Earlier this week I got my first opportunity to break out a post-BFZ Commander deck. I knew I only had one game to look forward to, because life intrudes, so I wanted to make sure I made the most of this opportunity. For this reason, I picked up my Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger deck.


Nulamog was originally built for Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, but I had back burnered the deck for years because it was far too vicious. Its original configuration had been an artifact-themed deck, more along the lines of a Karn, Silver Golem deck, though I don’t run that card as a commander for a variety of reasons. A not-insignificant one of those reasons is because I dislike how Karn’s whole story views pacifism, something I have mentioned in the past. Anyway, the deck excelled at ramping out an Ulamog with shocking speed, which put it alongside my Azami, Lady of Scrolls deck in terms of unsuitability for the group with which I generally play.

Such a pretty and colorful eldritch horror. Is he supposed to be a color out of space?

With the return of the Eldrazi, though, there were two things that helped me ameliorate the power level issue. The first was just Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Nulamog is significantly less frustrating to face down than Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, because while it takes huge chunks out of an opponent’s library, it doesn’t have as disruptive an effect on the board state. I was still going to run Ulamog, but not having it hanging out there in the Command Zone makes a huge difference, both in terms of threat profile and in terms of access to it. Considering Nulamog has a better cast trigger, this was basically a win-win.


The second was more Eldrazi, specifically a ton of them who didn’t have Annihilator printed on otherwise interesting cards. I’m not willing to cut all the Annihilator cards out of my deck, since ones like Artisan of Kozilek have significant utility (let alone the two legends still legal from Rise of the Eldrazi), but being able to commit to an Eldrazi theme without playing primarily cards whose keywords I hate seemed like a total positive.


These changes cut back on the artifact theme in a fairly significant way, although I still kept the basic tools. It’s just cards like Kuldotha Forgemaster and Shimmer Myr, while still good, got less powerful; a positive, given where I was trying to take the deck. It also gave me access to more colorless spells. There were three I could run before BFZ, and now there were six, four of which are solid removal options. The fifth and the sixth are ramp and a counterspell, respectively.

Just a useful, strong, useful commander. You can do worse in monoblue, that’s for sure.

So I broke out the deck and met up with my good friends Rob and Micah at a local pub (4th Ave Pub), whose ambiance and friendly staff made me want to drink again just so I could hang out there more. There’s just something about a dimly lit bar with exposed brick walls and old furniture that does it for me… though again, as a teetotaler, the opportunities to spend time in a place like that are limited. Rob was playing his Thassa, God of the Sea deck I doctored over at Dear Azami, and Micah was playing the Tymaret, Murder King deck which inspired my own take on the archetype.

What I love about this card is that he’s a commander you want to let die, and that’s rare and awesome.

Turn one I played a Mind Stone off an Ancient Tomb, and turn three I played a morphed Zoetic Cavern and then flipped it end step, so as to get out an early Nulamog. I had forgotten just how brutally the deck ramps. But the absence of Annihilator kept the game interesting. I swung at Rob, exiling a chunk of his library and giving him ten points of commander damage, but he still had two more hits before Nulamog could kill him, and he quickly brought his shields back up. Micah, meanwhile, kept drawing cards off the Phyrexian Arena that stuck around all game (and nearly won it for me).

This card is bananas. B.A.N.A.N.A.S.

The game continued in this vein. I cast Oblivion Sower to get all the mana I had exiled when I attacked Rob, then got a Vedalken Orrery online. I even got hit with my own Nulamog, leaving us all with exile piles that dwarfed our graveyards, and I got to do some cool things like saving my Kuldotha Forgemaster from a Manic Vandal by searching out an Akroma’s Memorial. The game felt a little “Archenemy” at times, so my board position kept getting wiped out, but we were basically neck in neck into the end game.


The endgame began when I swung in at Rob for the last time, exiling the last real chunk of his library, and leaving him with four life and four cards left in his library. I had tapped out to do so, though, and Micah was left in a predicament: does he kill me there, despite Rob’s board presence and my reliance on about seven of Rob’s lands ganked from exile, or does he respect Rob as the greater threat, despite knowing that I’d just untap and Nulamog him. When I made my attack against Rob, Micah had 24 cards left in his library, and that Phyrexian Arena was still very live. What to do, what to do!

I know why I kept this thing alive; I was hoping it would do what it came so closed to doing!

Micah ended up taking the smart play (as per the usual; his chill attitude covers for an excellent Commander player who’s been on a tear in our playgroup as of late), and he nugged Rob for the final four damage. Rob ruefully grinned, and then looked through his paltry remains of a library to find his final four cards were all lands. I untapped, swung at Micah… but I could only bring him down to two cards left in his library… if I could have made him draw even one more than that, he would have died to his own Phyrexian Arena. But by that point in the game my turn one Ancient Tomb had put me at a very dangerous life total, and Micah machinegunned me to death with Tymaret, the Murder King… winning the game with an impressive zero cards left in his library.


It was not an upsetting loss, though. My Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre version of the deck would have stomped both of them in about a third of the time the game took to play, and it would have been a miserable slog for both of them. Nulamog lost, and that means that it’s tuned enough to be fun to play with and against, but not so defanged as to prevent me from taking a shot. With tighter and more aggressive play I could likely have won that game, as I was holding off on casting a Desolation Twin when I had Akroma’s Memorial in play, which would have basically killed Micah on the spot. But I did something that seemed like it would be more fun, and honestly it was! I still haven’t gotten the mill kill I was hoping for, but I came damn close, and that’s something.


Here’s my list:


Commander: Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Colorless Spells: All Is Dust; Gruesome Slaughter; Not of This World; Scour from Existence; Skittering Invasion; Titan’s Presence

Colorless Creatures: Artisan of Kozilek; Blight Herder; Breaker of Armies; Conduit of Ruin; Desolation Twin; Kozilek, Butcher of Truth; Kozilek’s Channeler; It That Betrays; Oblivion Sower; Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Artifact Creatures: Deal Broker; Duplicant; Junk Diver; Karn, Silver Golem; Kuldotha Forgemaster; Mirror Golem; Myr Battlesphere; Myr Retriever; Scarecrone; Shimmer Myr; Steel Hellkite; Walking Atlas

Noncreature Artifacts: Akroma’s Memorial; Aligned Hedron Network; Brittle Effigy; Clock of Omens; Codex Shredder; Contagion Engine; Crystal Ball; Dreamstone Hedron; Everflowing Chalice; Expedition Map; Gilded Lotus; Hedron Archive; Ichor Wellspring; Mana Vault; Meteorite; Mind Stone; Mind’s Eye; Mourner’s Shield; Phyrexian Processor; Relic of Progenitus; Scrabbling Claws; Sol Ring; Spine of Ish Sah; Staff of Nin; Thran Dynamo; Tower of Fortunes; Trading Post; Ur-Golem’s Eye; Vedalken Orrery; Voltaic Key; Worn Powerstone

Lands: Ancient Tomb; Blinkmoth Well; Buried Ruin; Cathedral of War; Cloudpost; Crystal Vein; Desert; Dread Statuary; Dust Bowl; Eldrazi Temple; Eye of Ugin; Foundry of the Consuls; Gargoyle Castle; Gemstone Caverns; Ghost Quarter; Glimmerpost; Haunted Fengraf; Mage-Ring Network; Maze of Shadows; Mishra’s Factory; Mystifying Maze; Petrified Field; Phyrexia’s Core; Quicksand; Radiant Fountain; Reliquary Tower; Rogue’s Passage; Sanctum of Ugin; Shrine of the Forsaken Gods; Spawning Bed; Springjack Pasture; Stalking Stones; Tectonic Edge; Temple of the False God; Thespian’s Stage; Urza’s Factory; Urza’s Mine; Urza’s Power Plant; Urza’s Tower; Zoetic Cavern


I may still switch it up a bit, as I am specifically thinking about adding in Wurmcoil Engine and Ruin Processor, since I ran low on ways to gain back the life and I’m a huge fan of the Processor mechanic, but all in all it was a great game. I have high hopes for this deck, and while it’s weak to cards like Path to Exile, it still has fun ways to barrel through.


Jess Stirba prefers fun to victory.

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