Adam_the_Mentat's picture
May 05 2015 11:00am
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CJB: All-in Creatures

Greetings and health fellow planeswalkers. I am Johnny, therefore I am.

I have made my fair share of weird and off-the-beaten-path Johnny brews for Magic. I have certainly created Commander decks which had a lot of creatures-- or almost no creatures and all spells, but I had never, in the history of playing this fine game, made a deck that was entirely creatures.

Until now.

Beyond putting aside the general innate want to create decks that have a fairly equal amount of creature and noncreature spells-- sort of like a Magic Robot overwriting one of the three Planeswalker Asimov cardinal Robot rules-- I can't believe how much fun All-in Creatures Animar, Soul of Elements is.

In the deck, Ruric Thar, the Unbowed makes an appearance, because obvious reason is obvious. His inclusion made me want to make a version of All-in Creatures, Ruric edition, but I wound up including around 17 noncreature spells, just to change it up a titch. Still, it is fairly all-in.

I enjoy both decks, but have had some extremely satisfying games against Blue Commander Mages where Ruric overcame their wanton need to counter the world.

We all know the type...

Honestly, what hates blue more than red and green combined? The constant stream of critters that cost 6 life to counter eventually overwhelmed many who would think to Cryptic Command away all my fun.

So, I figured I'd show you both of them and let you make your own conclusions and take my humble beginnings (of sheer awesome) and make them your own.



Brutalizer Exarch 
Dawntreader Elk 
Embodiment of Spring 
Ondu Giant 
Sakura-Tribe Elder 
Silkwing Scout 
Silverglade Elemental 
1 Urabrask the Hidden
Treasure Mage 
Wood Elves 
Burnished Hart 
Pilgrim's Eye 
Momir Vig, Simic Visionary 
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard 
Sages of the Anima 
Moltensteel Dragon 
Platinum Angel 
Platinum Emperion 
Scuttling Doom Engine 
Thopter Assembly 
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed 
Woodfall Primus 
Acidic Slime 
Flametongue Kavu 
Bogardan Hellkite 
Dragonlord Atarka 
Inferno Titan 
Soul of Shandalar 
Apocalypse Hydra 
1 Mulldrifter
Crater Elemental 

More Creatures:
Budoka Gardener 
Civic Wayfinder 
Coiling Oracle 
Farhaven Elf 
Prophet of Kruphix 
Keranos, God of Storms 
Xenagos, God of Revels 
Thassa, God of the Sea 
Consecrated Sphinx 
Heidar, Rimewind Master 
Rimefeather Owl 
Rimescale Dragon 
Genesis Hydra 
Savageborn Hydra 
Polukranos, World Eater 
Fierce Empath 
Veteran Explorer 
Heartwood Storyteller 
Magus of the Moon 
Eternal Witness 
Solemn Simulacrum 
Steel Hellkite 
Wurmcoil Engine 
Destructor Dragon 
1 Duplicant
Soul of the Harvest 
Stormsurge Kraken 
1 Cyclops of Eternal Fury
Lifeblood Hydra 

Other Spells:
Primal Surge 

Scrying Sheets 
Dust Bowl 
Encroaching Wastes 
Strip Mine 
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Mouth of Ronom 
Snow-Covered Island 
Snow-Covered Mountain 
Snow-Covered Forest 
Maze of Ith 
Ancient Tomb 
Thespian's Stage 

So this deck is all (sic- besides one) creatures, so we need creatures that can do all manner of things that spells normally can. Pros of the deck include an ever-amassing army which also fuels Animar, which in turn lessens the mana burden of casting your creatures; casting Primal Surge until you dump a significant portion of your deck onto the field and finding your furious Cyclops or Urabrask can often result in an unexpectedly Johnny mass-army win; lots of cards which might normally be limited in their capacity of combo fun (Heartwood Storyteller, Sages of the Anima, Soul of the Harvest to name a few) are stellar in the deck. Cons include a vulnerability to Wrath effects, especially if over-used by an opponent, and possibly enjoying your out-of-the-norm all-in creatures deck far more than you expected. Waitaminute-- that's not a Con!

It's not this kind of Kahn either....

Dawntreader Elk, Embodiment of Spring, Ondu Giant, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Silkwing Scout, Silverglade Elemental, Wood Elves, Burnished Hart, Pilgrim's Eye, Solemn Simulacrum, Budoka Gardener, Civic Wayfinder, Coiling Oracle, Farhaven Elf, Veteran Explorer. Most of these are pretty self-explanatory -- either they can be sac'ed or the have an EtB trigger which nets you a land. The Artifact Creature trifecta can often be cast for free if your Animar is rockin'. Budoka Gardener works really well alongside the creatures that tutor up a land and put it into your hand, and in the late game it can be employed to slap out huge tokens to further grow your army. Plus, plenty of creatures in this deck draw you cards, so being able to plop out another land is always useful.

Brutalizer Exarch, Steel Hellkite, Destructor Dragon, Woodfall Primus, Acidic Slime, Flametongue Kavu, Bogardan Hellkite, Dragonlord Atarka, Inferno Titan, Soul of Shandalar, Apocalypse Hydra, Crater Elemental, Keranos, God of Storms, Dust Bowl, Encroaching Wastes, Strip Mine, Tectonic Edge, Mouth of Ronom, Polukranos, World Eater, Duplicant.

Brutalizer Exarch, Mulldrifter, Momir Vig, Simic Visionary, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, Sages of the Anima, Soul of the Harvest, Heartwood Storyteller, Treasure Mage, Fierce Empath, Scrying SheetsStormsurge Kraken, Consecrated Sphinx, Thassa, God of the Sea, Lifeblood Hydra.

Platinum AngelPlatinum EmperionScuttling Doom EngineThopter AssemblyWurmcoil Engine: These are all great artifact creatures that can be cast for free if you have ramped up Animar's counters. The Platinum twins help infuriate your opponent while Scuttling can score some damage, Thopter can rock some flying token fun, and Wurmy gives you some life with its lifelink and then some more creatures.
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed: Heartwood Storyteller, the Sages, and Ruric are superb in an all-creatures deck.
Prophet of Kruphix: Could't find room for Seedborn Muse, but I like the Prophet here because of the creature-flash enabling, which, since this is all creatures, will allow you to cast more of them and get your army on the field that much quicker. Plus, who doesn't like the ability/possibility of flashin' a Wurmcoil into play to block?
Xenagos, God of Revels: Hasting and pumpin' a creature is never going to be a bad thing.
Urabrask the Hidden & Cyclops of Eternal Fury: These universal haste granters combo with Primal Surge to often win the game.
Primal Surge: See previous exposition.
Maze of Ith: I can't recall the last time I made a Commander deck and didn't include the Maze. In an all-creatures deck that relies solely on lands and creatures to do everything spells might do, it's vital.
Heidar, Rimewind MasterRimefeather OwlRimescale Dragon: This is my mini-snow cycle. All my lands are Snow-Covered. It enables the Owl to get huge, the Dragon to use it's very un-like-red ability to tap down threats, and it allows Heidar to do his thang. Also, there's even a mini-micro combo between the Owl and Dragon. The Dragon can add ice counters for one less than the dragon and it still counts for the dragon's ability, and the dragon can load up ice counters for its ability and then when you cast the owl it's already that much bigger.
Savageborn Hydra: Another great usage for Animar's ever-growing counters is it lessens the X cost in Hydras, which is why this deck is populated with them. Genesis fetches you something, Lifeblood gains you life and cards, Apocalypse can do damage... etc.; Savageborn Hydra is just a hydra I've always been fond of, and it can grow its double-strikin' hide with extra mana in the late game.
Magus of the Moon: Honestly, there's hardly any nonbasics in here, on purpose: to utilize mana-fetchers, and to utilize this.
Eternal Witness: Always a fine endeavor to bring back a threat once thought taken care of.

I've spoken about Primal Surging into a Hastey Cyclops; I've told you about my micro ice counter combo; I've discussed flopping out huge hydras or artifact creatures on the cheap-- but here's some other cool stuff.
Sages of the Anima and Consecrated Sphinx can net you a lot of creatures in your hand. Make sure you put out the sages only after you've accumulated enough mana. Your mana rampers will help offset having to bottom-deck all your lands from the sages.
Savageborn Hydra and Prophet of Kruphix can combo to help get a huge hydra. The Prophet can also be paired with the flipped gardener to make lots of tokens.
Momir and Genesis Hydra: Stack Momir's ability so it resolves after you pick something with the Genesis, and you'll be able to slap out whatever you want, every time.




Ruric Thar, Who Despises Bowties and Only Wears Velcro Shoes

Xenagos, God of Revels 
Nylea, God of the Hunt 
Purphoros, God of the Forge 
Magus of the Moon 
Dragonlord Atarka 
Brutalizer Exarch 
Burnished Hart 
Civic Wayfinder 
Farhaven Elf 
Fierce Empath 
Gatecreeper Vine 
Godo, Bandit Warlord 
Ondu Giant 
Sakura-Tribe Elder 
Seedguide Ash 
Silverglade Elemental 
Yavimaya Elder 
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard 
Soul of Shandalar 
Flametongue Kavu 
Corrupt Eunuchs 
Elderscale Wurm 
Inferno Titan 
Generator Servant 
Lifeblood Hydra 
Soul of the Harvest 
Harbinger of the Hunt 
Destructor Dragon  1 Wolfir Silverheart 
Wurmcoil Engine 
1 Solemn Simulacrum

More Creatures:
Heartwood Storyteller 
Huntmaster of the Fells 
Master of the Wild Hunt 
Polis Crusher 
Polukranos, World Eater 
Moldgraf Monstrosity 
Pelakka Wurm 
Dragonmaster Outcast 
Caldera Hellion 
Eternal Witness 
Acidic Slime 
Sylvok Replica 
Wood Elves 
Urabrask the Hidden
Steel Hellkite 

Other Spells:

Basilisk Collar 
Loxodon Warhammer 
All Is Dust 
Karn Liberated 
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon 
Lightning Greaves 
General's Kabuto 
Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury 
Life's Legacy 
Momentous Fall 
Natural Order 
Greater Good 

1 Primal Surge

Myriad Landscape 
Tectonic Edge 
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Diamond Valley 
Miren, the Moaning Well 
Thawing Glaciers 
Kessig Wolf Run 
Maze of Ith 
Dust Bowl 
Encroaching Wastes 
Ghost Quarter 
Strip Mine 
Homeward Path 
Thespian's Stage 
Gruul Guildgate 
Rootbound Crag 
Gaea's Cradle 
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx 
Stomping Ground 
Command Tower 
Mikokoro, Center of the Sea  

This deck is, once again, loaded with creatures. I have included a baker's dozen of noncreature cards which I feel enhance the overall feel of the deck. This deck has numerous creatures that wouldn't mind being sacrificed for various reasons, such as Destructor Dragon, Lifeblood Hydra, and Seedguide Ash to name a few. A subset of cards, like Greater Good, Natural Order, Life's Legacy, Momentous Fall, Miren, and Diamond Valley help facilitate the sacrificing-- while the Fall and the two lands, as well as some of the wurms, equipment and the Lifeblood Hydra help offset any damage you took from Ruric by gaining you back some life. You can always sac Ruric himself to offset his "has to attack, probably gonna die anyway" which happens frequently. Primal Surge makes a repeat appearance, as there are only a few cards in this deck that aren't permanents.

So this deck borrows a lot of the same creatures featured in the Animar deck.

Rather than repeat myself, I figure my readers can retain the info I just spat all over this article, and won't even go into why I included the same creatures.

Further, in the exposition literally above this, I explained why I included stuff like Life's Legacy and Greater Good. You should also be able to tell that I want a card draw outlet through these spells.

Some of the creatures not included in the Animar deck, but included here that do similar things, like Seedguide Ash and Yavimaya Elder, I'm also going to skip pontificating about, since you all know why they are in this deck.

Basilisk CollarLoxodon Warhammer: Attach these to Ruric, and every time his 6 damage trigger fires, bingo-bango, ya gots some lifegain.
All Is Dust: Sometimes you need a reset button.

Karn LiberatedUgin, the Spirit Dragon: Can't really recall, besides the above Animar deck, when I created a Commander deck without including these two gems. Ugin also has a built in All is Dust-esque reset button, and Karn's ultimate is as much of a reset as you can get.
Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury: The only other Planeswalker I opted to slap into the deck, I like that she can slap out a token for more mana or chump-blockin', destroy a pesky artifact or enchanment, and if you ultimate, it's a card draw effect based on all your creatures. She just fits very nicely IMHO.
Godo, Bandit Warlord: Godo is great because he can fetch one of your four equipment in the deck and chuck it down triumphantly on the 'field without having to take 6 from Ruric.
Lightning GreavesGeneral's Kabuto: Greaves has to go in any deck with Godo, in case you can cast Godo and tutor it up and haste Godo for free and get the double attack out of him. The Kabuto is PERFECT for Ruric. It grants shroud, taking at least two spells (or 12 damage) before he can be hosed and its prevention of combat damage works wonders with Ruric's latent has-to-attackness.
Nylea, God of the Hunt: Trample and pumping is great for Ruric and, well, all the other threats.
Purphoros, God of the Forge: So many creatures = lots more chance for damage.
Corrupt Eunuchs: More damage, not as sweet as our Kavu friend.
Elderscale Wurm: Another creature to offset Ruric's damage ability, if it came down to it, plus a powerful wurm.
Generator Servant: I have yet to find a time where I Wasn't pleased I included Generator servant. Without any other ramping, it can get out a Ruric on turn 4, and Ruric has haste. In the early game, it's still 2 damage swinging at your opponent. The mana can even be used to help cast hat Ugin if you need it to. It's quickly becoming one of my favorite utility creatures.
Harbinger of the Hunt: This card can really come in handy, and it's 5/3 flying for CMC5. 
Huntmaster of the Fells: Wolfies or damage!
Master of the Wild Hunt: Wolfies!
Polis Crusher: Just a fun include, late-game monstrous to '86 one of the multitude of new dragons ain't half bad.
Moldgraf Monstrosity: Creature recursion; Sac' potential.
Pelakka Wurm: Lifegain and a big old body to smack your opponent with.
Dragonmaster Outcast: Land ramping helps you get out 5/5s quicker; it draws hate; sacrificing a 5/5 dragon to Greater Good or Life's Legacy ain't none too bad neither. 
Caldera Hellion: I have questioned this inclusion and nearly taken it out of the deck many times. I wind up leaving it in, and then it comes extremely in handy during a game against tokens or some such.
Wolfir Silverheart: Pumpin' up Ruric prevents him from dying to combat damage, and dealing more combat damage with him ends the game sooner.

Basilisk Collar + Harbinger of the Hunt; To a lesser extent, on Huntmaster of the Fells when it transforms.
The hammer or collar and Ruric, to gain life everytime his 6 damage ability flies off.
All is Dust & Moldgraf Monstrosity.

Generator_Servant.jpgGodo, Bandit WarlordSeedguide_Ash_f.jpgFlametongue Kavu

Sometimes when I make decks, like wacky Dante's Divine Comedy-inspired decks, or Halloweenie decks, I sort of play them a bunch for an article and then they collect virtual dust, only taken back into rotation on a lark. Sometimes, I make a deck like Varolz which I truly love, but go through periods of time where I love playing it and then go through periods where it too collects virtual dust. So far these decks, which I created months ago and am only now just writing about, I simply can't get enough of, and I play with nearly daily. I can't stress how much fun these two decks have been for me, and how I plan to continually update and improve them.

I hope you can take these builds, make them your own, and have even a modicum of the amount of fun I have with 'em, because then you'll be having quite a lot of fun still.


This article looks amazing. by Joe Fiorini at Tue, 05/05/2015 - 14:24
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This article looks amazing. I'm very impressed.

Also, I can't wait to see what you do with that Timetwister!

I'm not a Commander player by Francis Law at Tue, 05/05/2015 - 15:36
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I'm not a Commander player myself, but I appreciate a man who takes the time to makes bespoke memes for a deck guide!

How did you do the decklist backgrounds? They look sweet. I've been messing around with various templates to little success.


Hiya Frankie by Adam_the_Mentat at Tue, 05/05/2015 - 16:15
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I instinctively want to call you Frankie Four Fingers. You can thank Guy Ritchie for that (at least your real name isn't the same as the bassist from U2 {hint:me}). I'll try to chat with you via MTGO and divulge my secrets.

I actually recently nabbed by Francis Law at Thu, 05/07/2015 - 05:52
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I actually recently nabbed the joke twitter handle "@FrankieTenToys" so it looks like we think alike haha.

Look forward to chatting when our paths cross.

This has to be one of the by olaw at Thu, 05/07/2015 - 03:20
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This has to be one of the best looking articles I've seen on the sight. Great job Adam.

As I've told you I really need to get into Commander some time. Getting ready for Modern Master 2015 at the moment but maybe after I've got hold of that stuff I will make an effort to give it a go.