Smashing Your Next Commander Pod

Abe Sargent is taking all the latest Khans excitement and incorporating it into a heavy-hitting Commander deck!

A long time ago, I was dealing with a lot of decks at our multiplayer table. The metagame was chock full of a variety of decks and strategies. How could I
build a deck to handle them? In 2003, I built an oversized Mardu deck that was

designed to handle various metagames

. From False Cure to Mogg Maniac, and from Sedge Troll to Phyrexian Arena, and with tricks like Planar Void, the deck rocked a lot of strong foils to
handle many different strategies.

I loved the deck so much that I continued to edit it and play it. This
was a great color combination to answer problems. Shortly thereafter, I built my first Commander deck. Since this color combination was my old reliable, I
built my first deck around Oros, the Avenger. I just moved the cards over from my fun and oversized deck, and I highlighted a later version of that deck in
2009 here.

Even through today I still have the Oros EDH deck that I built more than ten years ago! It’s just a lot of fun to unload one of my favorite color
combinations for multiplayer.

And that brings me to Zurgo Helmsmasher. A guy with the same colors, but with some new angles of attack.

And there’s the Zurgo deck! Mardu for the win!

There are certainly a passel of cards included here which are not my normal cup of tea. I’ve probably played Obliterate in something like five decklists in
almost twelve years of article writing. It’s not normally how I like to play. But with Zurgo? Drop Obliterate and then swing for seven. You can kill in
just three turns of Commander damage with him, so that makes Obliterate a winning condition rather than a reset button that sets the game back 20-30
minutes. This seems like a nice place to add in unusual stuff like that.

Another odd direction is this emphasis on taking extra attacks, via cards such as Relentless Assault. Swing with your Zurgo for seven damage. Then untap
and swing again! Get in that Commander damage. Aggravated Assault is probably the nastiest option for Zurgo’s smashery. You can just activate it and swing
again and again until you kill. I also like Scourge of the Throne, which will give you a free attack step if your first one is directed against the person
with the highest life total without having to bother with extra mana. Other examples include Hellkite Charger and the actual Relentless Assault. Get your
smash on!

Other cards supporting this include Zurgo getting some form of evasion through things like being unblockable (Whispersilk Cloak, Rogue’s Passage), fear via
Shizo, and such. If that’s not enough, in heads stuff that grants haste so Zurgo can get in an early hit. Lightning Greaves, Anger, and other commonly
played stuff makes the cut. You could add in cards like Dauthi Embrace, In the Web of War, Hammer of Purphoros, and lots more!

More support for this stuff was included. Silverblade Paladin gives Zurgo double strike for serious damage doling potential. See also: Ajani, Caller of the
Pride, which can give both flying and double strike for a turn.

I added some fast dorks to bring some quick beats, such as Serra Ascendant and Figure of Destiny. Stigma Lasher is an ideal early drop, with the
combination of wither to drop early blockers as well as smash to keep folks from gaining life.

I also like some early protection-minded guys. Black Cat will drop down fast and then people tend not to attack into it, sort of like a Typhoid Rats. The
good thing about the Cat is that you get a benefit once it dies, so when it eventually dies (to something like mass removal) you can punish a foe with the
loss of a card. It’s great to throw into an Obliterate, by the way. Mogg Maniac has been an ideal blocker on the ground for more than ten years, and I
wanted to find it a spot too. It was one of the iconic cards in my first B/W/R deck where I used Simulacrum on it to cause some real havoc. (By sending all
damage you took this turn retroactively to the Maniac instead.) Feel free to send in someone like Stuffy Doll as well.

Worldslayer is another fun card to amp up Zurgo’s ability to blow up stuff while surviving. Again, that’s not a card I use much. I added a handful of
creatures to survive as well, but this is not some indestructible.dec that uses a ton of removal to keep those folks chilling on the
table while everything else bites it. While Darksteel Sentinel, Iroas, and Tajic bring some extra and reliable bodies to the fray, that’s not the point of
the deck. Now, that won’t stop me from running Avacyn because she is downright perfect for Zurgo, but that’s it. I also kept in a few planeswalkers who can
swing for some damage post-mass removal in order to pile on the pressure. But that’s as far as I was comfortable pushing this aspect of Zurgo’s deck. You
could certainly run stuff like Darksteel Plate or Konda, Lord of Eiganjo.

Add in some equipment tutoring that you expect for a deck like this: Stoneforge Mystic and crew. We can grab Skullclamp, which draws a ton of cards in a
deck such as this, as well as Sword of Fire and Ice (protection from two colors is useful, as is smashing for a card and damage), as well as the
aforementioned stuff like Worldslayer, Greaves, and Cloak.

A few more positive additions were included, such as mana making (Mana Geyser, Black Market) to help play the expensive stuff or activate abilities such as
the Aggravated Assault and Charger. I even tossed in the Staff of Domination since we have a solid amount of mana rocks and land fetching.

After those synergetic additions, we begin to flex things down into a handful of support cards. Vindicate, Angel of Despair, and Utter End are great
removal options that are flexible enough to go the distance. They join common powerhouses like Volrath’s Stronghold or Phyrexian Arena.

And that sums up our Zurgo deck!

There are a lot of directions you could move. You could throw in additional sweeping removal, more indestructible stuff, higher numbers of aggressive
creatures. Some ideas might include Mother of Runes; Heliod, God of the Sun; Twilight Shepherd; Elspeth, Sun’s Champion; or Sword of Light and Shadow. We
can add in some tuck removal for pesky commanders (Unexpectedly Absent) as well as more exiling removal (Return to Dust, Sever the Bloodline, Unmake,
Swords to Plowshares, etc).

I didn’t feel like the deck needed that much defense, so I skipped out on cards like Kor Haven and Maze of Ith, but perhaps your version will run them. I
kept my manabase cheap, and you could certainly grab a bunch of better lands for your deck. There are tons of directions to consider and a lot of fun
cards, from Reflect Damage to Fight to the Death.

What direction are you taking your Zurgo deck? Did you see any cards that sparked some ideas for you here? And do you have any long-lasting decks that you
still have built?