Brains! Congratulations go out to Gerry Thompson this week for eating the brains of all of his adversaries on the way to his Pro Tour trophy. It was a pretty cool journey that saw plenty of Zombies vs Aetherworks match-ups. I’ve been playing Mardu Vehicles but maybe I’ll have to check out one of these decks. It seems like Mardu Vehicles doesn’t have the best match win percentage over either of these archetypes.
Enough talk about the Pro Tour and Standard though. Let’s talk about the best Magic format, Commander!
Through the past three weeks, I’ve written an article and made a deck for Oketra, Kefnet, and Bontu. Since Hazoret is next on the color pie, let’s take a look at our Jackal God. Jackal, jackal, it’s a jackal.
Empty that Hand!
Our Commander is an indestructible 5/4 haster so let’s make sure we can attack with her as early and often as possible. To do so, Hazoret wants us to maintain as low a hand size as feasible while (presumably) not hamstringing ourselves too much.
I’ve included several ways to use cards as a resource for a quick gain. Firestorm is a one-mana sorcery which can deal with multiple problematic creatures and/or deal a significant amount of damage to the face all while getting rid of obnoxious cards clogging up our hand. Nahiri’s Wrath is an additional way to deal with problematic creatures and/or planeswalkers from our opponents while Devastating Dreams can help clear the board of opposing blockers while potentially Armageddoning our opponents into oblivion. Null Brooch discards our hand while giving us a way to interact with noncreature spells. Finally, I’ve even included a bunch of “looting” effects like Faithless Looting, Cathartic Reunion, and Tormenting Voice as ways to churn through our deck, discarding more expensive spells for things we can cast more easily. Perhaps the “best” loot effect for Hazoret, Dangerous Wager will quickly allow us to get to a hand size of two.
I’ve also included a few cards that help keep our hand “full” while also letting us attack with our Commander, largely by rewarding being Hellbent. Avaricious Dragon and Grafted Skullcap, for example, ensure that we don’t get bogged down with cards we can’t cast in our hand all while giving us card advantage. Bedlam Reveler has a similar effect by allowing us to draw cards and will be extra good if we can cast it for cheap, having already emptied instants and/or sorceries in our graveyard earlier. Speaking of card advantage, Ghirapur Orrery should benefit us more than our opponents as we’ll get to draw the extra cards more often. Key to the City can give our Hazoret unblockablity while also letting us recoup the card loss at a more opportune time.
Speaking of managing to get card advantage from having no hand, Wheel of Fortune effects seem especially good in this deck since we can empty our hand thanks to any number of our discard effects and then draw seven with Wheel of Fortune while our opponents will be discarding cards before drawing seven.
Another way to get around the downside of only having one or fewer cards in your hand is to have cards in exile that you can cast but don’t actually count for being in your hand. One example of this is Gustha’s Scepter. Scepter will let you put aside one card a turn until you’re ready to discard your hand, recouping whatever you’ve squirreled away with the artifact. The cards won’t actually be in your hand so Hazoret will be happy and you’ll still have cards to play tucked under the Scepter.
Outpost Siege is another card that will draw you an extra card a turn. It has the more traditional “red card draw limitation” of having to cast the exiled card that turn. Stromkirk Occultist is another great example of this and works great in this deck because of its madness effect which means you can cast it when you discard it with one of the other cards. Speaking of which…
I had to include some cards with madness since we’re discarding all these cards. Although it’s certainly not the most powerful effect, I’ve included Fiery Temper. Three damage for one mana is a good rate and in Commander it can kill a small creature or Planeswalker. Avacyn’s Judgment is a more pronounced effect, able to kill multiple creatures, planeswalkers, or given enough mana, multiple players. As a side note, I’ve included Heartless Hidetsugu so that this can happen more reliably and easily.
Of course, Madness isn’t the only keyword that works specifically well with discarding cards. Once you’ve discarded cards to your graveyard, another way to get extra mileage out of them is via flashback. In addition to Faithless Looting, Conflagrate will also allow us to discard cards from flashback. In fact, I think Conflagrate will mainly be a card that we discard so that we can flash it back in order to get rid of the rest of the cards in our hand. Devil’s Play is a Fireball that will flashback as another Fireball. Increasing Vengeance will allow us to copy spells as we flash it back from our graveyard, letting us copy one of our fireballs or one of our Wheel of Fortune effects. While Runehorn Hellkite doesn’t actually have flashback, it does have a similar effect, allows us to Wheel of Fortune when it dies. Finally, Squee, Goblin Nabob is a card we can discard over and over again which will just keep coming back for more.
I’ve included Chandra Ablaze and Chandra Flamecaller mostly for their Wheel of Fortune effects. Still, their other abilities are powerful as well. Ablaze lets us pinpoint discard cards as we deal 4 damage to specific creatures or players until it’s time to get a free Past in Flames. Chandra Flamecaller can also push for damage if we don’t need cards or deal 4 damage to all of the smaller creatures.
“One of these things is not like the other”
Finally, he’s been waiting and it might finally be time to dust off those Tibalt vs. Sorin duel decks. I know Sorin is probably bent up by now after seeing play in several variations of Teysa, Orzhov Scion decks but that Tibalt has been barely touched. This might finally be his time to shine. He’s a discard outlet until one of our opponents gets carried away and draws too many cards when he can Sudden Impact somebody. Maybe we can sneak him up to six mana for his Insurrection effect. It might not happen (and is probably the wrong play to include him) but poor Tibalt has been searching for a home for years now.
Killing Our Opponent: Attacking with Hazoret, Burn, and Teaming up with Purphoros
Most of the damage I’m hoping to do is via attacking with Hazoret, so I’ve added some ways to ensure he gets in there. I’ve included both Key to the City and Rogue’s Passage in order to make Hazoret unblockable every turn (or close to every turn). Tenza, Godo’s Maul goes in every Commander deck that wants to attack with red Legendaries.
This deck is really a burn deck at heart which a little extra flavor thrown in. I always enjoy playing Price of Progress in mono red decks as ways to kill our opponents out of nowhere because of their greedy mana bases. Also, Gratuitous Violence will double both the combat damage Hazoret will deal and the damage from her activated ability since Gratuitous Violence doesn’t care how the damage was dealt. Of course, there’s always the “kill everybody with an even life total” combo with Heartless Hidetsugu.
Lastly, as folks who’ve read along these past few weeks will know, these recent decks have tried to create a list that can be piloted not only by the Amonkhet gods, but by the Theros ones of the same color. While Purphoros, God of the Forge doesn’t really meld well with what Hazoret is doing, he’s still another way to chuck some damage at our opponents. While this isn’t a normal, token-style Purphoros deck, the two damage Purphoros throws at our opponents will still come in handy as we play some number of creatures every turn and will add up as you filter your way through the deck to your creature win-cons.
So there we have it, another Amonkhet Commander deck in the books. If you’re looking to speed up your Commander games and have fun burning your opponent’s life totals, feel free to check out and tweak this Hazoret the Fervent deck.
Next up on the Command Center, we have the final god, Rhonas the Indomitable. Rhonas might be the strongest of the Amonkhet Gods benefiting from something green Commander decks always have plenty of: big, beefy creatures.
Until next time, “Said a fervent young lady of Hammels, I object to humanity’s trammels! I want to be free! Like a bird! Like a bee! Oh, why am I classed with the mammals?” (Morris Bishop)