Zhulodok Commander Deck Tech

Unsummoned Skull • April 5, 2024

Cascade victory down onto your opponents, laying waste to the battlefield with Zhulodok, Void Gorger commanding your Eldrazi armies! This deck tech zooms in on Zhulodok's preference for dramatic, high-impact, big mana spells. This deck rocks... on a few different levels, turning early-game mana-producing artifacts into an overwhelming army of annihilators from the Blind Eternities. Get ready to churn out so much cardboard that you'll need multiple playmats to contain your army!

Core Engine

Zhulodok wants us to cast big spells, and that's exactly what we intend to do. The deck is a race to seven mana, and it's a race we intend to win. Still, there is a bit of risk involved with being a ramp-heavy deck, the biggest of which is in drawing "air", or superfluous ramp spells once we already have seven mana. We need ways to re-cast our big spells to cascade further or to recover key pieces that have been destroyed. Some of those tempo pieces, like Erratic Portal, can double as removal when opponents tap out!

Graveyard recursion is quite a potent ability, especially for a colorless deck. Our graveyard recursion is, for the most part, targeted. This allows us to use the graveyard as a second hand. The subtle combination of Mystic Forge and Codex Shredder enables top deck manipulation, which synergizes well with a commander looking to maximize the potency of cascades. Don't want to bottom a big spell? Mill it to return it later. Want to shuffle your grave? Mill that old-school Titan, like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre.

Zhulodok Win Conditions

These are our big bang shots, the kinds of cards that appeal to the Timmy psychographic. For the most part, these cards have high power and toughness, attack triggers, and high mana costs. Each will send chills cascading down our opponents' spines while generating layers of card advantage. Unlike other big mana decks, our threats are high-impact and don't require our commander out to be big and nasty. They annihilate the battlefield, chewing up permanents and leaving nothing but waste in their wake.

Within our win conditions are some monstrous metallic marvels. Metalwork Colossus and Myr Enforcer enable us to use our excess mana rocks for quick power and longevity. The Platinum monsters give us defensive cards, while Maelstrom Colossus does an incredible Maelstrom Wanderer impression, especially with Zhulodok out.

In addition to industrial titans (but not Titan of Industry), Zhulodok pays homage to its Eldrazi titan brethren. These huge threats have an incredible board presence, and some of them announce that even before they've left the stack. They only need one or two smacks in the red zone to close the game out in short order, especially when coupled with annihilator or Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger attack triggers.

While the titans get the spotlight, and rightfully so, there are a variety of Eldrazi joining them on the battlefield. Many of them also have annihilator, while some, like Bane of Bala Ged are, if anything, even nastier by allowing us to control what we remove. Since these triggers occur when the attackers are declared, our opponents are left to search the remnants of their dilapidated board states to scramble a defense together.

For the most part, these glaring threats are about as subtle as a train rumbling down the tracks, blaring its horn. Eldrazi Conscription is a beautifully layered threat, however. We can use it to suit up a mana dork, turn a big threat into a 1-shot, or even put it on one of our opponents' creatures! Why would we do this? Maybe there's a problem permanent, like a Stony Silence or a Rule of Law effect, really hampering our ability to produce mana or use cascade to cast multiple spells. We can use the Aura for a different kind of political leverage than simply not attacking.

Mana Rocks

Getting to seven mana is key to the deck functioning. Factor in that our commander costs six by itself, and we have a very mana-hungry deck. While we might be able to chain big spells into each other, it's likely that our cascade chains will end in more ramp. As a result, many of our ramp spells have additional functions, like drawing cards, removing threats, or providing early blockers.

In terms of mana rocks, we have Everflowing Chalice, which scales with the game, but it does run the risk of being a bad hit off of cascade. Thankfully, cascade is a "may" ability, so you can just let the Chalice go to the bottom rather than accept a 0-mana do-nothing artifact. Otherwise, most of these are acceptable hits off of cascade and are necessary spells for the deck to function.

Mana rocks are far from the sexiest cards in Magic, but they do a job that we need, and some have a flair for the dramatic. How often have you seen players win games at one life? There are lots of little plays and cards that can provide the one life needed to throw off combat math. One such card is Pristine Talisman, which is a mana rock that gains a life for its controller when it's used. Three-mana rocks are typically shaky ground, but that life can matter, especially when a deck can make excellent use of the window provided by surviving just one more turn.

Hidden deep in our manabase, however, are some spicy spells. Mind Stone and Hedron Archive allow us to sneak in extra card draw, which is especially valuable in a deck with a lot of mana with the tendency to draw air late. Unstable Obelisk and Stonespeaker Crystal are solid ways to splash in removal, especially hard-to-answer threats and zones. Manakin and its Myr friends are ways to ramp early and can provide bodies needed to interact with monarch, initiative, and combat-heavy opponents.

Sneaking in value is a powerful thing in Commander, and we've seen a bit of how to get extra value out of mana rocks. One of the subtler pieces of value, however, comes in the form of Liquimetal Torque. In competitive Magic, when people ask me about how to win a seemingly unwinnable matchup, I usually advise them to figure out what their best cards are against you, then find a way to make them less effective. The soft underbelly of this deck is its reliance on artifacts. Artifact mana, artifact card advantage, artifact win cons... the nonartifact cards cost so much that mass removal of artifacts essentially cripples the deck. Where does the Torque come in? Torque turns a permanent into an artifact. Being able to remove the artifact-wiper's best permanent as retribution for the wipe is quite the deterrent. A horde of Eldrazi are, too.

The Best Colorless Removal Spells

One of the interesting aspects of being a colorless deck is that there are a surprisingly diverse array of removal spells available. Some are capable of hitting any kind of permanent, some are able to interact at unusual times, and some are attached to even more large beaters. The latter are particularly impactful, as they synergize with our commander and keep the gray-vy train going.

Meteor Golem is the perfect example of a role-player. A seven-mana spell that triggers cascade, removes a problem permanent, and leaves behind a body is exactly the kind of card a deck like this needs to function. No, it's not an Eldrazi titan or a giant mechanical behemoth, but it's just as important as them.

This is a deck where everything leads back to ramp, both in terms of the design of the deck and the end results of most cascades. Our objective is to ramp to big spells, then chain them together in a way that leaves opponents in the shadows of our Eldrazi and mechanical titans. Between the chaos of flipping spells off of the top, the excitement of slamming huge spell after huge spell, and the unmitigated joy of turning large creatures sideways, this deck does everything a Timmy wants, with just enough Johnny to tie the pieces together.

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