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GRUUL SMASH: A Xenagos EDH Primer

Commander / EDH RG (Gruul)

DaddyBorborygmos

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VERY SIMPLE DECK, EVEN FOR GRUUL

STEP 1: PLAY XENAGOS

STEP 2: PLAY BIG CREATURES AND ATTACK

STEP 3: REPEAT STEP 2 UNTIL EVERYONE IS DEAD

Let's face it, we don't like the Esper control players. No one does. They're tricky and annoying and no one wants them at the table. That's where Gruul comes in. Gruul players are the honest and kind players who don't mind sharing their overwhelming positivity with everyone on turn 4. The world needs more Gruul and less Esper and Sultai. This deck is for the REAL MTG players, my fellow Timmys.

Gruul usually gets a bad rep for being the "simple and easy deck" to play. While this deck is not some crazy, janky value combo deck that requires insanely confusing plays on the stack, it still requires a skilled player to pilot this deck. Any new player can play big beaters and swing for 20 damage, but you need a veteran to be able to play THE beater and kill 3 people on turn 6.

Tips and Tricks on How to Gruul

Rule of thumb: always mulligan if you don't have a ramp spell. The only circumstance that I won't mulligan is if I have a Slyvan Library AND some more bombs in hand which happens very rarely.

Turn 1-4 is when we setup for our swinging. An almost perfect hand will get us a turn 2 Xenagos but is sadly very unlikely. Good hands will get us Xenagos on turn 3 or 4 so that on turn 4 or 5, we can start swinging for big damage.

Once you start swinging, politics goes to shit and everyone is scared of you and your big, scary dragon that'll put someone down to 7 life if they don't have an answer or a flying blocker. People will be scared of you, so use that to your advantage. Usually a "I won't put your life total in the single digits if you don't attack me" is enough to make sure we're not fighting a 3-front war. Blocking is an Esper thing! Gruul always swings out!

GRUUL WIN NOW.

Sadly, one combat phase per turn is pretty weak and slow when there's 120 damage to be done. We can speed the game up in a few different ways:

More Combats!

Even one extra combat can accelerate our game plan by a few turns because two combats means two combat beginnings, and two combat beginnings means two Xenagos triggers. This means our creatures are going to be doing 6x their base power worth of damage instead of just 2x.

Chandra's Ignition

Sometimes our opponents will build some sort of wall we can't get past whether it be a Maze of Ith or a Spore Frog that won't stay dead for some stupid reason . Chandra's ignition is the best and fastest way to get around these obstacles and usually just win the game.

"But I don't have enough mana!"

Don't worry, Timmy, we have an answer. Casting your big fat face smashers and your extra combats in one turn is pretty hard, especially after a wipe. Luckily, we have some pieces to change that. Cards like Savage Ventmaw and OG Neheb to give us mana every time we attack. If only there was some sort of card with a repeatable ability that only required mana give us more combats . New Neheb is a great way to not only get more mana, but also dig for Chandra's Ignition and our extra combat cards. Selvala, Heart of the Wilds is the easiest way to go out of control, giving us an insane amount of mana after combat to draw half our deck with spells like Soul's Majesty , get more combats and win.

GRUUL NO LIKE INFINITE COMBO, BUT IF GRUUL DRAW, GRUUL PLAY

Personally, I feel a little dirty pulling these off, but if I just so happen to draw them, oh well. I seriously have no intent in trying to add in more tutors to get these combos out easier.

Savage Ventmaw + Aggravated Assault = infinite combat phases.

Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion + Aggravated Assault + at least 5 cards in hand = infinite combat phases until you mill yourself to death, but don't worry, everyone else will be dead before that happens. Also, since you're going to be digging through your entire deck, you'll stumble upon Chandra's Ignition which is also 5 mana.

Neheb, the Eternal + Aggravated Assault + some way to deal at least 5 damage = infinite combat phases.

CLEAN COMBOS

These aren't much better than the infinite combos but they're easier to pull off thus more consistent.

Rishkar's Expertise : After your combat, if you hopefully still have your big boy with his Xenagos buff, you can draw usually a third of your deck and play a spell with CMC 5 or less. It just so happens Chandra's Ignition and all of our extra combat cards cost 5 or less.

Blightsteel Colossus + Chandra's Ignition = Instant win and 3 very salty opponents.

Ilharg, the Raze-Boar + Blightsteel Colossus = One of the fastest ways to kill another player before they've even played their commander. The only problem is they can only have one toughness worth of blocking or less for it to be lethal.

Sneak Attack + every creature in this deck: Yes this card is disgusting, and you'll usually only have it on the field for one turn, so make use of it. Almost every time this hits the field, a player dies. The quickest game I've ever played was a turn 4 win by sneaking out a Scourge of the Throne , Ilharg, the Raze-Boar , Ghalta, Primal Hunger (sadly no longer in the deck) and Kalonian Hydra .

Sure, big creatures are cool, but what about big creatures that do stuff?

I'm stuff

I'll skip talking about the creatures I already talked about in the previous sections and only talk about a few utility creatures and how I've found them useful.

Balefire Dragon : The boardwipe dragon that most decks fear. Especially brutal against elf ball decks that run mostly dorks and only a few lands.

Butcher Orgg : Insanely underrated card. Being able to split up our combat damage goes past hexproof which is very useful. If our opponent is under 13 life, no amount of blocking can save them. If their deck relies on their commander, their commander is in trouble.

Emrakul, the Promised End : The best way to get back in the game. The cast trigger can completely take an opponent out of the game and possibly someone with them. Also, if this lands on the board, you know you're getting in for 26 flying trample damage because she has protection from instants!

Vandalblast 2.0 : Blowing up a Sol Ring is good. Stealing a Sol Ring is pretty good. But nothing is better than taking ALL of the artifact player's hard earned artifacts out of nowhere in one turn. You'll have no idea what to do with them because they have no synergy with your deck, but that'll just make the artifact player even saltier. Still hoping to win one day from his very stupid win-con, but it hasn't happened yet.

Molten Primordial : Sometimes you'll play against a Gisela, Blade of Goldnight and they'll say "Hey Timmy, you only do half damage to me, but double damage to them. You should kill them!" Here's a better idea, take their Gisela, Blade of Goldnight and kill everybody instead. That scenario has happened more times than you would think, but Molten Primordial is usually just useful for getting rid of big blockers. Also pretty effective with a Pathbreaker Ibex on the the field. Especially disgusting when there's a Greater Good on the battlefield so your opponents don't get anything back.

Pathbreaker Ibex : VERY good in this deck. Much less effective if you give the Xenagos trigger to him or if he's alone. However, if you find a way to give him haste or untap with him and use him with another bigger creature, you're gonna kill somebody. If you get just one extra combat with him on the field, you're gonna kill everybody.

Tyrant's Familiar : Very efficient at dealing with decks that can only function with their commander on the field, sadly is useless against hexproof.

Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger : Not a crazy amount of synergy with Xenagos in particular, but if no one has any answers, you usually just win if you untap with him from his Zendikar Resurgent ability.

Defense of the Heart : I used to run this card but after getting this off twice to find Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger and Blightsteel Colossus both times, it got pretty old. Sure, it's a great card but commander is about having fun and nobody at my table enjoyed this card.

Green Sun's Zenith : Not enough targets. Most times when I tutor, I don't just want to do damage, I want something else with to come with my creature. Most of our utility are mono red and invalid targets.

Chord of Calling : Two reasons. 1. X + 3 mana is a pretty hefty CMC which is usually supposed to be offset by convoking, but we don't have creatures to convoke with in this deck. 2. Flash creatures aren't our thing. We almost never want to cast a creature after our combat step, so the instant speed is not as useful to us. The only creatures that would be effectively flashed in on our opponent's endstep would be Selvala, Heart of the Wilds or Pathbreaker Ibex .

Malignus , Phyrexian Hydra and Hydra Omnivore : They're usually in almost every Xenagos deck for their one shot potential. My problem with them is they have no evasion. I could run them and put in cards to give them evasion, but that would take up other slots that I need for things like removal. Also, if you don't have a way to give them evasion, they're easily chump blocked and practically useless. I prefer to use to use creatures with built in evasion like flying and trample.

Lurking Predators : Too slow yet too scary. Whenever I drop this card, I immediately become the target. It doesn't do anything on my turn so I don't have any creatures out. No blockers OR attackers and a big scary enchantment. Then one of two things happens, my opponents remove the enchantment before I can get any real value out of it OR they don't have removal and just resort to player removal. Selvala's Stampede has more value and has instant payoff.

Zendikar Resurgent : Almost the same exact reason as Lurking Predators there's no instant payoff and it usually just gets removed. When I ran this, I only got to actually untap with it a few times.

Thank you fellow Timmys for reading my primer! This is my first one and I really love this deck. If you enjoyed this deck and my primer, please feel free to upvote the deck!

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36% Casual

64% Competitive

Top Ranked
  • Achieved #5 position overall 3 months ago
  • Achieved #1 position in Commander / EDH 3 months ago
Date added 4 months
Last updated 6 minutes
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 4.52
Jetons 5/5 Wurm, Garruk
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