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Balan, Wandering Knight | Equipment Voltron

Commander / EDH Aggro Mono-White Multiplayer Voltron




February 18, 2018:

Rivals of Ixalan Update

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.

Deck Development

Last Updated: February 18, 2018

Banisher Priest

A Journey to Nowhere effect on an Equipment-wielding body.


Thalia's Lancers

Now that Planeswalkers are Legendary, the Lancers can also tutor for Nahiri and any future Planeswalker additions.


Basilisk Collar

Lifelink to boost my life, deathtouch to keep threats at bay.


Credit Voucher

Shuffles away a stagnant hand for fresh cards.


Mind Stone

A simple mana rock that can be popped for a card. Creates a card draw engine with Sun Titan.


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.


Teferi's Protection

Protects myself and my things until my next turn. Stifles removal, alpha strikes, life loss, etc.


Reliquary Tower

An experiment for Sword of Fire and Ice. SoFaI's forced card draw triggers can fill my hand faster than I can empty it, especially now with a Commander that almost always has double strike.

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.

Angel of Sanctions

Open slot. A possible cut for a new card.



Open Slot. This deck doesn't need so much creature recursion.


Conqueror's Galleon

Probation. Recent drought of Commander games made it impossible to test properly, but is a current part of the deck. Galleon's place is pending, dependent on the ability to crew it consistently without compromising Balan's performance.

The following are changes I'm currently testing.

Mikokoro, Center of the Sea -> Reliquary Tower


Acquirable: 3 | Unavailable: 8 | Reserved: 1

Foils: 59

Prerelease Foils: 8

FNM Promos: 1

Grand Prix & Pro Tour Promos: 4

Judge Gifts: 4

Masterpieces: 6

Miscellaneous Foils & Promos: 6

Remaining Acquirable Foils:

Land Tax

Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

Petrified Field


Currently Unavailable in Foil:

Balan, Wandering Knight

Armory Automaton

Conqueror's Flail

Hammer of Nazahn

Masterwork of Ingenuity

Grasp of Fate

Nahiri, the Lithomancer

Myriad Landscape


Reserved List:

Argivian Archaeologist

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 Tutors


Equipment Support



This deck is Equipment-only! Balan as the current Commander focuses the deck solely on Equipment.



I'm willing to use Vehicles if they meet certain requirements:

  • Vehicles must have a crew cost no higher than 2. This is so that a lone utility creature can crew them every turn with ease.
  • Vehicles must have some form of meaningful utility. I'm not interested in Vehicles that are just large bodies.

An exception is made for Conqueror's Galleon. Its crew cost of 4 breaks my aforementioned limit, but its attack trigger and nature as a DFC means it only has to be crewed once, and the land it transforms into offers great utility for Mono-White.


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:


Removal Options


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.


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.



  • 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 doesn't do enough to justify a tapped land.
  • 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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.

Updates Add

Important Note:

Commander games have resumed at my LGS as of Mid-January!

Rivals of Ixalan Additions:



Other Additions:

Eight-and-a-Half-Tails -> Devoted Caretaker

Rivals of Ixalan

Rivals of Ixalan didn't offer anything new. The Tribal focused cards are a poor fit for a Voltron deck.

Other Additions

Even when you've owned a deck for several years and figured you've explored every option available, a card that's the answer to your problems can just pop up out of nowhere. Devoted Caretaker is one of those cards. It has taken Eight-and-a-Half-Tails' place as an Equipment protector.

8.5 hasn't been effective in the deck anymore. His need for large amounts of mana makes him unexciting to see in the early game, and he's unable to protect anything if my mana is spent during the turn for needed cards. Mana doublers no longer being a part of the deck has affected him, as the abundance of mana the doublers provided was what fueled his abilities more easily. Holding a single for Caretaker's ability is much easier to do, allowing access to most of my mana every turn while still leaving a protection shield up.


I've been in a cantrip/cycling mood lately, and there are two cards from this that have piqued my interest:

  • Scout's Warning is a unique card for White that gives a creature the element of surprise of being cast at instant-speed. It allows Balan a shot to dodge sorcery-speed removal or sneak a key utility creature right before my next turn. It's a neat spell that most opponents won't see coming.

  • Mind Stone is a mana rock that can pop itself for a card. It also creates a card draw engine with Sun Titan. I've been adamant about not adding further mana rocks due to them being collateral damage, but one with a sacrifice ability for value makes that problem pretty much moot. I recall someone suggesting additional ramp to compensate for Balan costing 4 mana compared to previous Commanders costing only 2. Perhaps there's merit in another ramp source.

At their worst, both cards can simply be "cycled" for a new card, so they're never dead draws. They would also add more incremental card draw effects that Solemn Simulacrum, Forsake the Worldly, and the cycling lands provide.


Credit Voucher is another card draw effect I have my eyes on. It can refresh a stagnant hand or help dig for a needed removal spell.

Chopping Block

After reviewing my creature recursion effects, I believe Reveillark is a weak link. Compared to the deck's other creature recursion cards:

Reveillark was a card choice from when I first built the deck and shoved in whatever powerful cards I liked. After six years, my opinions have changed and the needs of the deck along with it. So much creature-only recursion is no longer necessary. Reveillark is now an Open Slot.


With Commander games firing up at my LGS again, testing for Conqueror's Galleon have begun in earnest, and the final decision to keep it or not will be in the Dominaria update.

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32% Casual

68% Competitive

Compare to inventory
Date added 5 years
Last updated 1 day
Exclude colors UBRG

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.91
Tokens 1/1 Kor Soldier, 0/0 Germ, 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 382
Top rank #15 on 2016-01-25
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