Have you ever looked at Ancestral Recall and thought, "I can do better"?

Have you ever concluded that 3 cards for 1 mana was too inefficient?

Have you ever wanted to draw ten or more cards for one mono-red?

Have you ever dreamed of dealing 800 damage in one turn with a storm deck in EDH?

If so, look no further, this is the deck for you!

I recently rebuilt this list for the third time, and I'm remembering why I love it.

Zada, Hedron Grinder is glorious in her jank. The goal is to pump out a bunch of tokens, then play spells like Crimson Wisps targeting Zada to draw LOTS of cards. She turns every targeting red cantrip into an off-color Collective Unconscious, and the card advantage is unbelievable - the deck frequently draws ten to fifteen cards for a single red mana. Card advantage like this handily wins games: after all, you usually draw into more token-creating spells and draw spells! With various pump spells in the deck, you are often able to swing for literally hundreds of damage as early as Turn 5.

This deck accelerates from 0 to 60 in a matter of a few turns. The oft-inaccurate Tier List describes Zada as trash, so you usually get no attention at the table - then suddenly you're the threat, and you're murdering everyone with hundreds of damage (either from combat or storm spells). There's no better words in EDH than "Cast Firestorm, discard 50 cards, kill everyone".

Having had time to test it now, I can attest to its strength. It's pretty strong against countermagic, since the copying effect is triggered off of casting, and a counterspell will only remove a single one of the copied spells (barring something like Mindbreak Trap). It also tends to have many very explosive midrange turns: pump out tokens, play draw spell, draw into token maker and draw spell, repeat.

This deck is actually ridiculously budget: more than $100 worth of cards in the deck are just EDH staples I had lying around, and could be removed without significantly impacting the functionality of the core components. I've constructed a $25 competitive EDH deck based on this one ($25 Extreme Budget Zada EDH) - ridiculously cheap for a very powerful EDH deck!

The most obvious combos are with Zada herself. Targeted draw spells, like Expedite, give you massive benefit and card advantage. There are 15 spells in the deck that "chain" off of Zada's ability, and can do everything from cast your whole deck, to give all of your creatures a +7/+0 boost with haste, to generate hundreds of tokens, to create over 60 mana.

Notably, you can splice Desperate Ritual onto Blazing Shoal and generate RRR for each creature you control. In a deck where mana rituals are the backbone of the deck, this is not to be taken lightly.

Doubling spells like Twinflame are already nuts in this deck. But when combined with creature-based token makers like Beetleback Chief or Chancellor of the Forge, they can create an exponentially-growing token swarm that will stick around even after the end of the turn. Twinflame and Heat Shimmer also go truly infinite with Dualcaster Mage :)

Possibility Storm is an amazing piece of tech in this deck. Beyond heavily disrupting your opponents, you can stack the triggers so that Zada copies a spell before the spell is exiled: you still draw all but one of the cards, and you often pseudo-cascade into another draw spell, doubling your returns! It also doubles cast triggers, so you get doubled value from Aetherflux Reservoir and Empty the Warrens.

As in any spell-slinger type deck, Past in Flames and Mizzix's Mastery are unbelievable with a full graveyard: doubly so because the spells are cast and thus trigger Zada. In particular, casting Gamble grabbing Past in Flames mitigates the discard effect.

It's worth specifically highlighting how Fiery Gambit functions in this list. There is only one part of the spell that targets (the first Lightning Bolt mode) so Zada CAN copy it. I always shoot for the highest level (3 winning flips in a row) except for the copy that targets Zada, where I continue flipping until I fail (preventing Zada from dying). This gives me an average of 1.25 cards per creature I control, though of course it's somewhat high-variance.

1) Headshot players with Aetherflux Reservoir.

2) Deal infinite damage with Dualcaster Mage+Twinflame/Heat Shimmer.

3) Cast Firestorm for X greater than 40 (usually targeting your own creatures too).

4) Statistically, cast Fiery Gambit with at least 30 tokens on the battlefield.

5) With Purphoros, God of the Forge on the field, generate at least 20 tokens.

6) Good old-fashioned beatdown: swing with a token swarm, pumped by Screaming Fury/Blazing Shoal/Downhill Charge et cetera.

Having played this deck for a long time, there are certain cards I've chosen to omit:

Goblin Rabblemaster and Goblin Assault: These would be great cards to generate tokens...if Zada wasn't a goblin. If all of my opponents control creatures with power three or greater, these cards force Zada to attack into lethal situations. The risk is simply too high and too frequent.

Burn at the Stake: This used to be in the deck as an alternate win-con. But it turns out that Firestorm is generally a better card in this deck (given that I have lots of cards in hand when I combo off) because I can target all opponents and their creatures.

Seize the Day and Angel's Trumpet: Many Zada decks play this combo to gain combat steps equal to the number of creatures you control. However, the two cards are useless enough alone that they have not made the cut in my list. Also, Angel's Trumpet runs into the same issue as Goblin Rabblemaster above, where it forces my commander into dangerous combo situations.

Akroma's Memorial: While this is an amazing card in general for token decks, the protection from red cripples this deck - I literally CANNOT play this and expect my deck to function.

Soul's Fire and Fall of the Hammer: These are often played in Zada lists, intending to shoot your opponent with the combined power of all of your creatures. However, contrary to popular opinion, they do not work with Zada because the spells have two targets.

Arcbond and Chandra's Ignition: These also don't work particularly well with Zada, unless your creatures have indestructible - the first creature to deal damage kills all of the rest of your board, causing the remaining copies of the spell to fizzle.

Chaotic Strike, Balduvian Rage, Panic, et al: These were a very hard cut, and have been in every version of this deck until the most recent. Eventually, they were cut because of their pesky timing restrictions (particularly, that mana from rituals fizzles when I move to combat) and because of the delayed draws (making me a threat without letting me continue my storm combo). The deck has been playing fine recently even with their exclusion, but sometimes I miss playing almost 20 draw spells...

DO NOT PLAY THIS DECK UNLESS YOU LIKE EXTREMELY COMPLEX STACK SHENANIGANS, AND LARGE AMOUNTS OF COMBAT AND MANA MATH. I cannot stress this enough. This is a ridiculously complex deck to pilot, almost like mono-red Doomsday. It's super fun, but it will both fizzle and be unfun if you don't play it intelligently. This is the Johnniest mono-red deck you will ever see.

This will never be a Tier 1 deck, because by necessity it is very reliant on both its commander and your board state. If you repeatedly lose Zada, Hedron Grinder or suffer multiple board wipes you are simply dead in the water. Command Tower and Otherworldly Outburst help mitigate this problem somewhat, but it's an inherent weakness of the deck's structure: this deck does basically zero without its commander. This also means that early turns are often very boring, and just serve to build up a token army.

And finally, sometimes the deck just won't function. It's unbelievably explosive, but very high-variance. One game it will murder the whole table Turn 4, and the next it will sit around durdling until Turn 9. A good hand includes a token-maker, a draw spell, and hopefully a ritual. Playing with Partial Paris mulligans makes this much less of a problem, though.

Also, check out my $25 version of this deck!

$25 Extreme Budget Zada EDH

Commander / EDH Daedalus19876


If you like it, please leave +1 and comment :)

I'm trying to make this the highest-rated Zada deck on T/O!


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Not much from the new set that appeals to us...


I think he deserves a slot in the 99!

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Date added 3 years
Last updated 3 days

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.78
Tokens 1/1 Thopter, 1/1 Elemental, 1/1 Goblin, 1/1 Human, 0/1 Eldrazi Spawn, 3/2 Eldrazi Horror
Folders Favorites of ALL TIME, Monored, Cool EDH Decks, Inspiration decks, Zada, Awesome EDH, EDH, Commander decks, EDH, edh ideas, See all 104
Top rank #1 on 2017-04-11
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