Fblthp, Lost on the Range: Just For Fun or A Powerful cEDH Commander?

Sam Black • April 2, 2024

Outlaws of Thunder Junction has brought us a new commander in the form of Fblthp, Lost on the Range, and today I want to examine whether a Fblthp deck can stand a chance in cEDH.

Who or What is Fblthp?

Why Play Fblthp?

Fblthp's ability is like a nerfed Future Sight, but it's not strictly worse, it's "strictly different": you can only plot nonlands, a pretty big drawback, and you can only plot things, not cast them, which means you don't get to do anything right away. On the other hand, you have these things plotted, so you can cast them for free later, and sometimes casting things later is better.

Unfortunately, even if you plot an instant, you can only cast it at sorcery speed, which means plotting counterspells really only gets them off the top of your deck without any way to use them, but most cards are still very useful to plot, and plotting cards to play all in one turn in the order of our choice rather than playing them as mana is available earlier can lead to stronger turns and make combos harder to interact with. As an aside, if this restriction didn't exist and plot worked like foretell, I think Fblthp might actually be an oppressive commander in cEDH since you'd just get to preload face-up counterspells that others can't really try to go off into, and then you could go off with a ton of free protection.

My goal to take advantage of Fblthp is to play a lot of very cheap cards so that I can plot as many cards as possible. It's also good to have ways to reset the top of your library in case you still have mana but can't plot the top card. Sensei's Divining Top is one of the best possible cards here: unlike with other Future Sight effects, you can't just swap it to the top and play it to keep going, but you can rearrange the top three to look for more cards to plot; you can swap and plot the Top, you can just only do that once each turn.

Plotting With Fblthp

Once we have a lot of cards plotted, we can make great use of the storm mechanic, except that there aren't really that many good mono-blue storm cards, and the best, Brain Freeze, is difficult to really take advantage of without Underworld Breach or anything similar. Fortunately, there are some cards that don't have the storm mechanic but that do reward you for playing lots of spells in a single turn, and we can take advantage of those.

Cards that cost zero are of course the best to plot, and most of those are artifacts, so I want to lean into cards that play well with having a lot of zero-mana artifacts. For example, Sai, Master Thopterist is great because I can set aside all the artifacts I find and then cast them all at once after I cast Sai to maximize my Thopter triggers.

All this to say, this deck is built around an engine rather than built toward achieving a particular combos. Combos are built into the deck to arrive at states where you clearly win, but the operating principle is "Make Fblthp work," so I want to start by looking at how to do that rather than what we're building toward.

How Do You Play Fblthp?

Hitting useful but cheap or free artifacts on the top of your library is a big part of what you're hoping for, so let's start there. These are the basic cogs that make the deck function, first, those that can make mana:

Next, the others:

Any cheap spells are great, not just artifacts, but we also want ways to control the top of our deck to find cheap cards, so we want cheap library manipulation:

Notably, because we're looking to control the top of our library more than we're looking to draw cards, Serum Visions is better than Preordain, and cantrips like Consider aren't really useful.

Solutions to Rule of Law

There are a variety of cards that are extremely good against what we're trying to do, like Rule of Law, Damping Sphere, and Drannith Magistrate, so we need ways to remove those permanents:

Filter Out is particularly nice here since it can be mana-/storm-positive with our artifacts while potentially being disruptive to opposing strategies. Notably, March of Swirling Mist would be a particularly poor fit since X spells don't plot well.

While counterspells aren't good with Fblthp, it's nice that on our combo turns we don't necessarily need to use mana for our proactive spells, so we can have mana to cast counterspells, and they're just strong tools for blue decks, so we certainly want to play a few of the best:

This is a very low number of counterspells, but the deck will draw a lot of cards, and we don't want them getting in the way of our core operations. It's worth also considering Blue Elemental Blast and Hydroblast. Despite the fact that they're narrow as counterspells, both are productive when plotted for destroying red permanents. Currently, I don't think there are enough red cards that specifically stop what you're trying to do to include them, but they'd be great choices if you expect a lot of red in your metagame.

We're playing blue, so we'll want the basic card draw engines:

Winning With Fblthp

That covers a lot of the big groups of cards, so let's get into some of the more nuanced plans in this deck. It's not trivial to find good ways to win in mono-blue, but one good option with this many artifacts is to include a KCI combo package:

Myr Retriever, Scrap Trawler, and KCI generate an infinite combo with some of our one- and zero-mana artifacts that allows us to make infinite mana and draw our deck. Spine of Ish Sah can destroy everything from there, but it's nice to also have a deterministic win from infinite mana since we'll also have other ways to make infinite mana, so Walking Ballista is convenient, just don't plot it unless you want it in your graveyard. That being said, that could be a good place for it since Scrap Trawler can easily get it back. Spine of Ish-Sah isn't necessary for the combo, but the utility offered is pretty good for a mono-blue deck since your options for handling permanents can be pretty limited.

With or without the KCI combo, we can also generate a large or infinite number of spells being cast, so we have a few storm payoffs:

A few cards that really help have explosive storm turns to maximize Fblthp's storm potential:

As a largely artifact-based combo deck, we'll want some artifact tutors:

Speaking of, one of the cleaner artifact combos that we can find is Power Artifact or Rings of Brighthearth with Basalt Monolith or Grim Monolith, so we'll play Power Artifact:

Artifact Synergy Cards

The remaining creatures in the deck mostly work well with lots of artifacts:

Of those, Displacer Kitten and Hullbreaker Horror don't explicitly say that they want artifacts, but Displacer Kitten can functionally untap a mana artifact whenever you cast an artifact or another spell, and Hullbreaker Horror can make infinite mana and spell casts by bouncing two mana-neutral or mana-positive artifacts.


The last spell is a bit of an oddball:

This is basically just good with library manipulation, and I think the deck benefits from the minor stax element since it can take some time to set up. It would be nice to have more stax elements, but most of the cards you're allowed to play would be pretty detrimental to your game plan. Maybe a card like Cursed Totem or Torpor Orb could make sense, and I'd look to play either in the right metagame.

Finally, the lands are the typical choices for a mono-blue deck plus 13 Snow-Covered Islands, which allow casting Arcum's Astrolabe and which benefit from High Tide. Fetch lands are important to reset the top of the library, and the other lands seem valuable enough to play over additional islands.

The expected gameplay with this deck is just to tear through your deck with Fblthp as much as possible to find an infinite combo, then try to win, ideally with available mana to use counterspells thanks to your plotted cards.

Overall, my expectation without playing the deck is that it's a little weaker than Urza, mostly because I think generating extra mana is generally a little stronger than generating extra cards, and I worry about Fblthp taking too long to set up without have enough elements to slow the opponents. It kind of wants a stax-heavy table so that it has time to set up its plots, but a lot of stax pieces also prevent it from doing its thing.

That still might work out well since you can just create a giant pile of plotted cards and then win as soon as you unlock by dealing with whatever's been holding you back, and the deck does have the ability to spike fast wins if it gets a little lucky, so I do think it has a realistic chance.

When Should You Play Fblthp?

I would very rarely keep a hand that can't cast Fblthp by turn two at the latest, as I think you need to start plotting as soon as possible in most pods.

Where is Fblthp?

Totally Lost but currently Thunder Junction, and you can find the decklist here.

Fblthp, Lost on the Range cEDH by Sam Black

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Commander (1)
Lands (25)
Artifacts (34)
Instants (18)
Enchantments (4)
Creatures (11)
Sorceries (7)

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Sam Black is a former professional Magic player, longtime Magic writer, host of the Drafting Archetypes podcast, and Twitch streamer. Sam enjoys a wide range of formats, especially limited and unofficial fan formats like Old School and Premodern in addition to cEDH.