We’ve all had the idea: wouldn’t it be fun to build a colourless Commander deck! Grab a big Eldrazi titan and plunk it in the Command zone, then fill your deck with all those utility lands that never usually make the cut. You could run all sorts of mana rocks, too, and ramp into big artifact creatures. And more Eldrazi. That sounds like a fun challenge! And you’d be right; it’s fun to build the deck. What’s less fun is actually playing with it…

Gross Exaggeration


Deck by Ben Iverach-Brereton

Please note: “Adakar Wastes” is supposed to be the card “Wastes” but our database is being a jerk this week.

The structure of this deck is rather straightforward: it dumps as much mana onto the battlefield as it can every turn, then casts very expensive spells. My build has a particular emphasis on permanents that tap for two or more, since I’ve found them to be particularly effective at getting to absurd amounts of mana sooner. The various noncreature artifacts are also very good at chaining into one another, since each one can help to pay of the next.

The one catch to ramping this much is that it leaves you without much left in your hand to cast. The real key to this deck’s longevity is its ability to refuel: between cards like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, Sandstone Oracle and Loreseeker’s Stone, there are plenty of ways to draw extra cards. Repeatable tutors like Planar Portal, Planar Bridge and Citanul Flute also help to ensure there’s always something to cast. This aren’t the most efficient options in the game, but like Tron decks in other formats, you can get away with paying a little extra for your spells: you’ll have the mana to spare.

Meanwhile, All Is Dust, Nevinyrral’s Disk and Steel Hellkite do a good job cleaning up the battlefield if your opponents start to get a foothold. Gruesome Slaughter requires more setup, but also does the trick in a pinch. Really though, it’s the various annihilator triggers that really keep the battlefield in check.

It’s actually a bit surprising how much spot removal you can run without any colours, too. There are plenty of seven-mana options, like Spine of Ish Sah, Scour from Existence, and (for those fans of Vryn) Mage-Ring Responder, but there’s also a plethora of more versatile cards that can blow things up if you need it. Staff of Nin and Endbringer can deal with smaller threats while also drawing you more cards, while Predator, Flagship pulls double duty as removal and a highly valuable source of evasion. Smaller effects like Spatial Contortion, Warping Wail and Geistcatcher’s Rig also help fill in the gaps, especially if you need to get rid of something earlier in the game.

The small equipment package in this deck focuses on protecting your giant monsters once they’re in play, but for the most part they’re actually there to grant haste. Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots have been staples of the format for over a decade, and they’ve stuck around for a reason: preventing your opponents from targeting your best threat does a lot of work, and having haste really tilts the initiative in your favour. By getting at least one attack in before your opponents can untap you ensure that you get at least some value from your creature. If that value happens to be an annihilator trigger… well, that’s all the better for you.

It may not seem like much, but what really gives colourless decks that extra bump is the fact that they can mitigate one of the weaknesses they had historically: they can field basic lands. The introduction of Wastes  in Oath of the Gatewatch (no, not Adarkar Wastes!) meant that colourless decks could run cards like Burnished Hart and Wayfarer’s Bauble, and gave them protection from the likes of Ghost Quarter, Boseiju, Who Endures and Wave of Vitriol. You don’t need to run that many basics in your deck to get this benefit, but having at least a few Wastes goes a long way.

Sadly, even with Wastes in your deck, you can’t make use of Myriad Landscape, but I guess you can’t have everything.

“But you said this deck wasn’t fun to play,” I can hear you say. “All those cards you mentioned sound fun to cast!”

You’re right; a deck full of fast mana and big threats doesn’t seem like it should be an issue. After all, most Commander decks feature ramp as a way to get ahead (or at the very least to keep up), and part of the charm of this format is being able to cast those huge, expensive spells you never get to use normally. The trouble is, when your top end are Eldrazi, it can be rather miserable for the rest of the table. Even if the table gangs up on you right away, an early enough Kozilek will have players sacrificing their lands before they have a chance to do anything. Even if they other players manage to slow you down, the game necessarily warps around you and what your commander can do. This kind of Archenemy game can be interesting every once in a while, but for the most part it isn’t the kind of experience players sign up for when they sit down for a night of Commander.

So, my colourless Eldrazi deck spends most of its time collecting dust on my shelf. After a couple of crushing displays against my friends, I quickly decided it wasn’t a good fit for the table. The deck did its thing—namely casting (and recasting) Kozilek and obliterating the table—but it did it too well. My opponents weren’t happy, and I didn’t feel good about my wins. I might bring it back some day, but not without warning my friends first. I’ll make sure to pack a spare deck or two while I’m at it, just in case they decide they’re not in the mood for that kind of game.

And honestly? I can’t blame them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.