How Eldrazi Unbound Can Power Up Your Monocolor Commander Decks

Monocolor Commander decks just got a big boost from… a colorless precon? Bennie Smith shows how to use the Eldrazi Unbound deck from Commander Masters to spice up your one-color wonders.

Rise of the Eldrazi
Rise of the Eldrazi, illustrated by Eli Minaya

Commander Masters has debuted. While most of the cards are reprints – some of them much-needed and appreciated – some new cards appear in the affiliated Commander preconstructed decks. Today I wanted to focus on Eldrazi Unbound, the first colorless preconstructed deck.

Building a colorless deck where the commander has no colors in its colorless identity is a fun deckbuilding exercise and can certainly be entertaining to run. But those decks tend to have two big vulnerabilities. First, nearly all colorless mana ramp cards are artifacts, vulnerable to an overloaded Vandalblast or a Cleansing Nova. Second, colorless decks tend to have Eldrazi titans that are very difficult to deal with at the top end of the mana curve, which incentivizes the other players to target the colorless deck’s resources before the Eldrazi comes down or, if necessary, engage in player removal to deal with the situation. Either the Eldrazi player is shut out of the game, or their opponents get crushed under the Eldrazi heels – or tentacles, as the case may be.

Now, there will be no shortage of content out there deconstructing the Eldrazi Unbound deck and offering tips for upgrading the deck and playing it. I’m more interested in what some of these new cards can do for monocolor decks, which are uniquely suited to generate colorless mana that can cast spells that specifically demand colorless mana to cast. And there are some eye-popping ones in the deck!

New Cards from Eldrazi Unbound

Zhulodok, Void Gorger Omarthis, Ghostfire Initiate Abstruse Archaic Calamity of the Titans Desecrate Reality Flayer of Loyalties Rise of the Eldrazi Skittering Cicada Ugin's Mastery

The cards that I’d be looking to unlock to power up a monocolor deck start with Rise of the Eldrazi. For a whopping twelve mana, three of which needs to be specifically colorless, you get a sorcery that can’t be countered (thank goodness, given the amount of mana you paid), and you get each of the cast triggered abilities from the original Eldrazi titans – Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre; Kozilek, Butcher of Truth; and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, which has been banned in Commander. You get to destroy a permanent, draw four cards, and then take an extra turn!  I like this card because it’s not necessarily game-ending, but it’s definitely going to make for an exciting extra turn.

The next card to catch my eye is Flayer of Loyalties, a nice callback to the abilities of Eldrazi Conscription. Ideally you can gain control of something with a sweet attack trigger like Sun Titan, or a cool damage trigger like Old Gnawbone. Even after your turn ends and you give the creature back, you still have a living embodiment of Eldrazi Conscription: a 10/10 with trample and annihilator 2. 

Zhulodok, Void Gorger makes an excellent commander for a colorless deck, but as one of the 99 in a monocolor deck, it’ll require some conditions to warrant a slot. How many colorless spells are you running with a mana value of seven or greater? Are they just curve-toppers, or does your deck really focus on ramping super-hard and running a bunch of seven-plus-mana spells as the payoff?

Calamity of the Titans is the last of the “needs colorless mana to cast” new spells, and it can definitely be useful if you’re playing enough colorless creatures and your monocolor deck doesn’t otherwise have access to mass removal spells, such as mono-green or mono-blue.

Desecrate Reality doesn’t require colorless mana to cast, but its adamant ability certainly encourages you to have that available to get the added benefit of returning an odd-mana-value permanent from your graveyard to the battlefield.

Most of the other cards are pretty specifically for colorless decks, though I think Abstruse Archaic is a really nifty card that can do some good work in non-colorless decks.  Nearly all lands are colorless sources, so you can copy activated or triggered abilities from lands, and many Commander decks run artifacts with abilities or triggers that you’d like to copy. I mean, who wouldn’t like to copy the trigger from Skullclamp to draw two extra cards?

In Commander, where color-fixing is super easy, you can pull together multicolor decks that can be as powerful as you like, tapping into the very best cards across several colors as well as the best gold cards. Of course, this means dedicating a significant portion of your manabase to fixing your colors, with just a few slots available for utility lands. Monocolor decks get to run many more utility lands, and if you run enough that generate colorless mana, you can reliably cast the colorless spells that require one or more colorless mana to cast. 

Let’s take a look at some of the older cards that required colorless mana to cast that we might want to play in our monocolor decks.

Colorless Mana Cards

Kozilek, the Great Distortion Endbringer Reality Smasher Thought-Knot Seer Matter Reshaper Spatial Contortion Warping Wail Deceiver of Form Walker of the Wastes

When Oath of the Gatewatch came out, I immediately made use of these cards to juice up a mono-green deck I’d been playing and started terrorizing my local game store’s Standard tournaments with my Eldrazi Green deck.  It’s funny; as I was writing this article, this meme popped up on my Facebook memories:

While my Standard deck made use of the lower-mana Eldrazi, like Matter Reshaper and Thought-Knot Seer, the higher mana cards like Endbringer and Kozilek, the Great Distortion are worth leveraging that colorless mana for in Commander.

Lands That Generate Colorless Mana

Wastes Myriad Landscape Shire Terrace Urza's Mine Urza's Power Plant Urza's Tower Rogue's Passage War Room Darksteel Citadel Ash Barrens Inventors' Fair High Market Opal Palace Thespian's Stage Plaza of Heroes Bonders' Enclave Mikokoro, Center of the Sea Homeward Path Guildless Commons Shrine of the Forsaken Gods

So, you’ve decided to put some of those colorless-mana big spells in your deck. How will you go about casting them?  Well, 99% of Commander decks already have a pretty good start:

There’s also Wastes, which counts as a basic land. There are all sorts of ways you can search for basic lands that you wouldn’t be playing in most monocolor decks, but if you want to unlock your big colorless-mana spells, put three Wastes in your deck you can fetch up with cards like Myriad Landscape. If you’ve got ways to search up specific lands in your deck (mostly in mono-green or mono-white), then you should definitely play the Urza’s lands such as Urza’s Tower. Guildless Commons is another way to supply two colorless mana in just one land.

Ash Barrens and Shire Terrace are nice because they can provide colorless mana, but if you actually need another colored-mana producer, you can use them to fetch up your Forest or Mountain or whatever.

If you have access to Homeward Path, I’d definitely recommend using one of them as a source of colorless mana. Once you start dropping huge colorless Eldrazi and other monsters, opponents might have a notion to steal them and use them against you.  If you’re putting all this work into unlocking the power of colorless, you’d hate to have the tables turned.

Generating Colorless Mana (Any Color)

Sol Ring Expedition Map Mind Stone Thought Vessel Liquimetal Torque Prismatic Lens Everflowing Chalice Worn Powerstone Solemn Simulacrum Sword of the Animist Sword of Hearth and Home Thran Dynamo Palladium Myr Honor-Worn Shaku Forsaken Monument Kozilek's Channeler Workhorse

There are a ton of artifacts that will produce colorless mana and ramp you along the way. I’d recommend not leaning too heavily in this direction to help avoid getting blown out by those artifact sweepers I mentioned earlier. I like Expedition Map, Sword of the Animist, and Sword of Hearth and Home, since they’ll fetch up colorless lands for you, even if they’re just Wastes. Even Solemn Simulacrum can fetch up Wastes! 

Mono-Black Colorless Starter Kit

Phyrexian Tower Westvale Abbey Pawn of Ulamog Sifter of Skulls Ashnod's Altar Dark Ritual Crypt Ghast Culling the Weak Nirkana Revenant Bubbling Muck

If you want to tap into the power of colorless in mono-black, here are cards that will help you with colorless mana as well as cards that will help you cast expensive spells. I’d certainly use a temporary mana boost like Dark Ritual, Culling the Weak, or Bubbling Muck to cast a Kozilek, the Great Distortion!  Pawn of Ulamog and Sifter of Skulls work great in a typical self-sacrificing black deck while giving you that colorless mana you’ll occasionally need.

Mono-Green Colorless Starter Kit

Blighted Woodland Titania's Command Rampant Growth Cultivate Kodama's Reach Sakura-Tribe Elder Ulvenwald Hydra Hour of Promise Temple of the False God Awakening Zone From Beyond Brood Monitor

Mono-green makes meeting your colorless requirements look easy, from finding Wastes with Blighted Woodland or Cultivate to searching for your second and third “Urzatron” lands with Titania’s Command or Hour of Promise. Some of you may be shocked to see me have Temple of the False God listed here, but if you’re playing a mono-green “lands matter” deck with 41 or 42 lands and land ramp spells, then Temple of the False God might be worth a slot. Maybe.

Mono-White Colorless Starter Kit

Field of Ruin Lotus Field Land Tax Weathered Wayfarer Path to Exile Settle the Wreckage Oath of Lieges

Weathered Wayfarer gives white a powerful way to search up the various Urza lands, and cards like Lotus Field and Field of Ruin can help keep you lower than an opponent on your land count to continue using it. I’d definitely run Settle the Wreckage to provide a big land count boost to an opponent to keep you rocking and rolling with Wayfarer and cards like Land Tax and Oath of Lieges.

Mono-Blue Colorless Starter Kit

Moonsnare Prototype Apprentice Wizard Iceberg Thada Adel, Acquisitor Dreamscape Artist High Tide Caged Sun Thryx, the Sudden Storm

Did you realize that Apprentice Wizard covers all the colorless mana you need to cast Rise of the Eldrazi for just one blue mana?  And there’s no limit to what you can use that colorless mana for either, so maybe sink it into an Iceberg you can use the next turn to cast a huge colorless spell!

Thada Adel, Acquisitor has a secret ability that reads, “Attack target mono-blue player and steal the Sol Ring out of their deck.” Multiple Sol Rings will be a big help in casting your big colorless spells.

Mono-Red Colorless Starter Kit

Grinning Ignus Generator Servant Rapacious One Cleansing Wildfire Geomancer's Gambit Jeska's Will Seething Song Runaway Steam-Kin Neheb, the Eternal Mana Geyser

Grinning Ignus is such a weird little card, and if your deck can use it as an engine of sorts, you can also keep it in your back pocket to generate an extra two colorless mana for your big colorless spell. Like black’s Dark Ritual and friends, red has one-shot spells like Jeska’s Will and Mana Geyser that can give you a bunch of temporary mana to cast a big haymaker.

I’ve seen Cleansing Wildfire and Geomancer’s Gambit show up in red decks that run indestructible lands like Darksteel Citadel and Cascading Cataracts, so you can target those with the spells to effectively ramp you a basic land (which can be a Wastes) and also draw you a card, so you might want to have that going on.

Which monocolor deck are you most looking forward to playing some of these colorless mana spells in?  Me, I’m reworking my mono-green Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar lands-matter deck to include the biggest and splashiest of those spells!

Talk to Me

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And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy. 

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