Wallet Warriors : The Locust God
Hey there Wallet Warriors! The Hour of Devastation is upon us and out of this terrible, painful and impossibly cruel time for the people on Amonkhet, we get to enjoy the new cards being created out of their misery! Spoiler season is one of my favorite times of year and the cards that specifically piqued my interest (as well as many other Commander players) this time around were the new gods. The Scorpion God, the Scarab God and the Locust God are the missing gods of Amonkhet whose names have been lost in time.
Now I’m gonna be honest with you guys for a second, I was not a big fan of the original five Amonkhet gods. There was a lot of hype for them because their predecessors from Theros are almost unanimously adored. The commander part of me was especially excited because most of the Theros gods see lots of play in our format. The cycle of five new gods were unfortunately pretty underwhelming in comparison.
However these three new gods all show a lot of promise for commander, not only to lead their own armies but as fantastic additions to the 99. If I could fit three deck techs into one article I would have but instead, for the sake of brevity, I’m just going to show you my Locust God deck which you can get for under $100!
This deck is explosive above all else, the game plan is to do some setup in the early turns, by either accelerating our mana or laying down some creatures, then try to stick our God. Then once we untap with it, we rain down locusts onto the board with card draw effects or, ideally, Wheel of Fortune effects.
Alright, let’s get to the deck!
If you want to see the deck list separated by the groupings I talk about, click here!
The main part of our commander we want to take advantage of is the ability to spew out flyers whenever we draw cards. One of the most efficient ways to do this is through getting rid of our hand and drawing a brand new one. We have ten effects in the deck that do this. Arjun, the Shifting Flame and Mindmoil reward us with locusts just by casting spells. Reforge the Soul and Windfall are straightforward, discard and draw back up effects. Jace’s Archivist and Forgotten Creation are reusable versions of these effects. We don’t have a lot of wheels but they are very good at finding each other because you end up seeing so much of your deck.
To take full advantage of the fact that we will be regularly ditching our hand for a fresh one we have some cards based on providing tempo rather than card advantage, Echoing Truth, Wipe Away and Disperse are straight up bounce spells, Pyretic Ritual, Desperate Ritual and Seething Song are ways to spend cards for fast mana. And Turbulent Dreams/Nahiri’s Wrath let us discard our hand at will for very powerful effects. Turbulent Dreams works especially well with a wheel as we fill our opponents hands, empty our own, then make everyone discard and start back at square one.
More Card Draw
We don’t want to stop with just the wheels though, we’ve also got other ways to trigger the Locust God as well as provide general card advantage. Brainstorm, Faithless Looting and Frantic Search are great effects that cycle through our deck. Coastal Piracy and Bident of Thassa let us turn our locusts into more locusts whenever they connect. Alhammarets archive doubles up all our draw effects which gets very silly very quickly.
Pump up the swarm
Okay, so you get how the tokens are made, you draw lots of cards, got it. Now these tokens aren’t the most frightening things in the world on their own, they’re only 1/1s (although they are pretty frightening in general). Anyway, we’ve got a few ways to make them even more frightening. Favorable Winds is efficiently costed. Mindwrack Liege and Obelisk of Urd both provide a +2/+2 boost to our blue and red insects. The Liege pairs particularly well with our commander as when it dies and comes back to our hand. We can replay it for only four mana (at instant speed!).
Impact Tremors and Goblin Bombardment are great payoffs for filling up the board quickly. The bombardment also acts as a sacrifice outlet in case we want our commander to be sent to the grave in a pinch.
Rites of Initiation can be a bit risky as we ideally want a wheel effect left in our hand after we use it but there are a few wheels we can cast out of the grave in Commit//Memory, Runehorn Hellkite and just using Past in Flames.
This deck is not trying to assemble degenerate combos but as a couple have snuck in due to just running individually powerful cards, we may as well bring them up.
Ashnod’s Altar and Skullclamp combined with the Locust God can create a swarm as large as your deck can allow, while also producing tons of colorless mana. You just need the God, one insect and a mana to equip the clamp onto the insect to start the train going as when you have two insects you just sacrifice one to the altar and use half of that mana to equip to the second.
The second combo combines Breath of Fury and either Bident of Thassa or Coastal Piracy to get as many combats as you have cards in your deck, all while doubling your locusts every time. This combo does require you to connect with the flyer that is enchanted which can be tricky, but once you have one available target, you can often bully enough locusts out of them to at least pose a large threat to the rest of the board, even if they have flying blockers.
Protection and Emergency Buttons
We need some ways to protect our God as we are pretty reliant on it surviving for our game plan to progress, to this end we’ve got six forms of counter magic, as well as a pair of Swiftfoot Boots. Foil and Misdirection are ideal as we often want to tap out on turn five or six for our commander and never really having the shields down is great. These cards also work well with our wheels as they are innately card disadvantageous.
We also have a couple ways to clear the board when things get hectic. Evacuation and Cyclonic Rift are great for filling our opponents hands right before making them pitch em. Nahiri’s Wrath and Blasphemous Act can deal with creatures for good. Vandalblast is great at clearing out mana rocks and powerful artifacts which can be otherwise difficult to interact with.
Obviously we want The Locust God on the board as often as possible annoying everyone with tiny bugs, but sometimes, things don’t go as planned. If you're only getting it out on turn 5 or 6, your opponents will have had time to develop and gather some resources meaning after you get all excited and tap out, your general can get caught in the crossfire of a boardwipe or a counterspell someone was holding up. The unnamed gods of Hour of Devastation come back to your hand whenever they die, which helps this problem, but having to spend six mana every turn can cost you a lot of tempo.
To mitigate this issue, we want Plans B through Z in the 99.
Young Pyromancer accomplishes a similar goal to our God, a bit worse but at a much cheaper cost. Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, Psychosis Crawler and Chasm Skulker all benefit from drawing cards and make good threats. Stormtide Leviathan is a powerful lategame threat and can lockdown the ground.
We’ve got a few different types of ramp in the deck. Cost reduction in Goblin Electromancer and Jace’s Sanctum, rituals in Seething Song, Desperate Ritual, and Pyretic Ritual. And plain old mana rocks, the two notable ones being Worn Powerstone and Palladium Myr. With our commander costing six, the three cost mana rocks that produce two mana help us skip a couple of turns and play our God on turn four.
The easiest way to make the deck more consistent and explosive is to add in more wheel effects. Wheel of Fortune, Memory Jar and Teferi’s Puzzle box are all great options. Baral, Chief of Compliance is a slightly more expensive Goblin Electromancer and Firestorm is an efficient way to dump your hand and get value out of your wheels. Coalition Relic is probably my favorite mana rock in the format and fits very nicely into the deck as it’s another rock that gets the Locust God out two turns early.
The Hour is here, and our new gods have arrived. These are by far my favorite cards from the new set I'm really excited to explore their potential in our format. To reiterate, right now this deck will cost you less than $100 and has no trouble swarming the battlefield with speedy insects. Stay out of the sun, and see you in a couple weeks!
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