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Random Commander #15: The Merciless


Hello all! I hope that you are doing well today!

Getting a little blasť with your Commander? I hear ya! Me too!

I really enjoy challenging myself to building a deck around a random commander using online random tools as inspiration. It's good when you want to get out of your deck-building rut. This is the 15th entry in the series, and I am mixing it up this time.

Previously I would head to Wizards of the Coast's Gatherer and then hit random card until I hit a Commander that was eligible (see below for my eligibility restrictions). This could take some time so instead I could also get something else. Last time I "flipped" Seasinger and was inspired by that, so I went into a Mon-Blue Merfolk build.

However, I discovered a random commander at EDHREC.com button. I want to run that!

Before we do there are a few provisos and rules that I want to go over.


  1. If I have randomly revealed a leader that I've already built around in an article, or in real life, then I'll skip past it.
  2. If it's one of the most popular leaders then I reserve the right to reject it, as the point is to challenge myself, not to build yet another Kaalia of the Vast deck.
  3. It must be a legal leader, and something banned or silver bordered won't work.

All right! Ready?

What will be my random card?

Kopala, Warden of Waves

Kopala, Warden of the Waves it is, which I am vetoing as I had Mono-Blue Merfolk last time after being inspired by Seasinger. I am skipping a virtually identical deck this time.


Anya, Merciless Angel

Hello Anya! Perfect! She has been printed for years but has fewer than 60 decks registered over at EDHREC.com, so she has never caught on! There are leaders from Ikoria with more decks than Anya.

Why hasn't she caught on? My guess: she is in the wrong colors!

Sorin Markov

Imagine she were Rakdos. Black could run cards like Exsanguinate to drain everyone of life as well as Sorin Markov to drop a foe's life to 10. What part of her life-loss-loving aspect is Boros? I don't see it. Rakdos thought I see all day long for our good Merciless Angel.

But that's okay! I have some Boros ideas that will suffice beyond Gray Merchant of Asphodel and Kokusho, the Evening Star.

Let's take a deep dive into Anya.

She wants as many foes to have a low life as possible as she'll amp up in power for each one. That means she wants effects that deal damage to many foes! As long as one has a low total, she'll have the difficult to deal with indestructible as well, rocking the block.

Therefore, the Red side of her will work better than the White.

Want my favorite example?

Heartless Hidetsugu

This is Heartless Hidetsugu, and he really wants to tap and force everyone to lose some life (you too). Note that our good buddy here can tap and reduce a lot of life. In one single tap Anya will get +9/+9 in a four-way game! He's awesome, and I tossed in a few haste enablers (such as Flamekin Village) that will lead to faster Hidetsugu tapping! He'll end a game quickly.

My next favorite card?

Rolling Earthquake

Hello Rolling Earthquake! I adore you so much, never change! I am also adding in an entire suite of X Damage spells that will damage everyone equally, such as Pyrohemia! You are my Red Exsanguinates! Also note that if you drop someone's life, that Anya will get an ability that will protect her from these mass damage effects with Rolling Earthquake and others. Yay for synergy!

Reflect Damage

One of the White effects I want to lean on is turning burn into damage of an opponent. I'm not looking for reversing damage altogether for life gain such as Reverse Damage. Nope! Instead I want to turn the tables (not literally, that card is too limited) and hurt folks. I'd love to turn a big damage spell or attack into enough life loss to trigger Anya!

We have a few X Damage spells or beefy bodies like Avacyn, Angel of Hope so I have added in cards like Kor Cartographer, Burnished Hart, and Land Tax. Make sure that you don't miss a land drop!

Flames of the Blood Hand
Leyline of Punishment

Thou shalt not gain life! Nope! For this reason, I am not running Swords to Plowshares or similar life-gain effects. I don't want to have to turn off Anya's pumping or indestructible with my removal effects Path to Exile will be enough. Leyline of Punishment really plays into this role, and I have some other effects such as Flames of the Blood Hand that can be used to shut off the life gaining.

Stigma Lasher

My favorite card that plays this game is Stigma Lasher, a real powerhouse if you smash someone early. Or if you can slip thorough later. That person takes two damage and cannot gain life, ever, for the game. Even if the Lasher dies! I adore it here.

The Wanderer

In the vein of Anya's indestructible, I included a few cards such as Darksteel Sentinel that won't be bothered by your Earthquake as well as The Wanderer that will prevent the damage altogether. I also added some cool ways to remove indestructible (and hexproof too) from your foes via Shadowspear. Only you can save yourself from the damage-based removal!

I tossed in some cool support cards and then...

It's a deck!

Wanna see?

Random Anya | Commander | Abe Sargent

And there you are! What did you think of my brew? Anything I missed? Anything you want to try out? Did you also forget about Anya, Merciless Angel? Just let me know your thoughts and have a great (and safe) day!

P.S. - I lost almost 100 pounds. I learned to listen better to the signals my body was sending. Want to learn how I listened to my body better to enable me to do so? I recorded a video for my YouTube channel in case you are interested.

Random Commander Challenges

Did you enjoy today's deck and want to check out all the random chaos from the previous editions? Great! Here they are.

  1. For my first challenge, I hit on Random Gatherer Gwendlyn di Corci from the set that introduced legendary permanents. I create a discard-matters deck around her.
  2. I flip over one of the original Elder Dragon Legends that the format was initially named after - Arcades Sabboth. I decide to build around a non-Red and non-Black Dragon theme. Get ready!
  3. The Random Fairy Strikes Again! This time it lands on Toshiro Umezawa, one of the major protagonists of the Kamigawa Block storyline. Check out my spell-based fun time deck!
  4. My submission of the random button finds the vanilla The Lady of the Mountain. Inspired by one of the few Commander options legally printed as a common, I decide to create a Pauper EDH deck for you! Let me know what you think!
  5. I hit the random button and got Kefnet the Mindful. I turned him into a budget build for fewer than $33 as part of my Budget Commander series. Enjoy!
  6. Random Gatherer hits Nissa, Vastwood Seer for a fun, mono-Green Forests-matter deck! Check it out!
  7. This time, we hit 1-drop Vanilla Isamaru, Hound of Konda. What do I do with him? How about Isamaru Ultron? Let's give our pet some pants.
  8. Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle - This build wants to build a fun challenge around the historic recursions of Teshar's potential. You can check it out here.
  9. I randomly uncover Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind from way back and build a fun damage-matters and card-drawing matters build for your consideration! Let me know what you think!
  10. What happens when Gatherer give me Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner? I make one of the most fun EDH decks in this series, that's what! Check it out!
  11. I flip over Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient that loves to fork artifact abilities. Want to check out this odd take on Mono-Red artifacts?
  12. Gatherer gives me Selvala, Heart of the Wilds. I use it to build a fun power-matters synergetic build. Check it out!
  13. I randomly hit Lady Zhurong, and I decide to build a Mono-Green deck around her and her husband Meng Huo, Barbarian King. Check it out!
  14. I randomly open with Seasinger, and I decide to build around that rather than a legendary leader. Check out my Mono-Blue Merfolk deck!

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