Filthy Commander – Doran, the Siege Tower

I’m trying to put together a Pauper Cube for MtG at the moment, and it’s killing me having to sort through all my commons and deciding which of them makes the cut. Still, should be worth it when I’m finished. Of course, I’ll still need to convince people they want to play it…

On the subject of forcing people to play certain formats, I’ve spoken about Filthy Commander before; a cheaper, faster version of popular multiplayer format Commander/EDH, in which players have a deck of 51 cards (Commander + 50) and 30 life. As I have the time and cards available, I’ve made a ton of Filthy Commander decks; the more I have, the more I can lend out to people for demo games of this currently still-born format.

Currently, my box has ten Filthy Commander decks (with two more being worked on), so let’s start off by looking at one of my favourites!

"Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sands..."
“Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sands…”

Yep, Doran Doran is not only one of my favourite Commanders, but also one of my favourite cards in the game. As a Commander, he demands a deck full of creatures with big rear-ends, and spells that add more junk to the trunks. Normally all but a few high-toughness cards are scorned; after all, it’s high power that wins! Well, with Doran, high toughness becomes high power, spelling doom for opponents as your chunky brigade stomps over everything.

So what cards make Doran work? Let’s have a peek into my Filthy Fifty…

(A quick disclaimer regarding these decklists; I don’t really have the budget to justify stocking up on awesome rare dual lands, so don’t expect amazing, jaw-dropping manabases. Also, I only use cards in the current frame (8th Edition onwards) for the sake of aesthetics).

Land

Terramorphic Expanse, Evolving Wilds, Command Tower, 4 Swamp, 5 Plain, 7 Forest
Terramorphic Expanse, Evolving Wilds, Command Tower, 4 Swamp, 5 Plain, 7 Forest

Nothing fancy here, just some basic-searching with Expanse and Wilds (essential in tri-colour), and a Command Tower. I could throw in Guildgates, but their lack of speed is painful. Rupture Spire and Transguild Promenade were also tempting, but Command Tower seems to get the job done by itself. Unsurprisingly, the deck has a heavier focus on green than black or white.

White

Oathsworn Giant, Palisade Giant, Seraph of Dawn, Temple Acolyte, Veteran Armourer, Eland Umbra
Oathsworn Giant, Palisade Giant, Seraph of Dawn, Temple Acolyte, Veteran Armourer, Eland Umbra

Oathsworn Giant and Veteran Armourer both give toughness (and therefore power) boosts to my whole side of the board, making them pretty much auto-includes. Palisade Giant serves the role of a cheap fatty with a useful ability that draws heat away from me. Seraph of Dawn is essentially a 4/4 lifelinked flier for four mana (aka good stuff), and Temple Acolyte is – in this deck at least – a cheaper Centaur Healer. The Acolyte isn’t great though, so it’s on my list as one of the first things I’m looking to replace. Eland Umbra is just a great cheap totem armour Aura that provides a huge buff.

Black

Disciple of Griselbrand, Giant Scorpion, Rathi Trapper, Xathrid Gorgon, Rend Flesh
Disciple of Griselbrand, Giant Scorpion, Rathi Trapper, Xathrid Gorgon, Rend Flesh

Given the high toughness of the creatures in this deck, Disciple’s ability isn’t lacking for a decent target. Giant Scorpion is a decent and surprisingly durable early deterrant, and Rathi Trapper’s tap-down ability is always good for removing a troublesome attacker or blocker. Xathrid Gorgon is in the deck simply because I had her and didn’t know what else to do with her; she serves fine as a 6/6 deathtouch beater with a useful pseudo-removal ability. Rend Flesh is in simply because it’s easily cast in tri-colour. Some people would choose Doom Blade, but I prefer Rend because a) the artwork and name, and b) the ability to hit black creatures is far more useful than not being able to hit Spirits.

Green

Jaddi Lifestrider, Ondu Giant, Silklash Spider, Sporecap Spider, Cultivate, Recollect, Tower Defence
Jaddi Lifestrider, Ondu Giant, Silklash Spider, Sporecap Spider, Cultivate, Recollect, Tower Defence

Jaddi Lifestrider is more beef; I hear than 8/8s with no drawbacks and sometimes-useful ETB effects are good for 5 mana. Ondu Giant and Cultivate are essential in a tri-colour deck, helping me get out the land I need. Recollect is just a good, solid recursion spell, grabbing me back whatever I need again. Sporecap Spider and Silklash Spider provide some defence against flying creatures (Silky is particularly brutal), while also serving as more beef once Doran drops. Tower Defence… well, what to say about Tower Defence except that it seems tailor-made for Doran? A team-wide 5-power boost for 2 mana, at instant speed, is utterly nucking futs. The reach is just a bonus!

Multicoloured

Grizzled Leotau, Sapling of Colfenor, Behemoth Sledge, Mortify, Putrefy, Ready/Willing
Grizzled Leotau, Sapling of Colfenor, Behemoth Sledge, Mortify, Putrefy, Ready/Willing

Grizzled Leotau is just a 5/5 for 2 mana, nothing fancy. If you want fancy, look at Sapling of Colfenor; everything about her is absolutely perfect for this deck. Behemoth Sledge is an Equipment version of Armadillo Cloak, and while it’s slower than that amazing Aura, there’s no risk of getting 2-for-1’d. Mortify and Putrefy are solid, excellent removal, covering all major permanent types; that’s the nice thing about BGW, you get all the nice toys! Speaking of nice toys, Ready/Willing is a total blowout. It’s impressed me before, and my opinion still hasn’t changed. I’m waiting for the game when I can pop Willing and Tower Defence in one turn for the mother of all curb-stomps.

Artifacts

Sylvok Replica, Yotian Soldier, Ensouled Scimitar, Orzhov Keyrune, Slagwurm Armour, Spidersilk Net
Sylvok Replica, Yotian Soldier, Ensouled Scimitar, Orzhov Keyrune, Slagwurm Armour, Spidersilk Net

Sylvok serves a solid 3/3 with an ability that’s always useful in Commander and multiplayer style formats; nothing like nuking the Swords or Vedalken Shackles of the rich boy with your 10p common! Yotian Soldier might seem like a joke, but I’ve got a soft spot for C3PO here, and a 4/4 vigilance creature for no colour requirement shouldn’t be taken lightly. Orzhov Keyrune supports my two secondary colours, and turns into a 4/4 lifelinker if I need it. The Scimitar, Net, and Armour all provide various toughness boosts, though the Scimitar is probably the best of the three for its ability to turn into a 5/5 flier if required.

Overall, I really like this deck. It’s kind of junky, but Doran is a really fun Commander to build around, and although the deck might be slightly overreliant on him being out, he’s cheap enough to cast over and over again from the command zone if he gets killed. Of course if Doran gets Condemned or Spell Crumpled I’m doomed, but at least I can always turtle and play the long game!

 

Gareth

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