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Khans of Tarkir in EDH: Surrak Dragonclaw

When I enter Magic the Gathering events, I find that I’m always on the lookout to see who is playing control, partly because I don’t want to play them but mostly because I don’t want my stuff to get countered. Counterspells are good but they can be a little annoying, especially in a format like Duel Commander. So, if you are a player who is sick of having your creatures countered, this may be the perfect deck for you.

Surrak Dragonclaw is a straight up powerhouse of the Temur color identity and loaded with a nice ability set: this guy is no joke. Let's take a closer look at the card: He is a 6/6 human for five mana with flash, he can’t be countered, he also says creature spells you control can’t be countered, and creatures you control have trample; pretty good right?



Game Plan

I know what you’re saying; “OK, Surrak is pretty kick-ass but what should I do with him?” The game plan for him is pretty interesting. Basically what you do is control the game until you are able to slam down Surrak, and then you just keep playing big dudes until your opponent is completely overrun. During my early testing I found that I was following a pretty standard flow of turns each game and it looked a little something like this:



Card draw and counter magic are the most important spells you can have during the early turns. After that, drop a turn four planeswalker and follow that up with Surrak. I found that most decks just won't have enough answers to the amount of threats you are able to dish out. The beauty behind this deck is that no matter what kind of strategy or deck you may be facing the overall gameplan for Surrak stays relatively the same.

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The Downside

But just like every other deck, there are a couple of downsides to playing Surrak.

  1. Synergy: Surrak, compared to other commanders, has a total lack of synergy. So he is forced to depend solely on his brute strength to win games.
  2. Versatility: Since raw power is all that you really have to work with, the deck is not as versatile. This deck will basically do the same things every single game and if you find yourself in a tight spot, it may be pretty difficult to find your way out.

The Build

When building your deck there are a few things that you should keep in mind. If you take a look at my list you would see that I run quite a bit of land. The reason I do this is because in Duel Commander, if you are a control deck and fall behind on resources, the game becomes much harder to close. So by including 40+ lands in your build you not only make hitting land drops much easier, but you also make mulligans a lot better.

The second thing to keep in mind is counter spells; you want them and you want lots of them. If you end up following my flow chart counters will become your best friend, and hey even though your creatures can’t be countered, your opponent usually won’t have that same luxury.


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Last, but certainly not least are the creatures, the bread and butter of the deck. These guys are what will eventually end the game leaving you with a victory. When choosing what creatures to include it may be a little overwhelming just because there are so many good ones to choose from. What I would suggest is to categorize your cretures into two groups: utility and finishers. You want utility spells because since Surrak has some short comings in the synergy department, you want to be able to increase board position or give yourself some card advantage. My favorite part of this deck are the finishers: these are the guys that you cast after resolving Surrak. Titans and dragons are great spells to include here, giving you immediate effects and a looming threat on the board. If you are going for a control build I would recommend including no more than 10-15 creatures.


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All in all, Surrak is a general of raw power. Though he lacks the synergy some other legends have, Surrak's ability set more than makes up for it. So if you are interested in slamming down uncounterable titans and dragons, I suggest checking out my decklist below. It's not perfect, but it’s a good place to start! So proxy that bad boy up and get testing!


Until Next Time, Keep Shufflin’ Magic Players!


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