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Convertible Commander: Torgaar, Famine Incarnate


The last few articles, we've been looking at a couple of ways to make Brawl decks convertible to Commander decks. It's an interesting thing to do, and something worth continuing to explore, but for today's article, I'd like to pivot back to straight-up 100 card stacks and look at a new commander from Dominaria: Torgaar, Famine Incarnate.

Torgaar, Famine Incarnate

This dude is immense. He's kind of an eight-mana do-nothing 7/6. He's kind of a strange version of Heartless Hidetsugu, but he's definitely a deck-building challenge, because we sure as heck can't wait for turn eight to cast an evasion-less commander that might not even do any damage by that point in the game! So . . .  how about turn three? Or even turn two?

Torgaar, Famine Incarnate -- Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

Cabal Coffers
Cabal Stronghold

A 7/6 beater on turn eight in Commander is nothing. Even on turn six, it's not really much. But turn three? That'll make the table take notice, especially when someone just went to 20 before anyone's even taken any damage -- and this commander kills in three hits.

I found precisely one way to get Torgaar out on turn two, and it looks like this. Swamp, Dark Ritual, Weaponcraft Enthusiast (creating 2 Servos). Turn two, Swamp, pay bb, sacrifice all three creatures, play Torgaar. It's highly unlikely to happen, but when it does, wow that will be awesome.

On the other hand, there are multiple ways to get him out on turn three. Both require one of the following three cards: Dark Ritual, Sol Ring, or Mana Vault. Additionally, we must have Rite of Belzenlok, Marsh Flitter, or Sengir Autocrat. Turn one we play our artifact (or just sit on Dark Ritual). Turn two we use our four mana to play the Rite, the Flitter, or the Autocrat, which will wind us up with three or four creatures on turn three, meaning once again we can sacrifice three of them and cast our commander for bb.

When the turn two or three Torgaar happens, it'll be great because there's almost certainly going to be someone with an open board just ripe to take seven. However, since that won't happen most of the time, we're going to have to figure out how to leverage this guy in more ways than just a lucky opening seven. It starts, as it always does, with mana.

We've got the whole package in this one: Cabal Coffers and its new little brother Cabal Stronghold. Thespian's Stage to copy one of them and Deserted Temple to untap one of them. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to get more value out of them. Expedition Map to find a piece of the puzzle. This mana base must be one of the most reliable ways to make massive mana turn after turn in EDH. We've also got Crypt Ghast and Nirkana Revenant to double up. There are a few utility lands in there which solve the occasional problem, but we want plenty of lands which just tap for b on that first turn, just in case. We're running Snow-Covered Swamps in this build, because we're running Rime Transfusion and we'll want to use it.

Rime Transfusion
The entire focus here is on Torgaar. We'll hope for a really early big beater, and then we're going to suit him up in a variety of ways. The key is evasion of some kind, so we're running a smorgasbord of Menace, Intimidate/Fear, Trample, and Flying, as well as the occasional "can't be blocked." Equipment or Aura, we don't really care, we just want ways to punch him through. We've got some stuff which boosts his power, as well, which is nice because if we can get him to 11 he kills in two hits. We've also got a few ways to give him haste, but really that's going to be a side effect or a later-game thing when we're replaying him out of the Command Zone. Something like Haunted Cloak will be great early for the Trample and leaving him up to block with Vigilance, and later it'll be awesome to cast him and swing away that same turn. Additionally, many of these Voltron pieces are cheap to play, so we can cast them in the early game and use them right away. Take Vorrac Battlehorns, for instance. They give our boy Trample and he can only be blocked by one creature, so we'll punch some damage through almost assuredly. But it only costs 2 to play and 1 to equip, so with a turn three Torgaar we can do that all on turn four. Same with Cobbled Wings, except they grant Flying, which is also great. Loxodon Warhammer gives us some lifegain plus +3 power. Helm of the Host is just too good to leave out considering we can use it to put the rest of our opponents to 20 or even frustrate the heck out of a lifegain player by repeatedly knocking them back to 20. Lashwrithe makes our big boy a lot bigger; paired with some Trample that's a serious problem, and Argentum Armor is a great way to use a ton of mana.

We've got a few kill spells to deal with something really obnoxious that completely shuts down our Commander attacks, plus two Wrath effects (In Garruk's Wake and Extinguish All Hope, but these slots are relatively interchangeable) in the event the board desperately needs to be reset. But the truth is, we're kind of an all-in deck here, and it's either going to work or it isn't, which should be pretty fun to play with and against. Our token makers should make it fairly easy to keep casting Torgaar in the event some jerk keeps killing him (Bitterblossom will be great for this), and we can always suit up an Abhorrent Overlord and do some pretty serious damage, but if we don't correctly determine who is going to combo off and kill the table and aim straight at that person, we'll probably lose. We've got no draw, and we're likely to empty our hand fairly early on. But when they're scooping up their lands on turn five because you're swinging with an 11 power flying commander, that'll feel pretty good.

So an early big beater is one way to go. Truthfully, while it's relevant, we could take or leave Torgaar's ability for this first build, though. However, cutting an opponent's life to 20 is not nothing, and repeating that trick might be fun. So if we figure out a way to keep replaying Torgaar, we can set everyone's life totals to 20 and figure out a way to beat them from there. We're already Mono-Black, so why don't we do another thing it does well: Reanimator.

We're going to shore up our lack of card draw with tutors in this build. If that's not your bag, cool, replace the Diabolic Revelation and Increasing Ambition with Sign in Blood and Ancient Craving. The thing is, the tutors are going to help a lot because we are going to need a few specific pieces just to keep running. We've still got all our mana and our token producers, so, with any luck, they'll continue to power out an early Commander, but we're going to ditch 20 Voltron pieces (I'd keep Argentum Armor and Helm of the Host, probably) and look for a sacrifice outlet and a few ways to return our dude. We'll cast him, sac him, and return him a few times to get all our opponents down to 20, then we can start beating face. But without any evasion, that's going to be less effective, so what better than a flock of flying demons? The ones I picked are mostly personal preference: Razaketh, the Foulblooded and Rune-Scarred Demon both grab us some cards, with Razaketh doubling as a sacrifice outlet in case we need it. Archfiend of Depravity does a nice job of keeping the threat level low. Lord of the Void lets us turn their favorite things against them, and Pestilence Demon could potentially win us the game. If we can make 20 mana we can just activate him for everything we've got and that's that. However, feel free to drop in your favorite big bads and go to town.

Is trying to make a goofball like Torgaar work a fool's errand? Would you ever play him, and if so, why (or why not, if you wouldn't)? How would you build him? Please let us know in the comments!

Next time, we're going to look to Standard for some inspiration. Until then! Thanks for reading.

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