May 19, 2019:

War of the Spark Update


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The primary objective for victory is to deal 21 Commander Damage to each opponent with Balan, Wandering Knight

Early game is spent setting up. Any ramp, utility creatures, and Equipment are played in the first several turns to prepare the board for Balan, Wandering Knight . Once the board is ready, Balan is cast, equipped, and starts the clock.

Further resources are devoted into keeping Balan suited up to retain her quick clock, casting new Equipment or recurring destroyed ones when necessary. I'm also disrupting my opponents' game plans with removal and may pressure other opponents with any available alternative threats.

In the event that Balan dies, she is recast and reequipped through her ability to quickly resume her assault. If I'm in a situation where recasting Balan isn't ideal, such as right after a full board sweeper, the deck's alternative threats pick up the slack until the board is restored for Balan to take command again.

If Balan ever becomes too expensive to recast and Command Beacon isn't available, my deck's alternative threats fully take over and I attempt to defeat my opponents though regular Equipment beatdown.

This is my first Commander deck. I started building in October 2011, with Kemba, Kha Regent as the first Commander for her synergy with Equipment. The earlest builds of this deck were a Token/Voltron hybrids to benefit from Kemba's cats. Overtime the token support dwindled, as I no longer cared about the token aspects of the deck and desired to focus more into accomplishing Commander Damage kills.

In July 2013, Eight-and-a-Half-Tails , took over from Kemba as the second Commander shortly after the token support was dropped completely. 8.5 was much better suited for a Voltron strategy by using his protection to keep targeted removal off of himself and my Equipment and bypass blockers. 8.5 wasn't without his own issues. He's essentially useless early game and the occasional games with mana screw botched his effectiveness, but he was the best Commander available that fit my needs.

Aether Revolt gave this deck its third Commander, Sram, Senior Edificer , and Equipment synergy returned to the Command Zone. Sram's ability to drop as early as Turn 2 and begin the Commander Damage death clock much faster than his predecessors while keeping my hand stocked fit the deck very well.

Sram's reign was short-lived. Commander 2017 heralded this deck's forth and current Commander, Balan, Wandering Knight , who possesses what her predecessors never had: raw power. Balan is an Equipment master, able to quickly defeat opponents with the minimal set-ups.

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Acquirable: 0 | Unavailable: 6 | Reserved: 1

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Deck Development

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As of June 1, 2019

May 19 -- War of the Spark Update

War of the Spark Additions:


Other Additions:

  • None

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Pending Changes


  • All Decklist additions

Summer's End Update


Battlebond Additions:

  • None


Commander 2018 Additions:


Other Additions:

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Giver of Runes

A Mother of Runes variant that can fend off colourless creature removal. Unsure if I want to repace Mom herself or find a different slot and use both.


Sword of Sinew and Steel

Tutorable artifact and Planeswalker removal.


Credit Voucher

Shuffles away a stagnant hand for fresh cards.


Treasure Map  

Treasure synergy, providing ramp and card draw.


Akroma's Vengeance

A full board clear with cycling.


Winds of Abandon

Flexible removal option offering both a targeted kill and an asymmetrical sweeper.


Generous Gift

A White Beast Within . Removal for any permanent type with a negligible downside.


Scout's Warning

Allows Balan or a key utility creature to be flashed in and catch opponents off-guard. Can also be "cycled" if necessary.


Topple the Statue

Tapdown/Artifact removal that cantrips.

The following are changes I'm currently testing.

Currently None

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Not every card is going to be usable. Some have become obsolete, some are overall too weak, and some just don't fit the theme properly. Whatever the reason, there are some cards that I simply don't want in my deck.

I have no intention of using any of the following cards.


Equipment Tutors

Equipment Support

Removal Options


Individual Cards

  • Avacyn, Angel of Hope & Darksteel Forge have cumbersome mana costs and can't effectively protect my Equipment in the wake of the quality, efficient exiling removal that's being printed nowadays.
  • Bastion Protector only boosting Balan is too narrow. It having 3 toughness is also a factor.
  • Iona, Shield of Emeria is a mean-spirited griefer card that unnecessarily hates on mono-colored decks. Her entire purpose is to stop players from playing the game. Why is she even allowed in this format?
  • Ranger of Eos doesn't work well with the small number of 1cmc creatures this deck has. Adding more creatures would be forcing Ranger to work instead of it being a natural addition. If more worthy 1cmc creatures get into the deck on their own, Ranger may be reconsidered.
  • Inspiring Statuary can't make artifacts (and by extension Equipment) cheaper, which is the card type that matters the most in this deck.
  • Land Tax was in this deck since the beginning until I replaced it with a card that isn't tied to an upkeep trigger and has better synergy with the deck.


Since Balan focuses solely on Equipment, Auras have no place within this deck.

Vehicles have been deemed too much of a distraction. Balan will almost never have the time to crew them, and the higher crew costs are too difficult to achieve for this deck's low-power utility dorks.

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Mana Rocks & Mana Doublers

Equipment decks will naturally incentivize heavier use of artifact hate, and non-Equipment artifacts will frequently end up as collateral damage. I'm intentionally keeping mana rocks to an absolute minimum and abstaining from mana doublers entirely, focusing mostly on land-based ramp options instead.

Mana doublers have their individual issues as well:

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Hate Cards

Cards like Aven Mindcensor, Loxodon Gatekepper, and Hushwing Gryff that possess abilities which slow down opponents and/or prevent certain shenanigans. I don't care for most Hate Cards as they all share the same problems:

  • The longer the game goes, the less effective they can become.
  • Not enough of them isn't consistent in a 99-card deck.
  • Too many of them eats up space on non-synergistic cards.
  • All decks aren't going to be vulnerable to them equally.
  • Not drawing them feels no different that not using them.

Overall, it's not worth the loss of deck synergy for the random chance of stopping opponents tutoring, ramping, or abusing ETB triggers early enough in the game to matter. If I'm going to use a Hate Card, it has to be effective against the majority of strategies and completely functional at any stage of the game.

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Mass Land Destruction

I don't like MLD in Commander. It's either win-more when I'm ahead or kingmaking when I'm behind. There's no middle ground. MLD also carry the stigma of ruining games. Not what I want for this deck.

Updates Add

War of the Spark Additions:

Urza's Ruinous Blast -> Single Combat


Other Additions:


One on One

There's a war on Ravnica. A legion of undead has flooded the streets, doing everything they can to harvest Planeswalker's Sparks for their nefarious master. But a certain pair of Planeswalkers are completely uninterested in what's happening. They don't care about stopping a power-hungry tyrant or even the fate of the Multiverse itself. They're preoccupied with their unyielding feud, locked in Single Combat.

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Sweepers that leave a creature behind are a novel choice in Voltron strategies. Your Commander is still on board, most blockers are cleared away, and your opponents aggression is stalled. Divine Reckoning has been a popular choice for this type of sweeper, It's cheap to cast and has flashback to be cast again when the board fills back up.

Single Combat is a new take on this type of sweeper that feels it was tailor-made for Voltron. It prevents opponents from casting new blockers for a turn cycle, giving Balan a window to take out a player before they can reset their defenses. Removing Planeswalkers is a handy bonus, and can leave opponents wide open if they choose to save one instead of a creature.


Urza's Ruinous Blast has lost a some oomph it had with the removal of Karn and Thalia's Lancers . This deck is down a Legend to cast it and the utility tutor that grabbed it is gone. Rather than stick with a sweeper that may be uncastable at inopportune times, I've dropped it for Single Combat .

Another Packed Summer Schedule

Just like last year, this Summer has back-to-back releases every month: Modern Horizons in June, Core Set 2020 in July, and Commander in August. All three releases will be tied together into one update.

Next Update:

Summer 2019

(Core Set 2020, Modern Horizons, Commander 2019)

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33% Casual

67% Competitive

Compare to inventory
Top Ranked
Date added 6 years
Last updated 2 weeks
Exclude colors UBRG

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.91
Tokens 1/1 Kor Soldier, 0/0 Germ, None Treasure, 1/1 Soldier, Equipment
Folders favorites, Commander, great edh deck, Faves, EDH, EDH Decks, decks i want to build, edh, EDH, Decks Im going to get soon, See all 432
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Revision 218 See all

2 weeks ago)

+1 Sword of Sinew and Steel maybe
+1 Generous Gift maybe
+1 Giver of Runes maybe
+1 Winds of Abandon maybe