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Commander Spotlight: Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger


 

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger $ 0.00$ 0.00

THE CHAMP IS BACK!

Take a good long look at this magnificent card. Bask in its glory. Ulamog is back and better than ever! I know you're excited for this, so let's analyze this beauty step by step and figure out how we're going to use him.

Casting Ulamog

First, let's start with his mana cost: at a whopping 10 mana, Ulamog 2.0 is no easy monstrosity to call up. Luckily for us, Commander is all about big mana and big splashy creatures, so many decks will be well-suited to slamming him down on the table. Here are some strategies to cast him in a timely manner:

  • Discounted cost: Animar, Soul of the Elements and Rakdos, Lord of Riots immediately spring to mind as powerful ways to give massive discounts to creature spells. With enough +1/+1 counters or enough damage dealt, you can cast Ulamog for free! Conveniently, last week's Budget Commander was Rakdos, Lord of Riots!
  • Cheat into play: You can skip his casting cost entirely with a variety of cheats. Cheat him into play from your hand with Sneak Attack, from your library with Proteus Staff, or (most popular) from graveyards with Animate Dead and tons of other reanimation spells! While you won't get to exile permanents this way, you still get a 10/10 indestructible creature that exiles 20 cards per attack — which is kind of good!
  • Big ramp: Many decks are capable of good ol' fashioned ramp into the 10-mana range. Any deck with Green in it has access to the best ramp available to hardcast him without much issue. Mono-color decks have access to powerful mana-doublers like Extraplanar Lens and Caged Sun which makes casting giant cards trivial. Most notable is Mono Black, which has those doublers plus tons of its own, like Cabal Coffers and Nirkana Revenant

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Exile Two Permanents

Holy moly! That hardcast trigger is amazing! In Commander, there's a staggering variety of threats that your opponents can play — creatures, enchantments, artifacts, even lands! It's hard to have the right answer for the right threat. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is the answer to everything! He exiles, which means he even gets around indestructible permanents (Darksteel Forge), denies death triggers (Omnath, Locus of Rage), and stops the card from going to the graveyard and coming back later from a Reanimate or similar card. This ability is universally fantastic!

The decks that are probably the most happy about this are non-Green/White decks that have limited options dealing with certain permanent types. Red cannot deal with enchantments well, Black struggles against both enchantments and artifacts, and while Blue does have the ability to bounce anything, it's a temporary solution and sometimes they want something more permanent. New Ulamog is a great addition to decks looking for answers. He exiles two problematic permanents and then starts going for the win. Awesome!

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Joining the ranks of colorless removal!

 

Indestructible

Ulamog is indestructible. He's hard to kill — even tougher these days with the recent(ish) change to the Tuck Rule, which has made old staple removal like Terminus and Chaos Warp less popular. This Eldrazi laughs at your opponent's Wrath of Gods.

But wait, immunity to most board wipes includes your own. Aha! This defensive feature is something we can build around! Focus on indestructible things and then blow up the world, leaving our board (mostly) unharmed! One of my previous Budget Commander brews involved just that: a Mono Red Artifact built around Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer, which focused on making your board indestructible and then blowing things up with Oblivion Stones and Jokulhaups. Brutal and effective!

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Exile The Top 20 Cards

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger doesn't have the immediate impact as the older Annihilator did on OG Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. Nonetheless, this attack trigger is mighty powerful if built around. Two thoughts immediately spring to mind in abusing this:

  • Milling: Yup, milling is actually a thing in Commander! While our libraries are more than double the size of other constructed formats, in Commander we have ways to make our milling much more effective so it evens out. Mill decks like Phenax, God of Deception and Oona, Queen of the Fae will love Ulamog 2.0 and his ability to chomp through 20 cards at a time!
  • Eldrazi Tribal: From what has been spoiled so far of the Eldrazi, we know that the tribe exiles cards and then uses those exiled cards. Oblivion Sower and Blight Herder are probably just the tip of the iceberg on what value we can get off Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger exiling truckloads of cards.

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Getting More Value

I touched upon getting more value out of Ulamog's indestructibility by running board wipes that he's immune to. Well, you can also get more value out of his attack trigger, which can quickly snowball into decking opponents! Here are some juicy options:

  • Haste: Slam Ulamog down at the table and get him swinging immediately! Giving him Haste is like giving him an extra attack: another 10 damage and 20 exiled cards for you!
  • Extra Attack Steps: Ulamog's exile ability triggers each time he swings, so why not make him swing more often? Seize the Day, World at War, Aggravated Assault and others offer more and more exiling. Xenagos, God of Revels approves!
  • Copy Trigger: Strionic Resonator copies any triggered ability. Ulamog is exiling 20 cards? Let's make that 40. This card is awesome!

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Commander Ulamog!

Up until this point I was talking about Ulamog as part of the 99. What about him leading the charge as your commander? Definitely possible! Colorless Commander decks like Karn, Silver Golem and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth can show us the ropes towards building a solid Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger deck.

The big difference between Ulamog 2.0 and previous colorless commanders is that we can build upon his exile clause, something other colorless commanders don't do. Oblivion Sower is a strong start; let's see what the new Eldrazi can do to really abuse this mechanic!

Here's a sample deck list to get those creative juices flowing:

 

New Articles as New Spoilers Arrive!

I'll be keeping up with the BFZ spoilers to show how these new cards can impact Commander.

One last thing to discuss before I go are these AMAZING new dual lands:

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These puppies are the real deal. They are some of the best mana fixing we can get in Commander, right behind ABUR duals, fetchlands, and shocklands. For those of us that don't like spending $250+ on a single card, running a Sunken Hollow instead of an Underground Sea is a solid alternative. Yes, they will come into play tapped sometimes so they are inferior to shocklands, but they can be tutored up with fetchlands and that's the real selling point here. They also synergize with other cards that care about land type, like Emeria, the Sky Ruin and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, just like the ABUR duals and shocklands do. Much better than the Theros temples and others. Very, very good.

That's all for now! I'll be back when more cards are spoiled!


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