The main strength of Zedruu is its ability to donate permanents to other players, which can create political alliances and opportunities for backhanded deals. Additionally, its triggered ability to gain life and draw cards for X donated permanents is an unreached draw engine printed on a commander.

Besided protection staples like Teferi's Protection, Fierce Guardianship, Plaza of Heroes there are some unique inclusions to protect Zedruu. The auras Gift of Immortality and Clout of the Dominus can be donated. Muddle the Mixture finds a combo pice and Unwind untaps mana for another upkeep donation.

Basic Rules that you should really know. Show

The build leans towards an enchantment subtheme.

Avoid Creatures:

  • Running Whirlwind of Thought as second Zedruu.
  • Creature inclusions are mainly needed for card type locked exchanges with Role Reversal and Sudden Substitution.
  • Donating creatures is shortlived - I dont invest in creature donations for Zedruus ability since creature permanents are removed easily or will die in combat.
  • Creatures I do run should ideally pay off with ETB effects so that after a swap they are vanilla creatures for opponents.

Avoid helping your opponents

  • I feel that ramp and card advantageous effects are game winning. I want such effects only for me.
  • The mainstream Zedruu decks prefer symmetrical effects like Howling Mine etc.
  • Symmetrical cards are superior from a donate perspective but I mostly pass on them.
  • Having 'only you benefit' instead of symmetrical 'everyone benefits' is less mana efficient but you do not fuel your opponents ressources.
  • Example: Whirlwind of Thought will draw multiple cards only for you while Dictate of Kruphix will give you one and your opponents three.
  • Example: Smoke does not care who controlls it but you will be hated. I rather play Propaganda.
  • Example: Oath of Lieges Ramps and unscrews anybody until the point where they threats take over the game. I rather play Land Tax.
  • Besides I run enough Donation Targets that I can easily pass on such disadvantages.

Zedruu's Ability Count

I run three types to increase Zedruu the Greathearted count: Bad Gifts, Donation Targets and Engine Cards.

Bad gifts for my opponent with the sole purpose of inducing a major downside for it's controller.

  • Illusions of Grandeur is the most iconic Zedruu card. Gives mad style points and is a combo piece later in the game (described below).

  • Nine Lives can be a combo piece later in the game (described below).

  • Pyromancer's Swath breaks spines. Politically interesting to donate to control players or the one anoying bugger with to expensive or salty cards.

  • Crown of Doom Politically interesting as it can't return to you. The controller swap is build in the card for .

  • Statecraft turns your vanilla creatures into blockers untill you donate it to the most creature based agressive opponent shutting his primary strategy down.

Donation Targets which serve any purpose and can be donated once resolved or depleated:

Engine Cards that make opponents crontroll our permanents:

  • Sudden Substitution is weird and this is why it fits here. If you have a creature on board you can swap it with target spell. If you play a bad gifts spell like Pyromancer's Swath or any symmetrical spell e.g. Possibility Storm you can let it enter directly under opponents control and you gain control of target creature.

  • Donate is a backup that mimics Zedruus donation ability (or rather was the partial basis for Zedruus ability). Usefull to keep in hand for the lategame.

  • Gilded Drake auto swaps itself for any threat or commander. If your exchange piece dies one can get Drake back with Homeward Path.

  • Political Trickery and Vedalken Plotter are the best engine cards Zedruu has. The exchanged lands will never be removed in most games. Run them!

  • Role Reversal and Puca's Mischief are the second best engine cards. RR has a type restriction and PM has a CMC restriction. They help you to keep up with the game by evening out boardstates.

  • Pendant of Prosperity is a group-hug card for a single opponent that can be used politically. It has nice synergy due to it auto swap ability.

  • Humble Defector turns into a draw engine with Homeward Path. It can be activated in response to Zedruus triggered ability to increase the draw from it and then get it back.

  • Rainbow Vale can be tapped for Zedruus donate ability in response to Zedruus trigger paying for one of and counting + for Zedruus . It also allows for political plays.

  • Perplexing Chimera is nuts with Homeward Path. The card itself but especially the pair Homeward Path + Perplexing Chimera can discourage the table from playing anything fancy.

##Additional draw engines Show

Win the game by combo not damage.

Included winconditions require 2 cards and do not lead to infinite scenarios. This can easily be downgraded to other less competetive win conditions or can be smoothed with cutting tutoring effects.

For some consistency atm I run some tutors:

Recursion is currently sparsely included since I do not rely on a single option.

However, I still enjoy some recursion options in my games:

Combo Winconditions

  1. Lock - ~:

Drannith Magistrate + Possibility Storm = only you can cast spells.

Lavinia, Azorius Renegade + Possibility Storm = only you can cast spells.

You either play Possibility Storm and play creatures until you achieve the lock via chaos or you have one of the creatures on the board and then you play Possibility Storm.

  1. Lock - ~:

card:Knowledge Pool + Drannith Magistrate = only you can cast spells.

Knowledge Pool + Lavinia, Azorius Renegade = only you can cast spells.

The KP combination is less strict. With Knowledge Pool you just have to play the key creature first then a second one to assemble the lock. Or you play the creature, then Knowledge Pool.

Themed Winconditions

Casting Nine Lives and Donate it to an opponent.

Within time the counters will accumulate and eventually the death trigger of Nine Lives takes him out.

Or you cast Nine Lives, wait until the 9th counter is placed on it - hold priority - then you donate it via Zedruu the Greathearted's ability with instant speed taking out one opponent. I consider Nine Lives + Zedruu the Greathearted thee tightly coupled Zedruu wincon.

Illusions of Grandeur + Zedruu the Greathearted is another themed combo.

Casting Illusions of Grandeur, donating it leaves you with +20 life. Illusions of Grandeur's new controller need to bother with -20 life.

Illusions of Grandeur and Nine Lives can be duped with Mirrormade to extend their blowouts to further opponents.

In 4 player games and with a pillow fort build like this Luminarch Ascension shines. It will reach state of activation since we run multiple tax effects like Sphere of Safety, Collective Restraint, Ghostly Prison, Propaganda that hinder opponents from attacking us.

The ideal pairing with some boardstate is Luminarch Ascension + Sphere of Safety . With Serra's Sanctum or Smothering Tithe one will be able to spawn several angles per turn.

Ongoing Considerations Show


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