Welcome back to Decks of Many things, the article series where I create Dungeons and Dragons themed Magic: The Gathering Deck lists. Last time, we themed our deck around the module Curse of Strahd. Today, we will be theming our Commander deck after another module, Hoard of the Dragon Queen.
You might think the obvious choice to lead this deck would be the recently revealed Tiamat, and you would be right: that is the obvious choice. Tiamat is the main antagonist of the module, after all. However, making a five color dragon list was frankly too easy, and there was another dragon queen in the running: Lathliss. A monored dragons deck might not be as versatile as the five color list around Tiamat would eventually be, but there was more than enough draconic fire in monored alone to justify the list.
In the module, the party is tasked with stopping the Cult of the Dragon and their dragon allies from unleashing the Dragon Queen. That cult is best represented by our non-dragon creatures. Dragonspeaker Shaman and Dragonlord’s Servant, for instance, come down in early turns and provide cost reductions on our dragons that will benefit us in the midgame. Meanwhile, Dragon Whisperer, Dragonkin Berserker, and Dragonmaster Outcast also come down early but produce dragon tokens in the mid- to late-game. These non-dragon creatures are among our strongest early game plays overall.
The early game is actually one of the biggest weaknesses of a deck like dragons, since your theme is around highly costed creatures. Fortunately, we have other early plays to help us set up. We are sporting a wide selection of mana rocks, but the most flavorful is definitely Dragon’s Hoard, which also lets us draw cards in later turns as a reward for playing dragons. However, the best performing mana rock in the deck might be the new Liquimetal Torque from Modern Horizons 2, for its ability to turn any non-land permanent into an artifact. Monored doesn’t have many ways to deal with enchantments, but turning them into artifacts lets you remove them with effects like Hoard-Smelter Dragon.
One card that was recently introduced that is a boon for decks like this is Dragon’s Approach. Besides the flavor of the card forewarning the arrival of a dragon, the fact you can run as many copies in your commander deck as you like is just begging to be played. Of course, the condition that you need four copies in your graveyard to pull off the free dragon payoff may be a challenge, unless you build around it. This deck aims to discard 4-8 copies of Dragon’s approach using effects like Cathartic Reunion, Thrill of Possibility, Tormenting Voice, and Wild Guess, keeping your hand full of relevant plays while setting up for that Dragon’s Approach payoff!
Transitioning into the late game, we become able to pile on one dragon after another. We have dragons that provide card advantage like Dragon Mage and Dream Pillager. We have dragons that care about other dragons like Thunderbreak Regent or Utvara Hellkite, with Terror of the Peaks rewarding you for playing particularly big creatures. If you want to wrap up the game with an explosive combat, Scourge of the Throne and Hellkite Charger will both let you take additional combat steps to make your dragons even more terrifying.
As we draw into and play these dragons, the deck is loaded with payoffs for playing big creatures or dragons specifically. Draconic Intervention is a one-sided board wipe that will eliminate small- to medium-sized creatures from your opponents’ boards while leaving your dragons intact. Sarkhan’s Unsealing and Dragon Tempest will let you easily deal with the medium- to large-sized creatures if they’re a problem, as well. One of this deck’s most clever cards is in Bolt Bend, a spell that can change the target of another spell and only costs one red mana if you control a creature with power four or greater! Finally, Furious Rise is another early game play that will pay off in the late game as we essentially draw an extra card per turn just because we have a large creature on the field!
Strangely enough, this deck also gets to have a planeswalker subtheme. There are three versions of Sarkhan in monored that care about dragons. Sarkhan the Masterless gives our deck some much needed defense as it punishes opponents for cracking back against us. Sarkhan, Fireblood is another discard-based draw outlet to setup our Dragon’s Approach strategy, and also helps pay for dragon spells when the time comes. Sarkhan, Dragonsoul only really cares about dragons with their ultimate, but with a wall of dragons between you and your opponents, it is an ultimate you may actually be able to climb to! Meanwhile, all three of these planeswalkers make Sarkhan’s Whelp a slightly better creature to include, even if only because it sits at the bottom of the mana curve for our other dragons.
This might not be the most competitive commander list, but it will certainly be fun to command a legion of dragons in the sky! I know that I, for one, am excited to pit the players of my Dungeons and Dragons Cube against this deck in the Archenemy seat. Do you think they’ll be able to dethrone the Dragon Queen?