A Take on Titan - No Escape from 12-Rack (Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger)

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KitsuLeif
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Post by KitsuLeif » 5 months ago




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Table of Contents



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Introduction

It has been a long ride for me. Well, it did feel long to me. I've been playing Commander since the end of 2016 and in around three years I've built nearly 100 (99 and counting) different Commanders. Only a small minority of decks stayed together; most were getting disassembled after one evening. There were times, where I've built three decks a week, only to pull them apart a day later. It was unfulfilling. Maybe that's the reason why Kroxa caught my eye. The titan of death's hunger devours everything in sight (Hey, even his eye-sockets are mouths!) and probably has the same feeling of a void that can't be filled. That, and the fact that I pulled a foil Kroxa in my booster box. **ahem**

So I did some research. I came across multiple deck lists for Kroxa, all of them focusing on discarding, some of them had Worldgorger Dragon in them, others didn't. Most of them were generic discard decks. Not that this is something bad, it just isn't something I'd consider fun for myself. You could expect the typical Megrim-esque effects in those lists. Damage through discard. Of course, this is a viable strategy, but what if your opponents don't have cards in hand to discard anymore, because they play them as soon as they draw them? Suddenly your Megrim, Liliana's Caress, Raiders' Wake and all the other cards that focus on opponents discarding their hand become dead cards.

Then I had an idea. Years ago when I was new in Magic and had no idea what Commander was, I had a budget 8-Rack deck for the Modern format. You know, the list that Tolarian Community College promoted in 2014. I didn't play often, but when I played, I had a lot of fun with 8-Rack. But The Rack itself is pretty weak in multiplayer. And I only knew of three other effects that were similar to The Rack's. So... would my idea fail before I even had the chance to fully develop it?
No! My research gave out one other list on tappedout that was simply called "Kroxa 12-Rack". A lot of credit goes to this list, because without it, it would have taken me way longer to come up with my own version of it.




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Commander Analysis

"Kroxa devours what he may — not for sustenance or pleasure, but because it is his nature. He is unending hunger given form."
— Klothys, god of destiny
First of all: Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger is one of the two Rakdos-colored Commanders that focuses on opponents discarding. While Anje Falkenrath, Chainer, Nightmare Adept, Olivia, Mobilized for War and Malfegor only let you discard, Neheb, the Worthy is the only other Rakdos-colored Commander as of now that lets everyone discard. And he has to connect for this ability to trigger.

In other colors and/or combinations you have Cao Cao, Lord of Wei, Crosis, the Purger, Greel, Mind Raker, Gwendlyn Di Corci, He Who Hungers, Infernal Kirin, Liliana, Defiant Necromancer, Myojin of Night's Reach, Nath of the Gilt-Leaf, Nebuchadnezzar, Nicol Bolas, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, Rankle, Master of Pranks, The Haunt of Hightower, Urgoros, the Empty One and Zhang Liao, Hero of Hefei but you may have noticed that only one of them, the mean multiverse-tormenting dragon, discards for entering the battlefield.

Why Play This Commander

So Kroxa might have looked like a generic discard Commander at first, when in fact, he is the first real Commander who utilizes discard for lifeloss. And the best thing is, he only costs BR!

You should feed the unleashed titan if you:
  • like to play discard strategies (duh!)
  • want a deck that lets your commander go to the graveyard multiple times in a single turn
  • aren't opposed to cheat the cost of your creatures by reanimating them
  • like to slowly but steadily wear down your opponents
  • like to be able to win through a combo that can be assembled from field, hand, grave and library all at once
You should probably back away from this hungry giant, if you:
  • hate Rakdos (seriously, why did you even read this far?)
  • like your friends too much to destroy entire game plans
  • want to rearrange your graveyard for better overview (DON'T. REARRANGE. YOUR. GRAVEYARD! It's already a no-go by the rules, but this deck really relies on those rules)
  • think that Rakdos is for playing aggressively (which is not the case here)
  • dislike shuffling a Commander-sized deck more than once or twice a game
Other Viable Discard Commanders

Out of the 17 other "opponents discard"-Commanders, I have picked a few that I feel are good alternatives if you don't want to build Kroxa:
Cao Cao, Lord of Wei is a mono B Commander that seems to take a more supportive role in a discard focussed deck. The Commander himself I think is not really discard focussed, but a deck around him could be. Problem is, Cao Cao doesn't do anything when all opponents are hellbent already. With a lousy 3/3 body he isn't even a viable option for Commander damage. You need a good reason to build a deck with Cao Cao, when you have better options available. If you prefer underplayed Commanders and want to try weird pre-combat shenanigans, go for it.
Nath of the Gilt-Leaf is a weird BG Commander. Decks with Nath are often a mix of discard and Elf tribal because of both of his two abilities. Sure, waiting a turn rotation to let one opponent discard a card at random and then make a 1/1 token off of it seems pretty bad at first, given that Nath has a CMC of 5. But Elves are really good at mana acceleration and combined with black, they have access to most discard spells to turn Nath's second ability into a real engine. That said, the discard is mostly not more than a tool for more Elves in Nath decks and the real finishers are Craterhoof Behemoth, Triumph of the Hordes or Elf Lords like Ezuri, Renegade Leader and Joraga Warcaller. Nath wants to limit the options of his opponents, where Kroxa wants to downright kill them with discard.
Neheb, the Worthy is the only other BR Commander besides Kroxa that lets opponents discard. And even though Minotaur tribal has gotten a push recently with Theros Beyond Death, I just don't see the appeal in building a deck like this. Neheb seems to want the player to play lots of Minotaurs, but also ways to keep the own hand size low enough to pump all of those horned beasts. And then Neheb himself is a 4/2 with First Strike who has to deal combat damage to a player so that everybody discards a single card. Feels like a lot of hoops to jump through. Can he be brokenly strong? Probably not. But if you are a fan of Minotaur tribal and also like discard and janky deck ideas, go give it a try.
Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is a strong UBR Commander that can be build into many different themes, one of them being discard. By adding Blue to the selection of colors, Bolas has access to discard spells like Windfall, Jace's Archivist and the likes. One way to abuse Bolas would be a blink strategy, for example with Deadeye Navigator to get rid of the opponents' hand cards easily. The fact that Bolas transforms into a Planeswalker makes him a toolbox Commander that can take over the game pretty fast if not handled immediately. Grixis has a lot of "mean" cards to end the game with, like all the other Nicol Bolases. If you want a toolbox Commander of which one of the tools is discard, then go for Bolas.





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Deck History

Originally I planned on not building a new Commander deck with Theros Beyond Death. Until I pulled Kroxa in foil from my booster box. I looked at him. He looked at me. He basically screamed "Build me!" and well, what can I say? I tried. And I think, I succeeded.

It didn't take long for me to realize that this deck didn't need combos to win. They felt too random and I wasn't happy with them so I took them out before I even played the first game in a big round.
Now that I'm done with updating the manabase to a point where it feels stable enough, I'm only looking for small improvements for the deck. Only little tweaks until it's time for an Ikoria set review, because I think that the deck has reached its final version now. Of course it will be updated with new sets that come out, or if someone suggests an older card I didn't think of.

This section will receive updates over time as my deck evolves.




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Current Decklist
By Type

//Planeswalkers


1 Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage
Approximate Total Cost:

By Function
Approximate Total Cost:





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Synergies and Combos
Some fun synergies:
Dark Deal/Geier Reach Sanitarium + Geth's Grimoire = Draw a lot.
Dark Deal/Geier Reach Sanitarium + Uba Mask = Originally I planned on using Memory Jar but I really like Dark Deal as it is way cheaper (in mana and in money) and it works even better with the Mask than Jar does. Geier Reach Sanitarium works in a same way.
Ever After on Sidisi, Undead Vizier + any other creature (Kroxa for example) = Reusable reanimation as long as you have enough mana. Sidisi exploits herself and searches for Ever After that is on the bottom of the library at that point.
Cabal Coffers + Deserted Temple (+ Thespian's Stage + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth) = Lots of mana
Noetic Scales + Burglar Rat/Rotting Rats = With an empty hand we always have more discard spells to play on our turn

At the moment I don't play any infinite combos, because I feel like the deck doesn't need them. They would destroy the meaning of the deck which is to let our opponents die slowly to the Rack-effects, not to some kind of sudden combo win.




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Card Choice Discussion

Well, except for basic lands I will go through this card by card, so I will split this up in categories as well.

Artifacts
  • Altar of Dementia – If we really do not have any reanimator spell in hand and want to get Kroxa onto the battlefield permanently, we can use this thing to sacrifice Kroxa before his EtB would force us to sacrifice him and mill ourselves with it, so we can then pay Kroxa's Escape costs. Also we can use the Altar to mill out our opponents of course, if the game takes long enough.
  • Erratic Portal – To return Kroxa to our hand before he can be sacrificed to himself. And also sometimes to bounce a creature an opponent controls so I can discard it, if they're tapped out.
  • Geth's Grimoire – It's a little anti-synergistic with some of the cards like Sire of Insanity or Hollowborn Barghest, but I like having more options than my opponents. And drawing some cards every time we reanimate Kroxa sounds like a good deal.
  • Lifeline – We have to use it with caution because it works for all players and not just us. Still, we are the ones that have a Commander that sacrifices itself every time it enters the battlefield and wasn't cast for its Escape costs. Bonus points for getting back an exploitable (get it?) Sidisi, Undead Vizier for a free Tutor every end step.
  • Mind Stone – Ramp and draw and nothing more.
  • Mirage Mirror – Mostly we want to use this on a freshly entered Kroxa so we can get an attack trigger from it. But it's also useful with lots of other cards, including those of our opponents.
  • Mirror of the Forebears – Name Elder or Giant and copy a freshly entered Kroxa the same way as Mirage Mirror does, just a bit cheaper.
  • Noetic Scales – This acts as a one-sided boardwipe on each upkeep and is oftentimes a lifesaver.
  • Pauper's Cage – 12-Rack piece #01
  • Skullcage – 12-Rack piece #02 (note that this also triggers, when opponents have 5 or more cards in hand)
  • Sol Ring – 98 cards + Sol Ring + Commander, bla bla...
  • Sundial of the Infinite – Ends the turn after Kroxa's discard trigger resolved but before his self-sacrifice trigger resolves and we end up with an undercosted, overpowered Commander very early in the game. Of course we can also use it to keep Feldon of the Third Path's token copies, for more Rack shenanigans or other cool stuff.
  • Uba Mask – We don't want our opponents to recover from having no hand cards, so exiling them right when they're drawn sounds reasonable. That they can only be used that turn they are exiled is even better.
  • Wheel of Torture – (I really love the pun in the flavor text on this one) 12-Rack piece #03


Creatures
  • Asylum Visitor – Often enough this should give us extra cards. And we can even cast it while discarding it!
  • Blood Scrivener – Same here.
  • Burglar Rat – Yay for more discard effects if Kroxa is somehow unavailable.
  • Feldon of the Third Path – Soo many cool creatures to copy with him (Kroxa, Sidisi and Syr Konrad are the best ones probably).
  • Flayer of the Hatebound – With Kroxa constantly entering the battlefield from the graveyard this thing is evil enough even without the rest of the combo.
  • Hellfire Mongrel – 12-Rack piece #04
  • Hollowborn Barghest – 12-Rack piece #05 (note that this also triggers during your upkeep, so having no cards in hand is advantageous)
  • Kozilek, Butcher of Truth – Eldrazi daddy number one. Prevents that we mill ourselves and when we cast him, we draw a bunch of gas.
  • Lavaborn Muse – 12-Rack piece #06
  • Liliana, Heretical Healer // Liliana, Defiant Necromancer – We let Kroxa die often enough so she'll transform, then she proceeds to lessen our opponents' hands. And her ultimate, if reached, is a better version of Lifeline. What's not to love?
  • Nezumi Shortfang // Stabwhisker the Odious – At first a discard piece, after flipped it's 12-Rack piece #07
  • Rackling – 12-Rack piece #08
  • Rankle, Master of Pranks – Discard, Card Draw and Creature Removal on one card with Haste and Flying. Probably one of the few times this deck makes use of the combat step.
  • Rotting Rats – Simultaneous discard with built-in reanimation.
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One – This is also a card that draws a lot of hate, but hopefully it will be manageable with the amount of discard we're running. Sheoldred works as both reanimator and removal. Swampwalk is also nice to have with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth out.
  • Sidisi, Undead Vizier – Exploiting herself or another creature is great, but if we combine it with reanimator spells, it gets even better, so she works as a reusable tutor from the graveyard.
  • Sire of Insanity – Sometimes we need brute force to ensure our opponents' hands are empty. This is the card to do it.
  • Syr Konrad, the Grim – This transforms Kroxa into a real beast. Let's say we have Syr Konrad on the battlefield and reanimate Kroxa. Kroxa leaves the graveyard, Syr Konrad deals 1 damage to each opponent. Then each opponent discards a card (maybe there were creatures under those cards, so Syr Konrad will trigger again for each creature card, dealing even more damage). And then Kroxa dies again which lets Syr Konrad trigger one more time. Oh yeah, Syr Konrad is also part of a combo. So Syr Konrad might be the secret MVP of this deck.


Enchantments
  • Animate Dead – -1/-0 is such a small price to pay for a good reanimation. This card lets us also hit opponents' graveyards.
  • Dance of the Dead – Same cost as Animate Dead but this time +1/+1. Downside is that we have to pay an additional 1B to untap the enchanted creature in our next upkeep. I think, we'll use it most of the time for Kroxa.
  • Grave Pact – Probably useless against Token decks, but good against other creature related decks, so it's just another form of removal.
  • Necromancy – Reanimating with instant speed is cool, so doing this while our opponent's draw step on Kroxa lets them discard the card they just drew if they have no other cards in hand.
  • Necropotence – *sigh* I had to convince myself that this card is a must-have for this deck. I don't really like it, because we are discarding as well from time to time, but card draw is so important.
  • Painful Quandary – We're effectively giving our opponents a choice here. But it is a choice between two bad outcomes. Discarding brings them closer to the range were the Rack effects become active. Losing 5 life may seem like a small price to pay, but it adds up. Also, there is no choice if they don't have any other cards in hand, so they'll just lose 5 life.
  • Phyrexian Reclamation – A way to get back creature cards from the grave we don't want to use reanimation spells on. Sometimes getting back Kroxa multiple times a turn can be just as good, even if we pay some life for it.
  • Quest for the Nihil Stone – 12-Rack piece #09
  • Shrieking Affliction – 12-Rack piece #10
  • Storm World – 12-Rack piece #11 (note that this also triggers for you, so watch your life total and cards in your hand)
  • Waste Not – Together with Geth's Grimoire the only "real" discard-for-payoff card. It's awesome in the early-game, okayish in the mid-game and probably useless in the late-game. Hopefully it will be more awesome than useless.


Instants
  • Bedevil – Flexible Removal.
  • Chaos Warp – Even more flexible Removal.
  • Corpse Dance – It's probably best to be played directly after Kroxa goes to the grave. And once more: DO. NOT. REARRANGE. THE. GRAVEYARD!
  • Goryo's Vengeance – Has 9 targets in this deck, but we have to be careful that we won't exile our useful stuff with it. So it's best if we use it on Kroxa, Liliana, Heretical Healer (when you are able to transform her right away, or if we can exile the trigger with Sundial of the Infinite.
  • Shallow Grave – You should know the drill by now. Best used on Kroxa.


Lands


Planeswalkers


Sorceries


Cards I'm not using at the moment
  • Worldgorger Dragon – I feel like the combo is too easy to disrupt and when that happens I am left with no permanents and I hate when that happens.
  • Geralf's Messenger – Would be number #3 in the Ashnod's Altar + Nim Deathmantle combo, alongside Flayer of the Hatebound and Murderous Redcap. I hope that two of those effects get the job done as it's not really a problem to get the creatures I need for the combo, but the artifacts.
  • Mindslicer – I don't like the idea that this creature has to die for its effect and doesn't do this immediately as an EtB. If you have enough sac outlets for it, it might be good enough. But I had enough games where I wanted a creature I controlled dead and no one on the table wanted to kill it.
  • Damnation – Yeah... I just don't have that one and do not really plan on getting it. There are other boardwipes in our colors that are sometimes better. Blasphemous Act for example can be a lot cheaper for the same outcome.
  • Last One Standing – If I feel the need to play more boardwipes, this will be the one I'll try first, I think.
  • Demonic Tutor – As I already said, once I get one I will replace Diabolic Tutor with it.
  • Syphon Mind – This is basically discard + Geth's Grimoire in one card, but I don't know if it's worth including.
  • Words of Waste – It's really cool with Geier Reach Sanitarium and Geth's Grimoire, but I don't know if it fits in this deck.
  • The Rack – I know, it's sad that the card that gave me the idea for this deck is kinda useless itself but it only hits one player, so I won't play it.
  • Dictate of Erebos – It has Flash, but we play proactive, not reactive. Maybe I'll use it if I find that Grave Pact alone is not enough.
  • Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre – Eldrazi daddy number two. Prevents that we mill ourselves and when we cast him, we destroy a permanent.
  • Murderous Redcap – A little worse than Flayer of the Hatebound, but still a combo piece.
  • Ashnod's Altar – Often seen in Token decks, in this deck it is not only a mana source, but also a combo piece, as explained in the category Synergies & Combos.
  • Basalt Monolith – Yet another combo piece and mana source.
  • Mesmeric Orb – We shouldn't play this too early as it draws a lot of hate (rightfully). It doesn't bug us, because we can shuffle our graveyard back into our library, which mostly our opponents can't, so milling them is kind of a sub-theme here. Also a combo piece.
  • Nim Deathmantle – Reanimation piece for Kroxa or combo piece for winning the game? Both is possible.
  • Pox – Wasn't really happy with how it performed, so it had to go. At least for now.
  • Smallpox – Same as Pox, wasn't really happy with it.
  • Grim Return – It's a nice reanimation spell, but too narrow and only useful in fringe cases.
  • Cabal Stronghold – I don't run enough basics anymore to justify running this card.
  • Mortuary Mire – Enters tapped. Witch's Cottage does the job way better and is fetchable.





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Deck Philosophy

The main goal of this deck is disrupting your opponents' before they're being able to play their good cards that can get us in trouble. Because of its disruptive nature you should probably not play this with other players that get salty easily. Commander should be fun for everyone and if you have someone in your play group who gets personally offended by heavy discard strategies, maybe you should think twice if this deck is the right choice for a game with those people. Of course, if you just want to be mean sometimes, this deck seems like the perfect choice.
I will try to play this deck as often as I can; which probably means once or twice a month, sometimes less, because I don't have a local play group at the moment and I only see my old play group once in 1-2 months. But I have good faith that I can assemble a new play group, where I live now.




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Deck Strategy


The main strategy of the deck is to get our opponents hands to zero as fast as we can. The reanimation spells in this deck often have only one target: Kroxa. We don't have to rely on Megrim-esque effects to be drawn early in the game, because with 12 The Rack effects our opponents will constantly be drained; slowly but steadily. Having almost no dead cards in the course of the game is something I'm always trying to accomplish and at the moment I feel like only Geth's Grimoire and Waste Not are becoming dead cards the longer the game goes. But even then there is the chance that these cards hit those players who play lots of card draw.
Mulligans
With just 35 lands in the deck, we aim for 2-3 in our opening hand, so we are able to play Kroxa reliably on turn 2. Of course on turn 2 there can be better options, I will cover those in a moment.
A few reanimation spells are also a good keep in our opening hand. Cheap 12-Rack pieces (Quest for the Nihil Stone, Shrieking Affliction, Storm World and Nezumi Shortfang) are worth to keep as well, as three of them can be played as early as turn 1.
What you shouldn't keep are hands with Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and Torment of Hailfire in it. The Eldrazis are for mill-prevention and Torment of Hailfire isn't an early-game card, so you probably should shuffle those away.
Sol Ring, Claim // Fame, Reanimate, Unearth, Mind Rake, Waste Not, Liliana, Heretical Healer, Mind Stone, Sundial of the Infinite and Feldon of the Third Path are also cards I'd keep in an opening hand. Of course, not all of them at once, but 3-4 of them plus 2-3 lands are what I'd call an ideal start for this deck.
The Early-Game

A land like Path of Ancestry of Temple of Malice on turn 1 is just as fine as turn 1 Sol Ring + Mind Stone, or a turn 1 Phyrexian Reclamation/Quest for the Nihil Stone/Shrieking Affliction/Storm World. No need to rush on turn 1.
Turn 2 should be Kroxa-time. We should have good reason to not play Kroxa on turn two. Reasons for this can be Mind Stone, Mind Rake, Altar of Dementia, Sundial of the Infinite or Waste Not.
Turn 3 is normally the first turn to reanimate Kroxa the first time if we can do so cheaply. Be sure to not overdo it and keep building to your board as well, because by turn three normally your opponents have already figured out what you're trying to do and they'll do anything to stop you. If you were lucky and got a Waste Not, you'll have a value engine set up already, but you can also play Liliana, Heretical Healer, Feldon of the Third Path or use Mirage Mirror/Mirror of the Forebears on Kroxa to get an early attack trigger (and also 6 damage). If you played a Sundial of the Infinite on turn 2, you can even get Kroxa out and let him stay on the battlefield.
Turn 4 is probably the last turn I consider to be early-game for this deck and probably the last turn you should focus on setting yourself up for the mid-game if you haven't already reached it by getting out one or two 12-Rack pieces. Optimally our opponents' hand size has shrunken to only two or three cards by now, maybe even one or zero. Uba Mask is a good choice to play on turn 4 as well as Geth's Grimoire if they still have some cards left in their hands. Grave Pact can also be helpful to keep our opponents' board state clean over the next turns.
The Mid-Game

By turn 5 you should have assembled a board state and all players know that you are a threat but can't do anything about it (without lucky topdecking). If that failed and you had a non-optimal start, you should try to stay under the radar a little longer. Maybe try to assemble something with tutors like Sidisi, Undead Vizier or Diabolic Tutor, so you can set up for turn 6. A Syr Konrad, the Grim for a combo-win with Mesmeric Orb + Basalt Monolith on the next turn is also possible.
Turn 6 and 7 are mostly for big game-changing plays. Your opponents still have cards in their hand? Sire of Insanity. You want a reusable reanimation engine? Sheoldred, Whispering One. Of course you could get all these cards out way earlier with optimal draws (turn 3 Sheoldred is definitely possible) but in case you didn't have the right cards, you sometimes need to play those for their normal costs.
The Late-Game

"We are in the End Game now." (Get it? Thanos is a titan, too, and... ah, forget it...)

Everything after turn 7 should be the end game for this deck. If we haven't already won through combo, we're hopefully wearing down our opponents slowly with our 12-Rack pieces.
Now it would be a good time to use cards like Torment of Hailfire for X=10 or more or cast the Eldrazi daddy to disrupt your opponents even further.
If you're brave enough you can even let Kroxa escape naturally and hit your opponents with Commander damage. There are many possible ways to end the game with this deck once your opponents can't disrupt you anymore.

I've made a little overview on how much the Rack-pieces do.
It's not perfect, but you can use this as a little guide and maybe checklist where you can quickly see how much life your opponent loses, based on the cards in their hand and your Rack pieces out.




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Commander Match-Ups

I will update this section when I have done enough playtesting.
For now I can say: The graveyard-hate player is dangerous for this deck!
Against milling we should have good chances.
Against decks that draw lots of cards, we should try to get an Uba Mask early in the game as it can be a pain to have to discard more than three cards in a single turn.




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Credit & Thanks

First of all, I want to give Lithl huge credit for their Kroxa 12-Rack deck over on tappedout. It gave me inspiration and saved me quite some time. Without this list I wouldn't have known that there are more than four The Rack effects. It would have taken me a lot longer to come up with my own list, without this as a guideline.
  • Dragoon for a great discussion partner on what could go into the deck, even though, they build their list differently.
  • BluBoi from the German mtg-forum who suggested Call to the Netherworld and Dark Deal.
  • benjameenbear for this Primer template. Formatting would have taken ages without it!
  • DementedKirby for showing me how a well-sorted Primer looks like. You really got me into Commander with your list and even though I disassembled Sidisi a while ago, I still follow your thread.
  • Segrus for suggesting Mirror of the Forebears, Mirage Mirror's little brother that I had already completely forgotten even though I had it in my collection.
  • shandiris for convincing me to try Necropotence, a card I still don't like, but probably learn to love.
  • All of you, who read or even follow this thread, make suggestions and discuss with me. Even if I can't play all the cards you suggest, I am still grateful for your interest in this deck.




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Change Log

03/08/2020
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I swapped 17 cards, 14 of them lands, because the mana base needed some work. I also needed more card draw, so a Necropotence was due. Pox and Smallpox underperformed so they got replaced by Mirage Mirror and Mirror of the Forebears for more synergies with Kroxa.
03/02/2020
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I threw out both combos entirely. They felt too luck-dependant and this deck doesn't really need them. They are nice to have but I wanted more space for interaction, so those were the first cards to be cut. I also think that one Eldrazi daddy is enough.
Latest Changes to the Main Build
Approximate Total Cost:

Note that I kept Syr Konrad, the Grim and Flayer of the Hatebound for now, because they still fit the theme of reanimation and dealing damage with constant graveyard shenanigans.
02/14/2020
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Deck and this primer are created :)
Last edited by KitsuLeif 1 month ago, edited 47 times in total.

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WolfWhoWanders
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Post by WolfWhoWanders » 5 months ago

lifeline is a great card with the Titans, although you do need to be very aware of the ramifications of it's symmetrical effects when you play it. I haven't tried kroxa because I tried a rankle deck and it turns out people really hate that type of effect... Hand hate and all that. So I tried Uro, and I realize he is basically simic value with a bad rap from the get go but I came up with something that amuses me for now
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Post by Tevesh » 5 months ago

Angrath, the Flame-Chained was an absolute beast when I faced a deck similar to this concept. Tree of Perdition and Sorin Markov lowers opponent's lives quickly. Captive Audience can be very fun if you're down with that level of tomfoolery.

Sangromancer takes advantage of all this discard, keeping you alive against the hate and has Flying. Mindslicer is a quick way to ensure that nobody has a hand. If you go that route, you may wish to consider Asylum Visitor.

Wake the Dead is further Reanimation shenanigans and a bunch of your Creatures do want to ETB and/or die. A disgusting loop you could do is Sidisi with Ever After. Use Ever After to get back Kroxa who dies and have Sidisi Exploit herself to fetch the Ever After. Something you can do every turn until everybody's dead or you find a more interesting trick.

Lands are always low opportunity cost way of improving your deck. High Market/Miren, the Moaning Well to stay alive from more hate thrown your way? You seem to have a handful of expensive cards, so I'd suggest Phyrexian Tower. Myriad Landscape and Terrain Generator are ways to Ramp you. Leechridden Swamp gives your deck further reach. Path of Ancestry's Scry can smooth your draws since you plan on casting your Commander over and over again?

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Post by KitsuLeif » 5 months ago

WolfWhoWanders wrote:
5 months ago
lifeline is a great card with the Titans, although you do need to be very aware of the ramifications of it's symmetrical effects when you play it. I haven't tried kroxa because I tried a rankle deck and it turns out people really hate that type of effect... Hand hate and all that. So I tried Uro, and I realize he is basically simic value with a bad rap from the get go but I came up with something that amuses me for now
Added Lifeline to my wants list. My boyfriend occasionally plays a Nath of the Gilt-Leaf discard deck, so my play group is used to hand disruption shenanigans :D
darrenhabib wrote:
5 months ago
Are there in fact 12 racks in the deck? If not can I suggest Liliana of the Veil? ..badum tish
Those are the 12 Rack effects I want to play. And I'd love to get a Lili, but not for 50€ :/

Tevesh wrote:
5 months ago
Angrath, the Flame-Chained was an absolute beast when I faced a deck similar to this concept. Tree of Perdition and Sorin Markov lowers opponent's lives quickly. Captive Audience can be very fun if you're down with that level of tomfoolery.

Sangromancer takes advantage of all this discard, keeping you alive against the hate and has Flying. Mindslicer is a quick way to ensure that nobody has a hand. If you go that route, you may wish to consider Asylum Visitor.

Wake the Dead is further Reanimation shenanigans and a bunch of your Creatures do want to ETB and/or die. A disgusting loop you could do is Sidisi with Ever After. Use Ever After to get back Kroxa who dies and have Sidisi Exploit herself to fetch the Ever After. Something you can do every turn until everybody's dead or you find a more interesting trick.

Lands are always low opportunity cost way of improving your deck. High Market/Miren, the Moaning Well to stay alive from more hate thrown your way? You seem to have a handful of expensive cards, so I'd suggest Phyrexian Tower. Myriad Landscape and Terrain Generator are ways to Ramp you. Leechridden Swamp gives your deck further reach. Path of Ancestry's Scry can smooth your draws since you plan on casting your Commander over and over again?
I'm not sure about Angrath. I feel like most of the time he would be an overcosted Vicious Rumors (which I want to cut as well) and then he dies in the turn cycle.

The thing with Sangromancer is, it would help me in the first turns, but ideally, no one has cards in their hand to discard when Sangromancer would be necessary. So Mindslicer would be a dead card as well. Asylum Visitor on the other hand sounds like I have to consider it.

Oh, I love the Ever After loop, definitely gonna add this one!

I don't really know about High Market, 1 life doesn't seem to be worth the inclusion. Miren, the Moaning Well on the other hand sounds good enough. Terrain Generator sounds fun as well.
Myriad Landscape goes in. Path of Ancestry... I have it, but most of the time I will reanimate Kroxa and not cast him. I really don't want to pay his Escape cost. On the other hand, Path fixes both colors. But it cipts. Eh... dunno. I will try it.


Oh, I also could play Cabal Coffers + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth + Deserted Temple + Thespian's Stage. Think I'll do this :D

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Post by KitsuLeif » 5 months ago

Updated the deck list into the final version that I will playtest for a while now.

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Post by Tevesh » 5 months ago

I just remembered Delirium Skeins if you want to give that a shot.

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Post by KitsuLeif » 5 months ago

Tevesh wrote:
5 months ago
I just remembered Delirium Skeins if you want to give that a shot.
I will keep that one in mind!

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Post by Dragoon » 4 months ago

Looks good! It's a bit light on removal though, you could maybe play Foul Renewal as creature removal? I'd also suggest Bedevil and the likes to be able to remove noncreature permanents.

For reanimation, did you think of Makeshift Mannequin? It might be better than Grim Return since you don't have to play it on the turn Kroxa dies.

Also, what about cards that'll put Kroxa back on top of your library? Especially the land ones like Mortuary Mire, Witch's Cottage or Volrath's Stronghold (that last one might be a bit pricey though).

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Post by KitsuLeif » 4 months ago

Dragoon wrote:
4 months ago
Looks good! It's a bit light on removal though, you could maybe play Foul Renewal as creature removal? I'd also suggest Bedevil and the likes to be able to remove noncreature permanents.
With all the hand disruption I play, I kinda hope that I don't have to play that much spot removal. I consider Pox, Smallpox, Torment of Hailfire, Erratic Portal (sometimes), Grave Pact, Flayer of the Hatebound, Murderous Redcap, Rankle, Master of Pranks and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre as removal. And if it works out and I mill an Eldrazi titan and have a Feldon of the Third Path ready, I can make a token copy of the titan before my library gets shuffled in. A token copy with haste and Annihilator 4. Corpse Dance, Goryo's Vengeance and Shallow Grave would also work in reaction to the shuffle trigger, but I wouldn't want to do this with both Eldrazi titans, because of the danger of milling myself without them.
Dragoon wrote:
4 months ago
For reanimation, did you think of Makeshift Mannequin? It might be better than Grim Return since you don't have to play it on the turn Kroxa dies.
It's one more mana and only reanimates from my graveyard. Sure, most of the time I want Kroxa, but in some cases I want to take something out of my opponents' graveyards as well. For example if all of them don't have any cards in hand, I don't think it's worth it to get Kroxa out again.
Dragoon wrote:
4 months ago
Also, what about cards that'll put Kroxa back on top of your library? Especially the land ones like Mortuary Mire, Witch's Cottage or Volrath's Stronghold (that last one might be a bit pricey though).
Yeah, Mortuary Mire and Witch's Cottage might be some good inclusions, but I'm always hesitant about putting my Commander in my library because if I have to shuffle because of an opponents' effect, I have no way to get Kroxa back. But I will probably play those lands for other creatures I want to get back.


Also I'm pondering to throw out Thornbite Staff and Hell's Caretaker. The combo is fun when I can assemble it, but it has to survive a full turn cycle and a 4 mana 1/1 is very fragile... so maybe instead of Caretaker I'll play Apprentice Necromancer and Thornbite Staff is replaced with Sheoldred, Whispering One. This one at least does something in my opponents' turns, before she reanimates Kroxa in my turn. Of course, Sheoldred draws hate, but in turn 7 my opponents' hands should be empty. If not, then something went terribly wrong.

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Post by Dragoon » 4 months ago

KitsuLeif wrote:
4 months ago
With all the hand disruption I play, I kinda hope that I don't have to play that much spot removal. I consider Pox, Smallpox, Torment of Hailfire, Erratic Portal (sometimes), Grave Pact, Flayer of the Hatebound, Murderous Redcap, Rankle, Master of Pranks and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre as removal. And if it works out and I mill an Eldrazi titan and have a Feldon of the Third Path ready, I can make a token copy of the titan before my library gets shuffled in. A token copy with haste and Annihilator 4. Corpse Dance, Goryo's Vengeance and Shallow Grave would also work in reaction to the shuffle trigger, but I wouldn't want to do this with both Eldrazi titans, because of the danger of milling myself without them.
That's a risky plan. If a pesky artifact or enchantment (or even land) hits the field, you can't do anything except hoping to draw Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre or having enough mana to force the outcome with Torment of Hailfire (at which point you might as well just win the game).
KitsuLeif wrote:
4 months ago
It's one more mana and only reanimates from my graveyard. Sure, most of the time I want Kroxa, but in some cases I want to take something out of my opponents' graveyards as well. For example if all of them don't have any cards in hand, I don't think it's worth it to get Kroxa out again.
It's one more mana but doesn't need to be cast on the same turn as the creature you want to reanimate died. Being limited to your graveyard only sure is annoying, but how likely is it that you'll have 3 mana open to cast Grim Return at the right time? The deck doesn't strike me as being very reactive. You'll play mostly on your turn. And Grim Return looks to me to be a very reactive card that would be best played in a control shell with lots of removal.
KitsuLeif wrote:
4 months ago
Yeah, Mortuary Mire and Witch's Cottage might be some good inclusions, but I'm always hesitant about putting my Commander in my library because if I have to shuffle because of an opponents' effect, I have no way to get Kroxa back. But I will probably play those lands for other creatures I want to get back.
I didn't think of good ol' tucking, that might indeed be a risky play if you have to wait a full turn cycle before drawing Kroxa.
KitsuLeif wrote:
4 months ago
Also I'm pondering to throw out Thornbite Staff and Hell's Caretaker. The combo is fun when I can assemble it, but it has to survive a full turn cycle and a 4 mana 1/1 is very fragile... so maybe instead of Caretaker I'll play Apprentice Necromancer and Thornbite Staff is replaced with Sheoldred, Whispering One. This one at least does something in my opponents' turns, before she reanimates Kroxa in my turn. Of course, Sheoldred draws hate, but in turn 7 my opponents' hands should be empty. If not, then something went terribly wrong.
Can't really comment on that one, but always keep in mind what your deck can do when something goes wrong. I've seen people coming back from an opposing Windfall backed up by a Notion Thief. This is commander, crazy stuff happens all the time. :P

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Post by KitsuLeif » 4 months ago

Dragoon wrote:
4 months ago
That's a risky plan. If a pesky artifact or enchantment (or even land) hits the field, you can't do anything except hoping to draw Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre or having enough mana to force the outcome with Torment of Hailfire (at which point you might as well just win the game).
Of course it's risky, but I have to start somewhere. When I find that I need some more removal, I'll put in Bedevil and probably Hero's Downfall. Maybe something like Vandalblast as well. But I don't think that I'll start putting in bad enchantment removal. Rakdos naturally has problems with enchantments but I don't want to play suboptimal cards.
And in regards of Torment of Hailfire, I play Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth + Cabal Coffers + Desert Temple + Thespian's Stage, so getting enough mana for that thing to have a huge impact early in the game shouldn't be too hard.
Dragoon wrote:
4 months ago
It's one more mana but doesn't need to be cast on the same turn as the creature you want to reanimate died. Being limited to your graveyard only sure is annoying, but how likely is it that you'll have 3 mana open to cast Grim Return at the right time? The deck doesn't strike me as being very reactive. You'll play mostly on your turn. And Grim Return looks to me to be a very reactive card that would be best played in a control shell with lots of removal.
I see your point. The thing is, I don't really want to spend 4 mana on reanimating Kroxa. 3 mana is, where I draw the line, because for 4, I could just let him escape. I could play Stir the Grave, because for Kroxa that would be a 3 mana spell. And as you said, I'm not really reactive, so it doesn't matter that it's sorcery speed. On the other hand I want to play a lot cheap reanimator spells (the best one in this deck is most probably Claim), so maybe I have to play Stir the Grave in addition to Grim Return? I have to make up my mind about this.
Dragoon wrote:
4 months ago
I didn't think of good ol' tucking, that might indeed be a risky play if you have to wait a full turn cycle before drawing Kroxa.
I've put them in for now. There are a lot of other utility creatures I want to have in my hand rather than in my graveyard (even though I could reanimate them).
Dragoon wrote:
4 months ago
Can't really comment on that one, but always keep in mind what your deck can do when something goes wrong. I've seen people coming back from an opposing Windfall backed up by a Notion Thief. This is commander, crazy stuff happens all the time. :P
I know, this format is sick and wonky and I love it :D
Also, I'm more of a Narset, Parter of Veils + Teferi's Puzzle Box player xD
Last edited by KitsuLeif 4 months ago, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Shabbaman » 4 months ago

In standard the Kroxa deck has Nightmare Shepherd. A nice trick to get double mileage out of your CitP-triggers, although it's at odds with Escape and regular recursion. And perhaps it's worth checking out where Panharmonicon could bring you.
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Post by KitsuLeif » 4 months ago

I had both cards in the first draft of the deck, but they ultimately got cut due to space issues. I really like Panharmonicon though. Maybe I'll find a place for it again.

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Post by KitsuLeif » 4 months ago

Updated the starting post with something I hope I can get the primer status for, once I have gathered enough experience with this deck. I hope you like it.

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Post by DementedKirby » 4 months ago

KitsuLeif wrote:
4 months ago
Updated the starting post with something I hope I can get the primer status for, once I have gathered enough experience with this deck. I hope you like it.
Excellent job! It's easy to follow and covers every base any player looking to play Kroxa would need to know. I have no doubt this will achieve Primer status when the time comes. Keep up the good work!
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Post by shandiris » 4 months ago

Cool deck! You're playing a lot of cards I've never heard of.
How often do you win through a combo and how often through the racks? From the outside looking in, they seem at a weird hextaposition. Racks go slow and want grindy games, whereas the combos want to go fast.

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Post by KitsuLeif » 4 months ago

shandiris wrote:
4 months ago
How often do you win through a combo and how often through the racks? From the outside looking in, they seem at a weird hextaposition. Racks go slow and want grindy games, whereas the combos want to go fast.

I only playtested this deck twice in a 1v1 against my boyfriend's K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. It won both times through Rack effects; the combo is more of a backup plan and I don't really know if I want to keep all of the pieces in.

I will test the deck again on friday next week and hopefully a new addition to this deck will arrive in time: Noetic Scales.
At first it seems like an anti-synergy with the Rack effects, but keeping my opponents from swinging with big creatures is crucial. And I can also stack the triggers so that they lose life/get damaged first by the Rack cards, before returning their creatures to their hands. So they can either play them again and take damage next turn or their creatures get discarded by me.
Now I just need to figure out what I want to cut for it.

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Post by Dragoon » 4 months ago

KitsuLeif wrote:
4 months ago
I will test the deck again on friday next week and hopefully a new addition to this deck will arrive in time: Noetic Scales.
At first it seems like an anti-synergy with the Rack effects, but keeping my opponents from swinging with big creatures is crucial. And I can also stack the triggers so that they lose life/get damaged first by the Rack cards, before returning their creatures to their hands. So they can either play them again and take damage next turn or their creatures get discarded by me.
Now I just need to figure out what I want to cut for it.
That's a good find!

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Post by KitsuLeif » 4 months ago

Dragoon wrote:
4 months ago
That's a good find!
It was suggested to me on reddit, and I really like the card :D
I'm still unsure what to cut. Or if I even want to keep the combos in. Because if I get rid of Ashnod's Altar, Nim Deathmantle, Murderous Redcap, Basalt Monolith, Mesmeric Orb and probably one of the two Eldrazi titans, I could fit some more removal in. While playtesting I had the feeling that I couldn't assemble the combos reliably. And they don't even fit into the theme of the deck that well.

Chaos Warp, Bedevil, Vandalblast, Blasphemous Act and Last One Standing come to mind as replacements for those five cards.
Also Stitch Together could be another reanimation piece. Maybe I'll find a place for it as well.

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Post by Dragoon » 4 months ago

KitsuLeif wrote:
4 months ago
Dragoon wrote:
4 months ago
That's a good find!
It was suggested to me on reddit, and I really like the card :D
I'm still unsure what to cut. Or if I even want to keep the combos in. Because if I get rid of Ashnod's Altar, Nim Deathmantle, Murderous Redcap, Basalt Monolith, Mesmeric Orb and probably one of the two Eldrazi titans, I could fit some more removal in. While playtesting I had the feeling that I couldn't assemble the combos reliably. And they don't even fit into the theme of the deck that well.

Chaos Warp, Bedevil, Vandalblast, Blasphemous Act and Last One Standing come to mind as replacements for those five cards.
Also Stitch Together could be another reanimation piece. Maybe I'll find a place for it as well.
I think that will be for the best indeed, but I might be biased since I don't like combos and I systematically play around 10 removal cards in each of my decks :P
Keep us updated! :)

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Post by KitsuLeif » 4 months ago

Dragoon wrote:
4 months ago
I think that will be for the best indeed, but I might be biased since I don't like combos and I systematically play around 10 removal cards in each of my decks :P
Keep us updated! :)
Will do^^
Combos are fine, when the deck is based on them. This one... really isn't.
Can't wait for friday to finally try this deck in a big pod!

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Post by kenbaumann » 4 months ago

@KitsuLeif I enjoyed reading this! Good luck with your games on Friday; I'll be following this thread to see how they went.
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Post by Kyra Warsong » 4 months ago

This looks so cool! I had fantasies about playing Kroxa several times in a turn with Warstorm Surge in play. Keep it up!

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Post by KitsuLeif » 4 months ago

kenbaumann wrote:
4 months ago
KitsuLeif I enjoyed reading this! Good luck with your games on Friday; I'll be following this thread to see how they went.
Thank you, I will keep you updated!
Kyra Warsong wrote:
4 months ago
This looks so cool! I had fantasies about playing Kroxa several times in a turn with Warstorm Surge in play. Keep it up!
That's why I'm keeping in Flayer of the Hatebound even though I'll cut the rest of the combo, as it is a living Warstorm Surge for Kroxa that can be reanimated as well :D

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