The War Report: Prossh Food Chain

Masters 25 releases this Friday, and with it, we’re seeing reprints of a couple old Legendary creatures that were originally released with Wizards’ yearly Commander sets. I mentioned in my article about the set that there was one of those reprints that I wouldn’t mind building around. Behold, Prossh:

Originally printed as part of the Commander 2013 set (same year as Oloro, Darevi and others), Prossh is getting reprinted in Masters 25, along with Animar who was from the original Commander product Wizards released. Animar isn’t a bad looking commander either, but Prossh interested me immediately. I set about doing some research on him, and it turns out that he’s not very expensive to buy right now, but he is a tier 1.5 general. It seems that there are differing ways to build him, usually focusing on the fact that he creates tokens on cast trigger, and abusing those tokens either with things like Doubling Season (to make more tokens) or sacrificing them to give him additional power and making a semi-voltron style build. He’s also been abused by combo players, and I feel like a mix of these themes should be present in the deck. Because he costs 6 mana to cast, we want to ramp fast and ramp hard — thankfully we’re in a good color combo to do so.

Ramp:

Typically I don’t like ramp on legs. Cards like the above elves tend to be cheap and effective ways to ramp, mainly because they cost one or two mana and can provide mana by tapping, but these creatures are easy to pick off with small amounts of damage and they tend to be vulnerable to board wipes. For that reason I’ll typically utilize cards like Wood Elves or Rampant Growth, because you’ll get a land onto the battlefield regardless of if the creature survives, and ramp spells are reliable because no one is going to waste a counter spell on them. There is a reason I’ve chosen to include so many of them here though, mainly because there is a combo that we’re going for that I’ll get to in a bit. Still, the amount of ramp here is very redundant, so we’ll be able to guarantee we are ramping faster than anyone else at the table. To make sure that we can get to our combo fast, I’ve added a number of tutor effects as well:

Tutors:

Most tutors are pretty straight-forward: You pay the mana costs, find the card you want and either put it in your hand or on top of your library. We’ve got a couple of these here that can be used for a variety of cards, but then there are some that I added to fetch out a particular combo piece. Since the card we want to fetch out every single game costs 3 mana, I’ve added a couple transmute options that will allow us to sacrifice the card with the transmute ability to tutor up another card with that same CMC. Necropotence isn’t really a tutor, but it can help you get to the cards you need pretty quickly, but you’ll have to pay life to do so. So what’s the big win-con here? Let’s take a look at our options:

Win Conditions:

The big combo we want to work towards in this deck is a combination of Prossh and the enchantment Food Chain. Food Chain doesn’t look like that great of a card on the surface, but it works well with Prossh’s abilities. So when Prossh enters the battlefield, he creates X 0/1 Kobolds based on the amount of mana used to pay for Prossh. This is one of the few commanders that actually benefits from commander tax, as each time you cast him, you’ll have to pay two extra mana to do so, which in turn means two more Kobolds will be spawned. Food Chain is a sacrifice outlet, and gives you mana equal to the sacrificed creature’s CMC + 1. Since your Kobolds are tokens and have effectively 0 CMC, they still net 1 mana per sacrificed creature. This means if you cast Prossh and get 6 tokens, you can sacrifice two of them, then sacrifice Prossh to Food Chain netting you enough mana to recast him and start the process over, effectively giving you infinite mana and infinite tokens. That won’t win you the game by itself, but it’s the cornerstone for this deck. From there you can use additional cards like Purphoros to kill your opponents with the ETB damage triggers from Prossh’s tokens, use Ogre Battledriver, Beastmater Ascension or Craterhoof Behemoth to buff them up and swing for the kill. Alternatively, you can sac those creatures to buff up Prossh himself and apply something like Tainted Strike to kill someone off with infect. The possibilities are varied.

Utility:

One drawback to Prossh and his token generation engine is the lack of haste. We have that covered with cards like Anger and Fires of Yavimaya. I’ve added some recursion in case Food Chain gets nuked, along with some cards that will benefit from the sacrificing you’ll be doing. You can draw cards and force your opponents to sacrifice their creatures if you have Fecundity, Dictate of Erebos and Grave Pact on the board.

If you ramp fast enough, you’ll be able to get the Food Chain combo going quickly and you should be able to tutor up an additional win-con by then too. Some of these other tools will help you control the board if you happen to have a slower game. Overall I think this deck will be a lot of fun, and will likely be one of my next builds after the Masters set releases. You can check out my full decklist here.

TWR: Masters 25 Spoiled

We’ve known Masters 25 has been coming for a while now. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Magic: The Gathering’s existence, and that makes me feel a bit old. I can remember opening packs of these cards in elementary school and not really knowing what was going on, and spent in total probably around 8-10 years actively playing the game so it’s fair to say I’m invested. I’m glad that it’s managed to stay around all this time — it is my current obsession. With that said, the entirety of the set was spoiled recently and I had some thoughts on it.

It’s tax return season, and aside from putting some money into savings I decided to spend a little on the Zur the Enchanter deck I wrote about a few days ago. My girlfriend also hinted that she wanted to make my friends jealous with a purchase and I had two thoughts. My first desire was a set of the 10 shock lands, but then I thought about buying a box of Masters 25 which was a similar investment. Now that I’ve seen the full set, I’m glad that I decided to go with the shock lands that are currently in the mail. The really isn’t as much here as I was expecting. Sure, there are staples a plenty, but many of the cards are things I already own sometimes in multiple prints. The big chase cards are those that are currently worth money. Those cards like Jace, The Mind Sculptor that will actually lose value due to the reprinting but will eventually climb up again. Clearly I’m not thrilled here, but I’d still like to point out some cards that I desire and some great staples you should look out for especially if you play EDH.

Multi-Colored:

The only card here I wouldn’t mind having is Prossh, mainly because he seems like a fun commander to build around. Animar isn’t so bad either. The others are either staples or plain ol’ cool reprints.

White:

Rest in Peace is actually a decent card, particularly if you’re running a deck that doesn’t care about graveyard recursion, and even better if your enemies are! The older Thalia is a great add to control/stax/tax type decks, and there’s some other staples here as well. If you’re running a token deck, Darien and Luminarch Ascension are nice enablers.

Blue:

The real money card of the set is here in Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He’s one busted Planeswalker, and his recent unbanning in Modern means that people will actually be able to use the reprint. Getting him will be like winning the lotto though! Otherwise we have some great staples here, along with an interesting enchantment I’d like a copy of in Freed from the Real.

Black:

Doomsday is the real winner here, being a card that fits into many a competitive EDH list. Other staples include the 2nd printing of Ravenous Chupacabra, a great removal tool for black.

Red:

The Recruiter is nice, and would fit right into the Alesha deck I’m working on. I am disappointed to see Blood Moon reprinted so soon, as I lucked into a copy back when Modern Masters 2017 hit the scene last year. It was a $20+ card. We’ll see how much it tanks shortly.

Green:

Some interesting cards here, some token generation, tutoring, and cheating. I like these cards but don’t necessarily have a place I would put them.

Artifacts and Lands:

Some other staple artifacts get a reprint, along with a nasty pillowfort tool. Ash Barrens gets a 2nd printing, and we get a fresh printing of the filter lands as well. Good stuff to have.

Overall it’s a fairly hum drum set but as I said there are a handful of decent pickups. I’ll probably just buy a couple packs and then head to the singles store.