The All Silver-Bordered Challenge - My Surgeon General Commander Decklist

Tim Murphy
March 02, 2020

Magic: The Gathering is a game that provides us with plenty of mental exercise. Today’s challenge was one I never imagined I would face: I built an all silver-border commander deck. It was difficult, it was interesting, but most of all it was loads of fun. And now I’m going to walk you through the process so you can build your own. 

The first question you have to ask yourself when building with un-cards is how “Silver” you’re willing to go. Every silver bordered card requires deep reading and a jovial attitude, and that can be a smidge more effort than you’re willing to put in for your nightly game. There isn’t a single simple card in the silver border. Every one is a little toy by itself that you get to pick up, smile, and play with. But you should keep in mind how open your playgroup is to these kinds of decks. Are they okay with one or two silver bordered cards in your deck so long as they’re not too annoying to play around? Are they okay with all silver bordered cards so long as they don’t have to buy you a drink or crawl under the table? Bring these questions up with your playgroup before going out and buying the cards because there is nothing worse than showing up on a Saturday night with a deck box and a fresh pack of Homelands just to find out that no one wants to play against your Wordy-tribal deck.


For this deck I tried to find a happy medium that would have all the charm and fun of a silver-bordered deck without making the games take too long or the table get too cluttered. I wanted to make a list that anyone could sleeve up and bring to their commander night to get the full un-card experience. If your playgroup is all on the same page, it is far easier to build a deck that includes silver and black bordered cards but nowhere near as wackadoodle, and I am Mr. Wackadoodle. To avoid some potential feel-bads I chose not to include any Gotcha cards and to maintain some semblance of simplicity I did not include any contraptions. However, every deck is a work in progress so I’ve left in some cards that you can use to build around (such as Crafty Octopus) incase you want to take things in a different direction than I have.

 My All Silver-Bordered Commander Deck: The Doctor is In

The Commander I chose for this build is the most magical wombat in the game, Surgeon General Commander. I chose him in order to include all of our favorite un-cards in the deck and due to the fact he taps for all colors, he has a WUBGR color identity.

I leaned very heavily into the Augment theme. This was the mechanic I was most excited about when Unstable hit the shelves and I thought it just needed that little extra push that was delivered in the Unsanctioned previews last month. If you wanted to build a silver and black border version of this Augment themed deck then I would recommend you choose Dr. Julius Jumblemorph as he is a bit more focused. In this case, the doctor makes a valued member of our ninety-nine. For an all silver deck I found the access to all five colors is really needed. Augment is a very fun ability that makes your creatures very adaptable. You’ll want to do everything you can to keep your hosts alive until you can get the right augments on them and really capitalize off of the draw ability on our commander to make all your best cards into cantrips. My best advice for players coming from black border is to think of your augment deck like an enchantment aura deck. You want to maintain a small selection of powerful creatures that you can augment as suits your needs. Soon you’ll be comboing off on your augmented hosts and keeping your hand full while your opponents are still trying to understand how you made a multi-headed kangaroo.


There are a host of limitations when building only silver border commander that you should consider before going out and building your own. First and foremost in five colors: there are very few silver bordered non-basic lands. You’ll notice my list has forty-one lands, only one of which is non-basic. As is often true in black border, we want to prioritize green because that is the color that will most easily get us our other basics. The ramp in un-cards isn’t great, so when you come across your Selfie Preservation or Land Aid ‘04 you should take a close look at your hand and see what color pips you’re going to need more than just Surgeon General's ability to cast. 


Another point to consider is your removal. You’ll have the best removal Un-sets can provide, but that isn’t much. We’ve got two burn spells (One of which only deals 3.14159 damage), one conditional kill spell, one Really Epic Punch, and a couple of jail spells with GO TO JAIL and AWOL. This is not a removal package you want to bring up against your friends’ black border deck without some politicking, but I guarantee you no one else in silver border will have as many tools on the surgeon’s table as you will.

Decks like these are a treat to write about because I don’t have to worry about high tech mana/power ratings or CEDH opinions. This deck is for fun. I had a great time deckbuilding and I hope you enjoyed reading about this project. I want each and every one of you reading this to think about your magic games and how you can have more fun with your friends playing this incredible game. 


Would stopping by your LGS for an Urza, Academy Headmaster and sneaking it into your deck in between games make your friends laugh? Would it make you smile? We commander players think so much about the power ratings of our decks and the line between CEDH and casual commander. Sometimes we forget the joy we all had in those couple months that Unstable was legal in commander. Next time you come to your LGS for an EDH night don’t be afraid to ask your pod if they’re okay with a couple silver bordered cards (Or even this whole silver bordered deck), if i’m there I’ll be happy as a Clamilton to see what wacky stuff we get into. You can always have a couple cards ready to swap out, and the worst thing a pod can say is “no.” Let the standard players have their win/loss ratios. We’re the fun format my friends, and it never hurts to remind each other of that. 

P.S. If you want some added/kind-of on theme fun. Go ahead and check out what wacky Playtest cards from the Mystery Booster: Convention Edition you’d consider including in this deck. Let me know your favorites in the comments!