Last updated on September 7, 2023
Of the many tribal decks you could build in Magic, from goblins to humans to wizards and merfolk, no one thinks about building a god tribal deck. Sure, you can fill your deck with mythics and indestructible gods, but it would be a pile of good stuff. Right?
Enter Esika, God of the Tree and The World Tree. Suddenly you have good reasons to play god tribal EDH! The back side of Esika is very relevant to this deck, especially since it lets you play five colors. And all the gods themselves are usually legendary creatures, so a little legend matters won’t hurt.
Kolvori, God of Kinship | Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Birds of Paradise
Jodah, the Unifier
Xenagos, God of Revels
Karametra, God of Harvests
Kolvori, God of Kinship
Kruphix, God of Horizons
The Scarab God
The Locust God
Birgi, God of Storytelling
Cosima, God of the Voyage
Heliod, God of the Sun
Thassa, God of the Sea
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Keranos, God of Storms
Iroas, God of Victory
Child of Alara
Reidane, God of the Worthy
Sisay, Weatherlight Captain
Myrkul, Lord of Bones
Ephara, God of the Polis
Go-Shintai of Life's Origin
Sythis, Harvest's Hand
Rhonas the Indomitable
Valki, God of Lies
Plaza of Heroes
Cavern of Souls
Field of the Dead
Sea of Clouds
The World Tree
Esika, God of the Tree is good in this deck for a bunch of reasons. It lets you turn all other legendary creatures into vigilant Birds of Paradises. It lets you play five colors thanks to The Prismatic Bridge, which is difficult to remove and gives you card and mana advantage every turn.
You can play god tribal with other 5-color commanders, but Esika, God of the Tree is also a god which is more on theme. Three mana is a cheap commander that ramps you to five mana on turn 4 if all goes well, besides fixing.
Most of the deck’s creatures are the gods themselves. You have a little selection from Theros gods, Amonkhet gods, and Kaldheim gods. And they’re all legendary, so creatures that benefit from legends are also fair game.
Jodah, the Unifier is interesting here because it’s five colors, it’s a legendary lord, and you get more legends. If you cast a god chances are you’ll get another god, and so on.
Faeburrow Elder is there to add lots of mana, usually two or three.
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove helps you with ramp and mana fixing.
There are currently 54 different gods in Magic. Gods are the main element of this deck so let’s go over a few and why they’re fun to play with. All the Theros gods are indestructible, and some of the Amonkhet ones are too. The exception is on the Kaldheim gods but that’s okay because they have another side that can be useful sometimes.
Karametra, God of Harvests adds ramp and land fetching.
Kolvori, God of Kinship gets buffed the more legends you have and can find other legends.
Kruphix, God of Horizons is here for the hand size and mana abilities.
Birgi, God of Storytelling gives you some mana and you don’t even need to spend on the same turn.
Cosima, God of the Voyage gives you cards as the game goes on.
God-Eternal Oketra adds some 4/4 creatures to the mix while being powerful itself.
You want to have battlefield control so cards like Cyclonic Rift are perfect here.
There aren’t currently any cards that benefit all gods aside from The World Tree. That’s the card that puts all gods from your deck into play if you play 10 mana, and there will be at least 20.
There are lots of generic tribal cards that can be played alongside legendary tribal since all the creatures in the deck are legendary. Metallic Mimic is a god low-drop that gets bigger with gods.
Heroes' Podium buffs legends and is an important part of the deck.
Krosan Verge shines because it can find any Forest or Plains.
Relic of Legends is interesting because it allows legendary creatures to tap for any color of mana.
You play the game with this list as a combo control/ramp deck. Think of old decks that depend on casting expensive cards like Tooth and Nail, or recent decks like Emergent Ultimatum where you want lots of mana to cast a big spell and win from there.
The priority in the first five turns is to stay alive and ramp to fix your mana. Esika’s 1/4 body helps to survive the early game. You get a free creature every turn after casting The Prismatic Bridge, and that adds up. Your end game is to use mana to activate the ability of your gods, or to have them turned into creatures thanks to devotion. Field of the Dead can be a slow win condition.
It’s important that you play some cards that tutor for The World Tree since it’s an important part of your strategy. Crop Rotation and Expedition Map are important for that, especially if your land count is high enough that the land can be activated as soon as it hits.
Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded and Xenagos, God of Revels can give your creatures haste. They feed on each others’ devotion if you put lots of gods on the battlefield at the same time, so they’ll all be creatures.
This is a casual deck. Aside from the World Tree combo putting lots of gods into play, there’s no violation of Rule 0 here.
There are few tutors, though so feel free to take them out if your group doesn’t like to play with them.
The fact that this deck is five colors and full of rares and mythics means that it’s not going to be a budget deck. 2-mana Commander decks have cheaper mana bases and can rely more on commons and uncommons. Although a lot of these god cards are cheap themselves and bulk rare, the popularity of Commander along with the age made some more expensive than they should be.
The budget alternative would be to change the god card or put some legendary creature in their place instead. The mana base can be reworked. I tried to mix some cycles of lands, like the filter and Triome lands alongside fetch and shock lands, so my advice is to make the best use of the mana base you already have.
There are a few cards that are currently very expensive, though. Here are some suggestions to replace them:
- Enlightened Tutor -> Thalia's Lancers
- Vampiric Tutor -> Diabolic Tutor
- Cyclonic Rift -> Aetherize
- Teferi's Protection -> Heroic Intervention
- Cavern of Souls -> Ancient Ziggurat
- Smothering Tithe -> Shiny Impetus
- Mox Amber -> Mind Stone
- Dockside Extortionist -> Jeska's Will
- The Scarab God -> Alrund, God of the Cosmos
Esika, God of the Tree can be built in other ways.
You can go full 5-color legends and forget about the gods themselves since Esika lets them at least be mana dorks.
Or you can focus on the “cheat into play” aspect of The Prismatic Bridge by upping the count of your expensive targets like the Primordial cycle (Luminate Primordial, titans, or other expensive creatures with strong ETBs.
Erebos, Bleak-Hearted | Illustration by Chase Stone
I hope you find god tribal as amusing as I find it. Commander can be a format that you want to play and have fun with, just to show off the cool combinations you’ve put together in 100 cards.
That’s all I have on god tribal for today. Don’t sleep on the legends synergy either! This is one of the themes that WotC can explore going forward, so there’s always going to be “legendary matters” stuff too.
What’s your favorite aspect of god tribal? Do you prefer legends matter? Do you have a different favorite commander for this kind of build? Let me know in the comments below or over on the Draftsim Twitter.
Thanks for reading, and stay safe!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: