are things I want to stay around for more than a turn). There are certainly a lot of free slots in the deck, particularly in the land section. I’m not sure the man-lands are necessary (they’re more of a distraction than anything) and I’d really like to include something like Wasteland or Strip Mine as a more serious combo with Crucible of Worlds and all the extra land drops the deck is capable of.

I think I like this deck so much because it completely lacks a direction which is something I usually despise. Having a solid game plan is what determines how successful a deck can be but somewhere amidst the lack of synergy in this list I’ve found something very flexible and ultimately fun to pilot. While I can’t help feel like the whole thing is a very weak house of cards (awkward semi-pun intended), that’s probably what keeps me interested in it. I hope that all of you have had some time during the holidays to brew up something new and I look forward to seeing what that might be on Thursday night at Nu Games!