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Commander Top 10: Radha, Heart Of Keld

Bennie Smith’s builds with Core Set 2021 commanders continues with Radha, Heart of Keld! Check out his latest 100-card creation.

Radha, Heart of Keld, illustrated by Chris Rahn

Core Set 2021 has some sweet new cards for Commander, including some very cool legendary creatures.  Last week I covered the new version of Mangara – Mangara, the Diplomat – which gives mono-white a nifty new way to draw cards that’s firmly within white’s color pie.  This week I take a look at another source of virtual card advantage in Radha, Heart of Keld.  This third version of Radha is a new spin on Courser of Kruphix, a powerful card that rotated out of Standard a few years ago but did a ton of work managing your draw steps to better ensure you actually draw fewer lands and more action cards.

Going from mono-green to Gruul, it makes sense that Radha should be much more aggressive than Courser.  Where Courser’s body is a 2/4 and excellent for blocking, Radha loses a point of toughness and gains a point of power, so at 3/3 hits harder and also gains first strike when attacking. Courser gains life whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, while Radha has an activated ability that makes an excellent mana sink assuming you’re hitting your land drops each turn, and it will generally give Radha at least +6/+6. 

Can we take a moment to dwell on how amazing it is to have Courser of Kruphix’s best ability attached to a commander?  At the most basic level, being able to better count on making land drops every turn without “costing” a card draw is already fantastic, and the more lands you have the bigger spells you can cast, or the better able to have double- or triple-spell turns. 

Being able to know what card is sitting on top of your library – and to generally ensure it’s not a land – is also relevant to quite a few other cards and abilities too.  We’ll have to keep an eye out for those.

Lastly, there’s a reason why Courser of Kruphix doesn’t see all that much play in Commander: having every opponent know each card you draw is a real cost. Radha removes that drawback altogether.

Let’s get brewing!

1. Radha, Heir to Keld

Since Radha and Teferi the time mage are buds, I figure it’s perfectly okay to play all three versions of Radha, representing her across three different ages.  The two previous versions of Radha generate temporary bursts of mana, which is nice for casting more spells or making it easier to activate our commander’s activated ability.  Radha, Heir to Keld gets the nod as our #1 card since you can cast her on Turn 2; use her tap ability to help cast Radha, Heart of the Wild; and still have a land drop to use in case the top card of your library is a land.

Since we’re playing green, we have access to all of green’s best mana ramp and color fixing options, and I’m including a lot of them here.  Cards like Cultivate are almost always awesome, but they’re even better in this deck. Since you know what’s on top of your library, you can time them to shuffle away a card that you don’t want to draw.

2. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

The only hiccup to our plan to play lands off the top of our library is when you hit multiple lands in a row, which runs into the rule that you can only play one land a turn. Thankfully, there are plenty of cards that help us play more than one land in a turn, and the best of the bunch is Dryad of the Ilysian Grove.  Not only does it let you play an extra land each turn, but it fixes your colors and it even has a defensive 2/4 body to hold down the fort while Radha raids your opponents’ life totals.

Azusa, Lost but Seeking lets you play two extra lands, so you can easily blow through any land clumps that could otherwise slow down your more exciting draws, and since it’s been reprinted in Core Set 2021 the price should be much more reasonable now.

Mina and Denn, Wildborn have some nice utility in addition to the extra land drops. Since Radha doesn’t have built-in trample, it would be nice to help push damage through when she’s activated her ability.

3. Vizier of the Menagerie

Vizier of the Menagerie is perfect to pair up with Radha!  If you’re playing lands from the top of your library, odds go up that you’ll be able to cast creatures from the top of your library, and if you’re casting creatures from the top of your library, odds go up that you’ll be able to play lands from the top of your library. 

I’ve included a bunch of other cards that get much better when you know what card is on top of the library.  I’m particularly excited about Call of the Wild since Radha ensures you know there’s a creature on top of the library when you activate it.  Etali, Primal Storm is another card that gets so much better when you can manage what’s on top of your library!

4. Tireless Tracker

Since Radha ensures that we’re playing a land each turn, we definitely want to make use of Tireless Tracker’s ability to make Clue tokens. And as if that wasn’t already fantastic, Radha cranks it up a notch, since sacrificing a Clue can clear the top card off your library if you’re trying to hit another land drop or want to find some other card to be on top of your library. 

I’m including some other creatures that love us having a lot of lands on the battlefield. 

5. Ugin, the Ineffable

Having ways to manage the top of our library is going to help ensure we maximize the value of Radha’s abilities, and I really like Ugin, the Ineffable’s ability to do just that.  When you want to clear the card from the top of your library, Ugin’s +1 loyalty ability will exile it and create a creature that, when it dies, you’ll get to put that exiled card in your hand.  And of course, the -3 ability can always come in handy.

All of these are good cards that get even better in conjunction with Radha.  I particularly like Explore since you can time it right to clear off the top card of your library and then potentially play yet another land from the top of your deck. 

6. Ohran Frostfang

Since Radha gets first strike when she attacks, why not give her deathtouch too and assemble a Gruul version of Glissa, the Traitor?  Ohran Frostfang is already just a rock-solid Commander card in any deck with plenty of creatures but giving Radha the ability to strike down just about any potential blocker kicks it up a notch.  Plus, the triggered ability is another way to “reset” the top of your library.

I’m including some other ways to enhance Radha:

Blackblade Reforged in particular is terrifying because Radha’s activated ability is already giving her a boost based on the number of lands you control, so doubling that bonus by equipping Blackblade can kill with commander damage quite quickly!

7. The Great Henge

Radha’s ability keeps the cards flowing, but nothing beats raw card draw, and few cards beat The Great Henge for raw card drawing power in a deck with plenty of creatures. This artifact’s triggered ability can be timed to maximize management of the top of your library.

Outside of The Great Henge, we have no shortage of other good sources of raw card draw so I’ve included a fair number of them too. 

8. Kogla, the Titan Ape

I really love Kogla, the Titan Ape and am thrilled to find a slot in this deck for this royal monster.  You should easily be able to fight and kill a mid-size creature when it enters the battlefield, and then being able to kill an artifact or enchantment when you attack is simply gravy.  I even have a few Humans in the deck so that Kogla’s activated ability can come in handy sometimes.

I’m including a murderers’ row of removal spells to interact with shenanigans our opponents might be up to, and I am thrilled at another new goodie from Core Set 2021 – Terror of the Peaks!  Being able to dish out damage equal to a creature’s power whenever one of ours enters the battlefield is awesome, but it gets even better if we equip it with Basilisk Collar.

9. Brash Taunter

Filling the deck out with “good stuff” cards, I’m stoked to include yet another new card from Core Set 2021—one that’s a cross between two of my favorite Commander cards: Stuffy Doll and Mogg Maniac.  I love that Brash Taunter’s triggered ability can hit whatever opponent needs hitting at the moment and tacking on the fight ability gives it another potent angle of attack. Many of those “fight another target creature” cards mandate that you have to fight a creature you don’t control (see Prey Upon), so if you control the biggest creature on the battlefield, go ahead and fight and dome your opponent for maximum damage.

I’m including some other hard-hitting creatures that can act as pinpoint removal magnets so that Radha is more likely to be left alone and keep providing that card advantage.

10. Heroic Intervention

Hitting most of your land drops each turn means that you’re much more likely to have an extra few mana open later in the game, which means that Heroic Intervention is likely to be ready and able to save your bacon in the face of mass removal.  This is another fantastic reprint from Core Set 2021 and one that deserves a home in just about any green Commander deck.

For the last few slots, I’m including some other ways to interact: Shadowspear can remove hexproof and indestructible from opponents’ creatures, and Soul-Guide Lantern and Deathgorge Scavenger can help blunt graveyard shenanigans.

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

Radha, Heart of Keld
Bennie Smith
0th Place at Test deck on 06-18-2020
Commander


Here’s how the deck looks graphically, thanks to our friends at Archidekt:

What do you think?  Are there any cards I’ve overlooked?  If you see any new cards from Core Set 2021 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.

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

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