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Join the Hunt: A Monster Hunter Commander Deck

The dopamine hit of hunting down the beautiful and terrible creatures of the Monster Hunter franchise is something that I find myself chasing constantly. Hunting for a victory in Magic: The Gathering mirrors that feeling perfectly, and I decided I wanted to combine those sensations into a single source. Thus, another theme deck is born! 

Like my Elden Ring and Dungeons and Dragons decks previously found here, this Commander deck is designed almost purely around flavor, but is still built to function well and can snag wins in your “standard” 7/10 power level pod. With Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak recently released, the hype is real and I hope you’ll enjoy all the delicious Monster Hunter flavor along with me.

Unlike my previous EDH theme decks, I wanted to capture the feeling of running a slightly different “build” based on your mood and the kind of Monster Hunter experience you prefer. Do you want to play with the hunter as your commander with her palico companion running at her side? Halana, Kessig Ranger and Falthis, Shadowcat Familiar fit snugly into the command zone and are the “primary” commanders that the deck is built around.

Halana, Kessig RangerFalthis, Shadowcat Familiar

But what if you prefer solo hunting? Then Chevill, Bane of Monsters is ready to take advantage of the large number of removal and fight options in the deck. Or, do you want to be the hunter, leading both of the pet options that Monster Hunter Rise made available? Falthis, Shadowcat Familiar is still your palico and Anara, Wolvid Familiar is an excellent palamute. 

Chevill, Bane of Monsters (Extended Art)

 

Falthis, Shadowcat FamiliarAnara, Wolvid Familiar

Finally, of course, if you feel like letting the monsters rampage, Sarulf, Realm Eater also loves all the removal in the deck. Sarulf does a more than solid impression of many of the fanged wyverns in Monster Hunter– he could represent the newest wolf, Lunagaron, but he does a more than passable impression of the mighty Zinogre.

Sarulf, Realm Eater (Showcase)

The hunters in the world of Monster Hunter are themselves a tight-knit community full of weapon-wielding warriors. They are also supported by more peaceful beast trackers and researchers, all of which get proper representation here, as well as still more felyne support from palicos. Here you’ll find a mix of hunters to join your squad and the supporters that help the team out:

Thrill-Kill AssassinScrounging BandarDrover of the MightyDen ProtectorBeast WhispererCultivator of BladesTitan HunterGilt-Leaf WinnowerRealm Seekers

A Monster Hunter deck absolutely must feature the monsters themselves, and I’ve picked out some of my favorites to represent here. You could fill a deck with nothing but cool creatures from the series and your 100 cards would barely put a dent into them, but I wanted to make sure that some of the coolest creatures from the series (with an emphasis on Monster Hunter Rise and World) got the nod. Here are some of my favorites, followed by a spoiler for who each card represents– try and guess before you look!

Ebondeath, Dracolich (Borderless Alternate Art)Ravenous ChupacabraGemrazerThragtuskMassacre WurmShefet MonitorGreen DragonRampaging BalothsSteel HellkiteTetzimoc, Primal DeathDeathbringer RegentThorn MammothEnd-Raze ForerunnersGhalta, Primal Hunger

Monster Spoiler

Ebondeath, Dracolich: Vaal Hazok, the rot-wielding dragon.

Ravenous Chupacabra: Odogaron, my favorite fanged wyvern.

Gemrazer: Looks almost exactly like a Tigrex.

Thragtusk: Reminiscent of many monsters that wander with their children in tow, like the Great Jagras and Wroggi. 

Massacre Wurm: Huge, black, and spiked just like the massive Dalamadur.

Shefnet Monitor: Reflects many of the burrowing creatures of Monster Hunter, including my favorite Diablos. 

Green Dragon: Another flying wyvern amalgam, looking a lot like a Rathian or an Espinas. 

Rampaging Baloths: Represents Magnamalo, the apex that initially drives the Rampage of Monster Hunter Rise.

Steel Hellkite: The Sky Comet Dragon, Valstrax.

Tetzimoc, Primal Death: The flagship monster of Monster Hunter World, Nergigante.

Deathbringer Regent: Represents any number of death-dealing, flying wyverns, including my favorite Bazelgeuse.

Thorn Mammoth: Gammoth, the wolly mammoth. 

End-Raze Forerunners: Buldrome, the leader of the bulfango packs

Ghalta, Primal Hunger: Deviljho, the hungriest spiky pickle monster known to man.

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The plot of a Monster Hunter game tends to be cyclical, and this is reflected in assorted cards that despite the look and feel of the hunting experience. The hunters gather and explore, witness powerful monsters, then retreat back home. They research the monsters and reap great rewards slaying them, before seeking to kill or trap the strongest of them. The monsters then tend to offer some form of reprisal, the Rampage of Monster Hunter Rise most obviously showing the monsters coming back to besiege civilization. Then it all happens over again.

ExploreFarseekColossal MajestyRetreat to HagraRetreat to KazanduMigration PathDeathreap RitualBinding the Old GodsFrontier SiegePalace Siege

From healing potions to empowering decorations, the hunters of MH bring a lot of gear to every expedition. Here, I’ve selected my favorite of these support pieces, including my preferred weapons in the series. You’ll also find the bestiary that hunters track their prey with, the grappling-like wirebug, and the best card to ever represent picking apart monsters and turning their harvested pieces into weapons and armor: Bonehoard. This is all capped with a couple of offensive spells that are in the hunter’s toolkit, including earning money for every successful hunt.

Everflowing ChaliceSol RingGolgari SignetArcane SignetLightning GreavesHero's BladeLoxodon WarhammerSword of VengeanceCommander's SphereLifecrafter's BestiaryGrappling HookBonehoardMurderous CutRevel in Riches

 

The hunters are not alone in having a toolkit, as every monster has a unique moveset that makes them a challenge. The many “weapons” that a monster can wield are represented with a flavorful collection of removal options, including lots of ways to “fight” and ultimately send the table back home in a cart.

Prey UponGo for the ThroatNature's WayRuinous PathFoul RenewalDeathsproutExtinction EventMonstrous OnslaughtConsume the MeekPredatory RampageBack for MoreExsanguinate

Finally, we have a number of lands that are designed to look like the kind of landscapes that we can see throughout the Monster Hunter series, including two modal dual faced cards that function as a land first, with the option of being flavorful removal spells later in the game. We also have a small desert package, as some of my most memorable hunts were in desert biomes.

Khalni Ambush // Khalni TerritoryHagra Mauling // Hagra BroodpitCommand TowerExotic OrchardPath of AncestryEvolving WildsMyriad LandscapeVivid GroveHashep OasisDesert of the IndomitableDesert of the GlorifiedBojuka BogVivid MarshOvergrown TombLlanowar WastesTemple of MaladyTainted WoodCryptic CavesHigh MarketScavenger GroundsForest (271)Swamp (267)

Let’s talk for a moment about how the deck plays. The early game is spent playing out your ramp and some solid support options- you can start accumulating value very early off of cards like Lifecrafter’s Bestiary, letting you snowball into a classic combination of threats and removal. In the mid game your larger threats are already starting to form and you can begin playing out your commander(s) for even more value. Curving from Halana on turn four into a turn five Falthis + deathtouch kill with Halana’s triggered ability feels great! The late game is stuffed with threats, letting you break down opposing life totals with evasive creatures, large tramplers, a couple of Overrun type effects, and my personal standby win of Exsanguinate.

With the game plan in mind, you’re more than ready to pack up and depart for the hunt. This deck will help you get your Monster Hunter fix even when you’re as far away from your PC or Console as can be. Let me know in the comments or on twitter @FenrirRex with what kind of theme deck you’d like to see or if I’ve missed any Monster Hunter themed goodness that this deck needs. Happy hunting!

Monster Hunter Theme Deck by Drew Knapp

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3 thoughts on “Join the Hunt: A Monster Hunter Commander Deck”

  1. I’ve been playing Magic for just over a decade, and Monster Hunter even longer than that. This is an excellent amalgamation of both.

    Thanks for the fun and flavorful deck!

  2. Not wanting to revive am old post but Halana and Falthis don’t have the synergy you’re saying.

    Halan makes the creature entering do the damage, she doesn’t. Falthis giving her deathtouch doesn’t have any effect t on her ability.

    Cool article otherwise, cheers!

    1. Howdy Ozahna! Good eye, but I think I only specifically mention Halana working with Falthis (or any other deathtouch creatures for that matter)- a turn five Falthis, three for the cat and two for Halana’s ability, has a deathtouch cat killing whatever it can. This assumes Falthis is your Partner commander, so that he grants himself deathtouch. Incidentally, this is also why I love Halana for deathtouch tribal in general, since it turns any such creature into a kill spell for 2.

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