Kaalia was my first deck and subsequent foil project. She was the perfect choice for me: I've always had an affinity for her color combination, and her effect was the most practical enabler for my angel fetish.


This is an aggro variant of Kaalia. The goal is to ramp into and quickly establish a boardstate.

  • The Creatures - Chosen for their immediate impact on the board-state. They either are of high threat level, present a must-answer situation, or do something the turn they come down. I deliberately tried to avoid mana-intensive abilities, or most "on upkeep", conditional, and "when X attacks" triggers. Creatures like Reya Dawnbringer or Scourge of the Throne rarely get a chance to generate their value so I've avoided such creatures.

  • The Acceleration - The mana rocks were chosen for both their speed and permanence. Sol Ring or Mana Crypt with any of the 2 CMC Mana Rocks can mean a Turn 2 Kaalia. Mox Diamond and Chrome Mox can provide that extra "oompf" despite the card disadvantage. I've overlooked cards such as Lotus Petal or Pentad Prism because they don't help you in the long-run, or when things turn sour and you need to switch to midrange.

  • The Removal - Multiple answers in the form of spot removal and selective wraths. Answer threats while keeping yours.

  • The Lockdown - Once you have an established board-state you can seal the game through MLD cards such as Ravages of War , Armageddon, Cataclysm , or a Winter Orb lock. Sire Of Insanity functions in a similar capacity.

  • The Long Game - Threats can be replenished through effects from Necropotence, Dragon Mage, Wheel of Fortune, Volrath's Stronghold, Phyrexian Reclamation, Reanimate, Animate Dead, or Karmic Guide.


While I outlined the reason behind my choices, I haven't given a very good description on when they're best used.


I'll be adding more to the section as it comes to mind.

  • Necropotence is a house in this format. It's highly recommended you seek it out if you're able to cast it, and will get you there if you can resolve it.

  • Wheel of Fortune/Dragon Mage can both be tricky. They can definitely pull you out of a rut, but they can do the same for your opponents. I find the best time to use them is when a MLD spell backfires, you think your opponent has a combo in hand, know you have a reanimation spell on the draw, or have absolutely no other options available to you. The damage can be lessened with Sire Of Insanity on the board, but you must also consider the amount of mana your opponents have open.

  • Angel of Serenity has some "secret tech" available to her. Her primary function is to hold threats "hostage", but the way she's worded gives her a secondary, more permanent use- hitting her with instant-speed removal while her ETB effect's on the stack.


This section will be updated periodically based on testing.

  • Non-basic land hate. I'm considering a set of snow basics.

  • Land hate of my own. Is there room for cards such as Wasteland or eventually Crucible of Worlds?

I'll add more when it comes to mind. Thanks for looking, and I look forward to your suggestions!

Remaining cards to foil: 1 (Fellwar Stone.)



While I initially read this as "search for a creature card", and typed up an appropriate response, I now realize it is any card. Either way, here's my initial response on why Kaalia may or may not want this.

EDIT: The biggest advantage Razaketh offers is tutoring for a one of the closer (mentioned below), offering a chance to seal the game should the board-state allow. He's a potential auto-include and more valuable than my first impression and written response allude to.

I like Razaketh. I like him a lot. The 8/8 for 8 flying body and powerful effect makes him seem a lot like a color-shifted Avacyn. It's a shame that his ability has the "another" clause in it. With out the clause the potential would be staggering, whether he be cycle himself in response to removal or he be abused similar to Griselbrand in other formats.

For some context, Kaalia seeks to ramp herself out, cheat out flagship creatures, and do everything she can to keep a field presence. Her primary win condition is damage secured through MLD or hand-hate (Sire of Insanity, Armageddon, Cataclysm, Ravages of War, ect), or sometimes a surprise Master of Cruelties or OG Gisela. In this process, Kaalia typically fields one to three other creatures before the game is decided.

It's in this narrow focus, and that "another" clause, that puts Razaketh below the threshold for most Kaalia decks. Lacking the fodder of mana dorks, token generation, and a support caste outside of Mother of Runes, Razaketh is forced to sacrifice either the value engine or the value itself.

Rather than adding to the total damage on board you're taking it away for similar gains, but in this process, you're opening yourself up to more damning removal. Whether they "bolt" Kaalia in response to you sacrificing a fatty, or shut down/counter Kaalia or your search target after you tutor for another fatty. There's also situations where you don't want to or can't sacrifice. Avacyn, for example, may prove too valuable to let go at point.

Without that "another" clause, Razaketh at least offers the chance of cycling himself in response to removal. He has a hefty political threat of "remove me and it only gets worse", giving him some shoe-horned survivability. As it stands, his most poignant use will be a response to removal of other creatures. Want to Path Avacyn? We'll pitch her to the yard, dodging exile, and getting another thread in the process. Want to turn Kaalia into a tree? Nope, but we're going to go grab Master while we're at it. As it stands, I can see him included in the pantheon on the lower end, and alright inclusion on the crux of being nudged out by more potent creatures.

If there is a place for Razaketh in EDH, I believe he can find a home in reanimator or decks with Sneak Attack. There's a ton of synergy with Marshesa (the good one) who often does both and can abuse ETBs while proving fodder for Razaketh's effect.

Comments View Archive

AlexRuzhyo says... #1

Oh, by the way, if you click on the orange "TCG Player Tab" it should add the entire deck to your sort. You could then use the cart optimizer to change the editions, conditions, and such.

The other option is to copy/paste the list in their Mass Product Entry, which should show up on Google. It basically does the same thing button does, but you'd still do well to run them both through the optimizer.

December 26, 2016 4:19 a.m.

misterpizza says... #2

Herald of Anguish? Seems weak, but is a threat that "has to be dealt with" at some point.

January 16, 2017 4:30 p.m.

AlexRuzhyo says... #3

It seems I voiced my typical "Expansion Update" in a Reddit post. I'll add one to this page soon.

  • Herald of Anguish - He's "not bad" but there's definitely better. The only real value you're getting out of him is the discard effect as the improvise and the activated ability being irrelevant in most builds. He's one of those cards I'd recommend for a casual player as a competent placeholder, though his price will stop me from doing that for a couple of years.

  • Exquisite Archangel - There's better. It doesn't phase most combo decks. Lab maniac only needs to draw another card, most other infinites only need do what they've been doing one more time. If you really want the effect there's always Platinum Angel if you have a way to ditch it at the right time.

  • Freejam Regent - Firebreathing and improvise. Nothing to give a second glance.

I'm really hoping for something juicy soon. I feel as though Kaalia's two or three bombs from having a "definitive" competitive creature roster. This last round of creatures, while interesting, focus around the mechanics of the set. Energy, improvise, and fabricate really don't gel well with what the deck wants to do. It's been sometime since they made an angel, demon, or dragon that's capable of standing on its own. They're still making competent creatures just not on Kaalia relevant bodies. Hell, I'd love if any of the Kaalia-colored Gearhulks were on Kaalia-relevant bodies.

January 17, 2017 2:37 p.m.

misterpizza says... #4

Gemstone Caverns?

Also how do you like strionic resonator? Try savage beating yet?

Does Archfiend of Depravity affect the board as much as you wish it did? The more competitive the meta, the less reliant decks are on a post-end step established board state.

February 3, 2017 3:47 p.m.

AlexRuzhyo says... #5

The Caverns can definitely give you a leg-up, but I'm hesitant to try it with the number of utility lands that I already run. That paired with my foil obsession has made me slow to adopt it.

I've admittedly not gotten to play in the last month or so. Work, a woodworking project, and my buddy's (non MTG) Twitch streaming have eaten up most of my free time.

Depravity is definitely in the "not bad though there's not much better" camp. He's on the shortlist should we get another game warper, as few as they've been the last couple of years. I will say he's a hell of a silver-bullet/must-answer to creature-based decks that need some tempo, namely slivers, Krenko, Rhys, and some less combo-centric token decents.

February 3, 2017 4:34 p.m.

SunnyD98 says... #6

After reading the comments, i do not believe it has been brought up, how come you don't run Chancellor of the Annex?? So far for me it seems like a powerful card.

March 23, 2017 2:32 a.m.

AlexRuzhyo says... #7

Chancellor was in a past version of the deck. It's a hit-or-miss card depending on the game state.

She's great in your opening hand, great if you can get her out early, great for fighting some combos, but falls short as a top-deck or even if a troublesome opponent can afford to buy past their win condition.

As far as lock pieces go you're probably better to rely on MLD, winter orb, and the like, but I can definitely see if in place of/comparable to Angelic Arbiter in my list.

March 23, 2017 12:56 p.m.

cytex1234 says... #8

If you really want to mess with their mana Blood moon is great, also another control is Conqueror's Flail 2 drop can't cast spells during your turn :) Pretty great

April 14, 2017 11:01 a.m.

Kaaltech13 says... #9

Have you considered Kolaghan from Dragons of tarkir? haste to all creatures and that nifty 10 damage for single planeswalker... Jace... heavy decks

April 24, 2017 1:50 p.m.

AlexRuzhyo says... #10

Except for a few fringe cases, her second effect is irrelevant in EDH ("name" and "type" are two different things).

Unfortunately, this leaves her little more than a beat-stick sporting a Fervor effect, leaving something to be desired. Haste is at its most valuable for when Kaalia hits the board, and given Kolaghan's CMC, you're not likely to have the dragon out before her.

April 24, 2017 11:20 p.m.

Ewing46 says... #11

I am excited about the possibilities for Razaketh as well in a competitive Kaalia build. What do you think about Razaketh in combination with Second Sunrise or Faith's Reward that would let you sacrifice your team to fetch the recursion piece plus a lockdown piece to close out the game?

June 22, 2017 10:05 p.m.

AlexRuzhyo says... #12

Faith's Reward was in the deck at one point, though I think I swapped it out for Ghostway. Ghostway offered more creature-specific protection and at-will ETB abuse, where Faith's Reward either required a sac outlet of an opponent to use a "destroy" to maximize value. In the rare cases you had the 8 mana to cast it and a MLD spell it was pretty neat but games rarely ran on that long.

Razaketh does add more value to Second Sunrise and Faith's Reward, even if you're only sacrificing Kaalia to tutor for a lock piece. Obviously sacrificing more generates more value, but at the same time, you may not always have 2+ other creatures on-board, and sacrificing that much opens you up to a bigger hit should SS/FR get countered.

If you are in a position to abuse SS/FR, I believe the best time to cast would be at the end of an opponent's turn. You could tutor/abuse ETBs and un-tap with Kaalia ready to swing. I think if I were to tutor with Razaketh on my turn with enough mana to cast SS/FR, I'd wrath from the lock piece that turn instead. In that case you'd definitely want something other than Kaalia to use for tutor fodder and keep your value engine going. Losing one beater isn't huge if it means securing the board.

I'll definitely revisit both cards once I have a copy of Razaketh. There's a lot I want to test with him. For one, he pairs greatly with Angel of Serenity - sacrifice her in response to her ETB to permanently exile three cards. In rare cases, can also see swinging with Kaalia and sacrificing her with her trigger on the stack, tutoring for something to bring down on the board.

June 25, 2017 4:16 a.m.

AlexRuzhyo says... #13

Phyrexian Reclamation also pairs well with Razaketh, and say, Rakdos the Defiler. Four life, 1B, to get a tutor and another "free" trigger off Rakdos.

June 25, 2017 4:18 a.m.

victorjyoung says... #14

Question about Winter Orb: When would you consider it the best time to play it? You obviously want to use it to bring your opponents to a crawl, but not so early that you'd end up putting yourself at a disadvantage.

June 30, 2017 12:23 a.m.

AlexRuzhyo says... #15

Rule of thumb, for lock pieces in general, is to drop them after after you swing with Kaalia. Most time they'll either answer Kaalia or her threat. If they can't/don't, you're usually in the clear to do what you want.

With the above criteria, I'd drop winter orb post-combat if Kaalia's still on-board. Usually this means spending 2 of 4-5 mana, allowing you to keep some open for an instant-speed answer. You'll obviously get more value if your opponents lands are tapped and you've a healthy amount of artifact ramp on-board, but those often back-seat the ability to stall/seal a game.

June 30, 2017 1:52 a.m.

CaptainKraw says... #16

Hey dude, I run Dragon Tempest in my Kaalia deck, and it is only ever a positive. Curious of your thoughts on the matter.

July 29, 2017 12:49 p.m.

canderson107 says... #17

I've haven't seen anyone using Cryptic Gateway. I have been trying it in my Kaalia deck it seems to be useful when I draw it.

August 3, 2017 5 p.m.

Enral says... #18

If you play in a competitive meta you definitely need Red Elemental Blast/Pyroblast in there. I also see some stax elements in there and would highly recommend running Trinisphere effects to slow fast combo down.

August 3, 2017 5:02 p.m.

DirtySouth says... #19

@AlexRuzhyo have you thought about Mana Web ?

August 4, 2017 2:54 p.m.

AlexRuzhyo says... #20

@canderson107 Having the Gateway, two creatures on board, with a third in hand that all share a type is a tall order in Kaalia, who's essentially a "split" tribal deck.

One could also argue that being in such a position means you're already ahead. Tapping down those creature slows your clock, so you may be much better off with an answer, lock piece, or blowout.

I'll note that Strionic Resonator provides a similar force multiplyer effect when paired with Kaalia, and is much more flexible when it comes to generating value off of your creature's ETBs/Triggers.

@Enral The mono-red counters have been on the fringe of the list for awhile. I'd sincerely recommend them to anyone in a blue/counter heavy meta, but my biggest offenders are Prossh, Mono Sidisi, Selvala, and Breya. If I faced more U or Mono-U threats I'd consider them, but for the moment, I can't personally justify them.

As for Trinisphere... well, I don't know. There's a lot arguing for and against it. It have it in a Derevi stax and I still haven't quite figured out it's time and place. I'm open to advice on it.

@DirtySouth I've considered it and probably should test it. I've gone down a handful of instants since I last thought it.

August 4, 2017 3:36 p.m.

superhuman21 says... #21

So this deck seems to have a solid footing to be very dangerous. That being said though there is some improvement in the 'focus' of your creatures that I'd recommend.
Basically if you run kaalia it is natural to want to splash MANY angels, demons, and dragons into the deck but my experience tells me it is best to choose 2 of these. For example I run basically angels and dragons, but only a couple demons (demons tend to have some serious drawbacks for yourself, so be weary there).

Thran Dynamo, Bruna, the Fading Light and her gisela counterpart, a disk, Whispersilk Cloak, Dark Ritual, Strionic Resonator, Debt to the Deathless, Platinum Angel, Angel's Grace, Entreat the Angels, are all cards I'd highly consider.

Here is the main look of my kaalia deck atm. I can't afford the lands, but the creatures and such are real solid.

August 28, 2017 5:37 p.m.

DeathsHero says... #22

Ive spotted a few mistakes e.g most of your lands runs a colour that you cant use. Soo all together this deck you cant use anyways cos its not legeal

November 3, 2017 5:09 p.m.

Spirits says... #23

Hi DeathsHero,

The deck shows as Commander/EDH Legal. I looked through AlexRuzhyo lands they all look good.

Maybe your thinking of lands like Flooded Strand or Verdant Catacombs as an example? A cards color identity is based on its mana symbols (). Flooded Strand is just "Land" it's not a Plains or an Island so it does not tap to add either mana symbol (). However, it does say the word "Island", the word "Island" does not become part of the cards color identity, because it is not a . It's honestly a little confusing but perfectly legal, hopefully the explanation makes it clear.

If you're looking for some info on Kaalia of the Vast commander, I'm also a Kaalia of the Vast player Kaalia, Mirror Breaker EDH, if your interested. I have quite a bit of discussion, combos and synergies listed in my description.

Best of luck.

November 4, 2017 5:09 p.m.

Spirits says... #24

You should get Razaketh, the Foulblooded in there. Since adding him to my deck Kaalia, Mirror Breaker he has been my best Demon, and probably the best creature... period. Only once did I have him ETB and not win the game (was at 4 life) that turn, he did win it for me the next game pulling my Whip of Erebos, super-star. He even pulls mana sources if you need then to win. I usually pull Buried Alive + Reanimate to win with "Tutor Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Restoration Angel + Karmic Guide Infinite Haste Angels" then sac an angel for Goblin Bombardment if I've already attacked that turn which I usually have because I free play with Kaalia of the Vast triggered ability. So much utility in this guy.

November 4, 2017 5:17 p.m.

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