Playing the Brawl precons on Arena was sort of fun, albeit in a way that reminded me of two things. First, Brawl, like Commander, is more fun for me when it’s multiplayer (though this doesn’t mean I won’t do Arena Brawl content. I absolutely will.) Second, until the whole set is revealed, it’s probably more interesting to talk about the new legendary creatures in the context of Commander. With all that in mind, I’ve got the hunger today to talk about Throne of Eldraine’s foremost foodie: Korvold, Fae-Cursed King.
A 5-mana 4/4 flyer with a downside looks initially like a bad commander, but when you keep reading, you can see that Korvold is both a card advantage engine and a formidable source of commander damage. It’s clear that Korvold wants us to spend our deck slots on a few categories of cards:
1) Permanents we want to sacrifice. Whether they’re tokens we don’t care about or cards with upside when they die, Korvold wants to eat them.
2) Other ways to sacrifice things for personal gain. Korvold doesn’t care who’s eating as long as someone is. (The devour mechanic comes immediately to mind.)
3) Cards that give us an even bigger edge when our permanents are sacrificed.
Building Around Korvold in Commander
Let’s start by looking for creatures that want to be sacrificed but might need a little help.
These all give us something when they die. Any kind of token is welcome, especially something we can sacrifice easily, but cards are good too. Byway Courier doesn’t show up too often, but I really like Clues in this deck. You’ll see more of them. You probably also haven’t seen Driver of the Dead often, but sacrificing it to basically any enabler and then dropping something like Dockside Extortionist back onto the battlefield can be crazy.
These all give us things to sacrifice. We run the gamut here; between Food, Treasure, Clues, and some hapless little Eldrazi, we can use almost anything to get more value out of Korvold. It’s wonderful that all these types of tokens can sacrifice themselves.
This gives us plants, which need more help to make it to the graveyard, but sometimes you can just win the game with it.
These five can all sacrifice themselves, and that’s what they should do, as that’s how they generate value. You won’t always have an enabler in play, so make sure you play enough cards like this. Emrakul’s Evangel is the notable card here–you can sacrifice any number of other creatures, including tokens that aren’t Eldrazi, so make sure you take full advantage. Just watch out for Stifle-type effects.
Let’s move beyond creatures and look at some other cards we can sacrifice.
Sometimes you just need eggs, or similar. All of these replace themselves, so sacrifice away! They’re even mana-neutral in terms of activation, though you obviously lose something when you factor in the up-front cost.
These all make some things you can sacrifice. Treasure Map even turns into something you can use to get a different type of value out of your existing Treasure. Field of the Dead is really strong in this deck because I built a ridiculously greedy manabase (which we’re about to talk about a little bit) and also because we do play Scapeshift. Value!
These lands all sacrifice themselves for various effects. Destroying lands and fetching lands are the main functions, but that’s not all we have here. Sacrificing a fetchland is one of the easiest ways to trigger Korvold without going off-plan, so keep that in mind as you build your own version of this deck.
Let’s talk now about sacrifice outlets. Where can we find some ways to sacrifice the things we’re generating?
Some of the best outlets are ones without limits, and that’s what you get in these five cards. The Altars are obviously quite powerful and the most liable to generate infinite combos. I think I’ve largely avoided those in this decklist, but if that’s the way you like to end games, I’m sure you can get those in here. Goblin Bombardment is the way I’d prefer to end games if possible, but that won’t always be possible. Spawning Pit is almost definitely better than you think it is.
Unfortunately, not every sacrifice outlet is as flexible as the first five I mentioned. Fortunately, these are still good. Blasting Station is a great way to imitate Goblin Bombardment. Victimize and Blood for Bones are ridiculously powerful in this deck and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Dread Return does more than pull its weight when you’re tossing three Eldrazi Spawns into the garbage to bring back pretty much anything. Westvale Abbey works very well as a game-ender, which is good because it’s a terribly expensive token generator.
Let’s move on to our final category: cards that give us more value from our sacrifices. Boy, are there a ton of these. Let’s start with just the creatures.
Obviously I’ve included the “drain the table” package. I’ve left out some of the narrower versions of those that only do half of the job, like Deathgreeter or Poison-Tip Archer, but feel free to put those back in your version if you like them. You can even go all the way to Hissing Iguanar! Make sure you leave room for cards like Mayhem Devil that let you hit anything as well as the token generators I’ve listed here, because those are annoyingly powerful. Catacomb Sifter probably wouldn’t make the list if it didn’t bring a friend.
Golgari Germination works alongside Sek’Kuar and friends from the previous category to create some more tokens for you to sacrifice. Ulvenwald Mysteries gives you Clues, and you can sacrifice those to draw cards and make Soldiers. It’s pretty weird to generate white Soldier tokens in a Jund deck, but sometimes you get weird. Moldervine Reclamation lets you draw some more cards, and Vicious Shadows is one of the most Commandery cards of all time–it costs seven mana, appears to do nothing, but actually acts as a late-game powerhouse that can take a game from contentious to over immediately as long as you have some things to sacrifice.
Okay! That’s the rundown on Korvold. Here’s my decklist–try it out and make your own! I’d love to hear what you’ve built with Korvold or any of the other legendary creatures showcased so far. Yes, even Questing Beast. Hit me in the comments or @ me on Twitter (@RagingLevine). See you next time!
Commander: Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
4 Swamp (339) 1 Mountain (343) 4 Forest (347) 1 Blast Zone 1 Blood Crypt 1 Bloodstained Mire 1 Bojuka Bog 1 Command Beacon 1 Command Tower 1 Dust Bowl 1 Evolving Wilds 1 Field of the Dead 1 Ghost Quarter 1 High Market 1 Jund Panorama 1 Lotus Field 1 Memorial to Folly 1 Miren, the Moaning Well 1 Nurturing Peatland 1 Overgrown Tomb 1 Phyrexian Tower 1 Prismatic Vista 1 Rocky Tar Pit 1 Scavenger Grounds 1 Stomping Ground 1 Strip Mine 1 Terramorphic Expanse 1 Verdant Catacombs 1 Wasteland 1 Westvale Abbey/Ormendahl, Profane Prince 1 Wooded Foothills 1 Hangarback Walker 1 Gilded Goose 1 Viscera Seer 1 Blood Artist 1 Carrier Thrall 1 Dawntreader Elk 1 Dockside Extortionist 1 Sakura-Tribe Elder 1 Zulaport Cutthroat 1 Byway Courier 1 Catacomb Sifter 1 Doomed Necromancer 1 Emrakul's Evangel 1 Mayhem Devil 1 Pawn of Ulamog 1 Tireless Tracker 1 Yavimaya Elder 1 Driver of the Dead 1 Falkenrath Noble 1 Pitiless Plunderer 1 Sifter of Skulls 1 Smothering Abomination 1 Solemn Simulacrum 1 Vindictive Vampire 1 God-Eternal Bontu 1 Mycoloth 1 Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper 1 Avenger of Zendikar 1 Garruk, Cursed Huntsman 1 Chromatic Sphere 1 Chromatic Star 1 Mossfire Egg 1 Relic of Progenitus 1 Shadowblood Egg 1 Golden Egg 1 Guild Globe 1 Spawning Pit 1 Treasure Map/Treasure Cove 1 Ashnod's Altar 1 Blasting Station 1 Crucible of Worlds 1 Phyrexian Altar 1 Goblin Bombardment 1 Awakening Zone 1 Golgari Germination 1 Journey to Eternity/Atzal, Cave of Eternity 1 Pernicious Deed 1 Ulvenwald Mysteries 1 Moldervine Reclamation 1 Vicious Shadows 1 Assassin's Trophy 1 Beast Within 1 Bedevil 1 Krosan Grip 1 Force of Vigor 1 Farseek 1 Cultivate 1 Kodama's Reach 1 Victimize 1 Blood for Bones 1 Dread Return 1 Scapeshift