Commander Player Highlight: Atlas Kulish

Published on: July 31, 2023

OCC Competitive Commander Player Highlight  ✨

Today we are Highlighting one of our local Competitive Commander Players: Atlas Kulish

Atlas recently Won a Tournament of Champions-esque event with the most highly rated/winningest players in the Pacific Northwest aka The Surfside Qualifier. He took down the tournament playing his Kenrith Control Deck (See the link at the bottom for his decklist) that he has spent a long time tuning and adjusting to the meta as it changes. I recently got a chance to have a conversation with Atlas to pick his brain about being labeled the best cEDH player in the PNW and his opinions on the format!

~ How long have you been playing magic and commander in general? 

Atlas: I’ve been playing magic since the original Innistrad, so about 11 years now. But I didn’t start playing commander until I’d been into the game for a while. So I’ve probably been playing EDH for about 8 years.

~ Why competitive commander over magics other competitive formats? 

Atlas: I got into commander and was just so intrigued with the wide variety of decks and card interactions. That and the ability to be social while playing really took me in. I’ve always been a competitive person, and as my power level and knowledge about the game stepped up I started getting more interested in the competitive scene.

I think I chose CEDH as the outlet for my competitive spirit over other formats because it also introduces an element missing from things like modern and legacy- that of social intrigue and negotiation.

~ How does it feel being dubbed not only by the community but “officially” as the number one commander player in the PNW? 

Atlas: Winning the Surfside qualifier certainly felt great, but I think it’s hard to lock down a best player for commander since it’s a 4 player format and there are a lot of variables. But I am really grateful to the players and TOs for the experience, and my chance to showcase my deck and playstyle.

~ What do you think the best deck is right now? — If not Kenrith, then why play Kenrith? 

Atlas: Hmmm…. That’s a tough one. Though sadly I doubt it is Kenny. I play him because I’m greedy and want all the options all the time; Kenrith offers that. Plus having all colors and the ability to do some pretty crazy things at instant speed makes him perfect for helming a control list, which is what I enjoy playing. And to top all that off, there aren’t many commanders who punish players for trying to win with Thassa’s Oracle. 

As for ‘best’ deck in the format, I think it can be pretty hard to choose as there can be so many factors in how matches play out. That said, the sheer power of Blue Farm decks certainly put them in the running. Though I would wager that the correct circumstances could give any 4-5 color pile list a good shot.

~ How should someone approach building a competitive commander deck? 

Atlas: That’s a great question, and I think the path is going to vary for everyone. I myself started by playing commander with draft chaff and a bulk rare. Then overtime I kept trying to increase my power level so I could beat my friends. I think a good starting place for people trying to get into CEDH is to look for a legendary creature they like, and to try and push the power level of the deck they build around it as much as possible. After that, go check out the resources online and try to find other ideas and meet people who might be able to help and coach you through your entry into the game. 

~ Any up and coming players to keep an eye on?

Atlas: Definitely! There are always new people entering the game and making waves. In order to preserve people’s privacy I’ll just use their online presences, but Thunderdome, NinjaPandas, and ShrigmaMale (James F) are all super good players who I think are yet to be recognized in the area for their proficiency at the game. 

~ Where can people find your thoughts and opinions about Magic?

Atlas: If anyone ever wants to talk magic, especially CEDH, I’m usually game for it. I can be found online using my screen name Anvildust. You can catch me on Moxfield or discord, and if you wanna hear me ramble about magic stuff you can check out the podcast I’m a part of, called Mana on the Rocks.

Thank you for being such a beam of positivity in our community Atlas! 

Here is his Kenrith, the Returned King decklist:

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