Plain Charming! Building Ramos, Dragon Engine

Author - Adam Ray, Commander -

Plain Charming! Building Ramos, Dragon Engine

I love Commander. Standard is where I play with the most serious competitive vibe, but Commander is where I go to relax. Sometimes. A format with access to some of the most powerful cards in all of Magic's history, but the chaos of contending against 3 other players is always a wild ride. Politics and table talk is the name of the game, as much as you're able to leverage your 100 card singleton decks even if your Commander has a reputation for being powerful, like Mizzix of the Izmagnus or Narset, Enlightened Master. For me at a Commander table, the stakes are low, but the power is high.

Ramos, Dragon Engine

To the Command Tower!

The Commander you choose – often the first card picked during the build process – really sets the tone. I've been thinking of playing a deck that can truly taste the rainbow. I myself own 1, 2, 3, and 4 colour decks but not a 5 colour one yet. The five colour Legendary creatures have a lot to them, but I enjoy building decks with a consistent theme. My Rona, Disciple of Gix deck is valuetown control, Grand Warlord Radha is ramp and X spells, Kozilek the Great Distortion is Eldrazi Tribal. When I look at a card like Ramos, Dragon Engine I see two things: lots of counters and lots of quick mana. A friend of mine has built Ramos as a 5 colour counters deck; like Atraxa, Praetor's Voice but with access to Red Planeswalkers and Taurean Mauler. I'm a spellslinger player at heart, and the idea of a multicolour Commander that rewards a player playing rainbow spells to ramp you into further spells screams Instants and Sorceries to me.

Jeskai Charm

The "Lucky Charms" deck type – named after the legendary sugary cereal – has been a powerful control deck in Canadian Highlander for many years now. A wild format, Canadian Highlander is a 100 card singleton way to play – but without a Commander, 1v1, and with their own ban list. Effectively, the deck plays as many different modal spells as it can to always have the right answer at the right time. That just sounds delicious to me.

Spells Success

An Instant and Sorcery deck wouldn't be complete without the payoffs you'd expect from dedicated Izzet Commander decks. Metallurgic Summonings, Talrand, Sky Summoner, Young Pyromancer, and newcomer Murmuring Mystic fill the board very quickly. If you're dedicated to multicolour as much as the deck is, Ravnica Allegiance Allstar Hero of Precinct One is very welcome in a deck this chromatic. Jaya Ballard, Kess, Dissident Mage, Past In Flames, Mystic Retrieval, and Flood of Recollection are all great for giving spells a new lease of life out of the graveyard.

Cruel Ultimatum

Now to the body of the deck: multicolour spells. The Dragons of Tarkir Commands are among the strongest, particularly Dromoka's Command, having the added benefit of adding a counter for Ramos to turn into Mana later. Similarly, Abzan Charm has the same double duty. Charms exist from the Guilds of Ravnica, the Khans of Tarkir, the Shards of Alara, and Elder Dragons all have multicolour charms, ideal for this deck. Staying with Tarkir, there's a cycle of Rare Instants and Sorceries that I think are very powerful. Duneblast is the wrath that lets you keep your best creature. On a board of Hero or Young Pyromancer tokens, Flying Crane Technique can quickly change the tide of combat. Trap Essence may read as a very hard to cast Essence Capture but this adds 5 counters to Ramos, which covers an activation of his big mana ability all on its own.

Though not technically a charm or command, the Ultimatum cycle from Shards of Alara are all very spicy multicolour Sorceries. Violent Ultimatum is the mass removal of tricky permanents that a Commander game really calls for, while Titanic Ultimatum turns all your tokens into terrifying beaters. Cruel Ultimatum and Brilliant Ultimatum rocket you ahead on card advantage and though Clarion Ultimatum looks terrible in a singleton format – I'm seeing this as a very powerful ramp spell. This deck would have quite a few basic lands to be fetched with classic ramp spells like Rampant Growth, Cultivate, and other classics of the genre, so this Ultimatum might be a way to get very far ahead on lands in an unexpected way.

Wilderness Reclamation

Spelling Disaster for the Pod

Among such versatile Instants and Sorceries, one can expect a few payoff cards, or cards that turbocharge the deck. The other spellslinger payoffs like Primal Amulet (Primal Wellspring) let you twin your charms to new effects. A rules note is that if you copy a modal spell – yes you may choose new targets, but you can't change which option – if you use Treva's Charm to destroy target Enchantment, you can't have the copy draw you cards.

A card I think a spellslinger deck shouldn't be allowed to have access to is Wilderness Reclamation. This engine card has already turbocharged Simic and Temur decks to do silly things with no downside of tapped mana. Doing the same here would afford a deck a lot of flexibility when sitting on a hand full of Charms.

We Are Landed

Now the nightmarish part of the five colour Commander deck build: the lands. The split on some of the colours really depends on how dependant your deck is on certain colours. I feel that this build, adding slightly more Blue than most mana sources is idea, then more Green to be able to cover early Ramp spells. Playing such cards as Grow From the Ashes and Kodama's Reach require a density of Basic Lands in the deck to ensure you can fetch the colour you need. For things to be optimal – running the compliment of Shocks and Fetches is pricy but the best way to ensure it's colours come online exactly when you need them. After that, honestly playing the bare bones of lands is fine. There's two reasons why you can be flexible with your mana after Shocks and Fetches: your Commander is Colourless, your Commander fixes your colours and ramps you. Personally, I'd lean towards lands that reliably come in untapped as if you've been off your 5th colour and can swing the game if you draw that colour land, but it comes in tapped, that just might be the end.

Things that don't quite count as Land, but do as Mana, are cards that let you taste the rainbow. Prismatic Omen makes all your lands all 5 colours – as does Chromatic Lantern. Other good rainbow rocks, like Darksteel Ingot and Coalition Relic are also worth considering.

Sleeving Up

This deck, or at least the way I've built it, is intentionally fun but open. It doesn't have a clear combo or line of play that helps you immediately win. The token theme, Niv-Mizzet, Parun, and enormous Ramos beating face is very effective. The Progenitus goes a long way for beating face -  and Door to Nothingness is the reset button all players will fear. You can find my list below, featuring new cards from War of the Spark.


Ramos, Dragon Engine


Ral, Storm Conduit

Baral, Chief of Compliance

Hero of Precinct One

Kess, Dissident Mage

Murmuring Mystic

Young Pyromancer

Talrand, Sky Summoner

Flux Channeler

Seedborn Muse

Niv-Mizzet, Parun



Wilderness Reclamation

Primal Amulet

The Mirari Conjecture

Inexorable Tide

Door to Nothingness


Abzan Charm

Azorius Charm

Bant Charm

Boros Charm

Crosis's Charm

Dromar's Charm

Esper Charm

Golgari Charm

Grixis Charm

Izzet Charm

Jeskai Charm

Jund Charm

Naya Charm

Rakdos Charm

Rith's Charm

Simic Charm

Sultai Charm

Temur Charm

Treva's Charm

Dromoka's Command

Kolaghan's Command

Ojutai's Command

Silumgar's Command

Clarion Ultimatum

Brilliant Ultimatum

Cruel Ultimatum

Violent Ultimatum

Titanic Ultimatum




Rampant Growth

Kodama's Reach


Explosive Vegetation

Grow from the Ashes

Search for Tomorrow

Past in Flames

Mystic Retrieval

Flood of Recollection


Darksteel Ingot

Chromatic Lantern

Prismatic Omen

Coalition Relic

Sol Ring


Command Tower

Cascading Cataracts

Reflecting Pool

Flooded Strand

Marsh Flats

Polluted Delta

Scalding Tarn

Bloodstained Mire

Verdant Catacomb

Wooded Foothills

Arid Mesa

Windswept Heath

Misty Rainforest

Hallowed Fountain

Godless Shrine

Watery Grave

Steam Vents

Blood Crypt

Overgrown Tomb

Stomping Ground

Sacred Foundry

Temple Garden

Breeding Pool
















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