Top 10 EDH Parallels
02 Jul 2021 - 7 min read
Welcome back! Today marks one month of PDH content here at Hexdrinkers, and we haven’t even run out of ideas yet! Today I’m happily joined by Julian, as we name some of our favorite PDH commanders that have close counterparts in the big leagues. Looking to port one of your favorite strategies into a new exciting format? Simply want to get a taste of a deck too powerful or out of price range for your meta? Then this article is for you! Partially inspired by our recent work with Satyr Enchanter last week, we thought we’d dive deep into the meta and expose some of the more closely tied strategies between the two formats. LEGGO!
Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty -> Maelstrom Wanderer/Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
If you want to be casting big, dumb, cheaty things in PDH, your best bet is to use cascade (kinda like in EDH, funny how that works). Imoti has the capability to really bring the heat when combined with your larger threats. Fill this list with things like Ulamog’s Crusher , Maelstrom Colossus , Treasure Cruise , or Greater Sandwurm and you’re going to be up to no good in no time. Oh and don’t forget, cascade also allows you to hit those cast triggers so it’s totally possible to drop a Hand of Emrakul into Ruin Processor for that extra value. For maximum fun you should also check out Natural Reclamation , Forceful Denial , and Annoyed Altisaur for all your pauper cascade needs.
Ravenous Squirrel -> Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
While there are a lot of options that synergize with sacrifice for a PDH commander, few options contain as much power as this 1-drop squirrel. Trading an attack trigger for mana and a more restrictive sacrifice clause does little to stymie this value engine that continues to draw you cards and grow as a threat while you sacrifice your board away. Bloodbriar , Viscera Seer , Mortician Beetle , Sporemound are all good calls here. I’d suggest leaning into a token subtheme for sacrifice fodder and this squirrel will be swinging for lethal in no time.
Mistmeadow Witch/Soulherder -> Roon of the HIdden Realm
While I like Soulherder more for the free blink trigger, it is specific to your creatures, so you can’t start blinking your opponents’ creatures in and out of combat like a crazy person. That doesn’t mean you’ll be without great targets: mulldrifter , archaeomancer , Peregrine Drake , Kor Cartographer and more are all fantastic options for a blink. Growing Soulherder, accruing insane value, and making the little control player deep, deep in your heart a little happier. If you want something a little less timing restrictive, Mistmeadow Witch is the more “on point” solution, giving you the added flexibility of triggering a blink at any time on any creature. That of course comes at a steep cost of four mana though, so construct your deck accordingly.
Wayfaring Temple -> Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice
It’s not often you get a repeatable trigger on an uncommon creature, but maybe that’s because Wayfaring temple was originally printed at Rare… Anyway, having a BIG beater if you end up going wide (and you should) means a lil trample and you’ll be populating just as frequently as you would with Trostani. Slime Molding , Maul Splicer , and Miming Slime are all great here since you tend to want slightly larger tokens with populate, but allstars like Sporemound and Presence of Gond will help round out a successful token strategy
Araumi of the Dead Tide -> Muldrotha, the Gravetide
There aren’t a lot of non-restrictive recursion-based commanders at uncommon. Who’da thunk. Outside of ETB recursion like Eternal Witness or Skullwinder , your best bet if you want to keep the dead from staying dead is Araumi of the Dead Tide . There are a surprising amount of quality discard outlets in pauper, a la Dreamscape Artist and Thirst for Meaning , with plenty of big dumb creatures to put in the yard for later. Julian actually piloted an Araumi PDH deck to great effect in one of our early games, filling it with terrible things like Gray Merchant of Asphodel , Fleshbag Marauder , and Liliana’s Specter .
Rhys the Redeemed -> Thalisse, Reverent Medium
Speaking of PDH decks I’ve piloted to… some degree of success, here comes Thalisse, Reverent Medium ! She slots in nicely as a pauper parallel to the (infamous?) Rhys the Redeemed . Both of these are premier token commanders, namely because they DOUBLE the amount of tokens you have. And at the tradeoff of an additional four mana to cast and a more conditional doubling, you get black in your color identity! Sarcasm aside, black adds a lot of excellent ways to make tokens, personal favorites being Essence Feed and Eyeblight Cullers , as well all the benefits of having many disposable bodies around: Altar’s Reap , Bone Splinters , and Final Payment just hit different in this shell. Plus, black gets you some solid removal and card draw to supplement white token staples like Eyes in the Skies and Raise the Alarm .
Uril, the Miststalker -> Champion of the Flame/Graceblade Artisan
If you’re a fan of the oft forsaken Voltron archetype, or just want to relieve your Uril, the Miststalker glory days from 2012, then I’ve got two hot picks for you! Champion of the Flame and Graceblade Artisan both get significant pumps by suiting them up with all sorts of designer fashion. If you’re a purist, you’ll stick with Graceblade, as it loves auras and auras only, but the Champ is arguably the better pick pound for pound being a whole mana cheaper, buffing for filthy equipment too, AND HAVING TRAMPLE. That being said, white contains the better auras by far, Angelic Gift , Asha’s Favor , and Grasp of the Hieromancer all being great picks. White also has several powerful auras to hit your opponent’s creatures with if you choose to do a less all-in type build. In red, you can get Infectious Bloodlust and Madcap Skills , among others, but you’ll likely want to include equipment like Bonesplitter and the new Dueling Rapier to boost your punching power.
Any Zombie Commander -> Narfi, Betrayer King
This is less a direct parallel and more a hype up of Narfi, Betrayer King . If you like any combination of zombies, tribal decks, snow, and PDH, you need to check out this cool dude (see what I did there?). Having a lord in the command zone is underrated, and having one who can continually subvert paying his mana cost (not to mention commander tax) is absolutely nuts. Combine this with one of the most powerful and fleshed out (haha more puns) tribes in magic, even at the common rarity, AND arguably the two best colors in pauper and you’ll hit the ground running. Obviously, play good zombies and blue or black staples in this deck, but in case you need some help getting started, here’s a few recommendations: Priest of the Haunted Edge , Gray Merchant of Asphodel , Nightscape Familiar .
Oloro, Ageless Ascetic -> Agent of Masks
Ahhh yes, the original boogeyman of the format and for a long time, the most popular commander on EDHREC. It’s hard to replicate the most annoying giant in the multiverse with his myriad of abilities which were quite revolutionary for the time (proto-_eminence_, anyone?) but Agent of Masks does a great job. That instantly recognizable lurking, immovable drain every turn where your life flourishes and your opponents tick one step closer to death is on full display here and equally annoying (to your opponents). Unfortunately, the most powerful ways to weaponize life drain found in many Oloro decks are rarity heavy, but Marauding Blight-Priest and Epicure of Blood are the direction you want to head. Add in black card draw to utilize the extra life, put in some more draining stax pieces, and you’ll be pillow forting like the old days in no time.
Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice -> Evolution Sage
And to finish off this list, perhaps my either most visionary or most controversial pick. The absolute queen of EDH, Atraxa Praetors’ Voice is most deadly due to her consistent ability to proliferate. Whether it’s +1/+1, -1/-1, loyalty, or infect counters, she does it all. Enter Evolution Sage . She also proliferates (if you’re hitting your land drops) EVERY TURN. Sometimes, given green’s ability to ramp, this can even outpace an Atraxa on the proliferation front. While you won’t be doing any pauper super friends anytime soon (well, I guess we’ll see what WotC has to say about that…), there are a million green creatures that have +1/+1 counters and love to get bigger. Fertilid , Gnarlid Colony , and Ivy Lane Denizen are must includes in this deck. Spice things up with an Opal Palace and Outmuscle . Finally, choose how many of the ten creatures with infect available to you to maintain that Atraxa venom. Season to taste.
Well, that about wraps things up for our ten favorite PDH parallels. We hope these encourage you to brew around the bomb picks we’ve promoted or consider your own PDH conversions. Let us know which commanders or gameplans you want to see adapted next, or let us know which new brews you’re working on by checking out our email or social media!
More Entries in Pauper Commander:
- 08 Jul 2022: Lotleth Troll
- 10 Jun 2022: Wilson, Agent of the Shadow Thieves
- 31 Mar 2022: Submitting your cPDH Deck
- 18 Mar 2022: Top Personal EDH Parallels for Pauper
- 03 Mar 2022: Neon Dynasty Pauper Commander Precons