The Command Center – Hour of Devastation Review

Hi friends! I hope y’all had a great week. I had a pretty awesome one. I spent the first three days of this week watching children play volleyball then I got to watch my nannying family for a day.

On Friday, I played Turbo Fog to a decent fourth place finish at FNM, going 3-1-1. I lost to a 4-Color Energy Super Friends deck and drew with a BW Anointed Procession Zombie deck. I think that my loss/draw could have been turned into wins with sharper game play and if I had played faster. The deck is very naturally slow so it’s important to not dilly dally.

Anyways, enough talk about myself and my affinity for casting Approach of the Second Sun. (I really do love casting that card). It’s time to talk about the other awesome thing that happened on Friday: we finally got the full spoiler for Hour of Devastation! I gotta say, I’m pretty excited. I’m not entirely sure which cards will see play in Standard, but I do think the cycle of the God’s “last things” is pretty strong though.

The set also brings us six pretty cool Legendary Creatures. In this article, I’m going to run them all down for you as I give you the baseline for how I’d go about building a deck for them and I’ll also talk about what style of deck they might be able to slide into.

Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign

When I first saw this guy, I about did a back flip. The guys over at the Command Zone previewed this beauty and it’s easy to see why. Unesh is very much built for Commander. I certainly don’t expect him to see any Constructed play other than in Commander, but in the best format he’s going to be pretty sweet.

While we miss out on Sphinx of the Steel Wind and Sharuum the Hegemon because of the color identity rule, there are plenty of awesome mono-blue Sphinxes we do get to play with here. From Consecrated Sphinx to Sphinx of Uthuun, this deck is going to be drawing a bunch of cards just as you would expect from a mono-blue deck. Another notable aspect of Unesh is the fact that the cards you don’t put into your hand from Unesh’s Fact or Fiction trigger go into your graveyard. Cards like Snapcaster Mage and Archaeomancer can help make sure we don’t miss out on any sweet goodies by having to put them into our graveyard.

Unesh so obviously wants to be built around that I’m not entirely sure I would want to play him in somebody else’s deck. Maybe if you had a different Sphinx tribal deck you could slot Unesh into it, that might work. Even then, if you’re playing Sphinx tribal, Unesh is the Commander you want. I certainly can’t wait to start building around our new Sphinx Lord.

Razaketh, the Foulblooded

Oh boy, Razaketh is an extremely powerful card. He’s so powerful in fact that I think this card makes for a bad Commander card unless of course you want to play competitive EDH. If competitive EDH is your thing, then Razaketh is your man demon.

Generally in Commander, it’s easy to tutor for two cards that will just win you the game. Try the old Exquisite Blood/Sanguine Bond combo if you want to win the following turn. Two life in Commander is nothing since you start at 40 and you can very easily just fill the deck up with token creatures or creatures you want to die. Then, just simply fill the rest of the deck with mana ramp since Razaketh does cost a whopping 8-mana.

Now that I’ve thrown my nod to Razaketh’s implications in competitive EDH, let me talk to you about why I hate him as a Commander. Because you can’t run more than one of any card, Commander has an “anything can happen” feel to it that often leads to crazy board states. Even if you have an awesome card in your deck, you’re not unlikely to see it every game and, because of this, the games feel very different from each other. Adding tutors to your decks lessens the randomness and makes it so that every game feels the same. If I want my games to feel the same as themselves, I play a format like competitive EDH, Standard, Modern, or Legacy.

I think Razaketh is insane in Commander and honestly, I kinda think it should be banned. While it costs 8 mana, I think it’s just to easy to get there in Commander. The fact that you can activate Razaketh’s ability as many times as you want is ridiculous. Razaketh feels similar to Griselbrand in power level, at least in this format. While I expect some people to call me crazy because of that statement, I don’t really think it’s that far off. Griselbrand was banned because he could draw an absurd amount of your deck the turn you played him. Well, Razaketh cuts out the middle man of drawing cards and just goes and gets the ones you actually need to win.

Razaketh is great for competitive Commander but a horrible card for the way I like to play Commander.

Neheb, the Eternal

Alright, now that I’ve gotten the disgusting taste of Razaketh out of the way, let’s talk about a Legendary Creature I very much enjoy. Neheb has turned into a zombie and this time he’s looking for a completely different style of deck. While Neheb works great with his own Afflict trigger, and other creatures that attack well, he really gets insane once you start thinking outside of the box. While Neheb wants your opponents to lose life, he doesn’t actually care whether they lost it through combat damage or ping effects or burn spells or whatever. All he asks is that your opponents lose life. Once they do, you can burn everyone out with any number of fireball effects.

For mass effectiveness, combine Neheb with Heartless Hidetsugu. The amount of mana you’ll gain in your second main is truly frightening. With it, you could cast Comet Storm or burn multiple players out with Fall of the Titans.

Neheb could very well be the best burn Commander since Heartless Hidetsugu himself.

The Locust God

And now, onto the Gods. It’s so strange to me that these Gods aren’t indestructible. I know it’s going to take some getting used to because every other God before these guys were. Instead, they wind up going to your hand at the beginning of the next end step which means you can’t cast them the same turn they die. I guess Nicol Bolas gave them the ability to keep coming back from the dead instead of bestowing them with the gift of immortality.

Enough about the Gods as a whole; let’s talk about The Locust God himself. Very simply, The Locust God wants you to draw cards and then use the 1/1 tokens he makes. You could do something like cast a huge Blue Sun’s Zenith, attack your opponent with all of the tokens you just made and then sacrifice them all to Goblin Bombardment. If I was making a deck around The Locust God, I would concentrate on the Loci themselves. I would play Coastal Piracy and Bident of Thassa so that once you’ve made tokens, you can start making more tokens.

The Locust God works well in decks that draw cards which of course is pretty much any Commander deck, though he works particularly well in Niv-Mizzet builds, especially if their goal is to cast multiple Windfall effects. Cast Windfall with The Locust God out and all of a sudden, you have seven 1/1 hasty insect creatures.

The Scarab God

Ah, yet another good U/B Commander for Zombies. Gisa and Geralf and Grimgrin, Corpse-Born are both pretty good Zombie Commanders, but The Scarab God might be the coolest yet. Fill your battlefield the way Zombie decks know how to do with, say, Army of the Damned or Endless Ranks of the Dead and then start munching on your opponents’ life totals at the beginning of your upkeep while using The Scarab God’s scry ability to find more Zombies to put onto the battlefield. While The Scarab God clearly wants to play with Zombies, he does have a second ability. In order to capitalize on it, I would want to make sure I had creatures that had either had enter the battlefield abilities (Grave Titan), activated abilities (like Lich Lord of Unx), and lord effects such as Undead Warchief. While Zombie decks generally like to mill anyways, I would go ahead and make sure I’m milling my opponents so I can steal their creatures for The Scarab God.

Clearly, The Scarab God could also be a bit player in an already existing Zombie Commander deck as he just sits there and drains your opponents life totals slowly (or quickly depending on how many zombies you’ve amassed).

All in all, The Scarab God is a very sweet Commander that can also go in pre-existing Zombie decks.

The Scorpion God

Finally, the Rock has come back to MTG. No, not the classic BG deck named “The Rock.” I’m talking when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was first transitioning from wrestler to actor. You got what I was going for.

Anyways, The Scorpion God is a pretty cool card. For those that missed it, I had plenty of sweet black -1/-1 counter cards in the Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons deck that I would have to throw into this deck, the most obvious inclusion of course being Black Sun’s Zenith. You can Black Sun Zenith for four and then draw a bunch of cards with The Scorpion God.

Given that The Scorpion God wants to give creatures -1/-1 counters and the watch them die, creatures with wither and infect seem like they slide right into the deck. Adding red to the -1/-1 counters matter theme means we can play cards like Everlasting Torment and Kulrath Knight. Also, I’m sure this deck will also be more aggressive than Hapatra simply because of the aggressive nature that is Rakdos. Along with putting -1/-1 counters on my opponents creatures, I would also want to play creatures with persist or creatures that naturally wind up with -1/-1 counters placed on them.

The Scorpion God could certainly be a valuable role player for any number of decks that have -1/-1 counters. Generally speaking, those decks aren’t B/R, but I’m sure there are some decks out there that are just dying to get their hands on this guy. He is the people’s champ after all.

The List

Alright, now that I’ve discussed all six of the Legendary Creatures from Hour of Devastation, it’s time to rank them from worst to best. Before I start, I’d like to say that this list is based on how cool of a Commander I think they’ll be and how excited I am to start building Commander decks around them.

  • Razaketh, the Foulblooded (The absurd power level on this guy makes me want to go foul mouthed on him.
  • Neheb, the Eternal (I certainly think there are some sweet brews to be had with Neheb)
  • The Scorpion God (I’ve never seen a B/R deck focused on -1/-1 counters but building one could be interesting)
  • The Locust God (I don’t think he’s the best U/R Commander but I think he’s doing something slightly different than most of the spell based U/R Commanders.)
  • The Scarab God (He might be the best option for a Zombie tribal deck especially if you want to play both U and B and mill your opponents some.)
  • Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign (I can’t help it, I have an affinity for tribal decks especially ones as cool as Sphinxes.)

Wrap Up

Thanks for checking out my opinion of the six Commanders from Hour of Devastation. I can’t wait to bring you brews for each of these Commanders in the upcoming weeks. That’s my project for the next few weeks by the way, building decks for each of the six Legendary Creatures from Hour of Devastation. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them. Thank you and I’ll see you back here next week as I start to work though these cool Commanders.

Troy Bishop

Troy Bishop

Troy Bishop prides himself in his Magic accomplishments which include being the 2015 Modern Spring Virginia State Champion, an appearance at Pro Tour Magic 2015, and once equipping an Avacyn, Angel of Hope with Worldslayer. Troy likes to have fun while playing Magic regardless of whether it’s at the kitchen table or playing for the top 8 of an SCG Open. He also wants to be your friend. So, add him on Facebook today.
Troy Bishop

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Published:July 3, 2017

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