Elder Dragon Highlander (M:tG): Riding the Rainbow

Welcome to my first deck article on a format which has grown very dear to me: Elder Dragon Highlander.

If you are not familiar with it, here are the basics: Instead of a 60 card deck, you are playing with 99 cards +1 General/Commander and each card is a one-of, you can have only one copy of any one card in your deck. Now your General or Commander has to be a legendary Creature and its colors determine the colors of your deck. The Commander is not shuffled in the deck with the other cards but put aside and can be summoned any time by paying for its cost. When the Commander is destroyed, it goes back to the “Command Zone” from where it can be summoned again at +2 colorless mana to its orginal cost for each time beyond the first time it was summoned.

Elder Dragon Highlander is a really fun way to play Magic: the Gathering, my favorite part being that you have to be creative and inventive when building a deck and the fact that due to the fact that you are going to fill a deck of 99 cards with one-ofs so you HAVE to run cards that wouldn’t see much play in regular magic decks. Also, the format is considerably slower, making high-cost cards, which usually have awesome effects but are too slow in ordinary fomats, much more viable. Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH for short) is also very suitable for more than 2 players and Wizards (of the Coast) has shown the format a lot of love lately, releasing official, preconstructed EDH decks with tons of rares and even cards especially designed for the once not so mainstream format.

But let us talk a bit about my newest EDH Deck which, as it happens, I have just built (yeah, up very early again…). At first I wanted to start this off by posting about my first EDH Deck, which is a Red/Blue/Black deck with Garza Zol, Plague Queen, with no real strategy just featuring a ton of powerful and/or fun-to-play cards. But then I changed my mind and decided to share my newest EDH creation with you.

It is highly recommended to listen to this here song by Strawberry Alarm Clock over and over again whilst reading the following deck article:

Well, that being said, let us start with my “Rainbow” EDH Deck. I have to mention two things before I go on to share the deck list with you: Firstly, I like setting myself little challenges when building fun decks like the following. This time around, I wanted to make a deck consisiting exclusively of gold-bordered multicolor cards (all non-land cards in  this deck are multicolor). This is the reason why you won’t see Birds of Paradise or Noble Hierarch in the deck, although they would fit in perfectly. Secondly, I have to note that I built this deck solely from cards I had in my collection and only from spare cards which I don’t currently have in one of my other EDH decks (some great multicolor cards are in my Dragons and Sliver Decks, both of them five color decks), so many great cards like Vindicate or Maelstrom Pulse are missing from the list. I am aware of that issue and am not willing to actually buy any additional cards for this deck so please, while I normally appreciate any suggestions, do not suggest any cards which should be added. This one is purely for fun!

Anyways here comes the deck list. Afterwards I will pick out some notable cards, although pretty much all of them are awesome, and give you my thoughts on them. My apologies for not discussing each and every card, but in an EDH deck with 100 different cards that would be quite a chore and would result in a longer-than-necessary article.

Riding the Rainbow (EDH):

Commander: Child of Alara

Creatures…36

Grixis Grimblade

Naya Hushblade

Bant Sureblade

Jund Hackblade

Esper Stormblade

Tidehollow Sculler

Vedalken Heretic

Quasali Pridemage

Skullbriar the Walking Grave

Woolly Thoctar

Rhox War Monk

Scarland Thrinax

Sprouting Thrinax

Knotvine Mystic

Giltspire Avenger

Dauntless Escort

Madrush Cyclops

Wall of Denial

Nulltread Gargantuan

Lorescale Coatl

Vithian Renegades

Knight of the Reliquary

Stoic Angel

Lightning Angel

Spellbreaker Behemoth

Loxodon Hierarch

Knight of New Alara

Tower Gargoyle

The Mimeoplasm

Vulturous Zombie

Deathbringer Thoctar

Firemane Angel

Wrexial of the Deep

Defiler of Souls

Charnelhoard Wurm

Apocalypse Hydra

Instants…12

Countersquall

Terminate

Recoil

Perplex

Undermine

Putrefy

Grixis Charm

Naya Charm

Bant Charm

Esper Charm

Jund Charm

Bituminous Blast

Sorceries…9

Reborn Hope

Blightning

Wreak Havoc

Slave of Bolas

Titanic Ultimatum

Cruel Ultimatum

Violent Ultimatum

Wargate

Lavalanche

Enchantments…1

Elder Mastery

Artifacts…5

Mistvein Borderpost

Veinfire Borderpost

Firewild Borderpost

Fieldmist Borderpost

Wildfield Borderpost

Lands…35

3 x Forest

3 x Swamp

3 x Plains

3 x Island

3 x Mountain

1 x Arcane Sanctum

1 x Crumbling Necropolis

1 x Jungle Shrine

1 x Seaside Citadel

1 x Savage Lands

1 x Rocky Tar Pit

1 x Grasslands

1 x Bad River

1 x Mountain Valley

1 x Flood Plain

1 x Command Tower

1 x Terramorphic Expanse

1 x Evolving Wilds

1 x Rupture Spire

1 x Mirrodin’s Core

1 x Grand Coliseum

1 x Crystal Quarry

1 x Terminal Moraine

1 x Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree

1 x Svogthos, the Restless Tomb

My thoughts on some of the cards:

My Commander:

Child of Alara is a pretty random choice for a commander I have to admit. I was looking for a five color Creature as my commander and this is what I found in my binder! Beside, it is a 6/6 Trampler for 5 Mana which is not half-bad, and has the powerful ability to destroy all non-land permanents in play when it is sent from battelfield to the graveyard, which I deem only situationally useful as most of the times it would harm you as much as your opponent as well. Well, again I chose this one as the commander for this deck because I wanted to have access to all five colors. It is not necessary to summon your commander for the win in this particular deck I think…

The “Blade-Creatures”:

Jund Hackblade, Bant Sureblade, Grixis Grimblade, Naja Hushblade and Esper Stormblade are 3 color Creatures for just 2 mana. If another mutlicolor permanent is in play, which should not be too hard to accomplish in multicolor-only deck, they are all 3/2, which is not a bad deal to start with, and each of them gets a specific ability as a bonus. Hackblade gains Haste, Sureblade First Strike, Grimblade Deathtouch, Hushblade Shroud and Stormblade gets Flying. I think these are amazing turn 2 plays in this deck and they will all grow huge if you manage to get Knight of New Alara out, which will give each of the “Blades” +3/+3, turning them into 6/5s with an additional ability to boot.

Quasali Pridemage:

A walking Disenchant with a good body and the Exalted ability, just in case you need it. Very nice!

Woolly Thoctar, Rhox War Monk, Sprouting Thrinax and Scarland Thrinax:

These are all amazing 3 casting cost Creatures which are all highly efficient for their cost. Woolly Thoctar is a stunning 5/4 for just 3 Mana, Rhox War Monk a 3/4 with Lifelink, Sprouting Thrinax is 3/3 and gives you 3 1/1 Saprolings when he dies and Scarland Thrinax can grow huge as he gets a +1/+1 Counter every time you sacrifice a Creature to him. You can sac all your Creatures that would be destroyed by your opponent in response, so Scarland Thrinax can be very useful. Knight of New Alara gives all of these a +3/+3 boost which would turn Woolly Thoctar for example into a 8/7 behemoth.

Tower Gargoyle:

This one is  a Flying 4/4 Artifact Creature with a converted casting cost of just 4. Combined with Knight of New Alara he would be a 7/7. Not a bad deal either way.

Knight of New Alara:

This one is really central if you are trying to overpower your opponent by brute force, giving each multicolored Creature +1/+1 for each of its colors. Now all your Creatures are multicolored and have two or even three colors which would mean an a boost of +2/+2 or +3/+3 respectively. As mentioned before, Knight transforms your lowly, cheap “Blade Creatures” into 6/5 monsters with great additional abiliities. If you are trying to go in the offense, search this one out via Wargate!

Defiler of Souls:

A 5/5 Flyer for 6 mana is less than exciting but his ability rocks in a deck with multicolor cards only. “At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, that player sacrifices a monocolored Creature.” Well most decks you are going to face will be running at least some, or some more, monocolored Creatures while you have none at all, giving you a great advantage when the Defiler is out!

Terminate & Putrify: 

Efficient pinpoint Creature removal at its best! While Terminate is cheaper, Putrify can destroy artifacts as well, being more flexible overall.

The Charms:

One Charm for every tripple color combination, Grixis, Naya, Bant, Jund and Esper. I like to be flexible and the “Alara Charms” offer great flexibility, each of them letting you choose one of three useful effects, whichever you need most at any given time in the game. I won’t list all the effects here – go check out the cards for yourself if you are curious! 🙂

Reborn Hope:

In a Deck with multicolored non-land permanents only, Reborn Hope acts pretty much like a Regrowth, except that it cannot retrieve lands from the Graveyard, which is only a minor complaint though. Otherwise it is awesome for getting back any fallen key-Creature or a spent Sorcery or Instant you would like to re-use. The Ultimatums come to mind with their devastating effects being twice as devastating if cast a second time!

The Ultimatums:

There is one for every three-color combination in Alara, just like the Charms, only that they give you all their effects without having to choose one out of three, are far more devastating and a heck of a lot more expensive to cast. I am running the GWR Titanic Ultimatum, the RGB Violent Ultimatum and my favorite of the whole lot, the UBR Cruel Ultimatum. The latter has an amazing array of effects: It causes your opponent to lose 5 life, gains you 5 life, causes your opponent to discard 3 cards, draws you 3 card, causes your opponent to sacrifice a Creature and returns one of your Creatures from graveyard to hand. Boom, what a blast. So many great effects on one card. Clearly my favorite Ultimatum.

Wargate:

At UWG + X, Wargate puts any permanent card from your deck into play directly, whereby X is the permanent’s converted casting cost. What a great search engine to get your “silver bullets”, and in EDH all you got are silver bullets, out of your deck and right into play. You could search for something cheap like Quasali Pridemage to get rid of an Artifact or Enchantment for example. Another recommended card to get would be Knight of Alara, as that one, I discussed it before, boosts the stats of all of your Creatures which would allow you to overpower your opponent by brute force.

The Borderposts:

Since I wanted to run multicolor non-land permanents only in this deck, the Borderposts, being multicolored artifacts (who would have believed in the existence of something like that in the olden days of the game?) were pretty much my only option for mana accelerating artifacts. A perfect fit in the deck, speeding everything up at least a little bit!

The Mirage Fetchlands:

While their Onslaught and Zendikar counterparts see a whole lot more play in regular formats, I would argue that in a considerably slower environment such as the EDH format, the Mirage fetchlands, which come into play tapped, contrary to the newer ones from Onslaught and Zendikar, are almost as good and definitely highly playable in EDH. They are a convenient way of fetching just the Basic Land you needed most right from your deck. Having a basic land can have many advantages over a non-basic land. Hence I am running the whole 5 card cycle of the Mirage fetchlands.

 

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