I’d love to tell you all that I’m brimming with excitement over all of the things that I want to talk about today, and that’s why there’s a pot of coffee brewing and the pellet stove is on as I write this at 3:46am.

That would be partially true, but mostly a lie.

I’ve been travelling for the better part of the last week (with much thanks to Dave for keeping the site on lock-down, and to the writers for keeping the content flowing), and as it turns out, you get used to quiet hotel rooms and guest bedrooms.

Put another way, no kids.

And so it is that when my beautiful daughter starts wailing over the monitor in the wee hours of the morning, my stupid mind takes it as a queue to snap wide awake. She is happily back sound asleep in a warm-milk-induced coma, and I’m struggling to remember where the correct keys are on my laptop.

Put *another* way, today is going to suck once this catches up to me.

Anyway…Magic!

DOING ELDER DRAGONS THE RIGHT WAY…

As any of you who follow me (@GDCCommander) on Twitter know, I can’t leave well-enough alone with my decks. I’ve gone as high as twenty-three or twenty-four active decks before, but I usually try to maintain about twelve. Any less for me and I feel like I run out of variety on game night, any more and I find myself lugging around deck boxes that never get opened.

That, however, doesn’t mean that I sit pat on what I have. Tinker, tinker, tinker.

And so it was recently that I found myself staring at a pile of left-over Revised dual lands and matching fetches after ripping apart five or so decks to make way for some new options (Tasigur, the Golden Fang and Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest among them), and I had a moment of nostalgic clarity.

This is EDH, right? (Well, Commander now, but to us snobby purists, it’s always going to be EDH.) How do I not have a deck with an Elder Dragon Legend in the command zone?

The result of this line of thought brought my old copy of Palladia-Mors out of retirement. The first rare I ever ripped from a Legends pack 21-odd years ago, poor Palladia hasn’t aged well by modern creature standards. Eight mana for a 7/7 with flying and trample was apparently so good back in the day that it clearly needed to be saddled with an upkeep cost.

Apparently, we didn’t run removal at all back then. That’s the only possible reason I can think of for this.

In any case, though, my old Naya-before-Naya-was-called-Naya friend still packs a punch, and it’s not like there are many other options that have “Elder”, “Dragon”, and “Legend” in the creature type line together, right?

…Wait…what’s that?

<Opens MythicSpoiler.com, looks at Dragons of Tarkir visual spoiler.>

God-dammit.

UNDER THE HOOD

In all honesty, Palladia-Mors is where I’d have gone with this deck even without the unveiling of the new Elder Dragons. The deck plays out in two directions that I wanted to explore a bit further – Dragons tribal, and a bit of a “My First EDH” build along the lines of Mr. P’s Tolsimir Wolfblood deck. For the former, that meant a base-red/green deck, for the most availability of the species, and the native ramp to be able to afford to cast them. The latter would influence my build to a certain extent, but honestly, doing tribal dragons in general tends to set the competitive bar just about in the right place; it’s a great deck to pull out when everyone wants a fun game, and it’ll do silly EDH-type things that don’t involve infinite combos or Nekusar, the Mindrazer versus Oloro, Ageless Ascetic snoreslug-fests.

The third color was chosen to bolster the deck with some standard-issue options and to allow for cool expansion choices from Khans block. Dromoka, the Eternal seemed like a cool option for a deck that wanted to continue growing threats and beating face with dragons, and more to the point, she also seemed like a good indicator that Dragons of Tarkir would have some more white dragon options to add. So far, with only a fifth or so of the set spoiled, this is right on the money. (We’ll talk DoT upgrades later on, since I don’t want to ruin surprises for those of you who don’t read spoilers. If you do, though, hit up your favorite spoiler site and take a look. You’ll see what I mean.)

WHY NOT SCION?

Scion of the Ur-Dragon is a Dragon Avatar…not an Elder Dragon. If you want to aim for development league here, that’s fine, but I’m going for the majors. (Sadly, there’s some truth to that statement. Having an Elder Dragon was one of the main reasons I built the deck. And yeah, I know. Scion is a better pure general for Dragons tribal. Shhhh.)

The other main reason is that I don’t feel like I lose much in cutting black and blue. There are a few dragons that fit the bill, but for the style of the deck I’m shooting for, I don’t really need either as a support color. As I said before, red gives me dragons, green gives me ramp, and white allows me to add in requisite control elements; removal like Austere Command, as well as more flexible and strategy-supported options like Aura Shards.

White also gives me access to Mirari’s Wake, and I haven’t slotted that perennial fave in a deck in a long time. This seems like the right place to me. And speaking of mana production, it allows me to side-step the nightmare of a five-color mana-base and the necessary supporting cards.

THE LIST

[Deck title=Palladia-Mors Tribal Dragons]
[General]
1 Palladia-Mors[/General]

[Dragons]
1 Destructor Dragon
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Scourge of Kher Ridges
1 Scourge of Valkas
1 Dragon Tyrant
1 Hellkite Tyrant
1 Bogardan Hellkite
1 Eternal Dragon
1 Shivan Hellkite
1 Dromoka, the Eternal
1 Hellkite Charger
1 Atarka, World Render
1 Ancient Hellkite
1 Lightning Shrieker
1 Dragon Mage
1 Balefire Dragon
1 Flameblast Dragon
1 Knollspine Dragon
1 Yosei, the Morning Star
1 Hoard-Smelter Dragon
1 Utvara Hellkite
1 Kilnmouth Dragon
1 Wardscale Dragon
1 Forgestoker Dragon
1 Mordant Dragon
1 Scourge of the Throne
1 Thundermaw Hellkite
1 Furyborn Hellkite
1 Imperial Hellkite
1 Warmonger Hellkite[/Dragons]

[The Supporting Cast]
1 Dragonspeaker Shaman
1 Zirilan of the Claw[/The Supporting Cast]

[Removal]
1 Hull Breach
1 Aura Shards
1 Disaster Radius
1 Austere Command[/Removal]

[Acceleration]
1 Caged Sun
1 Mirari’s Wake
1 Skyshroud Claim
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Hunting Wilds
1 Cultivate
1 Sol Ring[/Acceleration]

[Draw]
1 Greater Good
1 Soul’s Majesty
1 Hunter’s Insight
1 Momentous Fall
1 Harmonize
1 Hunter’s Prowess[/Draw]

[Finding The Dragons]
1 Chord of Calling
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Lurking Predators
1 Wild Pair
1 Dragonstorm[/Finding The Dragons]

[Utility]
1 Sarkhan Vol
1 Fires of Yavimaya
1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
1 Xenagos, God of Revels
1 Crucible of Fire
1 Asceticism
1 Sneak Attack[/Utility]

[Lands]
1 Command Tower
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Plateau
1 Taiga
1 Stomping Ground
1 Temple Garden
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Windswept Heath
1 Arid Mesa
1 Krosan Verge
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Miren, the Moaning Well
1 Winding Canyons
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Skarrg, the Rage Pits
1 High Market
1 Strip Mine
1 Flamekin Village
1 Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
1 Temple of the False God
5 Mountain
3 Plains
6 Forest[/Lands][/Deck]
 

That’s it in a nutshell. There’s not a lot of tricky things happening; it’s really just designed to be a good blend of supporting cards that allow my to play a giant pile of dragons and beat face with them. The supporting lands are either fetchlands, combat enhancers (Kessig, Flamekin), or protective options (High Market). There’s a smattering of spell-based removal to keep the path clear, but most of the grunt work in that area falls on the dragons themselves; Destructor Dragon and Steel Hellkite to help with permanent removal, and just a boatload of direct-damage dealing dragons to hammer on creatures and players.

The fun comes from the utility cards. I decided there was not only poetic justice in using the original art Sneak Attack, but also the joy of tossing out surprise monsters for one mana seemed to be exactly what this deck wanted to be doing. Ditto with Wild Pair and Lurking Predators, and yes – I get how ridiculous and bad Dragonstorm is, especially in this list. Theme is theme, and there’s going to be that one occasion where Greater Good is going to net me a Sol Ring and Cultivate, and the card will be ridiculous in a good way.

Past that…big dragons. I have wonderful memories of cards like Dragon Tyrant and Kilnmouth Dragon, so this is going to be like a giant family reunion. And I should note that while I have very little play experience with this thing yet, both of those things won me a game with the deck; ask me about the joys of having Tyrant and Xenagos, God of Revels in play at the same time, or Kilnmouth amplified twice.

And yes…Palladia hit play and beat for a lot of damage. I’m a happy man.

It’s missing a few odds and ends here and there (Someone please ship me a Tyrant’s Familiar!), and it’s never going to win a competitive tournament, but it’s exactly what I want in a theme deck, and it should be a blast to keep working on as more dragons are printed.

I’m open to your thoughts and suggestions here; Did I miss anything? What would you pull out or add to this list? Hit up the comments and let me know.

Cass
@GDCCommander