Creature (1)

Existential Dread

Where will you be when the Eldrazi emerge? When Kozilek breaks your mind, Ulamog consumes your world, and Emrakul corrupts your body?

Existential Dread is a deck that revolves around beating people down and keeping their boards suppressed, hence the name. One fun part about this deck is that there's no wrong answer for your commander; I find a counterspell on a stick that refills your hand to be the best option, but have fun with it! Want to play someone that's just a big attacker? Use Rise of the Eldrazi Kozilek or Ulamog! Want your opponents to hate every fiber of your being the moment you tap out for mana? Oath of the Gatewatch Ulamog or Emrakul can do just that!

Regardless of the chosen commander, commander damage is a great option if combat damage would take too long. If you choose Emrakul or Kozilek, Eldrazi Conscription is a fantastic option for one-shot commander damage KOs, and at most two-shot KOs if you choose to run Ulamog. On top of that, it's also just a good way to turn anything on your board into a scary beatstick that will definitely get the ball rolling toward ending the game; I personally enjoy putting it on Reality Smasher because of the self-protection, Liberator, Urza's Battlethopter for the flavor of conscripting one of the two non-Eldrazi in the deck, or Breaker of Armies to make it tough enough to eat most boardstates and survive.

The early game of the deck is to focus on getting land drops and ramping as quickly as possible. Cards like Scroll Rack and Sensei's Divining Top are meant to help even out the early game and make sure you hit the land drops as often as possible, as well as potentially fish for answers as a last resort or trade out an unfortunate hand in the later game. The goal of the deck isn't to have a splashy early game - if anything, if you can simply stabilize and slowly work your way up with unimposing lower-cost cards it works best in the later game. It's important to keep in mind that this deck functions similarly to an artifact deck: with a limited number of viable Eldrazi available, the next best option is a plethora of artifacts to support your board. Cards like Inventors' Fair and Buried Ruin are great options to grab important artifacts, and Kozilek, the Great Distortion is your primary means of keeping your board safe.

The goal of this deck is to ideally build one of the four infinite mana combos BEFORE COMBAT and use that mana to draw your deck with Staff of Domination. Ideally you need three things: Spawnsire of Ulamog to make infinite 0/1 Spawn, Forsaken Monument to turn all those Spawn into 2/3s, and haste via Crashing Drawbridge and Lightning Greaves if necessary (or, with Commander Masters, another safe option is to take an extra turn with all your Spawn using Rise of the Eldrazi). From there it's as simple as picking up enough cards to protect the combo with Kozilek and swinging to kill your opponents in combat. The less-ideal but perhaps more interesting way to win is simply to draw and drop all your big Eldrazi creatures and swing with them instead of tokens. You frequently won't have the Staff already available when you get your mana combo, which is why the deck runs sacrifice outlets like Ashnod's Altar and bounce effects like Sanctum of Eternity - if you keep casting what you can from your hand, you can keep replaying Kozilek to try and dig deeper for the Staff or the winning cards themselves.

It is also worth acknowledging that a deck like this doesn't have very many means of non-conditional early-game interaction and control until Kozilek hits the field, so I've taken care to include as many on-theme lower-CMC control/interaction elements to use when facing decks that are generally faster than this one (which is most) in the sideboard. The deck also runs on-flavor interaction pieces, like the more mana-expensive removal spells and the classic Warping Wail.

The deck has a lot of high-dollar cards, and as such is geared toward an upper-midrange power level where it's usually pretty strong and can sometimes power through cEDH games, though the latter is very inconsistent. I have luck playing it at both casual and competitive tables, though there are definitely some possible ways to tune the deck up.

One big one that comes to mind is simply swapping the commander to Kozilek, Butcher of Truth. Rather than the frantic digging that The Great Distortion requires you to do for your Staff, Butcher of Truth will draw you cards regardless of your current hand size if you have a repeatable sacrifice outlet (at the cost of losing your discard-counterspell interaction), making him far more consistent when it comes to your winning combo. It also means you can pretty freely cut some of the cards that benefit strictly The Great Distortion, like Lion's Eye Diamond, and replace it with something more geared toward faster play like Jeweled Lotus or another interaction/stax piece. The sideboard includes a handful of potential includes for higher-power play, to cut less-effective cards like some of the more top-heavy Eldrazi..

  • Crucible of Worlds, while typically included in Green/Golgari decks that care a whole lot more about consistent landfall and self-mill to better enable more land drops from the graveyard, also does some very heavy lifting in this deck too. On top of enabling repeated value out of self-sacrificing cards like City of Traitors and Urza's Saga if you don't have land drop in-hand for the turn, it also greatly lessens the drawback of Scorched Ruins by letting you simply replay whatever lands you had to sacrifice for it.
  • Lion's Eye Diamond is an odd include, in essence behaving similar to a Jeweled Lotus combined with a self-Wheel of Fortune (if Kozilek, the Great Distortion is your commander). In addition to offering that unique benefit, it can also allow you to discard a shuffle titan on demand if you need to protect your graveyard. And, finally, in testing this deck the constraint of the deck is drawing into a payoff once you get infinite mana. Since most of the time after infinite mana you need to dig for something like Staff of Domination by killing and recasting Kozilek to continuously draw cards, this plan hits a dead end once you get a hand full of 7 lands that you can't cast or play - LED lets you discard your hand and keep digging significantly deeper with Kozilek. Plus, as an additional bonus, discarding your hand usually gives Emrakul, the Promised End a hefty casting cost discount if you want her in the command zone instead.
Being a colorless deck, it relies heavily on artifact ramp, though that doesn't necessarily mean that the deck needs to be slow. With a perfect hand, the deck could almost certainly win on turn one unless an opponent has some shenanigans of their own: in your hand when you start your first turn, you need 7 cards, the 8th card can be anything. To start... Ancient Tomb, City of Traitors, or Crystal Vein (Card 1) - one of the lands that can produce two mana on turn 1 is essential, as you'll use those two mana to cast Sol Ring (2) and Mana Vault (3). Tap those for 5 mana to drop half of your infinite mana combo, Forsaken Monument (4). With that in play, you need Mana Crypt (5), drop that to gain 2 life and use the three mana it produces from the Monument to cast the Basalt Monolith (6). With the infinite mana combo online, your final card needs to be Staff of Domination (7) to guarantee drawing into the win combo mentioned above; you can always attempt to cast, kill/bounce, and recast Kozilek if you need to try and draw into the Staff though that's very inconsistent. The combo also works with other draw combos, but each of those require two cards so you'd need the perfect opening hand plus the perfect top-deck (Sensei's Divining Top and Mystic Forge/Rings of Brighthearth). If this calculator I found is correct, then the odds of the perfect opening hand with Staff is only one in 627,109,387.385, so good luck!
This decklist has no sideboard full of big Eldrazi intentionally. This is a deck I play in-person and my local LGS doesn't support the optional sideboard for Commander, so I haven't put one together. Spawnsire of Ulamog is primarily used for generating Eldrazi Spawn with the way I play the deck, but anyone is welcome to use this decklist for themselves and make their own sideboard of whatever they like.

P.S.: R.I.P. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, gone but not forgotten.


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