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Return of the Random Commander


Hello folks!

I always have enjoyed random deck challenges of various types. One of my favorite challenges is to take on a random legendary creature and make it the leader of my next EDH build for you.

I have a few rules before we get started:

  1. It can't be a legendary creature I've already built around. For example, I have a real-life controlling old school EDH deck that I've built around Oros, the Avenger. If I randomly grab Oros, then I'll pass. This needs to be a new challenge.
  2. I may pass by if it's a super common legendary creature. If I grab something that's legal, but heavily used, then what's the point? Do you really want to see yet another General Tazri deck? I don't! Although if it's something I think I can do a new take on, then I might still do so.

All right, time to head over to Gatherer and hit that random card until I get a legendary creature. Ready?

This is so exciting!!!!!!!!

My first card is a 6th Edition Shapeshifter. Then Innocent Blood, Spell Blast, Spirit Shackle, and Hypnotic Siren are next.

My first legendary creature is pick 33 after Memory Plunder, but it's not legal. It's Baron von Count from Unstable.

Another 20+ cards melt away. Then another. There's Wild Growth and Wild Growth in separate sets. I get Arlinn Kord, but she's a planeswalker not a creature.

And then there she is. Four random buttons later:

Gwendlyn Di Corci

All right. Well today is going to be seriously Old School EDH Day!

Randomly G-win-dlyn | Commander | Abe Sargent

And there you are! Gwendlyn for the Win-dlyn.

Now the first place I went after randomly grabbing Gwendlyn was to delve into discarding fun times. Luckily, she's in the perfect slate of colors to support it.

Take a look-see at effects that will love a discard.

Liliana's Caress

The initial discard trigger was Megrim. It was printed way back in Stronghold and discard quickly became a common feature at the kitchen table, as casual Megrim infused decks grew to become major players. Megrim was such an important part of the landscape that it was added to the Core Set, and then made five consecutive core sets, back when they were released every other year, rather than annually. The final appearance of Megrim was in Magic 2010, released in 2009. Then Liliana's Caress debuted in the next core set, and there was a window when both were legal in Standard, and making the cut in a few builds as a result since you have 8 Megrim effects in play at the same time. Liliana's Caress was a one-of and was never reprinted either.

Geth's Grimoire
Waste Not
Raiders' Wake

A few other discard supplements have seen print over the years. Raiders' Wake is basically a four mana Megrim, Geth's Grimoire turns your forced discards into massive card drawing opportunities, and Waste Not is a pretty cool concept for mana, cards, or dorks, as you have different cards hit the graveyard from a foe's hand.

Note that we have a need for forcing discards as well. Given that Commander is a multiplayer format, I want to emphasize discarding effects that will force each of our foes to discard. That way you'll net maximum profit from something like the above five engines.

Burglar Rat
Syphon Mind
Angrath, the Flame-Chained

That meant I was really looking to include cards like Burglar Rat, Syphon Mind, and Angrath, the Flame-Chained here. I wanted to push my discarding into other places, and not just my leader. Take Angrath as a great example, as his +1 will both force discards and the loss of 2 life to carry with any life loss from Megrim and Friends too.

Words of Waste

I also adore Words of Waste here, especially with Geth's Grimoire! For example, if you control both, then you can skip drawing your normal card to make your opponents discard. If you have three enemies, then you are getting three discards, and thus, drawing three cards. Then you can skip those to force discards to draw more cards, until you are the only one with cards and you drew like 7 or 8 cards total! Mua-a-ha!!!

Cao Cao, Lord of Wei

The next place I wanted to go down were some adjuncts to Gwendlyn. The two that came to mind were Cao Cao and Nebuchadnezzar. These are both really fun cards with cool tap abilities that fit into our build nicely. Note that you can tap Nebuchadnezzar for Zero mana but it won't do anything if you do. Both of these are cool with discarding long games.

And that's when I realized I really wanted to push the ability for my dorks to tap for effects quickly. In went common stuff like Thousand-Year Elixir which lets you tap stuff on arrival, as well as Magewright's Stone, and the haste enabling of Urabrask the Hidden as well as Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots. These sorts of cards will let you use Gwendyn and friends pretty quickly.

Into this tap-shell went cards like Arcanis, the Omnipotent, Avatar of Woe, Visara the Dreadful, and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. These are all cards that are good on their own, but in a deck with Thousand-Year Elixir? You should be able to get some more value from them! I really want to drop Kiki-Jiki, tap him with his haste to copy a key dork like Liliana's Specter here to give you more discards, then untap him with the Elixir or Magewright's Stone and do so again!

Or Tetsuo Umezawa!

Phenax, God of Deception
Tetsuo Umezawa

I also tossed in Phenax as an alternate winning condition. You can drop him and then tap stuff to take out libraries quickly into this tapping shell. Your leader taps for five cards and can do things if no one is rocking cards to discard or if there's not an open path to winning. I also like the Leyline of the Void here too which will exile stuff that you discard or mill into opposing graveyard, thus eliminating the chance of anything coming back to bite you. Literally.

Given this deck wants to play into board and hand control, I wanted to play into that controlling theme and we added in counters that work on theme like Dismal Failure (counter + discard) or Desertion (counter + steal).

Torment of Hailfire

Did you see how cool Torment of Hailfire is here? Note that it's for each opponent, not just one you targeted! If you just put four mana into it in the midgame you'll often force them to lose 12 life, which is much better than Exsanguinate, but later it's a game ender.

I also tossed in Wheel of Fortune and Memory Jar for some more mass discarding fun! Each of them can enable some powerful strong Megrim triggers. When timed well, your Wheel of Fortune can push foes to have enough cards to get more discards! You can Wheel, use Angrath's +1 to force discards, drop Burglar Rats, trigger Waste not and tons more stuff!

Wheel of Fortune
Memory Jar

I also love Dream Salvage here too!

Dream Salvage

It's a perfect fit into our deck as you can always just cast it for one card if you simply tapped your leader once this turn, but even if you tap Gwendlyn twice with an untap (or your two effects if she's equipped with Illusionist's Bracers), then you are drawing two cards for one mana.

You have to feed the machine, right? Right!

And then that was our deck! With the high mana needs, I pushed things like Gilded Lotus and Gem of Becoming to make enough mana to cast things with two or three mana of their color. I tossed in some removal options and key abilities, like card drawing, removal of dorks, and more. We have things like Phyrexian Arena or Ob Nixilis Reignited that will draw cards. I particularly love Sorin Markov here as his middle ability to cut someone's life to 10 is strong in the presence of the life taking of your various Megrims. You could easily kill someone in one or two turns who had a very high life total. No matter your life total, you are never safe when Sorin is in the house!

Do you enjoy or discarding fun times? Anything in here inspire you? Anything I missed? Let me know what you thought of the deck, and thanks for your time in reading it!

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