-You might like this deck if you enjoy varied and extremely unconventional lines of play.
-You might not like this deck if you're looking to have a consistent game plan.
-You should play this deck if you're looking for new crazy stories to tell.
-You shouldn't play this deck if your playgroup isn't interested in spectating a convoluted endgame.
I have no credentials. I had never played in an event bigger than a local game store until years after starting this deck. I've played on and off, largely limited formats, since 1997, including the dubious break that skipped Mirrodin to come back for Kamigawa, and nearly all of my knowledge of competitive Magic comes from watching other people.
That being said, I hope you're not looking for competitive chops from me, because this deck is supremely casual. The essence of casual play is playing what you want, and I have decades of playing the cards that I want to under my belt. That's harder than it sounds. You can't just slap Knowledge Pool in a deck and suddenly have a good time, it takes some serious deckbuilding to make the cards you want to play shine in the way that you dream of. In the end, my credentials are this deck. This is the deck where the cards I love the most shine the brightest. So if you love some of the cards that I do, read on, and maybe my experience will help you make them shine.
I started playing EDH not too long before the first precons and wasn't totally sold on the format... and then I went out at midnight when Zedruu was released because it was love at first sight. The deck they had constructed for Zedruu was, to be generous in my description, disappointing. The included win conditions were a) hope your opponents kill each other, b) make their creatures kill them, or c) play a different general. So I started off by adding some cards I like and a few really convoluted combos, expecting the deck to be silly but bad. Then something crazy happened: it started winning. And every time I came up with another weird unwieldy combo, it slotted in easily, and I still kept up at what people would now call a 75% table. I used to say that the deck built itself because I couldn't explain why it was working.
So the first few years of playing this deck were figuring out why it worked. The next few years were implementing the theories on why it was working to make it work better, still playing my ridiculous win conditions but making them work even better, to the point where this genuinely became the most threatening deck I owned for a time. Since then, the power has been toned down a little, as most of my changes have been dedicated to squishing as many of my favorite cards and strategies into a single deck as possible without devolving into an unplayable mess. And I've certainly tested out changes that cross the line into unplayable mess before, but I promise I don't post a list unless I've played games enough to make sure it's still working.
Why play Zedruu as your commander?
There are 3 mechanical reasons why Zedruu the Greathearted is the correct commander here. The most important reason by far is the card draw. Card draw is the foundation of this deck, and Zedruu is a powerful card draw engine in the command zone. It's not uncommon for Zedruu to draw 10-15 cards in a game if she's left alone, and very few commanders have that draw power, particularly on a 4 mana creature that doesn't demand a specific build like something like Edric, Spymaster of Trest.
There are certainly a few (mostly bluer) generals with similar draw capabilities (a couple are in the deck), but the second reason to play Zedruu is the color combination. Jeskai is just the zaniest 3-color combination in magic and that's all there is to it. Adding the color identity to the draw requirement leaves basically 3 alternatives to Zedruu (none of which existed when Zedruu was printed).
- Narset, Enlightened Master: digs 4 deep and plays them for free. Not technically drawing cards, but far more powerful. A Narset version would focus more on the powerful non-creatures (and paint a target on your head)
- Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis: draws you cards every turn like the Howling Mines I love, but it also helps your opponents ramp if that's optimal, so I'd recommend more control spells if you use them.
- Partners with Kraum, Ludevic's Opus: Kraum is the only partner for these colors that will passively generate more than 1 card of value a turn. If you wanted to focus in on things like Possibility Storm, you could build Kraum + Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker as an interesting alternative.
There are certainly weaknesses to Zedruu. If you build too much dependence on Zedruu's draw ability, you can lose a whole game from a Mind Control. And the ability requires a lot of mana of specific colors to get rolling, so color screw can be a big hurdle at times. But a deck built to make Zedruu shine will be playing other cards to mitigate these issues.
How to play Zedruu the Greathearted?
Ownership: Zedruu counts cards you own but don't control. The owner of a card is fairly obviously whoever's using the deck it started in. Ownership in the game does not care about the real world owner of the card, only the person who is using that deck. As often as I've made the joke "I loaned you that deck, so I should get to draw 20, right?", it does not work that way. The only cards you own when playing Zedruu are the cards from the deck you're playing. Ownership of tokens works differently because they don't exist at the start of the game. For tokens, the owner is whoever made them. For example, if you were to play Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and use it to make a token, you would be the owner of that token. If you play Forbidden Orchard and make an opponent make a token, the opponent owns that token, so you do not draw off of those tokens. If you play Political Trickery and give someone Forbidden Orchard and then they give you the token (as will happen if it's 1 on 1), you own those and can donate them for value. This can get a little tricky with some cards because they've changed the rules over time, and most recently changed the text of cards to accommodate those rules. So while the text on Forbidden Orchard tells you to put a token under their control, the oracle text tells the opponent to create the token. As far as I know, no cards let you deliberately have a token you own enter under an opponent's control, but if you ever find it ambiguous who created a a token, you should look up the official oracle text for the card in question.
Control: Changing control is sort of the whole point of Zedruu. The two rules situations where control is iffy are auras and multiple control effects. Auras are easy, you just need to remember that control of an aura doesn't change what it's attached to. In my deck, the aura traditionally in question was Paradox Haze. If I enchant myself with Paradox Haze and then donate it, it still enchants me and thus I still get the extra upkeep. There are entire Zedruu decks dedicated to playing auras and then donating them to draw cards. In the situation where multiple effects are giving players control of an object, the most recently applied effect is the one that counts, and an earlier effect ending doesn't change later effects. Example, if you Mind Control a creature and then donate the creature (not that you would, but you could), there would be two static effects giving control of the creature, but Zedruu was more recent and would be the one that wins. If Mind Control is destroyed later, it doesn't change control back to the original controller because Zedruu's effect still applies (and will continue to apply until the object leaves play or you or the current controller lose the game). More likely, if you play a Threaten effect and donate the stolen creature, it will remain donated even after Threaten ends. And if someone plays Mind Control on something donated with Zedruu, that effect will be most recent and give them control, but you'll end up drawing anyway so who cares!
A specific case of changing control is during combat. If an attacking or blocking creature changes control, it is removed from combat, and thus takes no damage. Thus, you can block a creature with your own, let's say it's Memnite, and then pay 3 into Zedruu to donate that Memnite, the attacker remains blocked but instead of Memnite dying it moves to the other side to help you draw more cards. I highly recommend avoiding creatures as donations as they can be easily sacrificed or used as chump blockers to deny you cards, but it's better to donate than just chump block yourself.
Trigger Resolution: Zedruu's only trigger condition is that you reach the beginning of the upkeep with her. No player gets priority during the untap step, and upkeep triggers happen before priority passes, so as soon as someone passes the turn to you, you're guaranteed that Zedruu will trigger. Even if your opponents control nothing you own, Zedruu's trigger still goes on the stack. Then priority passes before the trigger resolves, which means you can do things before it resolves, which is important because you can donate things in response to the trigger, and then X is counted during resolution. A common play for me is Pentad Prism on turn 2 followed by Zedruu on turn three and donating the prism on turn 4 in response to the trigger. Mind that this works both ways though, so if your opponents remove your donations in response to the trigger you'll draw less. But the trigger resolves independent of whether you still control Zedruu when it resolves, so targeted removal at Zedruu wont stop the draw, and if you're desperate enough, you can donate Zedruu to draw off of Zedruu's trigger.
Players Leaving the Game: I'm just going to paste a section of the comprehensive rules here because this is important.
If you die while someone controls one of your cards, your card leaves with you.800.4a When a player leaves the game, all objects (see rule 109) owned by that player leave the game and any effects which give that player control of any objects or players end. Then, if that player controlled any objects on the stack not represented by cards, those objects cease to exist. Then, if there are any objects still controlled by that player, those objects are exiled.
If they die while controlling a card donated to them, the effect giving them control ends and it returns to whoever would control it without that effect.
If a card you own entered play under an opponent's control (e.g. they used Bribery), there is no effect giving them control, thus it stays in their control and falls under the last clause where everything left is exiled.
Players dying is a big mess, which is ok, because big messes are sort of this decks M.O.
This is the deck mostly as it exists in real life pink sleeves (that make it easily identifiable when the cards get handed out to other people). This deck has reached a point where I can say comfortably there isn't a change I wish I could make. That is not to say that I don't ever change the deck, but rather that I'm long past the point where I keep a list of things I would play if budgets and availability worked out.
The Deck Philosophy
So what exactly is the theoretical basis I've found for why the deck above works? Just like in the introduction where I described the deck as a combination of multiple things, here I'd like to break down those things.
Howling Mine for that purpose. I play these things because they rebalance the resource management of the game in a way that benefits me more than my opponents. It's the theoretical inverse of stax: where stax restricts resource development, we expand it. Stax decks are designed to play through their own restriction, winning with cards that would be individually weak against fully developed opponents. A competent hugging deck does the opposite: plays effects that are not efficient or compact because it makes a game state where players have a glut of resources. A normal Commander deck builds with a curve, it wants to play a land and a spell each turn, it wants to have redundancy for consistency's sake, and tutors for even better options. Zedruu plays no tutors, only 33 lands, and a pile of unique 6+ mana effects. It looks bad on the surface, but when drawing 3-4 cards a turn, everyone else has fist fulls of redundant effects that they can't play all of, and Zedruu is developing towards a synergy or combo win safely in hand.
The other advantage of everyone drawing lots of cards is the two-fold tendency of people to tap out because of it. Your opponents will always have a proactive option on their turn, and some people will succumb to the temptation to tap out for their own things. And even the ones wise enough to keep mana up when it means discarding to hand size will at some point have to answer someone other than you who's trying to win the game. Particularly with the flash-enabling effects, this can create an opening where everyone is tapped out and you're free to play something that would never have a chance to get by unanswered under normal circumstances.
Possibility Storm is the prime example here. It's a card that for most players makes their spells utterly unpredictable, but this deck is constructed in a way that mitigates that. The spread of spell types makes it so bombs can be dug for by focusing on casting sorceries or enchantments. 2/3 of the planeswalkers can remove Possibility Storm to let cards be cast from hand when necessary, allowing for a statistically significant chance of having that option. Probably the best example I've seen of playing best through chaos was an opponent of mine who tapped out floating mana and played Thieves' Auction, took no artifacts, and then cast Shatterstorm and completely ran away with the game. Chaos for chaos' sake earns its bad reputation, but benefiting from an effect that is hampering everyone else is really impressive to see.
Font of Mythos can be a combo piece, Rest in Peace can be a combo piece, Narset's Reversal can be a combo piece, Detention Sphere can be a combo piece, Turnabout can be a combo piece. All of these are cards that are going to be relevant in many games of magic even if they only combo in a select few. And if you want to build a deck full of wild and wacky combos, that is something you should aim for.
But that brings up another difference between this and linear combo decks: there are more combos woven into this deck than a linear combo deck usually has because that sort of deck would rather tutor pieces and play more efficient combos than play a dozen combos and hope to pull the right pairs. This feels a bit counter-intuitive, playing both more combos and combos with more pieces, but it's actually helpful because of the insistence on playing combo pieces that are also functional cards you're happy to play proactively. Sometimes you play out a combo piece early and lose access to it later, so having a wide variety of backup plans ensures you don't run out of win conditions.
The Deck Strategy
Phase 1: Fix the mana, set up card draw.
Phase 2: Interact, sow chaos, and continue drawing cards.
Phase 3: Win in one big swoop.
Phase 1 is all about making mana and playing Howling Mines and then the Howling Mines will find you more mana and you're ready to go, and that usually takes the first 4 or 5 turns. The early game strategy is the only easy part of the game, just get as many cards and as much mana as you can for the future. Your turns at this point in the game should be very quick.
Unbender Tine in play, you can recognize the Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx is a potential draw ahead of time and be careful not to waste your land drop on something else. If you play Knowledge Pool and Zedruu, you can know that Echo Storm will probably give you 3 more Knowledge Pools, a position that's close to "can't lose" territory. Don't just spectate when it isn't your turn, plan out your best draws so that you don't miss when they do arrive. And if they don't arrive, be patient, cause you'll lose more games by blindly rushing ahead than by waiting a turn to draw more cards.
Phase 3 is doing something immensely stupid and flashy to win the game, and that almost universally takes 1 turn, 2 turns, or infinite turns and nothing inbetween. This tends to be where you make up for the short early turns where you didn't play anything threatening by playing all of it at once. See the synergies and combos sections for more info.
"This deck is not only able to go crazy - it also needs to do so."
Zedruu has won many games of edh in many remarkable ways, but casting individual spells and letting them act as a win condition alone is an incredibly rare outcome. In order to reach the point of victory, this deck almost requires that select pieces be strung together that grant the pilot an unfathomable board state or direct access to most or all of the deck. On occasion, I've claimed I either need 10 mana and 30 cards or 10 cards and 30 mana to end the game, It's not quite as formulaic as that, but while I pride myself on winning in comically unique ways, the truth is that the win conditions are often purely academic exercises once one of the major engines get up and running. Any one of these strategies could be picked out and made into a more focused, more consistent deck. Having done so with more than one of them, I've found it's my preference to weave them all into one deck and let chance decide what strategy to pursue in any given game.
Drawing cards to draw more cards to draw more cards
Another way to make a ton of mana is to untap mana sources repeatedly. Turnabout and Time Spiral are the cards that do this, Turnabout is generally a mega-ritual, and Time Spiral even nets positive mana with a bounceland in play. Put either of these into Eye of the Storm and instants and sorceries become free. This is a dangerous play if any of your opponent's can respond, but do it anyway cause it's super fun. Additionally, these cards and Unbender Tine can untap Nykthos, Unbender Tine being the most interesting because it (and copies of it) add to the devotion for Nykthos.
A third way to turn your mana into more mana is Jeskai Ascendancy with creatures that make mana. It could be Crystalline Crawler and clones of it, it could be active man-lands, it could be mana rocks animated by March of the Machines. Whatever the combination of things is, you can start untapping mana with every non-creature spell, and suddenly you realize that a third of the deck is non-creature spells that cost 4 or less and by the end of the turn you've spent 20 or 30 mana. Much like Jeskai Ascendancy is Birgi, which makes mana without any help, but doesn't scale up as well, though you can make Sakashima clone.
And then there's Azor's Gateway, a card that can tap for 40 of any color. This deck has 4 ways to untap the gateway to turbo flip, and 5 to untap it as a land after flipping. There is an extra secret way to flip it in this deck as well. Saheeli, Sublime Artificer can turn Azor's Gateway into a clone of Golden Guardian (r Archangel Avacyn[/card], and then they can fight to flip Azor's Gateway into its printed backside, Sanctum of the Sun. I promise it works that way, and probably nobody will believe you when you try to do this.
An aside on Azor's Gateway's transform effect (since this is likely the best place for me to put this): transform only happens if the card in question is a double-faced card and if it hasn't transformed since the ability was put on the stack. The second part there leads to a weird bit of optimization in the case of Azor's Gateway.. Imagine you have Azor's Gateway and Unbender Tine and 20 life. You activate the Gateway for a mana, exile the 5th card, flip it, gain 5 life, and untap it. Tap for 25, untap with Tine, tap for 25 more. 49 net mana, neat! But instead, try this: activate the Gateway for 1 mana, untap with Tine in response, activate a second time for a mana. The second activation resolves for a loot, 5 life, a transform, and an untap. Tap for 25 mana. Then the second one resolves, but it the rules say it can't transform again, so you end up with a loot, 5 life, and untap Sanctum of the Sun, which can tap for 30 mana now, a net of 53 instead. If you have the one extra mana to start with, it's likely better to do this method and get your extra loot and extra life. Last side note, if you clone Azor's Gateway with a non-double-faced card and manage to get 5 different cmc's beneath it, it still can't transform but will do the rest of the ability, making a permanent that essentially reads "1: draw a card, exile a card from hand, gain 5 life".
Additionally, Strionic Resonator can copy etb effects like Precursor Golem, making it 15 power for 7 mana.
If multiples of these are on the field and controlled by different players, what happens becomes dictated by whose turn it is and you better hope you've got instant speed everything, but there's not a strategy you can plan ahead for that situation, so go find a judge if you get bogged down or confused. In the much more likely scenario that you're in charge of everything, you can stack the triggers in the order that benefits you. With the most common situation of multiple Knowledge Pools, this means that you get to pick with Pool each player is casting spells from for each spell cast. Echo Storm is particularly great with Knowledge Pool, as the cast trigger will copy Knowledge Pool as you cast from hand without any chance of another player stealing the opportunity from you, and trigger a second time when cast from the Pool for a total of 4 Pools if you've cast Zedruu once.
If you want a spell in Eye of the Storm, you have that resolve first and you've gotten what you want, you can still Possibility Storm if that's out, and you get nothing out of Knowledge Pool. If you have Knowledge Pool and Eye of the Storm, you can have Knowledge Pool resolve first, get a spell out of that, and still cast everything in Eye of the Storm. If the spell cast out of Knowledge Pool is an instant or sorcery, that will trigger Eye as well, and then you copy every spell exiled by Eye (including the one out of Knowledge Pool) twice. If you have Possibility Storm and Knowledge Pool, you can let Knowledge Pool resolve first, get a spell out, then Possibility Storm anyways, getting two spell from each cast from hand. Letting Possibility Storm resolve first on spells your opponents cast can keep them from accessing Knowledge Pool or filling Eye of the Storm (though you can't prevent them from casting spells already in Eye of the Storm). And if you have all 3 permanents out and you cast an instant or sorcery, you can get something out of Knowledge Pool, cast an instant or sorcery from your deck, and cast all the instants and sorceries in the Eye (atleast twice).
As an illustration of how rediculous this can be, I will use an extreme example: you control all 3, you have 7 mana available, Knowledge Pool has an inconsequential instant or sorcery in it, and your hand contains Mind's Desire and Firestorm. Cast Mind's Desire, all 3 trigger, storm count 1. Knowledge Pool trigger on top eats Mind's Desire and casts an instant or sorcery out (from here referred to as "spell"), triggering Eye of the storm. Storm count is 2, stack is Eye/spell/PS on sorcery/Eye. With those on the stack, cast Firestorm from hand and let Knowledge Pool eat that as well, casting out Mind's Desire and triggering Eye again as well as the storm trigger. Storm count is 4, and the stack is Eye/storm trigger/Mind's Desire/PS on instant/Eye/Eye/spell/PS on sorcery/Eye. Eye exiles Mind's Desire, then copies it and triggers storm for 4 more copies, then the first storm trigger makes 3 more copies for a grand total of 8. 8 Mind's Desire, storm count 5, stack is PS on instant/Eye/Eye/spell/PS on sorcery/Eye. Possibility Storm finds an instant, triggering Eye of the Storm, recasting the instant and Mind's Desire for 7 more copies. Then eye trigger from casting Firestorm resolves casting the two spells for 9 more Mind's Desires up to 24. That's 24 Mind's Desires, storm count 10, and the stack is Eye/spell/PS on sorcery/Eye. Eye eats the spell first cast out of Knowledge Pool, then cast it and the two other spells in the Eye making 11 more Mind's Desires for 35 Mind's Desires, 13 storm, and just the original 2 triggers left. Possibility Storm resolves finding a sorcery to cast, triggering Eye of the Storm and casting all 4 things in the Eye, making 15 more Mind's Desire copies and getting up to 18 storm, and then the first Eye trigger that been waiting since we cast Mind's Desire resolves, casting all 4 things in the Eye again for 19 more copies of Mind's Desire, making a grand total of 72 copies of Mind's Desire. And by the time you finish this, that's probably the entire library exiled and castable.
Even without something absurd like Mind's Desire, all those cast triggers will be triggering things like Jeskai Ascendancy and Mindmoil. And one more addition on top of these things is Bonus Round, which copies the instant and sorceries you cast regardless of whether something tries to eat them or not. With Bonus Round resolved Turnabout would copy before going into Eye of the Storm, and then copy again on the way out for 3 copies of Turnabout in total, and if Bonus Round is in Eye of the Storm, the rate of copies grows fast.
But then there's the aggressive use of Mirrorweave with noncreatures turned into creatures. Wanna play Doomsday? Mirrorweave Mirror of Fate and go to town (more on this shortly). Need to do some damage fast? Mirrorweave Pandemonium. Wanna cast a rediculous amount of spells? Mirrorweave Possibility Storm and get replacement spells from every creature in play. Wanna steal an opponent's creatures? Mirrorweave a manland, and then Political trickery the creature away. Bonus there, your opponent's creatures turned lands aren't creatures so they can't block. Just need a lot of mana? Mirrorweave a Gilded Lotus. Wanna Catch every creature in play? Mirrorweave Precursor Golem. Wanna exile all creatures? Mirrorweave anything and play Detention Sphere. Wanna mill people to death in combat? Mirrorweave Swans of Bryn Argoll. Or you can cast Arcbond at an opponents creature after piling on blockers, and then Mirrorweave Swans in response to the Arcbond trigger to make them draw out. Wanna use your token creatures for Nykthos devotion? You can Mirrorweave Swans for that too! The options are plentiful before you even account for other people's creatures as targets.
In a Doomsday deck, you generally set your 5 card library to draw into the win. Well, it's a good thing we get those 2 extra cards to work with, because if you're trying to stack a win condition in this deck, you're likely looking to the next section...
4 cards minimum, that's basically a hard rule here. 2 or 3 card combos are efficient, and efficiency is lame-o. Feel free to ask any opponent ever, and they'll gladly tell you how lame your combo win was. But when it takes 4 or more pieces to create the infinite loop, at least you know you had to work for it! It's like assembling Blasting Station/Summoning Station/Salvaging Station/Grinding Station except my combos are better because they weren't designed by Wizards of the Coast they're extra double plus convoluted, and that's just the essence of style. I hope people reading understand the nonsense tone I'm going for, but in all seriousness, the greatest joy I've gotten out of posting my Zedruu online is that more than just appreciating the deck style, people have imitated my win conditions, and that's just such lunacy that I can only smile.
This first one is not in the deck at the time of writing, but it was the first 4-card combo I put in the deck, so it will always get first billing here for the sake of posterity.
Memnite/Zedruu, the Greathearted/Warstorm Surge/Dissipation Field
But what if you don't have Memnite and you want to do the same trick? Luckily for you, there's a backup free creature. Crystalline Crawler makes as much mana as it costs if you happen to make 4 colors of mana to cast it. Which you can do once you cast it because it makes any color of mana. Sweet!
But what if you have the Memnite, but not the Warstorm Surge? In that case, you can strap Infinite Reflection onto an Inferno Titan, and your free Memnite is now an Inferno Titan that does 3 damage on etb! you can even do this without Zedruu involved if you're willing to ping yourself a bunch of times.
The listed method for this one is the double-planeswalker surprise: cast Temporal Mastery with Saheeli, Sublime Artificer in play. Saheeli makes a servo, then makes that servo into a copy of Mirror of Fate. Sacrifice the copy Mirror to put Temporal Mastery back on top. Then plus Venser, the Sojourner to flicker Saheeli to reset her loyalty to 5. The best part of this is that Venser only needs to reset Saheeli every other turn, so the off turns can be used to make Zedruu unblockable and win with commander damage.
Another way to caast infinite noncreature spells with Jeskai Ascendancy:
Kiki-Jiki tas to make a copy of Cavalier of Dawn.
Token Cavalier destroys itself, returning Lotus Petal from graveyard to hand.
Cast Lotus Petal, triggering Jeskai Ascendancy.
Jeskai Ascendancy untaps Kik-Jiki. That's a complete loop, again giving infinite loots, untaps, and power boosts, and also mana in this combo. Dig out Sakashima the Impostor with the looting, make a second Kiki-Jiki, and then continue the loop making extra hasty Cavalier to kill opponents with. This combo does not work with Pentad Prism like the last one does.
Similarly enough that I'm just listing it in this combo, Strionic Resonator/mana rocks/Eye of the Storm/Turnabout. Strionic Resonator copies the Eye of the Storm trigger, copying turnabout to untap all your artifacts to let you copy the Eye of the Storm trigger again. If the mana rocks make 3 mana, it's infinite mana. If there's another spell in the Eye, that's infinite copies of that spell. Plenty of ways to end the game with infinite strionic resonator activations. And if you have both Turnabout and Catch // Release in Eye of the Storm, you can untap lands with Turnabout and Resonator with Catch to go infinite (and eventually cast infinite copies or Release, obviously)
A 3rd alternative for infinite mana with Strionic Resonator is Bonus Round with Turnabout. These 3 cards with the 4th condition of having 3 mana worth of mana rocks in play lets you untap and retap artifacts infinite times.
4th and final, Strionic Resonator targeting the trigger from Echo Storm after casting Zedruu 2 or more times can copy both resonator and Gilded Lotus to make infinite of both by gaining 1 mana each cycle through.
Cast Turnabout: Bonus Round triggers copying Turnabout. Untap all your lands.
Cast Narset's Reversal targeting the original Turnabout: Bonus Round triggers copying Narset's Reversal.
Target the original Narset's Reversal with the copy. It resolves, bouncing the original Reversal and making another copy of reversal that targets the original Turnabout. This copy resolves, bouncing Turnabout and copying it, untapping even more lands. Narset's Reversal and Turnabout are both back in hand with Bonus Round still active.
This process can be repeated indefinitely, for arbitrary tap or untaps of every artifact, creature, or land in play, but that doesn't actually end the game, so we need a 4th piece. Luckily, with infinite mana floating, we can use the trick of Narset's Reversal bouncing itself on any instant of sorcery in the deck. So, for example, we can repeatedly copy Jeskai Charm as many times as we want dealing 4 damage to an opponent each time until they all die.
Other options for winning with infinite mana: with Nin, the Pain Artist draws your library, or mills someone to death, or kills everyone with Arcbond. Infinite mana with zedruu donates all permanents except for Barren Glory. Infinite mana with Walking Archive makes everyone draw infinite cards on their upkeep, so you can just pass the turn and win. Inferno Titan can be made arbitrarily large, especially with Pandemonium for the immediate kill.
Second, we need our hand, graveyard, and library to have exactly 7 cards, which almost certainly involves Mirror of Fate.
Third, we tap our 6 lands for 9 mana and cast Time Spiral. In response to our own Time Spiral, we cast Narset's Reversal targeting Time Spiral. Reversal resolves, copying Time Spiral, putting the original Spiral in hand and Reversal in the graveyard, so the 7 total cards are all in a zone that will shuffle back together. Resolve the copy of Time Spiral, shuffle your 7 cards, draw all 7, and then untap the 6 lands. Repeat this indefinitely to make infinite mana. Then we just use the Mirror of Fate that's theoretically been shuffled a million times to pull whatever card we want out of exile to end the game.
Activate Kiki-Jiki, copying Unbender Tine.
Activate the new Unbender Tine, untapping Kiki-Jiki.
Repeat forever. You now have infinite tapped Unbender Tines.
Cast Turnabout, untapping all creatures. Attack.
Alternatives: Jeskai Ascendancy also untaps creatures, Pandemonium deals direct damage to players, Temporal Mastery gives an extra turn so you can execute the combo on your end step and untap with the copies for the extra turn. You can also do it without the extra turn, but that involves all 3 pieces not being removed before the end of the turn before yours, and people are pretty good about killing Kiki-Jiki asap.
Use Guardian's activated ability to make it fight Taunter. They hit each other, triggering Heliod twice with lifelink.
Put two counters on Crystalline Crawler.
Taunter deals 4 damage to an opponent, trigger Heliod a 3rd time. Put the counter on Golden Guardian to offset the damage from fighting the Taunter.
Use the counters on Crawler to fight again, dealing 4 damage to an opponent each time through, until only you remain.
If you have Emeria's Call instead of Brash Taunter, you can make Guardian and Crawler indestructible and fight forever the same way, but the only result of the loop is infinite life, so who cares.
Over time I realized that fully infinite was overkill. Clone Precursor to have 6 golems. Jeskai Charm gives golems lifelink. Arcbond makes it so when one is damaged, it deals that much damage to everything, but since it targetted one golem, it will radiate to the 5 other golems twice. Any damage dealt to a golem will trigger damage back and forth at each other until they all die, which is at least 4 damage because Jeskai Charm made them 4/4s. With 1 original Arcbond, and 2 made for the other 5 golems, you get 11 copies of Arcbond dealing minimum 4 damage each for a total of 44+ damage to each creature and player. And because they have lifelink, you gain life faster than you die while everyone else suffers. Just make sure you can damage a creature. The combo is half instant speed, so attacking or blocking with golems probably gets the job done, but the combo doesn't work without initial damage.
Additionally, this can be done with Heliod instead of Jeskai Charm, or with neither if you've somehow kept the highest life total at the table, and it can be done with Eye of the Storm copying spells instead of Precursor Golem so long as you have two creatures to apply the copies of the spells to and can stack enough Arcbond copies to kill. That version comes with the added bonus of theoretically having Zedruu deal the lethal damage.
Alternatively, Give 2 Golems lifelink with Heliod, Sun-Crowned.
Target a golem with Arcbond, which copies to all Golems.
Deal exactly 1 damage to a golem, triggering Arcbond. It has to be exactly 1, so find a card that can deal that 1 damage. The Golem damages all creatures gaining life with lifelink and triggering Heliod. Put the counter on any golem, and name that golem Toby. The damage from Arcbond triggers the Arcbond on all the other golems. Put the Arcbond trigger from Toby on the top of the pile so it resolves first, dealing damage to everything, again triggering Heliod through lifelink. Put the counter from Heliod on a second golem and name it Bartholomew. So long as you keep putting the counters on Toby and Bartholomew alternating, they'll continually get big enough to survive the damage back and forth, and in the meantime you're dealing 1 to each opponent and gaining a bunch of life every cycle.
Third way to Arcbond combo, Have 2 copies of Brash Taunter. This can be Sakashima, Saheeli, Mirrorweave... pick your favorite clone mechanism.
Target both of them with Arcbond. This can be Bonus Round, Narset's Reversal, Eye of the Storm... any way to copy Arcbond.
Deal any amount of damage, which conveniently enough Taunter does to itself by fighting a creature.
From there, the damage bounces back and forth between the 2 forever, and would draw the game if not for everyone dying from Arcbond damage. You also get machine gunned down, but ideally the Brash Taunter ability to damage opponents is enough to make sure all the opponents go down before you do.
If your clone mechanism is Mirrorweave, this combo needs to be executed on the next players turn, or they will get to resolve their Brash Taunter triggers before yours and they will aim them directly at you.
Have Eye of the Storm, Mirror of Fate, and Rest In Peace in play. Cast Mind's Desire, no prior storm necessary. Eye of the Storm triggers, then resolves, exiling Mind's Desire, then casting a copy. The original casting of Mind's Desire counts toward storm, so when the copy is cast, it makes a storm copy. With those two copies on the stack and Echo Storm, activate Mirror of Fate, which exiles because of Rest in Peace. When the ability resolves, you choose up to 7 face up exiled cards you own, which in this case is up to 2 cards, which are Mirror of Fate and Mind's Desire. Those 2 cards become your library and everything else is exiled. Then the copies of Mind's Desire resolve, exiling 2 random cards from your library, which are the only 2 cards in your library. Cast Mirror of Fate and Mind's Desire for free, except this time the storm count is higher, so you can put more cards into your deck with Mirror of Fate. This lets you cast every spell in the deck for free as many times as you want. Infinite turns with Temporal Mastery, infinite mana with Turnabout, infinite damage with Pandemonium. My preferred win condition if I get this assembled is get Leyline and then make a big stack where everyone sacrifices all permanents with infinite Releases, shuffle hands and graveyards back in with Temporal Cascade, exile all libraries with infinite Knowledge Pool triggers, set up infinite turns, then resolve Barren Glory, and then pass the turn to myself with every other card in exile.
Alternatively, if instead of Rest In Peace you have Echo Storm in the Eye with Mind's Desire, you can make a token copy of Mirror of Fate with each cast of Mind's Desire. In that configuration, you only need to pick 1 of the two spells because the other will get cast by the Eye trigger anyway, and even if you stack the Echo Storm on top, the storm copies of Mind's Desire will resolve first.
Note: March of the Machines gives Mirror of Fate summoning sickness.
1) Control Barren Glory: seems easy enough, just play the card... but if someone can destroy it after you're out of cards and permanents, you're out of luck.
2) Control no other permanents: seems harder. The deck has 3 ways to get rid of all other permanents. First, you can make enough mana to donate everything with zedruu. Second, you can cast Leave // Chance to just pick them all up. Third, you can sacrifice everything to enough copies of Release, either by rediating across a ton of golems or copying a lot with Eye of the Storm and Thousand-Year Storm. (If you do that last part, you'll need to float mana to cast Barren Glory after the field is clear.)
3) Have no cards in hand: the hardest part. This deck spends all day drawing cards, and now they need to be gone. If you have infinite mana, you might be able to play everything and get rid of it, but lands get in the way. Otherwise, 3 cards of note are Firestorm, Birgi, and Temporal Cascade. All can clear out a hand, but Temporal Cascade is the best option, as it makes sure your opponent's can't surprise you after it resolves.
4) Reach your upkeep: going for the Barren Glory win and passing the turn naturally means not just Barren Glory needs to survive, you do too. And that means surviving the combined power of every creature in play. To avoid this scenario, we have Leyline of Anticipation and Temporal Mastery to keep our opponents from taking any pesky turns between setting up Barren Glory and winning with it.
In previous iterations of this thread, I claimed that any number of things could happen and I couldn't cover them all, but that's not going to be true anymore. The following is a list of how all the cards in the deck function followed by how they synergize with one another. I don't imagine that I'll really hit every possibility, but if there is anything missing, feel free to mention it and I will gladly make additions.
The first card to address is, of course....
Zedruu the Greathearted
Zedruu is obviously the linchpin of the deck. I've thoroughly covered the importance of having a draw engine in the command zone for this deck, additionally the donation ability is relevant in many games of magic for both synergy purposes and political efforts. All of Zedruu's notable points of interaction are listed below.
-"Global" permanents: Most the things zedruu donates from this deck are things that don't particularly care who controls them. Howling Mine and friends, Opalescence/March of the Machines, Detention Sphere a Pentad Prism with no counters left... Anything that effects all players equally makes a fair candidate for donation.
-Vedalken Plotter: the card trading effects set up draws with Zedruu. Plotter itself curves nicely into Zedruu.
-creatures: generally, it's best not to donate creatures because sacrifice outlets (and board wipes) are common enough that you'll lose your donation quickly, but there is a handy little trick you can do in combat. If you block with a creature and then donate it after blocks, the change in controller removes the creature from combat, so you get a permanent over to an opponent and hold off an attacker (unless it has trample)
-Strionic Resonator: activate Strionic Resonator to copy Zedruu's upkeep trigger and gain double life and draw double cards.
-Sakashima the Impostor: Because Sakashima keeps his name, you can clone Zedruu to double up on the upkeep trigger.
-Swans of Bryn Argoll: The controller of a source of damage draws the cards, so you can sometimes do a fun trick where you donate a creature before it deals non-combat damage to Swans so that the target player draws instead, either as a friendly gesture or making them draw to death.
-Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker: Kiki's ability tells you to sacrifice the creature at end of turn. But you can't sacrifice something you don't have, and the sacrifice is attached to the player, not the creature, so if you donate the token it sticks around.
-Catch // Release: You can take a permanent away from one player permanently by Catching it and then donating to a 3rd player. Might sound like you're just making a different player a problem, but changing the table balance is better than nothing, and sometimes you get to give the Bant player a Crypt Ghast
The other 99 cards in the deck are detailed below in the same format as zedruu is above: a brief description followed by a list of the notable interactions in the deck.
A note about the lands in this deck, (much like the rest of the deck) the lands go slightly against conventional wisdom. Short of the extreme decks that plan on winning in the first 3 or 4 turns, playing a deck with 34 lands is probably a bit low. But here it works due to the vast card draw and the other means of generating and fixing mana. The first 3 or 4 mana are key to getting the engine running, but once everyone is drawing 4 cards a turn, this deck can consistently hit every land drop while everyone else gets frustrated by perceived mana flood. I don't run a maximized mana base with fetches/duals/shocks because min/maxing zedruu's mana base would be like greasing the wheels of a K'nex car, but the lands are picked to carry their weight.
-Vedalken Plotter, etc: giving someone a basic is both non-threatening and inoffensive. I often trade basic for basic as a sign of good will early on.
Temple of Enlightenment, Temple of Epiphany, and Temple of Triumph: solid dual colored lands. They enter tapped, but they also give early scrys to smooth out the early game and get to the 3 or 4 mana needed to start the snowball.
-Bounce lands: picking a temple up on turn 2 to replay it turn 3 gets more scry. There are plenty of cards you don't care to draw in the first 3 turns, so spending the first 3 turns scrying 1 twice can honestly be a path to winning.
-Venser, the Sojourner: Venser's +2 can flicker the land to get another scry off of it.
Celestial Colonnade, Needle Spires, Wandering Fumarole: man lands are better than guildgates. They leave you with something to do after Planar Cleansing, but also have some fun tricks you can do.
-Mirrorweave: making all creatures a copy of an activated man land turns all creatures into unactivated man lands.
-Jeskai Ascendancy: manlands still make mana as creatures, so they work as mana dorks for Jeskai Ascendancy combos.
-Role Reversal: an activated manland can trade for a creature, leaving them with a land they likely can't attack with.
Azorius Chancery, Boros Garrison, and Izzet Boilerworks: The bounce lands are like two lands for the price of one! Seriously though, don't count these as multiple lands in your deck and don't be upset if you end up strip mined, but they do make a lot of early hands more attractive by ensuring the first few land drops.
-Temples: bouncing ETB lands for reuse is a way to take advantage of the downside
-Mindmoil/Birgi, God of Storytelling // Harnfel, Horn of Bounty : an extra card in hand is extra draw with these, even if it's just a land you don't need.
-Catch // Release: You can steal an opponent's land and bounce that temporary land instead of your own. Only recommended in 1v1 (or if someone really deserves it).
-Time Spiral, Unbender Tine: untapping a set number of lands is better when they make more than 1 mana.
-Shatterskull Smashing // Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass/Emeria's Call // Emeria, Shattered Skyclave/Sea Gate Restoration // Sea Gate, Reborn: flip lands can be played as land early, and then bounced to hand to be used for their sorcery side.
Filter Lands: Cascade Bluffs, Mystic Gate, and Rugged Prairie are just excellent, excellent color fixing. Let you go from 0 mana of a color to 2 in one shot, and that's huge. Every card with 2 or 3 colored symbols could count as a synergy here, but Kami of the Crescent Moon is the card most notably helped by the filter lands, as this mana base factually lacks enough blue sources to hit UU on 2.
Skycloud Expanse: Odyssey filter, Azorius Signet: the Land.
Command Tower and Mystic Monastery: make all 3 colors and that's pretty neato.
Raugrin Triome: also makes all 3 colors of mana, with the occasional option to cycle for 3.
Forbidden Orchard: makes all 5 colors and it gives someone a friend. In multiplayer, sometimes the spirit is even a good thing on its own, and even if it isn't, I've never foregone mana because I feared a 1/1. But remember the tokens are owned by whoever they entered under, so they don't feed zedruu. Boooo.
-Firestorm: the efficient removal in this deck requires a high number of creatures in play to work effectively against big creatures. Forbidden Orchard makes targets for Firestorm.
-Mirrorweave: depending on what is being Mirrorweaved, having more things turn into it can be a positive thing.
-Political Trickery, etc: swapping Forbidden Orchard over to someone else makes them decide between making mana and giving away tokens.
-Nin, the Pain Artist: Nin with enough mana can mill people to death, but they need to have a creature.
Exotic Orchard: Potentially makes all 5 colors of mana, depending on opponents.
-Zedruu, Political Trickery, etc: trading or donating lands to an opponent can turn this into a reliable producer for all the colors of mana you need.
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx: normal scenario, this makes 1 colorless. By the end of the game, this nets this deck an extra mana or two because this is a 3 color deck with no specific devotion themes that also donates away permanents, but on rare occasion, this is big mana.
-Leyline of Anticipation: free 2 devotion at the start of the game.
-Catch // Release/Unbender Tine: can untap target permanent, which can net mana if devotion to a color is high enough.
-Mirrorweave: when all creatures are the same, they have the same mana cost.
-Leave // Chance: bouncing and replaying Nykthos can be a ritual with enough devotion.
Reliquary Tower: super valuable in a deck that draws 5 cards a turn. We want more cards and we want to keep them.
-Bounce lands: it's not uncommon to have too many card in hand early because of bounce lands.
-Flash enablers; not having to discard at end step makes holding mana up through other people's turns more profitable.
Mikokoro, Center of the Sea is like Howling Mine on a land and we like all the Howling Mines.
-Political Trickery: I often trade away Mikokoro because making colors of mana is more important, and if the new controller wants to activate it, that's just gravy.
Forsaken City: makes any color of mana, at the cost of not untapping unless you exile a card. But we have lots of card, so no big deal.
-Political Trickery, etc: we can use this as early color fixing and then trade it for a land that untaps naturally.
-Flash enablers: the way the card is templated, if it starts the turn untapped, you can float a mana in response to its trigger, untap it, then tap again to get a pseudo-ritual during your upkeep. With this and Leyline, you can theoretically flash in Howling Mine in time to draw 2 on the second turn.
-Mirror of Fate/Time Spiral: this exiles cards, so you can have access to them with Mirror of Fate later. And when attempting to loop Mirror of Fate with Time Spiral, it can be hard to keep exactly 7 cards around to redraw, so this can manage you hand size a little.
Minamo, School at Water's Edge: an untapped blue land that can untap relevant legendary permanents, as well as any random thing Sakashima turns into.
-Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx: 2 mana to untap Nykthos can make more mana.
-Azor's Gateway: can help turbo flip the gateway, but also untaps Sanctum of the Sun for a lot of mana.
-Mikokoro, Center of the Sea: draw more cards.
Thespians' Stage: the clone of lands, it becomes other lands, which is cool. At minimum, it's an untapped solorless source or slow color fixing.
-bounce lands: cloning the bounce land in play works as a form of ramp.
-Golden Guardian // Gold-Forge Garrison: Gold-Forge garrison can also be copies to make extra mana.
-Man-lands: man-lands in multiples gets toward critical mass with Jeskai Ascendancy.
Artifacts do most of the heavy lifting in the mana-making and card-drawing engines that let the deck succeed, but there are some fun bits in here.
-Howling Mine: Turn 1, baby!
-Knowledge Pool/Possibility Storm: 0-mana spells are good when they're just going to be replaced anyway.
-Mind's Desire: Free storm count!
-Jeskai Ascendancy: Free loot and prowess!
Azorius Signet, Boros Signet, and Izzet Signet ramp by one and fix colors, basically ensuring the ability to play Zedruu on turn 3.
Pentad Prism: Color fixing, a one time mana source equal to Dark Ritual if you wait a turn, occasionally 1 free storm, and a dummy permanent to donate. With 3 lands, Pentad Prism ensures turn 3 Zedruu into turn 4 donate to get the draw engine going ASAP.
-Zedruu: it's a do nothing permanent that mostly pays for itself to be donated
-Mind's Desire: Free storm count!
Howling Mine, Temple Bell, and Font of Mythos: everybody draws cards! The soul of this deck is repeated card draw. We don't particularly care that everyone else is drawing cards because we need the draw more and we use it better. Howling Mine is the cheapest, efficient option. Temple Bell costs 1 more but lets us draw first. Font of Mythos has double the power. They're each unique but they're all good.
-Zedruu: Howling Mine and Font of Mythos can be very safely donated for value.
-Flash!: Get to draw before everyone else
Strionic Resonater: copies triggered abilities. Oh boy, there are a lot of those.
-Howling Mine/Kami of the Crescent Moon,Walking Archive,Dictate of Kruphix,Font of Mythos, and of course Zedruu: Draw double cards for 2 mana.
-Vedalken Plotter: two exchanges at once.
-Temples: scry 1 twice! Ok, maybe not the most useful option, but it exists.
-Bouncelands: Even less useful!
-Detention Sphere: exile 2 permanents instead of 1.
-Brash Taunter: double up a big damage hit to people's faces.
-Precursor Golem: get 4 tokens instead of 2. 15 power for 7 mana. After that, double the Precursor Golem target trigger to copy it for each other golem a second time.
-Inferno Titan: an extra Lightning Bolt for 2 mana.
-Knowledge Pool: you can't get double spells out by copying cast triggers, but you can copy the etb and exile the top 6 from everybody, and there's bound to be some sweet stuff in there.
-Possibility Storm: unlike Knkowledge Pool, you can get double spells out of Possibility Storm, so go for it!
-Eye of the Storm: like Possibility Storm, it does its whole ability whether there was something to exile or not, so copy away. The copied ability will exile the spell that triggered in the first place, and then the original trigger will just cast everything a second time.
-Jeskai Ascendancy: copy the trigger for double looting, or copy for double untaps/pumps, whichever suits your interests.
-Pandemonium: Extra damage, could be a kill spell.
-Mind's Desire: storm is a triggered ability, so copying it is like doubling the storm count.
-Bonus Round: copying the trigger lets Resonator copy instants and sorceries.
-Arcbond: doubling up the damage practically ensures a board wipe.
-Echo Storm: copy the cast trigger, potentially just making extra Strionic Resonators.
Azor's Gateway: it's not free, but it's fairly efficient card filtering, and if it happens to flip, you're in the money.
-Unbender Tine/Minamo, School at Water's Edge/Catch // Release/Turnabout/Time Spiral: untapping this card repeatedly get's very out of hand.
-Mirror of Fate: exiled cards can be recycled later.
Unbender Tine: untapping another target permanent may not seem like it's worth 4 mana, but this card has a high floor and a high ceiling and great flavor text. Also, it's got the political opportunity to untap other players things.
-bounce lands/Nykthos/Gilded Lotus: Tine is always a mana rock, but is upgraded by bigger mana makers
-Temple Bell/Mikokoro/Kwain: or it can transform into a Howling Mine.
-Strionic Resonator: it can copy triggers.
-creatures: it can give a creature vigilance.
-Nin, the Pain Artist: it can help gun down creatures.
-Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker: it can make clones.
-Brash Taunter: it can burn people's faces off.
-Azor's Gateway: and of course, turbo gateway.
Gilded Lotus: black Lotus every turn. That's thousands of dollars worth of value every turn!
Mirror of Fate: exile your library and replace it with up to 7 cards you own that have been exiled. It's incredibly rare that this effect lets you win the game by activating it, but its strength appears when you activate it a second time and have access to all the cards it exiled on the first go.
-Rest in Peace: exile Mirror of Fate to let you pick itself with its ability.
-Echo Storm/Saheeli, Sublime Artificer: copy the Mirror, activate both, build your own Doomsday.
-Cavalier of Dawn, recur Mirror from the graveyard, build your own Doomsday.
-Time Spiral or Temporal Cascade: activate Mirror of Fate, shuffle it back in, draw it again, play it, and then build your own Doomsday
Knowledge Pool: I love Knowledge Pool. For those unfamiliar, when it enters the battlefield it exiles the top 3 cards from each players library, and then whenever someone casts a spell from hand, it exiles that too and lets them instead cast something previously exiled by Knowledge Pool, including other players' cards and including things it ate upon casting. Knowledge Pool makes for some of the messiest stack shananigans in MTG, but it does so much more. From getting hefty discounts, to stealing people's stuff, to multiplying cast triggers, Knowledge Pool never fails to shake up a game of magic.
-Zedruu: people will probably have to take your cards at some point, and then you can start power drawing.
-Echo Storm: can make a second/third/fourth Knowledge Pool because it triggers on both casts
-Mind's Desire: each cast into and out of Knowledge Pool is distinct, doubling the storm count. Storm triggers on cast, so even though the card is exiled, the storm copies happen.
-Jeskai Ascendancy: double cast triggers.
-Possibilty Storm/Eye of the Storm: allow you to take from the pool and from the storms. Also lets you cast your actual spells through Possibility Storm.
-Bonus Round: cast spells into the pool but keep the copies.
-Precursor Golem: golem triggers on cast, so the spells get copied for every other golem and then you get a spell from Knowledge Pool on top of that.
-Chrome Mox/Firestorm/Pentad Prism/: take the good stuff out and fill the pool with cheap/free cards that don't do anything without people throwing more cards away.
-Birgi, God of Storytelling // Harnfel, Horn of Bounty: double the casts makes double the mana.
-Saheeli, Sublime Artificer: can turn an artifact into an empty Knowledge Pool for your turn, which is sort of like a Defense Grid as it takes a lot of mana to get the spell you want through the pools when one is empty and I pick which pool you take from.
-Strionic Resonator: You cannot double the trigger when you cast a spell. Well, you can, but you'll still only get one thing out of the pool. But you can meaningfully double the etb to double the size of the pool.
Zedruu's enchantments aren't always the cards people see the most of, but they are often the cards that opponents remember. Crazy enchantments are often the highlight of a zedruu victory as they offer the greatest impact and confusion to the board state.
-Zedruu: Rest In peace is a very safe donation to draw cards for minimal mana investment.
-Mirror of Fate: exile Mirror before its ability resolves and pick itself as an option.
Detention Sphere: well known removal spell, it's an Oblivion Ring that also happens to hose token swarms (and if multiple opponents play Sol Ring, that's just awesome).
-Zedruu: Detention Sphere doesn't care who controls it, so donate away.
-Strionic Resonator: copy the trigger to exile 2 target permanents.
-Mirrorweave: exile all creatures.
-Leave // Chance: bounce in response to the trigger to exile something forever
-Chaos Warp: Chaos Warp yourself for fun in response to the trigger and the target stays exiled.
Jeskai Ascendancy: untaps creatures and loots. Both are very good effects, and the loot is a "may" ability if you're too close to drawing out.
-Strionic Resonator: get double the untap or double the loot, but not both, as they are two seperate triggers.
-March of the Machines: casting a noncreature spell now untaps all your artifacts, many of which make mana to pay for more noncreature spells.
-Kwain, Itinerant Meddler: Draw a card and gain a life for every noncreature spell cast.
-Crystalline Crawler: doesn't even need March of the Machines, it's a mana producing creature to untap.
-manlands: also mana producing creatures.
-Mirrorweave: casting Mirrorweave while someone is attacking you makes all creatures the same thing, except now your creatures all untap and get +1/+1, so if you have enough blockers and something has equal power and toughness, it's just a Comeuppance.
-Venser, the Sojourner/Turnabout: a big turn of casting spells leads to some major prowessing, and a -1 or a Turnabout can sneak by blockers for an alpha strike. Yes, Zedruu has commander damaged people to death in this deck.
-Knowledge Pool/Possibility Storm/Eye of the Storm: multiply those spell casting triggers with these behemoths.
-Nin, the Pain Artist: Buff creatures to survive Nin and untap Nin for more draw.
-Saheeli, Sublime Artificer: noncreature spells make creatures and prowess them all, killing quickly.
Mirrormade: copies an artifact or enchantment, which is nice.
-mana rocks: Mirrormade can be a mana rock
-Gilded Lotus: or a really big mana rock
-Precursor Golem: more than 1 of these does dumb things
-Possibility Storm: more than one PS multiplies your spells
-Mirror of Fate: 2 copies makes doomsday
Leyline of Anticipation: Gives everything flash, don't have to tap out and sit helplessly, and everything is better with flash. Don't believe me? Here's a list!
-All Howling Mine variants: get the extra draw before anyone else
-Knowledge Pool/Eye of the Storm: get access to the eye/pool first by flashing it in endstep and then untapping with free reign.
-Possibility Storm: respond to tutor effects with style, whatever they search for is that last thing they'll get.
-Catch // Release: threaten mid attack
-creatures: everything is an ambush viper
-Temporal Cascade: Surprise... graveyard / cards in hand decks!
-Mind's Desire: I don't need my own storm, I'll just use yours instead.
March of the Machines: go from no creatures to many by turning artifacts into creatures. Suddenly those Howling Mines and mana rocks are blockers or even offensive threats. Also, you can give opponent's artifacts summoning sickness and make equipment unattachable.
-Mirrorweave: turn your creatures into copies of an artifact or turn your artifacts into copies of a cool creature.
-Jeskai Ascendency: all noncreature spells you cast now untap all your mana rocks. Neat!
-;Howling Mine: if you can attack someone unimpeded, you can tap Howling Mine to turn it off on other people's turns.
-Creature removal now works on artifacts.
Opalescence: the same thing as March of the Machines, but for enchantments, which can be even neater.
-Mirrorweave/Infinite Reflection: turn all your enchantments into creatures or turn all your creatures into Pandemoniumss. You decide. Also, Mirrorweaving Possibility Storm is choice.
-Pandemonium: enters as a creature so it triggers itself.
-Eye of the Storm: 7/7s are big enough to be noteworthy.
-Creature removal now works on enchantments.
-Sakashima the Impostor/Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker: can clone enchantments.
Pandemonium: typically just a game ender. Turns creatures entering play into direct damage.
-Opalescence/Pandemonium: trigger off of artifacts and enchantments and target them too, particularly if Mirrorweave is involved.
-Swans of Bryn Argoll: draw a card for each point of power you can make.
-Saheeli, Sublime Artificer/Kykar, Storm's Fury: ping for each noncreature spell is quite often the most direct path to victory when you can cast infinite noncreature spells.
Mindmoil: each time you cast a card, you put your hand on the bottom and draw a new, equivalently-sized hand. This is genuinely one of the most underrated cards in magic. People like to plan ahead, and thus Mindmoil scares and offends them by making them rely on chance, but on average, you have a well mixed hand. Some mana production, some cheap spells, some bombs, and you end up playing them out in that order. With Mindmoil, you can play what you need at the time and then draw more of it. Suddenly you can ramp up a board of mana rocks in one turn, and then spend the rest of the game slamming haymakers because if you ever run out, you play something cheap and replace your hand with new haymakers. Don't fear Mindmoil. Just play it and see what happens. I consider an unchecked Mindmoil to be a 3 turn clock.
-Leave // Chance: pump your hand back up with permanents.
Possibility Storm: possibility storm takes the spells you cast and replaces them with something else. Neat! Possibility Storm is actually a powerful tool for chaos because it can be really, really hard to kill, as your opponent's ca't resolve spells from their hands. Meanwhile you just slam the cheapest cards you can until something silly happens.
-Strionic Resonator: copy the trigger to get to cast 2 spells from your deck
-Mind's Desire: every cast from hand is 2 storm, so storm builds up fast. But wait, there's more! If you cast Mind's Desire from your hand and have Possibility Storm resolve before the storm trigger, Possibility Storm will shove Mind's Desire back into your deck giving you the remote chance that the storm copies will shuffle Mind's Desire to the top and cast it a second time, truly making Mind's Desire the storm that storms.
-Birgi, God of Storytelling // Harnfel, Horn of Bounty: the front half makes double mana because of double casts, the back half can let you play cards from exile instead which dodge Possibility Storm.
-Knowledge Pool/Eye of the Storm: the other two permanents want to eat the spell, Possibility Storm doesn't care, and being in control of these things mean you can stack the triggers to get maximum benefit and give minimum benefit to others.
-Jeskai Ascendancy: double cast triggers for double loot and untaps
-Cheap crap!: petal/firestorm are ultra cheap and can swing into big plays. 3 mana sorceries aren't as cheap, but they likely upgrade to bombs.
Barren Glory: it says win the game on it. What's better than that? Seriously though, winning with Barren Glory is too complicated to explain with two card synergies, but that doesn't mean this can't do anything. It can be a useless donation, it can be a 6/6, and it can give you 2 extra devotion to white.
Eye of the Storm: whenever a player casts an instant or sorcery, Eye of the Storm exiles it, and then that player chooses to cast copies of any combination of cards exiled by Eye of the Storm. All spells in the storm are optional so you can choose not to cast them, and all the spells are cast at the same time. And then you end up with a giant nonsense stack and a 25 minute turn.
-Strionic Resonator: copy the Eye trigger and get a second cast of everything in it.
-Turnabout: every instant and sorcery can untap your lands or mana rocks to apy for itself and more.
-Catch // Release: repeatedly cast catch to steal mana from people to pay for more instants/sorceries, or pay 3 for catch to cast out release instead.
-Leave // Chance: can bounce Eye of the Storm if things get sketchy.
-Temporal Cascade/Time Spiral: let you keep digging for more instants and sorceries to run the gravy train.
-Possibility Storm/Knowledge Pool: cast twice as many spells and be twice as happy. Possibility Storm in particular guarantees a second trigger of Eye of the Storm.
-Jeskai Ascendancy: every spell cast out of Eye of the Storm triggers the ascendancy, so the big pie of loots can likely find the next spell to trigger with.
-Mind's Desire: Eye of the Storm casting Mind's Desire is a cast so it does trigger storm, and then Eye of the Storm triggers on any instant or sorcery card, including ones cast from exile for free, so you can hit one with Mind's Desire to cast another Mind's Desire, and then the game likely just ends.
-Bonus Round: every spell cast becomes lots of spells.
-Sea Gate Restoration // Sea Gate, Reborn: exponential draw!
Where lands are the foundation of Magic: the Gathering, creatures are the face of it. Creatures aren't the face of this deck though because they mostly aim to do more of what the artifacts and enchantments are doing.
Kwain, Itinerant Meddler: draws cards and gains life.
-Jeskai Ascendancy/Unbender Tine/Minamo, School at Water's Edge: untap to draw more.
-Heliod, Sun-Crowned: pump up my creatures with my Temple Bell creature.
Nin, the Pain Artist: kills creatures and draws you cards, not quite the way you want to though. Nin is a mana sink and a panic button.
-Catch // Release: steal a creature, kill their creature, draw the cards yourself.
-Swans of Bryn Argoll: draw double X cards.
-Archangel Avacyn: shoot your creature for a lot, draw the cards with indestructible, or flip for board wipe mode.
-Unbender Tine/Jeskai Ascendancy: untap Nin to activate again.
-Jeskai Charm: give Nin lifelink.
-Arcbond: turn Nin into a board wipe.
-Zedruu: has a big butt, drawing 3 extra a turn is not mana wasted.
Birgi, God of Storytelling // Harnfel, Horn of Bounty: the front half makes mana, the bad half draws cards. The boast buff does nothing, but if you want to attack with Zedruu and call her the Greatest twice per turn, you're welcome to do it.
-Knowledge Pool/Possibility Storm/Eye of the Storm/Mind's Desire: make extra mana with extra casts.
-Leave // Chance: pick up your board and dig double deep. Go all in!
Heliod, Sun-crowned: a well known combo card without its typical combo friends, but works with out +1/+1 counter cards and life gain cards while also being a safe donate to players without white mana.
-Walking Archive/Crystalline Crawler: convert life gain to other resources.
Walking Archive: like Howling Mine but deserves its own entry. The ability to scale up in the event of mana flood is a big deal, and the instant speed nature makes extra counters act like Dictate of Kruphix.
-Mirrorweave: this card has defender, so Mirrorweave becomes "creatures can't attack this turn.
-Precursor Golem: Walking Archive is a golem, believe it or not.
-Heliod, Sun-Crowned: ever instance of life gain is like another howling mine.
Note! this creature has defender. You can't pump it up to infinity and attack with it because it can't attack. You can however pump it to infinity and pass the turn and your opponents draw out, and that's lethal enough.
Vedalken Plotter: enters the battlefield and exchanges control of a land you control and a land an opponent controls. Even without synergies, this can be useful as a way to fix mana colors or defend against the powerful lands that get played in this format.
-Zedruu: even if you trade identical lands, the change in ownership means advantage for Zedruu.
-Venser, the Sojourner: If you exchange lands, you can +2 to exile the land since it's a permanent you own and then it comes back under its owner's control, and that's just actually Annex. Even more, if you +2 again targetting the plotter, you can get the etb again to exchange lands and then +2 again to steal yours back. Chances are, nobody will let you do this for long, but while they answer Venser they're ignoring everything else you do.
-Leave // Chance: bounces permanents you own, so again you can steal the land back.
-Catch // Release: threaten a land, then exchange it for someone else's and keep the second one forever.
-Strionic Resonator: for the double exchange.
Crystalline Crawler: Double the Pentad Prism, double the fun. There are 5 other mana sources in the deck that can make the 4th mana color for full value in addition to land trading tricks. And then it's an alloy Myr on top of that.
-Jeskai Ascendancy: Jeskai Ascendancy and mana dorks are a well-known synergy, and this is no exception. Make a mana for each noncreature spell.
-Mirrorweave: wait for attacks, make everything a crawler, blocks, tap your crawlers to have bigger crawlers that your opponent and win at combat. Or just make a mana for each creature you control.
-Pandemonium: free damage!
-Mind's Desire: free storm!
-Heliod, God of the Sun: each instance of life gain makes a mana.
Golden Guardian: fights your own creatures, which is sometimes a good thing, and then flips into ramp spell / token engine.
-Swans of Bryn Argoll: 2 mana, flip guardian draw 4 cards.
-Arcbond: turn the fight into 4 damage to everything.
-Catch // Release: steal a creature, make that fight the Guardian.
-land untappers: generate 2 mana from 1 land.
-Precursor Golem: Golden Guardian both is and makes golems.
-Zedruu: make tokens that can be donated to draw cards.
-Pandemonium: shoot things for 4 damage every turn.
Sakashima the Impostor: the clone that keeps its name so it can copy legendary creatures.
-legendary creatures!: Zedruu, Kami, Raff, Nin, Avacyn, Venser,
Swans of Bryn Argoll: usually paired with Seismic Assault, but a great draw engine with a great many cards, and also a resilient blocker.
-Firestorm: turns Firestorm into major card advantage.
-Nahiri's Wrath: sometimes you just kill 8 creatures and draw 30. That's a good day.
-Pandemonium: all creatures turn into draw spells
-Nin, the Pain Artist: turns into Blue Sun's Zenith
-Arcbond: swans survives a big arcbond and can draw you cards.
-Mirrorweave: can replace complicated combat math with everyone drawing their whole deck.
Brash Taunter: it's like a Stuffy Doll that fights instead.
-Firestorm/Golden Guardian // Gold-Forge Garrison/Nin, the Pain Artist: aim damage at someone's face.
Cavalier of Dawn: super versatile removal and relevant recursion with a fat body inbetween. If need be, this can play as a 3/3 golem that picks up an artifact or enchantment right away.
-Mirror of Fate: recur and recast Mirror to doomsday.
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker: tap to clone a creature you control, at least for a turn.
-Zedruu: donate the clones, you can't sacrifice them, draw cards with Zedruu.
-ETB Creatures: trigger their etbs.
-Jeskai Ascendancy: make more creatures, make creatures bigger, make more creatures bigger.
-Opalescence/March of the Machines: make copies of artifacts or enchantments.
-Catch // Release: make a copy of someone else's creature.
Precursor Golem: the crowned prince of stupid numbers, I've built entire edh decks around this dude. Here it stays fairly tame, but 9 power for 5 mana never hurt anybody.
-Walking Archive: is actually a golem. Sometimes that matters.
-Golden Guardian: also a golem.
-Mirror Entity: makes everything you control a golem.
-Strionic Resonator: can copy both the etb and target triggers getting more golems or more spell copies (though there's only one spell in here you'd want to copy this way).
-Mirrorweave: aim at a token and you can make everything a Precursor Golem. Aim at something else, and you've got 3 bodies to become that thing.
-Vanish Into Memory: 4 mana to draw 9 and discard 3 at a later time is pretty strong.
-Catch // Release: fusing the spell costs 9, but that seems fair to make every player sacrifice 3 of each type of permanent. It's like crueler ultimatum.
Banishing Knack: bounce a creature for every golem. If you have a ton of mana, you can make 2 more golem tokens for every golem.
-Electrodominance: play a fre spell for every golem,
-Arcbond: multiple arcbonds bounce damage back and forth.
-Chaos Warp: put a card into play for each golem.
Inferno Titan: the big bomb creature here, a big threat on its own. Inferno Titan is my personal favorite of the titans, and there's plenty it can do here.
-Strionic Resonator: copy the 3 damage trigger
-Mirrorweave: have an army of titans
-Venser, the Sojourner: makes Inferno Titan unblockable or flickers it for etb value and pseudo-vigilance.
-Opalescence/March of the Machines: let you burn away enchantments and artifacts.
-Swans of Bryn Argoll: draw some cards.
Instants are usually instant for a reason, the instants in Zedruu offer the most immediate interaction with opponents that the deck has to offer.
-Precursor Golem: bounce a thing for each golem.
-Jeskai Ascendancy: repeatedly loot.
-Detention Sphere: bounce the sphere in response to etb to permanently exile something.
Firestorm: the most mana efficient burn spell on the market, you can do 100 damage for 1 red mana and all it takes is 10 other cards from your hand. It's a difficult card to play though, because you need to have as many targets as the amount of damage you want to do, so killing big creatures often involves burning yourself.
-Forbidden Orchard: creates targets to let the damage rack up without needing to target anything important to you.
-March of the Machines/Opalescence: open up artifacts and enchantments to burn removal.
-Knowledge Pool/Eye of the Storm: trigger these permanents for the low cost of R, and if anyone wants to use them against you, they have to do the discarding anyway.
-Swans of Bryn Argoll: replace every card you have to discard.
-Brash Taunter: direct some more damage at a player.
-Bonus Round: double the firestorm gives you double the damage with the same amount of discards.
Electrodominance: give something flash and deal damage.
-Precursor Golem: get multiple free spells.
-Swans of Bryn Argoll: draw cards and cast a free spell.
Narset's Reversal: steal someone's spell, or double up your own.
-Mind's Desire: Reversal builds storm count fast, but also bounces Desire to hand. When resolving Mind's Desire, always wait on the final flip until you think about all the storm copies because if the storm copies hit Narset's Reversal and mana to cast Desire again, you can ride athe rollercoaster a second time.
Leave // Chance: Leave lets you pick your permanents up, chance lets you cycle away your hand. Even before the internal synergy of the card, these effects are great to have around. Leave is a great response to board wipes, and chance is good for finding gas. Leave is great at clearing away your own permenents that are backfiring, and the specific phrasing of leave has interesting consequences with Zedruu, as you don't need to control something to bounce it
-Political Trickery, etc: trade a land, then bounce yours back to hand.
-Mox/Signets/Pentad Prism: bounce mana rocks for added storm/mana fixing.
-Detention Sphere: bounce in response to exile trigger and never give the target back.
-Bonus Round: gives you a copy of Leave that resolves through and before cast triggers, so you can pick up a Possibility Storm if it's in your way.
-Mind's Desire: Leave bouncing all your least expensive permanents can push a lot of storm.
-Mindmoil: bouncing permanents you don't need to combo can help you dig for a win aggressively. This includes lands.
-Birgi, God of Storytelling // Harnfel, Horn of Bounty: Birgi can generate mana from bouncing things, Harnfel can double the cards bounced.
-Planeswalkers: bounce planeswalkers at low loyalty and replay them.
-Flip lands: return flip lands to hand to cast the sorceries on the other side.
Arcbond: as long as there's some kind of damage happening, Arcbond can be an instant speed board wipe and might just kill people
-Precursor Golem/Eye of the Storm/Thousand-Year Storm: multiple copies of Arcbond will make damage bounce back and forth between 2 creatures until 1 dies.
-Swans of Bryn Argoll: Swans not only always survives Arcbond, it also draws you cards (if your creature was the Arcbond target)
-Jeskai Charm: gives your creatures lifelink, and with Arcbond, the creature deals the damage.
-Nin, the Pain Artist: build an Earthquake.
-Golden Guardian: 4 damage to everything and a guaranteed Guardian flip.
-Shatterskull Smashing // Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass: can now kill multiple players.
Chaos Warp: kinda like Vindicate but more fun.
-Precursor Golem: get multiple random things from your warp.
-Pentad Prism: turn an empty shell into something worthwhile.
Jeskai Charm: top a creature, zap a player or planeswalker, or pump the team with lifelink.
-Knowledge Pool: after putting a creature on top, you can Knowledge Pool to steal it from their deck.
-Eye of the Storm: 4 damage isn't much, but if you start getting multiples, it adds up.
-Arcbond/Pandemonium: lifelink applies to direct damage too (doesn't effect creature not in play when charm is cast).
Mirrorweave: one of us... one of us... one of us... Mirrorweave makes everything the same thing. You can steal many a win by noticing when someone else has a big threat, or you can fog them by turning all their creatures into something much smaller. There are, of course, targets in the deck worth Mirrorweaving.
-Precursor Golem: to make it work, you have to target a token and let the trigger copy the spell to resolve at the original first, but once you have a pile of Precursor Golems in play, you can cast spells and have them copied an unreasonable amount of times.;8
-Inferno Titan: all your creatures are deadly titans, and then for every two attackers you have, you can kill an enemy creature for free.
-Walking Archive: has defender, so it can stop attacks for a turn.
-Swans of Bryn Argoll: turns combat into a massive draw event.
-Crystalline Crawler: with enough creatures, Mirrorweave can be a mana ritual.
-man-lands: animating a land and then Mirrorweaving it turns every other creature into a non-animated land until end of turn, making it very hard to attack you or block your land-creature.
-March of the Machines[card]/[card]Opalescence: target artifacts and enchantments cause it's fun!
-Detention Sphere: exile all creatures.
Turnabout: tap or untap all of target players artifacts, creatures, or lands. Turnabout is effectively a modal spell with 6 options and I've definitely used them all. Tap all opposing creatures to prevent attacks, tap all their artifacts or lands to constrain their mana (particularly against decks with counterspells), untap all creatures for surprise blocks, untap all lands for the mana ritual, untap all artifacts to reuse tap abilities. Turnabout does it all.
-Eye of the Storm: untapping lands almost certainly makes every instant or sorcery pay for itself until somebody wins.
-Bonus Round: if Turnabout didn't generate enough mana, multiply it.
-Mind's Desire/Jeskai AscendancyKykar, Wind's Fury: turnabout acts as a free spell to trigger these things or add to storm.
-Temple Bell/Strionic Resonator: sometimes you just need to untap an artifact, and the mana rocks you have out get a free ride.
Sorceries are usually the basic spells of a deck; ramp, cantrips, boardwipes, and all those reliable staples a normal deck needs. But that's not how it works here! Zedruu's sorceries are heavy hitters. Possibility Storm from Political Trickery can cause all sorts of madness.
-Swans of Bryn Argoll: draw double lots of cards.
-Brash Taunter/Arcbond: damage people's faces.
Bonus Round: for one turn, spells get doubled.
-Eye of the Storm: double the doubling to double the doubling.
-Time Spiral: draw a fresh hand with 12 untaps, and maybe even a double Turnabout in the middle.
-Strionic Resonator: resonator impersonates Mirari.
Catch // Release: catch threatens a permanent, release elimates a lot of permanents. But also, secret secret, Catch can give a permanent haste for you, and in a deck that prefers to win in one big turn, summoning sickness can cause a bunch of issues.
-Zedruu: a classic zedruu shenanigan in a multiplayer scenario. 3 mana steals a permanent, 3 mana gives that card to somebody else. Like a confiscate for a friend.
-flash enablers: steal a creature, block with it, save some damage and kill a dude.
-Gilded Lotus: 3 mana untaps and makes 3 mana, free storm!
-Eye of the Storm: you can start stealing lands to pay for more instants and sorceries to make more copies of Catch. Also, you can cast Catch in and pull Release out.
-Precursor Golem: a fused Catch // Release will still only target one golem, so it'll copy the release for each golem and drop a nuke on the board.
-bounce lands: you can borrow someone else's land to pay the land bouncing cost to ramp yourself.
Role Reversal: a political trickery that isn't limited to lands. Basically Confiscate that draws cards with Zedruu.
Echo Storm: makes multiple copies of an artifact.
-Knowledge Pool: get the cast trigger to copy knowledge pool before even getting your spell out. With 1 cast of Zedruu, you can have 4 Knowledge Pools.
-Mirror of Fate: 2 Mirrors makes Doomsday, 3 makes a Doomsday with a safety valve.
-Unbender Tine: like copying lands, also adds to devotion for Nykthos.
-Strionic Resonator: copy the cast trigger for more copies.
Mind's Desire: the storm that storms.
-mox, Pentad Prism, Crystalline Crawler, Turnabout, Time Spiral, Catch // Release/Unbender TineEcho Storm sometimes: so many cards are free storm.
-Knowledge Pool/Eye of the Storm: makes more storm and more storm triggers.
-Possibility Storm: makes more storm and if you Possibility Storm away Mind's Desire, there's a chance you shuffle back into Mind's Desire from the storm copies and then you storm from your storm so you can storm while you storm.
-Narset's Reversal: bouncing Mind's Desire doesn't bounce the storm copies, so you can cast and storm twice.
-Strionic Resonator: copies the storm trigger.
-Throes of Chaos: counts as 2 storm for each time you cast before Mind's Desire.
Time Spiral: everyone draws a fresh hand, and you untap 6 lands. This is a gross card, and everyone knows it.
-bouncelands: make more mana then you spent on Time Spiral
-Eye of the Storm: every spell eaten by Eye gets you more mana and more draw to find more instants and sorceries
-Bonus Round: untap 12 lands for the new hand to use.
-Mirror of Fate: Time Spiral shuffles in the graveyard and exiles itself, Mirror of Fate sacrifices itself and returns things from exile. It's difficult to do perfectly by balancing total cards in hand/library/graveyard, but you can just go off this way.
-Firestorm: may as well dump hand before Time Spiral reshuffles.
Emeria's Call: Angels on front, land on back.
-flash: indestructible effects are neat with flash.
Sea Gate Restoration: card draw on front, land on back.
-Eye of the Storm: double your hand size with every instant or sorcery.
Temporal Cascade: everyone draws 7, or everyone shuffles hands and graveyards in, or its a 9 mana Timetwister. The one situation I can think of where the entwined spell is actually worth less mana to me than the individual halves. "Draw 7" lets you keep your big hand, "shuffle in" is actually incredibly oppressive, axing people's hands and destroying graveyard strategies.
-Eye of the Storm/Bonus Round: draw way more than 7 cards.
-flash enablers: eliminate people's hands at instant speed.
Temporal Mastery: takes an extra turn. The miracle cost is fun when it happens (not too often when you draw 1000 cards a turn).
-everything: extra turn = play more magic.
-Eye of the Storm: dodge the exile limitation and take many turns.
-Mirror of Fate: negate the exile limitation and remiracle the spell.
-planeswalkers: extra turn can let you sneak through an ultimate.
The last card type represented here, these 3 planeswalkers round out the deck. This deck is not built to be able to protect planewalkers for very long, so they're mostly included for their immediate impact, but the ultimates are cool too.
-Mana rocks: the activated ability becomes a mana source.
-Howling Mine: turning Howling Mine into a creature lets it attack, or mana rock lets it tap, either way it turns of the symmetry of the card drawing.
-Knowledge Pool: makes an empty Knowledge Pool for your turn, sort like a build your own Decree of Silence.
-Mirror of Fate: Saheeli can get you Mirrors number 2 and 3.
-Knowledge Pool/Possibility Storm/Eye of the Storm: multiply those cast triggers.
Nahiri, the Harbinger: +2 rummage, -2 removal, -8 sneak attack a Knowledge Pool.
-Possibility Storm: exile your own Possibility Storm to cast things straight from hand.
-Knowledge Pool: get the pool into play for free on your turn, and then take it away before anyone else gets access.
Venser, the Sojourner: +2 flicker, -1 unblockable creatures, -8 machine gun the board.
-Vedalken Plotter, etc: "If you exchange lands, you can +2 to exile the land since it's a permanent you own and then it comes back under its owner's control, and that's just actually Annex. Even more, if you +2 again targetting the plotter, you can get the etb again to exchange lands and then +2 again to steal yours back. Chances are, nobody will let you do this for long, but while they answer Venser they're ignoring everything else you do."
-Inferno Titan/Pandemonium: etb damage goes well with flickering.
-Precursor Golem: make more golem tokens.
-clones: reset clones
-permanents that backfire: exile something giving you trouble til end of turn.
-Knowledge Pool: people take your permanants, Venser bounces them back to you.
-Knowledge Pool/Possibility Storm/Eye of the Storm: +2 can reset these things. -8 can make multiple cast triggers a deadly tool.
Here I'll leave the top 4-5 cards I'm interested in playing but can't find the right way to cut the deck for them.
Sudden Substitution: its an exchange effect with split second, which feels great.
Nahiri's Wrath: Firestorm-like wrath effect that makes its way in and out of the deck over time.
Read the Runes:Big draw + instant speed sac/discard effect. Can do funny things to set up Barren Glory.
Drogskol Reaver: a sweet Mirrorweve target that synergizes with life gain stuff.
Gilded Drake or cards that exchange control like Political Trickery. You can play global effects like Howling Mine which don't care who controls them. You can play cards that do their thing once and then sit and look pretty like Oblivion Ring or Pentad Prism. You can play aura's like Paradox Haze that effect the thing they enchant rather than the controller of the aura. You can play token producing cards and donate away just the tokens. There are plenty of ways to work donations seamlessly into your deck. My deck floats somewhere between 15 and 20 cards that can be useful for increasing the Zedruu count.
I advise against leaning on creatures as donations, as creatures are the easiest permanent type to sacrifice and deny you the card draw. I also largely advise against the "bad Christmas" strategy of Zedruu where you give people cards that actively hurt them. It can be cute, but it provides further incentive for players to kill Zedruu on sight, and it requires you to play bad cards. If a bad present somehow works into your deck well, for example if you have a life gain theme and want to play Illusions of Grandeur, that's an ok choice. But shoving Steel Golem into your deck because you think it would be funny to give to someone is not a good decision.
My card draw of choice is Howling Mine effects because they offer a lot of card draw at a very low mana cost for the output. But if you feel particularly miserly, you could certainly adjust the deck to use some of the more traditional blue draw spells available in commander. I really don't think you're going to beat the 5 cards for 2 mana you can get out of Howling Mine
Additionally, I recommend having as much of your ramp spells fall in the 2 cost slot as possible. This is for the simple reason that if you're hitting your land drops, 2 mana ramp curves naturally into a 4 mana spell on turn 3, which is exactly where Zedruu is. 3-cost mana rocks can be very good in certain decks, some Manalith variants are far more powerful than a signet, but not in this deck. This deck wants the ability to hit Zedruu sooner and potentially storm off with mana rocks later in the game.
Having flash on everything is also a way to turn otherwise non-disruptive elements into disruption. Someone is bogged down by someone's hate bear and has to kill it before going off? Flash in a clone maintain the hate. Someone cast Mindslaver with mana open to activate? Flash in March of the Machines to give it summoning sickness and Catch // Release if for yourself later. And while you shouldn't count on this because some opponent's just aren't prepared with interaction, in a certain sense, helping 2 opponents at a 4 person table is working against the 4th player. Just be careful not to tap out at the same time as everyone else.
double draw, double mana, double damage, double creatures. On top of those, a lot of effects are subtly multiplication. Extra turns multiply your turn by turn resources. Turnabout doubles your mana for a turn. Clone effects, particularly of things with triggered abilities, double the power of what they clone.
The further you get into a game of magic, the more valuable multiplying becomes. Starting at 1 of a resource and adding 2 gives you 3 where multiplying by 2 gives you 2. Starting at 10 and adding 2 gives you 12, where starting at 10 and multiplying by 2 gives you 20. This change in development type at the right time switches from climbing a hill upwards to rocketing into the stratosphere. My prefered method of doubling things up (if you couldn't tell) is spell and cast doublers. Things like Eye of the Storm or Precursor Golem where you can take the resources made by a single spell and increase them several times over. It takes about a half dozen of these multiplier effects in the deck to be ready to deploy one or more by mid-game.
"No, Neo. I'm trying to tell you that when you're ready, you won't have to."
The final stage after your resources multiply is when resources become completely unbound and unlimited. When the actions you take generate more resources within a single turn than they cost you. It could be that you have 4 mana dorks and a Jeskai Ascendancy, it could be that you have a draw doubler and Mindmoil, it could be that you've gotten Mind's Desire to start casting itself. It could be a Swans of Bryn Argoll drawing into more direct damage than was used to damage it in the first place. The single card the most efficiently put this deck into turbo overdrive was Mind Over Matter, where drawing cards starts to make more mana than the mana spent drawing those cards. Whatever the situation may be, eventually a stack of multiplicative effects will come together and create an exponential growth chain that lets you draw as many cards as you want or cast as many spells as you want. Since you should have assembled ways to dig dozens of cards into the library before reaching the point where you're ready for this, it only takes 3 or 4 of this sort of effect to find one consistently.
Once you reach this point, you are ready to go infinite and end the game.
Strionic Resonator is my example on the right, because I already want to play Jeskai Ascendancy for filtering and pumping, I already want to play March of the Machines as both threat and disruption, I already want to play mana rocks in my mana base, and this exact 4th card makes that a combo.
The other reason it's hard is because I never named a spot in the deck for pet cards and we're already out of space. If you're anything like me, some pet cards are likely global effects that can count as Zedruu donations or disruptive elements. But if you have a pet card like Precursor Golem that you really wanna play in a deck like this, the imperative becomes finding a way to combo with it using 3 cards that fit into other categories. This kind of tuning can take hours of pouring through card databases and considering various and obscure options. Which is admittedly something I love and part of why this deck continues to evolve year after year while I shove more nonsense into it. I hope if you follow my lead and build your own Zedruu, you get as much joy out of the building challenge as I do.
And as one final note on how I maintain this deck, if ever a card becomes stale to you because it's individually powerful enough to make other parts of the deck obsolete, I cut it. Your deckbuilding decisions are made for your own sense of fun, if anything feels like easy mode, nobody will be upset at you dropping it to challenge yourself.
-Path of Ancestry
-Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage
-Venser, Shaper Savant
-Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier
-Dictate of Kruphix
-Vanish into Memory
-Throes of Chaos
+Kwain, Itinerant Meddler
+Birgi, God of Storytelling // Harnfel, Horn of Bounty
+Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
+Rest in Peace
+Shatterskull Smashing // Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass
+Emeria's Call // Emeria, Shattered Skyclave
+Sea Gate Restoration // Sea Gate, Reborn
-Kykar, Wind's Fury
-Azami, Lady of Scrolls
-Relic of Progenitus
-Razia, Boros Archangel
+Cavalier of Dawn
To see iterations prior to MTGNexus, click here.