Livin’ La Vida Locust

The Locust God sure looks like the not-so-little engine that could win in Commander. Of course Bennie Smith’s going to give it a try!

In Magic, powerful engines are often associated with transforming one resource into another. Way back in Ice Age, there was a weird black enchantment called Necropotence that took a while for people to catch onto that traded life for card draw. Turned out that trading life for cards was a heck of a deal! Over the years, there have been many of these sorts of cards, and one of the newest of the bunch happens to be attached to a legendary creature we can use as our commander. Behold, The Locust God!

The Locust God has a really sweet triggered ability, considering that blue especially – but red too – has a long history of card drawing, but often there is tension between reloading your hand and affecting the battlefield. With The Locust God you get it all—you draw your cards and you flood the battlefield with 1/1 flying Insects with haste. Let us start building our deck by selecting awesome card drawing spells!

Drawing Cards

Skullclamp is a Commander staple that goes into just about every Commander deck, but it is insane in a deck with The Locust God on the table. For one mana, equip Skullclamp to a 1/1 Insect, which then dies, giving you two card and two 1/1 Insects. Now that is an engine your opponents will be scrambling to put a stop to! Another fantastic card is Nin, the Pain Artist, which provides a decent conversion rate of mana into 1/1 Insects and cards in hand, but you can do it at instant speed and in a pinch use the ability to knock off opponent’s creatures. Teferi’s Puzzle Box, Mindmoil, and Arjun, the Shifting Flame can really churn out the Insect production without depleting your deck too much.

Enter the Infinite is extremely expensive to cast but provides exactly the sort of crazy haymaker play you want to cross off your The Locust God Bucket List—drawing your deck and making sixty or so 1/1 flying Insects with haste is bound to provide a story for the ages!

Drawing Matters

Since we are drawing all these cards to make Insects for The Locust God, I figured, why not include a couple other cards that do cool things with card-drawing spells? Sphinx’s Tutelage is quite the threatening card to any opponents outside of those who are actively looking to mill their own graveyards. Chasm Skulker does a nice job of converting all that card drawing into a large threat that also provides insulation from mass removal.

Creature Tokens Matter

We are converting card drawing into 1/1 creatures, but why stop there?

Goblin Bombardment, Impact Tremors, and Purphoros, God of the Forge convert those creatures into damage to your opponents. Phyrexian Altar can convert those creatures into mana. Bident of Thassa can convert those creatures into more cards. Opposition converts those creatures into a powerful battlefield control presence. Grenzo, Havoc Raiser can turn each member of your swarm into exiling your opponents’ libraries while casting some useful spells along the way too.

I thought Mindwrack Liege made a nice fit here by turning your 1/1 fliers with haste into 3/3 fliers with haste, which would be a significantly better threat, though that basically turns off your Skullclamp engine unless you have a way to sacrifice the equipped creatures.

Swarmyard might not be worth the land slot, but I figure there might be some corner case where being able to regenerate one of my 1/1 flying Insects would be helpful.


The Locust God isn’t cheap to cast, its activated ability isn’t cheap either, and many of the card-drawing spells cost a significant amount to cast, so we want plenty of mana! I am going to run 39 lands and include all of these mana-boosting cards too. Training Grounds shaves two generic mana off The Locust God’s activated ability, while also helping some of my other cards like Nin, the Pain Artist and Magus of the Wheel.

A couple of weeks back I wrote about Neheb, the Eternal as a commander, but it does great work as one of the 99 too and especially in this deck. The 1/1 flying Insects have haste, so if you draw a bunch of cards in your precombat main phase, you can send your swarm attacking into clear skies and then Neheb, the Eternal will reward you with a rush of red mana in your postcombat main phase. I am sure we can make use of that.

Then there is Mana Echoes. Oh, you ridiculous card, you. Cast Brainstorm with The Locust God and Mana Echoes out, make three 1/1 Insects and get six colorless mana (assuming no other Insects are around)… and that is just the tip of the shenanigans iceberg!


Okay, so we will still want out deck to do stuff while we wait for The Locust God to get online, so I have rounded things out with plenty of sweet, sweet red and blue stuff. This seems the perfect deck to break out my one and lonely Force of Will, namely to try to avert disaster once I cast Enter the Infinite. Steel Hellkite jumps right in to provide a way to deal with problematic enchantments that might otherwise stick around. With all the Insects floating around, casting Blasphemous Act for one red mana will feel good when you need to wipe the battlefield.

One thing that is fascinating about the Hour of Devastation Gods is how great they seem to be at grinding out longer games. Barring exile effects or counterspells, they are not going to cost more mana each time you have to cast them because you will be casting them from your hand when they die. That is why I think Leyline of Anticipation and Winding Canyons are even better in a deck with these Gods.

I am very curious to see how Commander players adapt to playing against these “dies to hand” legendary creatures. Will they play more cards like Darksteel Mutation? Or will they provoke more direct antagonism by aggressively taking out people playing those commanders?

Here is how the deck has shaped up:

The Locust God
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 07-14-2017

What do you think? Are there any great cards for The Locust God I may have overlooked? How would you build this deck differently?

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

Commander write-ups I’ve done
(and links to decklists):

Zurgo Bellstriker (Bellstriking Like a Boss)

Dragonlord Ojutai (Troll Shroud)

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Dragons, Megamorphs, and Dragons)

Dromoka, the Eternal (One Flying Bolster Basket)

Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (Tempests and Teapots)

Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Hatching Evil Sultai Plots)

Scion of the Ur-Dragon (Dragon Triggers for Everyone)

• Nahiri, The Lithomancer (Lithomancing for Fun and Profit)

Titania, Protector of Argoth (Titania’s Land and Elemental Exchange)

Reaper King (All About VILLAINOUS WEALTH)

Feldon of the Third Path (She Will Come Back to Me)

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (Calling Up Ghouls with Sidisi)

Zurgo Helmsmasher (Two Times the Smashing)

Anafenza, the Foremost (Anafenza and Your Restless Dead)

Narset, Enlightened Master (The New Voltron Overlord)

Surrak Dragonclaw (The Art of Punching Bears)

Avacyn, Guardian Angel; Ob Nixilis, Unshackled; Sliver Hivelord (Commander Catchup, Part 3)

Keranos, God of Storms; Marchesa, the Black Rose; Muzzio, Visionary Architect (Commander Catchup, Part 2)

Athreos, God of Passage; Kruphix, God of Horizons; Iroas, God of Victory (Commander Catchup, Journey into Nyx Edition)

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)

Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy (Possibility Storm Shenanigans)

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (All-in Yisan)

Selvala, Explorer Returned (Everyone Draws Lots!)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (Cleaning Out the Cellar)

Karona, False God (God Pack)

Child of Alara (Land Ho!)

Doran, the Siege Tower (All My Faves in One Deck!)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (my Magic Online deck)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (GREED!)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind ( Chuck’s somewhat vicious deck)

Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)

Skeleton Ship (Fun with -1/-1 counters)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)

Anax and Cymede (Heroic Co-Commanders)

Aurelia, the Warleader ( plus Hellkite Tyrant shenanigans)

Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)

Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)

Damia, Sage of Stone ( Ice Cauldron shenanigans)

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (Tribal Birds)

Emmara Tandris (No Damage Tokens)

Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)

Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)

Ghave, Guru of Spores ( Melira Combo)

Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)

Glissa, the Traitor ( undying artifacts!)

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord (drain you big time)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge ( Suspension of Disbelief)

Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo’ Myrs)

Karona, False God (Vows of the False God)

Konda, Lord of Eiganjo ( The Indestructibles)

Lord of Tresserhorn (ZOMBIES!)

Marath, Will of the Wild ( Wild About +1/+1 Counters)

Melira, Sylvok Outcast ( combo killa)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker ( Outside My Comfort Zone with Milling

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)

Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius ( new player-friendly)

Nylea, God of the Hunt ( Devoted to Green)

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (by reader request)

Phage the Untouchable ( actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)

Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)

Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)

Progenitus (

Fist of Suns and Bringers


Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)

Riku of Two Reflections (

steal all permanents with
Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts


Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)

Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari ( Demons)

Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)

Sigarda, Host of Herons ( Equipment-centric Voltron)

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave ( how big can it get?)

Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)

Thelon of Havenwood ( Campfire Spores)

Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice ( new player-friendly)

Uril, the Miststalker (my “more competitive” deck)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

Yeva, Nature’s Herald (living at instant speed)