May 17, 2012
Wizards made us 5 decks built around the Planar Chaos dragons, but what about the Invasion dragons? They need love too. So here is my first in a series of 5 articles which will focus on each Invasion dragon as a Commander.
If you want straight up Rith, The Awakener deck building ideas and want nothing to do with where I am coming from, skip this paragraph. I currently play EDH as my main format while sometimes playing Legacy and rarely standard. I am no Carlos when it comes to deck building, but I do enjoy it and feel like I have a pretty good handle on card choices, that is probably why I have 15 decks sleeved up right now. If you see a card choice that you absolutely don’t agree with please tell me why.
First up for this invasive dragon series is Rith, The Awakener. Rith’s colors are great colors for EDH. Many people say that Naya colors represent the “spirit of the format”: big creatures, cool abilities, and effects that affect the masses. Rith’s ability says “Hey mayn, you let me in Im’a throw tokens all over this board and they gonna eat you alive.” (rough language but then again he is a dragon, speaking at all is something) His colors also completely support a great token themed deck. I want this deck to function with or without Rith as tuck is a real thing. I am building this deck for my friend Tyler, who had Ulasht as a general but wanted some other options. Let’s do this!
Creature pump (Make those little guys bigger)
- Eldrazi Monument – There will always be a token to sacrifice, I often forget this gives all of your dudes flying, so stinking good. Since it rotated out of standard it dropped in price too so we found a foil cheap.
- Intangible Virtue – Vigilance is so underrated in a game where at least 3 other players have the opportunity to be attacking you, imagine making huge indestructible (Eldrazi Monument) tokens, attacking, doing a ton of damage, and then being able to block anything that comes at you.
- Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite – Haters gonna hate. This card can be extremely dangerous around cards like Mind Control or Bribery as it will just about shut your deck down if its under an opponent’s control. Worth the risk.
- Overwhelming Stampede, Overrun, Titanic Ultimatum, Beastmaster Ascension, Gaea’s Anthem, Elder of Laurels – Make them bigger, give them trample and lifelink? Yes please.
- Doubling Season, Parallel Lives and Parallel Evolution - In my opinion essential to Token builds, note on Parallel Evolution it affects all players with tokens, don’t let it backfire.
- Garruk Wildspeaker – Produce beast tokens and untap Gaea’s Cradle.
- Garruk, Primal Hunter – Make beasts, draw cards, and call up lot of worms.
- Garruk Relentless – If your play group like mine allows this color pie bend this guy is awesome. I personally think there is no black mana involved so screw the rules. Making Deathtouch tokens when he flips is amazing.
- Elspeth, Knight-Errant – I love that she has two +1 abilities. Elspeth is also my favorite Planeswalker.
- Elspeth Tirel – All of her abilities are relevant, especially the first two.
- Sarkhan Vol – Need your creatures to get a pump and haste, check. Really need your opponents blocker/Primeval Titan, check. Want to get 10 dragons the turn he comes into play while Doubling Season is on the field, check.
- Ajani Vengeant – I know some of you might be saying the other Ajani would fit better, but this is one of Tyler’s favorites (I’m building the deck for him) and after playing against it in EDH I have since not underestimated the power to keep a permanent tapped. Also Armageddon-ing just your opponents lands is fun/mean. Save this for that jerk guy at the table (we’re looking at you infinite turn combo in every deck guy).
Token Generating Creatures
- Ulasht, the Hate Seed – I wanted to keep Tyler’s old Commander in the deck. So far haven’t been upset drawing into him. Potentially swap for enchantment recursion from graveyard or Rings of Brighthearth.
- Avenger of Zendikar – Probably overplayed but then again so are basic lands. He is overplayed because he is bonkers, especially in a deck with such a sniper-like focus on tokens.
- Dragon Broodmother – Remember that the ability is not a may ability and it’s every upkeep. Also, Devour is good within limits.
- Emeria Angel – Landfall is a great ability, mid/late game ramp suddenly is a great draw.
- Hero of Bladehold – Battle Cry is such a good mechanic for Tokens. Not to mention she gives you to 2 1/1s with quasi-haste… what else do you need?
- Rampaging Baloths – See Emeria Angel, only your land drops make bigger beasts.
- Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker – Often is dead on the spot because of crazy combo decks. If someone wastes spot removal on this guy just smile and say “ok.” Works great on most of the creatures in the list.
- Terrastadon – With this deck I have blown up my own single forest and gotten 3 3/3′s because of Doubling Season and Parallel Lives.
- Wurmcoil Engine – So many tricks can be pulled off with this. Just having him in the deck with access to red makes me want to play Goblin Welder but I will resist for now.
Noncreature Token Generating
- Sprout Swarm- If you are thinking about a token build, go buy a foil copy of this, I have never been disappointed. It should go without saying but ALWAYS pay the buyback. Add in Seedborn Muse and you are set for alot of dudes.
- Earthcraft and Squirrel’s Nest – I run no enchantment tutors in the list so I find it to be fair if I draw into an infinite combo. Note that either card on its own will draw attention and hate your way very quickly.
- Warp World – Tyler’s pet card, seems to shine in this list.
- Hour of Reckoning – Gotta love that it has convoke. It’s probably the best board wipe for this list.
- Phyrexian Rebirth – Capable of getting multiple tokens on the field, or one big fatty. I prefer this to your typical Wrath of God personally. It puts you one card up over everyone else.
- Swords to Plowshares, Path To Exile, Crib Swap – Classics, but Crib Swap is very underplayed in my opinion.
- Seed Spark – 3 for 1? Gotta love getting dudes as a gift for removing that pesky Moat staring the table down.
- Qasali Pridemage – Exalted, a bear, and removal all in one guy. I would be willing to bet he would sacrifice himself for your team if you paid 1 for it. I often see this guy rushed out there on turn 2… don’t be the one making this mistake.
- Acidic Slime – If you’re playing green you are probably running him for removal. I have seen people forget that it says “or land” and take out Lightning Greaves instead of a Maze of Ith or Gaea’s Cradle. Don’t make that mistake. Read the card!
- Aura Shards – This was a new card to me, but man, is it a great card for this deck. Harmonic Sliver on an enchantment and with a may ability so you don’t blow up your own crap.
That’s it for the skeleton, we added in a few more cards for fun as follows:
Skullclamp, Hunter’s Insight, Knight of the Reliquary, Stoneforge Mystic, Green Sun’s Zenith, Natural Order (it’s actually pretty fair in this deck), Lightning Greaves, Sword of Feast and Famine, Sylvan Library, Goblin Assault, Aggravated Assault, 13 ramp cards in all varieties: creature-based (Primeval Titan), artifacts (Darksteel Ingot), and lands (Reap and Sow).
Side note: I think Journey of Discovery is my favorite ramp card. So versatile and great to entwine. The other day someone had a Howling Mine turn 2, which made for an obnoxious early discard phase so I used the second option on Journey. It put me two lands ahead of the rest of the table and no need to discard.
Cards I didn’t include
Triumph of the Hordes is a dirty dirty card. Kjeldoran Outpost I wanted to include, but our Plains count isn’t high enough and we aren’t running Life from the Loam or Crucible of Worlds, so I had to cut it. Urabrask the Hidden barely missed the cut. I think I like him over Goblin Assault though and will likely switch that. I only thought about including Candra A[card]Blaze[/card] for her quasi-Wheel of Fortune effect against Johnny Combo players, which didn’t cut it in the end. Chandra, the Firebrand would likely just ping players and Reverberate ramp spells all day so she didn’t cut it either. Replenish or some other enchantment returning from the graveyard may be needed as many of our enchantments draw attention. Sun Titan might have to help in that role. Genesis Wave was hard to cut, but I just wanted other cards more. Hero of Oxid Ridge, there just wasn’t enough room and he’s not as good as the other Hero in this case. Removal like Desert Twister/Beast Within/Oblivion Ring, in the end we just out race most problem permanents with card advantage so it didn’t seem necessary. I bet someone will comment that this list is missing Reveillark and Saffi but they just didn’t fit.
Overall I have found this deck to be very versatile and a lot of fun to play. I actually sort of felt like I was giving my baby away when I gave this to Tyler. I will have to borrow it from time to time. If you don’t like the list I prescribed I greatly encourage you to consider Rith with your own build if you are thinking about a token deck. He’ll awaken card choices you didn’t know existed. Look for the From the Vaults version, it costs a bit more but the art is great.
As I said at the beginning please give feedback on agreements or disagreements if you have any. Also this is my first article for CommanderCast so let me know what you think. If you don’t care for my articles and don’t say anything I’ll probably just keep posting.
Stay tuned for my next article where a purging is going down.