MTG March of the Machine: Aftermath available now!
   Sign In
Create Account

Commander Graaz's School for Aspiring Juggernauts


Zikxia-Reto, Gitaxian Lieutenant - Observation 1241: Third attempt to subdue and assimilate rogue leveler unit unsuccessful. Capture team offenses ineffective against armor plating. Recovered salvage from capture team to be repurposed for clerical activities. Recommended action: Request legion of Mite units for subsequent attack.

Zikxia-Reto, Gitaxian Lieutenant - Observation 1242: Mite assault team received and deployed. Fourth attempt to assimilate rogue leveler unit unsuccessful. Frontal assault resulted in severe reduction of Mites with no discernible impact to rogue unit. No usable salvage recovered. Follow-up assault on lateral armor resulted in remaining Mite units compacted under weight of leveler. Recovered salvage to be repurposed for use on writing tablets, ledgers, and other assorted flat objects. Recommended action: Request elite cenobite attack team from Porcelain Legion.

Zikxia-Reto, Gitaxian Lieutenant - Observation 1243: Porcelain Legion unit received and deployed. Minimal impact to rogue leveler unit (minor surface abrasion to armor plating). Catastrophic losses incurred. Porcelain armor ineffectual against threshing appendages. Recovered fragments of salvage to be recycled into dinnerware. Recommended action: Request updated strategy for subdual from General Atraxa.

Zikxia-Reto, Gitaxian Lieutenant - Observation 1244: Orders received from General Atraxa. Pursuit of rogue leveler unit terminated immediately. Target deemed too detrimental. Losses not worth assimilation. Surviving members of attack team currently awaiting reassignment to janitorial division. Recommended action: Request mops.

Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut by Nestor Ossandon Leal

For all Magic's endless complexities, sometimes you just want to smash-face with gigantic creatures. Why bother with nuance, strategy, or even color selection when you can deploy a mechanical legion to stomp foes into fine pulp? The intricacies of infinite combos are fine, but sometimes you just need to embrace your inner-Timmy and deploy a Death-Roomba. Rock em', Sock 'em Robots, only with your opponent's skull. Sounds like the perfect fit for today's Commander: Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut.

Graaz isn't familiar with finesse. Battlefield tactics and fancy spellcraft are best left to other decks. Graaz just wants to turn your army into a like-minded array of lawnmowers and buzz through enemy life totals. All he asks is a sizable assortment of fodder to enhance and enough colorless mana to feed his titanic casting cost. He'll take care of the rest. If you've ever seen 80's classic Chopping Mall, you have some idea what the fallout will look like. If you haven't, try to imagine a homicidal gang of Wall-E's. That's the kind of fun Graaz is here to deliver.

Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut

A robot renown for eating other, nastier robots, Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut actually opposes the Phyrexian invasion of Mirrodin. It's not so much that he's allied with the Mirran Resistance. It's more like any attempt to Compleat the behemoth results in nothing but oily scrap. The Mirrans have an "enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend" relationship with Graaz. They simply stay out of the way and let him tear through whatever capture team Phyrexia is foolish enough to deploy.

Long before the Phyrexian invasion, the original Mirrodin Block was dominated by Memnarch, whom Karn left as a warden of the metallic world whilst training the newly-ascended Jeska, Thrice Reborn. Initially, the plane was known as Argentum and was primarily inhabited by artificial life. Karn used the Mirari to transform a simple golem into Memnarch, who grew increasingly eager to expand his consciousness. As years passed, Memnarch became obsessive, seeking ways to enhance himself and his dominion over Argentum, which he renamed Mirrodin after his own Mirari-core. Unfortunately, Karn had failed to realize that the Mirari wasn't the only gift he'd left this world. An unseen drop of Phyrexian oil leftover from Dominaria's invasion was carried onto Mirrodin, and little by little, it worked its corrupting influence.

Glissa Sunseeker

By the time we meet Glissa Sunseeker, Memnarch has reached levels of murderous insanity. This is perhaps best illustrated by his choice of weapon: the Leveler. Essentially wood-chippers on legs, Levelers were infamous for mowing down anything that stood in their path. Glissa avoided their initial assault on her home via the intervention of Thrun, the Last Troll[/card, but the attack cost her the lives of her family and made her a heretic among her fellow Elves. Why would a tyrant as powerful as [card]Memnarch send such a murder-fleet after an unassuming Elf? Turns out, Glissa Sunseeker held a dormant Spark, and Memnarch's memory of Karn left him envious of the Sliver Golem's Planeswalker status. Mirrodin's warden wanted that Spark for himself, and saw his best chance in extracting it from the body of Glissa. And that first batch of Levelers was only Wave 1, with many more in the wings.

Glissa, the Traitor

Though Memnarch was ultimately defeated by Glissa Sunseeker and Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer, our heroes wouldn't have time to celebrate their victory. Both would succumb to Phyrexian influence after facing scorn from the remaining inhabitants of Mirrodin. You see, Memnarch seeded the plane with organic life stolen from other worlds. Once destroyed, those unknowing souls returned to their original planes without a trace of memory of their former, more-metallic lives. Great news for them, but to the subsequent generations born onto Mirrodin who remained, the event resembled a Thanos-snap. Half the plane's population disappeared in an instant. And Glissa and Slobad were left to take the blame, retreating into Mirrodin's core and right into the spreading presence of the Glistening Oil.

When we next see Glissa, she's already been Compleated into Glissa, the Traitor, and the Scars of Mirrodin Block begins. As we leap forward into Phyrexia: All with be One, we find Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut as the sole surviving Leveler not yet warped for Phyrexian means. With his old orders from Memnarch long rendered obsolete, Graaz just keeps on doing the only thing he knows: Devour every object in his path. And at present, the majority of those objects just so happen to be Phyrexian. Om, nom, nom, oil.

Leveler by Carl Critchlow

From murder-robot to helpful murder-robot. Same arc as the Terminator.

Initial attempts at a Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut Commander deck saw me venture down the path of Juggernaut-tribal. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of meat to work with. While the original Juggernaut is a classic, since its printing all those ages ago, we've only received 19 more juggernauts to work with. And Graaz is one. Of the remainder, many are excluded due to color affiliation (Terisian Mindbreaker), requiring specific synergies (Leveler, ironically), or are simply too slow (Energizer). We've come a long way from the likes of Mishra's War Machine and Urza's Engine, despite the novelty of Banding. Fortunately, Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut doesn't really need fellow kin, as he's quite adept at turning any of our creatures into family.

School for Aspiring Juggernauts | Commander | Matthew Lotti

Card Display

Colorless Commander decks come with challenges. We're severely limited in the Instant/Sorcery department, but we've no shortage of powerful Artifacts to draw upon. We're also freed up to focus more on the utility-side of our lands, as color-fixing isn't an issue. With a huge initial casting-cost, Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut really wants us to stock up on ramp. Plenty of colorless lands (Treasure Vault, Mage-Ring Network, Crystal Vein) and mana rocks (Sol Ring, Thran Dynamo, etc.) assist with this, but we also bring in variety of ramp attached to creature-sources in order to take advantage of Graaz's monstrous presence. Which leads us nicely into...

Juggernauts in Training: Our first wave of creatures serve as ramp early on, then offense later. Once we rush Graaz onto the table, the small stats of cards like Manakin, Foundry Inspector, Palladium Myr, Solemn Simulacrum, and Hedron Crawler are replaced with Juggernaut-level might. Even the lowliest mana dork morphs into a threat. A lone Plague Myr would need only two-hits to KO an opponent.

Plague Myr
Hangarback Walker
Thopter Assembly

The next portion of our army is devoted to making as many soldiers as possible. Swarming the table with 1/1's is one thing, but 5/3's are another story entirely. In a sense, our Commander acts as a colorless Craterhoof Behemoth, so creatures that make extra bodies like Hangarback Walker, Thopter Assembly, Precursor Golem, Myr Battlesphere, Canoptek Scarab Swarm, Myriad Construct, and Mishra's Self-Replicator ensure the ensuing attack is all the more devastating. This growing army is further supported via the likes of Steel Overseer, which will begin building everyone up with +1/+1 counters that'll stack atop the 5-power Juggernaut boost.

Finally, our third battalion is made up of supporting troops. These offer a variety of advantages, such as speed (Liberator, Urza's Battlethopter, Shimmer Myr), recursion (Junk Diver, Myr Retriever), card advantage (Wandering Archaic, Canoptek Spider), and even mass-removal (Steel Hellkite). Our deck leans heavily toward offense, so more defensive cards like Etched Champion and Cryptothrall can be pivotal to keep both ourselves and our team alive. Endbringer is a fantastic combo-package of many aforementioned traits, offering up potential for card advantage, offensive/defensive support, and even helpful chip damage along the way. It may not benefit from Graaz's influence, but the flexibility of this underrated Eldrazi is too good to leave home.

Retrofitter Foundry
Forsaken Monument
Genesis Chamber

Colorless Contraptions: We continue growing our army via token-production. Retrofitter Foundry, Genesis Chamber, Skittering Invasion, and Thunderhawk Gunship continue to fill the ranks, with the last also providing evasion to fly our soon-to-be juggernauts past enemy defenses. As numbers grow, the impact of Forsaken Monument, Eldrazi Monument, and Nettlecyst becomes all the more potent, helping to dish out damage before Graaz even arrives.

Without many Instants and Sorceries to draw upon, our ability to interact with mass removal is limited. A single Farewell or Vandalblast ruins our day, so it's imperative you hang onto that Warping Wail as a Sorcery-counter unless absolutely necessary. Not of this World is also included as a surprise-shield for our Commander, as its price tag is far too lofty to hold up for one of our grunts. Vulnerability to sweepers makes card advantage even more pivotal than usual, as we'll need to rebuild quickly in the wake of a blast. Cards like Mystic Forge, Treasure Map, and Sensei's Diving Top allow us to sift through unneeded draws while keeping our hands full. Ugin, the Ineffable also considerably multitasks in this department, creating creatures that turn into card draw when killed, providing a tremendous discount on colorless spells, and even acting as a removal-machine. You couldn't ask for more from the scaly-guy.

Mystic Forge
All is Dust
Oblivion Stone

Though opposing mass-removal stings, our own sweepers are effectively one-sided, or at the very least, customizable. All is Dust and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon are the best of these, acting as Plague Wind-style effects that leave our board unscathed. Oblivion Stone and the aforementioned Steel Hellkite are slower, but allow flexibility in how you construct the blastwave. In similar fashion, we also employ a sneaky sweeper spell in our land slot via Blast Zone.

Speaking of which...

Blinkmoth Urn
Moonsilver Key
Ebony Fly

Mana Support and Rocks: Relying on strictly-colorless sources of ramp allows us to focus on utility and pure mana output over the need for color-fixing. Guardian Idol and Ebony Fly act much like Manakin and company, acting as ramp in the early game and going on the offensive later on. Ebony Fly has the added bonus of bringing a creature into the air with it. Other rocks create two (Stonespeaker Crystal, Hedron Archive) or more (Thran Dynamo, Basalt Monolith) mana per activation. Blinkmoth Urn is pricy at five mana, but by the time we play it, our assortment of Artifacts will likely enable it to produce 4 or more mana per turn, easily speeding up delivery time for Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut. Moonsliver Key is helpful at searching up an early Sol Ring, or later in the game, can even tutor for removal or card advantage via The Mightstone and Weakstone.

Urza's Saga
Inkmoth Nexus
Field of the Dead

What we lose out on with Instants/Sorceries, we make up for with Utility Lands! With no color-fixing to worry about, we're free to run as many colorless utility lands as we can fit. These actually provide key sinks to pour excess mana into as we ramp up to Graaz territory. Even minor effects can be useful outlets for mana that would otherwise go to waste. Other utility lands allow further support for strategies we're already trying to execute. For example, we run a high creature count and token production to make the most out of Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut. Lands like Urza's Saga, Field of the Dead, and Spawning Bed add to the army with additional tokens, while man-lands like Blinkmoth Nexus, Mutavault, Crawling Barrens, Mishra's Factory, Mishra's Foundry, and Inkmoth Nexus all animate into Juggernauts once Graaz arrives. Much like Plague Myr, Inkmoth Nexus can easily Infect an opponent to death on its own, allowing you to spread the rest of the army among two opponents rather than three.

Inventors' Fair
Scavenger Grounds

That's just the start of the utility-train. Our colorless real estate provides card advantage (Sea Gate Wreckage, War Room), tutoring (Inventors' Fair, Sanctum of Ugin), graveyard removal (Scavenger Grounds), added ramp (Crystal Vein, Hall of Tasgin, Treasure Vault, Mage-Ring Network), card selection (Tocasia's Dig Site, Zhalfirin Void, Crystal Grotto), and protection for both ourselves (Tomb of the Spirit Dragon) and our Commander (Plaza of Heroes). Most diabolical, our mana base has a nasty land-destruction arsenal via cards like Wasteland, Ghost Quarter, Dust Bowl, and Demolition Field.

Hopefully, with all these activated abilities stapled onto our lands, we'll always have something useful to do with all mana we'll be compiling. And then once we've amassed enough mana to drop Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut, some of those lands might even turn into attackers, themselves.

Blinkmoth Nexus by Sam Burley

Budget Options: You'd think dispensing of expensive lands like fetches would help free up the budget. Not so much, as many colorless cards command a mighty price tag. I had initially run Jeweled Lotus, but opted to remove it because most players don't have access to a $150 card (though hopefully its price comes down with Commander Masters). Magic: The Gathering can be expensive, so here are some substitutes for players who'd rather not break the bank on cardboard. All cards over $20 will be noted and recommended for swap-outs. If anything seems interesting, regardless of price tag, give them a roll in the main! Creativity is a oft-forgotten cornerstone of Commander. One of the aspects that makes it special. Mix and match card choices to your heart's content!

Arcbound Crusher
Spectrum Sentinel

Creatures: Among our ranks, only Mycosynth Golem breaks the budget. While its gift of Affinity is fantastic for Graaz, we've enough other sources of ramp to make up for the loss. If we're looking for dangerous creatures, the slower-but-with-potential Arcbound Crusher and Darksteel Juggernaut are both solid options. Cathodion is tricky to employ as pure ramp, as we don't run many sacrifice outlets, but our surplus of activated abilities on artifacts (Retrofitter Foundry, Treasure Map) and lands (War Room, Dust Bowl) still provide plenty of outlets after using Cathodion as a chump-blocker. Just make sure to activate these outlets prior to the combat phase ending. Some other options include Spectrum Sentinel and Nuisance Engine as reliable defensive options early that can go on the offense once our general arrives.

The Golden Throne
Summoning Station
Horizon Stone

Supporting Spells: The only cuts we incurred here are Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and Sensei's Diving Top, which are certainly nice-to-haves, but no real detriment to lose. Depending on the avenue you wish to walk, plenty of replacements are available. If you'd like even more ramp, Horizon Stone acts as an excellent battery to charge with excess mana. Plenty of other mana rocks are also inexpensive (Liquimetal Torque), Prismatic Lens, Fellware Stone, etc.). For added defense, The Golden Throne brings a protective element along with its ability to ramp, and goes quite nicely with the aforementioned Cathodion. If you're looking for more creature generation, cards like Summoning Station and Trading Post offer a steady stream of troops. For a mass-removal replacement for Ugin, Gruesome Slaughter has the potential to perform a solid Plague Wind impersonation with enough bodies and a Graaz in play.

Mana Options: This is where the money really pours in, with multiple cards breaking budget. We lose Ancient Tomb, Urza's Saga, Field of the Dead, Inkmoth Nexus, and Wasteland. All very powerful cards, no question, but plenty of options for utility replacements remain. Bonder's Enclave and Arch of Orazca help with card advantage, Haunted Fengraf provides additional recursion, Sanctum of Eternity can bounce our Commander if Instant-speed removal rears its ugly head, and the loss of Wasteland can be made up for via Encroaching Wastes. To shore up lost token-producing lands and man-lands, look to cards like Hostile Hostel // Creeping Inn, Hostile Desert, Urza's Factory, and Springjack Pasture.

And if you're feeling lucky, there's always Urzatron: Urza's Mine, Urza's Power Plant, Urza's Tower. Make the most out of that Expedition Map, Junk Diver, and Myr Retriever!

Forsaken Monument by Piotr Dura

Only time will tell what fate ultimately befalls Mirrodin, or rather, New Phyrexia. Heck, we're not even sure what'll happen to the entire Multiverse at this point, what with Elesh Norn and co. branching their Invasion Tree into multiple worlds. But no matter the outcome, be the Mirrans able to reclaim their homeworld or the Phyrexians lording over it forever, you can bet Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut will keep chugging along, laying waste to all in its path. When it comes to the Commander table, I hope you're able to deploy him in a similar fashion. Ideally in the direction of your enemies.

Thanks for reading, and may you always be a Juggernaut at heart!



Register for CommandFest Orlando March of the Machine Prerelease today!

Limited time 30% buy trade in bonus buylist