EDH Deck Time: Borderlands (yes, the video game)

I was watching EDH and Chill, where they had a video game theme. What game would I use for such a purpose? I’ll probably make a series of this at some point, because games like Binding of Isaac and Dishonored (both of which I actually like more than the game I’m about to go into) would make interesting decks as well.

But, as I’ve been playing plenty of Borderlands 3 lately, Borderlands it is. But with a very specific view of the world.

So, if you haven’t played the games after the first one, Tiny Tina would probably be new to you. In the second game, she’s a fourteen year old girl, who likes drawing bunnies, having pretend tea parties with her dolls and blowing shit up. When you first meet her, she’s living a very isolated life in the middle of several bandit camps and varkid colonies (varkids are huge insects). This tells you a lot about the world. I mean, she’s 14 year old orphan and even those she considers friends have just left her out there. She’s doing fine in the sense that she’s alive, but she has gone a bit mad.

Later on in the DLCs Tiny Tina is running a game of Bunkers and Bandits for Lilith, Mordecai and Brick (the prettiest siren). Obviously, B&B is their version of D&D and it’s a fantasy roleplaying game, even if you go in there with the same futuristic weaponry you can use everywhere else as well. Still, this is a good, if somewhat lazy lens to look at that world and come up with deck. Or decks, actually.

The Red problem: So, I though I’d make a few different decks with this theme, because it would be hard to fit everything into one. As I was thinking about the colors each of these would fall into, it felt to me that everyone in the world is very impulsive. Sure, there are degrees on this, but actually not that many. I guess it would be easy to say Mordecai is green while both Roland and Axton are white, with Zer0 and Fl4k being… whatever, but pretty much everyone just follows their instincts and rationalizes their decisions later.

But here goes, based on BL3

  • We have Crimson Raiders with Lilith as their Commander at RW (she probably started as pure R, but as she took on the commanding role, she developed a white side). Maybe an angel? Feather, the Redeemed will encourage various buffs, so I’ll go with that.
  • Children of the Vault commanded by Troy and Tyreen would be partners, if there were appropriate partners in RB, but since we don’t Tyreen gets to be the commander, while Troy is the lieutenant. There’s so many appropriate choices here: Anje Falkenrath, Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch, Judith, the Scourge Diva, Lyzolda, the Blood Witch or Garna, the Bloodflame. She does like to eat her followers, so I guess Lyzolda is the right choice. Troy can be Tymaret, the Murder King
  • Maliwan, as commanded by Katagama, Jr. gets to be UR because of the elemental damage thing-y. Some sort of equipment theme might be good, but I decided to go with Tawnos, Urza’s Apprentice
  • Atlas and Jakobs don’t offer much in the way of variety, and while Hyperion, the Bonded or Eista’s Fight Club clan might be more interesting, I decided to go with Guardians, which in itself is a bit problematic. What are they supposed to be? They are basically made of energy in BL3, where they only have shield health (in some cases armor as well). But again, Tina comes to our help. How would she put these into her game? They are spirits and the Vault monsters are monsters, easy. So they are UG. Who leads them? We meet someone in Pre-Sequel, but that’s soon forgotten. I’ll just use Rashmi, Eternities Crafter, because the Eridians, who built this faction, tried to plan for everything.

Now, obviously, I’m not pushing any of the decks in any way. Well, maybe a little bit, but mostly this is not about that. I wouldn’t add cards that are completely useless, because they are no fun, but we’ll see. I’ll still go flavor first.

Let’s start with Guardians. Now, I’m going to have some huge monsters, but mostly I want to keep the curve pretty low, since we don’t have much in the way of ramp. So, mostly blue will be spirits and green will provide the muscle. Is there synergy here? Hardly. I guess I also need to include one huge Eldrazi Titan to be the Destroyer. I also put in a few creatures with Monstrous or Adapt because the monsters sometimes have two forms. And it does give the deck some flexibility.

I’ll also let you figure out the mana on your own. It shouldn’t be too complicated. If you want to make this work, just use whatever duals you have. Just remember to play enough of them. I’ll leave room for 46 mana sources. I guess you could add some manarocks as De Leon says “everything around here runs on crystals”.

The few spells in the deck revolve around exploration and curiosity, which seems to have been a guiding force behind their weird little experimentation.

Many of the cards in this deck are from Kamigawa, so this might be just a little bit underpowered.

On to the Children of the Vault. Gladly, Rakdos gives us many, many cards to use here. I put in a few transform-cards to play the part of the Anointed. I made tinks goblins. Again, add your own manabase. 40 lands should be enough.

Maliwan… fire, ice and shock. That should be easy enough. A lot of haste, lot of instants and some heavies. Energy is a key thing here. There’s room for 41 lands here. That might be a bit too many, as there are quite a few cheap cantrips.

Finally, Crimson Raiders. They’ve never had that many members, so there won’t be many here either. The ones we have are largely interested in artifacts in some way. There’s no way I’m going to be able to fit everyone into WR, so I’ve had to lose Tannis and Mordecai for example. Actually, I’d be happy if I could find representatives for even 10 of the 20 playable characters across the series. (Not counting Rhys or Fiona here.) I’ve had to do quite a bit of stretching to get even this far. Tannis gets to be presented by books. Jalum Tome because her erratic nature sometimes makes her unhelpful. Like the previous decks, just add 40 lands of your own choosing.

Otherwise, there’s plenty of hardware in different forms and some sagas, because much of the game is actually told after the fact by Marcus.

This deck is so much more powerful than the others, that this is probably a sort of archenemy deck.

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