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Rainbow in the Dark: Haakon&Korlash (Cleganebowl)

Commander / EDH Combo Cruel Control Discard Knights Mono-Black Reanimator



The first and only Haakon, Stromgald Scourge EDH deck designed seriously to contend in a strong meta. This song by Dio expresses what I've come to feel about this deck: it's a Rainbow in the DAAAAARK! Meaning, it can do so many things generally ascribed to the other colors in Magic and unlooked for in a monoblack deck: ramp, control, tempo-shifting, beatdown, combo, etc. It does it all.

This is a combo deck with some extraordinarily unique combos, previously (to 2017) never possible in EDH. It is possible to loop some things infinitely, which is inevitable given a critical mass of cards in most decks, but many of the loops can be executed in a finite, but significant number of iterations dictated by the amount of mana available. For those who aren't familiar with Haakon, there's only one way currently to play him. You need to get Command Beacon out as early as possible to get access to Haakon at all, and then discard him to any number of discard outlets like Tortured Existence .

Note on the name: Korlash, Heir to Blackblade is like a secondary or alternate commander for this deck. Together Haakon and Korlash remind me of Gregor "The Mountain that Rides" Clegane and his brother Sandor "The Hound" Clegane from Game of Thrones, respectively. The Mountain actually dies in the story and is reanimated as a zombie knight (Haakon is a Zombie Knight), and the Hound is a warrior whose fate is unknown in the books, but nearly dies in the show and looks pretty rough anyways from having most of his face burned off as a child (Korlash is a Zombie Warrior). Furthermore, The Mountain is literally a scourge on the Riverlands where he raids and pillages, sowing destruction and chaos in his wake. So I had the idea that this deck would sort of thematically reflect what is known amongst GoT fan conspiracy theorists as...

What is hype may never die!
Honestly, I'm testing both as the general for this deck and haven't decided on which to make the final commander. Haakon enables permanent recursion late game once you can get him out which is really nice to have, in addition to enabling combos involving playing and killing creatures repeatedly. Korlash, is mainly here for the one awesome combo below to ramp the deck really hard and get into the late game as fast as possible and then be a huge beater. In short, either one could be a great general for this deck, but currently I find Haakon's long-game possibilities more attractive.
  • Korlash, Heir to Blackblade + Mirage Mirror + either Phyrexian Reclamation or Tortured Existence . With both Korlash and the Mirror in play, make the Mirror a copy of Korlash and put the real Korlash in the graveyard due to the Legend rule. Then return Korlash to your hand with either of the enchantments and discard him to the Grandeur ability on the Mirage Mirror copy of Korlash. Rinse and repeat for as many times as you have the resources to complete.

  • Decaying Soil + Deathrender + any sac outlet, preferably Phyrexian Altar let's you cycle a creature into play as many times as you have to pay for Decaying Soil 's trigger by sacing the creature that has Deathrender equipped, stacking the triggers from Deathrender and Decaying Soil so the same creature dies, goes back to your hand, and then back into play. You can also just put any other creature from your hand into play and cycle every creature from your hand into play, then the yard and on and on. It's only infinite if you have Phyrexian Altar, otherwise it's limited by the amount of mana you have, and of course you need Threshold. Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed can return all your black cards to your hand to be re-cast infinitely or cycled into the Decaying Deathrender ETB/death loop.

  • Gonti, Lord of Luxury will be able to exile each opponent's entire library with this combo and is the main wincon for the deck. He is also the source of the name: Rainbow in the Dark, because with his ability and exiling your opponents libraries, you can then cast their whole decks with an infinite mana source like Abhorrent Overlord who can make infinite creatures which translates to infinite mana.

  • Archfiend of Ifnir combos with all of the discard outlets, including the Tortured Existence + Korlash, Heir to Blackblade Grandeur loop to drop a ton of -1/-1 counters on all your opponents' creatures.

  • A lot of combos and sub-themes were removed from this deck in Spring 2018 to more finely tune it to do the main themes better, have more flexibility to respond to a diverse range of threats, and really focus on the discard theme. To that end, combos like the Nemesis Mask + Phyrexian Obliterator combo have been moved to my forthcoming Phage the Untouchable deck and others.

As should be obvious from looking at this list and Haakon, there are not any knights in the deck; they're all terrible and unplayable except for Josu Vess, Lich Knight , but his kicker ability makes him worthless. There are two ways to get around this: Ashes of the Fallen and Conspiracy . Since you only need your creatures to be Knights in the graveyard, the Ashes takes care of that. Conspiracy essentially does the same thing, as creature types are less significant elsewhere, except in the case of Cryptbreaker . On the other hand, naming Knights for Conspiracy makes Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder amazing as he no longer makes thrulls, and therefore can make creatures indefinitely. I would like to play both cards in this deck but the niche nature of their effects and high mana costs have kept me from including them so far.

The key piece of removal in this deck is the coolest (and best known) bit of tech with Haakon: Nameless Inversion . At instant speed, with Haakon on the field, you can remove all your opponents' targetable creatures according to how much mana you have. Harvest them all to make rats with Ogre Slumlord and feed the rats to the machine to keep cranking value out.

Sword of Feast and Famine seems like the perfect Blackblade for Korlash (and Haakon too if you look at his art), and is an excellent addition to any EDH deck. Actual Blackblade Reforged hadn't been printed when I initially built this deck and it doesn't serve much purpose in the deck as is, so I haven't added it.

Please remember to upvote if you like this deck and think that cool and unique decks should get more notice! Let's spread the word that innovation in EDH is the soul of the format! Lastly, please don't add this or any of my decks to your personal folders without upvoting. This is my creation and if you can't show your appreciation for it by upvoting then you have no right to be using it for your own purposes afterwards. Always upvote before you save a deck to a folder as a courtesy to the brewer; anything else is selfish and self-absorbed.

Playing Haakon is inherently like playing with both arms tied behind your back, or just cut off...he's a true black knight!

Doom Whisperer , Plaguecrafter , and Midnight Reaper in and various other cards out. Some other long-overdue shuffling as well. Reaper was a no-brainer replacement for Grim Haruspex as the Reaper is a Zombie Knight, which are the two most relevant creature types in the deck. More of that please Wotc.


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