Hello everybody and welcome back to Brawl Haul! I have still been messing around with all the Ikoria commanders and it has gotten to the point where it is difficult to decide which decklist to feature because I have been having a blast with almost all of them. Anyway, onto this week’s deck tech on Chevill, Bane of Monsters.
The main goal of the deck is to grind out our opponents, using Chevill, Bane of Monsters, our planeswalkers, and a variety of other value orientated cards. The deck is essentially a GB control deck focused on grinding the opponent out of the game by abusing Chevill’s ability.
What makes Chevill worthwhile as a Commander?
Like many of the other Golgari commanders in the format, Chevill is designed to out value the opponents and although feeling like it was designed for the other 60 card formats, he also is a great commander for playing a GB control deck. Compared to all the other Golgari commanders, Chevill is one of the few that requires an extra push to be able to start generating value, but this value he creates is also significantly better than what the other commanders have going on.
As mentioned earlier, the most important cards in the deck are the variety of removal spells that let use Chevill’s bounty counters. Out of all the removal spells in the deck, the ones that stand out the most are Casualties of War, Murderous Rider, Heartless Act, and Easy Prey.
Casualties of War is a very obvious inclusion here as the card often shuts the opponent out of the game by destroying 3+ permanents. It is such a strong card that casting it as soon as possible to just put the nail in the coffin is almost always the right play. Murderous Rider is a decent removal spell as it provides a body to possibly two for one the opponent. Heartless Act is the best single target removal spell as it is able to clear anything our opponents want to play for only two mana without giving them much chance to respond. Easy Prey is the last notable card because, despite the obvious downside, it gives us something to do if the opponents do not play cards into our Chevill, which can often be an issue because the hand gets filled with removal fairly quickly.
One of the main things the deck needs to do is the transition from just removing everything the opponent is playing to establishing our own late-game threats. The best way to do this is via either modal spells, which there just are not a lot of in standard right now or Planeswalkers that are able to put a clock on the opponent, which I opted for the latter. The planeswalkers I have had the most success with have Garruk, Cursed Huntsman, Vraska, Golgari Queen, and Ugin, the Ineffable.
Something to note about all these planeswalkers is that their downtick is a removal spell while the uptick creates value. This is a main reason why they have been successful as it pressures the opponent into playing their cards to deal with them, which most the time will result in us being able to remove it either via a planeswalker or a removal spell. As for what these planeswalkers do specifically, Garruk, Cursed Huntsman’s uptick floods the board, his downtick removes a threat while drawing one or two cards, and his ultimate turns all of our creatures into threats that can reliably close out the game quickly. Vraska, Golgari Queen’s uptick lets us destroy our unnecessary permanents for more cards to play, the downtick is just removal and the ultimate also wins the game in the same way that Garruk’s ultimate does. Ugin, the Ineffable is like a mix between the two, with an uptick creating a body and the downtick destroying a permanent. The static ability is going to be worthless nine times out of ten but occasionally it can help cheat a bit on mana.
Closing out the Game
While the planeswalkers are a great way to close out a game, sometimes we need an extra push in order to finish the opponent off. The cards that do this the best in the deck are Awaken the Erstwhile, Dread Presence, and Field of the Dead.
Awaken the Erstwhile has been one of the sillier cards in the deck and in many ways, it is similar to Rampage of the Clans in last week’s article. The deck probably would be better without it but it does work surprisingly well in the deck. More often than not we will get more zombies than the opponent and we can abuse the tokens a lot better than other decks, or just kill some of their zombies with our planeswalkers. Dread Presence is a great way to grind out the opponent as it lets us ping everything they play, draw more cards to hit more gas, and eventually just ping the opponent’s face. The number of swamps we have in the deck can make it awkward at times, but that is where the Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and Chromatic Lantern can help prevent this. The last card that helps us close out the game is Field of the Dead, which just wins the game on its own in this format. Not much else to say that I have not already said about the card to be honest.
Other Notable Cards
This time around, the decklist has been highly synergistic and so almost every one of the cards fit into one of the three main goals of the deck. However, there were a few cards that I felt deserved to be mentioned due to performing incredibly well in the deck. These cards are Kogla, the Titan Ape, Thorn mammoth, Foulmire Knight, and Find/Finality.
Kogla was one of the strongest performing cards in the deck as it is a removal spell, a massive creature, continuous enchantment and artifact hate and even can help protect Chevill by picking him up. He is such a good card for this deck to abuse as all three things he does can be useful in the deck. Despite having a lot of the deck focused on removal, there are still times when we run out and just have creatures or things that create creatures in our hand, which is where Thorn Mammoth comes in, which turns all them all into removal spells. Earlier on I mentioned how Murderous Knight was able to two for one in a lot of situations, which is something that Foulmire Knight is able to do very often as well. The last card that stuck out from the rest to me was Find/Finality, which is the only modal spell that felt worth running. Find is great for recurring some of our threats or our removal creatures while Finality lines up perfectly in protecting Chevill while also wiping the board.
Strengths and Weaknesses
This deck is one of the most demoralizing decks I have ever made in this format. Something I have noticed a lot in this format is that people like to do their own thing and hate it when people mess with it, such as countering their cards or destroying their permanents. Since this deck is literally all about killing the opponent’s permanents, this means a lot of free wins by the opponents conceding. I have not played against this deck myself but it just feels like its not a fun deck to play against.
The biggest weakness is just that there is nothing preventing our opponents from just being incredibly greedy. We have no way to interact with the stack meaningfully and even killing some creatures as soon as they enter the battlefield is not enough as things like Agent of Treachery or Uro Titan of Nature’s Wrath are strong because of their ETB trigger. It did not happen to me much but there were a couple times when the opponent just ran an absurdly greedy deck and won because the deck does not apply pressure on the opponent quickly.
If you are interested in the list I featured this week, here is a link to it.
Chevill has felt severely underrated to me so far, both in Brawl and Standard. He comes down early, makes things awkward for the opponent, and has a decent body and so he feels like he will find a place somewhere down the line.
That is all I have to say for this week’s deck. As a heads up, there will not be an article for next week as I am going to be busy with other stuff, but the following week will. I am sorry about that but I just could not think of a way to juggle both commitments at the same time. That being said, if there are any cards that strike you as a fun build-a-round card, make sure to let me know. Until next time, good luck brewing!