This is a Pako, Arcane Retriever and Haldan, Avid Arcanist Chaos deck. I've worked on and played this deck dozens of times, with great fun and consistent success. The most important part of a deck like this is to keep it fun and active for all the players, and with a lot of work and tweaking i'm happy to say that it's turned out fantastic.

The Key to this deck is that we have no win-con. Yes, I said that correctly. There is no win-con in this deck. In theory we can swing with Pako, Arcane Retriever for lethal damage, but so can every deck. No, our game plan is to figure it out on the fly with cards from our opponents decks. Every game is different and it keeps things fun and non-oppressive for both us and our opponents. As such we're going to focus on three things: Speed to get Pako, Arcane Retriever out and swinging as soon as possible, Exiling and using as many of our opponents cards as possible, and Generating as much value out of those cards as possible.

Cards like Pako, Arcane Retriever, Dazzling Sphinx, Etali, Primal Storm, Nassri, Dean of Expression, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer, Mind's Dilation, Stolen Strategy and Wand of Wonder consistently exile our opponents cards, removing their options and giving us consistent cards to cast and chaos to ensue.

To take advantage of all of those cards, we need to be able to cast them first. Therefore we're running cost reducers such as Baral, Chief of Compliance, Goblin Anarchomancer, and Mindsplice Apparatus, rocks and dorks like Birds of Paradise, Bloom Tender, Arcane Signet, Chromatic Lantern, and Sol Ring, and acceleration in the forms of Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, Dockside Extortionist, Oracle of Mul Daya, Stormkiln Artist, and Wayward Swordtooth, amongst many others.

Now that we can cast all of our spells, we need to generate value from them. For this we use a host of different spells and abilities, among them being Balmor, Battlemage Captain, Mizzix, Replica Rider, Nalfeshnee, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, Talrand, Sky Summoner, Wild-Magic Sorcerer, Double Vision, Passionate Archaeologist and Shark Typhoon. Then, to make sure we always have the cards available to cast these spells, we have a few draw engines online, being cards like Garruk's Uprising, Guardian Project, Rhystic Study, Sylvan Library, and Bonders' Enclave.

Finally, to buy us some additional time until we're fully online and ready to go, we run Collective Restraint and Propaganda to deter our opponents and cause them to attack someone else.

Overall i've had a ton of fun playing this deck, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to have a great time.

A few things i'd like to mention:

Firstly is that for many of our abilities, when they exile a card from our opponents decks those cards remain exiled unless we cast them. As such it is sometimes worth leaving them in exile to deny them to our opponents.

Secondly, I have deliberately left all almost all top-deck manipulation and tutor effects off of this decklist. I wanted my deck to be purely chaotic, and as such not even we know what we are going to exile off the top of our decks. There is a benefit to this in that because it is inconsistent and not manipulated, our opponents are rarely upset or frustrated with us as we have no control over things and every game is different and fun.

Finally, you will notice an odd trend for a deck that says it wants to be chaotic: Consistency. Among all of our creatures, instants, sorceries, enchantments, and artifacts, there are many repeated and overlapping effects. This is because I wanted a consistent play experience. Every game the deck will just work. The cards we get and play will differ every game, but the fact that we can consistently do this is down to the design of the deck. Every game I want to be able to ramp/accelerate to get my engine online, my commander attacking, and my opponents cards exiling and being cast. I never want to choose what I get from them, but I want all of the players, myself included, to have a fun time, and that requires a surprisingly consistently chaotic deck. So, regardless of whether you lose all your creatures, enchantments, or artifacts, the remaining types will have more versions of those effects which keeps your deck consistently recovering and moving forwards.

A Couple of points on some of the card choices


We actually run quite a few creatures in this deck as they'll be either getting us more cards from our opponents, ramping us up so we can cast our opponents cards, or generating value from their cards. There are very few truly necessary creatures here that you must get out consistently. They are all finely tuned and important, but other than Pako, Arcane Retriever none are truly essential. That being said, I will highlight a few of them.

Balmor, Battlemage Captain: While I generally avoided many ways of giving Pako, Arcane Retriever trample, due to the fact that I found it to be both too powerful and consistent, and to draw a lot of hate and attention to us before we're ready, I did add a few to give us that option if need be. Balmor, Battlemage Captain's ability adds up quickly and is helpful not just for Pako, Arcane Retriever, but also for any other creatures we steal or have available.

The Reality Chip: I deliberately do not have much top deck manipulation in this deck because I want things to be random and chaotic, and I want to deny even myself the knowledge of what is coming. However, due to the benefit to acceleration I have kept this in the deck. It allows us to keep playing lands and to see the top of our deck, and knowing what is coming is a huge advantage to us. You can consistently trigger Pako, Arcane Retriever's ability with it, and never miss those +1/+1 counters.

Uvilda, Dean of Perfection  : While Uvilda, Dean of Perfection  's ability is good, and you can technically use it, we run very few of our own instants and sorceries in this deck. There is the benefit that you can cast your spells from exile there, and we have cards that trigger off of that, I run this card almost entirely for its flip side, Nassari, Dean of Expression  . This is consistent exiling, which gives you three more cards that you can cast each turn, all of which put +1/+1 counters on Nassari, Dean of Expression  , as well as many other cards such as Nalfeshnee, Passionate Archaeologist, and Shark Typhoon, among many others.

Wandering Archaic  : We run this entirely for the front side. The back is a fairly terrible sorcery, but i've gotten a surprising amount of use out of it's copy ability, as you'd be surprised how many people either forget to take the extra cost into account, or just don't care, and let us have the free spells.

Instants and Sorceries:

We run very few instants or sorceries in this deck, and the majority of them are designed to either Counter problematic spells, Remove problematic cards, or Ramp us. Almost all of the instants and sorceries we cast belong to our opponents, but we have a few in here for consistency and because occasionally you will run into a problem for which you need an answer and can't afford to just pray you exile one off the top of a deck.


Our enchantments are designed to do three things: Draw us cards, exiling our opponents cards, and allowing us to take advantage of the cards we cast.

Font of Magic: This counts both Pako, Arcane Retriever and Haldan, Avid Arcanist individually, so just casting both commanders reduces the costs by 2. Each time you cast one of them afterwards just makes things easier, though I usually generate so much mana that I've rarely had a problem casting spells.

Leyline of Anticipation: Quite often we're going to exile cards that are not instants from our opponents, one of the most consistent ways being through our commander, Pako, Arcane Retriever. However, those cards can sometime save us on later turns, or be necessary to cast immediately. Leyline of Anticipation removes many of those problems as it gives us the ability to cast everything but lands whenever we want.

Passionate Archeologist: This triggers independently for each of our commanders, if both Pako, Arcane Retriever and Haldan, Avid Arcanist are on the board we deal double damage to target opponent.

Shark Typhoon: This card is amazing. We'll be casting so many cards that our board will rapidly fill up with flying sharks. It also helps protect us against board wipes as with a single spell we have flying creatures back online.


Vedalken Orrery: Just like Leyline of Anticipation, Vedalken Orrery allows us to cast our spells at instant speed. The value of this cannot be understated. While many decks run cards like this often unnecessarily and without significant benefit (Not to say there is none, but having run it in all of my decks at one point or another I can confirm it really doesn't need to be everywhere), we take advantage of this effect over and over. To this end I have included both in this decklist, as well as their land counterpart Alchemist's Refuge, which while not free to active is often fully protected from board wipes.

Wand of Wonder: You'd be surprised at just how much value you get out of this card, and even more so if you double trigger it with Lithoform Engine. It's honestly fantastic and being able to remove all of the removal and counterspells from your opponents decks, even if you don't cast them, can win you games. Not to mention the times where you hit your opponents Approach of the Second Sun right after they cast it the first time and stop their win-con in its tracks.

Thank you for taking a look at my Primer for Pako, Arcane Retriever and Haldan, Avid Arcanist.

Please feel free to post thoughts and suggestions in the comments as I love working with people on my decks and their own, and every chance to improve it is appreciated. In addition, i'm happy to explain any other card choices and you're welcome to use this decklist as Pako always loves to meet new friends!

Feedback and +1's are always appreciated!



Updates Add


Attention! Complete Comment Tutorial! This annoying message will go away once you do!

Hi! Please consider becoming a supporter of TappedOut for $3/mo. Thanks!

Important! Formatting tipsComment Tutorialmarkdown syntax

Please login to comment

91% Casual


Revision 16 See all

(6 days ago)

-1 Chimil, the Inner Sun maybe
Date added 1 year
Last updated 6 days
Exclude colors WB

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

14 - 0 Mythic Rares

63 - 0 Rares

10 - 0 Uncommons

4 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.27
Tokens Beast 3/3 G, Bird 2/2 U, City's Blessing, Copy Clone, Drake 2/2 U, Incubator, Phyrexian 0/0 C, Shark */* U, Treasure
Ignored suggestions
Shared with