MTG Commander Focus: Ulalek, Fused Atrocity LX

This article will be part of a series on playing Eldrazi in Commander alongside the recent release of a bunch of new ones in Modern Horizons 3. Ulalek, Fused Atrocity is a good commander for a midrange revamp of the Eldrazi Incursion precon because of his unique abilities. Morophon, the Boundless is an Eldrazi in disguise who can allow you to cheat out huge threats for WUBRG, or even free, and as he’s all colorless mana to cast you can ramp hideously with the Tron lands and artifacts so even if they blow Morphon out of the water you can just keep dropping titanic threats. Finally, new commander Azlask, the Swelling Scourge is practically designed to be a go-wide Scions and Spawns token deck.

I think the Eldrazi are super neat, and they are also super on theme for battlecruiser EDH. They are huge threats that come out of the Blind Eternities with abilities like Annihilator. I’m a personal fan of cosmic horror, though unfortunately the unknowable strangeness of creatures that are fundamentally antithetical to our reality mostly just have big stats and annihilator in the game currently. The most interesting Eldrazi are the ones like Void Winnower that change the game state, so it’s sad they didn’t go whole hog and do something like print an Eldrazi that reverses the order of phases or something like that.

All those ramblings aside, Ulalek is an awesome Eldrazi commander, essentially a five color colorless commander. The way color identity works feels a little strange with Devoid, allowing you to play all 5 colors in your deck even though Ulalek itself is colorless. While the rules committee could’ve chosen to carve out devoid as functioning separate from color identity, it’s understandable that they haven’t. There are all the fun Eldrazi with devoid you can’t run in a traditional colorless deck, though prior to MH3 there really weren’t enough devoid Eldrazi to truly function as a deck, but now they have a home. It’s pretty clear that Ulalek is designed exactly this way, to be a 5-color colorless commander.

In any case, given the 120 life you have to grind through in Commander, quickly dropping a 10/10 with annihilator isn’t anywhere near as dangerous to life totals as it would be in standard play. Though it IS fun. It does seem likely to make you archenemy of the table, but so what? You’re going to be dropping Eldrazi titans every turn. Your deck is full of giant creatures with bizarre abilities that cost insane amounts of mana, but since it’s all colorless mana, you can mad ramp with mana rocks and Eldrazi lands and cost reducers.

There are two versions of this deck you could build: the regular version is a bog standard ramp big, drop fatties deck, while the LX version we’re building is a mostly pure colorless and devoid deck which runs very few colored cards. The LX version is meant to be played in a more competitive, aggressive environment and doesn’t care about price; for most commander play, it’s generally assuming you’re using proxies (i.e. ABUR duals).

Playing any of these decks follows a fairly simple formula – early ramp into a big fatty, followed up with more fatties. You’ll want to focus on any Eldrazi that refill your hand as a cast trigger to ensure you have resources to keep pumping out more Eldrazi; you really just want to flood the whole zone with threats.

As always with Eldrazi you need to ramp. If you don’t like the way this version plays, feel free to customize your solution to the Eldrazi mana problem. You’re looking for an early Forest, into hopefully one of your 3 cost grab two basic lands spells like Cultivate, then one or two of the primo Eldrazi lands. The deck has multiple lands that effectively generate multiple colorless:

You’ll default to searching for Eye of Ugin, since it reduces the cost of your Eldrazi spells by two, meaning it can technically be worth even more than 2 mana to you in a turn. However, if you have either Tomb of Yawgmoth or Cabal Coffers, tutor for the other piece with your unconditional land tutors:

If you glance at the talismans and search lands, you’ll note that each of them can tap for green or else fetch a Forest, because green is your most important color. After that, you want to fill out all five of your colors, since there are random spells that cost 1 of various colored mana. There’s only one spell with a double colored mana cost, Flare of Cultivation, which can also be cast for free by sacrificing a creature.

You want to preferentially use your 3 cost tutors since they will grab you two lands (generally speaking). Ulalek takes rather a lot of mana to do his thing, if you’re casting a Desolation Twin for 10 mana, then you still need 2 more to pay for Ulalaek’s trigger. Twelve is rather a lot, so this deck is a bit of slow burn, ramp and battlecruiser. In the mid game though you can get some bangers out like Sire of Stagnation and this should help you not stagnate or stall. If you’re able to duplicate that, it’s a lot.

This deck is intentionally designed to fully leverage Ulalak’s ability by not running legendary creatures, since copies of those permanents would instantly go to your graveyard on entering. His ability is a bit confusing, so this is a good opportunity to parse it out.

Whenever you cast an Eldrazi spell, you may pay {C}{C}. If you do, copy all spells you control, then copy all other activated and triggered abilities you control. You may choose new targets for the copies. (Mana abilities can’t be copied.)

So, how does this resolve in practice? You have Ulalek, Fused Atrocity in play. You cast an Eldrazi spell with a cast trigger, like Devourer of Destiny, and Ulalek also creates a trigger. You’re the active player so you can choose the order, generally you’d put Destiny’s trigger on the stack first, then the Ulalek trigger. Ulalek follows the same LIFO (last in, first out) rules as anything else for the stack, so the second trigger on the stack resolves before the first. If you choose to pay 2 colorless mana, then Ulalek will create a copy of Devourer of Destiny (copies of permanent spells become token copies). However, your token copy of Devourer of Destiny will not itself create another cast trigger, because it’s not being cast, merely copied. Ulalek’s triggered ability to pay two will then also copy the original Devourer of Destiny cast trigger still on the stack. So for nine mana, you’ll get to exile 2 permanents that are one or more colors, and get both your original creature and a token copy of your 6/6 Eldrazi. All that said, if there is an Ulalek trigger on the stack and you manage to cast another Eldrazi spell such as Eldritch Immunity, you’ll have the opportunity to pay again, which will duplicate the original Ulalak trigger.

So let’s take our earlier example, Ulalek in play, cast Devourer, then while you still have priority, “in response” cast Crib Swap. Crib Swap has changeling, so it’s an Eldrazi spell. Now the stack will look like this:

  1. Devourer trigger
  2. Ulalek Trigger
  3. Crib Swap
  4. Ulalalek Trigger

The second Ulalalek trigger resolves; you pay two mana. This duplicates every spell, trigger, and activated ability on the stack. When this resolves, you’ll have this stack:

  1. Devourer Trigger
  2. Ulalalek Trigger
  3. Crib Swap
  4. Devourer Triger
  5. Ulalek Trigger
  6. Crib Swap

So this can go on forever, if you have the mana. Once you manage to get two Ulalek triggers onto the stack, (Crib Swap, Nameless Inversion, Eldrazi with Flash) you can just keep copying. Basalt Monolith, for example, has an activated ability “Pay 3: Untap Basalt Monolith”. This untap is not a mana ability, it’s activated, meaning it will be duplicated if it’s one the stack while all this is resolving. Which means it will untap your monolith twice, which means you can tap it in the middle to generate mana.

However, this deck wasn’t an attempt to make this go infinite; while you can do that, it’s fairly complex. It’s just meant to be a way to create a flashy horde of medium big (by Eldrazi standards) fatties. Things like duplicating Desolation Twin will lead to you having two Twins (10/10s) and 2 token 10/10 Eldrazi. Still, it’s 12 mana.

Echoes of Eternity also exists, and has the potential to double your doubling if you want to make things REALLY complicated.

Here is Ulalek, Rules Atrocity LX:

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