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Bontu the Glorified - Trial of Ambition (v1.0)

Commander / EDH Aristocrats Mono-Black Sacrifice Tokens Zombie



Updated - 12/31/21

Proxies - Multiple. See "Proxies" category below.

Sleeves - Dragon Shield Matte (Black)

Deck Box - Ultra Pro Two-Piece 150 (Clear) (To show off the full-art face card proxy I made for the deck)

Playmat - Ultra Pro - Amonkhet - Bontu, the Glorified

Hello and welcome to my deck based around Bontu the Glorified, the God of Ambition from the plane of Amonkhet. As a longtime fan of Egyptian mythology and imagery, Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation were sets that I was heavily invested in when I started playing in early 2019. Even though they may not be as popular or as powerful as the gods of Theros, Amonkhet's gods hold a special place in my heart and I've built decks for all five of them. This one is the first of the five to be made public. I'll try and slowly make the others available, but these things take forever to type out and set up.

I've been playing Magic for about two years now, with about a year and a half of that being mainly Commander. I was getting ready to start visting local game stores when the pandemic hit last year. Because of that, I've only ever played Magic at home with my brothers using various commander decks that I thought were interesting/they would find interesting. This is the fourth commander deck I've decided to make public because I think that Bontu needs more attention (all the Amonkhet gods do, really). With a measly 55(?!) decks to her name, it's safe to say that she isn't the best choice for mono-black, but I love the look and feel of Amonkhet (It's my favorite plane, despite the AKH/HOU block's relatively low power level and some questionable design choices), so here we are! While there may be more popular mono black commanders out there (Yawgmoth, K'rrik etc), I think Bontu has a lot to offer even with her built in setback.

I'm trying to find that nebulous middle ground between "casual" and "competitive" with this deck, powerlevel-wise. Also, this deck may not necessarily be "budget" (another nebulous term), please do not recommend overly expensive cards such as Yawgmoth's Will . They are far out of my price range, despite how good they are. With all that being said, let's get into the deck!

***Note : All cards choices came from research using Scryfall, EDHREC and here on TappedOut.


On Amonkhet, to reach the God-Pharaoh's afterlife, one must complete the Five Trials. Bontu oversees the fourth trial, the Trial of Ambition. In her trial, initiates are reunited with their crop-mates (who may have completed the previous three trials at different speeds) and grouped into groups of ten before being admitted into the trial. The trial itself is very reminiscent of the first trial, Oketra's Trial of Solidarity, however, this trial is less about "being the best FOR the team" and more "being the best ON the team" as initiates find themselves in direct competition with each other. They must demonstrate their own resolve by completing the trial, no matter the cost.... even if that cost means sacrificing a childhood friend. The puzzles contained in the Trial of Ambition are designed so that every move forwards demands a sacrifice. Some examples of this are puzzles where an initiate crosses a small body of muddy water to lower a bridge for the rest of his crop... only to lose his way back up once the bridge drops, or a puzzle where an initiate must hit a pressure plate to open a door for the rest of his crop to escape from a terrible demon... a pressure plate that becomes locked once the door closes, ensuring that the one who held it can't escape.

Initiates who complete this trial are greeted by Bontu herself, given a cartouche and then given a choice of three doors. The bottom door grants a severely disadvantageous starting position in the final trial. Initiates who go through this door have very little chance to survive as they are set upon by monsters and initiates who have the high ground right out of the gate. If all initiates choose this door, then they can all leave through it. However, if any initiate chooses one of the other two doors, the bottom door guarantees certain death for those who choose it. The middle door grants a balanced starting position in the final trial, and with it, better odds at a higher place in the afterlife. This door remains shut until exactly one initiate passes through the golden door at the top. The third door grants an incredible advantageous starting position in the final trial. These advantages include possibly skipping the first few rounds of the fighting or having the highest ground possible when the fighting starts, along with being assured of a high standing in the afterlife. The stairs leading up to this door, however, are covered with spikes, whips and various other weapons that are meant to inflict massive pain, but not kill. The implication is clear : one initiate must rise above all the others, no matter the cost, and leave through the golden door so the rest can leave through the middle door... Or all initiates can leave through the bottom door and be doomed to fail the final trial. Initiates must make their choice quickly, as Bontu likes to hasten their decision by filling the room with endless swarms of flesh-eating scarabs.

Bontu herself is the most isolated of Amonkhet's pantheon. When not overseeing her trial or tending to her duties involving the embalming of the unworthy dead, she is usually found in the tunnels beneath the city of Naktamun gathering information on the other four gods' strengths, weaknesses and habits in anticipation of the day the God-Pharaoh returns and she can prove her worth by killing the other gods. She is determined to earn the God-Pharaoh's favor... at any cost.

This deck is based around Bontu the Glorified. She has some nice stats, 4/6 for with menace and indestructible. (Because she has built in evasion and is indestructible, this could easily be a voltron commander as well.) She also has an activated ability that lets you sacrifice a creature to scry and ping opponents for one. This ability is mainly useless as we're going to have better sac outlets most of the time. It can be pretty useful in a pinch, though. Since she can't attack or block unless one of your creatures died this turn, we need to have sac outlets and sac fodder at the ready 24/7. Because of this drawback, we're going with an aristocrats build with a token subtheme for this particular deck.

Why Bontu? Honestly, I just think the Amonkhet gods are cool and have some of my favorite MTG art. Are there better choices? Probably. Do they look as cool? Probably not! :D

Only one planeswalker in this deck. Liliana, Death's Majesty. All three of her abilites synergize well with this deck. The +1 creates tokens and fuels some graveyard shenanigans, her -3 is good for recurring something you milled or something that died previously and her -7 is a board wipe that usually doesn't bother us much as most of the creatures for this deck are zombies.
Cauldron Familiar, Reassembling Skeleton, Gravecrawler and Bloodsoaked Champion are all creatures that recur themselves are wonderful sac fodder.

Vile Entomber is a new card from MH2 that works really well here. Mostly here to dump one of the creatures above into the graveyard so you can immediately recur it to use as fodder.

Blood Pet, Basal Thrull, Blood Vassal, Solemn Simulacrum and Nirkana Revenant are all for ramp. The first three can also sac themselves at any time, which is useful if you need to cast an instant or need Bontu to block.

Grave Titan, Underworld Hermit and Endrik Sahr, Master Breeder are all token producers. Titan is a reliable three-for-one creature that can provide more and more value the longer it is out. Underworld Hermit is like Gray Merchant but it makes tokens instead of draining/gaining life. Endrik Sahr is easily the best token producer this deck has. With a way to sacrifice his tokens before they get out of control, he's a steady fodder producer.

Harvester of Souls, Pitiless Plunderer, Pawn of Ulamog, Vindictive Vampire, Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat all capitalize on our plentiful death triggers. Massacre Wurm does the same but is specific to opponents creatures. They do everything from card draw to ramp to damage. Some configuration of these (or whichever others you prefer!) is a must-include.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel because he's a staple.

Gravedigger helps with recursion and has some sweet AKH art.

Smothering Abomination and God-Eternal Bontu help to both draw cards and sac stuff.

Viscera Seer and Priest of the forgotten gods are great sac outlets.

Bone Picker and Tattered Mummy are personal choices for flavor reasons.

Pestilence works wonders with an indestructible commander. It helps to clear the way for Bontu to attack and it kills our own stuff in the process.

Dreadhorde Invasion helps to make tokens.

Attrition because Invocations are my favorite. This one is especially useful, allowing us to sac a creature to kill something else.

Phyrexian Arena for card draw.

Dark Prophecy, Black Market, Shadows of the Past and Bastion of Remembrance all capitalize on our death triggers. Like the death trigger creatures, these do everything from ramp to card draw. Some configuration of these (or others) is a must have.

Trial of Ambition and Cartouche of Ambition are flavor choices.

Tutors include Diabolic Intent, Profane Tutor, Grim Tutor and Demonic Tutor.

Agadeem's Awakening  , Persist and Call of the Death-Dweller are all for recursion.

Never/Return, Malicious Affliction, Feed the Swarm, Fatal Push and Defile are all for removal. Push and Affliction both synergize well with our sacrifice theme.

Carrion is a great token maker. Best used on something like Grave Titan or Nirkana Revenant for maximum value.

Painful Lesson, Village Rites and Costly Plunder are all for card draw. Lesson is a flavor choice. The other two help synergize with the sacrifice theme.

Bontu's Last Reckoning is our board wipe for obvious reasons.

Culling the Weak is a better version of Dark Ritual for this deck.

Torment of Hailfire is a late game finisher.

These are all self explanatory. Lashwrithe gets a special mention as it can make Bontu a serious threat on her own.
The land base looks a bit funny because I have the basic swamps separated by art. Amonkhet being my favorite plane, I tried to showcase as much of it's scenery as possible, as opposed to my usual "One art" mindset on basics.

Notable nonbasics include Phyrexian Tower and High Market for instant-speed sacrifice and Bonders' Enclave for card draw.

This deck contains a handful of proxies. Most are mainly for art/flavor purposes. Phyrexian Tower has worked really well in games and testing. Need to order one. Demonic Tutor is a card I only have one of and it's in another deck. Ancient Tomb is good but is stupidly expensive. Waiting for a reprint. Jet Medallion See above. Liliana, Death's Majesty is for the SICK SDCC 2017 art. Grave Titan has an Invocation frame.
Some cards that have worked really well for me and that I think should be staples in Bontu decks are : Endrik Sahr, Master Breeder, Reassembling Skeleton/Gravecrawler, Blood Pet/Blood Vassal/Basal Thrull, Pestilence, Culling the Weak, Lashwrithe, High Market/Phyrexian Tower
I know that Bone Picker, Tattered Mummy, Trial/Cartouche of Ambition, Bontu's Last Reckoning and Painful Lesson are some subpar card choices, but I made these AKH god decks mainly focused on flavor, so... for the time being, they're staying in.
Games played after posting will be recorded here.


That's everything! Thanks for taking a look and please drop any thoughts, comments or suggestions below. I'd like to tweak this deck as best as I can while still adhering to a flavor > function mentality. Once again, please remember that I've never played commander outside of my own house, so be nice!


Updates Add


78% Casual

22% Competitive

Revision 4 See all

(1 year ago)

+1 Fell Stinger maybe
+1 Ghoulish Procession maybe
+1 Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia maybe
+1 Persistent Specimen maybe
Top Ranked
Date added 2 years
Last updated 1 year

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

8 - 0 Mythic Rares

25 - 0 Rares

23 - 0 Uncommons

17 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.00
Tokens 0/1 B Token Creature Insect, Eldrazi Spawn 0/1 C, Food, Human Soldier 1/1 W, Phyrexian Germ 0/0 B, Squirrel 1/1 G, Thrull 1/1 B, Treasure, Zombie 2/2 B, Zombie Army 0/0 B
Folders All Decks, The Trials of Amonkhet
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