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Token Demonic Inclusion

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I’m sure you’re looking far into the future, trying to brew decks with all of the improperly-previewed (leaked) card from Ixalan; and, if you’re who I am describing, you’re doing yourself a real disservice. We have another set to incorporate into our decks, first, and that set has exciting cards in it. You want to brew Ixalan? Well, the cat’s out of the bag and there isn’t much anyone can do to stop you. If you’re the kind of kid who snuck downstairs to peek at their Christmas presents then rewrap them, maybe you want to ignore Hour of Devastation. The rest of us will enjoy seeing for the first time, this card, revealed to the public in accordance with laws and regulations pertaining to proper previewing of cards.

It’s pretty tricky to evaluate any new card, and it’s doubly so when you feel attached to the card. It’s your spoiler and you love it like a parent loves a child. Maybe the card isn’t much to look at but you know that there’s something it can do well if you just give it the love and support it needs to find a niche and really thrive. Naturally, you might get a little suspicious if you loved your spoiled card a little too unconditionally. You realize that you might over-romanticize your card because you’re just so happy to preview something and overcompensate in the other direction, under-evaluating the card because you don’t want to look biased.

Is this card good or bad? That’s a false dichotomy, if you ask me. Commanders far worse than this one currently see play. This has a unique effect, a tribal affiliation that pairs well with both his other abilities and with the rest of the deck it’s thrown into and it’s Legendary so it can be your commander. There are enough reasons to play this card, so whether it’s good or bad is irrelevant. People will want to play this and we will try to help. It’s not really a matter of whether this card is good, but rather a matter of what it’s good at. This card is good at one thing and it does that one thing better than almost any other card.

The first thing I thought of when I saw this demon was Maralen of the Mornsong. Maralen allows for some great card selection but the effect is symmetrical and it feels like the only people playing Maralen at this point are playing the 80 swamp Ad Nauseam version of the deck which is fun to win with once, but, and I can’t stress this enough, only once. Ever. I don’t want to build another, slower version of that deck, so the idea of being a dedicated deck that tutors for a win condition right away doesn’t appeal to me. I want to tutor for answers, have no trouble finding dorks to sac to appease our demon overlord, and I want to have a deck that doesn’t play out the exact same way every time. There’s something we need to discuss, though.

If we can select any combo piece we want from our deck with this ability, there’s no way this can be a 75% deck, right? Well, maybe. Like with all tutors, it’s all in how you use them; but, in this case, that almost doesn’t matter because it’s a pretty big hassle to start tutoring. You need to summon your eight-mana murder machine, then you need to keep him around and need some creatures to sac around long enough to do any looking through the deck. This makes him pretty unreliable as a combo enabler because he’s so easy to disrupt. Instead, I think we toy around with a build that won’t struggle to have creatures you want to sac and will benefit despite not being able to access their commander until fairly late in the game. If we can do all that, this demon is going to shine in a deck built to maximize its strengths.


Black Market
This is a deck I can get behind! We’re not tutoring for combo pieces but rather using our endless stream of tokens to sac for mana or to tutor for more cards that help our token strategy. Mono-Black isn’t the best color for a token strategy, but that’s fine because there are enough cards to help us achieve our goals and there are some creature with exploit on top of our commander to make sure excess tokens (can there be such a thing?) don’t lack for sac outlets.

You’re going to generate a lot of Black mana so you should have an easy time playing your spells, even the extra ones you draw with your commander. Crypt Ghast, Black Market, and Cabal Coffers all generate obscene amounts of mana in a deck like this. Use it to Exsanguinate people and spend the life on more cards.

I made sure to include all of the Grave Pact effects I could fit. If we’re going to sac tokens, let’s make sure they suffer for it. Our Viscera Seer or Ashnod's Altar can turn into a murder machine with one Grave Pact effect going, and, with multiple, the board is getting wiped. It’s hard to lose when you’re the only one with creatures.

I jammed a pet card in here — Hecatomb. I figured if we’re playing tokens, let’s swing for the fence and include one of my favorite cards for a token deck. It’s win condition, our commander can tutor for it, and if you’ve never played this card with a pile of tokens and a Grave Pact in play, I recommend it. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth makes sure you have enough swamps to blast big creatures and smite big opponents. If you’ve never used Hecatomb, you’re going to love it.

Hecatomb
There are a lot of different ways to go with this demon. He’s expensive so if you’re not ramping your mana up like we are in this deck, you might want to try cheating him into play. Kaalia of the Vast just got reprinted in Commander Anthology, so if you want a deck that’s ready to jam Razaketh, the Foulblooded, there you go. Play him in the 99 of a Reanimator deck and when you put him into play with Victimize, you can yell “I’m some kind of poor man’s Griselbrand!” before you tutor a bunch. If you’d rather have Griselbrand, though, ask yourself something — how many times have I drawn 14 cards with old Griselbrizzle only to whiff on the one card I needed to win? A non-zero number of times. If you’re trying to storm off and need a full grip to do it, Griselbrand is your card, and I guess Commander’s not your format. If you want to get the exact card you need, don’t want your opponents to get the cards they need, like with a Maralen deck, and if you like playing formats where Griselbrand is Griselbanned, give Razaketh a shot. We’ve played worse demons, built around worse legends and we’ve paid more life to get worse card selection and we’ve done all of those things gladly.

That does it for me, everyone. We’ll have more new cards to talk about next week. Did I miss something obvious? Did I include something you would have cut? Leave it in the comments section. Until next time!


Hour of Devastation is now available for preorder at CoolStuffInc.com!