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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Apr 26 2010 1:26am
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 I.  Introduction

GodsireBlood TyrantAngel of DespairSphinx of the Steel WindThraximundarEmpyrial ArchangelHellkite OverlordKarrthus, Tyrant of Jund

How would you like to play a deck that used all of these creatures?  For a guy that loves casting creatures and turning them sideways like me, this would be like a dream come true.  I was perusing the EDH forums a while back when I came across a deck made by user Rhapsody, which can be found here:


This seemed like a fun deck!  Huge monsters, swinging in the red zone.  What's not to like?  So I stole the idea and made a deck of my own to play online.  The results are below.

II.  The Deck:  Fatties need love too!

 First, our Commander:

Horde of Notions

What the heck is that big brown guy in the middle of the picture?  He looks like a sperm whale with feet or something.  Anyways, we need a 5 color general, and Horde serves our purposes best.  He's a pretty good beatstick, he's hasty, has vigilance for defense, and he has an ability that may (I've never used it, but that's not saying it can't happen) come in handy in the late game with Ashes of the Fallen.  Honestly, if there were any way to use Maelstrom Archangel as my Commander, I would do it, but Horde is the best we got.

And now, the deck, in the format ShardFenix demanded.  Because what ShardFenix wants, ShardFenix gets!

A Commander Deck w/ Horde of Notions
1 Horde of Notions
1 Admonition Angel
1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
1 Angel of Despair
1 Blood Tyrant
1 Charnelhoard Wurm
1 Child of Alara
1 Defiler of Souls
1 Empyrial Archangel
1 Eternal Witness
1 Garza Zol, Plague Queen
1 Godsire
1 Hellkite Overlord
1 Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund
1 Maelstrom Archangel
1 Magister Sphinx
1 Mayael the Anima
1 Novablast Wurm
1 Oona, Queen of the Fae
1 Prince of Thralls
1 Reya Dawnbringer
1 Seedborn Muse
1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind
1 Sphinx Sovereign
1 Teneb, the Harvester
1 Thraximundar
1 Vigor
1 Woodfall Primus
28 cards

Other Spells
1 Akroma's Memorial
1 Ashes of the Fallen
1 Coalition Relic
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Dragon Arch
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Golgari Signet
1 Mind's Eye
1 Orzhov Signet
1 Scroll Rack
1 Selesnya Signet
1 Liliana Vess
1 Debtors' Knell
1 Lurking Predators
1 Mana Reflection
1 Mirari's Wake
1 Bant Charm
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Krosan Grip
1 Mortify
1 Path to Exile
1 Putrefy
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Summoning Trap
1 Worldly Tutor
1 All Suns' Dawn
1 Austere Command
1 Beacon of Unrest
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Grim Tutor
1 Hallowed Burial
1 Recollect
1 Restock
1 Tooth and Nail
35 cards
1 Akoum Refuge
1 Ancient Ziggurat
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Blood Crypt
1 Breeding Pool
1 Crumbling Necropolis
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Forest
1 Godless Shrine
1 Graypelt Refuge
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Jwar Isle Refuge
1 Kazandu Refuge
1 Krosan Verge
1 Mirrodin's Core
1 Mountain
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
1 Rupture Spire
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Savage Lands
1 Seaside Citadel
1 Sejiri Refuge
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
1 Swamp
1 Temple Garden
1 Temple of the False God
1 Vivid Crag
1 Vivid Creek
1 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Vivid Meadow
1 Watery Grave
1 Windswept Heath
37 cards
Maelstrom Archangel


Let's look at some of the card choices:

Maelstrom ArchangelTooth and NailDragon ArchLurking PredatorsSummoning TrapMayael the Anima Maelstrom Archangel, Tooth and Nail, Dragon Arch, Lurking Predators, Summoning Trap, Mayael the Anima:  These are the main methods of getting your large creatures into play.  You'll notice that a lot of my big guys are gold.  This is specifically to accommodate Dragon Arch, which is typically the first thing you should tutor up.  As you will see below, your hand gets really gummed up without the Arch.  Dragon Arch and Mayael go very well with Seedborn Muse.

Diabolic TutorGrim TutorDemonic TutorLiliana Vess Diabolic Tutor, Grim Tutor, Demonic Tutor, Liliana Vess:  Your tutors.  Without one of your methods of cheating stuff into play, you are going to have a tough time.  Again, first thing to get is usually Dragon Arch.

RecollectRestockAll Suns' DawnBeacon of UnrestEternal Witness Recollect, Restock, All Suns' Dawn, Beacon of Unrest, Eternal Witness:  These are your recursion.  You're going to have to get your cheating cards back from the graveyard, as they are going to be big targets for your opponents.  The Beacon's ability to return artifacts is good for getting Dragon Arch around for another fight, and it can also get your Maelstrom Archangel.  Debtors' Knell, Teneb, the Harvester and Reya Dawnbringer do the same thing, but only with your creatures.  I gotta say, casting an entwined Tooth and Nail 3 times in a game is a ton of fun.

Mirari's WakeMana ReflectionGilded Lotus Mirari's Wake, Mana Reflection, Gilded Lotus:  Helps speed things up.  You can use all the mana you get in this deck.

VigorEmpyrial Archangel Vigor & Empyrial Archangel:  This nice little two card combo protects you from damaged based attacks, and can grow the angel to Mythic Proportions.  Obviously mass removal gets rid of these guys, but the one thing I forgot about was deathtouch.  Letting a deathtouch creature like Acidic Slime through your defenses will kill the angel, so be careful.

Weaknesses:  This deck is slow.  Like, really slow.  Many times your first play is going to be casting Horde of Notions.  However, the Commander format isn't usually the fastest, so you do have a little bit of leeway.  The biggest problem can be if you do not find one of your enablers.  Then, you just start collecting a hand of fat, and you have to start discarding.  And that's no fun.  In addition, there are a lot of lands that come into play tapped.  If you have the MED duals, stick them in there.  I haven't had a problem with having the right colored mana, my only problem is not having enough.

The other issue is that many times your graveyard will be stocked with big scary creatures.  This means someone playing with Teneb, the Harvester and other reanimation is going to love your deck.  This is also the reason this deck is packing a Teneb of its own.  So be aware of what you are discarding if you have to do so.

Let's get on to the match.

III.  The Game:  Fight!

 My opponents:

Scion of the Ur-DragonSavra, Queen of the GolgariCaptain Sisay

I win the roll.  Here's my first hand:

Overgrown TombThraximundarPath to exiletemple of the false godSphinx Sovereigngolgari signetMirrodin's Core

A starting hand with Temple of the False God always messes with my head.  It does have two other playable lands and a signet, though.  But I can't cast the remaining spells either.  Since your first mulligan is essentially free in this format, meaning you get a new 7 cards instead of 6, I decide to ship it back.  Here's my second hand.

Hallowed BurialKrosan GripWindswept HeathBlood TyrantSelesnya SignetSwampAkroma's Memorial

Less land, but at least I can play some stuff early on and it has some mass removal.  However, I start second guessing my decision to mulligan. I keep, rather than making a smaller hand.

For ease of reporting, S = Scion, Q = Queen, and C = Captain

Round 1
Me:  Draw Godsire, play Windswept Heath, sac it (39) for Temple Garden.  This is a mistake.   I was ticked off about mulling into a "worse" hand, and didn’t realize that I already had a signet with these colors.
S:  Terramorphic Expanse for Forest, Spellbook.
Q:  Swamp.
C:  Forest.

Round 2
Me:  Draw Kazandu Refuge, play it (40).
S:  Crumbling Necropolis.
Q:  Forest.
C:  Plains.

Round 3
Me:  Draw Garza Zol, Plague Queen, play Swamp and Selesnya Signet.
S:  Sylvan Scrying for Thawing Glaciers, play Glaciers.
Q:  Mirrodin's Core, gives it a counter.
C:  Forest, Dauntless Escort.

Round 4
Me:  Draw Mirrodin's Core, play it and give it a counter.
S:  Plays Island, Oversold Cemetery (a little early for that one), then uses Glaciers to get a Mountain.
Q:  Phyrexian Arena.
C:  Plains, attacks S with the Escort (37), casts Captain Sisay.

Round 5
Me:  Draw Empyrial Archangel, put another counter on the Core.
Right now my hand looks like this:  Hallowed BurialKrosan GripBlood TyrantGodsireGarza Zol, Plague QueenEmpyrial ArchangelAkroma's Memorial.  Obviously this is not good, and pretty close to the worst case scenario for the deck.  Hopefully I draw a tutor soon.
S:  Plays Glaciers, Elvish Piper.  That’s a card I hadn’t thought about but should probably fit in here.
Q:  Arena does 1 to him (39), plays Swamp, Symbiotic Elf.
C:  Plains, Sword of Fire and Ice, equips Dauntless Escort and attacks me.  I Krosan Grip the Sword and take 3 (37).

Round 6
Me:  Draw Lurking Predators.  This is good, but doesn't help with my hand problem.  Hopefully I draw another land so I can cast it.  I cast my Commander, and attack C (35).
S:  Swamp, transmutes Perplex for Oblation, uses Glaciers for Plains.
Q:  Takes another from Phyrexian Arena (38), casts Stronghold Assassin, and attacks C with the Symbiotic Elf (33).  C uses Captain Sisay to search up Reki, the History of Kamigawa.  Q discards Viridian Shaman to get down to 7 cards.
C:  Plays Reki.

Round 7
Me:  Draw All Suns' Dawn.  Attack Q with my Horde (33).  This is probably a mistake.  C is probably going to be searching up a ton of stuff soon and now has a draw engine.  He is likely the most threatening.  I was probably worried about Q casting his Commander the next turn, and sac’ing something to make me get rid of my only creature.  I discard Garza Zol to get down to 7 cards in hand.  S uses the Elvish Piper to drop Yore-Tiller Nephilim into play.  Interesting.

S:  Plays Thawing Glaciers.
Q:  Plays Forest, Corpse Harvester.  C uses Sisay to search up Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant.  In response, S uses Oblation on the Captain.

OblationSpin into MythCondemnHallowed Burial
Bye bye, Commanders!

Aside:  "Tuck effects" are cards that make people shuffle their Commander into their library, or place it on the bottom, so that they cannot recast their Commander without drawing it or tutoring for it.  These are good for dealing with decks that are overly dependent on their Commanders.  I personally have no problem with "tuck effects" like Oblation, Condemn, Spin into Myth and Hallowed Burial.  Your deck should not be entirely dependent on your general, and should have the ability to win without it.  If your deck requires your Commander to function, you better have a way to protect it.  Some people get really bent out of shape if you "tuck" their general, so be prepared for the backlash if you do this.  C takes it in stride though.

C:  Plays Forest, then Rune-Tail.  Draws a card from Reki.  Rune-Tail flips automatically.

Round 8
Me:  I draw Vivid Creek and play it.  Before I attack, Q sac’s the Symbiotic Elf to Stronghold Assassin and kills Elvish Piper, leaving behind two insects.  As it’s last act, the Piper drops Arcanis the Omnipotent into play.  I then attack S with my Horde (32).
S:  Plays Island, uses Glaciers to get a Swamp.  Taps Arcanis to draw 3.  Casts Counsel of the Soratami.  Cycles Scion of Darkness.  Attacks Q with Yore-Tiller Nephilim, animating and attacking her with Scion of Darkness as well.  Q block Yore-Tiller with Corpse Harvester, killing it, but lets the Scion through (26).  

S uses Scion to pull Q’s Viridian Shaman into play, killing my Signet.  Boo.  I needed that to cast my Lurking Predators next turn.   
Q:  Takes another for Phyrexian Arena (25).  Casts his Commander Savra, Queen of the Golgari.  Sac’s an insect to the Stronghold Assassin, killing Arcanis and gaining two life from Savra (27).  Discards Eternal Witness.
C:  Forest.  Disenchant’s S’s Oversold Cemetery, which was almost about to become active.  Plays Brawn.

Round 9
Me:  Draw Tooth and Nail.  I cast Hallowed Burial to get rid of the Scion.  Q uses Corpse Harvester by sac’ing Savra, gaining 2 but paying 2 to make everyone sacrifice.  I’m able to get my Horde back into the Command Zone this way, before Hallowed Burial resolves.  S sac’s his Scion, and C sac’s Brawn.
S:  Seaside Citadel, casts his Commander, Scion of the Ur-Dragon.
Q:  Takes 1 from Arena (26).  Plays Swamp, casts a morph, discards Swamp.
C:  Plains.

Round 10
Me: Draw Hallowed Fountain, play it untapped (35), cast Lurking Predators.
S: Play Thawing Glaciers, attack me with Scion of the Ur-Dragon (31).
Q: Takes 1 from Arena (35). Casts Indrik Stomphowler, targeting S's Spellbook. My Lurking Predators reveals Vivid Crag. I decide to keep it on top, because I need the land. Q then flips his morph, which is a Nantuko Vigilante, taking out my Lurking Predators.
C: Nothing.

Round 11
Me: Draw Vivid Crag, play it.
S:  Altar's Light, targeting Q’s Phyrexian Arena. Attacks me with Scion again (27)
Q: One Dozen Eyes, entwined. Attacks S with the Vigilante and Stomphowler (20).
One Dozen Eyes
Love this card!  I need to find a deck for it.
C: Skullclamp.
Round 12
Me: Draw Hellkite Overlord, cast Blood Tyrant.
S: Play Glaciers, attack Q with Scion (21). Casts Innocent Blood. Bye bye Blood Tyrant. Q sacks a bug. S then plays Windborn Muse and Righteous Cause.
Q: Attacks S with Vigilante and Stomphowler, S gains 2 (22) then takes 7 (15).
C: Privileged Position.
Round 13
Me: Draw Eternal Witness, cast it getting back Windswept Heath and play it. Crack the Heath (26) for Breeding Pool.
S:  Jungle Shrine, uses Glaciers for a Plains.
Q:  Betrayal of Flesh targeting Windborn Muse. Attacks S with Vigilante, Stomphowler, a 5/5 Beast and 3 bugs, gaining S 6 (21). S casts Path to Exile on the Beast. S then casts Wing Shards, which has a storm count of 2, making Q sacrifice the 3 attacking bugs. S takes 7 (14). Q then cast Grave Pact.
C:  Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker. Attaches Skullclamp.
Round 14
Me:  Draw Charnelhoard Wurm, play Hellkite Overlord, attack S, who gains 1 but takes 8 (7).
S:  Quirion Dryad, then Anarchist returning Innocent Blood to his hand, then casts it. It makes Q sac a bug, kicking in Grave Pact, wiping out the board except for Q's Vigilante and Stomphowler. C draws two from the Clamped Michiko.
Q:  Urborg Uprising, targeting Symbiotic Elf and Eternal Witness in his graveyard. Attacks S with Vigilante and Stomphowler (2).
C: Plains, Akroma's Memorial.
Round 15
Me: Draw Vivid Meadow, and play it. Cast All Suns' Dawn, returning Blood Tyrant, Krosan Grip, Hallowed Burial, Hellkite Overlord and Garza Zol, Plague Queen. Cast Krosan Grip targeting Grave Pact.  This is dumb, as I forgot that Q just returned Eternal Witness to his hand. Discard Garza Zol and Blood Tyrant.
S: Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion, uses Glaciers for a Swamp, casts Scion of the Ur-Dragon.
Q: Attacks S with everything, taking him out, but killing the Stomphowler in the process. Casts Eternal Witness, bringing back Grave Pact, then casts it. Casts Gravedigger, returning Indrik Stomphowler to his hand.
C: Casts Captain Sisay, which he must have drawn. Sisay has haste due to the Memorial, so C uses it to get Yosei, the Morning Star, and casts it. Then equips Yosei with the Clamp.
Round 16
Me: Draw Admonition Angel, cast Hellkite Overlord and attack Q (13).
Q: Golgari Rot Farm. Duplicant targeting Overlord. Attacks C with Gravedigger, Symbiotic Elf, Vigilante and Eternal Witness. C doesn’t block (24). Q then casts Viridian Shaman, targeting Duplicant. Grave Pact kicks in, and C sacs Captain Sisay.
C: Casts Iona, Shield of Emeria, naming black. Attacks Q with Iona and Yosei, taking him out.
Round 17
Me: Draw Oona, Queen of the Fae. Cast Hallowed Burial
C: Plays Captain Sisay. Uses the Captain to get Ayumi, the Last Visitor, and casts it. Attacks with Ayumi (19)
Ayumi, the Last Visitor
I've never seen this card played before.  What happened to her hands? 
Round 18
Me: Draw Graypelt Refuge and play it (19). Cast entwined Tooth and Nail, getting Vigor and Akroma, Angel of Wrath. This is a complete mis-click. I wanted Angel of Despair and Woodfall Primus. Dunno what happened. Put Vigor and Empyrial Archangel into play.
C: Uses Sisay to get Shield of Kaldra. Casts Keeper of Progenitus, then Shield. Equips Shield to Sisay. Casts Rout. Clamps Sisay.
Round 19
Me: Draw Stomping Ground, cast Akroma and attack (18)
It’s pretty much downhill from here. C tutors up Sword of Kaldra, and since he has vigilance for all his creatures, can take out my dudes when they attack.  He plays Azusa, Lost But Seeking and attacks, and the next turn casts Kamahl, Fist of Krosa to Overrun me for the win.
IV.  Conclusion
So in the 4 games that I've played so far with this deck, this is the only one that I lost.  I think I may have had a shot if I had made a better call about threat assessment earlier on, and hadn't mis-clicked when I cast Tooth and Nail in Round 18.  I would have had a shot at blowing up the Privileged Position, and taking out the Memorial, which would have slowed him down a ton.  In addition, I probably screwed up by casting Hallowed Burial too late in round 17.  One round earlier, and I could have gotten rid of Captain Sisay.  Oh well.
Two cards that would have helped me a ton in this deck would have been Elvish Piper and Eureka.  Eureka can bring down some threats by your opponents as well, but at least I would have been able to dump my hand, and I think most of the time your threats are going to be bigger.  Both of these cards are definitely worth of consideration in this deck.  Also, this deck could really use Progenitus.  Unfortunately I don't own one at the moment.  Finally, I need to up the land count to 40.  Time for some changes.
I have really had fun with this deck.  I've won using Seedborn Muse and Godsire, using Dragon Arch to just overwhelm people, and with having people not be able to deal with the Vigor/Empyrial Archangel combo.  Watching Blood Tyrant get huge when people lose is fun as well.  This is a deck that I am going to continue to work on, and will revisit at some point in the future.  I hope you enjoyed the article.  Until next time!
Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO


Fun article. I love the big by Paul Leicht at Mon, 04/26/2010 - 04:32
Paul Leicht's picture

Fun article. I love the big guys/gals but they can be painful to play when your opponent is running a theft and love deck. They can be painful to play when your opponent is running a ton of removal too. It is hard to build a consistently good five color deck for commander. It isn't impossible but it is tough. I love Horde of Notions for the simple ability to return Reveillark, Shriekmaw and Mulldrifter to play at will.

Yeah, when a blue player by Leviathan at Mon, 04/26/2010 - 11:08
Leviathan's picture

Yeah, when a blue player casts an early Bribery against this deck, they're a little overwhelmed at first. Theft is a problem, but I haven't run into a truly dedicated theft deck that can overwhelm my number of threats yet. I'm trying to squeeze in a Privileged Position of my own. Also, there are a few methods of recursion in the deck, which are helpful for those opponents packing a ton of removal as well.

if I never see another Thrax by JustSin at Mon, 04/26/2010 - 08:45
JustSin's picture

if I never see another Thrax deck again it'll be too soon lol, but good stuff, I know i tend to groan whenever I see the 5c commanders, but theyve decreased in quantity these days

I seem to still be running by Leviathan at Mon, 04/26/2010 - 11:13
Leviathan's picture

I seem to still be running into a ton of 5 color Commanders. Interestingly, they aren't quite as powerful as they used to be. They used to all be combo/control, but now I tend to see de-powered 5 color good stuff decks. Don't know what led to the change. I was trying to avoid the combo/control route with this deck, and people are usually impressed with the variety of large creatures which makes it different, so that's good.

Actually, what I'm running into a lot of now that Saga is out are blue based decks trying to abuse Tolarian Academy. Good times.

Lol, well i didnt demand but by ShardFenix at Mon, 04/26/2010 - 11:51
ShardFenix's picture

Lol, well i didnt demand but i do think it looks cleaner. Overall I like the look of the deck, probably a little too pricey for me to try bt i can see the fun of it