Durnan of the Eldrazi Horde
12 Jun 2022 - 10 min read
Did you know the word “Eldrazi’’ shows up less than 10 times on hexdrinkers.com? It’s a freaking tragedy. Luckily, Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate: Commander Decks has come in the nick of time! The boys knew they’d be getting another Eldrazi deck before too long so…
First, some history (I’m paid by the word so gotta pad the content a bit). The Eldrazi have come a long way from their humble simic origins in our playgroup, most recently in the mono-brown money pit of Kozilek, the Great Distortion . Obviously there are better, more competitive options to drop big, mean uglies ( Selvala, Heart of the Wilds , Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy , Satoru Umezawa ), but none really felt like they belonged at the head of a tribe of otherworldly beings.
Enter Durnan of the Yawning Portal . The proprietor of a magic tavern built atop a massive dungeon created by an insane wizard sounds like exactly the kind of guy I trust to reign in interdimensional beasts. Side Note: he also reminds me of this wild 70s Sci-fi book “Calahan’s Crosstime Saloon,” do with that what you will. So Durnan has some serious street cred, but how’s he fair in the zone? Well…pretty awesomely.
Durnan’s ability triggers on attack, so we merely need to get to combat as opposed to actually connect with someone’s face. We’d still like Durnan to survive combat and be able to swing next turn though, so we’ll have to dedicate a few slots to Rogue’s Passage , Manifold Key , and the like.
However, Durnan won’t always make it through the frey, but that shows off perhaps his biggest upside: the cards we exile don’t require him on the field to be cast (ref Rona). I’m expecting our big-brained strats to draw some attention (read: hate), but even if Durnan eats a Swords to Plowshares or just falls after getting an attack trigger off, his sacrifice won’t be in vain. Ulamog is already on the way.
Now this is Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate: SVU, so while Durnan alone would be a catch, we also get a background. Was Durnan a Sword Coast Sailor , making sure our attacks with Durnan land to provide consistency in his triggers? Or, mayhaps Durnan was Raised by Giants ? Ensuring we get Durnan through because he’s a freaking 10/10?
…I’m not even going to let you guess. He’s a Passionate Archaeologist . Bring on the pain train. Durnan will lead the charge after some early game ramp (hello Green, I’ve missed you), helping put some Eldrazi into exile with a 3-generic cost reduction. Then, we’ll add in effects like Wild-Magic Sorcerer to benefit further from our exile casts. Plan make sense? Excellent. Let’s get to the deck tech.
Like all decks that heavily rely on cards that routinely cost upwards of 9 mana, there’s a few preparations to make before the gloves come off. Durnan’s 3-mana reduction will help somewhat, but he probably can’t swing til turn 4 or 5, and not every creature we drop is going to be coming from the Yawning Portal. So Durnan needs some backup.
Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma - Goreclaw almost makes the case for a mono green Eldrazi deck by itself. A 2 generic mana cost-reducer on a 4 mana body is great. Giving other attacking creatures trample AND +1/+1 is just gravy. Goreclaw plus an exiled Kozilek, the Great Distortion and we’re already looking to cast this heinous creature for half off. Yes, we’re also running Urza’s Incubator , but that’s not a badass bear, now is it?
From Beyond - There’s an incredible amount of Good Things for Eldrazi once you branch out from the colorless void Awakening Zone , Emrakul’s Influence , and Rapacious One to name a few in this deck. But of all the auxiliary pieces, From Beyond is my favorite. It gives us an extra mana per turn or the occasional chump blocker, AND it can be sacrificed to tutor an Eldrazi in the late game. Nothing but net.
Klothys, God of Destiny - I’ve been looking for a deck that could play Klothys effectively for some time now, and as an indestructible piece of graveyard hate that can probably net you some mana in the early turns I think this is the perfect place. Playing Eldrazi effectively is all about eeking out just enough additional mana to catch people a few turns ahead of when they’d normally expect a 10/10 with Annihilator 4 (editor’s note: when would you normally expect that? smh).
Once we get that support out of the way, it’s time to think about what we do when Durnan hits the field. He’ll be a target almost instantly once people know what you’re trying to pull so protecting your attacks will be key. Only one of these might be a surprise pick, but sometimes it helps to be reminded you need room for classic pieces of tech as well.
Anara, Wolvid Familiar - The Familiar cycle from OG Commander Legends is incredibly underrated in my opinion, and almost none more so than Anara. But for commanders like Durnan, or Jorn, God of Winter from back in Kaldheim, where we’re more focused on just getting an attack in rather than dealing actual damage, Anara can be a life saver. (This is also a PSA that you can play partners and backgrounds in the 99. It’s worth it.)
Darksteel Plate - Okay so Anara is cute and all but what if we had indestructible all the time? Remember, we don’t need to even be dealing combat damage (that’s what the Eldrazi are for), we only need Durnan attacking as much as possible. Anything that can let us do that more freely is gonna be great.
Rogue’s Passage - The activation cost is steep, for sure, but worth it. We could run the slightly cheaper Access Tunnel if we only cared about Durnan getting in, but making massive Eldrazi unblockable in the late game is going to be silly.
We got there. Durnan is churnin’, we’re slinging spells left and right, now it’s time to hit them with the uglies. Let’s talk ‘drazi.
You know them, you love them, we won’t spend a lot of time talking about the classics since it’s pretty clear why they’re so awesome (editor’s note: the opinions expressed in this article are precisely that, opinions, and do not represent the Hexdrinker’s official stance on the matter) . Instead, let’s focus on a few less famous Eldrazi that might be a bit more budget friendly and less likely to eat a Path to Exile before they can get a swing in.
Reality Smasher - I love this little dude so much. 5/5 for five with trample, haste, and proto ward can quickly cause problems. Also with Durnan you’re looking to cast this for 2 mana and if you’ve got Goreclaw out, well, that’s just crazy.
Rapacious One - It’s an older code, but it checks out. While Rapacious One won’t necessarily go unnoticed, once you have other big boys on the field it’ll be much easier to sneak in and net a nice 2-3 scions per turn cycle. Remember all the points I made about From Beyond? This does that, but more, enabling further and further stupidity from a growing mass of Eldrazi.
World Breaker - Budget Ulamog at its finest. Exile something nasty on ETB, built in recursion, and don’t forget that little Reach nestled between the other two abilities. Your opponents certainly will.
We’ve gotten the meat and potatoes out of the way, so let’s talk some self expression, customization, …. they’re pet cards, okay!? Let’s make our opponents really groan.
Wild-Magic Sorcerer - Originally part of the Prosper, Tome-Bound Precon, Wild-Magic Sorcerer when casting Eldrazi from exile is going to make a lot of people (other than you) have a bad time. Remember, cascade still casts the target spell so you could easily play an Emrakul into an Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and party like it’s 1999.
Wulfgar of Icewind Dale - There’s going to be a lot of variance in Durnan triggers throughout your games. Whether you can’t find good attacks, he keeps getting removed, or whatever causes Durnan to sit idly by - anything you can do to capitalize on the triggers you do have is vital. We talked about Wulfgar when he was spoiled last year and I assure you in 2022 he’s even better. If you’re getting two triggers off Durnan, a tactical chump attack might even be worth it.
Tlincalli Hunter - Kind of cheating since this comes in the RG Exile precon BUT LOOK AT THAT ABILITY. YES I WANT FREE ELDRAZI, DAMN!
Durnan allows us to do a lot of broken things, especially if we focus on creatures like Eldrazi with high generic costs in their mana value. Think of him as the poor man’s Rakdos, Lord of Riots . But here, there’s a lot more you can do to make this your own than in Rakdos. Hydras? Dragons!? Sea Monsters…!?!? Go absolutely nuts! This is just one playstyle.
We also really didn’t talk about the chosen background much, Passionate Archaeologist . Mostly it’s serving the purpose of getting us another color and I frankly don’t see us casting it all that frequently, but hey if you’ve got two extra mana and the chance to ping someone for 10…
…anyway that’s all the space we have for today so check out the full list below or alongside our many other decks on Moxfield!
Durnan of the Eldrazi Horde
Anara, Wolvid Familiar
1x Bane of Bala Ged
1x Birgi, God of Storytelling / Harnfel, Horn of Bounty
1x Conduit of Ruin
1x Emrakul, the Promised End
1x Eternal Witness
1x Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald
1x Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma
1x It That Betrays
1x Klothys, God of Destiny
1x Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
1x Kozilek, the Great Distortion
1x Oblivion Sower
1x Rapacious One
1x Reality Smasher
1x Sakura-Tribe Elder
1x Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
1x Thought-Knot Seer
1x Tlincalli Hunter / Retrieve Prey
1x Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
1x Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
1x Void Winnower
1x Wild-Magic Sorcerer
1x World Breaker
1x Wulfgar of Icewind Dale
1x Boseiju, Who Endures
1x Cinder Glade
1x Command Tower
1x Eldrazi Temple
1x Eye of Ugin
1x Fabled Passage
1x Highland Forest
1x Kessig Wolf Run
1x Mountain Valley
1x Rockfall Vale
1x Rogue's Passage
1x Sanctum of Ugin
1x Sheltered Thicket
1x Shrine of the Forsaken Gods
1x Spire Garden
1x War Room
1x Wooded Foothills
1x Chaos Warp
1x Crop Rotation
1x Heroic Intervention
1x Kozilek's Return
1x Krosan Grip
1x Red Elemental Blast
1x Return of the Wildspeaker
1x Return to Nature
1x Veil of Summer
1x Warping Wail
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