Hello Commander players! Hopefully everyone has had a chance to catch their breath from Grand Prix Vegas. I know it took me a few days to get back into the swing of things. Now, we look to the future and the most important things—like 1v1 Commander, of course.
There are a few interesting changes coming to EDH in the near future. With Hour of Devastation comes a new ban announcement for the 1v1 format. I expect a few cards to go, mainly Vial Smasher the Fierce. She isn’t fun to play against and has an absolute stranglehold on the metagame at this time. The powers that be certainly have more data than any of us, and I do hope they ban the partner Goblin menace.
Additionally, they will introduce sideboards for 1v1 Commander, along with best 2 of 3 matches. This changes the format significantly, as you will now have a chance to combat particular strategies by upgrading your deck with the right tools post-board. Trimming down on narrow but powerful cards will make main decks more streamlined and perhaps you won’t see things like maindeck Carpet of Flowers or Mystic Remora as much. One can only hope. I will certainly bring you content regarding sideboarding and preparing for the new best-of-3 format as soon as that is released.
Today however, I would like to discuss one of my favorite generals in the format, Keranos, God of Storms. In my last article, I named Keranos my favorite under-the-radar general in 1v1 Commander. Many the readers messaged me and commented that they would like to see my deck list. I discussed the deck at length with Guilherme Figueira, one of Europe’s top Duel Commander Keranos pilots, and we came to many similar conclusions. So, shout out to him—he’s an excellent resource on Keranos as well!
Kerano’s greatest strength is his solid positioning against a field riddled with Vial/Kraum and Baral—I wouldn’t recommend a deck or write a guide for a general that I didn’t think was competitive. So let’s delve in.
Keranos is a pure control deck, meaning that its goal is to conquer the opponent over a long game. You are packed to the brim with counterspells, so the majority of this deck’s spells can be played at instant speed. But no ramp spells, tutors, or aggressive creatures ensure that this deck really only has one speed: Slow.
How to Play the Deck
Keranos should be played in the traditional draw-go style. While it is similar to Baral decks, it doesn’t have the “oops I just win” combo element of Polymorph. This deck grinds wins with bolts to the face courtesy of Keranos himself. Occasionally, a Torrential Gearhulk will get frisky, but for the most part, you employ the slow bleed strategy. Be patient and wait to cast your general at an opportune time where you won’t be punished immediately.
Playing 2 colors provides stable mana and consistent draws. It isn’t without its drawbacks, though, as 2-color decks rarely have answers to all types of threats. For instance, blue-red can’t remove enchantments. Keranos does, however, have access to bounce spells and a plethora of ways to counter problematic threats. Counterspells may seem like somewhat of a cop-out answer, but there aren’t many decks that use as many as I do here. You may enjoy this deck if you enjoy mastering the intricacies of back-and-forth game play.
And without further ado, I present to you the deck list. I will go over card choices and give you some pro tips.
1v1 Commander: Keranos, God of Storms
The Mana Base
There are a whopping 40 lands in the deck, a number that reflects my desire to make a land drop each turn. Even if I fall slightly behind on card advantage, Keranos will be able to recoup that later through his upkeep trigger. Hitting land drops is crucial in control matchups as well. In most instances, the player who can cast multiple spells per turn will emerge victorious.
Scrying Sheets, Snow-Covered Island, Snow-Covered Mountain: I have gone with snow-covered lands for the purpose of Skred and the newly added Scrying Sheets. The Sheets replaced Strip Mine, and with the copious snow-covered lands, Skred is one of the best removal spells ever printed. If you can’t scrounge up enough snow-covered lands, don’t fret. Without that package, the deck still functions at 99% of its capabilities.
Desolate Lighthouse: A great way to put unused mana to work on the opponent’s end step to better filter bad draws. I would absolutely play more of these if they printed similar lands.
Rishadan Port and Wasteland: Excellent in this deck as disruption elements and ways to randomly steal games where the opponent keeps a risky hand. Additionally, you will need these lands to answer the problematic Cavern of Souls.
Cavern of Souls: Speaking of Cavern, you make excellent use of the card in your deck as it allows you to break control matchups wide open. Because your general has indestructibility and isn’t really a creature most of the time, it is extremely problematic to remove from the battlefield. Regardless of the color combination your opponent is playing, a resolved Keranos will always give them headaches.
Myriad Landscape, Scalding Tarn: Lastly, you have the maximum 7 fetchlands allowed. Fetchlands are amazing, and even mono-colored decks should use them. Myriad Landscape is a great card advantage land that you can take advantage of because you are only 2 colors.
Now I get to everyone’s favorite part of the deck:
Mystic Confluence and Cryptic Command: These are two of the top counterspells in the format. They have prohibitive mana costs, but allow you to pull ahead with card advantage in the form of 2- or 3-for-1s. You do want to keep the deck’s curve somewhat lean, as you will need to keep your head above water in the early game. Keranos should have the late game locked down even against the likes of Tasigur or Breya.
Daze, Censor, Force Spike: These are extremely common in 1v1 Commander and you should always be aware of their existence. Just because they are conditional, it doesn’t mean you won’t have an easy time snagging a key spell. The mass land destruction in this deck furthers their utility even into the super long game. Plus, who doesn’t love Dazing someone’s 5-mana general?
So what are you going to do with all that mana you held up for counter magic when they’re out of spells to cast? Draw more counterspells, of course!
The Draw Spells
Future Sight: This is a back-breaking spell to resolve in blue mirrors. It is hard to lose when you have a Future Sight running wild and the cards come piling in fast. Additionally, it can help turn Keranos into a creature with all those juicy blue symbols.
Removal spells are also plentiful in this deck. You can’t counter everything, and eventually some things are just going to stick.
Chain Lightning, Flame Slash: These spells are primarily for Baral, Vial Smasher, and Leovold. If you need to tap out for your general or another spell on your turn, the opponent may see that as the opportune time to resolve their general, only to have it banished back to the shadow realm.
Anger of the Gods, Sweltering Suns: When sideboarding becomes a thing, I could see myself placing these there instead, but for now I like these as catch-alls for early creature rushes. One of the strategies for combating the counterspell-heavy metagame of 1v1 EDH is playing low-to-the-ground creatures and overwhelming the opponent fast. But we can fix that.
I absolutely hate Blood Moon and friends, but they do excellent work here. Having just 2 colors in your deck and a healthy number of basic lands allows you to make excellent use of cards like Ruination and Blood Moon. These are excellently placed in the current metagame with decks like Breya, Vial/Kraum, Tasigur, and Leovold running around. Although they are weak against Baral and Nissa, you can always find ways to discard them late game.
Jokulhaups, Devastation, Obliterate: These are the real meat and potatoes of the deck. Most decks in this format do not have reasonable ways to beat these game-ending sweepers. Obliterate in particular is an outstanding spell against blue decks, as they have no effective way to counter the spell at all. All three kill all the lands and all the creatures. Well, except for your general, that is. If it wasn’t hard enough to beat Keranos before, imagine trying to outrace it with no lands in play. You will want to play Keranos before playing one of these spells, as it is entirely possible the opponent outdraws you on lands first. Playing 40 mana sources does come in handy here, though. Without access to fast mana or mana rocks, cards like Decree of Annihilation and Upheaval become slightly worse, and I have chosen to not run them here.
Having so many lands in the deck allows you to reasonably cast both a planeswalker and hold open a counterspell for a response. Because of this, I have chosen to employ 4 planeswalkers here, which is more than most decks. Luckily, blue and red have access to such powerful ones.
Jace, Architect of Thought and Jace Beleren would be excellent inclusions in extremely control heavy metagames as well. It is important to note that planeswalkers are slightly worse in the current online metagame where Vial Smasher holds the crown. The damage from her effect is excellent at nugging the planeswalker dead right there, and hasty Kraum is no fun either.
Thanks so much for reading about my Keranos, God of Storms deck. It is an absolute blast to play and certainly a breath of fresh air for die-hard control aficionados that want to try something new that isn’t Baral or Tasigur. 2-color generals are underrepresented right now, and I am happy to bring this bad boy into the fold. The best way to get better at this format is to play game after game after game, and you will certainly have a blast with Keranos. This God is always looming, so make a storm cloud appear over your opponent each game.
Did you enjoy this deck tech type article? What are your favorite generals in 1v1 Commander and who do you want to see in the future? Until next time, may your scrys always be to the top.