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Building Around Homeward Path with New Sol'Kanar!


Hello awesome folks! The latest set debuted with a new take on an old classic, Sol'Kanar the Swamp King, which many a fan has built or played against since it was released in the same set at that which debuted with the legendary type around whom this was built. The original Swamp King still has 259 decks built around it over at EDHREC.com. Let's check out the latest Sol'Kanar:

Sol'Kanar the Tainted

Hmm...note that the old one was called "Sol'kanar" and the new one "Sol'Kanar" with ca capital "K." They share the same identical five mana Grixis colored cost, and then they are each 5/5 Demons. The new one is an Elemental is well. This one has four abilities that trigger in your end step, so play it on your turn post-combat and then pass and get the first trigger. You cannot choose one that was already chosen. You can draw a card without losing life, drain two life from your foes, Lightning Bolt a dork or planeswalker, and then self-flicker it out and then back under a foe's control. That's pretty bad, but there are a few ways to build around that disadvantage. There are just 36 built around new Sol'Kanar.

Ways to Build Around the Tainted:

  1. Group Hug - Give away Sol'Kanar intentionally, and then let your foes get all the good triggers as well. Combine this with Howling Mine effects that are heavy in blue and colorless. It's pretty strong!
  2. Group Slug - Run a bunch of cards that punish people for playing various effects and then slow the game down and give away Sol'Kanar and here you are looking to punish them for having one of our dorks. Include effects that give your dork Goad, and force them to attack each other.
  3. Blink - If your Tainted Sol'Kanar has been blinked, then you'll just choose the first three abilities over and over again.
  4. Homeward Path.dec - If you use Black to Tutor up Homeward Path and then tap it, you can bring back your Sol'Kanar after giving it away and then keep on keeping on.

That's the variety I am going. Let's look at the brew!

Dorks and Cards That Give Themselves Away and Gain Them Back Again

Starke of Rath
Humble Defector

Let's start with these two mono-Red classics. Starke can tap to destroy an artifact or creature on a 2/2 body. That's colorshifted from Black tapping to destroy creatures, but your destroyed target's controller gains control of Starke to send it back. I love him in multiplayer since you won't always be the one to get smashed back. Tap, give it away tapped, and then tap the Path. The Defector is a two-drop that taps to draw 2 cards and then heads to an opponent's control. Draw those cards! This is very strong in Group Hug builds, and I like it here too since you can just, like Starke, tap and then get it back before it untaps and gives away cards. Nice pair!

Sudden Substitution
Blim, Comedic Genius

Three colors in two cards! The instant is a four-cast spell that has split second so it cannot be responded to with spells or abilities. Then you swap control of a noncreature spell on the stack and a creature. If you controlled the creature, then you'll control the spell. Choose new targets! So, you can gain control of a Wrath of God or Skullclamp or Elspeth, Sun's Champion. I really like this with instants and sorceries so you can tap the Path to get the creature you swapped back without giving them their permanent back. The creature is an on-curve flying 4/3 for just four mana. When it smashes a player's face, you can give them control of a permanent you control and then they lose life and discard cards equal to the count of permanents they control but don't own. I really like giving away lands, and then when you need to get your stuff back, then tap the Path!

Jon Irenicus, Shattered One

Another three colors in two cards! The Elf is a 4-drop 3/3 that has two abilities. At the end of your end step, you can give away a dork you control to a foe and then give it two +1/+1 counters and goad it up! Then if you need to get these back with their pumps, tap the Path. Then when a dork you own but don't control attacks you draw a card, so that's great card flow here over time, and I love it with Blim and giving stuff together and drawing all of the cards! The instant is a backup Path that can be cast and gain control of just your stuff, and you can cycle it if you don't need it. Nice group!

A Fun Combo

I tossed in a fun synergy in the Zealous Conscripts / Conquering Manticore combo for when you want to get back your Sol'Kanar or steal something better. First, grab your dork's creature with a Threaten effect on legs. Note that this can steal a vital land for use like Volrath's Stronghold, a planeswalker about to go ultimate, and so forth. But 7 times out of 10 you grab their best dork. Then the latter Threaten on legs is a powerful 5/5 flyer for six mana that steals just a dork, untaps, gives it haste, and then back for the turn. I also have a pair of sacrifice outlets in my land base to help sacrifice if we don't have the next combo.

Shifting Loyalties

Then these two cards are the latter half of the combo. The five-mana sorcery exchanges control of two dorks. Not just yours, but any two. The idea here is to use this after Threatening a dork, untapping, swinging, and then swapping it back to them for their best creature or your Sol'Kanar. However, you can just swap your worst dork for their best, or just get Sol'Kanar back as a backup Path if it was answered. The six-cost sorcery will swap any permanent not just dorks, so you can swap your spare Swamp with their Maze of Ith, or your worst dork for their best creature or your mana rock for that Mind's Eye they have. It's also another backup Path or combo with the Threatens.

Synergies and Win Cons

Crucible of Worlds

Let's turn to some synergies and win cons. The Path is the land I have built around, so what happens when it dies to a removal effect that someone sees my deck based around and sends their Vindicate at it? Tutor for the Crucible (or drop it) and then replay it. I also tossed in some lands that sac for abilities like Wasteland, fetch lands, and Maestros Theater. The sorcery will win the game out of nowhere on a built-up board state, and you gain control of everything temporarily. It also plays havoc with your things that swap control around and the give them back to you to win the game.

Kardur, Doomscourge
Sly Instigator

Another three colors in two cards! The uncommon is on curve with two abilities. On arrival to the battlefield, you can force your foes to attack on their next turn and then not you. And then when an attacking dork ever dies, drain a life from all foes. That's nasty in multiplayer where you wreak havoc on other board states and ideally you'll want to drop it after giving away Sol'Kanar, and then force them to attack and not you. Then you can get the attacking kill win con triggers. The rare is a four drop 2/4 with a U tap ability to goad a target creature and it cannot be blocked, so this is also great after you give away your Commander for Commander Kill.

Then check out Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant. This has two abilities. If you attack, tap and goad a potential blocker to help get in those hits. Then when a foe attacks another person, both you and they draw a card and lose a life. That's great card flow over time and works well with the above two cards as well as just generally for folks that want to get cards drawn, it helps to play politics. Love it here!

Illusionist's Stratagem
Ghostly Flicker

Since we are in Blue anyway, I added in two emergency blinks at instant speed to blink Sol'Kanar if he is about to be given away to reset him for a few more turns. The first is a four cost that can exile up to two (so if you only have one target you can still cast it) and then you blink them and then don't forget to draw a card. The second is a three cost but flickers two only, but artifacts and lands in case you only control Sol'Kanar and need to resolve it. Then they come back! I did add in some ETB triggers like Draining Whelk and Flametongue Kavu to flicker as well as Sol'Kanar since they blink two.


Mystic Confluence

Most of my answers are obvious. I did toss in a few more counters though, like this pair. The Confluence is a five cost with three abilities you can choose any number of times each up to three. You can Mana Leak and counter, draw a card, or bounce a spell. So, you could just draw 3, counter and draw two, bounce and draw two, you get it. Why is it here? It's hidden synergy with Sol'Kanar...don't see it? I'll help! One way to reset Sol'Kanar's ability is to bounce him and then re-cast it, so if you are really needing to not give him away then you can just bounce and draw two. The other card is a counter and a card draw in one card which I found easier in this three-color brew than Cryptic Command, which is harder to cast.

I like to have some mass removal in my brews as emergency stop gaps, such as Burn Down the House and Cyclonic Rift. The Red one is a five-cost sorcery that deals 5 damage to each dork and planeswalkers, so it'll kill your leader, most of your stuff, but we only have 25 dorks here and one has indestructible and wants damage dealt to him (Stuffy Doll which is very giveaway-able since the player you choose will still take damage). Then you can just make 3 1/1 tokens for giving away if the board is set up well in your direction.

The Blue card is a two-mana instant with a massive seven mana overload to bounce an opposing non-land permanent to their hand. This is very strong after you've given away Sol'Kanar and need to get it back and you don't have a Path to follow.

Card Flow and Ramp

Aether Channeler
Dragon Mage

Let's turn to card draw! Most of my cards are obvious, but check out this Izzet pair. The Channeler is a three-cost dork 2/1 that ETBs with three options. I like all three in this brew. It's here to draw a card, and you can flicker it to draw another card. If you control Blim, Jon, or your swap spells in your hand and want value, make the 1/1 token to give away with flying. Or you can bounce Sol'Kanar after it flicker and heads to your foe. Or an ETB dork like Mulldrifter to cast and draw more cards. The Mage is here to be a nice sized 5/5 flyer for a bit high 7 mana and when it smashes a player's face, everyone Wheel of Fortunes. Great card flow here! I also have Magus of the Wheel here to sacrifice and then Wheel of Fortune everyone. Good card flow!

Expedition Map
Gem of Becoming

Let's finish with six ramps and lands and fetches. The Map can get your any land. That means it'll get you Path. You can also get any color of mana or all three with Crumbling Necropolis, or if you have Crucible a fetch land to crack multiple times. Then the Gem is very powerful here. Three to cast, three to crack, and then you search for a Swamp, Mountain and Island. Note that does not say "basic" so you can grab any dual land or Xander's Lounge. It's basically a super charged Armillary Sphere for these three colors. I am running all of the dual lands here except for Underground Sea stuff to get with this.

High Market
Phyrexian Tower

Check out this pair! The Path can tap for colorless on arrival and then tap for no mana to sacrifice a dork and gain a life. The Tower can tap for colorless and then sacrifice a dork to make two Black mana. I wanted to add two sacrifice options to this brew in the land section. This is here for several cards. Firstly, the three creature Threatens to steal a dork temporarily can be permanently ended with this. Then you can steal all of the creatures with Insurrection and then sac two to this pair after combat. Then you can swap a dork with your two sorceries and if you need to tap Path, you sacrifice them first prior to giving them back. Then if you are about to send over Sol'Kanar and can recast him with Command Tax from your Command Zone and don't have any other options, sacrifice him.

Sanctum of Eternity
Rogue's Passage

Check out our last two colorless lands. The Sanctum can tap with two generic mana on your turn to self-bounce your Commander to your hand. It's here to recast Sol'Kanar without the Command Tax and keep up the pressure after reloading your triggers. Then the Passage is here to send Sol'Kanar into the red zone for a Commander Damage kill and since he has 5 power that's not nothing. You can tap to make any creature unblockable so you cannot have your foes get rid of Sol'Kanar by attacking into a 7/7 Elder Dragon and dying to combat damage. This is very fetchable with the Expedition Map after you have Path. I also have Demonic Tutor and Diabolic Tutor to just grab it after the Path is yours. Love this pair's power loads here!

And there we go! Check out my decklist below!

Homeward Path Sol'Kanar | Commander | Abe Sargent

Card Display

And there we go! I hope that you enjoy this very different take on Sol'Kanar, the Tainted. What did you think of it? Inspired to try it yourself? Did I miss anything? Just let me know in the comments below!

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