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Random Commander Strikes Back


Hello folks!

I hope your day is going well! Today I want to hit up our random challenge again. I enjoyed the challenge last week when I randomly got Gwendlyn di Corci from Gatherer and then built a deck around her and some discarding fun times.

So, what's going to happen this week? I have no idea, and it's inspiring. I could wind up with a mono-colored leader from Ice Age or yet another Spirit from Kamigawa block. So many options!

I just need to flip over something that I haven't built around yet. And preferably not a very, very common leader either (unless I have a new take on it)


O Gatherer, My Gatherer!

What's my first card? Fortify! Then we have Doom Blade, Sapphire Medallion, and Rathi Intimidator.


You think my Gwendlyn di Corci was old school? How about this random card, as my 12th overall random choice:

Arcades Sabboth

Arcades Sabboth!

I have one of the five creatures that this format was named after (Elder Dragon Highlander). How cool is that? Now I have a real life build around Chromium, but that's specifically for Commander '95, a variant where you can only play cards that were printed up through 1995 (Homelands) .

This won't be that, at all.

Now, he plays a little differently than modern Arcades:

Arcades, the Strategist

As you can see here, he's now someone who loves creatures with defender, such as walls. But that does fit the defensive Castle nature of pumping his toughness for himself and your team.

I have a really cool idea for Arcades.

Here it is.

Arcades strikes me as one of the cool-headed of Dragon Kind. He disdains the often foul tempered and overly passionate nature of most Dragons. That forces them to give in to their carnal nature. But Dragons should be clever. Should be smart. Should be long-term thinkers. Arcades embraces a different, anti-Red flavor of Dragons.

I want to play into that space. I want a pro-Dragon deck that emphasizes that. Arcades'

Think Tank.

So let's look for Dragons that I feel play into that space. The intellectual and erudite.

Here's a great example. Ugin!

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Ugin's Insight

Ugin clearly on the smarter side of life, and he'll likely be our only planeswalker in this colors given that nothing else really fits in the planeswalker mold, but come on in. Ugin is literally another Elder Dragon from the same era as Chromium. Come on in.

How about Ojutai?

Ojutai, Soul of Winter
Dragonlord Ojutai

Speaking of Elder Dragons, Ojutai clearly fits. He isn't of the same iteration as Chromium and Company, but he's in the conversation as a strong, fellow, Elder Dragon from another plane. He fits the characters here.


Treva, the Renewer
Treva's Charm

I like Treva here as well, and we 'll add in some Treva support into our build later such as Treva's Ruins and Treva's Charm.


Dragonlord Dromoka
Dromoka's Command

I like Dromoka here as well, as one who cares for others.

Would any of the Kamigawa cards count? I think so! Not Jugan, but Yosei and Keiga definitely feel like they fit into the same place..

Here's my build!

Arcades's Think Tank | Commander | Abe Sargent

And there we have it!

So what did we dip into?

First I increased my Dragon count where possible with cards like Eternal Dragon and Sunscorch Regent that are very good options for Commander and the kitchen table.

Taigam, Ojutai Master
Orator of Ojutai
Sylvia Brightspear
Haven of the Spirit Dragon

Next, I added in some fun cards that care about Dragons. Everything in here needs to fit our theme though and cards that don't feel "Arcades" to me but that do help us out mechanically like Adaptive Automaton or something, aren't here. This is a Flavor First deck.

I did toss in some defenders to help out as well.

I see the role of defender in this deck to crate the speed bumps necessary to delay the game long enough to win. Examples include Fog Bank or Wall of Omens. I also include some Defenders that make sense for other reasons. My favorite of these is likely Sylvan Caryatid, as a 2-drop that's on flavor, mechanics, and works perfectly.

Another hidden option is Walking Archive, which adds to my defender theme, my intellegencia theme as well as my card drawing one. Now, it's technically an Azorius card, but no part of it feels that way other than the watermark.

Elder Land Wurm

Did you know that Elder Land Wurm has been errata'd to be a Dragon? And that it has defender but loses it once it blocks? Both are true! So it works here, mechanically, but that's not all.

There is a Vorthosian reason I have Elder Land Wurm in my deck...

The great Elder Dragon War was one that lasted millennia. The losing Elder Dragons were stripped of their power and wings and tossed to the ground as the great Elder Land Wurms of old, who would, in turn, give birth to the modern Wurms that are well known. So these are the former allies and foes of Elder Dragons that lost in the great war. Doesn't the inclusion of one here make a lot of sense? I think so!

I'm also only including lands that make flavor sense, like Fortified Village. It's Fortified, like our good Arcades wants! Similar for things like Towers, Keeps, Castles, and other fortifications. You'll see Command Tower, Coastal Tower, and Seaside Citadel in there, all with the right feel

Now I don't want to dip into anything that doesn't feel on to me. For example, you won't see anything that's Bant, Selesnya, Simic, or Azorius themed, like Simic Growth Chamber or Bant Panorama. But if it feels off, then it's not here. You have mana like Dromoka and Ojutai Monument, but no Obelisk of Bant to be found anywhere. Similarly, I stayed away from generic mana makers other than the virtually required Sol Ring. There are no Chromatic Lanterns or others here.

Assault Formation
Tatsumasa, the Dragon's Fang
Sight of the Scalelords

Here are some more cards that feel on theme to me. You'll also note cards like Monastery Siege and Frontier Siege as well. Obviously, when you play them, you must choose, "Dragons".

My final flavor was to use smart and thinking cards for support, such as Arcane Denial, Arcane Encyclopedia, or Recollect among others.

Shoot, I'm even running Think Tank in this deck!

Think Tank
Long-Term Plans

That's how flavorful the support is for Arcades' Think Tank! See Long-Term Plans? In a deck about someone who really cares about long-term plans, isn't it nice to see that card here as well?

Builder's Blessing

I also have some mass toughness-pumpers such as Builder's Blessing to help keep the game state from being too abusive and thus giving you a chance to build up and create some defenses and Draconic fun times. They also play into Assault Formation or Arcades, the Strategist, whom are both here as well.

But then we have one fun addition that is going to blow your mind!


Did you notice? It was the first card I randomly grabbed from Gatherer, and it's on a flavor theme as an instant +0/+2'ing.

Enjoy your fortification and Arcades inspired fun times!

And this is precisely what I enjoy about these random challenges. You never know what you are going to grab, but it's just as much fun to head in directions that I never expected!

I hope you enjoyed this fun Elder Dragon random challenge! Thanks for reading!

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