Hello all and welcome to my new series, Shattered Perceptions, a series where I will be searching for the overlooked gems for your Commander deck through the lens of a general of the week. This week’s commander is Ruhan of the Fomori, a legend out of the original Magic: the Gathering—Commander product from 2011 and (in my opinion) a possible overlooked gem itself. But before I do, I would like to say that this list of cards was designed by me, a less-than-optimal Commander player of five years. I tried formulating irregular strategies, possibly with zero experience with the general. That said, I tried my best to steer away from cards listed in the general’s EDHrec profile page, meaning nothing listed in more than 5% of the general’s decks. And of course, Cyclonic Rift is not “secret tech”.

Before we get to the list, let’s analyze our spotlight card for this week. Ruhan is an interesting creature, coming out of a set that had some bonkers choices for generals. I don’t know if that was because of his ability or the color combination, but I would wager that Ruhan was the least popular of the ten original generals printed in the product.

With base stats of a 7/7 for four mana, Ruhan is pretty impressive on the surface. Where things go awry—of course—is in the inconsistency of attack patterns. Because you have to come to the table with evasion and (likely) indestructible built into your deck to make Ruhan work, you’re either all in on him or just using him for the colors and the hope that your opponents will go “shields down”.

I personally think Ruhan’s random attack pattern is pleasantly political, so I’m going to go down the path of building all-in around him.

Honorable Mentions –

I really consider this an honorable mention at the end of the day. Like several notable legendary creatures (looking at you Brothers Yamazaki), this combo would work great if you can assemble it. I think Ruhan might be fun to attach a Blade of Selves to, since it is the most control you can get while hoping to win through attacking. Then again, you didn’t build around Ruhan for some semblance of control.

Sunrise Sovereign

Giant tribal is probably the low-hanging fruit for this deck; though surprisingly, there is very little support for the theme and it doesn’t seem to be a strong consideration with deckbuilders. Sunrise Sovereign offers our esteemed leader something it sorely needs: trample. The knock against it being that most players will already view the deck as handicapped by not controlling who they are attacking, so a six-mana lord that is just as fragile as an Elvish Champion or Immerwolf isn’t really helping.

I personally think that giving Ruhan trample is imperative to making this deck win through Commander damage. And let’s be honest, even with all the natural handicaps, that’s how everyone in the Fomori Nation wants to win.

Armory of Iroas + Gleam of Battle

Either of these two are deck dependent, but both serve as redundancy in the purpose. Maybe Armory of Iroas is a better fit in a deck where you want to only be attacking with Ruhan and Gleam of Battle is for those builds where you plan to go wide. Whichever is the case, why not build up to some quick victories by making your army grow in bursts over the course of several turns? I think the strongest part of either of these cards is that they speed up the clock over time and can cause your creatures to grow out of range of damage-based removal in a subtle way that often goes unnoticed by anyone not being attacked that turn.

Kithkin Armor

Okay, I get it, this is an Aura that does nothing for you unless you are attacking. Fine. I just think coming at your opponents from an axis they may be ill-equipped to handle sounds pretty great.

This card came onto my radar when I was building a budget Zur the Enchanter deck at the beginning of my Commander career. It was very helpful in keeping some of the giant/problematic creatures from blocking Zur and also provided a bit of a safety net against combat tricks. I think in a deck like Ruhan it could provide a good form of evasion that serves the same purpose as it did to Zur.

Impulsive Maneuvers

Dipping into the more chaotic nature of the deck, we have Impulsive Maneuvers, a card that will either end the game super quick or lock the game down worse than an ill-timed Embargo being cast. What I like about this card is the all-or-nothing quality for you and your opponents. I prefer games that go roughly 40 minutes at the low end and I want to see decks do what they were built to do. But when a game’s going to end, I want to wrap it up quickly.

Swinging to fourteen on turn four or five with your general sounds pretty good, even with a 50/50 chance. And you don’t have to worry about the crack back, because it might not even happen or it might be a resounding and catastrophic death. Who really knows?

Hero of Oxid Ridge + Soltari Champion

I like winning through combat. It feels fair and every deck should be able to defend on that axis, so people shouldn’t get sour about it. These two cards fill a similar role: offering a pump while at the same time not being entirely at risk to die in combat themselves. I suppose Signal Pest could form a complete trifecta for this quality if you so choose to optimize the effect.

While I give points to Soltari Champion for boosting both power and toughness; of this pair, I think Hero of Oxid Ridge is the better of the two, expanding the evasive bonus to your whole team. Ruhan sits in a very strong place where he can win with Commander damage in three swings, so even a slight increase with some team effort could reduce that to two. With the random nature he lives by, every attack step counts!

Shadow Rift + Spirit en-Dal

Since we’re on topic of shadow, let’s cover the two cards in the game that will reliably give our Commander access to this great form of evasion. The biggest drawback to shadow is unquestionably that it puts you on a completely different axis from the rest of the table. They can’t block you, but you can’t block them. This is why Dakkon Blackblade shadow just never took off for me.

Additionally, unlike some of other enablers, this can be our double-edged sword. Giving the ability to a creature on defense that you foresee being an issue during your attack. Obviously, this is a little harder to plan for when Ruhan and Spirit en-Dal are the two being combo’d together. But as we’ve already belabored, we’re not building Ruhan for maximum optimization.

Laccolith Rig

I have been an acolyte of Thorn Elemental since I started playing in Seventh Edition, so this is possibly one of my favorite hidden gems found while researching for any article. Laccolith Rig offers Ruhan a form of targeted removal and a little more political power for a very cheap cost: “Block my general and I will redirect the damage over to the archenemy’s problematic creature.”

And due to the trigger, it also acts as a form of “Firster Strike,” allowing it to work well with Infect/Wither creatures as well. But let’s be honest—with base power of seven, Ruhan will kill just about anything on the board if needed while wearing this.

Dragon Throne of Tarkir

Wrapping up the list we find ourselves going against the current I built most of my list around. I imagine most Ruhan decks that intend on casting the giant also intend on attacking, but the Ruhan lording over Tarkir will be doing no such thing. On the first turn you drop Dragon Throne of Tarkir, its a colorless oversized-Overrun, and every turn after its just gravy. Building around this combo will likely mean a different ratio of creature to non-creature spells than some of the other scenarios I have imagined—since you intend to pump a whole board and trample over the table—but I think it would be a fun twist.

The added bonus is that your path to victory doesn’t have to be alpha striking with your whole board with +7/+7 and trample, seeing as any small creature can hold the throne. Tht way you can once again give trample to Ruhan.

That’s my time for the day. I really hope I was able to open people’s eyes to cards they may have never seen before, for this strategy or their own. I do this because I want to open the floodgates in a format I hear more and more is “solved” or too staple-heavy. There are twenty-four years worth of cards that exist in Magic. Hopefully I have piqued some interest in a few of you. Until next time, may you find new routes to victory.

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH, the story of Magic and the EDH community in his down time. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.
Pet Deck – Shattergang Eldrazi

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