Why Play Zirda

I personally do not like to take one of the known top commanders to build because they always end up the same. Unfortunately I also like playing at a very high power level. If this sounds like you Zirda, the Dawnwaker may be something you want to build. Most of the other zirda lists I have seen rely on stax pieces to stretch out the game long enough to eek out the win but I find that play style boring. I would rather just jam out combo pieces as fast as possible (with ways to recur the pieces if I need) and make people respond to me or lose. Boros is usually looked at as turn creatures sideways and burn your opponent out before you run out of cards and actually that is what Zirda does. Zirda just does it fast enough for cEDH and has enough card advantage to keep going.

Playing the Deck

One of the main perks of Zirda is it is part of a 2 card infinite combo. Having either Basalt Monolith or Grim Monolith and your commander Zirda, the Dawnwaker gives you infinite colorless mana. Ideally, in your opening hand you want one of those mana rocks or a way to search for them and also some cheap efficient mana rocks to power them out early. Since you obviously have no access to blue for counters/protection you have to rely on other more interesting ways to get your combos to resolve. Things like Angel's Grace, Deflecting Swat, Burnout, Mana Tithe, Pyroblast, Red Elemental Blast, Ricochet Trap, and Silence can all protect your spells or stop you from losing the game. Unfortunately, most of these are either over-costed or just strange for cEDH but you also don't usually look at the Boros player to respond to a spell on the stack so you can surprise people. Even after they know you can, they still won't expect you to have many ways to mess with them on the stack. Alot of them also only interact with blue spells but in a cEDH pod if no one is playing blue, are you really at a cEDH pod?

So you have infinite mana and now.....what do you do with it. Main thing to do with all that colorless mana is simply Walking Ballista or Goblin Cannon and ping the table to death. There is also Magma Mine but it can only get a single player. Retrofitter Foundry is another outlet for mana making infinite thopters to swing in with. There is no way in the deck to give them haste but you can make all the tokens you want at instant speed.

There is also a win con in the deck don't need to use infinite mana for. So long as Zirda is out, Umbral Mantle equipped onto Inkmoth Nexus or Blinkmoth Nexus makes an infinitely big flying creature to attack with. On the list of ways to lose in EDH, death by flying land is probably low on that list and it is really easy for your opponents to miss seeing it. Also with umbral mantle and if you happen to have infinite mana, Zirda has a tap ability to make a creature unable to block, then you can untap with the mantle to make it bigger infinitely too.

Putting Together the Combos

The main ideas that make a deck even semi-competitive are doing powerful things that win you the game quickly and then doing it consistently game after game. Tutors and card draw of some sort are needed for that consistency but Boros falls a bit flat in that category. Enlightened Tutor is probably the best tutor in the deck as it grabs Grim Monolith, Basalt Monolith or if you have one already Diviner's Wand or Staff of Domination. We also have Steelshaper's Gift to find one of our equipments depending on what is needed. Gamble is definitely a gamble but it finds anything we may need too. Goblin Engineer searches for any artifact and puts it in the graveyard but has the ability to get it back. Sacrificing an early mana rock for Grim or Basalt gives us infinite mana which seems like a good trade. There is also Moonsilver Key which grabs either Grim or Basalt and only costs 3 mana total.

Oswald Fiddlebender does a ton for the deck. You can trade in a 0 drop artifact for either Sensei's Divining Top, Retrofitter Foundry or Magma Mine depending on where the game is. He can also trade a 1 drop for Grim Monolith to get you infinite mana. Another neat thing he can do is if you already have infinte mana on a turn, you can trade Grim Monolith for Staff of Domination and win the game by drawing your deck. You can also trade Basalt Monolith, after getting infinite mana, for Goblin Cannon and win the game.

Imperial Recruiter and Recruiter of the Guard both find some of the useful creatures to either hate on your opponents or combo pieces, depending on what the board state is. Mainly they get Goblin Engineer or Oswald Fiddlebender to get an artifact we need. They both also can grab Stoneforge Mystic, which finds whatever equipment we may need. Stoneforge also lets us put them on the battlefield without fear of them getting countered and at a cheaper cost. The recruiters can also tutor for Goblin Welder which can get an artifact that ended up in the graveyard back to the battlefield, also without casting. Inventors' Fair can find any of the artifacts needed too and with it being an ability on a land, it can't be countered unless someone has a Stifle type effect. Zirda's ability also makes Inventors' Fair cheaper to activate. Planar Portal is definitely an expensive CMC but it gets whatever is needed to hand right now and when you have infinite mana, CMC doesn't matter much.

For card draw/card advantage we have about the best you can get for the colors we have available. Thrill of Possibility, Faithless Looting, Wheel of Fortune, Tormenting Voice, Winds of Change are all good draw but some have the downside of discarding but who cares what gets discarded if you draw into the piece you need. Diviner's Wand and Staff of Domination are good with Zirda since the activated abilities are reduced by 2. They are particularly good since if we have infinite mana, we draw our library to our hand and at that point its kinda hard to lose. Winds of Change is like reds version of Windfall but only 1 mana. Sensei's Divining Top is just tremendous value and helps get better draws.

Interesting little things you may not have thought about o.O

Angel's Grace is usually used to make sure you don't lose on a particular turn that you combo off but it also says your opponents can't win and with split-second it cannot be responded to. A common enough Win-Con anymore is Thassa's Oracle then self mill any number of ways. If you time it right you can actually steal a win right out from under someone with angel's grace. Example: opponent casts Thassa's Oracle, it resolves, win the game trigger is now on the stack. They respond with Tainted Pact. They ask if you have a response to Tainted Pact. You-nope. Pact resolves, no more library. With win the game on stack, cast Angel's Grace. They can't respond no matter how many counters they have because of split second. Grace resolves, win the game resolves, and they no longer win the game and their library is gone.

Deflecting Swat is a very versatile spell since it can be a counter in a counter war or you can redirect some ability that may win them the game

Ricochet Trap can also be a counterspell if there is a counter on the stack already. It can also be a copy of one of the big X spells on the stack already, especially if one of them darn try-hard blue players is trying to counterspell your fun.

Blast Zone costs less to add counters to and less to sacrifice with zirda. This is great to get rid of some stax type pieces or anything really.

Some combos not included

Right off the bat there is old school bomberman combo. Lion's Eye Diamond, Auriok Salvagers, Pyrite Spellbomb make an infinite damage loop that was big in legacy. I did not feel it was necessary with all the ways to win already but it could be added in.

Just adding in a Cloudstone Curio can give good value and also another way to make infinite colored mana with Dockside Extortionist. When you start wanting to have so many different pieces it waters down the deck and makes it less consistent in my opinion. Again though, it can be added.

Heliod, Sun-Crowned and Walking Ballista go infinite with damage with just a bit of mana put into them. Originally had the combo in the deck but heliod on his own is mostly a dead draw without ballista so it was taken out. Nice thing about this combo though is there is nothing else needed, which makes it strong. It is the only combo I would suggest possibly adding back in.

Pili-Pala + Paradise Mantle + Zirda gives infinite colored mana but I dont think it is any better than the other ways to get infinite mana so it is not included.


Is Zirda cEDH material...well it depends on your definition. Is it top tier, winning nearly every game you play, has all of the tutors and card draw needed, and consistently wins on turn 2/3/4 every game....No. It very much can win as soon as turn 1 though and it threatens to win often enough by turn 3 to make it viable. It also has ENOUGH consistency that you can bring it to a table with other cEDH decks and not just lose game after game. You can stop someone from winning turn 3 with some of the interaction it has or win reasonably consistently which in my eyes is at least in the running for cEDH. Some of the hate/counters/Win-Cons may be a bit janky but it does work well together. Overall it is fun to play but the biggest downside is lack of card draw/tutors, so sometimes you just sit there hoping to draw SOMETHING but those games do not feel like they are the norm.

It started as an experiment, hoping to find a neat new deck to play. Never expected it to win against my buddy's Tymna Thrassios monster but it actually can (I have not lost yet, which is so strange). I have had it go off and win 4 games in a row, on turn 3, all in different ways. I have won on turn 1 a few times now and it only requires 4 cards. Zirda, the Dawnwaker is definitely in the running for my favorite deck to play out of the 14 or so I have built.

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31% Casual

69% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 1 year
Last updated 5 days

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

8 - 0 Mythic Rares

60 - 0 Rares

17 - 0 Uncommons

11 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.76
Tokens Construct 4/4 C, Elephant 3-3 G, Servo 1/1 C, Spirit 1/1 C, Thopter 1/1 C, Treasure
Folders Deck inspirations, Boros, Competitive, somth, Cedh commander, possible future decks
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