This is The Locust God . He brings his friends to the party. His many, many friends.

By the grace of the God-Pharaoh, Death remains a stranger to our Commander. He shall continue to rain down the God-Pharaoh's blessings upon the unworthy masses. And through the artifices and ingenuities of other worlds, the Locust Inquisition shall surely triumph!

Jace's Archivist has betrayed his master, and Ponder s the depths of Alhammarret's Archive . Having stolen the plans for the mighty Paradox Engine , the genius of Dack Fayden has been called to our cause. The dark power of Ashnod's Altar , abhorrent to all, has been bent to the desires of The Horned One. Even the mighty Kozilek, Butcher of Truth , stands humbled before the God-Pharaoh (may his scales be forever lustrous, and may his enemies die consumed in a mighty Firestorm ). No force in the universe shall stand before our righteous insectile horde as they devour the unbelievers.

The mighty Locust God has folded the inventions of a thousand worlds into his army: Mirrodin, Kaladesh, Amonkhet, and even the great Tolarian Academy bow before us, and they are but the first. A thousand more planes shall fall before our mighty crusade, and take their rightful place at the feet of the God-Pharaoh.

And with the greatest power and knowledge of all the planes at our disposal, we shall conquer the multiverse in the name of the holy Lord Bolas! The champions who stand in our path shall have their flesh riven by locusts, and their minds melted in the righteous light of our God-Pharaoh. Praise be unto Him, the most glorious Horned One!

Okay, flavor aside...

This is a nearly-optimized, multi-faceted combo deck around The Locust God , only missing a few expensive lands and a Timetwister . The goal is to win most games T3-5 with counterspell backup. The deck relies on a strong package of mana rocks and draw spells to power out early ramp, then move into any one of several combos to win the game.

The deck primarily aims for one of several infinite-mana combos, which let you cast The Locust God and loot infinitely with his abilities, allowing you to select the cards in your hand and create an infinite number of insects (discarding Kozilek, Butcher of Truth as needed). If these combos are disrupted, the deck is fully capable of winning with other combos involving The Locust God on the battlefield, or through simple aggro damage. The combo wincons are listed in the section below.

The core of this deck is similar to many Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind decks: strong reliance on Wheel of Fortune and Winds of Change style effects. The former are better when trying to refill your hand (especially when your opponents’ hands are smaller, so you gain marginal advantage), and the latter are better when you already have a large number of cards.

However, unlike any other Izzet commander, The Locust God brings along his personal army of minions. When this commander was released, there was no other Izzet commander suited to a token swarm effect (heh - swarm strategy), so the deck is in completely uncharted territory on this front.

This also means we can play many powerful cards that are somewhat atypical for a spellslinger deck, such as Phyrexian Altar , Shared Animosity , or Skullclamp (which in this deck reads ": Draw two cards, then create a 1/1 hasty flying Locust"). These token-centric cards are parts of our combo and synergize well with our commander even without an infinite combo, making them an integral part of the deck.

Overall, The Locust God has many interlinked lines of play, and represents a unique take on the classic Izzet "cardslinger" approach.

This deck runs seven (!) major win-cons, including several combos with redundancy and protection. Remember that the deck contains Kozilek, Butcher of Truth as a method to reshuffle your graveyard into library, to allow for truly infinite draw.

The combos and wincons are listed below:

This is the primary (and classic) win-con for this commander: control a Skullclamp and Ashnod's Altar / Phyrexian Altar (while The Locust God is in play). Each Locust will generate mana, allowing you to repeatedly sacrifice them to Skullclamp . If you're not disrupted, you will generate infinite mana, creatures, and draw. Once you have infinite mana/creatures/draw, you can win with Firestorm (or any other wincon). Technically, Ashnod's Altar only create infinite colorless mana and draw. However, you can draw until you find Phyrexian Altar to pay the colored costs as necessary (or, if that has been disrupted somehow, mana rocks that can produce colored mana). Conversely, Phyrexian Altar "only" creates infinite draw, but it's easy to find 0-mana mana rocks and play Ashnod's Altar to generate infinite Locusts/mana as well (or as previously stated, win through other cards such as Firestorm ).

To start this combo, it's easy to tutor/draw Skullclamp (with wheels or Trinket Mage ), which allows you to draw 2 cards per 1 mana repeatedly when The Locust God is on the battlefield. This makes it very easy to find the rest of the combo, or a tutor to do so. Despite being a three-card combo, this is one of my most frequent paths to victory.

Primary tutors: Trinket Mage / Transmute Artifact / Fabricate for Skullclamp ; Transmute Artifact / Fabricate for the Altar.

This combo is a staple of cEDH, so it was a natural fit here. This deck runs a very strong Dramatic Scepter package. For those unfamiliar, the combo is Dramatic Reversal imprinted on Isochron Scepter , along with at least in mana rocks. This combo creates infinite and , which can be filtered through The Locust God ’s looting ability to create infinite Locusts (discarding Kozilek when necessary) and find whatever other cards you want from your library. There are a significant number of tutors in the deck to find the individual pieces for this combo.

This is by far the fastest combo in the deck, capable of winning on T1 with a hand such as Dramatic Reversal , Isochron Scepter , Mana Crypt , Mox Opal , land, and counterspell backup. This combo also does not require The Locust God to be on the battlefield to go infinite, which makes it a valuable wincon when he is stolen, too expensive to recast, etc.

Note that Muddle the Mixture can transmute to find Isochron Scepter , Dramatic Reversal , Grim Monolith , or Mana Drain , depending on what else you have in hand. Spellseeker can also find counterspells backup or Dramatic Reversal (or, if you're really in a bind, Muddle the Mixture as mentioned above). Transmute isn’t generally very mana-efficient, so transmuting Muddle the Mixture is usually a backup plan.

Primary tutors: Muddle the Mixture / Spellseeker / Mystical Tutor for Dramatic Reversal ; Muddle the Mixture / Transmute Artifact / Fabricate for Isochron Scepter .

Paradox Engine is the strongest combo card in recent memory, in the right deck. This is the right deck. I am running a total of 13 mana rocks, and enough draw effects to rarely run out of spells to cast. With the number of times the deck refills its hand, you frequently will draw into 4 or more mana rocks through the course of the game, making it easy to generate 5+ net mana per spell you cast. Moreover, this deck runs 7 -drops, making it easy to start Paradox engine chains even when you had to tap out to cast the Engine. Even without a properly infinite combo, it’s easy to chain Wheel of Fortune -style effects with a Paradox Engine out, to net a large number of insects, or to find a tutor or infinite combo. However, there are two infinite combos with Paradox Engine in the deck as well.

Either Isochron Scepter (with anything imprinted) + Paradox Engine + or Mystic Speculation + Paradox Engine + generates infinite colored mana. With infinite colored mana, as mentioned above, we can cast The Locust God and loot infinitely, generating infinite Locusts and finding another infinite combo (or Firestorm if necessary).

It’s also worth mentioning that the Isochron Scepter route DOES work with a Counterspell or Stifle imprinted: you target the original spell (or Paradox Engine trigger) repeatedly and build an infinitely high set of spells on the stack, harvesting mana after resolving each. Moreover, while Mystic Speculation + doesn’t generate infinite mana, it does let you Scry 3 infinitely, which allows you to reorder your library (even in judged games - it’s a permitted shortcut). With any cantrip, you can win without question at this point. Dream Halls has been in some builds of this deck, to fulfill a similar role to Paradox Engine , but the symmetrical nature of the effect eventually led me to focus exclusively on Engine.

…and if you can have Jace's Archivist on the battlefield with Paradox Engine , things just get silly. I’ve milled people doing this!

Primary tutors: Transmute Artifact / Fabricate for Paradox Engine ; Muddle the Mixture / Transmute Artifact / Fabricate for Isochron Scepter ; Spellseeker / Mystical Tutor for Mystic Speculation . Spellseeker for Transmute Artifact for Paradox Engine is a valid line of play. Any artifact tutor can also grab mana rocks as necessary to fulfill needs for colored mana.

This combo is not one I've seen elsewhere, and I've stolen several games with it. Murder of Crows goes infinite with The Locust God , if you have a free sac outlet (such as Ashnod's Altar or Phyrexian Altar ). It's also a very smooth curve: T3 play an Altar, T4 play a creature, T5 Murder of Crows , T6 The Locust God and combo-kill. This combo yields infinite mana and infinite looting, so be sure to start it with at least one card in hand! Once you loot into (and cast) Alhammarret's Archive , this combo also gives infinite draw.

This combo is…weird. On one hand, nobody sees it coming, and once the pieces are on the field you can go infinite in response to removal: it’s almost undisruptable, short of something like Krosan Grip . On the other, Murder of Crows doesn’t do much else for the deck’s goals (other than discouraging board wipes, I suppose) unless an opponent is running something like Meren of Clan Nel Toth , and he can’t be tutored. I’ve kept it as a backup wincon when all else fails, but Murder of Crows is one of the possible cuts as a very conditional 5-drop.

Primary tutors: Transmute Artifact / Fabricate for the Altar; none for Murder of Crows .

And now we come to the classic 1-card combo! I built this deck before Kindred Discovery was spoiled, but I was ecstatic when it was revealed because it was exactly what I needed to kick the deck into the stratosphere.

For anyone who hasn't seen this combo before, this is how it works: name “Insect” on Kindred Discovery while The Locust God is on the field, and as soon as any Locust ETBs or attacks, you draw infinite cards. Now, this is a problem if you don't have a way to terminate the loop, because you’ll deck yourself…

Most decks run Laboratory Maniac + Flash and plan to win when they run out of cards. While he was in earlier versions of this deck, I find this to be an insufficient solution because an opponent can kill you with a Doom Blade , and because Laboratory Maniac is completely useless at all other points in the game.

Instead, this deck plans to terminate the combo by casting Firestorm with ~5 cards left in library in response to one of the draw triggers. There are guaranteed to be enough targets (your opponents, their creatures, and a bunch of Locusts) on the battlefield, which solves one of the classic problems with Firestorm . Even if you do not have the available when starting the combo, Simian Spirit Guide can generate it (assuming he hasn’t been used earlier in the game). With your deck in your hand, you have access to Force of Will and Pact of Negation to protect your wincon, as well as normal counterspells if you happen to have enough mana.

If Firestorm is in the GY, you can hold up mana to cast Izzet Charm (or any other instant-speed loot spell) to discard Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and shuffle your GY into library. If Firestorm is exiled (say, off of Diminishing Returns ), you can terminate the loop with Stifle IF you started it with a single card drawn (which is highly recommended). If you used Stifle to terminate the combo, you can then cast sorcery-speed things to win, but be aware that any card being drawn starts the loop again.

Primary tutors: None for Kindred Discovery , though Firestorm is found as part of the combo’s execution. This is why this combo is not the primary wincon - not enough consistency.

Sometimes you just can’t win with an infinite combo. Either your opponents will have drawn the perfect silver bullet, or Null Rod is on the field, or you just can’t find a tutor. That’s fine! This deck also runs several non-infinite ways to win, or to slant the board so ridiculously in your favor that you should be able to FIND a way to win. In no particular order:

Consecrated Sphinx + any wheel: Draw 40+ cards in one easy step! If you can’t find a way to win with that many cards in hand, the problem isn’t the deck, it’s you.

Opposition + tokens: Opposition is a vicious stax card in this deck, if you’ve got a few Locusts sitting around. You can use it to lock down a voltron commander, tap your opponents’ mana during their upkeep (or just their access to a color), tap down all Islands before comboing off, remove blockers… The possibilities are endless. It’s a terrifying card here, and is a wincon in its own right.

Shared Animosity + tokens: Seems pretty self-explanatory. Shared Animosity reads “X Locusts swing for X^2 damage”, meaning that 7 Locusts are a lethal alpha strike against whichever opponent is most troublesome. Not coincidentally, that’s the number of cards Wheel of Fortune draws…” Shared Animosity , Wheel of Fortune , 49 damage” is a great line of play to kill someone out of the blue.

Cyclonic Rift + any wheel: Cyclonic Rift is already a great card, but it’s even nastier here. You can hold up 7 mana to cast Cyclonic Rift at the end of your opponent’s turn, then during your turn cast Wheel of Fortune . You just perma-removed all of your opponents’ nonland cards, while leaving your own board state unaffected. I’ve won several times due to concessions from doing this.

…and of course, after a few wheels, you’ll be swinging 20+ evasive damage per turn. Without a board wipe, that can end the game alone.

The fact that we can win without relying on infinite combos is what separates this deck from every other Izzet spellslinger deck: when our combo is disrupted or destroyed, we can easily compete with aggro or midrange decks on an equal footing. It's also what makes this deck so fun - there are a thousand viable strategies, and it never feels repetitive! :)

UR is a color combination somewhat lacking in unconditional tutors, but the many Wheel of Fortune / Windfall -style effects make it easy to draw into the pieces you need. I am running eleven of what I consider "strong draw" effects: Time Reversal , Diminishing Returns , Wheel of Fortune , Windfall , Time Spiral , Recurring Insight , Consecrated Sphinx , Magus of the Wheel , Jace's Archivist , Reforge the Soul , and Skullclamp (if The Locust God is on field). Between these options, it’s generally not hard to find the cards you need, though tutors should still be spent wisely.

That being said, it's often hard to decide if you should toss half of one combo in order to dig for the next, which is the hardest part of mastering this deck ;) Feel free to ask for my opinion, if you want to get a feel for the kinds of decisions the deck requires!

A lot of people, upon visiting this page, freak out seeing the ~$3500 price tag that TappedOut generated for this deck. Let me reassure you that you will not need to decide between building this deck and buying a car: it is absolutely possible to build this deck on a budget.

Let's analyze what makes this deck so expensive, and how we can build it on a budget. I've also constructed a $125 budget version of this deck, which can definitely compete at many tables and can be seen here:

$125 Budget Locust God EDH

Commander / EDH Daedalus19876


Let’s take a quick look what makes this deck so expensive. A lot of the value is tied up in foils, Masterpieces, etc, and once those are removed the price is cut in half. Beyond that, if we cut the 20 most expensive cards ( Ancient Tomb , Cavern of Souls , Chrome Mox , Command Beacon , Dack Fayden , Flooded Strand , Force of Will , Grim Monolith , Kozilek, Butcher of Truth , Mana Crypt , Mana Drain , Mana Vault , Mox Diamond , Mox Opal , Phyrexian Altar , Polluted Delta , Strip Mine , Time Spiral , Transmute Artifact , and Wheel of Fortune ), we find that the price has plummeted to only $300 - very affordable for an EDH deck!

Looking at the list of cut cards, we find that we lost powerful acceleration, tutors, and counterspells…but almost none of our wincons. With less money, the deck is less explosive but should maintain its power in the late game. With that in mind, let’s think up some cheaper replacements.

Cutting these 20 cards leaves us at 24 land, and with the loss of this many mana rocks, I would not be comfortable below 34 land. So that fills half our slots already: I’d add mostly basics, but a cheap dual-color land or two never went amiss in a budget deck.

With the remaining 10 slots, I’d fill it with a mixture of draw spells, mana rocks, and more late-game powerful cards: something along the lines of Game Plan , Khorvath's Fury , Bident of Thassa , Serum Visions , Vandalblast , Reshape , Trophy Mage , Sky Diamond , Pyramid of the Pantheon , and Snapback . This should keep the deck consistent enough to still perform almost as well, at one tenth the cost :)

In its fully-powered form, this deck doesn’t generally have many glaring weaknesses. Having played more than a thousand games with it, I’ve found only a few weaknesses, and attempted to avert them wherever possible.

First, we are a spell-based, storm-esque combo deck, so we tend to have the same weaknesses as that archetype generally does. Stax restrictions such as Arcane Laboratory , Spirit of the Labyrinth , et cetera tend to hit us very hard, if they interfere with our ability to cast many spells or our ability to draw cards. I’ve found the best way to work around this sort of thing is to either use our tutors to dig for removal before we go off ( Firestorm can pull double duty here, and most of our answers can be found with Spellseeker / Mystical Tutor /etc), or to just generate an army of Locusts and win with a backup aggro approach. This isn’t a crippling weakness in that matchup, however, as we can often establish a large amount of board presence before they can lay down their stax pieces.

Second, hard control decks mess with us, as should be expected for a deck that wins primarily through combo. I’ve played Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and/or Defense Grid in the past to combat this weakness, but at the moment the primary answers for control here are in the form of our own counterspells. If you are concerned that your opponents have a counterspell, it’s usually worth holding up that mana. And if they didn’t have a counter, hey! It’s extra mana to combo off with. Pact of Negation and Force of Will are important here, because they give us ways to interact without spending limited mana.

Third, faster combo decks can cause us a problem, if they are true cEDH builds (i.e. winning T2-4 on average). I’m generally not too worried by Food Chain Prossh, because they usually can’t match our counterspells, but decks like Kess Doomsday -Storm can be an issue, because they win about half a turn faster than us on average (and have access to tutors that we do not). Unless you have an exceptionally fast hand, the best plan here is usually NOT to race them to a combo. Instead, hoard your counterspells and target their wincons and tutors. Our deck is usually more resilient than them if you survive the initial turns, because we run more combos and thus are more able to recover after a blowout. Mystic Remora is a priority in this matchup, and I used to run Mindbreak Trap to handle this sort of thing.

Fourth, consistent removal on our commander can hurt. He doesn’t pay commander tax, usually, but if he is removed in response to a wheel, it can deny us Locusts that we were planning to rely upon. Moreover, a 6-CMC commander already isn’t cheap, so if he gets countered or exiled a few times, things can get tricky (and push us towards infinite-mana-centric combos). I’m running Cavern of Souls (“naming God”) to help here, but I’ve still had issues occasionally. As this deck tilts more towards combo rather than aggro, this weakness has lessened: many games I don’t even cast The Locust God until I already am in the process of comboing off (particularly under Paradox Engine ).

Fifth, if playing against cEDH decks, don’t wheel until you absolutely HAVE to. Our wheels are good here because our mana curve is low enough to break parity: we can empty our hand very very quickly, then wheel when our opponents still have many cards in hand. However, other cEDH decks have curves as low (or even lower) than us, so a wheel can be sharply in their favor. If this is the case, things get tricky, and I try to only wheel once I’ve either 1) completely run out of gas and have no other choice, or 2) I’m planning to win that turn.

And finally, sometimes the non-infinite Paradox Engine combos simply fizzle, if you wheel and draw a hand full of lands. The deck uses as many wheel effects as possible to avert this, and Alhammarret's Archive usually solves this problem, but it's still something to be aware of. I’d say this happens maybe 5% of the time that you resolve a Paradox Engine ?

Many powerful warriors from many planes have tried to stand up to the Horned One.

The multiverse is littered with their bones. Look upon their remains, ye mighty, and despair:

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death , Anafenza, the Foremost , Animar, Soul of Elements (optimized combo version), Archangel Avacyn  , Arcum Dagsson (LabManiacs cEDH build), Atraxa, Praetors' Voice (superfriends), Avacyn, Angel of Hope , Ayesha Tanaka , Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim , Azami, Lady of Scrolls , Baral, Chief of Compliance (optimized 1v1 polydrazi build), Brago, King Eternal (hard stax), Breya, Etherium Shaper , Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer , Captain Sisay , Celestial Kirin , Child of Alara , Cromat , Damia, Sage of Stone , Daretti, Scrap Savant (optimized combo/stax), Darien, King of Kjeldor , Daxos the Returned , Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (stax, superfriends, combo), Edgar Markov , Elenda, the Dusk Rose , Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite , Emrakul, the Promised End , Ezuri, Renegade Leader , Gahiji, Honored One , General Tazri (both Allies tribal and optimized Tier 1 Food Chain combo), Geth, Lord of the Vault , Ghoulcaller Gisa , Gishath, Sun's Avatar , Gonti, Lord of Luxury , Grand Arbiter Augustin IV , Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons (optimized combo/stax), Hazoret the Fervent , Hope of Ghirapur , Horde of Notions , Inalla, Archmage Ritualist , Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker , Ishkanah, Grafwidow , Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge , Kaalia of the Vast , Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas , Kambal, Consul of Allocation , Karador, Ghost Chieftan, Karametra, God of Harvests , Karlov of the Ghost Council , Kestia, the Cultivator , Kozilek, Butcher of Truth , Kraum, Ludevic's Opus , Krenko, Mob Boss , Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix , Lord Windgrace , Marath, Will of the Wild , Marrow-Gnawer , Mayael the Anima , Meren of Clan Nel Toth , Merieke Ri Berit , Mizzix of the Izmagnus , Neheb, the Eternal , Nekusar, the Mindrazer (so many times), Nicol Bolas, the Ravager   (a poor imitator of the true Horned One; his heresy has been cleansed), Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind (optimized $8000 build), O-Kagachi, Vengeful Kami , Oloro, Ageless Ascetic , Omnath, Locus of Mana , Omnath, Locus of Rage , Oona, Queen of the Fae , Phelddagrif , Prossh, Skyraider of Kher (optimized combo version; many times), Ramos, Dragon Engine , Rashmi, Eternities Crafter , Ravos, Soultender , Razaketh, the Foulblooded , Rhys the Redeemed , Rosheen Meanderer , Ruric Thar, the Unbowed , Saskia the Unyielding , Selvala, Explorer Returned , Sen Triplets , Sharuum the Hegemon , Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker , Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa , Sidisi, Brood Tyrant , Sliver Overlord , Szadek, Lord of Secrets , Taigam, Ojutai Master , Tajic, Blade of the Legion , Tajic, Legion's Edge , Tana, the Bloodsower , Teferi, Temporal Archmage (fully-optimized Tier 1 Chain Veil list), Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts , Teysa, Orzhov Scion , The Gitrog Monster , The Mimeoplasm , The Scarab God , The Ur-Dragon , Thrasios, Triton Hero , Titania, Protector of Argoth , Tymna the Weaver , Uril, the Miststalker , Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger , Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre , Vendilion Clique , Wasitora, Nekoru Queen , Yahenni, Undying Partisan , Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder , Zada, Hedron Grinder , Zo-Zu the Punisher , Zur the Enchanter , and my own doppelgänger: The Locust God (many times).

Upvote...or Bolas will come to your plane next!


Updates Add

I may...have spent a little too much of my paycheck here, don't judge me. The deck is now my strongest deck by miles (turns out Transmute Artifact is BONKERS!) and loses maybe 5% of games at this point, even in metas with good opponents.

I've updated the primer, and also updated the curve of the deck using the new T/O feature to override CMC. I now have Force of Will marked as a 0-mana spell as it should be, though Cyclonic Rift is now marked as costing 7 mana (as it does in reality). Along with a couple other modifications, this gives a more accurate reading of how much mana this deck actually NEEDS to function.

And, as always, check out the $125 version of the deck if you're not interested in spending $700+ emulating the fully-powered list! Thank you all for all the help you've given, and I look forward to seeing where this deck will evolve!

$125 Budget Locust God EDH

Commander / EDH Daedalus19876


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Date added 1 year
Last updated 4 days

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.26
Tokens 0/1 Insect, 1/1 Spirit, Dack, 1/1 Bird
Folders EDH Try, Nice, EDH decks, Cool ideas, Inspiration, Interesting decks, Great Ideas, EDH Decks to Build, primer, EDH, See all 217
Top rank #1 on 2017-06-24
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Revision 84 See all

4 days ago)

-1 Mana Drain main
+1 Mana Vault main
+1 Mana Drain main
-1 Mana Vault ZH main
+1 Mana Vault ZH maybe