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The Slaughter of Kaervek


Kaervek the Merciless is dead.

Back at Gen Con Indy last year, I built a Kaervek deck that went on to become one of my favorite decks. Through the releases of Magic: The Gathering Commander (2013 Edition) and Theros I put a few updates in and ended up with this:

Kaervek the Merciless - Commander | Adam Styborski

It's a straightforward deck that's half glass cannon, half value machine, relying on chaining board wipes and card draw into massive explosions that kill off opponents. Kaervek the Merciless was the best commander available for this type of deck since it could do something few other cards could: force opponents to play differently. Whether they quickly pulled the trigger on removal or an on-board trick or they just settled in to casting a smaller-than-desired spell, Kaervek went to work ensuring my master plan of blowing off faces would meet less resistance.

Then this guy came along.

Playing with Kaervek come with its own challenges, however. He's expensive, at a starting seven mana, and draws a ton of immediate attention to you. As soon as I cast Kaervek, my side of the board was quickly, mercilessly crushed.

Mogis, God of Slaughter solves many of the problems Kaervek carries. Mogis is just four mana, indestructible, hits harder as a creature, and has a relevant ability that punishes opponents whether they cast a spell or not. That's not all, when I asked our associate editor Carlos Gutierrez what he thought about Mogis, my ideas were solidified:

When I look at Mogis, I think attrition. I want to make sure no one has creatures or the resources to play creatures, and the start ratcheting up the pressure on their life total, all while playing lots of things with colored symbols.

I'm thinking things like Bloodghast and Reassembling Skeleton powering up Attrition and Sadistic Hypnotist, while Sulfuric Vortex, Citadel of Pain, and Mogis eat away at your life total and put you in Earthquake range.

Veinfire Borderpost is a stellar card for Mogis, and the other on-color gods are also likely very, very good since enchantments are hard to deal with to start with. After that I'm just looking at sweet devotion cards. Ash Zealot might be good enough. Grave Pact, Dawn of the Dead and Gate to Phyrexia are probably awesome. Demigod of Revenge is just insane, as will be Grafted Exoskeleton and Quietus Spike. That probably makes Godo, Bandit Warlord and Demonspine Whip worth playing.

Instead of relying heavily on a late game Kaervek to pull his trick once, Mogis can join the battlefield early and quickly get to work. Taking a random 2 damage every now and then isn't that bad, but against a deck filled with Earthquake effects it will add up quickly. Even more appealing is how going deep on enchantments can add up to creating a real monster: Phyrexian Arena and Underworld Connections will pull double duty on both card advantage and fueling a 7/5 beatstick.

What About Bob?

What I really want to know is how you might use Mogis, God of Slaughter in Commander? To rebuild the deck around Mogis specifically I need more feedback and time. There are new toys from Born of the Gods being revealed daily, and the collective card memory of the community is far better than my own. I trust you'll point the power of Bonfire of the Damned and Mana Vault in the right direction.

Share your thoughts on Twitter or in the comments below and I'll follow up with the final deck after Born of the Gods is fully spoiled. Thanks for your help!

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