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Attack on Titan



This week I finally got together the wherewithal to finish my Chainer, Nightmare Adept deck, taking out the last few placeholder cards and replacing them with the optimal cards for the deck. It felt good to have done the testing, optimized the deck and even replaced early cards with the versions I preferred, making sure I had the old border versions of any cards with old border printings and getting my favorite basics (Unglued) in the deck. It wasn't easy and it's been a long journey from a Xantcha deck, to a refined version of the deck, to the third and absolutely final version of the deck, the Chainer, Nightmare Adept Goblins deck I perfected. It took a lot of work but it was well worth it, because we arrived at a final version of the deck and while we may change a card or two, we're certainly not going to make any changes to the commander of the deck or anything drastic like that...

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

Son of a....

OK, OK, this is good. We can work with this. We can just take out a card from our Chainer list and put Kroxa in and call it an article. Later, everyone, thanks for reading. There's an easy cut - somehow a Bazaar Trader made the leap from Xantcha to Chainer and I have no idea what I was thinking, so we chop that, add Kroxa and keep the deck as-is otherwise. There's no need to upset myself by tearing the deck apart a third time to build a fourth version of it, right? Right?

OK, the more I think about it, the more I kind of want to be casting Blightning every turn, though. The escape cost is high, but Kroxa hops right into the yard after being cast which means you can cast it for two mana with Chainer, slam it back into play with Hell's Caretaker or cast Animate Dead or Footsteps of the Goryo on it. The Chainer deck is already set up to churn through cards, fill our hand back up and give us plenty of Chainer activations; how much modification would we need to do to the deck to make sure we can cast Kroxa two or three times in a good turn if we want to? The answer is... not much.

The last version of Chainer that I wrote about looked like this. It's got a Goblin subtheme which works very nicely with the deck since we can tutor for creatures we want, get back important artifacts from the 'yard and recur creatures like Squee and with Wort. We will have plenty of cards to discard to activate Chainer and a full 'yard means we can pay Kroxa's Escape cost if we want to.

Chainer, Nightmare Adept | Commander | Jason Alt

If you wanted to dig down like an archaeologist, this is a fascinating look at my deck evolution process. Remnants of the original Mindslaver build are evident and a lot of them have been repurposed. Goblin Welder no longer recycles Mindslaver, but in a deck that discards a lot of cards, being able to get our mana rocks back after pitching them to Chainer or looping a Solemn Simulacrum to fill our hands is vital to our gameplan. One of the ways I planned to make sure this deck worked as a 75% deck specifically was to steal stuff from their graveyard and that plan is even better since they'll be doing more discarding than us, finally. Waste Not joins Bone Miser in the deck and Rise of the Dark Realms is many times better than before. It's like I planned all along for this to be a Kroxa deck. Let's be clear, the Xantcha, Chainer, and now Kroxa builds are all fairly off-meta and the fact that there is this much interchangeability between disparate commanders seems like more of a coincidence and me playing to Rakdos' strengths more than it is some sort of meta-commentary about the homogeneity of Rakdos commanders.

To optimize the deck to Kroxa, we'll need to make some changes; but, ultimately, we'll be able to keep a large percentage of the "original" (third draft) deck intact. Let's talk specific cards we need to add.

I mentioned Waste Not already but it bears repeating. We're going to get them to discard often and benefitting from it with mana, zombies to sac for mana and card drawing will be insanely powerful. Bone Miser was a better fit for Chainer since I was doing a lot of discarding, and I still will since Chainer stays in the deck and is a powerful way to rebuy Kroxa for two mana out of the yard rather than four mana and five cards and indeed, Bone Miser stays in the picture. Waste Not is a supplement rather than a replacement, and this supplement must not have been regulated by the FDA, because it looks a lot like steroids for Chainer strategies.

While we're at it, Geth's Grimoire is a must. We're not going to be using Megrim or The Rack or any cards like that, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't capitalize on all of the times our opponents are going to be discarding. Keeping our hands full lets us discard with abandon and select our best cards so we can pitch extra lands and cards we can get back from the 'yard rather than potentially having to discard something important.

I love Extort as a mechanic even though it takes a lot longer to get there in Commander than it did in Limited. That said, I think chip damage like that can add up and the lifegain can be significant. One card I have wanted to try out that is similar to an extort effect has been Faith of the Devoted. We discard plenty with this deck and Helixing the table every time I activate Chainer seems like a great way to weaken them so they're easier to pummel with their own reanimated hordes.

Herald of Anguish is significantly better in this deck than in most iterations of the deck. The Goblins make it interesting to include a lot of Artifacts making Herald easier to cast, and he makes them discard, something we want. I think we can lose the Godo package for this because that is beginning to bore me; add it back in if that's your thing.

The final version of the deck will be focused on casting and recasting Kroxa as much as possible so some cards that were mostly there to make Chainer more effective can be cut to make room for cards that facilitate our new strategy. Here's what I think the deck should look like built around Kroxa.

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger | Commander | Jason Alt

This version of the deck looks like a lot of fun. If you want to pull farther in a direction of one of the deck's subthemes, here's what I'd do.

Want them to discard more? That's easy - dozens of cards make that happen. What you might want to consider at that point is adding a few Megrim effects. Vanilla Megrim is basically obsolete at the point given cards like Quest for the Nihil Stone, Bloodchief Ascension, and Necrogen Mists. I think Raiders' Wake is interesting and there's always Painful Quandary, too. You have a lot of options here and you can cut some Goblins to make room.

I added Mimic Vat to join Helm of Possession in our "steal their stuff" suite but a few more Animate Dead effects that can steal their creatures as well as reanimate yours are a very 75% way to go. If players don't catch on early that you're packing a lot of reanimation effects, the first thing they're liable to discard is a big, awesome creature that costs a lot of mana and they won't get to summon for a long time. Surprise them with a very early Platinum Angel or Consecrated Sphinx courtesy of a reanimation spell.

You're looking for a card to cut to jam Mindslaver in there, aren't you? I'm still running Darksteel Citadel and Goblin Welder like it's 2008 Vintage and since the deck's first draft was a 'Slaver deck, it seems natural to put it back in. You can probably cut Cloudstone Curio since it's worse now that we're not a Chainer deck. Your average CMC goes up a smidge but so does your enjoyment. Have you ever Mindslavered someone? If you had, you'd know why we have the Goblin Welder package.

That does it for me, everyone. I am very excited to see what the fifth iteration of this deck looks like in 6 months but for now, I can make these modifications and not feel too bad about it. Start a fight with me in the comments section or just tell me your craziest Mindslaver story. Until next time!

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