I got back into playing Commander/EDH recently, and as is always the case when that happens, I decided to tweak all my decks. I’ve used Phelddagriff for years as my Bant commander, but there was no real solid theme, other than “good stuff”. The deck was fun enough, but I wanted to do something a little different with it.
I’ve played Magic since the Unlimited days, though over the years I’ve whittled my collection down to very few old and valuable cards. I love the history of Magic, and all the wonderful memories the game has brought me through the years. I decided to make my Phelddagriff deck a sort of celebration of the history of Magic. As a vanity card for the game’s creator, Phelddagriff is an ideal Commander choice. Plus she’s just fun!
Here are the restrictions for deck-building. The deck will only contain cards with the old frames. One card from every set must be included. I decided to include book promos and the “starter” type products, as long as they had unique new cards. Notable omissions from the list are Unglued and Portal Three Kingdoms, but see the notes for those sets below.
Many of the cards I already had. Some sets I had to buy new cards for. I am on a tight budget for this, for the most part, so I left off expensive cards that would otherwise be auto-includes (i.e. Sylvan Library). The list and pics of the cards I picked are below, in chronological order by set. Did I miss anything obvious?
Alpha: Air Elemental – Not the most powerful creature, but the only Alpha card I ever had in my collection.
Beta: Spell Blast – My beta Water Elemental is too unexciting, so I picked up an affordable card with cool art. Clear upgrade path is to get a beta Disenchant.
Unlimited: Sol Ring, Regrowth, and Clone – Each of these cards are well-loved and worn, but they are also playable. Would love a white card for symmetry!
Arabian Nights: Eye for an Eye, Ernham Djinn – I adore all the Efreet and Djinn cards from AN, and could never get rid of this, my last one. Bonus political forestwalk, very in-theme for Pheldagriff. Eye for an Eye is a fun effect but could be cut.
Antiquities: Mishra’s Factory – A special card. I could never part with my signed set of all four. They are beat up beyond belief, but I love ’em anyway.
Revised: Wrath of God – I had more Revised than any other set, but replaced most with 4th edition as I disliked the washed out colors. Board wipes are good!
Book Promos: Arena – My Mana Crypts are long gone, and it’s an early fight-like card.
Legends: Rubinia Soulsinger – Many great memories of this card, and plays with the stealing subtheme.
The Dark: Fellwar Stone, Preacher, Dust to Dust – Mana fixing is always good, and so is 2-for-1 removal. Preacher is hilarious, but I really need more sac outlets to make him shine.
Fallen Empires: Seasinger – Not many choices here, but another steal effect is always good.
Fourth Edition: Nevinyrral’s Disk, Control Magic, Vesuvan Doppleganger – Disk is self explanatory, as is the blue enchantment. Ideally my German Revised Doppleganger would be a beta but I have a house payment to make!
Ice Age: Painlands, Swords to Plowshares – Painlands are still great duals these many years later. I always loved this art for StP the best. Wish it was signed!
Chronicles: City of Brass – See above note about painlands.
Homelands: Merchant Scroll – What else? Autumn Willow? Nah.
Alliances: Phelddagriff, Thawing Glaciers – Mana fixing and deck thinning, can’t beat it.
Mirage: Karoos – Not very powerful without true duals or shocks, but I still like them.
Visions: Desertion, Creeping Mold, Retribution of the Meek – Some really strong cards here. Retribution of the Meek could probably go, but wipes are wipes.
Fifth Edition: Brainstorm – particularly nice with all the shuffle effects.
Portal: Man-o-War – Cheap, cool art, love ETB effects.
Weatherlight: Mind Stone – Great early and late!
Tempest: Propaganda, Winds of Rath, Verdant Force – Propaganda is ubiquitous, and another wipe, why not? Verdant Force is still pretty good these days.
Stronghold: Evacuation – Not a nice card, but you gotta do what you gotta do.
Exodus: Erratic Portal, Soul Warden, Scrivener – The Portal can catch folks unaware once, and is great for those ETB critters. Soul Warden is decent cheap life gain, but Scrivener should probably be on the chopping block.
Portal 2: Hurricane – Marginal, but it’s hard to find good cards in each set!
Unglued: No cards yet. Will likely get a few of the lands, but I’d really like to use an actual card, maybe Fowl Play?
Urza’s Saga: Great Whale, Congregate – A “free” 5/5? Kinda underwhelming. Congregate can be pretty crazy though, very strong in Commander.
Urza’s Legacy: Opportunity – instant speed card drawing? Sure.
Sixth Edition: Disenchant – Utility! Always loved this art, too. Might replace with a Birds of Paradise if I ever get that beta Disenchant.
Urza’s Destiny: Yavimaya Elder – this guy is a boss. Block a dude! Draw a card!
Fix that mana!
Portal Three Kingdoms: With the reprints, I might be able to afford one of these cards, but have none yet. Suggestions?
Starter: Loyal Sentry – Fun with Erratic Portal and Reya.
Mercadian Masques: High Market – Solid effect on a land.
Nemesis: Blinding Angel – It’s a unique effect, if nothing else.
Prophecy: Rhystic Study – An irritating card, for sure, but hey, I had it sitting around.
Invasion: Treva, Harrow, Reya, Thicket Elemental, Treva’s Charm – Finally getting towards more powerful creatures. Reya is a longtime favorite of mine.
Planeshift: Treva’s Ruins, Questing Pheldagriff, Sunscape Battlemage – A tri-land! More hippos! Utility creatures! Lot to like in this set.
Seventh Edition: Rampant Growth – A boring choice? Yup.
Apocalypse: Yavimaya Coast, Mystic Snake – Years later, the enemy painland. Mystic Snake is a classic and totally playable still.
Odyssey: Kirtar’s Wrath – wipe with a boon? We’ll take it.
Torment: Far Wanderings – Ramp early and thinning late!
Judgement: Wonder, Phantom Nishoba – Wonder is nuts. Phantom Nishoba is somewhat less flashy today but still nothing to sneeze at.
Onslaught: Explosive Vegetation, Cycle lands, Akroma’s Vengeance, Silklash Spider, Krosan Tusker – More cards from this set than any other! Always liked the cycle lands, and Krosan Tusker is obviously good. AV is an amazing clear, and the Silklash Spider does solid work.
Legions: Akroma – Could there be any other choice?
Scourge: Fierce Empath, Eternal Dragon, Forgotten Ancient – Fierce Empath is a hoot, Eternal Dragon is a lovely design, and the Ancient has some historical significance as the first You Make the Card entry.
Basic Lands – 24 basics, these are all from what I believe is Japanese Fourth Edition. Love the original land art to this day. Could maybe do some Unglued lands here, too.
Possible upgrade paths: Fact or Fiction, Land Tax, Karmic Guide, Serra Avatar, Future Sight, Hanna, Ship’s Navigator, Mirari’s Wake, Hunting Grounds, Reconnaissance, Death or Glory
I’d love any comments of suggestions! Post here or over on Twitter! @marcallie