MTGO Commander #25 – My Prossh deck: Probably the best Prossh Food Chain Combo deck you’ll read about today

Hi everyone, and welcome to the latest installment of MTGO Commander. Some people have been asking me to finally post my Prossh combo deck that I build for tournaments. So I finally decided to do that today and share it with you:


Commander Disruption Lands
1 Prossh, Skyraider of Kher 1 Defense Grid 1 Ancient Tomb
1 Carpet of Flowers 1 Bloodstained Mire
Engines 1 Choke 1 Cavern of Souls
1 Food Chain 1 City of Solitude 1 City of Brass
1 Ashnod’s Altar 1 Boil 1 Command Tower
1 Phyrexian Altar 1 Guttural Response 1 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Beastmaster Ascension 1 Red Elemental Blast 1 Graven Cairns
1 Dosan the Falling Leaf 1 Karplusan Forest
Closers 1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge Card Draw 1 Marsh Flats
1 Goblin Bushwhacker 1 Necropotence 1 Misty Rainforest
1 Chancellor of the Forge 1 Phyrexian Arena 1 Polluted Delta
1 Extractor Demon 1 Wheel of Fortune 1 Reflecting Pool
1 Dark Confidant 1 Sulfurous Springs
Mana Creatures 1 Sylvan Library 1 Twilight Mire
1 Arbor Elf 1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Birds of Paradise Utility artifacts 1 Windswept Heath
1 Burning-Tree Emissary 1 Sol Ring 1 Wooded Foothills
1 Deathrite Shaman 1 Mana Crypt 1 Stomping Ground
1 Devoted Druid 1 Mana Vault 1 Taiga
1 Elves of Deep Shadow 1 Sensei’s Divining Top 1 Bayou
1 Elvish Mystic 1 Badlands
1 Fyndhorn Elves Tutors  1 Blood Crypt
1 Gatecreeper Vine 1 Demonic Tutor 1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Llanowar Elves 1 Vampiric Tutor 1 Gaea’s Cradle
1 Lotus Cobra 1 Grim Tutor 1 Dryad Arbor
 1 Priest of Gix 1 Imperial Seal 1 Bojuka Bog
1 Priest of Titania 1 Gamble 2 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Priest of Urabrask 1 Dimir Machinations 2 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Wall of Roots 1 Diabolic Intent 2 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Boreal Druid 1 Summoner’s Pact
1 Green Sun’s Zenith
Utility Creatures 1 Worldly Tutor
1 Eternal Witness 1 Crop Rotation
1 Fierce Empath
1 Flamekin Harbinger Removal
1 Goblin Matron 1 Terminate
1 Goblin Recruiter 1 Go for the Throat
1 Skullmulcher 1 Ashes to Ashes
1 Wall of Blossoms 1 Toxic Deluge
1 Fire Covenant
1 Nature’s Claim
1 Beast Within

Making the case for combo

There are different ways to build a competitive Prossh deck. But I ended up doing a combo build because I think this strategy is the most consistent and efficient way to beat 3 other opponents in a Commander tournament pod. 

I first built my Prossh deck with a hyper-aggressive build that was centered on cards like Beastmaster Ascension and Shared Animosity.  Purphoros was also in the deck While it was fun to kill people out of nowhere through beatdown, I found out that this strategy was very clunky because most of the time, you need more than one turn to win. Playing with haste enablers can make things faster, but I found out that playing cards like Fires of Yavimaya can make things more awkward if you did not draw these cards early.

It is also easier for your opponent to have an answer ready since this strategy relies on the combat step. Blockers can give you problems since the Kobold tokens do not have evasion so chump blocking can give your opponent more time to look for answers. Most of the time, you are stuck with whatever tokens Prossh makes. So the loss of damage caused by even one chump-blocked Kobold slows the deck and gives more time for your opponent to look for answer. Sacrificing multiple tokens to pump Prossh is only good as a last ditch effort since your opponent can just save his instant kill spell for Prossh.  

I decided to focus on combo, specifically, on Food Chain, because this strategy does not have the same problems the aggro deck version has since it can win in one turn, is harder to disrupt, and is not slowed down by chump blockers or removal. The deck normally end games around turn 4 and turn 6 when it is disrupted.  I have also tried my best to make the deck resilient to control decks as much as  possible to help (I have to give credit to mtgsalvation user ISBPathfinder since I got most of my win conditions and disruption ideas from his own Prossh thread discussion).  

Card Discussion

Engines

Food Chain is your primary engine. Read up on the combos involving this card and practice how to do the combo in MTGO. I am saying this because this list is made to go against top decks for a tournament and if you are reading this, then you’re probably planning to do the same thing. The combo is easy. But remember that there are no shortcuts online and you have to do each step of the combo. Practice and be prepared because most of the time, your opponent will wait you out just in case you make a mistake.  

Phyrexian Altar and   Ashnod’s Altar are your fallbacks in case Food Chain is removed. These two artifacts, ideally, should be played together. But they can also work on their own, but at a slower pace compared to Food Chain.

Beastmaster Ascension is probably the least effective enabler in the deck for multiplayer. But it can catch your opponents off guard and at the very least, can one-shot the most threatening opponent (aside from you) on the table.

Closers


Using Food Chain requires us to focus on creature finishers since only creatures can be cast of Food Chain mana. This is the reason why cards like Goblin Bombardment were eventually removed from the list. Purphoros is the exception because he is the only that needs to be in play first before we cast Prossh.

Chancellor of the Forge doubles the tokens you have and often can be enough to finish off everyone in one attack step. Ditto for Goblin Bushwacker. Extractor Demon provides an alternate win condition if it’s not possible to reduce our opponents’ lives to zero.

There a lot possible combos and synergies you can do with Prossh. But these are the ones that worked for me the best in my experience. Other possible interactions you can try include

Mana creatures

The main purpose of these creatures is to accelerate you into casting both Prossh and Food Chain at the same turn. Cast a few mana elves, cast Food Chain, and then exile those dudes to cast Prossh and start going off. This is the ideal position you should shoot for, and this can happen as early as turn three.

Of course, this doesn’t happen often as we would like, so just take what you can and make sure you cast a couple of dudes at your early turns. Even without Food Chain, a handful of mana dudes can help you cast Prossh as early as turn 4, which is already something your opponents can sweat about.

Utility dudes

Goblin Matron and Goblin Recruiter can search for Goblin Bushwacker. Fierce Empath can search for either Chancellor of the Forge, and Flamekin Harbringer can search for Skullmulcher.

Skullmulcher is an important cog because it refills your hand and at the same time, act as a large threat/hindrance for your opponents. Casting this creature is necessary when you already have Prossh and his tokens, but have no engine piece to abuse. The    

The beauty of it is that after these creatures do their thing, you can exile them to Food Chain to add more mana to your pool or act as another warm body to put counters on Beastmaster Ascension.    

Disruption/Hate

The idea of include these cards in the main deck is a metagame choice. I am expecting a heavy blue meta, so having blue hate cards in the main deck is not a bad idea since blue decks are the only ones that can reliably disrupt our combo.

Carpet of Flowers has been really good for me. The extra mana it provides is such a boon that it sets up your kill almost a turn faster. Boil and Choke are good cards against blue decks, especially if you can follow them up immediately by casting Food Chain. Defense Grid, Red Elemental Response and Guttural provide some sort of protection against counters, specifically, against free counters like Pact of Negation or Force of Will. Make sure to have a land untapped to cast the latter two spells since you can’t cast them off Food Chain mana.

City of Solitude and Dosan are a bit clunky because they also slow you down if you need to remove a bothersome permanent or if you want to use Prossh’s ability. However, these two play an important role in the fight against blue decks so I just have to live with them.   

In the end, you should consider the disruption package as your ‘flex slots’. These cards are meant to attack a specific meta I have in mind, and the same thing may not apply to you. Feel free to modify these cards as you see fit.

Removal

These card are meant to remove whatever annoying permanent your opponents may cast before you start your combo. Honestly, I think I have too much removal in the deck, but I am sticking with them for now since I am never sad if I get to draw some.

 Tutors/Card Draw/Mana Rocks

No surprises here. All of these are staples and you should expect to see most of them in competitive decks, especially the mana rocks.

A couple of notes though. Dimir Machination’s main function is to search for either Food Chain or Beastmaster Ascension. Gamble is a good tech against tuck. Crop Rotation is actually a holdover when I still ran Glacial Chasm to stop other combo decks. But now it’s mainly here to look for Gaea’s Cradle which is crucial in some situations.  

Winning with Food Chain

In this strategy, I only needed to find Food Chain to win and I can do it was early as turn three. An important thing to remember is that your win conditions should be creatures now so you can cast them with your Food Chain mana.

(I have to give credit to mtgsalvation user ISBPathfinder since I got most of my win conditions and disruption ideas from his own Prossh thread discussion).

The deck has a number of win conditions that is centered on repeatedly casting Prossh and creating an increasing number of tokens using Food Chain. This setup allows you to:

1.  Reduce all of your opponent’s life to zero life with Purphoros, God of the Forge in play.

2. Make enough tokens to kill all of your opponents in one attack step pairing the Kobold tokens with either Goblin Bushwhacker or Chancellor of the Forge. Beastmaster Ascension is also in the deck to further speed-up your kill.

3. Mill everyone using Extractor Demon

4. Swing for 21 Commander damage by pumping Prossh.

Making a deck around Food Chain means we need to play with creatures. For starters, we need creatures that can help develop our mana, mostly through mana creatures like Llanowar Elves and Priest of Titiana or creatures that adds mana to your pool when they come into play like Priest of Urabrask. Not only do they accelerate you to casting Prossh, they can also add more mana to your pool when you exile them using Food Chain. This part here is important; each creature in play essentially acts as mini Black Lotus for you. So make sure you have a few creatures in play before you try to go off.

Using creatures as your win conditions also has a number of advantages. Since the deck is using Food Chain as its primary mana engine, the mana cost of your win conditions are irrelevant since you are almost assured to have enough mana to cast them. While I decided to make this deck as fast as possible, you can choose whatever creature you like in these spots.

The number of tutors that we can use to search for these creatures also increases. The deck already runs the usual suspects of Demonic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Grim Tutor, Imperial Seal, Gamble and Diabolic Intent to search for Food Chain, while cards like Goblin Matron and Fierce Empath to search for your finishers.

Weaknesse

Instant speed enchantment removal is the deck’s main weakness. Most of the time, cards like Dosan and City of Solitude are enough to thwart these effects. But there are situations wherein one of your opponents has an  answer ready for Food Chain and you cannot really do anything about that.  If you are paired against other blue decks, you have to choose the right situation to cast Food Chain. Denying your opponent’s mana is a top priority so hate cards like Defense Grid or Dosan should be played first before your combo pieces. Counter spells are also annoying, but often, the main deck blue hate is enough to quash counter-heavy control decks. 

Closing thoughts

This is probably my most competitive deck and I am happy with it. Prossh is my favorite general and I am glad I made a deck that highlights just how powerful he is.

Sadly, recent changes to work have made it virtually impossible for me to join the player-run Commander tournaments now, so this deck would likely seat in the sidelines for now. I really do not like playing this deck against random opponents in MTGO, except on weekends when I expect other people to bring their meanest decks, so you probably won’t see me piloting it when you see me in MTGO.

See you.

Malinsdad@mtgo 

MTGO Commander # 24 – Maze’s End on Commander

I’ve been playing around for awhile as I enjoy some free time from work when I suddenly got the idea of making a Maze’s End deck. This is not the first time I’ve thought of this winding, mesh of a land. The first time I tried it, I jammed it in a five-color control deck I was testing as a back-up win condition. Now, I want to build a deck that solely relies on Maze’s End to win. Sounds familiar? It should because such a deck has reared its head before in Pro tour top eights. Below is my take on Commander’s version of Turbo Fog that uses Maze’s End:


Commander 1 Moment’s Peace 1 Izzet Guildgate
1 Sliver Queen 1 Lull 1 Orzhov Guildgate
1 Moonmist 1 Rakdos Guildgate
Creatures 1 Pollen Lullaby 1 Selesnya Guildgate
1 Spore Frog 1 Respite 1 Simic Guildgate
1 Skyshroud Ranger 1 Life From the Loam 1 Tolaria West
1 Krosan Wayfarer 1 Sylvan Scrying 1 Vesuva
1 Sakura-Tribe Scout 1 Summer Bloom 1 Thespian’s Stage
1 Kami of False Hope 1 Explore 1 Tolaria West
1 Budoka Gardener 1 Isochron Scepter 1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Walking Atlas 1 Treasured Find 1 Watery Grave
1 Gatecreeper Vine 1 Rites of Flourishing 1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Dawnstrider 1 Howling Mine 1 Stomping Ground
1 Azusa, Lost but Seeking 1 Sacred Ground 1 Breeding Pool
1 Angus Mackenzie 1 Terra Eternal 1 Temple Garden
1 Eternal Witness 1 Endbringer’s Revel 1 Adarkar Wastes
1 Oracle of Mul Daya 1 Clinging Mist 1 Underground Sea
1 Haze Frog 1 Forcefield 1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Prophet of Kruphix 1 Chromatic Lantern 1 Karplusan Forest
1 Spike Weaver 1 Rhystic Study 1 Yavimaya Coast
1 Reap and Sow 1 Brushland
Non-creature Spells 1 Gaea’s Balance 1 Command Tower
1 Fog 1 Temp with Discovery 6 Forest
1 Holy Day 1 Harmonize 3 Island
1 Crop Rotation 1 Font of Mythos 3 Plains
1 Undergrowth 1 Day of Judgment
1 Angelsong 1 Supreme Verdict
1 Darkness 1 Urban Evolution
1 Burgeoning 1 Door to Nothingness
1 Expedition Map
1 Sol Ring Lands
1 Batwing Brume 1 Maze’s End
1 Constant Mists 1 Azorius Guildgate
1 Dawn Charm 1 Boros Guildgate
1 Defend the Hearth 1 Dimir Guildgate
1 Druid’s Deliverance 1 Golgari Guildgate
1 Tangle 1 Gruul Guildgate

Most of the creatures are self-explanatory. Skyshroud Ranger and he’s ilk allow you drop multiple lands a turn to help you play multiple gates at a time. Angus Mackenzie and Dawnstrider offer continuous fog effects. Spore Frog and Kami of the False Hope are like extra fogs that you can play every turn using Endbringer’s Revel.


For most of the spells, I just searched for all Fog effects I can fit in the deck. Howling Mine, Font of Mythos and Rite of Replication and provide you with extra cards to fill your hand with fogs and to help dig for Maze’s End. The two sweepers, Day of Judgment and Supreme Verdict, should only be used in emergencies, since you do not want to kill your utility creatures. We cannot afford to lose any of our gates, so Sacred Ground and Terra Eternal are included for added protection. As for the general, you can choose whatever five-color general you want. Personally, I think Cromat is a better fit, but I don’t own one so I used Sliver Queen instead.

The only problem I have is the mana base. I still don’t know the proper mix of duals and basics yet, but you do need lots of green mana in the early turns of the game. Cutting the few islands and plains for forests maybe a good idea, but I haven’t tested the idea yet.

I really did not want to spend much on making this deck. But if you liked the idea, and want to build something less fragile, then you can’t go wrong with tutors, especially those that can fetch more than one card like Insidious Dreams. Exploration can help speed up assembling your gates and would work well with Burgeoning.

You can also try different builds if you do not like playing with fogs. A pillow fort strategy is possible using cards like Sphere of Safety, Propaganda, Privileged Position and Enchantress’ Presence. 

Cheers and enjoy,

Malinsdad@mtgo

MTGO Commander 23: Phenax God of Mill: My first attempt in making a mill deck

Milling is considered by many as a bad strategy in Commander. Not only does the mill player needs to mill more cards due to bigger decks, there is also an issue of consistency since the mill player can only use one copy of a single mill spell. Sure, Wizards has printed a lot more mill spells the ast few years. But most of them are not just efficient or ‘big’ enough for Commander. Furthermore, the multiplayer aspect of Commander is also a hurdle. Most of the time, you end facing more than one opponent so you end up needing more mill spells to finish off more than one player. Almost always, the mill player does not have enough spells to deck everyone else. Instead of trying to mill 90+ plus cards, you now need to mill almost 300 cards to win, complicating what I think, is already an Uphill Battle.

But this commonly believed idea, that milling is a bad in Commander, has not stopped countless players from trying this strategy simply because a lot of players just love to mill. Some may have remembered how successful milling was as a strategy back in the early days of Magic and try to apply that in Commander.  Others consider it as a challenge to make milling work. Others just find milling interesting as an alternative win condition to spice up things up when they get bored with their main decks.

As for me, I have never been interested in making a mill deck until now. I am sharing one today because I think the arrival of Phenax, God of Deception finally makes milling a viable strategy in Commander (well, at least in 1v1 games in mtgo). My reason is that, unlike other legends used in mill decks, Phenax virtually increases the number of mill spells you have by granting the mill ability to your creatures.

Yes, doing so prevents them from attacking and yes, creatures are the easiest permanent to kill in the game and it’s probably a bad idea by Wizards to pair milling with creatures. But we cannot ignore the opportunity Phenax presents. With him in play, we suddenly have a ton of mill stone clones at our disposal that can chunks of cards from our opponent’s library, even if they are eventually destroyed. Additionally, while using Phenax almost guarantees we won’t engage in combat, there is always the chance that Phenax will be removed somehow. So we still need to be careful in choosing our creatures and not just consider their toughness.

Here is the initial list I came up with:

Commander Non-creature spells 1 Forced Fruition
1 Phenax, God of Deception 1 Mana Crypt 1 Tunnel Vision
1 Sol Ring 1 Decree of Pain
Creatures 1 Pongify 1 Mind Grind
1 Shield Sphere 1 Sensei’s Divining Top 1 Increasing Confusion
1 Wall of Kelp 1 Jace’s Erasure 1 Prosperity
1 Doorkeeper 1 Mesmeric Orb
1 Phantasmal Image 1 Armillary Sphere Lands
1 Wall of Souls 1 Dimir Signet  1 Watery Grave
1 Wall of Frost 1 Talisman of Dominance 1 Sunken Ruins
1 Guard Gomazoa 1 Howling Mine 1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Hover Barrier 1 Cyclonic Rift 1 Underground River
1 Clone 1 Counterspell 1 Darkslick Shores
1 Undead Alchemist 1 Demonic Tutor 1 Command Tower
1 Glen Elendra Archmage 1 Go for the Throat 1 Reflecting Pool
1 Solemn Simulacrum 1 Phyrexian Arena 1 City of Brass
1 Sower of Temptation 1 Memory Erosion 1 Reliquary Tower
1 Dreamborn Muse 1 Mind Funeral 1 Bojuka Bog
1 Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker 1 Hinder 1 Strip Mine
1 Nemesis of Reason 1 Spell Crumple 1 Tectonic Edge
1 Consuming Aberration 1 Sadistic Sacrament 1 Misty Rainforest
1 Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir 1 Grim Tutor 1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Mnemonic Wall 1 Sands of Delirium 1 Marsh Flats
1 Visara the Dreadful 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Oona, Queen of the Fae 1 Leyline of the Void 1 Ancient Tomb
1 Consecrated Sphinx 1 Font of Mythos 1 Temple of the False God
1 Geth, Lord of the Vault 1 Damnation 9 Island
1 Wrexial, the Risen Deep 1 No Mercy 9 Swamp
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One 1 Rite of Replication
1 Chancellor of the Spires 1 Psychic Spiral
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth 1 Spin Into Myth

Creatures

We need to develop some form of early board presence to slow down any quick barrage our opponent throws at us. I chose to play some cheap walls to accomplish this that doubles as millstones if they live long enough to pair with Phenax. Shield Sphere is a free wall that mills for six, while Wall of Tears and Wall of Souls can discourage weenies to attack someone else. Door Keeper can do Phenax’s job pretty well if the god is absent, while Wall of Frost and Hover Barrier are big enough to hold off quick generals they may send our way like Doran, Prossh, Derevei, Thrun and Jenara.

Wall of Kelp is an interesting card because it produces more walls that can either fuel Phenax or act as blockers. Ditto for Undead Alchemist. Clone and Phantasmal Image can just copy any creature for added utility.

Mirko Vosh, Wrexial, Consuming Aberration and Nemesis of Reason are mainstays of most Dimir mill decks and are often the only few creatures that get to attack in the deck. Consecrated Sphinx, Sheoldred, Teferi and Visara all have useful abilities that we can abuse even if we don’t attack with them. Oona can even mill twice; once for using her own milling abilities and by tapping to mill if Phenax is around. Kozilek may be a bit odd for most people, but he is needed here so wen’t accidentally deck ourselves.

Non-creature spells

The foundation of the deck is supported by two permanents: Mesmeric Orb and Forced Fruition.

Mesmeric Orb can be played early, has no activation cost, and works better in longer games since it mills more cards as more lands and creatures get tapped. To use this effectively, we need to survive the early game, protect the orb and survive the game long enough for us to mill our opponent. Doing the second thing is harder than it sounds because most people would correctly try to destroy Mesmeric Orb the moment you play it.  So avoid dropping it too early and try to play it when your opponent is tapped out so it would at least mill a few cards before it gets destroyed.

Forced Fruition offers a different form of milling by forcing players to draw seven extra cards for each spell they play. Barring an active Reliquary Tower or an already cast Praetor’s Counsel, doing so has the same effect of milling seven cards per spell cast since it is almost assured that the extra cards will be discarded anyway. This is why Kozilek is in the deck so we can just cast spells and continue with our game plan without the fear of decking ourselves. Furthermore, drawing extra cards works well with Jace’s erasure, so we also play with old standby’s Howling Mine and Font of Mythos.

Memory Erosion is another mill enchantment that continually does its thing without any cost. Sands of Delirium, the scaling mill stone, also appears here, as well as old favorites such as Mind Funeral, Psychic Spiral, Tunnel Vision, Mind Grind and Increasing Confusion.  

Closing thoughts

There was one game wherein my opponent stopped playing spells when I had both Mesmeric Orb and Forced Fruition in play. He only attacked with 2-3 creatures but they cannot get through my high toughness creatures. So I just sat back, blocked, and tapped my creatures to mill at the end of every turn. This is all well and good if you already have creatures in play and can hold off your opponent’s attack (I wish I had more time available so I can record and upload these matches). But if your opponent has board superiority, he’ll just stop playing spells to avoid decking and beat you using his creatures. You are forced to block or sweep the board to survive, but either way, you lose creatures and Phenax ends up sitting there useless. Keep this scenario in mind and prepare for it.

Also, turning Phenax into a creature is sometimes a bad idea because now he is much easier to remove. This scenario occurred twice when Teferi is in play, along with other creatures, and I ended losing those games.

At the end of the day, my belief about Phenax proved to have some merits. While I lost all the multiplayer games I joined, I won most of duel games, with more than half of my opponents getting milled to death. Admittedly, Forced Fruition and Mesmeric Orb did more heavy lifting than Phenax. But I had some fun, and I just might keep this deck for the long run.

Cheers,

Malinsdad@mtgo       

MTGO Commander 22: Five decks for the Five Theros gods

Before Born of the Gods is released and we start brewing with the allied colored gods (hurray Karametra!), I decided to post deck lists using the five gods from Theros. Without further delay, these are what I came up with:

1. Erebos, God of the Dead

Commander Non-creature spells 1 Go for the Throat
Erebos, God of the Dead 1 Mutilate 1 Ashes to Ashes
1 Decree of Pain 1 Sever the Bloodline
Creatures 1 Black Sun’s Zenith 1 Leyline of the Void
1 Geth, Lord of the Vault  1 Overwhelming Forces
1 Kokusho, the Evening Star 1 Grave Pact Lands
1 Necropolis Regent 1 Plague Wind 31 Swamp
1 Nirkana Revenant 1 Beacon of Unrest 1 Bojuka Bog
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One 1 Haunted Crossroads 1 Cabal Coffers
1 Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief 1 Phyrexian Reclamation 1 Tectonic Edge
1 Rune-Scarred Demon 1 Rise of the Dark Realms 1 Ghost Quarter
1 Bloodgift Demon 1 Malevolent Awakening 1 Mystifying Maze
1 Duplicant 1 Whip of Erebos 1 Miren, the Moaning Well
1 Crypt Ghast 1 Caged Sun 1 Thespian’s Stage
1 Butcher of Malakir 1 Gilded Lotus
1 Graveborn Muse 1 Sol Ring
1 Disciple of Bolas 1 Armillary Sphere
1 Helldozer 1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Magus of the Coffers 1 Journeyer’s Kite
1 Avatar of Woe 1 Charcoal Diamond
1 Geralf’s Messenger 1 Mind Stone
1 Midnight Banshee 1 Liliana Vess
1 Pestilence Demon 1 Beseech the Queen
1 Sangromancer 1 Increasing Ambition
1 Skeletal Vampire 1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Fleshbag Marauder 1 Diabolic Revelation
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir 1 Insidious Dreams
1 Vampire Hexmage 1 Promise of Power
1 Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed 1 Profane Command
1 Solemn Simulacrum 1 Skullclamp
1 Withered Wretch 1 Syphon Mind

This is your typical, good stuff, mono black control deck.  I just included every black fattie that I liked, surround them with kill spells, and call it a day. Unsurprisingly, this is a solid enough strategy because you can easily neutralize your opponent’s threats while using Erebos’ card draw to avoid running out of gas. You have enough recursion that you can reasonably out-attrition your opponents if it comes to that. Any of your fatties offer some form of inevitability that can end games quickly once you have taken control of the board.

If you are already a seasoned Commander player looking to play something different, then this deck is probably not interesting enough for you because this is ‘just’ a typical black control deck that does typical black things. However, this is a good deck for beginners, especially if you’re a black mage like me.  There are only a few intricate nuisances that you need to learn to play the deck, and most of the cards you buy for this deck are versatile enough that you can use them in other black decks you may want to build in the future.

I intentionally left out some cards like  Damnation, Toxic Deluge, Urborg Tomb of Yawgmoth, Mana Crypt, Liliana of the Dark Realms, Liliana of the Veil, Dark Depths and Demonic Tutor.  Feel free to add them if you have them. Also, there is no reason not to buy the promos of Sheoldred and Cabal Coffers since these are cheaper compared to their regular versions.      

2. Purphoros, God of the Forge

Commander 1 Mogg War Marshal 1 Vandalblast 
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge 1 Rapacious One 1 Ruination
1 Skirk Prospector 1 Word of Seizing
Creatures 1 Stingscourger 1 Price of Glory
1 Hero of Oxid Ridge 1 Viashino Heretic 1 Fork
1 Krenko, Mob Boss 1 Dwarven Miner 1 Reverberate
1 Goblin Chieftain 1 Goblin Warchief 1 Reiterate
1 Goblin King 1 Wild Ricochet
1 Goblin Marshal Non-creature spells
1 Siege-Gang Commander 1 Mogg Infestation Lands
1 Skirk Fire Marshal 1 Hellion Eruption 1 Strip Mine
1 Chancellor of the Forge 1 Goblin Assault 1 Tectonic Edge
1 Rakka Mar 1 Goblin Warrens 1 Ghost Quarter
1 Thopter Assembly 1 In the Web of War 1 Temple of the False God
1 Furystoke Giant 1 Hammer of Purphoros 32 Mountain
1 Zo-Zu, the Punisher 1 Devil’s Play
1 Patron of the Akki 1 Banefire
1 Ogre Battledriver 1 Rolling Earthquake
1 Hellrider 1 Empty the Warrens
1 Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician 1 Firecat Blitz
1 Homura, Human Ascendant 1 Goblin Offensive
1 Instigator Gang 1 Goblin Rally 
1 Beetleback Chief 1 Goblin Scouts
1 Goblin Matron 1 Snake Basket
1 Goblin Recruiter 1 Caged Sun 
1 Goblin Ring leader 1 Gauntlet of Might
1 Goblin Wardriver 1 Sol Ring
1 Warbreak Trumpeter 1 Gilded Lotus
1 Caterwauling Boggart 1 Skullclamp
1 Goblin Bushwhacker 1 Armillary Sphere
1 Hellraiser Goblin 1 Goblin Bombardment

Goblinsform a good tag team with Purphoros because they can drop early and often to abuse both of Purphoros’ abilities and can function on their even if the god is not in play. I admit, this deck is not really ground breaking or anything, but it gets things done can easily kill a table out of nowhere.

I had a similar deck once and it’s honestly a blast to play. I felt really excited as I try to burn my opponents to death. If you are predominantly used to playing control or other relatively slower strategy, then this deck is a nice change of pace for you.

Be warned though, that this same explosiveness can make you a target if you bring this nuke in a multiplayer game. Everyone in the table knows right away what you are trying do once Purphoros is revealed, and they would keep an eye on you to make sure you don’t get a fast start and start killing them off. For new Commander players, the hatred this deck sometimes receives can be overwhelming, ruining their experience. Just be prepared as opponents will cast sweepers to remove your threats. At least with Purphoros, you have a fairly reliable way of dealing damage, even if your creatures do not live long enough to attack anyone.

3. Nylea, God of the Hunt

Commander 1 Acidic Slime 1 Soul’s Majesty
1 Nylea, God of the Hunt 1 Silklash Spider 1 Harmonize
1 Jugan, the Rising Star 1 Overrun
Creatures 1 Kodama of the North Tree 1 Triumph of the Hordes
1 Khalni Hydra 1 Arashi, the Sky Asunder 1 Creeping Renaissance
1 Vorapede 1 Oracle of Mul Daya 1 Praetor’s Counsel
1 Cloudthresher 1 Indrik Stomphowler
1 Primalcrux 1 Sylvan Ranger Lands
1 Giant Adephage 1 Mosswort Bridge
1 Arbor Colossus Non-creature spells 1 Mystifying Maze
1 Predator Ooze 1 Vernal Bloom 1 Arena
1 Vigor 1 Gaea’s Touch 1 Strip Mine
1 Weatherseed Treefolk 1 Sylvan Library 1 Tectonic Edge
1 Yeva, Nature’s Herald 1 Abundance 1 Ghost Quarter
1 Myojin of Life’s Web 1 Lurking Predators 32 Forest
1 Woodfall Primus 1 Carpet of Flowers
1 Seedborn Muse 1 Night Soil
1 Spike Weaver 1 Bow of Nylea
1 Pelakka Wurm 1 Titania’s Song
1 Fauna Shaman 1 Khalni Heart Expedition
1 KarametrasAcolyte 1 Seal of Primordium
1 Eternal Witness 1 Raking Canopy
1 Yavimaya Elder 1 Primal Order
1 Wood Elves 1 Nature’s Claim
1 Yavimaya Dryad 1 Harrow
1 Viridian Zealot 1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Masked Admirers 1 Cultivate
1 Glissa Sunseeker 1 Skyshroud Claim
1 Molder Slug 1 Explore
1 Wickerbough Elder 1 Creeping Corrosion
1 Chameleon Colossus 1 Asceticism

Nylea does not excite as much as a general because both of her abilities are just mediocre for a general. However, as a creature, she is quite impressive as she is at least a turn four clock if we do not have any mana available to pump her, making her the perdect candidate to try Devotion in Commander. Her indestructibility also means that she is immune from many removal spells so we do not need to worry all that much to protect her.

In order to make use of Nylea as a creature, then we need to make sure that we have colored permanents in play to activate her Devotion. That means we care about the number of green mana symbols in our creatures and other permanents so we can turn Nylea into a creature as early as possible. As you can see from the list, I tried to jam as many creature and enchantments with lots of green mana symbols in their casting cost.

Artifacts are also a no-no, and sorceries and spells should be kept at a minimum. I am still not sure if this is the right way to go, but initial testing shows that abandoning artifacts means Nylea’s devotion turns on a few turns later, increasing our chances of winning.

4. Heliod, God of the Sun

Commander 1 Battlegrace Angel 1 Faith’s Fetters
1 Heliod, God of the Sun 1 Voidstone Gargoyle 1 Austere Command
1 Duplicant  1 True Conviction
Creatures 1 Sun Titan 1 Martial Coup
1 Kor Duelist 1 Caged Sun
1 Serra Ascendant Non-creature spells
1 Isamaru, Hound of Konda 1 Swords to Plowshares Lands
1 Soul Warden 1 Expedition Map 1 Emeria, the Sky Ruin
1 Soul’s Attendant 1 Skullclamp 1 Mistveil Plains
1 Ethersworn Canonist 1 Sol Ring 1 Temple of the False God
1 Grand Abolisher 1 Darksteel Axe 1 Mystifying Maze
1 Knight of the White Orchid 1 Bonesplitter 1 Strip Mine
1 Samurai of the Pale Curtain 1 Steelshaper’s Gift 1 Tectonic Edge
1 Puresteel Paladin 1 Viridian Longbow 1 Ghost Quarter
1 Phyrexian Revoker 1 Swiftfoot Boots 32 Plains
1 Serra Avenger 1 Mask of Memory
1 Stoneforge Mystic 1 Marble Diamond
1 Fencing Ace 1 Revoke Existence
1 Leonin Relic-Warder 1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Soltari Monk 1 Honor the Pure
1 Soltari Priest 1 Aura of Silence
1 True Believer 1 Grafted Wargear
1 Soltari Visionary 1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Kor Sanctifier
1 Strata Scythe
1 Mirran Crusader 1 Sword of Vengeance
1 Silverblade Paladin 1 Oblivion Ring
1 Soltari Champion 1 Crib Swap
1 Hero of Bladehold 1 Prison Term
1 Hokori, Dust Drinker 1 Spear of Heliod
1 Ranger of Eos 1 Day of Judgment
1 Stonehewer Giant 1 Return to Dust

This is your typical white weenie deck designed for duels that features a ton of hate bears with an equipment sub theme. Just drop some dudes, equip them, and bash face for the win. Unlike other white weenie deck however, we have the added advantage of sometimes having an indestructible five power beater on our side in Heliod that also churns out dudes on the side.

As with most creature decks, the key is to play around sweepers that will inevitably come your way. Just play a few dudes at a time. You should have no trouble finding creatures to carry your axes and hammers since Heliod can produce a token in a pinch.

If you want to spend more on the deck, I suggest adding more disruption like Armageddon, Ravages of War and Winter Orb to prevent your opponent from catching up and seal the deal once you have board superiority. The trouble with aggressive decks is that dealing forty damage is really hard. So you need to find ways of closing the door while we continue to stomp our opponent’s neck. Mana denial is one of the best methods of doing so and is probably the best type of disruption that white has in its arsenal.

5. Thassa, God of the Sea

Commander Non-creature spells 1 Commandeer
1 Thassa, God of the Sea 1 Sol Ring 1 Eternal Dominion
1 Copy Artifact 1 Dominate
Creatures 1 Dance of Many 1 Blue Sun’s Zenith
1 Phantasmal Image 1 Mind Stone 1 Braingeyser
1 Overtaker 1 Sky Diamond
1 Cryptoplasm 1 Twincast Lands
1 Echo Mage 1 Legacy’s Allure 1 Reliquary Tower
1 Sigil Tracer 1 Counterspell 1 Mystifying Maze
1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor 1 Cackling Counterpart 1 Faerie Conclave
1 Old Man of the Sea 1 Copy Enchantment 1 Strip Mine
1 Clone 1 Fated Infatuation 1 Tectonic Edge
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