Alternative EDH: E. Honda… Better Than You Think

Secret Lair Street Fighter X is here. And a lot has changed since these cards were spoiled over the last four months. Streets of New Cappena has been released as well as Commander Legends 2: Battle for Baldur’s gate. There is product fatigue but the format is definitely in a different place than just a few months ago. While looking at the Street Fighter X cards again I quickly dismissed E. Honda as mono-white and not worth my time, but then I stopped. The cards released over the last year have changed the state of white decks and what once was not viable is now worth consideration. As such, E. Honda is better than you think. 

E Honda 

At six mana E Honda is a little slow to cast especially since mono-white has been handicapped with access to ramp and card draw in the past. This can be worked around as you will not cast your commander early in the game but wait to build your board and then cast it. He’s a butts matter commander which there are better choices. However, sitting as a 0/7 provides the chance to take a player out via voltron strategy has some advantages. He doesn’t look all that great on the surface but he’s better than you think. 

Voltron seems to have fallen out of favor in some commander circles, but E. Honda still has value. Hundred Handed Slap not only buffs himself putting opponents on a two turn clock, but it also buffs your battlefield so that you have an overrun strategy. There is a catch though… you need to have a full grip of cards. You need to draw cards in white. With no help from blue or any of the other colors for that matter. With cards released like Bennie Bracks, Zoologist and Archivist of Oghma I am here to say this is now possible and the card is better than you initially thought.


Voltron may not be your cup of tea. That is OK because the main way this deck can win is by swarming with tokens. Your token’s toughness will be buffed when your commander attacks which in turn increases the damage you will do. The key will be synergizing cards for combat. This means the deck is meant for more casual tables. A competitive environment often relies more on combos for a win and that is not what this commander wants to do. So let’s flood the board and attack. This is a flavor win for Street Fighter X. 

The deck contains fifteen cards that will generate you tokens. Some don’t generate many tokens but they are serviceable. The game is won by large haymaker token generators. Storm Herd and Secure the Wastes are such cards . Secure the Wastes is a little stronger as it is an instant which means you can make them right before you can untap and attack right away with them where Storm Herd is more telegraphed but can provide a shit-ton of tokens for the mana. Annointed Procession will double the tokens made. Akroma’s Memorial would be great in this deck as an alpha strike if all we cared about was the Cobra Kai motto of Strike Fast, Strike Hard, No Mercy. Unfortunately haste lords in mono-white are nonexistent. Rather than include a critical mass of effects that can search for such a single artifact the deck went in a slower direction.  

We want this though white does not have the versatile tools to accomplish it… Yet

Alternate Win Conditions

The deck is casual and wants to attack. Still putting all our eggs into that basket is dangerous. We all want to win in commander better than the 25% average and that might not be achieved if we don’t add in a few additional win conditions.    

Approach of the Second Sun may be slow because of the mana you need to cast it twice in a turn but with a board that prevents attacks will help you and is an excellent alternative win condition. It’s better than you think in this deck. This deck is built to draw cards and you can draw cards as all the turns at the table in order to get you to that second casting faster. This deck contains 26 cards that draw or enhance card draw cards. Yes 26! In mono-white! You will not be waiting seven turns to draw this card again. But when you do you will have the mana to win the game. 

A Fountain of Utility

The second win condition is a newer card in Halo Fountain. It is not as viable for a win condition but it is still possible. Normally if you are tapping tokens in mass you will swing out and win the game. Still, even if your opponent has fog abilities or cards that will keep you winning from combat you can still spend some mana untap them all and win the game. With Halo Fountain you do not need viable attacks you just need to untap your tokens. 

This card is serviceable as a win, but that is a secondary purpose. What we really want are its first two abilities. For one mana it will untap our E. Honda providing a blocker to dissuade our opponents from attacking us. On top of it we will get a token which we can use later in an alpha attack. More importantly, we can use E Honda and another blocker untap and draw a card for two mana. With E. Honda we will happily draw cards all day and if we need it to win we have that in our back pocket as well. This card is strong in our deck.  

Properly Drawing Cards

Because white has different types of card draw, how you play them will help the success of your deck. Cards that cantrip or draw cards off of creature creation should be played first. These cards don’t help your opponents. Alhammarett’s Archive should be played quickly if you have it. It increases the value of the cards you draw and when you finally play your card draw that also benefits your opponents you are breaking the symmetry of the cards like Secret Rendezvous benefiting you. It’s only mid to late game that you want to give cards to your opponents. At this point you know who is behind and who is ahead allowing you to make better decisions. Keep in mind giving your opponents cards in small amounts when you are going to win the game also minimizes the chances of them using those cards against you. 

The Key Three 

All decks have cards that help it run smoothly. You can find the decklist below or you can check out the deck broken up into packages on Here are three cards that show how the deck functions and helps it run smoothly.  

Ancient Gold Dragon

E Honda’s Sumo Spirit ability lets this flier attack as if it has 10 power.

Casual tables will still target this card for removal however it is perfect for these tables because the card is a variable performer. This sort of card where the stakes are high and it is all dependent on a die roll helps invest the table and adds to the experience. While we all like consistency in our decks cards like ancient Gold Dragon engage the table and add to its enjoyment.  

How many tokens do you need to make for the card to be viable? Secure the Wastes will make six tokens for the mana to cast Ancient Gold Dragon. Myr Battlesphere will create three tokens and Heliod, God of the Sun can only activate once for one token. Realistically I think with a 7/10 flier that does ten damage upon combat with E. Honda’s Sumo Spirit ability will be happy with the Myr Battlesphere rate of return or better which means only 10% of the time on your first attack you will not make enough tokens to be satisfied. With ten or more tokens players will be ecstatic which is 55% of the time.

Did I mention E Honda’s Sumo Spirit ability lets this flier attack as if it has 10 power? 

 Otherworld Atlas.  

This card is better than you think in a deck like this one. White already is giving cards to your opponents so if you have to use it early once to get your deck moving it is not that big of a deal. But the upside of this card in this deck is insane. Yes it is slow because you need to take the time to build up counters on the artifact. You will have time though as your opponents will find other threats on the board to target their instant speed removal on. The promise of giving cards to your opponents will help keep it on the board until you are ready to use it. The cards your opponents will draw are less likely to have an effect when you use the atlas to draw cards when you are ready to win the game. 

This card requires several turns to work.  untap effects or proliferate (this deck does not use them with the exception of a lone Karn’s Bastion) can be used to build it up faster. The time is not there to get the Altas above three or four Counters before you will want to use it to draw cards. It may seem you can draw six or so cards and create an insane boost but in reality the time is just not there for that in one activation. Keep in mind drawing three cards with ten tokens out boosts your total power by 30. 

How to Play Atlas 

Playing properly is critical though. You should tap the Atlas right before you untap on your turn to put a counter on it. This will allow you to draw cards over your opponent’s removal if you have to. Then on the turn you are going to win you can tap it after E. Honda attacks because once both abilities are on the stack it does not matter if the Atlas or Honda gets destroyed it will add the cards to the hand and the bonus to the tokens. Finally because you are waiting to add charge counters on your end step you have the option of triggering this artifact to draw cards the turn before you win as well.if you know you don’t have enough power on board to win the game with just one draw consider this option.   

Venser’s Journal

As mentioned above card draw is at a one in four rate for this deck. You will be keeping your hand full as much as possible. Most decks discarding down to seven cards in hand is OK as the best seven cards is usually enough to put you in a position to win. In a Sumo Champion deck it’s the quantity of the cards that wins you the game not the quality of the cards. Thus any card that gives you no maximum hand size is premium.

I like Venser’s Journal the best for this deck because of the life gain it achieves. Sometimes with decks that durdle early while you are building your board players will wage war on your life total. This secondary lifegain will help keep you in games when this happens all the while doing something your deck needs to do for maximum value… provide no maximum hand size. 

Pet Cards. 

Decks are made up of more than cards that appear on their EDHREC pages. These are cards that add to the flavor of the deck or give it a little twist that your opponents are not expecting. They also can be personal favorites that you like to include in decks. These are called pet cards. Here are a few pet cards that made this deck list and why. 

Dragon Throne of Tarkir

This card is in the deck because it provides trample to all your creatures. Trample is few and far between in white so the ability to grant it is huge. Akroma’s Memorial does provide trample as well as haste but this card was included because it can also provide a toughness buff. Your hand is the main buff you will have for your creatures but even two or three additional toughness that this card provides  in addition to that buff and trample can end games. Think of it as Craterhoof Behemoth’s little cousin or an Overrun in white..  

Master of Ceremonies

I think this card gets overlooked in commander circles. The main reason being your opponent gets to choose what they want whereas you do not. This may be the case but the card still provides value as the card triggers for each opponent so you are getting a 3-1 return each upkeep. It also helps that all three modes are beneficial to you. White is getting better at card draw but card draw is the premium result here. Treasures and mana you can store up for explosive turns is never a bad thing. Finally the deck wants to go wide with tokens. With access to the Hundred Hand Slap you can utilize tokens created better than your opponents can except for a few rare cases like Chatterfang. It does not matter what your opponent chooses, you benefit. 

Odric Master Tactician

While not an alternate win condition for the deck, Odric is definitely a win condition and is a must answer card or the game will be over. Once Odric attacks whether he gets removed or not the trigger goes on the stack and the simplest answer is just declare nobody blocks and it’s game over. Even in the voltron version of the deck you will have some creatures lying around to attack with Odric ensuring you take out the biggest threat to you with commander damage. 

Pursuit of Knowledge

This is an old card from all the way back in Stronghold. It does run the risk of a blow out if someone removes it. The good news is that the card is an enchantment and players normally do not run enough removal for them. It is a little slow except in a deck like this that has the opportunity to draw plenty of cards. And the payoff of drawing seven cards when you want to nets you four cards for four mana which beats the target rate of 1.5 mana per card. If you need to draw seven early you can but is best if utilized similarly as Otherworld Atlas. If it’s targeted for destruction just use the card then and there. Otherwise wait for your alpha strike and buff each creature’s toughness by seven. 

Shrine of Loyal Legions

Now forgotten from the New Phyrexia set the shrine cycle has some reasonable applications in certain mono-colored decks. This is the deck for it. Like some of the other cards in this deck it’s slower and builds up over time as there is a guarantee of one counter per turn. There are exactly 50 cards in this deck that are white. The counters will not exactly go too wild but they will grow to a decent enough size to supplement your tokens well when you pop the shrine. It is an activated ability as well. This allows you to pop the shrine right before your turn giving the tokens pseudo-haste and swing out for the win. 

Teleportation Circle

This deck is certainly not a blink strategy but it does have its uses. First there are creature cantrips. Cantrips help keep your hand full but in this case we can gain card advantage by blinking them over and over again. Then there are additional enter the battlefield effects that can provide additional value. Kor Cartographer, Scouting Hawk and Myr Battlesphere provide some significant value. Finally it provides pseudo vigilance for your commander. Go ahead swing with Sumo Champion then untap him at the end of the turn. Even better when he enters the battlefield it triggers Mentor of the Meek, Welcoming Vampire and Rumor Gatherer

Well of Knowledge

White can still use card draw. What is interesting about this card is that opponents are less likely to use the card. I’ve played games where this card sat on the table and my opponents did not use it. Maybe they do not see it and forget they can use the ability. More likely I think at the draw phase of a turn they are less willing to spend mana on drawing additional cards. They have cards in their hand that they want to play. Two mana while not optimal is a reasonable rate for a mono-white deck to get the additional cards that this deck wants. More often than not your opponents will not use it. The key is to use it like a Phyrexian Arena to provide steady draw turn in and out. 


AS E. Honda is a combat focused commander the cost of this deck was kept down to keep it reasonable with the tables it should be playing at. As of this writing the deck comes in just under $400 at $389.68. Card Draw being limited in mono white allocates $139.00 of the deck  but is necessary so that you can keep a full grip of cards.

Enlightened Tutor ($44.99) is able to be removed to further reduce the price. Wedding Ring ($16.99) despite being amazing versus the blue player can be removed if necessary as well. The tokens package is second with a total cost of $116.39. Unfortunately there are no cuts here because the more expensive token  generators are ones that will win you the game. In the mana base Kjeldoran Outpost ($15.99) and Emeria’s Call ($6.49) can be removed for budgetary reasons but Emeria the Sky Ruin ($15.99) should remain to help recur creatures from your deck. 

Powering Up the Deck

As for improvements Esper Sentinel ($28.99) can be added back in. While I believe that without a way to increase its power the card draw is minimal versus the price of the card it still can provide some efficiency in an E Honda deck. There are plenty of high priced mana rocks that can be added to the deck as well. Jeweled Lotus ($109.99) will provide E Honda earlier or help you cast him a second time if someone were to remove him.  Mana Crypt ($179.99) and Mana Vault ($59.99) are always solid ramp options to upgrade. Akroma’s Memorial ($11.99) can be used as a haste enabler although you will need to protect it.

Other strategies can appear as well. Elesh Norn ($20.99) and Teferi’s Protection ($27.99) would also belong in a more expensive version of the deck. Elesh Norn limits the battlefield for you to get your tokens through and Teferi’s Protection will keep your tokens alive through board wipes. Land Tax ($34.99) and Scroll Rack (17.99) also is a way to keep the card draw coming while keeping your hand full. Knowing you will not miss a land drop is huge and there is additional value to placing those extra plains on the top of your deck and shuffling them away with Land Tax to further your gameplan. There are many different routes you can go if you are willing to invest a little more in the deck.  


E Honda can be a fun aggressive deck to play that will play a lot differently than most aggressive decks. Yes you still attack but how you buff your creatures provides a fun and unique experience. You can also play the sub game of how many cards can a mono-white deck draw? If you are looking to change things up a little bit or just need a deck that can still win while powering down what you are playing consider this deck. Look for it to come in around the 6 to 7 power range and hang with decks that are ranked as an 8. If you have any questions feel free to email me at or leave a comment below 


  • E. Honda Sumo Champion 


  • Ancient Gold Dragon
  • Archivist of Oghma
  • Bennie Bracks, Zoologist
  • Darien, King of Kjeldor
  • Deep Gnome Terramancer
  • Flumph
  • Heliod, God of the Sun
  • Inspiring Overseer
  • Kor Cartographer
  • Naster of Ceremonies
  • Mentor of the Meek
  • Monastery Mentor
  • Myr Battlesphere
  • Odric, Master Tactician
  • Palladium Myr
  • Priest of Ancient Lore
  • Roving Harper
  • Rumor Gatherer
  • Scouting Hawk
  • Spirited Companion
  • Odric, Master Tactician
  • Palladium Myr
  • Priest of Ancient Lore
  • Roving Harper
  • Rumor Gatherer
  • Scouting Hawk
  • Spirited Companion
  • Weathered Wayfarer
  • Welcoming Vampire


  • Alhammarrret’s Archive
  • Arcane Signet
  • Decanter of Endless Water
  • Dragon Throne of Tarkir
  • Gauntlet of Power
  • Halo Fountain
  • Moonsilver Key
  • Otherworld Atlas
  • Patriar’s Seal
  • Shrine of Loyal Legions
  • Skullclamp
  • Skyclave Relic
  • Sol Ring
  • Thought Vessel
  • Venser’s Journel
  • Wedding Ring
  • Well of Knowledge


  • Aura Blast
  • Enlightened Tutor
  • Oblation
  • Path to Exile
  • Rootborn Defenses
  • Secure the Wastes
  • Swords to Plowshares
  • True Love’s Kiss
  • Your Temple is Under Attack


  • Approach of the Second Sun
  • Austere Command
  • Cut a Deal
  • Sculpted Sunburst
  • Secret Rendezvous
  • Slaughter the Strong
  • Spectral Procession
  • Storm Herd


  • Anointed Procession
  • Flaming FIst
  • Luminarch Ascension
  • Pursuit of Knowledge
  • Smothering Tithe
  • Stoneskin
  • Teleportation Circle
  • Unquestioned Authority


  • Elspeth Sun’s Champion


  • Access Tunnel
  • Castle Ardenvale
  • Emeria’s Call/Emeria Shattered Skyclave
  • Emeria, The Sky Ruin
  • Karn’s Bastion
  • Karoo
  • Kjeldoran Outpost
  • Myriad Landscape
  • 21 Plains
  • Reliquary Tower
  • Rogue’s Passage
  • Thespian Stage
  • War Room
  • Windbrisk Heights

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