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75% – If It’s Broke, Phix It

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A couple of weeks ago, Triumph (either a fan of insult comic dogs or Canadian power trios that aren’t Rush) asked if a 75% Rafiq of the Many deck was possible. This was in the comments of this article because I know people can’t resist on turning blue links purple. You’ve probably clicked the link, but I’ll repeat here what I said there.

I can try. I think the best way to do it is to go some sort of non-Voltron route, and I'm not sure what that would be. With abilities triggering on exalted, you're not really obliged NOT to build Voltron.

I have noticed playing Rafiq tends to paint a target on you. An unfamiliar group won't know you have a 75% deck and they'll smash you as they would any other Rafiq deck. I'm not saying "no" I am saying "I will have to think long and hard about how to do it properly."

Knight tribal is a way to go, but how many knights do you want in play when you benefit from attacking with just one? I'll poke around online and see if anyone has any ideas. Maybe someone has done something similar already.

The more I tinkered with it on paper, the more I realized I was breaking one of my rules with every approach. I didn’t want to start with a strong Rafiq deck and neuter it to make it fairer. I tried to stick with a theme and build something like Rafiq Auras or Rafiq tokens, but I was realizing it was just a bad version of a better deck. I couldn’t make a “fair” Voltron deck without just making a better one bad, and I realized something else.

Rafiq of the Many
If you sit down across from a new group, and they see Rafiq is your commander, you are better off having an unfair Rafiq deck because you better believe you’re being attacked as though you have one. If you don’t develop quickly and have those insane, turn-four kills that Rafiq decks are famous for, people will assume you stumbled on mana and pounce. Some commanders seem that they won’t benefit from the 75% treatment simply because people won’t understand what you’re up to and will treat you like every other Rafiq player who likes to KO people on turn four.

I was still mulling this over when I saw a thread in /r/EDH titled “EDH Generals (Which are the most popular for 5.00 & under.)” [sic]. Ever since I fished a Nath of the Gilt-Leaf out of a dollar box, I’ve thought about how I would make a 75% Nath deck. Is it possible? I mentioned something in the thread about how Nath is pretty sweet, and /u/FlannelBoy2 said, “Please do a 75% Nath.” So I tried. In the end, I had something that was fair, fun, 75% . . . and practically identical to the Shattergang Brothers deck I came up with here. Bummer.

Since I was struggling to come up with something 75%, I decided to just do my writing assignments for other sites and see if I received any inspiration. It was then, poring over the spoiler for Journey into Nyx, that I realized what I could do was put the 75% principles to the test by building something that no one has built because the deck doesn’t exist yet. I could pick a new legendary creature from Journey into Nyx and try to see if our philosophy is developed enough to apply to an unknown setting.

Kruphix, God of Horizons
A lot of cards look exciting, but none is half as exciting as Kruphix, God of Horizons. I want to build a deck with Kruphix as the commander, and I want to do it using our 75% rules. To refresh your memory and mine:

  • Scalable spells help tailor your cards to the power level of your opponents' decks.
  • Always start weak and improve the deck—never weaken a better deck.
  • You can skew toward power provided you skew away from consistency.
  • It is better to punish everyone equally for doing something rather than prevent them from doing it.
  • Building around a theme will keep the power level from skewing too high.
  • Imposing limitations encourages creativity and promotes balance.

I think we can manage, and I think we can make this happen by brainstorming a few cards I really want to make sure I include.

I think we want some scalable stuff, and a 75% card I really like is Vedalken Shackles. I haven’t put one in any of my own decks, but it’s a great and useful card, and since this is only two colors, you’ll have enough Islands. Bribery and Desertion should join Shackles in the deck. If you like Control Magic, Steal Artifact, and other spells like that, feel free to jam them.

Helix Pinnacle
I think you will benefit from having a lot of spells that are expensive in a Kruphix deck. One way to benefit from rolling your mana over is to play Eldrazi. I am going to take a few cues from Omnath, Locus of Mana (my wife’s deck, and very, very not 75%) and run cards such as Genesis Wave and Helix Pinnacle. Helix Pinnacle is a card I’ve never used to win a game but that I want to use to do so. I don’t know how 75% Eldrazi are, so I might only include them if I can’t think of anything more creative.

Why not run Omnath while we’re at it? Your blue and colorless mana will stick around and turn to colorless, but since your green mana will not empty as long as you control Omnath, you can benefit from having him, and you can still do things if Kruphix is killed or tucked or if other disaster befalls him.

Another card from the spoiler that seems like fun is Battlefield Thaumaturge. The hundred-card community is already very excited about this card, and I think he synergizes well with Kruphix. Cards that synergize both with having a lot of mana and with targeting a lot of creatures will be good in this deck, so let’s try a few. Strength of the Tajuru, Gridlock, and Curse of the Swine come to mind immediately. Being able to target the entire board with Curse of the Swine for uu is insane, and the deck would probably run Curse anyway. This is shaping up to be a lot of fun. Dismiss into Dream isn’t too expensive with a deck that can come up with a lot of mana like this one can, and Dismiss makes Gridlock, Curse, et al better, as it does with cards such as Vedalken Shackles and Crystal Shard—more cards we’d play anyway.

It sounds like we have some ideas. Let’s get a deck down, shall we?

Remember what I said about our work never being done? This is a very rough sketch of what I think the deck should look like. It has powerful cards yet no real way to find them consistently. It has cards that scale based on the power level of your opponents’ decks. It has mana-fixing and ramp and all of the essential cards for any Commander deck. It also has a lot of cards that work with the Battlefield Thaumaturge. There is nothing in here that I am dying to run that I didn’t include.

Trading Post
However, it’s very likely I missed something. Is there a sweet interaction with Battlefield Thaumaturge or Kruphix that I missed? Is there something that doesn’t sit right with you and you think has no place in a 75% deck? Remember this isn’t my philosophy, it’s everyone’s, so feel free to argue card choices with me. I am hoping once the EDH subreddit gets ahold of this list we’ll polish it up a bit and come up with a much more focused deck. I think the deck has the correct amount of silliness; it has cards I like to include in my 75% decks, it has nothing to mess with my opponents’ mana and prevent them from doing anything at all and thus ruining their nights, and it has a Trading Post. These decks have to have a Trading Post, on that I stand firm.




I am excited about a lot of cards in Journey into Nyx. How will Dictate of Kruphix help out Nekusar, the Mindrazer decks (like they needed help)? How much fun will Battlefield Thaumaturge be with cards like Dregs of Sorrow and Comet Storm? How much will I pay for a foil Sage of Hours to go in my Vorel of the Hull Clade deck? Anything in the set I missed? Let me hear about it! Thank you for joining me for another installment. Hit me up in the comments section or @JasonEAlt on Twitter or /u/JasonEAltMTG on reddit, and let’s talk shop.


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