The Toolbox – Well of Knowledge

(Well of Knowledge | Art by D. Alexander Gregory)

Knowledge is Power

Welcome back to The Toolbox, where we take a look at underutilized cards and evaluate new ways to play them. Today, we’re discussing a value artifact that I think is very underplayed in Commander: Well of Knowledge!

Well of Knowledge is a Weatherlight artifact with one of the weirder card draw abilities out there. It has the restriction of only being usable in the draw step, while also being available to any player. The ability to activate it as many times as that player would like makes for an interesting dynamic that’s all packed into one card!

The Well definitely has the feel of an old card that may be a little too niche, but I think there’s something solid here, so let’s get into it! Let’s first take a look at the commanders that currently take advantage of Well of Knowledge, which is a staggeringly low number: Well of Knowledge is only in about 320 decks total, with only one commander breaking 20 decks!

First up to bat we have Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant, who wants two things in a game of Commander: get seven lands in hand, then generate an absolutely obscene amount of mana! This means that Well of Knowledge is perfect not only as a way to dig for those needed lands in the early game, but also a way to find payoffs when you have insane mana and a hand with nothing but lands! It’s honestly pretty shocking that Well of Knowledge only shows up in about 10% of Sasaya decks, given how well this pair work together.

Next up is Phelddagrif. This happy, purple Hippo wants nothing more than to make everyone else in the game happy too. That makes Well of Knowledge perfect for a deck like, so that everyone can draw cards, a perfect a group hug deck.

Finally, we have Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis. The way they use Well of Knowledge is somewhat in between Sasaya and Phelddagrif. Kynaios and Tiro give a strong boost to your mana, which means you can better take advantage of Well, while also using it as a group hug piece. The thing is, Kynaios and Tiro also give the table a card advantage engine without any other cost, so I don’t think Well is really needed for the deck anyway (which shows, given the card appears in less than 1% of K&T decks).

Clearly this card has a heavy slant towards group hug and big mana, but let’s take a look at where else it could fit!


Death, Taxes, Mono-Red…

If you haven’t heard me rave about how much I love the design of Neheb, the Eternal, you’re in luck! Starting off, Neheb has likely the most metal type line in Magic as a Zombie Minotaur Warrior. If that wasn’t enough, his mana generation paired with the Afflict really just makes him the perfect mono-red commander.

Something that I noticed very quickly from playing the creature-focused version of this deck is that you build a huge advantage early by ramping into big threats, like Inferno of the Star Mounts, Leyline Tyrant, and Etali, Primal Storm. The issue is that while there are some quality threats that keep the cards coming, such as Tectonic Giant, Dragon Mage, and Etali, Primal Storm, these all get taken away by a Wrath of God. Once that happens, you can run out of gas pretty quickly. Past that, you’re in the realm of Wheel of Fortune effects and Commune with Lava effects. Personally, I like a couple of Wheels, and cards like Jeska’s Will that have more utility, but I don’t want to be reliant on them.

This leads me to repeatable, permanent-based engines, like Well of Knowledge and Mind’s Eye, that are more effective in a longer game while not getting tagged by Wraths. The reason I think these work so well with Neheb is because of his ability to generate an immense amount of mana in the second main phase. He makes it so you can dump a bunch of mana into Well of Knowledge during your draw step to dig for threats, but still be able to cast them in your second main phase to keep the pressure on. This also lets you draw more cards off Well of Knowledge than your opponents, breaking parity through density.

I could go on, but I’m sure that you’re ready for the decklist! While this may not be a perfect list, it’s more or less what I would play for creature-based Neheb, the Eternal.


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…and Five-Color Good Stuff!

Jodah, Archmage Eternal is the most ‘goodstuff’ commander to ever exist (except maybe Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, but he’s now banned). Jodah just wants to let you cast broken, overly expensive spells at an immensely reduced rate of WUBRG. So why would such a powerful commander want a card like this?

Not everyone will agree with me on this, but I think that it’s worth at the very least considering Well of Knowledge. Jodah’s way of cost reducing is by letting you cast your Apex Devastator, Ruinous Ultimatum, and Nezahal, Primal Tide in increments of five mana. While playing my Sisay, Weatherlight Captain deck — who has an activate ability with the same cost — I realized that almost any mana production outside of an increment of five is purely to build up to that next level, and often goes unused in the late game.

This means that in most cases, you’ll cast a big crazy spell then have some leftover lands untapped. I suppose you could use them to pretend you have a Counterspell, but that’s not what you want to do with your extra mana! This is a big-mana deck filled with haymakers! Well of Knowledge is a great way to use that spare mana to dig for the Zacama, Primal Calamitys and Zendikar Resurgents of the deck. There’s also the benefit of Well of Knowledge working profitably with the unbeatable enchantment known as Omniscience – pretty fun to spend mana on card draw when you don’t have to spend mana on spells! This deck is absolutely chock full of cards that can end games on their own, so any extra cards you draw will help you outclass your opponents.

While this may not be to everyone’s taste, Well of Knowledge is something I would want to test in a list like this. I think you get it, so let’s get to the decklist!

The Commander Constant

Commander (1)
Creatures (24)
Instants (3)
Sorceries (19)
Artifacts (10)
Enchantments (7)
Planeswalkers (1)
Lands (35)

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Fiddle Me This

Oswald Fiddlebender is the commander I was most excited about from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. He’s a mono-white artifact-based Birthing Pod-on-a-stick, which makes him a very interesting build-around overall.

Now, Oswald has a number of directions that you can take him. You can lean towards soft Stax using Rule of Law effects with Oswald to break parity, or play a more value-oriented plan with Oswald for toolbox utility, or even go for a purely lock-out combo focus. There’s also the cEDH-level version of the deck, which aims to lock the game out with Rule of Law and Knowledge Pool, then win with any number of infinite artifact combos. If you’d like to learn more, I recommend checking out the cedh-decklist-database for more details. For this article, I would like to focus on using Oswald in a soft Stax capacity, with a little toolbox thrown in!

If our deck is filled with cards like Rule of Law, Archon of Emeria, and Ethersworn Canonist, that means we’re also limited to one spell a turn. How we break that parity is by putting our mana to an advantage by using Oswald Fiddlebender‘s ability to find utility artifacts, draw cards off Well of Knowledge, counter anything that slips through with Null Brooch if needed, and thus build to a winning game state. Even if our opponents do draw cards off Well of Knowledge, they can only cast one spell a turn at best, so there isn’t much they can do. Oswald also has a fair amount of resilience with access to Scrap Trawler, Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle, Open the Vaults, and more! Being in mono-white limits a lot of the available card draw options that other colors would have access to, which is why I think Well of Knowledge fits so well in this shell.

I could drone on more about all this, but I get the feeling that you’re ready for the decklist!


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Hope You’re Feeling 2022

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this installment of The Toolbox, and that Well of Knowledge has found a place in your toolbox. What other ways would you use Well of Knowledge? Do you think that I’m overvaluing this card, or do you agree that it’s highly underrated? What other cards do you think are missing from players’ toolboxes? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

If you have any suggestions for the series or things you’d like to see in the future, I would love to hear them as well. Thank you all once again, and please stay safe!

Elijah is a mildly obsessive EDH player from Georgia. He started playing during Battle for Zendikar with Green/Black Eldrazi Aristocrats and still pays tribute to the plane with his Omnath, Locus of Rage storm brew. He is always excited to innovate and try new things in Magic and Life. Elijah is currently a full time student looking to go into Computer Engineering but also has a bit of an artistic streak.