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Zurgo Stax - $800 Budget

Commander / EDH*



Maybeboard (1)


Budget Zurgo/Stax Primer


This was built with a $750 budget in mind, but expanded to $800 on request of the individual who requested the deck who already owned a handful of the cards. Many of the choices to add/drop or exclude cards were based on that budget (example: Mox Diamond being cut for 7 lands). The budget also prevented going all in on certain strategies. Blood Moon style locks, and full on reanimation packaging were lost on the way to afford enablers and stax pieces considered more integral to the deck in it's current form.

Win Cons:

Zurgo Helmsmasher himself will be your primary wincon through commander damage. This can be accelerated by equipping him with Assault Suit once the board is locked down. This pair allows you to pinball Zurgo around the table without fear of losing him. If all the attacks connect it should take 3 trips around the table to finish everyone off, while you focus on more important things, like preventing anyone from doing anything else other than playing with your Zurgo.

Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker + Felidar Guardian will operate as our tutorable, reanimatable, backup wincon. Infinite haste kittens to finish the game off.


Attacking freely with Zurgo means you need to have enough ways of keeping the board clear. For this, we run a stax package and asymmetrical land destruction. Armageddon, Cataclysm, Ruination will let you decide the most efficient way to shut down your opponents mana and advance yourself. If your lock failed, and you just need a reset, Jokulhaups and Worldslayer can provide that outlet. Did I mention that Zurgo Helmsmasher is such a badass that hes going to stay on the board through that?

Feel free, afterwards, to simply recur all your lands you just exploded with Crucible of Worlds, and move on with your day like nothing happened as your opponents spend 10 minutes on each of their turns trying to figure out what to do next!

Boseiju, Who Shelters All is how we are going to ensure that we dont have to jam our Land Destruction through counterspells. If you want it to go through, its going through!

Cant get Boseiju? Players keep stopping your desire to explode their world? Price of Glory comes in as our budget saviour, making those arrogant enough to stand in the way of world-shifting progress suffer in the same way theyre trying to prevent. Now, do you really think the blue player is going to sacrifice their own lands in a grinder game to save their opponents and put them ahead? I mean, maybe? But I doubt it.

Entomb, Reanimate, Victimize. Animate Dead, and Necromancy will allow you to recur important stax pieces that get removed (probably by you, you psycho world exploder!). They will also help you recover Kiki and Felidar if you happen to whiff the combo out. Alternatively, if nothing is going your way at all and Zurgos CMC is skyrocketing, they can help you get out of a pinch and keep on swinging.

Stax Package

Zurgo runs a targeted stax package, which can vary to suit your individual meta (in fact, it should definitely vary to suit your individual meta or you're wasting slots with stax pieces that won't help you). This deck highlights a general overview on a stax-lite package.

Aura of Silence, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Sphere of Resistance and most of your creature and artifacts are used to simply punish your opponents from trying to play early as you ramp and tutor to get ready to drop Zurgo, blow some lands up, and get to work.

Phyrexian Revoker and Cursed Totem are this decks answers to most fast graveyard creature combos like Devourer + Jarad, while we skirt around them with passive abilities and triggers.

Remember to rush your stax out. Get the lock in place early, or Zurgo is going to be fighting through more hate that youre going to want.

Card Draw and Tutors

Wheel of Fortune, Necropotence, Phyrexian Arena and Mask of Memory are the primary methods of card draw in this deck.

Land Tax combines with Scroll Rack to help recovery after mass land destruction, or the need to filter your hand. Land Tax in play allows you to gamble on blowing up lands without holding a crucible, and drawing 3 lands, followed by a Scroll Rack to then filter your hand and library to put a couple of those lands back, allowing you to ensure you draw 1 land a turn and acquire other things!

Vampiric Tutor, Demonic Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, Gamble and Dark Petition allow us to hunt down the parts we need, while Dimir Machinations gives us a more focused card to find stax parts, almost all the Draw enchantments, Crucible, and Yawgmoth's Will, which will be used to promptly recast everything youve already used.

Removal and Board Wipes

There will come a time, when nothing goes your way, and you need to reset without losing everything youve done. Toxic Deluge is our card of choice if Zurgo is not on the table as an efficient way to remove anything from your path. Pyroclasm finds its way into the deck as a cheap way clear away early dorks that are preventing your MLD from being optimal, sweeping away any opposing Stax player whos locked you out first, or cleaning your own board out if you lock yourself out of the game. Wrath of God enjoys a position of removing the rest of the board, except your Zurgo, without affecting your rocks. Running a hanful larger bodied stax creatures allows us to retain key pieces through the Pyroclasm or Low-Life Deluge such as Eidolon of Rhetoric, Lodestone Golem and Loxodon Gatekeeper.

Chandra's Ignition enters the deck as a Zurgo buffer and board wipe. Fire it at your commander, remove the blockers from your path, and see Zurgos trigger ability stack +1/+1 counters on him. Even if you blow up your own creatures, you still get the boost to your commander damage!

Swords to Plowshares comes in as one of the few targeted removal in the deck. If the deck did what it was supposed to do, your removal is proactive: they didnt get to play anything. If youre firing Swords to Plowshares at something, youre probably already in trouble. My advice? Explode more land, see what happens.

What Comes Next?

Ideally, when the budget increases, the focus can be on correcting the major weaknesses of the deck, which in this version is "trying to do too much with too little": Splitting Voltron with Stax with Combo. A budget forces this style, as you'll end up missing a majority of the pieces that let you play around your opponents - if you go all in with Budget Voltron, and they prevent you from ever swinging, you're dead in the water. A non-budget deck can add the expensive cards to prevent this situation.

A focused landbase, complete with the necessary ABUR duals and fetches, opens up the speed of play to make most of the changes to improve the deck. Adding more efficient mana rocks would be the next step.

Zurgo doesn't offer much over Alesha or Daretti as a Stax commander. Alesha can recur her locks, while at the same time, playing around those same locks to keep working the game down. What Zurgo does do well, is Survive board wipes, pinball, and smash face. Hard.

For Zurgo to operate in such a manner, I believe that you need 3 key things in place:

  1. Casting Zurgo fast and often using efficient ramp and draw that can survive your mass destruction

  2. Preventing your opponents from building up faster than you.

  3. Keeping the board clear of not only creatures, but of everything through Jokulhaups and directed Wrath style effects, while Zurgo stays alive.

Once the landbase and mana rock situation has improved, adding better tutors Grim Tutor and Imperial Seal, land destruction like Ravages of War will be the next step. More wrath effects like Damnation would also go a long way. Blood Moon and Magus of the Moon should make an appearance as well as you keep opponents lands on lock down with Zurgo in play.

Zurgo needs to ramp fast, efficiently, and then interfere with as much boardstate as possible to maintain that the only thing your opponents have on the table, is a deep shame, half a beer, and an empty playmat.

Going all in on a Combo-Win with Zurgo for feels redundant, as Alesha can handle that same job more efficiently. If you're playing a more tuned version of Zurgo, in my opinion you should dedicate to the Voltron lifestyle.



zsurapine says... #1

I love it, makes me want to convert my Zurgo deck lmao.

What about Thalia, Heretic Cathar??

January 29, 2017 7:49 p.m.

Cycada says... #2

I don't know if she would increase your curve too much, but using Thalia, Heretic Cathar instead of Imposing Sovereign would hit fetchlands and other quick recovery lands while doing the same job; all for one more mana. She's also a useful blocker to keep those 1-2 dmg pings from getting through.

January 30, 2017 8:53 a.m.

zsurapine, Cycada - Ill take a look at Thalia, Heretic Cathar again. I feel that she might be a suitable replacement to Glowrider without affecting curve drop, meta dependent.

Thank you both for the suggestions.

January 30, 2017 5:31 p.m.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 8 months
Last updated 8 months

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.54
Folders Commander/Inspirations, Stax, Budget EDH
Views 806