My favorite color combination in Magic is blue/black, but the Dimir commander choices are pretty lame. Unless you're going for generic goodstuff or mill, there aren't many interesting choices left. On that note, most of the artifact commanders are pretty same-y, too. I've built quite a few of the blue-based artifact commanders ( Memnarch , Sydri, Galvanic Genius , Muzzio, Visionary Architect ) and found that they all play pretty similarly to each other. When the partner commanders got spoiled I immediately thought that I could play Silas Renn as a solo commander that could address both of these problems at once.

Why no partner commander?

I think Silas is powerful enough to be played without another commander. He's got pretty decent stats. 3 mana for a 2/2 deathtouch isn't terrible. The combat damage rider on his recursion ability is kind of unfortunate; I wish it was just an attack trigger. However, the deathtouch means that he gets to connect a lot more often than you would expect. Most people would rather take the 2 damage rather than lose a creature, especially early game. Hopefully by mid to late game you would be able to give him some sort of evasion. Also, I feel like having another commander would dilute the strategy of the deck.

I think that Silas Renn tends to draw less hate than traditional artifact commanders. I remember back in the day when Sharuum the Hegemon decks were generally viewed as KILL ON SIGHT decks. Nowadays I guess Breya, Etherium Shaper has taken the crown as the go-to artifact synergy commander. Silas is sneaky that way. You've got some great synergy and value going on but it looks a lot more innocent than Breya's "in-your-face" value.

Lastly, I feel a bit more justified including goodstuff in decks that have weaker commanders. This is just personal preference, but I usually try to include themes in my decks and avoid goodstuff if possible. I'll include a few goodstuff cards and auto-includes, but generally flavor or theme trumps generic powerful cards. When you're running a commander like Najeela, the Blade-Blossom , or Zur the Enchanter , then the deck doesn't need that much help to be powerful. Running a partner commander solo? Yeah, he might need a little bit of help to compete with the likes of Breya. So, I guess the point I'm trying to make is: "yes, the list contains Blightsteel Colossus and an infinite turn combo. No, I don't usually try to go for that sort of strategy in a casual build."

Why Dimir? Why not Esper/Grixis?

Similar to what I said above, I think that adding another color would change the feel of the deck quite a bit. When one adds another color one feels obligated to include a few of the staples from that color. For example, let's say that you wanted to go Esper. You should probably include Sharuum, Sphinx of the Steel Wind , and Magister Sphinx , because they're all really good. While you're at it, you might as well include the Thopter Foundry + Sword of the Meek combo for value. And, you know what? Throw in Enlightened Tutor , Ethersworn Canonist , and Scourglass in there, too. Before you know it, you've just built a worse version of a Sharuum the Hegemon deck. You've also eliminated 8 slots of your deck which you would otherwise use for narrower or more interesting cards on generic Esper goodstuff.

I don't know about you, but I get a little nervous when I include double-colored (let alone tripled colored) mana costs on cards in a three color deck. I would have a harder time justifying the inclusion of Marionette Master or Phyrexian Scriptures in a three color deck because I wouldn't be positive that I would always have the double black when I want to cast it. In general, your mana base gets a lot shakier when you include more colors. I have a pretty solid collection, but as of right now I don't have all of the best lands that money can buy. I'm fortunate enough to own a few old school dualies and fetches, but if I dipped into another color I'd be heading into guildgate territory to ensure that I had a good mix of colors. There are more than enough allied colored blue/black lands that come into play untapped (most of the time) that I feel like I don't have to worry about my mana base. I can't say the same when I build three color decks. Also, those dual color producing lands coming into play untapped means that the deck is just a little bit faster, which I like.

Because it's only two colors, I feel like I can go a bit deeper into both colors than I normally would. The aforementioned Marionette Master and Phyrexian Scriptures are good examples. There's only so much room in a commander deck. The more colors you throw in there, the most goodstuff you tend to include. I feel like I got to include cool cards like Mask of Riddles or Sphinx Summoner because it was only two colors.

How competitive is this deck?

It's not one of my more competitive decks. In my local meta it gets the job done, but it certainly isn't a deck that makes people groan when I take it out. It exists somewhere between my jankiest jank and my dankest of dank. It does include an infinite turn combo (Thopter Assembly + Time Sieve ) and some other eye-roll inducing bullshit like Blightsteel Colossus and Mindslaver locks, but otherwise it's pretty fair. If it's not a 75% deck, it's pretty close. Even though I have access to a lot of the blue and black staples and tutors, I chose not to run them. Full disclosure, though: one of the reasons that I didn't power this deck up too much is because I used to run a Dralnu, Lich Lord Doomsday / Ad Nauseam Tendrils of Agony deck that was spectacularly un-fun. I was trying to get my playgroup to put away their torches and pitchforks, not sharpen them.

Specific Card Choices

Basalt Monolith : This is a great mana rock even when you’re using it fairly. But I have absolutely no intention of using it fairly. Untap it with Voltaic Key or Manifold Key to get the party started.

Commander's Sphere : It's a mana rock that can be sacrificed to draw a card. Unlike Mind Stone , it produces colored mana AND it doesn't require tapping in order to get the card. I've recurred this with Silas Renn before just for the extra card.

Courier's Capsule : One of my favorite recursion targets for Silas. Four mana for two cards isn't great, but the fact that the cost is spread over two turns and you can recur it makes it pretty good.

Cranial Plating : Great for sneaky commander damage wins or otherwise making something innocuous into a huge threat.

Darksteel Forge : Darksteel Forge + Nevinyrral's Disk = no more friends! The Forge is a pretty obvious inclusion. It makes your board that much more difficult to deal with. It's very fun to sneak out at instant speed with Master Transmuter or Kuldotha Forgemaster

Dimir Signet : Two CMC mana rocks are king. If you don't own a playset of all the signets, please do yourself a favor and get them.

Executioner's Capsule : The nonblack condition can make this card a dud sometimes, but most of the time it won't be. It's a great rattlesnake card, and being able to recur it later is gravy.

Expedition Map : Used to fetch non-basics like Rogue's Passage , Academy Ruins , or Reliquary Tower .

Gilded Lotus : It’s a nice piece of ramp by itself, but gets better with untapping shenanigans.

Key to the City : I love this card. It's a source of cheap card filtering in the early game and potentially game ending in the late game.

Manifold Key : This card is friggin’ sweet. It untaps stuff and makes Silas (or Blightsteel Colossus) unblockable. Good stuff.

Mask of Riddles : This is great to slap on Silas Renn for some evasion. There are probably better choices for similar effects, but I think it's a cool equipment that you wouldn't run in many other decks.

Mind Stone : Like Commander's Sphere above, but only 2 CMC.

Mindslaver : This card has won me soooooo many games. The hardest part about playing this card, especially in this deck, is to resist the temptation to just slaver lock someone out of the game. "In bird culture, this is considered a dick move."

Mycosynth Lattice : It makes your Tezzerets hit harder and your mana problems a thing of the past. Throw in a dash of Lattice into your Darksteel Forge + Nevinyrral's Disk combo for maximum friend loss! Again, just because you CAN do a thing does not mean that you SHOULD do a thing.

Nevinyrral's Disk : It's a great tutorable board sweeper. It comes into play tapped, which is a bit of a bummer, but that does make it a bit more fair. However, once it becomes untapped you should never underestimate the value of an instant speed board wipe. You basically hold the table hostage until someone forces you to pop the thing.

Nihil Spellbomb : It's a cheap graveyard hoser that can be recurred with Silas. Since the rise of Meren and Breya, I've always tried to include at least one piece of graveyard hate in every deck. Unfortunately most of the time it's a boring one that doesn't go with the theme, but I feel like the spellbomb is great with this deck.

Ratchet Bomb : It's another cheap board wipe that can be recurred if necessary. For style points, don't put any charge counters on it and use it to make the Rhys the Redeemed player cry by playing it over and over again!

Sol Ring : It's incredibly effective ramp, even though it's ubiquitous in our format and thus a little boring.

Spine of Ish Sah : Really expensive, but incredibly effective. Use it to fuel your sacrifice shenanigans. Extra spicy with Morbid Curiosity .

Talisman of Dominance : Underground River on a 2 CMC mana rock.

Thought Vessel : Seriously, run as many 2 CMC mana rocks as you can. This one does its best impression of a Reliquary Tower .

Time Sieve : I know what you're thinking: "Infinite Turn combos, Wombat? FOR SHAME!" You're partly right. I included it in here because it was powerful and I don't think I would include it in any other deck. Even using it "fairly" kind of plays into the themes of the deck by enabling recursion. I try not to use the combo unless I have to.

Trading Post : Such value. Each ability synergizes really well with the deck.

Unstable Obelisk : It's a great, albeit expensive, way to deal with planeswalkers and enchantments. I get a lot of mileage out of this card. It's pretty good early game to accelerate you, then good late game when you can't otherwise deal with the scariest thing on the board.

Voltaic Key Untapping shenanigans!

Wayfarer's Bauble : A nice mana rock that actually puts lands on the battlefield instead of dying to the first overloaded Vandalblast . It’s easy to recur with Silas, too.

Arcbound Ravager : This card brings me back to some uncomfortable times in Magic’s history. In case you were wondering, it’s still pretty busted, even in Commander. Use it as a sacrifice outlet, a giant beatstick, or as a finisher. I used it when I had a Marionette Master equipped with a Cranial Plating on the board once. It won me the game.

Baleful Strix : It's a great value creature and an even better chump blocker. I've shamelessly recurred this with Silas Renn over the course of a few turns.

Blightsteel Colossus : Please use responsibly. However, if that's not your cup of tea, then by all means...

Kuldotha Forgemaster : Make no mistake, this card is super powerful. Don't hesitate to sacrifice it to itself. You can usually get it back pretty easily in this deck.

Marionette Master : Put a Cranial Plating on this lady and go nuts.

Master Transmuter : Another super powerful card. The fact that you put the artifact into play at instant speed puts it over the top. I love bouncing Spine of Ish Sah with it.

Master of Etherium : It's very cost-efficient. It also allows you to go sort of wide with your token producers. I've won games off the back of 2/2 thopters and servos.

Myr Battlesphere : Find a way to abuse the ETB trigger on this guy. It's kind of expensive, but that usually means I have no problem pitching it to a Key to the City early on then recurring it later.

Noxious Gearhulk : Mmmmm, this card. Use it for some clutch lifegain. Use it to kill problem creatures. I often find myself tutoring for it.

Platinum Angel : It's funny, but kind of expensive. Sometimes you're in magical Christmas land and you have out a DS Forge with this. Most of the time you don't and it dies. Speaking of magical Christmas land, I'm still waiting to flash this out with Master Transmuter in response to a game ending combo.

Scrap Trawler : Lots of value here. Silas Renn isn't the only way to recur artifacts with this guy out.

Sharding Sphinx : I'm a man of simple tastes. I see a card called Sharding Sphinx and I call it Sharting Sphinx.

Sphinx Summoner : A nice, narrow tutor in our colors. I don't feel bad at all about running these sort of tutors because they require you to be careful about how you build your deck rather than assembling a giant pile of goodstuff.

Steel Hellkite : It's a great way to take care of problem permanents. With the amount of unblockable-granting abilities this deck is running, you should have very little problem getting it to connect.

Thopter Assembly : It combos with Time Sieve , but you can also use it "fairly" to just get some value out of it.

Trinket Mage : There are a handful of targets to fetch with Trinket Mage. Most of the time you'll probably just use it to fetch Sol Ring. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.

Wurmcoil Engine : More like Value Engine, amirite? This thing is nuts. Swing with it, chump block with it, recur it, whatever.

Phyrexian Scriptures : This is such a badass card. I loved the sagas from Dominaria, and I think this one was the coolest of them. It’s got three relevant abilities, but obviously the second one is the best. It’ll most likely be a one-sided board wipe followed by a one-sided wipe of your opponents’ graveyards.

Rhystic Study : With this card you can do your best mall cop impression. "Are you going to pay for that?"

Thopter Spy Network : I'm not totally sold on this card yet either. It seems like it could be good, but I could probably just run Phyrexian Arena for more or less the same effect. Again, as of right now theme is trumping power. That could change with more testing, though.

Cyclonic Rift : Imagine a flowchart. In a circle at the top of the chart it says in big letters "Are you playing blue?" There are two arrows marked "yes" and "no" leading away from that circle. The "no" path leads to another circle that simply says "you're kind of thick, aren't you?" The "yes" arrow leads to a circle that says "are you running Cyclonic rift?" From that circle, we have another two arrows. Those arrows are labelled "of course" and "wut." The "of course" arrow leads to a circle with a giant smiley face in it. The "wut" arrow leads back to the "you're kind of thick, aren't you" circle.

Fact or Fiction : It's an instant speed draw spell that usually gets you 3 cards. Because Silas uses the graveyard so much, it's really getting you more like 4 or even 5 cards. I wish there were more cards that had this level of draw power.

Thirst for Knowledge : The loss of an artifact to the yard isn't that big a deal in this deck.

Academy Ruins : It's a great card when used fairly. Or you can use it unfairly and slaver lock someone out of the game. Choose wisely.

Buried Ruin : Great to use late game after Silas has gone back to the command zone a few times.

Choked Estuary : I like to run a lot of basics in my mana bases, so if played early, choked estuary can generally come into play untapped.

Command Tower : It’s a commander deck with more than one color. Yeah, you should run Command Tower.

Darkwater Catacombs : I like this cycle of Odyssey block filter lands. They're way cheaper than the Lorwyn ones. They're just not as flexible. Also, I don't run that many double black mana cost cards, so I can usually get away with just having a bunch of blue producing lands and a darkwater catacombs for a while.

Drowned Catacomb : What's with Catacombs and water, huh? Who keeps leaving their catacombs underwater? Again, having a lot of basics means that this will generally come into play untapped.

Inventors' Fair : The lifegain is cute, but we’re obviously playing this for the tutor.

Island : I like to run a lot of basics in my decks. There are two kinds of EDH players: those who learned a lesson after being on the receiving end of a Blood Moon and those who haven't learned that lesson yet. I think basics get a lot of crap for no reason. They're cheaper and more resilient than non-basics.

Morphic Pool : Pretty much an Underground Sea in this format.

Polluted Delta : I usually always crack it for an Underground Sea, but there are other options nowadays, too. I'm one of the few who wouldn't mind if they banned off-color fetches, which is one of the reasons why you don't see any other fetches in here besides the strict U/B ones. Also, the cost. Actually, it's mainly because of the cost. Fetches are mucho expensivo.

Reliquary Tower : Sometimes you draw lots of cards. When that happens, you hope to draw into Reliquary Tower. However, I will say that with the amount that this deck uses the graveyard you generally don't mind pitching extra cards anyway.

River of Tears : Meh. I owned one, so I threw it in. It's sort of finicky. It has a really elegant design and I totally get why the Future Sight designers printed it. If you haven't noticed, usually you want to cast black things like discard effects or whatever at sorcery speed (on your turn after you've played a land), but you'll want to cast blue things at instant speed (on your opponent's turn when you haven't played a land). Don't rely on it to be your only black source.

Rogue's Passage : It can be an instant win with cards like Blightsteel Colossus or huge things with Cranial Plating attached to them. Most of the time you'll just use it to get Silas Renn to connect and recur something.

Seat of the Synod : Fun to bounce with Master Transmuter . It's great for "artifact count" abilities like Master of Etherium or Darksteel Juggernaut . Just don't forget that Nevinyrral's Disk kills it, too.

Sequestered Stash : It's a new addition to the deck. I'm liking it so far, even if it is pretty much a poor man's Academy Ruins.

Sunken Hollow : Again, my basic land count makes it so this usually comes in untapped.

Sunken Ruin: It'll help you get those double pips to smooth out your plays.

Swamp : i <3 basic lands.

Underground River : The damage sucks, but it always comes into play untapped.

Underground Sea : I was lucky enough to acquire one recently at a really great price, but I've got to say that the deck ran fine without it. You're not going for turn 3 infinites in this deck anyway, so you'd be fine just replacing this with a guildgate if you had to.

Vault of Whispers : See Seat of the Synod. But now in black.

Watery Grave : Having the option to make it come into play untapped is great when you need it, but don't pay the life unless you really need to. If you can get away with having it enter play tapped, then do it.

Tezzeret the Seeker : This guy. The +1 is awesome. The -X is awesome. Heck, even the -5 can be good in a pinch. Remember, you can set X to 0 in order to fetch artifact lands.

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas : Now we're cooking with gas. The +1 is great for digging, but the ult is where it's at. It's often a game-ender. It's great to live the dream by ulting this Tezz, then playing Master of Metal and doing his minus in the same turn.

Tezzeret, Master of Metal : The CMC is a little high, but the abilities are all really sick. The +1 is always relevant (whereas Agent of Bolas will sometimes whiff), the -3 can kill people out of nowhere, and the ult is just awesome. Mind you, I've never actually ulted anybody with him. I've just shotgunned people with the -3. Also, that name! Whenever I read his title I can't help but hear "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath in my head.

Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge : I’m frankly amazed that they printed this card. It’s pretty much tailor-made for this deck. Every one of the abilities is incredible here. Affinity for free? Incredible. A +2 that can kill people AND it gains you life? Incredible. Graveyard recursion? Incredible. Free artifacts? Incredible. 6 mana sucks, but if he sticks around… ooh boy.

Fabricate : A 3 mana artifact tutor. If you wanted to upgrade the deck, you could easily replace this with Demonic Tutor .

Morbid Curiosity : I like the cut of this card's jib! There are a lot of high CMC artifacts in here that could get tossed in the yard then brought back later.

One with the Machine : A cheaper Rush of Knowledge that's thematically appropriate for the deck? Sure.

Reshape : I'm running this over Whir of Invention because I like that it sacrifices things.

Rush of Knowledge : Another way to draw lots of cards for a pretty small investment. I run it in every blue deck.

Tezzeret's Betrayal : It's an unconditional creature kill that can lead to a game ending play late game.

Toxic Deluge : I was toying around the idea of replacing this with Damnation . You see, with Darksteel Forge out, Damnation wouldn't kill my stuff, just theirs. But I realized that the lower CMC and single black mana cost make it a heck of a lot easier to cast most of the time. Also, I would like to have some way to deal with indestructible creatures. I've had my Blightsteel Colossus stolen from me before, and I would like to have some sort of answer in the deck.

-Burnished Hart +Basalt Monolith

Old Bernie was a little too mana-intensive for my likes. Also, multi-colorless producing artifacts get much better with untappers like Voltaic Key.

-Darksteel Juggernaut +Wurmcoil Engine

Wurmcoil Engine was finally freed up from another deck of mine. It’s much better than the Juggernaut.

-Chief Engineer +Wayfarer's Bauble

Chief Engineer was fine, but I like that Wayfarer's Bauble ramps land and can be easily recurred.

-Recurring Insight +One with the Machine

One with the Machine is more thematically appropriate, so in it goes.

-Ancient Excavations +Mystic Forge

While Ancient Excavations was a multi-purpose land fixer and card selection card, I like the raw power of mystic forge. I might put in a Sensei's Divining Top to make it that much better. We'll see.

-Undermine -Force of Will -Counterspell

I cut out the counterspells altogether. Was it the optimal, or most competitively viable choice? No. Do I care? Also no.

+Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge

I don't think I need to explain how this is a great card. So I'm not going to.

+Voltaic Key

I like the untappers. They ramp you, they give your attackers pseudo-vigilance, and make all your busted stuff more busted.

+Gilded Lotus

Again, mulit-mana rocks + untappers = good.

-Soul of New Phyrexia +Arcbound Ravager

Soul of New Phyrexia does protect my stuff, but Arcbound Ravager can just be straight-up lethal. It's a sacrifice outlet, it's a beat-stick, and it can be a win condition with lots of artifacts and a Marionette Master.

-Whispersilk Cloak +Manifold Key

It's an untapper that also makes things unblockable.

-Junk Diver +Scrap Trawler

Scrap Trawler also recycles artifacts, but it can do it multiple times, unlike Junk Diver.

-Beacon of Unrest +Phyrexian Scriptures

The beacon was cute, but not as helpful as I would have liked. Phyrexian Scriptures has three really useful abilities that I would much rather have.

-2 Island +1 Swamp

I adjusted the basics to better fit the mana costs in the updated deck.

-Bad River +Command Tower +Morphic Pool

I'm amazed that I missed Command Tower in the first few versions of the deck, so that's an easy pick. Morphic Pool is another no-brainer.

-Tolaria West +Inventors' Fair

Tolaria West was really only useful for fetching lands before, and I feel like I have enough mana fixing nowadays to cut it. I toyed with the idea of adding Tormod's Crypt and Pact of Negation, but I cut the counterspells out and added Phyrexian Scriptures instead.

As a random aside, I tried swapping out Silas Renn for Rona, Disciple of Gix, but I found that she was a little too passive compared to Silas.

Thank you for reading this. I hope it's been helpful. Please leave advice or feedback below. However, I expect that a lot of questions that begin with "why not include (INSERT GOOD CARD NAME HERE)" are going to be answered with "because I'm trying to avoid generic goodstuff."


Updates Add


40% Casual

60% Competitive

Date added 2 years
Last updated 2 months
Key combos

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.79
Tokens 1/1 Servo, 0/1 Goat, 1/1 Thopter, 3/3 Wurm, 1/1 Myr
Folders Interesting EDH Decks, Commander, cool ideas, EDH Budget
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