EDH Deck Time: Demonlord Belzenlok

Well, sooner or later I had to do it.

Demonlord Belzenlok

It is, after all, an Elder Demon. Or The Elder Demon, since there aren’t any others as of this writing. In fact, all the other Elders are either Dragons or Dinosaurs. I guess you can’t reach elderhood unless your creature type starts with a ‘d’. So, while we’re waiting for that Legendary Elder Deserter to happen, we’ll talk about this.

Here’s the thing: In my deck, I prefer Mulldrifters to Baneslayers, but I do generally prefer a Baneslayer as my Commander. Although I’ve designed decks for several Mulldrifters, I’ve actually never played any of them as my commander, besides Prime Speaker Zegana and Venser, Shaper Savant.

Okay, there’s a second thing as well. I do like my Demon tribal, without actual tribal synergies. After all, they are a disparate bunch. It just so happens that Belzenlok, despite being the Demonlord, just isn’t as good in this role as, say…

Kagemaro, First to SufferKothophed, Soul HoarderKuro, PitlordOb Nixilis, the FallenSeizan, Perverter of Truth

I mean, to make Belzenlok really good, you’d need to play cards that are expensive. I don’t generally want to do that. I want to be able to do many things during my turns. At least at times. Therefore, I want cheap spells. Having too high a curve will just leave you open to early aggression as well. This makes Belzenlok a sort of flavorless Commander. I mean, looking at Belzenlok decks at EDHREC, it just seems that they are all just the generic good black cards that happen to cost at least four.

Belzenlok is quite powerful for formats like Draft and Standard, but doesn’t make much of a wave in something like Commander.

So, what I’m going to do here is just think of this deck as a Demon deck. Probably around 20 Demons plus a lot of mana and some control cards. In a way quite a boring deck, but actually the kind of deck I generally enjoy playing. You know, a kind of Midrange deck in Commander you probably shouldn’t try to play in the face of more proactive decks.

But hey, starting with the Belzenlok’s boys. There’s some very good, cheap demons, who have huge downsides. Do I want to play them? Not exactly. Those downsides aren’t usually worth it in Commander. I would much rather have the creatures do something else besides attack and block.

Therefore, first, these five again:

Kagemaro, First to SufferKothophed, Soul HoarderOb Nixilis, the FallenSeizan, Perverter of Truth

Sorry, Kuro, you’re out. It’s not you it’s me and my dislike of nine-drops. Don’t worry about that Dread Cacodemon in the corner. He’s here for… custodial duties.

… and …

Archfiend of DepravityArchfiend of IfnirBloodgift DemonDemon of Wailing AgoniesDread Cacodemon
Harvester of SoulsIndulgent TormentorLord of the VoidNecropolis FiendNefarox, Overlord of Grixis
Overseer of the DamnedPestilence DemonReaper from the AbyssRune-Scarred DemonRite of Belzenlok
Promise of Power

Of course, Ob Nixilis is an honorary Demon (and is already in the deck in one form)

Ob Nixilis of the Black OathOb Nixilis Reignited

I guess now we can pile on various random stuff that happens to sort of flavorwise.

The Eldest RebornTorment of HailfireLiliana of the Dark RealmsLiliana VessLiliana, Death’s Majesty

After all, Bolas and Liliana has been known to deal with Demons in the past.

DamnationMutilateBlack Sun’s Zenith

Random removal. Well, not random really, as we have some nice stuff we can play early despite the high CMC. And some random ones after that.

Snuff OutMurderous CutTendrils of CorruptionWretched ConfluenceDregs of Sorrow
Go for the ThroatDoom BladeHero’s DownfallCast OutVictim of Night

Some card draw to smooth out early draws.

Read the BonesSign in BloodNight’s WhisperArguel’s Blood Fast

It’s hard to find ramp that would be in flavor, so we’ll just play a lot of lands. That just means that we need some ways to make sure we can use all that mana through-out the game, but I do think our Demons will help quite a bit in that regard.

Skeletal ScryingSyphon Mind

What else? I was thinking our Demons might need their own clergy.

Blood SpeakerGrim HaruspexPontiff of BlightPriest of the Blood RiteSkirsdag High Priest
Twilight ProphetWhisper, Blood LiturgistWithered WretchCaligo Skin-WitchCorpse Augur

That would leave room for 44 lands. I guess that’s enough.

Cabal CoffersCabal StrongholdMyriad LandscapeBojuka BogDrownyard Temple
Thawing Glaciers

.. and 38 Swamps.

Kind of a slow deck, the curve is a mess and you are limited in your answers. Still, not too many sacrifices in the card quality in the name of flavor. Just card synergies.

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