Commander Deep-Dive: Korvold, Gleeful Glutton

Korvold is a fan-favorite Commander and it’s time for his most recent printing to feast! Join Bennie Smith for a deep-dive on Korvold, Gleeful Glutton

Korvold, Gleeful Glutton, illustrated by Francisco Miyara

The first time we visited the plane of Eldraine was Throne of Eldraine, and Wizards of the Coast (WotC) released precon decks built for the new Brawl format.  Half of the face commanders for the decks were completely busted in half, including the original version of this Jund Dragon, Korvold, Fae-Cursed King:

Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

It’s ridiculously easy to build a deck around Korvold that will just drown the table in card-advantage, especially given all the obscene Treasure support cards that are available in Jund. If you’re interested in raw power and just want to annihilate your Commander pods with Jund, the O.G. Korvold is the Dragon for you.

Me, I’m glad they’ve cooked up a new version of Korvold that’s much fairer and yet still a lot of fun to build around: Korvold, Gleeful Glutton!

Korvold, Gleeful Glutton

This Korvold costs a whopping eight mana to cast, though luckily there’s a built-in cost reduction ability that can help us out with that. Korvold costs 1 less to cast for each card type among permanents you’ve sacrificed this turn, though it’s important to remember that you can’t reduce the colored mana requirement this way (but you can level up Bard Class and that will help with the red and green mana).

Korvold’s combat damage trigger also looks at permanent types in order to grow Korvold and draw cards, so how many permanent types are there?  The permanent types are artifact, battle, creature, enchantment, land, and planeswalker. Things like “legendary” or “snow” are supertypes, not types. “Token” is not a type.  So, the upper limit for each of Korvold’s abilities that cares about permanents is six. Now, it’s going to be pretty tough to sacrifice six different types of permanents to reduce the mana cost of Korvold, but you can shave off a few points of mana relatively easy—for instance, sacrificing a Treasure will provide you with a mana, and shave off a mana since an artifact went to the graveyard. You can also look to sacrifice permanents that have multiple types, such as artifact creatures, enchantment creatures.  Sacrificing one of those creatures to something like Ashnod’s Altar could get you two colorless mana to cast Korvold and reduce Korvold’s cost by two.

The main thing I’d look to do in building this deck is to diversify my permanents across all six types and have ways to get them into the graveyard, so once Korvold hits the battlefield it can hopefully deal combat damage to a player right away – flying, trample, and haste help a lot in this regard – and then draw three to four cards and put that many +1/+1 counters on Korvold. Making sure you get that first infusion of cards will help you keep making your land drops and replenish any cards you expended sacrificing permanents.

Let’s dig in!

Sacrifice for Profit

Baba Lysaga, Night Witch The Gitrog Monster Burnt Offering Culling the Weak Ashnod's Altar Phyrexian Altar Evolutionary Leap Deadly Dispute Crop Rotation Greater Good Goblin Welder Goblin Engineer Woe Strider Birthing Pod Zopandrel, Hunger Dominus Lich-Knights' Conquest Claws of Gix Phyrexian Tower Dargo, the Shipwrecker

The building of this deck is very similar to how you’d build Baba Lysaga, Night Witch so I’d definitely include her in the 99; she’s a fantastic way to sacrifice enough permanents to reduce Korvold by quite a bit, while drawing you extra cards and draining life from your opponents. Dargo, the Shipwrecker is another way you can sacrifice a fair number of artifacts and/or creatures to make both Dargo and Korvold much cheaper to cast.

Ashnod’s Altar and Phyrexian Altar are cards you’d want to include, but I’d also consider Burnt Offering and Culling the Weak as a surprise way to cheat out Korvold, which might make it easier to get Korvold out there and attacking while shields are down.

If you want to play a lot of artifact creatures, you might consider Goblin Welder and Goblin Engineer. Goblin Welder’s oracle text currently reads tap: Choose target artifact a player controls and target artifact card in that player’s graveyard. If both targets are still legal as this ability resolves, that player simultaneously sacrifices the artifact and returns the artifact card to the battlefield.  If you’ve got an artifact creature on the battlefield and in the graveyard, Goblin Welder can basically shave two mana off Korvold’s cost for no mana expenditure.

Sacrifice Payoffs

Mayhem Devil Juri, Master of the Revue The Balrog, Durin's Bane Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest Pawn of Ulamog Sifter of Skulls Riveteers Ascendancy

There are cards that give you bonuses for sacrificing permanents so we might want to include some in the deck. The poster child for this is Mayhem Devil, but Juri, Master of the Revue and Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest are no slouches either. What I like about these creatures is that your opponents will likely feel pressure to kill them early on, which means it’s less likely they’ll be holding up targeted removal for Korvold.

Pawn of Ulamog and Sifter of Skulls are sweet too since they’ll generate creature tokens when your noncreature tokens die, and these Eldrazi creature tokens can later be sacrificed for mana, and much like Treasures they’ll provide for two of Korvold’s mana cost.

I haven’t found many places to play Riveteers Ascendancy, but this deck seems perfect.  It’s an enchantment permanent so even if it gets destroyed it will provide a card type in the graveyard for Korvold’s combat trigger.

Artifact Creatures

Haywire Mite Goldhound Solemn Simulacrum Lizard Blades Tough Cookie Academy Manufactor Scrap Trawler Wurmcoil Engine Noxious Gearhulk Combustible Gearhulk

There are no end of great artifact creatures, but these stood out as being particularly good in this deck.  If Lizard Blades survives long enough to attach to Korvold, the double-strike will mean twice the combat damage triggers!  Combustible Gearhulk makes a sweet artifact creature here since either choice is going to work out nice: either you get to draw three cards, or you could mill a few relevant permanent types and dome an opponent for a slug of damage.

Enchantment Creatures

Greater Tanuki Dockside Chef Shigeki, Jukai Visionary Dryad of the Ilysian Grove Destiny Spinner Doomwake Giant Nyx Weaver Nighthowler Agent of Erebos

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove can do some good work on the battlefield, before or after Korvold gets cast; early on it can fix your colors and perhaps get you an extra land drop, and after you’ve got Korvold going Dryad can convert some of those extra cards into additional land drops.

Greater Tanuki is sweet in this deck, you can channel it for mana ramp and get two permanent types in your graveyard. And in a pinch if you draw it later you can just cast it for a 6/5 beater with trample.

Sacrificing Lands

Evolving Wilds Terramorphic Expanse Riveteers Overlook Jund Panorama Verdant Catacombs Bloodstained Mire Wooded Foothills Myriad Landscape Fabled Passage Blighted Woodland Demolition Field Field of Ruin

I wouldn’t choose lands to sacrifice for an effect other than fixing your accelerating your mana, since Korvold is so expensive and a powerful threat, you’ll want and need to have mana to pay the inevitable commander tax.  These are lands that will just naturally end up in the graveyard in the course of game play and add an extra permanent type for Korvold’s combat trigger.

Sacrificing Enchantments

Defense of the Heart Binding the Old Gods Seal of Primordium Cindervines Seal of Doom Seal of Fire Gaea's Touch Vessel of Nascency Vessel of Volatility Unbridled Growth

Defense of the Heart was just reprinted in Wilds of Eldraine: Enchanting Tales, so it you cracked one this will be a sweet deck to pop it into. If you’re playing Gaea’s Touch make sure you’re playing enough basic Forests to take advantage of this early on, but when you’re ready to cast Korvold it can be sacrificed to add GG and provides a discount to the casting cost.  Vessel of Volatility does a similar thing but with red mana. Vessel of Nascency is a perfect card here, putting an enchantment card in the graveyard while digging into the top of your deck for one of five permanent types.

Binding the Old Gods is a removal and ramp spell on an enchantment that puts itself into a graveyard, so you might even consider a few other Sagas as well.

Value Planeswalkers

Lord Windgrace Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools Grist, the Hunger Tide Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes

Planeswalkers often get hated out quickly in Commander, but in this case we want to have one in the graveyard for Korvold’s combat trigger, so I’d run a few that can provide some value before its inevitable demise.  Lord Windgrace can draw you a few extra cards or bring some lands from the graveyard back to the battlefield to be sacrificed over again. Tevesh Szat can make some Thrull tokens for chump blockers, setting up its second ability to sacrifice a creature to draw some cards, possibly in the turn you want to cast Korvold. Grist, the Hunger Tide is fun since it will count as both a creature and a planeswalker in the graveyard, and all of its abilities can be useful to the game plan.

And of course, there’s Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes!  It makes a Boo token that can hold the fort or be sacrificed to deal damage and draw cards.


Invasion of Zendikar Invasion of Ikoria Invasion of Fiora Invasion of Shandalar Invasion of Tarkir Invasion of Ixalan

Battles are the newest permanent type, and there are some decent ones to consider for a Jund deck. Invasion of Zendikar helps with mana ramp and Invasion of Fiora is a good mass removal spell. I even like Invasion of Ixalan since this deck has a focus on permanents.  If I put battles in the deck I’d likely run a few ways to knock off the defense counters like Hex Parasite, Glissa Sunslayer or Vampire Hexmage.

Double Strike

Atarka, World Render Embercleave Temur Battle Rage Two-Handed Axe Twinferno Berserkers’ Onslaught Blast-Furnace Hellkite Savage Beating

I mentioned giving double strike to Korvold above when talking about Lizard Blades, and that’s such a powerful effect for Korvold I think it’s worth running a few more ways to tap into that. Embercleave seems like a great choice, though the first time you attack with Korvold is probably the same time that you cast it so you might not have enough mana to cast it. Berserkers’ Onslaught is an enchantment that sits out there so your opponents will know what’s coming, but I’d likely run it anyway. Blast-Furnace Hellkite can be a sneakier option, you can cast it on an opponent’s end step with artifact offering, untap and then cast Korvold and attack!

Extra Combat

Moraug, Fury of Akoum Karlach, Fury of Avernus Scourge of the Throne Port Razer Hexplate Wallbreaker

Extra attack steps can be even more effective than double strike, and red gives plenty of options for that. Moraug is already good for this, but in this deck playing lands you sacrifice to get other lands, you can potentially squeeze out three attack steps, which can make for a gigantic, big turn with Korvold!

High-Cost Commander Payoffs

Stinging Study Imposing Grandeur Visions of Ruin Majestic Genesis

Before finishing up, I did want to point out Magic cards that appreciate having a high-cost commander. Stinging Study can draw a whopping eight cards at instant speed, while Imposing Grandeur provides everyone with an optional Wheel of Fortune, but with yours providing an infusion of eight new cards. Visions of Ruin is awesome artifact removal that generates Treasures, and the flashback cost is a low, low double red. And of course, Majestic Genesis is awesome here, we’re playing a permanent-heavy deck so digging eight cards deep is bound to have a ton of good hits.

What cards do you think will be awesome with Korvold, Gleeful Glutton that I overlooked?  Do you like this version or the original version of Korvold better?

Talk to Me

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

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