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Grenzo - Beats by Gre

Commander / EDH* Aggro Mono-Red



Hello all you fabulous EDH players! And welcome to a write-up for a powerful, but horribly underplayed, commander:

Grenzo, the Havoc Raiser

Grenzo is an aggressively costed 2/2 for RR. He gives you a trigger whenever any of your creatures get in for Combat Damage. You can choose to either Goad one of the damaged players' creatures or to exile the top card of their library and have the ability to play it until end of turn.

This Grenzo deck is a aggressive, mono-red deck that utilizes Combat Phase control to put its opponents in a bad place while protecting you from the big nasties out there. Combining low-costed value creatures with combat shenanigans lets you control the flow of battle while gaining card advantage from your opponents.


  • Goad: Forcing attacks puts your enemies at a distinct disadvantage, swinging in with creatures that don't want to swing or being attacked by big baddies they can't handle.
  • Card Advantage: Playing cards off the top of your opponent's libraries lets you save your own cards in hand. While it's not exactly Card Draw, it is it's own benefit.
  • Speed: Flying out of the gates with one and two drop creatures means you're setting the pace of the game. By the time people start to have a defense, you're already controlling the combats.
  • Underdog: No one wants to waste a big removal piece on a 2/1, not when there's a 7/7 beating down on them. Between "weaker" creatures and an unknown commander, you're never going to be the initial threat at the table.
  • Different Everytime: Each game will use different lines of play since you'll be peeling different cards off the top of opponents' libraries.


  • Resilience: While you're using your opponent's creatures to build your board, and typically have a hand of cards to rebuild with, you are susceptible to wipes.
  • Combo: There's very few ways you have to interact with combo. Short of the lucky peel off of Grenzo's exile trigger, you're reliant on others to stop the combo player.
  • Pillowfort: Grenzo likes to go wide, hitting with multiple creatures to overwhelm everyone. Being taxed for each creature is painful.
  • Enchantments: Mono-Red answers to enchantments all cost 7 mana. Start smacking the White/Green player and hope to find their answer.

The Gameplan - or - Havoc is a special form of Chaos

The Early Game: Turns 1-5

Your early game is about picking an anchor player. A player to latch on to, either because they're your main threat or because you think they'll have the best loot off their deck.

Your turn 1 should hopefully be a creature. 7 1-drop possibilities make for good odds. Turn 2 should be Grenzo, just about every time - Exceptions include a drop that'll put multiple creatures on board or a haste enabler in prep for Grenzo turn 3.

You want to start getting in right off the bat. By turn 3, you should be peeling cards off of people's libraries and goading problem creatures. By turn 5, your anchor should absolutely despise you and the other players should despise your anchor.

The Mid-Game: Turns 6-10

Your Mid-Game is about building a board and goading everything and everything. By this point you want a Block denying card on field. When no one can block, the havoc becomes all the sweeter.

Continue Goading problem creatures, but understand that you can take a bit of damage with a 40 point life pool. You don't need to worry about 2 damage, you don't need to goad mana dorks, and creatures with Tap abilities are all but immune to Goad. Focus on Goading the creatures that hurt, using your other triggers to peel loot from the top of libraries.

Around this time, your opponents will have Board Wipes active. If you've been focusing your anchor, and they didn't pull a wipe, you might be safe. Play some politics and see if you can convince people to not save your anchor, but always assume you'll face at least one wipe by now. Keep creatures in reserve and drop them to rebuild first. Drop Grenzo on the following turn to continue the Havoc.

Remember, your creatures cost so little that you're able to come out swinging at high-speed. And once the Goading resumes, your opponents will be under your control once again.

The Late Game: Turn 10+

Well... I don't know what to say... Congratulations for making it this far, but unfortunately it's uphill from here. Your opponents will have better, higher-costed stuff. Combos will be turned on and become threats. People will have gotten tired of your shit (and we don't blame them). The Late Game is a problem for you.

Continue your Goad strategy and hope to peel some good cards for loot. There's no specific way of getting through this, but with some luck you can ride the early advantage and mid-game control to victory - or at least some shits and giggle-style plays.

The Cards -or- Everyone Loves Specifics

Creatures - The Beats by Gre

Bomat Courier: Aggressive 1-drop that can refill your hand after a few attacks. Be careful about Krosan Grip - Cards lost forever.

Dragonmaster Outcast: 1-drop for early beats, while making tokens late-game.

Frenzied Goblin : Block-denier for when you need to get in under a creature.

Goblin Balloon Brigade : 1-drop that can gain evasion when needed. Replacing Soldier of Fortune

Gorilla Shaman: The OG Mox destroyer. Beats plus somewhat effective artifact destruction.

Legion Loyalist: Hasty beats on turn 1, plus a nasty little Battalion ability.

Stromkirk Noble: Early beats into mid-game threat.

: Didn't do enough and never produced tokens. Replaced with Soul of New Phyrexia.

Earthshaker Khenra: Hasty 2 drop that negates a blocker then comes back for more as a 4/4 later in the game. In testing.

Ire Shaman: Evasion coupled with red's card advantage.

Kari Zev : 2-for-1 Grenzo triggers and it comes with a fricking Monkey!

Stigma Lasher : 2-mana beat stick with added "No more Life Gain" attachment.

: Out! Low Energy! Replaced with Stigma Lasher~~

Goblin Rabblemaster: High threat, token production, and minuscule downside. Love it.

Hanweir Garrison: Immediate 3-for-1 Grenzo triggers and it just keeps packing value.

Markov Blademaster: Doublestrike triggers Grenzo twice and he gets bigger and bigger.

Prophetic Flamespeaker : Doublestrike again, this time paired with red's card advantage.

Pyreheart Wolf: Menace anthem on a puppy. A good doggo. Comes back after death.

Two-Headed Cerberus : Doublestrike for the 2-for-1 triggers. A good doggo.

Anger: Haste enabler, albeit a middling one.

Beetleback Chief: 3 triggers for 4 mana is good value.

Hound of Griselbrand : Doggo of doom. Doublestrike and Undying means it's a serious threat.

Krenko, Mob Boss: People make Krenko their Commander, and he's worth it. If you get an activation out of him, your opponents had best have a wipe handy.

Pia and Kiran Nalaar: 3 triggers for 4 mana is good value. Bonus direct damage is gravy.

Purphoros, God of the Forge: Purphoros changes your gameplan. You become the immediate threat to the table and you had best finish things quickly. Luckily, Purphoros finishes things quickly.

: Too expensive and always underperformed. People always paid or ignored the ogres with their own protections/fliers. Replaced with Neheb.

Neheb, the Eternal: Free mana for doing what we're already planning on doing! It's like robbing a bank and getting a lollipop anyways. Gives value the turn he drops and only gives more from there.

Siege-Gang Commander : 4 triggers for 5 mana is good value. Bonus Direct Damage is gravy.

Urabrask the Hidden : Haste Enabler and Haste denier. Creatures entering tapped means they can't block the turn before they get Goaded.

Oblivion Sower: Sower pulls all lands from Exile, not just the ones it put there. Pairs with Grenzo's triggers.

Soul of New Phyrexia: Later game mana sink to protect the board from wipes. Still in testing.

Chancellor of the Forge: In opening hand, it's a creature on turn one. Late Game, it's a huge token producing blowout that'll typically finish things.

Planeswalkers - Extraplanar Support Crew

Koth of the Hammer: Makes a land into a beatstick, makes mana, and if you're lucky enough to Ult him, it'll end the game.

: Too expensive for what it produced and often removed immediately after one use. Replaced with Red Elemental Blast.

Enchantments - Havoc to make your Havoc better

Break Through the Line: Haste enabler and Block denier. Absolute all-star.

Raging River : Just an amazingly fun card. Forcing your opponents to choose blocks before blocks is all but denying them the ability. Bonus points for cloning this.

Blood Moon: Can just shut off a person's game. Mean and unfair.

Goblin Assault : Token production with minuscule downside.

Goblin War Drums: The OG menace anthem. Beats for your beats for when you want to beat.

Heat Stroke: Trade your 1/1s for their 5/5s! Goad enemy creatures and watch your opponents lose everything to blocks.

Invasion Plans: Amazing block denier. One sacrificial attacker means the rest get in. Bonus points if Heat Stroke is on the table as well.

War Cadence : The opposite Pillowfort tax. More beats to support your Beats. Sometimes you just need to tax 1 or 2 to insure you get in.

Bedlam: No blocks, ever. Start Goading everything and watch the Havoc unfold.

Breath of Fury: One sacrificial attacker means you'll be getting in again. Without blockers, some opponents will just be dead.

War's Toll: You run at Sorcery speed, might as well make everyone else do the same. Also, a single Goad equals a full attack now.

Berserkers' Onslaught: Double strike Anthem. Double the triggers, double the fun.

Vicious Shadows: Your board will get wiped. It's EDH and we should expect wipes. This kills people when wipes go off.

Artifacts - Tools for all sorts of Havoc

Skullclamp: Often, it's worth it to trade a creature for two cards in hand.

Sol Ring: It's Sol Ring.

Captain's Claws: Turns any attacking creature into a token producer.

: Made useless by Block deniers. Replaced with Earthshaker Khenra

Fellwar Stone: You can cast your opponents cards using any color mana, but any abilities on those cards must use the stated color. Fellwar produces those colors, guaranteed.

Lightning Greaves: The boots with the fur. Haste enabler and protection for Grenzo.

Mind Stone: Generic mana rock that turns into a draw when it's unneeded.

Ruby Medallion: Wholly better than a mana rock when you're casting multiple red cards a turn.

Sword of the Animist: Ramps on attack, and you just happen to attack every round. How fortuitous.

Hammer of Purphoros : Haste enabler and token production.

Mimic Vat: Let's be honest, creatures are going to die. Be it a board wipe, a bad block, or just removal, creatures die. Mimic Vat brings back the best of the dead every turn. Siege-Gang Commander every turn? Yes please! Eldrazi from your opponent? Or yes. Did someone lose an Avenger of Zendikar? How sad... How sad indeed. An all-star card.

Caged Sun: Anthem + Mana doubler. Definitely does work, although a little expensive.

Sorceries - Spells to benefit the chaos

Gamble: One of your only Tutors available to you. Risky, but beneficial.

Tempt with Vengeance: The correct answer to any Tempt card is 'no.' People do not give the correct answer more often than not.

Vandalblast: Big artifact boom for a small-ish mana cost.

Mizzium Mortars: Some goblins just want to watch the world burn... From the safety of behind the mortars.

Insurrection: 8 mana "I probably win the game." If you don't win, you're at least killing one person.

Blasphemous Act: Hey, it's EDH - Board wipes happen. And sometimes you need to be the one to wipe.

Instant - No, just the Three!

Chaos Warp: Targeted removal for anything with a potential downside. Or, target one of your tokens and gamble a little bit.

Red Elemental Blast: While possibly not beneficial in certain games, I've yet to have a pod that didn't include at least one Blue player - Whether it be mono-Blue, Izzet, Bant, 5c, or otherwise. Has never been completely dead.

Pyroblast: See Red Elemental Blast above.

Land - Your place to call home

Arcane Lighthouse: Can't Goad through Hexproof and Shroud.

Exotic Orchard: See Fellwar Stone.

: Losing my land to a bad attack was a problem one too many times. Replaced with Valakut.

Hanweir Battlements: Haste enabler and possible Meld.

Homeward Path: Commander Theft is common in meta. Also useful to return creatures I've looted off the top back to their owners for political gain or explosive turn-arounds.

: Losing my land to a bad attack was a problem one too many times. Replaced with Homeward Path.

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx: Your devotion to red is good enough for this to be positive almost always.

Rogue's Passage: Block denier.

: Never used, never wanted in hand. Land count lowered and replaced with Pyroblast.

Urza's Factory: Mediocre token producer, but still a token producer.

Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle: Enough Mountains to make this very worthwhile. Can easily remove a blocker or burn to face to help finish someone off.

Mountain: Because we can't play Islands.

The Possibilities -or- Cards that haven't made it

Goblins: There's a lot of potential for Goblin Tribal in Grenzo. I already own a tribal deck and didn't want to corral myself to just a specific creature type.

Pyroblast / Red Elemental Blast: Can be a huge blowout against the Blue player when they don't see it coming. Unfortunately, the Blue Player will typically have counterspell backup for the things you'd want to blowout. Bears considering.

Dragon Fodder / Krenko's Command / Hordeling Outburst : These are all really good value for the number of creatures you get, but the quality of those creatures might not be up to snuff compared to your opponents later on in the game. Bears considering.

Sword of Feast and Famine: Immensely beneficial, immensely threatening, and high cost. Worth it?

Grand Melee: Cut. Never performed as expected. Forcing to attack without Goad can be extremely problematic.

Warmonger Hellkite : Cut. Expensive and lackluster.

Goblin Spymaster: Cut. Giving tokens to opponents is bad.

Ogre Battledriver: Typically want to save mana for Main Phase 2 after I see what goodies I've looted.

Kiki-Jiki / Feldon of the Third Path: In consideration. Extra tokens every turn is good. Being on a creature and dangerously squishy is not.

The Accidental Combo:

I originally made this deck as a challenge to see if I could make an effective deck that didn't rely on an infinite combo. Luckily, my inner Johnny knew enough to sneak an infinite combo into the deck.

Breath of Fury + (Haste Token Producer) = Infinite Combat Steps

Now, this requires a few things.

  1. Breath of Fury. No replacements.
  2. Combat-based Token Producer: Hanweir Garrison, Goblin Rabblemaster, Captain's Claws.
  3. Hastey Tokens: Rabblemaster makes Haste Goblins already. Anger, Urabrask, Hammer of Purphoros turn on all the others.
  4. Unblockable: Open opponents or Bedlam. Whichever way you get in, you need to get in.

Once you've got those 4, you win combat. Token gets made, creatures get in, Breath of Fury sacs and transfer to a token. New Token gets made, creatures get in, Breath of Fury sacs old Token and transfers to New Token. Repeat.

Cost -or- The Cardboard Price

You can significantly lower the price of this deck by removing five cards.

Blood Moon: $20

Urabrask: $10

Koth of the Hammer: $12

Purphoros, God of the Forge: $15

Raging River : $45 (o.O -- Someone bought out all the Reserve List stuff.)

Of course these five cards are beneficial, but none of them are 100% required. You could easily build the bulk of the deck for around $100, substitute for these 5, then slowly obtain the last few cards as needed.

If you're looking for something different, something a little Havoc-y, something a little Aggressive, then you should look to mono-red Grenzo. Controlling, tricksy, and just a little unexpected, Grenzo can easily play against the big battlecruiser decks while keeping the chaos going.


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