I’ve just finished tuning a deck I plan on building Irl, and I thought I’d take you through it. Here’s the list!
Let’s get to know our big, muscled… dog? I used to think he was an elephant.
Anyway, this cool dawg is going to encourage our opponents to all kill each other, all while (hopefully) forgetting we’re out to do the same thing. The effect reads:
Whenever a creature attacks one of your opponents or a planeswalker an opponent controls, that creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
Now some might think this is just an average anthem effect, but an important note is that it doesn’t just specify your creatures. As long as your opponents aren’t swinging at you they’ll get the same buff. They get the opportunity to put someone in harder blocking scenarios, and their 1/1s are also suddenly not so harmless.
So, let’s get to filling up our board. Tillonalli’s Summoner is great for when you have Gahiji on the table, as by then you’ll usually be set up to Ascend. Swing and pay just five into her and you’ll be making 15 power worth of threat. Sylvan Offering is a hilarious bargaining chip. The downside isn’t so bad that you give your opponents creatures isn’t so bad if you say “Hey I’ll give you a large tree if you swing it at Dave and not me.” Your commander will give them encouragement too! Even if they do betray you, just crash your guys and be done with it. Martial Coup is nice for cleaning up a scary board while leaving you with some nice amount of danger on the field. Turn seven coup, turn 8 Gahiji recast and swing will nearly always be a favourable play if your opponents are getting out of control.
We can’t just rely on the general for buffing our team however, we’re going to be using a fun suite of enchantments to chunk away our opponents’ life. Beastmaster should be quickly brought online in our aggressive deck, and usually you’ll be killing with it in the next combat. The +5/+5 is absolutely ludicrous, and you can expect some tableflips if it hits seven counters on the same turn you play it. Crescendo of War is another symmetrical buff, encouraging our opponents to hit each other for larger and larger amounts every turn. It’s not all bad though, as your creatures will get equal buffs when you’re blocking an assult. Berserker’s Onslaught is quickly becoming one of my favourite cards, as the effect is just brutal. I don’t think I need to promote the merits of DOUBLE DAMAGE all too much.
We want utter chaos to be going on our opponent’s side of the table, and preferably without them realising we’re the ones causing it all. If one has ten creatures attacking him, he’ll probably be more frustrated at the controller than the fact that our Avatar of Slaughter or Warmonger Hellkite forced them to do it. Rite of the Raging Storm is equally great at causing contention, as it’s difficult to resist the temptation of swinging for 7 (+2/+0 remember!) every turn when given the choice. And the symmetrical Onslaught effect from our Avatar? Absolutely hilarious for just making everyone as dead as possible ASAP.
…Wait, can’t they point that at us?
Yes they can! Which is why we want to convince everyone to absolutely not do that. Baird will make your greedy opponents who want to play on curve less inspired to swing at you. With a War’s Toll on the table, they’ll also have to give up doing anything else with their mana to give it a go. Gisela will also put them off when they realise they’re only doing half damage to you, while they have a chance at instant killing someone else. Retaliator Griffin does exactly what it says on the tin, and suddenly your opponent might be less keen on hitting you for twenty…
Some more great dissuasion is Darien, who effectively produces 3/1s in this deck in silly quantities. Avenger is the king of surprise BS wins, and combined with Gahiji and Ogre Battledriver it’s not impossible to pay 7 mana for a 9/5 and eight 5/1s. Rith will let us snowball our way to wins. The colour you pick includes cards controlled by opponents, so sometimes it could be worth keeping another token player alive a little longer so you can profit from them going wide. You can also play him as an alternate commander if you have too much trouble making tokens in this deck (as if), and use Gahiji if you struggle for win conditions.
Cuts and Upgrades
Some of the first things I’d look at cutting from this list is probably the large amount of anthems. I’m a big fan of the bulkier enchantments, as spot removal for them isn’t come across as much on a lot of tables, at least in a casual environment. You can also take out a few of the ramp cards and swap out signets for better rocks, but they’re a personal favourite of mine (especially for the price). The landbase is alright, but could be upgraded with shocks and fetches.
Fires of Yavimaya is brutally outclassed by Rhythm of the Wild from the newest set. All your creature spells gain protection from counter magic, and you can give them a buff if you don’t need the haste effect. If you get annoyed by the blue player at your table, consider adding cards like Prowling Serpopard or Dragonlord Dromoka for the same anti-counter effects. Dromoka will also stop their combat trickery if you’re sick of it.
I’m sure a lot of you have already thought of this, but cards such as Parallel Lives, Doubling Season, and Anointed Procession come in huge in this deck. Double the amount of tokens? Yummy. Some cards even get bonuses from the doubled counters too.
Baird can be swapped out for Ghostly Prison if you have the extra cash. You can also stick in Windborn Muse or maybe Norn’s Annex. Mirri is lovely for dominating combats and keeping you safe. I know some people will run Tempt with Vengeance… but personally I think it’s not that great if you have smart opponents, and can be detrimental if a Brudiclad player snorts up those elementals to turn into 5/5s or something worse.
Mirari’s Wake is great for being both a powerful anthem and a non-symmetrical mana doubler; an incredible combo for only five mana. Some people will also run Skullclamp to kill off some tokens for extra draw. Tendershoot Dryad can also slide in nicely to make a lot of guys very quickly. Like I said earlier: you shouldn’t have any trouble ascending with this deck, so those saprolings will get pretty wild fast. And hey, if Rith is your commander then his tokens get buffed too!
Finally, Purphoros is an excellent inclusion, and you’ll be burning your opponents to death very quickly with him on the field. He’s annoying to remove to boot.
I think this is probably the most political deck I’ve made for the site. It should be hilarious to convince your opponents to beat each other down, and I’m sure you know some aggressive players at your table who won’t hesitate to accept the juicy +2/+0 buff. Build your board, hold up a win condition, and just get stuck in by swinging for huge damage. There’s plenty of removal, ramp, and protection in here too, so you shouldn’t be too phased by many threats and will have ways to rebuild even if it all goes tits up.
Thanks for reading! Sorry for the late upload recently – I’ve got a load of exams and other stuff going on so I’ll probably be a little inconsistent for a while. Sorry about that. Have fun with your new dog!