It’s spoiler season for Throne of Eldraine, and this time around there is a twist; the spoilers kicked off with a set of Brawl decks, with specially-made commanders! Although the commanders were specially designed for Brawl, they have plenty of Commander-format potential. Today, I’m going to talk about some Commander-style ways to use Korvold, Fae-Cursed King!
I have been toying with the idea of a devour-themed Commander deck for quite a while now, but no legendary creatures got me excited enough to pull the trigger… That is, until the reveal of Korvold, Fae-Cursed King. One of the dominant issues with a devour deck is that by its nature, the devour mechanic has an “eggs in one basket” problem. The mechanic encourages us to sacrifice creatures to make one very large creature, and if our opponents deal with that one large creature, we run out of steam. Korvold helps to alleviate the problem by filling our hand with new cards when we make sacrifices (and getting huge himself doesn’t hurt, either). Even if our creature is stopped, we’re ready to run it all out and try again! But what is it that we’re playing?
The first thing to consider when building a sacrifice-heavy deck is disposable creatures, and no creatures are more disposable than Thrulls! These bad boys were designed to be sacrificed, and we will happily give them the swift death they crave. Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder is only a 2/2 for five mana, but the Thrulls he brings with him are an incredible source of value. If we cast Korvold with Endrek on the battlefield, we get five 1/1 Thrulls before Korvold actually resolves. We’ll be able to sacrifice a Thrull to his ability when he enters the battlefield, and we still have 4 left for sacrificing when he attacks! That’s a solid deal!*
*Editor’s Note: Plus, if you’re playing a little card called Impact Tremors, you get five extra damage to each opponent from the Thrulls entering the battlefield.
We may be tempted to play cards like Parallel Lives or Doubling Season with Endrek, but making too many Thrulls at once will trigger his second ability, forcing us to sacrifice him if we have seven or more. Even if we sacrifice Thrulls until we have fewer than seven, his ability will still make us sacrifice him, and as a result I wouldn’t recommend doubling your Thrulls.
Next on “disposable dudes detail” is Mycoloth. Most Commander players have seen this guy hit the table at one time or another, and it’s always a powerhouse card, but we have a trick up our sleeves: Even if the only creature we control is Endrek Sahr, we can play a 14/14 Mycoloth! The trick is, Endrek Sahr‘s ability triggers when we cast a creature. That means by the time Mycoloth resolves, we already have five 1/1 Thrulls waiting to be Devoured, giving us ten +1/+1 counters on Mycoloth. Every upkeep afterward, we’ll get a batch of ten Saprolings, fresh and ready to be eaten by someone else! Don’t forget that if our commander Korvold, Fae-Cursed King is on the battlefield, sacrificing five Thrulls means we also get to draw five cards and put five +1/+1 counters on him.
Even if we’re playing tutors, in a game of Commander we can’t always find our best combo pieces, so here are some other good Jund-colored sources of disposable dudes: Elemental Mastery, Chandra, Acolyte of Flame, Izoni, Thousand-Eyed, Infernal Genesis, Tilonalli’s Summoner, Dragonlair Spider, Worm Harvest, Tendershoot Dryad.
Hungry Hungry Hitters
Let’s not beat around the bush. Thromok the Insatiable is an insane Magic card, and with Endrek on the battlefield it’s a 25/25 for 5 mana. With a single extra sacrifice it becomes a 36/36, then a 49/49, then a 64/64… Whatever number of creatures you sacrifice, Thromok‘s power and toughness will be that number squared. If we played a 14/14 Mycoloth last turn, and we sacrifice our ten Saprolings as well as our five Thrulls, Thromok will be a 225/225 (and we’ll draw 15 cards with Korvold)!
Predator Dragon won’t get out-of-control huge like Thromok can, but it has flying and haste which means with Endrek we can blast an opponent with a 16/16 (or bigger!) in the air out of nowhere. Preyseizer Dragon is a lot like Predator Dragon without haste, but whenever it attacks we can blast any target with damage equal to the number of counters on it. We can clear away a flying blocker, incinerate a Planeswalker, or burn our least-favorite opponent right in their face. Plus, again… Korvold lets us draw a card for every creature that gets eaten! With all these cards being drawn, I think we need a plan to make use of them before our hand overflows.
Bin It to Win It
Let’s say we have our commander Korvold, Fae-Cursed King on the battlefield, as well as ten creature tokens. We cast a Skullmulcher and devour the tokens, and suddenly we find ourselves with twenty more cards in hand! What can we do besides pitch them away at the end of the turn? Even if we have no maximum hand size, most of them (especially lands) will sit in hand, useless. If we have Ayula’s Influence, we can turn every land that we draw into a creature token, ripe for devouring.
Lotleth Troll lets us discard creatures to put +1/+1 counters on it, and it has trample. Borborygmos Enraged turns each land into a free Lightning Bolt, great for clearing away blockers or just finishing the game. Chainer, Nightmare Adept gives us a way to recast key creatures (like Endrek Sahr) from our graveyard, plus we can use him to give haste to a big, devouring beater. Skirge Familiar gives us a black mana for every card we discard, which should give us enough mana to cast something big that we don’t want to discard.
If we’re willing to invest a little mana, we can use Saproling Cluster to pump out 1/1 Saprolings for each card we discard. Call the Bloodline only works once each turn, but it’s an instant speed ability so in a game of Commander we should be able to use it three or four times per round. Tomb Robber can grow himself, fix the top of our library, and put lands into our hand. We can pay and discard to put counters on Mindless Automaton, then we can use those counters to draw cards later if our other card sources dry up.
If we sacrifice a battlefield full of creatures to make a single giant one, but it gets destroyed, we’re going to feel pretty silly. However, if we have Reyhan, Last of the Abzan on the battlefield we can move all those +1/+1 counters onto something else instead! If Korvold gets killed with six +1/+1 counter on him, we can put six counters onto a Saproling (or Reyhan). Then next time we cast Korvold, we can sacrifice whatever creature we put his counters on, which will let us put those counters right back onto him (plus an extra, from the sacrifice)! The devour mechanic says to sacrifice creatures as the creature enters the battlefield, so if we devour a creature that has counters on it, Reyhan‘s ability will let us put those counters onto the devouring creature.
Mayhem Devil gives us some bonus damage for sacrificing things, plus it triggers whenever any player sacrifices a permanent, so our opponents’ fetch lands and sacrificial creatures will give us some free damage to sling around as well. Savra, Queen of the Golgari triggers whenever we sacrifice a green or black creature, which will be the majority of our sacrificed creatures. She can help us gain a ton of life from Saproling tokens, and paying two life to make each opponent sacrifice a creature helps clear the way for our big beaters as well as triggering Mayhem Devil and the next card I want to talk about…
Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest is the one card in this deck that encourages us to keep our creature tokens around. Every time any player sacrifices a permanent, we get to put a +1/+1 counter on each creature we control! That’s a ton of value, and having this guy on the battlefield completely changes how we want to be playing the game. Without him, our game plan is to devour all our small creatures, get huge fatties, then beat face with them. With Mazirek on the battlefield, we want to leverage our superior numbers by sacrificing a handful of creatures to grow the rest, then attack with a massive swarm of T.O.U.S. (Tokens of Unusual Size).
Here’s a few cards that I don’t need to break down, but I feel deserve honorable mention: Kresh the Bloodbraided, Blood for Bones, Corpsejack Menace, Chandra’s Ignition, Fling, Thud, Fauna Shaman, Whisper, Blood Liturgist… There are more, but you can fill in the blanks for yourself. Get Sacking!
I’m Fresh Out of Puns
That’s all I have for you today. I hope my feverish ramblings about Thrulls has inspired you to build a Devour deck of your own, or maybe you have a better idea for all that card draw from Korvold? Let us know in the comments, or on twitter! Thanks for reading, and tune in next time when I’ll put an Apex Altisaur under a Mimic Vat while I have a Whip of Erebos on the battlefield.