This is a guest post from a fantastic magic writer from Tumblr, Shawn from CommanDollar.
Enjoy the article!
Rejoice! For Xenagos, the God of Revels is now in command.
The gods of Theros create a very unique playstyle as commanders; when they come out on the field, they usually aren’t creatures – which makes their other abilities far more dangerous. Removal is now a major issue, as the only way to get rid of a god is to exile it (cards like Revoke Existence and Deicide come to mind) or return it to it’s owner’s hand.
Xenagos, God of Revels (or Xenagod) functions as a great addition to the voltron style, even if he doesn’t have enough devotion to be a creature, as well as aggro. His final ability, which doubles the power of a creature and gives it haste for a turn, can turn your threats into even more potent threats, giving you the advantage in combat every turn. Your goal with Xenagod as your commander is to ramp for more mana as quickly as you can manage, cast your commander, and then start attacking with creatures every turn after that. Creatures with trample will make the Gruul beatdown you delve out more efficient.
So now you have an idea of how Xenagod should play-but no idea as to which cards belong in the deck. Here’s a helpful breakdown of some cards that can help you win target game:
Mana Ramp/Land Ramp:
These cards are meant to get you mana and get it fast.
- Rites of Flourishing
- Sakura-Tribe Elder
- Sol Ring
- Sylvan Caryatid
- Yavimaya Elder
These are for the first few turns of the game, to speed you right into cards like:
- Oracle of Mul Daya
- Caged Sun
- Gauntlet of Power
- Boundless Realms
The more lands you have, the easier it will be to cast those creatures you want to play, and the better of a chance to draw creatures rather than land!
Ways to Cheat Creatures out:
Even though you have all that mana to work with, you still want to cheat out your higher-costing creatures.
Deathrender and Quicksilver Amulet let you do so with a small bit of effort on your part, though your opponent(s) will see it coming.
Defense of the Heart is great if someone is trying to build up their defenses against your board – every upkeep when an opponent has at least three creatures, you can sacrifice Defense of the Heart to get any two creatures and put them into play.
Garruk’s Horde, Guild Feud, and Lurking Predators, all build your board straight from your deck.
Genesis Wave puts all that mana you have to good use, letting you drop a massive amounts of cards directly from your deck onto the field.
Help Connecting for Damage:
Once you have that aggressive board state, you need to make sure you connect.
Archetype of Aggression and Nylea, God of the Hunt are enchantment creatures that both grant trample by just being in play, and Archetype of Aggression has the added bonus of removing trample from your opponent’s creatures as well. Of the two, however, Nylea is much more powerful, at a more managable mana cost. 1RR is harder to pay for than 3G, and she also becomes a 6/6 (though without trample) that can easily hit people hard, and can also pump a creature +2/+2 until end of turn for 3G.
Rancor, Skarrg Guildmage, and Triumph of the Hordes also give trample to help punch a hole through their life (seeing as the quickest way to a person’s heart is through their chest). Triumph of the Hordes is also a win condition in the right situation – especially with the card below.
Mage Slayer is an absolute must in this deck; being able to hit someone for damage even before blockers are declared with this can mean the end of the game for someone. If that creature has infect, it poisons them before they can even try to block you – and if you connect it’s basically game over.
Warstorm Surge is also huge – every time you drop a large creature, take a chunk out of your opponent. Then if Xenagod is on the field, take some more. It’s important to note that it also hits creatures as well, so removing annoyances like Magus of the Moat that would usually be a problem is easy with this card.
Creatures that Bring the Pain:
Now you have an aggressive board state. You just need a hammer to nail it all down.
Inferno Titan is one of the biggest red “good stuff” cards. It can toss 3 damage per swing and when it comes into play, wiping out small creatures and smashing face.
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger, is probably the meanest of the Praetors. Mana doubling and denial on a 7/6 beater with trample is awesome.
Worldspine Wurm and Borborygmos Enraged are big and come equipped with trample and more.
Balefire Dragon and Hellkite Tyrant fly, making things even more difficult when your opponent expects you to stay on the ground. Balefire with a Xenagod trigger can blow out an opponent’s boardstate, while Hellkite takes advantage of the huge amount of artifacts in Commander.
Rubblehulk is just as big as all those lands you’ve been putting out, and Mistcutter Hydra can be too!
The killer is Malignus – if an opponent has more life than you, team that up with Xenagos and Mage Slayer for a one-hit KO!
So, overall, here’s a skeleton list:
[column width=”200px” padding=”10px”]
Xenagos, God of Revels
Archetype of Aggression
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Oracle of Mul Daya
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Triumph of the Horde
Defense of the Heart
Rites of Flourishing
Xenagos, the Reveler
Gauntlet of Power
The idea of this deck is very forward; ramp quickly, play Xenagod, then start hitting your opponents until they have no life left. You should also make sure to bring some removal for artifacts, enchantments, and deathtouch. Fortunately Gruul has so much available for that kind of removal. Also keep in mind that once you cast Xenagod, your creatures will have a much bigger impact during your combat phase-even 1/1 tokens! The deck is more fast paced, but can hold out for a while, so long as you prepare for such. The strength of this deck, however, is to be attacking almost every chance you get, so you can revel in victory over your fallen opponents.
-Shawn from CommanDollar