Legends Legends - Dakkon Blackblade

Jeff Dunn • May 7, 2024

Dakkon Blackblade by Richard Kane Ferguson

Take Up the Blackblade

Hello, and welcome to a new series of Commander deck guides centered around the original legendary creatures from Legends. Throughout these regular articles, I'll deep-dive on one of these classic commanders from Magic's Dark Ages. We'll keep these decks true to their legends, in that we'll opt for thematic (and cheaper!) choices when appropriate, and we won't be stressing the competitiveness too much. Our goal is to make a playable, themed deck to do justice to the first wave of legendary creatures.

We're kicking off this series on an easy note with one of the more playable Legends legends, a villainous Dakkon Blackblade Commander deck!

Dakkon is an Esper-aligned legendary Human Warrior that costs 2WUUB ("two-woob," if you're cool). Dakkon's power and toughness are equal to the number of lands you control. Or, I should say, "the *s below equal the number of lands you control." With a decidedly un-Esperesque ability, Dakkon Blackblade presents an interesting challenge to the burgeoning deckbuilder. How do we go about building around a "lands matter" theme in all the wrong colors? Let's find out!

General Thoughts

Dakkon Blackblade is nothing if not a huge beater. Our ideal endgame will almost always be commander damage, absent the odd game where we flip Elbrus, the Binding Blade. This means our main goal each game is to ramp our land until Dakkon's appropriately large, equip him with the artifacts necessary to connect with an opponent, and then swing in for lethal. Ideally, we'll do this all on the same turn we play Dakkon so as to save him from trying to withstand a turn's worth of removal.

The Land

The first thing Dakkon Blackblade decks should concern themselves with is acquiring lands. Without access to the typical ramp spells like Cultivate, Kodama's Reach, etc., we've got to get a little creative. 

Off-Color Ramp

First, and probably most obviously, we'll use the tried and true colorless ramp effects in Commander: Wayfarer's Bauble, Solemn Simulacrum, and Burnished Hart

In place of a traditional Harrow, we've got the blue Spellshaper Dreamscape Artist, which we can use to toss lands we plan to recur later with Crucible of Worlds or Sun Titan. Don't be afraid to let one of Dakkon's minions take up the Sword of the Animist, either! With such scant access to ramp in this deck, it's almost always worth risking our Deadeye Quartermaster to fetch another land. 

As Vast as the Plains

The past few years have seen new white spells that can either fetch Plains from our library or, in Verge Rangers case, filter them onto the field from the top of our library. This slot is sort of up in the air: Deep Gnome Terramancer, Keeper of the Accord, and the new OTJ Claim Jumper all give it a run for its money. Where Verge Rangers comes out on top is its ability to hit any type of land off the top of our library, synergizing well with the large number of nonbasics we're running.

In a similar vein, Land Tax is the best spell for tutoring lands to our hand, filtering the 14 basics out of our library with astounding speed. It does, however, run the risk of puttering out once we hit all 14 of those lands (listen to me, acting like 14 lands won't be enough). 

But why stop with just our lands? Dakkon is an evil warlord, and he's here to lead a conquest across your opponents' territories. Start playing with their lands with Herald of Leshrac. Despite its steep mana value, this Coldsnap Demon is one of the most frustrating effects in the game, and sticking it to the field for multiple turns will allow you to reap dividends instantly. Remember that your opponents can tap their land in response to its cumulative upkeep trigger, locking you out of that land, but you don't have to remind them about that.

In a similar vein, Cosima, God of the Voyage will usually see itself cast as the backside Vehicle, The Omenkeel. A cheap converted mana cost and the lowest possible crew score makes the Omenkeel a great early play in this deck and gives Dakkon's various minions, like Deadeye Quartermaster and Verge Rangers, something to do while they await the arrival of their lord and master. 

Walking Atlas is our nongreen Sakura-Tribe Scout; running this artifact creature out early will guarantee we never leave lands hanging in our hand.

Finally, let's talk about the fetches. Crucible of Worlds and Sun Titan are essential to recurring our fetchlands, like Marsh Flats, Polluted Delta, Flooded Strand, and even Obscura Storefront, and triggering cards like Field of the Dead or our suite of Landfall creatures (more on these below).

The Armory

Dakkon Blackblade was a master blacksmith and warrior before his ill-fated encounter with the planeswalker Geyadrone Dihada. He forged the eponymous Blackblade Reforged for her by quenching it in the souls of 1000 victims, and that's not even the scariest weapon in our library! 

Acquiring Power

As this is a Voltron deck, we're looking to remove opponents with one or two big swings from our commander, rushing them to 21 points of commander damage before they can execute whatever big-brained combo they're reaching for. One of the sneakiest ways to grant Dakkon haste is with Obsidian Battle-Axe: Dakkon Blackblade became a Warrior creature after the great creature type update, so this Axe will enable him to swing in the turn he hits the field.

Fireshrieker and Inquisitor's Flail are the two best ways to double our commander's damage output. Often, if your opponents don't see 21 damage on the board from Dakkon, they'll assume they're safe for a turn or two. Dropping either of these onto Dakkon takes him from merely a threat to a game-ender instantly.

Direct Assaults

Next, how can we actually connect with Dakkon? Our trample-enablers, like Loxodon Warhammer, Kaldra Compleat, and Sword of Vengeance, squeeze damage past enemy creatures, but Whispersilk Cloak and Rogue's Passage end the game. 

Besides these essentials, Dakkon also carries with him a number of intimidating and monstrous blades for aesthetic (for us, thematic) purposes. Elbrus, the Binding Blade, Ring of Evos Isle, and Ring of Xathrid, and Sword of Feast and Famine are all nefarious weapons pulled straight from the armory of a brutal warlord, and they all fit so well in Dakkon's hands. While the Rings are sometimes considered sub-optimal Equipment, I like to stick to the flavor and make sure Dakkon isn't inexplicably equipped with more swords than he has hands.

Dakkon's Minions

It's said Dakkon quenched the Blackblade in 1000 souls before it was completed, but we're just running 19 of those unfortunate creatures. Many we've already touched on, so here's a few highlights of the rest.


First are Dakkon's armorers, assistants, squires, or whatever other flavor justification makes sense for Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist and Danitha Capashen, Paragon. Making those expensive weapons like Kaldra Compleat attach for free is paramount to our success with Dakkon. Danitha pulls double duty by virtue of being a pretty fair body to stick swords to if our commander isn't around yet. 

Next, the greatest souls bound to the Blackblade all cost five or more mana to play, but they're still essential to our gameplan. We don't want to stop ramping in the mid- to late-game just because Dakkon's hit the field; our goal is just different now. Now, instead of preparing the way for our commander, we'll be ramping to trigger our Landfall effects on our late-game Landfallers

Emeria Shepherd and Admonition Angel are two halves of the same coin: one helps us recover from the inevitable Vandalblast aimed at our Lightning Greaves, and one helps us remove those pesky Propagandas and the like. 

Stonehewer Giant and Deadeye Quartermaster are our two best Equipment tutors. They're more mana-intensive than a Stoneforge Mystic, but in this format they should perform about the same on average.

Bound to His Will

Dakkon has a few powerful planeswalkers subjugated and under his control. Venser, the Sojourner's first ability works to trigger our ETBs on Deadeye Quartermaster and Kor Cartographer, or bounce lands for additional Landfall triggers, and Venser's second ability makes Dakkon (and the rest of our field) unblockable, perfect for forcing that final bit of commander damage through. 

Dakkon's planeswalker form, Dakkon, Shadow Slayer, has a lot of general use as recursion, removal, and a filter for the top of our library.

Nahiri, the Lithomancer can help us skip the expensive equip costs of our swords, and she always runs the possibility of creating a Stoneforged Blade token if she goes unanswered long enough.

Finally, Dakkon's power is as vast as the plains, and he can influence the very land to take up arms against your foes. The man-lands present in this Commander deck (Creeping Tar Pit, Celestial Colonnade, and Shambling Vent) are all amazing "surprise!" attackers that can pick up any of our scary weapons as well. One of my favorite plays is equipping the Tar Pit with Elbrus, the Binding Blade and transforming it immediately thanks to the Tar Pit's evasion.

Honorable Combat

To die a Warrior's death in combat is every swordsman's dream, and Dakkon has come to inch his foes a little closer to their preferred oblivion. We'll be making use of some thematic removal pieces for Dakkon, namely Arena, which lets us challenge our foes to single combat with Dakkon, and Single Combat, which also challenges our foes to single combat (sorry). In addition, Silent Arbiter helps keep the combat step fair so Dakkon doesn't have to fight an entire horde of Saproling tokens.

The Mana Base

We cannot afford to miss a land drop in this deck. Sadly, we just don't have the access to ramping that green decks get, so we're running a whopping 38(!) lands. Our most notable inclusion is Field of the Dead, which becomes a win condition in its own right after a certain point. A mere 14 basics dot our mana base, while only the essential mana rocks have made the cut: Sol Ring, Arcane Signet, Orzhov Signet and Azorius Signet. Amulet of Vigor helps balance out the large number of taplands we're running.

The Strategy

This Dakkon Blackblade Commander deck is effectively a Voltron build: we want to ramp out as many lands as possible and set up with a field of Equipment. Then, we cast Dakkon, attach as many swords, boots, hats, and rings to him as possible, and swing in for 21 commander damage as soon as possible.

You'll want to keep a hand with three lands at least, and usually some form of ramp as well. Don't worry if you don't see any valuable Equipment immediately: access to land is much more important at this stage of the game. Look for cards like Wayfarer's Bauble, Amulet of Vigor, and Expedition Map. Burnished Hart and Solemn Simulacrum are also keepers. Obviously, Land Tax can solve most of these problems for you.

By turn three or four, you'll want to have either a repeatable way to ramp (for example, Sword of the Animist or Dreamscape Artist), or a consistent access to Equipment (Stonehewer Giant). Paving the way for Dakkon is important: he won't survive a round without some form of protection, so if you play him with no Lightning Greaves or Arcane Denial, you better have Obsidian Battle-Axe ready to swing for damage.

The traditional way to end games with this Dakkon Commander deck is, you guessed it, commander damage. Use various forms of evasion of trample to send Dakkon careening into your foes like a barbarian, or dump all that ramped mana into a Vorpal Sword. Alternatively, Field of the Dead pumps out quite a bit of value, and it's not to be underestimated if we can stick consistent ramp.

Budget Options

At time of writing, this Dakkon Blackblade Commander deck comes in at around $300. That's a little steep to purchase all at once, so let's consider some budget options to tone it down.

Land Tax is an easy cut. Despite its reprints, it's still fairly expensive and can be replaced with an Oath of Lieges to much the same effect. 

Additionally, and it hurts to say this, we can cut some of the more lucrative swords in our collection. Sword of Feast and Famine is amazing, but a Swiftfoot Boots would be welcome just the same.

Dakkon Blackblade Decklist

Take Up The Blackblade

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Commander (1)
Sorceries (4)
Artifacts (29)
Creatures (19)
Lands (38)
Planeswalkers (3)
Instants (4)
Enchantments (2)

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The Shadow Slayer

How would you build Dakkon Blackblade? What are the best off-color ramp spells in Magic? What are the best swords for this shadowy warrior to wield? Feel like I don't know what I'm doing, and should go back to deckbuilding class? Let me know in the comments!

That wraps up our first installment of Legends Legends! This ongoing series will dive into each of the original 60 legendary creatures from 1994's Legends set. Check back next time for more vintage Magic: The Gathering scoops!

Jeff's almost as old as Magic itself, and can't remember a time when he didn't own any trading cards. His favorite formats are Pauper and Emperor, and his favorite defunct products are the Duel Decks.