My failed decks and why they failed

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Inspired by the episode “Failed Decks in EDH” from the Five Commander podcast, I wanted to expand on my historic EDH decks, what commanders they were based around, and why the decks were all dismantled eventually. This isn’t a top 5 of any sort, it’s a chronological run-down of my shitty decks.

MimeoplasmThe MimeoplasmI only got into the format with the first release of the Commander preconstructed decks, and this one is the one I got first. Later on, I bought the Zedruu, the Greathearted deck to play with another group, and I actually liked that one a lot more. The good thing about picking The Mimeoplasm as the first deck was that it was quite easy to expand upon – adding some Fauna Shamans and Survival of the Fittests to the list increased its consistency, and I owned most of the tutors since my Vintage days even before I picked the deck up. I strongly believe that BUG is just about the best three-colour combination you can play in EDH – the generals are nothing to write home about, but the colours themselves are excellent. This meant that the deck was often quickly the target of the other players around the table in both of my play groups, and since graveyard decks are quite easy to disrupt, well… It didn’t end too well most of the time. Sometimes the deck just got to cast the general on turn four or five, remove Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon and something with 6 or more in power, pay a black and swing for lethal. It’s quite stupid and it’s quite boring. The deck itself failed not only because people started to hate on it, but also because I grew bored with it. Come to think of it, the latter is probably the main reason why I stop playing EDH decks.

vorosh,thehunter.hqVorosh, the HunterAfter rebuilding the deck almost from the ground and up, The Mimeoplasm changed to a Vorosh deck, a sort of a ramp-combo deck. The idea was to ramp up to about a dozen mana of assorted colours and chain Time Stretch and Time Warp with various Regrowth effects and kill everyone around the table with the commander. In theory, it was very durdly, but in practice it had a lot of very powerful synergies, like Eternal Witness + Crystal Shard, which made the time walking effects absurd.

The deck failed because it was really boring to play against once it could go off. Forcing the table to watch you play your solitarie game of cards before you finally kill them in your sixth or seventh extra turn isn’t really fun for anybody. The deck made me feel awkward at how linear it was in its execution as well, since it employed all the neat little tutor effects available in the colour.

dromar,thebanisher.hqDromar, the BanisherHoo boy. This was the first-ever EDH deck I built from scratch, this was after dismantling the decks above, but before I really knew anything about the format. Dromar was essentially a control deck with like 12 sweepers main-deck, but without a real way to win. I had just cracked a box of Innistrad the weeks before, and I really loved the flavour of the set. Thus, I also had a human sub-theme in the deck which turned out to be more of a sub-human theme, since the deck really sucked.

The deck eventually went through a lot of changes to turn from a combo-control reanimator deck with Sharuum the Hedgemon at the helm, to a straight-up, balls-to-the-walls Sharuum combo deck. This deck was also dismantled later on, since it was a proper glass-cannon and too linear to be fun to play.

Dromar remains the worst deck I’ve ever built and though I really like the card, it’s just not powerful enough as a commander.

intet,thedreamer.hqIntet the DreamerCan you tell I really like the shard/wedge dragons yet? Intet was the last proper attempt at making a deck with these 6/6 flyers in them. It was essentially a worse version of Vorosh – it also won through recurring time walks, but my idea was to cast them from the top of my library with Intet rather than paying ten mana up front. It had Scroll Rack and Sensei’s Divining Top as ways to get the good cards at the top of the library, where Intet would break the game in half with them.

The deck failed because in the end it not only looked like a strictly worse version of Vorosh, it played like a strictly worse version of Vorosh. It had less consistency – something I don’t really mind in general when it  comes to EDH, but it is really frustrating to sit around and topdeck a bunch of 8-12 mana spells while everyone else is advancing their board states. The deck was too weak and too random to do what I wanted it to do, and when it finally did what I wanted it to do, it just took a bunch of turns in a row. How exciting.

lazav,dimirmastermind.hqLazav, Dimir MastermindThe last and latest of my truly failed deck experiments was Lazav. After receiving one in an online Secret Santa, specifically a Simplified Chinese one, I decided to make a deck with a bunch of spot removal and Lazav in the deck. The idea was that Lazav would always be the best creature on the battle field, and the deck would steal stuff indirectly.

The deck failed because it was slow, it didn’t synergise well enough in itself, and it was miles behind all the other decks in the room in terms of raw power. The four coloured mana needed to cast the commander himself was sometimes a hinderance, but often times the deck just drew a few cards, played a single spot removal and then rolled over to powerful combos. A huge let down.

What do you think of this list of deck? What EDH decks have you played that didn’t quite work out? Leave a comment!

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4 Comments

  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  December 3, 2014

    Nice list! My personal worst EDH failure was my very first commander deck. Featuring the right honourable Balthor the stout. It turns out that I had vastly underestimated the brokenness of the format and pretty much thought I’d put together a deck with the dwarf general, every barbarian in existence, a few burn spells and what not and have a few laughs while playing some cards. That didn’t work. At all. Let’s just say that excrement really hit the windmill once Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite hit the table, incapacitating around 90% of the barbarians in the deck.

    That isn’t to say that it didn’t manage to snatch a win or two in it’s time (Barbarian General + Balthor the stout was surprisingly effective – especially with a Gauntlet of Power in play), and at least people left your creatures alone (after all, who wants to waste a vindicate on Pardic Lancer?). In the end I scraped it – when Balduvian Horde is your most powerful creature, you really aren’t going to frighten a lot of people, are you?

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