in my first EDH/Commander deck article I introduced you to my first EDH Deck. Today I want to share my latest EDH build with you.
Just yesterday I assembled an EDH Deck for which I had to buy just two cards I did not own, so the deck is more or less composed out of leftover cards, meaning there is probably a lot which could be improved by adding certain cards in my chosen colors but for now I want to try this one out with just the cards I had around. The two cards I had to buy were the Commander and an Enchantment that would go really well with that Commander and the deck I wanted to build around him.
Meet Rafiq of the Many, in the fancy, foil From the Vault: Legends version:
So the deck, as dictated by the colors of its Commander, would be a Green-White-Blue one. If we look at Rafiq we see that firstly he has the Exalted ability, giving a Creature that attacks alone +1/+1 until end of turn. Furthermore, Rafiq grants double strike to a lone attacker and has 3 Power and 3 Thoughness. Now this one is begging to have an EDH deck built around him that would focus on inflicting 20 Command Damage instead of 40 regular damage. With Rafiq I think I have found a Commander who is highly capable of doing just this. He is quite cheap with a converted casting cost of just 4 and his abilities seem to be perfect for dealing a lethal 20 points of command damage. The plan would be to let him attack alone which would give him a +1/+1 boost from his Exalted ability (and addtitional boosts from your other Creatures with Exalted) and, what is really great, he would grant himself Double Strike. If it is just Rafiqu, without the obligatory enchantments and equipment, he would deal 8 damage in that case. My plan is to boost and protect Rafiq of the Many as well as giving him some nice bonus abilities like Trample and Lifelink by means of Auras (formerly known as Creature Enchantments) and Equipment to deal 20 command damage in two turns at the best. The second card I mentioned that I purchased for this latest (and greatest??) EDH Deck of mine is an Enchantment which would make a one-turn-kill with Command Damage very much possible. Have a look at Finest Hour:
This has exalted which would mean when you attack with Rafiq, without having any enchantments, equipments and other bonuses, Rafiq would be dealing 10 damage and then Finest Hour would untap him and let him attack once more for another 10 damage. Provided your opponent has nothing to defend against this solitary attack, that would spell game over for them.
So let me share the deck I assembled, again, out of leftover cards, so it is not as fine-tuned as it may be. I may well be buying some one-of cards that could work well in this deck in the future. Right now, while I am running quality cards only, I think the deck is lacking focus. I think I should include more cards that focus on the Rafiq-Command Damage strategy rather than just being good by themselves.
If you read this and are an EDH connoisseur, your card suggestions would be very much welcome! I will list all cards, except basic lands, I am currently running in this first, quite rough Rafiq of the Many EDH Deck in order of their purpose in the deck. So here we go:
Rafiq of the Many EDH:
Rafiq of the Many (1GWU):
As discussed above, the main goal of this deck is to let Rafiq deal 20 Command Damage as fast as possible. Most of the cards in the deck serve this purpose and either boost Rafiq’s stats, protect him from opponent removal and/or give him some useful additional abilities. There are some Creatures which are generally good in my opinion and some utility Creatures which do not directly support the Rafiq plan. Rafiq is cheap enough so you can get him out on turn 3 consistently considering the number of cheap Mana ramp cards this deck includes. Also, lots of targeted Creature removal is added to clear the way for Rafiq and to generally disturb the opponent’s strategy.
Birds of Paradies (G):
Provides you with a mana of any color and flies, which can be handy in certain situations.
Noble Hierarch (G):
Provides you wich any mana of the colors you are playing in this deck, so G, W or U. Also it has the Exalted ability which is of great use for the Rafiq strategy.
Sakura-Tribe Elder (1G):
Great blocker which can be sacrificed to search for any 1 basic land and put it into play tapped. Basically a Rampant Growth on a 1/1 body.
Explosive Vegetation (3G):
Searches for 2 basic lands and puts them into play tapped. I should consider running Harrow over this one.
Wayfarer’s Bauble (1):
If you pay two and sacrifice this, you can put a basic land from your deck into play tapped.
Fellwar Stone (2):
Gives you 1 Mana of any color that lands you have could produce.
Talisman of Unity (2):
Provides either 1 generic Mana or Green/White Mana at the cost of 1 life.
Talisman of Progress (2):
Provides either 1 generic Mana or Blue/White Mana at the cost of 1 life.
Darksteel Ingot (3):
Produces 1 Mana of any color and is indestructable, hence escaping destruction by cards like Oblivion Stone or Nevinyrral’s Disk for instance.
Vedalken Heretic (GU):
When this deals combat damage you draw a card. As simple as that. I think I will replace this with Coiling Oracle which costs the same but draws you a card immediatley when played or serves as Mana ramp as it puts the card into play if it is a land.
Draws you 3 cards and is green, which is unusual for card draw of that quality.
Worldly Tutor (G):
Fetches key Creatures such as Sovereigns of Lost Alara.
Enlightened Tutor (W):
Cheaply fetches any Enchantment of Artifact.
Steelshaper’s Gift (W):
An Equipment Tutor that cheaply gives you access to such goodies as Umezawa’s Jitte, Lightning Greaves or even Behemoth Sledge.
Eladamri’s Call (GW):
Another way to get just the Creature you need most at any point in the game. This one brings the Creature card directly into your hand.
Sterling Grove (GW):
This doubles as Enchantment tutoring and Enchantment protection and is hence tremendously useful in this deck.
Idyllic Tutor (2W):
Lets you add any 1 Enchantment from your deck to your hand. Prime targets would be Steel of the Godhead and Finest Hour.
This is an amazing tutor which allows you to put any permanent from your deck into play immediately. Not exactly cheap but your emergency button for pretty much any situation.
This counters a Spell that targets a card you control AND draws you 1 card. Confound is very splashable as it requires only 1 colored mana and should work great for protecting your Rafiq.
Hindering Light (WU):
Similar to Confound, Hindering Light counters any Spell that targets you or a card you control as well as drawing you a card in the process.
Mana Leak (1U):
Another cheap, splashable counter.
The best and most efficient “Hard Counter” in existance, besides Force of Will and Mana Drain of course. Should be used to save your Rafiq from many unpleasant opponent Spells and Abilities for which your Commander should be acting like a magnet.
Arguably the best counter for an EDH deck as it lets you put the countered Spell on the bottom of its owner’s Library. This is one of the very few Spells that get rid of the opponent Commander more or less permanently, since he or she would go under their library instead of back to the Command Zone.
This deck features quite a few cheap Creature removal Spell, the first of the lot being Reciprocate. It exiles any Creature that dealt damage to you, making your opponent think twice before they attack.
A great way of getting rid of an opponent Commander by putting him or her at the bottom of its owner’s libary when he or she attacks. The life gain involved for your opponent does not matter in the least as the rules say a player who received 20 Command Damage, and this is the goal of the whole deck, will lose the game no matter how high their life total may be.
Swords to Plowshares (W):
Remove any Creature from the game for just 1 White Mana. A classic staple since the very beginning of the M:tG TCG. Again, I don’t worry about the opponent gaining some life as they will lose anyways when I managed to get my 20 Command Damage through.
Wing Shards (1WW):
This one can be a very nasty surprise for an opponent who played a few Spells and then attacks with their whole army, as Wing Shards lets them sacrifice 1 Creature and has “Storm”, which means you get to copy it for each Spell played before it the turn it is cast, which means your opponent will have to sacrifice multiple Creatures in the best case scenario (for you). The sacrifice bit can be very nice as well as it circumvents Protection, Shroud and Hexproof, being a non-targeted effect.
Bant Charm (GWU):
The third and last card in the deck which is great for removing an opponent Commander permanently, sending it right to the bottom of your opponent’s library. Besides it has two other effects you can choose from, which are very useful as well. Alternatively, you can destroy target artifact or counter an Instant Spell. This is by far my favorite of the Alara Charms and in my opinion the most useful one in the EDH format, provided you play a suitable color combination.
Dismantling Blow (2W):
Great artifact and enchantment removal which doubles as card draw when you paid for the kicker cost (which would draw you 2 cards for 2U)
Terashi’s Grasp (2W):
Destroy an artifact or enchantment and gain life equal to its converted casting cost.
Oblivion Ring (2W):
Probably one of the most versatile pinpoint removal cards ever. At 2W you can exile any bothersome permanent cards which will stay removed from play until the end of the game, or until Oblivion Ring is destroyed.
Salt Blast (3WW):
Destroy a nonwhite Permanent. Unless you are not playing against a mono-White deck, which is unlikely in EDH, this card will be tremendously versatile.
Winds of Rath (3WW):
This one is special and I think it could work really well with the strategy of this deck in particular, as it destroys all Creatures that are not enchanted. Since the plan is to have a heavily equipped and enchanted Rafiq attack alone, you will be able to wipe out all Creatures but the enchanted Rafiq with Winds of Rath effectively, getting rid of annoying opponent Creatures and clearing the way for Rafiq while you are at it.
Phasing is a very “ancient” and nowadays pretty much underappreciated ability. Vanishing allows you to phase out a Creature for 2 Blue Mana, which means it will be exiled with all cards attached to it and return to the playing field along with all Auras and Equipments at end of turn. The reason why I am playing this is simple: If Rafiq would be destroyed by a targeted Spell or Effect or would fall victim to gobal destruction á la Wrath of God, just phase him out for the rest of the turn. This should serve as excellent protection for your main win condition.
Aspect of Mongoose (1G):
Gives Rafiq Shroud and returns to your hand when destroyed.
Greater Auramancy (1W):
Gives all Enchantments and all enchanted Creatures Shroud, thus making sure your opponent does not first destroy an Enchantment protecting Rafiq and then proceeds to destroy Rafiq as well. Just make sure you enchant Rafiq with all kinds of Auras first as he won’t be targetable any more after you slammed down Greater Auramancy.
Daybreak Coronet (WW):
Incredibly efficient Aura for just 2 White Mana, giving the enchanted Creature +3/+3, First Strike, Vigilance and Lifelink. The condition that Creature you want to attach this to has to be enchanted already should not be too hard to meet.
Steel of the Godhead (2U/W):
This one is simply amazing when combined with Rafiq: Not only will he get a +2/+2 stats boost, he will also get lifelink and will be unblockable which is a really great way to ensure the Command Damage actually gets through to your opponent – all of it.
Empyrial Armor (1WW):
Gives Rafiq +X/+X whereby X is the number of cards in your hand. Pretty amazing considering he will have Double Strike when he attacks alone.
Finest Hour (2GWU):
As discussed above, this enables a one-turn-kill combined with Rafiq.
Eldrazi Conscription (8):
This oddball 8 Mana Aura is not really needed but makes for a fun combo with Sovereigns of Lost Alara, which will search out any Aura from your deck if a Creature attacks alone and attaches that Aura to the attacker for free. Now a doublestriking, trampling, annihilator 2 13/13 Rafiq should be quite troublesome for any opponent and great fun for you!
Umezawa’s Jitte (2):
This one works grealy with Rafiq’s Double Strike, as you strike once and put two counters on Jitte. Then you strike for the second time and can already use your two counters to either give Rafiq a boost of +2/+2 for each counter removed, or distribute some -1/-1 or gain some life. After the second strike Jitte will get two counters as well of course.
Lightning Greaves (2):
Probaly the single greatest Equipment for pretty much any EDH deck I can think of, as it not only lets you attack right away with your Commander (or activate their tap abilities) due to giving them Haste plus protecting them through Shroud. In my opinion THE staple card in any EDH build.
Behemoth Sledge (1GW):
I could play Loxodon Warhammer as well and should probably be running both Sledge and Hammer. This gives Rafiq +2/+2, Trample and Lifelink.
Quasali Pridemage (GW):
This is a highly efficient Creature which does many things at once. First, and least important in EDH, it is a decent beater of 2/2 for 2 Mana, then it destroys any Enchantment or Artifact when you sacrifice it and pay 1 generic Mana and laslty it ups the Exalted count for Rafiq. What more could you ask for?
Eternal Witness (1GG):
They must have taken Savannah Lion and stuck a Regrowth onto it when they came up with her. For 3 Mana you get a 2/1 Creature with the Regrowth abillity when it comes into play, returning any one card from your graveyard to your hand which is surely very useful in pretty much any situation.
Guiltspire Avenger (GWU):
Guiltspire Avenger makes your opponent really think twice before they attack, as you can simply tap him to destroy a Creature that dealt damage to you, no matter how big. I should probably consider adding Intrepid Hero as well who does a similar thing and is easier to summon at the cost of 2W. He is basically a Reprisal stuck to a Creature, tapping to destroy any Creature with Power 4 or beyond. Wouldn’t be an all too bad idea to add this one to the mix as well.
Acidic Slime (3GG):
I like Creatures which offer some great abilities when they come into play. This one destroys a land, enchantment or artifact, thus providing a rather large variety of different effects. Plus it can be dangerous to Creatures as well as it has deathtouch as a bonus.
Reborn Hope (GW):
I should rather be running Regrowth instead or along this. Reborn Hope is still not a bad card in this particular deck as I am running a considerable number of multicolor cards of which it returns one from my graveyard to my hand.
Icy Manipulator (4):
Taps any pesky permanent and combos well with Stoic Angel.
Rhox War Monk (GWU):
A 3/4 lifelinked beatstick for 3 Mana. No more, no less. Considering to drop this one in favor of a more useful card.
Dauntless Escort (1GW):
Dauntless Escort is a good beater as a 3/3 at a converted casting cost of 3. His ability can be powerful although it is a bit situational. You can sack Escort to make all your Creatures indestrucible for one turn, which would save your Rafiq from mass creature destruction for example.
Knight of the Reliquary (1GW):
Knight of the Reliquary has nothing to do with the decks general strategy whatsover, I am simply playing him because he can grow pretty fast and searches your deck for lands at the cost of sacrificing Plains or Forests. Another Creature I am willing to drop for something more thematic.
Stoic Angel (1GWU):
Stoic Angel has decent stats (3/4 for 4 Mana) Flying, Vigilance and a great ability: When she is in play, players can untap just one of their Creatures during their untap step. This won’t hurt you much since you will want to attack with Rafiq alone anyways and will keep opponent armies in check for you. Combos well with Icy Manipulator, which lets you tap the one Creature your opponent was allowed to untap.
Loxodon Hierarch (2GW):
Another Creature that has some neat abilities and good stats overall but does not really support my deck’s strategy, hence, another card I am willing to swap for something more useful.
Knight of New Alara (2GW):
Knight will give Rafiq a +3/+3 boost. The same applies to your other three color Creatures and your two color Creatures will get +2/+2 as well.
Phytohydra’s growth can get out of hand pretty quickly as instead of taking damage, it will get a +1/+1 Counter for each damage it was dealt. Come to think of it: Man that would make for a kickass combo with a card I used to play in a VERY old Combo Deck of mine. Pariah. Must… resist… urge… to build deck… 😀
Joiner Adept (1G):
This elf makes sure you won’t be subject to any Mana Screw, that is having the wrong mana being unable to play anything.
Aven Mindcensor (2W):
A very fun card to have especially in EDH, as it almost outright prevents your opponent’s searching of their deck for certain cards. Now with tutoring like this being essential in many good EDH builds, Mindscensor can work wonders in your favor.
Wall of Denial (1WU):
An amazing blocker, being an 0/8 Flyer with Shroud and Defender for just 3 Mana.
Sovereigns of Lost Alara (4WU):
This one is a bit overly expensive when compared with the other stuff I am playing in this deck, but worth the Mana for sure. First of all it has Exalted but what’s really great is its ability to bring any Aura from your deck into play direclty, attached to a Creature that is attacking alone. As discussed above, the plan would be to have Sovereigns out and let Rafiq attack, then playing the massive Eldrazi Conscription on him for some insane amounts of damage.
This card is really odd as it does a totally black thing but is in fact white. Resurrection gives me, even though I am not playing black, the option of Reanimation as it lets me return any Creature from my graveyard to play.
Ghostly Prison (2W):
Yeah a wee bit of stall can’t hurt. Your opponent will have to pay a toll of 2 Mana for each Creature he wants to attack with when Ghostly Prison is out.
Best non-basic Land in EDH. Makes the type of Mana your Commander has in his casting cost, hence all the types you will ever need in an EDH Deck.
City of Brass:
A source for one mana of any color, which deals 1 damage to you whenever you tap it.
Provides one mana of any color but has a bit of a steep drawback as you have to pay 1 generic mana when it comes into play and it does so tapped.
Comes into play tapped, provides either Green, White or Blue mana.
Provides 1 generic or 1 Blue/White Mana at the cost of 1 Life Point.
Provides 1 generic or 1 Green/White Mana at the cost of 1 Life Point.
Provides Green or White Mana and comes into play tapped if you don’t control a Forest or Plains.
Comes into play tapped, nets you one life and produces 1 Blue/White Mana.
Comes into play tapped, nets you one life and produces Green/White Mana.
Comes into play tapped and produces Green/White Mana.
Comes into play tapped and produces Blue/White Mana.
Can transform into a 3/3 Trampler which can be handy at times.
Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree:
Produces 1/1 Saproling tokens to be used at your convenience, maybe as blockers.
Cycles for 1 Blue Mana, drawing you a fresh card if you already have enough blue Mana sources.
Same as Sandbar just in White.
Sacrifice to bring a basic land from the deck into play tapped.
The same as above under a different name.
Fetchland that brings either an Island or Plains from the deck into play untapped.
Same as Flooded Strand just with the option of fetching a Plains or a Forest.
The weaker version of Flooded Strand, bringing the fetched Plains or Island into play tapped.
The weaker version of Windswept Heath which brings a Forest or Plains from your hand into play tapped when you sacrifice it.
Yes, that is right, I haven’t got enough just yet and you will in fact get a bonus at the end of this already rather lengthy article in the form of a quick decklist I had the idea for when writing up the above EDH deck article. I am surely not the first to discover this, but, so I thought, some of the cards in this EDH Deck would rock in a regular 60 cards – 4 copies of one card deck as well. I have not been following the current decks-to-beat at all so this is maybe a popular deck anyways, but here is a quick, Modern-legal deck list I threw together around Rafiq of the Many and Exalted Creatures in general:
Exalted Bant Beats:
4 x Noble Hermit (G)
4 x Bant Sureblade (G/BW)
4 x Quasali Pridemage (GW)
4 x Rhox War Monk (GWU)
3 x Rafiq of the Many (1GWU)
4 x Path to Exile
3 x Bant Charm (GWU)
3 x Rancor (G)
3 x Steel of the Godhead (2W/U)
3 x Finest Hour (2GWU)
3 x Swiftfoot Boots
4 x Cathedral of War
4 x Sunpetal Grove
6 x Forest
4 x Plains
4 x Island
Well long elaborations on the deck would be quite redundant as the basic strategy would be the same in this deck as in the EDH build detailed above. Get out Rafiq ASAP, on maybe on turn 3 powered by Noble Hierarch or on turn 4 to equip him with Swiftfoot boots so your opponent can’t target him any more, then enchant him with Steel of the Godhead and/or Rancor, which will make him unblockable, give him lifelink and a +2/+2 boost, in the case of Steel of the Godhead and a cheap +2 Power boost as well as Trample in the case of Rancor. Add the bonuses of the 15 cards with the Exalted abiltiy (not counting the Rafiqs) and you should be able to bring in some major damage with Rafiq fast. Adding Finest Hour into that will probably be enough to overwhelm any opponent, especially if Rafiq is unblockable due to Steel of the Godhead. Furthermore the deck features many efficient attackers such as Bant Sureblade and Rhox War Monk which should serve as a good backup if you don’t find one of your Rafiqs. Path to Exile and Bant Charm remove pesky blockers and generally threatening Creatures. As I own most of the cards in the above Modern-Format Deck, I am really considering to try this one out…