And the List Goes On – An EDH Staples Walkthrough

-An EDH Staples walkthrough by Blaine Johnson.

Hello everyone and welcome to AZMagicPlayers! I hope you all enjoy this site and can take the time to help make this vision for AZ Magic come true. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Blaine Johnson and I am a local Magic player and Tournament Organizer. When it comes to Magic I tend to drift towards the casual side of the spectrum and every once in a while jump into the competitive scene. My weekly diet consists mostly of fun Team Drafts, deck designing, and EDH. For those of you who aren’t familiar with EDH(Commander), here is a link to the creator’s official site: .

I have been playing EDH for some time now but I started out playing the format very loosely, I would just throw together a deck so I could play with some of my friends. As it came to be, my first General was Zirilan of the Claw. With no comprehension of the format I took every single huge dragon I could find and shoved them into a deck, pretty much just crossing my fingers that everything would work out. Since then I have created several different deck designs, ranging from all colors and archetypes of Magic, even reaching the point where I have been compensated for my work. In my opinion, there are three different types of EDH decks. First you have your competitive Generals with one set goal in mind such as: Vendilion Clique, the old Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, and Zur the Enchanter. Next there are the “Good Stuff” style decks which mostly consist of very powerful cards and board sweepers, these decks normally perform better in multiplayer games. Finally, the goofy decks like my first one, which are most of the time constructed out of what available cards players own. A lot of my brainstorming and work has come with the help of a few fellow EDH fanatics. Ryan, Eric, and Matt have all been huge influences on my EDH work as a whole. I have spend many nights with Matt, computers back to back throwing ideas at each other and working on deck lists.

Through all of this trial and error work I have come to a general guideline of the most basic EDH staples. Several things are required to take an ordinary card and make it a “must have” for any color aligned General. To become an EDH staple you must hold your value, I tend to use this term a lot. Value is a property that defines cards by their immediate impact on the board or influence throughout the game.  Cards must either give you some form of card advantage over your opponent or must do something very straight forward, and do that one thing very well. Let me give you an example: Reveillark is a fan favorite card that has an immediate impact on the board. It comes with a large body that cannot easily be dealt with without forcing your opponent to give you access to manipulating the game. It has strength against “wrath” effects as well as spot removal, often leaving your opponent down a card and netting yourself two as well as many possible “come into play” triggers. Another example of a card that shows immediate value is: Mind Twist. Mind Twist takes a seemly fair match up and puts it on its side setting your opponent into top deck mode while you still have far more known information and control over the game.

Over the course of the week to come, I will be breaking down and giving you a walkthrough, color by color, of my EDH “Must Haves”.

  • Today we look at a breakdown of our first color.


Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile:

A lot of these cards I’m going to be grouping together because they serve the same purpose and most things are better in multiples. Swords and Path are good examples of cards that are very cheap, easy to cast, and good at what they do. While cards like this may be wasted on a General , they still serve their purpose in removing threats and keeping pesky cards out of the graveyard or away from their graveyard triggers.

Condemn, Oblation, and Hallowed Burial:

Unlike Swords and Path, these cards are rather exceptional at dealing with Generals in the best way possible. There are very few abilities that deal with a General in a way that renders them useless. This style of play is necessary because a great deal of EDH decks cannot interact with the game after they lose their General. A good amount of my EDH Staples consist of this style of interaction.

Enlightened Tutor:

Some players may not think it but the ability to manipulate your library is a very essential part of Magic and when it comes to the color white, things become very limited. I have never been a big fan of Enlightened Tutor in constructed play but it definitely plays its roll in these larger, slower formats. It is very important to give your deck the tools it needs to find immediate answers to problems that you may come across. This could range from finding a spot removal spell such as Oblivion Ring, a mass removal spell like Oblivion Stone or just an equipment to keep your assault going.

Serra Ascendant:

Now, I never liked this card when players started using it in EDH, I still refuse to use it, but if you want to play with the most efficient creatures you can, please look no further then this Ascendant. A 6/6, flying, Lifelink creature for one white, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Karmic Guide, Reveillark, and Sun Titan:

Now these are my type of creatures. White has never been extremely strong at recurring threats and these brothers all have the same card advantage that I like. A simple trigger that nets you at least two cards for one. Also, the interactions that can be formed between Reveillark and Karmic Guide are rather powerful. Sun Titan can also work wonders with every little simple card in your deck from a Fetch Land such as Arid Mesa to a powerful artifact in the form of Mimic Vat.

Armageddon, and Ravages of War:

Armageddon has and always will be the end all spell for a team with a greater board presence. Even if you don’t have a secure situation in front of you, if you’re running cards like Crucible of Worlds or other effects, you can shape these land destruction spells into one sided game changer.

Martial Coup, Akroma’s Vengeance, and Austere Command:

This is our board sweeper section for white. White has always been known for its power in Wrath of God style cards, but these three are top of the line. The versatility of Vengeance and Austere Command make them must haves for dealing with sticky situations that you need to free yourself from. Martial Coup on the other hand interacts to a much different degree. This card takes you from one end of the spectrum in board position; to the complete opposite, often leaving your opponent in a position where they must answer your removal spell with one of their own.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant, Elspeth Tirel, and Gideon Jura:

Planeswalkers have become a defining part of Magic over the last couple of years and they are no exception to the world of larger than life decks. Each one brings something unique to the table with their recurable “spells” that interact with the game in a different way. Tirel is most likely the most influential because of her “wrath” style ultimate. They all put pressure on your opponent in some way that forces them to have to answer the Planeswalker as their first priority.

White Sun’s Zenith and Decree of Justice:

Both of these cards are very simple in what they do. Force the situation with a legion of tokens at instant speed. The ups and downs between the two are the pay off of drawing a card with your uncounterable Decree, or placing more power on the board through your Zenith.

Beacon of Immortality:

This card promotes huge swings in games and also provides you with much needed time to recover and make another stand. It also helps with certain alternate win conditions such as: Test of Endurance and Felidar Sovereign.

  • I hope you guys enjoyed my first installment of EDH Staples. Next time I’ll be discussing the most degenerate color of all time.

Comments and Questions can be directed to myself at [email protected] , or just find me in the forums.

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