Tuesday Night Takeover

Arna Kennerüd, Skycaptain Voltron Brewed EDH

“In me will rise the strength of a thousands swords… The fury of a thousand flames…”

Art:Arna Kennerüd, Skycaptain by Cristi Balanescu

Arna is an absolute EDH powerhouse; this card is crazy; while we don’t take a huge advantage out of the first part of their ability we absolutely abuse the second part, and having multiple copies of cards like All That Glitters or Colossus Hammer as well as free-equips like Puresteel Paladin and Forge Anew and we have a wild gameplan that allows us to hit like a truck and put a ton of pressure on our opponents, while all of the big-damage and one-shots are great one of the best elements of this deck is the high density of card draw which allows us to turn on sweet cards like Nerd Rage and keep our hand full is always nice. Who doesn’t love a commander who can provide so much utility and damage, this card is a pressure machine that is made even harder to remove with its ward ability. I almost never play Esper decks, so this is an awesome breath of fresh air for my deckbuilding and me. This commander has a lot of hype surrounding them for a good reason, so tap in, and without further adieu, let’s get it!

The Deck:

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Arna Kennerüd, Skycaptain Voltron!

Commander (1)
Arna Kennerud, Skycaptain

Creatures (16)
Hangarback Walker
Kor Spiritdancer
Ocelot Pride
Baleful Strix
Puresteel Paladin
Stoneforge Mystic
Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist
Brass Squire
Codsworth, Handy Helper
Danitha Capashen, Paragon
Envoy of the Ancestors
Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor
Armored Skyhunter
Halvar, God of Battle
Towashi Guide-Bot
Stonehewer Giant

Instants (10)
Anguished Unmaking
Deadly Rollick
Path to Exile
Strix Serenade
Stroke of Midnight
Swan Song
Swords to Plowshares
Void Rend

Sorceries (5)
Brilliant Restoration
Steelshaper’s Gift
Supreme Verdict

Artifacts (20)
Bloodforged Battle-Axe
Colossus Hammer
Lavaspur Boots
Pip-Boy 3000
Sol Ring
Anduril, Narsil Reforged
Arcane Signet
Cranial Plating
Dowsing Dagger
Inquisitorial Rosette
Nuka-Nuke Launcher
Silver Shroud Costume
Talisman of Dominance
Talisman of Hierarchy
Talisman of Progress
Thran Power Suit
Sword of Hearth and Home
Sword of Sinew and Steel
Sword of War and Peace
Nazgul Battle-Mace

Enchantments (13)
Sigarda’s Aid
All That Glitters
Spirit Mantle
Staggering Insight
Forge Anew
Nerd Rage
Shielded by Faith
Steel of the Godhead
Sage’s Reverie
Mantle of the Ancients
Righteous Authority
Lands (35)
Academy Ruins
Ancient Den
Archway of Innovation
Flooded Strand
Godless Shrine
Hallowed Fountain
Marsh Flats
Monumental Henge
Morphic Pool
Otawara, Soaring City
Polluted Delta
Raffine’s Tower
Reliquary Tower
Sea of Clouds
Seat of the Synod
Vault of Champions
Watery Grave

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Why Arna Kennerüd, Skycaptain?

Arna Kennerüd is a huge part of our deck; while we are able to run the deck and function perfectly fine without them, we definitely are a lot stronger and have way more one-shot potential when we do control our commander; our commander is great to give our modified creatures even more counters but what is way more relevant for our deck is being able to make copies of every non-token permanent attached which gets absolutely insane with cards like All That Glitters and honestly pretty much anything else, our commander is insane and allows us to do a ridiculous amount of damage.


The gameplan of the deck is pretty simple, start getting out strong early-game creatures like Baleful Strix or Kor Spiritdancer and start loading them up with equipment and auras, then the most important step is to get our commander out, when that happens if we even have a couple auras on any of our creatures we are able to deal a ton of damage and put a ton of pressure on our opponents. For starting hands, I like to have two to three lands, preferably dual’s, but if we don’t get them, that’s fine, as well as a couple creatures/auras or equipment; in my many games of testing, I found that to be the best-starting hand to look for, this deck can definitely run decently well on five and six card hands so don’t be afraid to mulligan if you draw a bad hand.

Deck Matchups:

Since this is EDH, there are an absolute ton of things that can tip a game in your favor or out of it. While an archetype may seem favorable, there are absolutely good and bad commanders for our deck to go up against; I have included both these, which were all played among my testing groups using various decks, and I have included the sample size for clarity purposes. This is just meant to be a guide after testing a bunch of games with this deck!

The information below is notes about specific decks that were featured in our testing pods and how we fared against them. Naturally, EDH is a multiplayer game, so these are just a summary of my notes against different commanders and strategies. When we test these decks we try to test to its strengths and weaknesses to give a full spectrum of what the deck has to offer. Various commanders and archetypes/strategies are used to get the most accurate information.

Commanders, we have a good matchup against:

Kaalia of the Vast Record against Kaalia of the Vast 6-0

This is a great matchup for us; for the most part, all we have to do is remove their commander before they can attack, which is pretty easy to do in this deck as we are packing a lot of removal. Kaalia can get out of the head of us in some games, but being able to wipe the board helps as well. This is a great matchup for us.

Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale Record against Syr Gwyn 6-2

Syr Gwyn is a true Voltron v Voltron matchup, and that is perfectly okay with us. Because of our commander and our overall high damage output, we pretty much just steamroll our opponents. Their commander is just a little bit more expensive than ours, but that extra turn can make a big difference. This is a good matchup, but one I still like to be careful with because it can be dangerous, and Syr Gwyn can hit very hard if they get set up.

The Scarab God Record against The Scarab God 3-0

While The Scarab God does have a strong early-game presence, we outpace them pretty quickly, as long as they don’t ramp their commander out, this is a good matchup for us, even though they come back being able to keep The Scarab God off of the field is a huge part of the gameplan, we are better than them in combat for the most part and without their huge damage trigger from their commander they can be quite weak.

Commanders, we have a tough matchup against:

Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph Record against Ghyrson Starn 0-5

This is a tough matchup, while we can one-shot them with our commander it can be tough to get to that point especially because they have a lot of removal that can kill a lot of our creatures and commander, they also have a ton of cheap and free damage spells which make it quite hard to build up a board, this is a very tough matchup for our deck.

Karlov of the Ghost Council Record against Karlov 1-3

We do have quite a bit of damage within our deck so our opponents gaining life isn’t that much of a problem for us, what is a major problem is that our opponents can easily exile our commander and a lot of our creatures which makes it hard to establish our gameplan, we rely a lot on our creatures being able to stick around for at least a little bit so not being able to keep them on the board really sucks. This matchup is winnable if we use our removal to keep our opponents commander off of the field but overall is a tough matchup.

Bristly Bill, Spine Sower Record against Bristly Bill, Spine Sower 2-5

A tough but winnable matchup, the main reason this matchup is tough is because we are unable to stop them in the early-game and if we don’t have the necessary removal to take care of their commander this can be a tough matchup, a hand full of removal is the key to winning this one but their strong early-game hurts us a lot.

Deck Overview:

This section contains information about cards in the deck and how they function within the deck! I also highlighted some of my favorite cards in the deck!


We have a ton of awesome creatures, so let’s go over some of the best of the best! Definitely, one of my favorites is Codsworth, Handy Helper. The ward for our commander can be great since so many decks play a ton of single-target removal these days, and the protection is great. The best part of Codsworth is the free equipment, which is perfect for expensive equipment like Colossus Hammer. Free equipment is always nice, which is also why we are running Puresteel Paladin, another absolute staple of equipment-focused decks. Ocelot Pride is a new card out of MH3 which is absolutely busted in this deck; since we have quite a few ways to gain life on our turn we can turn that into extra copies of our auras and equipments, you thought two copies of a crazy aura/equipment was ridiculous just wait till we have five! Ocelot Pride also works very well directly with Envoy of the Ancestors, this also positions us quite well against aggressive strategies since we are able to gain a ton of life and outpace their damage. Pearl-Ear, Imperial Advisor is another brand new card that is perfect for the deck, the card draw is what we are really here for but the additional affinity discount can be very strong as well.


Removal and counterspells are truly the name of the game here; we don’t have much fun or even anything interesting at instant speed; we are straight-up focused on stopping our opponents and countering their removal spells/board wipes. One card I do want to highlight is Fumble which is a great way to protect our commander or really any creature that we have buffed up a ton with auras and equipments and throw them to another creature, which is really strong if we have just one creature buffed up like crazy and we don’t have any protection for them, this card isn’t run much in commander so we can get an easy gotcha.


We don’t have a ton of sorceries, but all of them are pretty awesome; because of the high density of counterspells within the format, I find it pretty strong to be running Supreme Verdict over other board wipes, being uncounterable can be very relevant in a ton of matchups, and if hey that doesn’t work we also have Damn which is a great way to take out the board and just leave our stuff around. While it’s great that we have board wipes, sadly, our opponents have them as well; because of this, we have Brilliant Restoration, which is an amazing way to recover, especially after a sweeping spell that takes out our artifacts/enchantments.


Since we are in Esper, we don’t have a lot of mana ramp through spells or creatures, so we have to rely on cards like Arcane Signet, Sol Ring and the Talismans to help speed out our commander, these are all great and cheap options and can provide a decent amount of speed and mana fixing for the deck, definitely prioritize good hands that also include these rocks. Moving on from the mana rocks, we have so much sweet equipment that just gets ridiculous when we have multiples like Colossus Hammer, which is amazing and allows us to hit for so much damage, and with some of the free equips we have in the deck just a sweet asset to have. Since we are running twenty artifacts ,Cranial Plating is quite ridiculous as well, it gets even crazier when we have two, especially since we can move the original around and give a token copy to all of our creatures. We also have a trio of swords that get very out of hand, with my personal favorite being Sword of War and Peace, which is a great source of life gain/damage to our opponents and with multiple copies and can be a great swing for the deck.


Since we are a focused mix of artifacts and enchantments, you know we have the best of the best, All That Glitters is a very ridiculous card, especially when we have our commander and can make additional copies, the only thing worse than one All that Glitters is a second one. We have a lot of supplemental card draw from our enchantments like Staggering Insight and Righteous Authority so we are easily able to take advantage of cards like Nerd Rage and hit like an absolute truck, and hey who can say no to a ton of cards in hand.

Land Base:

After a ton of testing, I believe that thirty-five lands are perfect for the deck; in a bunch of games of testing, I had no issues with mana flood or mana screw. We are quite quick in the lands; while we do have a lot of base we play all of the on-color fetches, shocks, and opponent lands allow us to get our colors established quickly and cool non-basics like Academy Ruins allows us to recur some of the best equipment that we have, while there isn’t a ton of interesting lands within the deck this landbase works very well for the deck.

Strengths of the Deck:

  • We are a damage powerhouse and can easily overwhelm and one-shot our opponents.
  • We have quite a bit of removal allowing us to remove opponents threats with ease.
  • Our commander is hard to remove not only because of our protection from our deck but the ward can be a deterrent especially for aggressive strategies.

Weaknesses of the Deck:

  • We can take some early damage from heavy-creature-based strategies as we are quite low on creatures compared to many of the decks in the format.
  • Very weak to artifact and enchantment hate, we really don’t want to see something like a Vandalblast.
  • Without some of our artifact ramp like Sol Ring and the talismans we can have an unimpressive early game.

Deck Stats:

Sample Hands:


Arnu Kennerüd, Skycaptain, is a very cool commander and honestly a damage powerhouse; this deck is a ton of fun, and Esper is one of my least played color combinations in EDH, so being able to get more reps with Esper is a blast. I have been having so much fun with this deck and have been enjoying one-shotting and hitting my opponents like a truck.