I did not want to build Kroxa. I swear. Let me explain.

In my spare time I buy Magic collections, which allows me to build powerful Commander decks at a fraction of the cost. If there is enough interest in this, get at me on Twitter—I'm happy to share my methods. 

There was a crossroads I sat at where I really wanted to build Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger. Earlier in April I hit Mythic in MTG Arena after a nearly four-year Standard hiatus. My weapon of choice, before companions of course, was Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger.

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I fell in love with the creepy looking giant the moment I cast it. I knew he had to be my next Commander, but for some reason something kept telling me not to do it. Maybe it's because a foil copy of it (I'm boujee, sue me) cost so much money. Maybe it is because I did not want a huge target on my back for crushing my opponent's hands. I decided to stay away. I built Gavi, Nest Warden instead to satiate my desire to discard cards—yeehaw cycling—and get value from them.

But then I bought a few collections. There was a foil Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger. Oh no. There was Phyrexian Arena and Necrogen Mists. Foil Syphon Mind and right there: a Waste Not… and a foil Megrim. It was all falling into place. I even bought a Badlands. The gods were driving me towards Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger with reckless abandon. 

So I caved.

 

 

 

The trick is keeping a deck like this powerful and very cost-conscious. We want it to do what it's meant to do, but of course cards like Bloodstained Mire and Demonic Tutor can easily be cut for things like Rocky Tar Pit or Diabolic Tutor to cut down the price significantly for the more budget-minded. It's okay to cut corners with this kind of deck given that a lot of the best pieces can be picked up for cheap, and since your commander costs about $20 I would recommend allocating the savings towards stuff like Necrogen Mists, Gamble, or Bloodchief Ascension. A Blood Crypt won't be the end-all, but those cards are great for your deck. 

Making Enemies

The play style of Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger is to set up soft locks with card draw for yourself and discard for everyone else. Since Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger only costs two mana means you're going to generate value immediately when you cast him from the command zone since his enters-the-battlefield trigger only applies to opponents. From there you'll be punishing people with various effects that cause them to make the hard choices: what to discard.

In order to do this you play multiple pieces that work in conjunction with each other to make everyone's life miserable. Some of my favorite things to do with this deck include the following:

Sire of Insanity Painful Quandary

With no cards in hand your opponents are forced into the worst top deck war of all time. If they don't draw a land they have to cast a spell and Lava Axe themselves in the process while you're wailing away at them with a 6/4.

Waste Not Dark Deal

Do you like drawing cards? Do you like mana? Do you like making a ton of creatures? Aw hell yea. The idea is to get one of your value engines online and jam Dark Deal. This is going to wallop the table with a one-sided Wheel of Fortune effect that is going to leave your hand beyond full, your board full, and an obscene amount of mana to play with. Following it up with a Torment of Hailfire is absolutely delightful.

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Quest for the Nihil Stone is one of the best cards in your deck. This card will usually be online by turn three or four with the appropriate number of quest counters. From there it's a game of emptying hands and doling out absurd amounts of damage. 

When They Target You

One of the hardest aspects of playing Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger is that you cannot make bargains with people. You barely play targeted discard and every card in your deck is meant to impact the table. People get wise to it very quickly and you will often be the first player your opponents gang up on. I have learned that you want to spend as much time as humanly possible being non-threatening. Seems counter-intuitive, does it not?

When I would go savage with this deck often I would mutilate my friends' hands; they'd get their commanders in play and a few other creatures, and if I didn't have a sweeper like Black Sun's Zenith I would be killed in short order. What I learned was it was not my place to do anything too negative for a while; it behooved me far more to build up my mana and let everyone play mean with each other. Eventually you will get your "big turn" where you are able to start going off. It will usually start innocuously with one of your power cards: Waste Not, Bloodchief Ascension, or Liliana's Caress/Raiders' Wake. From there you will want to start dropping your discard bombs on the following turn. This is the part where you'll put the target on your back, but if done right and with enough powerful cards in succession they won't have the resources to stop you. Escaping Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger puts a giant body in play that's hard to punch through. From there let your drain effects do the work for you. Once you've set up and gotten the ball rolling it becomes almost impossible to stop you. 

Upgrading

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger is an incredibly complex deck once you set your sights on upgrading it. Your tutor package is going to switch drastically when you add things like Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor. Vampiric Tutor in particular is so good in this deck because it allows you to set up huge Reforge the Soul turns when you can absolutely decimate opponents with cards like Liliana's Caress. Another very important aspect is when you are able to play better sweepers. Damnation and Toxic Deluge are must-haves for Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger when you can afford to put them in the deck. The more sweepers the deck has the better it becomes. You're able to get combo turns of playing a big board sweeper and following it up by putting an uncontested Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger into play. 

Even though he's Rakdos, you can also play Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger like a real combo deck. With so much redundancy, you're going to hinder your opponent's hands using tools like Syphon Mind and Unnerve and clear the way for Worldgorger Dragon/Animate Dead to generate infinite mana. From there you may cast Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger from your command zone an infinite amount of times to force your opponents to discard their hand, and then take three life loss for every subsequent recasting. This ends the game, and Worldgorger Dragon and Animate Dead is an infinite loop that might require you to use one of your removal spells to kill it in response to its enters-the-battlefield trigger, so don't start the engine till you have a removal spell or there's another creature in a graveyard to target once you've gone infinite. That's a small price to pay for killing the table in grand fashion. 

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger is one of my new favorite pet decks. If you like a challenge and making your friends hate you, pick it up. It's the ultimate masochist deck.