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Classic Commander: Korlash, Heir to Blackblade


Everybody has that one person in their playgroup. You know - that person. The person who always ends up going just a little harder than everyone else without dipping all the way quite down the CEDH rabbit hole. The one person who plays a number of stronger lists that make everyone else want to gang up just to make sure they can survive long enough to have a good time. Yeah... that person.

For me, that person came in the form of my best friend from college - Keith. Every day we'd jam games of Commander between classes and on weekends would go check out what the local shops had to offer. Everywhere he went, though, he was breaking out some of the meanest decks around. Some of you might remember the Reaper King Classic Commander piece I wrote about in October (and if you don't, you can find it here). He was the one behind the original version of that list. He also had two other notorious decks among our group. There was Arcum Dagsson, with its crazy artifact stax nonsense, and then there was Korlash, Heir to Blackblade.

Korlash, Heir to Blackblade

Korlash is such a wild Commander. It's the kind of card where you look at it and at first glance it seems kind of innocuous. A regenerating, non-flying Nightmare for four mana? Okay, sure, that doesn't seem too scary. Then you start playing and you get to feel just how potent the list really is. Turns out, that being that cheap kinda-Nightmare is really all Korlash needs to be, and he gets even sillier when you start throwing a bunch of equipment onto him.

Let's check out a list:

Classic Korlash | Commander | Paige Smith

Obviously, the main part of this package is the equipment. There're tons of powerful equipment in the game and it all just makes an already large creature even larger. What's more, between the Swords, trample effects, and so on, it also makes Korlash both harder to kill and easier to attack players directly. Make no mistake: I have been one-shotted many a game by a Korlash and then watched all the other players soon meet the same fate soon after. Once the ball gets rolling with Korlash, it ends up being really hard to stop, and the ball gets rolling fast.

Sword of Fire and Ice
Helm of Kaldra

All four Swords of X and Y in here give Korlash a bunch of buffs and ways to plow through opponents' boards while also dodging their removal. If you don't have those, then you get Sword of Vengeance and Helm of Kaldra to give you trample to go over blocking creatures right to your opponents' life totals. You get pump spells like Strata Scythe and Lashwrithe, protection thanks to Lightning Greaves and Shield of Kaldra, and even a way to do quick kills with Grafted Exoskeleton. That's really saying something too given just how quickly Korlash can rack up 21 commander damage even without the help of infect!

The rest of the deck is largely getting to the kinds of cards that make your kill more efficient. One thing there's a decent amount of is quick mana, but less for dumb combo nonsense and more just ways to get your support cards down as quickly as possible. This way you can get Korlash on the board and powered up as fast as you're able. There's also a number of potent card draw abilities, tutors, and controlling cards like Mutilate or Decree of Pain.

Zombie Master

The deck also had a slight Reanimator package. In all honesty, I feel like the original list my buddy ran had some more top end cards to find with it all, but it provided great ways to get some potent cards down easily with minimal effort. For example, Zombie Master would always end up being a huge deal in many games, because when you combine it with Urborg, it essentially makes your Korlash unblockable - meaning it can get in that much more easily.

What you have in the end is an incredibly powerful deck in the Classic Commander field. It's not outright broken, but it's one your opponents will fight tooth and nail to take down and can easily turn you into the Archenemy without a moment's notice. The deck's power certainly makes it worth trying out because, hey, it's pretty great when you're the one winning. Give it a try at your next Commander night and have fun tearing up game after game with the Heir to Blackblade!

Paige Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

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