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Random Commander 10: Literally Elder Dragon Highlander



I hope that your day is going well!

I apparently enjoy round numbers. How about you?

A few weeks ago, I was close to my 50th Budget Commander series for y'all. So, after running my 48th, I wrote the series continuously until I hit 50. And now, last week, my Random Commander challenge had grabbed the 9th entry. So of course, I must do another this week to get me to 10, right?


In this series, I challenge myself by heading to Gatherer and hitting the random button. Then I take the first legal one that I've not built around previously. That's it!

Here we are going to watch me select my leader for this challenge in the video below, and then, after that, we'll build off in the direction indicated.

So, who'd I get?


Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner

Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner is literally and figuratively how EDH would normally be played back in the old days. Fun. Powerful. Evocative. Threatening. Attacks for Damage. Kills fairly using the red zone.

There is nothing here that screams "Break Me." We've got nothing that keeps people from playing the game. There's even a way to target it, once it's done damage. She's fair.

Here, let me do a little digging into her:

On EDHREC right now we have just 52 decks registered. Why? Only Johan, Jacques le Vert, and Palladia-Mors the first edition are played less.


For comparison:

Chromium, the Mutable - 238 decks

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager - 984 decks

Vaevictis Asmadi, the Dire - 487 decks

Arcades. The Strategist - 1372 decks

Shoot, Chulane, Teller of Tales has 70 decks and hasn't even been released yet.

So let's make this right!

Naya is almost the perfectly fun slate of colors for multiplayer too.


Great question!

You can do the following with your color trio:

  1. Burn in Red. Weak in Commander due to the higher life total that begins.
  2. Chaos in Red. Red can chaotically do a lit of fun things, and has classics of the format like Wheel of Fortune that everyone is all right with.
  3. Mana Ramp in Green/White - You get both of the colors that ramp lands, so you can ensure that you get to cast those awesome cards!
  4. You can Destroy any Targeted Permanent Type - Between your colors, you can destroy any type of permanent via targeted removal effects. You have effects that can destroy targeted lands, creatures, artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers. You also have flexible removal like Chaos Warp, Generous Gift, and Beast Within that can work on anything.
  5. You Can Mass Destroy any Permanent Type - Any type of permanent can be destroyed by you in mass. All lands? Armageddon has you covered. All dorks? Wrath of God. Shatterstorm for artifacts, Tranquility for enchantments, and many more follow, as well as sweeping effects for many more effects like Akroma's Vengeance that'll only leave lands.
  6. You Can Exile Any Permanent Type - Exiling removal is vital in Commander where you have a lot of graveyard abusing shenanigans occurring. You can exile artifacts, enchantments, creatures easily, but you also have some mass exiling removal, as well as planeswalkers with cards like Exclusion Ritual, Mangara of Cordonor and such.
  7. You Get Along With Every Permanent Type - Every single permanent type in the game (artifact, enchantment, planeswalker, land, creature) and subtype like aura and equipment, have friends in these colors. You could build a Naya Lands Matter or tokens, or auras, or equipment, or planeswalkers, and anything else. Naya works with any theme you think of.
  8. Save Your Team - You have a number of effects that will save your team by giving them hexproof, indestructible, phasing them out, and so forth. Keep them going!
  9. Recur Stuff - You can recur any permanent type from your graveyard with effects like Goblin Welder, Nomad Mythmaker, Karmic Guide, and many more. You also have loads of effects like Green that'll give you any card (Regrowth) or similar effect.

The best thing about Naya? What you cannot do, which feels fair for a lot of people.

  1. You Can't Counter - You don't have the ability to counter spells and effects with Blue. You'll let people play their stuff and then destroy it, which feels fairer than countering it and preventing them from ever having it.
  2. You Can't Bounce - Bounce effects, either targeted or in mass, aren't available either. Classics like Cyclonic Rift aren't running around. Now, to be fair, White and Green can self-bounce. They have cards like Fleetfoot Panther or Whitemane Lion, but no one is getting upset if you save your big dork from targeted removal by self-bouncing it with Whitemane Lion.
  3. You Can't Discard - Only Black can force opponents to discard cards, so they know that their hands should prove to be safe. They won't have to worry about losing their grip of cards.

Black and Blue can feel unfair at times, based on how they are built. Naya doesn't have those abilities, and thus can easily skip past the danger signs that a color combo with those two can bring. A Blue deck might be attacked early just because. But a person who leads with Palladia Mors Take Two? I doubt you'll get any heat, early or later, due to your stuff. You should be free to play your deck, while also emphasizing your strengths.

Let's get our Palladia-Mors On!

Where do I see this deck going? Great question!

I feel like a fun midrange deck that seeks to win through the red-zone with power and might should prove a flavorful evocation of Palladia-Mors. She ain't sneaking around through Rogue's Passages or anything. She dares you to defy her will!

Thunderbreak Regent
Lathliss, Dragon Queen
Scalelord Reckoner

Last week I randomly grabbed one of the Niv-Mizzets, and built around him. I didn't touch the Draconic aspect of him, as I felt it wasn't valuable. Plus I don't always want to dial into a Dragon deck when I get a Dragon leader, as it's probably the most common legendary type after Human, so you don't want every Dragon leader to push into that theme.

However, I do think that a light sprinkling of Dragons that will help each other and Palladia-Mors are ideal here. Thunderbreak Regent is useful early, and turns targeted junk into Bolts of damage to the annoying foe who would dare to target your Dragons. Note that after Palladia-Mors smashes face her hexproof drops, but you can still help to protect her as the Regent will zap someone who comes looking for her. The Scalelord Reckoner plays into similar space. Meanwhile, Lathliss is brilliant here too. Every time you drop a Dragon who ain't a token or Lathless, you get a free 5/5 flying dork, and that's pretty strong. Lathliss is even better as you can inflate the entire Dragon-y team with that ability.

Atarka, World Render
Dromoka, the Eternal
Utvara Hellkite

We can also add some fun "Dragon attacks" effects to the deck, among which, Atarka takes the first-place medal. I also really enjoy the Hellkite of the Utvara here as well, for the spawning of Dragon tokens that ensues when you drop it.

Sarkhan the Masterless
Sarkhan, Fireblood

Sarkhan, Fireblood is a strong 3-drop, as you can drop a land, make two mana, and then drop Palladia-Mors on turn four. Welcome to the team Sarkhan! Meanwhile, the Masterless iteration of our Dragon-worshipping planeswalker is also here as well. He is useful as folks swing at you or your 'walkers as you'll force them to each damage, and he can swing along with others, and will trigger Dragon attackers when he does.

Now let's leave the Dragon part of my deck and move-on.

Domri, Anarch of Bolas

Domri will make some mana off a 3-drop 'walker as well and then make your critters uncounterable on the turn it was activated, which is pretty nifty keen, and cool. Another 'walker for your crew! You'll see some more as planeswalkers feel very mid-range to me.


I don't think anyone will be upset if I swing with Palladia-Mors with a Fireshrieker equipped, and then smash for 12 trample, double strike, flying damage that counts as Commander, and then untap and do it again the next turn and win. That's playing fair. There are multiple vectors of interaction - the 'shrieker, the damage itself, the creature, the attack step, and many more. You could use artifact removal, creature removal, Fogs, and many similar effects. You can't target Palladia-Mors the first time, she deals damage on the first strike step, but you can before she deals the other 6 that same combat. If all you have in hand is a Swords to Plowshares or something similar, you'll be fine. And remember, I'm not running answers like countermagic, so you can resolve your removal.

Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
Kessig Wolf Run
Slayers' Stronghold
Gavony Township

I am going to toss in some fun lands that help my theme too! All four of these lands will help you to pump the team or individual dorks there-of. They are useful mana sinks once you've used your Green mana ramping to get up there. And all four of these effects are pretty cool. If you look at the land section of my deck below, you'll see more in this line of thought than those. I really enjoy Slayers' Stronghold, as it gives a valuable haste to the team.

Marisi, Breaker of the Coil
Ohran Frostfang

I added in a pair of dorks from Commander 2019 for your consideration too! Marisi, Breaker of the Coil is awesome. Not only can you stop your foes from mucking around during your combat step, but you can also goad folks stuff as you smash their face. The idea of goading an entire team is hilarious. Marisi will smash face and then force your foes to smash each other, and leave them open for more smashes from your team, which will force them...

You get it.

Ohran Frostfang loves stuff with trample. Deathtouch will kill all blockers by assigning a single damage to each of them, and then add damage to your foe's face, which will draw you some sexy cards. This is basically Bow of Nylea and Bident of Thassa on a single card for five mana. And with the double strike effects and other cards here? Dang card drawing!

Beast Whisperer
Lifecrafter's Bestiary

I'm running some other card-drawing effects here and there as well that you can enjoy. In order to enhance many of these effects, I am running creature removal where possible instead of classic spells like Chaos Warp or Swords to Plowshares.

Grenzo, Havoc Raiser

Grenzo #2 is awesome too! When any dork you have smashes, you can goad that foe right on up. That's a cool ability that will continue to force your foes to smash each other. Or, if you prefer, you can exile their cards and cast them for free, as a useful and fun card-drawing option as well. Note that the cards you exile will remain exiled. You may come across something you want to leave exiled, whereas if you cast it, then it could be killed and remain in the game, like Anger or something, so be aware of that option.


Godsend is a classic underplayed card at a lot of kitchen tables, and I'm not sure why. You get +3/+3 for three mana, so your equipped chosen one will grow in size for little mana investment each time. But what makes it great is the exile effect. Put it on your Commander. Any Commander. Swing. If your foe goes to chump block it, that's exiled. If they want to block and kill it, they have to block with two creatures that can kill it. Typically, it slips by, or will be chumped. It's also ideal on defense, as no one wants to swing into a dork that'll exile their attacker permanently.

Now, let me remind you of Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner:

Palladia-Mors, the Ruiner

Do you see why she's perfect with a Godsend? She flies, so only fliers can block her. She flies, so she can block flyers that you might at to swing. She has vigilance, so when she swings, she'll stay back on defense protecting the house. And oh yes, she has trample. If your foe makes the mistake of blocking with a single dork, you'll exile it and smash for 9 damage trample.

You need to respect Godsend more!

Already, there we go; here's my deck!

Palladia's Smash Machine | Commander | Abe Sargent

And there you are! What did you think? Anything in there excite you? Anything suggest itself to you? Is there anything that I missed that you wanted to suggest?

Random Commander Challenges!

Did you enjoy today's deck and want to be excited by 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 the first 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!

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