Commander Top 10: Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Bennie Smith makes another companion his commander as he builds a spicy 100-card deck around Lurrus of the Dream-Den!

Lurrus of the Dream-Den, illustrated by Slawomir Maniak

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Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths has so many great new toys for Commander!  These are the legends that I’ve brewed sweet decks around:

Zirda, the Dawnwaker Obosh, the Preypiercer Nethroi, Apex of Death Kogla, the Titan Ape Zilortha, Strength Incarnate Brokkos, Apex of Forever

You can find most of them in the archives here but a few you can find the videos on my YouTube channel

And it still feels like I’ve only scratched the surface!  This week, I decided to tap another companion as our commander, this time Lurrus of the Dream-Den!

Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Graveyard recursion is one of my all-time favorite things to do in Magic. My love for it goes way, way back.

Let me tell you a quick story. In the beginning of Magic, I was way into big green creatures.  I just loved them, ever since I cracked open my first Magic cards and saw Force of Nature staring back at me.  An 8/8 creature with trample for just six mana?  Sign me up!

The bane of my existence then was black removal. I’d invest a bunch of mana into some huge creature, and my opponent would kill it with Terror.  Or I’d play a bunch of smaller creatures and my opponent would kill them all with Perish.

One day I was complaining to a friend of mine about my sorry fate.  “What’s even worse about black, even if I kill their creatures in combat with mine, they can just get them back from the graveyard.”

My friend just shrugged. “You should add black to your deck. Then you could kill creatures with your black spells and get your dead creatures back from the graveyard.”

Oath of Ghouls Recurring Nightmare Living Death

The spirit of Golgari ignited in my heart that day.

Over the years, I notice that a lot of my decks are “Golgari” in their graveyard recursion even if they aren’t green and black.

Glissa, the Traitor Feldon of the Third Path Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle

I mean, these all basically do the same awesome thing right?

And now we have another one.  Welcome to the Golgari club, Lurrus, you Nightmare Cat!

Lurrus offers a very specific sort of graveyard recursion—once per turn, you can cast one permanent spell with converted mana cost 2 or less from your graveyard.  Since it specifies a spell, that means you can’t play lands from the graveyard, and being limited to permanent spells with converted mana cost 2 or less is quite the restraint. But I think we can leverage a lot of cards that can provide small, incremental advantage over time to grind us to victory, and we can cast permanents with X in its cost to get around the mana cost restriction.

Let’s get brewing!

1. The Ozolith

The Ozolith

We can make great use of so many creatures that have X in the casting cost in a Lurrus deck—cast it with whatever mana you have available early, and then late-game you can cast it out of the graveyard for even more mana.  They just scale up in power and effectiveness at all parts of the game. Since they all involve +1/+1 counters it occurred to me that The Ozolith becomes an awesome inclusion here!  If your 6/6 Hangarback Walker dies, you get all those Thopters but then just move the six +1/+1 counters to The Ozolith, and eventually you can move those counters onto the next X-creature or even put them on Lurrus itself and start the beatdown with lifelink!

Endless One Stonecoil Serpent Cryptic Trilobite Hangarback Walker Walking Ballista Mikaeus, the Lunarch

I love that Mikaeus, the Lunarch can be tapped down to 0/0 to boost your team and then you can just cast it again from the graveyard with Lurrus.

2. Kaya’s Ghostform

Kaya's Ghostform

If you’ve ever played against a Muldrotha, the Gravetide deck, you’ve probably seen the ridiculous power of Kaya’s Ghostform when you can keep casting it from your graveyard. Since it’s a black Aura, we can do the same sort of shenanigans in Lurrus.  The white slice of Lurrus’s color identity gives us a ton of great options for protecting Lurrus:

Mother of Runes Giver of Runes Benevolent Bodyguard Selfless Spirit Cliffside Rescuer

I’ve seen opponents tie themselves in knots trying to kill off Mother of Runes, so being able to recast it is going to be nuts!

3. Lotus Petal

Lotus Petal

Mana acceleration is crucial in Commander, and since we’re not playing green a lot of it involves artifacts. The downside to artifact mana sources is that they occasionally get blown up by sweepers, but thankfully a lot of them can be recast with Lurrus.  One of the best of the bunch is Lotus Petal, which can lead to a really nice early-game—cast Lurrus on Turn 2 by casting and sacrificing Lotus Petal, and then you can cast Lotus Petal from the graveyard, sacrifice it again and cast a one-mana spell.  Shenanigans like this got Lurrus banned in Vintage and Legacy, so why not get a little taste of that right here in Commander?

Sol Ring Wayfarer's Bauble Orzhov Signet Arcane Signet Talisman of Hierarchy Oath of Lieges

I’ve been a big fan of putting Oath of Lieges in more decks lately. Given the absurd amount of land ramp that green has access to, Oath of Lieges spreads the wealth around and can certainly generate goodwill among your nongreen opponents.

4. Hope of Ghirapur

Hope of Ghirapur

Sometimes you’re up against an opponent who’s going to combo kill the table during their next turn, and you can make it complicated for them by attacking them with Hope of Ghirapur, sacrificing it, and then recasting it with Lurrus. Or maybe you just want to shut down their sweeper spells or be able to cast your spells the rest of the turn unmolested.  Hope of Ghirapur again and again does some good work.

We can include a lot of other cheap spells that interact with our opponents and can be brought back from the graveyard with Lurrus:

Nihil Spellbomb Soul-Guide Lantern Shadowspear Remorseful Cleric Vampire Hexmage

Vampire Hexmage primarily got the nod due to its ability to assassinate planeswalkers, but it also gets added utility with the introduction of ability counters in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths and Commander 2020.  Removing an indestructible, doublestrike, or deathtouch counter can be a crucial bit of interaction! 

5. No Rest for the Wicked

No Rest for the Wicked

Even though a large number of cards in our deck will be recurrable with Lurrus, we’ll want to include higher-mana-cost spells and creatures that will have a positive impact on our gameplan, so I’m going to include some graveyard recursion spells that can bring back creatures with a higher converted mana cost than two, and No Rest for the Wicked is one of the best since you can sacrifice it to bring back every creature of yours that died during a turn—including Lurrus if you want to skip the command zone this time around.  Then recast Lurrus, cast No Rest for the Wicked from the graveyard, and you’re all set to rebuild your battlefield.

Omen of the Dead Phyrexian Reclamation Animate Dead

Animate Dead is nice since it can bring back a dead creature from an opponent’s graveyard!

6. Bounty Agent

Bounty Agent

Removal spells you can bring back from the graveyard with Lurrus will be incredibly useful, and among the best is Bounty Agent.  It has vigilance, so if you have an opening you can beat down and still be alert for things that need to die. Like an opponent’s commander. Or someone’s copy of The Great Henge. Or a Search for Azcanta.

Dispeller's Capsule Seal of Cleansing Bloodthirsty Blade

Lurrus and many of your creatures are quite small, so I really like Bloodthirsty Blade as a way to keep the larger, more threatening creatures your opponents may cast off your back and instead crashing into your opponents.

7. Dead Man’s Chest

Dead Man's Chest

Card draw on cheap permanents will be awesome in a Lurrus deck, and one card that I’m particularly excited about is Dead Man’s Chest. Enchanting a creature you’re about to kill – say with Bounty Agent – should give you some sweet cards you wouldn’t normally have access to.  And then you can cast Dead Man’s Chest again with Lurrus.  And again.  And again!

Mishra's Bauble Skullclamp Expedition Map Thraben Inspector Tome of Legends

8. Blackblade Reforged

Blackblade Reforged

I’ve got a few other low-mana permanent spells to round out the Lurrus recursive package, and the best of those is Blackblade Reforged.  It constantly surprises me how many Commander decks I run across that don’t run this gem, pretty much any deck with a creature as the commander should run it.  It just gets better and better as the game goes on, and it’s particularly nice in a Lurrus deck due to the creature’s lifelink ability and its two-mana casting cost. If your opponents don’t exile Blackblade Reforged, it’ll be back! 

Reconnaissance Blind Obedience

These two enchantments provide a lot of utility!  Reconnaissance lets us swarm in with our smaller creatures and sneak in chip damage while ensuring none die in combat, and Blind Obedience is a fantastic way to ensure that a bunch of hasty creatures don’t appear out of nowhere and rampage over life totals.  Plus, don’t discount the extort triggers you can squeeze out of all the grindy card recursion we’ll be engaged in. 

9. Deadly Rollick

Deadly Rollick

Black and white provide a ton of fantastic removal options outside of what we can recur with Lurrus, so I definitely want to make room for a bunch of it in the deck, and the best of the bunch has got to be Deadly Rollick.  The new “commander free” removal spell from Commander 2020 is a rare black spell that exiles the targeted creature. It’s fine for full retail at four mana but absurd for free!

And then we have all these gorgeous removal spells:

Swords to Plowshares Go for the Throat Despark Anguished Unmaking Mortify Wrath of God Kaya's Wrath Return to Dust

10. Gravebreaker Lamia

Gravebreaker Lamia

White and black also have a ton of great utility spells that cost more than two mana, and so I’ll be finding room for a fair number of them as well, and the best of the bunch is Gravebreaker Lamia.  It’s enters the battlefield trigger is basically a free Demonic Tutor for something that Lurrus can recur from the graveyard, and then it discounts any spells you cast from the graveyard by one generic mana.  As if all that wasn’t enough, you also get a 4/4 lifelink body to boot.  This is a win-win-win!

Grim Haruspex Teferi's Protection Flawless Maneuver Desecrated Tomb Solemn Simulacrum Syr Konrad, the Grim Salvaging Station Bolas's Citadel

On the bucket list for this deck is to have Desecrated Tomb on the battlefield when there’s a sweeper, and then you get all the creatures back to your hand by sacrificing No Rest for the Wicked and get a bunch of 1/1 Bat tokens from Desecrated Tomb

Okay, so here’s how the deck ended up:

Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 05-30-2020

What do you think?  Are there any cards I’ve overlooked?  If you see any new cards from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths or Commander 2020 that should find a home here, let me know!

Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter!  I run polls and get conversations started about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!  I’d also love it if you followed my Twitch channel TheCompleteCommander, where I do a deckbuilding stream every Monday evening, and pepper in some other Commander-related streams when I can.  If you can join me live, the videos are available on demand for a few weeks on Twitch, but I also upload them to my YouTube channel.

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


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