Hi everyone! My name is Newton and I want to share my very potent 1v1 Grenzo Goblin deck. I've seen 3 types of Grenzo builds in Duel Commander: Doomsday combo, value/high-CMC drops, and Goblin tribal. I love Doomsday but felt my specific build was more versatile and can win against a variety of decks. I'm also not a fan of value-Grenzo since the deck folds pretty hard to disruption and relies more heavily on RNG.
The mana base is optimized to open with 3 lands in hand as often as possible (3/7*99=42.4 -> 43 lands). Despite being an aggro deck, the deck is very mana hungry (CMC ~2.5) and absolutely cannot afford to miss land drops. Also, flooding out isn't necessarily bad due to Grenzo's ability.
The mana base was rebuilt in order to utilize Tainted Pact as another tutor option. Because of "free win" cards such as Blood Moon and Living Death, the trade-off of having fewer basic lands is worth the potential of "cheesing" a free win.
Because the deck wants to navigate on both the aggro and combo axis, every land besides the 4 Scry / Hideaway lands (see Grenzo combos below) comes into play untapped. An example of a land that did not make the cut is Smoldering Marsh as it does not consistently come into play untapped.
The scarcity of double black cards enables the deck to easily play through our Blood Moon effects. As a result double black cards must have the potential to win games all their own (see Living Death).
Mesmeric Fiend effects were in previous incarnations of the deck but were removed in order to increase deck speed and reduce awkwardness with Blood Moon.
The high density of creatures (> 40%) ensures that Grenzo activations miss as little as possible. As a general rule of thumb, non-creature spells generally have to win the game or have an enormous impact to be included.
With the exception of a few very high impact goblins (i.e. Goblin Trashmaster), the creature base is optimized for X=0 (Grenzo).
Combos Stock List
Mana Echoes + Grenzo (see Murderous Redcap combo below)
Hi Vokotek! Sorry about the late reply but finally saw your comment. Here are my thoughts on your points.
1. The reason why I calculated for having 3 lands in my opening hand is because it's really dicey to keep 2 land hands with the deck. Optimizing for the opening 7 mitigates against this. Other than that, I agree with you that 4 mana by turn 4 is probably ideal. 5 mana by turn 5 is even better but we can probably live without it. Also, another reason why I erred on the side of caution is due to the scry/hideaway lands coming into play tapped.
2. You're right about my meta being a lot slower and more grindy. Even before the ban, Zurgo was pretty uncommon and most of my friends play mid-range/control decks. I agree Mogg Fanatic is great against the mana dork decks (reasonable swap for Ember Hauler). The reason why I didn't include it in my build is because there weren't too many decks with mana dorks at that moment. Goblin Chainwhirler is a new addition that cleanly deals with mana dorks as well.
Goblin Bombardment is a card that goes in and out of my deck as the meta changes. I think it's really good in a faster meta-game similar to yours. The same applies for Pyrokinesis and Fire Covenant.
I agree with your comments about Imperial Recruiter and Stingscourger as well (both in my current list). With regards to Dark Confidant, I think you still want him as he can chump block against aggro and is really good against control. Contamination is a nice lock piece with Grenzo but not as good in my meta-game since a lot of opponents run signets (Akiri/Silas) and lots of removal. Because of the grindy control meta-game, untapping with Grenzo usually means I'm winning already.
I think my LGS videos have expired unfortunately but I'll post newer videos once I get some time. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Just curious, what cuts did you make in order to fit all of the new cards? Of the cards you've added, I've tested Collective Brutality, Cabal Therapy, and Kolaghan's Command. Cabal Therapy can be really awkward, despite being a reasonable flip off of Grenzo. At least for my meta-game, Collective Brutality is often just an expensive Duress. In my cases, I would rather play Hymn to Tourach. Also, the reason why I like 1 mana discard (instead of 2 mana) is because they give the deck additional turn 1 plays and are a good curve-filler. With that said, I can see Brutality being a lot better against faster aggro decks. Kolaghan's Command was pretty solid overall and probably the strongest of these cards. The reason why I'm not running it is because I disliked lowering my hit rate for Grenzo.
I've been meaning to try Chupacabra as he's hard removal and tutorable via cards such as Imperial Recruiter. While I haven't tried Tel-Jilad Stylus yet, other cards heavily dependent on Grenzo have been lackluster in the past since my opponents will just remove/counter Grenzo in response. I'll go ahead and try Stylus to see if it's any different.
Is your meta-game still really aggro-focused? If so, I think you can probably cut the discard effects for more removal (i.e. Lightning Bolt, Co-Bru, K-Command, etc.) without hurting your Grenzo activations too much. As a general rule of thumb however, I would really recommend keeping at least 40+ creatures since Grenzo is part of what makes the deck so resilient. Your plan B of untapping with Grenzo allows you to win any attrition war.
Krenko - I personally think Krenko is too strong to cut. Untapping with him is usually enough to win the game. Having the haste lords helps too.
Goblin Wardriver - I've also cut him from my list.
Hellraiser Goblin - Better against control decks but I can see why you cut him.
I like all of the recent additions you included (Frogtosser, Krenko, Bob, and Revoker). It's always good to have creatures in this deck so I'm glad you increased the creature density again. Grenzo really punishes your opponent for aggressively removing your creatures early on.
Boggart Mob is really good against control because he makes any board state threatening. Reusing EtB effects (i.e. Siege-Gang Commander, Matron, Beetleback Chief, etc.) is just cherry on top. Since there's a lot of aggro in your area, he's ok to cut for now I think. I would strongly consider playing Fire Covenant with that meta-game.
Looking at your list for possible cuts, here are a few possibilities.
Goblin Piledriver - He's always been lackluster for me in the past (requires a board and can be chump blocked). How's he for you?
Mogg Fanatic - Fanatical Firebrand is better if you want that effect (triggers Rabblemaster and deals more damage immediately with lords).
Patriarch's Bidding - Not as good as Living Death and 5 mana is a lot for a situational card.
Comments on your mana base.
Bojuka Bog - CiPT lands tend to be bad in an aggro deck. Usually not worth it unless there's a lot of graveyard strategies in your area.
Ramunap Ruins - Not worth it in my opinion as the deck isn't really a burn deck but could be ok if you're playing against a lot of control.
I added Zhalfirin Void as well so glad to see you're playing it as well. Also, I think you really want to max out on fetches (add Scalding Tarn). This allows you to reset the bottom of your deck when you've scry'ed a bad card down. If you're setting up a Hideaway play, you can always plan accordingly. The reason why I'm not playing Volrath's Stronghold is because it's really mana intensive and doesn't produce colored mana. In general, both my CiPT (scry effects) and colorless (Ancient Tomb, Mutavault, Wasteland, Zhalfirin Void) lands are high impact. I've even cut Tectonic Edge for now.
Yeah, I think maxing fetches is an easy decision. Besides resetting the bottom of your library, it fixes your mana while thinning your deck too (useful for Grenzo in addition to your draws). It's also useful if you're running Grim Lavamancer.
I'll have to try Piledriver again. It has won me games in the past when combined with a Bushwhacker effect.
You're right about Patriarch's Bidding being a haymaker. I guess I just remember the games where it sits in my hand.
I think Nihil Spellbomb is probably better than Bojuka Bog if you want graveyard hate but that's personal preference.
I think Barbarian Ring is better than Ramunap Ruins if you're looking for that type of effect. With that said, I'm not playing Ring either.
Chandra has been solid. It gives the deck another must-answer threat that isn't vulnerable to sweepers. I personally have liked her more than Liliana of the Veil since it's on color too. With that said, Liliana, the Last Hope has been the most powerful of the 3 for me.
No problem! I tried to send you a PM on Facebook btw. Not sure if you saw it.
Quick Overview of Recent Changes to Primer / Deck-list:
+ Added Goblin Cratermaker and Legion Warboss from Guilds of Ravnica
- Removed Mesmeric Fiend effects to make room for new cards
+ Added back Patriarch's Bidding and Nykthos, Shrine to Nix to increase overall power level of the deck
+ Added back Viscera Seer due to synergy with Grenzo and it nicely filling curve as a 1-drop
- Removed Hellraiser Goblin due to the inherent clunkiness of forcing all of your other Goblins to attack (specifically Grenzo)
+ Added Goblin Motivator to replace Hellraiser Goblin as a haste effect while nicely filling curve as a 1-drop
+ Added both Pyrokinesis and Fire Covenant to complement Living Death as pseudo Plague Wind effects
Overall, the changes have all been very impactful and have led to an increased win percentage across the board. In general, I believe this deck is one of the best-kept secrets in all of Duel Commander.
Latest round of updates. Deck feels incredibly smooth now.
+ Added back Mesmeric Fiend effects (testing indicated additional need for disruption against control/combo)
+ Added back 43rd land (better to have 1 too many land than 1 too few)
+ Added Goblin Trashmaster (too versatile not to include)
+ Testing Grenzo, Havor Raiser
- Removed Warren Instigator and Goblin Motivator (too situational)
- Removed Fire Covenant (covered by Pyrokinesis)
- Removed Krenko, Mob Boss and Lightning Crafter (4 mana with no immediate impact and easily answered)
- Removed Mogg War Marshal (decent but wanted to create additional space)
Edited to fix typo: Changed Goblin Instigator to Warren Instigator
Recently lost in the finals of the second monthly DCM double-elimination tournament. List felt great as already mentioned in my previous post. Here are some of my considerations going forward.
- Grenzo, Havoc Raiser is probably the weakest card; Likely cut to test new/other cards
- Drawing multiple black/colorless-only lands feels really awkward; Likely replacing Tectonic Edge and/or 1 Swamp in the future
- Multiple situational "I win" cards rewards playing more tutors; Gamble and/or Tainted Pact (would require changing the mana base) may be worth testing
- Lord effect of Goblin Trashmaster has been fantastic; Adaptive Automaton may be worth testing again
If there are any cards that might work well with this deck that I'm missing, feel free to post them here! Thanks!
- Added Canyon Slough (in place of Tectonic Edge) for an additional fetch-able dual land with marginal upside
- Added Ravenous Chupacabra as a tutor-able hard-removal for problematic creatures
- Added Liliana of the Veil as another high impact Planeswalker
- Removed Grenzo, Havoc Raiser (eliminates need for RR on turn 2)
- Removed Stingscourger (awkward to have in opening hand and very situational)
Made a few small tweaks based on observations in recent games.
+ Added Fire Covenant: HUGE upside [and high floor] and can win games by itself; Adds another tutor target for Mauseoleum Secrets (below)
+ Added Stingscourger: Tutor-able [although temporary] hard-removal with Goblin synergies
+ Added Ash Barrens: Provides another shuffle effect to clear bottom of library; Another way to fetch Basic Swamp with Blood Moon in hand/play
+ Added Conjurer's Bauble: Cost-efficient library manipulation
+ Added Mauseoleum Secrets: Testing due to possible upside (i.e. Living Death); Should be a 3 mana Demonic Consultation worst case scenario
- Removed Ravenous Chupacabra: Being 2 mana more than Stingscourger makes it difficult to play same turn after tutoring; Double black isn't ideal
- Removed Beetleback Chief: Decent but cut for curve considerations
- Removed Liliana of the Veil: Decent but not as strong as Liliana, the Last Hope
- Removed 2 Mountains: Replaced by Ash Barrens while Aether Vial should really count as 43rd land
P.S. The deck's worst match-up used to be mono-red. However with Zurgo no longer legal as a commander, I think the match-up has flipped 180 degrees. As a result, I think the deck is even-to-favored against the majority of the top tier generals now.
I just finished first in January's DCM double elimination tournament! The main changes I made heading into the tournament include:
- Cutting discard / Mesmeric Fiend effects for Warren Instigator, Goblin Wardriver, Mogg War Marshal, RR Grenzo, Lightning Bolt, and Chain Lightning
- Cutting Foreboding Ruins / Smoldering Marsh (inconsistently enters play untapped) for 9th Mountain and Barbarian Ring
The list felt solid with the exception of two cards: RR Grenzo and Mausoleum Secrets.
- RR Grenzo wants you to spend mana post-combat, which is opposite of what the deck wants to do
- Mausoleum Secret's floor of being a 3 mana Demonic Consultation happens pretty often
Going forward, I'm adding Judith, the Scourge Diva (new addition from Ravnica Allegiance) and Adapative Automaton in place of the two under-performing cards. Also, I didn't think the life loss of Barbarian Ring was worth it. I'll be adding Shizo and Shinka in place of 9th Mountain and Barbarian Ring going forward since there's very little downside to both. Without the discard / Mesmeric Fiend effects, the deck was able to play through Blood Moon much easier and had more synergy with the rest of the deck due to 3 additional relevant goblins.
I got some initial testing with the upcoming London Mulligan and the change is pretty big for this deck. The deck is able to recoup the card disadvantage fairly easily if Grenzo untaps. Also, I've added a few additional tutors and high impact cards to increase the consistency and power level of the deck.
- Reworked mana base in order to fit Tainted Pact
- Added Gamble as another tutor
- Added Earwig Squad as a tutor-able way to deal with problematic cards/combos
- Added Springleaf Drum and Mox Amber as efficient mana acceleration
- Added Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin from the upcoming War of the Spark expansion
- Cut Warren Instigator and Goblin Wardriver since they're bad top decks
- Cut Lightning Bolt since Barbarian Ring and Ramunap Ruins fulfill the same need
- Cut Adaptive Automaton since it's the worst of the lords (3 mana, weak to artifact destruction, and no secondary ability)
- Cut 43rd land due to addition of Springleaf Drum and Mox Amber
Sorry for the delay but here are my latest changes (includes Modern Horizons release).
- Added Munitions Expert for additional creature-based removal
- Added Pashalik Mons for additional creature-based removal
- Added Plague Engineer for additional creature-based removal with BLOWOUT potential
- Added Prismatic Vista for better mana fixing
- Added Contamination as another "free win" card
- Added Goblin Vandal as another 1-drop with high upside
- Re-added Warren Instigator due to high upside and being a "must-answer"
- Re-added Goblin Wardriver to increase aggro linearity of deck
- Removed Ash Barrens due to costing 1 mana to color fix; replaced by Prismatic Vista
- Removed Springleaf Drum because I'd rather be attacking with creatures
- Removed Mox Amber because it's a liability if Grenzo isn't on the field
- Removed Earwig Squad due to narrowness and not coming off Grenzo activation
Lately, I've noticed that a good percentage of my losses stem from one of the following scenarios:
- Not hitting land drops (ideally hit 4 mana by turn 4)
- Tempo'ed out by aggro decks (even worse if not hitting land drops) due to lack of early interaction
- Lack of pressure on combo/control player during early game
As a result, I've made the following changes to the deck for curve considerations.
- Added Tainted Peak as 43rd land
- Added Mogg Fanatic as a tutorable 1 mana removal spell that synergizes with rest of deck
- Added Unearth as high-upside cheat on mana that still cycles around Blood Moon and graveyard hate
- Re-added 3 discard spells: Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek, and Duress
- Removed Krenko; No immediate impact that doesn't win game on its own
- Removed Goblin Chainwhirler; RRR can sometimes be hard to generate and doesn't come off Grenzo activation
- Removed Goblin Wardriver; No immediate impact that requires attacking for benefit
- Removed Adaptive Automaton; Lacks some goblin synergies and a little slow for 3 mana
- Removed Plague Engineer; No synergy with rest of deck and not always good
Here are my latest inclusions as a result of Throne of Eldraine cards:
- Replaced Mutavault with Castle Embereth; hardly found myself animating Mutavault and colorless mana really hurts
- Replaced Unearth with Fires of Invention; Fires of Invention is essentially a supercharged Aether Vial that cheats even more on mana
- Replaced Mogg Fanatic with Torbran, Thane of Red Fell; Tormund is the hardest hitting lord we have access to so far besides Goblin Pyromancer (HUGE drawback)
Just finished 3rd for October's DCM tournament with this list.
My two losses were winnable and I punted both in my opinion so I still strongly recommend this deck!
Going forward, I'll be cutting Zhalfirin Void and Mogg War Marshal for Goblin Motivator and Earwig Squad. The problem I have with both Zhalfirin Void and MWM is they often require other things to work well and aren't a threat on their own while not producing colored mana in Zhalfirin Void's case.
Meanwhile, the deck really wants more turn 1 plays and Goblin Motivator fills that role while offering a high ceiling. Earwig Squad I'm less sure of but should help the combo match-ups and a 5/3 body for 3 is decent aggression. If it doesn't work out, I will try Doomsday again due to wanting more free wins. For those curious, the top-to-bottom pile would be Metallic Mimic, Murderous Redcap, Skirk Prospector, Kiki-Jiki, and Priest of Urabrask. All of those cards besides Priest are already in the deck and the combo would require only 2 starting mana.