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Draconian Swarm (Ur-Dragon Tribal)

Commander / EDH*




With the arrival of Commander 2017 I was presented with the wondrous opportunity to rebuild a five colour EDH deck stolen many years ago. In the spirit of its predecessor this deck is designed to be a fun, more or less casual deck, focused on being fun to play as without being so oppressive that your opponents just don't enjoy the game. It's tuned with flavour in mind, and limited to what I have available to me; but feel free to make suggestions for things I should look out to acquire. I will be updating the deck as I play with it.

Detailed Synopsis Show

The Commander

The Ur-Dragon is selected as the commander for several reasons. The eminence ability helps counterbalance any mana issues you may experience early on, but it's also a very flavourful leader for any sort of dragon swarm. It's big, it hits hard, and adding it to any reasonable board position instantly threatens far more than simply lethal damage. The ability to slam it onto the field and draw X cards before putting a permanent straight into play can surprise anyone not paying attention, refilling your hand to rebuild after the inevitable board wipe. Its mana cost can be a it of a downside, and playing it multiple times can sometimes become arduous. Personally after the second death, I will often let it go to the graveyard and pull it back with cards like Unburial Rites or Bladewing the Risen.

The Dragons

Every dragon horde requires lots of dragons, and limited to 100 cards you have to be a bit choosy. The deck fields a number of dragons to fill a variety of roles, all while sitting comfortably within the mantle of 'big flying lizard that breaths fire.' Nearly one third of the deck is dragons, which should give you plenty of scales to blot out the sky with.

The '6/6 for 6' dragons (Crosis, Darigaaz, Dromar, Intet, Numot Oros, Rith, Teneb, Treva, and Vorosh) act as the main meat of the deck, and are selected mostly of flavour reasons. In MTG lore, these creatures made up two groups known as the "Dragons Primeval," who were nearly invincible when banded together, and the "Chaos Primeval," who were the same draconian figureheads in an alternate timeline. Each of them made up a part of The Ur-Dragon, which is more an avatar of dragonkind than a physical creature.While they're primarily used as the core of the deck, some of them have huge potential for small combos. Intet can be paired with Path of Ancestry to scry, swing, and then cast something big for free. Teneb can be used to pull dragons from the graveyard, including Bladewing which brings back something else, triple proccing enchantments like Ascendancy and Kindred Discovery. They also offer a bit of utilitarian diversity, giving you various abilities that can be handy in a pinch. Scion can also be used to pull specific ones out of your deck if they are seriously needed. They also provide wicked fuel for Wild Pair, which you'll notice nearly all of the dragons fit into nicely.

The Dragonlords (Dromoka, Kolaghan, Atarka, and Silumgar) are mostly included. Ojutai has been left out due to space restrictions, while his non-lord form would fit nicely, it doesn't slot into the 4/4, 5/5, and 6/6 Wild Pair slots and its ability is rather situational. Here we use the 'lord form' of Dromoka for his protection (preventing opposing spells on your turn) and Kolaghan for haste (which is valuable enough to overlook his awkward total Attack/Toughness). Atarka and Silumgar use their non-lord forms as their abilities procing on each attacking dragon fit the play-style of the deck more than their lord forms.

Of the other dragons included, Utvara Hellkite, Scalelord Reckoner, Bladewing the Risen, Hellkite Charger, and Scion of the Ur-Dragon all need to be mentioned as well. Utvara is what truly produces a 'dragon horde,' massing your field faster than anyone can blink. Drop it once you have a at least two or three already on board for guaranteed value, and sit back knowing you've just produced blockers to cover you and your planeswalkers until next turn. Keep in mind, every time you play this it's likely to get board wiped; so you may want to wait until people have used some of theirs up and just hope it sticks. This should also be your primary target for reanimation when the time arises.

Scalelord Reckoner is an excellent deterrent. Mutually assured destruction works for our governments and it can really put in work in any commander game.

Bladewing is a great way to pull dragons back. It will also double-proc the decks card-drawing enchantments. It's also a useful way to get around your commander tax if it's been cast too many times. Remember that its ability triggers when it comes into the battlefield, meaning you can resurrect Bladewing to immediately pull something else back with it.

Hellkite Charger is a scary card indeed, and if it survives with a few friends it can be used to double-proc all of the 'dragon attack' abilities in the deck. Given a source of haste and Utvara Hellkite you can swing, spawn dragons, untap, swing with all the new dragons as well, and effectively quadruple your board instantly.

Scion needs little explanation, he's the literal herald of your commander and an amazing card. Swapping him into the commander slot is perfectly viable, but it does alter the decks play-style from 'dragon horde' into a more aggressive one that can make you the target of retaliation before you've even done anything. Use him to hunt for specific dragons, reanimating them from the graveyard shortly thereafter.

Supporting Permanents

Sadly, not quite an 'independent horde who don't need no enchantments,' this deck relies on a number of artifacts and enchantments to keep its engine rolling; but the ones therein should keep your hand full and your mana extensive.

Elemental Bond, Kindred Discovery, and Temur Ascendancy all act as great sources of card draw. Try to avoid playing more than one at a time, as they will get targeted by any forward thinking player. If opponents are willing to leave you alone, Kindred Discovery can bring you back from nothing in just one dragon and two turns (thanks to drawing on attack as well as coming into play).

Lurking Predators, Wild Pair, and Dragon Arch can all throw things onto the board for free and stack up very quickly. Wild Pair has a ton of synergy with this decklist as all but one creature has one or more creatures to pull out of the deck; nearly all dragons falling into the 4/4, 5/5, or 6/6 slots.

Temur Ascendancy and Dragon Tempest offer haste, giving you a great amount of striking power even from your hand. Play them a turn or two before big plays and reap the rewards of the various 'dragon attacks' abilities the deck offers.

Heralds Horn, Dragonlord's Servant, and Dragonspeaker Shaman all stack up on The Ur-Dragon's eminence ability. Having more than one on the board can make your dragons nearly free, nullifying their massive costs.

Three planeswalkers are included in the decklist, although they are mostly for flavour reasons. Ugin and Bolas, despite being enemies in lore, are both great to throw down in late-game standoffs to quickly get things rolling again. If no one deals with them, they can give you the extra umf to end the game. Sarkhan Unbroken provides another source of card draw, and a little bit of mana ramp. Getting him out early can give you a good edge for slipping into late-game, and if you do manage to get his ultimate off you can basically win the game right there and then.

And of course, the deck hosts Crucible of Fire for obvious reasons, as well as several mana rocks to help ramp you into the mid and late-game.

Land Ramp

Any good five colour deck needs land ramp. Any good five colour deck that has an average CMC of five, needs a lot of it. Cultivate, Kodama's Reach, Explosive Vegetation, Harrow and Tempt with Discovery are some of the best ramp spells in the game. Paired with mana rocks like Commander's Sphere, Darksteel Ingot, Sol Ring, and Prismatic Geoscope, you should have no problem establishing a good land base.

Welcome back everyone, I'm happy to report the deck is performing admirably, and far better than expected. As a disclaimer: I have been playing multiplayer and can't really speak from experience as to how this deck would perform one on one, but I couldn't be more proud of it. It's an absolute powerhouse that, if given even an inch of room to breath, can swarm the board over and over; recovering from board-wipes and just mauling players down. It is however, a bit rough around the edges; and I'd like to make a few changes to hopefully streamline it.

Dragon Arch -> ascetecism

While I love Dragon Arch, for both flavour and function, I just have to put it down. While the discount it offers is nice, and its ability to throw dragons in at flash speed has come in handy once or twice, it is limited to the multicoloured dragons and to only one dragon per round. Often I've found I run out of dragons to use it with, and almost never need the discount. The deck ramps so well and consistently that I've only once had Arch save me from a loss. For these reasons, it's been cut to make room for ascetecism . The hexproof shield has done wonders for keeping high value dragons on the field, and when paired with Scalelord Reckoner you practically have run of the board until the next wipe. Placing it on the field right before, or one turn ahead of, The Ur-Dragon or Utvara Hellkite can really lock down a win against tricky control decks.

Rishkar's Expertise -> Zendikar Resurgent

I added Rishker's Expertise|RE onto the deck quickly in hopes of adding more card draw to the deck, but overlooked a serious drawback: nearly all of the dragon's cost six or more. While it was helpful in establishing supporting permanents, its use was limited and the draw engines performed well enough that it hasn't been needed. It's been cut to make room for Zendikar Resurgent for obvious reasons, which acts as not only a one-sided flare but also another card draw engine. Also it fits flavour-fully with the Zendikar full-art lands I'm running, and that makes me happy.

Fearsome Awakening -> Unburial Rites

While Fearsome Awakening is rather flavourful, the two counters don't really have much impact. Having a second used of Unburial Rites, and with flashback (that many people forget about), it's too good to pass up. The change is simple, and doesn't compromise the flavour of the deck to any colossal degree.

Vivid Meadow -> Temple of the False Gods

The vivid lands haven't entirely done me very well, most games I never remove a single counter from them (and having dice on the field does make it difficult to manage lands when time is running short). Temple of the False Gods|Temple provides a little bit of boots in exchange for the difficult vivid lands, and has helped with lategame mana presence for casting big things (like The Ur-Dragon for the third time).

Vivid Marsh -> Homeward Path

Oh boy am I happy to make this swap. For the same reason as above, Marsh is being swapped out for Homeward Path, which will hopefully provide mild protection against control decks, or the random Karrthus that shows up.

Vivid Creek -> Swiftfoot Boots

Same reason with the 'Vivids,' swapping in a pair of flaming boots because Lightning Greaves have been SO helpful at keeping key targets alive and providing haste in the absence of the haste engines. They should provide simply another option for Greaves, giving you twice as much access to them.

Tyrant's Familiar -> Anguished Unmaking

This is probably the hardest change to make, seeing such a good dragon go. But the deck, frankly, needs better removal. I'm going to watch this alteration closely over the next few dozen games, because I'm not entirely sold on it; thoughts would be appreciated. Pulling Familiar for Unmaking is done mostly to make a slot for Unmaking without upsetting the balance. The deck has good ramp, good draw engines, good supporting structure, and a strong meaty base. The meaty base is, the only thing in particular excess. Anguished Unmaking provides a very potent removal spell that simply upgrades the position Tyrant's Familiar was occupying. There have been several times I've put Familiar onto the board wishing it was a true removal spell, and I've never actually gotten to use its ability more than once. It's always just ended the game right there, or been wiped/targeted off the board in an instant. Hopefully this will help provide a bit more removal to put the deck into a better spot at breaking through pillow forts and control, without compromising the deck's strong core.

Mountain -> Dragonmaster Outcast

Finally having access to Dragonmaster Outcast I've been eager to put him in and further embody the Draconian Swarm this deck is designed to be. Sadly, slots are getting harder and harder to find. The primary hesitation with this change comes from removing two lands from the board in one update, and I'll be watching very closely to see how this goes. The decision is justified on the experience of several games in which mana flooding becomes a mid-game problem if one draw engine doesn't pull another before getting removed. While this isn't a consistent problem, it's happened enough for me to take note of it. So I'll see how the deck fairs with two less lands, and hopefully that'll be the end of that.

As always suggestions and feedback are both welcome and encouraged, many of your early suggestions have brought the deck thus-far and I hope even further in the future.



Rabid_Wombat says... #1

A couple of boardwipes might be a good idea to help give you the time to get mana together for the big dragons to come out to play. Hallowed Burial, Day of Judgment and Merciless Eviction are perfect for this and are cheap to buy! A couple of bucks will also score you a Kilnmouth Dragon which can be game winning in this kind of deck.

August 22, 2017 5:48 a.m.

FoxLGV says... #2

Merciless Eviction is probably the way to go, the deck doesn't have or need very much reanimation it focuses more on draw and being able to whip artifacts/enchantments from a good creature heavy board position might make the difference. Thanks for the suggestion!

As for Kilnmouth Dragon I'm not sure how I forgot about that, I'll definitely look to make room. Any suggestions on what to remove? I'm trying to keep the 6/6 tricolour dragons for flavour reasons.

August 22, 2017 12:09 p.m.

Rabid_Wombat says... #3

I'd look at ditching either Monastery Siege, Frontier Siege or Wild Pair for Mr.Kilnmouth :)

August 22, 2017 6:36 p.m.

Sandwitcher says... #4

I like these guys in my dragon themed deck Dragonmaster Outcast, Thunderbreak Regent, Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius. And Temur Ascendancy for some draw.

August 23, 2017 11:05 a.m.

Rabid_Wombat says... #5

I'd switch Nicol Bolas for Sarkhan the Mad...his ultimate can be triggered the turn he enters the battlefield and in a dragon tribal deck this is nearly a guaranteed auto-kill against an opponent.

August 23, 2017 11:16 p.m.

FoxLGV says... #6

I'm looking to get my hands on another Dragonmaster Outcast, when I do I'll find room for it. It's just so good. Temur Ascendancy was in my sights, just traded for one so it's going right in. Thunderbreak Regent is good, but I don't think it's a strong enough deterrent, I'd rather prevention like Dragonlord Dromoka; but will even go for Scalelord Reckoner for more harsh deterrence. Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius is in the precon, and I've strongly considered it, but I feel like taking it for another draw source is non-ideal as it costs mana to do so. I don't foresee myself having mana left over, and have quite a few sources of consistent draw. Thanks for the suggestions, Sandwitcher.

As for Sarkhan the Mad, I just don't have one right now. It's a great finisher, but I'm putting in Sarkhan Unbroken for now to use as 'set up.' When I get an angrier Sarkhan, he'll likely take it's slot. Also looking to get an Ugin as well, who will likely replace Bolas eventually. Mostly for flavour reasons. Thanks for reminding me to put him in the maybeboard Rabid_Wombat, so I don't forget about him.

August 25, 2017 11:32 a.m.

Rabid_Wombat says... #7

No problems FoxLGV the only problem with Sarkhan Unbroken is he takes 4 turns to get fire up the Ultimate and in the meantime all the players are just going to target him (and maybe you!) to take him out before dragons flood the board. After a couple of games last night I really can't recommend Quicksilver Amulet enough, easy to score for around 5 bucks too!

August 26, 2017 3:45 a.m.

mtgjones says... #8

What do you guys think about Sneak Attack?

August 26, 2017 4:50 a.m.

FoxLGV says... #9

Rabid_Wombat : It does, the mana and card draw in the meantime are nice; but again it's more or less a flavourful placeholder. Quicksilver Amulet is cool, but I'm sceptical it does much more than Dragon Arch. Most dragons in the deck will cost 5 thanks to The Big D, so it's paying four to put an artifact in that saves one and grant flash. Arch only misses 8 dragons in the deck but reduces the cost down to two. Even with Shaman, Servant, and the eminence ability that's still a bargain for the three colours.Is there anything about QSA that I'm missing? Or, like Farseek, is it made less effective by the structure of the deck? (owning no dual lands, Rampant Growth is just better)

mtgjones : Always a great card, don't think I'll have one on hand anytime soon.

August 26, 2017 8:46 a.m.

Keos027 says... #10

Chromatic Lantern for any 4+ Color decks and Urza's Incubator for any tribal deck with expensive stuff. EDIT: woah! I didn't realized that the incubator had spiked like that. Oh well, maybe not an auto include anymore.

Flavorwise, all the Dragonlords :P

For a kind of one-sided wrath I like Earthquake, but it requires a bit a ramp. Zendikar Resurgent helps a lot to get an ungodly amount of mana. Also good card advantage.

Silumgar's Scorn, you should always have at least a couple counterspell.

If you happen to have already one, or the budget for, Cavern of Souls is probably the best tribal land.

If you are looking for non-dragon support creatures. I had good success with Shaman of the Great Hunt, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, Shaman of Forgotten Ways and Selvala, Heart of the Wilds (though she is a bit expensive).

I currently have a Temur Dragon tribal deck lead by Maelstrom Wanderer but I think I'll merge it with the new Dragon pre-con and make it a 5 color deck.

One last thing, Dragon Broodmother is insane with Utvara Hellkite.

August 26, 2017 8:47 a.m.

FoxLGV says... #11

Keos027 Oh! A bunch of good suggestions, some I hadn't considered. Chromatic Lantern, Urza's Incubator, and Cavern of Souls (especially) are cost prohibitive, I'm always on the lookout for lanterns though. One will likely replace one of the rocks when I get it.

I used Scourge of Kher Ridges to fulfil Earthquake's role, do you think I need more one sided wipes? It does have Crux of Fate as well in there.

Zendikar Resurgent looks pretty good, I'm not sure what I'd replace with it, perhaps elemental Bond? Though I do like getting that out early and just drowning in card advantage.

I'm trying to avoid non-dragon supports, but Great-Hunt and Rashmi are considerable (Selvala is a bit expensive). If I had more slots I would.

My Maelstrom Wanderer is in an elemental tribal deck, and bringing it over here just ruins theme too much for me to stomach. If I was more power-focused, it would be an auto-include.

It is insane, but it does detract from the deck synergy for one outrageous combo, which I'm not too keen on. For a $12 price tag, even less so.

August 26, 2017 9:04 a.m.

FoxLGV says... #12

And Silumgar's Scorn is awesome flavourfully and functionally. I'll look to acquire one.

August 26, 2017 9:05 a.m.

Rabid_Wombat says... #13

The main reason Quicksilver Amulet beats Dragon Arch is that one less mana cost means that a first turn Sol Ring can see the QSA drop as early as turn two! It also can be used with every dragon in the deck- and after playing a few games you soon realize that expensive Red (read non-multicolor) dragons are where it's at- the Big D ain't helping you drop that Utvara Hellkite or Scourge of Kher Ridges anytime soon. The best solution is to run both in the deck...always plenty of room for tech that cheats in the big guns.

August 26, 2017 7:24 p.m.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 3 months
Last updated 2 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 4.84
Tokens 6/6 Dragon, 1/1 Saproling
Folders Might Build, Draconic Domination
Views 2633