Commander Deck Of The Week: Rocco Cat-Breath Combo

Angry Cats meet elite cooking as Bennie Smith shares his Breath of Fury / Nacatl War-Pride Commander combo deck led by Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer.

Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer
Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer, illustrated by Chris Seaman

In the early days of Commander (then called EDH), there was a combo I ran across that I was super-excited to try out.  It involved a red Aura that no one ever plays, and an expensive green creature that almost no one ever plays:  Breath of Fury and Nacatl War-Pride

Breath of Fury Nacatl War-Pride

The idea is this:  cast Breath of Fury on a creature, and then attack with that creature and Nacatl War-Pride, preferably an opponent with a fair number of creatures that won’t all kill a 3/3 creature. Let’s assume three copies of Nacatl War-Pride survive; sacrifice the creature enchanted with Breath of Fury and attach it to another creature, preferably not one of your Nacatl War-Pride copies. Untap your creatures, and then you get to attack again; this time each of the Nacatl War-Pride copies will make a copy for each creature defending player controls.  You can see how it can potentially snowball out of control, and it’s such a janky combo that I just love it.

I actually wrote about it way back in 2012, and if you’re curious to take a peek at the early days of the format, check it out!

Serving Combo

Now, I haven’t had the combo in a Commander deck for a long, long time, but then Streets of New Capenna printed Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer.

Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer

Rocco is obviously a combo enabler, being able to search out a creature card from your graveyard depending on how much mana you pump into it. Having a creature tutor in the command zone with green in its color identity is a recipe for shenanigans, and instead of using it to search out something tired and overplayed, like Craterhoof Behemoth, I thought it would be perfect to use it to search up Nacatl War-Pride. 

So how can it find Breath of Fury?  Enter Heliod’s Pilgrim:

Heliod's Pilgrim

So, to assemble the combo, you’ll need nine mana to search up War-Pride, six mana to search up Heliod’s Pilgrim, four mana to cast Breath of Fury, and likely at least two extra mana for commander tax between those game actions. Assembling the combo with Rocco alone will require a bunch of mana, but luckily for me, this is a green deck.

Infinite Mana Combo

Vizier of Remedies Devoted Druid

Since this is a combo deck anyway, I went ahead and tossed in this infinite green mana combo. Use the untap ability of Devoted Druid after you’ve tapped for green mana, and Vizier of Remedies reduces the number of -1/-1 counters being put on Devoted Druid from one to zero, so you can do it however many times that you want. So, if I draw one of these combo pieces, I use Rocco to nab the other piece, and voilà! I no longer have quantity-of-mana issues.

Other Auras

Swift Reconfiguration Bear Umbra

If I naturally draw both Breath of Fury and Heliod’s Pilgrim, I want a few other Auras to go fetch with the Pilgrim.  Swift Reconfiguration is another combo piece you can enchant Devoted Druid with and then tap/untap for as much green mana as you need. 

Bear Umbra has some general utility, but it’s also a sweet combo with another card that will usually let you create infinite combat steps, which is something this deck wants to do anyway.

Extra Combat

Aggravated Assault Eomer, Marshal of Rohan Karlach, Fury of Avernus

Bear Umbra on an attacker, plus five lands and Aggravated Assault, will often lead to infinite combat steps.  While it may not be as cool as War-Pride plus Breath, sometimes your opponents will pick apart your combo no matter how janky and fun it is. Getting extra combat steps alongside War-Pride might just get you there, so I’m also playing Éomer and Karlach, either of which Rocco can search up.


Crashing Drawbridge Devilish Valet Rhythm of the Wild Anger Halana and Alena, Partners Samut, Voice of Dissent

Another important part of the puzzle is to give Nacatl War-Pride haste.  You’d hate to spend six mana – or in the case of Rocco, nine mana – and not be able to attack with it right away. Your opponents will find a way to kill it if you wait around to your next turn to attack.

Devilish Valet doesn’t give any other creature haste, but it has haste itself, and it gets absolutely bonkers attacking alongside War-Pride, so I’ve put it here just to give it a shout-out in the deck.

Backup Rocco

Fauna Shaman Birthing Pod

If people kill or counter Rocco too many times, I’ve got a few other creature-tutor backups in Fauna Shaman and Birthing Pod.

Card Draw

Skullclamp Duskwatch Recruiter Shigeki, Jukai Visionary Spirited Companion Halo Fountain Harmonize Timeless Witness

Here is my card draw suite.  Skullclamp is ubiquitous for a reason, but it’s secretly brilliant here since Rocco has one toughness, so Skullclamp is a way to “sacrifice” your commander and get it back in the command zone to cast again.

Duskwatch Recruiter is a mana sink that will let you search up every creature in your deck, though keep in mind, if you don’t necessarily want to put all of them in your hand, you can just reveal the specific creatures you want.

Halo Fountain is here primarily to draw an extra card, and it’ll generate a Citizen sometimes too, but War-Pride can generate a ton of a ton of tapped tokens that don’t go away until your end step, so it’s entirely possible to use that last ability to untap fifteen creatures and just flat out win the game. I haven’t pulled it off yet, but I like having this in the deck.

Spicy Creatures

Fleetfoot Dancer Jetmir, Nexus of Revels Githzerai Monk Karmic Guide Firbolg Flutist Duke Ulder Ravengard Legion Loyalty Zacama, Primal Calamity

I’ve got some other spicy creatures in the deck just to round things out with fun things to do while you’re trying to assemble your combo. Githzerai Monk is spicy tech with War-Pride, since it taps all creatures your opponents control, which gives your War-Pride free rein to attack and not be blocked.

Firbolg Flutist, Duke Ulder, and Legion Loyalty bring myriad fun to the table, which just works great with so many creatures in the deck.

Zacama, Primal Calamity is a top-end boss, and if you happen to have more than nine mana worth of lands when you cast it, it will help boost your mana for the turn you can pump into Rocco.


Vandalblast Swords to Plowshares Hull Breach Rip Apart Qasali Pridemage Reclamation Sage Knight of Autumn Manglehorn Titan of Industry

Many of my removal spells are creatures with enters-the-battlefield effects, since creature-tutoring is at the heart of my deck’s gameplan. I do have some noncreature ways to blow up stuff, like Vandalblast and Swords to Plowshares in case someone slaps down a Torpor Orb or Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines to make me sad.


Riftsweeper Boromir, Warden of the Tower Kitchen Finks Dauntless Escort Ironclad Slayer Angel of Finality Taunt from the Rampart

I’ve been singing the praises of Boromir, Warden of the Tower for a while now, and I was thrilled to find room for it here. I also added Taunt from the Rampart, which is another way to help better clear the path for my big War-Pride turn.

Riftsweeper is in here as a failsafe in case some fun-hating opponent exiles either War-Pride or Breath of Fury, giving me a second chance to do the thing.

Mana Ramp

Blighted Woodland Krosan Verge Campfire Sol Ring Reckless Barbarian Sakura-Tribe Elder Wall of Roots Skyshroud Elf Nature's Lore Gala Greeters Prosperous Innkeeper Faeburrow Elder Patron of the Arts

Rocco likes as much mana as we can get, and I’m including a lot of creature-based mana, including ones like Reckless Barbarian and Patron of the Arts that provide temporary mana. Skyshroud Elf does extra work here—since I can generate infinite green mana from the combos with Devoted Druid, Skyshroud Elf can wash that mana to supply white or red.

Campfire is listed here under mana since, if I use Rocco a few times, the commander tax can get quite burdensome. Campfire can give us one more shot of Rocco with zero tax.

The Deck

Okay, here is the full decklist:

Here are the deck stats from our friends at Archidekt:

What must-have cards might I have missed including here?  Which of the reprinted legends from Commander Masters are you most excited to build around?

Talk to Me

Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter!  I run polls and start conversations about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!  You can also find my LinkTree on my profile page there with links to all my content.

I’d also love it if you followed my Twitch channel TheCompleteCommander, where I do Commander, Brawl and sometimes other Magic-related streams when I can.  If you can’t join me live, the videos are available on demand for a few weeks on Twitch, but I also upload them to my YouTube channel.  You can also find the lists for my paper decks over on Archidekt if you want to dig into how I put together my own decks and brews. 

And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy. 

Visit my Decklist Database to see my decklists and the articles where they appeared!