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A most daring raid, The legendary Primer

Commander / EDH* BRGW Midrange Primer Theme/Gimmick Tribal




The tale of my favorite, most flavorful deck and how to play it.



Hi and welcome to my legendary primer! I am Zakky234 and I would like to tell you all the story of my favorite deck. But before we start I'll give a quick description of my personal meta and how we play in my playgroup.

The meta here consists of quite a bunch of different strategies. We have graveyard decks, control decks, agro decks, combo decks, midrange decks… the whole collection! But all these decks have two things in common: They're all about the same power level hovering at about 75%, and more importantly, they were all build to have fun while playing the game. So, the only thing you won't see at our table is a deck without a pilot who likes playing it. Most of these decks come in at about 150 to 200 euro's, some with upgraded manabases consisting of shocks and fetches. To give some examples, here are the most played decks from my friends:

felletje's Foodless tazri, for a flavourwin, a well optimized ally tribal deck, that focuses more on making a huge ally army than a combo win.

felletje's azusa semi agressive landfall, an Azusa deck based around having creatures that get bigger when lands enter the battlefield.

TimLMD's The Horror., a horror tribal that actually works, aided by a graveyard theme and a commander that can turn Voltron super easily.

My girlfriend, itsamemaaike's Chainer the Forgetfull (still on my account, since that list is up to date), a sacrifice heavy, grindy value graveyard train that keeps on rolling.

My own Hail the Apocalypse, a zombie tribal that all my friends seem to like so much, it gets played against me more frequently than I can play it.

So, a while after Commander 2016 was released and while I was enjoying my slightly upgraded Saskia pre-con deck more than I was expecting, a friend of mine made a comment about wanting to build a new deck, but not knowing what commander he wanted to play. After further questioning he said that he would like a deck where he could play more than one legendary creature so that it would feel like he was playing more than one cool commander. Of course, me and the other deck builders in our group immediately started brainstorming and what we ended up with was a Captain Sisay deck. After doing a bit more research we concluded that Sisay was probably outside of my friend's budget range and concluded that if he wanted to play more than one cool legendary as commander, he could just borrow our decks and have his variety that way. Alas, the Sisay deck idea died, but the idea of a legendary deck left a small seed in the back of my mind.

Fast forward to the release of Modern Masters 2017, our playgroup had a fun draft and my first pull was a Linvala, Keeper of Silence. This was one of those 20 euro cards that I always liked but could never justify buying for a deck since it was so optional. Now that I obtained one, the brainstorming for deck ideas started again and that was when that small seed sparked. I started building the first version of the deck, threw in some cool legendary creatures I had lying around, proxied up some fetches and bam! Legendary tribal was born.

In the first few rounds of playtesting I discovered how much fun the deck was and kept wanting to play it more and more. Of course, all the graveyard players in my meta didn't mind because they liked snatching a praetor or two from my graveyard every now and then. But I quickly realized the deck wasn't some gimmicky tribal thing that would work every now and then, no. It was competing with all the other top-notch decks on a regular basis. The only times the deck would suffer was when there were mana issues. This is when I started tinkering with the deck, added more consistent ramp cards and ramp legends and that's how I came upon the glorious version you can see today!

This deck also has recently gotten me first place in a local commander tournament(fairly competitive, but infinite's and extra turns are banned), so i qualified for the commander finals at my LGS. I'm not sure if this deck is competitive enough for that, but i might try. Will keep this part updated on that.

  • You enjoy a midrange strategy where every creature you drop is either a big threat or helps you build up to a big threat.

  • You enjoy beating face with big stuff.

  • You enjoy playing a deck that has a solid and flavorful theme, but still competes in a 75% meta.

  • You just want to play the best possible deck without caring about flavor.

  • You like playing a deck where playing your commander on curve is super important and the rest of the deck is fully dependent on the commander.

  • You don't like being the target of all the mill cards on the table.

  • You prefer answers to threats.

For legendary tibal, there aren't too many options. There's Captain Sisay which is an awesome card, but limits you to only playing green and white. Then there's 5 color, where you get access to all the cool legendaries, but then you're stuck with commanders like Progenitus, who don't really add much to the strategy.

This leaves us with Saskia the Unyielding. She perfectly fits the theme of leading a raid party filled with all kinds of adventurers. I mean, even her art displays her leading her clan. She also fits the colors for a more agro/midrange playstyle and doesn't miss out on a lot of cool legendary synergies in her colors because blue doesn't have that many. Another part that fits the strategy well is that Saskia isn't a commander that wants to be in play ASAP and where you only focus on recasting her when she goes down. On the contrary, Saskia is your game ending bomb when you already have a board full of spooky legendary beatsticks and a damage doubler or two. At the time where you could normally cast Saskia you're going to be busy playing stuff like ramp or other legendary creatures.

The deck

The collection of legends can be split into three groups:

Ramp legendaries

These legends are essential to our plan, since they help us accelerate into our bigger legends. Without these the deck goes from a viable midrange deck to a casual Timmy battlecruiser deck that plays only 7+ drops.

Legends in this group include:

Karametra, God of Harvests - The god that supplies our raid with all the mana we could ever dream of. Every time we play a creature, we get an additional land. If she sticks around we'll build up such a humongous mana base that recovering from a boardwipe, or just setting up the win becomes easy as pie.

Radha, Heir to Keld - A two mana dork, not much more to say about her, apart from those stunning abs.

Rishkar, Peema Renegade - Not only is he a dork himself, but he can also turn one of our other utility legendaries into a dork. Play him on curve and a six drop on turn four is entirely possible. Also has a cute interaction with Anafenza, the Foremost.

Selvala, Explorer Returned - Selvala is one of our bigger mana producers getting us up to four mana in a single activation in a multiplayer game while simultaneously gaining us some life and drawing a card. You can't really ask more from a mana dork. And the best part is that the whole table loves her, so she usually sticks around.

Selvala, Heart of the Wilds - Even though we didn't ask for more, yet we received what is possibly the strongest ramp legend in the deck! She draws cards and make so much mana we'd drown in it.

Utility legendaries

There are the legends that glue the deck together. In collaboration with the support shell, they keep fueling the raid. They draw us cards and help keeping the enemy strategies at bay.

Legends in this group include:

Anafenza, the Foremost - A 4/4 for three mana that provides the team with counter, with the nice benefit of hosing an entire strategy.

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder - This fabulous mustache makes his friends hit like a truck each time he attacks and when he first shows up. And those blows heal you up nicely as well.

Captain Sisay - Our legendary lord. Tutors up whatever legendary we need in a pinch.

Dragonlord Dromoka - Provides us with not only a huge, flying, lifelinking beatstick, but also makes it hard to interact with our board when it matters most to our opponents.

Eight-and-a-Half-Tails - This foxy legend protects our crew from most removal, while also helping to get attackers trough unblocked and makes blockers block more favorably.

Iroas, God of Victory - The raid excels at one thing specifically: Attack! and this god ensures all attacks end in a victory for us. He's also best friends with the cat Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist.

Linvala, Keeper of Silence - Not only being a flying beater, she also stops all those pesky mana dorks and activated tricks opponents might try to use to disrupt our glorious raid.

Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist - This fluffy ball of fur and blades helps us get our attacks trough, while also protecting us from a big backswing our opponents might try.

Queen Marchesa - Long may she reign. The queen supplies us with card advantage, and when our foes are scrambling for the throne, we get a healthy supply of 1/1 hasty deathtouchers to steal it right back.

Ravos, Soultender - This pretty boi buffs our whole team a little, while simultaneously helping us returning our fallen comrades back to play.

Reki, the History of Kamigawa - Probably the single biggest payoff for playing legendary tribal, turning the whole team and even some supporting artifacts and enchantments into cantrips. Cards like him is what keeps the raid rolling.

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed - A 6/6 vigilance reach beatstick that excels at one thing and one thing only: punching faces. The people he likes to punch most are those pesky control players.

Saffi Eriksdotter - The most selfless hero in the team, always ready to save her friends from certain death. She makes sure our important legends stick around long enough for us to win.

Samut, Voice of Dissent - Samut really does it all. She giver everyone haste, untaps Selvala & friends, and her keyword soup nature makes her besties with Odric, Lunarch Marshal.

Sigarda, Host of Herons - Talking about hard to remove threats, Sigarda is one of the best at not dying, and she help the team with it too! With a flying 5/5 body to boot.

Thalia, Heretic Cathar - Did you know tapped creatures can't block? Thalia sure does, and the rest of the crew loves her for it.

Tymna the Weaver - Provides us with card advantage, and the only thing the team has to do for it is attack. Who knew they liked doing that anyway.

Game enders

When these bad boys hit the table, shit's about to get real. If they resolve and survive a turn or two, it's probably Game Over for your opponents.

Legends in this group include:

Odric, Lunarch Marshal - The mastermind behind the raid. When he hits the table, the game is likely already over. all our legends gain all our legends keywords, and suddenly the whole team consists of hasty flying double-striking lifelinkers that also get to block on the backswing.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope - The first angelic lieutenant isn't only a fearsome 8/8 flyer that can block on the backswing, but she also makes the whole crew literally indestructible.

Aurelia, the Warleader - The second angelic lieutenant always the first to head into battle. Then when you think it's finally over, the whole raid attacks again.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight - The final angelic lieutenant is also the one closest to the raidleader. On herself the whole team doubles up on damage while halving incoming blows, but when she is joined by Saskia, things start to get dangerous. Gisela doubles all the damage dealt, then Saskia and the rest of the team proceed to damage another opponent as well, which gets doubled again by Gisela. Probably the fastest and most explosive way to win a game.

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite - The first raidboss not only makes the team huge, but also hoses entire token decks all by herself. With nice stats to boot.

Sheoldred, Whispering One - The second raidboss returns the legends to fight for her, while simultaneously killing off the opponent's forces.

Urabrask the Hidden - The final raidboss makes all our legends hasty, while crippling our opponents newly recruited defenses.

To make sure a raid goes well, preparations should be made and access to supplies must be assured. This group contains all the artifacts, enchantments and spells needed for a successful raid.


Akroma's Memorial - This massive statue provides our soldier with the powers of the fallen lieutenant, Akroma. Her memorial reminds them of the awe she inspired, and the raid continues as if she was there. While expensive, this card can end games at the same pace Odric does, or provides the necessary buffs to survive the coming turns.

Chromatic Lantern - Provides access to all mana always. Desperately needed fixing in a 4 color deck.

Conqueror's Flail - This flail doesn't only protect us from incoming spells in our turns, but also buffs our guys tremendously for the cheap price of two mana.

Fellwar Stone - The only 2-mana mana rock that most likely gives us access to three to four of our colors.

Heroes' Podium - The other big payoff card for playing legendary tribal. Makes the team huge and draws us more gas.

Lightning Greaves - Protection and haste all in a cheap nifty package. Great for protecting our big threats, or our dorks when we're not playing or big legends yet.

Sol Ring - Because Sol Ring.

Sword of the Animist - Ramp if we attack, those are both things we like to do.


Asceticism - Protection and resilience, two things big scary legends like.

Brave the Sands - The biggest drawback of attacking in multiplayer is that three opponents can attack back when you don't have blockers. This nifty enchantment fixes that problem in two ways.

Day of Destiny - This card is oozing with flavor, and while probably not the best option, its definitely the most flavorful anthem for this deck.

Dictate of the Twin Gods & Gratuitous Violence - Gisela's blessing on an enchantment. Doubles up with Saskia. See Gisela's description for further explanation.

Lurking Predators - The chance to get a free legend every time an opponent plays a spell, or at least a free scry.

Sylvan Library - Gives us options and card draw, we love options and card draw.

Instants & sorceries

Abzan Charm - Multipurpose draw and removal (and every once in a blue moon a cute interaction with Rishkar, Peema Renegade).

Boros Charm - More multipurpose goodness in the form of protection and finisher.

Heroic Intervention - The ultimate protection, also nice and flavorful.

Cultivate & Kodama's Reach - Three mana ramp is the place where I want to be, since it's not important to get Saskia out a turn earlier, and the three-mana ramp empowers all kind of 5 drop legends on turn 4.

Farseek & Skyshroud Claim - These fetch basic land types, which works super well with shocks. And Skyshroud Claim puts them into play untapped, making it basically a two-mana ramp spell that gets two lands.

Painful Truths - Draw three lose three is a good deal and easily achievable in 4 color.

Rishkar's Expertise - Doesn't only draw tons of cards, but you may play that five drop you drew for free.

Time of Need - Gets us any creature from our deck. Most of the times I see this as a ramp spell since I usually fetch up Selvala. Also oozing with flavor.

To interact with our opponents, we bring spot removal and board wipes for when things get too bad. I just play a few so that those must remove or lose targets can be dealt with, but don't waste these on minor threats.

Abzan Charm - Good multipurpose removal.

Anguished Unmaking - Gets rid of all the nasties permanently.

Crackling Doom - I play this because in my meta very spooky hexproof threats are a big thing. It's a great card against Voltron decks.

Path to Exile & Swords to Plowshares - Turns out one mana instant speed exile is good, especially with all those graveyard decks running rampant.

Sylvan Reclamation - Another answer for pesky artifacts or enchantments. Also doubles as mana fixer if I need it, which is actually very relevant in 4 color.

Blasphemous Act - Most of the time a one or two mana board wipe.

Merciless Eviction - Permanently gets rid of all the things, also choices are good.

Toxic Deluge - Best board wipe in the game. Sometimes one-sided since the crew can get pretty big.

The deck mostly suffers against very control heavy matchups. Tons of board wipes, spot removal and counter spells can really hamper our gameplan. To counteract this, I've included quite a few cards to combat these weaknesses, such as Heroic Intervention, Boros Charm, Asceticism and legends like Dragonlord Dromoka and Ruric Thar, the Unbowed. Usually, if you can politic your way to get your ramp cards to resolve and stay on the field, you'll get to a spot where you can survive at least a couple removal spells.
Aside from being scary beatsticks, most legends have neat little synergies with other legends or support cards in the deck. These little values are what can swing a game in your favor.

Saskia the Unyielding + any damage doubler like Gratuitous Violence or Gisela, Blade of Goldnight

These form the strongest synergy in the deck. Saskia deals double damage on attack (going from 3 to 6) and then Saskia's triggered ability gets doubled again (going from 6 to 12). This makes even a small group of mana legends lethal against multiple opponents.

Saskia the Unyielding + Conqueror's Flail

This combo makes Saskia a 7/8 for the cheap cast and equip cost of 2 mana, while also protecting your attack step from removal and your main phases from counter spells.

Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist + Iroas, God of Victory

Makes the whole team unblockable.

Aurelia, the Warleader + any mana creating legend like Selvala, Explorer Returned

Attacking with Aurelia grants you an extra untap, which you can use to play an additional scary legend with the mana from your dorks.

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed + any damage doubler

Worst case scenario you play the damage doubler and take 6, then opponents take 12 for all their non-creature spells. The most fun thing to do is flash in a Dictate of the Twin Gods when there are already a few Ruric triggers on the stack.

Anafenza, the Foremost + Rishkar, Peema Renegade

The cutest of synergies, having Anafenza and another creature attack turns the other creature into a mana dork for the next turn. This is especially useful when attacking with small utility creatures like Ravos, Soultender or Linvala, Keeper of Silence.

Playing the deck

Usually a hand with 3 lands, a piece of ramp and one or two utility legends is keepable. You should make sure you can at least make white and green mana, since those colors are most important in the early- to midgame. If you happen to find a hand with Time of Need, you can use that to either find a ramp legend, or a legend that hoses an opposing strategy. Card draw is also nice to see in your opener, and can substitute the need for utility legends or sometimes even ramp in the case of Sylvan Library. Lastly, if you find an opener with a legend that completely shuts down one or two enemy decks, its probably worth keeping it if you can get the mana to play said legend.
In the early game, you're going to be busy playing your ramp legendaries and fixing your colors. Once everything is on track and you got for example a Selvala to stick around for a turn, you can proceed to the mid game.
At this stage of the game you're going to be looking to either ramp even harder and get to your game enders as soon as possible, or more likely, you're going to be looking to play one or two utility legends that completely neuter an opposing strategy. For example, sticking a Ruric Thar, the Unbowed against control decks, or finding that Anafenza, the Foremost to deal with the graveyard player, or play a Linvala, Keeper of Silence to stop opposing mana dorks and maybe even a commander from functioning.
At this point you're likely to be looking for ways to end the game. Having a damage doubler and playing Saskia on the player with the highest life total or the best defenses and then swinging your team at weaker opponents is going to be the most likely way that you'll end games. If you have a decent (3+) group of legendaries , then finding one of the game enders will probably seal the deal. It's also worth noting that when the board gets wiped, playing one or two legends will likely be enough to make your boardstate a big threat again, especially if you have enough lands to keep dropping multiple legends in a single turn.
Play ramp, play legends that hose enemy strategies, build up an army, drop your commander, swing for the win.

Meta specific calls

It's important for a deck to fit its meta. Here I'll explain some of the meta specific card choices and possible cards to add or remove.

Crackling Doom - In my meta I deal with a lot of big creatures that get hexproof easily and combo decks that play their commander and no other creatures. This card is the perfect answer against all those strategies, and still no one ever sees it coming. Could be replaced with a Utter End or a Vindicate if you have to deal with troublesome permanents that don't get hexproof easily.

Akroma's Memorial - Almost every deck in my meta has either black or red in it, giving the memorial tons of extra value.

Asceticism - My meta is smart enough to include quite a few pieces of spot removal into their decks, so the hexproof is invaluable to protect my legends. This could easily be replaced by a more aggressive enchantment like Always Watching or Gruul Warchant when blockers are a bigger concern than removal for you.

Sigarda, Host of Herons - Completely shuts down the plethora of sacrifice effects that plague my meta. If you don't have to deal with Grave Pact's left and Living Death's right, then any other utility legend or big beatstick at 5 CMC will do just fine. Cards like Zurgo Helmsmasher come to mind.

Ruric Thar, the Unbowed - A massive cockblock for control and combo decks. Gets tons of value because he either deals tons of damage or must be removed before the combo player can go off (and removal is usually non-creature based). If you need more answers against control players, you could include Dosan the Falling Leaf, but I find that Ruric packs enough of a punch for my meta.

Karador, Ghost Chieftain - I wanted this to not be a graveyard centric deck, so I only added two legends that interact with the graveyard. If you feel like you want more, Karador is probably one of the better legends to add.

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden - See Karador.

Meren of Clan Nel Toth - See Karador.

Goryo's Vengeance - Super flavor, but see Karador.

Gaddock Teeg - While definitely on the maybe list for this deck, his price tag has put me off for a while. Also, some people will reaaaally hate this guy, more so than other hoser legends.

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon - Ah, Skittles. Such a good game ender and on theme with the "I am a final raidboss" thing that the praetors have, but my playgroup really dislikes infect. That and the pricetag have kept me away from this card.

Nylea, God of the Hunt - She often sat on the board as a 4 mana all-your-creatures-have-trample enchantment. And with the plethora of combo and control decks and Saskia's ability, trample wasn't needed often so she got cut.

Xenagos, God of Revels - While good in theory, he was most likely to sit on the board and sometimes buff a smaller legend. Turned out to be quite a win-more card, so I cut it.

Final bits

Here's where i'll put my thoughts for updates and upgrades. when i'm play-testing these you will see them pop up in the list. When i'm sure i want to include them, i'll add them to the primer.

Defense of the Heart - probably a better Lurking Predators, but very tutor heavy, less fun at more casual tables. -- Now in for testing.

Gaddock Teeg - Might go in when i get a hold of it.

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon - Might go in when my meta see's more lifegain (which is already happening a litle bit).

Shizo, Death's Storehouse - straight up better swamp, replace if you dont run into too much nonbasic hate in your meta. -- Now in for testing.

Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep - see Shizo. -- Now in for testing.

Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger - Since i got to trade a foil one, i wanted to try him out. Might be a bit heavy on the curve tho. -- Now in for testing.

If you want to cut down the price of the deck by around 250 euro's, then look for a more budget mana base. Cut all the fetches and shocks, and look to buy pain-lands like Caves of Koilos and perhaps tri-lands that ETB tapped like Jungle Shrine. While these will hurt your tempo and consistency by a lot, if you play in a meta that plays decks with those mana bases, you can probably come by just fine.

Now for creatures, any of the non-ramp legends that cost too much can be replaced my either legends that are good at smashing faces, of legends that help hosing decks in your meta. I have listed some of the options below:

Teneb, the Harvester or Yomiji, Who Bars the Way instead of Sheoldred, Whispering One. They are both exellent at keeping your Legends out of the graveyard.

Gahiji, Honored One, Adriana, Captain of the Guard and Tajic, Blade of the Legion help with going wide. Can replace cards like Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite or Akroma's Memorial.

Kresh the Bloodbraided, Dragonlord Atarka and Anya, Merciless Angel if you're in need of more big beaters, because you cut cards like Sigarda, Host of Herons, Avacyn, Angel of Hope and Linvala, Keeper of Silence.

Nissa, Vastwood Seer  Flip, while she doesn't ramp you, she can be a possible replacement for Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, but I do recommend getting the money to buy Selvala, because she's just so good.

Phyrexian Arena is a lot cheaper than Sylvan Library, however getting BB in the early game can be rough

The following legends are budget replacements for cards that hose strategies. The goal is to still impact the opponents deck so that they slow down enough for us to play our big and scary stuff.

Basandra, Battle Seraph so no-one messes with combat steps.

Grenzo, Havoc Raiser so you don't get attacked and their creatures are tapped.

Kamahl, Fist of Krosa so boardwipes can be punished and get those last points of damage trough.

Mangara of Corondor to exile pesky threats.

Kataki, War's Wage to hose artifact decks.

For more budget options, look into Kamigawa legends, they have the weirdest abilities and there are plenty of them. Some, like described above, actually fit the theme really well.

I'd like to thank the following people specifically because they were of tremendous help while building the deck and creating the primer:

felletje for helping with the deckbuilding process and tips for the primer.

My girlfriend for spell- and grammar checking the whole thing for me.

Mishraharad for using his primer layout.


Updates Add

OMG there are so many goodies in this set. for now i'll put all the cards in the list that i'm playtesting. you can see the sideboard for the cards i cut.

also worth noticing are karador, teferi's protection and defence of the heart, all 3 are somewhat new inclusions that are here to stay!

another note it that i'm working on blinging out this deck, so look for ABUR duals replacing shocks, expedition fetches and new foil legends! i'll add them as they come.


Compare to inventory
Date added 1 year
Last updated 2 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.92
Tokens 1/1 Assassin, Monarch
Folders Cool Decks, Saskia Beats, Cool Decks, Other, Cool Ideas, EDH Ideas from Others, Other Peoples Decks, EDH (Legends), Possible EDH Decks, Intresse, See all 22
Top rank #7 on 2017-10-15
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Revision 17 See all

2 months ago)

-1 Insult // Injury maybe
+1 Insult maybe