Need help deciding on a new deck

Commander Deck Help forum

Posted on April 1, 2022, 7:59 p.m. by Flagellum

I'm stuck between two different strategies and for each of them I'm stuck between mono color or dual color commanders. Im looking at a pain/punisher deck or a lifegain matters deck. What I need is advice on which of the two commanders you think would fair better for each strategy and why. Which of the two to go with I will have to figure out myself. Budget generally is less than $10-15 a card but cheaper is always better :) I do have most of the more expensive staples (think Craterhoof Behemoth, Wheel of Fortune, Demonic Tutor ect.) however.


Torbran, Thane of Red Fell vs Mogis, God of Slaughter: this is a pain/burn/punisher deck. My question is, is the addition of black with admittedly more pain options and tutors/draw worth Torbran's ability to break parity? They'd run the same gambit of cards for the most part but Spellshock is much more damming with Torbran out and readily available. Mogis would run Torbran in the 99 though.

Lifegain Matters:

Dina, Soul Steeper vs Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose: again both like lifegain but Dina prefers quantity over quality whereas Vito is the opposite. I do not own Exquisite Blood (my idiot self traded it away years ago) so that combo probably isn't going to be included. However I am aware of Dina's combo with Witherbloom Apprentice and Chain of Smog which I can pull together. Vito with Blood Tribute will one shot an opponent. You could also run a lifelink creature and pump it with +1/+1 counters through Unspeakable Symbol to gain a ton of life and dome someone with Vito. I also own Aetherflux Reservoir so I can death star someone down with either commander. Crypt Rats with lifelink could also cause some huge shenanigans with Vito.

I've built and play tested some preliminary decks (on tappedout) and I'm leaning towards Torbran/Vito. Just need a slap of reality if I'm wrong :)

TheoryCrafter says... #2

I'm going to side on Mogis in part because I'm into Punisher and in part if you get Tobran and Mogis on the battlefield at the same time you can inflict more Commander damage in a turn with Mogis than with Tobran. Forcing an opponent to sacrifice a creature becomes even more useful if you run it against a Voltron Deck.

Again I'm siding with the Multicolor. Dina can also offer aristocrat support. Sacrifice a creature, if you control Zulaport Cutthroat you gain 1 life. If Vito is also on the battlefield you gained 1 life, but your opponent loses 3. Then you activate Vito's ability and Dina has lifelink. If you can get her trample, depending on the creature you sacrificed, that's lots of Commander damage and lifeloss. If you cast Pest Infestation the previous turn that's a huge pain in the tail for your opponents.

I hope this helps. Happy Hunting!

April 1, 2022 9:20 p.m.

Flagellum says... #3

TheoryCrafter Yeah I see the point about Mogis. It opens the doors for more draw as well as more pain. Specifically draw pain like Underworld Dreams, Spiteful Visions, Fate Unraveler etc. which will work wonders with Wheel of Fortune, Reforge the Soul and Dark Deal which I would run anyways or just against any slap happy blue deck. Just sucks that Painful Quandary, Polluted Bonds and Bloodchief Ascension have risen. Even my good ole friend from my Nekusaur days Kederekt Parasite is up to $8ish now lol.

As far as Dina goes, I originally built her with an incremental life gain build but I started retooling it more towards the aristocrat support build after realizing that 4 mana for a 1 life every upkeep trigger is not worth the spot. I see the value of pests/creature death triggers especially in the event of a board wipe.

April 1, 2022 11:05 p.m.

griffstick says... #4

So these strategies may sound similar in game play but they feel totally different when playing g them.

I've learned that when playing mass burn/life loss you end up feeling kinda like the bad guy at the table, lots of moans and groans around the table. Not many people like playing against this deck type. But it's certainly fun to see everyone's life continue to drop consistently throughout the game as they get drained for every lil thing they do. Lots of triggers to keep track of.

On the other hand, life gain strategies build you up, and your opponents aren't pressured to finish out the game quickly. This creates a nicer game environment for the other players. You will not feel like the bad guy. You will however get attacked just for having the highest lifetotal among players at the table. So your lifegain becomes your opponents lifegain since they are not getting attacked due to the fact that you have more life than them. So having emphasis of lifegain matters cards is very important.

I suggest doing lifegain strategy because for me it's more fun.

My lifegain deck was Lyra Dawnbringer and my life drain deck was Kaervek the Merciless

April 2, 2022 11:17 a.m. Edited.

MagicMarc says... #5

I just want to point out that you could do a Rakdos commander deck and have both your pain/punishment as well as lifegain matters in the same deck.

As you already stated, Mogis would have Tobran in his 99. Why not Vito and other lifegain shenanigans?

Cards like Torbran, Thane of Red Fell or Brash Taunter using its fight ability while Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose activated or anything that does big damage equipped with stuff like Basilisk Collar, Batterskull, Shadowspear, Whip of Erebos, and Mask of Griselbrand.

You keep tutors, wheels and burn. You keep synergy with Unspeakable Symbol, Crypt Rats, Aetherflux Reservoir and even Blood Tribute.

I like the sound of a Tobran/Vito deck with say Obosh, the Preypiercer as your commander? Or keep Mogis for his inevitability.

April 5, 2022 12:53 p.m.

Flagellum says... #6

MagicMarc: Rakdos with lifegain lol I like the idea just bc it's unusual. Preypiecer would be interesting with lifelink creatures. Especially lifelinked creatures pumped by Unspeakable Symbol. Though I suppose Furnace of Rath would suffice with Mogis as the commander.

Been exploring other options too. Willowdusk, Essence Seer caught my eye. Could make it revolve around evasive lifelink creatures and Vito effects. Pay lots of life say to a Wall of Blood or Murderous Betrayal, Lurking Evil, Unspeakable Symbol, Phyrexian Processor ect. Gain it all back when you slap the +1/+1 counters on a lifelink critter and swing. Needs more of a setup with Willowdusk and the cards are all playable with just Vito (with his effect). Essence Harvest and Rite of Consumption would be hilarious includes. Add Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord for giggles. I even thought of running Jarad at the helm. With a lifegain suite and Wall of Blood, Jarad can one shot the table. Ntm there are so many ways to tutor for WoB in golgari. Unspeakable Symbol works great with him too. I'm sure there are more examples with Jarad but I have yet to look into it.

Thanks yet again! Though I may just brew that Rakdos deck as it's intriguing as is Jarad with a lifegain twist.

April 5, 2022 6:55 p.m.

Flagellum says... #7

Nvm I just remembered that vampires are a thing now. Old school rakdos lol

April 5, 2022 7:13 p.m.

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