MTG Commander Deck Of The Week: Hazezon, Shaper Of Sand

Outlaws of Thunder Junction has rewritten the rules of Deserts in Commander Magic games. Bennie Smith puts the new cards to use in his Hazezon, Shaper of Sand deck.

Hazezon, Shaper of Sand
Hazezon, Shaper of Sand, illustrated by Bryan Sola

Many years before the advent of Commander, or even its predecessor Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH), I had a multiplayer Magic deck I called “Green Red White Legends”. It was basically just a “good stuff” deck, but it featured all of my favorite green, red, and white legends from Legends.

Hazezon Tamar Jacques Le Vert Johan Gabriel Angelfire

Lady Caleria Livonya Silone Stangg Tuknir Deathlock

They weren’t the best creatures around, even back then, but they just looked really cool, especially the ones with art by Richard Kane Ferguson. I always had a fondness for Hazezon Tamar because I loved the idea of him calling up a bunch of Sand Warriors to his cause… only it took a turn for them to arrive.  I mean, have you tried running across sand?

Of course, it always was a gut punch that, once the Sand Warriors arrived, all it took was a Swords to Plowshares or Terror targeting Hazezon and all the Sand Warriors would go poof too.

Once EDH came around, I toyed with the idea of building a deck around Hazezon Tamar, but there were just always some other newer legendary creature that caught my deckbuilding eye. Then Dominaria United Commander came along and made a new version of Hazezon that was up to the task of competing in the modern day Commander scene – Hazezon, Shaper of Sand!  I knew I had to build around that card for sure.

Hazezon, Shaper of Sand

New Deserts, New Hazezon

I shared my decklist for Hazezon a few years back, and you can check that out below if you want to see the original version.

I’m bringing it back for today’s Deck of the Week in honor of Outlaws of Thunder Junction and the accompanying Desert Bloom Commander deck, which unleashes a bunch of new Desert cards and cards that care about Deserts, many of which I’ve added to the deck, along with other updates I’ve made over the past few years. No time to lollygag, let’s ride!


Cactus Preserve Conduit Pylons Mirage Mesa Sandstorm Verge Arid Archway Dunes of the Dead Scavenger Grounds Hostile Desert Desert Grasping Dunes Desert of the Fervent Desert of the True Desert of the Indomitable Survivors' Encampment Sunscorched Desert Cradle of the Accursed Endless Sands Shefet Dunes Hashep Oasis Ramunap Ruins Painted Bluffs Creosote Heath Abraded Bluffs Bristling Backwoods

With all the new Deserts, more than half of my lands are now Deserts, which makes Hazezon all the more effective. I was particularly happy with the Desert “dual lands” to help fix my colors – Creosote Heath, Abraded Bluffs, and Bristling Backwoods. Hazezon is color-intensive, and these lands help with the fixing.

Cactus Preserve is a sweet card that I’ll jam in a bunch of different decks where I’m running a high-mana-value commander – think Ghalta, Primal Hunger!  It’s less impressive here, since my commander costs just three mana, but as a useful Desert, it still gets a home. Plus, if it dies and goes to the graveyard, Hazezon lets you play it from the graveyard.

Arid Archway is a nice new Guildless Commons that works great with Desert themes, letting you surveil and giving Hazezon more triggers. Sandstorm Verge is a great utility land to turn off a problematic blocker for your turn.

Deserts Matter

Sand Scout Outcaster Greenblade Dune Chanter Kirri, Talented Sprout Colossal Rattlewurm Ramunap Hydra Hour of Promise Cactarantula Shefet Monitor Yuma, Proud Protector Cataclysmic Prospecting

Previously, “Deserts matter” cards were slim pickings, but the new stuff rounds it out quite nicely. Dune Chanter makes all your lands Deserts, whether they’re on the battlefield or in any other zone, which is nice for Desert-searching cards or playing lands from the graveyard with Hazezon. It also color-fixes you, making all your lands able to tap for any color mana! And that’s not all you can also tap it to mill two cards, and you gain one life for each land milled this way. It works great with Hazezon able to play Deserts from the graveyard, and I’m playing cards that let me look at the top card of my library so that I can use Dune Chanter to reset the top of my library, or specifically mill Deserts with that intel.

I’m also a big fan of Colossal Rattlewurm. It will very likely have flash all the time in this deck, letting it ambush an attacker or come down during an opponent’s end step as a surprise attacker on my turn. And how about Cataclysmic Prospecting?  Not only will it sweep the battlefield, it should generate a bunch of tapped Treasures to set up a big, big turn.

Yuma, Proud Protector is the face commander for the Desert Bloom deck, but I’ve added him to the 99 of my deck here. My deck is built more to grind out Sand Warrior tokens from Hazezon than loading up my graveyard with lands to heavily discount Yuma. If I were building a Yuma deck from scratch, there would be some overlap here, but I would have a lot more ways to put lots of lands in the graveyard to keep Yuma’s mana cost low. Still, even if I’m paying five or six mana for Yuma in this deck, it’s worth a slot for that card drawing and token making; a 4/2 Plant Warrior with reach is no slouch!

I tossed Kirri, Talented Sprout in here because he’s super-cute, and a cactus creature loves Deserts, and the card works great with Yuma, but I’m not sure Kirri will hold his weight in this particular deck.  I’m willing to give it a shot!


Blackblade Reforged Bazaar Trader

When I first built this deck, Hazezon’s Desertwalk seemed like a throwaway ability until I ran across Bazaar Trader and added it to the deck to donate a Desert to an opponent to let Hazezon attack unblocked.  Suit him up with Blackblade Reforged and watch that life total dwindle! I’ll be curious to see if Outlaws of Thunder Junction brings more Deserts to Commander players’ decks – what do you think?

Lands Matter

Lotus Cobra Radha, Heart of Keld Augur of Autumn Spelunking Tireless Tracker Wayward Swordtooth Mina and Denn, Wildborn Case of the Locked Hothouse Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar Geode Rager Hormagaunt Horde

Hazezon cares about Deserts, and since Deserts are lands, cards that care about lands are great fits for the deck, particularly ones that let you play multiple lands a turn like Wayward Swordtooth and the awesome new Case of the Locked Hothouse – in a Desert, a locked hothouse is very hot indeed!  I was thrilled to recently add Spelunking to the deck since so many Desert cards enter the battlefield tapped.

Lands and the Graveyard

Crop Rotation Elvish Reclaimer Undergrowth Recon Harrow Erinis, Gloom Stalker Titania, Protector of Argoth

Many Deserts naturally end up in the graveyard from sacrificing or even cycling, unlocking Hazezon’s ability to play them from the graveyard. But I wanted a few more ways to sacrifice lands for profit, so I’ve got Crop Rotation, Elvish Reclaimer, and Harrow. Titania, Protector of Argoth pays you well for lands going to the graveyard, churning out impressive 5/3 token creatures. Erinis, Gloom Stalker and Undergrowth Recon let you get back lands from the graveyard, providing some backup to Hazezon’s ability.

Tokens Matter

Jaheira, Friend of the Forest Jetmir, Nexus of Revels Eldrazi Monument Craterhoof Behemoth

Hazezon himself can churn out a lot of 1/1 Sand Warrior tokens, and along with other ways for making token creatures, I have ways to capitalize on that. Jaheira, Friend of the Forest lets your tokens tap for a green mana, unlocking your more expensive spells or a multiple spell turn ahead of time. Eldrazi Monument is an EDH classic, making your team quite problematic to deal with, and the upkeep cost is easily manageable. Then of course there are Jetmir, Nexus of Revels and Craterhoof Behemoth, which turn a large army of small creatures into a game-winning large army of large creatures.

Card Draw

Skullclamp Sprouting Goblin Toski, Bearer of Secrets Harmonize Ohran Frostfang

Much like spice, the cards must flow! All of these are great in most decks, but Sprouting Goblin is great “tech” in Hazezon specifically, letting you sacrifice a land to draw a card, and then replay it with Hazezon.


Vandalblast Swords to Plowshares Nature's Claim Contraband Livestock Allay Shattering Pulse Hull Breach Wrath of God Silklash Spider World Breaker

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – play Contraband Livestock, it’s fun!  I’ve got a Silklash Spider in here because sometimes I have issues dealing with flyers. World Breaker is awesome in a deck that can so easily sacrifice a land to bring it back.


Blind Obedience Questing Beast

I’ve been jamming Blind Obedience in more decks these days as strategies that abuse Treasures have gotten so prevalent. Plus, blunting other people’s haste creatures can be helpful!  And since my victories rely on the combat step, Questing Beast is here to help stop Fog effects from ruining my day.

Mana Ramp

Sol Ring Birds of Paradise Three Visits Nature's Lore Reclusive Taxidermist Llanowar Loamspeaker Gala Greeters

Most of my mana ramp is dedicated to helping to fix my colors early since Hazezon costs green, red, and white mana to cast. I have other mana ramp options for the later-game, but those are listed in the sections above.

The Deck

Okay, here’s the full decklist!

Hazezon, Shaper of Sand
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 04-19-2024
Magic Card Back

Here are the deck stats from our friends at Archidekt:

So, what other must-have cards might I have missed including here?  Do you like Hazezon or Yuma to lead your Desert deck?

Talk to Me

Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter!  I run polls and start conversations about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!  You can also find my LinkTree on my profile page there with links to all my content.

I’d also love it if you followed my Twitch channel TheCompleteCommander, where I do Commander, Brawl, and sometimes other Magic-related streams when I can.  If you can’t join me live, the videos are available on demand for a few weeks on Twitch, but I also upload them to my YouTube channel.  You can also find the lists for my paper decks over on Archidekt if you want to dig into how I put together my own decks and brews.  

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


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Visit my Decklist Database to see my decklists and the articles where they appeared!