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.
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.
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.
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.