Gen Con Deck Plan

I love Gen Con. I get to see friends from around the country, unwind, and recharge for the year ahead. There is an incredible amount of things that can be done there, but I come to play Magic. For almost four full days you can find me jamming Commander games with anyone around. In the past I’ve brought all of my decks, lugged them onto the plane in my carryon, rotated them daily, and on Sunday carried the full roster with me. This year it looks like this year I’ll have to carry all of my luggage with me for half of the Con. Packing will be a balancing act between wanting to travel light and having enough diversity for the four days of Commander games. I think I’ve got a plan.

I’ve been waffling back and forth between carrying four or five decks, but the current plan is four. I’ve got six decks built and a few more in various stages of construction so 2+ are currently getting left behind.

Decks in the Quiver

Lorthos, the Tidemaker

My longest standing and personal favorite deck is definitely making the trip. I really enjoy playing the deck whether it locks up my opponents in its icy tentacles or it gets quickly grilled. Lorthos may not always be the most fun to play against, but it’s a deck I love so there’s no way it’s not coming.

Kozilek, the Great Distortion

I built this deck at the beginning of the year and it has been a blast to play every time I shuffle it up. That’s even true for games where Titania’s Song or Stony Silence make an appearance. I think this deck plays eerily close to Lorthos in how games develop which isn’t great for game diversity. Regardless, this decks is blast to play and I think deserves my second Con slot.

Tasigur the Golden Fang

Tasigur is a deck I’ve talked a lot about recently. The goal is that all of the cards require as many choices as possible. Hopefully it can roll with the game whichever way it goes. I honestly don’t think this deck is very good, but think the only way it’ll get good is through heavy repetition and some great gamers taking a look at it in action. Gen Con will provide me just that. I desperately want Tasigur to work. It’s a card and deck I’ve been trying to build with since it was released. There is a real danger that I’ll get so fed up with the deck that it’ll rot in my bag like Dragonlord Ojutai did last year. I’m planning on making Tasigur my 3rd deck.

Neheb the Worthy

If you follow me on Twitter you know my current obsession with this deck. So your saying that I get to cast Flame Rift for 1R and add 12 to my mana pool? Sign me up! Not only does this deck have my attention right now, but it will hopefully give me a faster deck. Lorthos, Kozilek, and Tasigur all plan to end the game eventually, where Neheb tries to light the table on fire. I had a situation last year where I was finally able to get a game in with Josh and had Andrew waiting for a game before I left for the airport. We were on a time crunch to get 1-2 games in and I had nothing to shuffle up that could legitimately push the pace of the game. I think Neheb solves that problem nicely and is my plan for my last Con slot.

Decks Left at Home

Athreos, God of Passage

I don’t think the rebel god will make the cut this year. Athreos’s Rebel Yell has proved to be a low power and fun deck to play. It’s nice sitting back and piloting a deck that you know has a very small chance of winning a game. As fun and refreshing has the deck has been, I don’t thinks it’s worth a precious slot in my bag.


The soul of Alara is currently slotted to stay home this year. It’s hard to leave the deck at home, but with both Lorthos and Kozilek playing slow ramp games I don’t think I’ll want a third deck that does that similar thing. I’m not sad that my thing is building ramp decks filled with late game drops (in fact I think that’s an honor for a format like Commander), but I want a little bit more diversity in my style of play over the best four days of gaming.

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

Grenzo is a deck that I hope to have together by Gen Con, but I don’t think will make the trip. Grenzo provides some fun experiences in activating his ability, but he also taketh away. I can only flip so many lands into the yard over four days before I get frustrated. There’s a chance that Grenzo will sneak into my bag at the last minute, but at this point the goblin is staying in his cell at home.

Dragonlord Atarka/Darigaaz, the Ignitor

The simple ramp and smash deck still isn’t together. I’ve got everything pulled out and ready, but haven’t made the cuts. While I feel this deck would be fun at Gen Con because it’d be in every game it was played, I don’t think the dragons will be flying along. I don’t have a good reason why not, but that’s where I am right now. There is a chance that this deck would get merged with Mazirek, also unfinished, to Wasitora if she’s real.

Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest

As I said above, Mazirek sits in the same place as the dragons. Everything is ready and pulled out, I just haven’t made my final cuts yet. I think I will enjoy playing Mazirek, but stax decks are not everyones cup of tea. With Lorthos already locking up tables in the way it does, I don’t want to bring a second stax deck. The main reason being that I want to make sure everyone has the best time possible, even if I don’t play my kind of games every time.

Narset, Enlightened Master

The Narset token deck still isn’t together either. The main problem with this deck is that I don’t have the cards for it. Turns out I didn’t keep copies of Hordeling Outburst and Raise the Alarm. I’m currently planning on scrounging through boxes of singles at the Con to get the random token making spells I’m looking for to build this. Chances of this getting done pre-Gen Con – very low. I might turn this deck into Talrand just so I have a token deck for the Con that spews out drakes, but even if I do I don’t know if I want to be the guy who has two different casual mono-U decks.

Wrapping Up

The plan, which I came up with when I woke up at 4AM one day, is to bring Lorthos, Kozilek, Tasigur, and Neheb. I think that gives me a decent range and sets me up to have a blast with friends and strangers for four days. What do you think of my plan? Should I carry more or carry a different selection? How many and which decks are you brining along? I’d love to hear from you here, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Until next time, happy brewing

– Cowboy Kyle


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