Exploring Magic’s Hidden Gem – EDH #1

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"Babyface" Francis Touissant returns with our very first EDH article on Mana Deprived.  He presents two of his very best EDH decks for competitive play.  This is a must-read for current players and those looking to get started.

This is the time of year that I find most boring in the world of Magic. Nationals have come and pass, the draft format has been played to death, and the possibilities for Standard decks have been pretty much expended. This is the time of year that I find myself spending the most time on EDH.  One nice thing about EDH is that there is a large amount of creative space to explore. Once you’re bored with one deck you can make a new deck and have even more possibilities to explore.

For those of you who don't know what EDH is, it is a 100 card highlander format, meaning you can only play one of each card excluding basic lands. Each player has a general, which must be a legendary creature, and can only play cards that match the color(s) of their specific general. You can play any card in Magic, other than cards on the official ban list, which is updated regularly. Each player starts with 40 life, and the game ends when there is only one man left standing. Also, a player is eliminated once they have been dealt 21 damage from any one general. At the moment EDH is still just a casual format, but there are weekly tournaments in some places, as well as a few larger tournaments as side events for larger events.

As a competitive player, when I first encountered EDH, like many other competitive players, I thought the format was a joke, and I avoided it. My first attempt at EDH was just putting together all the best cards in a color combination into one deck. I came into this casual format with what I perceived as a competitive deck, and to my dismay I got completely demolished. Not only did I lose, but I lost to people that I considered casual players, but what I didn't understand is that EDH is a complex format too, and just like Vintage, Legacy and Standard, EDH has a lot of intricacies that are learned over time. One of the big misconceptions about EDH is that because it is a casual format it is easy to break into, and also easy to win.  However, EDH can be as complex as any other legitimate format, if not more complex.

I for one love EDH because it's a format that it never rotates, so I can keep decks for as long as I feel like, and not have to worry about them rotating. Also, I get to play some of my favourite cards from the past, as well as cards that I would never otherwise be able use. Another positive aspect is players get to be creative when building decks, and it’s possible for anybody to make competitive decks without the need for net decking. The only aspect of EDH that I don't like is the when people are playing only for 'fun,’ and whenever someone else does something overpowered (read: wins), it 'takes the fun out of the game'. The way I feel about it is that there is a banned list that updates regularly, and if something is too unfair it will be banned, so I don't feel it's unfair to play anything that's not on the banned list.

Now that I'm done the bulk of my rambling I'm going to share with you some of my decks. At the moment I have three EDH decks built, and from strongest to weakest at this time they are Empress Galina, Omnath, Locus of Mana, and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth. Today I'm going to share the two strongest of the three at the time being Omnath and Empress Galina, and the reason I say this is because the Kozilek deck will be getting a pretty huge boost from Scars of Mirrodin.


Empress Galina

Creatures – 14

Arcanis, the Omnipotent
Azami, Lady of the Scrolls
Callous Oppressor
Dominating Licid
Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
Glen Elendra Archmage
Keiga the Tide Star
Magus of the Future
Sower of Temptation
Sphinx Ambassador
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
Trinket Mage
Venser, Shaper Savant

Other Spells – 33

Blatant Thievery
Control Magic
Cryptic Command
Crystal Shard
Fact or Fiction
Force of Will
Future Sight
Gather Specimens
Leyline of Singularity
Mind Over Matter
Mind Slaver
Muddle the Mixture
Pact of Negation
Stroke of Genius
Take Possession
Temporal Manipulation
Thirst for Knowledge
Time Stretch
Time Warp
Vedalken Shackles
Walk of Aeons

Mana Acceleration – 14

Chrome Mox
Coalition Relic
Everflowing Chalice
Expedition Map
Extraplanar Lens
Gauntlet of Power
Gilded Lotus
Grim Monolith
Mana Vault
Mana Crypt
Sapphire Medallion
Sol Ring
Voltaic Key
Wayfarer's Bauble

Lands – 38

Academy Ruins
29 Islands
Maze of Ith
Minimo, School at Water's Edge
Mystifying Maze
Reliquary Tower
Riptide Laboratory
Seat of the Synod
Terrain Generator
Tolaria West

This is definitely my favourite deck. The plan is to steal any big permanents with some permission backup. This deck is particularly good in the weekly EDH tournament I sometimes play in Calgary. At this tournament people get prizes by completing 'objectives', and for my deck completing these objectives gets easier when you potentially have every permanent on the board at your disposal. The main problem with this deck is that you can make a lot of enemies.

Next is Omnath, which was my first truly competitive EDH deck.


Omnath, Locus of Mana

Creatures – 18

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn*
Eternal Witness
Fierce Empath
Hermit Druid
Keeper of Progenitus
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Kroson Tusker
Oracle of Mul Daya
Primeval Titan
Wolfbriar Elemental
Rofellos, Llanwar Emissary
Solemn Simulacrum
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Wickerbough Elder
Woodfall Primus
Yavimaya Elder

Other Spells – 23

Bear Umbra
Chord of Calling
Crop Rotation
Defense of the Heart
Gaea's Touch
Gelatinous Genesis
Krosan Grip
Lightning Greaves
Loxodon Warhammer
Memory Jar
Mind's Eye
Orochi Hatchery
Scroll Rack
Seer's Sundial
Soul's Majesty
Tooth and Nail
Vedalken Orrery
Whispersilk Cloak
Worldly Tutor

Mana Acceleration – 17

Armillary Sphere
Everflowing Chalice
Expedition Map
Extraplanar Lens
Gauntlet of Power
Hunting Wilds
Journeyer's Kite
Kodama's Reach
Mana Reflection
Nature's Lore
Reap and Sow
Skyshroud Claim
Sol Ring
Sylvan Scrying
Three Wishes
Vernal Bloom

Lands – 40

Eye of Ugin*
33 Forest
Gaea's Cradle
High Market*
Miren, the Moaning Well*
Mosswart Bridge
Terrain Generator
Thawing Glaciers

The main plan for this deck is to have Eye of Ugin, Miren, the Moaning Well or High Market and enough mana to search up Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and then sacrifice it, shuffling it back into the deck, and creating uncounterable infinite turns. To accomplish this goal I have pretty much every possible card to search up specific lands like Expedition Map, Sylvan Scrying, ect., as well as cards to search out creatures, which most of the time will be looking for Primeval Titan, and I have a lot of mana acceleration. The deck has some other avenues to victory utilizing the mass mana with Gelatinous Genesis, Wolfbriar Elemental, ect., but for the most part the most effective win condition will be Eye of Ugin + Emrakul + Sac Outlet because it is essentially uncounterable outside of Time Stop, and effects like that.

Earlier this year I played in a 'win-a-box' EDH tournament with Omnath. The tournament had 5 pods consisting of 4-5 players, in which the winner of each pod advanced to the final table, and the winner of the final table won a box, while the rest of the table got 3 packs. In the end I was 2 mana short of winning the tournament with my Emrakul combo, but had to pass the turn, and another player ended up comboing off before I could get another turn to win. It turns out that if I would have had High Market in my deck to search up, then I would have had enough mana to combo, but it was not yet included in the deck.

The card that most interests me for this deck from the new set is this card:

Liege of the Tangle 6GG
Creature – Elemental

Whenever Liege of the Tangle deals combat damage to a player, you may choose any number of target lands you control and put an awakening counter on each of them. Each of those lands is an 8/8 green Elemental creature for as long as it has an awakening counter on it. They're still lands.


Liege of the Tangle presents and alternate win condition on its own. This deck usually has a very large amount of lands on average, so even if you lose 5 lands to a Wrath you are usually still in good shape, and just 5 lands represents 40 power, and that's not even including the Liege itself.

Other than those two decks I have Kozilek, the Butcher of Truth built, and I'm saving it for my next EDH article since it will have some major upgrades from Scars of Mirrodin. So far I have 6 cards that will find their way into the Kozilek deck for sure, so we'll have to wait and see what other goodies I may get. So for those of you who have yet to try out EDH I recommend it, and for those of you who are already EDH lovers, keep on fighting the good fight!

Thanks for reading!


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