Dear Azami: Left Is Right And Right Is Wrong

The Eldrazi are all over competitive formats, so why not take them into the casual sphere? Levi Byrne helps one reader do just that by creating monstrosities in Commander pods everywhere!

Grand Prix Washington, DC: March 11-13!

Every Magic player has pet peeves. Some hate combo, or control, or even something as simple as infect. Regardless of what it is, everyone has something that they simply don’t want to see across the table from them.

For me, it’s Eldrazi.

Dear Azami,

With Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch out, it seems that the time for both the end of the world and an Eldrazi Tribal Commander deck is nigh. Realizing that this will be nothing but a Timmy deck (which is fine, considering the buff Dragon Tribal got with Tarkir), any and all feedback on this would be greatly appreciated!

Commander: Kozilek, the Great Distortion

Creatures (29):

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Kozilek, Butcher of Truth

Burnished Hart

Pathrazer of Ulamog

It That Betrays

Ulamog’s Crusher

Oblivion Sower

Void Winnower

Endless One

Conduit of Ruin

Blight Herder

Bane of Bala Ged

Herald of Kozilek

Sire of Stagnation

Matter Reshaper

Deceiver of Form

Eldrazi Mimic


Walker of the Wastes

Kozilek’s Channeler

Ulamog’s Despoiler

Deathless Behemoth

Ruin Processor

Eldrazi Devastator

Breaker of Armies

Hand of Emrakul

Artisan of Kozilek

Desolation Twin

Artifacts (13):

Belbe’s Portal

Quicksilver Amulet


Sol Ring

Darksteel Ingot

Worn Powerstone

Urza’s Incubator

Triassic Egg

Thran Dynamo

Eon Hub

Dreamstone Hedron

Eldrazi Monument

Obelisk of Urd

Enchantments (2):

From Beyond

Eldrazi Conscription

Instants (7):

Not of This World

Grip of Desolation

Unnatural Aggression

Spell Shrivel

Complete Disregard

Titan’s Presence

Scour from Existence

Sorceries (9):

Oblivion Strike

Skittering Invasion

All Is Dust

Touch of the Void

Serpentine Spike

Call the Scions

Transgress the Mind

Swarm Surge

Gruesome Slaughter

Planeswalkers (2):

Karn Liberated

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Lands (37):

Urza’s Tower

Urza’s Mine

Urza’s Power Plant

Crumbling Vestige

Arcane Lighthouse

Rogue’s Passage

Spawning Bed

Shrine of the Forsaken Gods

Thespian’s Stage

Mystifying Maze

Eye of Ugin

Eldrazi Temple


Ruins of Oran-Rief

Swiftwater Cliffs

Jungle Hollow

Thornwood Falls

Dismal Backwater

Akoum Refuge

Rugged Highlands

Wastes x17

Oh boy.

I’ll be honest; when I first saw this submission, I almost dismissed it out-of-hand. But after thinking about it a little, I realized that working with a strategy I’m not fond of would be a good challenge. And as I delved into the list, I realized something important.

Kozilek, the Great Distortion is weird.

Kozilek’s latest incarnation might look a lot like a normal Eldrazi, but as far as the mechanics and interactions go, it’s almost entirely divorced from the rest of the tribe. A 12/12 with menace is fairly large but not overpowering by the standards of Commander, and it doesn’t have an attack trigger or the kind of combat mechanics that make the new Ulamog and the first generation of titans so hard to deal with. The Counterspell ability is chancy at best, and with the huge range of playable costs in this format, you’re mostly going to get stuck hoping to get lucky with the converted mana cost of cards in hand to stop the spells you really need to.

The real power lies in using his cast trigger to draw a ton of cards, but because it draws you up to seven instead of a set amount, you can’t play the traditional control role of keeping a full grip the whole game. Instead, you get rewarded for dumping spells as rapidly as possible.

Now, let’s get on to the changes.

The Creatures


Okay, here’s one of the most important things about Commander. A card’s color isn’t the same as its color identity. Devoid spells have no color, but the deckbuilding restrictions placed on Commander also care about the presence of colored mana symbols on the cards. That means that cards with devoid can’t be played in a Kozilek deck, even if the recent removal of Rule 4 means you can make colored mana now. Most of the cuts I’m making are getting rid of the illegal devoid cards in the list, so I wanted to fully explain why here.

There are only so many coloress Eldrazi that you can play, but even with the rather limited selection, Endless One is pretty unimpressive. It’s potentially the biggest Eldrazi ever printed, but until you hit the twenties, being big isn’t quite enough. Everything else in your deck starts doing impressive things much more quickly.


Speaking of impressive things to do with twenty mana, Spawnsire of Ulamog is a little controversial because there isn’t an official ruling on how it (and the Wish cycle from Judgment) function in Commander. My recommendation is to talk to your playgroup and see if they’re okay with you using it. If not, Endless One can go back in the deck as something to do with the absurd amount of mana you generate in the late-game.

Thought-Knot Seer is a little pricy because of Modern right now, but being in Standard also means it will frequently be up for trade, and it will probably reach a more reasonable price in the next month or so anyway. The card gives us access to targeted discard in colorless, which will vary wildly in value from game to game, but it does give the deck something to do in the early turns and will keep the random utility creatures from attacking you before you can bring the real heavy-hitters online. You can also play politics with the death trigger, as it’s unconnected to the exile trigger.

The Spells


More devoid cuts. Even if these were legal to run I probably would’ve cut most of them, as you were running far more removal than I prefer in a list and didn’t have the mana to support more than a handful of these anyway.

The Enchantments


And the last devoid cut. This one really hurts because both halves of the card are things you want pretty desperately . It’s a steady source of ramp and turns into a big Eldrazi later, which is all this deck can really ask for. But those are the rules, so there isn’t much we can do about it.

The Artifacts


I’m cutting Worldslayer because it has two modes: “make everyone hate you” and “win the game.” If you had either Ulamog as your commander and could guarantee access to an indestructible creature, then I’d consider it a legitimate win condition, but without that factor I’m afraid you’d be forced into using this to reset the whole game far too often. If it didn’t hit lands that would be fine, but no one wants to slog through the process of rebuilding the mana to try to win again.

Eon Hub is leaving because it’s a very specific hate card. Maybe your metagame calls for this effect, but there are only a handful of decks I can think of that are hurt by this, and it’s not like you’re trying to break cumulative upkeep effects or something along those lines.

Triassic Egg might be worth keeping, but there are much better ways to cheat creatures from your hand onto the battlefield, and the reanimation isn’t so special that you need to run a card this inefficient.


If you’re going to run a board wipe, it might as well be something that takes out everything. Perilous Vault hits every permanent type besides lands, and exile goes straight through indestructible. There’s an argument for running Oblivion Stone here, but for this deck I value the ability to guarantee the destruction of your opponent’s battlefield over slowly being able to protect your own things. It’s a nice complement to the All Is Dust that you already have.

Akroma’s Memorial turns your Eldrazi into monsters of combat. All of the abilities will be relevant at one point or another, but the combination of haste, first strike, trample, and annihilator turns any old-school Eldrazi you draw into instant devastation to your opponents and makes your creatures all but impossible to block profitably.

That Which Was Taken is a weird card, but slowly making your most important permanents invulnerable is a strong effect to have access to. Just be careful that you don’t let it get blown up in response to a Wrath of God or other spell because the indestructible effect is contingent on the artifact remaining on the battlefield.

Doubling Cube, Hedron Archive, and Everflowing Chalice are additional pieces of ramp to get your deck to the massive amounts of mana you need to function, as you were a little light on the land package for a deck this top-heavy.

Null Brooch seems like an odd pick, but given how your general’s draw trigger works, discarding your hand at the right moment isn’t that great of a cost. You can usually trump any army in combat, so the noncreature spells are the biggest problem, and that’s precisely what Null Brooch lets you stop.

I said there were better ways to cheat creatures onto the battlefield than Triassic Egg, and I’m adding some of them here. Cryptic Gateway and Deathrender both take advantage of the massive difference in power between Eldrazi Spawn and Scions and the true colorless Eldrazi. Who wouldn’t sacrifice a 0/1 to put an It That Betrays onto the battlefield?

Minion Reflector, Mimic Vat, and Soul Foundry are all ways to get more than one use out of your threats. These cards won’t retrigger all of the cast triggers of your Eldrazi, but that would be a little too much to ask for. What will let you reuse those cast triggers is Erratic Portal, which doubles as a way to protect your most important creature from removal or board wipes. Similarly, Strionic Resonator lets you copy the most important triggers as they happen. It doesn’t work so well with your commander, but it will greatly empower the rest of your creatures.

Finally, Unstable Obelisk gets brought in as a piece of removal that hits anything. You were running too much removal originally, but adding a little back in doesn’t hurt and it doubles as a mediocre mana rock in the early game.

The Lands


The Khans of Tarkir Life-Lands are illegal here for the same reason that that the devoid spells are. No colored mana symbols allowed in the deck. Crumbling Vestige is legal, since it only has colorless symbols on the cards, but without the devoid spells there’s no reason not to run something better.


Temple of the False God will almost always be turned on in Commander, which made me a little surprised to see it missing from the original list. As for Sanctum of Ugin, it will give you a little burst of gas once you’ve reached the threshold of mana you want to function. As for the other five slots, I chose to raise your Wastes count because Ruination effects see play and you’re running Walker of the Wastes. I’ll admit that part of me wants to strip all the nonbasics out and go with 37 Wastes, but that would be a little too extreme.

Putting all the changes together, we get the following:

Kozilek, the Great Distortion
Levi Byrne
Test deck on 02-09-2016

And the additions sorted by price:

Everflowing Chalice $0.29
Unstable Obelisk $0.29
Hedron Archive $0.35
Null Brooch $0.49
Wastes $0.49
Wastes $0.49
Wastes $0.49
Wastes $0.49
Wastes $0.49
Temple of the False God $0.49
Minion Reflector $0.69
Strionic Resonator $1.49
Erratic Portal $1.49
Perilous Vault $2.25
Cryptic Gateway $2.29
Soul Foundry $2.59
Mimic Vat $2.65
Deathrender $2.69
Sanctum of Ugin $2.99
That Which Was Taken $ 3.65
Spawnsire of Ulamog $7.59
Doubling Cube $9.99
Akroma’s Memorial $12.65
Thought-Knot Seer $24.99
Total $80.36

The additions add up to $80.36. As always, Ergoth will receive $20 in store credit to StarCityGames.com for having their deck featured and to help make these changes.

I think the finished deck is a lot better-focused than what we started with, even if I didn’t wind up changing the creature base all that much. Eldrazi are so powerful that the shell that supports them winds up being more important than the specific details of the creatures you have. And one thing I can say for certain: this is one of the purest Timmy decks I’ve seen in a while.

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Grand Prix Washington, DC: March 11-13!