Please consider supporting us by adding EDHREC to your adblock's whitelist.
Conditions Allow – Dralnu, Lich Lord
Dralnu, Don’t Hurt Me
Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s installment of Conditions Allow. This series is focused around legendary creatures with a drawback and building decks to turn that drawback into a strength. Today I get to talk about one of my favorite Dimir commanders,.
is a five-mana Zombie Lord which you can tap to give one instant or sorcery in your graveyard Flashback until end of turn. Also, whenever damage would be dealt to Dralnu, prevent that damage and you sacrifice that many permanents. This is a great example of a powerful effect paired with an equally powerful drawback. One can force you to sacrifice every permanent you control, and even can be a major setback. But having the ability to recast any instant or sorcery from your graveyard is very powerful, as any player will tell you. As long as you have the lands to play them.
Don’t Hurt Me, No More
So how does EDHREC suggest we get around ’s dangerous drawback? In general, the strategy seems to be “win before it becomes a problem”. is an infamous new win condition in the vein of and , all of which rely on chewing through your deck as quickly as possible. Dralnu enables this in a powerful way by letting you re-cast wheel effects like and . and also help propel you forward by pulling cards out of the library and refill your graveyard to keep the spells casting.
The problem then becomes continuing to cast spells out of the graveyard. Dralnu’s ability requires him to tap, so untapping him is key for Storm decks.still appears on Dralnu’s page and would have been a key piece in the Spike-ier builds were it not for the fact that it’s banned. Right now, and also generate infinite mana while also untapping Dralnu as many times as you need.
Putting cards into your graveyard also opens up the possibility to reanimate big threats. Creatures likeand can close out the game quickly with powerful attacks, but also serve as removal and creature deterrents to ensure stays as far away from combat as possible.
This sounds like an alluring strategy, and EDHREC page and see if we can find anything with a little more jank.certainly has the potential to be a very powerful commander. Casting spells twice is really strong, and Dralnu has the potential to use the graveyard as a resource better than , who is much more popular (2696 decks vs 168 decks). Building like this, however, feels like avoiding his downside rather than trying to turn it to a strength. Let’s take another look at his
Dralnu, Jank Lord
Embracing Dralnu’s downside means embracing sacrifices.and both create tokens as you cast spells to help absorb the extra cost of any damage that Dralnu takes. You could also try to prevent that damage from happening at all. Most direct damage spells come from red sources, so could be an interesting option, along with and to prevent targeted spells. is a black , and prevents all damage for as long as it remains on the field. Just watch out for s.
Playing a slower game lets us include a couple of cards that don’t fit into the more streamlined version suggested by Mill theme. is a second , and helps you get cards in our graveyard while disrupting your opponents’ plans. Graveyard decks are growing in popularity, however, so be careful before allowing the or deck at the table to fill their graveyard too quickly.’s base page, but do show up under the
You could also start considering more planeswalkers. In more streamlined Dralnu decks,is fast enough, but probably not much else. A more relaxed approach opens the door for to put cards into your graveyard and to get any creatures out of it. Planeswalkers also serve as a great distraction, soaking up damage that could otherwise be pointed at . Plus, if that damage is still direct towards your commander, your planeswalkers can keep you in the game while you rebuild.
It’s Not Me, It’s You
When I started to research cards for this article, I also thought about if there was any way to use’s sacrifice clause for advantage. Would it be possible to build around that effect if I could control the damage being dealt to Dralnu? It didn’t seem like it, until I realized that I didn’t have to be the one controlling Dralnu. Blue gives you access to a myriad of effects, many of which we can use twice thanks to the flashback provided by . By far the best of these bits of is . This little Equipment lets us give Dralnu away and also prevents Dralnu from being sacrificed to his own effect.
lets us use to whittle away at an opponent’s resources while also controlling their ability to retaliate. Sometimes, though, you just want to blow everything up all at once. For that, you’re going to need a , or some other big damage spell. In black, however, you have to call it a . is very similar to , while doesn’t require black mana for X.
As it turns out, though, the best big mana effect in Dimir makes black mana.and are the go-to big mana tools in any deck with black, and makes all that mana go even further. There’s plenty of space for s as well, so also makes sense. Just watch out for any unexpected removal, since and both double your opponents’ mana at the same time. Any risk is worth it, though, when you could wipe every permanent you don’t control off the board.
Rule #2: The Double Tap
The last thing to consider is how the deck will actually win. This must be considered a Mass Land Destruction deck, and the core rule of playing Mass Land Destruction is to have a way to win. No one wants to sit around with no lands, watching you desperately try to close the game out with nothing but a 3/3 and ain hand. You could play , or follow our fun shenanigans with a large , but I don’t think either of those cards really fit in this strategy. If we could win with Aetherflux or Torment, why bother with and ?
Especially when you can truly crush everyone’s hopes and dreams by forcing them to sacrifice all of their permanents and then reanimating Mill theme for this list, which features plenty of beefy creatures that present a clear path to victory. , , and all provide a lot of value while being late-game threats. is a little more niche, but easily gets our commander out of the graveyard so we don’t have to pay commander tax. doesn’t have the raw power of the other creatures in this section, but it does act as a second copy of when he does get sacrificed.. I’ve been pulling more and more from the
The rest of the deck is ramp, and should probably include a higher percentage of counterspells.lets us replay counterspells and removal, and finding them consistently will have a major impact on your ability to do what this deck wants to do. You’ll want to tweak the exact numbers to fit your playgroup, however. Sometimes it is best to look non-threatening and quietly amass the components of your eventual victory.
Dralnu, Lich Lord
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
is a powerful commander who enables some nutty strategies and interactions. The first time people see this card on the table, they will probably underestimate the potential. You will also probably underestimate the number of lands you’ll end up sacrificing to his effect. Be prepared to get hated out of some games, especially if your playgroup favors aggressive creature decks.
Let me know in the comments what your experiences with Dralnu have been. Is he worth it, or just too risky? Which cards are your favorite, and what did I leave out of my list?