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Around the Wheel: Dromoka, the Eternal

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It's the holidays. And nothing says "Holidays!" like big ol' honkin' Dragons.

Dromoka, the Eternal

Selesnya is the color pair of lots of little creatures. Tokens are super common. Trostani and Emmara are both big names in the guild, and both like having tons of little dudes running around, in some cases caring specifically about tokens. But it seemed like it'd be more fun to do something a bit unexpected. You plunk down your deckbox. "What are you playing?" "Selesnya," you reply with a smile. Who would expect a wing of Dragons?

Without Red, though, things get funny. Tarkir gave us Dragons in every color, but before that pickings were pretty thin outside of Red, and a lot of those were... terrible. Really, really terrible. But we've got some pretty good ones now, and Dromoka will do us the favor of making them bigger.

Dragons are expensive, so it's fortunate we have Green in the mix to help get extra mana. We'll play our full 40, but really we're not going to do much in the first few turns, so we can play a bunch of tapped lands to cover our color needs. Once we hit three mana, though, we'll start ramping, and we've got just enough that we should hit a spell or two in the first three turns so we're at seven or eight mana by turn five. We're also running Dromoka Monument and Dragon's Hoard, because both seemed too on theme to ignore. They're also great in the deck, because the Monument will trigger Dromoka and the Hoard helps us get more cards (read: Dragons) to play. Urza's Incubator will reduce the price of our Dragons by 2, which is a heck of a deal. Crucible of the Spirit Dragon is also super on-theme, and a couple of other utility lands make the cut. Haunted Fengraf, for example, will get us something back if we find ourselves without any action, and Rogue's Passage can sneak enough damage through cluttered airspace if the game has locked up to finish off an opponent.

Green also loves to draw cards, and it especially likes to draw them based on the size of the creatures controlled. This is great, because we've got some big ones. Hunter's Prowess is a great example. A 9/9 Dragon becomes a 12/12 with Trample. If it manages to get in just six of that damage, we'll draw six cards for our trouble. That's a great deal for five mana. It gets more absurd if we hit with the entire force of the Dragon! Hunter's Insight is similar but at instant speed, so while we get no power boost we can choose the Dragon the opponent let through. Momentous Fall is a great way to refill if one of our Dragons gets killed. Return of the Hunter draws according to our biggest, and Rishkar's Expertise does too, except the first does it at instant speed and the second lets us cast a spell for free. Soul's Majesty draws at sorcery speed, but still, it draws a bunch of cards for five mana. Nissa's Revelation lets us stack the top of our deck and draw a ton. Camaraderie cares about how many creatures we've got, but we can normally make sure it's at least six or seven, plus we get a power boost and some life gain for our trouble.

Kindred Summons deserves special mention here. With four or five Dragons on the battlefield, we're going to turn that into eight or ten for seven mana. That's absurd. Be careful, though, because a well-timed Wrath of God will really wreck our big turn.

Our Dragons is how we plan to win the game. They're big, they get bigger, and they fly, which means we should be able to get them past most defenses. We also make a lot of mana, so Propaganda effects shouldn't be too much of a bother. We have 19 Dragons in the deck, which isn't bad for a deck not containing Red. (That doesn't include the two Ugin Planeswalkers, which are both dragons but not Dragons, right?) They do lots of different things, but here are some highlights:

Wardscale Dragon nukes combat tricks from our opponents.

Shieldhide Dragon puts counters on every other Dragon we've got.

Foe-Razer Regent kills another creature when it enters the battlefield.

Destructor Dragon destroys stuff on its way out. Talk about a sore loser.

One of the most important ones we've got is Steel Hellkite, because used surgically it can cause massive problems for other players. While we're at it, we've got a couple other "blow-it-all-up" type spells; White is especially good at this, because unlike Black, which just kills creatures, we get spells like the ones we're running. Austere Command and Cleansing Nova both give us the option to destroy creatures or artifacts and enchantments, which is great. Finally, we've got a bunch of Fight spells. This limits our ability to kill things, of course, because if someone makes a 36/36 we're not going to be able to Fight our way out of it (barring our having a 37/37, which isn't beyond the realm of possibility but it's unlikely there's still a game going on). But it feels like Dragons wouldn't mess about with shifty stuff like Oblivion Ring or Path to Exile: nope, they're going to burn their enemies down in fire. It also triggers Foe-Razer Regent, which is just a bonus. We've even got Fight Bear, Ulvenwald Tracker, serving as ringmaster.

There are a few other fun, themey cards floating around. Both sieges - Citadel Siege and Frontier Siege - are here and will do good work. Kindred Boon and Radiant Destiny, too, are fun. The Boon especially is quite powerful, because nothing makes Dragons scarier than making them Indestructible. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Ugin, the Ineffable are here, as previously mentioned. Neither is particularly fabulous in this particular deck other than being expensive planeswalkers, but all the abilities except the Ineffable's static one are useful, plus how do you play a Dragon theme deck without including Ugin?

Some extra creatures are here too. Dragonloft Idol is a 4/4 Flying and Trample for four, which is good, but also cares if we have a Dragon, so we had to drop it in. Orator of Ojutai may be backing a different Dragonlord, but in our deck it's a Wall of Omens, so it stays. Scaleguard Sentinels is similar, as a two-mana 3/4 is a great early defensive card. Sylvia Brightspear, despite lacking her partner, can win the game just by being cast. Double Strike on seven flying Dragons is scary enough, but since they'll each Bolster 2 when they attack, it'll add 14 power to the attack, which then gets doubled. Nasty.

Dromoko, the Eternal | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper


It's not rocket science (ramp, play Dragons, attack, win) but it's really, really silly fun. The theme cards add to the goofiness as opposition gets fought out of the way.

However, there are lots of directions to take if you want to change it up. Certainly, the theme means we're making sub-par choices in places. Wall of Omens is just better than Orator of Ojutai. Path to Exile is way better than Pounce. But, if we're honest, Luminarch Primordial is better than Alabaster Dragon: the point isn't to be the best, but to have fun with Dragons. Adding a bit more classic utility like Banishing Light or Reclamation Sage might not be a bad idea, because this deck probably won't win very often at a table of highly-tuned-to-win stacks. There's no ramp in here that doesn't get at least two lands, but that comes at a price: the ramp really starts at three mana, which means we're generally not doing anything until turn three, and we're not doing anything to affect the board until turn five or six. Sol Ring and other cheap forms of ramp could be added in to speed along even more quickly, if that's more your style.

Like last time, I limited my potential Commanders, but this time I went with "legal in Pioneer" rather than "legal in Standard." That increased my options a fair amount. However, self-imposed limitations are a great way to get creative juices flowing, which is really important when building a Commander deck. And also like last time, once I zeroed in on Dromoka I didn't consider building anything else.

What's your favorite out-of-character deck? rg Zombies? wb counterspell.dec? Creatureless Mono-Green? What would you do differently in your Selesnya Dragon deck? Let us know!

Happy holidays, everyone. I'll see you in the new year.

Thanks for reading.

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