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Xenago Big or Xenago Home

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Xenagos, God of Revels
Let it never be said that I don’t read the comments you all write on my articles. Last week I wrote about Kydele and Thrasios (Which I have been writing as “Thraisos” and no one corrected me [Seriously google “Thraisos” — most of what comes up is my tweets and articles]) and I am happy with how it turned out. Deciding to turn it into a Momir Vig, Simic Visionary toolbox deck while keeping 75% of the deck intact was a lot of fun. Even more fun than that was getting a larger than normal volume of comments. Most of them were about one commander in particular, and I like the ideas percolating in my head so much that I’m going to just windmill slam that idea today and talk about how I’d build it. Does that mean I’m doing two toolbox decks in a row? Yep. If you don’t like it, I guess comment on this article because, as we’ve established, I read those.

I am familiar with Xenagos, God of Revels. My favorite thing to do with him is have him in play and then summon Prossh, Skyraider of Kher. That’s pretty much all you need to do to delete one player, and I’m a fan of that. However, as much fun as that is, I never really considered building around Xenagos until someone brought it up. Starting to come up with a decklist, I’m wondering why. This card either makes your big creatures huge or your utility creatures big and both of those things are very useful. Not only that, he’s more difficult to kill than most commanders and that means you can use your mana for shenanigans and not constantly having to re-cast your commander. When a reader mentioned using Xenagos as the commander of a toolbox deck, I was sold. Woodland Bellower is OK in some decks, but he seems like he’ll really shine in a deck where you tutor up an Eternal Witness and then attack for 12. Woodland Bellower isn’t the only oversized tutor in the Magic Universe, either. Need that Kessig Wolf Run? Ulvenwald Hydra is on the case! Need to draw some cards? Combustible Gearhulk to the rescue! Even casting that Eternal Witness or Reclamation Sage you tutored for isn’t entirely worthless because Xenagos can make them punch just as hard as a 6-drop, and with haste, no less.

My goals for the deck are pretty simple — have a good toolbox list. I’ll want to cheat creatures into play, but the Ulvenwald Hydra inclusion gave me an idea about a land ramp subtheme which will make a bloodrushed Rubblehulk particularly disgusting. Being able to 1-shot people is the dream, here, but also having a ton of answers to a ton of situations makes this a slightly atypical Xenagos build and should help us achieve the goal of building 75%. Since ramping isn’t 100% foolproof, we’re going to want a few ways to cheat creatures into play, but I’d rather hit a big Genesis Wave than Birthing Pod a bunch. Let’s keep it interesting, shall we?

What will our wacky 75% deck look like? Will the land plan get us there? Let’s find out!


Woodland Bellower
I like how this turned out. It might need some tuning to get the ratios correct, but as a baseline, this does what we want it to do.

First up, I included some search cards I don’t get to run often. I think this is the first time I’ve ever jammed Hibernation's End into a deck, for example. Traverse the Ulvenwald, Chord of Calling, etc. are all pretty acceptable tutors in a deck like this. We might even be able to see our way clear to even better tutors (Though Traverse and Fauna Shaman are pretty damn good) to the extent that that’s a thing because we’re about finding the right tool for the job rather than a combo piece. Tooth and Nail is fine in a 75% deck where you’re grabbing a Woodland Bellower and a Woodfall Primus in one scenario or a Dragonlord Atarka and a Combustible Gearhulk in another. Intention matters and if your intention is to grab tools to help you out of a jam, just about any tutor is fine. It’s when a tutor becomes a second copy of a combo piece that I start to check out. If you like the synergy between Worldly Tutor and See the Unwritten, jam it in there by all means.

I added a lot more utility creatures than are normally found in decks like this at the expense of some obvious cards like Fierce Empath. If you think cards like that are great, by all means throw that and/or Mwonvuli Beast Tracker in the deck. They can punch through for a bit with Xenagos out and are useful in decks like this. I had a tough time tuning my creature suite but I think I settled on something I can live with. I kept being tempted to cut cards like Sakura-Tribe Elder and Elvish Mystic for big fatties and I finally decided to call it a day. You may find you don’t have enough creatures to tutor up to help you out of jams — there are plenty more cards like Manglehorn you can find room for. People still underestimate that card. Tune your utility suite as you see fit.

As far as toolbox cards go, tune that your own way as well. I have stuff to get us out of jams but that might not be enough. I found myself cutting a bit down on utility spells if I could get that same effect on a creature so we’re very creature-heavy, which is probably fine. This deck shrugs off Wraths because you get value when you play a creature and you swing with it with haste so you recover from Wraths better than most decks because your creatures hit double hard.

I like how this deck turned out. Now that I’ve tipped my hand and showed how I would build it, hopefully the people who wanted to see the list will share theirs. Now that we’ve established I absolutely read the comments, send me some! Let’s talk about your take on this deck or another one. Thanks for reading, everyone. Until next time!


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