Krenko, Mob Boss – Builder’s Notes


My latest endeavor in Commander is a brutal Krenko, Mob Boss Commander deck.  I’m not traditionally a fan of red in Commander, but this general screams fun and exemplifies what red is capable of.  I’m writing this article to supplement a deck tech that I would like to produce.  Unfortunately, living in Japan makes purchasing cards like Brightstone Ritual almost impossible.  So for now, I’m going to write about my thoughts while building the commander deck Krenko, Mob Boss.


Preliminary Thoughts

When you’re building Commander decks, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is what the purpose of your deck will be. What is the direction and focus of your creation?  For this build, I chose a creature-combo deck that doesn’t rely on combat to win.

Creature-combo is a great choice for this general because the aggressive all-out attack strategy is not affective in multi-player formats and often plays low impact spells to make up for a lack of high-impact control spells – specifically in Krenko, Mob Boss, you’ll see Krenko’s Command and Goblin Fodder-type inclusions.   My preliminary research into the deck showed tendencies towards these cards, which produced a deck that sacrificed consistency and power for early creatures.

Another reason for creature-combo is the restriction of quality red creatures available to the builder.   After searching gatherer online, I found very few Goblin creatures that are powerful or synergistic enough to cast in CMDR.

These are the 16 best Goblins I’ve found so far: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, Goblin Lackey, Goblin Sharpshooter, Goblin Ringleader, Goblin Recruiter, Goblin Matron, Goblin War Chief, Skirk Prospector, Goblin Chieftan, Skirk Fire Marshall, Seige-Gang Commander, Goblin Welder, Goblin King, Tuk Tuk Scrapper, and Goblin Chirurgeon are the best goblins in magic… and that’s not saying much.

With Red’s limited access to quality creatures and draw spells, red needs heavy support from controlling enchantments and powerful artifacts to mitigate this gap in color strength.

If this deck is going to be successful, it should be resiliant to sweepers, not stumble to well-placed counterspells, and win the battle of card efficiency.  My solution was to construct a deck that wins a long game by squeezing opponents to constrict their ability to cast spells and advance their boards.

Cards like Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon, Stranglehold, Static Orb,and Winter Orb should do the job nicely.

The next question for this deck is how to win the inevitable top deck war. You know, Red is really bad at everything – it lacks impressive creatures, it has terrible tutors, and it doesn’t draw.  So of course, my current question in this build is how to overcome this these faults and add enough filter effects to win games that stalls out.

To dig, we’ll include Wheel of fortune, Slate of Ancestry, Memory Jar, and Mind’s Eye.  These options are fine, (with the exception of Mind’s Eye, I think its slow) but we need more, and these options become substantially weaker.  What kind of filter do we want? Can I make a case for the inclusion of  Wild Guess into this deck?  Normally, cards as inefficient as Wild Guess aren’t considered for play in this format, but this red we’re talking about.  And with so few options for powerful spells, I’m forced to play underwhelming spells for small incremental advantages.

After we consider draw, we have to include the support spells that allow Krenko, Mob Boss to shine.  These support spells allow for Haste – Thousand-Year Elixir, Mana Acceleration – Mana Crypt etc., and a dominating board presence Furnace of Wrath, Goblin Bombardment.  I don’t have all the answers yet, but once I get there, I’ll be sure to update everyone with my progress.

Final Notes

I once thought aggressive creature builds didn’t need much removal, that they could rely on their creature and support spells to fight through the resistance of opponents. I did this with Edric, Spymaster of Trest and Animar, Soul of Elements, and after playing against some very competitive decks here in Tokyo, I found they’re not resilient enough to compete in a long game with multiple opponents.  Krenko, Mob Boss should have the ability to fight any threat from across the table, so I’ll keep that in mind while completing this deck.

If you have any suggestions for cards, or would like to chime in on my build style, please comment! I look forward to a discussion with everyone.



3 thoughts on “Krenko, Mob Boss – Builder’s Notes

  1. “Krenko, Mob Boss should have the ability to fight any threat from across the table, so I’ll keep that in mind while completing this deck.”

    A mono-red goblin deck that can run with the guys in Tokyo? That’s a challenge. I’ll flat out say it right now, it sounds impossible. However, NOTHING is impossible if you’re willing to run cheap and degenerate combos that flatout win the game. I am the most degenerate Magic player of all time! You want to win at EDH with Red? You’re playing red in EDH? Here’s what I’d do:

    I’d run Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker as my general. Then I’d run as many kill engines as possible.

    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Zealous Conscripts: Infinite 3/3s + 1 permanent of your choice.

    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Thornbite Staff + Any of the following:

    -Mogg Fanatic: Infinite direct damage
    -Goblin Bombardment + Any other creature: Infinite direct damage
    -Skirk Prospector: Infinite red mana
    -Emrakul’s Hatcher: Infinite 3/3s and mana. (This combo will also work with Umbral Mantle instead of Thornbite Staff).
    -Goblin Sledder: Infinite +1/+1 until end of turn for a creature
    -Blasting Station + Any other creature: Infinite direct damage
    -Lightning Crafter: Infinite direct damage
    -Bloodpyre Elemental: Infinite direct damage

    -Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Worldgorger Dragon: Infinite Untap everything and enter the battlefield effects.

    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Any other creature+ Breath of Fury: Infinite attacks if the defender can’t block.

    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Coretapper + Magistrate’s Sceptor: Infinite Turns (getting the pieces to this is difficult though).

    Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Blades of Velis Vel + Goatnapper: Infinite Goats – this one is awesome! It’s easy to put together as all the cards count as goblins!!

    Synergy Cards like Splinter Twin and Boggard Shenanigans should be considered, as well as other sac outlets like Ashnod’s Altar.

    Search cards, like the ones you mentioned above, are a good idea. However, I recommend Godo, Bandit Warlord to double check you get Thornbite Staff, because holy shit that card can be abused.

    Yeah, this deck concept damages the spirit of the format. However, if you’re playing mono red, I’d go all out!

  2. To give red decks more powerful draw power, I would recommend looking into cards like Faithless Looting, Reforge the Soul, Staff of Nin, and possibly even cards like Howling Mine, Font of Mythos, or Temple Bell if you just absolutely need the cards.

    The swarm aspect of goblins is very strong and I would definitely suggest cards like Contested Warzone, Raid Bombardment, Signal Pest, Hero of Oxid Ridge, or even Hell Rider. Just because your commander is a goblin don’t feel limited to only goblin creatures.

    If you’re looking into the late game, reusable burn spells can give you the final burst of damage necessary. Spells like Red Sun’s Zenith, Devil’s Play, Goblin Canon, Molten Disaster, and Past in Flames will give you those last few options necessary if you’re opponent is keeping you out. To prevent problems like this, Leyline of Punishment is an excellent card. Leyline of Punishment can seem like a weird card in commander, but I find it more useful than not in most of my match ups, especially against people using any kind of creature with protection from red or just has an obscene amount of life gain.

  3. In regards to Brendan C’s post, Kiki-Jiki is definitely a much more powerful commander. The only problem with Kiki-Jiki, as you pointed out, is that he does damage the general casual theme that commander is supposed to have. If you’re playing competitively against other players (this whole concept still does not make sense to me) then playing Kiki-Jiki will definitely get you more games, but less friends. I would use my best judgement on the meta at the location you play at if you consider a combo-esque commander.

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