For Great Revelry

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The letter I!t's all the rage these days to kill a God.

Deicide | Art by Jason Chan

Who needs an indestructible enchantment that can turn into an opponent-slaying personification of a mortal attribute?"

I do.

From the first taste I saw of the pantheon of TherosErebos, God of the Dead—to the mana machinations of Karametra, God of Harvests and Kruphix, God of Horizons, I've been in love with the power of the gods of Theros in Commander.

They've been exciting for you, too.

The pantheon is in on full display now, and these are the decks you created to contain them.

God is in the TV

One of my favorite new Gods is Pharika, God of Affliction, and her handy ability to transform creatures in graveyards into annoying little Snakes with deathtouch.

Andrew felt the same way:

Players can't seem to decide if Pharika, God of Affliction is good or not. I'm not answering that question at all, because this is a flavor-packed Pharika deck that features Gorgons and Snakes. I looked for all the cards representative of Pharika, Vraska, and the venomous side of the Golgari.

Andrew's Pharika

Main Deck

99 cards

Barren Moor
Dakmor Salvage
Evolving Wilds
Golgari Guildgate
Golgari Rot Farm
Grim Backwoods
Leechridden Swamp
Llanowar Wastes
Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
Overgrown Tomb
Pine Barrens
Polluted Mire
Sapseep Forest
Slippery Karst
Svogthos, the Restless Tomb
Tainted Wood
Temple of Malady
Terramorphic Expanse
Tranquil Thicket
Twilight Mire
Woodland Cemetery

38 lands

Ambush Viper
Archetype of Finality
Death-Hood Cobra
Gorgon Recluse
Hythonia the Cruel
Infernal Medusa
Keepsake Gorgon
Korozda Gorgon
Nemesis of Mortals
Nessian Asp
Nyx Weaver
Ohran Viper
Pharika's Chosen
Pharika's Mender
Reaper of the Wilds
Serpent Assassin
Sisters of Stone Death
Snake of the Golden Grove
Squelching Leeches
Tangle Asp
Visara the Dreadful
Wall of Vipers
Wasteland Viper
Xathrid Gorgon

26 creatures

Aspect of Gorgon
Assassin's Strike
Cobra Trap
Cruel Feeding
Deadbridge Chant
Death's Presence
Destroy the Evidence
Down // Dirty
Gaze of Granite
Gaze of the Gorgon
Golgari Charm
Golgari Cluestone
Golgari Keyrune
Golgari Signet
Grave Betrayal
Grisly Salvage
Grisly Spectacle
Killing Glare
Night's Whisper
Nyx Infusion
Pharika's Cure
Read the Bones
Reviving Melody
Serpent Skin
Sip of Hemlock
Snake Basket
Snake Pit
Snake Umbra
Strength from the Fallen
Treasured Find
Viper's Kiss

34 other spells

Vraska the Unseen

1 planeswalker

Pharika, God of Affliction

Some familiar faces are here: Deadbridge Chant, Grave Betrayal, Gaze of Granite, Reaper of the Wilds. Some not so familiar faces, like Snake Pit (super-fun in the right matchups). I like that this deck can sort of play a Group Hug role; Pharika can give other players instant-speed deathtouchy blockers, and there are plenty of other, "Hey, you, have some deathtouch!" cards. Otherwise, it's a pretty standard "kill everything until you win" style of deck.

Notice the lack of Gorgon Flail and Gorgon's Head. This may be a BG "kill things" deck, but that's just in bad taste. You don't feed chickens barbeque wings, and you don't make Gorgons fight with the decapitated heads of their kin.


Mike, too, decided to follow the flavor of the God of Affliction:

I've been playing off-and-on since Antiquities. My first well-tuned deck featured Verduran Enchantress, Fastbond, and Contract from Below. I could churn through over half of my (forty-card) deck in a single turn! I've loved green-black ever since.

My favorite commander is Sliver Queen, not because I build a Sliver deck, but because I use her super-cheap creature generation as an engine for all kinds of combos.

That means that Pharika, God of Affliction is an absolute must for me. She's easier to cast, indestructible, and her children have deathtouch! Her drawbacks compared to Sliver Queen are two-fold: fewer colors means fewer/weaker combos for which to act as an engine (i.e., no Purphoros, Rage Thrower, Stalking Vengeance); and she's much less likely to score a win with commander damage.

Fewer combos doesn't mean none, though. I believe that Pharika and Savra will be good friends, for example. Probably the most complicated combo in the submitted deck is Pharika + Life Chisel + Dark Prophecy + Cadaverous Bloom + Grim Guardian + one colored mana = win the game.

The other notable thing about Pharika is her hug factor. She'll happily share the deathtouch pain with anyone being attacked by ground-pounders, thereby giving you more time to pull together your combos.

My first build will probably feature a lot of Journey into Nyx cards, just to try them out, but there's a lot of potential!


Mike's Pharika

Main Deck

99 cards

Dakmor Salvage
11  Forest
Gilt-Leaf Palace
Golgari Guildgate
Golgari Rot Farm
Grim Backwoods
Homeward Path
Maze of Ith
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Overgrown Tomb
Pine Barrens
Svogthos, the Restless Tomb
12  Swamp
Tainted Wood
Temple of Malady
Thawing Glaciers
Woodland Cemetery

39 lands

Abhorrent Overlord
Argothian Enchantress
Blood Artist
Champion of Stray Souls
Courser of Kruphix
Creakwood Liege
Deathrite Shaman
Doomwake Giant
Eidolon of Blossoms
Erebos, God of the Dead
Falkenrath Noble
Goldenhide Ox
Grave-Shell Scarab
Grim Guardian
Hell's Caretaker
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Nyx Weaver
Pharika, God of Affliction
Pharika's Mender
Reaper of the Wilds
Savra, Queen of the Golgari
Seshiro the Anointed
Verduran Enchantress
Viscera Seer
Yavimaya Enchantress

26 creatures

Altar of Dementia
Aspect of Mongoose
Bow of Nylea
Cadaverous Bloom
Dark Prophecy
Deadbridge Chant
Demonic Tutor
Dictate of Erebos
Door of Destinies
Doubling Season
Enchantress's Presence
Extinguish All Hope
Gate to Phyrexia
Grave Betrayal
Grave Pact
Grim Feast
Hibernation's End
Life Chisel
Life from the Loam
Lurking Predators
Parallel Lives
Primal Vigor
Recurring Nightmare
Setessan Tactics
Slaughter Pact
Summoner's Pact
Unravel the Æther
Vampiric Tutor
Worldly Tutor

32 other spells

Garruk, Caller of Beasts
Vraska the Unseen

2 planeswalkers

Pharika, God of Affliction

Another God I favor for my own deck building is Iroas, God of Victory. Last week, I started a decidedly creature-focused look at building a Commander deck. Archie, quite the contrarian, looked in the opposite direction:

The God I'm most excited to build a deck around is Iroas, God of Victory but not for the reasons you might expect. The twist—no creature spells, not a single one.

I started looking at red and white enchantments, looking at what would be good for devotion, and came across a few beauties I hadn't seen before, namely Burning Sands, Æther Flash, and Powerstone Minefield. So the idea for the deck was born. There are a couple of creature producers in the deck: Sigil of the Empty Throne is too good to pass up and plays well with the 2-damage enchantments; Elspeth, Sun's Champion is good devotion and the -3 ability is very useful; and, technically, Ajani, Caller of the Pride is also a token producer.

The coolest thing about creating this deck was finding a lot of cards I just didn't know existed. Serra's Liturgy is a cool card with good devotion and a potential to be very powerful, Repercussion is an old standby and plays very well with Pyrohemia.

I'm very much looking forward to playing this deck and seeing if it's even possible to win with it, but I know it will be a lot of fun to play, regardless.


Trying things off the wall is something Commander leaves plenty of room to do, but sticking to tried, true, potent strategies is just as common. Matt's look at Kruphix, God of Horizons is exactly what I'd expect:

One that I'm tempted to build a deck around is Kruphix, God of Horizons. My most recent commander is Momir Vig, and my love for Simic is probably what made me want to build this. Kruphix's ability to retain mana is most likely what the core of the deck will be built around, and he'll run somewhat similar to an Omnath, but with more things to use and a lower inclination to keep the mana there.

It is entirely likely, however, with this Commander deck that many games will end up with you trying to Blue Sun's Zenith someone out of the game, which is part of the reason I enjoy Commander—fun interactions that completely change everything, which essentially encompasses green-blue entirely.


Of course, those of you lucky enough at a Prerelease may have found an all-God pack of Journey into Nyx.


If you had any doubts about the right way to handle this after your event, Andrew also had the perfect solution:

Don't be fooled by the commander, this deck is as God-centric as they come. Although the commander is Child of Alara, the deck was built because I wanted to put ALL THE GODS into one deck. The indisputable core of the deck are the fifteen Gods and the five weapons. Then I stuff in as many multicolor-weight cards as I can to turn on devotion. Plus some necessary mana assistance and card drawing. I've been receiving lots of help on this deck in the Wizards forums (shout out to niheloim!) and it's changed a lot from what I first picked as the card selection. I even strayed away from Child for a bit before niheloim informed me that Child's boom trigger doesn't go off if I send it to the command zone, so I don't have to wipe the field if I don't want to. There is a one-card combo in the deck that was suggested to me by SeveredAngel: Defense of the Heart. If I use DotH to fetch up both Progenitus and Nicol Bolas, I can automatically turn on any god except for Karametra, Nylea, and Heliod. I love it.

Honestly, I still don't know if this deck will function. Five-Color Devotion is a tricky monster and I'm impressed I've gotten the color balance that I have.

White: 21 permanents, 27 symbols on permanents
Blue: 20 permanents, 25 symbols on permanents
Black: 20 permanents, 28 symbols on permanents
Red: 18 permanents, 26 symbols on permanents
Green: 24 permanents, 30 symbols on permanents

If I need to, at the cost of some card quality, I can go more devotion-heavy with the Lorwyn Block Lieges and Spirit Avatars. If that what it takes to get my devotion count up, then I'll go there, but for now this is my currently intended list.


Andrew's Child of Alara

Main Deck

99 cards

Arcane Sanctum
Blood Crypt
Breeding Pool
Cascade Bluffs
Cavern of Souls
Command Tower
Crumbling Necropolis
Fetid Heath
Fire-Lit Thicket
Godless Shrine
Graven Cairns
Hallowed Fountain
Jungle Shrine
Mana Confluence
Opal Palace
Overgrown Tomb
Rugged Prairie
Sacred Foundry
Savage Lands
Seaside Citadel
Steam Vents
Stomping Ground
Sunken Ruins
Temple Garden
Temple of Abandon
Temple of Deceit
Temple of Enlightenment
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Malady
Temple of Malice
Temple of Mystery
Temple of Plenty
Temple of Silence
Temple of Triumph
Twilight Mire
Watery Grave
Wooded Bastion

37 lands

Athreos, God of Passage
Balefire Dragon
Dragon Broodmother
Ephara, God of the Polis
Erebos, God of the Dead
Heliod, God of the Sun
Iroas, God of Victory
Karametra, God of Harvests
Keranos, God of Storms
Kruphix, God of Horizons
Maelstrom Archangel
Mogis, God of Slaughter
Nicol Bolas
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Pharika, God of Affliction
Phenax, God of Deception
Prophet of Kruphix
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Sliver Queen
Sphinx of the Steel Wind
Thassa, God of the Sea
Xenagos, God of Revels

25 creatures

Akroma's Vengeance
Austere Command
Bident of Thassa
Bow of Nylea
Chromatic Lantern
Deadbridge Chant
Debtors' Knell
Decree of Pain
Defense of the Heart
Genju of the Realm
Golgari Signet
Gratuitous Violence
Gruul Signet
Hammer of Purphoros
Maelstrom Nexus
Mirari's Wake
Phyrexian Arena
Privileged Position
Recross the Paths
Rhystic Study
Selesnya Signet
Shard Convergence
Simic Signet
Sol Ring
Spear of Heliod
Sterling Grove
Sylvan Library
Whip of Erebos
Wrath of God

30 other spells

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes
Elspeth, Sun's Champion
Garruk Wildspeaker
Jace Beleren
Liliana Vess
Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

7 planeswalkers

Child of Alara

All Gods, all the time. Child of Alara is already a potent commander I've faced numerous times, and adding the weight of the pantheon of Theros seems terrifyingly flavorful. And in terms of terrifying obvious answers, this tweet piqued my interest:


There are so many scary Demons in Magic the idea of pulling them out over and over with Athreos is something I can't wait to see happen.

Born Again

We've spent the last few weeks looking at additive ways to grow your collection of Commander decks: Shiny new cards, sweet new Gods, and oodles of flavor make it easy to find things to try. Next week, I want to get back to another angle of Commander deck building: Which card or cards have you cut from your favorite deck, and why?

  • Feedback via email
  • 300-word limit to explain your thoughts around recently removing some cards for others
  • Sample decklist is requested (does not count against word limit)
  • Decklists should be formatted with one card per line with just a leading number, such as "3 Mountain"—just a space (no "x" or "-") between the number and the card name, without subtotals by card type (Submissions that don't follow this rule will be ignored.)
  • Name and email required (non-personal information to be used in column)

In order to add new features to a deck it's obvious that something else will have to go. With so many favorites to work with, and awesome cards in our decks we've come to love, finding "the right one" to take out is, in editor-speak, killing our darlings.

I want to know what you've recently cleared out for something new, and why you settled on what you did. I'm looking forward to tales of murder and pain... all for the greater Commander good, of course.

See you next week!

Adam Styborski
Adam Styborski
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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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