You Lika The Juice? EDH Starter Kits, Part 2
The reception to the allied-colored EDH Starter Kits last week was very positive (at least according to feedback from the forums email and Twitter) so I figured I'd go ahead and present five more —this time featuring enemy-colored generals.
Before I get to that though I wanted to take a moment to welcome Thea Steele and Lauren Lee to the StarCityGames.com family! While Star City has had a few female writers on their site over the years it has been too few and far between and I think it's awesome that these two women are on board for weekly columns. Make sure to check them out and see what they've got to say.
I also want to address the land mix in my EDH starter kits last week. A lot of people chimed in to say that they felt 35 lands were way too few. My personal experience has been that between good land fixing plenty of good early artifact mana and the generous mulligan rules of EDH (and often someone playing a turn 2 Howling Mine or turn 3 Rites of Flourishing) that 35 lands has generally been workable as a baseline. Obviously if your mana curve is low or you have base Green with some Green mana fixing as well 35 is going to be plenty and you might even be able to shave a land or two. On the other hand if you're playing lots of mana-hungry spells and you're not playing base Green you'll want to increase your land accordingly. I've also found it wise to up the land count if you're playing more than two-color decks to try and avoid color-screw.
My own experiences aside there was feedback from enough of you regarding this that I'm issuing “errata” for my article last week. Where its printed text said “Add 27 basic lands and that'll get you to 35 lands…” it's now been revised to “Add 30 basic lands and that'll get you to 38 lands.” I will use the 38 land base for the starter decks below.
Again I'll start with some cards that go into any starter kit just all-around handy EDH cards.
EDH is all about having fun and you can't have fun if you can't play your cards. So you need mana fixing mana acceleration and card drawing to keep the gas coming. While there are tons of really good – and relatively expensive – mana fixers out there you don't have to break the bank to do it especially in EDH where the pace is a little more laid back. When you're just getting started these cards will be perfectly fine… But as your collection grows you'll find that many of these cards will still make the cut. Just because they're cheap doesn't mean they aren't still really good multiplayer cards.
On the utility artifacts — I chose these cards to cover a variety of bases. Crystal Ball is nearly as great as Sensei's Divining Top for a fraction of the cost and I've got one in every single one of my EDH decks. Sun Droplet is a great deterrent to wave away people who are attacking you with random dorks —and the more opponents you have the better it is. It's not strictly life gaining but it helps keep your life totals from plummeting too fast.
Illuminated Folio and Urza's Blueprints have a relatively hefty initial mana investment but the activation cost is dirt-cheap which is what you want in your reusable card drawing. Power Matrix and your equipment can help your creatures power up to fight even the biggest baddest rares and mythics your opponents might be fielding.
Now let's give some enemy two-color packages to round out the kits —which together with the universal package shouldn't run you more than $25 or so. Two colors gives you a nice broad swath of cards to work with without straining your mana base too much though it's not quite as cheap and easy to fix enemy color mana.
BLACK/WHITE PACKAGE (22 cards roughly $14)
Black and White offers up a whole host of useful EDH cards and there are also a ton of potent gold or hybrid cards to draw upon from Guildpact and Shadowmoor.
General: Teysa Orzhov Scion
Selenia is probably a better offensive Orzhov general but she's a little bit pricey. Besides Teysa just offers up more removal and fun tricks especially if you really want to go nuts with token creatures.
Teysa likes tokens so we pick some creatures to help her out. Ghost Council and Plaguelord also love tokens but for different reasons. The Sliver Stonecloaker and World Queller round out a nice utility package.
Kirtar's Wrath is not only just a cheap Wrath of God effect… but with threshold you even get Teysa synergy! Most of these cards are solid utility spells but check out Storm Herd and think about the Teysa shenanigans there.
I'll also mention Darkest Hour a card that is eminently affordable. Combined with Teysa it means all your creatures will be turned into 1/1 Black flying Spirits when they die and then those 1/1 Black flying Spirits will replace themselves when they die basically giving you unlimited sacrificial fodder for say Phyrexian Plaguelord.
Unfortunately Darkest Hour also turns off Teysa's activated ability — an ability I find pretty useful so I'm not including it in the “basic” package here.
BLACK/GREEN PACKAGE (27 cards roughly $13)
This is by far my favorite color combination of all time for both casual and competitive play due to all the cool synergies between the creature color and the color that brings creatures back from the dead.
General: Vhati il-Dal
Vhati doesn't get enough love so he's my budget general of choice for this color combination. This unassuming Hill Giant can either be a pseudo-Maze of Ith or a potent killing machine with the right support. Don't forget that Scars of Mirrodin's new mechanic Infect deals with -1/-1 counters… Which will likely offer some lots of good stuff when Vhati decks start reducing toughnesses!
Vhati's toughness-reducing ability means that the Wither ability is at a premium so I've picked plenty of good ones here. I've also picked a couple other creatures that can easily deliver death-blows to creatures with just one toughness.
Blight Sickle Caltrops Coldsteel Heart Darkblast Desert Twister Golgari Signet Incremental Blight Night of Souls' Betrayal Pestilence Puppet Strings Sudden Spoiling Thornbite Staff Thousand-Year Elixir Viridian Longbow
Tons and tons of toys for Vhati here! How do you like Caltrops which does a pretty nice job of scaring away any attackers your opponent may value too highly?
Add 30 basic lands and that'll get you to 38 lands and then all you'll only need are 22 more cards to round out your 100 card power/toughness-sapping deck.
GREEN/BLUE PACKAGE (30 cards roughly $14)
This color combination offers quite a potent mix of strong Green utility and Blue's back-breaking spells.
General: Experiment Kraj
If you're just starting out I'd steer clear Momir Vig since he's quite a potent general and tend to set off warning bells for experienced EDH players. Experiment Kraj is actually much more fun to build around does wacky stuff that other players will likely get a kick out of and is actually quite powerful once you get going.
Anthroplasm Draining Whelk Fertilid Forgotten Ancient Gilder Bairn Horseshoe Crab Indrik Stomphowler Jodah's Avenger Krosan Restorer Krosan Tusker Leech Bonder Novijen Sages Sage of Fables Sakura-Tribe Elder Sphinx of Magosi Spike Feeder Spike Tiller Sporeback Troll Strength of the Tajuru Triskelion Yavimaya Elder
The name of the game is +1/+1 counters for Kraj and there are a ton of creatures that support that plan. There's an infinite mana combo in here: Horseshoe Crab and Krosan Restorer each with a +1/+1 counter grafted on and Threshold achieved. This lets Kraj tap to untap two lands and if one of them provides blue mana you can tap them to untap Kraj with the blue mana and do it again. Most players will see this combo coming a mile away but it doesn't hurt to give it a try.
More support for Kraj —and since you're tossing +1/+1 counters you should definitely play Cauldron of Souls to make your team nigh-immortal… and maybe save a few key creatures your opponents control too…
Add 29 basic lands and that'll get you to 38 lands and then all you'll only need are 20 more cards to round out your 100 card +1/+1 counter deck.
BLUE/RED PACKAGE (25 cards roughly $13)
I rarely play this color combination because it lends itself more towards spells than creatures but there is still plenty of fun EDH cards to be had.
General: Tibor and Lumia
I used Tibor and Lumia for my general when I built a “Copy everything” EDH deck a while back. It is a much less threatening general than your other options—Jhoira or Niv-Mizzet—but Tibor and Lumia can also be surprisingly handy.
For this deck I'm pretty much just playing a bunch of Red and Blue “good stuff” creatures and spells designed to have fun and do tricky things.
Acquire Cerebral Vortex Coldsteel Heart Commandeer Compulsive Research Double Negative Gather Specimens Heat Shimmer Izzet Signet Oona's Grace Smash to Smithereens Swerve Take Possession Wild Ricochet Word of Seizing
Lots and lots of tricky fun stuff. Gather Specimens is a card I keep forgetting to put into my decks… And then someone generates a ton of creature tokens while I'm playing blue and I slap my forehead. If people are doing the same at your table—or doing Living Death/Patriarch's Bidding shenanigans—make sure to give them an ugly surprise!
Add 30 basic lands and that'll get you to 38 lands and then all you'll only need are 22 more cards to round out your 100 card token-mania deck.
RED/WHITE PACKAGE (24 cards roughly $14)
This color combination offers a ton of awesome White EDH cards with the fun side of Red with a dash of good Red/White creatures.
General: Razia Boros Archangel
The go-to general for this color combination tends to be Brion Stoutarm but I think Razia needs some attention too. Sure her 3 toughness is pretty tiny but she hits hard and she hits hard right away. This will be a Red/White “good stuff” kit.
Lots of good utility creatures here and why not add a couple of good Angels to keep Razia company in the sky?
Good stuff fun stuff… and spice! Sunforger has the ability to do some real spicy things in addition to just being a potent power-booster just make sure you round out your deck with plenty of useful target spells that cost four or less.
Add 29 basic lands and that'll get you to 38 lands and then all you'll only need are 26 more cards to round out your 100 card +1/+1 counter deck.
Hope you enjoyed the ten two-color EDH starter kits and that some of you found them useful. For copy/paste ease I'll include each full package below as a list.
My current EDH decks:
Phelddagrif (carrots and sticks)
Tsabo Tavoc (Red and Black nastiness)
Reki the History of Kamigawa (more legends than you can shake a stick at)
Korlash Heir to Blackblade (brain-eating zombies Commander)
Teysa Orzhov Scion
Captain of the Watch
Ghost Council of Orzhova
Knight-Captain of Eos
Promise of Power
Return to Dust
Drana Kalastria Bloodchief
Night of Souls' Betrayal
Golgari Rot Farm
Sage of Fables
Sphinx of Magosi
Strength of the Tajuru
Cauldron of Souls
Simic Growth Chamber
Tibor and Lumia
Smash to Smithereens
Word of Seizing
Razia Boros Archangel
Angel of Salvation
Archon of Justice
Knight-Captain of Eos
Mageta the Lion
Word of Seizing
Sunhome Fortress of the Legion