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Group Thug - Politicking since 2005

Hello and welcome to a rendition of my favorite deck of all time, Kami of the Crescent Moon! I've seen lots and lots of Kami decks over the years, and the usual trademark is Group Hug plus a combo kill, which makes sense looking at This Mischievous Jerk. Mono- Blue is renowned in EDH for 2 card combo kills, and so has developed a reputation for it.

This deck is not that deck. My playgroup has a rule - if you demonstrate an infinite loop, you can only use it 5 times per turn cycle. None of us particularly like going infinite because it's such an anti-climactic way to end the game, but we all enjoy doing broken things, thus the work around. I believe we heard it on a Podcast at some point and it just resonated. In any case, that philosophy has driven my development of this deck, and it also means I draw less hate than a normal Mono-Blue EDH deck would. that is great, because my favorite way to play this game is to get Political!!!

I love to create a rational board state. By that I mean that I create and encourage incentives and disincentives to make the "right" play. That sometimes includes bluffing, but most often just includes giving minor favors as needed to earn trust backed up by implicit threat that you swiftly carry out when challenged. So long as you don't do anything to make yourself "Public Enemy #1" you can usually get others at the table to use their resources to contain the threats while you slowly maneuver into your long-term game plan.

Why Play with Him when You can Draw Cards Alone?

This brings me to reason #1 for choosing Kami as your Political Patron - Kami stocks up the tables hand both with threats and answers. What this does is create a scenario where the proactive decks are dropping expensive hay-makers while the reactive decks are using cheap efficient answers or board wipes. In my meta, where infinite combos suddenly ending the game are not a concern, this usually means the board is safe for Cheeks to sit around and accrue value. People are unlikely to blast us early because our deck "doesn't do anything", and late game it's often impossible to stop us through our sick ramp and Counter Wall. Even in my own meta, where players have seen me win with this deck countless times, everyone has so many cards there is almost always a bigger threat at the table. Cold logic would dictate that the pack handle the threat today, even if they know there is a Tidal Wave coming eventually.

The other reason to play Kami is that he is cheap - 2 CMC is hitting the board turn 2 basically every game. This allows you to play a lower land count as you can more or less count on 2 cards per turn. This equates to more answers and redundancy than your opponents, who didn't build their decks with this in mind. It allows for a slightly different deck-building philosophy, which in my opinion is a big deal.

Okay Philoctetes, You've Convinced me on Why. Now how do We Win?

Typically we win by producing enough mana (easily upwards of 20 in a turn, sometimes as quickly as turn 4 or 5) to throw down a Sunder or Cyclonic Rift type effect backed up with counter magic and land a Viseling or Psychosis Crawler type effect after, bonus points for Rite of Replication. This usually will win me the game in a cycle or two. Even when their is an answer for threat #1, we have so many redundant tutors that we can find another piece and drop it. We also play Shimmer Myr and Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir to "Go Off" at instant speed before my turn, acting as pseudo ramp as we can play multiple spells in succession.

My other win conditions are Mindslaver lock with Academy Ruins or Shimmer Myr/Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir + Blightsteel Colossus. I typically only resort to these when the table has been winnowed down, because they draw a lot of hate. Mindslaver without Academy Ruins is often a fine play as long as you target the player out front and wreck their best laid plans with the stolen turn.

The rest of the deck is mostly dedicated to group draw, ramp, protection, and redundancy. I have a lot of artifact copy to play nice with Paradox Engine and my ramp spells. I also have a sub-theme of Untap effects, thus cards like Grim Monolith and Otherworld Atlas. The Mind Over Matter + Temple Bell combo is present, but again I can only run it 5 times per cycle in my meta so it mostly acts as a powerful table draw engine and semi-fair mana ramp engine than anything else. It's quite busted along with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx.

Card Choices by Category

A lot of the Card Draw in this deck is aimed at further accelerating the Group Hug aspect that Kami already offers. The goal is to stock up hands for all the reasons listed above, and as an additional goal, make Viseling and it's ilk hit harder to bleed them quicker once the race is underway.

Windfall - This is an amazing card in this deck. For one, a lot of our cards are cheap and efficient, and we have a lot of ramp, so being able to refill our hands to the max level of the table is very powerful. Additionally, some opponents will also be able to quickly clear their hands, or be capped at that pesky 7 card maximum, so late game when we have 174532674369 cards in hand due to our Reliquary Tower we can windfall after our Iron Maiden hits the board and watch the dominoes fall.

Jace's Archivist - Windfall #2, and recurring to boot. This card is absurd with our untap effects and a Psychosis Crawler on the field. It has become a must answer in my meta. I'm careful when I play it because of this. Also a nice way to ruin a tutor for an opponent.

Dictate of Kruphix - Our best imitation of Kami. Flash is so key to allow for that politically charged "Draw-Go" style that you want to maintain to keep the opponents guessing. Keep them afraid of your counters and bounce and they are more likely to act the way you want. Also very strong with Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx (A common theme).

Temple Bell - Kami #3 and a technical win-con with Mind Over Matter. Even with the restriction of 5 loops a cycle, it fills up opponents hands really nicely for a Black Vise effect.

Anvil of Bogardan - I finally acquired a copy of this effect and I'm never looking back. The ability to force a Reliquary Tower effect on our opponents is absolutely Vital to establishing a proper Viseling lock. This doesn't net any card advantage, but the table's card quality will go up. Primarily here for the ability to stock our Graveyards and the Spellbook effect.

Rhystic Study - Every blue deck should run this. Yes it draws hate. Yes it makes games slow down. But I find it usually draws me between 4 and 6 cards, gets blown up, and then no one remembers because everyone has 6+ cards in hand anyway.

Minds Aglow - This card is just plain fun. Early game everyone is usually willing to chip in a mana or two to get things going, and late game it acts as a table wide Damnable Pact paired with a Viseling.

Frantic Search - This card is a very interesting one. For starters, you have a lot of cards in hand, and its usually easy to net yourself some virtual card advantage by throwing away an extra land or two. Secondly, it can untap your Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, Academy Ruins, or Magosi, the Waterveil for some really busted turns. Can also filter colorless mana into Blue if you need that. But the main reason to run this is Paradox Engine. Untap effects have their own category in the Ramp block, but you will find a smattering of them that I count more so as other categories. This is one of them, but never forget it's also a Ritual effect a lot of the time.

Mystic Confluence - This card does it all. At it's base level, I view it as an EOT draw 3. Sometimes you just need to restock after a counter war, you know?

Notable Exclusions

I have been playing this deck for years. You will probably have ideas from other Mono-Blue decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

Font of Mythos - Listen, I like this card. The problem is that it is ANOTHER 4 drop Group Hug card. By the time I'm dropping 4 drops, it's usually turn 4 since I didn't ramp on turn 2. By turn 4, I feel bad tapping out for things. It's a crowded slot, and it's awkward to have too many plays above 3 mana. I found that I could just never find a great time to cast this. Add in that we ALWAYS have an active Kami and it doesn't combo with Mind Over Matter like Otherworld Atlas does and you can see why this just wasn't a fit.

Prosperity, Fascination - I didn't feel like we can justify multiple Group draw X spells - slots are very tight. Minds Aglow is just better than these two.

Horn of Greed, Jace Beleren - The Horn benefits Green decks disproportionately. Jace is a Planeswalker, which I dislike.

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur - I might play this if I owned one. I would have to cycle it through my 9-10 drop slot, which is currently occupied by Blightsteel Colossus, which also theoretically protects me from decking if we do enable infinite loops with Temple Bell and Mind Over Matter.

Blue Sun's Zenith, brain geyser , etc. - I had one slot for this card type in for the longest time. The problem is, I can't produce infinite mana since I can only demonstrate 5 cycles for a loop. This would go in if my Meta enabled that and I added in like, Palinchron + High Tide and other doublers.

Otherworld Atlas - I cut this for Anvil of Bogardan - 4 mana plays are kind of awkward, many times I'd just prefer to hold up my mana and do nothing than to drop a 4-drop. I've found that the "threat of activation" of holding up blue mana is a powerful effect in and of itself.

Mikokoro, Center of the Sea - I would probably add if I got my hands on one. It's not much of a priority, but it would be a good fit.

This deck runs quite a lot of ramp. Most of it is designed to work with my untap synergies. Paradox Engine is the ultimate untapper, and is truly busted. It acts as combo enabler #2 after the classic Mind Over Matter. I consider both of these cards to be ramp. In unknown metas these obviously draw extra hate since they are known infinite loop generators.

Untappers - These will all enable the most explosive turns for you.

Paradox Engine - One of the most synergistic cards in the deck. With all the mana rocks and Copy Artifact effects in the deck I usually have 4 or 6 mana rocks. Turns every spell you cast into Turnabout. Double points if you are actually casting Turnabout.

Mind Over Matter - The OG Mono-Blue win condition. I started playing during the Tempest Block as a little kid, so this one is special to me for a lot of reasons. I didn't appreciate it at the time (I was more of a Sliver Queen kind of guy - I was also like 6 =P), but it is one of my favorites now. Synergy with just about everything in the deck.

Turnabout - Another OG spell. This one has been featured in storm decks from eons past. Urza's block is to this day my favorite block, and Urza's Saga in particular takes the cake in my book. When you have one of your engine cards going, this deck does get a little bit of a Storm feel to it. Just an all around great ritual, and can act as a team tap down in a pinch. That versatility is what we crave. It has Electrolytes.

Fatestitcher - This card does so so much. Obviously included here as a ramp card. It can often produce more than a single mana due to cards like Grim Monolith and Nykthos. It also plays defense like a champ. And can be Unearthed for a big turn late game. Just a real all star.

Vizier of Tumbling Sands - Fatestitcher #2. Not nearly as strong, but she does come down a turn earlier, and has some interesting utility with the cycling.

Tezzeret the Seeker - In general I dislike Planeswalkers in EDH, but man does this guy do it all, or what? He is a first class untapper, often netting us mana, he is a tutor for our missing piece, and his ultimate.... Well I won a game with it one time, but it is pretty underwhelming for the most part. But it does put pressure on!

Rocks+ - These are what you are untapping

Sol Ring - The best card in the game. Turns your Trophy Mage into a Ur-Golem's Eye unless you need something more specific.

Grim Monolith - This card has the potential for the most explosive starts in the deck. Another Urza's Block card that I'm in love with.

Thought Vessel - Basic B rock that acts as Reliquary Tower #2.

Everflowing Chalice - Modular rock that can act as a nice turn 2 play in place of Kami if you are set on your next few land drops or can come down turn 4+ and make Hay with your untappers.

Worn Powerstone - Best 3 drop rock, in my humble opinion (and ANOTHER classic... I sense some nostalgia here). Default target for a T3 Trophy Mage, although there are many options at the slot.

Thran Dynamo - Urza's Block really had it all, didn't it? Expensive rocks are nice for us since we have a guaranteed 2 drop.

Myriad Landscape - This is the one land ramp spell I have left in the deck. I play this in every EDH deck, no joke even my 5 color Sliver Queen Control. Turning your land slots into spells is insane value.

Notable Exclusions

I have been playing this deck for years. You will probably have ideas from other Mono-Blue decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

Temple of the Forgotten God and Terrain Generator - I used to have both of these cards in my deck. Honestly, there is only so much room for colorless lands with a double blue commander.

Caged Sun, Extraplanar Lens, Gauntlet of Power - I used to have Caged Sun and Extraplanar Lens in here, but I feel those cards just draw infinite hate. We already have a lot of cards that draw hate, so we would rather that our ramp be more innocuous. Powerful, but not win-next-turn powerful.

Mana Crypt, Mana Vault - Two reasons I don't play these. One, I don't own them and they aren't cheap. Two, Mana Crypt does some serious damage, and we don't have many ways to come back from massive damage. I would probably play a Mana Vault if I acquire one, because of untappers.

As Foretold - I had this in my stack for months now and I never actually drew it... The jury is out, it might be strong or it might be too Christmas land. I eventually replaced it with Maze of Ith when I acquired one, because it was the card that seemed least likely to be awesome.

We have gobs of ways to make mana. But in reality, we have even more than gobs! We have gobs AND gobs! All of these cards are included as ways to double down on your best mana rocks. And that is only the base level, because in reality they are much more versatile than that. Sculpting Steel is basically a colorless Cryptic Command..... Well maybe not quite. but choices are choices. Did I mention how important having a lot of branches on your decision tree is?


Copy Artifact - I found this card in an old box under my Older Brother's bed at our parents place. I legitimately didn't know it existed before that moment. It instantly made the deck and has never come out. Copying any artifact for 2 mana is seriously bonkers, arguably your best Copy effect.

Sculpting Steel - I almost cut this for Mirage Mirror, but chose instead to fit them both! This card is inferior in some ways to Copy Artifact, but the upside is that it can be recurred with Academy Ruins and Tutored with Trophy Mage and Fabricate. Value is value.

Phyrexian Metamorph - The versatility to copy a powerful creature or even an untapper makes me love this card. Plus its pretty iconic.

Mirage Mirror - This is fast becoming one of my top 5 staple commander cards. Seriously, just buy like 5 of these because there is an argument for it in every deck. This can act as ramp with Nykthos (granted you lose your real Nykthos), it can act as a creature when you need it to, it can pretend it's a Bush to dodge removal, and the threat of activation alone can often force opponents to look at a less prickly porcupine to snap at. True all-star, buy them now you heard it here first. Well, probably not because a lot of people are saying that, but you get the point.

Rite of Replication - I have removed this card in the past, but I just end up putting it back in when I realize how stupid I am. Modular cards are basically my thing, and this one has a lot to unpack. First of all, its a 4 mana copy a creature, which is meh compared to the above cards, but serviceable. Copy an untapper, copy a strong utility creature, copy a win con, do what your heart desires. Where this really shines though, is for 9 mana copying Viseling or Psychosis Crawler basically wins you the game. really, copying anything that many times is gonna get you close. I have won on turn 4 before with this card + Viseling.

Twincast - This card is a lot of things, and one of them is a copy effect. Have you ever copied a Cultivate on turn 2? It feels nice. This card will appear in future sections, because it really does it all. I was on the fence on including it but do not regret it one bit after seeing it in action.

Steal Effects - In addition to copy effects, we have a number of steal effects. We need to be careful with these, because people really hate losing their stuff. Try not to make enemies with these cards, use responsibly.

Treachery - The Mac Daddy of thievery effects, from my favorite block to boot. This card does it all, steals the best creature on the board, untaps our mana, potentially ramps us if we have a Nykthos or Paradox Engine in play. Getting this countered basically feels like you just kicked in the giblets, so be aware of other Scoundrels that may be draw-go types.

Vedalken Shackles - I love this card. It's a Trophy, it's an older card, and you can relinquish your target at any time, so it draws a little less hate from specific players than your average Mind Control. Of course, the board might decide as a group it has to go, but sometimes you need to play some cards that draw hate. Otherwise, what is life really about?

Notable Exclusions

I have been playing this deck for years. You will probably have ideas from other Mono-Blue decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

Clever Impersonator - This card was what I cut to add Mirage Mirror. It was a tough choice, but ultimately 4 mana often felt clunky for a copy effect. If I added a 4 mana copy back in, it would probably be because i acquired a....

Sakashima the Impostor - This card is truly bonkers, and the idea of two Kamis on the field at the same time makes me warm and fuzzy. I want one. I will get one. I will add it.

Desertion, Spelljack, Commandeer - 5 or 6 mana counterspell with upside is not cost effective, in my mind. Commandeer used to be in the deck as my "Free Counter", but the cost often ended up being 2 of 3 blue cards in hand (heavy artifact deck) and would screw up my long term game-plan, and so was replaced with Foil which has some versatility in what you pitch and can actually be hardcast sometimes.

Bribery - It draws a lot of hate and tutoring in an opponent's deck takes a lot of time.

Expropriate - I currently run my single copy in a different deck. Also, this deck sort of wins by causing players to die during their upkeeps. Still a strong consideration.

Now that we know our Carrots from our Group Hug, let's discuss some Sticks! Both are essential if we want our wary allies and merciless opponents to respect us. Respect is key, it is that seed of doubt in our opponent's mind as to what we are capable of. It makes them fear causing us to use our resources, because when we do we go Scorched Earth. We don't start things, but we do finish them. You get the idea.

Always aim to get others to handle the threat for you, use that Table Talk as a resource of its own, but when someone decides you are the target do not let them get away with it without pain. Also, take note that many of the cards in the removal category are modular cards. That is key for this deck - you are aiming to create elaborate decision trees and then pick the right branch.

Mass Removal - When everyone has effectively infinite cards, and thus is using all their mana every turn, Bounce is almost as strong as Hard Removal. When you add in that our win condition is often predicated on filling our opponent's hands, Bounce is clearly superior. Our mass removal is focused on bounce, as is our single target removal.

Cyclonic Rift - The second best card in EDH behind Sol Ring. It's an inherently unfair card, my play group doesn't like to ban anything but I get the appeal.

Evacuation - Instant speed is your friend. This is probably your second strongest mass removal spell behind Cyclonic Rift. Sometimes it is superior, because picking up Kami can be desirable.

Engulf the Shore - This is an underrated sweeper. Draw-go is a lifestyle, and this lets you keep living it. Definitely the worst of our sweepers.

Oblivion Stone - this is our only hard removal. This still let's us play draw-go, and it makes everyone play all wonky like which can be good or bad. Also a Trophy. This card has a very high ceiling but also a very low floor, as it can draw a lot of hate. If Wizards ever prints an instant speed bounce all non-land permanents it will get the nod, but for now there are Evils we must live with.

Sunder - I am a complete Ass. I typically play this as a 5 drop if someone is land-ramping out of control early game, or if I have an active Viseling effect. I don't like to use it if I have no way of pushing the game forward, however. No one wants to play that 3 hour game, I'd rather just concede than be That Guy.

Meekstone - This card is so innocuous but has gotten me out of sooooooo many jams. And it's a Trinket!

Bounce and Board Interaction - We need some ways to punish our foes. As I mention above, Bounce is practically removal when cards are infinite. This does of course improve peoples options and general card quality, but oftentimes a threat is a threat is a threat is a threat.

Fatestitcher - A little proactive, so you need to know when your opponent is gunning for you before they swing, but this little guy can really stall that Voltron player who never drew his Greaves.

Capsize - No infinite mana means no one sided instant speed Upheaval, but a re-useable answer is still great. Probably our strongest Bounce spell.

Crystal Shard - In a similar vein as Capsize, re-useable Bounce is great. This often acts as a Tax effect for our opponents, but mostly is used as a self-bounce for cards like Archaeomancer looping into Cyclonic Rift.

Pithing Needle - First off, its a Trinket. Secondly, it's just plain good. Handles a lot of threats that we can't otherwise handle, notably commanders and Planeswalkers. I play with a Scion of the Ur-Dragon player every week, and this is my best friend.

Maze of Ith - I finally acquired a pair of original The Dark Maze! I am in love with the card, Kami is the perfect fit for it. This card is just so frustrating to try to deal with.

Stack Interaction - The true meat of the Mono-Blue archetype. You need to be very stingy with what you counter. The threat of counter magic is often much more powerful than counter magic itself. I typically only counter a spell that is going to cause me to lose the game or set me back so much that I don't believe I can recover. I also typically don't counter symmetrical board wipe type effects unless I am wayyyyy ahead. That being said, even if you don't plan to counter the play, always withhold the right to, and make them sweat a bit. Vanquish your foes with well timed Permission!

**Counterspell - Old faithful herself. Need I say more?

Arcane Denial - Cantrips and gives our opponents the option to draw more. I find that it takes the sting out a little, plus who cares if they draw from 8 to 10 cards?

Forbid - This is just silly. I mean really, when you draw 2 a turn starting turn 2, this is not fair. The only 3 mana counter we run (for now).

Foil - I don't know why more people don't play this card. It's really easy to hold up, and easy to hardcast if needed. Being able to surprise your opponent while in a "Vulnerable" position is what makes this an all-star.

Hybrids - These cards are the true face of this deck. They allow you to have an answer for anything at any time, which is Crucial to being a shifty little Fat Guy.

Venser, Shaper Savant - This guy literally does it all, including "countering" un-counterable spells. He often feels like a two-for-one, as he can easily bounce some critical piece across the table and chump whatever threat caused you to vomit him out. Can also be re-bought with Crystal Shard.

Unsubstantiate - This is a 2 mana Venser without the body or quite as many targets. Still strong, I would play this over vanilla Counterspell if I had to choose.

Twincast - I mentioned this above in "Copies", but Twincast really does so many things. Double up on your Bounce spell, copy a Counterspell, this is like a choose your own adventure spell.

Cryptic Command - I mean, what is there to discuss? This is THE modular spell. Just run it and never look back.

Mystic Confluence - I view this as Cryptic Command #2, and it might even be better because the fail safe is a draw spell. This can act as a targeted Board Wipe, a counterspell, a draw spell, or a combination. Run it.

Muddle the Mixture - A counterspell and a tutor. I run it in every Blue deck I make.

Turnabout - As mentioned in "Ramp" block, Turnabout can save your butt in a pinch.

Notable Exclusions

I have been playing this deck for years. You will probably have ideas from other Mono-Blue decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

Disallow - I may add it once I get my hands on one. What to cut has been making me drag my feet, but countering abilities is too good to pass up.

Glacial Chasm - I think I need to find room for this, I play it in many of my decks and I just see the value continually rising. Sometimes you drop this card and can coast to an easy win.

Snap - I may add, untappers are stronk. It's a balance between what modes I want on my two mana Bounce.

Reality Shift, Pongify, Rapid Hybridization - I don't know, I just never got excited about these. We'd rather just have a Bounce spell.

Telekinesis - I want one, I'd add it if I find one.

Distorting Wake, Crush of Tentacles, Turbulent Dreams, Whelming Wave - All existed in this deck at different points. Inferior to our current options in my opinion.

Time Stop - Very powerful, and many modes, but VERY expensive for what it does. I played it awhile and it felt very, very clunky.

Swan Song - I really should find a spot for this, it's just so versatile, but it's tough to find a counterspell to cut.

Glen Elendra Archmage - this will go in, someday. I don't own one currently. But wow, just one of the strongest counters possible, it really creates some states where you can't lose.

As I've described, we typically win by virtue of bleeding them out with a Viseling followed by a Board Wipe. That being said, there are many other ways to win. Probably the most typical is just survive to the final 1v1 scenario. At that point, a lot of things become win cons.

Black Vise - Get it to a 1v1 scenario and bleed 'em out. Or be a jerk and play it T1 to make an enemy fo' life. A very typical target for a Copy Artifact effect. Also a Trinket!

Iron Maiden - The Vise, for alllll your friends! Is a Trophy, and also a typical copy target. You always want to find ways to make multiple Vise effects at a time if you actually want to win in any reasonable amount of time. Once you can make several Vises and Bounce the board its an easy win.

Viseling - Vise #3. Arguably the strongest due to Rite of Replication, but also the most vulnerable due to being a creature.

Psychosis Crawler - Reverse Vise. Insane with Wheel effects, also can just be a big dumb idiot for the win.

Blightsteel Colossus - Speaking of big dumb idiots.... The real combo here is a surprise Shimmer Myr EOT followed by Blightsteel for virtual haste. Not that hard to achieve, in all honesty. He also allows us to not mill ourselves in the event that we are playing with the infinite combos enabled, or in other words "Easy Mode". I prefer "Challenge Mode" myself.

Mindslaver - A very classical lock piece. Combine this with Academy Ruins once you've gotten it down to 1v1 and wait for the insta-concede. Also can wreak absolute havoc just as a one time use. Very under rated effect I think, I have done some degenerate things after taking an opponents turn. Let's not forget, all our opponents have a million cards and draw 2-3 per turn as well.

Notable Exclusions

I have been playing this deck for years. You will probably have ideas from other Mono-Blue decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

Metallurgic Summonings - I played this briefly, and it's fine, it just feels slow and there aren't many ways around that.

Sphinx's Tutelage - I don't really like the mill strategy, but this could fit in a different build.

Forced Fruition - I think one of the biggest mistakes people make is running this card. We want our Group Hug effects to be lean and efficient, this is super expensive and doesn't do anything for us. It also is the cause of it's own demise 99% of the time, as people drawing 7 cards a spell inevitably leads to a Disenchant effect coming up once required to prevent decking.

These are political tools, typically. We are mostly aiming to discourage attacks by making other targets easier to swing at. Again, threat of activation goes a long way here.

Propaganda - The original Pillow Fort. Not much to explain here, cheap and efficient and really makes opponents choose between spells and attacks if you are the target.

Sunstone - Why does this not see more play? I have looked through countless mono-colored decks and this almost never sees play. It is soooo good, I mean seriously people just do not want to attack into this thing. It can also be used for favors which is pretty neat.

Back to Basics - I acquired one of these about a month ago. I have yet to draw it, but the Blue Blood Moon is busted city. I don't feel bad about playing it, I like to encourage thoughtful creation of mana bases and punish 4 and 5 color decks particularly hard.

Notable ExclusionsI have been playing this deck for years. You will probably have ideas from other Mono-Blue decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

Dissipation Field - This used to be in, I cut it while culling 4 drops at some point. It might still deserve a home, but I found I don't necessarily want too much pillow fort.

Winter Orb - This was in the deck for a long time, I cut it for Back to Basics. Honestly, my playgroup started to hate it. You need to be careful playing these effects, you need to be able to win from this position if you are going to drop it. It does play particularly well with our untap effects, however.

Pendrell Mists, Stasis, Frozen AEther, Orb of Dreams, Static Orb - I used to play these in a more stax-oriented version of the deck. My playgroup started hating me out of games because it was un-fun. If you like that style, this commander can certainly play it.

Every deck worth it's salt needs some recursion. There is just so much value to be gained by utilizing the Graveyard.

Archaeomancer - This can lead to some really stupid loops. Evactuation , Engulf the Shore, Crystal Shard all have insane synergy.

Torrential Gearhulk - Fatcaster Mage is so stronk. He ambushes dudes, plays well with Rite of Replication, and also plays well with the same cards as Archaeomancer, albeit without the looping potential. It is also an artifact, easy to copy in this deck.

Notable Exclusions

I have been playing this deck for years. You will probably have ideas from other Mono-Blue decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

Snapcaster Mage - I would probably include this, I only have one copy in a different deck though.

Mnemonic Wall - I cut this for Gearhulk**, there is upside to both but I prefer the hulk.

Recall - I have always wanted to include this, but have never found the cut.

Redundancy is the spice of life. Tutors are often a controversial topic, but in my play group we're all on board the Tutor Train. The key is knowing your deck well enough to name a target before you even start searching.

Trinket Mage - My favorite Blue tutor. This guy finds so many powerful artifacts. I have mentioned many Trinkets over the course of this list.

Trophy Mage - Another strong Tutor, although in my opinion weaker overall than Trinkets. I mentioned Trophies as they came up as well.

Fabricate - Generic artifact tutor. Most often acts as copy #2 of Paradox Engine. Can also grab answers and mana rocks as needed.

Whir of Invention - Instant speed makes this one of our strongest options. can grab whatever we need EOT, notably Blightsteel Colossus and Torrential Gearhulk for the ambush. Plays exceptionally well with Paradox Engine.

Muddle the Mixture - Already mentioned above as a modular counterspell, this can grab a lot of great cards. Some notables include Cyclonic Rift, Grim Monolith, and Copy Artifact.

Expedition Map and Tolaria West - Sooooo important. These grab you Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time they grab Academy Ruins or Reliquary Tower. Very rarely grabs an Arcane Lighthouse for those Voltron players.

Inventors' Fair - Worth the colorless land slot. The incidental life gain is small but it's something, and having another way to grab a Paradox Engine is key.

Notable Exclusions

I have been playing this deck for years. You will probably have ideas from other Mono-Blue decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

Long-Term Plans - Even while drawing 2+ cards per turn, this still always felt very clunky. I removed it some time ago, doesn't mean that it's correct to do so.

Mystical Tutor - Broadcasts your intentions to the world. Not a bad fit by any means, but at some point you have to make decisions, and I did.

A good mana base is critical, since you have reduced land slots in the first place. One important factor is having enough Blue sources to reliably cast Kami turn 2. Beyond that lands usually flow pretty quickly. I will keep this brief and only include lands not listed elsewhere. Other cards here are Miscellaneous, in this case mostly Flash enablers.

Magosi, the Waterveil - This is an interesting one that I've not seen anyone else play, like ever. I have actually been very pleased with it. Basically the idea is that if you don't use your mana heading into your next turn, forfeit that turn and keep holding up your reactive spells. This allows you to cash in that spent turn at a later date to "Go Off" using that extra turn to do some things without contest. It seemed to work in theory, and I was pleasantly surprised at how it has performed in reality.

Arcane Lighthouse - Pretty key if you face a lot of hexproof. Allows for some politicking as well.

Seat of the Synod - Searchable with Trinket Mage.

Shimmer Myr - My favorite Flash enabler for this deck. Can allow for complete surprise wins, it having flash itself is just so crucial.

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir - When the market flooded with cards after Iconic Masters dropped, I knew I had to get my hands on a handful of cards. This was one of them. Literal perfect card for any counter-heavy blue deck, Teferi simply does work. Even though there are plenty of non-creatures I'd like to enable Flash on, this card still gets the nod over Leyline of Anticipation due to totally locking out other counterspells and basically making us the ultimate Blue deck.

Notable Exclusions

I have been playing this deck for years. You will probably have ideas from other Mono-Blue decks that you will suggest, and I absolutely encourage you to do so! Here are some cards that I have tinkered with or used to be considered worth a slot that I no longer feel the same way about, or that I would like but do not currently own.

Winding Canyons - We may want this, I'm not convinced we need a third flash enabler though, and colorless mana is not great.

Vedalken Orrery - Used to be my 3rd flash enabler. Cut for room, and 4 drops are clunky.

Leyline of Anticipation - harder to remove than Vedalken Orrery. I used to run this, but after acquiring a copy of Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir I had to make a cut and this felt like the most logical replacement. Shimmer Myr has more surprise factor and is tutorable by Trophy Mage, and Teferi just makes us the ultimate blue deck at the table.

Maze of Ith - Needs to be in here!

Thaumatic Compass   - New card, might need to find a home as Maze of Ith with card draw built in.

Venser's Journal - Too expensive for what it does. There are better ways to increase hand size, and there are better ways to gain life. 5 mana is not easy to cast and feel safe afterwards.

Ivory Tower - I had this card in for a long time, and really loved it. It's a Trinket, and life gain is hard to come by. I had to cut it at some point, but I always look for ways to re-introduce it.

Relic of Progenitus and Tormod's Crypt - I leave the GY hate up to the rest of the table with this iteration. I think that's wrong, and would like to fit one of these two cards. Tormod's Crypt is nice because it leaves our GY intact. Both are Trinkets.


I hope you enjoyed my guide to Being a Butthole! If you liked it, upvotes are okay I guess, but comments feel more meaningful and helpful, so do that instead!

I am slowly attempting to convert all my decks into more thorough guides, so if you liked this, don't hesitate to check out what else I'm brewing!

Philoctetes Current Tuned Lists: Licia, the Sanguine Storm, Savage Cheeks, Lord of the Flies, Resistance is Feudal



Updates Add

Hello! I acquired a few interesting cards to add to the deck. This remains my favorite deck to play, but I often am testing different new decks out so I don't get to as often as I'd like.

I acquired an Anvil of Bogardan, which has been a long time pimp target. I added it in cutting Otherworld Atlas as 4-drops often feel awkward and clunky and I don't go infinite with the Atlas based on house rules.

I also acquired a handful of Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir after Iconic Masters dropped, another long-time acquisition target. He replaces Leyline of Anticipation for now. Less versatile as a Flash enabler, but stronger card overall allowing us to be #1 Blue player and enables Flash shenanigans by virtue of.... having Flash himself.


Compare to inventory
Date added 11 months
Last updated 7 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.29
Folders commander group ideas, Interesting Commander Decks, EDH, Uncategorized, Commander, Blue, Commander Decks
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