It’s just about Christmas time, and Commander Legends gave everyone a new Legendary that’s all about that spirit of giving and togetherness. Blim, Comedic Genius isn’t quite as kindly with his gifts as Zedruu the Greathearted purports to be. If anything, his bag has a lot more coal than toys, punishing opponents for everything they’ve been so graciously given rather than accruing your own advantage. Really though, if your opponents weren’t all on the Naughty List, you wouldn’t have to stuff their stockings with the copious coal in today’s deck.
The grinning imp himself just wants to spread good cheer, though his particular brand of holiday glee is a bit prickly to most. Opening donate-themed decks to black is a pretty big game, thanks to the number of permanents that are powerful when built around but that come with a hefty drawback that black has access to. The discard can really add up too, squeezing your opponents’ abilities to keep Blim and his presents off the board. Add in some built-in evasion, a fairly reasonable mana cost and solid stats and he’s ready to start making a few trips down some chimneys.
Bad Santa Blim by Lee Livingston
The list is fairly straightforward: a whole bunch of permanents that you want to give away, some ramp to get you to them and some removal to both make sure Blim can get through and that your donations don’t come back to bite you. A few extra ways to keep Blim alive or help him connect also slide into the list, since he’s pretty focal to your game plan.
Not every permanent you give away is detrimental to your opponents, either. Instead, some have a universal effect that works no matter who controls the card. Mixing a few of those in and giving them to the right player can ease the pain that Blim brings and maybe win you an ally. You’ll need it, because between giving away permanents and twisting the thumbscrews on your opponents, you’re going to draw a lot of hate and not have quite as many ways to keep it off you as you normally might. This deck is a bit risky, though. There are quite a few of those dangerous cards you play with the intent to donate, and if that’s interrupted, well… You might be left holding a live grenade without enough time to toss it.
Now, there are a few cards that are just made to be given away, so much so that they do it themselves! This is always welcome, helping ramp up the pace that Blim starts chipping away at your foes’ life totals.
Xantcha, Sleeper Agent is tailor-made for a deck like this, hopping to an opposing battlefield, swinging in on your other opponents, and offering a fun little subgame as well, with everyone able to cash in on her ability to gain a few cards.
Pendant of Prosperity is in a similar vein, encouraging one player to work on ramping and drawing cards while giving you incidental value. Both of these draw engines are even more appealing to the other players as ways to offset Blim’s discards, making them more likely to see use.
Captive Audience, Akroan Horse and Crown of Doom are less enjoyable for the receiver of said gift, but they do give everyone else something fun to play with.
That brings us to the next group of gifts, the lovely ones that are given to you but you’re reminded that “they’re really for everyone to share.” Sharing is caring, after all, so why not hand your opponents a Howling Mine or a Font of Mythos? Sure, they’d get the cards anyway whether you control them or they do, and it being in their position means Blim tightens the screws just a bit more, but you still gave them something, didn’t you?
Mana Flare’s in the same boat, just a lovely little present that really is for everyone to enjoy.
Meanwhile, Silent Arbiter locks down the board no matter where it sits, and you only really want to attack with Blim anyway. Restricting potential attackers only helps keep you alive when your opponents would really rather you stop being so generous, too.
Pets are some of the worst gifts to give without warning. If you aren’t ready for the responsibility, they can wreck your home, your wallet and your sanity. So, it goes without saying that they are some of Blim’s favorite presents.
Rust Elemental is a classic, either taxing your artifact wielding opponents of their favorite trinkets and baubles or locking itself down while chewing away at their life total. Do be careful though; whoever is given the Rust Elemental probably doesn’t need gifted any of the other artifacts.
Primordial Ooze is in a similar vein, but the growing boy quickly outstrips the mana production of even the heaviest of ramp decks, and once it does, it starts taking hefty chunks from their life totals instead. Priest of the Blood Rite and Ebon Drake are similar, though in small, incremental nibbles rather than growing bites.
Some pets though simply don’t play well with others at all, so much so that you can’t have any others alongside them. Steel Golem and Grid Overseer can lock some opponents completely out of the game, or put a severe hamper on their game plan.
There are plenty of non-creature options to lock opponents up as well. Pyromancer’s Swath to a control player? Seems great, no need to worry about pesky counterspells when they can’t keep a hand. Midnight Oil works itself down to a similar vein, and can even give you a small temporary boost beforehand. Even giving one opponent an extra card isn’t quite so scary when you can pick who gets them, and when that hand empties every end step.
Colfenor’s Plans is an interesting, if risky, two-for-one. Play it, check the exiled cards, and then you can take a turn or two to play whichever card you need from it, then donate it to an unsuspecting opponent. Suddenly, their only option for cards are a few of your leftovers, leftovers that may just make them take even more damage from Blim’s triggers. If you play it and are stuck without a way to donate, though… well, that’s the risk you sign up for, and just one of many.
Not every gift is even useful, though. Sometimes, that’s the fun of it, trading presents with friends to see who can give the most useless one.
Bitter Feud is a fun little one, incentivizing two opponents to look at each other more than you, and it doesn’t matter who has the enchantment. Style points for handing it to one of the affected players.
Mass Hysteria, like some of the universal ones above, is just useful no matter who has it, or rather, is pretty useless to anyone not playing creatures.
The cream of the useless crop, however, is Darksteel Relic. It’s not even on Null Rod levels of doing nothing. It’s a simple little trinket that I just really want to hand to someone with a look of grave importance on my face, assuring them “This one’s for you, I spent a lot of time picking it out. I hope you like it.”
This wouldn’t be a donation deck without some real doozies to ship to other players. Even better, Blim opening up black as an option really lets you tap into the risk/reward playstyle of the color and all the permanents that offer a powerful upside at a huge cost.
Paying those costs is easy enough when you plan on it, but how many decks that aren’t designed to do so can handle the risk of being given an Immortal Coil or Forbidden Crypt?
Lich’s Mastery is great as well, offering card draw for life gain, but if you hand it to a player without much in the way of life to gain or cards to pitch, those screws will tighten really fast, not to mention that each Blim tick will also rip even more cards from them.
Demonic Pact takes that all right up to the maximum, offering three powerful options, options you might even choose to exhaust yourself, before leaving that last choice: lose the game. Will I die to my own permanents many times over? Most certainly. Will I cackle handing a spellslinger deck a Lich’s Mastery? Oh, very much
Now, while this deck isn’t a Voltron deck but it has some similarities in that a lot of your game plan hinges on your commander sticking around. To that end, Blim’s ride around the world is tricked out with a few bells and whistles to keep him cozy and firmly in place to keep handing off the worst presents ever.
Swiftfoot Boots even help him kick up the pace if needed, setting up a speedy delivery.
Gift of Doom and Darksteel Plate are a big gain, keeping him indestructible and trucking through the opposition. Gift of Doom especially is a fun one. I look forward to flipping it and attaching it to Blim, then donating the Gift to an opponent. It’s even got gift in the name!
Now, like any knock-off Santa, Blim is nothing without his little helpers.
Sangromancer, Geth’s Grimoire and Waste Not all love seeing your opponents pitch cards to his triggers, keeping you flush with life and resources to keep the sleigh flying all night.
Blood Mist is a recurring way to give him double strike, doubling up on donations if you choose. Careful though, neither Blood Mist nor Blim are optional, so that can be a problem if you aren’t in as much of a giving mood.
Speaking of, Harmless Offering and Bazaar Trader augment your donation capabilities, so if you’re flush with presents, they all make it to their final destinations.
That’s not to say all the packages arrive in one piece. Blim can be a bit rough on things when necessary. When you’re giving away so many resources, removal is double important to keep the sights firmly set elsewhere.
Feed the Swarm is a particularly nice addition, able to hit pesky enchantments alongside the classic Chaos Warp.
Rakdos Charm, Kolaghan’s Command and Bedevil are all particularly versatile. The Charm and Bojuka Bog can also set up some surprise one-two punches with Immortal Coil and Forbidden Crypt if you donate them and immediately nuke that player’s graveyard. If you really need to reset everything, though, Blasphemous Act has you covered, and is even a flavorful combination with the imp.
Put it all together, and you can have a blast putting on your best Bad Santa impression while you toss trash at your opponents and feign offense when they aren’t properly grateful for your gift-giving prowess. It’s certainly a list that might be prone to a bit of self-detonation and the harsher lock pieces can lead to a feel bad moment now and then. However, as long as the table, and you, know what you’re signing up for, Blim’s Wild Ride is perfect to take for a spin.
If you’re wanting to cobble it together, you can order everything from ChannelFireball. With You Box, We Buy, it’s even easier than ever to turn your old draft chaff into a Blim or any of the other cool new Commander Legends cards. What horrible gifts do you want to give with Blim? Let me know in the comments or @TheLeoRiser on Twitter. Until next time!