Changing Vial Smasher/Kydele to something new


Welcome to another edition of the article series where I go over changes to my different EDH decks in detail (and where I trash them and rebuild them into something better).

There have been a number of my decks over the last year that have been on the chopping block after disappointing performances and poor games, and many have been culled or changed. Much as I have done before, I rebuilt decks that just aren’t working; this may involve either changing some cards around deck to deck, changing who the general of the deck is, or completely overhauling the entire deck.

Now, with Ixalan released, I’ve been going over each set of changes and additions to my EDH decks, and man, have there ever a lot of them!

Today, we’ll be looking at my four-color RUBG deck, which was co-helmed by partners Vial Smasher the Fierce and Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix, as I swap out Kydele for Trasios, Triton Hero, completely changing the deck’s focus.

What will this change look like? Let’s take a look!


Years ago, I started a series of Random Friday articles dedicated to rebuilding my EDH decks, with the ultimate goal of making them all fun to play, and fun to play against. The plan is always to rebuild any decks that aren’t performing the way I wanted them to.

Thus far, I’ve built, retooled, and rebuilt several of my EDH decks in this series.

In 2012:
• I put together Arcum Dagsson, a dangerous general who could Tinker up win conditions at will here.
• The original incarnation of Karona, False God and her Allies, here and here.
• I looked at my initial attempt to build a Rakdos deck here, here, and here.

In 2013:
• Our Abzan deck was transformed from Ghave, Guru of Spores into Doran, the Siege Tower‘s “toughness matters” deck here.
• I’d changed my Boros list, from Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer into Brion Stoutarm‘s sacrifice-based deck here.
• The lovely Angela had changed our Dimir deck from Vela the Night-Clad to the milling-based Lazav, Dimir Mastermind here and here.
• I changed our Rakdos deck to Rakdos, Lord of Riots after the release of RTR here.
• I rebuilt the powerful Bruna, Light of Alabaster‘s combo-control deck here.
• I rebuilt the Planechase 2012 duo, Thromok the Insatiable and Krond the Dawn-Clad here.
Nekusar, the Mindrazer‘s Painful Wheel was built here.

In 2014:
• The Jeskai deck that finished off The EDH Project, Zedruu the Greathearted, was built here.
• Angela’s tribal Soldier build helmed by Coldsnap’s Darien, King of Kjeldor here.
• I went over my brainstorming and the final list I looked at for Khans newcomer Narset, Enlightened Master (who is just ultra-powerful), here.
• The first rebuild of our Izzet deck, from Nin, the Pain Artist to Melek, Izzet Paragon, was done here.
• I rebuilt our Clone and Shapeshifter “tribal” deck, Sakashima the Impostor, which is chock-full of copy effects, here.
• I went over the changes to our Equipment-friendly mono-white deck, Kemba, Kha Regent here.
• I looked at the changes to the budget-friendly Nath of the Gilt-Leaf here.

In 2015:
• I went over the changes to Commander 2014’s Titania, Protector of Argoth, my favourite of last year’s Commander generals, here.
• I rebuilt our U/R control deck, from Melek, Izzet Paragon into Keranos, God of Storms, here.
• I rebuilt the very first EDH deck that I’d ever put together, our Jund deck helmed by Adun Oakenshield, into one led by Kresh the Bloodbraided from Shards block here.
• I rebuilt our Boros deck again, this time changing it from Brion Stoutarm to Tajic, Blade of the Legion, a R/W control deck, here.
• I looked at a huge culling of my decks, where I disassembled Kemba, Kha Regent, Volrath the Fallen, Zedruu the Greathearted, and more here.
• I retooled two artifact-based decks: Karn, Silver Golem changed into creatureless artifact-based control, and our Esper deck Halfdane turned into Sharuum the Hegemon artifact aggro, here.
• I went over my first new Rakdos build of the year, building around Innistrad’s Olivia Voldaren here.
• After Olivia failed to be any good, I built a ‘new’ Rakdos deck (again), this time using Malfegor the Demon Dragon as general, and a hellbent theme here.

In 2016:
• I had reworked our five-color Ally deck, and changed the deck from Karona, False God to a more token- and combo-based General Tazri here.
• I finally sat down to build around Captain Sisay, a deck where “legends matter”, here.
• Two decks were merged into one as I merged the +1/+1 counter-based Skullbriar, the Walking Grave and our Abzan deck, Doran, the Siege Tower, into new +1/+1 counter deck Anafenza, the Foremost, here.
• I redesigned the five-color manabases for each of my five-color generals here.
• Our Jeskai deck, Zedruu the Greathearted, and our mono-white token swarm deck, Kongming, “Sleeping Dragon”, were merged together to form Narset, Enlightened Master, here.
• I rebuilt our Golgari deck, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave, and took pieces from Titania, Protector of Argoth, to form our new Golgari deck The Gitrog Monster here.
• I went over big changes to our Izzet control deck, Keranos, God of Storms, here.
• I went over some big changes to our Jund deck, Kresh the Bloodbraided, here.
• Our Temur deck was changed, from fun-loving Maelstrom Wanderer, to Khans bear-puncher Surrak Dragonclaw here.
• I looked at what our five-color Superfriends planeswalker deck, Progenitus, would look like after dropping the red cards and switching to four-color general Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice here.
• I went over the changes to our artifact aggro deck, as I added red to Sharuum the Hegemon, changing it into Breya, Etherium Shaper here.
• Our “copycat tribal” deck, Sakashima the Impostor, gained the use of white and black cards, and became our new Esper deck with the same theme, Halfdane, as shown here.
• I looked at the third of our four-color decks, led by partner generals Vial Smasher the Fierce and Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix (who were a surprise entrant in The EDH Battle Royale V), here.
• I went over the hostile takeover of our Mardu deck, instigated by Conspiracy II’s Queen Marchesa and the monarch mechanic, here.

In 2017:
• I looked at my build for my favorite general from Commander 2017, the highly-aggressive Saskia the Unyielding here.
• I went over our build for the difficult-to-brainstorm WURG color combination (which was our final four-color deck) based on partner generals Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa and Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist here.
• I rebuilt our BUWG deck, Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, from a planeswalker deck, to “+1/+1 counters matter” here.
• I went over major changes to Saskia (over 20 new cards!) here.


When Commander 2016 was first revealed last year, I was less than thrilled with the partner commanders, as I felt it was a lazy way for Wizards to go about adding more potential four-color commanders to the pool.

Having said that, I did end up giving partner generals a try, and they did end up being quite fun to play, and a challenge to build. I ended up building two sets of partner decks that survive to the present day — our WRGU deck, Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa/Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist and our RUBG deck, Vial Smasher the Fierce/Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix.

The gameplan for our RUBG deck ended up being quite simple: play Vial Smasher, then Kydele, and draw a bunch of cards. Use the extra mana generated by Kydele to play bigger and bigger spells. Let Vial Smasher kill your enemies for you. It was a simple enough gameplan, but it didn’t always work.

I’d noticed when playing the deck that Kydele was most definitely the worst card in the deck, and the whole card-drawing suite just wasn’t working with what I wanted the deck to do; by contrast, Vial Smasher overperformed in every game, so I definitely wanted to keep her as part of the partner pair.

What to do? Why, switch partners, of course!

I have a feeling that this new set of partner generals should work together much more harmoniously. Thrasios, Triton Hero lets you ramp and draw cards, ramping up to giant spells, and Vial Smasher just so happens to love punching your opponents when you cast giant spells — it’s a match made in heaven!

I knew going in that this new pairing was going to end up being far more permanent-based than the last deck. When the major gameplan is “ramp to giant dudes and spells,” there are very few directions you can take the deck in other than giant dudes, and big spells.

Let’s take a look.

In the last deck, Vial Smasher had really overperformed, smacking around my foes when I cast a big spell (and often led to wins that the deck didn’t really deserve, as she always domed people for tons of damage).

Hence, when I sat down to rebuild the deck around Thrasios, I knew that I wanted to emphasize Vial Smasher’s damage-dealing; I chose to go with a lot of creatures that had built-in cost reductions. I have cards with delve, with evoke, with emerge, and various other ways to make them cheaper; this should let me cast these early and often, and trigger tons of Vial Smasher damage.

This is the updated list of creatures I’m going to be running:


Creatures (29)
Burnished Hart
Reclamation Sage
Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix
Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder
Rashmi, Eternities Crafter
Solemn Simulacrum
Ingot Chewer
Indrik Stomphowler
Conclave Naturalists
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Conduit of Ruin
Nemesis of Mortals
Sphinx of Uthuun
Avatar of Woe
Avatar of Fury
Avatar of Might
Walker of the Grove
Mockery of Nature
Elder Deep-Fiend
Primeval Protector
Emrakul, the Promised End
Genesis Hydra
Primordial Hydra

Other threats (1)
Army of the Damned

This selection of creatures gives me a ton of huge threats, all of which can have reduced casting costs in various ways, so they can be accelerated into play (through abilities like emerge, delve, evoke, etc.)

One thing I was somewhat sad about is my lack of convoke and improvise creatures. Those were two of the cost-reduction abilities that I looked at, yet none of the creatures with either ability really impressed me enough to add to the deck.

My favorite card from this rebuild is likely Emrakul, the Promised End. I’ve been looking to add Emrakul 2 to a deck for a while now, and between the built-in casting cost reduction and amazing stats and abilities, Emrakul 2 should be excellent in here.

I think going in to this rebuild, this is a good starting point for my threat base. So what spells did I go with?

With the threat base being dominated by enormous dudes, it is only right and proper that the spells also be big, beefy, battlecruiser spells. I wanted enormous spells that would not only blast opponents with Vial Smasher damage, but would also swing games in my favor.

Here’s what I’m working with to start:


Card drawing spells (8)
Zendikar Resurgent
Treasure Cruise
Dig Through Time
Fact or Fiction
Fortune’s Favor
Epiphany at the Drownyard
Steam Augury
Urban Evolution

Disenchants (2)
Sultai Charm
Relic Crush

Wrath effects and removal spells (7)
Curtains’ Call
Coastal Breach
Gaze of Granite
Blasphemous Act
In Garruk’s Wake
Forced March
Divergent Transformation

Recursion spells (2)
Seeds of Renewal
Seasons Past

Ramp spells (3)
Kodama’s Reach
Hour of Promise

Theft spells (3)
Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
Villainous Wealth
Mind’s Dilation

Other spells (1)
Hedron Matrix

This is going to end up being quite the selection of giant spells, and I really like my starting list here. I have ways to mana-ramp into my gigantic dudes, I have a selection of Wraths and removal, I have ways to steal my opponents’ big spells, and I have lots and lots of card drawing spells.

It’s worth mentioning that I had to take special care with the card drawing spells. I wanted ones that could fill my graveyard, as all my delve spells (to say nothing of Emrakul 2.0 or Ghoultree) required me to have a stocked graveyard. I definitely like where these ended up.

All in all, this deck should be pretty potent, and should enable Vial Smasher to zap people for tons of damage.

Conclusion: So there you have it! Vial Smasher/Kydele has now morphed into Vial Smasher/Thrasios, and I do expect the new deck to fare quite well going forward! (If nothing else, it gives me more reason to shoot people with Vial Smasher, heh!)


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