Alternative themes/gimmick EDH deck ideas

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Jan. 3, 2023, 1:50 p.m. by marco-piatti

Hello and happy new year to everyone,

My New Year resolution for MtG is building decks based on alternative/unconventional themes or gimmicks. At first was spending less money on the game but i wanted to keep it realistic.

Jokes aside, i'm in a phase where i'm tired of the classic and more effecient or conventional themes to build around. For example i've built a Kibo and an Auntie Blyte decks that are super fun.

What kind o Commanders would you suggest me? Keep in mind i have some deckbuilding rules (pretty simple, but still): 1) the deck must be on a budget, like 90% of the deck around 1$ and no card >10$ 2) the deck must not focus on an infinite combo/hardlock. 3) the deck, even if it's intentional not being cEDH/high power level, shouldn't be jank level either. The deck still has to work in its own way, it's not just and only for the sake of being different.

Thanks in advice.

TypicalTimmy says... #2

$0.10 cent tribal lol

January 3, 2023 2:46 p.m.

Ok, a little bit of context: My job is basically a social worker in a youth project. There happen(ed) to be working other MtG-people besides me, and many of our youths/young adults are pretty nerdy, although they mostly play other TCGs. We still established some collections for various TCGs, among others obviously an MtG-one. From that pile of cards I build some janky commander decks, and some of them simply function hilariously at that level, and from playing them few times, the ones I like best:

Arni Brokenbrow:

Theme: "Stronger than you"

The deck basically has lots of pump spells, auras and equipment andput those, not Arni himself, but another creature. This way, Arni's boast makes you benefit from the power-boost twice, once for himsrlf and once for his buddy he wants to be stronger then. The most important keyword for the deck to have is first strike to prevent Arni from dying. It is a really weird to play voltron with unusual, but really fun lines of play.

Eutropia the Twice-Favored:

Theme: "Float like a butterfly, hit like a truck"

Little creatures with value abilities, +1/+1 counter synergy, and enchantress effects to hit hard, fast and evasive. The deck has clear voltron qualities, and Eutropia is a lot more dangerous than she looks. The best wincon for the deck isn't included in that version, but if I wereto build her myself, I'd include Arcanum Wings, Colossification and Eldrazi Conscription. In our games there, this deck becomes archenemy in no time, and as it ramps like hell, re-casting Eutropia five or even sic times is usually not that big of a deal.

I also built Najal, the Storm Runner, but haven't had a chance to see him in action, yet. The deck looks super-fun, though, and as sorceries tend to be pretty bad in most games, you automatically get to play cheap cards and make them more powerful.

My latest deck I built at home a little powered down was Kosei, Penitent Warlord. It has a table-kill potential similar to Heartless Hidetsugu, but looks a lot less frightening.

What do say?

January 3, 2023 2:53 p.m.

Profet93 says... #4

Boardwipe tribal is fun

Chaos with Norin at the helm could be another way to go

A gate themed deck?

That blue enchantment that states if you have over 200 cards in ur library u win

Other win/lose the game card effects?

A deck that somehow lets you cast Shahrezard and then you somehow copy it for lols.

January 4, 2023 1:56 a.m.

KBK7101 says... #5

Whenever anyone asks this kind of question, I always default back to my favorite sets/planes. And also Rule 0 partner decks. lol

I apologize in advance if none of these are the kind of thing that you're looking for.

I really enjoy my Satsuki, the Living Lore deck. Most, if not all, of the relevant sagas are all cheap and some of the best cards in the deck that care about counters (like Power Conduit and Nesting Grounds along with various proliferate cards) were reprinted in New Capenna's Brokers commander deck, so those are also pretty cheap. Add in cards like Historian's Boon, Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle and any constellation/enchantress effects you see fit and that's pretty much the core of the deck right there.

Kairi, the Swirling Sky is a really fun clones deck that I use on Arena's Historic Brawl format. Basic gameplan is to make as many copies of Kairi as possible, only to watch them die to the legend rule and benefit from the death triggers.

Toralf, God of Fury  Flip is another deck that I have and really enjoy. It makes mono red burn possible in commander, and the way that Toralf interacts with damage doublers such as Dictate of the Twin Gods means that the "trample" damage your spells have get amplified for each creature you kill with it. I have a better description of it on my deck's page, if you're interesting (not trying to self-advertise, I promise). Not sure how well this deck could be built on a budget as I'm not sure how much the damage doubling cards are at the moment (as they're kind of crucial).

Any of the five Amonkhet gods. Oketra the True, Kefnet the Mindful, Bontu the Glorified, Hazoret the Fervent and Rhonas the Indomitable never get as much love as the Theros gods and it makes me sad (because Amonkhet is my favorite plane). Their drawbacks are fairly substantial, I will admit, so they're a bit of a challenge to build. Might be what you're looking for?

Ghen, Arcanum Weaver but as an aristocrats style deck where you sacrifice enchantment creatures like Nyxborn Rollicker, Hopeful Eidolon and Gnarled Scarhide to recur stuff like Doomwake Giant. Could also be a hybrid enchantress kind of deck if you lean heavily into the Bestow mechanic. (Hm. I actually really like this idea...)

You could also run some "illegal" partners. I usually only try to do this if they have some sort of story significance, though. For example, I have a young Urza, Powerstone Prodigy and Mishra, Excavation Prodigy precon power leveled deck that I love. Hans Eriksson and Saffi Eriksdotter is one I've wanted to build for a while. Also maybe Gisa the Ghoulcaller and Stitcher Geralf? Or their newer versions, Geralf, Visionary Stitcher and Gisa, Glorious Resurrector? Stuff like that.

January 4, 2023 9:12 a.m.

Abaques says... #6

There are a ton of interesting combinations to be had with the backgrounds from Battle for Baldur's Gate. Only a relative handful of the combinations have lots of decks so there is room to really explore and create something that is you. All the commanders are really cheap too.

I have two decks with backgrounds, both are not something I've seen anywhere else.

One of my favorite decks to play is my Wilson, Refined Grizzly and Shameless Charlatan deck, Tinker Tailor Soldier Bear where the theme is Wilson is a spy. I put a lot of +1/+1 and ability counters on Wilson and have him copy the best thing on the board. There were a couple of cards that were kind of pricey in the deck list, but only two (Training Grounds and The Ozolith) are really vital to the deck and even then I could cut those if I had to. The ability that Shameless Charlatan gives to Wilson kind of ends up being a combat trick, which is really kind of fun because you don't tend to see a lot of combat tricks in EDH.

The other deck with backgrounds is one that I just built with Lulu, Loyal Hollyphant and Guild Artisan. It's a boros treasure deck that uses the treasures from Guild Artisans to trigger Lulu's ability to untap and add a +1/+1 counter to tapped creatures. Aside from the treasure focused cards, I've filled the deck with cards that have a tap ability or are evasive attackers. I just built it last weekend and I'm hoping to try it out next week at the weekly commander night at my LGS, so I don't know how well it plays yet, but I'm optimistic. I kind of expect that I'll need to tweak it somewhat, but I think I'll need to play it a few times to know how. Happy to get any advice anyone would have as well (Prosperous Pachyderm).

January 4, 2023 7:18 p.m.

Gleeock says... #7

I have some functional decks, where the theme runs outside of the usual lines of play for the given commander or color combo.

Marisi, Breaker of the Coil but enchantress can utilize some unusually aggressive enchantments compared to what you usually think with enchantress... Think things like Earnest Fellowship

Breena, the Demagogue lifelink, vigilance weenies with a planeswalker & proliferate subtheme. This is such a hodgepodge, but it ends up being so badass. It is definitely not Atraxa-walkers. Really nice combo of aggression, card draw, & Orzhov-walkers are kindof a unique gimmick to this commander.

January 4, 2023 11:27 p.m.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how my decks come together (the last bunch of sets have been VERY thin on cards that I find interesting theme-wise) and I realized that a lot, if not most, of the theme ends up coming from enchantments and artifacts. Without a creature-status to eat up a lot of the flavor-space, the enchantments and artifacts have to embrace more abstract concepts. More abstract than “this lady is super strong” or “this guy has crab claws instead of hands” at least. I’d be tempted to start with those, rather than the commander, if you want to build a deck according to feel and flavor rather than mechanics. If these decks are for kids, though, it may be better to lean further into the mechanics and let their own imaginations rampage on with the corresponding art in those cards. Phenax mill is a relatively simple concept that, for new players, can turn the game format and interactions on its ear.

January 5, 2023 1:35 p.m.

Abaques says... #9

FormOverFunction I now want to build a deck around "this guy has crab claws instead of hands".

This is going to take a whole bunch of scryfalling...

January 5, 2023 2:26 p.m.

Gleeock says... #11

I keep wanting to make a deck comprised of some of the most goofed art in all of magic. And it would have minimal UN-art.

January 6, 2023 12:08 a.m.

I just finished a deck with a commander, background, and a companion. It's all enchantments, and pilots pretty decently from what I've seen so far.

The Faceless Collected

January 6, 2023 9:11 a.m.

marco-piatti says... #13

Thanks everyone for the suggestions so far, there are many great ideas.. I'll surely find something that will suit my gamestyle preferences!

January 6, 2023 10:24 a.m.

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