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Adjusting Ikoria New Player Commander Decks


Hello Folks!

I hope that you are having an awesome day today! Keep yourself safe and sane in our modern COVID-19 world, please!

I have been privileged to return at CoolstuffInc.com as the maker of a series of Commander decks that are intended to be fun and cheap jumping off points for Commander. Ever felt intimidated by the deck size? This is the place to start; it's designed for you.

Today I want to take a look at each of these two deck lists (Stack the Odds and Big Spender) have a few paragraphs going over some basic synergies, and then look at some places I'd recommend moving to next. All of these decks feature a Commander from a recent set - Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths.


Stack the Odds

Obosh, the Preypiercer

Our first deck is built around Obosh, the Preypiercer. As you can see, Obosh loves damage when it comes from an odd source. Note that when you are building your deck around him as a Commander, you won't need to have every card rock an odd casting cost, since he is not our Companion. However, every creature and damage-dealing spell in this brew is odd.

This deck is built around three major mechanics:

  1. Burn - I want to burn players down. Burn is generally a poor method of player control in a format where you are playing against multiple players with double their starting life total. But you have double the damage! You have the ability to better press peoples' life total. Plus, most burn doubles as creature control or planeswalker control as well, so your burn is very flexible.
  2. Spells Matter - As most burn is from sorceries and instants (called spells for shorthand) then we have a deck high in those cards. Therefore, we have some cards that'll work well in that shell.
  3. Odd Matters - One final mechanic is to care about odd casting cost dorks, as those will have their damage doubled!

Let's begin with a decklist, and then I'll walk you through some sample synergies before looking at places to go for improvement.

Note: These lists are subject to change over time due to card availability and other logistical factors. Individual cards may differ slightly from this list.

And there we have it!

As you can see, we really pushed our three mechanics!

Nyxborn Brute
Prodigal Pyromancer

Let's start with odd-casting cost cards. One of my favorite cards in in here is Nyxborn Brute, and it shows the value of an odd-casting cost in this brew. For five mana you get a 7/3. If you swing, you deal an incredible 14 damage. Want to connect? Your burn will kill any potential blockers to clear the path. We also have creatures like Prodigal Pyromancer that can tap to deal damage with double their normal damage potential in here as well.


We also have odd-costed burn like Pyrotechnics. Its ability to aim itself for damage spread across up to four targets is incredible. Since the damage is doubled, this deals 8 damage total. You could do 8 to one target, 6 to one and 2 to another, 2 to four targets, and so forth. This split doubling damage is very versatile and can lead to some great card advantage moments. Also note that this deck does have a small number of X damage spells, such as Fireball, and they will only deal double their damage if you set them to odd cast cost when you cast them. So, a Fireball for two damage total (casting cost three) will deal four damage, but one for three damage to one target (casting cost four) will just deal three.

Spear Spewer

What else would I suggest? We have some triggers in the deck like Guttersnipe, but I'd amp up that synergy. Start with some cool cards that will affect everyone with odd costs. Cards like Spear Spewer among others. See how they can tap for damage to everyone? That's a faster way to snag a win against multiple players.

Other Cards to Add:

If the budget doesn't matter, then perhaps Kolaghan's Command would be a good place to look. But it's not essential.

And there we have it! Enjoy the deck!


Big Spender

Keruga, the Macrosage

The other build is around Keruga, the Macrosage. Note that like Obosh above, we don't need to have every card in the brew cost three or more mana, as we are not running it as a Companion. However, every permanent that's not a land fits!

What do I want to do with Keruga?

  1. Permanents - Note that Keruga, the Macrosage cares about permanents. If there is a way to have an effect be permanent-ed, then I have done so. Card drawing? Mana fixing? Destroying of annoying things? They can all be done in permanent form, so we'll add them in here.
  2. Casting Cost of Three - Just like the above deck, I won't run many nonland permanents that're cheaper than three mana. It's just not worth it, as I want to draw those cards when Keruga arrives. Even mana rocks and such in this budget build will meet our qualifications.
  3. Mid-Range - I see this as a mid-range deck that seeks to harness cards that cost three, four, or five mana that can then do things that add longer grinding value to the deck. The goal of these permanents is to push yourself into stronger positions with your permanents.

Let's turn to the deck!

Note: These lists are subject to change over time due to card availability and other logistical factors. Individual cards may differ slightly from this list.

And there we go!

Voracious Greatshark
Acidic Slime

Let's look at mid-range here first. With Voracious Greatshark you a have a potential counter spell for two heavily played types of cards in Commander, as well as a flashable body that can be a combat trick if you need to. It's a great card in this shell and it's meets my ideas for mid-range value as well as permanents matter. Similarly take Acidic Slime. This five-mana body twins a useful deathtouch body with the powerful ability to destroy something on arrival. It often 2-for-1's with trading with any dork and killing something when it arrives on the battlefield. It also works incredibly well in this Keruga build in particular.

Jungle Barrier
Reckless Scholar
Scroll Thief

Let's turn to card drawing. If it's a creature and it can draw cards, it's here! I have creatures that yield cards when they enter the battlefield such as Jungle Barrier. This is a key path to keep the card flow going. If you are drawing cards from both Jungle Barrier and Keruga, that's a lot of card flow! Meanwhile I have creatures that will tap and draw a card and discard one such as Reckless Scholar. The card quality from this effect is great when combined with mass card drawing. Finally, I have some creatures in here that will draw cards as you smash people, like Scroll Thief. The long-term card drawing potential of these is high! As a result, we are drawing those cards!

Mystic Snake

This deck has a ton of cards and places to go! Look in your collection or trade for cards that play into the permanents, and mid-range value. I'd start with Mulldrifter as a card drawing machine alongside Keruga. I also like counters such as Mystic Snake that give you strong counter-magic play without running Cancels and Counterspell that won't do anything for your Keruga.

Other Cards to Add:

These are all add in useful value to the deck!

I hope you enjoy drawing cards with Keruga!

And there you go! I hope that you enjoyed this little dive into these decks for you. Let me know what you think about it and have an awesome day!

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