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Awe. Majesty. Divinity.

Erebos, God of the Dead | Art by Peter Mohrbacher

The Gods of Theros are potent, and never to be underestimated.

They ask for your devotion and manifest themselves personally if you prove your commitment. But of all the Gods I've seen, it's Erebos, God of the Dead that I'll be devoted to the most.

There's a lot going on here, but some of it's the same as the other overlords of Theros:

  • Erebos, like the other Gods, is indestructible. Naturalize and Murder won't be enough alone.
  • Erebos, like the other Gods, is only a creature if your devotion to black is high enough. This means you can either assume he's an enchantment most of the time or build a deck to turn him into a creature more often.
  • Erebos prevents other players from gaining life. As someone who just put together a Kaervek the Merciless deck, I find this a handy feature for decks built to cause pain for everyone.
  • Erebos has an activated ability that draws a card. As one of the biggest fans of Greed, I find this ability to be wonderful in a format where I start with 40 life and get to play Drain Life.

So what can we do with Erebos?

Reiver Demon is the first thing that came to my mind. Blow up most of the creatures and turn Erebos, God of the Dead into a creature all in one shot. It's an ideal combination since Reiver Demon won't destroy Erebos (even if someone cleverly makes it non-black), and odds are good that Erebos will have already been in play at the start of the turn, so you'll get to attack into an emptied battlefield.

While Reiver Demon's Black ManaBlack ManaBlack ManaBlack Mana is normally a liability for casting, any deck devoted to devotion for block won't have an issue, and there's plenty of other creatures packing black that work well too:

  • Dread, Stronghold Overseer, and Necropolis Regent all nudge opponents to avoid attacking. If you're setting up a longer game, or want to make the most of an indestructible God creature, these will work well.
  • Lord of the Void, Reaper from the Abyss, and Dread Cacodemon are all fatty Demons that can bring the pain upon opponents. If your angle is staying aggressive, these will quickly help you get your God on.
  • Vengeful Pharaoh, Nether Traitor, and Bloodghast are full of delicious Black Mana in their costs, and can find their way back to the battlefield repeatedly. Keeping Erebos a creature can be easier than you think.
  • Gate to Phyrexia, Dark Prophecy, Grave Pact, and plenty of other enchantments full of Black Mana can let you approach the battlefield with fewer creatures but still end up casting an enchantment you will be attacking with.

Several of these Erebos-loving options are part of my black-heavy Kaervek the Merciless deck:

Adam's Kaervek the Merciless

Main Deck

99 cards

Barren Moor
Blood Crypt
Bloodstained Mire
Bojuka Bog
Cabal Coffers
Command Tower
Dragonskull Summit
Forgotten Cave
Graven Cairns
Grixis Panorama
Jund Panorama
Lavaclaw Reaches
Polluted Mire
Rakdos Carnarium
Shadowblood Ridge
Shizo, Death's Storehouse
Smoldering Crater
Sulfurous Springs
11  Swamp
Tainted Peak
Temple of the False God
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Volrath's Stronghold

36 lands

Anowon, the Ruin Sage
Bogardan Hellkite
Butcher of Malakir
Crater Hellion
Crypt Ghast
Dread Cacodemon
1  Erebos, God of the Dead
Fleshbag Marauder
Geth, Lord of the Vault
Massacre Wurm
Nirkana Revenant
Olivia Voldaren
Reiver Demon
Rune-Scarred Demon
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Slum Reaper
Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed
Zo-Zu the Punisher

19 creatures

Ankh of Mishra
Black Sun's Zenith
Blasphemous Act
Chain Reaction
Chromatic Lantern
Coalition Relic
Comet Storm
Consume Spirit
Darksteel Ingot
Decree of Pain
Demonic Tutor
Devil's Play
Drain Life
Dregs of Sorrow
Fault Line
Flowstone Slide
Gilded Lotus
Grave Pact
Increasing Ambition
Killing Wave
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Nevinyrral's Disk
Oblivion Stone
Plague Wind
Praetor's Grasp
Profane Command
Rakdos Cluestone
Rakdos Keyrune
Rakdos Signet
Rolling Earthquake
Slice and Dice
Sol Ring
Talisman of Indulgence
Temporal Extortion
Thran Dynamo
Vampiric Tutor
Wound Reflection

43 other spells

Sorin Markov

1 planeswalker

Kaervek the Merciless

Adding a "second copy of Greed" that shores up a weakness of Kaervek's (opponents gaining life) is worth it alone. Adding an indestructible creature to use after Decree of Pain is just gravy. What sets my Kaervek the Merciless deck apart from many others is that I specifically don't punish lands and hands. If I want you to cast spells when Kaervek is out, I want you to have the mana available and cards ready to do it. While it caused plenty of pain when I created it at Gen Con this year, everyone who played alongside it had a great time.

You don't need a prison to punish players' life totals, and Erebos, God of the Dead drives this plan home.

Of course, sliding Erebos, God of the Dead into a ready-made deck is just one way to use him. This week's prompt is for those of you who'd want Erebos to be your commander proper. Which five cards would you include in an Erebos, God of the Dead Commander deck?

  • Feedback via email
  • 150-word limit to answer the question
  • One paragraph explanation for all the picks
  • Name and email required (non-personal information to be used in column)

I've teased a few ways to approach Erebos, but there's much more to a monocolored commander than meets the eye. I'm positive you won't disappoint me. (And don't forget to keep an eye on the Theros Card Image Gallery for the newest cards you might want to put alongside Erebos!)

If you haven't followed the other two paths of destiny this week, be sure to see the destinies of both Anax and Cymede and Polukranos, World Eater in Commander.

Join us next week when we face the Fates together. See you then!

Adam Styborski
Adam Styborski
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Adam "Stybs" Styborski joined in 2009 to take over Serious Fun, before switching over to begin Command Tower in 2013. With his passion for Commander and community inclusion, you'll find plenty of opportunity each week to share your thoughts about everyone's favorite casual format.

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