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The letter T!he power of the gods of Theros are closer than ever to the mortal realm.

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx | Art by Jung Park

Born of the Gods has arrived and there're plenty of new blessings to try from the pantheon of Theros. Whatever the favors you choose, finding new choices is among the most exciting features of a new set. Since Commander relies so heavily on individual cards, the odds of finding something new is almost a guaranteed success.

At least that's what I've found in my own experience.

That's So Metal

Before diving into your updates and decks, there's one shift I've been keen to work out for myself: switching my Kaervek the Merciless deck over to a Mogis, God of Slaughter deck. Here's where I ended up:

Adam Styborski's Mogis, God of Slaughter Commander

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
Smoldering Crater
Sulfurous Springs
11  Swamp
Tainted Peak
Temple of Malice
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
Defiler of Souls
Dread Cacodemon
Erebos, God of the Dead
Fate Unraveler
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

21 creatures

Ankh of Mishra
Astral Cornucopia
Black Sun's Zenith
Blasphemous Act
Bonfire of the Damned
Coalition Relic
Comet Storm
Consume Spirit
Darksteel Ingot
Decree of Pain
Demonic Tutor
Devil's Play
Drain Life
Dregs of Sorrow
Fated Return
Fault Line
Gilded Lotus
Grave Pact
Increasing Ambition
Killing Wave
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Molten Disaster
Oblivion Stone
Praetor's Grasp
Profane Command
Rakdos Cluestone
Rakdos Signet
Rolling Earthquake
Slice and Dice
Sol Ring
Spiteful Visions
Talisman of Indulgence
Temporal Extortion
Thran Dynamo
Vampiric Tutor
Wound Reflection

41 other spells

Sorin Markov

1 planeswalker

Mogis, God of Slaughter

What did I change over? Not that much, but the net effect is significant. First and foremost, Kaervek the Merciless is gone, replaced by an easier-to-cast and indestructible way to apply pressure to opponents. Backed by a suite of battlefield-clearing removal, the odds that opponents may not be able to choose to sacrifice a creature is good.

Other changes include new ways to chip away at opponents' life totals (Fate Unraveler replacing Nevinyrral's Disk), applying different pressure to opponents' creatures (Defiler of Souls replacing Mutilate), and creating an indestructible monster from the graveyard of an unsuspecting enemy (Fated Return replacing Army of the Damned). There were also two "side" upgrades, with Astral Cornucopia replacing Rakdos Keyrune (so we can go even bigger with mana for Earthquake or Drain Life) and Temple of Malice replacing Shizo, Death's Storehouse (since a little massaging and mana fixing is better than granting fear for this deck).

Changing a deck to better suit it's goal (blowing away opponents' life totals) is one road to travel. Another road is to overhaul the toolbox your commander gives you access to.

Most of my seventeen Commander decks won't be seeing more that the inclusion of an on-color scry land, if that much. Captain Sisay will also get Karametra, God of Harvests, but Hanna, Ship's Navigator is loading up with ten cards:

It's almost sinful how well she plays with the enchantment creatures.


Hanna, Ship's Navigator comes packed with a potent ability for the denizens of Theros: "1 ManaWhite ManaBlue Mana, Tap: Return target artifact or enchantment card from your graveyard to your hand." While our two visits to Mirrodin/New Phyrexia (Spoiler alert!) is typically where I've seen Hanna work her magic, the enchantment-laden options from Born of the Gods feels like a tantalizing tease for what may come in Journey into Nyx.

Getting to pull enchantments that are creatures (like Gods) out of your deck on demand is strong, apparently. So is creating loops thanks to God-delivered powers.

Just want to quickly say, big fan, and I love all the articles you do. Now:

Grimgrin's It's My Party, And We'll Moan If We Want To

Main Deck

99 cards

Command Tower
Drowned Catacomb
Evolving Wilds
18  Swamp
Temple of Deceit
Terramorphic Expanse
Thespian's Stage
Unholy Grotto
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Watery Grave

34 lands

Cemetery Reaper
Champion of Stray Souls
Corpse Connoisseur
Corpse Harvester
Death Baron
Diregraf Captain
Diregraf Ghoul
Erebos, God of the Dead
Fleshbag Marauder
Geralf's Messenger
Geth, Lord of the Vault
Grave Titan
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Gutter Skulk
Havengul Lich
Lich Lord of Unx
Lifebane Zombie
Liliana's Reaver
Lord of the Undead
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
Phenax, God of Deception
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Siren of the Silent Song
Spiteful Returned
Stromgald Crusader
Undead Alchemist
Undead Warchief
Vengeful Pharaoh
Zombie Master
Zombie Outlander

32 creatures

Army of the Damned
Buried Alive
Caged Sun
Call to the Kindred
Call to the Netherworld
Chromatic Lantern
Diabolic Revelation
Diabolic Tutor
Door of Destinies
Endless Ranks of the Dead
Forbidden Alchemy
Ghoulcaller's Chant
Gilded Lotus
Go for the Throat
Grave Pact
Grimoire of the Dead
Hero's Downfall
Jar of Eyeballs
Life's Finale
Lightning Greaves
Living Death
Patriarch's Bidding
Ring of Three Wishes
Rooftop Storm
Victim of Night
Whip of Erebos
Zombie Apocalypse

30 other spells

Jace, Memory Adept
Liliana of the Dark Realms
Liliana Vess

3 planeswalkers

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born

Now, at first glance, it's a pretty standard Zombie beatdown Commander deck. Get them on the field, get them back from the grave, take your opponents' grave, and use it against them, survive battlefield wipe after field wipe, etc.

Now, besides the addition of a couple of the Zombies from Born of the Gods and a rather fantastic mythic rare Skeleton Warrior, the only real notable addition to the deck is Phenax, God of Deception, soon to be the most important part of this deck. Why, do you ask? Well, turns out that Phenax and Grimgrin were meant to be best buddies. One of them likes making creatures tap, while the other likes to untap, often. Getting it? Throw in a Rooftop Storm and a Gravecrawler, and BAM! mill out deck combo.

Admittedly not the best, but I think one of the most fun. Optional: Undead Alchemist joins the party and turns a good chunk of milled cards into more 2/2 black partygoers. I hope some Zombie brought chips.

Thank you for all you're doing to spread info about the greatest format in the Multiverse.

Hoping to see you across a table sometime,


It's easy to look at Born of the Gods and just think about enchantments. Here, Thomas found a few tweaks for a tribal deck with making the most of what a new God can do. With all the Grecian-inspired heroes and Gods lounging about I had overlooked that there's plenty of undead to go around on Theros, as Alex can attest:

As I had mentioned last time, my preferred guild is Golgari and my Jarad deck is my favorite weapon for battle. What started off years ago as a Darigaaz, the Igniter "good stuff" deck has been parsed and whittled down to this sleek weapon that can win the game on multiple axes. It combines my love of tokens with my love of moving things in and out of the graveyard—nothing stays dead under Jarad's command for long. Sewer Nemesis, Splinterfright, and Hermit Druid turbo charge my graveyard while Life from the Loam and Phyrexian Reclamation help me cherry pick what I get back.

There is a lot of life payment in this deck so Disciple of Griselbrand, Grim Feast, Whip of Erebos, and the Blood Artist/Falkenrath Noble tag team keep me healthy enough to execute. Finally, Grave Pact helps me keep my adversaries under control and allows my large monsters to do their thing. Honestly, it is hard to type up every interaction since so many cards work in tandem.

After Theros gave me gifts in Whip of Erebos, Nighthowler, and Pharika's Mender (I never realized how many enchantments I relied on until the Gorgon came along), I had high hopes for Born of the Gods. While it didn't add much to the deck, the new cards definitely help. Satyr Wayfinder replaces Yavimaya Granger as a way to fill my graveyard and access any land (which is easier to achieve with Sylvan Library). Scourge of Skola Vale might make it in if a current card starts to disappoint me. Nessian Demolok also comes in for Indrik Stomphowler since it provides an interesting political tool while also helping to shore up this deck's soft spot for Planeswalkers and noncreature permanents.

You see, I built this deck to take advantage of Dark Confidant and Dark Tutelage and as such I set a limit for myself: nothing in this deck will cost more than five mana. This is why some cards (like Woodfall Primus) are notably absent. I love this restriction as it forces me to look for different cards. It's also cool to watch my opponents' faces as they realize they're going to lose to a deck running Dark Confidant.


Alex's Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord Commander

Main Deck

99 cards

Barren Moor
Bojuka Bog
Command Tower
Evolving Wilds
Gilt-Leaf Palace
Golgari Guildgate
Golgari Rot Farm
Grim Backwoods
Jund Panorama
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Overgrown Tomb
Polluted Mire
Rogue's Passage
Slippery Karst
Tainted Wood
Temple of the False God
Terramorphic Expanse
Tranquil Thicket
Treetop Village
Verdant Catacombs
Volrath's Stronghold

36 lands

Big Game Hunter
Blood Artist
Bloodgift Demon
Bone Shredder
Bone Shredder
Champion of Lambholt
Corpse Connoisseur
Creakwood Liege
Dark Confidant
Disciple of Bolas
Disciple of Griselbrand
Eternal Witness
Falkenrath Noble
Hermit Druid
Kessig Cagebreakers
Korozda Guildmage
Lotus Cobra
Mold Shambler
Nessian Demolok
Oracle of Mul Daya
Pharika's Mender
Phyrexian Plaguelord
Reassembling Skeleton
Satyr Wayfinder
Savra, Queen of the Golgari
Scavenging Ooze
Sewer Nemesis
Shadowborn Demon
Solemn Simulacrum
Varolz, the Scar-Striped
Vengeful Pharaoh
Yavimaya Elder

36 creatures

Awakening Zone
Dark Tutelage
Demonic Tutor
Gaze of Granite
Grave Pact
Greater Good
Grim Feast
Grim Harvest
Jarad's Orders
Life from the Loam
Lightning Greaves
Living Death
Mimic Vat
Nim Deathmantle
Oversold Cemetery
Phyrexian Reclamation
Sol Ring
Survival of the Fittest
Sylvan Library
Whip of Erebos

26 other spells

Garruk Relentless

1 planeswalker

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord

Just because you aren't changing many things doesn't mean the differences aren't noticeable. When you have extra pressure to find just the right cards, every change adds up in big ways. Thanks Alex!

Mosh Pitted Ideas

Alex's angle for running Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord is to apply a cost restriction across the entire deck: Less than six mana or bust. Some of you really enjoy building a deck with additional requirements applied, so I'd like to learn more about them: What requirement have you build a deck around, and why?

  • Feedback via email
  • 300-word limit to describe the changes
  • Sample decklist is requested
  • Decklists should be formatted with one card per line with just a leading number, such as "3 Mountain"
  • Name and email required (non-personal information to be used in column)

I hope Born of the Gods has left you feeling as inspired as me. Join us next week when we unlock the potential hidden in Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. See you then!

Adam Styborski
Adam Styborski
Email Adam
Author Archive
Command Tower

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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