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Flying the Friendly Skies with Silumgar


I had targeted this previous weekend for some good Magic. My fiancée would be out of town for her bachelorette party and bridal shower, and thus, I would have over forty-eight hours to spend on my own. So of course, my plan was to get some serious Commander in. Thankfully, an e-mail went out from local Commander hero Jess, and a cast of characters was assembled. Thinking ahead, I had begun to eye cards for new decks as soon as Fate Reforged was fully spoiled. One card above all others caught my eye for a new commander was Silumgar, the Drifting Death.

Silumgar, the Drifting Death
The forums I frequented were abuzz when the Dimir Dragon came to be known. While blue and black are not rife with tribal brethren, the colors are able to polymorph any and all creatures via Conspiracy and Xenograft. This route, while entertaining, did not appeal to me. While I normally would look for a way to manipulate the graveyard for an advantage, and while blue and black allow for such shenanigans, I wanted to go in a different direction.

Silumgar also has this nifty ability. Not only does it have a rather high toughness and flying, but it also has hexproof, making it a prime target for plenty of Equipment and buffs. After seeing Hero's Blade, I was sold: Silumgar was going to be my next Voltron.

For those unfamiliar, a Voltron deck is one in which the commander becomes a focal point. The rule that 21 points of Commander damage is lethal, regardless of life total, is the driving force behind these decks. Most often, they make use of hard-to-kill creatures that work well with buff effects. Uril, the Miststalker is one of the most well-known Voltron commanders thanks to its nigh-exponential growth. I already had a Bruna, Light of Alabaster deck in my cache, and that one plays very true to form. Rafiq of the Many may be the most hated legend of this type, and Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest seems poised to ascend to such a rank. But Silumgar is different in that it has a very meager combat ability. More than that, it has a low power, meaning that the number of enhancements would go up. I had a plan to help turn Silumgar into a powerhouse. Of course, it meant casting lots and lots of spells.

Inspired by prowess, I wanted to use the wide array of potent blue and black spells to fuel a control deck that would also allow me to soup up Silumgar. I wanted to turn that toxic breath into a concentrated cloud of doom. When I did my cursory search and I found both Runechanter's Pike and Leering Emblem, I knew I had found my deck. I present to you Silumgar the Wandering Warrior:

The goal of this deck is to resolve a Silumgar and keep it the only true threat on the battlefield. While the number of true board wipes is low, there are many ways to retrieve them and also to go find them in the first place. There are a few different buckets beyond sweepers and card-draw, however.

Playing Alone

SIlumgar has a minor subtheme of having a solitary creature holding the fort. By design to present a lower threat profile, Lone Revenant and Homicidal Seclusion are the clearest executions of this theme. Ronin Warclub plays nicely into this as well since it will snap into the hand of the nearest monster.

Cast the Spells

Leering Emblem really pushed me toward wanting to cast as many spells as possible in a turn. While I have not maxed out on cheap nonpermanents, I pushed up on lands to make sure I would be able to cast those that I did draw. Runechanter's Pike gives a power boost as well, and if I had read Scroll of the Masters correctly, I would have found space—there will be one in there eventually for sure.

Homicidal Seclusion
Scroll of the Masters
Angelheart Vial

Staying Alive

Angelheart Vial and Sun Droplet help to stem the bleeding in dribs and drabs while Loxodon Warhammer allows for bigger swings. Subversion and Palace Siege play the long game without being as threatening as Bloodchief Ascension. Additionally, Palace Siege can help to regrow my meager creature count if the game ever reaches that point. I have a feeling that the Sieges from Fate Reforged are going to be amazing additions to Commander decks everywhere in that they can encourage multiple different styles of play out of one deck. Making a deck that can use both is just the best crystal gravy.

Polymorphist's Jest

Polymorphist's Jest
This was a suggestion from my friend Rob. The Jest has earned it slot for the story factor. Just once, I want to turn an otherwise-terrifying team into a bunch of Frogs—and then kill them with Silumgar.


I was able to take this deck for a spin in what turned out to be my second and final game of the day. Micah was the first active player with his Sedris, the Traitor King, followed by me, Leslie with Phelddagrif, and Dana with Karametra, God of Harvests. Micah’s deck was full of Windfall and Underworld Dreams effects while Leslie was playing Group Hug and Dana was playing Enchantress.

Micah started off the action with Lethal Vapors, which was just fine with me, as it allowed me to accrue resources. After laying down a Reliquary Tower, I was able to Recurring Insight my hand up to nearly twenty cards. After Leslie Naturalized the Vapors, Dana started to build her army.

Micah had other plans, using Whispering Madness to make sure everyone would be discarding plenty of cards and then drawing quite a few more. He then played a Megrim, which provided a scare to everyone but me.

Leslie came to the rescue with Time Reversal, but Micah countered with Spiteful Visions. Dana continued to build a team while I stemmed the bleeding with Sun Droplet. The game proceeded for a few turns before Micah went for another draw-seven effect, only to see Leslie once again save the day with Nature's Claim for Spiteful Visions. I managed to draw back into Recurring Insight and was threatening quite a bit of damage thanks to Lone Revenant carrying the Diviner's Wand. I was ready to untap and deal some serious damage, except Micah ended my day with the Trouble half of Toil // Trouble and then cast Windfall for lethal thanks to Megrim. Micah went on to win the game.

All that said, I was very pleased with how the deck played out. Unlike my other weapons, which often require the assembly of an obscene number pieces to function properly, all this deck needs is a Dragon and clear skies. There are some cards I can consider adding that slot in with little trouble:

Draining Whelk This stops a threat and leaves a Dragon—seems fine.

Deadeye Navigator Without any obscene combos (only normally vulgar ones), this could be used as another way to protect Silumgar.

HatredIt’s here because I want the story, just once.

Forbidden Alchemy, Impulse, Preordain, Sleight of Hand, Serum Visions These help to find key cards while also filling the graveyard with spells for more damage.


While not going for full tribal, shifting Silumgar’s deck could find home for Quicksilver Dragon and Noxious Dragon to allow for some additional Infest-style action. I hope the quality of dragons in Dragons of Tarkir will be high enough and nonred enough to make their way into Silumgar’s brood.

Until then, I’ll be giving all the weapons to my Dragon lord and making sure it connects for quite a bit of damage. What’s your favorite deck that uses a commander in a way that isn’t the most traditional? Looking to the game, Micah is fairly adamant about not using Nekusar, the Mindrazer at the helm of his Grixis deck because it would be too obvious. And I understand that feeling—I’m with him. Let’s move to Austin and be weird—and also have Dragons belching all the time.

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