Statistics for my 2022 EDH decks [Article]


The Tentacled One
Welcome to my Fourth Annual EDH Statistics Report. This is my biggest, bestest statistical rundown ever. First, let's start with some convenient links.
I'll briefly recap some of the distinguishing aspects of previous years, but first, let's cover what's different this time around. Firstly, there are a whole lot more decks. I generally built one new deck a week. I missed one week in January and had three other weeks where I built two decks each, bringing me to a grand total of 54 decks for the whole year. That's almost as many as 2019 and 2020 combined. It's really a pretty silly pace and I don't intend to follow stick with it next year. So I think that 2022 will be my most prolific EDH Statistics year for a long time.

I also introduced some fancy new technology to deal with an issue I noticed in last year's report...

Oversoul said:
Hey CPA, I could use some advice here. I know that these statistics pieces are primarily of interest just to me, and I'm the primary reader of them. That's not as useless as it might sound: I can go back and use them as convenient references, and have already done so. My trouble is that I devised the rubric due to the nature of my deckbuilding for the West Coast Commander League (one new deck per week). That kind of worked for 2020. But both in 2020 and in 2021, I refined some existing decklists. In particular, all three years will have my Phelddagriff deck and my God Eternal Oketra deck, though the list had some editorial changes each time. With 2022 approaching, I'm considering keeping the same decks around for a while, playing them a lot, and refining them. You know, like a normal person? But how do I convey that? Which version of a 2022 deck should get recorded for statistical analysis? The first version? The final version? There are different ways to approach this, and none of them strike me as satisfactory.
My elegant solution to this was to create a running column in my spreadsheets that consists of cards that I removed from decks while continuing to play those decks. This allowed me to make revisions, while still tracking all of the cards I ran in my decks for the year. Fancy, right? There were only 5 cards swapped out of my decks, which brings the total number of card slots to 5,405. Those 5,405 slots were shared between 1,719 unique cards. The default Commander Night at my local game store is on Wednesdays, so I assigned each deck to its corresponding Wednesday date, although most were published here at the CPA on Monday nights. I adopted the convention reflexively, probably because it reminded my of the setup I used in the formalized West Coast Commander League in 2019 and 2020. But these Wednesday night events were different. There was no formalized structure and I didn't necessarily play the same deck three times in a row. Some decks were only used for a single occasion, while others persisted for weeks or even months. I also picked up a handful of games on other days of the week, so there really isn't much point in organizing my decks based on a specific day of the week. Well, too bad: I already did it. Here are my decks in chronological order.

1/5: Phelddagrif "Time to Scrounge"
1/12: Rohgahh of Kher Keep "Sharing is Khering"
1/19: Cazur, Ruthless Stalker & Ukkima, Stalking Shadow "Whale Wolf Aluren"
1/26: miss (This was the only week I missed all year. I did play, but without a new weekly deck. If I'd known at the time, I'd have mustered the effort to brew a new deck just to fill the gap.)
2/2: The Prismatic Piper "Piper at the Gates of Dumb"
2/9: Dakkon Blackblade "I'll Make a Dakkon Out of You"
2/16: Tetsuo Umezawa "Madara Reloaded"
2/23: Seshiro the Anointed "It Ain't Easy Being Snakes"
3/2: Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn "Spikes, and Horns, and Tusks, Oh My!"
3/9: Zirilan of the Claw "Doctor Claw"
3/16: Nebuchadnezzar "Naming Cards, Destroying Nations"
3/23: Mishra, Artificer Prodigy "Wave Function Collapse"
3/30: Quintorius, Field Historian "An Elephant Never Forgets"
4/6: The Haunt of Hightower "The Haunt of Discardtower"
4/13: Tawnos, Urza's Apprentice "Eternal Apprenticeship"
4/20: Pashalik Mons "Goblin Lives Matter"
4/27: Cormela, Glamour Thief "Burn the Vampire"
5/4: Lady Orca "Lady Orca's Cult of Doom"
5/11: Meren of Clan Nel Toth "Exodia of Clan Nel Toth"
5/18: Jedit Ojanen "Defense of Efavra"
5/25: Ragnar "Ragnar Protects the Eggs"
6/1: Pavel Maliki "Generously Hellbent"
6/8: Tazri, Beacon of Unity "Party Hard"
6/15: Abdel Adrian, Gorion's Ward & Scion of Halaster "Dance of the Grand Duke"
6/22: The Reality Chip "Reality Check"
6/29: Slogurk, the Overslime "Life from the Slime"
7/6: Maelstrom Wanderer "Hypergenetic Eureka"
7/13: Emiel the Blessed "Bless This Mess"
7/20: Phenax, God of Deception "Old-Fashioned Treadmill"
7/27: Lady Evangela "Your Stuff Gets Raptured"
8/3: Nethroi, Apex of Death "Erika Shiragami"
8/10: Spirit of the Night "Spirit of the Pestilence"
8/17: Gnostro, Voice of the Crags "Gnostro Ascendancy"
8/24: Jerrard of the Closed Fist "Closed Fist Discount"
8/31: Jacques le Vert "He Protec (the creatures of his homeland)"
9/7: Gwendlyn Di Corci "Waste Not and Gwenny D Had to Regulate"
9/14: Jasmine Boreal of the Seven "Bourbon Vanilla"
9/21: Thelon of Havenwood "I Collect Spores"
9/28: Tobias, Doomed Conqueror "Azorius Poor Man's Caller of the Claw"
10/5: Orca, Siege Demon "Siege Lady"
10/12: Trazyn, the Infinite "Space Cyber-Mummy Librarian"
10/12: Hazezon, Shaper of Sand "Life from the Loess"
10/19: Myra the Magnificent "Fatal Attractions"
10/26: Extus, Oriq Overlord "Halloween Bloodstravaganza 2022"
11/2: Rohgahh, Kher Keep Overlord "Global Kher-nquest"
11/9: General Marhault Elsdragon "Marhault's Block Party"
11/16: Titania, Voice of Gaea "Argoth Bureau of Land Management"
11/23: Adun Oakenshield "Adun Oakenshield's Hearty Thanksgiving Meal"
11/23: Liberator, Urza's Battlethopter "Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Cards"
11/30: Queen Kayla bin-Kroog "Queen Takes Pawns"
11/30: Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom & Okaun, Eye of Chaos "Heads I Ydwen, Tails From the Crypt"
12/7: Isu the Abominable "Probably Too Much Snow"
12/14: Hakim, Loreweaver "Hakim's Enchanting Story Club"
12/21: Zedruu the Greathearted "'Tis the Season of Giving"
12/28: Ao, the Dawn Sky "Welcome to the Space Jam"

In 2019, I used 1,360 unique cards across 4,160 total card slots. So my decks were about 32.7% unique.
In 2020, I used 677 unique cards across 1,460 total card slots. So my decks were about 46.4% unique.
In 2021, I used 700 unique cards across 1,500 total card slots. So my decks were about 46.7% unique.
This year, I used 1,719 unique cards across 5,405 total card slots. So my decks were 31.8% unique.

Uniqueness is down, certainly. But I've never before had a year with quite so many decks. Perhaps this was a natural consequence of that. I did find myself falling into patterns. And if I reuse a certain package of cards just once in the year, that disqualifies all cards in the package from being unique to that one deck. I do think that I could have done better, but I'm also not so sure that results from previous years are in some way superior.

My coverage of color identities was pretty good. I didn't hit any of the four-color groupings, but I also dislike my options for that. I built at least two decks for each single color, did a five-color deck, hit every two-color pair, every wedge, every shard, and even built a colorless deck. Here's the breakdown.

WUG: 3
UBG: 1
WU: 2
BR: 5
RG: 2
WUB: 2
WRG: 2
W: 2
R: 2
WG: 3
UB: 2
UR: 3
UBR: 4
U: 2
UG: 1
BG: 2
WBR: 1
B: 3
G: 2
WB: 1
WR: 2
WUR: 2
WBG: 1
URG: 1
BRG: 1
Colorless: 1
Total: 54

In previous reports, I'd keep a running tally, adding my decks representing each color identity to the total. That seems like something I did for the sake of tracking coverage in the West Coast Commander League. So I'm dropping that. Let's move straight to my top cards by category.


The Tentacled One
After two years in a row of skimping on red cards, I've had a year in which basic Mountain is my #1 card, topping the charts at 152 inclusions! Swamps win if snow and regular basics are summed up, and Plains are lagging, but it's mostly pretty close.

Basic lands
Mountain: 152
Swamp: 138
Island: 124
Plains: 113
Snow-Covered Swamp: 78
Snow-Covered Plains: 41
Snow-Covered Island: 39
Snow-Covered Forest: 26
Snow-Covered Mountain: 24

Every year, I've attempted to list all of the non-basic lands that I used in at least 3 different decks. That list isn't too much bigger this year, so here it is.

Non-basic lands (that appeared more than twice)
Strip Mine: 48
Wasteland: 38
Maze of Ith: 35
Scalding Tarn: 29
Misty Rainforest: 28
Polluted Delta: 27
Marsh Flats: 26
Verdant Catacombs: 26
Flooded Strand: 25
Wooded Foothills: 25
Bloodstained Mire: 24
Arid Mesa: 23
Reliquary Tower: 23
Windswept Heath: 23
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth: 22
Command Tower: 20
Gaea's Cradle: 15
Badlands: 12
Prismatic Vista: 12
Urza's Saga: 11
Volcanic Island: 11
Blood Crypt: 10
Savannah: 9
Steam Vents: 9
Treasure Vault: 9
Underground Sea: 9
Volrath's Stronghold: 9
Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth: 9
Ancient Tomb: 8
Cabal Coffers: 8
Glacial Chasm: 8
Inventors' Fair: 8
Otawara, Soaring City: 8
Plateau: 8
Tundra: 8
Boseiju, Who Endures: 7
Darksteel Citadel: 7
Deserted Temple: 7
Mutavault: 7
Taiga: 7
Tranquil Thicket: 7
Watery Grave: 7
Bayou: 6
Fabled Passage: 6
Hallowed Fountain: 6
Lake of the Dead: 6
Minamo, School at Water's Edge: 6
Mishra's Workshop: 6
Seat of the Synod: 6
Takenuma, Abandoned Mire: 6
Temple Garden: 6
Tropical Island: 6
Academy Ruins: 5
Bazaar of Baghdad: 5
Buried Ruin: 5
Flagstones of Trokair: 5
Forbidden Orchard: 5
Overgrown Tomb: 5
Phyrexian Tower: 5
Sacred Foundry: 5
Scrubland: 5
Stomping Ground: 5
Breeding Pool: 4
Cavern of Souls: 4
City of Traitors: 4
Crystal Vein: 4
Great Furnace: 4
Hall of Heliod's Generosity: 4
Karn's Bastion: 4
Mishra's Factory: 4
Mistveil Plains: 4
Mystic Sanctuary: 4
Scrying Sheets: 4
Sokenzan, Crucible of Defense: 4
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale: 4
Thespian's Stage: 4
Vesuva: 4
Arcane Lighthouse: 3
Barren Moor: 3
Godless Shrine: 3
Petrified Field: 3
Riftstone Portal: 3
Scorched Ruins: 3
Thawing Glaciers: 3

Another feature I'll keep around is top-ten lists that are inclusive of ties. So I keep going down the list until I hit 10 cards, but I include all cards that tied for the bottom number of inclusions. Here are my top 10 artifacts. Mox Diamond had a great year.

Sol Ring: 53
Mox Diamond: 27
Crucible of Worlds: 20
Mana Vault: 19
Lightning Greaves: 18
Ashnod's Altar: 17
Mana Crypt: 14
Mox Opal: 14
Arcane Signet: 13
Phyrexian Altar: 13

My top 10 white cards are more creature-heavy than previous years. Esper Sentinel is a newcomer here, and Sun Titan did especially well.

Enlightened Tutor: 17
Generous Gift: 17
Swords to Plowshares: 16
Kami of False Hope: 12
Serra Ascendant: 12
Sun Titan: 9
Academy Rector: 8
Esper Sentinel: 8
Idyllic Tutor: 8
Mother of Runes: 8

Blue is a bit different this year. Rhystic Study moved to the top of the pack, but the rest of this top 10 are all instants.

Rhystic Study: 21
Brainstorm: 20
Force of Will: 19
Cyclonic Rift: 18
Arcane Denial: 17
Mana Drain: 17
Counterspell: 15
Mystical Tutor: 15
Swan Song: 11
Evacuation: 10

So, I knew that this would happen. It's the first year in which I built a deck using one of those cards that break the highlander deckbuilding restriction. I ran Shadowborn Apostles decks twice. This meant that no card other than basic lands could hope see more representation. Shadowborn Apostles dominates black. The rest of the top 10 are my usual fare. Victimize did better this year.

Shadowborn Apostle: 71
Demonic Tutor: 24
Vampiric Tutor: 23
Dark Ritual: 18
Toxic Deluge: 15
Dark Petition: 13
Victimize: 11
Culling the Weak: 10
Necropotence: 10
Damnation: 9

Despite an uptick in red cards and red-based decks, this is still the color that moves the furthest down the list. Looking at my decks, I can kind of see why. My two mono-red decks were tribal goblins and tribal dragons. Not a lot of overlap there. Without tallying up color for every card, I do think that red should have fine representation when it comes to total usage. But this top 12 consists of 50% cards that I only used in 5 decks. Even white was able to stop at 8. The list is dominated by Wheel of Fortune. And could there be any doubt? Wheel of Fortune beats the top cards in all other colors except black. And then there's a steep dropoff.

Wheel of Fortune: 22
Chaos Warp: 9
Faithless Looting: 8
Anger: 7
Goblin Bombardment: 6
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker: 6
Balefire Dragon: 5
Blasphemous Act: 5
Gamble: 5
Goblin Welder: 5
Jeska's Will: 5
Terror of the Peaks: 5

I have a top 11 list for green, and I'm pleased to see that the overplayed staples of the format, Cultivate and Kodama's Reach, do not make the cut here. These are some fine green cards.

Regrowth: 19
Harrow: 17
Crop Rotation: 16
Sylvan Library: 16
Abundance: 14
Roiling Regrowth: 14
Beast Within: 13
Seasons Past: 13
Eternal Witness: 12
Bala Ged Recovery: 11
Worldly Tutor: 11

While red did much better this year, gold did not. I suspect that the West Coast Commander League point structure incentivized more multicolored spells, and lacking that constraint, I simply don't play many. Here's a top 11 list, but it has to dip all the way down cards with only 3 inclusions. Heartwarming Redemption is a notable newcomer here. The card was released in 2019, but I didn't start using it until later. It's become one of my favorite multicolored spells.

Dovin’s Veto: 6
Lim-Dul's Vault: 6
Assassin's Trophy: 4
Supreme Verdict: 4
Time Wipe: 4
Fires of Yavimaya: 3
Good-Fortune Unicorn: 3
Heartwarming Redemption: 3
Notion Thief: 3
Sire of Insanity: 3
Squandered Resources: 3

My top 12 creatures were destined to have Shadowborn Apostle take the top spot. 71 inclusions is more than the total number of decks I built. It was inevitable. Other than Esper Sentinel as a newcomer, the rest of the list should be familiar from previous years.

Shadowborn Apostle: 71
Eternal Witness: 12
Kami of False Hope: 12
Serra Ascendant: 12
Spore Frog: 10
Solemn Simulacrum: 9
Spike Weaver: 9
Sun Titan: 9
Academy Rector: 8
Esper Sentinel: 8
Genesis: 8
Mother of Runes: 8

Rhystic Study heads the list of my top 13 enchantments. I'm puzzled that this is the first year Urza's Saga showed up on these lists. Just 2 inclusions in 2021, but now it's up to 11 for 2022.

Rhystic Study: 21
Sylvan Library: 16
Abundance: 14
Urza's Saga: 11
Necropotence: 10
Survival of the Fittest: 9
Exploration: 8
Manabond: 7
Aura of Silence: 6
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove: 6
Goblin Bombardment: 6
Land Tax: 6
Mystic Remora: 6

Despite having more total slots than 2019, 2022 didn't see me using very many planeswalkers as staples. Tezzeret the Seeker did well, probably because of my increased usage of the Mystic Forge + Sensei's Divining Top combo. Tezzeret can fetch either combo piece or fetch a cost-reducer. So here at the 12 planeswalkers that I used at least twice.

Tezzeret the Seeker: 7
Karn, Scion of Urza: 4
Narset, Parter of Veils: 4
Ugin, the Ineffable: 4
Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast: 2
Liliana of the Dark Realms: 2
Liliana of the Veil: 2
Liliana, Dreadhorde General: 2
Ral Zarek: 2
Tezzeret, Artifice Master: 2
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: 2
Wrenn and Six: 2

Sorcery is still my favorite card type. Here are my top 14 for the year.

Demonic Tutor: 24
Wheel of Fortune: 22
Regrowth: 19
Toxic Deluge: 15
Dark Petition: 13
Seasons Past: 13
Victimize: 11
Damnation: 9
Windfall: 9
Diabolic Intent: 8
Echo of Eons: 8
Faithless Looting: 8
Idyllic Tutor: 8
Life from the Loam: 8

My top 10 instants feature no red, and half of them are blue.

Vampiric Tutor: 23
Brainstorm: 20
Force of Will: 19
Cyclonic Rift: 18
Dark Ritual: 18
Arcane Denial: 17
Enlightened Tutor: 17
Generous Gift: 17
Harrow: 17
Mana Drain: 17

My 2021 report concluded by with a list of all cards I'd used at least 5 times, noting my hope that I'd be able to change it back to 10 inclusions in 2022. Well, my wish has been granted. Here are the 45 cards I used at least 10 times.

Shadowborn Apostle: 71
Demonic Tutor: 24
Vampiric Tutor: 23
Wheel of Fortune: 22
Rhystic Study: 21
Brainstorm: 20
Crucible of Worlds: 20
Force of Will: 19
Regrowth: 19
Cyclonic Rift: 18
Dark Ritual: 18
Lightning Greaves: 18
Arcane Denial: 17
Ashnod's Altar: 17
Enlightened Tutor: 17
Generous Gift: 17
Harrow: 17
Mana Drain: 17
Crop Rotation: 17
Swords to Plowshares: 16
Sylvan Library: 16
Counterspell: 15
Mystical Tutor: 15
Toxic Deluge: 15
Abundance: 14
Roiling Regrowth: 14
Beast Within: 13
Dark Petition: 13
Phyrexian Altar: 13
Seasons Past: 13
Eternal Witness: 12
Kami of False Hope: 12
Sensei's Divining Top: 12
Serra Ascendant: 12
Bala Ged Recovery: 11
Expedition Map: 11
Lion's Eye Diamond: 11
Swan Song: 11
Victimize: 11
Worldly Tutor: 11
Culling the Weak: 10
Necropotence: 10
Spore Frog: 10
Zuran Orb: 10


The Tentacled One
Here's the frequency curve (bar chart, essentially) for my 2022 decks.



The Tentacled One
Some thoughts for 2023...

I won't attempt to keep up this intense pace for building EDH decks next year. The most obvious answer would be to say that I'm burnt out, but that's really a pretty minor factor, actually. I want a change of pace for five reasons.
  1. I want to focus on quality over quantity. Throwing decks together in a short timeframe is a skill, and it's one that I honed a lot this year. But many of my builds were pretty flawed. I'll still build many new decks in 2023, and some of them might be highly experimental. But I want to take more time to savor the really cool decks, and this year I found that sometimes I took apart decks I'd really rather have continued playing with, just because they'd had their moment and I needed to scrap them for parts.
  2. Spending less time on building new decks gives me more time to revisit old ones or overhaul existing ones. I looked back on my log of revisions to Gitrog County Municipal Lake Dredge Appraisal and found that I really missed that aspect of the game. I used to really value an ideal that EDH was primarily about getting to have the same deck for the long haul, tweaking it as time passed, watching spoilers for potential new inclusions, etc. I want to go back to that. In order to keep a few decks for the long haul, I need to curb my tendency to poach my decks for parts.
  3. Speaking of revision, that's a skill, and one that can be exercised the same as brewing decks. This year, I swapped out just five cards. I could have made more changes to decks, but the drive to build a new deck every week conflicted with that. For 2023, if I can update or adjust three existing decks instead of building a new one from scratch, I'll consider that time well spent.
  4. While I don't have any concrete plans for this, I'm really hoping to branch back out into other formats. Back in 2019, I shifted away from Legacy and Canadian Highlander, becoming focused almost exclusively on EDH. I've never been happy with the idea of EDH as the dominant way to play Magic. I want to engage with other formats.
  5. Also, yeah, I'm kind of burned out on this.


The Tentacled One
Here’s a silly companion piece to my 2022 EDH decks statistics writeup. I built and played 54 different EDH decks this year, and I decided that I liked the idea of ranking my favorites. What objective and demonstrably quantifiable criteria am I using to rank them? Well, this is the CPA, so I figure I’ll just rank them based on how fun I think they are. Some decks are really broken, just shy of cEDH caliber. Others are pure jank that were built for gimmicks, not winning games. Most are in between. Some decks I kept around for months. Others I played on just one day, then dismantled. Most are in between. I make no substantial effort to weigh those considerations. It’s all just about my own perception of fun, here and now, with 2022 coming to a close. It’s not really a fair metric, but then again, these are my decks. So I get to do what I want.

#54: “Gnostro Ascendancy”
My decks had various disappointments, most of them fortunately pretty minor. This one hit me the hardest. I love Jeskai Ascendancy and I have experience with the card in multiple formats. Putting together a list that had the right mana dorks, the right support spells, and could function properly without the key enchantment in play was something I did with some level of deliberation. It was an idea that gave me a deck unlike any I’d seen or built before, and it even tested reasonably well in goldfishing. It could have worked. It should have worked. Some of the other decks toward the bottom of my rankings might have been failed experiments or decks that I just got a little too cheeky with. But my Gnostro deck takes the bottom spot because it was, not to sound too sentimental, kind of a labor of love. I was really excited for this deck and I really wanted it to work. I don’t know when I’ll be able to bring myself to try Jeskai Ascendancy again, but it’ll take some time.

#53: “Bless This Mess”
This one went awry in part just due to bad luck, but also due to a confluence of some other things. I had wanted to build an Emiel deck back when the card first debuted in Jumpstart. But by the time I opened a copy after it was reprinted, I wound up in a spot where I unfavorably compared this to my Lathiel deck. Also, the timing was awkward here because I was running too many decks simultaneously and found myself scrapping this one for parts to build my Nethroi deck. Throw in some opponents with overtuned decks and just a bit of general bad luck, and this deck never really got a chance to shine. Emiel is a nice maindeck card, but Lathiel is just so much more interesting as a unicorn commander.

#52: “Time to Scrounge”
My first deck of the year was just a little bit too experimental. I liked the idea of Phelddagrif as a commander for a deck built largely around Oath of Druids, but from there I got a little crazy with the actual deck design. This deck actually managed to win a couple of games, but it also bogged down every game. I’ll try Oath of Druids again at some point, but not in this really extreme, hypercontrolling fashion. This deck was fun while it lasted, but not too much fun. You know? Didn’t help that it made me miss my old group hug deck. I should rebuild that.

#51: “Generously Hellbent”
I make a point of not being too hard on myself for trying something dubious when playing one of the original legends as my commander. They’re pretty bad, and if I’m going to play all of them, I want to make each deck distinctive. Ultimately, my Pavel Maliki deck was a failed experiment, but it was a learning experience. The deck never won a game or came even close, and it was too frustrating to pilot, but I still think it’s not too far off the mark from the sort of deck that might be fun. I’ll be using this list as a reference at some point next year when I build a more robust “Hellbent” deck. There were some good ideas. Still, failure is failure, so this deck ranks near the bottom.

#50: “Defense of Efrava”
What I said about Pavel Maliki holds just as true for Jedit Ojanen. Despite ranking these decks right next to each other numerically, I actually think that there’s a steep jump in overall fun and level of interest when I think of this deck. Now, this deck still had major problems, so it’s still pretty far down the rankings. I appreciated the novel concept and I really think that it’s something I can come back to with a future deck. I already noted that the deck would have been substantially improved just by pulling Tameshi, Reality Architect from the maindeck and making that the new commander. Seriously, I think that one change might have won me a couple of games by itself. But let’s not sugarcoat it: this deck was too slow. And I don’t mean too slow in the sense that it lost games because it couldn’t keep up with the competition (although that might also be true). I mean too slow in the sense that my victories were essentially obtained by boring my opponents into conceding. And that’s not the kind of player I want to be.

#49: “Whale Wolf Aluren”
Sometimes the general ideation of a deck is more appealing than the deck would ever be in practice. I liked Cazur & Ukkima as commanders. I’m overly fond of this color combination, and Aluren is one of my favorite cards. I had a lot of success with my old Yarok deck, and this was essentially an improved version of that. So far, so good. I turned out to build something that bordered on an optimized cEDH deck. And this was supposed to be casual. Now, as much as I like silly decks, I often run up against some pretty high-powered stuff, so I have experience with responding in kind. This list pushed things too far. I should have seen that coming. Lesson learned: if you’re going to get so minutely close to building a competitive deck, just go all the way and finish the job.

#48: “I Collect Spores”
Running so many Fallen Empires cards made me smile, but seeing how outclassed they really are was disheartening. I think that I built a deck that was about as faithful to Thelon of Havenwood’s abilities as it’s possible to get. My efforts were largely in vain. Thallids are just too slow for EDH these days. Ten years ago, this deck would have fared much better. Even when I finally won a game, it was due to my Life from the Loam package. Thelon and his poor thallids were mere target practice. I don’t know that there’s a way to fix this one. I think the core concept, spore counters, has simply become too slow and clunky to have a chance at EDH tables.

#47: “Halloween Bloodstravaganza 2022”
Well, I certainly didn’t do Awaken the Blood Avatar justice as a commander. But I’m willing to sacrifice playability for the theme when it comes to my holiday decks. Turns out I did that a bit too much this Halloween. I think that I had more fun building this deck and dramatically revealing my ghastly cards than I did in actual gameplay, where I usually got my butt kicked. Having All Hallows Eve go off was a goal successfully attained, and there was a learning experience too. My Thanksgiving and Christmas decks were better.

#46: “Hakim’s Enchanting Story Club”
When ranking my decks, I pondered how to handle the decks that were among my most recent. My Hakim, Loreweaver deck is still in my bag and will see more play in 2023. I don’t want to penalize this deck just for showing up later in the calendar year. I also don’t want to inflate the ranking of a deck that has been a failure so far. I still believe that the decklist here is OK, and that my problems stem from bad luck with topdecks and overpowered decks wielded by some opponents. And that’s frustrating, but it means I can’t really rank this deck at a higher spot.

#45: “Welcome to the Space Jam”
Ao, the Dawn Sky is an interesting prospect as a commander. This was my final deck of the year, will see plenty more play in 2023, and would almost certainly have attained a higher ranking if the deck had existed before December 28th. Still, with no wins and only very frustrating games, this is as high as I’m willing to go. I have high hopes for the deck, but they have yet to be realized.

#44: Ragnar Protects the Eggs”
I think that I played my Ragnar deck three times before scrapping it. I already summarized this one pretty well in the CPA thread. 'I question my own thinking in constructing this one. If I'd wanted a high-power combo deck, I should have built it differently, with a better commander. If I wanted to do jank and use Ragnar, I shouldn't have built such a combotastic deck. This one is not reliable or efficient enough to be a good combo deck, but it's too potentially fast and goes infinite too easily for it to be a silly deck. Oops.' Oops indeed.

#43: “Closed Fist Discount”
In part, it might be that I give extra consideration to the original legends. Also, my Jerrard of the Closed Fist deck was just the right kind of wacky, and I think that counts for something too. Never thought I’d find a real use for Thran Forge. So this deck lost most of its games pretty brutally. But when it worked? Wow. I think that this deck and its position in my rankings represents a kind of inflection point. So far, it’s been generally decks that were failures or disappointments. But now we’re shifting to the success stories. We’re not actually there yet. This deck is almost an even mixture of success and failure, for my purposes.

#42: “Waste Not and Gwenny D Had to Regulate”
Gwendlyn Di Corci remains one of my favorite old school commanders. But perhaps my enthusiasm for wheel-based decks was a little overboard with this one. The deck proved to be in an awkward spot. It wasn’t reliable enough for its gameplan to work well at casual tables, but any tweaks I might have made to improve it might have made it faster and more oppressive. There were better ways to handle discard-heavy decks, and I showcased a couple of those. Despite my intention to focus on stuff like Waste Not and Geth’s Grimoire, this deck mostly succeeded at proving that Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is broken.

#41: “Life from the Slime”
This deck didn’t do quite as well as I thought it would, and was far too oppressive when it did work. I had thought that Slogurk, the Overslime would be right up my alley. As a commander, it reminded me of The Gitrog Monster. Well, the contrast was stark. I wouldn’t say that Slogurk is a bad commander, but I can say that leaning so much on extra turns spells left me feeling that I’d designed a somewhat boring deck. On the other hand, Manabond was amazing in this deck and I did have some fun with it. But yeah, by the time I took this one apart, I was left feeling a bit disappointed.


The Tentacled One
#40: “Eternal Apprenticeship”
I still think that Tawnos, Urza’s Apprentice is probably the most underplayed commander, at least going by EDHrec statistics. Literally dozens of Izzet commanders are much more popular, and Tawnos is better than almost all of them. My deck’s performance was not commensurate with my enthusiasm for it. Now, when it did work, it did so in just the manner I’d hoped. Also, I just think that it’s a cool deck. But the sheer number of non-games I experienced forces this deck to take a low ranking. It was miserable. Seriously. And there was no apparent reason! I’d be horribly manascrewed one game, then consistently manadrowned the next. I do think that I’ll revisit the concept in the future, but for 2022, it didn’t go so well.

#39: “Lady Orca’s Cult of Doom”
There’s a bit of a paradox here, and I might as well address it now. I built a Shadowborn Apostles deck helmed by Lady Orca long before I knew that “Legends Retold” were going to be a thing. So when the newer, better version of Orca came out, I built a better Shadowborn Apostles deck. The two decks have enough differences that I think calling them separate decks is fair, although this was the closest I came in 2022 to rebuilding an existing deck. Now, here’s the weird part. The commander and the maindeck were both better for the second deck, but the first deck was the one that won a lot of games and performed better. To be clear, I know with virtual certainty that “Siege Lady” was a better deck than “Lady Orca’s Cult of Doom.” But this deck put up a better showing. Now, the other deck wasn’t a failure. It had mixed results, mostly positive. But this deck had the luck of the golden gods. So I had to rank one higher. And I’ve decided that the repetitive play patterns and unreliability of this deck warrant a lower ranking. If weird, undeserved success were a metric, though, then this deck would be near the top of my rankings.

#38: “I’ll Make a Dakkon Out of You”
I built Dakkon Blackblade as a heavily snow-themed deck. I was satisfied with the job I did, and troubled by how high the power level was at the local game store. Ultimately, this was kind of a middle-of-the-road deck. I relied too much on control elements and didn’t do enough to make this deck explosive. Pretty quickly, I found myself just leaving this deck in my bag, almost always opting to play one of my other decks. It was generally successful and should have been a fun deck.

#37: “He Protecc (the creatures of his homeland)”
My Jacque le Vert deck didn’t have many wins, but it held its own in almost every game. I didn’t keep this deck around for long and I didn’t think much of it at the time: this was just an excuse to run one of the original legends as commander. However, looking back, this was one of my most thematically appropriate and interesting executions of a deck built around an old school commander. This deck was smooth. Jacques le Vert has a strange ability, and I built a deck to take full advantage of it. This deck could have ranked higher, but I really didn’t play it that much and it didn’t make much of an impression on me at the time.

#36: “Global Kher-nquest”
At the last minute, Rohgahh, Kher Keep Overlord pulled through for me (and mostly for someone else who borrowed the deck and piloted it against me). Twice this year, I built a deck around a Rakdos-colors commander from Legends, only to find myself building a deck around the corresponding commander in “Legends Retold” later in the year. The new Rohgahh is a much better commander than the old one, and yet I can confidently say that my deck for the old one was more fun than my deck for the new one. I’ll be revising this deck for 2023, but the 2022 version performed poorly overall.

#35: “It Ain’t Easy Being Snakes”
In hindsight, it’s a bit strange that I built a deck around a commander from the old Kamigawa Block when the new Kamigawa set came out, and ignored potential commanders from the new set initially. Perhaps I just really wanted to build a Seshiro the Anointed deck? I don’t know, but Kamigawa Neon Dynasty has some great commander options. Aggro is hard to pull off in EDH, but this deck kind of worked. I’d probably rank it higher if I’d won with it early on. Instead, I kept this deck around for several months. Twice, someone else borrowed the deck and won with it. I mean, that shouldn’t be a mark against the deck, but the sheer length of time and number of losses I racked up before finally getting to win even one game with this deck leave me giving it a low ranking. Still a cool deck. I’m going by “fun” instead of “style” with these rankings.

#34: “‘Tis the Season of Giving”
I am torn on where to place my gimmicky holiday theme decks in the rankings. Like the others, I only piloted my Zedruu the Greathearted deck for a single day. Also, I did notice that this deck had a tendency to bog down games. If this had been a non-holiday deck, I don’t think I’d have ranked it highly. But then, if this had just been a generic Zedruu deck, I’d have built it to hit harder. I had a kind of “gift exchange” theme, and even though it didn’t help me win, I found the whole experience to be delightful. Balancing that against the fact that the deck was slow, clunky, and made games run too long, I’ll give this deck a middling ranking.

#33: “Fatal Attractions”
I strove to build decks around relevant commanders for each major set release this year. The only interesting commander from Unfinity was Myra the Magnificent. From there, I devised a deck that I thought made sense. Well, this turned out to be one of my only undefeated decks of 2022, and probably the one that performed in the most dominant fashion. I’ll guiltily admit that I did have fun with this deck, and of course it was successful. However, I didn’t mean for it to be quite so broken, and I’m not ranking it any higher than this. The top spots should go to fun, casual decks. Not this monster.

#32: “Probably Too Much Snow”
This one pretty much built itself. Starting with Isu the Abominable as commander, I mostly just grabbed every relevant snow and snow-based cards in Bant colors that I could find in my collection. Other than two staple sorceries, four staple instants, two artifacts, one enchantment, and two lands, every card in this deck either has the snow supertype or interacts explicitly with cards that do. And yet, this deck is remarkably fun to pilot. Isu is just that good with snow. Also, I’m pleased to play with so many cards that I don’t usually see. This is a low-power deck and I knew that from the beginning, but I’m satisfied.

#31: “Naming Cards, Destroying Nations”
Despite Nebuchadnezzar being a clunky commander, this deck was fun to play and held its own consistently. The main reason that I can’t really rank this one higher is that the deck simply wasn’t around for very long. As I noted in the CPA thread, I’d wanted to run The Haunt of Hightower in this list, as it seemed perfect, but I forgot that the card was a buy-a-box promo, so I didn’t look in the right place for it initially. When I happened to find it later, I got all excited over the idea of a deck helmed by it. I had to take this deck apart to make that happen. But this deck was fine.

#30: “Adun Oakenshield’s Hearty Thanksgiving Meal”
Sometimes, things just fall perfectly into place. Adun Oakenshield isn’t an obvious choice for a holiday theme commander, but the color identity and ability were perfect for a deck based around food tokens. And wow, I got to make a lot of food tokens. I was definitely happy with this deck and its ranking should reflect that, but let’s not get too crazy: I only ever piloted this deck in a single game. I think that makes this my least-played deck of the year. The game itself was an epic slug-fest that ended when the tag-team of Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar and Gyome, Master Chef took over the game and proved to be unstoppable. And that’s great. But still, just one game?

#29: “Azorius Poor Man’s Caller of the Claw”
Tobias, Doomed Conqueror really is a worse version of Caller of the Claw, and in an awkward color identity for this sort of thing. It’s no surprise that the commander isn’t popular. So I’m kind of proud that I found a way to make such a cool deck built around this commander. The deck had a positive winning record and accounted for itself well in general. This was another pretty short-lived deck, so I can only rank it so highly. Also, the commander itself is kind of awkward and building around this effect in these colors felt too forced.

#28: “Wave Function Collapse”
With all the new Mishra cards that recently came out, I don’t know how much I still want to make a return to the original. There is some appeal here, and while the power and performance of this deck were a bit weaker than I’d anticipated, it was still OK. Throw enough overpowered cards at a problem and it kind of works, even if the deck construction is dubious. Curiously, I got more feedback on this deck when it was posted on other sites than any of my other decks. And I do think that I should have done a better job. In the end, it was fun, and there were some great moments with this one. While the deck was aggravatingly inconsistent, the sheer scale of some scenarios it created, such as getting milled out, but using Goblin Welder to lock the game down with Possessed Portal, is amusing.

#27: “Madara Reloaded”
I’m glad that I built my deck around the old Tetsuo Umezawa before the “Legends Retold” version was revealed, because now I just associate the character with equipment-themed decks. I took a totally different approach. Because the commander can kill creatures that engage in combat, I thought that this would be a practical commander for a Grixis Superfriends deck. I ran 13 planeswalkers and 2 creatures that could transform into planeswalkers. As anticipated, this deck drew a lot of attacks and even got opponents ganging up on me. At other times, I’d have found that frustrating, but because I was fully expecting it, I consider the deck to be a success. Also, someone once used Chaos Warp on my Tamiyo, the Moon Sage and gave me Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh instead, and that was hilarious.

#26: “Burn the Vampire”
The middling ranking here is justified, but perhaps a bit misleading. I really, really like Cormela, Glamour Thief, both as a card and as a commander. I also think that my deck concept is a fun idea. However, this was another deck that was too awkwardly close to being a cEDH list. So it felt out place. Also, I think that I compromised consistency for speed too much here. I might have had more fun with a slightly slower Cormela deck that was a bit more robust. If that were the only issue, I’d still rate this deck pretty highly. However, I also found that I’d constructed a deck with some intricate lines of play, and I botched my own decision-making in actual gameplay. In my own words at the time, I “...think I built this deck better than I pilot it.”

#25: “Life from the Loess”
Hazezon, Shaper of Sand has been the most popular commander out of the “Legends Retold” series. Nearly all of these decks focus on the desert recursion aspect of the commander, but I chose to embrace the Desertwalk aspect. Since this is the only commander for which that’s even an option, it gives the deck a pretty cool twist. Throw in my predilection for Loam decks, and I really liked this one. However, it was kind of clunky in gameplay and I only ever piloted it to completion twice. After my third game with the deck ended in a draw due to running out of time with the store closing for the night, I scrapped it for parts. A cool deck, but not one of my real favorites.

#24: “Siege Lady”
It was kind of surreal shoehorning a Shadowborn Apostles theme into my obligatory Lady Orca deck just on the basis that the character is a demon, only for the “Legends Retold” version to come out as a perfect fit for a Shadowborn Apostles deck. Orca, Siege Demon gets bigger whenever other creatures die, and in my deck, lots of creatures were dying. Somehow, I seem to be the only one to notice this? I mean, my deck is the only Orca, Siege Demon list on EDHrec to get tagged as having a Shadowborn Apostles theme. Weird. Like I said earlier, this list was similar to my Lady Orca list, but more streamlined and built for the commander to actually do something. It’s a better, more fun deck. It also just so happens that the first deck had much better luck. The gulf between them really isn’t that vast, but this was the ranking I settled on.

#23: “Your Stuff Gets Raptured”
This deck got to be too repetitive, but I loved everything else about it. Lady Evangela is an excellent old school commander for a control deck in one of the best color identities for such a deck. Using the “Parallax” cards was fun and reasonably powerful. The deck had neat tools and I think won every game it was in. It was a blast, but weighing that against how it was kind of broken and obnoxious does temper my enthusiasm

#22: “Reality Check”
Winning games is fun. The Reality Chip is good at helping to make that happen. If the thrill of victory were my only criterion here, I think that this deck would top the list. Perhaps I played too many games with this one. It was too high-powered for casual EDH and too oppressive, although many of my opponents kind of deserved this treatment. I don’t regret building and playing this one, but I did ultimately feel like it tread too close to cEDH territory.

#21: “Space Cyber-Mummy Librarian”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I wish that WotC could put this much passion into designing precons using their own intellectual property. The Warhammer 40,000 decks are gorgeous and full of cool cards. The “Necron Dynasties” precon is my favorite of the four, and right away I zeroed in on Trazyn the Infinite as a commander. This deck does well on flavor and style, and its performance is top-notch, perhaps another deck that’s just a bit too competitive. When it comes to fun, there’s a certain thrill in being the “archenemy” at the table. Whenever I piloted my Trazyn deck, my opponents were always wary, always ready to join forces to stop me. And like some of these other lists, this one had play patterns that were too repetitive. This deck was perhaps the most egregious offender in that category: mono-black with tutors sets up artifact-based combos easily.


The Tentacled One
#20: “Old-Fashioned Treadmill”
I’d had Phenax, God of Deception in mind as a potential commander ever since the card first came out in 2014. I don’t normally play a mill strategy in EDH, because it scales poorly in multiplayer and risks fueling graveyard-based decks. So all that time, Phenax was kind of reserved as my commander for the mill deck I’d eventually build, when I got around to doing so. Well, this was the year I made it happen. The deck performed well and was satisfying to play. I definitely spotted some room for improvement, so this might be a concept that I revisit in the future.

#19: “Queen Takes Pawns”
As soon as I saw Queen Kayla bin-Kroog, I thought that the opportunity was ripe for a Boros-colored wheel deck. To my surprise, this deck went undefeated. I didn’t always pilot it that well and I don’t really think that my list was overpowered either. I just got lucky. It seems that the overarching theme of this deck was things working out better for me than I’d expected. It was a nice change of pace and I’m always happy to pilot a good wheel-based deck. But the end result was almost always an infinite combo with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. The engine and the path to get there varied. In one game, I drew cards to have the infinite combo in my hand from my first turn. In a later game, I dug through my whole library and assembled the combo at the last possible moment. But I do think that I might have loved this deck more if it hadn’t always just gone infinite.

#18: “Exodia of Clan Nel Toth”
Despite being mostly outclassed by other options over the past couple years, Meren of Clan Nel Toth is infamous for being a potent combo-enabling commander in Golgari colors. So I was thoroughly amused with myself for subverting expectations with this deck. Nightstalkers Tribal. I even ran multiple ways to mitigate the deleterious nature of one of the worst cards ever printed: Return of the Nightstalkers. This was probably not my weakest deck out of the 54 I built in 2022, but it is certainly the weakest deck in my top 20, and was well below the average power level I was seeing from my opponents. So giddy was I to do dumb stuff like assembling Kaldra and activating Urborg Panther that I had more fun with this garbage pile than I did with most of my good decks. And while I don’t think that I ever won a single game with this deck, I came close a couple of times!

#17: “The Haunt of Discardtower”
When I think of classic EDH with its unpredictability and battlecruiser nature, I think that if I were to pick a single commander to build around, as the focal point of a strategy I’d really like to specialize in, I just might go with The Haunt of Hightower. I really like the commander and I was reasonably happy with the list I built around it. When this deck worked, it was one of my most fun decks, easily. And of course, because we’re not near the top of my actual rankings yet, there is a bit of a caveat. This deck was glorious when it worked. But when it didn’t? Yikes. I had to sit through several bad games before I happened upon a good one. I might revisit this concept and do a better job with it.

#16: “Heads I Ydwen, Tails From the Crypt”
The partner pairing of Okaun, Eye of Chaos & Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom is another commander option that I’d had plans for ever since the release of their set (2018, I think). I’ve written of my excitement for the Secret Lair precon and my disappointment at the delays in actually receiving the deck I ordered. I had a plan for modifying this, and I knew that my plan might result in something that struggled against my typical opponents. To my pleasant surprise, this deck holds up pretty well. If I built my own O&Z deck from scratch, I could certainly come up with something more robust. But this is flavorful and works well enough for casual games.

#15: “Sharing is Khering”
I’m a little bit proud of the deck that I built for the original Rohgahh of Kher Keep. While the new “Legends Retold” version is totally a better commander and helms one of the decks I’ll take into 2023, I have to give credit to my first Rohgahh deck, which was one of my earliest builds in 2022. This wasn’t a particularly strong deck, but as jank decks go, it packed a punch in a unique way. In fact, I have never actually seen anyone use Rohgahh of Kher Keep in the way my deck was built to. When it comes to my EDH experience, the game I finished by dealing 117 damage to each opponent for each creature that player controlled was one of my most memorable moments of the year.

#14: “Marhault’s Block Party”
There were approximately one million new legendary creatures released in 2022, and for a casual commander, I have to say that General Marhault Elsdragon is my favorite. The ability is an exquisite tribute to the deprecated “Rampage” found on the original Marhault Elsdragon, and is ripe for use alongside trample, Lure effects, banding, Fling effects and plenty of other things that don’t usually get much exposure in Magic anymore. The new Marhault enables an impressive arsenal of old cards that I’d love any excuse to run, and my deck showcased some. I scrapped this deck because I only own one copy of Ohran Frostfang, and I needed it for my Isu deck. I’ve already begun to regret dismantling this deck. The most fun I’ve had playing Gruul in EDH.

#13: “Bourbon Vanilla”
Part of the appeal of Jasmine Boreal of the Seven was the excuse to run cards that I’d ordinarily not get much chance to. I got to rock some creatures from 1993, and I don’t own the sorts of creatures from back then that usually still make the cut in EDH. Grizzly Bears, Ironroot Treefolk, and even Pearled Unicorn were actually viable cards thanks to this crazy commander. My deck wasn’t the most powerful Jasmine Boreal of the Seven deck out there, but I think that it just might be the most ostentatious. There was another aspect to this deck’s appeal, though, and that was its surprising and impressive power. Despite my haphazard deck construction efforts, this deck seamlessly integrated an evasive aggro and a token-based combo engine. Sometimes, I eliminated different opponents with different methods, swinging for lethal combat damage on one opponent and comboing off to wipe another opponent out.

#12: “Erika Shiragami”
I’m a sucker for the “Godzilla Series” cards, and Biollante is used as an alternate version of Nethroi, Apex of Death, one of the most potent and interesting commanders in Abzan colors. I’m a sucker for good Pattern-Rector decks, and when I set out to design an updated one for EDH, this was what I came up with. In these rankings, sort of penalized the decks that were too broken, the ones that performed too closely to the patterns associated with competitive decks. Moreso than the other offenders in this category, my Nethroi deck gets a pass. Pattern-Rector isn’t a strategy for scrubs. I was building something overpowered and I knew it. I’ll probably repeat history and take this deck apart the next time I get into Canadian Highlander, but for now I’m keeping it around. Experience shows that this deck usually accomplishes what I built it to do, which is to combo off with creature-based graveyard recursion loops. And to me, that’s fun enough for this deck to have a high rank. It falls short of top ten, but it’s still pretty fun.

#11: “Piper at the Gates of Dumb”
WotC released Commander Legends as a booster draft format, and created The Prismatic Piper as a filler partner commander. If you drafted a pool that had two strong colors, but lacked a commander for one or both of those colors, you could use The Prismatic Piper. There’s no real point to using the card as one’s commander in constructed EDH, as there’s always a better option available. With my strange sense of humor, this led me to declare that I’d construct a mono-white deck with The Prismatic Piper as my commander. So the deck was stupid and my expectations were low, but this turned out to be one of my most fun and memorable concoctions all year. The weird hodgepodge of colorless goodstuff with a few white support cards sometimes failed miserably, but usually posed a major threat to the rest of the table. I won games by comboing out, I won games with beatdown, I won games by taking control over the board. I won games off the back of my planeswalkers. This deck was always ready to take me on a journey, and I just didn’t know where it would go.

#10: “Argoth Bureau of Land Management”
I’d been looking forward to building a deck helmed by Titania, Voice of Gaea for a long time, possibly longer than anyone outside WotC. Like I said in the CPA thread when I made this deck, I was in an early playtest for The Brothers War that WotC ran using mockup cards, and I happened to pull both Titania and Argoth in my sealed pool. This is certainly my favorite mono-green Loam deck I’ve ever built. It can pack a punch quickly and scales well into longer games. I look forward to refining this deck next year.

#9: “Goblin Lives Matter”
It still baffles me that Pashalik Mons is not a more popular commander. There are 15 other commanders that show up as more popular under the Goblins theme on EDHrec. There should probably only be 3 or 4. Oh well. I’ll continue driving the Pashalik Mons bandwagon, even if no one else wants to jump on. This might be another deck for me to bring back and refine next year. As much as I like my goblins, the deck was a bit too inconsistent, which soured the experience a bit. The deck still ranks very highly because its aggro explosiveness was highly satisfying.

#8: “Party Hard”
I built this deck as a gimmick, and it has easily been my favorite of my five-color EDH decks ever. Tazri, Beacon of Unity is a better engine than I realized until I got a few real games in with the deck. The power of this deck was almost entirely loaded onto its creatures, and my creature suite was extremely diverse. Even when the deck stumbled, if I had time, my commander could easily help me recover. I built this just to say that I’d tried a party-themed deck, and it ended up being pretty amazing. With one possible exception, the gulf between my low initial expectations and the actual thrilling performance of the deck in games was at its highest with this one.

#7: “An Elephant Never Forgets”
Quintorius, Field Historian is easily my favorite commander in Boros colors. I really like this deck, and I might be ranking it too highly. Most of my actual games with this one went poorly, but I firmly believe that it was not the deck’s fault. If an opponent sees a Plateau and thinks, “That guy has expensive cards, so I’d better counter his commander” and then the next player combos off and kills us all, that’s not my deck’s fault! When this deck worked, it was glorious. I miss this deck. I should rebuild it. If I ranked my decks by how fond I was of them, this one would be at the top of the list.

#6: “Hypergenetic Eureka”
It has come to my attention that my Maelstrom Wanderer deck was my only EDH deck of 2022 not to run Sol Ring. The unpredictability of Eureka, Show and Tell, and Hypergenesis added suspense to playing this. I even managed to have this deck get a real engine going, dump absurd amounts of power onto the board, and still lose. A slow start was the price I paid for running a deck that could repeatedly flood the board with titans.

#5: “Spikes, and Horns, and Tusks, Oh My!”
My idea of a Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn deck was silly from the start. The deck exceeded my expectations, and then some. It’s amusing to gain hundreds of life per turn and to watch your opponents begin plotting together to kill you with commander damage. Running every single one of the old spikes in my deck made me smile. Somehow squeezing a unicorn subtheme in there too was even better. The deck was kind of inconsistent and did run the risk of getting stuck in topdeck mode, but it was still delightful.

#4: “Spirit of the Pestilence”
My Meren deck planted in my mind the notion of a deck helmed by Spirit of the Night. With no point in running the nightstalkers, I was kind of at a loss, so I quickly abandoned the idea. A few months later, I decided that I really wanted to build an EDH deck that used Pestilence. Working with the concept that Spirit of the Night is a mono-black commander with protection from black, and seeking out backups to Pestilence, I came up with a deck that was only moderately silly. I got to run cards like Hecatomb, Liliana of the Dark Realms, and Forcefield. The whole thing came together into a relatively cohesive package. And best of all, it performed well! Perhaps more than any other EDH deck I’ve ever built, in 2022 or earlier, this one really speaks to my personality as a casual player. I think that a lot of players wouldn’t have so much fun with this deck, but I certainly did.

#3: “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Cards”
People used to ask me if I had ever built a colorless EDH deck. And I said that I wasn’t really interested in any of the colorless commander options. Enter Liberator, Urza’s Battlethopter. This is basically the more powerful, more serious version of my Prismatic Piper deck. It’s got that same special surprise aspect to it, and neither I nor my opponents know what kind of game I’m going to be playing until it happens. Now, it does achieve infinite combos a bit too easily, and that’s the one drawback. I got a bit crazy with Mystic Forge in 2022. But everything else about this deck is great.

#2: “Dance of the Grand Duke”
When I started setting up these rankings, I initially thought that this deck was going to take the top spot. And obviously, it came close. I chose to use Scion of Halaster as the background in the command zone for Abdel Adrian, Gorion’s Ward. I could have gone with any of the black backgrounds, but I went with the one that helps me dig through my deck, just as a contingency. Abdel Adrian has become a staple maindeck card for me, but running it in the command zone was a special experience. No other Orzhov deck I’ve ever played has come close. I won almost all of my games with this deck, and I think that I went infinite in all of those victories, but I also might have won some of them even if I hadn’t. The “blinking” and graveyard recursion of powerful stuff like Archon of Cruelty and Grave Titan gave this deck considerable punching power even if it had no combo setup in sight.

#1: “Doctor Claw”
I’d have been content to give any of the top 10 or so decks the #1 spot, but on reflection, I simply must give the nod to my Zirilan of the Claw deck. It seemed as though almost every game, everyone at the table saw my commander, knew that I was going to grab some dragons, and still underestimated this deck. Even I did! Zirilan pulled wins out of some crazy positions. And yet, this was still just a Tribal Dragons deck, essentially. I think that I hit the sweet spot with this one. I’d be comfortable taking this deck into a game against new players, or one against some medium-power stuff. It’s not a broken deck. It almost certainly loses against decks that are super-fast. But for true, casual multiplayer pods? It’s nearly perfect.
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