The Command Tower – Colorless Overlords

Hello everybody and welcome back to the article where I talk about the great format known as Commander.

So, show of hands, who watched the Pro Tour?  Now put your hands down, I can’t actually see them anyways.  I have to say, that Eldrazi deck looks pretty nutty.  With basically eight Ancient Tombs, the deck very much feels like it’s a Vintage deck as opposed to a Modern one.  That being said, I don’t think anything needs to be emergency banned.  Wizards has to wait and see what happens to the format.  Maybe a new deck emerges that serves up Eldrazi Noodle Soup.  (That feels unlikely, but I do think Wizards needs to wait until they have a few Modern GPs in the book).

But, for now, let’s have some fun with colorless in Commander.  Colorless Commander decks just got a lot more feasible for players that might not have a ton of playable lands thanks to the addition of Wastes.  We’ll most likely also want to play some number of Wastes so that we don’t get destroyed by Path to Exile, Wave of Vitriol, or Ghost Quarter.

The first question I needed to figure out was who I wanted my Commander to be.  I’m not a huge fan of Annihilator because it ends up making the game a little bit miserable for your opponents, as instead of just winning, you slowly strip away their resources which makes it very difficult for them to participate in the game.  I also definitely wanted to make a colorless deck and not an artifact deck. (Those two things used to be very similar but Wizards has recently started to make a distinction between the two.)  This left me with the choice between Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Kozilek, the Great Distortion.

I used to play a Commander deck featuring Ulamog, so let’s build around Kozilek.

The first thing I see Kozilek wanting is cards of every mana cost so that you have a chance of countering anything your opponents play.  Also, in order to get the most bang for your buck with Kozilek, you want to cast him at a time when he’ll draw you several cards which means that his deck doesn’t want a bunch of card draw up front although it could play cards that benefit from you drawing cards.

Now, first things first, ten mana is a lot of mana (even in Commander) so this deck is going to want a sufficient amount of ramp.  So, let’s add in this cycle of mana rocks: Mind Stone, Hedron Archive, and Dreamstone Hedron.

Also, we can run some mana ramp that we couldn’t before Wastes existed in Wayfarer’s Bauble, Solemn Simulacrum and Burnished Hart.  We’ll also need to run some unexciting yet efficient ramp: Sol Ring, Grim Monolith, Basalt Monolith, and Thran Dynamo.

After the mana ramp, running a pure colorless deck gives us access to some of the best board wipes in the format: All is Dust, Nevinyrral’s Disk, and Oblivion Stone.

So now it’s time to get down to the gritty meat of the deck.  With Kozilek as our Commander, for flavor’s sake, let’s run as many of the cards with his name in it as we can: Artisan of Kozilek, Kozilek’s Channeler, Kozilek’s Pathfinder, and of course Kozilek, Butcher of Truth.

If your playgroup plays a little more cutthroat, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth makes for a very good Commander himself.  The Great Distortion is capable of drawing more cards, but Butcher of Truth is very consistent with his draw four.  Also, the Annihilator 4 trigger on the Butcher of Truth makes him a pretty brutal attacker.

You know what we need though?  More Eldrazi!  The best of the bunch are: Bane of Bala Ged, Breaker of Armies, Conduit of Ruin (who can find our other Kozilek as well as makes our Commander two cheaper), Deceiver of Form, Desolation Twin, Eldrazi Mimic, Endbringer (perhaps my favorite card out of Oath of the Gatewatch), It That Betrays, Matter Reshaper (even with the number of expensive cards in this deck, there’s still a fair chance that the top card ends up being a land), Oblivion Sower, Reality Smasher, Thought-Knot Seer (you don’t have to target the same person with his abilities), and Void Winnower.

Note, I chose not to include any cards that have either Ulamog or Emrakul in their names since this is Kozilek’s deck.  I’m also not playing Endless One because his mana cost in hand is zero so he would only counter cards with CMC of 0 while we have Kozilek out.

We should also include the Eldrazi tribal spells: Not of this World, Skittering Invasion, and Eldrazi Conscription.  They’ll get the benefit of some of our lands that make Eldrazi spells cost less. *cough cough* Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple.

I want to distinguish this as a colorless deck and not just a deck that doesn’t have white, blue, black, red, or green.  That means that I’m going to lean on colorless spells and try to play as few artifact spells as possible.  We’re going to be playing the earlier mentioned mana ramp, but there are quite a few good colorless spells we can play: Warping Wail (“Eldrazi Charm” certainly needs to go in), Spatial Contortion (this can kill small creatures as well as maybe help a creature get through for a few extra damage), Scour from Existence, Gruesome Slaughter, and Titan’s Presence.

We’ll also want to add the colorless planeswalkers: Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Karn Liberated.  They’re both very powerful cards and honestly speak for themselves.  Ugin helps you wipe the board while keeping your permanents intact and Karn can disrupt troublesome permanents or slowly tick up until it’s time to ultimate and restart the game.

That about does it for strictly colorless spells.  Time to begrudgingly fill out the rest of the deck with artifacts.

When you cast Kozilek, you get to draw up to seven cards.  So, let’s get a benefit from the fact that we’re going to be drawing cards.  One of my favorite ways to do this is through Psychosis Crawler.  We can also play the very weird Moonring Mirror because of its great interaction with our general.

I like Moonring Mirror in this deck because you can cast it the turn before you cast Kozilek to exile all the cards in your hand.  Then, when you cast Kozilek, you get to take full advantage of his triggered ability and draw six or seven cards.  This way, you basically have two hands to play with from then on out.  You can choose to keep your current hand, or exile that hand to cast a spell in your originial hand.

To round out the deck before we get to our lands, we need to fill out our mana curve so that Kozilek will have a good chance of countering whatever scary spells our opponents play.  We don’t have any spells that cost 11 currently and since we don’t want to play any of the legendary Eldrazi’s not named Kozilek, that leaves us with Darksteel Colossus.  We can also play Blightsteel Colossus for that matter.

We also need a few more 1 drops since we currently only have two.  I like Relic of Progenitus and Scrabbling Claws as both protection from graveyard shenanigans (which Commander is filled with) and also as an easy way to turn on our Processor Eldrazi.  I also like Brittle Effigy, Expedition Map (since we’ll be playing some fun lands), Elixir of Immortality, Glaring Spotlight, Sensei’s Diving Top, and Pyxis of Pandemonium (a little bit of randomness is fun).

We’re currently creature light at the moment so let’s add some.  I’m putting in Colossus of Akros, Duplicant, Platinum Emperion, Soul of New Phyrexia, and Steel Hellkite.  Also, let’s build a little bit of a turtle shell to make it harder to hit us because with a Commander who costs 10 mana, it may take us a little bit of time to set up.  For that reason, let’s add in Torpor Orb (Eldrazi trigger off being cast and therefore don’t actually use a lot of enter the battlefield triggers), Crawlspace, Thunderstaff, Orbs of Warding, and Predator, Flagship.

Finally, it’s time to add some lands.  The most interesting question to me is how many Wastes should we play.  I’m going to err on the side of playing a lot of them since we want to make mister Kozilek feel right at home.  Also, looking through the lands, there aren’t that many that center around colorless spells.  Let’s play 30 Wastes.  Which leaves room for 7 non-basics: Eye of Ugin, Eldrazi Temple, Ruins of Oran-Rief, Sanctum of Ugin, Sea Gate Wreckage, Shrine of the Forsaken Gods, and Tomb of the Spirit Dragon seem like the most powerful ones to me.

Decklist:

So there you have it, the Great Distortion’s own Commander deck.  Please comment below or on Facebook your thoughts on how you would have built this differently.  Also, let me know what kind of Commander decks y’all want to see me build next.  Until next time, try not to let the Eldrazi bug keep you down.  Whether they end up banning something from the deck or not, if you’re playing Magic, (whatever the format) now’s a good time to be colorless.

Troy Bishop

Troy Bishop

Troy Bishop prides himself in his Magic accomplishments which include being the 2015 Modern Spring Virginia State Champion, an appearance at Pro Tour Magic 2015, and once equipping an Avacyn, Angel of Hope with Worldslayer. Troy likes to have fun while playing Magic regardless of whether it’s at the kitchen table or playing for the top 8 of an SCG Open. He also wants to be your friend. So, add him on Facebook today.
Troy Bishop

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Published:February 15, 2016

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