Grenzo, Dungeon Warden - The Slot Machine of Value

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snowfox54119
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Post by snowfox54119 » 7 months ago

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden – The Slot Machine of Value
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Introduction
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"Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck."
- Dalai Lama XIV



Welcome you dastardly devilish deviant to Grenzo's Casino!




If you're looking for a deck with countless interactions, limitless variance, and an overwhelming presence of inevitability, look no further because I have just the deck for you.
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Why you should be gambling with Grenzo
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Grenzo is a combination of contradictions. He's consistency through chance. He's a chaotic toolbox. His gameplan is the same, but his wincon is almost always different. There truly is no other commander like him.

You should place your bets with Grenzo if:
• You like having flexibility and a variety of different ways to win
• You like having a different experience every time you play
• You like having resiliency to bounce back from a losing board state
• You like having an extreme amount of crazy interactions and loops
• You like having most of your actions be uncounterable
• You like doing things at instant speed
• You like keeping your group in suspense with what will come next


You should leave the casino grounds if:
• You don't like relying on your commander
• You prefer to tutor the same combo every time
• You prefer being in control of everything your opponents do
• You don't like complicated win conditions
• You enjoy spellslinging
• You enjoy having answers to Enchantments…you're playing Rakdos…get over it


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Deck History

I'm an extreme control player, and I feel like it's important for me to stress this as my play style has always been a Simic style of value and control. I enjoy being in control. I enjoy saying "no". But all that changed when I met Grenzo, Dungeon Warden. My LGS decided to host a conspiracy draft in October 2017 as they still had leftover packs that nobody was buying. I entered and had a pack passed to me that contained Grenzo. I read his ability and gawked...How have I never heard of this commander before? And why have I never seen anyone play him? He seemed so ridiculously fun that I decided to do the unthinkable at the time; build a Rakdos edh Deck.

Now many may know that there is a tier 1.5-2 variant of Grenzo that runs Doomsday. This is not that Deck. I decided to go a more casual, luck-based route. But what I found was an unassuming monster of a deck that could adapt to casual or competitive metas, win explosively out of nowhere, and truly felt like a slot machine of fun. This is how I came to love the chaos and flexibility of this Rakdos deck, and this is why I'm super excited to bring this bundle of fun to you.
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Deck Philosophy
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The goal of this deck is to activate Grenzo as many times as possible. We play the slots and see what comes out. It provides you with an exciting new experience each game where you have to navigate the puzzle pieces Grenzo hands you to pull out a win, and trust me when I say that the pieces can fit in new ways that I still discover to this day.

The goal of this deck is to flip as much as possible. Thus, a strict rule was implemented when constructing this deck to ensure that every included creature had power 3 or less, which allows Grenzo to always be cast where X=1. By keeping X at 1, we ensure Grenzo's always cheap and we can begin flipping quickly in each game.

Furthermore, you will see an extremely creature-heavy list. This is intentional as having a 57+% creature composition ensures you have the best chance of hitting a win with each Grenzo activation. Any noncreature card must be easily recurrable or have an immensely powerful purpose to be worth risking a dead activation on Grenzo.
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Decklist

Slot Machine of Value

The Pit Boss


1 Grenzo, Dungeon Warden|foil
Approximate Total Cost:

List Without Foils
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List Without Foils

The Pit Boss


1 Grenzo, Dungeon Warden
Approximate Total Cost:

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Budget Decklist

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Budget List
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Budget List
Approximate Total Cost:

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The "Digger Loop"


Before going any further, it's important to understand a core component of the deck's countless combos; the Digger Loop. This interaction is named after an outdated inclusion in an earlier version of this list, Soldevi Digger. This card (and others like it) allow us to "reanimate" cards from our GY by placing them on the bottom of our library and then reactivating Grenzo's ability.

Throw in a sac outlet and suddenly you can pay 4 mana to retrigger any ETB you find useful/necessary.

Add in mana-positive effects, and you have a method of generating infinite mana through multiple avenues with an inevitable, instant-speed route to victory.

So throughout the rest of this guide, I will be referring to the synergy of using effects that place our creatures on the bottom of our library to re-flip them as the Digger Loop.

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Card Choice Discussion

This section will go into full detail for every inclusion in the deck. I will begin with the non-creature artifacts as they serve several primary functions in the deck and will contribute to a significant portion of the available combos.
Cheating Trinkets
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Sol Ring/Rakdos Signet –Typically we want our mana ramp on creatures so they can be utilized with Grenzo's flip. However, these cards are too good when they appear in your starting hand that they make up for the occasional disappointing flip.

Ashnod's Altar – Hopefully you already understand why this card is so broken. While sac outlets are superb in this deck, additional mana for those sacs is just broken. So you can either sac creatures for additional flips (which some creatures will net multiple sacs) or use this as a win condition via the Digger Loop with The Cauldron of Eternity, Epitaph Golem, or Nim Deathmantle to flip a key creature multiple times.

Heartstone – Way too good in this deck. Grenzo goes off the rails once this card hits the field as that 10 mana you have on the field now represents hitting 10% of your deck which is bound to find some crazy things. This also cuts the cost of a setting up a Digger Loop with Epitaph Golem in half, making way for a superbly cheap and easy win. Note that this also assists several other creatures' activated abilities such as Siege-Gang Commander, Burnished Hart, Epitaph Golem, and Moggcatcher.

Nim Deathmantle – Allows us to bypass the need for Grenzo and an accompanying artifact by creating its own compact version of the Digger Loop. It also serves as important protection for Grenzo as a boardwipe can really set you back in this deck; and not only does the Deathmantle bring Grenzo back, but it also gives him +2/+2 in stats to ensure he can still hit all 3 power creatures in the deck.

The Cauldron of Eternity – One of the major pieces that set up our Digger Loops. It automates half the process and allows you to reflip creatures for half the usual cost. Retriggering Gray Merchant of Asphodel for only two mana? Yes please! Saccing Siege-gang Commander and all of his tokens to Ashnod's Altar then using the loop to generate infinite mana? Heck yes!!!

Tel-Jilad Stylus – Now we get to one of my favorite artifacts in the deck. This seemingly weak one drop is a surprising powerhouse as it not only allows you to re-flip any creature on the battlefield, but also serves as invaluable protection against single-targeted removal for Grenzo. Here's how the sequence of events goes: An opponent targets your Grenzo, Dungeon Warden with a Path to Exile. In response, you then activate Grenzo's ability and leave it on the stack. Then target Grenzo with Tel-Jilad Stylus. The Stylus will place Grenzo on the bottom of your deck, and then Grenzo's ability will flip himself. And yes, Grenzo is able to check himself even though he was removed, so he puts himself in play and nullifies the Path to Exile since its "original" target had left play. I really can only summarize the strength of this card by telling you what someone in my playgroup once said, "I'd prioritize getting rid of your Tel-Jilad Stylus over anyone else's Rhystic Study."

Thornbite Staff – The last broken non-creature artifact in the deck. The key reason we run this card is for the phrase at the end of the first paragraph; "Whenever a creature dies, untap this creature." This can create some silly combinations with Goblin Welder or infinite copies with a sac outlet and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker. Also note that if you flip Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker with the staff in play, it will auto-equip due to Thornbite Staff's second ability and the fact that Kiki-Jiki is a shaman.


Goblin Cronies
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Goblin Engineer - This little goblin is a house. He immediately can tutor and bin any of our most powerful artifacts (Ashnod's Altar, Heartstone, Thornbite Staff, Nim Deathmantle), but he can also easily recur them straight to the battlefield. I love my GY tutors, and this guy is no exception.

Goblin Settler – Land destruction tied to a useful creature type.

Goblin Sharpshooter – With the amount of sacs we're able to generate, this card can quickly turn into its own win con.

Goblin Welder – Powerful artifact recursion and the source of several combos with Thornbite Staff.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker – Definitely the strongest card in the deck and the source of many of the deck's wincons.

Lightning Crafter – Serves as an instant win with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, a strong pinger with Thornbite Staff (auto-equips due to Shaman tribe), and protection for Grenzo with the champion ability. This guy is truly an all-star and one of my favorite cards in the deck. If you can reliably get a Digger Loop on Lightning Crafter, you can ensure that Grenzo is always on the field and survives every board wipe.

Mad Auntie – Places Grenzo's power at 3 which means he no longer needs the +1/+1 counter. Also serves as regeneration protection for Grenzo.

Murderous Redcap – A damage dealing ETB with persist is a recipe for winning. If you have Ashnod's Altar and the Digger Loop, you can sac and recur him infinitely.

Siege-Gang Commander – An amazing token producer. If you can get Ashnod's Altar + the Digger Loop online, Siege-Gang Commander makes infinite mana. And his ability to instantly represent 4 tappable creatures for Furystoke Giant or 4 sacs for Ashnod's Altar is amazing

Sling-Gang Lieutenant - Another amazing token generator that also serves as a sac outlet! What more could you want?! With a Digger Loop online, he can serve as a self-contained win condition with all of the life loss (which let's not forget, gets around a lot of annoyances).




More Mana
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Burnished Hart/Pilgrim's Eye/Solemn Simulacrum– More mana = more flips, so the more we can get out the better. And a Digger Loop means repeatable land searching.

Crypt Ghast – Doubling the amount our swamps produce is just too good to pass up. Then if you get your Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth out, you are off to the races. Also the Extort mechanic could end up saving your life occasionally.

Dockside Extortionist - Cards that meet multiple roles are always great, and this card serves as ramp and a source of easy infinite with a Digger Loop. This guy can easily generate 5+ treasures as the game progresses, and can help mitigate the scenario where you're the only player without a signet/sol ring in hand.

Iron Myr/Leaden Myr/Palladium Myr – Flips that potentially make more flips. They also serve as a great way to ramp early when in your starting hand.

Emrakul's Hatcher/Priest of Urabrask – Flips that not only pay for themselves, but can also mean an additional flip if you were already sitting at odd number of mana. Emrakul's Hatcher also has the added benefit of securing its mana in saccable creatures to save for alter turns or use for other shenanigans. And if you happen to flip either of these creatures with Grenzo, an available sac outlet and Cauldron of Eternity, you just won the game with infinite mana.

Pawn of Ulamog/Pitiless Plunderer – Both of these creatures will generate a ton of value through board wipes and/or your own saccing shenanigans. In many cases, one of these creatures can suffice instead of an Ashnod's Altar to generate infinite flips with the Digger Loop.

Soldevi Adnate – Provides a powerful and sudden source of mana generation that can feed into several flips at once. Add on a Thornbite Staff and you can generate a quick and efficient loop that can potentially go through your whole deck.

Treasonous Ogre – An additional flip for 6 life. This card has created several silly comebacks out of nowhere. When I know the game is about to be lost, I will use as much life as I can to try to flip into a wincon. Or just use this in conjunction with Gray Merchant of Asphodel and a Digger Loop to kill everyone. Free mana on demand is definitely worth the 3 life.

Workhorse – Much like the priests, Workhorse pays for himself, plus some. This is one of the strongest mana generators in the deck and will be a source of several infinites.


Sac Outlets
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Dimir House Guard – He's a sac outlet. He can transmute for a four mana card (which we run a ton of valuable ones). And he can even serve as a blocker with his regeneration.

Goblin Trashmaster – Buffs all of your goblins (meaning Grenzo needs one less mana investment) and provides a sac outlet that translates to targeted artifact destruction.

Skirk Prospecter – Multifunctional as a sac outlet and a mana source.

Viscera Seer – Scry + Grenzo = the actual nuts. Now you can exert even more control over what you flip.

Woe Strider – Sac outlet that also provides a body and scries! Also has built-in recursion in case we need an immediate sac outlet to finish the game.

Other Goodies
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Anger – This is primarily meant to exist in the graveyard. Now all of your flips with tap effects can activate immediately which makes a surprisingly huge difference.

Balthor the Defiled – Mass B/R recursion for the low low price of BBB. If you have even a moderately stacked graveyard, this guy can immediately end the game.

Body Snatcher - This card answers one of the biggest difficulties with the deck: a mana efficient way to get creatures out of the hand. With this, you can discard that Herald of Leshrac and easily res it through Body Snatcher's second ability or a Digger Loop. Also can be used as straight recursion for a key creature that was already in your graveyard.

Chainer, Nightmare Adept – Provides an additional source of haste, the ability to discard creatures straight to a Digger Loop, and an emergency form of recursion if a key creature is needed.

Deathbringer Thoctar – I had my doubts when I first included this creature in my list, and boy was I wrong. All of the saccing that occurs within our deck makes this creature HUGE. And that damage is transferrable to both players and creatures. I have won so many games with this guy by pinging an entire board of 1/1's without losing any power, swinging in for the kill on one player and then removing all +1/+1 counters to kill another player. This creature is bonkers. As an additional note, this creature can also serve as an emergency pseudo-sac-oulet if you have enough counters to ping down a creature you need to reanimate.

Duplicant – Remove a creature on ETB and steal their power and toughness. Get a Digger Loop, and you can remove every creature that bothers you.

Epitaph Golem – A creature that serves the Reito Lantern functionality of the Digger Loop while costing 1 colorless less! Get a Heartstone in play, and now you can recur any creature in your graveyard for 2 mana.

Faceless Butcher – Temporary creature removal, or permanent creature removal if a sac outlet is present. How this works is when Faceless Butcher enters the battlefield, put his ETB trigger on the stack. Then sac Faceless Butcher before the ETB resolves which triggers his Leave the Battlefield ability. The ETB trigger will then resolve and remove the creature permanently since Faceless Butcher has already left play.

Fleshwrither – Another creature tutor. This guy is great because he puts the tutored creature directly onto the battlefield. Here are the key creatures you can search for depending on the situation: Goblin Trashmaster – Artifact destruction, Treasonous Ogre – More mana, Lightning Crafter – combo piece, Murderous Redcap – combo piece, Dimir House Guard – sac outlet, Faceless Butcher – creature removal, Goblin Settler – land destruction.

Furystoke Giant – Most games, you will find that you have a pretty substantial board presence due to people not fearing most of our creatures after their initial effects. In that situation, Furystoke Giant is one of the strongest flips you can get. He often means instant death to at least one player, or at the very least a selective boardwipe. And due to persist, you can sac him your following turn to do damage all over again!

Gray Merchant of Asphodel – Such an amazing card, especially with a Digger Loop. I played a game recently where I was at 6 life and was able to flip Gary and loop him a second time putting me to 46 life and all of my opponents to single digits.

Imperial Recruiter – A tutor that finds half of our deck and can bring whatever you need into hand. Super versatile tutor that definitely should be ran.

Junk Diver – Additional artifact recursion that is abusable with Goblin Welder and Thornbite Staff.

Kuldotha Forgemaster – This deck runs a lot of artifacts, so being able to convert some of your dorks directly into an Ashnod's Altar or Heartstone could immediately finish the game. Just make sure to tap your dorks for mana before saccing them.

Marionette Master - Extremely versatile card. Creates multiple creatures that can generate infinite mana with a Digger Loop and Ashnod's Altar, and serves as it's own win condition.

Mesmeric Fiend – Much like Faceless Butcher, the ETB and LTB effect can be abused to permanently remove cards in your opponents' hands from the game.

Metallic Mimic – Removes the need to pay the extra 1 mana for Grenzo's X cost as well as creating an infinite combo with Murderous Redcap and a sac outlet.

Meteor Golem – Destroy anything. This is the must needed enchantment removal Rakdos was lacking, and now it's on an abusable creature. You can Digger Loop this creature into oblivion and make all of your enchantress opponents cry.

Moggcatcher– Tutoring a goblin is great. Placing that goblin on the battlefield for free is even better. *coughKiki-Jiki, Mirror Breakercough*

Olivia, Mobilized for War – This card has several great functions. It acts as another form of haste, it provides a discard outlet where we can get expensive creatures out of our hand for reanimation, AND it provides +1/+1 counters that can allow you to get multiple triggers of persist creatures or just make Grenzo one less mana g

Phyrexian Delver – For when you don't have the mana/tools to perform a Digger Loop.

Plaguecrafter – Makes our opponents sac creatures, sac planeswalkers, and then destroy their hands. If repeated with a Digger Loop, this guy alone can close out the game and lock your opponents out.

Puppeteer Clique – Work amazingly in this deck and allows a lot of silly combos from your opponents' graveyards. And once again, persist makes this card oppressive.

Whisper, Blood Liturgist – Serves as a great source of recursion with minimal cost (because our boards are almost always full).

Zealous Conscripts – Steal creatures to sac for your own shenanigans or combine with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker for a win. Remember that this steals a PERMANENT, so you can use your friend's Ashnod's Altar too!

Zulaport Cutthroat – Create an infinite Digger Loop with Ashnod's Altar or Siege-Gang Commander + Skirk Prospector, and this guy will singlehandedly finish the game. Also great for large board wipes.





The Casino Grounds
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Ancient Tomb – An entire flip in one land. I always love to see this card in my hand; just be careful with the life-loss as I've found myself within killing range due to overuse of this ramp land.

Buried Ruin - Functions as additional artifact recursion in case Goblin Welder is inaccessible.

Cavern of Souls - Makes Grenzo and all of our other goblins uncounterable.

Command Tower/Dragonskull Summit/Graven Cairns/Smoldering Marsh – Mana fixing to ensure we get that sweet turn 3 Grenzo (or cast whatever else we may need to).

Great Furnace/Vault of Whispers – Serve as additional targets for Goblin Welder.

Homeward Path – If someone mindcontrols Grenzo, there's not much you can do other than kill him. So Homeward Path serves as an additional tech to avoid the awkward situation where you have to kill your own commander.

Inventors' Fair – A powerful land that offers free life gain (especially nice for more Treasonous Ogre activations) and allows us to search for one of our busted artifacts, which should end the game quickly.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth – Two words: Crypt Ghast

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx – More mana = more flips.

Zhalfirin Void – Instant scry which is godly in this deck. And as an additional plus, the land can also instantly be tapped for mana! Win/Win

Polluted Delta /Bloodstained Mire /Scalding Tarn /Marsh Flats/Wooded Foothills – These all serve two major purposes: land fixing and (even more importantly) deck thinning! (I will work on finding spots for the other two fetches later since I don't own them).


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Deck Strategy

Pre-Game Politicking

As we all know, politics can be an important part of EDH. As you will see in the below strategy, showing yourself as a non-threat in the early turns can give you the wiggle-room to slowly amass your inevitable win. So before you even begin shuffling, I recommend casually mentioning that you will be playing your "casino" deck. Explain that it's a luck-based deck where you flip off the bottom and just see what happens. Most people will hear this and immediately write you off as a non-threat (especially after a few dead-flips occur). This is exactly where you want to be in their eyes. Their apathy will come back to bite them very soon.

Opening Hands & When to Mulligan

Due to the new London Mulligan rule, we are able to mulligan with almost no drawbacks (in fact, it can often be advantageous!). Not only can you semi-aggressively search for a fast mana hand, but you can actually pick and order your first couple flips of the game due to the London Mulligan allowing you to put cards onto the bottom of your library from hand equal to the number of times you've mulliganed!!!

As for which opening hands to look for, the primary things to keep are lands and ramp. You don't want to draw your key creatures at the start, as most of them are already over-costed, unless you can mulligan them to the bottom. So instead, your goal with every hand is to get Grenzo out as quickly as possible and build your mana base to start playing the slots. Here's an example of an amazing hand:

1 Mountain
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Leaden Myr
1 Swamp
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Heartstone

Notice that the reason this is such an amazing hand is because it meets both of our goals. We have plenty of lands available, and then we have ramp through the Myr and Signet while also providing a cheaper activation for Grenzo in Heartstone.

Never keep a hand with 2 or less lands unless you have some amazing additional ramp to make up for it. Because honestly, Grenzo is one of those commanders where you could receive a 7 land hand, and it would still be worth keeping.

Early-Game: Turns 1-4

The early game should be spent building up your mana base as quickly as possible and casting Grenzo. The sooner you get him out, the sooner you can start the shenanigans. However, the speed at which you deploy Grenzo also depends on the mana excellerants in your hand.

The main rule is always maximize your mana. If you cast a Leaden Myr on turn two and then drop another land on turn 3, that four mana should either be used to buff up Grenzo where X=2; OR if you suspect removal, you should hold back and build up your mana base more.

I personally like to either cast Grenzo at exactly 3 mana or build up to 5 mana so that I can attempt a flip after casting him

Mid-Game: Turns 5-7

You should be building a strong mana base by now and using all of that mana for your glorious flips. This stage of the game really depends on what you find. Adapt to every flip and maximize their usage while also maintaining a low profile. Remember, the worst place to be is under a wary opponent's eye. So address problems, attack planeswalkers, and play as the "reasonable player". Your opponents should ignore you for the most part and should feel bad for even thinking about wasting removal on your creatures as a majority of them are rarely scary by themselves.

This low profile and lack of removal targets will assist you in building a board state that you can navigate into the late game

Late-Game: Turns 8+

At this point, you should have a pretty significant board from all of the flips and are most likely 1-2 cards away from ending the game. This is where you pivot from the "reasonable player" to the true "Rakdos monstrosity" that you are. Mow down opponents with your Goblin Sharpshooter or Gray Merchant of Asphodel. Tutor your Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker using Moggcatcher to instantly finish the game.

The road map to your victory is something I can't determine for you, because Grenzo will be your guide. But rest assured that the chaos he provides almost always has a route of interactions that will win you the game.

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Combos
Digger Loops
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This is a non-exhaustive list of the possible methods of assembling a Digger Loop and what pieces can be utilized to close the game.
Cauldron of Eternity
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Grenzo, Dungeon Warden + The Cauldron of Eternity + Any Sac Outlet + Any creature
1. Sac a creature with a strong ETB effect.
2. Creature is automatically placed on the bottom of the library.
3. Use Grenzo's ability to flip the creature and reactivate the ETB.

TOTAL COST: 2
Epitaph Golem
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Grenzo, Dungeon Warden + Epitaph Golem + Any Sac Outlet + Any creature
1. Sac a creature with a strong ETB effect.
2. Use Epitaph Golem's ability to place the creature on the bottom of the library.
3. Use Grenzo's ability to flip the creature and reactivate the ETB.

TOTAL COST: 4
Nim Deathmantle
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Nim Deathmantle + Any Sac Outlet + Any creature
1. Sac a creature with a strong ETB effect.
2. Use Nim Deathmantle's ability to reanimate the creature.

TOTAL COST: 4
Mana Additives - Throw these in to make your Digger Loops cheaper/mana-positive: Notable Infinites - Ways to close out the game with an active Digger Loop (once again this is a nonexhaustive and the list only gets bigger with the more mana additives you have on the field):
Zealous Kiki
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Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Zealous Conscripts
1. Tap Kiki-Jiki targeting Zealous Conscripts.
2. When the copy comes into play, target Kiki-Jiki with its untap affect.
3. Repeat 1000+ times
4. Swing in for the kill.
Lightning Kiki
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Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Lightning Crafter + Any Sac Source
1. Tap Kiki-Jiki targeting the Lightning Crafter.
2. When the copy comes into play, it will require you to champion a goblin; champion Kiki-Jiki.
3. Tap the Lightning Crafter copy to deal 3 damage to target player.
4. Sac the Lightning Crafter copy.
5. Kiki-Jiki comes back into play untapped.
6. Repeat for infinite damage.
Thornbite Kiki
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Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Thornbite Staff + Any Creature + Any Sac Source
1. Tap Kiki-Jiki targeting the creature.
2. Use the copy of the creature (ETB, tap effect, etc).
3. Sac the copy of the creature.
4. Thornbite Staff will untap Kiki-Jiki.
5. Repeat effect as necessary.
Examples of good creatures to target:
Gray Merchant of Asphodel = infinite drain
• Any mana dork = infinite mana
Goblin Sharpshooter = infinite damage
Thornbite Welder
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Goblin Welder + Thornbite Staff + Two Artifact Creatures
1. Tap Goblin Welder and sacrifice one of your artifact creatures to grab another one from the graveyard.
2. Thornbite Staff will untap Goblin Welder.
3. Repeat for infinite abilities/triggers.
Other creatures that immediately win the game with this combo:
Marionette Master = infinite life loss
Zulaport Cutthroat = infinite life loss
Deathbringer Thoctar = infinite damage
Murderous Mimic
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Murderous Redcap + Metallic Mimic + Any Sac Source
1. Sac the Murderous Redcap.
2. Persist trigger brings the Murderous Redcap back.
3. Metallic Mimic triggers on the entry and gives Murderous Redcap a +1/+1 counter which negates the -1/-1 from persist.
4. Repeat for infinite damage.
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Frequently Asked Questions
When do I cast Grenzo after being hated?
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Aside from the early game, which is fairly straightforward, it can often be difficult to know when to cast Grenzo after being targeted for removal. So to answer this question more in depth, I've created a flow-chart to help you decide when to cast him.

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When do I flip?
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90% of the time you should be flipping on your opponent's end step before your turn. This ensures that you remain inconspicuous as everyone else plays out their turns, and then you can suddenly blow out some amazing creatures and have a whole turn to use them before most players can answer the threats.

The other 10% of the time, flips should be used in case of an emergency. If you know the winning turn is coming up for another player, you should probably flip on your turn and try to find a win first. If your opponent is about to kill you or Grenzo, flip to see what happens. There have been countless times where I started flipping out of necessity due to an incoming death or a Cyclonic Rift on the stack and ended up winning.

Never just sit tight and let a loss/board wipe occur. Always flip to gamble the odds. You'll be surprised how often they land in your favor.
How do I play through GY hate?
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This is an extremely important issue that I want to address as a vast majority of casual players I run into misunderstand how zones work. Many people will tell you that a Rest in Peace or a Leyline of the Void will stop Grenzo's activations. Those people are wrong. Zones can be a finicky thing, and cards that don't specify zones in a specific way can circumvent their limits. Let's first start with the ruling that matters:

400.7h. If an effect causes an object to move to a public zone, other parts of that effect can find that object. If the cost of a spell or ability causes an object to move to a public zone, that spell or ability's effects can find that object.

Now let's read Grenzo's activated ability:

"Put the bottom card of your library into your graveyard. If it's a creature card with power less than or equal to Grenzo's power, put it onto the battlefield."

There are two parts to the ability. The first part is placing the card in the graveyard. The second part is placing the creature onto the battlefield.
Notice the distinct lack of specification of where the card comes from when placed on the battlefield. This is why Grenzo circumvents most zone changes. If a card is placed into the GY via Grenzo, and then immediately sent to exile via a replacement effect, Grenzo will still find the card in the public zone and place the creature onto the battlefield. Doesn't matter if the creature is in the GY or exile, it will enter the battlefield, because the second part of ability doesn't specify where the card must come from.



Just to drive the point home, I recommend you look at two examples of similar cards with very different outcomes: Oblivion Ring vs Banishing Light.

Oblivion Ring states the exiled permanent will return which means if you choose to place your commander into the command zone, it will not return when Oblivion Ring is destroyed. Banishing Light, however, does not specify this limitation and thus your commander WILL be put back into the battlefield when the enchantment is destroyed even if you had moved him to the command zone (note once you cast your commander again, Banishing Light no longer recognizes your commander).

I know this can be a complicated ruling for some people to understand, but I believe this explanation should suffice for most people and will hopefully clarify the most common misconception of "how to shut down" this commander.




As one last note, be aware that Wheel of Sun and Moon does in fact shut down Grenzo since the zone is hidden and Grenzo can no longer see the creature when the replacement effect occurs.
How about we draw more cards?
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Drawing cards is typically a goal of decks that wish to cast things. That's their unfortunate cross to bear.

We play activations which allow us to ignore counterspells entirely, plow through massive amounts of hate, and win out of nowhere at instant-speed.

Any casting you must do should be relegated almost exclusively to the early game in building your initial manabase. After that, your mana should primarily be pumped into Grenzo flips. More creatures in your hand (via drawing) means more mana investment to cast and get them out of your hand, which further cuts into flips you could be making. Since Grenzo is his own form of card advantage; we want more mana, not more cards.
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Alternative Picks & Decklists

These are all cards that you should look at and consider for your own build. Some of these are meta-dependent. Some of these work better in slightly different versions. And some are just fun, unique alternatives.
Alternative Picks
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Agent of Erebos – When your opponents are trying to abuse their graveyards, this handy little guy can remove the entire GY in one ETB. Use a Digger Loop to lock your Meren opponent from ever using her graveyard. Also tutorable via Fleshwrither.

Blood Artist - Another Zulaport Cutthroat effect that could end up saving your life.

Clone Shell - Seems like it has a lot of potential as it not only can fix your bottom, but also can serve as a way to cheat out a creature through a sac outlet.

Corpse Connoisseur – Tutors creatures directly into our graveyard to make them more easily accessible through recursion or a Digger Loop. Find value pieces in the early game or find combo pieces in the later stages and finish everyone off.

Crucible of Worlds - Now none of your lands are dead flips!

Crystal Ball - As already noted with Viscera Seer, Scry is a busted mechanic in this deck. I so far haven't included this card due to it being another noncreature artifact that can translate to a dead flip.

Darksteel Pendant - Same as above

Dread Return A non-creature card we don't mind whiffing on. With this in your graveyard, you have a free summon from the graveyard with at least three creatures on the battlefield…and you will usually have more than three.

Goblin Cratermaker – Amazing versatility as additional artifact destruction, targeted removal, or potential Eldrazi removal. .

Goblin Matron – Tutor for any of the key goblins that you need, and because most of our wincons involve a goblin creature, you will find this tutor extremely useful.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury – Great value card. Who knows what you'll find and what new combos you can create from your opponent's deck!

Hell's Caretaker - Saccing is never an issue and is more often a benefit. And having that sac translate to direct creature recursion is pretty spicy.

Herald of Leshrac – This will generate some hate when it hits the field, but the potential of stealing your opponents' lands and using them to flip more can often be worth the risk.

Judith, the Scourge Diva - She buffs Grenzo to 3 naturally which keeps you rolling after a Tel-Jilad Stylus protection loop, and she provides another semi-Goblin Sharpshooter effect.

Krenko, Mob Boss – An amazing flip that can generate an exponentially increasing number of saccable, flingable, swingable goblins. And who doesn't want more goblins! Also serves as an additional infinite with Thornbite Staff.
Thornbite Krenko Combo
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Krenko, Mob Boss + Thornbite Staff + Any Sac Source
1. Tap Krenko to create 2+ goblins.
2. Sac one of the tokens to your sac outlet.
3. Thornbite Staff will untap Krenko.
4. Repeat effect to create infinite goblins.
Liliana, Heretical Healer – The only planeswalker worth running. Provides an additional creature for saccing and her abilities aren't half bad with recurring creatures or forcing discards (which almost never affects us).

Mana Crypt – I personally don't run this due to the speed and general target it paints on your back. But if you play in a meta where everyone runs Crypt, you should probably run it too.

Mana Echoes – An immensely powerful card that can end games once it resolves. I continue to test this card off and on to see if it will eventually make my list. But even if it does not, you should consider it.

Master of Cruelties - This card is an amazing way to keep your opponent's on edge. If you want quick and fun way to make enemies, this is the card for you.

Millikin/Manakin - Additional mana dorks if you feel like you'd like to have them more consistently in your starting hand.

Mindclaw Shaman - Great value for not only discarding, but also casting said powerful spell from an opponent's hand.

Mogg War Marshal - A mini Siege-gang Commander. Seems pretty good with Skirk Prospector or Ashnod's Altar.

Ogre Battledriver - I personally don't prefer to be swingy. But this card is a great way to turn all of those tiny flips into a scary amount of damage.

Phyrexian Tower – Currently in testing for myself, but I do believe this card will make the list since it allows us to generate an additional mana on our odd mana turns leading to an extra flip we wouldn't have had otherwise.

Ravenous Baboons/Ravaging Horde/Ogre Arsonist - Additional land destruction options. You can switch them out for your preference or run all of them if you wanna be "that guy".

Reito Lantern - Another source of potential Digger Looping.

Sadistic Hypnotist – Strong sac outlet that removes your opponents' answers preemptively. My only warning is that the sac effect is sorcery speed, so you aren't able to combo off on other players' turns as effectively.

Shriekmaw/Nekrataal/Ravenous Chupacabra - More targeted creature destruction.

Silent Arbiter - Great tech for a go-wide meta. My personal meta has vastly changed, but when it previously involved tokens, this creature was almost always a life saver.

Soldevi Digger - Another activator of the Digger Loop (and the original source of the name). Though be wary that it is limited to the top card of your GY which can screw you over.

Teferi's Puzzle Box - Obviously this deck wants to minimize the amount of noncreature cards in the deck, but this seems like another noncreature artifact worth running. It can allow a hand full of cards you don't want to cast to suddenly become gas. And it can interrupt your opponents' silly plans.

Tuktuk Scrapper - Goblin artifact removal that can be repeated through the Digger Loop.

Vampire Hexmage – Great answer to any planeswalker or that one friend that loves hydras.

Yahenni, Undying Partisan – Sac outlet that can survive board wipes and become an enormous beat stick.

The beautiful thing about Grenzo is that he can be built in so many different ways. Below are decklists posted by fellow Dungeoneers who shared their unique builds in this primer. So use these resources as a further source of options, inspiration, and potential starting blocks to build your own masterpiece. There are many ways to Grenzo, but the best version is the one you enjoy the most.

DECKLIST - Goblins...by oldmangrieves
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oldmangrieves wrote:
4 months ago
Grenzo's Prison Parade

Prison Industrial Complex


1 Mana Echoes
Approximate Total Cost:

DECKLIST - Digger Loop Intensified....by sampersand
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sampersand wrote:
3 months ago
Decklist

Commander (1)


1 Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

Triggered Mana (3)


1 Pawn of Ulamog
1 Pitiless Plunderer
1 Mana Echoes

Other Sac Outlets (2)


1 Viscera Seer
1 Woe Strider

Artifact Recrusion (4)


1 Goblin Engineer
1 Goblin Welder
1 Junk Diver
1 Myr Retriever

Haste Granters (2)


1 Olivia, Mobilized for War
1 Anger
Approximate Total Cost:

DECKLIST - Perfectly Balanced....by kenbaumann
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kenbaumann wrote:
Decklist

Commander


1 Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

Instant


1 Fire Prophecy

Sorcery


1 Gamble

Enchantment


1 Mana Echoes
Approximate Total Cost:

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Change Log
2/5/2018
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Removed:
Goblin Recruiter - This card has some extreme potential with scry, but with Viscera Seer being our only reliable way to get those goblins to the bottom, I've found that this card ends up being a disappointment way more often than I'd like.

Balthor the Defiled - I've never once flipped over Balthor and found him useful...typically by the time I find him AND have enough creatures in my graveyard, I have some other way to recur them. The other downside is that he too often helps your opponents by filling their board with problematic creatures.

Added:
Krenko, Mob Boss - I'd really like to test Krenko as I think he has some immense synergy with the deck. He'll always be tapping for at least two goblins with himself and Grenzo on the field, and he adds another potentially infinite combo with Thornbite Staff

Body Snatcher - This card answers one of the biggest difficulties with the deck: a mana efficient way to get creatures out of your hand. Too often I get stuck with a full hand of expensive creatures that I don't want to cast. So this can be a clutch way to pull those creatures out and into play.
4/1/2018
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Removed:
Howltooth Hollow - While this land has the occasional amazing hit off the top, it has fairly regularly secured several bad cards that I was forced to put on the bottom. There's nothing worse than getting 1 flippable creature, 2 lands and a Sol Ring off of the Hideaway trigger and knowing that at least two of your flips are now going to be whiffs.

Added:
Path of Ancestry - This land is so good in the deck as it provides both of the colors we need and can give an free scry as a bonus whenever we cast our commander or a goblin.
4/18/2018
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Removed:
Silent Arbiter - This card hasn't been doing enough for me recently, and I've been getting harsher and harsher on the instant value philosophy with this deck. It can be extremely helpful as a meta-dependent call, so I will be keeping it on the considered list, but it's not good enough right now for me.

Bone Shredder - Nice creature destruction, but it's straight outclassed by Ravenous Chupacabra

Sadistic Hypnotist - This creature can be excellent in controlling your opponents' answers and removing them preemptively. But since this deck combos at instant speed, the sorcery speed rule for his ability has lost me several games. He will still be relegated to the meta-call slot.

Herald of Leshrac - If flipped early, this creature will set you off at lightning speeds. However, it also sets off your opponents and garners a lot of hate upon it's arrival. So I've rarely gotten enough value from it as it typically doesn't survive long.

Swamp - Making room for another colorless land.


Added:
Corpse Connoisseur - Amazing addition to our creature tutors. With a Digger Loop online, this can spell an instant game over. Search for value piece in the early game or a combo piece in the later game.

Ravenous Chupacabra - Can kill any creature, unlike poor Bone Shredder...I'll miss that beautiful foil.

Yahenni, Undying Partisan - Instant speed sac outlet that can survive board wipes and become an enormous beat stick. There's nothing quite like having Yahenni and Deathbringer Thoctar on the field. Ping all the creatures, swing in for all the damage.

Marionette Master - Extremely versatile card. Creates multiple creatures to sac for shenanigans, creates infinite mana with a Digger Loop and Ashnod's Altar, and serves as it's own win con. This card was long overdue to be added.

Buried Ruin - With the amount of strong artifacts we utilize for the deck, having an additional method to recur them is never a bad idea.


Additional Changes:
• Added a new combo in "Marionette Digger" to our combo list.
• Added additional win conditions in the "Thornbite Welder" combo.
5/23/2018
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I'm testing the waters with removing some slow manafixing for some high value lands. If mana turns out to be an issue, I'll make the necessary changes; but since the deck has substantial amount of ramp, I don't think we'll have an issue.

Removed:
Canyon Slough - Mana fixing is good, but this land comes into play tapped which is terrible in a deck that relies so heavily on a quick start. If a land does come into play tapped, it needs to have a more significant effect (Path of Ancestry).

Auntie's Hovel - Once again, a tap land that requires a goblin in hand. And since we can't always guarantee that, it's too slow.

Hedron Crawler - The replacement is strictly better.

Added:
Zhalfirin Void - Instant scry on an untapped land. This is good. Really good.

Cabal Stronghold - This is the exact Cabal Coffers reprint that Grenzo needed. The reason we don't run coffers is because it basically requires Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to even be useful. Stronghold, however, can tap for mana regularly and only has the potential to get better as the game goes on. And to clarify, Cabal Stronghold WILL count any basic Mountains you have that are affected by Urborg.

Manakin - 1/1 > 0/1
7/13/2018
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Removed:
Ravenous Chupacabra - Our replacement for this is strictly better.

Soldevi Digger - This engine is limited in only being able to grab the top card of your graveyard which has screwed me over several times. I believe it is being replaced with a superior engine that offers more versatility.

Cabal Stronghold - Massively underperforming. Don't like it and its value has dropped with the amount of nonbasics we now include.

Ravenous Baboons - The replacement is strictly better.

Mindclaw Shaman - The card has underperformed for me as well, which is very sad to me. I constantly find myself picking a player that has no more instants/sorceries or has a worthless spell. This card will definitely stay on my radar though as it has performed well in the past, and it has a good chance of being rotated back in if my hand-hate seems to be lacking.

Added:
Meteor Golem - Welcome to the future boys and girls. Rakdos now has enchantment removal...anything removal. This card is bonkers and can be an easily abusable source of versatile destruction. I love this card and can't ever forsee it being removed.

Nim Deathmantle - This card provides a Digger Loop in one single cost (especially helpful if Grenzo is in the command zone). It also has the added benefit of being a failsafe for Grenzo. Boardwipe? No problem! Grenzo's back, and with the +2/+2 from the equipment, he's still able to flip the entire deck despite losing his +1/+1 counter. This card literally won me my last game by keeping Grenzo alive after two board wipes. Just confirmed everything I had hoped this card would be.

Inventors' Fair - Free life gain and a free tutor for our busted artifacts. This land was long overdue.

Avalanche Riders - Hits every land for the same price as the baboons.

Goblin Trashmaster - An additional sac outlet, buffs Grenzo to stay at 3+ power, and destroys artifacts. Great and versatile card that will make a powerful inclusion in the deck.

10/24/2018
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Removed:
Swamp - Making room for a replacement.

Path of Ancestry - This thing has performed pretty poor for me. It comes in tapped (which can be a pretty big detriment to us), and I almost never cast from hand where the Scry trigger matters.

Manakin - Making room for a better ramper.

Junktroller - Hasn't performed as well as I had hoped. We don't run many creatures that don't have immediate impact when they hit the board, so if we do, that creature's slower setup needs to be worth the wait.

Goblin Trashmaster - This card also hasn't performed as well as I had hoped. It has a pretty limited sac outlet with a dependent payout. Also, while it buffs Grenzo, it cannot be flipped without Grenzo already being at three which means it doesn't meet that functionality as good as Mad Auntie does.

Fleshbag Marauder - Making room for a better replacement.

Myr Retriver - Making room for a better replacement.

Added:
Dakmor Salvage - A land that can fill our graveyard further or be brought back to our hand in a pinch to secure a land drop. So it's almost never a dead flip by itself.

Drownyard Temple - Like Dakmor Salvage, it can also return itself to us thus making it a non-dead flip land.

Soldevi Adnate - Has the potential to ramp much harder than Manakin for the same CMC. Might as well go big or go home.

Whisper, Blood Liturgist - Replacing Junktroller as an abusable recusion outlet that doesn't require additional mana investment. Our boards are typically full anyways, so the cost is minimal.

Goblin Cratermaker - Amazing versatility as additional artifact destruction, targeted removal, or potential Eldrazi removal.

Plaguecrafter - Just straight better than Fleshbag Marauder. Does everything our Fleshfriend does, except also kills Planeswalkers and destroys hands after their boards are empty. Too good to not include.

Junk Diver - Switching from Myr Retriever for the Flying so that I can potentially block more damage.
1/17/2019
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Removed:
• 2 Mountains - Making room for better replacements in the manabase.

Krenko, Mob Boss - So far I have never been able to go off with Krenko. My opponents kill him on sight, and I've never been able to assemble the Thornbite Krenko combo, so I'm taking it out for a powerful creature that represent a winning position on its own.

Goblin Matron - Replacing her with a stronger and much more versatile tutor.

Priest of Gix - Replacing with a creature that does relatively the same thing, but with a significant upside.

Plague Myr - Removing one of our plentiful mana sources for a new card from Ravnica Allegiances. I'm very cautious about this removal as getting your mana fast is so vital to the deck. So we'll see if the Myr stays out for long.


Added:
Luxury Suite - Strong dual land that gives us more options.

Blood Crypt - Another Mountain/Swamp in one. Great land.

Kuldotha Forgemaster - With just two other artifacts on the field (of which we run plenty) this card can immediately tutor in a Heartstone or Ashnod's Altar to finish out the game. And I'm sure there's some combo with Thornbite Staff somewhere that I haven't found yet.

Imperial Recruiter - The only creature Goblin Matron finds that this one doesn't is Lightning Caster, but this creature can find so many other options that it's a far superior creature to run (and thankfully rather affordable now with the reprint).

Emrakul's Hatcher - Does essentially what Priest of Gix does with two major benefits. First, the mana can be saved for later turns if necessary instead of requiring use immediately. Second, it creates creatures that can be sacced to our many outlets. It's just another source of infinite Digger Loop with Ashnod's Altar and Epitaph Golem

Judith, the Scourge Diva - She buffs Grenzo to 3 naturally which keeps you rolling after a Tel-Jilad Stylus protection loop, and she provides another semi-Goblin Sharpshooter effect. I only wish she didn't have the "nontoken" clause...she would've been one of the strongest cards in our deck without it.

8/26/2019
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Removed:
Goblin Cratermaker - This little guy has been fine in my testing, but has never really blown me away. He's been on my chopping block for a while, and I found such a powerful replacement that he was my first decision to cut.

Judith, the Scourge Diva - A great card that could've been infinitely more valuable with the lack of the "nontoken" clause. She's another card that has been fine in my testing, but I've rarely been excited to flip Judith as she requires a lot of other setup pieces to be worthwhile.

Millikin - I'm always wary of replacing mana dorks, but I feel like this addition is worthy of taking one out. Also, I've had a contentious relationship with Millikin as for every time it bins a creature card I can reanimate through the Digger Loop, it's also binned my Ashnod's or Thornbite which is never ideal.



Added:
Goblin Engineer - This little goblin is a house. He immediately can tutor and bin any of our most powerful artifacts (Ashnod's Altar, Heartstone, Thornbite Staff, Nim Deathmantle), but he can also easily recur them to our hand to cast. I love my GY tutors, and this guy is no exception.

Sling-Gang Lieutenant - Another amazing token generator that also serves as a sac outlet! What more could you want?! With a Digger Loop online, he can serve as a self-contained win condition with all of the life loss (which let's not forget, gets around a lot of annoyances).

Dockside Extortionist - Ever since this little capitalist was spoiled, I knew he'd be an amazing inclusion in the deck. In more casual metas, he might be an extremely lackluster flip, but as the game progresses, his ability to generate 5+ treasure cannot be underestimated. Cards that meet multiple roles are always great, and this card serves as ramp and a possible infinite.


Delegated to Alternative List:

All three removed cards - The cards that I removed are still good, and you shouldn't feel bad for running them. They can be great depending on your meta/play style. They just don't fit in mine currently.

Chainer, Nightmare Adept - This card is great as a discard outlet, a source of haste and a possible way to recast creatures from the graveyard (sorcery speed). He's still in testing, but for now I feel confident putting him in this list until I've determined if he's a good fit (and what he can replace).
12/2/2019
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Removed:
Reito Lantern - Removed for a more easily abusable artifact.


Added:
The Cauldron of Eternity - This card takes out half the mana cost of our Digger Loops and makes abusing things so much easier. So far, it's been extremely effective, though I am wary of the fact that it's much harder to play early game than Reito Lantern. Time will tell if it continues to be the powerhouse it's been so far.

4/5/2020
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Removed:
Yahenni, Undying Partisan - I've had some fun times with this guy, but his sac effect is not amazing, and his replacement is much better.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury - Been a pet card of mine for a while, but I will admit that I've rarely used the card that I've stolen and more often than not just continue flipping.

Fleshwrither - I can count on one hand the number of times I've gotten this guy off. He's an especially dud-flip when you're trying to win at instant speed.


Added:
Woe Strider - Amazing sac outlet that provides scry triggers and has it's own form of recursion.

Olivia, Mobilized for War - Multifuntional card with haste applications, discard triggers, and +1/+1 counter to reapply persist triggers.

Liliana, Heretical Healer - A pretty good planeswalker that we can actually use. And while yes, it does function mostly at sorcery speed (like it's replacement Fleshwriter, I prefer the ability to use this card's abilities while saving mana for more flips. I still think Fleshwrither is a strong card and it will be at the top of my "Might make it back in" list.


Delegated to Alternative List:

All three removed cards - The cards that I removed are still good, and you shouldn't feel bad for running them. They can be great depending on your meta/play style.
7/2/2020
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Removed:
Dakmor Salvage/Drownyard Temple /Smoldering Marsh /Spinerock Knoll /Temple of Malice /Dragonskull Summit - This was a pretty big change for me, but I decided to spruce up my land base a bit. I've found too often that lands entering the battlefield tapped can really slow down the pace of the deck. And I'll explain the reason for the replacements below.


Liliana, Heretical Healer // Liliana, Defiant Necromancer - This card just hasn't impressed me in any game. Planeswalkers have never been a mechanic I've enjoyed and the sorcery speed of their usefulness nearly kills it for me.


Avalanche Riders - Replaced with a better creature type.


Tuktuk Scrapper - Being replaced for better artifact removal.


Corpse Connoisseur - I've found that he's usually just an Anger tutor and nothing more. I've rarely ran into a scenario where he binned the key creature I needed to win, because with an active Digger Loop going, I'm usually already there. He is still a hard one to cut since he's been with me since my original list.


Dread Return - This is a card I've been considering for a while. I've had a lot of scenarios where I flipped this into the GY, but didn't have three creatures that I wanted to sacrifice to get an important target back out. I'm removing it for a creature source of recursion that also just further improves our creature/noncreature ratio.



Added:
Cavern of Souls - This card should be pretty obvious why it's being included. Uncounterable Grenzo (which can be a big weakness of ours), and makes our other goblins uncounterable as well if that ever becomes relevant.


Polluted Delta /Bloodstained Mire /Scalding Tarn /Marsh Flats/Wooded Foothills - Obviously fetch lands need to be in the deck. They serve two major purposes: land fixing and DECK THINNING (which translates to more successful flips). I'll be looking for spots to include the last two fetches, Verdant Catacombs & Arid Mesa, as well (though I don't currently own them)


Fleshwrither - Going back in the deck for the sole purpose of being another form of tutor. Instead of using Liliana as a sorcery speed planeswalker that does very little, I'd rather have a sorcery speed tutor for a useful creature that might close the game.


Goblin Settler - Land destruction with a much more useful creature type.


Goblin Trashmaster - Much better as a goblin form of artifact removal. It's repeatable, can be done on command, and buffs all of your goblins. Absolute worst-case scenario, it's a Tuktuk Scrapper that has to kill itself. But in most other cases, it's much more useful.


Chainer, Nightmare Adept - I've definitely been convinced by my testing (and your arguments) that this card deserves a spot, though I'm not ready to remove Olivia, Mobilized for War for this spot. I think more haste is probably useful in this deck with all the mana tappers we have, and both Olivia and Chainer bring unique secondary effects that make them interesting and give us multiple forms of discard alongside the haste benefit.

Balthor the Defiled - Amazing card that can provide the opportunity for massive comebacks. He also works at instant speed (unlike Dread Return), which means flipping into him on an opponents turn (or in response to a Cyclonic Rift) can win you the game outright.
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Credits
Image
My first and biggest shoutout goes to Zervintz from MTGSalvation who provided the initial inspiration for this deck. I consider him my partner in crime, and this primer wouldn't exist without his awesome list. The remaining shoutouts are for users who have contributed in some way to make the primer what is today either by providing feedback, card recommendations or helping others with questions/understanding the deck philosophy.

Fellow Dungeoneers
  • kenbaumann
  • Outcryqq
  • ThePillowman
  • Darkaxel1990
  • Hoboz
  • SlurmsMcKenzie
  • Arkren
  • oldmangrieves
  • sampersand
  • PenTheif – MTGSalvation
  • Fajen Thygia – MTGSalvation
  • manugle84 – MTGSalvation
  • Dromar the Banisher – MTGSalvation
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Post by toctheyounger » 7 months ago

Really glad to see this list come over from Salvation. I love Grenzo as a commander, he's just so unique, and this is a great thread.

Will you be putting this forward for primer status? I sure hope so, it's a great looking list with plenty of flavour and excellent content.
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Post by snowfox54119 » 7 months ago

toctheyounger wrote:
7 months ago
Really glad to see this list come over from Salvation. I love Grenzo as a commander, he's just so unique, and this is a great thread.

Will you be putting this forward for primer status? I sure hope so, it's a great looking list with plenty of flavour and excellent content.
Absolutely! Though apparently I have to wait a month before applying again on this site. But my goodness do I prefer this site's look and functionality.

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Post by toctheyounger » 7 months ago

snowfox54119 wrote:
7 months ago
toctheyounger wrote:
7 months ago
Really glad to see this list come over from Salvation. I love Grenzo as a commander, he's just so unique, and this is a great thread.

Will you be putting this forward for primer status? I sure hope so, it's a great looking list with plenty of flavour and excellent content.
Absolutely! Though apparently I have to wait a month before applying again on this site. But my goodness do I prefer this site's look and functionality.
It's pretty stunning right? Feyd_Ruin has done amazing things here.

You don't need to wait btw, apply when you're ready - I'm on the committee, can confirm you'll be fine :) . We're happy to fast track the process for existing primers from salvation, so as long as everything has ported over fine you should be fine.
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WUB VarinaB YawgmothWUBRG T'iam
_RGB Korvold_
_UBR Vial/Kraum_

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Post by snowfox54119 » 7 months ago

toctheyounger wrote:
7 months ago

You don't need to wait btw, apply when you're ready - I'm on the committee, can confirm you'll be fine :) . We're happy to fast track the process for existing primers from salvation, so as long as everything has ported over fine you should be fine.
Oh awesome! Thanks for the heads up! :)

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Post by Hoboz » 7 months ago

Quick question. Thoughts on Phyrexian Altar in addition to the current trinket line-up? Any reason it hasn't entered the deck yet?

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Post by snowfox54119 » 5 months ago

Hoboz wrote:
7 months ago
Quick question. Thoughts on Phyrexian Altar in addition to the current trinket line-up? Any reason it hasn't entered the deck yet?
You know, I've only ever thought of it as a downgrade to Ashnod's, but it's probably worth considering as another outlet for a mana-producing sac outlet. The most difficult part is determining what to possibly take out since the creature-to-noncreature ratio is so well balanced right now. I'll have to do some testing on this.

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Post by snowfox54119 » 5 months ago

It's gonna be an exciting year for commander this year, and here is the first set review of 2020; Theros Beyond Death!
  • Blight-Breath Catoblepas - Other cards do what this card does better by simply destroying or exiling creatures without a devotion stipulation.
  • Discordant Piper - Another lackluster creature that is outshined by other token producers already in the deck.
  • Mire Triton - While creatures are typically more useful in our graveyard than in our hand, a card like this is just not impactful enough to be worth running.
  • Thaumaturge's Familiar - While scry is super strong in this deck, one scry on an ETB is pretty underwhelming.
  • Woe Strider - Now this is an interesting creature. It's a token producer, a sac outlet, AND a scry source (which the deck is limited in currently). It also has it's own built-in source of recursion in case you're desperately needing a sac outlet. This is probably my top pick of the set and will definitely be finding its way into the list.

That's it for this review. There are obviously other creatures in the set that meet our deck's criteria, but none of them were even remotely worth considering since there are strictly better options. However, if you have a specific card you'd like me to reevaluate, let me know! Hopefully, the next few sets (including commander masters) will have more fun toys for us to consider.

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Post by Kyra Warsong » 5 months ago

Hey, snowfox54119, I just wanted to say I built this deck about a year ago after finding it on MtgSalvation, and to this day it's one of my favorite commander decks I've played. I love the deck building methodology you used, and I've been trying to apply it to my own deck building efforts. That's all I really wanted to say. Thank you for being awesome.

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Post by kenbaumann » 5 months ago

snowfox! Yours is the only deck I've essentially copied whole-cloth—I stared at your list back on mtgsalvation for over a year before building it, and I'm constantly impressed by its resiliency and consistency. It is a monstrously good time; thanks so much for writing this fantastic primer and keeping it updated so diligently. This deck is one of my favorites (and I play 13 decks regularly).

Here's a little recap of one of my more memorable moments with the Warden: "On the endstep before my turn I fought through three pieces of targeted removal and an overloaded Cyclonic Rift to win the game. (Kiki shenanigans: when Ashnod's Altar got blown up I found a Goblin Welder; when Grenzo got targeted I had a Stylus loop; when I needed one way to untap Kiki to respond to a Lightning Crafter trigger I found a Faceless Butcher with the recovered Ashnod's Altar; when the Rift got played I flipped until I found a Zealous Conscripts to untap Kiki to then active in response to the Lightning Crafter trigger to ping everyone to death."

Also, I've tried testing Fires of Invention—but I've flipped it into my graveyard 4/5 times, and the one time it resolved, it got destroyed by the time I cast my first creature with it! So I'm thinking I'm going to replace it with Woe Strider.

If you're curious, my favorite deck is right here. It's the one I've put the most love into.

Hope you have a great day!
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Post by ThePillowman » 5 months ago

I'm so excited to be building this as my first paper EDH deck!

Wow Strider definitely slots in nicely here. A few questions:

Did having more scry lands slow down the deck too much? I know the early game is crucial, though I figured the scry and setting up the bottom could be really valuable.

How do you feel about Anax, Hardened in the Forge? It feels like it could be SUPER versatile in this build (sac generator, board presence, blocker for big stompies) and can be pulled out by Grenzo, right?

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Post by Hoboz » 5 months ago

ThePillowman wrote:
5 months ago
How do you feel about Anax, Hardened in the Forge? It feels like it could be SUPER versatile in this build (sac generator, board presence, blocker for big stompies) and can be pulled out by Grenzo, right?
The problem with Anax is that his power is defined in all zones, so he isn't a consistent flip for Grenzo.

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Post by ThePillowman » 5 months ago

Hoboz wrote:
5 months ago
ThePillowman wrote:
5 months ago
How do you feel about Anax, Hardened in the Forge? It feels like it could be SUPER versatile in this build (sac generator, board presence, blocker for big stompies) and can be pulled out by Grenzo, right?
The problem with Anax is that his power is defined in all zones, so he isn't a consistent flip for Grenzo.
Got it, thanks for clarifying!

Were Goblin Warchief or Goblin Chieftain ever a consideration? Or no need since Grenzo's ability can activate without haste? They both meet the 2 power desire and lord in helpful ways, though maybe not a ton.

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Post by snowfox54119 » 5 months ago

kenbaumann wrote:
5 months ago
snowfox! Yours is the only deck I've essentially copied whole-cloth—I stared at your list back on mtgsalvation for over a year before building it, and I'm constantly impressed by its resiliency and consistency. It is a monstrously good time; thanks so much for writing this fantastic primer and keeping it updated so diligently. This deck is one of my favorites (and I play 13 decks regularly).

Here's a little recap of one of my more memorable moments with the Warden: "On the endstep before my turn I fought through three pieces of targeted removal and an overloaded Cyclonic Rift to win the game. (Kiki shenanigans: when Ashnod's Altar got blown up I found a Goblin Welder; when Grenzo got targeted I had a Stylus loop; when I needed one way to untap Kiki to respond to a Lightning Crafter trigger I found a Faceless Butcher with the recovered Ashnod's Altar; when the Rift got played I flipped until I found a Zealous Conscripts to untap Kiki to then active in response to the Lightning Crafter trigger to ping everyone to death."

Also, I've tried testing Fires of Invention—but I've flipped it into my graveyard 4/5 times, and the one time it resolved, it got destroyed by the time I cast my first creature with it! So I'm thinking I'm going to replace it with Woe Strider.

If you're curious, my favorite deck is right here. It's the one I've put the most love into.

Hope you have a great day!
Thanks, kenbaumann! I always love hearing other people's stories with the deck. I' agree with your synopsis on Fires of Invention; Woe Strider will be much more valuable in the long run.

Also, I looked at your list, and I'm a huge fan! I love Kruphix as commander and probably need to put my own list back together.


ThePillowman wrote:
5 months ago
Were Goblin Warchief or Goblin Chieftain ever a consideration? Or no need since Grenzo's ability can activate without haste? They both meet the 2 power desire and lord in helpful ways, though maybe not a ton.
They were in extremely early versions of the deck, but were quickly removed as I didn't want the goblin sub-theme. We have a good amount of goblins, but definitely not enough to warrant including lords. And since we aren't often attacking (to avoid drawing attention), the haste is bettter implemented on other non-goblin creatures.

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Post by ThePillowman » 4 months ago

Thanks for the responses!

Was Conjurer's Bauble omitted because of its relatively low power level? I feel like in this build it's got functionality at all stages of the game.

I know you previously mentioned/took out Chainer, Nightmare Adept - can you talk more about when it didn't perform well? The once per turn discard is limited, though I love the idea that we "may" cast a creature, so we can ignore it. At the same time, it rewards Grenzo's play-style and acts as an Anger redundancy.

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Post by Hoboz » 4 months ago

ThePillowman wrote:
4 months ago
Thanks for the responses!

Was Conjurer's Bauble omitted because of its relatively low power level? I feel like in this build it's got functionality at all stages of the game.

I know you previously mentioned/took out Chainer, Nightmare Adept - can you talk more about when it didn't perform well? The once per turn discard is limited, though I love the idea that we "may" cast a creature, so we can ignore it. At the same time, it rewards Grenzo's play-style and acts as an Anger redundancy.
For Conjurer's Bauble, it's a power level issue. The deck is designed to have a 50/50 hit/miss ratio off Grenzo. You can't really negotiate the 35+ lands, but every non-creature, non-land spell needs to be powerful enough to justify a miss off Grenzo.

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Post by ego » 4 months ago

How do you feel about Yawgmoth, Thran Physician as a sac outlet?
It doesn't allow you to go infinite beause of the life payment, but killing mana dorks while drawing cards seems pretty good.
It also doubles as a discard outlet.

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Post by ThePillowman » 4 months ago

Any update on whether Phyrexian Arena will make the cut?

Also - what would you say the power level is of this deck?

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Post by Darkaxel1990 » 4 months ago

ThePillowman wrote:
4 months ago
Any update on whether Phyrexian Arena will make the cut?
Card draw is not a goal of the deck, so no, Phyrexian Arena will never make the cut. Being noncreature is the final nail of the nope coffin.
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Post by snowfox54119 » 4 months ago

ThePillowman wrote:
4 months ago
Thanks for the responses!

Was Conjurer's Bauble omitted because of its relatively low power level? I feel like in this build it's got functionality at all stages of the game.

I know you previously mentioned/took out Chainer, Nightmare Adept - can you talk more about when it didn't perform well? The once per turn discard is limited, though I love the idea that we "may" cast a creature, so we can ignore it. At the same time, it rewards Grenzo's play-style and acts as an Anger redundancy.
Like Hoboz said, the deck treads a very delicate balance to ensure it maximizes its opportunity to hit powerful and explosive creatures. Every noncreature card we run has to have a major impact, and Bauble's 1 time use with a sac cost makes it extremely weak to be worth risking a dead flip.

As for Chainer, Nightmare Adept, in my experience there were just better impact creatures to run in the list. As a haste enabler, Anger is much better as it only needs to exist in our GY and not the field. As a reanimation effect, he's fine...but the deck plays at instant speed and prefers to not pay the actual cmc of the creatures we use. So it looks good on paper, but in practice, I was mostly disappointed to see him flipped.
ego wrote:
4 months ago
How do you feel about Yawgmoth, Thran Physician as a sac outlet?
It doesn't allow you to go infinite beause of the life payment, but killing mana dorks while drawing cards seems pretty good.
It also doubles as a discard outlet.
ThePillowman wrote:
4 months ago
Any update on whether Phyrexian Arena will make the cut?

Also - what would you say the power level is of this deck?
Darkaxel1990 hit the major point here, card draw is for once not really a necessity. Grenzo is his own form of card advantage by generating value off the bottom of the deck. Drawing cards is typically a goal of decks that wish to cast things. That's their unfortunate cross to bear. We play activations which allow us to win out of nowhere at instant-speed and allow us to plow through a massive amount of hate. Just a few weeks ago, I was playing a game where the stack literally had 7 different forms of removal trying to stop me, and each time a target was made by my opponents, I stacked more activations on top until eventually they were out of gas and I could finish out my combo.

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Post by ThePillowman » 4 months ago

Awesome, thanks for the in-depth responses!

I've been running this deck at ~85% completion (missing Imperial Recruiter, Dockside Extortionist, and a few of the more expensive lands). Had you considered discard payoffs like Olivia, Mobilized for War or Skirge Familiar? It feels like this deck is happy to run with zero hand since we're focused on flips, and getting into the graveyard for a payoff could really help this combo off faster. With Grenzo online I've found myself with 3-5 cards in hand pretty consistently and not really wanting to play them, in favor of flipping.

Olivia would be my top consideration - her 3 CMC casting cost is more than balanced, and she combos well in the build:
  • Can bring any flip online if Anger isn't in the graveyard, or put Anger in the graveyard if in hand
  • We get to choose when it activates ("may") PLUS she can activate on tokens - with all the Goblins and Eldrazi we generate here it just opens up a lot of opportunities to keep getting key cards in the graveyard.
I'd consider removing Gonti, Lord of Luxury for Olivia, just because Gonti would be inconsistent and that mana we'd spend playing an opponent's spell can be re-directed for more Grenzo flips.

Skirge has a fixed ceiling so I could see why it'd be less appealing, but those extra flips at instant speed could be impactful.

P.S. Woe Strider works incredibly well in this deck! Let us know if it finds its way into your main list!

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Post by Outcryqq » 4 months ago

I've enjoyed your list since salvation. I run Grenzo competitively using Doomsday, but I sometimes switch the list out for a more goblin-y deck.

One thing that I think would add even more functionality to your already-sweet list is a section about how Grenzo's ability interacts (or doesn't interact) with graveyard hate. My understanding, and based upon a list on tappedout, is that Grenzo's ability works through graveyard hate due to replacement effect. If that's true, I'd include a section in your strategy about this, as I think this is an underappreciated asset in EDH!

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Post by kenbaumann » 4 months ago

@snowfox54119 "Drawing cards is typically a goal of decks that wish to cast things. That's their unfortunate cross to bear." should be in the primer somewhere.
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Post by snowfox54119 » 4 months ago

ThePillowman wrote:
4 months ago
Awesome, thanks for the in-depth responses!

I've been running this deck at ~85% completion (missing Imperial Recruiter, Dockside Extortionist, and a few of the more expensive lands). Had you considered discard payoffs like Olivia, Mobilized for War or Skirge Familiar? It feels like this deck is happy to run with zero hand since we're focused on flips, and getting into the graveyard for a payoff could really help this combo off faster. With Grenzo online I've found myself with 3-5 cards in hand pretty consistently and not really wanting to play them, in favor of flipping.

Olivia would be my top consideration - her 3 CMC casting cost is more than balanced, and she combos well in the build:
  • Can bring any flip online if Anger isn't in the graveyard, or put Anger in the graveyard if in hand
  • We get to choose when it activates ("may") PLUS she can activate on tokens - with all the Goblins and Eldrazi we generate here it just opens up a lot of opportunities to keep getting key cards in the graveyard.
I'd consider removing Gonti, Lord of Luxury for Olivia, just because Gonti would be inconsistent and that mana we'd spend playing an opponent's spell can be re-directed for more Grenzo flips.

Skirge has a fixed ceiling so I could see why it'd be less appealing, but those extra flips at instant speed could be impactful.

P.S. Woe Strider works incredibly well in this deck! Let us know if it finds its way into your main list!
Pillowman, I think you've made an excellent point on Olivia, Mobilized for War. I've looked at her and Skirge Familiar before, but never really took the step to place them in. I also think you hit a great point on Gonti probably being a card that needs to be reevaluated. I've had him since my initial list and have had some fun times with him, but he's probably more of a pet pick than an optimized choice. So all that to say, I have a foil Olivia on the way now to make it into the list. Thanks for your input!

P.S. absolutely yes, Woe Strider is in the deck and is probably replacing Yahenni, Undying Partisan.


Outcryqq wrote:
4 months ago
I've enjoyed your list since salvation. I run Grenzo competitively using Doomsday, but I sometimes switch the list out for a more goblin-y deck.

One thing that I think would add even more functionality to your already-sweet list is a section about how Grenzo's ability interacts (or doesn't interact) with graveyard hate. My understanding, and based upon a list on tappedout, is that Grenzo's ability works through graveyard hate due to replacement effect. If that's true, I'd include a section in your strategy about this, as I think this is an underappreciated asset in EDH!
That's a great point and definitely something that I think a surprising amount of players don't realize. I've definitely had to explain several times why a player's Rest in Peace doesn't stop Grenzo's activation. I'll work that into the primer somewhere!


kenbaumann wrote:
4 months ago
snowfox54119 "Drawing cards is typically a goal of decks that wish to cast things. That's their unfortunate cross to bear." should be in the primer somewhere.
Hahaha, I will add this in too since I frequently get recommended cards that draw more cards.

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Post by snowfox54119 » 4 months ago

Just completed some big updates to the primer with a new FAQ section, an updated (and rearranged) Deck Philosophy section, some additional credits, and some fun new images!

I'll be posting an update to the list within the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that!

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