EDH Brewing Royale! Featuring Sheldon, Shivam, and Jim

(Combined Art by Willian Murai, Matthew D Wilson, and Daarken)

Let's Get Ready to Rumble!

Hello! How's everyone been lately? As many readers may know, I've been slowly losing my mind due to being home all the time. I mean, how many EDH decks can one possibly make for their cats to play? Fear not, though, my spellslinging friends! I have found the power of anime and have done an excessive amount of binging new shows lately. So far my top favorites are "Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!" and "Shokugeki no Souma"!

Why am I telling you this? Because I've come up with a great idea! If we can have anime shows of cooking competitions, why not an EDH Brewing Royale competition?!

Wait, hold on, our EDHREC accountant wants me.




Apparently we don't have the budget for an anime show, that's why. I guess we'll just have to do the next best thing! Today, we're going to dedicate this article to the ultimate showdown between EDH brewers. That's right! This month we will test the skill and determination of the best deckbuilders the Magic: the Gathering world has to offer! Each of our EDHREC contestants will face one another for the title of this month's EDH Master. Who will win? Who will cry? How many Shokugeki no Souma images can I get away with in this article? Let's find out by going to the kitchen... table... and cooking up something fierce!

The Judges

Before we can begin the festivities, we're going to need some judges! A dedicated group of people who will witness this battle of brewers and critique their creations! Luckily for our readers, we're pulling out the big guns to kick off this new series! Everyone welcome our judges for today's competition!

Sheldon Menery

That's right! Today we have the one and only Sheldon Menery! The Godfather of EDH, itself, has decided to judge our first ever EDH Brewing Royale! Sheldon has an impressive series of titles under his belt, including being a level 5 Magic: the Gathering Judge, a writer for Star City Games, and being one of the founding creators of EDH! It's through his guidance that we now have the best format in Magic today! Are you as excited as I am? Once you recover your composure, we can move on to our next judge!

Shivam Bhatt

The man of endless knowledge and compassion, Shivam Bhatt, has also decided to help out in our competition! A member of the Commander Advisory Group and host of Casual Magic Podcast, Shivam has dedicated an unparalleled amount of time reaching out through various platforms to better help the community. Undoubtedly, he'll be able to find out who among our contestants captured the real essence of EDH!

Jim of The Spike Feeders

Last, but not least, say hello to the king of cEDH, Jim of The Spike Feeders! He'll be sure to give a unique perspective on the power level of our decks!

Thank you to each of our judges for your time and providing the upmost expertise in our brewing! Now, to the main event!

The Dish

Such a roster of judges deserves only the most difficult of challenges, am I right? We need to make sure that our contestants are given one of the hardest deck themes imaginable to compete with one another. When asking our judges, Sheldon immediately said the theme should be Banding! Of course, we were able to convince him that us mere mortals of EDH will need a little slack when it comes to brewing off of a particular theme. After much deliberation, our judges came up with the perfect ingredient to base these decks off of!

Our contestants will create a deck with Storm Scale 10 as their main ingredient! What is a Storm Scale 10? The Storm Scale was created by Mark Rosewater to determine his personal preference on the likelihood of a particular mechanic being reprinted. So for example, flying is rated as a 1, as it sees reprints in about every set. Banding, however, will very likely never see a reprint, so it's listed as a 10. (Fun fact: Banding with Others is actually rated as an 11!) Leave it to our all-star of judges to come up with something fierce.

But wait! Our judges are not done bringing the pain! Shivam has also added in a small addition to this challenge. Any cards or synergies that do not match their typical color identity will award the brewer extra points! After all, we can't give Mark Rosewater everything, can we? Now let's meet our contestants at last and see what they'll brew with this difficult ingredient!

Jevin's Storm Level Midnight!

Our first contestant is one of our newest writers, the challenger of stats and contests, Jevin Lortie! One of the first to rise to the challenge, Jevin has entered the stage to prove that tenure isn't everything! His philosophy is one of taking the enemy on head first, brushing any damage aside like it's nothing! So how will this upcoming star compete against his seniors? He's going to show us how to make one of the most powerful Korlash, Heir to Blackblade decks that you can imagine!

He chose to mix Storm 10's Regenerate with a Voltron strategy to whip up something to knock our judges' socks off! His plan is to let his commander tank his opponents' onslaught while he uses his mana for removal and card draw. He'll take his time deflecting hits while he slowly gathers his win conditions, like Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni or Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. I have to say, it was a bold choice to go mono-black, and Jevin nailed it perfectly! While I don't have a say in the judging, playing Infect has definitely won me over!

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So how did it do? Let's ask our judges!

Sheldon: Regeneration is a compelling and useful Storm Level 10 mechanic. The deck looks eminently playable. Korlash is a saucy choice. The deck might want to create more Regeneration situations, like with Lethal Vapors.
Rating: 3 on the 5 Lugosi scale.

Shivam: This deck feels almost too 'normal'. Yes, Regeneration is a Storm 10, but the cards all felt safe and reasonable. This deck feels really strong, but doesn't really get the weird vibe I was looking for.

Jim: I think when you're building a deck around a theme, it should either be immediately evident what the theme is while you're looking at it, or you should have an "aha" moment when someone tells you. Korlash in the command zone gives you both a clock and a strong direction for the deck, and I love the choice of a Future Sight commander in this challenge as a nod to the idea that we're playing with bizarre themes. I would have loved to see you leverage the Regeneration for something rather than Regeneration being the end goal.

Joseph's Making the Beatles

Whew, only one deck in, and things are already dicey! Luckily, Joseph Megill is willing to smoke the competition! Ha, see what I did there? No? Well then, watch the anime, because that was funny, I promise. Our Joseph has been ranking every EDH-playable card with us at EDHREC for a while now, so he's definitely proven that he knows his stuff! Also, like Sheldon, his mind immediately went with Banding the second he was told of what ingredient he was working with! His plan? To confuse his enemies with his superior knowledge of game mechanics! If you're confused about Banding, Joseph is more then happy to give you some examples!

Normally, when multiple creatures block another creature, the defending player (the one controlling the blockers) decides how damage is dealt by the defending creatures to the attacking creatures. However, any number of creatures with Banding, and up to one creature without it, may attack or block as a group. No matter whether the creatures are attacking or blocking, the controller of the "band" of creatures chooses how damage is dealt by the non-Banding creatures.

This means that if Rafiq of the Many is being blocked by Benalish Hero and a creature like Adanto Vanguard, we can assign all the damage that Rafiq would deal to the Vanguard and keep our other creature safe! An excellent creature to assign damage to is Brash Taunter, which makes our opponents' offense into our offense! He's even included the dreaded Banding with Others into his deck to ensure that his dish has an overwhelming aroma!

Making the Beatles

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Commander (1)
Creatures (26)
Instants (6)
Sorceries (10)
Artifacts (8)
Enchantments (7)
Planeswalkers (1)
Lands (41)

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That's some list! Judges, do your thing!

Sheldon: Clever use of a strong but misunderstood mechanic. Only problem might be narrow win conditions, but who cares? You’re Banding! I’d suggest some creatures your opponents don’t want to damage, like Boros Reckoner and Mogg Maniac to put them in a very tight spot.
Rating: 4 Pete Bests and a bonus Billy Preston

Shivam: Wow, what an absolutely absurd and delightful build! I admire going out on a limb like this, and the bands with other lands from Legends are just frosting on this cake. This is the spirit I wanted to see!

Jim: Picking a pair of linked characters in the command zone ties in really nicely to the Banding theme, and, functionally speaking, having a big booty to assign damage to is extremely useful. Your suite of creatures show that you have a good understanding of the mechanic, which is absolutely necessary if you ever plan on sleeving this deck up - you're going to have to explain it at nearly every table you play it at. I'm a little concerned at the lack of repeatable card advantage (or mitigation of card disadvantage). Whenever you're committing to the board this hard, you need to have a good way to claw your way back into the game after a board wipe, and I don't think K&T gets you there. I especially like Leyline of Singularity as a way to deal with go-wide token strategies.

DougY's Fear and Surprise!

Now for our final brewer, DougY and his all-too-specific ways to crush the competition! Being our EDHREC veteran, DougY is going to prove what being the senior writer is all about. He plans to teach his juniors a lesson by creating a deadly dish of deception and terror! He chose to use Karona, False God to lure his victims into a false sense of security to only then overwhelm them with powerful consecutive hits of flavor! Truly it takes a man of his experience to overwhelm his fellow brewers with the power of Fear!

His plan is to pass around his commander and allow them to enjoy the Fear of her "intimidating" presence. Being a seasoned player, DougY knows that most of the Fear abilities out there are sorcery-speed. As such, he plans to use cards like Vedalken Orrery to his advantage and make sure that he can always stay one step ahead! Not only that, he can flash in potential blockers and answers for those who plan to use his commander against him. To add to the onslaught, he decided that a few sprinkles of Goad will guarantee the success of his dish tasting the best in the eyes of the judges!

Fear and Surprise

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Commander (1)
Creatures (26)
Instants (5)
Sorceries (6)
Artifacts (9)
Enchantments (15)
Planeswalkers (1)
Lands (37)

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Did Karona swing it out of the park? Let's ask our judges!

Sheldon: The deadliest of the three decks, there won’t be much surprise when Karona and the other things deal out some damage. Angel’s Trumpet is a great Hidden Gem. Adding Vows to Karona is very techy. The only thing missing might be some You Did This to Yourself elements, like Deflecting Palm.
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Orrerys

Shivam: Assault Suit, Karona, and Disrupt Decorum? Be still, my heart! This is Commander-flavored Hot Potato, and I'm 100% here for it. Completely ridiculous, and guaranteed to make everyone at the table smile after the dust has settled.

Jim: This deck goes really deep on the Fear theme, and I think I like that a lot. Goad works really nicely with Fear, and I don't think a little bit of vigilance (perhaps a Heliod, God of the Sun) would be out of place here. I ESPECIALLY love the inclusion of a Licid here. Even though it's not a Storm Scale 10 mechanic, I feel like it probably could be given the notable rules baggage surrounding them. Aluren is a particularly dangerous card to play with, and it's a bit of a nonbo with Eidolon of Rhetoric, so I'm not really sure what it's there for.

The Winner

There are a lot of amazing decks jam-packed in this article, but there can only be one winner! I know that I can't decide who deserves the title of champion, so let's see who the judges chose!

Sheldon: Making the Beatles for making the use of the most difficult mechanic to do something with and turning it into something playable.

Shivam: Making the Beatles, just for sheer gall to make Banding a going concern for the first time in 25 years. Fear and Surprise, though, is a deck I wouldn't be surprised to see show up in my own collection in the future.

Jim: I'm casting my vote for Fear and Surprise because, out of the three decks, I feel like it leverages its theme the best (although Making the Beatles is an extremely close second here). It's an aggressive deck that keeps its opponents on the back foot and uses Fear to break the symmetry of "all creatures must attack" effects. Very tight list.

That makes Joseph's Making the Beatles the winner! Congratulations, you win our first ever EDH Battle Royale!

Closing Thoughts

Do you agree with our honored judges? If you do or don't, I have great news! We secretly had one more judge lined up. It's you! Leave in a vote so we can see who you think deserves the title!

Also, please, let us know if you'd like to see more of these Battle Royales. Who knows, maybe it could be you competing in the next contest! A special thank you to our judges for taking the time to help out with our little event. I couldn't have asked for a better panel! All of them have beyond-busy schedules with their various content, and I would strongly recommend checking out each and every one of them!

Until next time (and my next anime obsession),

Chef Kya

Never fear! Kya's here! Kya has been a long time EDH player and hobbyist. With an extended history of blacksmithing and 3d printing various MTG related items for fun, she has turned her attention to sharing her mad scientist brews to the public. Although a competitive player by nature, her aim is to provide fun and silly deck ideas to those looking to spice up their play groups. Kya is here to scratch that demented individual's itch for pure chaos and show everyone that a Warp World can be a fun experience! Except when you have a Hive Mind and Eye of the Storm out...

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