Some decks are easy to build. There’s a line straight through them from the Commander to the cards that belong. From there, you pad things out with utility cards, draw spells, some graveyard hate, and you’re all set. Some are easy because they can just have anything in them. They’re often defined by Commanders with little to no synergistic identity—the decks are just shells for your favorite cards in the appropriate colors.
The deck I’m going to show you today took me an extremely long time to build. I had to take breaks. The initial build phase was spread out over 3 days. I have built a lot of Commander decks. Even the tough ones don’t take me that long anymore, except for occasions where I feel like there are about 160 cards that deserve to be in the list. Of course, when Magic Online crashes and puts your list back from 102 cards to 145, that generally doesn’t help.
For some reason, Padeem, Consul of Innovation really had me stuck for a while. Like I said, there were tons of cards that I simply believed belonged in the deck, and that list was significantly longer than the Commander format allows. So when you look at the list at the end of this article, you’ll probably notice that there are 5, 10, or 60 cards you think should be in the list that you don’t see. I want to hear about that in the comments, but I want to make sure you know that I almost certainly didn’t forget them. In the end, I had to drop cards, so I pulled a few punches and powered this list down. Tutors came out, utility cards came out, and I did my best to stick to the theme.
So what’s the theme? Well, of course it’s artifacts, but it’s more than that. The goal is to land Padeem on turn 4 with an artifact in play. If you’re the only one with an artifact, then you’ll start drawing cards. This deck list has 23 artifacts that cost 3 mana or less (or are named Phyrexian Metamorph) to facilitate this situation. I’m no Frank Karsten but if I’m doing my math right, there’s approximately a 94% chance that you draw at least one of those artifacts in your first 10 cards. If that pays dividends in the form of sweet card draws, then that’s step one.
Many of these smaller artifacts are mana rocks or cards that reduce the cost of your artifacts across the board. Obviously, in order to cast some of the more costly cards in your deck, you’ll need to land a significant number of these early on in order to stay consistent in the late game.
Some are utility cards. I find Scarecrone particularly delightful in decks heavy on artifacts, which amuses me because of just how poorly most of the Scarecrows actually translate into formats outside Limited, but many of your other utility cards provide strength in different ways. Being able to flash in huge artifact creatures via Shimmer Myr certainly has an appeal.
Step two is securing your status as the person with the biggest artifact on the table, and for that, you’re well and truly in business. You have 20 artifacts costing 6 mana or more in the list, which means that you should have no trouble keeping your card drawing going as long as Padeem, Consul of Innovation is alive. The goal, obviously, is to win the game with some of these heavy hitters. Let’s talk about some of the cards that you’ll be destroying your opponents with:
Yes, these 2 jerks are making an appearance. They’re hard to get rid of, they sometimes come back, and they get the job done pretty quickly. I’m not packing this deck with high-end Eldrazi, but sometimes you have to actually win the game in Commander. I know that’s terrible.
This is 1 of 5 Kaladesh cards in the list, though a handful more were considered at various points in deckbuilding. (The most notable omission is Torrential Gearhulk—we simply didn’t have enough instants to run it.) Metalwork Colossus is yet another recurring colossus, but this one recurs more easily and casts even easier. Theoretically, you could have this in play on turn 3 with a little work and some incredibly fortunate draws.
Is everything a colossus? Well, whatever. This one requires a little more in the mana department to get it going, but once it’s going, it’s gone, and so are your opponents. You have enough ways to generate mana that this should be a realistic goal during the mid-to-late game.
Okay, that’s not a colossus, but isn’t “leviathan” just the ocean version of that? Anyway, this is more of the same—a big, resilient threat to carry you through the late came and into victory.
So now that I’ve written the “Top 5 ways we’ll kill our opponents” list, let’s talk about the Kaladesh cards in the deck because as Barney Stinson once said, “New is always better!” I already covered Metalwork Colossus, so here are the other four:
It was easy to fall in love with this card. At a Two-Headed Giant prerelease I judged, I heard a story from a player who cast this on their teammate’s Combustible Gearhulk and made two more. You won’t be copying any Gearhulks—at least, not any of your own—but you have plenty of targets for this.
This one is simple. Swap a mana rock in the late game for something much more valuable. It’s better than a Control Magic because there’s no card to simply destroy that ends the effect other than what you’ve stolen. On paper, you’re 2-for-1ing yourself but in reality, the value you’re getting out of the “swap” should be worth at least the 5 mana you’re paying, if not more.
Not much to say about this one, except that you’re already playing Etherium Sculptor, and redundancy in the cost reduction department is wonderful.
I don’t care for too many tutors, but lands that have utility in the late game like this one make me quite happy. They turn otherwise dead draws into, at minimum, something to do. Unless your opponents are packing lots of Fracturing Gusts and similar, you should be able to activate this on time most of the time.
I expect this deck to be vulnerable to very fast strategies and decks that go wide early. You don’t have a ton of ways to wipe the board, and if this deck is off balance, it will stabilize slowly. If this deck is allowed to pursue its game plan and generate incremental advantage, I think there is a significant amount of fun and success to be had. This isn’t a deck that will win you every game, but it should be fun, and it should win enough in a group that’s interested in having fun together instead of just crushing each other immediately.
I’ll finish up by leaving the deck list for you. Check back next time for more deck lists with Kaladesh Commanders!