Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund Commander

A Song of Fire and Ice

Game-of-Thrones-Recap-Season-4-Episode-1-Daenerys-Dragon-PortableAfter making a Kaalia deck and removing most of the Dragon cards from it, in favour of Angels, I still wanted something that focussed on dragons. The main reasib is that I liked Utvara Hellkite enough to try out some dragon tribal, hoping to fill the sky with numerous flying monsters.

15040As the deck developed more and more non- dragons got sidelined to make place for more dragons. Even though it makes the deck somewhat slow to start, one cannot argue with the fact that it makes it far more awesome! And being awesome is the goal of this deck more than anything. It should make Deanarys green with envy.

Another card that informed on how a portion of the deck would look was Rimescale Dragon. Unlike it’s firebreathing kin, it’s an ice-breathing dragon, and to make it work the basic lands in the deck are now snow-covered varieties, like Snow-Covered Mountain. And who knows what’s hiding up north. The ice dragon does add some political power to the deck, being able to lock down creatures as long as it’s in play.

As for the commander itself, I settled on Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund, even though there are some other options. For me he signals ‘this is a dragon deck’ the best, even if there are some downsides. But more on that later.

Mother of Dragons

Another notable dragon in this deck is Dragon Broodmother. There are a couple of dragons with the devour mechanic in excistence, but she is the only one who made the cut. Mostly because she births a dragon token during every players upkeep! That’s a lot of dragons, and they have the option of eating eachother, or whatever creature you have lying around, like a stray elf that outlived it’s usefulness or maybe even a yummie Dragon Egg!

broodmotherDevouring is a risk, but with the rate the broodmother makes the tokens, it can really pay off, especially when there it’s Doubling Season. The dragons also have a father in there somewhere, as Scourge of Valkas celebrates every birth with an increasing amount of fire.

But we didn’t come here for the baby dragons. Jund is all about the food chain and at the very top there are Dragon Tyrant and Hellkite overlord, which are among the biggest things with flying you can find in the game. But depending on the situation, even they could be severly outclassed by a Kilnmouth Dragon. With 28 dragons in the deck right now, it should often come down as an 8/8 or 11/11.

Dragon Attack!

Having dragons is one thing, the point is ofcourse to attack with them. To do so as often as possible, there are some ways to get extra combat phases. Aggravated Assault is one way to accomplish this, but the effect also comes on a dragon: Hellkite Charger. Adding Sword of Feast and Famine or Nature’s Will, among other things, will free up some mana to attack many times over.

hellkitecharger swordoffeast

There are plenty of cool interactions to be found in the deck. Even dragons aren’t as straightforward as the seem at first glance. Let’s take a look at the list:

~ Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund Commander ~

Commander (1)

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund

Dragons (28)

Ancient Hellkite
Bladewing the Risen
Bogardan Hellkite
Broodmate Dragon
Changeling Titan
Dragon Broodmother
Dragon Egg
Dragon Tyrant
Forgestoker Dragon
Hellkite Charger
Hellkite Overlord
Hellkite Tyrant
Hoard-Smelter Dragon
Kilnmouth Dragon
Knollspine Dragon
Mana-Charged Dragon
Moonveil Dragon
Rimescale Dragon
Rorix Bladewing
Ryusei, the Falling Star
Scourge of Kher Ridges
Scourge of Valkas
Slumbering Dragon
Steel Hellkite
Stormbreath Dragon
Thundermaw Hellkite
Utvara Hellkite

Other creatures (17)

Birds of Paradise
Burnished Hart
Courser of Kruphix
Dragonspeaker Shaman
Elvish Mystic
Elvish Piper
Fauna Shaman
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Llanowar Elves
Oracle of Mul Daya
Radha, Heir to Keld
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Somberwald Sage
Xenagos, God of Revels
Yavimaya Elder
Zirilan of the Claw

Artifacts (3)

Bow of Nylea
Sol Ring
Sword of Feast and Famine

Lands (36)

Blood Crypt
Cavern of Souls
Command Tower
Darigaaz’s Caldera
Dragonskull Summit
Fire-Lit Thicket
Golgari Rot Farm
Grove of the Burnwillows
Kher Keep
Kessig Wolf Run
Overgrown Tomb
Raging Ravine
Rakdos Carnarium
Reflecting Pool
Rootbound Crag
Savage Lands
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Swamp
Stomping Ground
Temple of Abandon
Vivid Crag
Vivid Grove
Volrath’s Stronghold

Enchantments (7)

Aggravated Assault
Bear Umbra
Crucible of Fire
Doubling Season
Nature’s Will
Parallel Lives
Survival of the Fittest

Instants (1)

Worldly Tutor

Planeswalkers (3)

Domri Rade
Sarkhan Vol
Sarkhan the Mad

Sorceries (5)

Demonic Tutor
Death by Dragons
Into the North
Kodama’s Reach

Walking With Dragons

There are a couple of non-dragon lieutenants to help out. Zirilan of the Claw can find any dragon in your deck. This could be a Bladewing the Risen, to bring back another dragon, Malfegor to wipe the board or Dragon Tyrant to make a big attack. If that wouldn’t solve the problem there and then, it’s even possible to do it on an opponent’s end step, so you can follow up by finding Changeling Titan and get around the exile clause.

Kiki-Jiki has a similar role, but makes temporary copies of dragons in play. While he doesn’t copy Legendary creatures, he does suplement Zirilan quite well, and can use Changeling Titan to get around all kinds of destruction effects. And if there is more doubling needed, there is Xenagos, God of Revels, making faster and stronger dragons.

domri sarkhanvol sarkhanthemadjpg

Rivalling both gods and dragons in power are the planeswalkers. Domri Rade helps finding dragons in your deck and keeping your hand full, and sometimes allows them to get close and personal with opposing creatures. His ultimate is a sight to behold, as it makes your dragons even more frightening and difficult to get rid off. The first ability can be hit-and-miss, but Courser of Kruphix and Oracle of Mul Daya will show and set up the next card and maximize the advantage.

Sarkhan Vol is the planeswalker closest related to dragons (Well, aside from Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker who is a frigging dragon!) and he’s represented by two versions. The regular version makes your side slightly larger and occasionally brings others to your side, so they can join in the fight or serve as lunch for your dragons. Sarkhan the Mad , like Domri, helps finding more dragons to play, or creates a dragon token that Karrthus kan bring to your side.

The Others

hunteddragonThere are plenty of other dragons that warrant inclusion in this deck, but space is limited and choices need to be make. There is always room for improvent though. The trick with Death By Dragons may get stale at some point, as players will find the best ways to get around it. There may be other cards that are cute, but simply don’t pull their weight. So here are some cards that didn’t make it yet, but are still strongly concidered:

Hunted Dragon is cheap enough for a hasty 6/6 flyer. The fact that it puts some knight tokens under an opponent’s control may not always be a drawback in a multiplayer format. It could happen that you can ally yourself with another player and give him the tools to help fight a common enemy. With Scourge of Kher Ridges or Steel Hellkite on your side, the knights aren’t long lived anyway.

Furyborn Hellkite is a tad expensive to play, but if you manage to trigger it’s bloodthirst it’s always very, very large. Then again, if you can get bloodthirst, it means you’re already on the road to victory. Furyborn Hellkite may just keep you in the saddle.

kokushoSkithiryx, the Blight Dragon isn’t much of a team player. As the only source of poison counters, he makes previous damage irrelevant and he doesn’t contribute overall. Even with Crucible of Fire he’ll need two hits to kill someone. Then again, poison counters do make people very nervous.

Kokusho, the Evening Star. To be fair, there reason Kokusho isn’t in the deck and his brother Ryusei, the Falling Star is, has more to do with availability than power level. Kokusho was banned in commander for quite some time for a reason. Even with changes to the legend rule, he still can get you quite some breathing room once he dies.

Balefire Dragon also isn’t there for the want of a physical copy. Realistically, noone can afford being hit even once without getting into some real, serious trouble.

Dragon Mage fills a role similar to Knollspine Dragon, in making sure you never run out of steam. I’m not sure Dragon Mage is better than Knollspine in this regard, as the effect is more symmetrical. It’s easier to refill your hand with the Mage, though, as he doesn’t need a secundary source of damage to work his magic.

imperialhellkiteHoarding Dragon searches the deck for an artifact. If it gets hit with a Path to Exile or things like that, that artifact is lost forever. The deck only has 3 artifacts, and they’re generally not worth it getting a dragon killed over.

Imperial Hellkite could be quite interesting, especially as the deck doesn’t have a lot of early drops. Later on, he gets the best dragon out of the deck and there is plenty of choice for that. Since he’s the only morph, and the only reasonable morph in the deck, it’s often clear what it is, but morph mindgames are secundairy to a tutor effect anyway.

Predator Dragon and Preyseizer dragon are similar enough to fall under the same catagory. It comes down to devour, which is not the best thing in this deck as most food is horribly expensive.

Vampiric Dragon is cool, but too expensive. He does have som synergy with Bow of Nylea, but ultimately there are far better dragons available than this guy.

proshAs far as commanders go, Karrthus wasn’t the only option. It’s nice to have a 7/7 that can jump into action immediatly, but there is a risk involved with playing him. If a blue mage Clones him, you lose all your dragons to to him. Sure, I might include a Homeward Path to cushion the blow, but if it happens too often, you might concider another legend to command your dragon army.

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher is a good choice, and only a Food Chain  away from creating an arbitrary amount of Kobolds of Kher Keep, if you’re into that. He might cause to have the dragons with Devour rate higher on the list. He’s generally not as fast and large as Karrthus though. Unless you feed Prossh other creatures, he takes an extra turn in dealing lethal commander damage. With the combo, he’s far more deadly though.

Darigaaz, the Igniter is decent, especially when players play mono-colored decks or generally keep large hand-sizes (or you did indeed recruit a Dragon Mage.) Too bad his ability doesn’t count towards commander damage, making it often pointless to use the ability unless it helps finishing the opponent through regular damage.

scionVaevictis Asmadi is there for the EDH purists, as he is indeed an Elder Dragon. He is horribly expensive to play though, and the upkeep cost doesn’t help with developing the board while he’s on the table.

Scion of the Ur-Dragon is an interesting choice for a commander in a dragon deck. He opens up the option to choose from any dragon, regardless of it’s color. It also means you’ll have to diversify the mana-base even further in order to use him, but at least you’ll be channeling the force that is all dragonkind.

Jund has a couple of options for non-dragons as commander:

Adun Oakenshield can bring back dragons (and some of their food) from the graveyard to your hand. The excitement never ends with him.

Xira Arien draws you extra cards. Extra cards is good, but sadly she’s not very efficient.

Kresh the Bloodbraided is left as a viable commander for your dragons, as your Khal Drogo expy. He grows when a large dragon dies, and he grows when your dragons feed. He’s also not that expensive to play, so while he doesn’t interact all that much with your dragons, he interacts with things dying left and right by growing to humongous size in no-time.

So, that’s a Jund EDH dragon deck. Keep watching the skies, as it may be the last you see.

Posted under Commander / EDH

Green/Black Constellation

arc1477_mostawesometokeneverThis is an experiment with the Constellation mechanic. The idea is to hold the fort while gaining card advantage and filling up the graveyard to make some creatures really big. All the while Grim Guardian will chip at their lifetotal.

Pharika can turn creatures in the graveyard into snake tokens, which are conveniently enough also extra enchantments to trigger the constellation effects. This should result in extra cards draw, extra life loss and having Doomwake Giant downsizing the opposition.

Aside from some elves and land for mana production, everything is an enchantment, or in case of Renowned Weaver, can turn into an enchantment.

Nyx Weaver can exile itself to get something from the the graveyard. Deadbridge Chant kicks things in overdrive to set up the endgame by making sure you always have something you can do.

Humbler of Mortals is the last piece of meat. It combines nicely with Bow of Nylea to make blocking almost pointless by combining Deathtouch and Trample on your creatures.

~ Green/Black Constellation ~

Creatures (30)

Doomwake Giant
Eidolon of Blossoms
Elvish Mystic
Grim Guardian
Humbler of Mortals
Nyx Weaver
Pharika, God of Affliction
Renowned Weaver

Other (6)

Bow of Nylea
Strength from the Fallen
Deadbridge Chant

Lands (24)

12 Forest
12 Swamp
Posted under Standard

White/Blue Heroic


Ever since Theros came out, I’ve been trying to make a Heroic deck work. I think it was Fabled Hero that drew me into the concept. Double strike works well with buffs, and the idea of an ever growing creature had a certain appeal to me. It seemed mono- white wasn’t going to cut it, so I ended up with blue so I could add some cipher cards.

Or, well, just Hidden Strings which should give me a stable supply of spells that target, so I could keep growing my heroes.  When Born of the Gods came along, things started to look better. Glimpse the Sun God added a better version of another trick I was using: Gridlock.

The deck worked decently and was lots of fun to play, if sometimes inconsistant. Then Journey into Nyx was released and gave me two more cards, that really completed the deck.  Lagonna-Band Trailblazer gives me another one-drop next to Favored Hoplite and makes the deck stronger when there is a need to play defensively. Battlefield Thaumaturge significantly reduces the cost of most of my combat tricks and rounds out my team of heroes.

So let’s take a look at the deck:

~ White/Blue Heroic V1.0 ~

Creatures (19)

Battlefield Thaumaturge
Fabled Hero
Favored Hoplite
Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
Nivmagus Elemental
Phalanx Leader

Other (17)

Glimpse the Sun God
Gods Willing
Hidden Strings
Ordeal of Thassa

Lands (24)

Hallowed Fountain
Temple of Enlightenment

The extra one-drops are important. The deck needs enablers to make the heroes grow, but they do nothing without bodies on the table. The best opening is either Favored Hoplite or Lagonna-Band Trailblazer followed by an Ordea of Thassa turn two. This creates sizable creatures early on, and quickly draws you extra cards.

There are also two copies of Nivmagus Elemental.  The elemental turns some of the spells into counters, after they already have triggered heroic. Being able to eat instants makes them quite unpredictable. A good opening with them is tapping some blockers with Hidden Strings, attacking and eating the ciphered strings for counters. If there aren’t any blockers, the strings can untap land so extra creatures can be played, or Nivmagus can get an ordeal before combat. Explosive stuff.

Unsung Heroes

There are plenty of card I concidered, but ended up on the cutting table, especially in the crowded 2-drop section. Akroan Skyguard does offer evasion, but wasn’t agressive enough. Battlewise Hoplite is amazing but the seems difficult to get early on consitently. Right now Phalanx Leader is in it’s place, and also has a difficult mana cost. It’s hard to say which one is better. Scry is very good.

Triton Fortune Hunter and Wavecrash Triton where in the deck at some point, but their lack of growth caused me to seldom play them over other things I had in my hands. I haven’t tried Tethmos High Priest yet, since it falls in the same catagory, even though it has a slightly better body by itself.

Strifing to do better

phalanx polyrush launch

Journey Into Nyx also gives us some strife cards. I’ve tried Launch the Fleet and while it’s good and won me some games, it requires quite a setup for it to be really worth it. There is no arguing with multiple hasty 1/1’s coming from one card though.

Polymorphous Rush seems to be a fun card, but since my own creatures start out small, it’s dependant on whatever the opponent is playing to make it worth it. Artisan of Form didn’t make it, so I doubt Rush will.

Then there is Phalanx Formation . This may replace Fabled Hero as the go-to card for Double Strike. Being an instant it is always a looming threat. The strife cost means it can even benefit from multiple Battlefield Thaumaturges. Having an alternative to get Double Strike, Battlewise Hoplite is getting more powerful in context. It’s still difficult to get the numbers right, but maybe I’ll test out this version:

~ White/Blue Heroic V2.0 ~

Creatures (18)

Battlewise Hoplite
Battlefield Thaumaturge
Favored Hoplite
Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
Nivmagus Elemental
Phalanx Leader

Other (18)

Glimpse the Sun God
Gods Willing
Hidden Strings
Ordeal of Thassa
Phalanx formation

Lands (24)

Hallowed Fountain
Temple of Enlightenment
Posted under Standard
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