Courtesy Wizards of the Coast, Art by Mark Zug

Way back when I said I’d be benching [mtg_card]Zedruu the Greathearted[/mtg_card] as a commander. My concern was that the relatively low speed of her deck would be a hinderance in the face of more competative, combo-heavy decks that accelerate towards turn 5 or 6 before creating some kind of infinite mana situation. However, a little investigation through Gatherer and other sources revealed something very interesting about Zedruu and how her abilities work.

Usually, when she gives control of a permanent I own to another player, that permanent leaves my field and goes to that player’s. For the most part, this means that a deck with Zedruu is looking to make other players miserable by bestowing hindering or useless cards. Not wanting to be “that guy” at the table, I wanted to find another way to use Zedruu, as her colors align with the chronomancy I’ve been wanting to use in EDH forever. That was when I discovered the wonderful truth about Auras.

Auras are enchantment spells that target other permanents. Each Aura has “Enchant ________” as part of its description. This is pretty basic Magic knowledge, but here’s the interesting part: changing the controller of the Aura does not change what it is enchanting. So if you have a creature with an enchantment like [mtg_card]Rancor[/mtg_card] on it, and you give control of the enchantment to someone else, the enchantment stays on your creature.

This isn’t to say that my new deck for Zedruu is nothing but auras. Knowing that I’m likely to encounter all sorts of decks, I put everything from counterspells to board wipes into the deck. While some staples of Zedruu are present, like [mtg_card]Steel Golem[/mtg_card] and, my personal favorite donation card, [mtg_card]Celestial Dawn[/mtg_card], my goal in rebuilding this deck was to strike a balance between all the elements I wanted: “Tron” scenarios pairing Auras with Zedruu or other powerful creatures, Chronomancy, and a bit of control through donations, counters, and other little spells that would, hopefully, not make me a threat to other players before it’s too late.

So far, this strategy has paid off very well. In most of the games I’ve played with this deck, one of my donation cards has come up in the early game, locking down an opponent at least temporarily, and allowing me to catch up on any acceleration I’ve missed. The nature of the deck also allows me to assume a pretty powerful political position. Without infinite combos or a frightening-by-nature general, and armed with counters and removal, I can negotiate with others at the table to determine who the largest threat is and help combat it while building my own position. This, to me, makes the game even more fun to play.

You can check out the deck in detail here, and leave your thoughts or suggestions in the comments!