Commander Deck Of The Week: Ziatora, The Incinerator

This isn’t your ordinary Jund Dragons Commander deck! Bennie Smith spices up Ziatora, the Incinerator with secret commander Inferno of the Star Mounts.

Ziatora, the Incinerator
Ziatora, the Incinerator, illustrated by Chris Rahn

In the Fall of 2021, I was playing a game of virtual Commander over Spelltable, and one of my opponents was playing a Treasure-heavy deck.  Late in the game he started to giggle, and then cast a reanimation spell on a Dragon that was in another player’s graveyard.  It was Inferno of the Star Mounts.

Inferno of the Star Mounts

Once he had Inferno, he counted the number of Treasures he controlled, burned off a few for red mana, and then equipped Inferno with Nettlecyst, making Inferno a 19/19.


He then spent a red mana to Inferno’s +1/+0 ability, giving it twenty power and setting off its triggered ability to deal twenty damage to any target. Then he sacrificed a Treasure for red mana, shrinking the bonus from Nettlecyst to take Inferno back down to nineteen power, and then using that red mana to bring Inferno back up to twenty power, again hitting that trigger.  After he did that a half-dozen times, everyone else was quite dead in a hilariously shocking win out of nowhere.

After that game, I pondered the idea of trying to pull that off in a mono-red Inferno deck, and it seemed to me like it would be tough to assemble the pieces—enough Treasures and a way to find and deploy Nettlecyst. It occurred to me that Cranial Plating could serve as a backup Nettlecyst, but I couldn’t put that in a deck where Inferno was the commander.  Still, that wild end to that game stuck around in the back of my mind as something I’d like to do someday.

Enter the Incinerator

Flash-forward to early 2023, and I was noodling around with putting together a deck with Ziatora, the Incinerator.

Ziatora, the Incinerator

I wasn’t sure whether to lean fully into a Large Power Matters theme in order to maximize Ziatora’s Fling ability, or instead make it a Jund Dragons deck. As I pulled together potential Dragons to add to the deck, I ran across Inferno of the Star Mounts, and my fond memory jumped out at me.  Since Ziatora had the Jund colors, I could add Cranial Plating as Nettlecyst backup.

Being a Dragon deck could be threatening enough to put a strain on my opponents’ pinpoint removal spells, especially if they’re also worrying about Ziatora’s triggered ability pushing even more damage through.  Accumulating Treasures wouldn’t be terribly suspicious, since Dragons are expensive, so this seemed like the perfect shell to hide my “secret commander” Inferno of the Star Mounts plus Treasures and either Nettlecyst or Cranial Plating, whichever showed up and stuck around.

I could even run a few Dragon tutors to help scare up Inferno when the time was ripe!

Draconic Muralists Sarkhan's Triumph

The deck came together quite nicely, and I was pleased that, even without the secret commander combo, it can just brawl with Dragons and compete.  Let’s dig in!


Patron of the Arts Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge Swashbuckler Extraordinaire There and Back Again Ganax, Astral Hunter Ancient Copper Dragon Bootleggers' Stash Brass's Bounty Old Gnawbone

It’s actually amazing for my plans just how many Dragon-related cards make Treasures, such as Ganax, Astral Hunter; Ancient Copper Dragon; and good Old Gnawbone. I was thrilled to just add There and Back Again from The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, with the Smaug token being a fantastic Dragon with haste that we can toss to Ziatora and give us fourteen Treasure tokens.

Dragons Matter

Haven of the Spirit Dragon Crucible of the Spirit Dragon Path of Ancestry Pyre of Heroes Orb of Dragonkind Dragon Tempest Scaled Nurturer Dragonlord's Servant Jade Orb of Dragonkind Carnelian Orb of Dragonkind Dragonspeaker Shaman Dragon's Hoard Breath Weapon Spit Flame

There are tons of support cards for Dragon decks, and I’m playing a bunch of them. I really love Jade Orb of Dragonkind, since it gives a Dragon you cast with its mana hexproof until your next turn, which can be crucial to ensuring Inferno remains unmolested as you execute the combo.  Haven of the Spirit Dragon fixes your mana for Dragon spells but is also an awesome way to retrieve Inferno if it dies early; sacrificing a land for this effect isn’t going to hurt all that much due to all the Treasure-making.


Stirring Bard Thunderbreak Regent Young Red Dragon Dragonborn Champion Immersturm Predator Wrathful Red Dragon Kura, the Boundless Sky Terror of the Peaks Backdraft Hellkite Hellkite Tyrant Emerald Dragon Bladewing the Risen Cavern-Hoard Dragon Earthquake Dragon

Some of the Dragons care about being in a Dragon deck, and some are just really good Dragons. I’ve been looking for a place to play Earthquake Dragon and this seems like a fantastic place for it.  I’ve got Emerald Dragon in here because its Adventure side Dissonant Wave can provide a bit of interaction in the early game before you’re able to cast the Dragon side. Young Red Dragon isn’t all that great, but it does make a Treasure token with its Adventure side Bathe in Gold.

I’m super excited to add Cavern-Hoard Dragon from Tales of Middle-earth Commander as a perfect inclusion—a Dragon in my Dragon deck, and it can make a bunch of Treasures for my Treasure-fueled combo.


Vandalblast Nature's Claim Tear Asunder Hull Breach Terminate Go for the Throat Return to Nature Damnation

Jund has a ton of removal options, and I’m playing a bunch of them to help ensure I like long enough to pull together my gameplan.  I’m very high on Tear Asunder these days; being able to exile The One Ring is going to be quite important in Commander going forward.

Card Draw/Selection

Dig Up Call of the Ring Night's Whisper Cream of the Crop Painful Truths Garruk's Uprising Harmonize Greater Good

Raw card draw is going to be my primary way of pulling together the first few parts of my combo, and once that’s in place, I can use the cleave ability of Dig Up to find the missing piece. I’m quite high on Call of the Ring as a source of card advantage in any creature-heavy deck, and this deck fits the bill.

Cream of the Crop doesn’t provide raw cards, but its ability to set up your draws with all the huge Dragons is going to be a huge help in assembling the secret commander combo.


Witch's Clinic Shapers' Sanctuary

I normally play a few more ways to interact with my opponents, but a lot of my usual suspects got cut to make room for more Dragons, more Treasure cards, and the secret commander combo. Shapers’ Sanctuary is basically the lone holdout since it can help draw me cards. Witch’s Clinic is just superb with Ziatora, since its Fling ability can dish out a huge amount of damage and thus provide a huge rush of lifegain.

Mana Ramp

Blighted Woodland Sol Ring Curse of Opulence Kodama's Reach Cultivate

Most of the typical ramp spells I’d be playing in a green deck got bumped for Treasure cards and a bunch of the Dragon-related mana rocks. Kodama’s Reach and Cultivate remain for color-fixing, ramping, and card advantage. Curse of Opulence doesn’t make Treasure tokens, but the Gold tokens are artifacts that can be sacrificed for red mana, so it synergizes with the secret commander combo plan.

The Deck

Okay, here is the full decklist:

Ziatora, the Incinerator
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 06-30-2023
Magic Card Back

Here are the deck stats from our friends at Archidekt:

What must-have cards might I have missed including here?  Have you ever seen Inferno of the Star Mounts go off like this before? 

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!