Commander Evil Phelddagrif

Posted in Daily Deck on July 22, 2015

By Melissa DeTora

Melissa is a former Magic pro player and strategy writer who is now working in R&D on the Play Design team.

Magic Designer Shawn Main's favorite Commander deck uses the Alliances card Phelddagrif as his Commander. Shawn started working at Wizards back in 2011 after being a runner-up in The Great Designer Search 2. Most recently, he was the lead designer of Magic: The Gathering—Conspiracy and Magic Origins.

Phelddagrif is a strange, purple hippo with wings. The name itself is actually an anagram for Magic's Creator, Richard Garfield. Rearrange the letters in Phelddagrif and it spells out "Garfield PhD." Phelddagrif is a pretty popular commander and is commonly used in "Group Hug" decks. These decks aim to help everyone out while trying to keep the game fun and fair for everyone. Some typical ways to help out all players are giving everyone extra cards (Jace Beleren and Indentured Djinn), extra lands (Veteran Explorer), or allowing them to put creatures into play for free (Hunted Wumpus and Hypergenesis).

Shawn has a different approach to Phelddagrif. He wants to give his opponents lots of Hippos, but he has a completely different goal in mind. His deck tries to punish his opponents for having many creatures in play. Some of Shawn's favorite ways to punish his opponents are with cards like Suture Priest; Ward of Bones; Deploy to the Front; and Gideon, Champion of Justice. There's also plenty of ways to ensure that all those 1/1 Hippos do nothing, like Windborn Muse and Norn's Annex. Let's not forget about Custodi Soulbinders. That guy can be gigantic in this deck.

One of my favorite cards in Shawn's deck is Algae Gharial. In a multiplayer format like Commander, creatures are dying left and right, and with all of the tokens this deck is producing this guy can get really out of hand. The unfortunate thing about Algae Gharial is he has shroud and not hexproof, so you can't buff him up with Equipment or Auras. Regardless, it's pretty easy to get Algae Gharial up to a 20/20 or bigger in this deck!

Shawn's deck also plays the other goofy, winged hippo: Questing Phelddagrif. It's pretty sad that it's not legendary (meaning it can't be your commander), but it's always good to have a second way to give your opponents Hippos.

Shawn Main’s Evil Phelddagrif

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COMMANDER: Phelddagrif
99 Cards

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