"What's in a name? That which we call Blue Farm by any other name would win just as many cEDH pods." - William Shakespeare
Blue Farm. One of the most powerful and feared decks in cEDH that also happens to contain among the most meaningless and confusing names that the community who invented it still argues about the origin to this day. Regardless of origin, Blue Farm as it exists today is a deck with and Partnered up in the command zone. Blue Farm is slower than other linear combo decks and is usually considered a midrange deck in cEDH despite the potential for fast combo kills. Ultimately, individual decklists for the / Partner pairing can vary dramatically.
These differences usually speak to whether a) the author is looking to incorporate the card advantage from the commanders into the primary gameplan and play a more interactive game or b) they wish to use the card advantage as a secondary plan after failing to combo early. For the sake of consistency in this article and my own personal bias, we're going to use the list Brian Coval won the most recent Okotoberfest with.
What's The Big Deal Anyway?
The most powerful decks in Magic's history effectively blend potent combo with versatile, powerful cards to pivot between a resource-based gameplan and a combo kill. Typically referred to as "combo-control" decks, these decks are still dominant in other Magic formats today. The decks in Modern and Cephalid Breakfast decks in Legacy are two examples seeing play right now in 60-card formats. Blue Farm represents a deck that can play a grindy resource game but that also has hands that can win as early as turn 1. This allows Blue Farm to cater its gameplan to the pod composition and fight their opponents on whatever axis is most likely to succeed.
None of this would be nearly as effective without deliberate and effective use of the London mulligan rule. Mulliganing with Blue Farm is your most effective tool to start the game executing a plan with cards known to be effective in the matchup. Sometimes you need a quick kill and want to mulligan to fast mana and a tutor for . Other times you want to keep a hand that is just mana and interaction and rely on your commanders to find you the payoff cards to win the game. No matter what, you need to be willing to mulligan, and keeping a hand that is ineffective based on pod compositions is one of the fastest ways to lose playing Blue Farm.
You even get a bit of insurance with the power of and against low mulligans. When both commanders are on the battlefield for a couple turn cycles, you typically draw immense amounts of cards, which lets them recover from low mulligans or failed combo attempts.
No Less Than The Best
As we dive into the core cards that make up Blue Farm, it's important to understand why specifically and are the best options to helm the deck often referred to as being "four-color good cards". For starters, playing all the colors but green obviously allows the controller to play the best cards in the format, eschewing only a few cEDH staples in the consensus worst color to be playing. As a result, your average card quality is going to be higher than less colorful decks. You also get good mana, supporting the full range of fetchlands and few extra duals over three-color decks, so the mana is only negligibly worse.
The singleton nature of cEDH leads to frequently running out of good land options for three-color decks and having to play some below-rate lands, where for four colors the desired land count lines up near seamlessly with the playable lands. Other than color spread, you get two commanders thanks to the extremely powerful Partner mechanic. Each has relevant text allowing the controller to draw cards in a meaningfully different way. is gated at three max cards on your turn, which, while I ragged on a certain unnamed enchantment for that effect being subpar, it's dramatically better when it starts in your command zone and is a creature to attack and block with.
is cheap enough to reliably enable and early on while maintaining a powerful effect in relevant colors. Kraum on the other hand is far more expensive but a HUGE payoff. Akin to other extremely powerful card advantage engines in the format, Kraum nets cards immediately and without any additional work other than putting him in play. With the ceiling of Kraum being 12 cards per turn cycle opposed to 's 3, the real workhorse of card advantage is undeniably supported by Kraum, but the two work well in tandem thanks to the pair of keywords on Kraum. Both commanders represent relevant amounts of card draw, pressure, and colors over other options in the command zone.
Blue Farm Staples
While lists can vary wildly (sometimes up to 30+ cards!), there are some staples you will see in every Blue Farm list you come across.
All of these cards have earned their pedigree and need no introduction. Playing all the colors but one allows you to play the top-of-the-line combo pieces to allow for blistering-fast combo kills that work both early and late and cost the least mana. Much of the theme with Blue Farm is playing the best cards available to you in cEDH right now, and the combo section is no exception.
Counterspells are king in cEDH, and there's a significant cost to not showing up with access to the color blue. Potentially plays to your strengths if you prefer to appear less threatening because you cannot interact, but Blue Farm does not shy away from being a threat and often comes packed to the brim with the best blue interaction to stop opposing wins and protect their own.
One of the easiest traps to fall into when building cEDH decks that fight on a resource axis of any kind is evaluating all value engines the same. Blue Farm again plays the highest possible card quality the format supports with the iconic three best card advantage engines available. These three cards set the gold standard for all other value engines to meet, and it always proves an impossible task. Even and Kraum out of the command zone, while they do provide an important supporting role for keeping the card advantage flow coming, pale in comparison to these three. Many of the cards I talk about being overplayed in articles I write are card advantage engines that amount to less value than if you spent the same amount of mana on a tutor to put one of these three in play.
I've seen quite a few comparisons between cEDH and Vintage, and the comparison holds up the strongest when you look at the amount of fast mana available in this format that is restricted or banned in every other format due to power level concerns. The mana is the glue that holds Blue Farm together, allowing you to either power out a fast combo win or power out the card advantage commanders and recoup the cards spent playing your commanders ahead of schedule.
The last piece of the puzzle for Blue Farm is the suite of tutors that allows you to pivot between gameplans. , for example, commonly finds , , , or . The ability to find relevant cards for both the combo gameplan or the control gameplan give you not just the burst of consistency needed to succeed at the highest level in Commander pods but also allow you to pivot between gameplans.
Filling Out The Blue Farm Decklist
These 33 staples I just went over are cards you see in every single Blue Farm list unless someone is trying something wild and experimental, but this is only one third of the total decklist. This is where you see a lot of the innovation happening in Blue Farm, with some builds leaning harder into card advantage with and playing higher counts of creatures, while others lean more into the combo plan and play fewer creatures and interaction but more fast mana and rituals. There is no clear consensus for what is the best configuration, and a reasonable case could be made that the optimal configuration changes weekly based on what is winning and what the cEDH community flavor of the month is. I'm looking directly at you, Slicer.
The beauty of playing a ""four-color good cards" deck like this is the configuration, though. No matter how you configure it, the cards above are powerful enough to fall back on, even if some deckbuilding mistakes are made prior to an event, so it's no surprise it's among the most popular decks for people to put their trust in when it's tournament time. For example, there were 12 copies of Blue Farm at Eminence's Silicon Dynasty event earlier this month! That represents about 8% of the total metagame share and 50% more copies than the next highest, , at 8 copies.
The deck is popular, powerful, and heralded as the best deck in cEDH by many content creators and competitors alike. However, the unintuitive naming convention does a lot to leave prospective cEDH players with even more questions when entering a complex and confusing area of Magic competition. Compound that with the variance seen in deckbuilding, and it can be really hard to identify what a "Blue Farm" deck actually is other than containing the color blue.
I hope this article does a lot to help clear the air for both what Blue Farm is for players that are new to cEDH and what it looks like. I have spent all of my written content explaining what sucks in cEDH so while this may appear to be a departure from my brand, given that Blue Farm does not suck, I assure you that the name "Blue Farm" sucks way more than any individual card ever can. Unfortunately it's as much a part of cEDH as the name Cephalid Breakfast is Legacy. Name your deck something that describes your deck, you heathens. Thanks for reading!