Najeela's Hulk Pod Project (cEDH Primer)

Commander / EDH Winterblast

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Primer (part 1 finished) —Sept. 10, 2018

I've written a primer for Najeela because the deck description has already been rather detailed and I've seen that people still have questions that can't be answered in a few sentences on the spot. Especially the reasons for going 5c and the resulting strengths and weaknesses needed to be adressed. The first part with reasons for the colours and the resulting strategy as well as the win con explanation is already finished and implemented on this page. I'm still working on tips for playing the deck in the different stages of a game.

Some things I've changed in the deck since the last update are for example removing the alternative cmc 4 target for pod, because it was a niche case that hasn't occured in seemingly hundred games. Another change was in the draw/discard slots, where I removed Bazaar and Dack Fayden again. Azra Oddsmaker , Faithless Looting and Wheel of Fortune fit better in the deck and have performed well until now. I have also cut the 2nd sac outlet in favour of Flusterstorm .

What I need to have a closer look at in the near future is how exactly Tymna the Weaver helps me. I haven't had the chance to see her in play or even in my Hand often but in theory the ability should provide lots of value. However, it could be that the mana cost is too restrictive because I rarely want to fetch for White mana in the early game. Eidolon of rethoric is on my watchlist already and if Tymna doesn't do as much as expected in the long run I might replace her.

heliosat says... #1

Hi, first thanks for creating this list, I'm so bored playing bloodpod and building this can get me an out. Have you considered including Yisan? not for comboing but maybe you coud put a stax-removal in every cmc and even more recursion, maybe include 1 threat in cmc 6 and 7 to continue the curve. Looking forward to play this, keep it up!

July 14, 2018 3:41 p.m.

Winterblast says... #2

heliosat Yisan is far too slow...this deck doesn't compare well to blood pod because it's adaptive combo, with hulk pushing it more in the fast direction. I'm currently testing some changes, most of which are related to the possible hulk and pod lines and draw effects but it won't become staxy enough to support such a slow engine like Yisan. The pod use in this deck is mostly to go straight for the combo or maybe fetch one disruption piece like Gilded Drake or Mindcensor and then go for the kill in the next turn. You will still be on the aggressive side even if you can do a bit toolbox stuff before going off.

July 14, 2018 5:42 p.m.

heliosat says... #3

Winterblast Makes total sense, Yisan is pretty good in Bloodpod because you mostly target lands for stax so the game it's bit slower. Looking forward to the changes you are testing. Personally i'll be testing adding a bit more disruption (because there are many bloodpod decks on my meta) and also (maybe it sounds silly) a Sword of Feast and Famine cause many times the only thung i can do is attack with my commanders. Thanks for the work!

July 15, 2018 1:11 p.m.

Winterblast says... #4

heliosat I'd use druids' repository before sword. Goes off easier...probably putting it in again

July 15, 2018 1:46 p.m.

SynergyBuild says... #5

Not super relevant to the list, is there a bant protean hulk line, I have looked them up, but the only 2 I have found thought that Reveillark triggers on ETB instead of LTB.

The only one I could come up with was:

Flash + Protean Hulk (don't pay so hulk dies!)

Fetch Karmic Guide and Sidisi's Faithful, recurring the hulk, then sacrificing it (bounce Sidisi's Faithful to hand)

Fetch Gigantoplasm and Saffi Eriksdotter, copy Karmic Guide, recur the hulk, sacrifice Saffi Eriksdotter targetting Gigantoplasm, then pay 0 to Gigantoplasm, killing it, recurring it, bringing it back as the hulk, pay 0 to kill it again.

Fetch Body Double and Hapless Researcher, cloning a Gigantoplasm cloning Protean Hulk, sacrifice it fetching a Reveillark. Cast a Sidisi's Faithful, sacrificing Karmic Guide and bouncing Reveillark, targeting Body Double and Gigantoplasm, before they enter, sacrifice Hapless Researcher, discarding a Reveillark, when they enter, copy Reveillark with Body Double and Sidisi's Faithful with Gigantoplasm.

Sacrifice Protean Hulk to Sidisi's Faithful, to bounce Reveillark (Body Double), fetch a Triskelion, deal 1 damage to an opponent, one to Sidisi's Faithful, killing the faithful, and one to itself, killing itself, then let Reveillark (Body Double) bounce, triggering itself, recurring Karmic Guide and Saffi Eriksdotter, recur a Reveillark to the battlefield, then sacrifice Saffi Eriksdotter targetting Sidisi's Faithful (Gigantoplasm). Pay 0 to Sidisi's Faithful (Gigantoplasm), coming back as Reveillark due to Saffi Eriksdotter's ability, then pay 0 to kill it off, bringing back Saffi Eriksdotter and Triskelion.

You may now loop this by dealing 2 damage to any opponent from Triskelion, and one to itself, then sacrifice Saffi Eriksdotter targetting Reveillark (Gigantoplasm), then pay 0 to Reveillark (Gigantoplasm) to kill it off, then bring it back to Saffi Eriksdotter's ability, then you bring back Saffi Eriksdotter and Triskelion. You may repeat this loop indefinitely until each opponent is dead.

July 19, 2018 11:31 a.m.

w3ncy says... #6

Hi Winterblast, Wheel of Fortune and Gamble for card tutor/refill that also lets you discard card/s.

Sylvan Safekeeper might be a good addition to protect one of your Hulk lines. Grand Abolisher also is sweet for this but it’s still not in your list? Natural Order is an auto include for Hulk too. High Market and Phyrexian Tower for lands.

July 26, 2018 10:51 p.m.

Winterblast says... #7

rgwenceslao gamble isn't good enough, considering that I've got all colors to choose from.

Safekeeper and Abolisher are possible but in practice I haven't ever felt the need for post-hulk protection and outside of the hulk lines Abolisher is too hard to cast and both have a too limited use for me to be played. I could see safekeeper being fetched after body double/seer, but getting the 2nd sac outlet has a similar effect (it's pretty hard to interfere with targeted removal after that) and safekeeper wouldn't prevent instant graveyard hate anyway. using abolisher would even force me into the spellseeker line, which isn't the way I'd like to take primarily. I see most attempts at stopping the deck pre-hulk, by countering stuff or dropping static hate pieces like cursed totem, torpor orb, grafdigger's also has to be considered that if I go into a hulk line with razaketh as an enabler, there's the instant speed protection by fetching a pact, misstep or swan song.

Natural order is rather expensive and wouldn't outright win unless there's already a sac outlet in play, which would require further setup. The focus of the deck also isn't on forcing everything into the direction of hulk but to assemble the kiki-jiki combo. Everything is directed at that, buried alive, pod, letting a hulk die...therefore I don't play the weaker or riskier "hulk-only" tutors.

Same for the lands you mentioned. They would only serve the purpose of letting a hulk die when it's already in play, but otherwise they are a colorless source. I've already cut ancient tomb because colored mana is far too important with 30 cmc 1 spells of various colors and even the 2 colorless were frequently not worth missing a color producing land drop.

What's interesting is the wheel because I had cut it a while ago along with the other two and notion thief (see updates). Actually, wheel if fortune is a wheel I'd still like because it is both discard and draw, as you said, and it draws a lot. Most of the draw is currently on stuff like Edric, mindblade render, tymna...combat based draw because that's what the commander gets ridiculous with. Having another hand refill that's nit on a creature is definitely a good idea. My cut will be dark ritual since I've been unimpressed by the onne time BBB a bit too often. I'm not going to make any t1 entomb/reaninates because I'm not on Jin and I don't frequently need it in Razaketh lines because I have LED, I can't use it well to cast the commander, it's worse for pod acceleration than LED, there's little need for multiple black in one turn even though black is a frequently needed color...overall it's probably not missing at all in the deck.

July 27, 2018 8:47 a.m.

w3ncy says... #8

Good thoughts! Theyre very helpful. How do you adjust after creature boardwipes from all your playtesting? How about after a countered flash hulk or a natures claim-ed pod?

You only have 2 recursions from eternal wirness and noxious right?

Since Wheel of Fortune can be in a flex slot, how about adding in Timetwister? I know it’s not for discarding cards but mainly for hand refill, recursion and probably stopping someone from winning after a couple of tutors.

Regarding dark rit, you mentioned t1. Do you consider this deck an all in fast combo or somehow mid-range? You still not convinced cutting other pieces for counter cards?

July 28, 2018 7:36 a.m.

Winterblast says... #9

Boardwipes are obviously not cool because creatures are rather important here, but as hulk basically works either from the graveyard (with necromancy) or from the hand without any board presence, I will then try to find these cards then. Same thing when it's the other way round...when pod or hulk fail, the commander makes the pressure and there's still two different cards in the deck that go infinite with Najeela - Derevi and Druids' repository.

I had all 3 wheels in the deck when I still played Ramos but since I can use stuff like Edric now the one wheel that draws always 7 and also acts as a discard is probably the best. Timetwister doesn't get me stuff to the gy and it also doesn't leave my gy intact, so it will be hard to win off it right afterwards. It's a complete reset but actually I don't need that anymore. I've got enough draw off which opponents don't profit and with wheel of fortune I have a good chance at winning with what I discarded and what has already been in the gy before.

I'd put it in the adaptive combo folder but it's leaning towards fast, simply because hulk can kill t2 surprisingly frequently. Mostly it's t3/4 though but then it has a setup that provides great value when the game drags on. Most interaction and disruption is on hatebears like mindcensor, manglehorn or suited for removing stax pieces that prevent me from winning...that's for example meltdown, aura shards, cyclonic rift, fire covenant...that's because the hatebears are fodder and targets for pod and the deck is going so fast that I'm not wasting too much time on actively stopping other people. If I can drop a hatebear on curve in the early game it's cool, but first of all I'm trying to be the threat at the table. Cards like meltdown a d fire covenant can be reactive too, when someone else is starting too fast, but mostly the removal should deal with stuff like torpor orb or cursed totem. I've thought about playing flusterstorm, maybe instead of swan song because it is often an uncounterable counter but I'm pretty sure that the 3 or 4 free and cmc 1 counters are the most I'd like to have's great to have these as protection, also for Razaketh, but in testing even mana drain felt too clunky.

July 28, 2018 8:34 a.m.

UR2L8 says... #10

Hello! I wanted to point out that Zulaport Cutthroat does what Blood Artist does but without targeting the opponent. I understand that Blood Artist punishes others for sacrificing a lot though.

August 1, 2018 2:38 p.m.

SynergyBuild says... #11

UR2L8 Yeah, I'd honestly say Blood Artist is better, though in a meta with a lot of player hexproof/shroud effects, like Leyline of Sanctity/Witchbane Orb/Aegis of the Gods/Solitary Confinement/True Believer then sine the cutthroat doesn't target, it would in fact be better.

August 1, 2018 6:53 p.m.

Winterblast says... #12

Blood artist is better because it triggers when any creatures die and players getting hexproof/shroud is basically never happening in cEDH. The main purpose of that slot is to have an instant speed or post-combat hulk line and when I cast blood artist outside of that purpose it's either to set up a Leonin loop manually or to have at least a source of dmg to hit an ad nauseam player...and artist can target exactly that player and it has a higher chance of dealing dmg than zulaport. However, I play zulaport online because it requires no target selection and that means it can be skipped on the stack without a mouseclick. That's basically the only upside there ;)

August 2, 2018 12:44 a.m.

UR2L8 says... #13

I was looking into the Pod Combo and saw 1 (one) way to get it to work off of CMC 1 creatures. But you need a sac outlet like Viscera Seer in addition to it.

  • Pod -> CMC1 -> Voltaic Servant
  • move to End Step, untap Pod
  • Pod -> Step 5 in your sequence, but blink Pod instead of Kiki
  • Pod -> Kiki -> Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

  • With Mikaeus and the extra sac outlet out, sac Karmic Guide, Undying with trigger to bring it back, to bring back Kiki.

  • Kiki copies Karmic Guide who brings back Derevi, who untaps pod

  • Pod -> Derevi -> Purphoros, God of the Forge.

From there, sacrifice Kiki to trigger Undying, then when Kiki is back, copy Felidar to Flicker Kiki to copy Felidar for infinite ETB triggers for Purphoros.

It's the only way I found that works off of CMC 1 Also it's possible for this Pod chain to go up to a creature with CMC 7 utilizing Great Oak Guardian.. It's just that there aren't any CMC 7 creatures with insane payoff for this investment that I saw.

Hope this helps down the line!

August 4, 2018 1:15 a.m.

Winterblast says... #14

UR2L8 have you seen that pod can only be activated at sorcery speed? Untapping it at eot with the voltaic servant wouldn't help because you can't activate pod in the end step and you would be stuck with it until the next turn.

The commander being cmc 3 makes it rather easy to start the pod line and if I don't have 3 mana to kill in the same turn or don't want to sac Najeela, it will be a search from 1 to 2 that gets for example a gilded drake or leonin as disruption or from 2 to 3 that gets manglehorn (which hurts one player immediately and everyone else permanently) or Derevi such a situation it's better to make a value play than beginning the pod combo and get stuck in the middle.

Tl;dr the voltaic servant doesn't work. And it requires a lot of otherwise dead slots

August 4, 2018 3:11 a.m.

UR2L8 says... #15

I feel embarrassed for the amount of time I spent digging that up :/

Thanks for being patient with me!

August 4, 2018 5:07 p.m.

heliosat says... #16

Hi, been playing my version for this list for a while now...And today i've struggled a lot with Linvala on play (and not having enough mana to cast anything more than flash due to other stax). Gilded Drake is off my budget for now and I started looking for a replacement. Obviously there's no better card than Gilded Drake for that purpose, but i've found something interesenting....What about Sidisi's Faithful? It can exploit itself in the first iteration of Hulk (spellseeker + faithful + sac outlet) to bounce the Linvala an then continue with the combo normally. Is this correct? or am I missing something here?

August 18, 2018 10:50 p.m.

Winterblast says... #17

heliosat you can use that but you need to exploit Hulk (body double) instead if you want to do it manaless. 2nd search is karmic guide + sac outlet then. The spellseeker line works too, just needs mana to reanimate Hulk ;)

I guess Sidisi's faithful could probably replace one of the sac outlets, would add one more interactive card to the deck, which might be cool. Not sure if I'm overlooking something now...the 2nd sac outlet was basically there to avoid having to be too careful about losing it pre-hulk or if it was removed in response to the 2nd Hulk search.

August 19, 2018 4:25 a.m.

heliosat says... #18

Winterblast I didn't even think about it, a new anti-linvala line without the extra mana thanks to karmic guide being cmc 5. Thanks for responding, got super excited yesterday when I found out about Sidisi's Faithful and wanted to share it with the author of the deck.

Thanks for responding and keep it up!

August 19, 2018 10:43 a.m.

cuznflick3r says... #19

Can you update the deck list again. And explain the T2 kill. Thanks

August 31, 2018 2:26 a.m.

Winterblast says... #20

cuznflick3r the list is up to date, only added a flusterstorm instead of the 2nd sac outlet this week. T2 kill is as simple as having one part of hulk/flash in hand and a cmc 1 tutor - that's without any acceleration. With more mana (mox, crypt...) you could make a t2 kill happen with double tutor. T2 kill attempts happen occasionally but the deck focuses more on a setup for t3 that leaves you in a solid position for the following turns should the attempt fail. That often involves casting Najeela between t1-3 to have a long-term plan available.

August 31, 2018 5:18 a.m.