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Torment of the Underworld: Kroxa EDH [PRIMER]

Commander / EDH 8-Rack BR (Rakdos) Combo Discard Group Slug Stax



Why use that boring Simic titan when we could play with a giant hungry boi?

This is a grindy, staxy deck. The goal is to empty all opponents’ hands, both through Kroxa’s ability and through effects such as Words of Waste/Mind Rake. After we strip our opponents’ hands, we play a large suite of board wipes to remove any threats that already made it onto the battlefield, while our commander can be recast from the graveyard… Then we either:

  1. Beat our opponents to death with our deathless commander, using his attack trigger to keep hand sizes low the entire time.

  2. Or…

  3. We transition into one of several infinite combo paths, primarily loops with Worldgorger Dragon or Underworld Breach. Our opponents’ hands should be empty by this point, so they won’t be able to interact with our combo or stop it.
  1. Animate Dead + Worldgorger Dragon (or Dance of the Dead or Necromancy): Infinite mana, infinite ETBs of Kroxa, infinite life loss for all of our opponents. If Kroxa is in graveyard, you can enchant him with Animate Dead to end the loop, then recast him infinitely with the mana generated from the Worldgorger loop. Note that if Kroxa is on battlefield when this combo begins, you can stack the ETBs to never have to sacrifice him. Be aware that this combo is VERY vulnerable to removal, and if Worldgorger is killed in response to its ETB trigger, we lose all of our permanents forever. I solely execute this combo after stripping all opponents' hands via Kroxa, or with some other form of protection. This combo is most easily tutored by Entomb, Final Parting, and Doom Whisperer.
  2. Altar of Dementia + Dockside Extortionist + Underworld Breach : As long as our opponents control at least 5 artifacts/enchantments, this combo generates surplus mana and cards milled from each loop. We cast Dockside Extortionist from graveyard (exiling 3 cards), cast Kroxa from graveyard (exiling another 3 cards), then sacrifice them both to Altar of Dementia to mill for *seven* (leaving one more card in GY than before). This is usually sufficient to win on its own, by creating enough Kroxa ETBs to kill everyone. However, if we can’t win with Kroxa’s ETBs alone, we’d end up exiling 6/7 of our library, leaving us with only ~15 cards in GY once our library is empty. To remedy this, once this loop starts, I generally use Stitcher's Supplier in a sub-loop of “B: Mill 7, then exile 3 cards from GY”… or just reanimate Doom Whisperer and pay 1 life per card. By alternating these various options, we exile less cards from graveyard overall. This loop can find Syr Konrad, the Grim for the win, or just lead into the Worldgorger loop above. This combo is best tutored by repeatedly casting Entomb with Underworld Breach on field, or by digging with Doom Whisperer.
  3. Waste Not + Words of Waste /Geth's Grimoire + Words of Waste : This isn't properly *infinite*, since it’s non-deterministic, but it's VERY powerful regardless. In multiplayer, whenever opponents discard lands and non-creatures, you can use the mana to continue paying for Words of Waste and keep the loop going. About 70% of the time, this ends up stripping all opponents of their hands. Geth's Grimoire guarantees that the combo fully strips hands, at the cost of 1) a higher initial CMC, and 2) the requirement to keep paying mana.
  4. And of course, if we can’t achieve an infinite combo, we can easily beat our opponents to death with Kroxa: this is the staxier path. He’s a four-hit kill with commander damage, while also draining opponents with his attack trigger, and effects such as Shizo, Death's Storehouse (or board wipes) help him connect.
  1. Waste Not (and Geth's Grimoire): These two should be self-evident; they’re the backbone of discard-centered decks in EDH. If Waste Not is in your opener and you have 2 lands, keep the hand! This is also frequently our first tutor — T1 Vampiric Tutor into Waste Not, T2 cast it, T3 Kroxa, then profit. It’s often best to play both cards in a single turn to avoid a window where Waste Not could be removed. Waste Not is also amazing with Burning Inquiry and Dark Deal — your opponents will usually want to discard creature cards when given the chance, and removing that choice is a powerful upside.
  2. Chainer, Nightmare Adept: If you're not quite ready to release the titan, you can always cast Kroxa once per turn for the low, low cost of RB! And when Kroxa does escape, he'll have haste to immediately double-trigger with an attack. Chainer also works wonders with Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion, who can be reanimated, gain haste, and immediately swing in for significant value (while also helping discard more fuel for Chainer’s ability).
  3. Altar of Dementia: The ideal plan is to have Altar of Dementia out before casting Kroxa, and sacrifice him in response to his own sacrifice trigger (or in response to removal in the late game). This basically guarantees you'll always have enough cards in GY to ensure that Kroxa will never stay in the Underworld for long, and that you’ll never pay commander tax.
  4. Underworld Breach: This card is bonkers. Seriously. It’s amazing recursion with anything that efficiently fills the GY (Doom Whisperer, Altar of Dementia, Entomb, etc), as well as many different efficient combo lines (see the previous section).
  5. Bone Miser: This card enables some truly degenerate lines of play. When paired with Cathartic Reunion, Mind Rake, Faithless Looting, Dark Deal, et cetera, these spells often become mana and card *positive*. Cards like Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion generate absurd value, while looters like Anje Falkenrath become sources of card advantage.
  6. Anje Falkenrath: She’s surprisingly efficient on her own, but her greatest benefit comes when used in conjunction with high-valued dredge cards like Stinkweed Imp or Golgari Thug. By discarding then immediately recurring a card with dredge, she quickly fills the GY to enable our commander’s ability and our combo lines. This dredge synergy also works well with Hazoret's Monument. Note that, if you control Words of Waste, you can force an opponent to discard during their draw step — which prevents them from using the card they drew, unless it’s an instant.
  7. Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion: This card is ridiculous in general, but even better when given haste via Chainer, Nightmare Adept, Anger, or Lightning Greaves. He fills your graveyard extremely quickly, while also generating mana to “storm off” at the same time. Pair with Bone Miser for best results!
  8. Doom Whisperer: This demon is the single most efficient source of self-mill in Rakdos colors, without a doubt. He also allows you to manage your top-decks extremely well, helping make sure that you’ll always draw value even when hellbent. Moreover, he easily digs for the infinite combos listed in the previous section (at instant speed, no less). It’s trivially easy to sink 20+ life into his ability, digging to put Worldgorger Dragon into the graveyard and Animate Dead in hand.
  9. Liliana, Heretical Healer  : The goal is to cast Liliaan T3, followed by casting Kroxa from command zone on T4. Kroxa dies, Liliana flips, then immediately forces a discard each turn (while also threatening reanimation and her emblem). If by some miracle you can achieve Liliana’s ult, Kroxa gets reanimated each turn, forcing a discard/life loss trigger at EACH player’s end step. This is a good way to generate inevitability in the late-game.
  10. Entomb: Stack your GY with the exact reanimation targets you need! Primary tutors are Doom Whisperer, Sheoldred, Whispering One, or Worldgorger Dragon. In some corner cases, you'll want to use this as a permanent haste enabler by tutoring Anger into the graveyard. This is also an *extremely* powerful tutor with Underworld Breach on the field, to dump whatever spells you want to cast into the GY.
This deck is relatively weak to continuous forms of graveyard hate. Something like Tormod's Crypt doesn't hit us too hard, but if something like Rest in Peace or Leyline of the Void is on the battlefield, this deck has a hard time functioning. Sure, you can force your opponents to discard, and you don’t have to worry about their reanimation, but our commander cannot escape and thus cannot remain on the battlefield. In a meta with a significant amount of graveyard hate, I’d recommend running Torpor Orb, despite its anti-synergy with Worldgorger Dragon.

Obviously, we have issues fighting against reanimator decks: we often just fuel them when we make them discard. Once their hand is entirely emptied, they lack spells to reanimate their threats, but they'll often keep a reanimation spell as the last spell in their hand. I run Rakdos Charm to handle this kind of thing -- it's great to 2-for-1 the reanimator player by removing their graveyard and nullify their spell at the same time. In a meta with a lot of reanimator options, I might run Soul-Guide Lantern and Tormod's Crypt.

This deck has some minor difficulty with decks that have powerful card draw in their command zone, such as Azami or Yawgmoth. I cannot afford Chains of Mephistopheles, unfortunately, which would help patch this difficulty. Until the point where I can afford it, I’ve been considering Uba Mask as an alternative way of shutting down draw effects.

This deck does not need its commander to win (none of the wincons require him). However, the deck is built under the assumption that you should usually have access to him, since death is not a big deal to a Titan. Commander damage (and Kroxa’s draining effect) are the go-to finishers when you can’t find an infinite combo, so if Kroxa is stolen it can be tricky to actually achieve victory — even if you’re the only player who still has cards in hand.

And finally, the deck is HEAVILY color-reliant. Our land base runs almost no lands that tap for colorless, but it’s very important to have access to BBRR within the first five turns to let Kroxa escape. This is something to keep in mind during mulligans.

Our deck doesn’t run very many mana rocks, either, since you almost never need more than 5 mana in a single turn under any circumstances: the deck empties our hand very quickly, and has an extremely low curve. This is mostly a good thing: it makes us far less vulnerable to artifact hate, many forms of stax, and lets us punish players who spend early turns ramping (since we can force them to discard their bombs). But it can occasionally be a problem in the very late game, or if we draw our reanimation targets without a way to discard them.

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This deck was built in collaboration with the fantastic JqlGirl -- go check out her page! :)



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Revision 25 See all

3 months ago)

-1 Coffin Queen main
+1 Phyrexian Arena main
+1 Price of Glory main
+1 Surly Badgersaur main
-1 Syr Konrad, the Grim main
+1 Uba Mask main