Format Variant – Peasant Dragon Highlander (PDH)

The only 5 color General in the format

It came to my attention (I believe through Trick Jarrett at about a new EDH variant called Peasant Dragon Highlander (PDH). For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of Peasant, it’s the idea of not using rares to build your deck so it’s much more budget friendly. I know that some people complain about some of the rares such as the Revised Duals being way too expensive for use in EDH (I kinda agree to that). If you’re looking for a more wallet friendly option, but still love the idea of EDH, I might suggest giving this format a chance. This idea is even making me consider building one of my own PDH decks.

Here’s the thread from Reddit explaining how this works:

I would like to introduce to you a format that I’ve been playing with my friends for the last couple of months. It was created by the card dealers at Frank and Sons in SoCal, who had way too much time and commons/uncommons on their hands.

We wanted to create a format that was both afforable and presented a variety of different strategies. I’ve found out that the fact that the format is afforable allowed us to build more decks, contributing to the discovery of new strategies and creating a heathly metagame.

Anyways, here are the rules for Peasant EDH:

  • 99 Card Deck 1 General
  • No rares (promos such as Mana Crypt are considered rare)
  • Your general can be any non-rare non-promo creature.
  • Anything that was ever rare is considered rare regardless of previous or current rarity (Hypnotic specter was uncommon in ealier sets, now it is rare.) Other examples include: Serra Angel, Loxodon Warhammer.
  • Exception: City of Brass (We’ve found that manafixing for 3-4 color decks was sparse)
  • You start with 30 Life/ 21 General Damage = Death
  • Dueling (1v1) Format

Suggested Banlist:

Fast Mana Effects:

  • Sol Ring
  • Mana Vault
  • Ancient Tomb


  • Force of Will
  • Library of Alexandria
  • Mana Drain
  • Counterbalance
  • Thopter Foundry


Keep in mind, these are only suggestions. We’ve banned any card over 30 dollars (FoW, Mana Drain) as a general house rule because those cards tend to be promblematic in powerlevel as well.

Yes, this format is intended not to be multiplayer, but it could be exciting. While Sol Ring is banned (a favorite and rumored to be in the From the Vault: Relics set coming out in August), there are still plenty of good commons and uncommon cards to make a deck. There are still different ideas but same concept decks that you can do since only very few variables changed (Life, rarity, 1v1, banned list). Tinker is still allowed (Most powerful artifacts are rare) and Channel is still okay (very few Eldrazi).

I’ve heard of Jonathan Media of (Now building a Rhox War Monx deck. I’m seriously thinking about wanting to build a few of these to let other people that haven’t played EDH before get a chance at the format without letting them play with my expensive cards (I don’t know how people shuffle and I’m sacred sometimes of them ruining my cards). Plus, it’s another chance to play different cards that I wouldn’t because they wouldn’t make the cut in a regular EDH deck.

Let me pose you guys these questions: A) Are you guys interested in this format as a change of pace and B) would you like some coverage here on 99EDH?

Share your thoughts either on twitter (@mtgcolorpie) or down below.

14 responses to “Format Variant – Peasant Dragon Highlander (PDH)

  • leppa

    Personally, I build Peasant decks for Generals like Uril the Miststalker so that my playgroup can still have fun if I play it.
    I’m interested in coverage because seeing the new ideas and strategies that could emerge interests me.
    I’m not so sure about content regarding the format itself though as personally I doubt I’ll play it any time soon.

  • RubyApple

    I really like this format, simply because it helps cheaper but interesting creatures shine, and also lacks the problems with insane combos and table domination that are more common to competitive EDH. Building a good deck in this format requires a bit more creativity, and while you could run something like Bloodbraid Elf as a general, you will run into the issue of a lack of synergy. On the other hand, card like Mistmeadow Witch, which I did throw together a deck for, tend to shine a bit more due to that they can easily be build around for synergy alone. In addition, I love the price difference. Putting together a deck for this format is extremely cheap and easy in contrast to my Azami EDH I am working on, which will run me upwards of 120 dollars. I would like to see some more coverage on this format, but I don’t particularly expect it, unfortunately.

  • toni

    very interested. 2 good ideas combined

  • NINJA Dusk2Dawn

    Just wrote a small article on how i couldn’t play this format without thopter/sword being banned…but it is!!! I will bring this up next FNM.

  • DGent

    I think PDH would be an excellent thing to cover. It would definitely drive down the price of making a competitive EDH deck if the local store encourages Peasant formats. If you were to cover some potentially powerful generals and strategies for PDH, I would gladly spread the word amongst the local game stores. Honestly, I would much rather dig through all the old, fun cards I never use anymore to make a PDH, than spend hundreds of dollars looking for Sol Rings, dual lands, Force of Wills, etc. etc. just to be competitive in the current EDH environment. I look forward to seeing coverage of this!!!
    I’m also curious about how PDH would turn out if you were allowed to have a rare general. As mentioned earlier: Uril the Miststalker (my current) and Sek’Kuar Deathkeeper (my current work in progress) would be a lot of fun to play around with when there are fewer broken cards.

    • Owen

      Hi DGent, we’re doing exactly that: you’re allowed a rare/mythic as your general but no other rares. We have only 1 banned card and that’s Uril as a general. The first few games were pretty much one way traffic but, since the ban, things have evened out. Our rarity rule is also the opposite of the one in the article: as long as it was once uncommon, you can play it. I suppose that’s really only relevant for Loxodon Warhammer in our group though. ;o)

      The one disadvantage this set-up has is that, if your deck is not pushing a theme or tribe, like-coloured decks generally have the best available cards in their colours so the two mono-Green decks each have easily 20+ cards overlapping. It can get dull so it’s really up to you to push the flavour and make your deck distinctive.

  • changermagic

    Pee-Dee-Aych Plawks?

    Seriously though, I think you still need to allow rare creatures for the general.

    Otherwise it really just kneecaps the flavor of the entire thing.

  • Jud

    I threw a PDH deck together. The General is Juniper Order Ranger. It is full of Ramp, token making, gating creatures, and some pumps in the form of enchanments and a Behemoth. It seems a little broken. Anytime you can go General and then the next turn a Kozilek’s Predator or something like that and then a trample enchantment it would seem game over. Format looks fun and I love deck building challenges. If it catches on, it would be interesting to see what the power houses are. I was already thinking the already mentioned Mistmeadow Witch, or Juniper Order Ranger, Arsenal Thresher, Glassdust Hulk, or Gloryscale Viashino. Maybe even Blizzard Specter, Nucklavee, or 1 of the Guild Mages. I wonder how Quasili Ambusher would work as a general. Would he be free each time you were attacked?

  • charmer

    Sound interesting.

    I’m testing another more accessible EDH Variant: liteEDH. The Rules are very simple:

    Everything is as in EDH except for:

    No rares or mythics in the 99 cards, but if something was released as uncommon in the past, it is allowed,

    General’s mana cost must be 5 or less,

    Players start at 30 life.

    And that’s it. I expect the games to be faster, as full EDH game easily takes an hour or more in multiplayer. Your watchlist makes sense, I’m just not sure about the Foundry – how broken is it without the Sword?

  • Vishu

    A local store near me (in Bluebell, PA, suburbs of Philly) developed a PDH format of their own almost a year and a half ago, with some interestingly different changes. The general must be an uncommon creature, cards are all played at their lowest rarity, and only 7 additional uncommons are allowed in the deck, aside from the general. While not having a rare general might not capture the flavor of edh, the uncommon restrictions certainly epitomize what we know and love about peasant. They ran some tournaments, as a 1v1 format lends itself to much more naturally, but the guy whose brainchild it was became too busy with other store events to continue to run the events. In our initial 5-6 tournaments led to the banning of psychatog and sensei’s top, tog for power level reasons, as he deals 21 embarrassingly easily, and top because of it’s gamebreaking effect with counterbalance, and also because it generally added an unwelcome time component to games and matches. We had a 10 card sideboard and in your 110 you had to still have only 7 uncommons outside of the general, but you could theoretically have them all in your sideboard if you wanted to, and 1 game matches where you could presideboard once both revealed their generals to each other. The format was rather fun and dynamic, and while I would like to see some more price-related bannings, it was still a healthy format. We may have another event soon, in which case I’ll let you know how it goes if people are interested.

  • Epoch

    My Plaxcaster Frogling deck’s been oogling at the new proliferate mechanic.

    I love PDH by the way. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Hoodie_Weather

    I built PDH with Cavern Harpy as the General. I don’t know if I can think of a stronger general. Maybe Goblin Recruiter/Goblin Lackey. But Harpy is nigh un-killable, and makes every Shriekmaw, Riftwing Cloudskate and Mulldrifter just ludicrous amounts of card advantage.

  • MTG_noobie

    Is “Goblin Lackey” an uncommon, Mystic Rare, and or Promo? Was looking to make him a PDH General for a goblin themed deck; figured he would be a powerhouse general choice for the format.

    • MTGColorPie

      Depends on your playgroup. I’d try and get the uncommon so people don’t scream foul. But if they’re smart players they’d know it was an uncommon. And go after you first since you’re playing Goblin Lackey. 🙂

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