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Dragon Our Feet



Every once in a while, I'll feel like I'm not really innovating that much. You don't need me to translate EDHREC's average deck page into 1,500 extra words like I'm one of those writers on a recipe website who gives you 2,000 words about their mama's cherry pie when you literally just want to know what temperature to preheat your oven to to pre-bake a pie crust. I don't want the article I work on to be an impediment to someone who just wants a generic decklist, I want to actually come up with something novel and have the words I spend contextualizing the choices I made, you know, matter. I'm hoping that's what you want, too, since you're reading the opening paragraph instead of scrolling down to the list. You know what? Scroll away, you'll be back. This week I was genuinely inspired to do something fairly creative, and with a commander that was one of the last ones picked in the set. I'm not going to do the bit where I pretend we both don't know who we're talking about today, so let's just do the reveal already.

Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient

Klauth is a dragon. Whenever a creature is a dragon, Magic players do this thing where they misremember an article they read about how Guinea Pigs are social animals and you should only have them in pairs and they think they can't build a deck with a Dragon as the commander unless it's Dragon tribal. Is there anything wrong with Dragon Tribal? Not per se, but you can see why I'm not going to write about it, right? You don't need me to tell you how to build this as a Dragon tribal deck. You add Dragons, mana ramp, the 15 tribal staples like Coat of Arms that are basically required inclusions and you call it a day. It really doesn't help that the precon Klauth comes in is lousy with Dragons, I get that. Why would you buy a whole precon and then take like 90 of the cards out? Kluath is like 10 bucks, you could buy 3 or 4 for what you paid for the precon. So, you get the precon, you take out 11 cards, add a Stomping Grounds and a Maskwood Nexus and punt that list on Archidekt or whatever and call it a day. I don't think you did anything wrong, people like playing with Dragons and they filled the precon with Dragons. Klauth is a good Dragon commander, but it's hard to find the deck being built any other way. I decided if I am going to justify your undivided attention, I should do something that others aren't, which means we ignore Dragons.

Dragons are an attractive way to build around Klauth for a lot of reasons, and understanding what those are will help us find something complementary but dissimilar to do with our own build. First of all, Klauth is expensive. Seven mana is a ton for a commander because if it dies, you're paying 9 then 11 mana to get it back out and a lot of times, you can't afford a 3rd summoning. Part of the infrastructure of a Dragon deck is cards that reduce the mana cost of Dragons, allowing you to play Klauth earlier and more often. Klauth generates mana when it attacks, which gives you mana you have to use on spells, spells like more dragons, which in turn boost the amount of mana you get next attack. It seems pretty obvious that you just play big creatures to maximize the amount of mana you get, right?

That last part seems OK logically, but it's actually not the only way to benefit from Klauth's trigger. Everyone wants to go tall with their creatures, which makes Dragons an obvious choice, but wouldn't we generate a ton of mana from going wide? More creatures means buffs go way farther, nasty blockers like deathtouchers are less of an issue and having our creatures be expendable means that cards like Greater Good, Perilous Forays, and Ashnod's Altar can help us get what we need without us having to worry about throwing a big, expensive Dragon on the sacrificial altar, which is a bad trade. We're in Gruul which gives us Omnath, Titania, Avenger of Zendikar and even Rampaging Baloths if you still think it's 2015 (you should cut Baloths). Playing one big dragon for free post-combat is cool, but if you can keep your hand full, which you should be able to do with Garruk's Uprising, Rishkar's Expertise, and Greater Good, you can dump lots of medium spells rather than one big one. Essentially, we're a token deck, and token decks have always been cool. So how would a Klauth token deck look?

Klauth Tokens | Commander | Jason Alt

This looks like a ton of fun, and doesn't require any Dargons. You can add your own favorite token deck cards, but all of mine are here for the most part. Instead of investing a lot of mana into big dragons, we invest in cards that produce a steady stream of creatures and new cards for our hands. The goal is to go as wide as possible and to have some additional combat phases to really get the job done.

You might want a few more ways to make your creatures indestructible so you can swing without fear of getting blown out, though in my experience you're more likely to get hit with Aetherspouts or Settle the Wreckage or something else you can't Heroic Intervention your way out of. Rather than live in fear, make them live in fear because you're blasting them with big creatures every turn. I think my inclusion of Eldrazi Monument shows I'm at least thinking about the possibility of them, you know, blocking. Extra combat phases become scary when your creatures are indestructible because they can no longer block effectively.

I didn't not include Hellkite Charger just because it's a Dragon - the deck has Old Gnawbone, after all. I want to find room for Hellkite Tyrant, kinda. If you want to jam Hellkite Charger, you should. The deck has Bear Umbra and you can add Sword of Feast and Famine on top of the Aggravated Assault. This ends games. Including this package would have made me have to either cut staples you shouldn't cut just to make sure I showcase my pet cards or cut pet cards and since I can just write paragraphs explaining exclusions from the list, I'd rather show you a list of a good deck and tell you what to change on your own. If I build this, which I might do because it looks fun, I'm jamming Hellkite Charger.

I included the controversial Triumph of the Hordes and excluded the less controversial Craterhoof Behemoth and that's a question of how much mana the two cards cost. You don't really need either one, especially if you have something like Cultivator of Blades or Champion of Lambholt going. Beastmaster Ascension with an army of Saprolings is formidable enough.

Finally, have a plan for getting board wiped. I have a lot of Enchantments because I always have a lot of Enchantments, and that helps mitigate a wipe because you can get right back on your feet with something like Tendershoot Dryad if you have Parallel Lives and such in play in perpetuity. This deck should shake off a Wrath better than most, and much better than the Dragon pile the internet seems to think Klauth wants built around it.

Finally, I like this deck a lot because it's something I like to do in these colors. Going wide is fun, tokens are fun, running up the score is fun, landfall is fun, this is going to be fun to play. Dragons are cool, too, but you don't need me to tell you how to build a Dragon deck, you have EDHREC for that. What I DO want to help with is taking a look at a boring decklist and coming up with something novel (i.e., the same landfall thing you do with basically all of your Gruul decks) to do with that commander. That does it for me, readers. Until next time!

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