The Commander’s Chair #5.2 – Bonus Tool Time! Starring NPH

“A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer’s hand.” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

With New Phyrexia on the horizon, we have a whole new group of cards to look at for Commander. The biggest news (for me) is that we have been given a new Boros commander, Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer.  If you have metalcraft, Jor Kadeen only needs three swings to kill an opponent.  In the last article, I covered the basic idea of using a toolbox in Commander.  In this article, I will build a deck centered on Jor Kadeen and the toolbox strategy. 

For Jor Kadeen to be good, he needs to have an army to lead and he need metalcraft.  We can tutor up an army using Ranger of Eos as the center of one toolbox.  We can achieve the metalcraft using Stonehewer Giant to bring equipment onto the field.  Since we will be running a heavy artifact package anyway, we can also run Sunforger to have additional answers built into the deck.


  1. Jor Kadeen – General
  2. Ranger of Eos – One mana CMC creatures
  3. Stonehewer Giant – Equipment
  4. Sunforger – Red and White sorceries

We want to make sure that we draw our Ranger of Eos.  We need to include some cards that can search it up.


  1. Citanul Flute – Finds any creature, so it isn’t dead if you already have Ranger of Eos in hand.
  2. Planar Portal – This card can get any card and can be played in any deck.  I am really surprised we don’t see it more.

There are not really enough cards to really be sure we will get the Ranger, so we need something else to search up these 2 cards.


  1. Enlightened Tutor – Not only can it search up not only the Citanul Flute and the Planar Portal, it can search up any equipment in the deck.  If that wasn’t enough, Enlightened Tutor is also a Sunforger target.

Now that we can be sure we will get the Ranger, we need some targets for his ability.


  1. Serra Ascendant – Aside from being an amazing early game beater, the life gained from lifelink can keep you alive through the relentless assault of your opponents
  2. Spikeshot Elder – Perhaps not the best removal on its own, but this is an equipment deck.  It won’t be long before he is keeping enemy creatures at bay with ruthless efficiency.
  3. Heap Doll – Being able to deal with reanimation is very important.  We should always include a few cards like this to deal with necromancers.
  4. Gorilla Shaman – Artifacts run rampant in Commander.  You can keep them in check with this little guy.
  5. Goblin Welder – While this is most commonly used to reanimate large artifacts, it can also be used to keep a combo player in check.

If you read the previous article I went over a few targets for both Stonehewer Giant and Sunforger.  We need to make sure we can get the exact equipment we want, so we will be including a lot of redundancy.  Besides the enlightened tutor, we will be adding the following;


  1. Stoneforge Mystic – Finds equipment and cheats it into play.
  2. Godo, Bandit Warlord – Finds equipment, cheats it into play, and gives you additional combat phases.
  3. Steelshaper Apprentice – Find equipment, repeatedly.  Go ahead and grab Lightning Greaves first.
  4. Taj-Nar Swordsmith – This is pretty good, as long as you have enough mana.
  5. Steelshaper’s Gift – It’s not as good as enlightened tutor, but it goes perfect in this deck.

Targets for Stonehewer and Sunforger (as covered in the previous article)


  1. Pariah Shield – Best used on a indestructible creature
  2.  Worldslayer – Only use in the most dreadful circumstances.
  3. Heartseeker – Continuous creature removal
  4. Argentum Armor – Continuous permanent removal.
  5. Oblation – Shuffle their general into their deck
  6. Honor the Fallen – Goodbye graveyard abuse
  7. Allay – Yes, you can pay the buyback when you grab it with Sunforger.  This is great against decks like Zur, The Enchanter
  8. Reiterate – This is already a great spell to have for red.  It’s perfect when they try  to kill you with a Blue Sun’s Zenith or a Stroke of Genius
  9. Shattering Pulse – You never have just one artifact your want to destroy
  10. Return to Dust – For when destroying something just isn’t enough

As much as some people don’t like it, I do tend to fill my deck with Commander Staples.  In this case, it’s particularly important for hitting our metalcraft target.  The following are cards you might see in any Commander deck, so no explanation will be listed.  If you have any questions about these cards, feel free to comment or email me.  I would be incredibly happy if any/all of these card were reprinted for the commander precons.


  1. Sol Ring
  2. Mana Crypt
  3. Mana Vault
  4. Thran Dynamo
  5. Gilded Lotus
  6. Coalition Relic
  7. Darksteel Ingot
  8. Mind Stone
  9. Crucible of Worlds
  10. Solem Simulacrum
  11. Scroll Rack – This is in instead of top, because of both its synergy with Land Tax and the fact that it doesn’t slow down a game like top does.

While some cards aren’t used quite as often as the above staples, I would recommend putting them in most white decks.


  1. Umezawa’s Jitte – Some people say that Sword of Fire and Ice is better in Commander, but I have always been pleased to draw a Jitte.
  2. Lightning Greaves – Haste and Shroud is always good for agro decks.
  3. Skullclamp – Traditionally, white and red don’t have very powerful card draw.  You can use this to make up for it.
  4. Whispersilk Cloak – A lot of Equipment depends on dealing combat damage to a player.  This can ensure you get through.
  5. Land Tax – Mana Fixing to the max.
  6. Sun Titan – Aside from acting as a 2nd crucible.  Sun titan brings back most of the equipment included in the deck.
  7. Grafted Exoskeleton – Combined with Spikeshot Elder, you can put players on a very quick clock.

Now we can get into some of the more fun parts of the deck, Planeswalkers and cycles of cards.

Planeswalkers (46)

  1. Elspeth, Knight-Errant – Elspeth’s early incarnation is everything we want for this deck.  She throws creatures over the top, creates an army, and turns Worldslayer into a win condition.

New Phyrexian Cards (47-48)

  1. Batterskull – It almost feels wrong to include a Phyrexian piece of equipment into an almost Mirrodin Pure deck.  But, the war has been lost. Let’s use the weapons we have on hand.
  2. Puresteel Paladin – Wow, this card just seems too good to be true.  It’s like an equipment version of enchantress.  This makes me want to build a living weapon deck.

Swords (49-55)  Jor Kadeen is suppose to be some sort of legendary duelist.  So, how could we make a deck for him without including as many swords as possible?

  1. Sword of War and Peace – It’s from the new set, and it’s great for aggressive decks.
  2. Sword of Fire and Ice – This is worth too much money right now.  I wouldn’t buy a new one, but I will include one that I own into a Commander deck.
  3. Sword of Light and Shadow – This might be the most useful sword for Commander.  The life gain isn’t great, but the recursion more than makes up for it.
  4. Sword of Feast and Famine – I like both abilities for this sword.  Even in a non-control deck, I like having all my lands during both main phases.
  5. Sword of Body and Mind – This card is surprisingly good in this deck.   Having more creatures to equip is always good.  Also, you can punish decks that can’t recur cards.
  6. Sword of Vengeance – This card is in the deck primarily because of Godo, Bandit Warlord.  Along with Batterskull, you can give creatures outside Godo a second combat phase.
  7. Sword of the Paruns – This is another card that can give you a kind of Vigilance.  In addition, it can create a machine gun situation when combined with Heartseeker.

Kaldra (56-58) If you include one piece, why not include all?

  1. Helm of Kaldra – I guess first strike, trample and haste aren’t too shabby.  But, this wouldn’t be in here if it weren’t for its brothers.
  2. Shield of Kaldra – As I mentioned in my last article, this combines very well with both Pariah Shield and Worldslayer.  If they don’t have a way to exile your creature or equipments, you win the game.
  3. Sword of Kaldra – This card is one of the best card combinations with Spikeshot Elder.  I will gladly pay 1RR to exile creatures or deal 6 damage to a player.

Duelists (59-61)  If you are going to fill your deck with weapons, you want some creatures know how to use them.

  1. Kor Duelist – He is a target for Ranger of Eos and he will create double triggers for the swords and Jitte.
  2. Mirrian Crusader – With just a few pieces of equipment, he becomes an unstoppable killing machine.
  3. Student of Warfare – He may start of slightly mediocre, but he becomes a giant later in the game.  He also has the advantage of being a target for Ranger and having doublestrike.

Equipment Lords (62-64) We might as well throw in a little more equipment synergy whith out few remaining slots

  1. Kemba, Ka Regent – This is for when you have more weapons than bodies.  You can just create more bodies.
  2. Auriok Steelshaper – Most of the creatures in the deck are either Knights or Soldier, and the deck has plenty of equipment.  While this card is generally underwhelming, I think it may have finally found a good home in this deck.
  3. Leonin Shikari – When combined with the new card, Puresteel Paladin, this will create some of the most fun combat tricks ever.


  1. Blinkmoth Nexus – When someone casts a WOG, you want something to survive.
  2. Darksteel Citadel – Every now and then, you are forced to use Worldslayer just to survive.  In those circumstances, at least you will have one land survive.
  3. Mishra’s Factory – Same logic as Blinkmoth Nexus
  4. Ancient Den – Jor Kadeen is dependent on metalcraft.  This helps you get there.
  5. Great Furnace – Artifact + Land = Good for metalcraft
  6. Boros Garrison – Basic color fixing.
  7. Arid Mesa – Good for color fixing and works well with crucible of worlds.
  8. Rugged Prairie – Basic color fixing
  9. Sacred Foundry – Basic color fixing
  10. Scabland – Basic color fixing
  11. Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion – Doublestrike is really, really good with equipment.
  12. Plateau – mana Fixing
  13. Flagstones of Trokair – I play this in most of my white decks.  It is a land destruction deterrent.  Plus, it used to be in the old extended Boros decks.  It has a little bit of a nostalgia factor.
  14. City of Brass – I like not worrying about which land I draw
  15. Vivid Crag – Vivid lands are almost always good in a multicolor deck
  16. Vivid Meadow – See above
  17. Strip Mine – Sometimes the best way to stop someone is to make sure they can’t cast spells.  This also will clear a Maze of Ith out of your way.
  18. Wasteland – Same idea as stripmine.  I wouldn’t recommend buying these right now with the price spike, ghost quarter and Tectonic edge are both suitable replacements.
  19. Boseiju, Who Shelters All – This is for you Erayo!

Basic lands (84-100) You still need to have a few of these.

9x – Plains

8x – Mountain

There you have it Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer will be commanding my Storm of Swords deck. (No relation to the novel or HBO series).  I hope this helps in demonstrating how to incorporate a toolbox strategy into your own decks.


About SwordsToPlow

I like building and tuning decks to make them more fun and more effective.

Posted on April 27, 2011, in Extras, The Commander's Chair and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Heap Doll seems bad. It only hits one card, and a 1/1 body is super-underwhelming. Sure, you can tutor it up, but wasting a tutor to nuke just one card in a graveyard is really inefficient. Your land count is pretty low–why not run another land instead? I notice Winding Canyons, Kor Haven, Mystifying Maze, Kher Keep, Windbrisk Heights, and Spinerock Knoll are all conspicuous in their absence.

    • Heap doll is a combo with Goblin Welder. using Ranger of Eos you tutor him up alongside Welder to retrieve equipment from your graveyard. It can be recurred with the Sword of Light and Shadow, Welder and Sun Titan if you need to use it’s ability multiple times.

      There are 36 lands in the deck and 8 mana acceleration artifacts. That follows my usual rule of 40 -1 land for each 2 mana ramp spells I put into the deck. That said, any of the basic lands could easily be replaced by the lands you mentioned. How many lands do you usually run?

      • Depends on the deck, but I’m of the opinion that higher is better.

        The thing about nonbasic utility lands is that they’re practically spells anyway, so it’s not like you’re sad when you’re flooded with them. They let you hit your land drops consistently while still being good draws if you need gas in the lategame. Mystifying Maze and Kor Haven are better than most spot removal spells, and Kher Keep, Ghitu Encampment, and Forbidding Watchtower are actually creatures. (Which reminds me, you should be running Guardian Idol and Thunder Totem over two of your mana rocks. Synergy, yo!) And Hideaway lands give you free spells anyway.

        In my experience, hitting land drops makes me happy and missing land drops makes me sad. I’m almost always happier with a five-land two-spell hand than a two-land five-spell hand. Cutting spells for land is always a tough decision to make, but I think it’s the right move more often than most people realize.

      • Honestly, unless you have a way to drop more than one land per turn playing over 40% of you deck as lands is probably hurting the decks overall performance. 24 lands in a 60 card deck is just about the max and 40 in Commander is about the same ratio. Aggro decks like this need to put opponents on their heels as fast as possible. That just won’t happen when you drop one creature, one piece of equipment and a bunch of lands.

        The Totems are ok, but to use them in this deck you will have to be continually paying both the activation costs and re-equipping them. Feel free to try them out, but they have just disappointed me in the past.

        Kor Haven and Mystifying Maze are great lands that could pretty easily replace a Plains or Mountain. They definitely don’t take the place of spot removal. Having 3-5 lands untapped at the end of every turn is not something an aggressive deck should plan on doing.

        The Ghitu Encampment and Kher Keep would be interesting to try out, again in place of a basic land.

  2. Seeing as your Commander relies on metalcraft, I feel that having a second artifact creature alongside Heap Doll to grab with Ranger is wise (even if it doesn’t come up a lot, people do play Akroma’s Vangeance/O-Stone/etc.). Might I suggest Signal Pest since you’re trying to swarm (though Jawbone Skulkin might be okay for the Commander damage route)? Finally, I don’t think the Kaldra pieces are worth their slots as opposed to Darksteel Plate and some better equipments.

    I was about to comment on the abundance of staples, but then I remembered you’d already mentioned that…

    • SwordsToPlow

      That is not a bad idea. Jawbone Skullkin seems like he would fit in really well. After all, who doesn’t like hast?

      You are normally right that the kaldra pieces are not worth their weight compared to running Darksteel Plate and other equipment. However, when you combine the Sword of Kaldra with Spikeshot Elder you get something marvelous. Exile target creature for 3 mana on a stick. If I am running 2 pieces of the Kaldra artifacts I am running the third as well.

      On a side note, Sword of the Paruns got cut from the list I am playing to make way for Thornbite Staff shenanigans w/welder and the Kaldra Sword.

      Thank you for the feedback and suggestion. I will be trying out Signal Pest and Jawbone to see wich I like better. Auriok Steelshaper has been less than impressive and will be taken out for testing.

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