Last updated on April 5, 2023
Kozilek, the Great Distortion | Illustration by Aleksi Briclot
The Eldrazi are some of the most menacing and powerful creatures in all of Magic. They’re huge in every sense, destroy permanents like it’s their job, and usually result in your opponent conceding if they resolve.
I like the way that sounds, so I put together this Kozilek, the Great Distortion decklist to really maximize that mission statement. Today I’ll go over the list, why I’ve chosen what, some budget options, and some possible Rule 0 violations that may get you yelled at by your playgroup.
Let’s get started!
Eldrazi Temple | Illustration by James Paick
This deck is looking to go big with some of Magic’s most iconic colorless creatures and planeswalkers like Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, Karn Liberated, and the Eldrazi titan family. It looks to generate lots of colorless mana through an extensive collection of mana rocks and continuously pump out massive threats throughout the game.
Artisan of Kozilek
Bane of Bala Ged
Conduit of Ruin
Emrakul, the Promised End
It That Betrays
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Soul of New Phyrexia
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
Rings of Brighthearth
Sensei's Divining Top
Staff of Domination
Eye of Ugin
Sanctum of Ugin
Shrine of the Forsaken Gods
Temple of the False God
Urza's Power Plant
When it comes to colorless commanders, Kozilek, the Great Distortion is about as good as it gets. It does everything you want an expensive commander to do: it generates card advantage for you by literally refilling your hand, creates a sizable threat as a 12/12 with menace, and it protects itself by letting you counter spells discarding cards with identical costs.
This is hugely important because nothing is worse than casting your 10-drops only to have them be Path to Exiled, which is now far less likely. Even if Path resolves, your opponents are disincentivized to get rid of Kozilek since your deck ramps out very quickly and is easily able to cast him at 12 or 14 mana, drawing you even more cards.
These factors combine to make an excellent colorless commander for your deck to work around and work well with your Eldrazi subtheme!
Colorless instants and sorceries are unfortunately few and far between. Luckily they make up for what they lack in variety and choice with power and targeting scope.
Titan's Presence can exile pretty much any creature your opponents can play since most of your creatures are large Eldrazi. Is it worse than Path to Exile? Yes. Is it still very good and doesn’t give your opponents any upside? Also yes!
Permanents of any kind aren’t too much of a threat with Introduction to Annihilation and Scour from Existence. These let you easily get rid of specific threats that are otherwise difficult to get rid of like indestructible creatures, enchantments, or gods.
If those aren’t enough, you also have the most premium board wipe possible in All is Dust, which often wins games when it comes down. This not only wipes out all your opponents' colored creatures, enchantments, and even some artifacts — which can be quite a few cards. If you’re already at seven mana and you manage to resolve All is Dust, your opponents will probably just scoop up in response.
Eldrazi are some of the most powerful creatures in all of Magic. They’re big, they annihilate, and they do incredible things that aren’t easy to come by like controlling players during their turn or exiling lands. Since this deck is colorless and the commander himself is an Eldrazi, you’ll have a number of Eldrazi creatures and spells to play with, making it a large subtheme of the deck.
Starting at the bottom (if you could call it that) is one of the most powerful Eldrazi in Thought-Knot Seer. The Seer is a 4-mana 4/4 that essentially lets you Thoughtseize an opponent. Cards on a stick like this are great since you don’t have access to conventional cards like Thoughtseize so they’re reliant on getting their effects through alternative methods. This is a common thing you’ll see in this deck.
The next Eldrazi are all utilitarian in purpose just like Thought-Knot. Conduit of Ruin, Endbringer, and Oblivion Sower help refill your hand and generate card advantage. This is incredible with the amount of mana and power level of the cards you’ll be drawing.
At the top end you’ve got the main Eldrazi: Emrakul, the Promised End, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, and both Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. You’ll notice that the only one missing is the 15 mana value Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, which is exempt from this list since it’s banned in Commander.
The deck runs three ultra-powerful and ultra-popular equipment in Lightning Greaves, Commander's Plate, and Shadowspear. The Greaves protect your most important creatures (typically your commander), the Plate does that but even stronger by giving your creature protection from colored spells (wow!), and Shadowspear not only ensures that your damage connects but also that you keep your life nice and padded as well.
These are some extremely powerful artifacts that never miss and always give you copious amounts of value.
Grafdigger's Cage acts as your main piece of stax to prevent some tutoring and shut graveyard shenanigans down in their tracks. I value this card extremely highly since nearly every Commander deck you come across will have some form of recursion that you’d prefer doesn’t resolve.
To ensure your massive creatures actually connect and successfully get off their abilities, you have Manifold Key and Staff of Domination. The Key lets you slip gigantic cards without trample past chump blockers and the Staff lets you stay untapped to block while simultaneously tapping down opponents’ blockers.
Most of your deck is artifacts and you obviously want them around forever. You’ve got the wonderful combination of Mycosynth Lattice to turn all your permanent into artifacts and Darksteel Forge makes all your permanents indestructible. The Forge is incredible for you on its own, but Lattice’s inclusion is the cherry on top when it comes to utility artifacts.
You also have some fun ways to cheat out cards or get early value. Quicksilver Amulet lets you put creature cards out for four mana (remember this won’t trigger cast effects, but it will trigger ETBs). Rings of Brighthearth copies your activated abilities for two colorless, which works on all your mana rocks like Mana Crypt. This can go infinite with Basalt Monolith.
Mirage Mirror copies other artifacts, creatures, or enchantments for one turn for two colorless. It’s extremely powerful because it doesn’t require you to be the controller or owner of the card you’re copying. It mitigates the threat of your opponent’s creatures while also having the potential to copy your own Blightsteel Colossus!
This deck gets to run some of the most powerful planeswalkers in Magic. You only have access to Karn and Ugin in this list since you’re colorless, but boy are they powerful! Karn Liberated, sometimes referred to as “pants-less Karn,” is incredibly strong. It clears the way and defends itself by going up to 10 loyalty and removing other player’s cards or just exiling whatever’s threatening it and still having 3 loyalty left over.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is strong for the same reasons. It can bolt something or clear the board and still have an insanely high amount of loyalty to ensure it sticks around for a long time. Ugin, the Ineffable gives you a major discount on all colorless spells (which is all of them for you) and gives you the ability to directly get rid of permanents.
Karn, the Great Creator locks your opponents’ mana rocks down while also animating your own big colorless artifacts. It’s important to note that you won’t have any sideboard to use Karn’s - ability with, so you’d only be able to get cards that were already exiled from play.
Finally, you have Karn, Scion of Urza, aka “Karn with pants.” Most of the time you’ll be using its - ability to get a construct token since you’ll probably already have three to four artifacts out.
The Mana Base
You won’t be able to play any of the 5-colored basic lands. You’ll have to resort to multiple copies of Wastes instead. They function the same as their colored counterparts and are also treated as basic lands. Your lands aren’t all Wastes, though. You still have 17 other non-basics to work with in this list.
There’s Eye of Ugin and Eldrazi Temple for quickly ramping out Eldrazi. Both cards help you get your commander out as soon as possible while refilling your hand by tutoring up our other Eldrazi titans.
The Sanctum gives you an incredible card advantage by letting you tutor every time you play a large spell. The Quarter and Wasteland let you shut down your opponents' annoying utility lands like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Scavenger Grounds gives you some great graveyard hate.
As for getting big mana fast, this deck has a few great options. You’re running one of every Urza land since they’re a Wastes at worst and something far stronger at best. These include Urza's Power Plant, Urza's Mine, card Urza's Tower.
This deck runs a lot of mana rocks. Many more than your typical EDH deck, and for good reason. Colorless mana is as good as colored to this deck, which means there's a higher value on cards that add double or even triple colorless.
You have a lot of mana rocks you probably already run as well as a bunch that serve a utility purpose and can tap for colorless as an alternative ability. Here’s all the mana rocks in this version of the list:
- Everflowing Chalice
- Mana Crypt
- Sol Talisman
- Expedition Map
- Mana Vault
- Mind Stone
- Thought Vessel
- Unstable Obelisk
- Worn Powerstone
- Hedron Archive
- Thran Dynamo
- Forsaken Monument
- Gilded Lotus
- Dreamstone Hedron
- Sol Ring
The deck’s general strategy in its most simple form is to go big, keep going big, and not stop until everyone at the table has been beaten to death by massive creatures with annihilator. You’re ramping out hard with over 15 mana rocks, powerful utility lands like Temple of the False God, and plenty of card advantage through your commander and other artifacts to achieve this goal.
Your general game plan will have you ramping out, playing one or two giant threats before you get to play Kozilek, the Great Distortion to refill our hand.
Eldrazi (and all big creatures, for that matter) are particularly hard to get rid of. Your opponents can only hold you down for so long, and it’s only a matter of time before you stick a threat that just kills your opponent when you’re constantly refilling your hand or protecting your bombs with Darksteel Forge.
This deck is good from beginning to end and won’t stall out as long as you don’t get mana screwed. It’s excellent in the very late game when other decks start to slow down and windows of opportunity widen.
A general tip for piloting this deck is to not be afraid to cast Kozilek, the Great Distortion when you’re running low on gas and you know your opponents have counterspells. Kozilek’s trigger to refill your hand is on cast, not when it enters the battlefield. This means that even if it gets countered and never sees the battlefield, you’re still getting up to seven cards for ten mana.
Getting an opening hand with at least one piece of acceleration is critical with this decklist. Slower hands are less favorable, and in a format where you get a free mulligan, be a little more liberal with what you keep. Your most important goal early is getting to 6+ mana as soon as possible.
Combos and Interactions
Everyone’s play group is different. If you’re like me, you might want to run this list by your friends or playtest before investing. Sometimes decks can be unfun for the group and you should check with yours to see what your “Rule 0” includes. Most of the time this refers to infinite combos, which this deck has a few of.
The key to your combos in this deck is Rings of Brighthearth. This lets you copy abilities for two colorless. Since you have a few different mana rocks that generate mana and can untap themselves like Basalt Monolith, you can generate infinite colorless mana. Pair that with something like Staff of Domination to gain infinite life, tap all your opponent’s creatures, and draw your deck.
This isn’t too consistent since the deck doesn’t run any tutors, but it still may be cause for concern in your playgroup. Make sure to run this by who you play with and mention your combo at the beginning of games with new people. It’s just good manners.
Budget Options and Replacements
Everyone’s budget is different. You may want to cut some corners on this deck depending on how many cards you have (or don’t have). Lucky for you there’s certainly room to do so. Certain cards can easily be replaced or excluded without a serious tank to the win rate while dramatically dropping the price.
Mana Crypt + Mana Vault
The first cut I’d make is Mana Crypt or Mana Vault. These are great, some of the best mana rocks, but they’re too expensive for what they do. This is absolutely an easy skip for most players with the Crypt going for over $150.
Sensei’s Divining Top
With Sensei's Divining Top reaching the $50 price point, it becomes cut territory. I love the top, it’s an incredible card, but it’s not the highest power level card or most necessary to the game plan in the end. You’d rather have a deck without top then no deck at all.
I’d recommend swapping the cards you take out with similar but lower budget options. If you take out Crypt or Vault, throw in another cheap mana rock like Palladium Myr or something else you find that helps you fill the hole as best as possible. You can check our mana rocks and mana dorks articles for some suggestions.
The only other strong theme or archetype you can go with is artifacts. You're naturally playing an incredibly high amount of them being colorless, so the only thing you’re changing is leaning less on the Eldrazi tribal theme and more so on, well, artifacts.
Artifacts will be more expensive for the given power level, primarily because many key and powerful artifacts just don’t get reprinted while your main Eldrazi were very recently printed for the first time.
Sanctum of Ugin | Illustration by James Paick
That’s the deck! What do you think? Remember, this is a guide, not law. I’m just here to show you what I put together, justify my reasonings, and provide some basic guidelines. It’s ultimately your money that you’re spending, so spend it on a list or deck that fits how you want to play the game.
When it comes to this theme, have you built or tested any similar lists yourself? What do you think of the new Kozilek? Let me know right below in the comments below or head over to our Discord and talk about it there.
Until next time, stay safe, healthy, and have fun playing more Magic!
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