Kenrith's Battle Royale - The Ultimate Tournament for Monster Clashes

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darrenhabib
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Post by darrenhabib » 2 months ago

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Decklist

Graveyard mill


1 Hermit Druid
1 Mirror-Mad Phantasm
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Well after finally thinking about Kenrith, the Returned King after helping a member Jshark19 with his brew with a pillow-fort type style deck and then DirkGently post about a political deck, I finally decided to put a build together.

The aim of the deck is to get the entire table into a battle of creatures. Noncreature spells are not welcome.

The deck is all creatures and all lands except for 7 noncreature spells.

At it's essence it's a Group Hug deck for those playing Creatures and it's a Prison/Lock deck for those playing Noncreature spells.

The way the deck works is that the early and mid game is used to setup an environment so that it's virtually impossible for your opponents to remove your creatures.
The end goal is that everyone is welcome to commit as many creatures as they can, and then it just becomes a battle between whose are the best.
It will be a Battle Royale on the most epic of scales. However we are playing a very pillow-fort style so that opponents are incentivize/forced into attacking each other.
Think of it like a tournament, where you are the King in the stands, watching with intent at how the others are battling it to the death.

Prison/Lock on Noncreature spells

The setup is that you are going to Noncreature Prison/Lock opponents of board wipes eventually with Gaddock Teeg and you have a plethora of protection around this game plan.

With Kenrith's 4b the deck is geared to reanimate any of your Noncreature Prison/Lock and protection creatures, making it very difficult to deal with your board. Opponents needing to fight their way to just get them into your graveyard will not be enough in most cases, as you can bounce back straight away with Kenrith reanimation.



Then add Shalai, Voice of Plenty or Archetype of Endurance.



The deck is well setup against targeted removal with Mother of Runes providing additional protection.

This is normally enough to keep board wipes from occurring. However there are some boogeymen noncreature cards that you have to play around that get under Gaddock Teeg, specifically Cyclonic Rift and Toxic Deluge. We have a number of ways to deal with them. You have other ways to protect against creature removal strategies with indestructible Selfless Spirit and Dauntless Escort.

Tajuru Preserver against heavy sacrifice effects.

Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir also serves a duel purpose of helping with casting creatures in opponents turns, but also into forcing them to cast their instants in their own main phases. This can make a big difference to how your opponents can try and deal with your board. For example they might be forced to try a Cyclonic Rift during their own turn, and it's conceivable that you can deal with it.

How do you set this all up?
Tutors are an important part of getting this altogether and there are a number of creatures that allow you to do this.
Fauna Shaman, Imperial Recruiter, Recruiter of the Guard, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, Captain Sisay.

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard can search for Mother of Runes or Sylvan Safekeeper, Gaddock Teeg, then I'd go Imperial Recruiter to search for Seedborn Muse.

Captain Sisay has a plethora of choices, but she can get Gaddock Teeg and Shalai, Voice of Plenty to start off your Noncreature Prison/Lock game.

The only noncreature tutor we have is Survival of the Fittest.

Survival of the Fittest and Fauna Shaman are particularly good because you can put creatures into your graveyard to setup with using Kenrith's reanimation ability.
In this way often you will use Survival of the Fittest to filter through as many cards first before you get to the final creature you want to cast. So it might be that you spend a number of g to get cards that you'd like access to in the future. This is where making sure you have a toolbox of creatures will really help.

There is also Hermit Druid the can flip cards into your graveyard, giving you access to reanimate with Kenrith. There are 3 basics in the deck, so you should on most occasions put a number of cards into your graveyard with an activation. Two activation's should be enough most times. Of note sometimes you can use a fetch-land to get a basic instead when you look to use Hermit Druid to insure a better graveyard count. If you mill your whole library it is possible to do an infinite combo, but I'll explain that a bit later.

Mirror-Mad Phantasm is also a creature that can flip a number of cards into your graveyard. You can just keep spending 1u to keep putting cards into your graveyard once you have gotten it into play the first time.

So what are we getting exactly?
As I say you really want Gaddock Teeg with at least one thing to protect him. Sylvan Safekeeper being potentially the best, just because it represents multiple times to protect him through turns. But Mother of Runes, Shalai, Voice of Plenty, Archetype of Endurance will protect against targeted removal as well.

Mana is also an important element of being able to do multiple things to help with setting up and later on. There are a number of mana doubling creatures in the deck.
Keeper of Progenitus and Zhur-Taa Ancient works for both you and your opponents and can become part of the Group Hug element to allow people to have more mana for casting their..creatures. However you need to have established a fairly good Noncreature Prison/Lock before you want to be giving your opponents mana.
This is where Nikya of the Old Ways shines, as she only gives you the bonus, and with only 7 noncreature spells in the deck, you don't give up much as far as her downside. If you can establish her early in the game, then you will have much better subsequent turns.
I've specifically kept away from Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger (after actually playing it in the deck for a few games) as it's too obnoxious and we don't want to prevent our opponents from casting their creatures. We thirst for battle!

Another creature that can help with Kenrith activation's is Biomancer's Familiar.

Seedborn Muse is by far the best way to get multiple uses out of Kenrith or a number of other tap to activate creatures.
Further cards that do similar things are Wilderness Reclamation and Awakening.
You can see that this is an important part of the deck to get untapped lands for use in opponents turns, so that you can basically get pseudo extra turns.
This is where you might use Kenrith 3u draw ability, or if you've established a graveyard, reanimate creature(s) each turn.
Of note Awakening activates every players upkeep, so you can even tap your lands in your own turn to activate Kenrith abilities, and then you'll get to untap them again freeing up your mana for the rest of the turn. It even activates differently to Seedborn Muse, so that you get double untap of your lands each players turn!! It's insane trust me.

Often if you have a Fauna Shaman or Survival of the Fittest in play then Seedborn Muse is usually the best to get into play early, as you can then use your mana in opponents turns to get other key cards.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is an obvious follow up, as it allows you to cast creatures during other opponents turns, ala Prophet of Kruphix.
Alchemist's Refuge and Winding Canyons are lands that can give you flash, allowing you to cast your creatures in opponents turns when you get to untap.

You want to get Kenrith, the Returned King into play as soon as possible with this setup as any card put into your graveyard with Fauna Shaman or Survival of the Fittest you can use the 4b ability to bring them into play.



You still want to be building up your protection and Noncreature Prison/Lock pieces, so Planar Guide, Glen Elendra Archmage and Archon of Valor's Reach are examples of creatures that you can aim for.



Further cards you can look to solidify the Noncreature Prison/Lock on noncreature spells are Lavinia, Azorius Renegade and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben to keep storm like decks from doing anything too busted.
Deafening Silence is a great card to put into play if you happen to draw it.

There is also a number of ways to draw cards, just to make sure you push some advantages to setup your game plan.
With over half the deck being creatures Beast Whisperer and Chulane, Teller of Tales are powerful engines to have online.
Consecrated Sphinx goes without saying and you can go into a sort of Group Hug mode by using Kenrith 3u draw ability to target an opponent, giving you 2 draws to go along with it.

Generous Patron has a wonderful synergy of when giving opponents creatures +1/+1 with Kenrithis 1g ability to draw you cards. This is a great way to get opponents happy as well as backup your plans.

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden is a superstar in the deck as you have such a high creature count. Even if you didn't manage to meet the power stipulation, the creature will go to graveyard, allowing you to use Kenrith reanimation ability.


There are some toolbox removal creatures that you might need for some troublesome permanents for the general Battle Royale.
Bane of Progress being the perfect card for removing all artifacts and enchantments, which we have very few of.
Caustic Caterpillar is targeted removal if needing that.

You might have noticed that there is no creature removal in the deck! This is exactly the Group Hug environment we want to setup for Creatures.
Monsters, it's your time to shine.

The only way we have of dealing with creatures is Gilded Drake and Venser, Shaper Savant. But we are not about that, and this leads us into the tournament itself...

Group Hug for Creatures

Let the Games begin!
Once the game has become a creature battle ground, you have some pillow-fort cards to make sure that you are not dying to your opponents boards.

Windborn Muse, Spike Weaver, Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs, Blazing Archon are all ways to prevent opponents attacking you.

At this stage we are going to turn much more into a Group Hug deck. This is where you are happy to deploy cards like Keeper of Progenitus and Zhur-Taa Ancient to give everybody more mana to play with.

You get to a point in the game where you just have more mana than you know what to do with. With all the mana doublers and untap land cards you will be able to literally do whatever you want to do.

At this stage you are also happy for opponents to draw as many cards as they want, to try and make for an impressive creature board for them.
Edric, Spymaster of Trest will not only allow this, but give incentive for opponents to not attack you as well.

Quite often once I have the Noncreature Prison/Lock, I'll use Kenrith 3u ability to give opponents' draws to help them out from being behind. We want them to commit creatures so that they can compete on the battle grounds.

We have Fumiko the Lowblood to force the battle action.

Faerie Artisans is great for getting benefits of opponents ETB or other abilties.

Some final pieces to the overall puzzle is that we have Palinchron as a way to get infinite mana with all the mana doublers.

Viscera Seer is also a key card for getting additional uses out of particular creatures as you can put them straight back into play wih Kenrith reanimation.
That might be Bane of Progress, Venser, Shaper Savant, Spell Queller.
You might even want to reset Archon of Valor's Reach for another mode.
You can also go infinite with sacrificing Palinchron to Viscera Seer and use Kenrith reanimation to get it back into play. You'll only need 6 lands to get infinite mana this way.

Of note you can keep using indefinite counterspells with Voidmage Prodigy, Glen Elendra Archmage with bringing them back with Kenrith reanimation ability.

Venser, Shaper Savant and Spell Queller can be sacrificed to Viscera Seer for additional use with Kenrith reanimation ability.

Training Grounds is the ultimate in reducing the cost of Kenrith abilities. It also helps with activating Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, Planar Guide, Shalai, Voice of Plenty, Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, Mirror-Mad Phantasm.

Boogeymen creatures
Now it's not all plain sailing once you get a Noncreature Prison/Lock on your opponents.
There are some creatures in the game that can kill multiple other creatures.

Giving creatures -1/-1 until end of turn are the hardest to deal with because they are not targeted effects.
Massacre Girl, Doomwake Giant, Noxious Ghoul, Silumgar, the Drifting Death, Archfiend of Ifnir, Bane of the Living, Kagemaro, First to Suffer, Massacre Wurm, Demon of Dark Schemes, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite.

Really the way to deal with these types of effects are either countering the effect with Voidmage Prodigy or Venser, Shaper Savant, but also you can counter the trigger with Nimble Obstructionist.

Also with Planar Guide you can protect every creature.

But the other way of dealing with these if it's far enough into the game, is that you can give creatures +1/+1 bonuses to prevent them from dying, even your opponents creatures.
A cycled Decree of Pain is similar, but again you can play around it with enough +1/+1 counters.
Of note the easiest way to actually save your own creatures is via Shalai, Voice of Plenty +1/+1 ability.

The destroy creatures Deathbringer Regent, Wakening Sun's Avatar, Sunblast Angel are much easy to deal with your own Selfless Spirit and Dauntless Escort.

There are also a bunch of creatures that return them to hand; Aethersquall Ancient, Awoken Horror, Llawan, Cephalid Empress, Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep, Kederekt Leviathan.

If you can save your own creatures, especially Kenrith with a healthy mana base (i.e. keep the mana doublers as well), then you can let your other creatures die and then just start reanimating them with Kenrith ability. Then you can look to also reanimate your opponents creatures so that the board is back to where it was pre board wipe.
Last edited by darrenhabib 2 months ago, edited 6 times in total.

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Theoric
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Post by Theoric » 2 months ago

I'd love to be playing Selvala when someone pulled out a deck like this. :)

If you wanted to take this to the extreme you could take out your basic lands and do hermit druid/cephalid inkshrouder type shenanigans to dump your library, cast dread return on necrotic ooze, make infinite mana with it using Morselhoarder and Devoted Druid in the graveyard, and use it to cast Kenrith and bring out all your relevant creatures along with Akron Legionnaire (and something so you don't die on your draw step) so you don't totally smash your opponents. If Akron dies you simply resurrect it again.

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darrenhabib
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Post by darrenhabib » 2 months ago

Theoric wrote:
2 months ago
I'd love to be playing Selvala when someone pulled out a deck like this. :)

If you wanted to take this to the extreme you could take out your basic lands and do hermit druid/cephalid inkshrouder type shenanigans to dump your library, cast dread return on necrotic ooze, make infinite mana with it using Morselhoarder and Devoted Druid in the graveyard, and use it to cast Kenrith and bring out all your relevant creatures along with Akron Legionnaire (and something so you don't die on your draw step) so you don't totally smash your opponents. If Akron dies you simply resurrect it again.
Did you mean Linvala, Keeper of Silence? Yeah also Containment Priest. I was thinking about Meddling Mage as an option, because some match-ups are just so bad. Massacre Girl in the command zone is incredible hard to play against..impossible really.

One of my first decks was a Hermit Druid based combo deck, as I wanted to show my friends what was possible in commander if you took it to the extreme.

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DirkGently
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Post by DirkGently » 2 months ago

I'm curious - it seems like for every deck you build, you have something close to a miniature primer, complete with nice-looking graphics and headers - basically all the parts of making a primer that drove me insane :P Do you not post a decklist until you've already played it quite a bit? Or do you write all this out as a way to explain your thought process while working on it? And are you a graphic artist? Why go through the trouble to make all the graphics and stuff early in a deck's development (I assume early since Kenrith hasn't been around for *that* long, although if you're playing online maybe you've already gotten to play it a lot)?
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pokken
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Post by pokken » 2 months ago

DirkGently wrote:
2 months ago
I'm curious - it seems like for every deck you build, you have something close to a miniature primer, complete with nice-looking graphics and headers - basically all the parts of making a primer that drove me insane :P Do you not post a decklist until you've already played it quite a bit? Or do you write all this out as a way to explain your thought process while working on it? And are you a graphic artist? Why go through the trouble to make all the graphics and stuff early in a deck's development (I assume early since Kenrith hasn't been around for *that* long, although if you're playing online maybe you've already gotten to play it a lot)?
Dude plays a *lot*, probably more than any 10 of us :)

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darrenhabib
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Post by darrenhabib » 2 months ago

DirkGently wrote:
2 months ago
I'm curious - it seems like for every deck you build, you have something close to a miniature primer, complete with nice-looking graphics and headers - basically all the parts of making a primer that drove me insane :P Do you not post a decklist until you've already played it quite a bit? Or do you write all this out as a way to explain your thought process while working on it? And are you a graphic artist? Why go through the trouble to make all the graphics and stuff early in a deck's development (I assume early since Kenrith hasn't been around for *that* long, although if you're playing online maybe you've already gotten to play it a lot)?
Haha. Well I work on websites for a living, so I guess I can't help myself with making the threads presentable in some manner, and it doesn't feel like any extra work at all. I just simply enjoy it and honestly it literally only takes me like 10 minutes to whip up graphics.

Umm, I'll thrash a deck online for a couple of days (let's say play 30 games), and if it works, then I'll start to create a thread. And yes this helps me flesh out my own thoughts and absolutely has an effect on potential changes.

I just really like posting lists, as I've always found that people are able to help with card choices (early on in the development), and it does seem to inspire a number of people in the process. So just a win-win.
I feel like my lists are fairly spicy as well, so I'm not posting them to be the "official way to play this commander". I just like throwing around some ideas that people might not have thought about.


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