I present to you: Your average Golgari graveyard deck... with an 8/8 trampler that you get on turn three. Actually, a lot of what is going on here is not average. Here's how it all works:

On turns 1 through 3, you play cards like Stitcher's Supplier, Glowspore Shaman, Putrid Imp, Satyr Wayfinder, Gorging Vulture, Zombie Infestation and Sylvan Offering to have colored creatures to pay for Hogaak's colored cost while simultaneously filling up your graveyard to pay for his colorless cost. To help fill up the graveyard, play all the fetchlands that you can grab a hold of. The goal is to get Hogaak out as soon as possible.

After you get this big beater out, you get to swing at people! For Commander Damage! Your turns 4 through 6 should be filled with scaring people with your commander: Hogaak himself makes a three-hit kill, but you can run cards like Grafted Exoskeleton to make him a one-hit kill, and Berserk, which doubles as removal if you target an opponent's attacking creature. Also, besides budget restrictions, there's basically no reason to not play Shizo, Death's Storehouse. It's a swamp that gives your 8/8 evasion.

During these turns you'll also be doing some other exciting plays; such as drawing cards. But not just one or two per turn. More like seven or eight. Each turn. This deck has a whole slew of cards like Disciple of Bolas, Life's Legacy and Garruk, Primal Hunter. All of them with the intention of targeting Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis to draw us eight. These cards are effective because when you play one of them, you're almost guaranteed to draw into another. What they also do, is they get us the other cards that are crucial in our game-plan, as I'll be explaining in this next section.

Sorry to all of you Voltron lovers out there, but to kill all three of our opponents, Commander Damage just isn't going to cut it. We're going to need a long-game strategy as well. So welcome to the combo part of this deck!

Turns out, being able to cast an 8/8 from the graveyard for zero mana can lead to some pretty interesting combos. This first one will ensure that we draw into all of our other combos: Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis + Greater Good + Zombie Infestation. Here's how it all works:

Sacrifice Hogaak to Greater Good, drawing 8 and discarding 3 cards (a net gain of 5 cards), then discard 4 cards to Zombie Infestation, creating 2 black zombies. Tap them, exile 5 of the 7 cards you put into the graveyard and cast Hogaak from the graveyard. Repeat this process until you draw yourself out.

You can also do this by replacing Zombie Infestation with Desecrated Tomb (idea credited to Namulith). When you play Hogaak from the graveyard, Desecrated Tomb will trigger twice; once for Hogaak leaving your graveyard, and another time for delving away a creature when you cast him, giving you a total of two bats.

Play Hogaak, tapping two bats, making two bats. Sacrifice Hogaak and a tapped bat to Greater Good, drawing nine, discarding six (including one creature to delve away when you next play Hogaak). Repeat this as many times as you want, just make sure you’re discarding a creature to delve away each time.

So once you've drawn out your entire deck with either of those combos, this next combo will win you the game: Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis + Korozda Guildmage + Phyrexian Altar.

What you do is you sacrifice Hogaak to Korozda Guildmage's second ability, getting 8 green saprolings and then using 7 of them to convoke Hogaak out from the graveyard. With your Phyrexian Altar, sacrifice 4 of the tapped saprolings to get 4 mana, and use it to activate Korozda Guildmage's ability on Hogaak again! Repeat this process to get as many saprolings as you like.

To finish off your opponents, play Altar of Dementia to sacrifice an infinite squared amount of saprolings to demolish your opponents' libraries. And instead of giving them an upkeep to potentially win out of nowhere, we have to make them draw a card they don't have with Geier Reach Sanitarium.

If you want to skip the whole Phyrexian Altar thing for something that doesn't strain your wallet, you've got Pitiless Plunderer (idea from awesomepimaster). By combining Altar of Dementia with Pitiless Plunderer, you are essentially assembling a Phyrexian Altar for the Korozda Guildmage + Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis combo.

Besides these infinite combos, you might have noticed this deck's discard subtheme. Trust me, there is a rhyme or reason to all of this. Keep in mind, that Hogaak's ability to be cast from the graveyard is a major component of how this deck works. We have many effects that sacrifice Hogaak for value, and that's because he's really easy for us to get back. And one of the reasons that he is so easy to recur is because of our use of discard outlets.

There will be times when you don't have enough cards in your graveyard to recast Hogaak, so cards like Zombie Infestation (one of my personal favorites) and Wild Mongrel will have to be your go-to's. What I like about these discard outlets, is that they provide effects that are repeatable, and that are usually free in mana cost. Another cool thing about them is that they bring their own discard package. Cards like The Gitrog Monster, Bone Miser (and, if you want, Archfiend of Ifnir), provide effects that, like the discard outlets, cost zero mana. With this deck's build, it's so easy to draw into these cards and use them to steamroll me even further ahead.

  • Both Wild Mongrel and Noose Constrictor are actually better than you think. These two are good at what they do, which is filling up the graveyard, but I didn't realize until recently that what's on the other side of the " : " is relevant. You could be discarding up to 10 cards or more, so potentially, these guys can swing in for even more damage than Hogaak!

  • Dryad Arbor is such a weird card, but in this deck, it's a bomb! It's a green creature, meaning it can be used to pay for one of Hogaak's colored manas, but it's also a forest, meaning it can be easily tutored up by any of our five green fetches, like Misty Rainforest. And, as a zero-drop creature, it makes Green Sun's Zenith an easy ramp spell!

  • Hey, you know how you're gonna be playing a whole bunch of effects like Return of the Wildspeaker? How about you casually double your draws with Berserk on Hogaak, and swing in for double damage while you're at it?

  • Alright, I'm guilty! I do have The Great Henge in my paper list, and I think Sol Ring is actually good enough to put into this deck (I know; hot take ;) ).

  • I've excluded the Izonis and the Jarads of the world, but don't get me wrong, they've got the right kind of synergy for this deck. They're also perfect if you're going for a more casual game, so feel free to use them. It's just for this deck in particular, those cards slow it down, and throw it off it's focused game plan.

Disruption. I cannot stress this enough; the Number One fear you're going to have when piloting this deck, is disruption. There is a critical moment in the game, when you're about to start your drawing train. If, when you cast your first draw spell (like Disciple of Bolas), somebody responds by killing Hogaak, then there is a good chance that you are going to be stuck in the Stone Age for quite a few turns, only being able to wait for another draw spell to pop up.

The other critical moment in the game is, obviously, when you're about to win. Hopefully by this time, you will have enough resources that you will be able to bounce back from any disruption your opponents might have. Let's take a quick look at what those resources could look like.

Since we are a graveyard deck, we're going to have ways to get stuff back from the yard, but in the case of somebody exiling one of our combo pieces, we have Riftsweeper. For our protection, I've also added in a copy of Heroic Intervention and Veil of Summer.

I've been thinking more about this weakness of ours lately. Depending on how fortified you want to be, you might want to add in a Dosan the Falling Leaf (which is handy because it's a creature), or even a City of Solitude. I've also heard that Carrion is a good card to have just in case someone tries sniping our boy (still undecided about whether the card is worth it though). Let me know if you think of anything else that can be useful!

In the beginning, I wasn't trying to make this deck into a combo deck. My goal was just to get Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis out as soon as possible, and then make some cute interactions like Decimator of the Provinces and Ghoulcaller Gisa. But I realized I needed to be doing something in the late game, and I didn't know what to do other than make these infinite combos that have been popping up out of nowhere.

I haven't made any combo deck before this one because it feels like all the combos have been done before, but this deck feels unique enough that I really enjoy it.

Feel free to give me some feedback. Is there anything in this deck that I've missed?


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