Oloro: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

When you think to yourself "I want to build a commander deck centered around gaining life" one of the very first cards that come to most players minds is Oloro, Ageless Ascetic. He's perfect for this style of deck having a static ability that gains life on each of your turns without even being on the field, and when played can produce a massive advantage drawing cards and draining your opponents life away for doing what you've set out to do, gain life. 

Now you would be absolutely correct in assuming that building around his life gain mechanic is the optimal way to take advantage of this cards abilities and color profile to maximize his usefulness, but what if I told you that there was a more out of the box way to build a deck around Oloro that turns him into a mono white control deck? That's exactly what I'm going to highlight for you today. 



At this point, you might be thinking "why would I not use all of his colors" and to that the only reasonable response is to confuse your friends and have a hell of a lot of fun doing it. While your friends and opponents wait for you to start playing dual lands and other resources to help you cast Oloro, all the while thinking "Man, he must be drawing bad". This is our opportunity to set our plans into motion. Over the course of the game you will never cast Oloro, not once. Every turn that passes you will just sit there and gain life, which brings me to the core of the deck, board wipes. 


Since we're playing mono white, we have access to an absurd amount of board wipes. There are well over 25 unique spells for monowhite that either exile or destroy all of your opponents creatures, leaving zero room for your opponents to keep anything on board. With so many board wipes in the deck it will be nearly impossible for your opponents to play any creatures and by extension land enough damage to kill you. Remember that were gaining life every turn, so actually killing you through damage is going to be an extremely aggravating challenge for your opponents. 

At this point you're probably wondering how we win (outside of your opponents ripping their hair out trying to get through the onslaught you're dishing out and failing) and to that the only logical answer is one of a few cards that outright win you the game for having more than a specified life total. Felidar Sovereign and Test of Endurance are the two main win conditions in the deck. 



Keeping in mind that these win conditions can indeed be stopped, a little bit of additional support is needed to really flesh out the deck as a whole too. Cards like Teferi's Protection and the new card The Stasis Coffin from the upcoming set The Brothers' War will help you keep everything intact while you coast your clean board to victory. Don't forget to add in a few behemoths like Avacyn, Angel of hope or Zetalpa, Primal Dawn that can act as a back up win condition too and will survive any destructive force you reign down on your opponents. 

At the end of the day, if you're like me, sometimes you just want to watch the world burn (or your friends) and this mono white Oloro strategy is the perfect way to accomplish this. 

Keith Heard

Board wipeCommanderEdhLife gainMagic the gatheringMtg