Turning Data into Decks - Throwing It All in the Air!
(Mind Rot | Art by Steve Luke)
As the Kids Say, "YOLO"
Hey everyone! Kya here once again! Welcome back to Turning Data to Decks, the series where we take a different dive into the EDHREC site from the typical norm.
I've been writing these articles for a while now, and typically a lot of thought and work goes into them before I even sit down at the computer and begin my long rants of hardly coherent writings. I know for many, building a deck can be difficult and some even look to us writers for insights on types of decks or unique interactions with cards they've never seen before. It's been my privilege to share my ideas (and nonsense) with the wide EDH world throughout the years here on EDHREC.
But let's just do something different for once. Let's put zero prep work into anything and just have fun building a silly yet effective deck! Why, you ask? Because sometimes I think we don't do enough of a good job expressing how fun it is to make a casual brew on the spot. Sure, I have some decks that I've put in countless hours and dollars into, which last for life... but I also have some that were made in the heat of the moment. More often than not, these become equally as fun as some of my more "serious" decks, and they often earn a special place in my heart. To show you how easy it is, I'll write this as I navigate EDHREC and show you how simple building a deck can be. Let's begin, shall we?
The Roll of the Dice
Let me show you one of the least-talked-about-yet-most-amazing features of EDHREC: the Random Commander button! All you need to do is click on the Commander section on the top of the browser and go down to Random. Clicking on this will redirect you to our new commander. If you're not sure where to go, here's a quick image for you:
Why is this one of the best sections of the site? It does seem kind of odd that I'm boasting about random features in a data-driven article from a data-driven website. The thing is, it can really spice up your playgroup, especially if you're looking for something new. EDH has a lot of benefits to it, but one of its biggest issues is that it doesn't really have an excuse to casually draft or brew the way some of the other formats do. Typically when you're building an EDH deck, you're going 120% to ensure it's the best deck it can be, no matter the direction you're going with it.
However, getting a few friends to agree on a super budget for deckbuilding can be a ton of fun! Spending no more than $60 to build an on-the-fly casual deck evokes that feeling of suspense and anticipation of not knowing how the deck will turn out. Sure, some of you might be reading the $60 pricetag and think it's a bit much, and, well, it is, or at least it can be for some. However, those who've been playing EDH for an extended period of time may understand the staleness that can come from playing the same decks over and over. $60 becomes less heavy when you consider it an admission fee for a few weekends of fun! Plus, you can get yourself a few cheap staples you might have been holding out on for one reason or another.
Anyways, enough talk. Let's press this Random Commander button and see what we get!
When You Fail to Appease the Chaos Gods
What? OH COME ON! What even is this stupid thing? I can't even pronounce it or read what it does. Give me a second to Google this... Oh. Apparently he's a Babylonian King. Neat. Wait a second! Isn't this the ship from The Matrix as well? I'm pretty sure that means I can pull a Neo and take the red pill to get myself a new card. No, no... a deal is a deal. Let's head over to Scryfall to check out the Oracle errata text to see what he does:
, : Choose a card name. Target opponent reveals X cards at random from their hand. Then that player discards all cards with that name revealed this way. Activate this ability only during your turn.
Yes, it's hand hate! This is actually a great thing we've stumbled upon! Sure, hand hate isn't normally that great in regular EDH, even by casual standards. However, keep in mind that we're going super budget and completely random. This can actually be one of the most unique decks one could possibly slap on the table for a group of budget decks. What would be the odds of getting anything even remotely similar from the giant pool of commanders out there? Okay, I'm actually super excited about this now! So what are we going to do?
Since I'm unfamiliar with this commander, I'm going to take a peek at our commander's page for more information. Because this article's hitting new levels of casual discussion, I'll be honest and blunt with you: some might say that we're just net decking, like it's a bad thing. However, such a statement is entirely untrue: there's nothing wrong with looking at these pages to get a general idea of what others have done with this sort of commander. For example, cards like Telepathy and Seer's Vision illustrate a great way to play this commander: peeking at hands! This makes sense, after all, considering that otherwise you'd have to guess what's in your opponents' hands, which is quite ineffective. However, this isn't copying and pasting other decks, is it? Now that we got the gist of things, its up to you and me to decide how we want to fully shape the deck!
So this is a little "advanced", but honestly I'm not a complete fan of just staying on the commander page on EDHREC and building a deck from there; our mission isn't to take the numbers as gospel, and we might miss some great cards that synergize with what our deck could be doing. This is especially true for less popular and older commanders, where most decklists added into EDHREC will be be few and far between, giving us a small amount of outdated information. This deck illustrates that perfectly.
Some of the Top Cards we'll use, like Telepathy, though they are very rare and won't be what wins us the game. Discard is fun, but we've got to do damage, so right away on the commander page, my eyes locked on Megrim. Looking at this card, we obviously need multiple versions of it. More importantly, we need ways to get that damage to happen, so I clicked on Megrim's link and went to its own page to find cards that synergize well with it. Here I found gems like Echo of Eons and Dark Deal, neither of which were high on our commander's page.
Another great discovery was Wheel and Deal! Where has this been all my life? Another card that I found but that I won't add to this particular deck is Day's Undoing; it'll work like Echo for another card I have in mind, but one combo piece is enough for this casual deck! Anyways, great cards I would have completely missed if I didn't check Megrim's page. This highlights an important point about EDHREC: although it can provide some great synergies, going from top to bottom might mean you miss out on some great subthemes and give you a jumbled mess of a deck. Find out what you want to do, and then start looking at those cards that do it! Just a tip for those who use EDHREC often!
The most important thing about the thing in these sorts of decks is having plenty of creatures. Let's be real, many budget decks will use combat damage as a win condition, so we've got to make sure we can defend ourselves as we mill people to death and make them discard cards.
Of course, since we're making people discard, this means we're also dipping a bit into people's graveyards! This makes Lazav, Dimir Mastermind perfect for us! If you want to add more into this kind of mechanic, you can always click on Lazav and find other similar cards on EDHREC! Personally, I just want the boardstate, so I'll leave Lazav as just a side note of the deck. Also, we kind of have a mini Specter theme going on in the EDHREC listing for our commander. I kind of like this... we should jam in as many Specters as we can find! After all, they're all good at getting people to discard their hand!
Now: how we win. Outside of the obvious pinging people for discarding and wheels, we have to find some nasty little combos that will devastate the entire board. Imagine having Narset, Parter of Veils and then casting a Windfall! The game is basically over! Remember Echo of Eons? No one else gets to draw after all! Any cards left in someone's hand after this little trick? Use your commander to discard it! Not a bad way to shut down the game until you win. I mentioned this before, but Narset, Parter of Veils wasn't even in EDHREC's listing for this commander. It makes sense, as it's a newer card with an older deck. However, this is why looking around is so important! Always click on the cards you like to find even more cards that go great with it! Don't just limit yourself to a single page!
Okay, enough chat. Let's build this deck!
The Blue PillView on Archidekt
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
I'm actually pretty happy with this deck; even without overly trying to stick to a budget, it hit barely $60 without extensive shopping. Getting accurate prices is difficult sometimes as it seems the 'low' default price is often 25 cents. Looking briefly, you can easily adjust this deck to be even cheaper or move things around. I'm just sad I couldn't fit in some cards like Waste Not, which are super expensive for budget purposes, but which demonstrate some fun upgrade paths if you're willing to go farther with it.
Honestly, I might just keep this deck, silly as it is. It really does something different from most, all while keeping up a presence and keeping constant threat. Most importantly, though, it does something fairly unique: keeping an eye on everyone's hand! As briefly mentioned before, there are only a few enchantments that keep hands revealed, but it's great when you draw them and get to police everyone's plays!
What did you think? Have you ever used the Random button before? If not, I hope this motivated you to give it a try! Spin that wheel and see what the EDHREC gods bring you!
Until next time,