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Classic Commander: Purraj of Urborg


If you've been playing Magic for a while, odds are good that you've come into someone else's collection at some point or another. This could be anything from a couple packs a friend gave you to a big collection someone gifted you. For me, I ended up coming into a very sizable collection when I visited my hometown to attend SCG Buffalo in 2012 when my uncle offered to sell me his old collection.

It was a large collection and was really tough to get back to Florida but it was quite worth it. Several thousand cards ranging from Legends all the way to the Urza block were in it. With it were a lot of great staples for Legacy - which I was really diving into at the time - Commander, and Cube. Most of the cards found homes in a lot of those places, filling out Legacy decks I was working on, making some neat swaps in my Cube, and going into my existing Commander decks. Because of the sheer volume of cards, though, it inspired me to make a couple all new decks around as many of these old cards as I could.

Purraj of Urborg

Enter Purraj of Urborg. What really attracted me to her, though, was the number of cool and unique effects I kept finding on Mono-Black cards out of the collection I got. I wanted to use as many of them as I could under one deck and Purraj essentially provided a great outlet. Of most of the legendary creatures I got, she seemed a really cool one that could get huge from all those cool spells you're casting. From there, she attacks and takes out opponents single handedly with massive damage.

With my recent explorations into Classic Commander, I figured it would be a good idea to revisit this concept once more. Let's check out a list!

With a ton of this deck, I used a lot of the weird odd cards I found that I wouldn't normally see elsewhere. Koskun Falls, Dystopia, Urborg Justice, and so on just made for really interesting cards. A lot of things ended up feeling very hateful and specific, though. Stench of Evil was a card I distinctly remembered from my original list but it was too specific of a hate card to feature in this new list. But that's not to say there still aren't a lot of cool effects to go around.

Koskun Falls
Infernal Tribute
Ashen Powder

How often do you get to see cards like Infernal Tribute, Diamond Kaleidoscope, Rag Man, and Skeleton Scavengers in one package? It's rare, and while it's not particularly potent compared to a lot of modern Black lists, it provides a really interesting dynamic to games. You might find that bringing a lot of these to the table can shake up your typical Commander nights and offer something a little different in the process.

We can't win entirely off of just weird and wacky old effects though. As such, I put a couple other ways to win into the list. This works fine because it's what I essentially did back when I first built Purraj nearly a decade ago: fill the gaps between the old cards with some that are on the newer end of the spectrum for Classic Commander. This allows for something like Exsanguinate to enter the picture, but where's the fun in that? How about some big creatures instead!

Avatar of Woe
Pit Spawn
Spirit of the Night

I slipped a small Reanimator-style package in here. It's nothing too crazy by a lot of Reanimator standards, but works great for a deck like this. Lim-Dul the Necromancer and Geth, Lord of the Vault are both great at stealing your opponents' creatures. Herald of Leshrac does a great job at depriving opponents of lands while racking up tons of damage. Both Avatar of Woe and Visara the Dreadful make short work of creatures in your way. If all else fails, you can get there the old-fashioned way with some big creatures like Demonic Hordes, Pit Spawn, and good old Spirit of the Night.

All in all, Purraj was one of those random decks built with creativity provided by an extremely limited card pool and a bit of curiosity. There are a lot of weird old cards out there most people barely know about and this was an experiment to see if a critical mass of them worked out. As it turns out, they do - quite well in fact! The deck was a lot of fun then and can make for a great time now as well. Give it a shot at your next Commander night and try something a little different! And even if you don't build this deck, try doing what was done here: find some strange and unique effects and try them together. You might be surprised at how effective it turns out to be!

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: TheMaverickGal

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