I hope your day is going well. What I want to bring you today is the next edition of my Random Commander challenge! With almost 20,000 legal cards for the format, and tons of decks and archetypes to consider, I love forcing myself to use a Commander that I wasn't expecting to use. Are you ready?
Here's how this challenge works:
I head over to Gatherer over on the MTG website. I hit search for something like "hot" which gives me the random card button. Then I hit it and I take the first legal Commander I grab. Now I do have a few caveats. I reserve the right to accept something that's illegal. If I were to get a leader from Unstable I might be tempted to use it. Also, if I got a legal leader I've already used, I'll pass. Also I reserve the right to pass if I get a highly used Commander like Meren of Clan Nel Toth.
Wurm's Tooth from its M12 appearance is my first random selected choice. Next?
Wanderlust is fun. It's not a legendary leader, but it's fun! All right then,
Wow! Selection #3. That's one of the fastest once I've ever gotten, and I have never built a deck around Kurkesh.
Let's do it! Let's rock Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient.
What dials does Kurkesh want to turn?
- Kurkesh is Red, so only that color can be used.
- Kurkesh will fork your artifact activated abilities that aren't mana for a .
Note that you don't have to use the full cost again, just a to reuse it.
Here's the first effect that leaps into my mind.
Bosh, Iron Golem can fling an artifact at someone' face for damage equal to its cost. If you have Kurkesh when you activate Bosh, then you'll get two servings of said damage for instead of . If Bosh exploded himself for 8 damage, you are now dealing another 8 somewhere else (or at the same target should something or someone have really ticked you off!)
I also want to emphasize artifacts and artifact creatures with abilities that can be used. Take Mind Stone! Mind Stone can tap for colorless mana, and Kurkesh won't fork it, but it will duplicate the sacrifice for a card, so you can net two cards. But that isn't all, right? Right! You'll see mana rocks like Dreamstone Hedron head on in that can sacrifice for the cause.
A Burnished Hart forked will fetch up FOUR Mountains with some Kurkesh massaging. Forget that Solemn guy! Note that the other fetch cards like Armillary Sphere and Wild-Field Scarecrow will put those sweet lands into your hand. Four lands is still four lands, so we'll toss those out here for you too! You can also copy the Expedition Map getting one of any land, so another Temple of the False God effect or Eye of Ugin or something would work.
Think about the Hammer of Purphoros here. Haste is already good, thanks! When you sacrifice a land for an artifact Golem, you can invest another mana and turn that land into two dorks. And that isn't bad. Two 3/3s with haste for one land and ? That feels like a good card!
Spend some time with Magnifying Glass, as it plays two roles here. You can use it as a mana rock earlier, and then when you are sitting on some extra mana, you can tap it and four mana to make a cool artifact Clue token. Have another Red mana when you do? Okay, here are two Clues, which help increase your artifact count for folks that may care. And oh, you san sacrifice Clues for two mana to draw cards, and for to draw two cards.
Tamiyo's Journal is a fun card that will make Clues for free that you can sacrifice for for two cards. And oh yes! You can also tap, sac three Clues for a direct Tutor effect for any card in your library. For a single Red mana, duplicate that effect and get two tutors!
Both Mindslaver and Jester's Cap will play into similar space. They'll both love to get sacrifices for a powerful effect, and then you can duplicate them! If you are playing against more than one person, Mindslave them all! Muahaha! You can also send out those Caps!
Need to get the right artifact for the job? Need to fetch out an expensive and fun card like Darksteel Colossus? The Forgemaster has you covered! Tap, sac three dorks, and then fetch an artifact onto the battlefield from your library. Normally a 3 for 1 trade is rough. However, a 3 for 2 swap getting your best two artifacts out? That's much, much better!
Now get ready for some Kukesh ability overload.
I wanted to make this deck different than other Mono-Red artifact shells out there. I have built a Bosh deck for my budget Commander series and a Mono-Red artifact and pirate deck for CoolStufInc.com's New Player Commander Series. Kurkesh is different because it craves abilities to copy, as it doesn't tap or anything. Thus, this is not a sacrifice Mono-Red Bosh deck, although those tools are here.
It's an ability-forking deck, and you can see those twin roles here.
All three of these guys have at least four abilities that you can fork. For you can make two 1/1 servo tokens with the Retrofitter Foundry. Want to sac an artifact for a card with Trading Post? You can get two cards for . Want to sacrifice a dork to recur a key artifact from your graveyard with the Post? How about two artifacts for ? You can draw cards, gain life, tap stuff down, untap cool cards, and loads more with these. Because some will self-untap, you can use them more than once.
For example? Take the Foundry. You spent and made two 1/1s. Good! If you have the mana, you can 1 to untap, and then to sacrifice one Servo for two Thopters. Result? You spent for one 1/1 Servo and two 1/1 Thopters!
You get the idea!
Again, this deck cares about activated abilities, not necessarily sacrificing. The Rings gives you Kurkesh's ability for anything, even non-artifacts. You can use it to double copy everything that Kurkesh works with, only for 2 colorless more.
It'll work with cool lands like Inventors' Fair and Eye of Ugin. Now the sacrifice of the Fair or the tutor of the Eye are both a little on the expensive side of life. You may not have a spare two mana sitting around. But if you do? Get your copy on with Rings!
You can also duplicate Planeswalkers like Daretti here, or his buddies Karn and Ugin. All three have strong abilities for a Kurkesh deck! Getting another Karn activation or something is pretty nifty keen-cool!
What? You said you wanted to draw even more cards? Sure thing! A mono-colored deck should easily have enough basics to Endless Atlas all day long.
Now before we head into the decklist, I want to talk about some combo-winning options with Kurkesh that I may be adding...
Manifold Key is usually a better Voltaic Key. You can tap it to untap another artifact investing a single mana in the process, and you can make something unblockable as well. The only time a Voltaic Key is better is if you want to use its ability to untap itself, which you typically wouldn't want to do.
But with Kurkesh?
Spend and untap the Voltaic Key and another artifact. And if that artifact can tap for three mana via something like Gilded Lotus? That's an extra Red mana each iteration. You can make an infinite amount of mana. Gilded Lotus is also good as a way to get more Kurkesh activations. There's another mana buddy too:
It's Basalt Monolith. How does it work?
Step 1 - Tap it for mana.
Step 2 - Use that mana and Kurkesh's one to untap it twice.
Step 3 - Resolve the first untap. Tap it for three colorless mana.
Step 4 - Resolve the second untap.
You have an untapped Monolith, spent one , and have three colorless mana You can repeat this and exchange one Red for three colorless as many times as you have the Red.
Of course, if you have a way to wash colorless into Red with something like Prismite? Then you can untap and use and untap and use as much as you want, making infinite amounts of colorless, and thus Red, mana. Similarly to the Lotus above, these sorts of mana washes are also good as useful ways to make more Red mana to activate Kurkesh with. Need and just have a Sol Ring untapped? Prismite to the rescue! Some of the cards you saw above can also give you any number of dorks, draw your library, and gain you thousands of life!
Let's look at my random Commander challenge #11.
Mono-Steel | Commander | Abe Sargent
- Commander (1)
- 1 Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient
- Creatures (27)
- 1 Bosh, Iron Golem
- 1 Bottle Gnomes
- 1 Burnished Hart
- 1 Combustible Gearhulk
- 1 Darksteel Colossus
- 1 Darksteel Sentinel
- 1 Duplicant
- 1 Feldon of the Third Path
- 1 Goblin Engineer
- 1 Goblin Welder
- 1 Iron Myr
- 1 Jhoira's Familiar
- 1 Junk Diver
- 1 Kuldotha Forgemaster
- 1 Metalwork Colossus
- 1 Platinum Angel
- 1 Prismite
- 1 Scarecrone
- 1 Scrap Trawler
- 1 Shimmer Myr
- 1 Signpost Scarecrow
- 1 Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer
- 1 Soul of New Phyrexia
- 1 Steel Hellkite
- 1 Stuffy Doll
- 1 Walking Ballista
- 1 Wild-Field Scarecrow
- Planeswalkers (4)
- 1 Daretti, Scrap Savant
- 1 Karn, Scion of Urza
- 1 Karn, the Great Creator
- 1 Ugin, the Ineffable
- Instants (1)
- 1 Chaos Warp
- Sorceries (32)
- 1 Madcap Experiment
- 1 Mizzium Mortars
- 1 Saheeli's Directive
- 1 Armillary Sphere
- 1 Basalt Monolith
- 1 Dreamstone Hedron
- 1 Endless Atlas
- 1 Expedition Map
- 1 Gilded Lotus
- 1 Goblin Charbelcher
- 1 Hammer of Purphoros
- 1 Hedron Archive
- 1 Jester's Cap
- 1 Magnifying Glass
- 1 Memory Jar
- 1 Mimic Vat
- 1 Mindslaver
- 1 Mind Stone
- 1 Mirrorworks
- 1 Myr Retriever
- 1 Mystic Forge
- 1 Pyrite Spellbomb
- 1 Retrofitter Foundry
- 1 Rings of Brighthearth
- 1 Sensei's Divining Top
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Staff of Domination
- 1 Staff of Nin
- 1 Tamiyo's Journal
- 1 Trading Post
- 1 Unstable Obelisk
- 1 Voltaic Key
And there we go! What did you think of the random challenge? Anything I missed, or anything you'd want to toss in? Anything inspire you? Just let me know!
Random Commander Challenges
Did you enjoy today's deck and want to be excited by previous editions? Great! Here they are.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- 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!
- Random Gatherer hits Nissa, Vastwood Seer for a fun, mono-Green Forests-matter deck! Check it out!
- 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.
- 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.
- I randomly uncover the first Niv-Mizzet from way back and build a fun damage-matters and card-drawing matters build for your consideration! Let me know what you think!
- 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!