This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Commander With A Comedian

378127_10150441621792624_1477312954_nThis article is a response to an email from a fan requesting tips on a Prossh deck he is building. I imagine he asked me for advice because I have thus far failed to shut up for five minutes about my own build.

My initial idea was to write out my full deck list and go into a deep critique on it, but to be entirely honest that sounded boring as $#!^. Not to mention that my deck is tailored to my unique and individual play style, and probably wouldn’t work as well for anyone who doesn’t play Magic like they are driving a monster truck (set yourself up to bulldoze over everyone, only acknowledge the existence of other players long enough to smash their stuff).

Therefore, I am writing the top ten things to try to do when playing Prossh. They aren’t commandments, since Prossh commands your deck ¬†and you in turn command him. They are more like demandments, things he demands you do in order to make his job of eating kobolds (and opponents) as easy as possible.

One with less subtlety, and more charbroiled kobolds.

You can choose to ignore his demands if you like. But he is a dragon who is also on fire, so that may not turn out so great for you. Anyone else in the mood for BBQ?

Thou Shall Worship at the Church of Purphoros

There is a very good reason that Purphoros, God of the Forge appears first on this list. Purphoros is one of the strongest available win conditions in a Prossh deck. It is an indestructible enchantment that causes twelve damage to each opponent just for casting Prossh, and another two if the big dragon resolves. Add in the fact that you will likely be able to use him to pump all your creatures twice on your next turn (People always, always, always forget that he can pump your creatures) and you’re looking at a grand total of thirty-three damage to a opponent in two turns. Yikes!

More importantly than even that, Purphoros is indicative of the kind of deck Prossh is best built as: massive damage coming out in short amounts of time. If this doesn’t sound like it appeals to you, abandon ship now. If not, read on…

Thou Shalt Pay Your Dues to O.G. Garruk (and Also Ramp Like You’re in a Skatepark)

The best four mana planeswalker, and Jace can go suck it!

The best four mana planeswalker. Jace can suck it!

Prossh is expensive to cast initially and only gives you more payout when you recast him, so you are going to want to jam as much ramp as you can reasonably fit into a deck with him at the helm. Cultivate, Skyshroud Claim, and Somberwald Sage are all well known examples of awesome ramp, and if I was to try and list off all the good ramp spells for a Jund deck I would be here all week.

The only one I want to call specific attention to is Garruk. He isn’t the best ramp spell on the planet (he doesn’t thin your deck, the ramp goes away if he is destroyed, he only gets Prossh out a turn early) but he does have one unique interaction with Prossh. If you cast him then tick him up even once (which you were going to do anyways to ramp out Prossh, right?) you can use his ultimate next turn – the same turn that the Prossh and kobolds that you just put out are going to lose summon sickness.

Like I said, Garruk isn’t the best ramp spell in Prossh. But he is the only one capable of dealing twenty-six trampling damage. So, there’s that.

Thou Shalt Have Redundancies for Your General

Running redundant effects for your general is a winning strategy for most EDH decks you can build. It is added insurance for tuck and a good way to drop a surprise bomb on your opponents. The problem with Prossh is that there are two powerful effects we need to duplicate: massive attack power and large-scale token production.

Our token role is easily and obviously filled by the infamous Avenger of Zendikar, it being one of the only cards that produces tokens on the scale we need. The damage dealer is a harder role to properly fill, but I eventually found that Kalonian Hydra was the best fit. It’s a three turn clock attached to a big body, and the massive attack power gained is relevant if you want to try use a Greater Good effect. Plus, he’s a hydra. And hydras are cool as hell.

Thou Shalt Play Cards That are Good Before or After Prossh

Smashy your house, smash your car, smash your pets...

Smash your house, smash your car, smash your pets…

Look at that sexy beast up there. He is petrifying. He causes all your kobolds to machine gun your opponents’ creatures into the afterlife, and is frequently responsible for upwards of twenty-four damage in games that I play.

And there is a strong chance I never would have touched him if he didn’t have persist.

When I talk to other Prossh players about potentially cutting cards like Ogre Battledriver or Champion of Lambholt, they look at me like I’m crazy. But those cards are mostly only good if they are on the field when Prossh resolves. Smashy up there, on the other hand (or Purphoros, or the soon to be released Xenagos, God of Revels), is a card that are good whether you play them before or after Prossh. They have powerful effects as set up cards or as finishers to a set up. It doesn’t seem like much of a big deal, but playing the more versatile cards ends up giving you far more options when you actually sit down to play. And they frequently end up being the difference between a win and a loss.

Thou Shalt Learn to Love Three Mana Enchantments

Food Chain. Fecundity. Shared Animosity. Beastmaster Ascension. These cards will wipe a board out on their own, and all they require is a one time investment of three mana. If you’re playing Prossh right, you will sometimes feel like it’s an enchantress deck. You should get into this. (But don’t actually play the enchantress creatures, we aren’t living the dream that hard.)

Thou Shalt Maximize on Dying Kobolds

Steady... Steady... Aim carefully now...

Steady… Steady… Aim carefully now…

While I’m mentioning Fecundity, I should also mention that you should be running other cards that take advantage of creatures biting the bullet. In addition to them generally getting plenty of triggers in a normal game of magic, you have free access to at least six graveyard triggers every time you resolve your general. Blood Artist is a powerful addition here for the extra damage and life gain. However, he can’t do jack to your opponent’s blockers or planeswalkers. That cute little sniper up there can and will, if you give him the chance.

Thou Shalt Kill Your Own Kobolds in a Variety of Hilarious Ways

One of the biggest draws to playing Prossh (besides his patented bad@$$ittude) is that his generation of tokens is nearly uncounterable. Sure, there are spells like Stifle or Trickbind that could prevent the trigger, but normal counter spells don’t do squat to keep the tokens off the board. This being the case, it’s for the best that you have things to feed your delicious kobolds to other than your giant, stompy dragon.

My preferred methods for killing kobolds include Goblin Bombardment, Skullclamp, and Sadistic Hypnotist. All these cards are good for sacrificing large amounts of kobolds, but also get you fine value when you kill any of your other creatures. Also, Goblin Bombardment is probably one of the best red cards ever printed, so an excuse to play it is always awesome.

Thou Shalt Play With Dead People

It’s no coincidence that cards like Adun Oakenshield and Kresh the Bloodbraided are common Jund generals. Jund is one of the best color combinations for abusing graveyards, and it’s only appropriate you keep with this fine, upstanding tradition.

A bunch of kobolds turned into that!?

A bunch of kobolds turned into that!?

Classics like Life from the Loam and Entomb will serve you very well in any Jund deck, but the all-star of graveyard shenanigans in this deck has got to be Dread Return. The ease with which you can generate the creatures to feed to its flashback will make it a faithful friend in prolonged EDH games.

Thou Shalt Embrace Eric’s Favourite Keyword

Haste. Get addicted to that word, because you’re going to want to see it as often as possible.¬†Haste is given kind of a bad rap as a keyword for “dumb” players, the type who would rather beat face than think too much. Which is kind of silly, given that haste’s biggest benefits are all to do with tactics and math.

The tactical part is that haste ensures a surprise attack. It leaves little room for your opponent to set up preparations or brace for impact. Using a creature with haste means lowering your opponent’s opportunity for counterattack to the smallest possible window.

The math comes in with decks like Prossh. Haste means one less turn before attacking. And when every attack swings for twenty or more damage, that means cutting down your kill time to two thirds of what it was. Not bad for red’s favourite keyword.

What I will say about haste enablers is that they scale with your deck. A Prossh deck fresh off the kitchen table is going to want as many haste enablers as possible, but my meticulously tuned build only runs three (Lightning Greaves, Anger, and an Ogre Battledriver that is soon to be replaced with a Xenagos, God of Revels). Of these, the ones that grant haste to both your kobolds and and dragon are best, and [card]Anger[card] is easily the finest haste enabler you can play (due to Prossh being able to drop it from the field to the graveyard on a whim).

But play the new art if you can find it. Because it is just soooooo much better.

But play the new art if you can find it. Because it is just soooooo much better.

Thou Shalt Play Your F^%#ing Spot Removal!

People do not play enough spot removal. You hear it said all the time, but many casual players seem to ignore this counsel. Don’t be one of those players. Spot removal can make your opponent’s game-winning threat into a mild annoyance that cost you three mana and a card.

In Jund in particular, you have no excuse for not playing removal. You have a large abundance of cards that can literally kill anything (to the point that almost all of my deck’s spot removal targets any kind of permanent). The holy trinity that you cannot go without includes Chaos Warp, Beast Within, and Maelstrom Pulse. I strongly recommend running more than these three, but they are the ones that I consider must-haves (if your budget allows, you should also seek out Karn Liberated, Vraska the Unseen, and Abrupt Decay).

Oh Modern, you are so cruel to so many wallets.

Oh Modern, you are so cruel to so many wallets.

Follow the ten demandments of Prossh, and you should have yourself a workable EDH deck suited to any kitchen table or store basement. It’ll give you many strong win conditions and cool, dramatic plays without sacrificing consistency or the ability to blow up scary cards.

And at least if it doesn’t work, you can blame it all on that idiot from the internet. What’s his name again?

Eric can be contacted on Twitter at @ThatBonvieGuy, on email at EricBonvie@gmail.com, or in the comments below. Assuming he isn’t in the middle of recording Rivals’ Duel with Nole or getting drunk on Six Pack Set reviews with Calvin.

 

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