Hello there and welcome to another edition of the Command Center. Before we get to the meat of this week’s article, I want to briefly touch on this weekend, when Grand Prix Richmond roared through my home town and I was able to partake in the limited event.
While I had a fun time, unfortunately my pool was pretty miserable. Two of my rares were lands, another was Anointed Procession, and then there was Glorious End. I ultimately ended up building an okay WGr deck featuring my two remaining rares, Samut, Voice of Dissent and Aven Mindcensor.
With I may not have done particularly well, I did leave with what is perhaps one of the most glorious Magic stories I have to date. After I ended up losing my round 8 to end up 4-4, I was dead for Day 2 but still had one more round. At this point, all I was really playing for was Planeswalker Points. With essentially nothing on the line, I decided that for the last round I wanted to side into a Glorious End deck. I was not disappointed.
After holding the ridiculous mythic in my hand for several turns, the opportunity finally came. I’m at 1 life and my opponent is at 20. He swings his three creatures into my Supply Caravan enchanted with a Cartouche of Strength. I survive by casting Glorious End to end his turn. My hopes are now pinned on my lowly 4/6 camel who has to win the game on my turn. I cast Synchronized Strike to make it a 6/8. I then cast Onward to make my Camel a 12/8 and finished by casting Victory to crash in for 24 points of damage. RAWR! It was certainly a certainly a glorious end to my day.
Now, as those that have been following me know, I’m in the middle of a project where I take the Gods from Theros and add them to decks led by the Gods of Amonkhet. Two weeks ago, I put together an Oketra/Heliod deck and last Monday I made a Kefnet/Thassa deck. That means that this week it’s time to put together a Bontu/Erebos deck.
Let’s take a looksie at the card choices!
Pain and Gain
The first thing that attracts me to the combination of Bontu the Glorified and Erebos, God of the Dead is that they both deal with life totals. Erebos will take away your opponents’ ability to gain life while Bontu drains it away. Bontu will also provide you with the extra life points in order to start drawing cards with Erebos. These two work really nicely together like that.
Why stop the fun there though? Why not include some additional cards that help us drain our opponents’ life totals? Obviously, the first card to get included in this has to be Gray Merchant of Asphodel. Gary ruled Standard while he was legal but he gets even better in multiplayer Commander games since each opponent loses life and then you gain life equal to the life lost that way. Blood Artist, Zulaport Cutthroat, and Falkenrath Noble also need to be included if we’re discussing draining our opponents’ life totals. While we’re at it, let’s go ahead and throw in the massive one time life drain of Exsanguinate. I’ve also included Profane Command since it does pretty much everything we want to do including making an opponent lose life.
Now that we’ve discussed how Erebos and Bontu work together, let’s get on to building a deck around Bontu. Bontu is as sweet as he is powerful. Anytime you have a legendary creature with a sacrifice activated ability, you know you’re in for a fun time. Bontu’s sacrifice effect is extra awesome because he drains your opponent all while allowing you to filter through your deck to either find more gas or more lands in order to play the gas you already have.
In order for Bontu to do his thing however, he needs some creatures that want to be put into the graveyard. I’ve added Solemn Simulacrum and Kokusho, the Evening Star as examples of creatures that want to be thrown into the graveyard.
I’ve also added creatures that recur from the graveyard so that Bontu can keep doing his thing, sacrificing them over and over. In go Nether Traitor, Scrapheap Scrounger, Bloodsoaked Champion, Bloodghast and Reassembling Skeleton. I’ve also included Deathgreeter as a way to gain some extra life and as just an extra cheap creature that Bontu can sacrifice.
Another good way to fuel Bontu is by including a bunch of token generators such as Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder, Ogre Slumlord, and Sengir Autocrat. Thankfully, a lot of these creatures also come with ways to sacrifice the tokens they make in order to always ensure that we’re able to attack with Bontu. Some token generators, like Pawn of Ulamog and Sifter of Skulls also play well with the sacrifice theme as well. I’ve also included Commander all-star, Army of the Damned. This card is great because it makes an army and then when our opponents deal with the first wave, we can flashback it back for even more sacrificing madness.
To boost our token army, let’s add Caged Sun. This artifact is pretty much always good in a mono-colored deck but I especially like it in this one since we get a lot of mileage out of both of its sides. We want to cast X-spells such as Profane Command and Exsanguinate so the extra mana helps and we want to attack with a swarm of creatures so giving all of our creatures +1/+1 adds even more power to the board.
Benefits to Sacrifice/ Morbid
Since we’re sacrificing a lot of the creatures we’re making, I’ve decided to include some cards that benefit from creatures dying. We’ve got Black Market which can make for a truly absurd amount of mana. Dark Prophecy and Decree of Pain will certainly draw us quite a few cards, although be careful! Neither one of those is a “may” ability and we have to draw those cards. I’ve also included Sidisi, Undead Vizier as our tutor of choice. Sidisi will sacrifice a creature which will allow Bontu the chance to attack as well as give us a fairly decent sized creature.
I wanted to add Liliana, Death’s Majesty because she helps by making a token every turn. We can always just reanimate any key or bomb creatures once they’ve died. Of course if we get to her ultimate, we’ll have another board wipe that will keep our Commander alive along with hopefully a Zombie or two.
Finally, one of the best ways this deck has to interact with our opponents is by making them sacrifice creatures at the same time we’re sacrificing creatures. This is going to benefit us as we sacrifice a 1/1 or a creature that wants to die and our opponents are stuck sacrificing real creatures. I’ve included Merciless Executioner and Fleshbag Marauder as single use ways to make everybody sacrifice a creature alongside Grave Pact and Dictate of Erebos as larger versions of the same effect. Last but not least, I’ve also included Malicious Affliction and Reaper from the Abyss whose Morbid ability provides us some ways to kill our opponents’ creatures after we’ve sacrificed one of our own. Bontu wants death and these guys make death happen over and over again.
Death, death everywhere! That’s Bontu’s memo and I feel that this deck does a pretty good job of sacrificing and killing creatures all while draining our opponents’ life totals. This deck is going to be a good one for anybody who wants to durdle around and get incremental value and slowly drain your opponents out.
Be sure to tune in next week when we’ll have Hazoret the Fervent up to bat. I’m envisioning having him combo nicely with madness effects and flashback and I might even do something crazy like add a certain red Planeswalker that discards cards.
Also, the Pro Tour is coming up and I always enjoy seeing what new and crazy decks the Pros have brewed up for the occasion. Until next week, have fun, be safe and I’ll meet you right back here. Same bat time, same bat channel.