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Balan, Wandering Knight | Equipment Voltron

Commander / EDH Aggro Mono-White Multiplayer Voltron

NensouHiebara

Maybeboard

Artifact (1)

Instant (1)

Enchantment (1)

Land (1)

Equipment (1)


September 1, 2018:

Summer's End Update

(Core Set 2019, Battlebond, Commander 2018)

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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.

87/100

Acquirable: 2 | Unavailable: 9 | Reserved: 2


Foils: 56

Prerelease Foils: 11

Grand Prix & Pro Tour Promos: 4

Judge Gifts: 1

Masterpieces: 8

Miscellaneous Foils & Promos: 7


Remaining Acquirable Foils:

Karn, Scion of Urza

Petrified Field

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Currently Unavailable in Foil:

Balan, Wandering Knight

Armory Automaton

Heavenly Blademaster

Conqueror's Flail

Hammer of Nazahn

Masterwork of Ingenuity

Grasp of Fate

Teferi's Protection

Nahiri, the Lithomancer

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Reserved List:

Argivian Archaeologist

Tithe


Deck Development

As of October 5, 2018

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October 5, 2018

Maybeboard

Added:

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September 1, 2018 - Summer's End Update

Deck Changes

Core 2019 Additions:

Battlebond Additions:

  • None

Commander 2018 Additions:

Other Additions:

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Maybeboard

Added:

Removed:

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Chopping Block:

Added:

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Pending Changes

Removed:


Dominaria Update

Dominaria Additions:

Other Additions:

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Rivals of Ixalan Update

Rivals of Ixalan Additions:

  • None

Other Additions:

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Basilisk Collar

Lifelink to boost my life, deathtouch to pressure opposing creatures.

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Credit Voucher

Shuffles away a stagnant hand for fresh cards.

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Dawn of Hope

Card draw engine and lifegaining Equipment wielders.

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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.

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Scavenger Grounds

Grave-hate on a land.

Commander decks are dynamic and ever-changing. New cards replace the old, players adapt to each other's strategies, and opinions of cards can alter over time. What was yesterday's strong additions can become tomorrow's weakest links. No deck stays the same for too long.

The following cards are what I'm currently thinking about dropping, either because, they're no longer effective, I became uninterested in them, or they're being replaced with something better.


Solemn Simulacrum

Planned on being replaced by a cheaper source of mana ramp.

The following are changes I'm currently testing.


Currently none.

Please read my Notable Exclusions list before posting!

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


Equipment

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Equipment Tutors

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Equipment Support

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Auras & Vehicles

Balan has no use for Auras and focuses solely on Equipment.

After playing with them for a while, Vehicles have been deemed too much of a distraction for the deck.

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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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Removal Options

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Hate Cards

Cards like Aven Mindcensor, Loxodon Gatekeeper, and Hushwing Gryff with abilities that slow down opponents and/or prevent certain shenanigans. I don't care for this type of card as they all share the same problems:

  • The longer the game goes, the less effective they become.
  • Not enough of them isn't consistent.
  • Too many of them burns space on non-synergistic cards.
  • Simply not drawing them feels no different that not running them in the first place.

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 function like Rest in Peace: effective against any deck 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 useless when I'm behind. There's no middle ground. It also carry the stigma of ruining games. Not what I want for this deck.

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Lands

  • Fetchlands are primarily for colour-fixing, which a mono-coloured deck doesn't need. Deckthinning with them is statistically negligible.
  • Artifact Lands don't provide any meaningful utility and will end up as collateral damage from sweepers more often than not.
  • Cavern of Souls doesn't do much in a non-Tribal, mono-coloured deck with a Commander that has no ETB trigger.
  • Eiganjo Castle has a very low-impact ability that's easily outpaced by the deck's Equipment.
  • Flagstones of Trokair is a card that does absolutely nothing. It's not "strictly better than a Plains", no matter how hard you convince yourself.
  • Inkmoth Nexus, like Grafted Exoskeleton, promotes a horrid win-con that is hated by everyone.
  • New Benalia & Zhalfirin Void don't do enough. The cycling lands are much better.
  • Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx can't function properly in an artifact-based strategy.
  • Temple of the False God is a trap that promises to produce two mana, but is a dead card when that two mana matters the most.

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Avacyn, Angel of Hope & Darksteel Forge

Both 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.

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Bastion Protector

Too narrow. Only boosting Balan and nobody else isn't that great in games where I have to restort to my alternative threats. Not being an Equipment also hinders it.

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Iona, Shield of Emeria

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?

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Ranger of Eos

It doesn't work with the tiny amount of 1cmc creatures this deck has. Adding more creatures would be forcing Ranger to work instead of it being a natural addition.

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Inspiring Statuary

The one card type that this deck would want to be made cheaper is Artifact (and by extension, Equipment). Statuary doesn't provide that.

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Land Tax

Replaced by Tithe to get the needed lands a turn faster. This deck also no longer has any way to use the spare lands Land Tax offers.

Updates Add

Core Set 2019 Additions:

Crook of Condemnation -> Remorseful Cleric

Day of Judgment -> Cleansing Nova

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Battlebond Additions:

None

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Commander 2018 Additions:

Thalia's Lancers -> Heavenly Blademaster

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Other Additions:

Forsake the Worldly -> Key to the City



Core Upgrades

Right as I'm looking into more graveyard hate options, Core Set 2019 introduces Remorseful Cleric, taking over Crook of Condemnation's spot. This Tormod's Crypt on a body adds to Recruiter of the Guard's tutor pool and is a great target for Sun Titan or Sword of Light and Shadow to keep my opponents' graves empty.

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Flexibility is a huge asset in this format. Cards that are playable most of the time tend to be better than cards that are raw power in only one specific scenario. One of the ways cards can have this are modal effects. Similar to its older cousin, Cleansing Nova can handle different situations with its different modes. In its case, having an artifact/enchantment sweeper handy to use when creatures aren't a significant problem.

Day of Judgment was a very easy cut. Adding to the cost is a small price for a large improvement.


The Crowd Goes Mild

There we no cheering fans in Valor's Reach for this deck. The available cards from Battlebond didn't offer anything new or improved on existing options, focusing more on two-colour Partner pairs and mechanics that only function at best in Limited with a proper teammate.


Reinforcements from the Heavens

Not every game will go as planned. Heavier amounts of removal flinging around or simply being kept in check can render Balan stuck in the Command Zone. Without her taking the lead, this deck switches to its back-up plan of suiting up alternative threats to take out opponents the regular way of the full 40 damage. In these situations, Heavenly Blademaster is the an absolute beast. A flying Balan that anthem boosts my other creatures is a major threat opponents will have to be wary of.

Finding a spot for Heavenly Blademaster was difficult. I normally prefer ways to lower the deck's overall CMC whenever possible, not increase it. I settled on cutting Thalia's Lancers, as it also has a higher CMC and the swap doesn't cause any new speed bumps in the deck's curve.


Master Key

Flexibility in Commander extends to draw engines as well. This deck's draw engines each have an additional function that gives it purpose beyond drawing cards:

Endless Atlas of Commander 2018 was up for consideration, but decided not to include it. There are times where multiple draw engines are on hand and their additional functions come into play. Atlas only drawing cards, having no other functions, would be very awkward when another draw engine is on board and my hand is already full. However, Atlas' cheap costs reminded me of Key to the City.

Key to the City's power lies in its first ability: making a creature unblockable. The evasion provided by my Equipment isn't perfect. Protection doesn't work on colourless or off-colour creatures and trample isn't always available or even enough against large and/or numerous blockers. Balan gets a lot of value out of Rogue's Passage for its ability to guarantee a clean hit. The key is another source of this powerful evasion, while also adding a little card quality on the side.

The key has taken the place of Forsake the Worldly. Forsake was a solution to the lack of artifact and enchantment removal in this deck. Since then, three card:Urza's Ruinus Blast|new sweepers capable of removing artifacts and enchantments have been added, impacting the board in broader ways. The slack that Forsake had to pick up no longer exists, and I felt cutting it wasn't going to be a detriment to my removal suite. This deck was also getting a little too spell-heavy for my liking.


Maybeboard & Chopping Block

Boreas Charger was planned to take Solemn Simulacrum's place, but an LTB trigger is a bit finicky, and it doesn't contribute to an early Balan.

With Balan as the Commander for the past year, ramp options that aren't capable of having her drop early have become less desirable. I love an early Balan, and wish for more opportunities for this to happen. Solemn Simulacrum is a nice value creature, but it's a bit expensive when you need to build your mana early game. Solemn Simulacrum has been put on the Chopping Block to be replaced by a cheaper ramp source.

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Magus of the Balance isn't going to find a place in this deck. A sweeper with summoning sickness is going to cause issues by either being a turn too late or being killed while sick to eliminate the threat of a sweep altogether. Not what I want to experience.

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I'm still in the market for a second source of grave hate. With Remorseful Cleric snagging the 'Recruiter-tutorable grave hate' position Stonecloaker would of taken, I have my eyes on Scavenger Grounds for the deck's other value tutor.

Finding space for hate cards is exceedingly difficult. card:Scavenging Grounds only taking up a land slot eliminates most of that issue. There's also the synergy with Desert of the True to sometimes get an extra grave purge out of it.



Next Update:

Guilds of Ravnica

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Date added 5 years
Last updated 1 week
Exclude colors UBRG
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.86
Токены 1/1 Construct, 0/0 Germ, 1/1 Kor 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 418
Top rank #6 on 2018-10-16
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Revision 205 See all

1 week ago)

+1 Dawn of Hope maybe