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Paradox Engine Storm: cEDH Primer

Commander / EDH*



"Give me fuel, give me fire, give me that which I desire."

Welcome to the newest cEDH archetype:Paradox Engine storm!

This deck eschews the traditional High Tide package and Doomsday piles normally associated with UBx storm. In its place we devote cards slots to a varied nonland ramp package that consists of the best mana dorks (ex. Birds of Paradise) and mana rocks (ex. Mana Crypt) available. We also utilize a few rituals too (because reasons).

This deck can win on any turn:

Mana Crypt+Mox Opal+Mana Vault+Dramatic reversal+Isochron Scepter

Play rocks, imprint scepter with reversal -> infinite mana. Mox opal taps for blue and then green-> Thrasios -> win

Turn 3-5 victories are the norm for the deck. Despite being simple in design, the lines to victory are varied.

I have tested multiple archetypes of Thrasios that include boonweaver giant/bomberman combo, 4 color hermit druid/angel combo, and even Thrasios' Eggs (which was suprisingly good and totally enpc's fault :-), and I can say with certainty this build is miles ahead of anything else I have played with Thrasios in the Command Center.

Now for another unapologetic boast...This deck has a level of resiliency, speed, and consistency that puts many other top generals I have played to shame.

The deck often wins via infinite storm and mana produced by Dramatic reversal+Isochron Scepter, which allows Thrasios, Triton Hero to draw my entire deck, where I can then end the game with either Aetherflux Reservoir or Grapeshot/Walking Ballista (I am undecided in which one fits my needs better. Both take out utility creatures in a pinch and serve as a backup win condition).

Paradox Engine provides incredible redundancy to my scepter combo and most games serves as a "one card" win condition. Paradox Engine's presence on the board also allows scepter to go infinite with a large number of instants in this deck besides Dramatic reversal. These can either lock opponents out of the game (ex. Mana Drain), exile opponents libraries (ex. Reality Shift) or just produce infinite mana and storm.

Another path to victory involves Sensei's Divining Top, Thrasios, Triton Hero, and Engine. With 5 mana worth of rocks you can draw your deck with these cards. This suprising easy to accomplish by turn 3-4, but most games require less ramp in play since you can double up on Top's draw ability by casting an instant in response (i.e Dark Ritual to its activation. This draws 2 cards instead of 1, thereby bringing top back to hand where it can be recast to trigger engine again. These stack shenanighans gets us way ahead on mana so we can use Thrasios' and Top's abiliy to dig real deep for the rocks needed to sustain the combo indefinitely and win the game.

With such a high concentration of fast mana sources in the deck I burn through hands extremely quickly, even by cEDH standards.

To keep the engine rolling to its fullest capacity, I utilize a powerful card advantage package.

As with most UBx storm decks, card advantage starts with Ad Nauseam and Necropotence. To fully maximize ad naus I utilize an aggressive curve (avg cc: 1.85). With necro I rely upon Chain of Vapor and Nature's Claim to remove that nasty exile clause after putting 25 cards into my hand. This potentially gives me access to each card in my hand the following turn with Yawgmoth's Will or Past in Flames.

I also utilize every relevant wheel effect in my color scheme. The best of these are Timetwister, Wheel of Fortune and Windfall.

Jace's Archivist has insane synergy with Paradox Engine and will almost always win if he is allowed to untap.

Winds of Change: This card seems terrible at first glance, because it is actually card disadvantage. However it serves a number of important functions within the deck. The most notable roles involve its ability to pair with Notion Thief for just 5 mana or get a new hand of 20 while pseudo Mind Twisting the table. It also does things with ad naus. This innocuous looking card is one of my favorite reasons to play red.

Whispering Madness: Is the worst wheel in the deck. It does occassionally provide double value however, which sometimes makes it the best wheel in the deck.

After wheels the best draw engines are Mystic Remora and Sylvan Library for obvious reasons.

None of these produce card advantage, but they are nonetheless essential for card quality, hitting land drops, drawing into top deck tutors, and/or producing arbitrarily large amounts of mana with Paradox Engine. I think of them as lubrication. These include: Ponder; Preordain; Gitaxian Probe, Brainstorm; and Manamorphose; Sensei's Divining Top.

Sensei's Divining Top was a late add, but its quite possibly one of the best cards in the deck. As mentioned before it combos with Thrasios, Triton Hero and Paradox Engine to draw my deck with 5+ mana's worth of rocks/dorks. In the worst case scenario with just Top in hand the sequence works like so:

1) Tap Top to draw a card

2) Pay 4 to use Thrasios's ability to bring top to hand.

3) Cast Top to untap all your rocks/dorks with paradox engine.

4) Repeat steps 1-3 until you have drawn your deck.

I am a firm believer in having multiple layers of protection in my engines, and this list is no exception. To help ensure I can win my fair share of matches, I utilize both proactive and reactive protection.

My proactive protection is fairly lazy in nature and just rewards me for doing what I already want to do with the deck. Since I am agressively wheeling, it just seems logical to double down with Notion Thief (I used to utilize Leo and waste not too, but they were not that great). One of the most frequently tutored for wheel combos is "Thief of the Winds" (Notion Thief+Winds of Change), which is one of the fastest way to ensure victory in the deck.

My reactive protection package consists of countermagic. This package is fairly sparse for my liking and I am always looking for opportunities to add more without diluting the fuel quality to unacceptable levels (My baby doesn't run on 87) My interaction choices are based on mana efficiency and raw power.

Thrasios is the perfect general to command a deck like this. His color scheme gives him access to a wide array of mana dorks and rocks. It also gives us the best possible card advantage and a great tutor suite, which provides tons of power and consistency to our combos. Also his mana sink wins the game as soon as we go infinite. The deck is stronger by his presence in the command zone, without being dependent on him. This passive boost and independence from the general makes the deck far more resilient than other Paradox engine commanders, such as Arcum Dagson and Captain Sissay.

While Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder is a very strong commander, he is better suited to a traditional grixis storm shell+green that wins via Doomsday since his cascade ability helps crack open the DD piles. This deck however, has little to no interest in casting its commander or relying upon combat. There are three good reasons to cast Thrasios in a game:

1) Once we go infiniteto grab a win condition from my library.

2) Restart my draw engines with Thrasios' pseudo scry1 draw ability when things go poorly. This becomes far more viable with training grounds in play.

3) Combo with Paradox Engine and Sensei's Divining Top

Most games the 98 does all the work without difficulty. Vial smasher does nothing but provide red and black, and red is far more useful than white for this particular deck.

This deck has been a blast to create and test. I hope your experience with it is equally rewarding. While I always appreciate critical/constructive feedback I need to specifically appreciate iamyoona, Megalomania, and enpc. Without ENPC's insights and ideas, MEGALOMANIA's deckbuilding perspective, and IAMYOONA's testing, criticisms and suggestions, this deck would not exist. I will continue to build upon this primer.


I recently added Sensei's Divining Top to the list, because I wanted more top deck manipulation. It only took a few test runs to discover that it was one of the best cards in the deck. I also discovered that Top combos with Thrasios, Triton Hero and Paradox Engine to draw my entire deck. The combo requires 5+ mana worth of rocks/dorks in play, which for this deck is fairly easy to come by.

The combo works like so:

1)Tap Top to draw a card

2) Pay 4 to Use Thrasios's ability to bring top to hand.

3) Cast Top to untap all your rocks/dorks with paradox engine.

4) Repeat this process until you have drawn your deck.

While too slow as a primary combo, this is a wonderful backup combo because it literally costs 0 slots. Both Paradox Engine and Sensei's Divining Top have great standalone value in the deck and to exclude either would make the deck far worse.

Comments View Archive

Lilbrudder says... #1

enpc: Its definitely worth testing. I think it will often function as a mana comfluence, but the potential to get screwed may keep it out of the deck.

January 19, 2017 12:15 a.m.

z2aaa says... #2

hows the playtest for this irl ? im curious kinda wanna build lol

January 19, 2017 7:26 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #3

So far pretty good. It has done much better than my Leo deck in my playgroup, but that is partially due to the fact that Leo is such a hate magnet. I personally think its the strongest deck I have ever made. The combos are very card slot friendly and fast and there are many different paths to victory so its hard to shut down the deck completely.

January 19, 2017 8:42 p.m.

Atony1400 says... #4

I love the idea! I'll add it to my primer folder!

January 20, 2017 7:31 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #5

Thank you. Happy brewing :-)

January 20, 2017 10:42 p.m.

Bolsheviktory says... #6

It's as early as T1, don't sell the isochron reversal short :D You gotta update that description to "wins any turn"

Mana Crypt, Mox Opal, Mana Vault, Dramatic reversal, Isochron Scepter

Play rocks, imprint scepter with reversal -> infinite mana. Mox opal taps for blue and then green -> Thrasios -> win

January 21, 2017 8:58 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #7

Bolsheviktory: You are absolutely correct good sir :-) Mea Culpa! I will ammend this disservice to the combo immediately.

False modesty doesn't suit me anyways lol I will copy and paste your comment into my desciption unless you object.

January 21, 2017 9:24 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #8

What do you all think of Training Grounds? It allows the Thrasios combo to go off real easy and makes him into a decent draw engine. Too cute?

January 21, 2017 9:44 p.m.

Bolsheviktory says... #9

By all means :D

I've been testing my own Thrasios: Thrasios Kydele Test and Training grounds has been very sweet. I will probably want to get black in there for tutors/ad naus/necro.

January 21, 2017 10:34 p.m.

enpc says... #10

An interesting card I have been considering for Paradox Engine is Raven's Crime. It's ok disruption but it lets you pitch your lands to retrace and keep the engine going. Oona's Grace is another retrace spell that nets you cards.

January 22, 2017 1:44 a.m.

Lilbrudder says... #11

Bolsheviktory: Your list is very good. I do agree that black tutors/ advantage is too good to pass up.

enpc: The retrace cards are very interesting. Being able to dump lands often comes in handy, unfortunately Thrasios doesn't bring any lands to hand. It gets bonus points for being castable from the graveyard. Raven's Crime is particularly useful since it allows us to get way ahead on mana with paradox engine.

So now another question. The thrasios+top+engine combo is proving to be pretty damn good. So adding more redundancy is something I want to do. Adding training grounds is one way I have built around the combo, however, I am also looking to add either Voltaic Key or Kiora's Follower. Key is an artifact so it doesnt have summoning sickness and it plus top and engine goes off for just 2 additional mana worth of rocks/dorks. The only issue is its just ok outside that capacity Follower has summoning sickness, but its the best possible 2 mana dork. It can tap for any color (most times) or up to 2-3 mana. It also can draw my deck with top+engine and just 1 mana worth of rocks/dorks. Thoughts?

January 22, 2017 10:35 a.m.

z2aaa says... #12

lilbrudder ur a a$$ lol in good way lol i played this 5 times and havnt lost the amount of salt is real omg

January 22, 2017 6:32 p.m.

Gimme food, gimme fries, gimme salad on the sides.

January 22, 2017 10:03 p.m.

Lilbrudder says... #14

z2aaa: Muhahahahaha! I am glad to see you are continuing to spread misery my friend. Harvest some more salty tears for me.

Alright Voltaic Key is a winner. Kiora's Follower is winmore. As iamyoona made me realize with Zhur-Taa Druid, 2 drop mana dorks are unplayable for a build like this. I think the key to the early win with Engine is 0 drop artifacts. I am now testing Mishra's Bauble. It helps me get ahead on early card advantage with t1-2 wheels and triggers engine after I tap out to cast it so I can starm storming. It also makes my deck functionally smaller. It is always relevant and literally costs nothing.

Temur_Frontier: :-)

January 22, 2017 10:17 p.m.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 3 weeks
Last updated 4 hours

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.79
Tokens 1/1 Spirit, 1/1 Bird
Folders EDH, Liked Decks, Commander, Professional/Reference Decks, Deck, Edh, Paradox, A EDH Playtest, Ideas to watch, Thrasios, See all 14
Top rank #4 on 2017-01-06
Based on
Views 3370

Revision 17 (4 hours ago)

-1 Voltaic Key main
-2 Polluted Delta main
-2 Mox Opal main
+2 Taiga main
+2 Fabricate main
+2 Talisman of Dominance main
+1 Ancient Grudge main
+2 Bayou main
+2 Windswept Heath main
+2 Intuition main
-2 Regrowth main
+2 Badlands main
-2 Fire Covenant main
-2 Past in Flames main
-2 Grim Tutor main
-2 Talisman of Dominance main
+2 Sylvan Library main
-2 Yawgmoth's Will main
-2 Dramatic reversal main
-2 Elves of Deep Shadow main
and 206 other change(s)

See all