Power Sink - Build a Prosper, Tome-Bound D&D Deck

(Prosper, Tome-Bound | Art by Yonjae Choi)

You Meet In A Tavern

After a long day adventuring, you arrive at the Power Sink Tavern, where the strongest warriors and the most powerful wizards in the realm of Commander gather to relax and make merry. The cold, stormy night gives way to the boisterous atmosphere of the inn and the warm glow of the hearth.

Roll a perception check.

You see a mysterious Tiefling brooding in a dark corner of the room. Prosper, Tome-Bound, go ahead and describe your character.

Prosper is the number one Rakdos commander on EDHREC and ranks 15th on the site overall with an impressive 14,695 decks. Full disclosure, this is one of my least favorite commanders to encounter. That largely comes from my initial experiences with people being enamored with the deck and passing it off as their "janky Treasure deck" and being surprised when their deck with ramp and card advantage in the command zone as well as seven years worth of impulse draw support goes off, then clutching their pearls when I compare him to Chulane, Teller of Tales.

My very specific personal experience aside, it's easy to see why people are drawn to him. With such open-ended abilities, you can support a variety of deck ideas, and ramp and draw in the command zone makes for a smoother and more consistent game. He's also a great blocker thanks to his four toughness and with deathtouch, opponents are likely to look elsewhere to attack. Being in red, you also have access to the most efficient effects to exile cards from your library as well as interact with the Treasure you produce, while black gives you access to the best tutors. With such an open-ended commander we definitely want to take a look at the average deck from EDHREC to get a sense of what people do with the commander.

Prosper Average Deck

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Commander (1)
Creatures (25)
Artifacts (12)
Instants (11)
Sorceries (12)
Planeswalkers (1)
Enchantments (6)
Lands (32)

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Based on the average list, it seems as if most prosper players are looking to capitalize on the treasure made by the commander. The average deck employs the most efficient ways to weaponize Treasure tokens. Disciple of the Vault, Marionette Master, Nadier's Nightblade and Mayhem Devil reduce life totals when treasure gets sacrificed. Reckless Fireweaver will damage opponents whenever you make Treasure, while Mirkwood Bats will see those tokens coming and going.

Aside from just damage, there are other ways here to get more from Treasure. The only thing better than getting mana is getting more mana... and that can be done with Xorn, Goldspan Dragon, or Crime Novelist. Grim Hireling provides not only a means to acquire more Treasure, but a way to use it to remove creatures as well. Professional Face-Breaker is perfect for a deck like this because it lets you turn your Treasures into cards to play from exile, which will give you more Treasures thanks to the commander.

This deck is unsurprisingly filled to the brim with ways to get cards you can cast from exile to make sure you get those Treasures. There's a mix of one-off effects like Reckless Impulse and Jeska's Will as well as ongoing effects on permanents like Theater of Horrors and Valakut Exploration. Cascade effects like Throes of Chaos and Wild-Magic Sorcerer make a lot of sense here since that's yet another way to cast from exile.

There's also a Theft subtheme present, since quite a few cards in red and black let you cast opponents' cards from exile. Etali, Primal Storm, Fevered Suspicion and Share the Spoils all managed to stick around from the precon and folks have dug deeper into the theme by adding Dauthi Voidwalker and Valki, God of Lies.

Pact and Ready to Go

While these cards on their own seem fair enough, with Prosper at the helm, they become a powerful engine that rewards you for doing basic game actions. It's all well and good if that's what you're going for, but if you're wondering if there's a way to have a deck that doesn't feel so min-maxed, I've got an idea with some character.

I'm taking inspiration for thisĀ build from another one of my hobbies. Rather than building a deck to take advantage of Prosper's abilities, we're building a deck based on the Warlock class from Dungeons and Dragons. In a sense, I'm creating Prosper's character sheet in Commander deck form. We're jamming in as many D&D themed cards as we can and adding a Dungeon subtheme. Since a lot of card choices are going to be for flavor rather than power, the card and mana advantage from the commander is going to help tremendously in making for a smoother play experience.

Prosper's Character Sheet

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Commander (1)
Sorceries (8)
Instants (9)
Artifacts (22)
Enchantments (10)
Creatures (13)
Lands (36)
Battles (1)

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One of the first things we do when building our character is to pick a class. Naturally, Warlock Class is a must. It's not the best fit for the commander, but the incidental life drain and one-time card draw doesn't hurt. For those of you unfamiliar with the game, Warlocks gain power by making a pact with an otherworldly patron. To represent this, we've got a few cards that mention pacts. Blood Pact, Eldritch Pact, and Damnable Pact all draw us cards while Xander's Pact can give us free spells off the top of our opponents' libraries which are cast from exile.

A warlock's patron ought to be part of the story, so we're including a few in the deck. Raphael, Fiendish Savior is our fiend patron. Giving +1/+1 and lifelink to our commander will help us stay in the game, and Raphael makes for a decent attacker. Rankle, Master of Pranks is the archfey patron. We're rarely going to want the mode where everyone sacrifices a creature, but the card draw is useful and we can mitigate the discard effect thanks to the commander putting cards in exile. Finally our patron for the great old one is Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. When it comes to incomprehensible beings from beyond the stars, you can't go wrong with Eldrazi, and Ulamog is a powerful, inevitable threat.

A warlock's patron grants them one of three pact boons which we're representing through multiple cards. The Pact of the Tome grants a book that provides additional spells, so Tome of Legends and Sarevok's Tome do a great job of replicating that through extra cards or casting spells for free. Pact of the Chain grants a familiar, and the ones we can summon are quite useful. Bothersome Quasit will constantly be removing blockers with all the noncreature spells we have. Nefarious Imp will give us a scry trigger for the Treasure we sacrifice. Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar spreads the damage from our commander to everyone, which is going to be relevant since we're going to be attacking with Prosper. They nailed pact of the blade with Pact Weapon, which is a great way to get some extra cards and damage as well as keep us from losing the game.

Next we need to pick some spells, and luckily there are plenty of D&D classics that have cards. Fireball, Lightning Bolt and Delayed Blast Fireball burn opponents or opposing creatures. We can wipe the board of small creatures with Arms of Hadar or Cloudkill or deal with the six biggest threats with Hex. Fear grants our commander some needed evasion, and we can save it from removal with a well timed Feign Death. Unfortunately, one of the most iconic Warlock spells doesn't have a card, so we have to get creative. Burning Anger and Arcane Teachings make sense for this as they are repeatable, much like Eldritch Blast, and thanks to Prosper having deathtouch, they allow us to easily pick off problem creatures.

With spells out of the way, we need to give Prosper some personality by choosing a background. Since we want to be casting from exile, I think Passionate Archaeologist is going to be worth the price tag here. Tavern Brawler is also a good fit since it gives us more cards to cast from exile. Finally, Agent of the Iron Throne will drain our opponents life totals when we sacrifice our Treasures.

Any adventurer worth their salt needs some tough gear. When it's time to take the fight to our opponents we have Hero's Blade, Blackblade Reforged, and Vorpal Sword. We can toss our Spare Dagger at anything that might get in the way or fly right over it with Cloak of the Bat. Wand of Wonder gives us random magic effects in the form of our opponent's spells - cast from exile - just like Prosper wants. It's a great way to dig up some removal, as that's often on instants and sorceries. Finally we can't leave camp without the basics. Dungeoneer's Pack, Dungeon Map, and Trailblazer's Torch to help us find our way through dungeons. The torch is especially good on Prosper because that damage will always be lethal.

Our character is pretty much done, but we could use a few more creatures in the deck, so why not add some party members? Sivriss, Nightmare Speaker is our Cleric and while she won't be healing us, she can cash in our Treasures for cards unless our opponents are willing to take some damage. Our warrior Caves of Chaos Adventurer is yet another way for us to cast from exile. Our rogue, Ravenloft Adventurer will make sure any creatures we kill stay gone. We also have a Stirring Bard to sing of our party's exploits and grant menace to our commander.

So we've prepared our spells, gathered our gear, and rallied our companions, there's just one more thing to do: Go on a quest. While there are Quest cards in the game, I like the feel of Battles better. Invasion of Kaldheim gives us a new hand while also giving cards to cast from exile and if we can transform it, it's another way for us to deal some damage. Elbrus, the Binding Blade is another card with that quest completion feel, and unleashing a giant Demon seems like the thing a patron might have you do. Once the quest is over, there's the matter of loot. Usually you want everyone to Share the Spoils, but sometimes more than one person can use that magic sword and you end up with a Loot Dispute

Let Me Level With You

I think it's fair to say that this deck is well below the average power level you find in most Commander games. It's unfocused, but it could be a lot of fun if you have anyone else with a similarly powered deck. Beyond that, I think this would be an excellent deck for a game of Horde Magic. If you're not familiar, this is a variant where all players cooperate to defeat a horde deck that's filled with tokens of a certain creature type as well as various cards to power them up.

If you're curious about the rules, you can find them here. It's a fun way to mix it up, but I think most commander decks these days are a bit too strong for that variant, and trivialize the horde deck. Not only does a low powered theme deck like this provide a more challenging game, you could even do a bit of roleplaying since the deck is based on a character class. I've heard of people even going so far as to make campaigns with this variant where the decks can "level up" by swapping in better cards. I think this would also be a fun exercise to do with other characters and maybe even have a game with your playgroup where everyone has a deck like this and starts with a class card in the command zone. Let me know in the comments who you would build a "character sheet deck" for.

Read More:

Power Sink - Yarok's Dungeon Crawl

The Over/Under - A Review of "Battle for Baldur's Gate" Commanders

Lenny has been in an on again off again relationship with Magic since Fallen Empires. He fell in love with Commander in 2010 when his friends forced him to build Niv Mizzet, the Firemind and has been with the game ever since. When he's not turning cardboard sideways or trying to justify using bad draft commons in EDH decks you can find him playing something from his massive board game collection or practicing the Brazilian martial art Capoeira. Follow Lenny on twitter @LennyWooley

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