Maybeboard


Note: This primer is being updated based on the newest iteration of the deck. I had to take a 3 year break from the game after I unfortunately had to sell everything to pay for medical bills. I probably missed some stuff when going through the primer to update it and some of the more recent additions have had minimal testing. I will update this as I have time. The list is finally nearing a stable point so expect the primer to be updated vaguely soon.

The Old Gods are dead. Ula and Cosi are gone. Emeria is imprisoned in the banlist. But they will not be forgotten. For those who wish to carry their legacy in the EDH format, here is my list. Below is a primer on how to run the deck, explanations for card choices, budget options, and just about everything else you could ever want to know about the deck.

And don't let that $14,000 price tag scare you away. (people need to stop buying out crap, I am tired of updating this) Without the hyper-expensive reserved list cards and some of the cataclysmically expensive foils (i.e. Metalworker, Grim Monolith), a playable and competitive version is only around $800-$1,000. If your meta is causal enough that the winner of the game isn't decided in the first 3-5 turns, you can make it for far less than that and still be able to hold your own. Some budget options are discussed in the primer and if you want advice on how to build this deck with a set budget, I will be happy to help as much as I can.

The Primer

This is the most common question I have been asked about this deck since I first built it. If I am honest, it was originally built as a joke with the gimmick of not being able to play colored spells (mainly as a way to taunt my friend who constantly played an Iona, Shield of Emeria) but the more I played it the more I realized there is actually some real power to colorless. Then after about a month or so of messing around with the deck I played it against someone who had a Tier 1 competitive Zur the Enchanter storm deck. He mocked me and said that colorless would never have a place in EDH and if I ever wanted to win a game, I would have to add colors to it. And since then, my goal has been to prove him wrong.

At it's current state, there is no doubt that the deck is not a tier 1 deck but it has a surprisingly good matchup against most of the Tier1-1.5 lists due to the ridiculous speed that it assemble the pieces to overwhelm the opponents. I have played quite a few games against competitive pods and have won about 60% of them. By far the worst matchup is anything played dedicated artifact hate but against most of the solitaire style decks like it just pressures them immediately with difficult to answer threats and stax pieces to slow them down. The meta has shifted a bit over the last few years with some more creature based decks and this already runs good hate cards for such matchups.

All things considered though, limiting yourself to colorless is definitely a bit of a gimmick, but that does not mean that the deck suffers from it. There is no doubt in my mind that a good Kozilek, Butcher of Truth deck is a solid Tier 2-3 deck that can easily hold it's own against most of the Tier 1 decks. Honestly, if it had a few better tutors, I would be willing to say that it is an even higher tier due to the fluidity of how easily the deck can go from hardcore stax effects to combo wins to just crushing your opponent with ridiculous creatures. What makes it even better is how well all of these abilities function together and build off of each other. Despite having run about 30 other EDH decks of varying power level, the synergies in this one still surprise me to this day and that is just not something that you can easily get elsewhere.

Colorless EDH has more options than one would think. Before explaining why I picked Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, I will explain why I did not pick the others.

Karn, Silver Golem: This is definitely a reasonable option but I have found it to be far more fragile than Kozilek and is forced to be more centered on combo due to the low impact of Karn without combo pieces.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger/Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre: Although both are high impact cards, they are oddly fragile. If they are removed from the board/countered, it gets harder to cast them and the first cast likely cost the large majority of your resources to achieve.

Emrakul, the Promised End: This is a tempting one due to how great Mindslaver effects are in EDH. However, it is similar to the Ulamogs where it is fragile. I will go into more detail on this card later in the primer.

Hope of Ghirapur: It is funny I guess but I don't really see it as a good commander. Maybe one day someone will prove me wrong.

Traxos, Scourge of Kroog: It exists. Not much more to say about it. I see no reason to run this.

Kozilek, the Great Distortion: This is one I have had many arguments about and have even run as a commander for a while. His ability to counter spells is weirdly relevant, he does fun shenanigans with Silent Arbiter effects, and he can situationally draw you more card than the Butcher can. However, that is exactly his downfall. He situationally draws you more cards. Draw X where X = a number between 0 and 7 is not as good as draw 4. If the game goes long and you finally cast Kozilek with 7 dead cards already in hand, drawing 0 for 10 mana is unacceptable. This has cost me many games and forces the deck to run bad enablers such as discard outlets to ditch bad cards. Butcher will always draw you 4 cards, Distortion will not.

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth: He does everything you could ever want from a commander. Has an almost uncounterable Opportunity stapled onto him. Destroys everything in his path and usually knock the defending player out of the game with just a single swing. In the event that they can shrug off the Annihilator 4 (looking at you Sigarda, Host of Herons), if his swing connects twice, that is lethal commander damage. And in odd situations such as getting milled out by an opposing Phenax, God of Deception player, any sacrifice outlet can ensure that you don't deck out. Not much more can be said, he is definitely the strongest choice for a colorless commander. Just note that Annihilator is a scary mechanic at lower power level tables which will more or less guarantee that you are a target early on.

Kozilek excels at three things: "Stax", "Combo", and "Combat".

''Stax" refers to hate pieces to try to slow down the game/lock your opponents out of the game such as Winter Orb, Static Orb, Tangle Wire, etc.

"Combo" refers to cards that when combined win the game immediately such as Rings of Brighthearth + Basalt Monolith to make infinite colorless mana. This can be uses in a variety of ways to win the game.

"Combat" refers to killing off your opponents by attacking them with your creatures.

Here is where the greatest personal preference comes into play. Most Kozilek lists will have a bit of all three but the balance of them is what makes the lists unique. This specific list focuses on Combo/Stax with Combat as a backup. However, there is a lot of overlap. Stax with Kozilek in play will easily allow for Combat wins or make it easy to set up for a Combo win.

Knowing this, most games with this deck will start fairly similar. The first few turns will be spent casting acceleration and if the table demands it throwing out Stax pieces to slow down your opponent. Getting to 10 mana is usually trivial with a decent hand, even through some disruption. Once you get to 10 mana, the usual option is to cast Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, refill your hand and put everyone to the test to see if they can answer him. Most games he will be answered, if not, enjoy and easy win. However, if he is answered, assuming that someone did not Stifle his cast trigger, you will have a new hand and be able to quickly rebuild your mana and cast another absurd threat, perhaps even Kozilek again. Eventually people will run out of answers.

Alternatively, a Stax piece or two following an early Eldrazi God is usually the end of the game, or at least enough to kill off an opponent or two. With some common sense and decent threat assessment, this will usually mean the end of the game for your opponents.

Mindslaver and Emrakul, the Promised End (Mindslaver Lite with built in I don't care if you counter this, I am still taking your turn) are both great options, especially against combo decks assuming you understand the combo and can use it against them. My favorite is to make that player cast a Doomsday, make the correct pile, and then forget to cast the Laboratory Maniac for the extra salt factor. Killing them with their own Necropotence/Ad Nauseam are acceptable too. And if it happens to be an Aetherflux Reservoir deck, they will politely choose to kill off your opponents for you before dealing 50 to themselves.

And of course just going infinite yourself is always an option. The specifics of this will be covered in detail later in the primer.

Pretty much every card in this deck serves a purpose that can be easily separated into one or more categories:

Acceleration: This is probably the most important part considering that the plan of the deck is to cast 10 drops by turn 4 at the absolute latest.

Stax: Used to slow down your opponents or just lock them out of the game following an early Eldrazi God.

Combo pieces: Should be pretty self explanatory.

Interaction: Solitaire is not an ideal strategy for EDH. Even my Thrasios/Vial Smasher "usually wins on turn 3 with counterspell backup" deck has interaction. Colorless is a little light on interaction but interaction is necessary no matter the cost if you don't feel like losing to the first card that contradicts your strategy.

Payoffs: These are cards that benefit from having absurd amounts of mana very early in the game and often lead to winning the game if unanswered.

Lands: ...I am pretty sure you can figure out what these do.

Enablers: The stuff that allows this deck to do absurd things like turn three Eldrazi Gods and still have mana to do it again the next turn.

With all of that in mind, here are some cards that are not blatantly obvious (I am not explaining why cards like Sol Ring and Mana Crypt are in here)

Artifacts Show

Creatures Show

Planeswalkers, Instants, and Sorceries Show

Lands Show

When I first started playing competitively, someone told me the following: "The strongest combos in the format aren't necessarily the fastest ones or the hardest ones to interact with, they tend to be the ones with the least dead cards when you cannot successfully combo off with them."

Given the low density of tutors in colorless that are worth running, this philosophy is the best way to approach the combo aspect of this deck. The large majority of the combo pieces in this deck overlap or serve other functions outside of just being a 2-3 card "I win the game." With this in mind, here are the combos I have noticed in this deck:

Rings of Brighthearth + Basalt Monolith: Here is the obvious one. With just two extra mana, creates infinite colorless. Throw in Ashnod's Altar to sacrifice and re-cast Kozilek as much as you want or Sensei's Divining Top to draw the entire library, cast all of it, Infinitely loop Mindslaver, cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and copy his cast and/or attack trigger an arbitrary amount of times with Strionic Resonator and Voltaic Key to exile everything or whatever else your heart desires. Rings of Brighthearth can now be replaced with Forsaken Monument for the same result and doesn't even require the two extra mana that RoB does for the combo.

Rings of Brighthearth + Voltaic Key + any artifact that taps for + (usually either Metalworker or Everflowing Chalice): Result is the same as the previous combo.

Staff of Domination + Metalworker (at least 3 artifacts in hand): Yet another way to make infinite mana. Metalworker cannot have summoning sickness for this combo to work and if you are using Lightning Greaves to bypass this, you must be able to move the Greaves to another creature you control to actually use the Staff to untap the Metalworker. Comes with a built in way to draw your entire library and win on the spot.

Clock of Omens + Staff of Domination + Sculpting Steel + and mana rock that taps for at least : Have the Sculpting Steel enter as a second Staff of Domination. Tap both using Clock of Omens's ability to untap your mana rock. Use this mana to untap both Staffs with their own ability. Rinse and repeat.

No deck is perfect and as much as I love this deck, enough artifact hate can shut it down. It isn't too hard to shrug off a Vandalblast as long as I had the chance to cast Kozilek first and refill my hand but I would be lying if I didn't say that it hurts the deck. The worst ones to see are effects like Stony Silence or Null Rod. The best hope against these is to just get to enough mana to cast Karn Liberated, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon (if it is Stony Silence and not Null Rod, or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger As a note, Stony Silence does not stop triggered abilities so it isn't necessary to hold back all artifacts until it is gone unless there is also some obvious artifact hate floating around. Luckily, these cards tend to annoy other people too and unless I have already made a bunch of enemies, it is possible that someone else will deal with it before I have the chance. And since AER, we now have the ability to use Improvise with Inspiring Statuary to get around this.

The only other negative thing that I have noticed since I started playing this is that a lot of people have started using Act of Treason or Mind Control style effects to steal Kozilek after I cast him (mainly Gilded Drake, which is another reason for the inclusion of Torpor Orb). Sacrifice outlets prevent this but it always feels bad to die from your own commander and if someone is holding either of these cards, there is a very good chance that Kozilek will be the creature it targets. If this is already an issue in your meta, make sure to include a Homeward Path to make sure your ridiculously powerful creature stays yours.

That said though, I have cast Kozilek, Butcher of Truth for 28 mana (without infinite mana) before due to commander tax. That entire game my opponents just kept saying that if he dies enough times, my deck will finally stop working. It turns out that enough times is quite a few because I still managed to win that game.

The most expensive cards by far in this deck are Mishra's Workshop and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. Although these are definitely powerful cards, their ridiculous price tag is an understandable reason to not buy them. With the perpetual buyouts that plague this game due to the cancerous nonsense that is the reserved list, I am sure that more cards will hit ridiculous prices over time. Here are some other options to replace these and some other cards if you don't have/don't want to spend the money on them:

Akroma's Memorial: A great payoff that became too difficult to include with the loss of partial paris mulligans. It is admittedly hilarious to staple all of those abilities onto an Eldrazi God but I would only run it in a very casual meta or if you are going all out for the Combat win strategy.

Blightsteel Colossus: Costs a ton of mana but can be cheated out by Kuldotha Forgemaster. Initially removed to test out Emrakul, the Promised End and I decided that I liked Emmy better.

Command Beacon: A good budget option, especially if you are focusing more on combat than I am.

Darksteel Forge: A decent payoff for slower metas that allows you to play the long game without being as concerned about artifact hate. I personally am not a fan of this card but if you like it, feel free to run it. Also can be grabbed at instant speed with Kuldotha Forgemaster in response to artifact removal.

Drownyard Temple: Great when playing in a meta with a bunch of Wheel of Fortune effects or land hate.

Endbringer: A great budget option that does fun shenanigans with Unwinding Clock. Also serves as removal against small creatures and a win condition with Paradox Engine combo lines.

Homeward Path: For when your opponents like to steal your stuff.

It That Betrays: A great budget option that goes hilariously well with All Is Dust. Also, my commander. Weirdly good against G/B value based decks like Meren of Clan Nel Toth and randomly hoses some combos including certain variants of Protean Hulk shenanigans and pretty much anything that uses Karmic Guide loops.

Maze of Ith: Useful ability that with a Chromatic Lantern/Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth can just tap for mana if you don't need to use the ability. I finally decided to cut this due to the amount of nonbasic land hate floating around and the fact that this deck is better off when it is the one demanding answers instead of trying to play reactively.

Myr Battlesphere: Fun combo shenanigans with Kuldotha Forgemaster and is a decent way to get rid of planeswalkers if you have to worry about those in your meta. Also relevant if your opponents like their Sheoldred, Whispering One effects so you can throw away a Myr token instead of an Eldrazi God.

Oblivion Sower: Also good in your meta runs Wheel effects and land hate. Mass graveyard removal (such as Relic of Progenitus) can make this into a ridiculous ramp spell.

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre: Initially cut to improve consistency, definitely still a reasonable choice.

Wastes: The cheapest option for cutting expensive lands. Also a good option of your meta has a lot of non-basic land hate.

And here are some cards that probably deserve a spot but I just haven't gotten around to testing out:

(see maybeboard)

I have been playing this deck for quite some time now and I can definitely recommend giving it a shot. I am always interested to hear about potential upgrades and cards to test out for this deck as well as just discussing it. Feel free to +1 or comment if you liked it or it gave you any ideas for your own deck.

And of course, credit to Juwdah for his primer on mtgsalvation and for the inspiration to make this a real deck instead of a joke like it was when I first built it with a $40 budget. Make sure to check out his primer for more ideas on how to play a Kozilek deck and for some cards I decided not to use that you may prefer over my choices.

Suggestions

Updates Add

I have gone even further into the realm of Turbo-Kozilek, with very good results. A lot of cards are subject to change as further testing is done but the vast increase in mana production (and therefore speed of the deck) has proven to be the correct choice. Also note, a few experimental cards are currently being tested.

If you don't play with proxies, by far the most expensive one is Bazaar of Baghdad as apparently this deck wants to have the most expensive set of lands physically possible. So far, the card has been very good for me. It can filter through an early hand to ditch high CMC stuff and goes well after casting Kozilek to filter the extra cards drawn and ditch useless lands. With Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth, Chromatic Lantern, and the fact that the first two are often seen in other decks in cEDH, the card is very rarely useless. Notion Thief is particularly rude in response so UB decks with 4 open mana are a bit of a concern with this card but otherwise it has been good. There is a good chance this will be here to stay given the value of the utility that it provides.

Another strange inclusion is Serum Powder. This deck mulligans pretty aggresively for fast mana and this seemed like a low-opportunity way to help mulligan a bit deeper. I have only used it for it's second ability twice but it was very good both times.

Also, Chromatic Orrery. The first and third abilities are completely useless but it taps for 5 mana which is good in a deck that wants as much mana as this deck does. It is also a consistent backup for infinite mana with Rings of Brighthearth and Voltaic Key as people have started to immediately target Basalt Monolith given that the two main infinite mana combos both rely on it.

Comments View Archive

Top Ranked
Date added 5 years
Last updated 3 weeks
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

25 - 0 Mythic Rares

38 - 0 Rares

29 - 0 Uncommons

4 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.14
Tokens Construct 0/0 C, Copy Clone, Eldrazi Scion 1/1 C, Spirit 2/2 C
Folders EDH, Commander, Deck recipes to try, Possible EDH Decks, Voidbros, Koz EDH, EDH, Interesting Commander, Ideas, New Decks, See all 43
Votes
Ignored suggestions
Shared with
Views