CAG Member Decks: Shivam’s Sons Of Kjeldor

Sheldon Menery showcases the next Commander Advisory Group member’s favorite deck: the “Sons of Kjeldor” by Shivam Bhatt!

Once again, I’m featuring a deck built by one of our new Commander Advisory Group (CAG). This time it belongs to Shivam, who lives up to his reputation of the most casual of casual players. You’ll notice what we already knew: that Shivam is a little more verbose than the other CAG members. It stems from his raw excitement about life in general and playing Magic in particular. Shivam loves the things he loves with a great deal of conviction—and he loves a lot of things. Let’s let him take you through the deck in his own words:

Okay, so here’s my baby, The Sons of Kjeldor. It’s not the best, most-tuned, optimal deck, nor is it even a winner more than a quarter of the time. Heck, maybe not more than one out of every ten matches. Most people looking at it would just see a pile of low-powered cards indifferently put together by an inexperienced player, frankly.

No, it’s not a lot to look at, but it’s my beloved deck nonetheless. When I first discovered Commander, through Tim Willoughby’s article about Grimgrin, Corpse-Born right after Innistrad came out, I was blown away by the core premise that I could play with all of my favorite cards from Magic history without being tied down to a timeframe like Standard or whatever. Moreover, I wasn’t constrained by minimum power levels or anything either. The fact that I could use my favorite card of all time, Sol Ring, was not bad either!

Fast forward a year to the Gatecrash Prerelease. I got Boros, and one of my rares was Assemble the Legion. A card that makes an entire army out of nothing over time? This made my brain itch, and I remembered one of my all-time favorite cards from my earliest days of the game, Kjeldoran Outpost. A land that makes Soldier tokens! And with that, my Commander fate was sealed. Assemble the Legion and Kjeldoran Outpost would be the core of my deck, based around pumping out a ton of tokens and going to town.

I just needed a commander, because this was going to be a tribal theme deck and not just any scrub would do. Thankfully, Dragon’s Maze was just around the corner, and brought with it Tajic, Blade of the Legion. A Soldier (check), who would fit my Boros color requirements (check), and was themed as a General (bingo!) gave me the perfect leader for my new army, the Wandering Sons of Kjeldor, who go plane to plane looking to right wrongs and protect the weak. I was sold, and my token swarm identity was born.

The deck is built off the restriction that every creature and 80% of the other cards need to be justifiable as members of an army. They either had to be Soldier type or thematically appropriate, which is why I don’t call this a true Boros deck, but rather a Soldier tribal deck. Purphoros, God of the Forge is the one exception, and I’m on the fence about leaving him in there. I thematically envision him as having cursed the Legion to wander through the planes to restore their honor after having failed him in some way. The Angels lead the Boros Legion, the Sun Titan is a giant soldier (I use the one from the Theros era Duel Decks because he looks like a Roman legionnaire in that picture), and Solemn Simulacrum is their training dummy. I also have Frontline Medic, because what army moves without a field doctor?

I play Crusade despite the fact that it pumps the table because it is the one with Elspeth leading her troops in the art, and that’s one of my favorite pieces of art in Magic.

Realistically speaking, for all that this deck makes Soldier tokens, they almost never survive long enough to do anything. The game ends up being decided by Voltron Tajic rumbling in with sword and armor to slam with commander damage, but I don’t care because it makes me happy to make a ton of tokens. Also, every token I have was hand drawn by a Magic artist or by a member of Magic R&D! One token was done by Jason Rainville on the back of an Oracle of Dust artist proof. He drew me as if I was a Soldier in the Mughal army. It’s amazing. Also, Drew Sitte made me a 3D diorama of my commander using nine or ten layers of Tajics with a foil top layer, to make it into a fully realized scene. It’s astonishingly beautiful.

This deck is not my best deck, but it is my favorite deck. It reminds me why I play Magic, and why I play Commander specifically. Commander is the best way to express your personality and playstyle of Magic without ever being forced to follow trends or power levels or rotations. It is Magic the way you always imagined and wanted it to be. Play the cards you love because you love them. There’s always a spot at the table for you!

Magic Card Back

I have some comments. I know that Shivam said this is his favorite deck and he knows it’s not his best, but I think I can offer a few suggestions and still not violate the spirit of what he’s doing here. It’s the kind of deck that would be welcome in my local group, who likes games to last a while, so the suggestions I’ll make would keep the deck in the band that would still be appropriate for that kind of game.

The first thing is that 32 lands is just way too few. Even with the relatively low casting cost of most things in the deck, you still want to hit land drops on the first five turns or so in order to just keep up with everyone else. Land Tax will obviously mitigate that when you draw it, but the numbers aren’t great. Spitting out Soldier tokens with Mobilization costs mana and you still want to be casting spells as well. For Mind’s Eye to work well, you’ll need some extra mana as well. We’ll also need more land drops to make Decree of Justice worthwhile.

With only ten Plains (nine basics and the Plateau), that Emeria, the Sky Ruin isn’t going to do much work anytime soon. In addition to finding at least three cuts in order to bump up the land count, I’d replace Flagstones of Trokair, Daru Encampment, Temple of Triumph, and Wind-Scarred Crag with Mistveil Plains (which has the Plains type) and three basic Plains. With Arid Mesa, Evolving Wilds, and Terramorphic Expanse, that should get Emeria, the Sky Ruin on line and also get the red mana that the deck wants. It would also make Endless Atlas more likely to be valuable. Then, to get some of those small creatures turned into ramp spells, I’d add Sword of the Animist. Land problem solved.

Otherwise, there aren’t too many of Shivam’s card choices to dislike. I’m still not convinced that the one-for-ones (Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Condemn) have a great deal of value in the format, but I get why he’s playing them. If I had to pick one card I’m not wild about, it is Kytheon, Hero of Akros, although I suppose once it transforms into Gideon, Battle-Forged, making something indestructible every turn is pretty solid (and the card is definitely on theme). Unfortunately, once people see that, Gideon is getting battled. After that, each individual choice is solid.

This deck’s seriously techy play would be to swing with a bunch of tokens into what looks like an unfavorable situation. Suspecting tricks, the other player might not block, and you’d get in some damage. If they call the bluff, then cast Settle the Wreckage for serious value (you obviously don’t want to do that with too many nontoken attackers).

I made sure that he had Mentor of the Meek on the list, and I’m a big fan of Darien, King of Kjeldor (maybe suggesting Battlefield Forge?). I worry that Argentum Armor is just too expensive for the deck to cast and equip save rarely, but once it’s online, it’s nasty. Dawn of Hope is an inspired choice, even if the Soldier creation is a little expensive. Having played Catapult Master myself, once the legion is assembled, I know it’s going to be a card that must be dealt with.

There are a few other Soldiers I might suggest:

Brings friends, makes everyone bigger.

Makes Soldiers cheaper and bigger with a double plus backside.

A heroic leader for the army, Gerard gains you decent amounts of life and can get an irritating blocker out of the way.

Especially if the environment isn’t Wrath-happy, Gideon’s Avenger will get huge.

A fantastic way to blow out someone who has attacked you. You have to eat quite some damage, but exiling three or four good creatures is worth the cost.

You know I’m big on Fogs, and this is a slightly expensive one, but the combination of Selfless Squire’s abilities is worth the four mana investment.

Yes, a Knight, but one that brings Soldiers and then Fogs. The deck creates enough Soldiers to stay combat damage free for quite a while, freeing up the rest of the team to get into the Red Zone.

Again, this is the kind of deck that would be able to stay in a game at one of my local tables. We’re a little overzealous with the battlefield wipes, so those cards like Rootborn Defenses and Avacyn, Angel of Hope would be the kind of protection needed. It’s why I’m almost always happy to play Faith’s Reward (which obviously doesn’t help token strategies).


Having featured Josh and Rachel recently and offered up decks previously from Charlotte and Ron, we’re now left with only a deck from The Stybs to complete the CAG set. You’ve seen multiple things from Scott and Toby over the years, and I’ve been on Gavin for a long time to get me one of his lists as well so that we might complete the RC and CAG superset.

Question of the Week

Once again, our question comes from multiple sources.

With Wizards of the Coast announcing the London Mulligan, what does that mean for Commander? If it’s successful, will you change to match them?

What it means is that we’re going to look into the matter. This will be one of the first tasks that the RC and CAG will jointly work on. We’re not committed to any particular choice because it’s the choice of any other format, but will concede that it’s far easier to message than if we have a different mulligan of our own.

If we discover one that’s perfect, we won’t hesitate to implement it, but my long experience in Magic tells me that there isn’t such a thing as a perfect mulligan. We have to consider what’s in the best interests of the format. The yet-to-be-discovered mulligan that would best suit our needs would be one that makes sure that players have a reasonable chance of being in nearly every game they play but isn’t abusable, and doesn’t tilt the playing field in the direction of any archetype, most especially fast combo decks. Like I said—yet-to-be-discovered.

Check out our comprehensive Deck List Database for lists of all my decks:


Purple Hippos and Maro Sorcerers; Kresh Into the Red Zone; Halloween with Karador; Dreaming of Intet; You Did This to Yourself.



Heliod, God of Enchantments; Thassa, God of Merfolk; Erebos and the Halls Of The Dead; Forge of Purphoros; Nylea of the Woodland Realm; Karn Evil No. 9.


Lavinia Blinks; Obzedat, Ghost Killer; Aurelia Goes to War; Trostani and Her Angels; Lazav, Shapeshifting Mastermind; Zegana and a Dice Bag; Rakdos Reimagined; Glissa, Glissa; Ruric Thar and His Beastly Fight Club; Gisa and Geralf Together Forever.

Shards and Wedges

Adun’s Toolbox; Angry, Angry Dinos; Animar’s Swarm; Borrowing Stuff at Cutlass Point; Ikra and Kydele; Karrthus, Who Rains Fire From The Sky; Demons of Kaalia; Merieke’s Esper Dragons; Nath of the Value Leaf; Queen Marchesa, Long May She Reign; Muldrotha, Speaking Primely; Queen Marchesa’s Knights; Rith’s Tokens; The Mill-Meoplasm; The Altar of Thraximundar; The Threat of Yasova; Zombies of Tresserhorn.


Yidris: Money for Nothing, Cards for Free; Saskia Unyielding; Breya Reshaped; Yidris Rotisserie Draft Deck.


Children of a Greater God


Tana and Kydele; Kynaios and Tiro; Ikra and Kydele.


Adun Oakenshield Do-Over; Animar Do-Over; Glissa Do-Over; Karador Do-Over; Karador Version 3; Karrthus Do-Over; Kresh Do-Over; Steam-Powered Merieke Do-Over; Lord of Tresserhorn Do-Over; Mimeoplasm Do-Over; Phelddagrif Do-Over; Rith Do-Over; Ruhan Do-Over.

If you’d like to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that’s been alive since 1987) which is just beginning the saga The Lost Cities of Nevinor, ask for an invitation to the Facebook group “Sheldon Menery’s Monday Night Gamers.”