Today I have something for all you elder dragon highlander fans, a deck which is sure to incur sadness and overall displeasure in the minds of those you face. Ever since I got into magic, green has been my favourite colour, especially when paired with black in the wonderous matrimony of Golgari, so naturally the first Commander deck I played and refined was a Meren of Clan Nel Toth deck. Whilst Meren is my one true EDH love, I have been known to occasionally branch out, and today I am providing you a viewpoint from one of those beautiful, value-town branches.
Mazirek, Kraul Death Preist
Enter Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest. This unassuming looking little bug-man-shaman-thing? It’s a real monster, and along with the 99 cards in this deck can absolutely decimate opponents, quickly, whilst still being able to compete with even the most value-based late game strategies. The shell I have placed Mazirek in is one which aims to out-value and out-size opponents, demanding sacrifices of their permanents to grow our team and lay down some serious beats. Its main game-plan relies on suppressing our opponents early with cards like Fleshbag Marauder, Merciless Executioner, and Smallpox whilst building towards a powerful mid-endgame value-engine utilising cards like Birthing Pod, Grave Pact, Wake the Dead, and Butcher of Malakir in tandem with token generation and sacrifice outlets to shrink our opponents’ board presence. With the proper engine of token generation, sacrifice outlets, and edict effects, along with Mazirek, the deck can build an incredibly powerful board very quickly. If the game goes late, the true power of a green-black decks really shines – Phyrexian Arena, Greater Good, and our various tutors allow us to maintain a steady flow of cards, and the value of creatures like Grave Titan, and Sheoldred, Whispering One, can quickly take over long games.
Our win-conditions centre on hating and out-valuing opponents out of the game or swinging for a massive alpha strike with a giant army of attackers (Overwhelming Stampede shines here). Another strategy I commonly play towards if attacking is unfavourable relies on Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord. His resilience to removal due to his bottom line of text (which also provides nice sacrifice triggers when lands are plentiful) and ability to throw our gigantic creatures at all our opponents’ collective face provides a win con which is very resilient to interaction, and combined with Reyhan, Last of the Abzan, can kill from a very unassuming board state. Keep this line in mind when tutoring for cards and drawing using Reprocess and Greater Good. Sometimes focusing on combat as your main win-condition is correct, but Jarad as well as Exsanguinate provide a generally safer and more reliable way to secure the W.
Whilst our plan sounds great on paper, a lot of our effects affect the entire table, so we tend to attract a lot of hate. But fear not! We come prepared. Cards like Cauldron of Souls, Inspiring Call, and Golgari Charm provide us with a tonne of resilience against board wipes, and Asceticism and Sylvan Safekeeper keep our key engine creatures safe from targeted removal.
The deck also contains a few sweet combos – which aren’t necessary for the deck to function – but if you want to make your opponents feel true despair then I highly recommend including them. Mazirek (or Mikaeus, the Unhallowed), any sac outlet and either Woodfall Primus (which allows us to destroy all of our opponents noncreature permanents – including lands) or Puppeteer Clique (allowing us to resurrect all our opponents dead creatures) provides infinite sacrifices, and thus infinite +1/+1 counters across all our creatures. If this combo includes Puppeteer Clique and some full graveyards, that’s also a lot of hasted infinite/infinite creatures to smash your opponents’ faces with. Mazirek, a sac outlet, and animation module provides infinite colourless mana and sacrifices, which is great when paired with an Exsanguinate. The deck contains a bunch of neat and powerful card combinations (I’m looking at you Eternal Witness + Wake the Dead), which I could talk about for hours, but I’m sure that would get very tiring rather rapidly and would deny you guys the satisfaction of discovering them for yourself. Similarly, there’s a tonne ways to build this deck, and whilst the deck I have provided here is personally a very fun and challenging deck to pilot, making a deck truly your own is one of the best feelings about playing EDH, so I highly recommend tweaking this list to your heart’s content until you find a 100 which suits you.
I hope I’ve managed to give you guys a small insight into the power of the Golgari, and that some of you might feel a little bit tempted to throw this deck together and play it in your next play session. Green-black offers so many different strategies and game plans, even within a single deck, and in my opinion, is one the most satisfying and efficient ways to make your friends and foes very, very sad (and/or angry). For now, its adios from me, until next time, good luck, have fun, and may your graveyards be ever full!