Since a lot of Commander decks are built around the same legendary creature, I enjoy seeing how different deck builders move in different directions despite building around the same commander. Bennie Smith published (on StarCityGames) a Nefarox Commander deck just a day after mine here. It’s interesting to see how we built similarly and differently.
When you start a deck with Stonebrow, you know that the deck will include a lot of creatures with trample. Which ones are good enough to make the cut? I searched for every red and/or green creature with trample to see what the options were, and then I pared the list down. What is good enough to make the cut?
With the ability to gain haste, indestructible, and trample and the ability to inflate up and down, Thornling was my first addition. Give it trample before it attacks, and it will grow with Stonebrow. I don’t need to relate how powerful indestructible is in multiplayer.
The next options were flyers. Akroma, Angel of Fury is an automatic choice for a Stonebrow deck. It has trample, it inflates, it protects from two colors, and so forth. Netting a massively awesome flyer in addition is key. Mana-Charged Dragon has the casting cost of a Shivan Dragon and trample as well as flying, and any player can pump it. You can pump it with your green mana as well as the red. It’s better than a Shivan Dragon mostly (you can’t pump one at a time or pump in a step after being declared as an attacker or blocker). Finally, I decided that we needed trample and flying enough to play the awkward-but-undeniable Dragon Tyrant. It cleans the house, and the upkeep shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
After that, the next tramplers that were included were those that gave me valuable card advantage. Woodfall Primus is classic not only because it destroys a key opposing permanent, but also because it can trigger twice with its persist. With this much beef and awesome in the deck, Garruk's Horde was also an early inclusion because it can allow you to play extra creatures from your library over several turns. It also works well with a spell and a creature we’ll get to later (Genesis Wave and Mwonvuli Beast Tracker). Soul of the Harvest is a recently printed trampler from Avacyn Restored that makes these decks hum—you can draw a passel of cards over just a few turns. Finally, Primeval Titan tutors for you two lands immediately with the promise of more over the next few turns. Not only will that ramp you to bigger threats, but it also provides immediate card advantage. There’s not much I can say about Prime Time that no one else can say; we all know its power.
I wanted to add some cheaper tramplers to reduce the reliance this deck has on more expensive dudes. Shivan Wurm is happy and ready to join the team. It bounces something, and Woodfall Primus and Prime Time are happy to jump back up to your hand. I also decided to add the powerful Pelakka Wurm. Not only is this uncommon a 7/7 trampler for 7 mana, but it also nets you 7 life when it enters the battlefield. It will head back to your hand when the Shivan Wurm comes calling.
A few tramplers rounded out my crop. Borborygmos not only brings the beef but can also accelerate the team after smashing an opponent’s face. Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger can hit hard while also doubling the deck’s mana. In a deck as much of a mana hog as this one, that’s key. Penumbra Wurm will survive one bout of removal, leaving behind a 6/6 trampling token. Rampaging Baloths can spit out many token creatures while also adding to the trample avalanche. Finally, with as much tutoring as this deck has, Panglacial Wurm can be played whenever you have a lot of mana sitting around. It also turns a late-game Cultivate or Kodama's Reach into a useful card.
With a need for mana, Keeper of Progenitus is added to the deck. Doubling mana for Plains, Forests, and Mountains will allow the deck to increase its own basic power level. Solemn Simulacrum will tutor for a land and draw you a card later, making it a strong investment. Genesis gives the deck some late-game and post-Wrath play, and it helps in fighting counters. Being able to bring back one of these great tramplers every turn is nasty. Then, add in Anger’s ability to speed up all of these tramplers by a turn, and that’s a lot of power.
I decided to toss in the infinite attack combo. You need Hellkite Charger or Aggravated Assault in play. Swing , then activate them to produce an extra attack to add to your face-smashery. If you have one of Nature's Will, Bear Umbra, or Sword and Feast and Famine, you can untap your lands and tap them again to use the Charger or Assault again and again, repeating with nasty, trampling beef as you slay everyone at the table.
To use all of this extra mana, we have a good selection of X spells for the red in the deck. Beginning with Banefire, you can stab someone for a lot of damage and make it uncounterable and unpreventable very easily. Finishing someone off after your beaters have dropped a foe’s life total is powerful. Joining Banefire is the repeatable Fanning the Flames. You can buy it back and use it again and again to stab creatures or players. With a lot of mana, both Fireball and Rolling Thunder can blast multiple targets. Rolling Thunder is very nasty—imagine putting 12 mana into the X part of it. You can slay several creatures and put a player on ice. Finally, I tossed in Bonfire of the Damned. With a miracle use, you can hit someone and all of his or her stuff out of nowhere, thus denuding that player’s board position. With a lot of mana production, you can also just use it normally to hit someone and his or her guys for 4 or 6 damage.
I added Hurricane to my X-spell suite because it can blast all players (including you) and sweep the air. With just four flyers, you usually don’t have to worry about hitting your own creatures. I want to be able to have some defense against flyers, so I also added the Wrath of God for flyers: Whirlwind. This pair of spells adds a little oomph to the team. I also considered Squall Line, and it was in the first version of the deck before I cut it to make room for a lot of other ideas I had.
Tooth and Nail finds two creatures and puts them into play. You can make any two dudes and change the nature of the game. I also like Primal Command here. It has the option of two of four abilities, and I recommend that you always tutor for a creature (when you can) because then it replace itself with any creature and you net another ability on top of that.
I love grabbing Eternal Witness with these things. Chord of Calling a Witness, and return the Chord to your hand. Then, Chord again and find what you need or find Shivan Wurm and bounce the Witness and repeat. Tooth and Nail is amazing when it tutors both a giant beater and a Witness to return the Tooth and Nail to your hand.
Genesis Wave with a lot of mana behind it is severely dangerous. Save it for when you really needed it, such as after a board wipe when you have ten or twelve lands sitting around. It will bring a massive amount of pain to the table.
This deck needs card-draw. I harnessed the size of my creatures for that. Greater Good can sacrifice a big creature and draw a bunch of cards followed by a three-card discard. It provides card advantage turn after turn. In a Stonebrow deck, just like Warstorm Surge, it’s a must-kill. Momentous Fall will sacrifice a creature for a ton of cards and some life at instant speed. You can do it in response to a removal spell or just to draw a bunch of cards. Soul's Majesty does not sacrifice the creature, and it just gives you a ton of cards. Finally, Hunter's Insight adds disgrace to a face-smash by adding the drawing of some cards as a trampler punches through.
I want to protect my creatures from threats. Asceticism keeps my creatures from being targeted by enemies and also allows me to regenerate my creatures. Having a shield against removal both damage-based and targeted can really extend their life warranty. A simple Day of Judgment can be survived by as many creatures as we have mana available. Another survival card is Cauldron of Souls. Tapping it can grant any number of our creatures persist so they can live through one instance of removal. That’s another set of battlefield triggers for our guys, another death trigger for a Penumbra Wurm, and another round of beats by our team. Even shrunk a little, these guys are still big enough to break the game open in our direction.
We need some removal beyond Acidic Slime and Woodfall Primus. Hull Breach can blast one or two artificial targets. Decimate is a classic removal spell for multiplayer. While you need all four targets to cast it, there’s almost always a creature, an artifact, and a land. If there’s one enchantment out, you trade one card for four, removing multiple threats with one card. Krosan Grip blasts an artifact or enchantment with split second, allowing it to handle something that might otherwise be responded to. It can take out anything from Pernicious Deed to Mindslaver. Artifact Mutation will Shatter a target as well as produce some dorks. Adding both at instant speed is easily worth the 2-mana cost.
Once I was considering nonbasic lands, a few were obvious choices. Like Asceticism’s ability to regenerate the team, Yavimaya Hollow can tap to regenerate a creature. It’s quite important. Boseiju, Who Shelters All is tossed in because it can make spells such as Rolling Thunder, Soul's Majesty, Genesis Wave, and Tooth and Nail uncounterable.
Since it has trample, Treetop Village is worth the tempo loss. Also worth that loss is Oran-Rief, the Vastwood—you love to permanently pump your green critters. With so many green cards having
I hope you enjoyed today’s Stonebrow deck! How would you have changed it? Let me know in the comments.
See you next week,