Uncommanders: Modular Mayhem

A Common Dilemma

Welcome back to Uncommanders, where I do my best to take the supposed rubbish that fills your booster packs and turn it into a playable Commander deck. With the rules of Pauper EDH holding me in place, I can only use 99 common rarity cards and one uncommon commander. So what uncommander are we going to use today?

Reyhan, Last of the Abzan is my favorite legendary of all time, enabling the absolute best shenanigans. Shifting counters around allows you to do some absurd stuff, which, on top of being stupid and janky, can easily close out games. Unfortunately, the Abzan Soldier is not legal as a pEDH commander, so we'll have to find a replacement. Good thing there's a mechanic that imitates Reyhan perfectly, known as modular. Machined parts created a technical revolution by allowing broken industrial parts to be swapped for new ones without needing to replace the entire instrument. In a similar fashion, the leftover parts from our dead automatons can be added to the functional one. Arcbound Shikari is the perfect card to display our theme, in addition to enabling it with its team-wide buff. 

Metal Menagerie

What are our goals in the deck? We want to get to the win with a consistent board state and by buffing our creatures up with counters. We can use modular to constantly keep a large creature in play, then use the counter synergies to create an ever-growing army. If we do it right, our opponents will struggle to put us down. 

Let's start with the modular creatures. The cool thing about being able to move the plus ones around is how it makes your entire board into a threat. Oh, you kill my 6/6? I'll move its counters onto my commander, and now it's an 8/8. In order to get this kind of board state consistently, we need as many interchangeable pieces as we can count. Every card that says "Arcbound" on it goes in, but there's also a small series of creatures that act like they have modular, such as Star Pupil. The best card like this, and maybe the best card in the deck, is Enduring Bondwarden. It has modular, itself, but thanks to the backup mechanic, it can give another creature modular for a turn, and if the creature dying has the same ability twice, the counters get doubled. It's 25-cent Doubling Season! With these machines in play, the only thing that can take us down is a board wipe. 

Just having modular creatures doesn't scale up our threats quite enough, however. We need ways to get more and more counters onto our creatures in order to produce real monsters. Proliferation is by far the best method, so let's bring in Volt Charge and Martyr for the Cause. After that, we'll just have to use cards that put +1/+1 counters on, unfortunately at a much higher CMC. Unbounded Potential gives a counter to two creatures, but Now for Wrath, Now for Ruin! does it for every little guy you control. In some cases, one will be better than the other, but no matter what, they'll both put in work. 

Given how many artifacts we're playing, we can commit to a minor affinity theme. 60-card Pauper affinity lists are a great source of inspiration here, and we can add Myr Enforcer, Frogmite, and Sojourner's Companion. Lens Flare is a solid means of removing aggression that will almost always cost one. Affinity will never be a worry really, because everything that can be an artifact is an artifact. From mana, to card, all the way to the lands, you're covered. It's not hard to get to four artifacts on turn 2. 

The Gears of the Goliath

So now, with the meat of the deck looking juicy, we've got to add the spices. Built to Last and Built to Smash are some of my favorite cards to draw, along with the surprise attack that is Temur Battle Rage. You think you can shrug off twelve commander damage? Think again. As for raw power, nothing is going to buff quite like All That Glitters. This deck is here to cause pain. 

I'll continue my deck as a food metaphor by moving to the veggies, the cards you need to play the game. Let's add in the typical Pauper Removal, known as Lightning Bolt and Flame Slash, along with some theme-specific removal, like Galvanic Blast. Being a commons-only Boros deck, we need any card draw available, so Secluded Steppe and Forgotten Cave are great for land slots. Card advantage is standard, with Wrenn's Resolve and Reckless Impulse. Other than that, we're good to go. 

Oiling the Machine

Okay, my projections of huge creatures seem to be a bit hopeful. The deck only runs around 15 cards that have the modular ability, and maybe 1o more that add counters. If we want to get to the massive robot fantasy that I've been envisioning, we need more ways to make the bots big. Problem is, all the team-wide buffs are overcosted. Now for Wrath, Now for Ruin! has plenty of utility, but I still don't like playing it for four mana. I need to think. How have I been getting counters in the test games? The best thing to do that has been... Ah ha! How did I miss that? Arcbound Shikari is the best way to get counters in the entire deck! And it has an ETB! All I need is ways to blink him, and there's close to twenty great options available in Pauper. Cloudshift, Ephemerate, Otherworldly Journey, get in here! With an average cost of two mana to blink the Shikari, the counters will stack up in no time! Problem solved. Let's give this deck another test. 


This has been one of my more successful pauper decks, and I'm really happy with how it's like a reincarnation of my old Reyhan deck. The power's down a bit, but it still packs a punch, and the energy is exactly the same. I'm always looking for the right strategy that hits the sweet spot between tomfoolery and competitiveness, and the modular theme does that for me. Until next time, happy brewing, and tell me if you have any decks that feel just right!

Alejandro Fuentes's a nerd from Austin Texas who likes building the most unreasonable decks possible, then optimizing them till they're actually good. In his free time, he's either trying to fit complex time signatures into death metal epics, or writing fantasy novels.