Dargo and Keskit Go Neon in EDH

How do you build Commander decks?

Do you start with a Commander (or two) and figure out the best army to put behind them? Or do you have a strategy first and then build out towards the end result? Maybe you have a pet card (or several) that you really want to run but can never find the exact right shell? Or maybe you do all of these at different points or have your own method.



All of this is what helps to make Commander a fantastic way to play Magic. It can also be the source of much consternation, well, at least for me. The methods outlined above are ones I have used for various builds but the decks I find most satisfying to complete are those that solve the puzzle of including a favorite card.

Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast

For me, one of these cards has long been Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast. I got one years ago and immediately put him to work in my Grenzo, Dungeon Warden deck. Back then, the deck had a significant artifact theme with cards like Goblin Welder and Teferi’s Puzzle Box but over time, I shifted the build to be more focused on leveraging Grenzo’s ability, and Daretti found himself on the outs. Eventually I took Grenzo apart since other decks I had scratched a similar itch but I kept trying to shoehorn the grinning goblin planeswalker into any deck where he could possibly fit, but to no avail.

Prosper, Tome-Bound

The past year has been good to Rakdos artifact lists, however. Between Prosper, Tome-Bound and several cards that key off of Treasure, the color pair has received a ton of tools for an artifact-sacrifice deck. It does not hurt that Mayhem Devil can put in some solid work when you’re binning a ton of your own artifacts while also pinging in when your opponents sacrifice, well, anything! But Prosper did not feel like a Commander that fit what I wanted to do. Yes, they are excellent, but I like doing things a little differently. 

Keskit, the Flesh SculptorDargo, the Shipwrecker

As I have mentioned before, I love sacrificing things for value and I knew that I wanted to have a Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor deck at some point. Since the Phyrexian does enjoy sacrificing artifacts, I knew I had found one half of my Rakdos tag team. I decided to pair him with Dargo, the Shipwrecker. Since I was going to be sacrificing artifacts anyway, I might as well be able to put a giant creature on the board to pressure life totals, even if they start at 40 in Commander. So now that I had a pair of Commanders, a general idea and one planeswalker ready to go, I started looking for other cards that fit my theme that I wanted to run.

Goblin WelderGoblin Engineer

Some early front runners included Goblin Welder and Goblin Engineer. These two cards are real workhorses (unlike Workhorse, which was in Grenzo but didn’t make the cut here). Reckless Fireweaver and Disciple of the Vault found their way into the list, as did lots of ways to generate artifacts like Sly Requisitioner, Marionette Master, Ruthless Technomancer, Pitiless Plunderer and Genesis Chamber. I started to notice that I had an above average number of one power creatures and so one of my other favorite cards – Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker. Shirei is one of my favorite cards to include in the 99 (or in this case, 98) because of how much value they can generate unchecked.

Nim DeathmantleAshnod's AltarSalvaging StationExperimental Synthesizer

The rest of the deck plays into sacrifice themes. There’s one of my favorite combos – Nim Deathmantle and Ashnod’s Altar which can end the game if enough pieces come together. Blasting Station has a home as one of my favorite sacrifice outlets but it also has the upside of doing good work with Genesis Chamber. If Salvaging Station is half as good as its blasting cousin, I will be a happy camper. Oni-Cult Anvil is a card I’m excited to try out alongside some other new cards from Neon Dynasty: Experimental Synthesizer and Undercity Scrounger.

In the end, I managed to build a many layered machine that hopefully will grind out value and eventually leave my opponents in a heap. That being said this is absolutely a deck I want to play first in any given Commander night because the lines can be absolutely mind melting.


Dargo/Keskit Artifact Grind by Alex Ullman

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This deck was built with what I had on hand. There are definitely cards I want to add like Academy Manufactor and Nadier’s Nightblade. I also have a copy of Pia’s Revolution burning a hole in my pocket that could probably make its way into the build. But that’s what I would do – how do you build artifact-o-crats? What secret spice am I missing out on? Let me know in the comments below.


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