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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Apr 01 2011 11:28am
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Writing these articles and thinking up the decks can be time consuming.  I have put together quite a few different decks for this series.  However, even with all those decks there are other decks and ideas that are tried, but tossed to the side after a while.  Sure, I come back to them and think about making changes or updating the deck, but for one reason or another the deck just doesn't catch my attention for long enough.  Maybe it would take too much work to bring up to the competitive level that I try to bring you guys, or maybe I just like have a couple of sub-par decks to throw out there every once in a while.  The decks often have interesting things going for them, such that I just don't erase them from my hard drive.  But they don't always push me over into the full blown "I gotta make this better" territory. 

So what I'm going to do today is show you a couple of decks that I play every once in a while but don't get the big time "Conqueror & Commander" treatment.  These decks are certainly viable and are often times fun.  But they just aren't ready to be prime time players yet.  In other words, you aren't going to win a whole ton of games with them.  So I am going to point out what I think the problems are with the deck, and offer some solutions.  Feel free to mess around with the decks on your own if you want. 

Let's take a look at the first deck:


Mayael was one of my original deck lists that I had when I started writing this series.  It seems like it would be the perfect deck for me:  lots of large, mean critters to beat face with.  But for some reason I never really tried to make it very competitive.  Let's take a look at the list:

Mayael the Anima
An Unfinished Commander Deck
1 Akroma, Angel of Fury
1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath
1 Ant Queen
1 Arashi, the Sky Asunder
1 Blazing Archon
1 Bloodfire Colossus
1 Bogardan Hellkite
1 Cloudthresher
1 Eternal Dragon
1 Eternal Witness
1 Flameblast Dragon
1 Godsire
1 Hateflayer
1 Hellkite Charger
1 Krosan Tusker
1 Living Hive
1 Mayael the Anima
1 Meglonoth
1 Mycoid Shepherd
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Paleoloth
1 Penumbra Wurm
1 Rampaging Baloths
1 Scourge of Kher Ridges
1 Seedborn Muse
1 Spearbreaker Behemoth
1 Stalking Vengeance
1 Thunder Dragon
1 Tornado Elemental
1 Twilight Shepherd
1 Vagrant Plowbeasts
1 Valley Rannet
1 Verdant Force
1 Vigor
1 Windbrisk Raptor
1 Wirewood Guardian
1 Woodfall Primus
1 Yosei, the Morning Star
38 cards

Other Spells
1 Boros Signet
1 Gruul Signet
1 Scroll Rack
1 Selesnya Signet
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Greater Good
1 Lurking Predators
1 Mirari's Wake
1 Fracturing Gust
1 Harrow
1 Naya Charm
1 Order/Chaos
1 Squall Line
1 Starstorm
1 Austere Command
1 Brightflame
1 Death or Glory
1 Harmonize
1 Hull Breach
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Molten Disaster
1 Primal Command
1 Recross the Paths
1 Rout
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Warp World
26 cards
1 Boros Garrison
1 Diamond Valley
8 Forest
1 Graypelt Refuge
1 Gruul Turf
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Kazandu Refuge
1 Krosan Verge
4 Mountain
1 Naya Panorama
4 Plains
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Rith's Grove
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Savannah
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Spinerock Knoll
1 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
1 Temple of the False God
1 Treetop Village
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Bastion
36 cards

mayael the anima


I basically used this deck as a palette cleanser.  If I felt that I had been playing control for too long, I would whip out Mayael and try to beat down.  This is a fairly typical Mayael deck, with a little bit of recursion, some ramp and a few tutors.  The decks most fun form of recursion is Death or Glory, which has the benefit of returning your fatties directly to play.  I guess that you could make an argument that Praetor's Counsel is a better card, but this deck spends most of it's mana on Mayael activations and paying to repay her (she gets blown up a lot).  Due to the low amount of artifacts in the deck, Fracturing Gust can be a real beating.  This is also one of my very few decks that contain Sensei's Divining Top, from before I boycotted it.  And finally, with the high amount of fat in the deck the Warp World can be a real beating.

Those of you that are observant will note that there are no cards in this deck from Scars of Mirrodin, and the only Zendikar cards are lands.  There are plenty of good fatties out there that are worthy of consideration from recent sets, including the Titans, Eldrazi, Angelic Arbiter, Novablast Wurm, Iona, Terastodon, and more.  Some of the current fatties don't really fit the deck, but are fun (I'm looking at you, Verdant Force.)  As such, they can be replaced.

In addition, the land count is a little low.  I find that Mayael manages to get blown up a lot, and you end up having to pay 8 to 10 mana for her at the end of the game.  Fortunately the deck isn't entirely dependent on her, and you can actually hard cast a bunch of the fat.

The deck actually wins a decent amount, but not a ton or as often as the lists that I usually present.  In addition, for some reason I just can't sit down and make the updates that are necessary to push it over the top.  However it does have some fun cards like Godsire and Meglonoth that you wouldn't otherwise see.  Just to recap, I would update the creatures and add at least 2 more lands to the deck.  Mayael decks aren't often forces of overwhelming destruction and terror, but they can be fun to play.

On to deck number 2.


This is a list that I mentioned in the comments of my last article.  It came about as a result of going through my collection and realizing that there were cards that seemed interesting or powerful that I just hadn't played with.  Instead of trying to put together a deck with a theme, I decided just to mush them all together in a deck, add some mana fixing and go to it.  Here is the list:

Grixis Junk
An Unfinished Commander Deck
1 Arcanis the Omnipotent
1 Blood Tyrant
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Crater Hellion
1 Dimir Doppelganger
1 Dominating Licid
1 Echo Mage
1 Empress Galina
1 Geth, Lord of the Vault
1 Grave Titan
1 Hateflayer
1 Inferno Titan
1 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
1 Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
1 Royal Assassin
1 Slithermuse
1 Sol'kanar the Swamp King
1 Spellbound Dragon
1 Sphinx Ambassador
1 Stormtide Leviathan
1 Thraximundar
1 Wrexial, the Risen Deep
23 cards

Other Spells
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Coalition Relic
1 Dimir Signet
1 Expedition Map
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Izzet Signet
1 Mana Vault
1 Mimic Vat
1 Mizzium Transreliquat
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Sol Ring
1 Tawnos's Coffin
1 Worn Powerstone
1 Jace Beleren
1 Liliana Vess
1 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker [Enchantments]
1 Control Magic
1 Copy Enchantment
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Polluted Bonds
1 Wound Reflection
1 Fork
1 Memory Plunder
1 Radiate
1 Reins of Power
1 Wild Ricochet
1 Acquire
1 Bribery
1 Cruel Ultimatum
1 Cultural Exchange
1 Damnation
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Exsanguinate
1 Grim Discovery
1 Grim Tutor
1 Wheel of Fortune
37 cards
1 Academy Ruins
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Cabal Coffers
1 Cascade Bluffs
1 Dreadship Reef
1 Graven Cairns
1 Halimar Depths
5 Island
1 Kher Keep
1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
1 Miren, the Moaning Well
3 Mountain
1 Polluted Delta
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Rupture Spire
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
1 Spinerock Knoll
1 Steam Vents
1 Sunken Ruins
5 Swamp
1 Temple of the False God
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Vesuva
1 Vivid Creek
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Watery Grave
40 cards



This deck is pretty fun to play, and runs a bunch of cards that I have either never played with before, or just tend to get cut for one reason or another.  Cultural Exchange can be a beating, as can Reins of Power and Wild RicochetMizzium Transreliquat is basically a Vesuvan Doppelganger for artifacts.  Tawnos's Coffin can act as pseudo-removal.  And there are a bunch of fun beaters in the deck as well.  I should note that Radiate had yet to prove its worth, despite all the stories you hear about it being a blow out.

You actually have a choice of two different Commanders for this deck:  Sol'Kanar or Thraximundar.  Usually what I do is I choose to play last with the deck and then see who my opponents are using.  If the table seems like it will be more competitive, I go with Thrax.  If not, I use Sol'Kanar.

So what's wrong with the deck?  It does not win.  Seriously, I have yet to come close to winning a game with this deck.  The deck lacks focus, and there are several cards that are just dead draws.  In addition, some of the cards are independently strong enough that they can paint a target on your forehead.  The deck could definitely use some more card draw, as there are plenty of times where you are in top deck mode.  Even when you do get the draw for the deck, you can have a full grip of cards and still not really be able to bring the game to a close.  Of course, there are plenty of ways to make the deck more competitive, but that would likely involve taking out the cards that make the deck fun.   As it is right now, the deck can be fun to play but frustrating for its lack of game enders.  But that's fine for what I want.


This deck is an off shoot of my last list, plus got a bunch of ideas from Bennie Smith's demon deck list, which can be found HERE.  However, instead of using Grave Pact on a stick in Savra, I went with Sol'Kanar since I think you can get better demons out of the Grixis colors.  Let's take a look at what I did here.

Sol'kanar's Demons
An Unfinished Commander Deck
1 Aeon Chronicler
1 Ashen Ghoul
1 Blood Speaker
1 Bloodghast
1 Bone Shredder
1 Defiler of Souls
1 Duplicant
1 Grave Titan
1 Halo Hunter
1 Havoc Demon
1 Kagemaro, First to Suffer
1 Krovikan Horror
1 Liege of the Pit
1 Lord of the Pit
1 Malfegor
1 Nether Shadow
1 Nether Traitor
1 Oona, Queen of the Fae
1 Pawn of Ulamog
1 Pestilence Demon
1 Prince of Thralls
1 Reassembling Skeleton
1 Reiver Demon
1 Sol'kanar the Swamp King
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Stronghold Overseer
1 Woebringer Demon
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Xathrid Demon
29 cards

Other Spells
1 Coalition Relic
1 Dimir Signet
1 Expedition Map
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Helm of Possession
1 Izzet Signet
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mimic Vat
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Proteus Staff
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Venser's Journal
1 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
1 Sarkhan the Mad
1 Animate Dead
1 Oversold Cemetery
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Mana Drain
1 Ashes to Ashes
1 Cruel Ultimatum
1 Damnation
1 Decree of Pain
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Exsanguinate
1 Promise of Power
1 Victimize
31 cards
1 Badlands
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Cabal Coffers
1 Cascade Bluffs
1 Crumbling Necropolis
1 Diamond Valley
1 Dreadship Reef
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Graven Cairns
2 Island
1 Kher Keep
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
1 Miren, the Moaning Well
2 Mountain
1 Phyrexian Tower
1 Polluted Delta
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Rupture Spire
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
1 Spinerock Knoll
1 Steam Vents
1 Sunken Ruins
4 Swamp
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Temple of the False God
1 Tolaria West
1 Underground Sea
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Volcanic Island
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Watery Grave
40 cards

sol'kanar the swamp king


The idea is to play big, scary demons as well as smaller creatures you can feed to them that keep coming back.  The deck plays out as a Grixis control deck, with plenty of ways to wipe the board of creatures.  There are some bomby spells in the deck, like Cruel Ultimatum, Decree of Pain and Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker.  In addition, having out Helm of Possession can bring opponents to a standstill, unwilling to play meaningful creatures until the Helm is dealt with.

So what's wrong with this list?  First, while many of the creatures are strong they just aren't overpowering.  Woebringer Demon, Defiler of Souls, even Prince of Thralls aren't all that scary with an open board out there.  Second, I always seemed to be lacking card draw.  More draw would definitely help the deck, whether it is through Graveborn Muse, Mind's Eye or even the Blue Honden.  Promise of Power, Phyrexian Arena and Aeon Chronicler were just not enough.  Finally, I noticed that whenever I had a tutor in hand, I was always searching for ways to wipe the board.  So more mass destruction would be helpful, as well as Grave Pact and Butcher of Malakir.

This is one of those decks where you can have a full hand of cards in the late game, and your best play would still be to play your Commander.  That makes the deck frustrating, but goofy.  I'm sure it could be made more powerful but you would likely have to move away from the demon theme.  And that's not nearly as fun. 


Good old Marton.  He is pretty under the radar until people see him in action.  This is a list that I stole from Dr. Cat, HERE.  I had to make some initial changes to that deck list though.  Dr. Cat's deck was made for a tournament where everyone had to play Red.  As such, he had a whole mess of mountainwalkers in his deck.  Those guys aren't as helpful in an open field like the multiplayer room.  Next, I tried to include some more utility guys that doubled up on their functions, while keeping the same low mana curve.  This is my latest iteration of the deck:

Marton Stromgald
An Unfinished Commander Deck
1 Anger
1 Ashling the Pilgrim
1 Blood Knight
1 Bloodmark Mentor
1 Canyon Wildcat
1 Dragonmaster Outcast
1 Duplicant
1 Dwarven Blastminer
1 Dwarven Miner
1 Epochrasite
1 Fledgling Dragon
1 Furystoke Giant
1 Goblin Patrol
1 Goblin Shortcutter
1 Hissing Iguanar
1 Homura, Human Ascendant
1 Iron Myr
1 Keldon Vandals
1 Magus of the Moon
1 Marton Stromgald
1 Mogg War Marshal
1 Obsidian Fireheart
1 Ornithopter
1 Oxidda Scrapmelter
1 Palladium Myr
1 Phyrexian War Beast
1 Pilgrim's Eye
1 Plated Geopede
1 Rakka Mar
1 Rapacious One
1 Rustrazor Butcher
1 Scorched Rusalka
1 Siege-Gang Commander
1 Slith Firewalker
1 Soulbright Flamekin
1 Stigma Lasher
1 Stuffy Doll
1 Taurean Mauler
1 Thick-Skinned Goblin
1 Viashino Heretic
40 cards

Other Spells
1 Akroma's Memorial
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Eldrazi Monument
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Nuisance Engine
1 Skullclamp
1 Snake Basket
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Whispersilk Cloak
1 Chandra Ablaze
1 Blood Moon
1 Breath of Fury
1 Goblin Assault
1 Goblin Bombardment
1 Earthquake
1 Firecat Blitz
1 Incite Hysteria
1 Insurrection
1 Rolling Thunder
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 World at War
20 cards
1 Dread Statuary
1 Forgotten Cave
1 Ghitu Encampment
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Hammerheim
1 Kher Keep
1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
1 Mishra's Factory
24 Mountain
1 Spinerock Knoll
1 Springjack Pasture
1 Strip Mine
1 Teetering Peaks
1 Urza's Factory
1 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
38 cards

marton stromgald


If you ever want to play a fast game of Commander, use this deck.  Typically the deck makes a couple weenies the first couple of turns, you play Marton on turn 4 and then you start attacking with your monsters on turn 5.  All your opponents will crap their pants, and you will be public enemy number 1.  Someone will wipe the board, and then you will be pounded into submission.  In the meantime you would have taken out one opponent, and if you were lucky two.

Part of the problem is that you have to send Marton into battle.  Making him indestructible or giving him protection helps, but that isn't always possible.  Dolmen Gate is a card that I haven't tried yet but should be given a look.  In addition, typically you have to wait a turn after casting before giving your critters Marton's bonus.  Haste enablers would definitely help this problem.  And as I already mentioned, Wraths are a big problem.  Cauldron of Souls would work great if it weren't for the fact that all the dudes in the deck are tiny already.  Eldrazi Monument helps, but it's only one card.

The other direction I could see this deck taking is playing control while building up mana, then dropping a big Goblin Offensive or similar token maker.  But honestly, I just like how quick the games are with this deck, even if I do lose most of them.  And if you ever get out World at War while having Marton out and attacking, things get real crazy real quick.


So go out and mess around with these decks if you want.  Also, feel free to mention any suggestions you may have for improving the decks.  I know that none of these are close to finished products mainly because I have yet to spend a significant amount of time with them.  But hopefully you guys can get some ideas out of these decks.

On a side note, due to additional commitments my playing time has been greatly diminished.  As the main focus of this column was to provide decks with game reports, I am obviously going to have a hard time keeping up with that.  I have at least one more deck list I want to get to you guys, but other than that my writing is going to be cut back a lot.  I plan on doing an overview of Urza's Legacy and I have another couple of column ideas, but you are definitely not going to be seeing as much of me.  I did manage to keep things up with the column for a year, and I'm pretty proud of that.  Most of the writers here don't have the longevity of Lord Erman (4 years!) but I think I did a pretty ok job.

Anyways, I hope everyone enjoyed the goofy decks.  Until next time!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com



Fun article. I also have a by themonkey at Fri, 04/01/2011 - 14:03
themonkey's picture

Fun article. I also have a grixis junk that doesn't win very often and has a lot of cards that are a blast to play.

I like the term "palette cleansing decks". Sometime you just have to go with a fun deck that doesn't win very often and just have a good time.

Suxors! by Lythand at Fri, 04/01/2011 - 16:04
Lythand's picture

Great article as ussual. It stinls that your not going to write as much. Now I need to find my commander article fix elsewhere. I need to hurry up and get my L1 judge cert so I can start writing again. I been thinking on making a Marton Stromgald deck ever since I played against yours. Fun deck. Look forward to more articles even as scarce as they may be.

I totally agree with Lythand by PatrykG at Sat, 04/02/2011 - 13:31
PatrykG's picture

Commander is easily my favorite format, and your articles have given me such insight, new ideas, and cards I would never have heard of.

Definitely going to miss your writing :-( but hope that you continue to pop in every once in a while :-D

As usual, a good article by laughinman at Sat, 04/02/2011 - 15:55
laughinman's picture

My grixis junk is junky too, but Thraximundar is a real mean card in itself. (if you have enough mana acceleration.)
Only thing missing would be adding infect to him.