Last updated on January 3, 2023
Chulane, Teller of Tales | Illustration by Victor Adame Minguez
Bant () commanders have a reputation for being powerful value engines. Chulane, Teller of Tales is no exception, and might even define this rule. It’s the second most popular Bant commander on EDHREC, sitting comfortably between Arcades, the Strategist and Tuvasa, the Sunlit.
Chulane has been just about this popular (if not more so) since its release in the Throne of Eldraine Brawl decks. Brawl, also known as Arena’s Commander, was a horrible idea for paper Magic. But that doesn’t mean the legendary creatures weren’t well-designed cards. They were clearly designed with Commander in mind instead of Brawl.
More than a few of the Brawl commanders are now in the top five commanders for their color identities. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King overtook Prossh, Skyraider of Kher as the dominant Jund () dragon, Alela, Artful Provocateur churns out value in stax decks, and Chulane, Teller of Tales is the poster boy for Bant good stuff decks.
I’ve assembled a unique Chulane EDH deck that should stand out from the rest of the standard value-engine, all-gas no-brakes style lists Chulane usually lends itself towards. Let’s dive right in!
Bloom Tender | Illustration by Chippy
Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy
Circle of the Moon Druid
Seton, Krosan Protector
Druid of Purification
Karametra, God of Harvests
Tatyova, Benthic Druid
Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
Kamahl, Heart of Krosa
Liege of the Tangle
Since Chulane, Teller of Tales slots so well into just about everything I’ve decided to take a different direction with this deck. I wanted to highlight one of the more obscure creature types: druids.
Druid creatures are traditionally green and generate mana in one way or another. The essential Llanowar Elves is the perfect example; a weak creature with a low mana value that taps for mana on the next turn.
Chulane may not specifically interact with druid creatures, but it still makes this deck run. You want to play it as soon as possible, typically turn 3 or 4 if you can help it. This isn’t hard to achieve since the deck has so many low-cost mana dorks. As soon as Chulane hits the field the deck basically runs itself.
I knew I wanted the deck to run a ton of druids, but how would you win? The druids were too weak to swing in and you don’t want to risk attacking with your dorks. Then I realized I was basically building an “elfball” deck. For the uninitiated, “elfball” is a deck archetype that revolves around playing a metric ton of elf creatures that can generate mana and then obliterating your opponent with Fireball or something similar. Since you don’t have access to red I grabbed my favorite X-cost spells in the list’s colors to dump your mana into.
There are tons of ways to build a Chulane, Teller of Tales EDH deck. Its abilities mesh well with landfall builds, bounce decks, and even the nefarious pod build. You’re casting creature spells in almost of its decks and you want extra mana wherever you can get it. Let Chulane take the wheel!
Chulane’s popularity isn’t undeserved. It can be one of the most powerful value engines out there since it replaces every creature spell in your hand and then lets you drop a land to play it. On top of all that it can bounce a creature back to your hand to start the process all over again.
Only the best druids can make the cut for this list. With over 200 druids matching Chulane’s color identity you can afford to be picky.
You’ve got the usual 1-mana suspects: Llanowar Elves, Fyndhorn Elves, and Arbor Elf. I flip-flop on whether to include Elvish Mystic as well so feel free to add that in if you think it deserves a slot.
You also have Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy, an absolutely insane mana doubler in this deck. Its second ability isn’t super reliable in this instance since you need to actually cast your creatures for Chulane’s ability instead of sneaking them into play.
Faeburrow Elder is an important combo piece and one of a few important 3-mana druids.
4+-mana is where you start to see some real scary druids. Both Kamahl, Fist of Krosa and Kamahl, Heart of Krosa are huge threats that can end games. Toss an Earthshaker Giant in the mix and you’ve got an intimidating army of Forests.
You’ve also got Tatyova, Benthic Druid which synergizes almost too well with Chulane.
But these are mere initiates to the druidic order. The true threat in this deck is Gilt-Leaf Archdruid. Not only do you get to beat your opponents to death with lands, you get to beat them to death with their lands.
The druidic circles call upon a myriad of allies to aid them in times of trouble, so I’ve included a few thematic inclusions.
First up is Liege of the Tangle, a big beater that gives your lands the strongest possible base power and toughness in the deck.
Once you’ve dumped all these druids and lands onto the battlefield it’s time to make use of all that mana. Hurricane and Squall Line both kill opponents outright. Braingeyser, Prosperity, or Blue Sun's Zenith can also fill this role.
Nissa, Steward of Elements ties the big mana theme to your land animation theme. the potential to activate its ultimate the first turn it arrives is an effective way to surprise an opponent with 10 damage out of nowhere.
Druids are inexorably tied to the land across many fantasy settings. This subtheme fits well with the druid tribe, using your lands as combat threats protects those valuable druid creatures.
And I have to mention Fallen Empires’ Thelonite Druid. It’s an odd land animator from an era best left forgotten and I love it.
For some on-theme land animators you have a few cards with the awaken mechanic. Typically too costly to bother casting, it’s actually fairly easy to cast Planar Outburst or Part the Waterveil and get an awakened land with the huge mana this deck makes.
Shared Summons fetches the other halves of those combos.
I never leave home without a Counterspell. You never know when you might need it! Even if it hangs out in your hand the whole game, the mere threat of that two untapped blue mana can influence opponents more than you’d think.
You’ll need a pair of Swiftfoot Boots for those important combo pieces.
Chulane also protects your squishy little druids with its second ability. An opponent’s Doom Blade got you down? Put that Earthshaker Giant back in your hand, ready to recast when you’ve rebuilt your board. Not drawing into any lands? Bounce Springbloom Druid for some extra ramp!
At the very least Chulane lets you recast a creature spell to trigger its first ability again, digging through your library when you start topdecking.
It wouldn’t be a tribal deck without a few support cards. Druids don’t have many of their own specific tribal cards, but I think a few of the universal one are worth including.
Icon of Ancestry and Obelisk of Urd are your main anthems. I’ve had mild results with them so far. Icon gets most of its value out of digging for more creatures and Obelisk is incredibly easy to cast in this deck.
Gilt-Leaf Archdruid | Illustration by Steve Prescott
Chulane, Teller of Tales rewards you for doing the things that you do in Magic: playing spells, playing lands, and drawing cards. In the early game this deck wants to ramp and cast mana dorks as fast as possible before dropping Chulane and repeating this process. You also use the early game to capitalize on Chulane’s value by combining it with Abundance or Tatyova, Benthic Druid to start pulling ahead.
By the midgame you should be pulling ahead in terms of available mana. You start casting threats like Kamahl, Fist of Krosa or tutoring up the remaining combo pieces you need to go infinite. You can even start obliterating players at this stage with an unanswered Gilt-Leaf Archdruid.
Your finisher will be tailored to your situation. Has one player left themselves open for counter attacks one too many times? A sufficiently huge Hurricane can finish off one or more players. Has that self-mill player dug too aggressively? Take them to the end with a Braingeyser, but watch out for the inevitable Thassa's Oracle!
This deck makes use of a few combos that generate infinite mana.
The first (and my favorite) is Faeburrow Elder enchanted with Freed from the Real. Faeburrow taps for while you control a blue permanent like that aura you just attached to it. Use that blue mana to untap your Faeburrow and repeat for as much white and green mana as possible! Bloom Tender is the classic creature for this combo so I’ve included it as a second copy.
For consistency’s sake the deck includes a second infinite mana combo. Devoted Druid can tap and untap forever as long as you remove its “creature” card type. The -0/-1 counter won’t do anything to an enchantment or artifact so target the druid with Swift Reconfiguration or One with the Stars for unlimited green mana.
This theme keeps the deck relatively cheap. I’ve omitted some staple tribal cards in the interest of budget and to stay closer to the “elfball” theme rather than a traditional tribal build. The deck sits around $260 as is so it’s a little pricier than the average deck I see but isn’t too over-the-top.
There are some easy swaps you can make if you’d want to spend more, or less.
Devoted Druid | Illustration by Kimonas Theodossiou
The easiest cut for those on a tighter budget is the infinite combo. You don’t need it to make this deck work and you generating quite a lot of mana anyway. Trade out Bloom Tender, Faeburrow Elder, and Devoted Druid for some more basic mana dorks and Freed from the Real and Swift Reconfiguration for other auras. I’d recommend the Zendikons to stay on-theme.
You can also swap out Braingeyser for another big X-mana spell. Its only advantage over Prosperity or Skyscribing is that it won’t draw you out of your own deck, but these are the risks you take for your wallets’ sake. Besides, your individual meta might see a better strategy in Mass Manipulation-ing or Heliod's Intervention. These are all valid mana sinks for your druids.
Tatyova, Benthic Druid | Illustration by Mathias Kollros
The quickest and easiest way to punch-up a deck is to get that mana base right. You’ll note I’ve omitted running any mana rocks in favor of druid creatures, but the aggressive Jeweled Lotus or Mana Crypt can amplify just about any deck. Noble Hierarch is possibly one of the greatest druids out there and can easily replace any of the 1-mana dorks.
Next you can double down on those combos and upgrade your tutors so you hit them more consistently. Worldly Tutor, Sylvan Tutor, and Enlightened Tutor are all amazing cards. You can also break your druid-tribal synergy to include Thassa's Oracle or Laboratory Maniac to protect yourself from your own draw spells.
Besides the druid tribal deck presented here, Chulane, Teller of Tales fits into a wide variety of playstyles.
Landfall is obviously an easy choice since Chulane puts at least one extra land into play from your hand each time you cast a creature. Other builds run a blink or bounce theme focusing on Chulane’s second ability to return and recast creatures with great enters-the-battlefield abilities.
Springbloom Druid | Illustration by Randy Gallegos
And so our tale comes to a close. Chulane, Teller of Tales is one of the best Bant commanders, if not one of the best commanders in Magic overall. Its strengths lie in its wide variety of uses, and it lets you build some truly rewarding decks with whatever strategies you think it synergizes best with. Spoiler: it’s all of them.
Will you be building a Chulane deck? Is my Chulane deck too scatter-brained? Or is druid tribal the new hotness? Let me know in the comments or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
Thanks for reading, And make sure to check back tomorrow for more tales to be told!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: