Hello everyone and welcome to another week of Shattered Perspectives, the series where I attempt to redefine the use of off-the-beaten-path cards in Commander through the lens of general of the week. This week—and possibly the remainder of the month—I will be returning back to the Dollar General aka 1DH well in preparation for Grand Prix Minneapolis the first weekend of August, where the format will be getting slotted into the side festivities.

For the newcomers or people not in the know, here is a great 1DH aka Dollar General primer to catch you up to speed on the variant Commander format.

And with the building restrictions in place, I want to take on Prime Speaker Zegana as a commander in a fun color combination to see what kinda trouble we can get into.

Prime Speaker Zegana

During our return trip to Ravnica we were greeted by the previously unseen merfolk of the plane, a group that, in the lore, had taken over after the ludicrous display by the Simic during the Dissension story. In the new Simic guild, +1/+1 counters were everywhere with the Evolve mechanic, even more than they had been with Graft, so of course that meant that their new aquatic overlord was going to be a strong enabler of the mechanic.

I like Prime Speaker Zegana, because by herself she grants us access to potent card draw that can be refreshed over the course of a game. After reviewing her two abilities, it seems clear that we will be aiming to stock our deck with beefy creatures so that our general can enter as big as possible and draw us a healthy grip of cards. What that sounds like to me—in my biased opinion—is that we might want to tap into the Eldrazi tribe! As has been proven in the past, I love the Eldrazi for their gigantic size and godlike flavor. I think they will prove to be a great base for this deck, because Battle for Zendikar block gave us a whole swath of Eldrazi that have kept little to no value, which is perfect for 1DH.

This will be a challenge, as we will be without the stronger parts of the mana base, but that might prove irrelevant, as we will be including far more colored creatures than my Shattergang Brothers deck did.

A Skittering Horde

I have already spelled out that we will not be able to invest deck space to some of the more flashy mana bases afforded to us with normal free rein on card selection. As such, I believe we will to more heavily invest in the Eldrazi Drone creatures so that we can ramp into the bigger creatures filling up our deck. The first two picks are Nest Invader and Scion Summoner to act as early plays that can allow us access to the big mana we’ll want going into turns five or six.

I wouldn’t want to get too overboard filling the deck with these smaller creatures, but once you get beyond the likes of Eldrazi Skyspawner or Brood Monitor to Birthing Hulk and Drowner of Hope, you start to pull double or triple duty generating mana, filling the board with blockers and setting up a sweet reward when you finally cast Prime Speaker Zegana. And of course, Coiling Oracle is not a secret, but don’t overlook it.

Stocked Up Utility

Moving up the chain and beyond the Drones, we’re going to want to do something with all the mana we’re bursting out. This is where we’ll want to scout for medium-sized Eldrazi—I’m looking for at least four power—that not only offer us a body like the aforementioned Birthing Hulk or Drowner of Hope, but also some utility that the next category of cards I will touch on just doesn’t have.

I love Deepfathom Skulker for its ability to act as a Coastal Piracy—also legal in Dollar General at the time of this writing—but with a body and an added unblockable ability stapled on. I would take any chance given to me to keep a steady flow of cards making their way into my hand. So play your Deepfathom Skulker, Oracle of Dust, and Ongoing Investigation.

A hidden benefit that make the Eldrazi work well together is the small group of creatures with Emerge, a cost reducing mechanic that benefits most off large creatures being sacrificed to symbolically give rise to something deep within. The bonus of creatures like Mockery of Nature or Lashweed Lurker is that they come with an enter-the-battlefield effect, meaning I can cut things like Naturalize or Unsummon in favor of this band of creatures for the extra flavor and body attached.

Forgetting the Titans

Since the gimmick of the deck is to summon generically large creatures, from which we will cast our general to refill your hand off their immense power; the top of the curve for the Eldrazi are cards like Artisan of Kozilek and Desolation Twin. Six mana Mind Springs for upwards of ten cards is pretty great late game, especially since we don’t have access to either Kozilek.

I have said in the past that I am not a fan of Annihilator in large numbers, it was admittedly a mistake of the first outing for the Eldrazi and made for unfun games. That said, in smaller doses of one or two creatures in a hundred card singleton deck, it exist more as an ability word than a full blown mechanic. Unless you are playing Ironman Dollar General, Artisan of Kozilek is a great card late game since it represents itself and the best creature from your graveyard.

The Battle for Zendikar block exists in this weird space. Taking the Eldrazi from the 19 cards featured during Rise of the Eldrazi and exploding it out to just over 100 transitioned them from The Unknown to monstrous window dressing. The unfavorable reception of the block—I might blame power level and the structure wherein colorless mana got defined in the back half of the block as huge issues—combined with tons of the block getting open for the Expeditions means that the cards have kept little value. Thus cards like Desolation Twin or Endless One have remained affordable. Both of these cards are amazing for this proposed decks as a pair of finishers in the Twin and a spot anywhere on the curve in the Endless One. While neither of them might be making the cut in other decks, I believe they are boons here.

Not Just Cosmic Horror

At the end of the day, I will easily admit that tons of Eldrazi can be outclassed by something else outside of the tribe. As such, I would like to wrap up this week’s article by discussion a few fatties that could really shine in this deck, but don’t carry the prestige of our favorite cosmic horrors.

Last Fall, a whole host of cards moved into circulation with little fanfare due to be overshadowed by the four-colored generals, Primeval Protector being one of them. Seeing as it was built for Commander, it should be no surprise that it would work well in the format. But especially in a Prime Speaker Zegana deck, where we’re looking for giant creatures. Not only are we getting a cheap topdeck play, but it adds further support to the creatures we already have in play.

Aethersquall Ancient is another fattie, in the same mold as something like Inkwell Leviathan, that I think could be a strong role player in this deck. While I don’t know that I will want to add a support package for energy, the fact that it can supply the resource by itself is the redeeming factor for me. The ability to work as Upheaval is also deceptively strong here, because it allows us to recast our general while avoiding the commander tax.

Finally, Thunderfoot Baloth. While it requires our commander to be in play to be the best cog in the machine, this is not a bad creature to have in play when we’re casting or flickering our commander onto the battlefield. It also supplies us with a boost and trample for our creatures, something that admittedly was needed and found through other means with the Jund build I’ve spoken about. I rank it higher than Stormsurge Kraken. You can decide if you need that effect in your own build.

That’s my time for the week, as I said at the top of the article, Dollar General will be seeing play Friday night at Grand Prix Minneapolis, but thus far I don’t personally know much more beyond that at the moment. As one of the prime sources, I will let you all know when I know. But with that, I finally I turn the attention back to anyone who wishes to be vocal and give their own two cents. You can find me on Twitter via @RyanSainio or yelling at Hipsters directly through the email system at the bottom of the page.

Until next time, good luck and thank you!

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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