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Legends Never Die 1.5 (Post M21) | KETHIS PRIMER

Commander / EDH BGW (Abzan, Junk) Midrange Primer Reanimator Superfriends




Please refer to the Changelog of this deck to see the latest changes/updates

"Heroes get remembered, but legends never die." - Max Holloway

Kethis, the Hidden Hand is an amazing card that combines the best of Karador, Ghost Chieftain and Muldrotha, the Gravetide in one package. Kethis is cheap to play, has decent stats, and provides a permanent cost reduction to all Legendary spells. His ability to replay legendary cards from the graveyard makes him a versatile and resilient.

In my opinion, Abzan is right up there with the strongest EDH color combinations (Sultai and Bant) and is defenitely the strongest non-blue combination.

  • provides amazing payoff cards.
  • provides tutors and card draw.
  • provides ramp and card selection.

Combine these colors and we get to run multicolored all-stars like Knight of the Reliquary, Assassin's Trophy, Anguished Unmaking and Eladamri's Call.

Being able to cast legendary spells for less might not seem like a huge deal, but this permanent reduction makes the deck soo much faster and efficient. Suddenly creatures that seem good for 4 mana are insane at 3 mana. Reki, the History of Kamigawa is a 2-drop all of a sudden and Urza's Ruinous Blast can be cast for the same mana as a Wrath of God. Keep this ability in mind when reading the primer, as it makes a huge difference for some cards

This is a grindy midrange deck with graveyard based strategies. Since all Planeswalkers are Legendary spells that provide value and can overwhelm the opponents once in large numbers, superfriends are an important part of this deck.

The deck has a large toolbox-like element, where creatures and planeswalkers serve different utility-roles, allowing you to be very adaptive at your opponent's gameplan.

Yes, if you like:

  • Interacting with the Graveyard.
  • Playing midrange & toolbox strategies.
  • Planeswalkers.
  • Abzan as a color combination.

No, if you like:

  • True Superfriends-like decks such as Atraxa, Praetors' Voice.
  • Hard control decks or super aggressive decks.
  • Decks that can win very fast.
  • Playing Combo.

The goal of the deck is to outvalue your opponents by asssembling a critical mass of value in creatures and/or planeswalkers while constantly using removal on their key cards. Kethis' cost reduction is key here, as it allows us to play multiple threats per turn, or play a threat and leave mana up. His second ability helps us to stay resilient in the late game.

We are using cards that provide card selection while setting up the Graveyard to execute the gameplan. Cards like Grisly Salvage, Winding Way, Grapple with the Past and Life from the Loam allow us to fill the graveyard while simultaneously getting land cards to the hand, while cards like Exploration, Oracle of Mul Daya and Azusa, Lost but Seeking will let us play multiple land cards per turn.

Winning the game isn't something that comes from one, big, powerplay, but rather from accumulating constant value until a critical mass is reached

A breakdown of all the legendary spells in the deck, and their applications

A breakdown of all the legendary creatures in the deck, and their applications

  • Azusa, Lost but Seeking - While the deck doens't run quite enough lands to justify running Azusa per se, the deck is very capable of drawing into more lands thanks to cards like Grapple with the Past and Grisly Salvage as well as planeswalkers that allow you to find more lands, such as Vivien Reid and any card drawing walkers will ocassionally just draw you lands.
  • Captain Sisay is an absolute powerhouse and should always be an auto-include in this deck. It basically allows us to tutor almost every card in the deck, every turn. Remember that Sisay doesn't specify that they need to be legendary creatures, so you can even find Urza's Ruinous Blast and planeswalkers.
  • Emrakul, the Promised End Emrakul does a great job of messing with the opponent's gameplan. As with Mindslaver, the more powerful the opponent's deck, the more harm you can do to themselves. In addition, a 13/13 Flyer is by no means bad. A cute interaction is to put her on top with Liliana Vess to the uptick your Sorin, Grim Nemesis and drain people for 13.
  • God-Eternal Bontu is alright, a 5/6 body for 5 is by no means bad, but nothing to write home about either. The ETB ability allows us to convert some lands and other irrelevant permanents into direct card advantage. The best interaction is obviously to sacrifice something like Flagstones of Trokair or spirit tokens created by Ugin, the Ineffable.
  • Kokusho, the Evening Star is a flying bomb that synergizes well with sacrifice outlets such as Vraska or Bontu, and is great to loop with Volrath's Stronghold.
  • Linvala, Keeper of Silence is a cheap flyer card that completely hoses some creature based decks.
  • Lyra Dawnbringer is actually over-performing. She is exactly in the sweet spot where she's not powerful enough for other people to waste removal on her, but powerful enough to protect your planeswalkers or pressure opponents. Her ability to buff other angels is incidentally useful.
  • Nissa, Vastwood Seer   is ramp on a creature for the early game that flips into a Planeswalker late game, literally nothing to dislike here.
  • Reki, the History of Kamigawa is one of the pillars in the deck. As people are generally not going to like the permanents you will be putting into play and will try to remove them, Reki already replaced them with a card. This is exactly the grindy behavior the deck wants to do; your opponents are focussing on your threats while you already have the next threats ready.
  • Shalai, Voice of Plenty is a card that I initially wasn't sure about including but has exceeded expectations in every way. Giving all your other creatures and planeswalkers hexproof makes it so much harder for your opponents to deal with them. Shalai herself is also cheap enough to recast without too much effort from the graveyard. I haven't had to use her pump-ability that often, but it is a nice fall-back when you need to push for extra damage.
  • Sidisi, Undead Vizier is a recurrable hard-tutor, as you can keep casting it from your graveyard.
  • Sigarda, Host of Herons is similair to Lyra Dawnbringer, even though Sigarda is even harder to deal with, while protecting your board against populair commander cards like All Is Dust, Grave Pact, or the opponnent's Liliana, Dreadhorde General.
  • Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is much like Emrakul, a top end card to finish games. Its removal is also always useful making it worth casting from the graveyard.

A breakdown of all the legendary planeswalkers in the deck, and their applications

  • Ajani, Mentor of Heroes is decent card draw and can buff your creatures in a pinch. His ultimate might be one of the most useless ultimates ever in EDH, though.
  • Ajani Steadfast is great for giving extra loyalty to your planeswalkers or letting one of your angels swing for extra damage.
  • Elspeth, Sun's Champion is often considered as one of the strongest mono-white planeswalkers, and she holds true to this reputation, being able to single-handedly take over games.
  • Garruk, Apex Predator is a great top end planeswalker that can deal with both creatures and planeswalkers, while also creating amazing blockers.
  • Garruk Wildspeaker provides both ramp and 3/3 blockers which makes it an excellent walker regardless of the game state.
  • Liliana, Dreadhorde General is basically a mono black Elspeth, and thus very powerful.
  • Liliana Vess is a hard-tutor that works well with other walkers that provide card-draw, especially Sorin, Grim Nemesis
  • Nissa, Vital Force has a great downtick and an even better emblem. Preferably you want to get her emblem as soon as possible, which should technically only take one turn.
  • Sorin, Grim Nemesis shows us the difference in Magic between 5 and 6 mana, it basically does what Ob Nixilis does, with an upside. Works great with Liliana Vess.
  • The Wanderer is a card that I've been very impressed with, most stuff you want to kill in commander has 4 or more power and the passive ability randomly helps against cards like Blasphemous Act, Chain Reaction, and Earthquake. At 4 mana this is no joke. Also combos nicely with Command the Dreadhorde, allowing you to basically reanimate all planeswalkers and creatures from all graveyards for free.
  • Ugin, the Ineffable is just a powerhouse, while the passive ability is almost neglectable in this deck (it does work with the Eldrazi), creating constant blockers and long term card advantage while also having the capacity to remove threats is all we can ask for.
  • Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, what can we say about this card that hasn't already been said. It might be the absolute best planeswalker in Commander, ever.
  • Vivien Reid fits the same "boring" 5-mana walker template as Ob Nixilis Reignited. With that said, I've been very impressed with Vivien, being able to choose what to draw makes her often better in both the early and late game while her artifact/enchantment/flyer removal is a very welcome addition.
  • Vraska, Golgari Queen is a card that can be pretty swingy, sometimes it does it all, sometimes it's underwhelming. For now I want to keep testing it a bit more, and 4 mana isn't the biggest investment to make either.

A breakdown of all other legendary spells in the deck, and their applications

  • Kamahl's Druidic Vow is a nice top end card, being able to potentially get 2-3 planeswalkers and a bunch of lands in play makes for a powerful mid-game play, and it only gets stronger as the game takes longer.
  • Urza's Ruinous Blast should also be a no-brainer. Being able to exile creatures, artifact, and enchantments for the mere price of 4 mana is amazing. Being able to do it over and over again is simply devestating. Especially when there's artifact or enchantment heavy decks like Breya, Etherium Shaper or Tuvasa the Sunlit.
  • Mox Amber is also an auto-include card as it's almost always active.
  • Shadowspear is the deck latest addition. Lifegain and trample are very good abilities in Commander, and the fact that you can cast it for free with Kethis out is huge. There's plenty of Angels that can carry the spear, and it even turns Kethis himself in a 4/5 Lifelinker with Trample. The ability to remove Hexproof and Indestructible is also relevant in Commander to deal with cards like Blightsteel Colossus, Avacyn, Angel of Hope, or Xenagos, God of Revels.

This section contains an overview of the various non-legendary cards in the deck, and their purpose.

  • Deathrite Shaman is always an overperforming card, no matter the format. Included for ramp and GY hate.
  • Eternal Witness is a green staple that will bring back anything.
  • Evolution Sage is a ridiculous print from War of the Sparks. Every land that enters the battlefield under our control puts another loyalty counter on all planeswalkers we control, combine this with Fetchlands and cards like Exploration to get emblems out very fast.
  • Knight of Autumn - Yo dawg, I heard you liked Toolbox cards, so we printed a Toolbox ability on a Toolbox card for your Toolbox deck.
  • Knight of the Reliquary might be one of my favorite cards ever printed. It allows us to thin the deck while getting the best utility lands in play. Keep in mind that you don't have to sacrifice basic lands, so you can easily sacrifice cards like Canopy Vista or Overgrown Tomb to get new lands.
  • Oracle of Mul Daya is another amazing green staple that synergizes well with the theme of getting land cards into the hand.
  • Tireless Tracker is an absolute powerhouse that synergizes extremely well with the multiple land drops, fetch lands and Crucible.
  • Wood Elves is effective ramp. I usually prefer Solemn Simulacrum a bit more, but seeing how the deck barely runs any basics I have choosen for the three mana Elf.
  • Command the Dreadhorde is a great "Oops I win card", the fact that it allows us to bring back Planeswalkers can cause a massive blowout and put you in a winning position.
  • Life from the Loam works excellently with the self-mill-to-get-lands plan, and can provide a nasty engine with cards like Stip Mine
  • From all the removal these colors have to offer, I have chosen Anguished Unmaking and Assassin's Trophy as my favorites. Unmaking exiles any nonland permanent, which is often relevant in commander, while Trophy can hit any permanent, including lands

In this section I'd like to give an overview of cards that I'm currently conisdering to add, but more playtesting is required.

Potential additions

I've made the following changes based on playtesting and helpful comments.

I've also picked up expedition versions of Godless Shrine, Temple Garden, Overgrown Tomb, and Canopy Vista as they look absolutely stunning, and help me get a step closer to foiling out this deck!

I noticed that I was initially a bit optimistic with the "Forest" count (since a lot of cards like Skyshroud Claim, Wood Elves, Fetch Lands and Nissa, Vastwood Seer   refer to forests. I added one additional forest-card.

  • Geier Reach Sanitarium has been replaced with Scattered Groves. While I'm not a fan of enter-tapped lands, Scattered Groves is the last Dual Land that I can play. Geier Reach Sanitarium was not really performing as epxected so I removed it. Ghost Quarter has been replaced with a Basic Forest.
  • Kaya, Bane of the Dead has been replaced with Kokusho, the Evening Star.

  • While Throne of Eldraine didn't nescesarrily bring a lot of good cards for this deck (I still need to test Garruk, Cursed Huntsman). Theros: Beyond Death brought some new goodies. First of all, I added the Basics. While they are not the most expensive or exclusive basic lands, I think they look absolutely stunning and fit the "Bling" style of the deck.

    But, more importantly:

    The six-mana Ajani always felt a bit clunky, and even tho its abilities are powerful, they felt redundant. The deck has plenty of (more effective) removal, and the card selection isn't that great for a 6-drop.

    I'm currently testing Shadowspear for the following reasons:

    • It's free to cast with Kethis out.
    • It offers a lot of versatility in a format such as commander where hexproof/indestructible pernanents dominate the battlefield.
    • Incidental Lifegain is always welcome.
    • It turns Kethis into a 4/5 with Trample and Lifelink, making sure He can hold his own as a blocker or even as an attacker.

    Kethis received a lot of love from Ikoria since the set went back to the wedges. I've made some few changes based on the new toys Ikoria brought:

    • Primevals' Glorious Rebirth has been replaced with Eerie Ultimatum. It saddens me to remove a card such on theme as the Glorious Rebirth, but the new Ultimatum is vastly superior. It has no requirement, making it good even if you are on an empty board, and brings back non-legendary permanents. It was a tough call between removing either Glorious rebirth or Command the Dreadhorde. But Command lets you bring back stuff from the opponent's Graveyard and combo's nicely with The Wanderer.
    • Ob Nixilis Reignited has been replaced with Mythos of Nethroi. Ob-Nixy Daddy is fine, but kind of boring and even clunky at some times. Some more (almost) unconditional spot removal is always nice to have.
    • One Forest has been replaced with Indatha Triome. Another searchable/fetch-able land is always welcome, especially if it provides three colors!
    • I also picked up a copy of the Secret Lair Captain Sisay as it's a nice pimp for the deck.

    There was only one good card for Kethis in Core21, and it was a no-brainer.

    Mangara is exactly what the deck wants, a grindy card that punishes our opponents for attacking planewalkers or playing multiple spells by making us draw cards in the process. It's also (of course) a legendary creature, meaning it benefits from Kethis' cost reduction and replay value.

    Click here for a gallery of the foil cards (this will link you to imgur).


    Thanks for reading! If you liked this primer please consider giving an UPVOTE

    Any comments are greatly appreciated, I will try and reply to everyone individually!


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    Top Ranked
    • Achieved #1 position overall 1 year ago
    Date added 1 year
    Last updated 4 months

    This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

    Rarity (main - side)

    35 - 0 Mythic Rares

    51 - 0 Rares

    4 - 0 Uncommons

    6 - 0 Commons

    Cards 100
    Avg. CMC 3.76
    Tokens 4/4 Elemental, 2/2 Spirit, Garruk, Elspeth, Clue, 2/2 Zombie, Nissa, 1/1 Vampire Knight, 3/3 Beast, Vraska, 1/1 Soldier, Vivien, Ajani
    Folders Kethis, Stuff I like, 1. Decks I own in Paper, EDH, Inspiration for Future EDH, Goals, Decks owned, Reference, Inspirace, Favorites, See all 16
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