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Seky Seky Five Dolla: Sek'Kuar Lands Primer

Commander / EDH* BRG (Jund) Casual Combo Multiplayer Rock Tokens

Philoctetes

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Seky Seky Five Dolla: A Sek’Kuar (Jund) Combo Lands Primer!

Last Updated 8/3/2018 for Commander 2018 addition(s)

Shoutout to Sek'Kuar, The Meat Master and creator VesuvanDoppelbanger who I have borrowed ideas from for some time now! My deck has diverged from the original concept that more closely mirrored that list, but the heart remains intact!

Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper has long been one of my favorite EDH decks. I love him because he is so innocuous for many players - an overcosted Jund commander with some sacrifice synergies isn't too powerful, right? RIGHT?!

Wrong friends, wrong. My Guy is a true combo piece when properly built around. Sek'Kuar has become a relatively popular Jund commander as a combo piece for a "Natural Affinity + Sac Outlet + Pandemonium" build, and also traditionally as a Rock style value build with Reassembling Skeleton type creatures. My build differs distinctly from those deck styles, while still borrowing elements from both. I have built my Sek'Kuar deck as a Lands shell that aims to create synergies using the hardest permanent to interact with in the game!

It's common knowledge that the innocuous land is the most difficult permanent to remove in EDH. Many players have an aversion to playing Mass Land destruction due to that 3 hour game that started with an Armageddon into no plays - pass the turn! Also, there are just only so many ways to remove lands that are playable against the normal EDH field. So why not abuse that fact and build something like a Legacy Lands deck in EDH? I aim to explain that to you with this guide, and hopefully continue building out what has been a very fun metamorphosis for this deck!

Honestly, the primary reasons to use Sek'Kuar as our commander are the same reasons anyone uses him. He combos well with Natural Affinity and he also combos well with Bloodghast and sac outlets for value. The main innovation I am trying to bring to the table is that we don't need to dedicate our entire decks to pulling off these combos! It is possible to abuse both of these synergies in the same deck depending on our draws, while focusing heavily on playing the most powerful lands in Magic to develop an insurmountable and difficult to interact with Board Advantage.

In this way, my Sek'Kuar build plays something like a Jund Titania. Whilst Titania is more consistent due to not requiring a Natural Affinity to turn lands into creatures, Sek'Kuar also allows us to grind off of creatures and more importantly use Red and Black cards.

This strategy means that we lose out on the potential explosive insta wins of the Natural Affinity + Pandemonium based builds, but we still get some element of that. Essentially, I have cut down on Sek'Kuar duplicate Effects and pure combo pieces in favor of land tutoring, Exploration effects, and a higher land count to account for utility lands.

Typically, our game plan is:

Utilizing Exploration type effects primarily.
This step is really where our gameplan gets fleshed out. This deck has multiple avenues to victory, many of which are obvious and traditional for lands (Dark Depths), many of which are less obvious (Subtle removal/political chip control with Lands package, ie Ifnir Deadlands, Strip Mine, Glacial Chasm), and some of which are just plain combo finishes (Sek'Kuar with any number of pieces).

Typically, card draw is going to help create the velocity required to go off. If we don't have card draw engine out, that is priority #1. Go find one with a tutor, there are even options out of the land slot like Arch of Orazca.

With a land tutor like Hour of Promise go grab Dark Depths and Thespian's Stage.

Or, with a creature tutor like Chord of Calling go grab a value piece like Omnath, Locus of Rage, Bloodghast, Oracle of Mul Daya - whatever the situation calls for.

Maybe we need to go defensive and grab a Glacial Chasm or Maze of Ith.

Maybe if we had a big ramp spell we could combo off in a turn and we grab Gaea's Cradle.

Perhaps we have a few combo pieces already in hand like Natural Affinity and just need to find a resolving piece like Goblin Bombardment or Blasphemous Act to piece it together.

One of the key elements to this deck (and really all of my decks) is playing politics. No one wants their lands blasted turn after turn by a Strip Mine + Crucible of Worlds + Azusa, Lost but Seeking lock, and for the most part we don’t want to use all of our resources to do that either. But the threat of doing it can turn our opponents in a different direction when they have threats we can’t tackle.

Lots of possibilities and combinations that let us play to our hands strengths.

? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Using whatever Engine/Combo we setup in Step 2, sprinkle in some Sek'Kuar as needed and try for the W.

There are like 1 million different combinations that can lead to victory, whether it's a Natural Affinity + Insurrection + Sek'Kuar

Or an Inkmoth Nexus + Kessig Wolf Run + Gaea's Cradle

Thespian's Stage + Dark Depths is often our first stab at a W. Most groups can deal though.

There are plenty of options! Some are more self contained like Omnath, Locus of Rage.

Others require more setup like Zulaport Cutthroat + Bloodghast + World Shaper + Viscera Seer + Sylvan Safekeeper + Sek'Kuar. _6 card combo so goooood!

See the Non-Exhaustive Combo List section below for a nice rundown of the different win conditions!

The following accordion is a list of the cards that I consider to be the absolute Core of the deck. These are cards that, for a variety of reasons, I do not believe should be cut for any reason other than access or budget.

To note – many of these cards appear in multiple sections.

As a heuristic I try to include 10 Card Draw spells in all my decks. This deck plays somewhat differently than normal, in that hitting land drops is essential, so a lot of card advantage is centered around the ability to repeatedly hit land drops. Additionally, I aim to create ways to grind out the opposition like a traditional Rock-Style deck. Pieces that create long-term advantage, either as a mana sink, recursion, or value engine are included here.

Pure Card Draw vs Value - Value Engines are useful, but it is important to always include legitimate card draw in decks in order to create velocity. Value engines typically work with what is already on the table or in the graveyard, but oftentimes in a highly synergistic deck you are looking to find missing pieces, so velocity is quite important.

  • Sylvan Library
  • - The best Green card draw spell in the game. Run it and never look back, if you can acquire one for a reasonable price. Plays super strong with Oracle of Mul Daya and Courser of Kruphix effects.
  • Phyrexian Arena
  • - There is an argument that this is the best card in any deck featuring black. An absolute auto-include, incredibly strong card draw that asks virtually nothing to operate. It is critical to include a number of card draw options that require nothing else to operate effectively.
  • The Gitrog Monster
  • - This card inspired a fair amount of this deck, and is really a strong engine all on it's own with the land shenanigans we can pull off. I am not the biggest fan of the CMC, but I just love the card and it has proven itself over and over to me. This can either be consistent value or explosive draw, plus it checks the box of multiple lands per turn. Perfect fit.
  • Life from the Loam
  • - This is an insanely powerful and iconic _Lands_ type effect that really just counts as true card draw. Pairing this with _Cycle_ lands literally draws us cards off the top, it helps build up the GY, and it allows us to hit an insane number of land drops every turn. All-Star, I cut for awhile but I never _should_ have cut.
  • Wheel of Fortune
  • - Literally the best Red draw spell in the game. I was fortunate to find one for relatively cheap in decent shape, and have chosen to include the original copy in my favorite Sek'Kuar build! If you own one, it likely belongs in every red deck, but this deck in particular loves the effect with the ability to dump the hand so effectively.
  • Realms Uncharted
  • - This is essentially a draw any 4 land card. This is truly an insane effect when we are playing so much interaction and power from that permanent type. Obvious inclusion.
  • Crucible of Worlds
  • - The ultimate Value Engine for a land deck. The potential is limitless, and this synergizes with everything we want to do. This helps us recover from a failed combo attempt, Strip Mine our friends into oblivion, or even just grind out value with Titania, Protector of Argoth in play.
  • Ramunap Excavator
  • - Crucible #2, and tutorable!
  • Oracle of Mul Daya
  • - Incredibly strong value engine. This card creates virtual card advantage by improving the quality of our future draws, playing lands off the top to grind through our deck. Very strong engine.
  • Bloodghast
  • - One of my pet cards, Bloodghast is the gift that keeps on giving. When we are playing 3 lands per turn a lot of silly things start to happen with so many ways to gain value from death and ETB triggers. This little guy makes grinding easy, and even though he has a finite number of loops available to him in a turn, unlike our next buddy on the list Bloodghast does it all for no investment.
  • Eternal Witness
  • - Old faithful. No green deck should go without the Witness. Most often this will return a missing combo piece that your opponents thought was dealt with.
  • Mikokoro, Center of the Sea
  • - A new addition since the price has dropped from printing in _Masters 25_. Group hug effects that can be used on our time are quite powerful, especially with so little deck-building cost.
  • Arch of Orazca
  • - This card belongs in most EDH decks. Seriously, being able to suddenly draw an extra card per turn from the land slot (albeit for 5 mana) is bonkers good. Such low deck building cost.
  • Kessig Wolf Run
  • - Wolf Run wins long games. When boards are stalled, turn that random 3/1 Graveborn or Nether Traitor into an expendable win condition. Our opponents will be forced to trade a real card to prevent that from happening - how many times can they afford to do so? Also, the wombo is with Inkmoth Nexus for the easy win. Both halves of that combo can be recurred with a handful of cards in the deck if they find an answer, as well.

In general, I like to include about ten ramp spells, and this deck exceeds that considerably. A lot of the ramp in this deck is centered around Exploration type effects, to pair with the "Recovery Plan" section below. To keep your hands stocked with lands to play, we play Karoo-Lands and we play enough Card Advantage to hit those Land Drops.

  • Exploration
  • - A lot of what I try to achieve with my specific rendition of this deck is like a legacy lands deck meets an aristocrats shell. Exploration is the heart of a lands deck - powerful 1 mana play to get your engine going. Requires a high land count and card draw for best effect. This is an absolute must include card.
  • Lotus Cobra
  • - Our most explosive 2-mana ramp play. If this sticks around it is comically easy to do busted things. Combines strongly with Fetchlands, Crucible of Worlds, Splendid Reclamation, and Exploration effects.
  • Azusa, Lost but Seeking
  • - This is our strongest, yet highly fragile, Exploration effect. Her price came down considerably, so hopefully budget is less of a concern these days. This card opens up lines of play that aren’t even possible with any other single card. Auto-include.
  • Oracle of Mul Daya
  • - Wow, this card really does it all. Card advantage, Exploration on a stick, and tutorable with creature tutors. Sign me up. Seriously, this is probably an auto-include in most green decks, but in this deck the _Oracle_ is more than that. She embodies everything we want to be doing.
  • Green Sun's Zenith
  • - Paired with Dryad Arbor this offers us another Turn 1 ramp spell. Late game it tutors whatever other piece we need, or just a value engine like Oracle. Turn 1 ramp plays are insanely powerful, and the versatility to grab a Protean Hulk late game puts this over the top as a must have.
  • Splendid Reclamation
  • - This gets a little nuts with fetchlands, Dredge, Cycle lands, and Strip Mine. It also acts as an emergency recovery mode if our Natural Affinity combo gets answered. This card is reasonably strong just as a ramp spell in this deck, but it does some silly things combined with Natural Affinity, Strip Mine, Lotus Cobra, and just generally being an insurance policy. We can float Boseiju, Who Shelters All mana before sacking all of our lands to ensure we can land the _Reclamation_. Auto-include.
  • Pir's Whim
  • - FANTASTIC effect. Land tutors, destroys multiple mana rocks or better depending on board state. This card has a home in just about every green deck in my opinion, but it was practically _made_ for this Sek'Kuar lands shell. Please run it.
  • Hour of Promise
  • - Oh so much more than a simple ramp spell. This is almost always grabbing us some type of 2-card combo, Inkmoth Nexus + Kessig Wolf Run, Dark Depths + Thespian's Stage, or even something like Maze of Ith + Vesuva to put up the Shields. This is literally my favorite tutor in the deck, even with no desert synergies.
  • Titania, Protector of Argoth
  • - The original general for a lands build. Most of the time she ramps with her ETB trigger, and the value accrues from there. She offers us an alternative way to get _Sek’Kuar_ type triggers, and ramps us to boot, so an obvious inclusion here.
  • Ashnod's Altar
  • - Combo enabler. This card and the following Altar both make winning trivial. Makes obscene amounts of mana. Sacrifice Enablers are key here, and this card doubling down as ramp makes it the second strongest enabler in the deck.
  • Phyrexian Altar
  • - The strongest Combo enabler in the deck. This card and the previous Altar both make winning trivial. Makes obscene amounts of mana. Goes infinite with Nether Traitor and a Sek'kuar Effect if you’ve chosen to include the _Traitor_.
  • Squandered Resources
  • - A two-fold powerful effect. This can grind out some value with specific lands like Dryad Arbor + Sek’Kuar in conjunction with Crucible of Worlds, but mostly it provides us with mana burst and a land sac outlet for our Natural Affinity combo. Any effect that can add mana as part of a combo line is an auto-include – 100’s of play tested games has shown me this.
The cogs of this deck are Sacrifice Enablers. Every category following this all derive value from death triggers or ETB triggers, thus Sac outlets are CRITICAL. These spells allow engines of various types to grind forward, and for combos to take shape as we draw into pieces with our Velocity and our Tutors.

  • Viscera Seer
  • - Strongest 1-drop sac outlet. This creates "virtual velocity" by filtering for the right draw. 1-mana means we can hold it back and still play multiple spells per turn to combo off. Auto-Include.
  • Goblin Bombardment
  • - My favorite sac outlet. Compounding sacs with damage is no joke, can also easily remove utility creatures nearly for free. This card lowers the threshold for what it takes to kill the table, and does it for 2 mana. One of our best enablers, auto-include.
  • Ashnod's Altar
  • - Described above, this and it's cousin are probably the two technically strongest sac outlets in the deck. Ramping while comboing removes one of the biggest resource barriers to going off.
  • Phyrexian Altar
  • - Described above, this and it's cousin are probably the two technically strongest sac outlets in the deck. Ramping while comboing removes one of the biggest resource barriers to going off.
  • Squandered Resources
  • - Described in the ramp section, one of the best combo enablers for the Natural Affinity line. Be careful how you use this, it can help empty the hand but it really does mess with longer term plans. Insert "squander your future" pun here.
  • Scapeshift
  • - Arguably the strongest pure land sac outlet, this card is an absolute house for multiple reasons. In this case, saccing all of our animated lands and replacing them with a fresh board mitigates the all-in downside of the Natural Affinity combo line. Combo finish and backup plan all in one card! Auto-Start.

Combo Piece #2, these cards are various engines that can add on to what Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper is already doing for us. Because they are typically redundant effects to our commander, we need but a few of the most powerful effects.

  • Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper
  • - While he is costly compared to what I really want to pay for this effect (3 CMC is ideal in my opinion), he is also always "in hand", so typically he can be brought in when the time is right.
  • Titania, Protector of Argoth
  • - Titania is really an insanely powerful card. Aside from ETB ramp, she also combos doubly hard with main Natural Affinity combo. Gets some great value from fetches, Strip Mine, Glacial Chasm and someday when I acquire one Dark Depths combo. She both grinds and combos off, and ramps. Must-start for these reasons.
  • The Gitrog Monster
  • - While _Hypnotoad_ doesn’t win on the spot, doing some land sac combo shenanigans with him on the field does draw so many cards it’s usually textbook from that point on.
  • Purphoros, God of the Forge
  • - Probably the best ETB trigger in the deck. Creature tutorable, has a relevant mana ability when we need to grind, and indestructible. Run it and win most of the time it hits the table. Auto-include.
These are the true combo pieces - turn your lands into guys, turn your land guys into token guys, profit from Sek'Kuar. Alternatively, play lands and profit immediately! These are the best and most powerful ways to abuse our sac outlets, Sek'Kuar, and Death Triggers. Also includes some other combos, such as Dark Depths or Inkmoth Nexus types.

To note - it doesn’t take a lot to combo off, and tutors help find the pieces, so we don’t need to include a ton of different options. That’s the beauty of this deck – most slots are dedicated to lands and generally powerful effects, with primary win con in the command zone that synergizes with most of the various combo pieces you may draw/tutor into. As such, this section has the most discretion of any part in the deck.

  • Natural Affinity
  • - The most obvious and versatile combo piece. This allows us to convert _ALL_ lands into creatures into profit. Some sneaky uses are using in response to a board wipe to wipe lands. Another favorite is Natural Affinity + Insurrection. One of two actual auto includes.
  • Life/Death
  • - Natural Affinity #2 with a Reanimate tacked on! Very versatile card. Note, this does not convert an opponent's lands into creatures, so the uses are fewer from that angle. This is, in my opinion, the second best land->creature enabler, and costs but 1 mana to do so.
  • Dark Depths + Thespian's Stage
  • - One of the premier combos with Thespian's Stage, and closest approximation of the actual _Legacy Lands_ deck. This is one of the easiest and quickest combos to assemble, but it is also highly manageable for most EDH playgroups.
  • Inkmoth Nexus + Kessig Wolf Run
  • - A less efficient but more versatile version of the Dark Depths combo. Requires a _Considerable_ amount of mana, but the cards are both reasonable on their own as well. Inkmoth Nexus gets bonus points for animating itself and triggering _Sek’Kuar_ on death.
Sometimes you try to combo out and, well.... Some people play Blue/instant speed board wipes. Let's recover quickly, shall we?

  • Crucible of Worlds
  • - The best recovery plan available to us. This thing just generates value, and after a land wipe it will let us rebuild over a couple of turns. Detailed more in previous sections.
  • Ramunap Excavator
  • - Tutorable Crucible #2.
  • Life from the Loam
  • - Similar to a Crucible, a little slower but has many other uses as a GY enabler, card draw, etc. Detailed further in previous sections.
  • Splendid Reclamation
  • - Basically the perfect backup plan. We try to go off, we fail, we build up to 4 mana and cast this. Back in business! Detailed further in previous sections.
  • Eternal Witness
  • - Helps grab missing combo pieces that may have fallen after a botched combo attempt. Detailed further in previous sections.
  • Petrified Field
  • - A stellar piece of recursion for our land combos. This card has such low cost (basically only lowers colored sources) that I feel it is an auto include. This can get some Crucible of Worlds-esque shenanigans going with very little investment.
Gotta have removal to compete in EDH. People don't like to play by your rules. Some cool interactions are using Natural Affinity as mass or one-sided land removal in response to a board wipe. Removal can be meta-dependent, and also preference dependant, so take this with a grain of salt. That being said, the Land slot removal is more or less necessary.

  • Blasphemous Act
  • - My favorite Red Board Wipe, and in my opinion a top 3 board wipe overall. The ability to play for 1 mana is huge on a combo turn as a "sac outlet" enabler makes this probably the second most important board wipe for this deck, and a must start as one of our 3-5 board wipes.
  • Toxic Deluge
  • - Probably the strongest board wipe, period. Plays around indestructibility, is highly mana efficient, and can be played to protect key creatures of yours if so desired. I typically play between 3-5 board wipes, and this needs to be one of them.
  • Windgrace's Judgment
  • - A new staple for all Golgari decks. This card is clearly absurd, and somewhat annoying that they printed this, as it has pushed out more interesting options like Acidic Slime, in this case. That being said, obviously powerful and a great tool for Golgari decks.
  • Assassin's Trophy
  • - You know what I fucking hate? Printing multiple staple spells in the same year that remove deck diversity. See Judgment, Windgrace's for additional examples of this. Of course, that being said if I'm going to min/max within reason then AT obviously deserves inclusion, because 2 mana to remove anything is just such a solid step up over Manglehorn or Beast Within (even with a land being more meaningful than the token) that I can't help myself. Screw you R&D, we used to have to make choices BUT NOW NO ONE GETS TO HAVE ANY BREWING FUN.
  • Pir's Whim
  • - One of my new favorite removal spells. Already described in the ramp section, this card is ramp, tutor, and Fleshbag Marauder type removal spell all in one. INSANE value on this little _Battlebond_ addition.
  • Goblin Bombardment
  • - This can easily act as removal for utility creatures or better when you start a token engine going. Strong card, one of the all time great sac outlets. Already necessary for our combo enabling.
  • Strip Mine
  • - Removal from the land slot. Can really help deal with problematic lands like Glacial Chasm and Gaea's Cradle. This is our best land removal, and really quit necessary. Tectonic Edge can work in a pinch.
  • Wasteland
  • - Removal from the land slot. Strip Mine Lite. Very powerful effect. See above, but for non-basics only (70% of the field).
  • Hissing Quagmire
  • - Removal from the land slot. Mostly this gets to play _Rattlesnake_, preventing our opponents from attacking on the ground. Also strongly fixes in our 2 heaviest colors making this an auto-include.
  • Blighted Fen
  • - Removal from the land slot. Slow, but very effective against some strategies, notably Voltron. When we can make 15+ mana in a turn and play 3 lands per turn from our GY, this can even wipe an opponent's reasonable board state away! Low opportunity cost, and we need a critical mass of interaction from the land slot for this deck, makes this a _MUST INCLUDE_.
  • Barbarian Ring
  • - Removal from the land slot. Powerful effect that can also double as a (very slow) win condition if down to a 1v1 situation along with the Strip Mine denial package.
  • Maze of Ith
  • - Removal from the land slot. Such a powerful effect, forces opponents to over-commit into the board to deal with. Stops a lot of Voltron strategies dead. This is probably the best creature based removal for the lands package available.
Tutors are very essential for this deck. This is NOT the deck that grabs the same piece every game – those decks are straight up boring to play with/against, and not how I roll. Tutors for this deck are highly skill-testing – what do you need to grab to stabilize the board, or go off with the pieces available, or grab a grindy value engine?

  • Crop Rotation
  • - My actual favorite tutor in the deck. Acting at instant speed straight to the battlefield enables so many surprise plays.
  • Vampiric Tutor
  • - One of the two “best” tutors in the game. Play this for it’s versatility and ability to handle any situation. Budget constraints can be an issue for some with this card.
  • Demonic Tutor
  • - One of the two “best” tutors in the game. Play this for it’s versatility and ability to handle any situation. Budget constraints can be an issue for some with this card.
  • Realms Uncharted
  • - The ability to tutor for 4 lands and effectively put them all into our hand is obscene in this deck. Can also be used to choose the correct opponent and get the best 2 into our hand instead of the worst 2. _Politics_!
  • Pir's Whim
  • - One of my new favorite removal spells. Already described in the ramp and removal sections, this card is ramp, tutor, and Fleshbag Marauder type removal spell all in one. INSANE value on this little _Battlebond_ addition makes it an auto include.
  • Hour of Promise
  • - New all-star of the tutor slot. This thing just does work. Described _ad nauseum_ above.
  • Green Sun's Zenith
  • - Part ramp spell, part tutor. Finds what we need, when we need it. Described above, auto-include.
  • Chord of Calling
  • - Instant speed is sooo strong. This allows us to go off much more efficiently by stringing several spells in a row starting EOT before our turn. This to me is an auto-include for the ability to string spells together, and at a reasonable budget.
These are anything from Mirrorpool to Boseiju, Who Shelters All. Every deck requires a spine of cards that can do small tasks and surprise our opponents. These are those cards, and have a lot of discretion based on meta preferences. Most of the auto-includes are lands.

The mana base of this deck is scattered throughout the categories above, but I will just add that getting the colored sources right is critical. For quite some time I had a mismatch of total colored sources and I was getting color screwed above rate. Obviously one way to budget out the deck is to cut fetchlands, shocklands, other duals, etc but you risk severely gimping the consistency of the deck. Invest in the mana base!

The following accordion is a list of the cards that I currently am running, but would consider to be more flexible to cut than the Core was. A lot of these cards have come in and out, and many that are shown in the Old Inclusions section may end up finding their way back in. Also some of these cards are meta dependent.

To note – many of these cards appear in multiple sections.

As a heuristic I try to include 10 Card Draw spells in all my decks. This deck plays somewhat differently than normal, in that hitting land drops is essential, so a lot of card advantage is centered around the ability to repeatedly hit land drops. Additionally, I aim to create ways to grind out the opposition like a traditional Rock-Style deck. Pieces that create long-term advantage, either as a mana sink, recursion, or value engine are included here.

Pure Card Draw vs Value - Value Engines are useful, but it is important to always include legitimate card draw in decks in order to create velocity. Value engines typically work with what is already on the table or in the graveyard, but oftentimes in a highly synergistic deck you are looking to find missing pieces, so velocity is quite important.

  • Outpost Siege
  • - While this card is more typically seen in Mono-Red or Boros decks as a poor man's Phyrexian Arena, in this deck it serves two functions. Early on, it will act as a velocity engine, but late game it can serve as an extra combo piece to deliver sweet sweet pings. A versatile inclusion.
  • Tireless Tracker
  • - Getting this much value from land drops feels incredibly powerful. This is like Seer's Sundial without all of the clunkiness. Cracking clues on our own time is just beautiful, and this turns into a solid early threat to boot!
  • Nissa, Vital Force
  • - Nissa does plenty in this deck, and they basically all involve card advantage, though she can also ramp particularly effectively with Gaea's Cradle. I cut Horn of Greed for her as part of my effort to reduce group hug in the deck, and also she has been on my short list for awhile. If she lives for a rotation (not a tough feat if we can play her ahead of schedule), she acts as a one-sided Horn, and she also builds redundancy on GY recursive effects, something in short supply after removal of Greenwarden of Murasa. Great inclusion!
  • Experimental Frenzy
  • - A new inclusion from Guilds of Ravnica gets some time in the sun! Very awesome card, Red Future Sight is just what the doctor ordered for a deck featuring Azusa, Lost but Seeking and Exploration. As a result, Sensei's Divining Top also now gets the nod. MAy also warrant bringing back Courser of Kruphix to further flesh out the topdeck manipulation package.
  • Sensei's Divining Top
  • - Per above, very strong inclusion along with Experimental Frenzy. Just very strong card in general that I've been meaning to find an excuse to bring in a copy of.

In general, I like to include about ten ramp spells, and this deck exceeds that considerably. A lot of the ramp in this deck is centered around Exploration type effects, to pair with the "Recovery Plan" section below. To keep your hands stocked with lands to play, we play Karoo-Lands and we play enough Card Advantage to hit those Land Drops.

  • Sakura-Tribe Scout
  • - Exploration #3. Being a creature has downside and upside, but this little guy is a worthy inclusion to up our redundancy, plus he is a little snek. Adds to a package of Turn 1 Exploration effects that really enable our most busted starts.
  • Skyshroud Ranger
  • - Sakura-Tribe Scout #2, Exploration #4. Included for the same reasons - 1 drop land accelerants are great in this deck.
  • Wayward Swordtooth
  • - Exploration #5, and the weakest version to boot. Certainly not the ideal 3 mana play compared to Azusa, Lost but Seeking, but does a job that needs doing. Added when cut Rites of Flourishing to keep the extra land enabler count high for Experimental Frenzy.
  • World Shaper
  • - Tutorable Splendid Reclamation #2. Bonus value for stocking our Graveyard! Typically an easy sacrifice with all of our outlets.
  • Scapeshift
  • - Steroidal Land tutor, we better win after resolving this! Completely fixes any color issues, finds multiple different combo pieces, grabs card draw lands, grabs removal lands - just shape the board to best possible position with this spell every time.
  • Gaea's Cradle
  • - Strongest ramp spell ever printed for creature based decks. Make no mistake, this is a spell, not a land. Fetchable by Crop Rotation. NOT budget friendly, obviously.
  • Deserted Temple
  • - The combo is to use this along with _Cradle_, but it does other neat things as well, like Maze of Ith #2 or Double Draw.
The cogs of this deck are Sacrifice Enablers. Every category following this all derive value from death triggers or ETB triggers, thus Sac outlets are CRITICAL. These spells allow engines of various types to grind forward, and for combos to take shape as we draw into pieces with our Velocity and our Tutors.

  • Sylvan Safekeeper
  • - This is a card I really wanted to fit in. 1 mana land sac outlet is pretty damn strong, plus this protects combo pieces and is easily tutorable. Great with the deck iterating into a lands heavy build.
  • Living Death
  • - This card does so much. It can act as sac outlet, recursion, and board wipe depending on the board/GY state. Sometimes finicky to engineer a favorable usage is my one criticism. Great one-shot effect to turn the table on it's head.
  • Constant Mists
  • - For one additional mana beyond what a land can produce, turns our lands into _Graveborn_!

Combo Piece #2, these cards are various engines that can add on to what Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper is already doing for us. Because they are typically redundant effects to our commander, we need but a few of the most powerful effects.

  • Zulaport Cutthroat
  • - Blood Artist's more powerful cousin, in most cases. Hitting all opponents typically means he does 3x the damage, less the deaths of opposing creatures.
  • Outpost Siege
  • - The death trigger mode is highly relevant, and has won me a few games as a redundant effect. This card most likely deserves to be called _Core_ if only because of the versatility, but I am calling it _Flex_ for now.
These are the true combo pieces - turn your lands into guys, turn your land guys into token guys, profit from Sek'Kuar. Alternatively, play lands and profit immediately! These are the best and most powerful ways to abuse our sac outlets, Sek'Kuar, and Death Triggers. Also includes some other combos, such as Dark Depths or Inkmoth Nexus types.

To note - it doesn’t take a lot to combo off, and tutors help find the pieces, so we don’t need to include a ton of different options. That’s the beauty of this deck – most slots are dedicated to lands and generally powerful effects, with primary win con in the command zone that synergizes with most of the various combo pieces you may draw/tutor into. As such, this section has the most discretion of any part in the deck.

Sometimes you try to combo out and, well.... Some people play Blue/instant speed board wipes. Let's recover quickly, shall we?

  • World Shaper
  • - Creature version of Splendid Reclamation, with the added step of a Sac Outlet. Nice because we can "float" this in play while we try to combo in some way shape or form, and if we fail we can just sac and start over immediately.
  • Nissa, Vital Force
  • - Nice -3 ability can help grab a key combo piece. Really just a value add for the main purpose of one-sided Horn of Greed.
Gotta have removal to compete in EDH. People don't like to play by your rules. Some cool interactions are using Natural Affinity as mass or one-sided land removal in response to a board wipe. Removal can be meta-dependent, and also preference dependant, so take this with a grain of salt. That being said, the Land slot removal is more or less necessary.

  • Living Death
  • - This card isn't always the cleanest answer, but in a lot of baord states it does what you want - swings the politics in a different direction, or openly favors your GY recursion style.
  • Reclamation Sage
  • - A strong removal spell in the creature slot. It is important in a Birthing Pod deck to load up on creature interaction, doubly so with so many ETB and death triggers.
Tutors are very essential for this deck. This is NOT the deck that grabs the same piece every game – those decks are straight up boring to play with/against, and not how I roll. Tutors for this deck are highly skill-testing – what do you need to grab to stabilize the board, or go off with the pieces available, or grab a grindy value engine?

  • Protean Hulk
  • - Combo in a can. Doesn't insta win like in many decks, but he still gets us 90% of the way there by grabbing multiple combo pieces at instant speed upon death. I will say this – a lot of people are uncomfortable with a hulk at the table, and it is still something close to an instant combo. An easy way to power down the deck is to remove this card.
These are anything from Mirrorpool to Boseiju, Who Shelters All. Every deck requires a spine of cards that can do small tasks and surprise our opponents. These are those cards, and have a lot of discretion based on meta preferences. Most of the auto-includes are lands.

  • Constant Mists
  • - This card is absurd. Aside being a reasonable land sac outlet, this is mainly included as a way to deny combat repeatedly. Having enough lands is rarely an issue, and we often actively _want_ to sac them anyway!
  • Insist
  • - I am in love with Cantrip effects. I think it is a consistently undervalued effect to include in commander decks. I would cut this for Cavern of Souls if/when I acquire one, but there is a reasonable case to be made for playing both, as well. Likewise with Overmaster and Boseiju, Who Shelters All.

The mana base of this deck is scattered throughout the categories above, but I will just add that getting the colored sources right is critical. For quite some time I had a mismatch of total colored sources and I was getting color screwed above rate. Obviously one way to budget out the deck is to cut fetchlands, shocklands, other duals, etc but you risk severely gimping the consistency of the deck. Invest in the mana base!

The following accordion is a list of the cards that I used to run or considered running at some point. These are cards that I moved on from for one reason or another, but if you intend to run this deck then you amy get some inspiration from these cards. I haven't fully updated the comments on each card, so take those with a grain of salt. Some of these may be heavily meta dependent, as well.

To note – many of these cards appear in multiple sections.

As a heuristic I try to include 10 Card Draw spells in all my decks. This deck plays somewhat differently than normal, in that hitting land drops is essential, so a lot of card advantage is centered around the ability to repeatedly hit land drops. Additionally, I aim to create ways to grind out the opposition like a traditional Rock-Style deck. Pieces that create long-term advantage, either as a mana sink, recursion, or value engine are included here.

Pure Card Draw vs Value - Value Engines are useful, but it is important to always include legitimate card draw in decks in order to create velocity. Value engines typically work with what is already on the table or in the graveyard, but oftentimes in a highly synergistic deck you are looking to find missing pieces, so velocity is quite important.

  • Birthing Pod
  • - A card that I absolutely LOVE, but I had to find a cut and I had considered this as on the line for awhile now. I have tried to make the deck more streamlined and fun to play, and Birthing Pod is about the least streamlined card imaginable. This deck has enough decisions without having to consider a tutor every turn that can change the scope of the game.
  • Skullclamp
  • - This is probably the strongest piece of velocity in the entire deck. It needs very little to basically win the game for you, the stronges option being Bloodghast, but the synergy with any of our outlets is also enormous. Feels so bad to have this cut, but as my deck has morphed into a slower value lands build, card draw that only works with a few pieces is less impressive.
  • Nether Traitor
  • - Recursion engine #2. Nether Traitor in many ways is significantly stronger than Bloodghast, but he does require some resource investment. He technically goes infinite with Phyrexian Altar and a Sek'Kuar effect, but as per above in my group I can only loop that 5 times a turn. Felt bad to cut, but again I am moving to this lands shell and Bloodghast fits the theme better. I felt I had room for only 1, and I can't infinite combo sooooo....
  • Courser of Kruphix
  • - Oracle #2. This card is a wonderful 3-drop, and works amazingly in conjunction with Exploration effects. Cut due to not as strong on its own.
  • Grim Haruspex
  • - This is my favorite version of this draw effect. There are several others, Fecundity being the most popular, as well as Harvester of Souls and Dark Prophecy. I cut in favor of draw that does something without any other effect present.
  • Fecundity
  • - I used to include this card in the deck, but I removed it for a few reasons. First off, it is not asymmetrical. obviously we are more built to utilize it, but still. But most importantly, it does nothing on a lot of boards. It's hard to create velocity when no engine is setup. As such, I struggle with including more than one of this type of effect. Grim Haruspex has the same issue, but it is a creature, which has inherent value in and of itself. Now, obviously this does work with tokens, so I could be wrong, but for now it is out of the deck. It is on my list to reconsider, all else being said.
  • Necropotence
  • - A classic busted draw engine. Sometimes this can get us into awkward situations where we can't draw for fear of death and can't win without drawing, but the upside is enough to outweigh those instances. This deck feels like it needs to be a bit more conservative after extensive play, and therefore I have cut.
  • Dark Prophecy
  • - An asymmetrical Fecundity. The life loss and not being a "may" trigger is what does this effect in. It is usually possible to rely on a Blood Artist effect to negate this, but if this were ever to prevent us from going off due to the life loss, that would be one time too many.
  • Harvester of Souls
  • - Another Fecundity effect, but at 6 mana I prefer to leave this one out.
  • Necropotence
  • - Probably the single most broken card draw spell in the game. I should probably add this, but my only copy is in my Licia, the Sanguine Storm Mardu Storm deck. Once I acquire another copy, it goes in.
  • Mirri's Guile
  • - Something close to Library #2. I don't own one, but if I get my hands on it it will make the deck hands down.
  • Rites of Flourishing
  • - This is another symmetrical effect I love on and off. we can make better use of it than others because of all of our land synergies and desire to build up a massive land count, and extra cards plus Exploration is really a good effect. Sometimes this does cause the game to spiral out of control, however, especially if the added ramp and velocity are given to a more explosive player than us, or if the control player gets access to too many answers. Possibly meta dependent. I personally love group hug for casual environments anyway, as it causes fun games.
  • Greenwarden of Murasa
  • - Eternal Witness #2. As you may detect, I love redundancy. Also occupies a nice slot on the curve for Birthing Pod plays. Cut, because honestly this card always feels above curve to play. Yes, very strong effect, especially when we are out of gas, but it just never feels like we want to pay 6 mana for it and it often rots in hand in my experience.
  • Protean Hulk
  • - An obvious combo card that doesn't win the game that way in my meta. This is still an insane value card, and will a lot of times just grab 2 or 3 necessary combo pieces to win on the spot. Strong tutor card that will also feature in that section. Problem is - my meta started to hate this. Eeven with no infinite combos its basically an auto win. Therefore, I cut for fun reasons.
  • Whisperwood Elemental
  • - This is one of the cards I'm most on the fence about in this deck. On one hand, it simply fills a lot of roles. On turns we plan to go off, he can turn all of our sacrificed lands and non-tokens into more non-tokens, which makes it very easy to go off. He also ticks up for value each turn, and makes board wipes much less devastating. But he is also a 5 drop that does nothing if he gets removed immediately, and one 2/2 per turn that _might_ get to flip isn't exactly world beating.
  • Razaketh, the Foulblooded
  • - Cut due to curve considerations, ultimately. I never actually cast the card, which sort of bums me out. I ended up adding Insurrection in the same spot on the curve, so a cut had to be made.
  • Lavaclaw Reaches
  • - Kessig Wolf Run is more or less a more resilient version of this effect.
  • Dakmor Salvage
  • - This card absolutely belongs in a deck featuring The Gitrog Monster. Now, my playgroup would consider this an infinite combo, so I would only be able to cycle it 5 times per turn, but that is still insanely powerful. Trouble is, I'm having a hard time finding a land to cut. Basics are super important with cards like Natural Balance in the deck, and all my utility lands are great. Stay tuned, folks.
  • Geier Reach Sanitarium
  • - With so many ways to generate value from the Graveyard, this land ends up being bona fide card advantage for us. Obviously, this can benefit the opponent as well, but it is worth the trade-off for this much value from a land slot. Fits into our "lands" theme quite well.
  • Sea Gate Wreckage
  • - This deck, with all the Exploration effects, can just dump the hand reasonably easy. Having another way to generate situational card advantage from the mana base is very nice.

In general, I like to include about ten ramp spells, and this deck exceeds that considerably. A lot of the ramp in this deck is centered around Exploration type effects, to pair with the "Recovery Plan" section below. To keep your hands stocked with lands to play, we play Karoo-Lands and we play enough Card Advantage to hit those Land Drops.

  • Sol Ring
  • - Uhhh, what? Why did I cut this??? This felt absolutely insane to cut, but ever since I switched over to a real lands build it just feels so much less impactful than the land drop effects. I honestly can't tell if that's wrong or not, and this is highly likely to get put back in... Someone talk me off the ledge!
  • Cryptolith Rite
  • - All of Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper's tokens have haste. This enchantment makes going off almost trivial, plus can add 2-3 mana easily in the early to mid game. Cut because creatures less a prevalent theme of the deck now. Hard cut =( pet card.
  • Sakura-Tribe Elder
  • - The second Sakura-Tribe member just misses the cut. Just a solidly strong 2-mana ramp spell with some mild synergies. I cut a lot of basics, meaning this type of effect feels less reliable to do something late.
  • Budoka Gardener
  • - Exploration #4. Being a creature has downside and upside, but this guy is mostly upside. He replaces Sakura-Tribe Scout as playing him Turn 2 vs Turn 1 is not a huge downside, and when he flips he can be a clunky win con. Fun card, nice little upgrade I hadn't ever known about. Cut for the scout again, as Scout is just such a strong T1 play to get things rolling out fast.
  • Cultivate
  • - Insanely challenging cut. I just felt like 2 mana rmap has more value after playing this deck many many times, and also the extra card is valuable to hit Exploration drops but not as valuable as one might think with the emphasis on _specific_ lands. I also have cut my basic count considerably, making this a poor late draw.
  • Kodama's Reach
  • - Ditto
  • Earthcraft
  • - Expensive, but insanely pwoerful. Removes the haste consideration on Cryptolith Rite. Not worth the modest improvement to drop that amount of cash.
  • Mina and Denn, Wildborn
  • - Another Exploration effect that didn't make the cut. No inherent power beyond extra lands.
  • Rampant Growth and Nature's Lore
  • - 2 mana ramp is very strong. I feel like I need to find cuts for a few 2 mana ramp spells.
  • Sakura-Tribe Elder
  • - 2 mana ramp on a stick. Getting a sac trigger is nice, this is probably the 2 mana ramp spell of choice. Also nice with Birthing Pod as a body or low CMC target.
  • Explosive Vegetation and general 4 mana ramp spells
  • - 4 CMC, two land ramp spells are strong, but I prefer the lower CMC spells to fill my ramp slots for this deck. Splendid Reclamation gets the nod for late game synergy as a failsafe.
  • Deathrite Shaman
  • - I like Turn 1 ramp plays. I like graveyard hate. I like Deathrite Shaman. I think he's better in EDH than he gets credit for. Be careful about exiling your own lands, Crucible is a thing. This should find it's way back into my stack.
  • Ulvenwald Hydra
  • - A creature tutorable land tutor/defensive wall/chip damage that just does it all.
  • Myriad Landscape
  • - This should be played in most decks featuring 6+ basics in my opinion. I cut my basics down to 4, so it is no longer an option.
  • Drownyard Temple
  • - This can act as a 3 mana ramp spell if we can get it into the GY by then. I don't have enough ways to bin it, and I was never wasting my Entomb by using it as a T3 ramp spell.
  • Cabal Coffers
  • - With the heavy lands focus and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth inclusion this felt right. I happened to have an extra copy from long ago so it was easy to slot in. Can do degenerate Gaea's Cradleesque things without creatures in play! Still a high setup cost though, and does literal nothing without Urborg. Land tutors help that problem greatly, but still fragile.
  • Crystal Vein
  • - Not only does this have a built in sac on itself, but it is basically a re-useable _Ritual_ effect with a Crucible of Worlds in play. Very strong with X Effects.
The cogs of this deck are Sacrifice Enablers. Every category following this all derive value from death triggers or ETB triggers, thus Sac outlets are CRITICAL. These spells allow engines of various types to grind forward, and for combos to take shape as we draw into pieces with our Velocity and our Tutors.

  • Birthing Pod
  • - Slow but relentless sac outlet. can also go find more bursty outlets with ease.
  • Bloodspore Thrinax
  • - One shot sac outlet. This leads to some of the most busted turns imaginable with giant 15 power graveborn swinging for lethal tablewide. Somewhat of a one trick pony, as he almost always is removed within a cycle. Removed due to consistency issues.
  • Carrion Feeder
  • - Reasonable 1-drop sac outlet. This guy on his own can get majorly out of hand, but Viscera Seer just does more.
  • Greater Good
  • - Very strong draw/discard sac outlet, which may warrant inclusion. Problem is that so much of this deck is low power, it rarely nets us true card advantage, and often can't be activated without dumping our hand.
  • Merciless Executioner and Fleshbag Marauder
  • - I had these cards in the deck at one point, and they are solid little effects. Ultimately I'm trying to set my sights a little higher than this with this particular build by fighting on a different axis. I am somewhat interaction light now, however, so could warrant an inclusion as a nice Birthing Pod target.
  • Natural Balance
  • - This card is a little bit like Living Death for lands. With the right enablers on the battlefield this will completely swing a game in our favor. In conjunction with another good land sac enabler like Squandered Resources the value this thing can create is absurd. Cut because it often felt dead, and my basic land count has gone down.
  • Perilous Forays
  • - A truly insane engine once online, but 5 mana is steep for an effect that isn't likely to be long for this world in my meta.
  • Yahenni, Undying Partisan
  • - This is somewhat of a pet card of mine. I love the idea of Natural Affinity or Jolrael, Empress of Beasts an opponents lands into oblivion in response to a board wipe, making a huge Yahenni and smashing face. In general, it is a resilient sac outlet that is tutorable and can also grind in a pinch, which is a very valuable effect to have around.
  • Skullclamp
  • - Strongest draw spell, but also a "sac outlet" with our 1 power tokens. Very strong with Pawn of Ulamog generating a mana eldrazi for each sacrifice. Felt bad, but cut per "Draw" section.
  • Jokulhaups
  • - Interesting to think of this as a sac outlet, but legitimately this card just ends games paired with Sek'Kuar. I am not in favor of Mass Land Destruction with no follow-up, but by virtue of 95% guaranteed access to our commander, this card will often leave us an empty board with 12+ power of haste tokens in play to finish the game with. And that's on the conservative end.
  • Westvale Abbey  Flip
  • - Clunky and rarely used. Cut!
  • Crystal Vein
  • - Combined with a Crucible of Worlds effect this can blow up multiple of itself for Graveborn value and mana.
  • Turntimber Sower
  • - A strong multi-role card. Acts as Mini-Titania, Protector of Argoth, also acts as slow and resource intensive Life from the Loam, also acts as a sacrifice enabler. Not good enough at any of those 3 functions to warrant inclusion for my tastes.

Combo Piece #2, these cards are various engines that can add on to what Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper is already doing for us. Because they are typically redundant effects to our commander, we need but a few of the most powerful effects.

  • Blood Artist
  • - One of the primary combo pieces. Typically this guy is tutored before the win. Also acts as a safety buffer with the life gain.
  • Grim Haruspex
  • - Also described above in the "Card Draw" section, powerful effect.
  • Pawn of Ulamog
  • - His tokens have a built in sac outlet, for what it's worth. Cut because I no longer favor redundant Sek'Kuar effects.
  • Sifter of Skulls
  • - Ditto to above.
  • Fresh Meat
  • - Caller of the Claw #2. Not tutorable and 1 extra mana is no bueno in my opinion. I rarely want multiple of that effect, once in a combo is usually enough.
  • Gutter Grime
  • - Described above, but just too mana intensive in my mind.
  • Golgari Germination
  • - 3 mana Sek'kuar effects are the strongest in my opinion. Gutter Grime was what this won out over, and honestly Gutter Grime is objectively stronger but often just felt "win more" to me. Most of the time we just want the body, the power is often irrelevant. CMC, however, is highly relevant. Removed for now, but may need inclusion again as enchantments are challenging to deal with.
  • Bloodspore Thrinax
  • - One of the strongest ETB triggers in the deck. He is either a dead draw on the wrong board or our best draw.
  • Caller of the Claw
  • - Gets some sick value. Can be difficult to account for your "death triggers" if you aren't cognizant of that, so be planful with your accounting practices when you want to use him or tutor him. Cut due to low impact whenever I played - better in Pandemonium builds.
  • Grave Pact
  • - If I had one, I would include it. So strong, also the original Stronghold art is the correct choice.
  • Pandemonium
  • - This may be controversial, but I just don't like Pandemonium in this deck. Many of our combo pieces are vulnerable to the opponents dropping creatures, so it needs to be played the turn we combo off.
  • Warstorm Surge and Vicious Shadows
  • - Both insanely powerful Pandemonium-esque effects, but also highly mana intensive removal magnets.
  • Impact Tremors
  • - I love this effect. Essentially an enchantment version of Blood Artist. Removed in favor of lowering the enchantment count.
  • Dictate of Erebos
  • - Having flash and the power of this effect make it well worth the 5 CMC. It is basically a one-sided board wipe under most circumstances that also ignores indestructible. Seems good. Removed for Living Death.
  • Gods' Eye, Gate to the Reikai
  • - Producing a token as value for our land sac effects is legit. Cut to keep basic count up. Dryad Arbor is just superior as a saccable land.
  • Dunes of the Dead
  • - Producing a token as value for our land sac effects is legit. Very strong when we play it repeatedly and produce two tokens per sac.
These are the true combo pieces - turn your lands into guys, turn your land guys into token guys, profit from Sek'Kuar. Alternatively, play lands and profit immediately! These are the best and most powerful ways to abuse our sac outlets, Sek'Kuar, and Death Triggers. Also includes some other combos, such as Dark Depths or Inkmoth Nexus types.

To note - it doesn’t take a lot to combo off, and tutors help find the pieces, so we don’t need to include a ton of different options. That’s the beauty of this deck – most slots are dedicated to lands and generally powerful effects, with primary win con in the command zone that synergizes with most of the various combo pieces you may draw/tutor into. As such, this section has the most discretion of any part in the deck.

  • Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
  • - A re-useable combo enabler. This guy is more than that, however - he is also an Overrun on a stick! Combined with Gaea's Cradle things get a little silly. Possible cut, as he is often quite awkward.
  • Avenger of Zendikar
  • - A recent cut. I oftentimes dislike the card in my decks, as it is easily dealt with, but with haste the card is insanely powerful. **Potential cut if it feels too awkward.**
  • Natural Balance
  • - Cut for Jokulhaups. Just too inconsistently good or bad. Also fewer basics to really abuse the land sac effects in my deck with this.
  • Jolrael, Empress of Beasts
  • - I love this card, it is a pet card of mine. Problem is - it is insanely slow. Multiple games I was able to hold this over the table's head as a deterrent for board wipes, but ultimately I decided to run a few different effects and cut down on the combo pieces.
  • Jokulhaups
  • - One of my favorite additions to the deck. I am not shy about including this, as I don't dink around after I wipe the field - I intend to win in short order. DO NOT PLAY THIS IF THE GAME WILL JUST RESTART - people hate that shit. Be a responsible user of Mass Land Destruction, I implore you.
  • Tooth and Nail
  • - Same reasons as above, when we have a Tooth and Nail we are going to use it every. single. time. Seems no fun to me.
  • Beastmaster Ascension
  • - This card is absurdly powerful, but it is so obvious. Opponents prioritize blowing it up so I found it rarely became active for me.
  • Worm Harvest
  • - This is a new addition that I'm very excited to try. It is easily tutorable with Entomb, it turns Life from the Loam into creatures, and just generally it is another way to abuse Land sac/self mill/Lands strategy. Several very strong combos enabled by this value card!
Sometimes you try to combo out and, well.... Some people play Blue/instant speed board wipes. Let's recover quickly, shall we?

  • Drownyard Temple
  • - Land playable from the GY is pretty cool, can also act as a repeatable sacrifice fodder.
  • Dakmor Salvage
  • - Belongs in the deck, let's find a cut!
Gotta have removal to compete in EDH. People don't like to play by your rules. Some cool interactions are using Natural Affinity as mass or one-sided land removal in response to a board wipe. Removal can be meta-dependent, and also preference dependant, so take this with a grain of salt. That being said, the Land slot removal is more or less necessary.

  • Jokulhaups
  • - Mass land destruction is often frowned upon, but we can often win so quickly following this card that I run it as a win condition. Can also be used if we have an Exploration in play for an easy rebuild.
  • Pyroblast
  • - I LOVE this card. Total pet card of mine. I play in a meta with a lot of 4-5 color commanders, and this spell just does work. No one expects a Jund deck to play counterspells. I eventually cut this to make room for more versatile interaction (Acidic Slime), but I would love to fit this back in.
  • Krosan Grip
  • - In metas with a lot of infinite combos, this card is basically a must play. Per my description, my meta doesn't allow for that. Definite meta call, however.
  • Chaos Warp
  • - A more random, weaker Beast Within. Could warrant inclusion if I need to up my interaction (which I am always looking to find cuts to do).
  • Vandalblast
  • - My opinion is that this card belongs in every red deck. Red Cyclonic Rift is no joke. I am breaking my own rule here, which is not a great sign. Help me find a cut!
  • Fiery Confluence
  • - God, this card is sneaky good. Especially as a closet "sac" outlet, this probably warrants inclusion. I would include this over Vandalblast even in this deck, problem is I own but 1 copy and it is in my Neheb, the Eternal deck.
  • Damnation
  • - No questions asked board wipe. I don't own one, and it probably is not on top of my list either way.
  • Grave Pact
  • - An old classic, with great art no matter which edition chosen. I honestly prefer the card below for the Flash piece.
  • Dictate of Erebos
  • - Flash Pact. Worth it's weight in gold, but I had to make cuts for some powerful one-shots like Living Death and Natural Balance.
  • Beast Within
  • - One of my favorite removal spells. The 3/3 token is rarely relevant outside of a chump blocker. The ability to remove _Anything_ in these colors is so so necessary that this is a must start in my book. This eventually was cut for Pir's Whim, better synergy. May need to come back in over Manglehorn, but I like removal on a stick.
  • Acidic Slime
  • - A personal favorite from the creature slot. This guy can do some work, and acts as a strong grab with Pod just like the Sage above. So sad to cut =( Windgrace's Judgment was printed, which is just absurd. BOOOOOOO
  • Manglehorn
  • - Another personal favorite of mine. With the advent of printing every possible iteration of dope Golgari removal this year (2018), just no room for crowd favorites like this or Slimeball. In a perfect world I run it all, but the deck's slots are just super tight. Goodbye, my sweet prince of tapped Signets.
  • Dust Bowl
  • - Removal from the land slot. Turns all of our lands into Wastelands.
  • Tectonic Edge
  • - Removal from the land slot. Rounds out our land destruction suite.
  • Cabal Pit
  • - I'm fairly positive this deserves to be in over some land. Just unsure of which one. Barbarian Ring feels very slightly better, trading off the ability to destroy indestructible creatures in payment for a very slow win con.
  • Ifnir Deadlands
  • - Just too clunky to ever feel nearly efficient enough. When I re-discovered the _Odyssey_ Cabal Pits|utility lands they immediatley got the nod.
Tutors are very essential for this deck. This is NOT the deck that grabs the same piece every game – those decks are straight up boring to play with/against, and not how I roll. Tutors for this deck are highly skill-testing – what do you need to grab to stabilize the board, or go off with the pieces available, or grab a grindy value engine?

  • Ulvenwald Hydra
  • - Land tutor on a stick. This turns our creature tutors into land tutors if need be, and also presents a large road block that can get in there when the coast is clear for _big damages_. Very worth the slot.
  • Birthing Pod
  • - If left on the battlefield for 2 or more turns usually assembles enough value to win handily.
  • Entomb
  • - Another contender for favorite tutor. Whether it is starting a value train with Life from the Loam or enabling an explosive turn with Anger, this 1 mana spell does work.
  • Sylvan Scrying
  • - Was cut in favor of Demonic Tutor, may warrant inclusion over an actual land.
  • Evolution Charm
  • - One of my favorite basic land tutors, this honestly deserves more attention. I had to cut in favor of real lands.
  • Woodland Bellower
  • - Cut in favor of Greenwarden of Murasa. Great card. Deserves more attention.
  • Traverse the Ulvenwald
  • - Most often a CIPT basic, sometimes this tutors up a combo piece. Rarely ever grabbed me anything but a basic.
  • Protean Hulk
  • - Obviously the best possible card to win on the spot for this deck. My meta just hated that and it felt un-fun.
These are anything from Mirrorpool to Boseiju, Who Shelters All. Every deck requires a spine of cards that can do small tasks and surprise our opponents. These are those cards, and have a lot of discretion based on meta preferences. Most of the auto-includes are lands.

  • Dosan the Falling Leaf
  • - I cut in favor of Boseiju. They do different things, but the concept is the same. Felt bad though.
  • Mirage Mirror
  • - A do it all EDH stple. In this deck particularly, this acts as a combo piece, redundancy, sometimes even Gaea's Cradle #2. I include in almost every deck nowadays. It felt terrible to cut, but I was also cutting down on non-legendary combo pieces so it had fewer and fewer non-utility uses. Still just an awesome card that I'm actively looking to put back in.
  • Anger
  • - Strongest haste enabler avaialble. Difficult to interact with and free. Great fodder for discard outlets. I feel terrible cutting this, but I dropped down on Token effects and therefore have less use for the haste. Sek'Kuar provides haste on his own!
  • Vedalken Orrery
  • - I love the card, but I only have so much room for this effect and Winding Canyon covers it as a very easily tutorable version.
  • Yeva, Nature's Herald
  • - See above.
  • Insist, Overmaster, Cremate
  • - I LOVE cantrips, but when slots are as tight as they are here they are hella difficult to justify.

The mana base of this deck is scattered throughout the categories above, but I will just add that getting the colored sources right is critical. For quite some time I had a mismatch of total colored sources and I was getting color screwed above rate. Obviously one way to budget out the deck is to cut fetchlands, shocklands, other duals, etc but you risk severely gimping the consistency of the deck. Invest in the mana base!

A common question is: What cards would you include if budget was no object? Following: a non-exhaustive short list that I will likely keep adding to.

This by no means encapsulates every synergy this deck has, as there are hundreds of combinations that can produce a startling and abrupt win, but this is a good start to give you a sense of it.

I hope you enjoyed my deck! Leave a comment if you want to discuss, I think my take on Sek'Kuar is somewhat unique and I'd be happy to hear some opinions and suggestions!

One rule I try to consider whenever I evaluate a potential inclusion for any of my decks is "Commander Quadrant Theory". Anyone who listens to the Limited Resources podcast knows about Quadrant Theory from Marshall Sutcliffe - the idea that a full evaluation of a card requires you to consider it's value During the early game, From behind, At parity, and While ahead. Typically this means I prioritize more stable and reliable effects that can help me even when things aren't going so well. I also highly prioritize a strong early game plan, and most of my decks have a curve heavy on 2's and 3's to reflect that. This being a ramp deck means that the curve is slightly higher than normal. Also under this scheme, cards I consider win-more will never receive much attention. I prefer effects good While behind and At parity the most.

I strongly believe that Cantrips are an underplayed card type in commander. The casual format is slow enough that paying an extra mana to cycle a card for a medium effect is quite powerful. A reasonable list of cantrips you should be considering:

Card draw and ramp: the two most critical elements for any commander deck Easy rule of thumb – play 10 of each. But don’t let that limit your imagination. Often, it is best to play more, and in some rare cases less, usually of ramp. Card draw is NOT something to be skipped out on.

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Hello Dear Readers!

A number of updates for you all, which are also reflect in the primer - it's actually two updates, one of which I never had the time to make official on this page. The 'ol two for one!

I also updated the name because.... Well I like South Park and I never really felt an attachment to Lord of the Flies. So..... Yeah!

Into the updates:

- Sakura-Tribe Scout + Budoka Gardener - Ifnir Deadlands + Barbarian Ring - Horn of Greed + Nissa, Vital Force - Protean Hulk + Wheel of Fortune - Greenwarden of Murasa + Wayward Swordtooth - Rites of Flourishing + Experimental Frenzy - Manglehorn + Assassin's Trophy - Insist + Sensei's Divining Top

Two big changes - I acquired a Wheel of Fortune (so like, obviously gonna pop it in in this perfect shell for it) and GRN gave us Experimental Frenzy , basically the ideal card to do silly things in this deck. Top comes in to support Frenzy . Assassin's Trophy comes in because Wizard's are assholes who print obviously optimal removal in consecutive sets and remove diversity from the format. Wayward Swordtooth comes in to further support Frenzy . Sakura-Tribe Scout comes back in from the bench because 1 mana and 2 mana have proven to be very different for a small upside. Barbarian Ring comes in because it's cheap and efficient - Cabal Pit is probably next in as I re-discover these awesome utility lands. Nissa, Vital Force comes in to do double duty replacing Horn and Greenwarden in one neat package that is also a cool fun card.

The cuts, as always, were tough. Every card is a pet project at this point. Either cards were cut for clunkiness ( Greenwarden , Budoka Gardener ), removal of a certain package ( Group Hug ), or simply for space (RIP Insist and Mangle Boy ).

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1 month ago)

+1 Skyshroud Ranger main
+1 Amulet of Vigor main
-1 Burgeoning main
-1 Zealous Conscripts main
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