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Toxic Relationship: Hapatra EDH | *PRIMER*

Commander / EDH* BG (Golgari) Combo Counters Stax Tempo Tokens





This deck abuses -1/-1 counters for fun and profit: it's a token/stax deck, killing and maiming your opponents' creatures, with many possible combo kills thrown into the mix for good measure.

Hapatra's first ability is very relevant, surprisingly. You can take advantage of the fact that most tables will have at least one player without a creature on Turn 3, so you can usually swing to kill small utility creatures and get snakes. My favorite target to murder is Dark Confidant, hehe.

But her second ability is the reason to build around her. Spells like Black Sun's Zenith give disgusting value here: when you kill the board, you retain an army of deathtouching snakes! The snakes work equally well as attackers or defenders - deathtouch is a powerful ability on expendable creatures. It's also ludicrously easy to get more than 20 snakes, sac them for mana/cards, then win.

There are four major infinite combos (detailed below), which can yield many early wins. If the combos fail, for whatever reason, the deck can easily transition to being a stax build (with Smokestack, Mind Slash, etc) and/or classic beatdown (with Eldrazi Monument, Triumph of the Hordes, etc).

There are four main infinite combos in this deck:

-- Blowfly Infestation + Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons is the most well-known combo. It gives infinite token ETBs, infinite counter placement, and infinite death triggers (as long as you have two snakes when you begin the combo). With this combo working, Nest of Scarabs gives infinite creatures, Blood Artist/Obelisk Spider gives infinite life loss, et cetera.

(Be aware that this first combo does not work with Mikaeus, the Unhallowed on the field, unless you also control a free sac outlet like Ashnod's Altar.)

-- Devoted Druid + Quillspike creates infinite power, even without your commander. Paired with Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons or Nest of Scarabs, it also gives an infinite number of snakes! Both pieces of this combo can be fetched with Protean Hulk (thanks for unbanning that, Sheldon!) along with Sylvan Safekeeper to protect the combo from spot removal.

-- Devoted Druid + Mikaeus, the Unhallowed gives infinite death triggers and infinite -1 counter placement. With Obelisk Spider or Blood Artist, this causes your opponents to lose infinite life. Paired with Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons or Nest of Scarabs, this creates infinite tokens. Paired with Lightning Greaves or Ashnod's Altar, this also creates infinite mana.

-- Devoted Druid + Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons + Ivy Lane Denizen generates infinite green mana and infinite snakes. I discovered this combo by accident, heh. Unlike the other combos, Nest of Scarabs does not work as a replacement for Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons here.

Your best mass distributors for -1 counters are Harbinger of Night, Midnight Banshee, and Black Sun's Zenith. They will put counters on your snakes too, but your snakes will return if you control Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons (or Nest of Scarabs). Functionally, Harbinger of Night acts like casting Deploy to the Front each turn!

I've frequently netted more than 60 deathtouching snakes by doing this. Just try to ensure Hapatra has a way to survive the global counter placement, such as Ivy Lane Denizen or Defiant Greatmaw.

Natural Order frequently grabs Protean Hulk T4 or earlier. This can be enough to close out a game alone against an unprepared opponent.

Smokestack is of course one of the most vicious stax cards ever printed. You should have many expendable snakes to sacrifice, while your opponents lose more vital cards. Just don't forget to use it in the right way: sacrifice then increment the counters, so that you sacrifice less permanents than your opponent.

If a creature has even one counter on it, Vhati il-Dal can kill it - even if it's indestructible! Avacyn, Angel of Hope and Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre cannot stand up the power of Hapatra's poisons, muahahaha!

Triumph of the Hordes forces your opponents into a sadistic choice: if they block, you get more snakes because the infecting creatures deal combat damage in the form of -1 counters. If they choose not to block, even five snakes can prove deadly.

Ulvenwald Tracker is one of the most powerful creatures in this deck. It allows your snakes to Murder almost any threat on the field at instant speed - it's a powerful incentive for your opponents not to attack or mess with you.

Most of the tutors in this deck grab creatures. And while a large portion of the strategy in the deck is learning to tutor for the right thing at the right time, here's a rough outline:

Defense of the Heart usually tutors for Protean Hulk and Sadistic Hypnotist. This does leave a very brief gap for your Protean Hulk to be Path to Exile'd, though. You could include Viscera Seer in the list to remove that possibility, if you're worried. Or you could tutor for Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Devoted Druid to go infinite immediately, as long as you control your commander.

Natural Order also usually grabs Protean Hulk, but it can also grab your other combo piece directly or just a useful creature at the time. Eldritch Evolution and Worldly Tutor usually vary heavily based on board state.

Protean Hulk, in turn, usually tutors for Devoted Druid, Quillspike, and Sylvan Safekeeper. Unfortunately there are not any 1-mana creatures that can give haste in Golgari colors, but Sylvan Safekeeper can protect the combo pieces against spot removal.

The other major Protean Hulk combo is to grab Devoted Druid and Ivy Lane Denizen. This combo trades protection (no shroud) for speed (can ignore summoning sickness).

Uncage the Menagerie is a new addition to the deck, and it's heavily dependent on context. If you control Quillspike, X=2 can grab Devoted Druid + Blood Artist. If you control Devoted Druid, X=3 can grab Obelisk Spider + Quillspike + Necroskitter. If you are in the late-game and cannot combo for whatever reason, X=4 grabs Ivy Lane Denizen + Soul Snuffers + Meren of Clan Nel Toth + Vhati il-Dal for a more long-game token approach.

If you include Birthing Pod in the deck, it almost always goes for Ulvenwald Tracker first - after all, he does basically read ", : Murder" when paired with a snake token. After that point, it can tutor for several options, but most often hits Devoted Druid.

And your non-creature tutors will usually grab Blowfly Infestation for the one-card combo with Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, of course. Just remember that you need two snakes to execute this combo...

This deck thrives in a "mixed meta" - as in, where at least one player has very few creatures (so you can connect with Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons) and at least one player has many creatures (so that you have targets to put -1 counters on).

These are not insurmountable challenges - if all of your opponents have creatures, you can rely on cards other than Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons to place -1 counters. If none of your opponents have creatures, you can place counters on your own creatures without harming your gameplan TOO much - indeed, your infinite combos rely on doing so. They just tend to slow down the deck's tempo.

The deck is geared very much towards multiplayer (simply because more creatures = more -1 counters from global effects like Black Sun's Zenith). However, if playing in 1v1, the best plan is to prioritize stax cards against a controlling opponent, and early "rattlesnake" blockers against aggro decks.

Against a control deck, your combos will usually be disrupted. If you control Mind Slash or Sadistic Hypnotist, you can empty their hand before comboing. If this is not feasible, you can force them to waste their counterspells on your combo pieces, then push for a win through a token-aggro approach.

As is typical for me, I started building this about 2 minutes after she was first spoiled, so this is likely the oldest Hapatra deck on the internet! :)

What remaining cards would you add/cut?

Now exists as a (slightly untuned) $25 budget deck! Check it out!

$25 Extreme Budget Hapatra EDH

Commander / EDH Daedalus19876


Like the God-Pharoah, I shall return - Give an upvote if you like the deck!

...to support the Snake Revolution!


Updates Add

I had some spare money, so I bought major upgrades to this deck. I got my hands on a masterpiece Overgrown Tomb , a Riding the Dilu Horse, and a Craterhoof Behemoth. This deck is performing better than ever before :)

I just wish I could have found a copy of Earthcraft while I was at it...

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Date added 1 year
Last updated 5 days
Key combos

This deck is not Commander / EDH legal.

Highlight illegal cards
Illegal cards Generous Patron
Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.20
Tokens 0/1 Plant, 3/3 Beast, 1/1 Spirit, 1/1 Snake, Experience
Folders commander, Favorites, Other Hapatra Decks, Favorites, Commander, Not My Decks, interesting ideas, blablabla, EDH Decks to Build, favorites, See all 141
Top rank #1 on 2017-04-12
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