Did you ever want to build a stompy deck that was fast, explosive, and attention-grabbing with its humongous plays and piles of damage out of nowhere? Do you want a deck that can do its job without the need for cards that eat away at the money in your wallet?
Then maybe try this deck out. The premise is simple.
Play fast ramp spells and try and speed out an early Xenagos, God of Revels.
Now think of any fatty in red-green that gets significantly more awesome when it has double the power and haste. If you can get an extra combat, you can get another trigger for a quad damage attack!
Now let's add some crazy creature-dependent card draw so you can instantly refill if even one of your guys can stick for a turn!
However, keep in mind that while this deck is a somewhat refined list, it is not cutthroat competitive. This sort of deck will not compete with well built control and combo decks. Nonetheless, you have a few tools you can use to make their lives a little harder.
Before we begin, there are two terms that I will occasionally use that require clarification:
- Blowouts: The event in which we cast a spell such as Soul's Majesty on a creature, but it gets removed in response, meaning we lost two cards and a lot of tempo. We want to avoid this when possible.
- Wipeouts: The event in which our deck does such an absurd amount of damage in one turn to everyone that we win from it. Often caused by multiple extra combats, Hydra Omnivore, or Chandra's Ignition.
Xenagos is an indestructible God that makes one creature every combat double up on its power (and gets a toughness boost equal to power) and haste. There are a dangerous number of things you could pull with that potential depending on the big creature you have. One of them can steal ALL of someone's artifacts on a moment's notice. Some of them can instantly kill a player unless they have blockers. You can turn anything that cares about a creature's power into an insane play. There is a lot of aggro potential in this general, but the support spells also offer amazing synergy with the general to create a package that may not be the most competitive of archetypes but is still a very worrisome threat. To top it all off, our enabler is resilient to a lot of conventional removal and so we can expect it to usually stay around the whole game.
However, if you are the target of a lot of removal and counterspells, it may slow you down enough so that your late game cannot compete with that of the other decks. We play a suite of cards to prevent this from happening, but we can't always depend on them to stick. Plus, a lot of our support spells are creature-conditional and we want to be cautious as to not drop these support spells into open removal. Lastly, aggro decks naturally have trouble taking on multiple players at once and will often draw fire from multiple players who simply want to avoid losing half of their life total in an instant.
Why should I play this deck:
You like attacking
You like an aggro deck that is less affected by boardwipes
You want to be able to kill people from practically an empty board
You like incredibly explosive jaw-dropping plays
You want a deck that doesn't cost a fortune to build to 80% optimal performance
Why should I NOT play this deck:
You're not a fan of a fairly linear gameplan.
You hate being targeted for fear of being the cause of someone's instant death.
You like playing control decks
You want to play a deck that is competitive and wins every game. This deck is powerful enough to demand respect but not enough to win in super powered tables.
Other Commander Comparisons:
Purphoros, God of the Forge: This is your closest brother in terms of God-brethren. Like you, he can deliver absurd amounts of damage to everyone at the table and like you his plan is fairly linear. He can come down on turn 3 more consistently and sometimes even turn 2. Unlike you, he does his damage to everyone at once and is far more difficult to interact with, so people will gun for Purph even harder than you. In that sense Purph is likely a more viable competitive choice than you. However, he also has far less draw power and a smaller variety of anti-control countermeasures available compared to your colors. He relies on artifacts a little more which makes Vandalblast and Bane of Progress better against him. He does not have access to creature tutors or as much draw power (even if it's nonconditional). Basically, the ways to get the "I kill you instantly" cards. Lastly, he simply isn't as FUN as playing Xenagod. Killing people via combo or triggered damage simply isn't as fun as whacking people twice with Hydra Omnivore then drawing 32 cards off of it.
Stonebrow, Krosan Hero: This was the guy people used to play red-green stompy before Xenagod. He wasn't that competitive, and his boost is pretty marginal in a 40-life format. Sorry dood, your time has passed.
Radha, Heir to Keld: People play this to have a general that gives them guaranteed turn 2 ramp. We play enough ramp spells to feel comfortable living without the command zone guarantee. More importantly, we want DAMAGE.
Wort, the Raidmother: She is pretty solid for red-green spell decks. We play a lot of noncreature spells but we're mostly a creature deck. If you want to play red-green with an instant and sorcery focus she is a fine choice. We do not.
Atarka, World Render: You're basically playing a deck that tries to 1-shot people with commander damage. It is a more vulnerable strategy and we'd much rather play Xenagod as the general rather than the 99. That gives us the potential to 1-shot opponents with a lot of other cards!
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed: I'm not gonna lie, this commander is pretty awesome. He makes blue players cry. Most forms of removal, artifact ramp, and anything that develops board positions in a non-creature way will make them pay for each card they play. Unfortunately, he hurts us too. We want to be able to draw a billion cards. We want to be able to slam down our extra combats without worrying about dying on the backswing from taking too much damage! We just don't like the restriction that Ruric Thar places upon us. We play a lot of creatures, but we love our spells too.
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight: Like you, this is another general who acts as a damage amplifier for your whole team. Unlike you, while she helps your opponents kill each other, prevents a ton of damage directed at you and helps your noncreature damage wincons, she has a ton of downsides. First, she is a 7 drop in colors that require artifact ramp, which means she is also vulnerable to artifact nukes. Secondly, she is far more fragile than Xenagod and people have plenty of reason to kill her on sight. On that note, she is also more easily cloned and stolen, which is doubly bad for a deck that relies on its general. Lastly, her color combination is far worse at playing the long game than Xenagod. She has access to some creature protection but white is generally worse at destroying (although better at exiling) artifacts and enchantments than green (creature tutors) and white-red is a color combination with abysmally bad draw power. Her late game is unacceptably weak.
YOUR WORST COMMANDER MATCHUPS
These two deserve special mention as what they do totally screws with your entire gameplan just by their existence. THEY MUST DIE.
Horobi, Death's Wail: So, did you realize that Xenagod's ability is not a "may"? Yeah, this commander is a HUGE problem and against him it's difficult to even stick mana dorks, much less anything else. Even cards like Siege Behemoth die to our own Xenagod if he is out. However, we can lock Horobi out by targeting him with our trample lands! If we can grab one of those, then they have to pull out whatever land destruction they pack before they can deploy him again. In the meantime, we wail on him with everything we've got.
Derevi, Empyrial Tactician: This unkillable bird will give your opponent the option of essentially playing an infinite number of Deceiver Exarchs. Without certain countermeasures, this bird will tap down our one attacker if we try to swing into her, then if she has a sac outlet, it becomes even worse. We are forced to overextend and swing in with non-boosted creatures, which Derevi can chump block without too much damage. Our countermeasures are City of Solitude and Price of Glory (if you run it). Both punish her for trying to play during our turns. Otherwise, you kill any sac outlets if you can.
I started playing EDH with the Mimeoplasm precon from 2011. I learned how to tune 100-card singleton decks with a basic reanimator deck. I then started building more decks on my own. However, one of them was a Gisela, Blade of Goldnight deck that failed. Why did it fail? It did not work because it was too fragile and had very little in the way of card advantage, but I liked how it had the potential to eliminate players quickly. So then I then started looking for other cheap ideas I could build. Then, I realized that no one in my area built a Xenagos, God of Revels deck even though the card seemed built for EDH. It looked so easy to build. I just think of any fatty that would become more awesome if I gave it double power and haste! I bought a bunch of cheap cards, sleeved it up, and gave it a test run.
The very first game I got, I played Xenagod, dropped a Hydra Omnivore, then proceeded to eat 16 out of everyone's life total by hitting an open player, then drew 16 cards off of it with Garruk, Primal Hunter. I got killed really hard after that but I was sold on the deck instantly. I love drawing lots of cards and Xenagos is an enabler that is difficult to interact with! But it's not SO difficult that you can't.
Fast forward a year and a half, and here we are.
Overall planning, mulligan decisions, and gameplay tips:
Before you begin, look around and assess the players at the table. You will need to assess the players at the table who will either combo out more quickly or will try and control you or the other players to a late-game finish. Combo players should be targeted first unless you can trust the other players to handle them. Players with permission and lots of spot removal that can stop this deck should DEFINITELY be your first target after that. If you are in a table full of such players, you're probably gonna have a bad time. Hopefully they can ignore you enough for you to sneak in kills. Aggro decks draw a lot of attention and you will be the target of a fair amount of removal.
This list plays enough ramp to try and speed out Xenagos by turn 3 or 4. You always want to find a hand with a ramp spell and something mean to attack with before or after you drop Xenagod. When you mulligan you will want at least those two. Any other goodies are bonuses.
Don't partial away card draw if you can help it. You will sorely need it later.
You will sometimes find hands that have a bunch of ramp spells and not a lot of drawing or killing business. Generally, hands that over-ramp are fragile hands. They are keepable, but be mindful that your draws can fail to hit enough meaningful cards in a particular game. Keep in mind that we're not a "go really big" ramp deck and we only play ramp to hit 5-7 mana more quickly.
This deck plays to politics by threatening others with lots of damage if they interfere with your business. Don't try and spread the damage around.
Lastly, try not to make Xenagod into a creature if possible. That leaves him open to more removal, theft opportunities, or worse. You rarely need to over-commit your attackers with the deck so this doesn't often pop up.
ESSENTIAL SYNERGIES: Understand these synergies before playing the deck.
Firebreathing or Kessig Wolf Run + Xenagos: Always do it pre-combat to double the benefits from the Xenagos buff unless you expect the creature or die, just want to give it trample, or you have other post-combat plays.
Reliquary Tower (Or a land tutor) + Mass card draw: If we can, NEVER play our land drop before drawing a bunch of cards. The reason being is that we may need that land drop to play a Reliquary Tower so we don't inevitably start discarding a lot of our gas. If we can draw or tutor into that tower and play it before the end of the turn, we will have hand sizes that'll make monoblue players jealous.
Aggravated Assault + Savage Ventmaw OR Nature's Will: Assuming that you can refund your mana after every attack, this is an infinite mana and combat combo. If you are averse to running infinites, you still plays these cards because these are perfectly good cards by themselves in this deck. The combo is just a free bonus!
Extra combats + Xenagos: Xenagos gives his power-doubling buff at the beginning of EACH combat on our turns. This means that every extra combat gives us an additional doubling multiplier. This means that instead of hitting someone for 2x its printed power, you get to hit someone for 2x and again (or someone else) for 4x base damage. 6 times base damage will kill a player at 40 life with almost all of our fatties available.
Multiple extra combats + Xenagos + Savage Ventmaw or Rapacious One: This is a particularly disgusting setup that generally requires you to hit a fair dose of card draw before this route becomes feasible. Both of these fatties basically refund the mana you spend to attack with them and more, and so you can keep chaining all of your extra combats with the mana generated from these guys through each attack. This can oftentimes kill multiple unprepared players in an instant and this synergy is a big reason why this deck has gotten the reputation of "killing people out of nowhere" in my playgroup.
Your first few turns should be spent ramping. Sometimes you will land a turn 3 Xenagos, other times you will have to settle for a turn 4. However the utility cards in this build allow the turn 4s to be more acceptable through their returns later in the game. You always play Xenagos first when possible before your threat if the threat costs 6 or more. This keeps people guessing as to what you actually plan on sending their way and also prevents sorcery-speed removal from stopping you. Secondly, the deck simply curves out better when you play Xenagos first.
By turn 5, you should hopefully be up and attacking your first target for a boatload of damage. If you have repeatable recursion or anti-interaction cards such as Mimic Vat, play it before you play your first threat even if Xenagos is already out. We expect our cards to eat removal.
The Mid-game (Turns 5-9)
Pick your first target based on board position, ability to win quickly, and long-game potential. Slam down your first guy and immediately start attacking. While you attack this opponent, do not overcommit by playing another threat. We don't want to let ourselves get set back by mass removal, Xenagos can only grant his considerable buff to one creature at a time, and our clock rarely changes even with the addition of another threat (there are situations where you can make an exception to this rule when you actually play the deck). Now, go look around. Did your guy survive the first attack? Did your guy survive a whole pass around the table? Now, if it did, depending on what you have in your hand, you can do the following..
Do you have an extra combat step? - Is the second hit going to be massive overkill? If so, hit the person that is the most threatening non-primary target LEAST likely to have open removal to get some value (and to soften him up for later), then cast the extra attack step and attempt to finish off your target. If not, then send both attacks at the primary target. You want to be sure your work is complete. Keep in mind that you're making enemies with the other person you hit.
Do you have card draw that targets or can get countered by removal? - If so, if applicable, attack the person MOST likely to have open removal. This way, you are less likely to get blown out if they don't.
Do you have card draw that sacrifices the creature? - If so, continue attacking the primary target. Play the card in response to removal or post-combat if you need more gas.
Whatever you do, you must maintain your pressure if at all possible, hence why we usually don't overextend. This deck has options late-game, although we are at a disadvantage because we don't carry the crazy late-game engines that other decks can run. The closest thing we have is a draw 30 with a Sneak Attack. We only stop pressure to refill, lay down countermeasures, or if there's a anti-creature lock on the board. Recursion is an especially useful feature I've been finding and you may want to play more than I currently do.
You generally perform optimally at this stage in the game. If you can eliminate players quickly, you're in good shape. If you can draw a LOT of cards with one of our draw effects, you are in even better shape. I will say from experience that your chances of winning go up exponentially with resolved card draw, even without a reliquary tower. The card draw is REALLY THAT IMPORTANT.
Late game strategy (turns 10+)
Late-game, your deck acts like a sniper. This is both good and bad. It is good because you can usually take out the person in first place very quickly. It is bad because the person in first place should know that YOU are the biggest threat unless the person has the board firmly locked down.
However, in most cases, your opponents are going at full speed and probably threatening you with their board positions instead of the other way around. That's quite bad.
On the flipside, other players may become the bigger threat than you. Hopefully, this might get some pressure or control elements off your back. Now is the time to punish them for this mistake. Here is where your wipeout cards and extra combats are at their finest. Massive mana producers like Rapacious One or Savage Ventmaw can turn multiple extra combats into chain-killing monsters. Aggravated Assault is also quite good here.
Yet, the best thing we have are the wipeout cards. Cards like Hydra Omnivore and Chandra's Ignition can turn a single opening into a win or a massive amount of damage to everyone.
At the very least, cards like Evolutionary Leap and Fauna Shaman will be able to help you by allowing you to throw away bad topdecks in order to grab more relevant cards.
Smart players will not be dumb enough to give you a free pass to do stuff if they know how ridiculously spontaneous this deck can become
Pick your targets wisely. Threat assessment is the most important skill to play the deck. Nonetheless you sometimes may be confronted with too many threats at once.
This deck is a lot harder to build properly than it looks. It can run into a ton of problems that you will inevitably face when building and playing the deck. Let's break down the most common barriers.
Too many players- Aggro decks get notably worse the more players in a particular game. There is very little you can do to avoid this if you willingly choose to play this deck in a 6 player free for all.
Maze of Ith - Thankfully a good amount of spot removal + land searches can find stuff that get rid of mazes. Nonetheless it sets you back a bit, so do it only if you need to.
Blind Obedience effects- These are some of the more powerful hate cards that can practically deny your haste. These are high-priority targets for your removal
Opponent is building up faster- This is where you either are forced to aggro the player out by using theft effects against voltron or you need to take a turn to play control by throwing down a sweeper against swarm decks. Balefire Dragon is especially good at keeping swarms from getting out of hand.
Opponent is killing everything you play- This is typically the biggest problem for these decks. This deck uses a hybrid approach of playing recursion cards like Mimic Vat and anti-interaction cards like City of Solitude and Dense Foliage. These cards are essential for adding resilience to your strategy.
Opponent is holding all counterspells for Xenagos- If you can't stick City of Solitude or Dosan the Falling Leaf then you have to try and force through Xenagod at a opportune time. People will hold counterspells for you if they don't have the spot removal to avoid getting killed quickly by your deck. Control decks are simply a pain and so we need to be able to do something before the late game.
You are not drawing into fatties- The fatty density is generally good enough that you'll find at least one or two per game. You have library manipulation, graveyard recursion, and mass draw to help with this. If you are afraid of not seeing threats, keep one in your opening hand.
You are not drawing into draw effects- This is an unfortunate effect of not drawing gas in a format where keeping up in cards is essential for many archetypes. The value of these cards is why we try not to mulligan them away when possible.
Xenagos keeps eating enchantment exile- This typically means that your metagame is warped to either deal with god-decks in general or YOURS in particular.
- Birds of Paradise and co: Basic mana dorks. They are fast. They can allow turn 3 Xenagods with an extra ramp spell. You can trade these ramp spells off with Survival of the Fittest or Fauna Shaman (if you run them) when you don't need them. Downsides including adding devotion and they die to sweepers.
- Joraga Treespeaker : This mana dork is a cut above the previous ones, all because it can produce 5 mana on turn 3. If it lives, turn 3 Xenagod always happens. This card is essentially a green Sol Ring and should be treated as such.
- Caustic Caterpillar: It is a tutorable enchantment and artifact kill on a stick. Not much needs to be said. Removes its own devotion when the job is done.
- Sakura-tribe Elder : Land ramp on a body. Never contributes negatively to devotion. Ramp survives sweeps. Tutorable when needed. All-around good.
- Scavenging Ooze: Graveyard abuse is some of the powerful abuse out there. Stop it and also grow this into something that can attack or being a huge draw-spell. Getting back a bit of life from the pain from our own lands helps too.
- Combat Celebrant: This is an extra combat card that will amplify the threat of anything else you attack with. If you do have something big, it will do 4 to 8 chip damage on open players until you play that threat, in which case you are very likely taking someone out in one shot. It supports your deck and provides some useful chip damage, all for 3 mana!
- Selvala, Heart of the Wilds: The card draw on this card is a very minor part of the card. It will likely draw you a card and draw a card for one or two people and that's it. Where the payoff is in the mana production. Early on it will produce 1, which is not great but passable considering what it turns into later. Later on, this card can make 12-40 mana and enable some insanely busted sequences that are almost beyond imagining if you have the cards for it.
- Somberwald Sage: Super dork. Three mana for creatures is quite good because it enables you to play a 6-drop and then play additional spells after the attack, such as one of the card draw effects. Or use the mana you save to activate Kessig Wolf Run before you attack. Good card.
- Tireless Tracker: This is dependable card draw that will help you in case you get behind and your stuff keeps getting answered. Even if you draw lands from it, if you still have this, you can keep digging!
- Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma: If your curve is reasonably low, this card will be a threat and an accelerant. It isn't good at either, but it is both at the same time.
- Oracle of Mul Daya: The way this deck works, cards is generally a bigger constraint than mana, so if you can combine it with your library manipulation, you can play lands from your deck instead of drawing them. It's CA and it keeps you going even to the lategame.
- Territorial Hellkite: This is a very cheap threat designed to soften up a whole table and be relatively disposable. If you play this on turn 3, you can accumulate 30 damage by turn 5 and still have all of your mana open for turn 5 and leave many opponents potentially within 1-hit kill range of your other threats. However, its weakness is when you need to focus down players and so you should leave this card out if you are often considered the "second-place deck" at the table.
- Malignus: The one-shot monster. This has no trample but when its power is doubled, they must kill or block this, or else they will simply die. When you give it trample, it becomes truly terrifying. Also, the "damage can't be prevented" clause is surprisingly relevant. This guy is your way of beating infinite life.
- Carnage Tyrant: If you absolutely need something to get through, play this. It is very hard to stop and is a strict upgrade to two other hexproof cards in the deck. However, we play all of them because hexproof is the single best keyword in this deck next to trample. It has 7 power so that extra combats kill a player at full health.
- Etali, Primal Storm: This card doesn't have trample, but has a really strong attack trigger. Having guaranteed haste makes this card monstrous and we have library manipulation and extra combats as extra synergies. Best suited to 4+ player games and the variance is a little high, but it is a lot of fun.
- Hellkite Tyrant: This card is a monster. You give it haste, swing for 12, and then steal all of one person's mana rocks and equipment. The enormous advantage you get out of hitting a well-stocked artificer even once makes this worth playing.
- Hydra Omnivore: This card hits everyone. This card is awesome. This card when thrown at a defenseless player early enough, or at a weakened player late enough, will either halve EVERYONE ELSE'S starting life total or kill them outright. The wipeouts that this deck can cause are in large part contributed to giving this trample and sending it in when no one can kill it. Do note that EVERYONE will want to kill it for their own interests.
- Rapacious One: Crazy mana generator #1. It doesn't hit super hard but making 10 eldrazi spawns when you hit an open player pretty much settles any colorless mana concerns until you get board wiped. Having extra mana both makes your deck go faster and makes it easier to throw down your extra combats. The spawns also chump well.
- Pathbreaker Ibex: This thing is not strong by itself, but if you pair it with an extra combat or any other incoming fatty it does insane amounts of damage. We don't normally ever have more than one threat out but this is the exception where we want more stuff. The strategy makes xenagos a creature often but xenagos can also contribute well to damage output with this out.
- Savage Ventmaw: Crazy mana generator #2. This is by far the weakest fatty in terms of pure hitting power, but unlike Rapacious One, it adds colored mana. That is huge! You get instant 100% rebate that you can and will spend on something, and if you have extra combat cards, you can attack with this enough times to kill people just with this alone!
- Scourge of the Throne: This is a free extra combat given to a very well-costed dragon. The only condition is that you attack the person with the highest life. Sometimes, that person is you, but usually it isn't. Attacking someone with this at 40 will reduce that player to 7 from both hits because you get a second Xenagod trigger on the extra combat. Keep in mind that if you want a specific person dead, you can attack the highest life player with the first hit, and then send the 22-damage hit toward that other player. Also keep in mind that this card is far less reliable at attacking who you want if your opponents play fetch lands, but if you play them and play Ancient Tomb too, you can lower yourself so that you can at least hit SOMEONE.
- Atarka, World Render: It hits for 24, also has trample, goes super crazy with Kessig Wolf Run, and there are a statistically significant number of dragons in the deck that can receive the bonus!
- Balefire Dragon: If someone's board needs sweeping, send this in. They take a dose of 12 damage and they will rarely ever have any creatures left.
- Siege Behemoth: It's a 7 power invisible stalker that can give evasion to whatever else you have too. 7 power is a magic number in the deck because with an extra combat this card will one-shot someone from 40 health if this can live through the first attack. Thankfully Xenagod helps ensure that this survives most board states. Hexproof is wonderful in a deck where everyone wants to shoot your stuff
- Emrakul, the Promised End: This is our only 8+ drop. Generally in a given game, if this isn't the only creature you drew and your permanents are getting removed, it can feasibly cost 9 or even 8 mana to hard cast. This eldrazi has a combination of size, evasion, resilience, and a cast trigger of varying effectiveness but one that grants an angle of attack that is otherwise unavailable to a deck like this. Taking control of someone else's turn is brutal, especially considering the number of decks that flat out lose off of sacrificing all their permanents or paying all of their life. Lastly, cards like Sneak Attack that can cheat the cost make this card easier to play. It does a lot for us late game.
- Sol Ring: It's sol ring! It's broken even in less-competitive decks like this.
- Mana Crypt: It is even more broken than Sol Ring in this deck because you are the aggressive deck where your life total matters less. With Scourge of the Throne being a card this damage even turns into an upside occasionally.
- Thran Dynamo: We are mana hungry. This is the most cost-efficient big mana rock that doesn't let us stumble on our tempo. The colorless is not a enormous issue given we are a 2-color deck with all the untapped dual lands.
- Aggravated Assault: This card goes infinite with Savage Ventmaw and offers continuous value through extra attack steps. This is clearly a late game card but also a very good reason to keep hitting those land drops.
- Carpet of Flowers: Blue is such a good color that it is often correct to mainboard this. Also, if you only have an opponent who has one island, this card is passable, two makes it good, and 3+ makes it amazing.
- Sylvan Library: Library manipulation is good when you need the correct ratio of everything.
- Dense Foliage: Make your dudes spot removal-proof. Keep in mind it does shut off some of your own spells, especially some pretty good ones like Chandra's Ignition. As for sweepers, you rarely will play multiple fatties, so with your haste enabler, the deck is naturally sweep resistant.
- Blood Mist: This is quad damage #2, only you don't have to pay to use it! This changes the clock of every fatty in your deck from a 2-3 turn average to a 1-2 turn average.
- Frontier Siege - (almost) Always choose Khans. It is not difficult to be able to spend the mana you get on EACH main phase almost every turn.
- Nature's Will - This means that if you can reliably hit someone, all your creatures (and extra combats) are essentially free. This is KOS for your opponents.
- Greater Good: This card is greater than good. You plop it down, then if you have any big guy that you double in power, you can draw a metric ton of cards. Even if they kill your guy outside of your turn, it is still insane value.
- Sneak Attack: Sneaks things in. Cheats mana costs. Help you hit extra combats and draw faster. Dodges counterspells. You rarely care that your guy dies on eot. When you start multiple activation of this, you should have a plan to murder as many people as possible.
- Nature's Lore: Ramp is good. Ramp that gets you lands is even better.
- Gamble: Unconditional tutor in red! If you need ramp, go for Mana Crypt. If you need draw, go for that. A threat? Pick any you want. Extra Combat? Go for Seize the Day. Drew a bunch of cards and didn't play your land drop? Get Reliquary Tower. Just hope you don't discard anything too important and try not to play this when your hand size is 3 or fewer cards unless desperate.
- Chandra's Ignition: It clears the board, leaves your big guy behind, and offers a boatload of damage to all your opponents! It's a lovely card, and can wipe out a whole table if it goes through.
- World at War: Two combats in two turns for the bargain price of 5 mana!
- Rishkar's Expertise: So, it costs six mana, but it draws cards and it allows you to cast something costing up to 5 for free! That leads to a stupid number of plays. Extra combats are probably one of the best.
- Blasphemous Act: In multiplayer it usually costs one. It does 13 damage, which sometimes your guys can survive!
- Worldly Tutor: Basic one mana tutor. Gets what you need in a pinch.
- Autumn's Veil: One-time use to stop both counterspells and a good portion of spot removal. It does not work on abilities and the common white removal spells, but sometimes one resolved hit is all you need to secure a win.
- Nature's Claim: Kills troublesome artifacts and enchantments for one! The 4 life practically doesn't matter
- Vines of Vastwood: Sometimes your path to victory will come down to one piece of spot removal, and having this in hand (and you only really need 1) may sometimes be what you need to secure it.
- Beast Within: Green's vindicate. 3/3 beast can be chump fodder for your guys but is generally irrelevant.
- Chaos Warp: Red's vindicate. Can occasionally backfire. Awesome to use on your stuff that got stolen.
- Hunter's Insight: Draws you cards on hit for only 3 mana! The disadvantage is that you have to play this precombat, which can lead to blowouts.
- Momentous Fall: Draws cards and gains life. You lose the creature, but you draw so much gas. Can be used in response to removal.
I will not discuss mana fixing lands because the inclusion of those are pretty obvious.
- Cavern of Souls: Name God, make Xenagos uncounterable. If he's already out, name something that you want to sneak under a counterspell. If you don't have anything, name hydra or dragon. Those are the two most common creature types in this deck.
- Kessig Wolf Run: The single most important land in the deck. It not only gives trample and a mana sink, but with Xenagod you get double the power boost off of this land. It makes the nasty non-trample threats that much more dangerous.
- Skarrg, the Rage Pits: Wolf run #2. Not as good, but fulfills the critically important task of granting trample.
- Mosswort Bridge: This card is very easy to activate just from attacking. The attack doesn't even need to connect to get value out of this. If, for some reason, your Xenagod is a creature, it is even easier to activate.
- Reliquary Tower: When you draw 12 or 24 cards and then play this as your land drop, you deserve to laugh to your heart's content. It makes the draw spells that much better.
This is a snap-keep. Joraga Treespeaker alone will always ensure a turn 3 god if it lives and you can probably turn 4 attack someone for 11+22 = 33 with Scourge of the Throne. Although we don't have a draw spell, the curve-out potential of this hand is too much to pass up. Keep in mind that don't have to play our creature on turn 4. We can play Dense Foliage to try and ensure that our attack goes through removal.
This hand has ramp, it has a fatty, and it has a draw spell. However this hand is slightly imperfect because Aggravated Assault is not a super impactful turn 3 play and Balefire Dragon is a 7-drop. Nonetheless, it is acceptable enough to keep with the idea that maybe our draws will help solve a few issues.
This is a very slow hand. Mimic Vat is fine to play before a Xenagod but with a lack of ramp spells you will be doing nothing relevant before turn 6, which is really bad. It has lands but not much else going for it.
You should almost never keep 2 land hands without sol ring or treespeaker. This deck is hungry and we need to make sure we can go to 7 reliably every game.
(You want to screw over multicolor decks) Blood Moon Magus of the Moon
This deck has enough basics to operate under one of these. Sometimes your deck won't be fast enough so getting one of these out can buy you enough time to get your aggression going.
Choosing the Right Hate:
This deck has the space to run a number of hate cards or meta considerations. My particular build runs around 4 slots for this kind of effect, although finding space for more is not bad. The ideal setup are cards like Dosan the Falling Leaf and City of Solitude that stop almost anything that people would throw at you on your turn. These cards are fine for metagames where combo is not super heavy. However, do not play them in more competitive metagames. (Dense Foliage MAY be okay)
Red Elemental Blast effects (blue is more prevalent in these metas), Blood Moon effects, and graveyard hate are all solid choices. Carpet of Flowers is also pretty acceptable ramp if you expect a lot of blue. Cutting some of the "go really big" cards can be acceptable if you are less likely to pull them off in a given game.
Lastly, playing smaller cards that can give you an advantage even through removal (Seedguide Ash, for example) may prove more beneficial if every deck in your meta is packing buckets of spot removal for some reason.
You are not the most threatening deck sometimes, and you may get the "advantage" of being left alone while you pummel a combo deck that, by all standards, probably deserved it.
Cards I DON'T play:
Most Double-strike enablers (Berserkers' Onslaught, Rage Reflection, Gratuitous Violence) - These are permanent boosts but they are generally inferior to extra combat steps because they add devotion and the extra combat cards get an extra 50% damage on compared to these. Also they don't work with cards that naturally get double strike like Atarka, World Render. The exception is Blood Mist due to its low cmc combined with low devotion.
Berserk effects (Berserk, Temur Battle Rage, Fatal FrenzyFling) - They are generally cheaper than extra combat effects and generally grant an evasive boost and double damage. However, this generally will not finish off a player compared to an extra combat spell because the 50% extra damage you get from an extra combat is important. It is the difference between eliminating a full-health player and leaving them at 8 life. Also, many of them cause you to lose the creature, which frees up opposing spot removal for your next fatty. They also don't do as much as an extra combat in the possible event that you have two fatties out. Lastly, unlike extra combat spells, these must be played before damage, which can lead to blowouts if people can interact with you during your turn. Nonetheless, costing 1-2 mana in comparison to the 4-5 of an extra combat is extremely relevant and I would not fault anyone for playing a card like Temur Battle Rage in their decks.
Swords - The protections from all except Sword of Light and Shadow make Xenagod unable to grant his considerable bonus and haste to the equipped creature. Light and shadow is also better because the creature recursion effect is highly desirable here. If you need to play a sword, play that one.
8-drop creatures (Living Hive, Woodfall Primus) - They cost too much to get an effect that we can get with our other cards. We are an aggro deck first and foremost, which means we do not to let up pressure if we can. This is why we prioritize six-drops, as they allow us to get swinging IMMEDIATELY after Xenagod hits the field. If you have eight drops, you are waiting AT LEAST two turns but most likely more because hitting 8 mana sources in a row without missing one in a turn is not easy for most decks. Terastodon, while normally a great card, is especially bad here because the number of elephants you give opponents are a serious speedbump to your gameplan. Our pillowfort trasher of choice is Bane of Progress.
Tooth and Nail - We're really not doing anything overly crazy with the card. This card is at its best fetching out combo pieces. We are not a combo deck, thus getting two beatsticks is not super crazy. I suppose the best we could do is grab Scourge of the Throne and Atarka to knock some heads. 3 doses of 22-24 damage.
Most Eldrazi (Kozilek, Butcher of Truth) - Again, it costs too much. While the benefits are great, 10+ mana is hard to pull off in a timely enough manner. We play a lot of ramp, but we do it to speed out Xenagod and so we don't stumble on our tempo, not to ramp to 10. Also, many of them do not have evasion. With Eldritch Moon, I opted to make an exception for Emrakul, the Promised End because of its combination of power, evasion, resilience, cost reduction (can cost as low as 8-9) and the ability to attack opponents from an angle previously not available to the deck.
- Urabrask the Hidden - Haste redundancy isn't needed with such an uninteractive general. Plus I'm scared of people cloning it
- See the Unwritten - You NEVER EVER EVER want to miss while casting this
- Regrowth - This deck has the word "redundancy" written all over it
+ Price of Glory - Make them pay for even playing cheap removal
+ Evolutionary Leap - Gotta turn doomed guys and dorks into gas somehow
+ Wheel of Fortune - Draw 7 in a deck that goes empty quickly.
- Duplicant - We kind of don't really need this
- Wurmcoil Engine - Lifegain + tokens is seriously good but falls short on the actual "clocking people super fast" plan.
+ Siege Behemoth - It's like a 7-power Invisible Stalker. Almost impossible to stop with spot removal!
+ Akroma, Angel of Fury - It's our only 8-drop creature, but we really need to stick it to blue players everywhere.
- Reclamation sage - adds unnecessary devotion
- Evolutionary Leap - Sorry, you just don't have the word "consistent" on you. Also don't know what else to cut
- Tectonic Edge - No Mazes! Phew. If they do show up I might need to show this back in.
- Soul's Majesty - Not the best draw here
+ Caustic Caterpillar - Does its job and removes its devotion. Awkward with Moldgraf Monstrosity, but that's about it.
+ Sylvan Library - Acts as (costly) draw in a pinch and is free library manipulation
+ Sensei's Divining Top - I got ways to shuffle
+ Ancient Tomb - Sylvan Scrying and Crop Rotation now count as ramp spells with this here. Hooray! This might also free me to cut a ramp spell later!
+ Life's Legacy - Two mana plus hard to interrupt
8/22/2015 - MASSIVE TESTING REGIMEN
-Chain Reaction: 4 mana is a lot and we don't often have the luxury of setting ourselves back when we're the aggro
- Chord of Calling: Costs too much. Only been useful when behinf
- Arbor Elf: Crop Rotation is better when you pack Ancient Tomb
-Reforge the Soul: Wheeling twice gives your opponents way too many answers
-Wilderness Elemental: Not reliable in 4-person games. Doesn't hit hard enough
- Price of Glory: When they NEED to kill your guy, they will do it.
9/1/2015 - just mana fixing
+ Taiga: Not a real necessity, but I got the chance to get one.
+ Fire-lit Thicket: This is more necessary because we want green early and lots of red late.
- two basic lands
+ Holistic Wisdom: This card is very good at providing solid card selection for a fair price. The exiling of the card rarely matters.
+ Nature's Claim: 1 mana which is great for blowing up stuff after a draw 12. Barely hurts tempo The 4 life barely matters
+ Deglamer: Anti-god removal
- Kodama's Reach: Too much ramp
- Krosan Grip: 3 mana even though split-second is nice.
- Hull Breach: 2 for 1 is nice but instant speed and metagaming needs put Deglamer at a higher priority
- Haven of the Spirit Dragon - Never popped it for the recursion recently after adding more recursion over the months
- Flameshadow Conjuring - Decent late-game but pretty trashy mid-game when you can't cheat out your threats
+ Cinder Glade - Fetchable. This thing won't enter tapped often and when it does, that part won't be relevant.
+ Evolutionary Leap - It's a sac outlet that keeps the gas going. Unlike conjuring, you don't NEED to have the one extra green, although it is good insurance. Sac outlets are underestimated in this deck. It is better now because I cut down on the mana dorks and I didn't really give it a fair shot at real testing.
- Vandalblast - Artifacts fell off the map in my meta. Will re-add to "meta calls"
- Evolutionary Leap - Not terrible, but I needed a tiny bit more out of it or build around these effects as a theme. (my current build is synergistic with extra combats for surprise kills) Better in the dedicated "cheat and sac" build.
- Managorger Hydra - It gets really mean when we draw it early, but we already have enough bad topdecks.
+ Knollspine Dragon - It's a threat that draws at the same time. Note that having a "may" clause is extremely important, since the fail case of being a plain 7/5 flyer is really not terrible. Can be cheated out.
+ Scavenging Ooze - I miss you already.
+ Thran Dynamo - Gobble that mana. 3 colorless gets us places. Not as insane as Frontier Siege though.
- Rite of the Raging Storm - I might throw this back in at some point to test it some more, but it's a grindy card, and I'm cutting it for another grindy card that can get me higher-quality threats
+ Tireless Tracker - You are dependable card draw that can dig me out of bad situations with very little hassle.
I'm swapping around a part of my hate package.
- Dosan the Falling Leaf
- City of Solitude
+ Relic of Progenitus
+ Vexing Shusher
My meta is more blue heavy now but I also don't want to enable faster decks. It means I'm more vulnerable to Swords to Plowshares.dec, but my options for fighting that reliably are quite limited anyway.
+ Emrakul, the Promised End - Still somewhat unproven, but I'm not actually that unhappy with it so far. Protection from instants really matters. Expect it on average to cost 9 to cast, which is reasonable late game for this deck.
+ Blood Mist - This card has been sweet. Quad damage #2!
+ Phyrexian Hydra - It is Malignus #2, but being green means that GSZ can get it. Also need to up the threat count and don't want to play anything over 6cmc.
+ Summoner's Pact - This is temporary. I don't have the remaining fetches needed to reliably play a Dryad Arbor for Natural Order, so this is what I'll use instead. Paying for the tutor later is better than messing up your tempo by paying it after you play Xenagod. Also ups threat count.
+ Gamble - This card is amazing and I should probably talk about how to properly use this card. Gambling for Mana Crypt turn 1 is a very powerful play, however there are actually situations where you DON'T do this.
- Plated Crusher - This thing isn't actually bad, but it is redundant. Also the 3 devotion is kind of a bummer. It does work when other cards would have been stopped, so it is the #1 candidate for coming back if I want another 7-drop.
- Chain Reaction - I don't need two boardwipes. Usually I'm not so far behind anymore that I actually even want them. Blas act costs 1 and therefore is an exception.
- Wild Growth - This card is fine, yet I'm just adjusting the ramp numbers and I'm cutting the one that adds devotion when I don't want it. The fact that it is "free" is a significant upside, but I'm comfortable with this choice.
- Scroll Rack - This card underperformed badly because my average hand size is 2-4 and you want your hand size to be 5 via some means before this thing becomes better than top (you don't always want to scroll rack your whole hand)
- Thought Vessel - This card is orders of magnitude weaker than Gamble when Mana Crypt is in the list.
- Eternal Witness - There is enough redundancy that I can feel comfortable cutting all of my recursion. I simply want to draw more over recurring a card every single time
- Vexing Shusher - I'm replacing this with a card that is more... multifunctional.
+ Carnage Tyrant - This is now our go-to card for stomping people and being able to get away with it. Very little can stop this card from getting its initial damage in, and it will likely survive to do more!
+ Autumn's Veil - This card stops both counterspells and black and blue removal. There is a surprising amount of good removal in blue these days, so I'm basically giving up the ability to stop Swords to Plowshares in exchange for being able to stop counterspells. Also, a lot of good white removal outside of it is multicolored, and Chaos Warp and Beast Within are basically the only excellent creature removal spells in those colors anyway. so I don't expect it to be dead very often.
Most (extra) cards drawn in one turn- 220 cards
Most damage dealt to an opponent in one turn - 320 damage with Rapacious One
Most Eldrazi Spawns created in one turn - 370 Eldrazi Spawns
Most opponents killed in combat in one turn- 4 opponents
Most combat steps taken in a single turn - 5 combats
Most mana pumped into Kessig Wolf Run - 25 mana
Most enemies killed in one hit by Malignus in a single game - 4 enemies (no one had removal)
Most enemies chomped by Hydra Omnivore - 4 enemies
Most damage dealt by Chandra's Ignition - 48 damage
Most artifacts stolen by Hellkite Tyrant - 8
Most absurd flips off of Etali, Primal Storm -
Most mana generated by Selvala, Heart of the Wilds in one turn - 40 mana
Fastest kill on a player - Turn 3 elimination
Biggest boost granted from Pathbreaker Ibex Attack - +160/+160 on Rapacious one and 40 eldrazi spawns with summoning sickness.
Most times I lost the coin flip from Mana Crypt - 5 of 6 times.
I like the deck. I just purchased some budget beef and used what I currently own to make my own version of Xenagod. Although I haven't played the deck yet, I did not include any extra haste enablers such as the Urabrask the Hidden you have. At least for my deck, I figured if I'm only dropping one creature a turn with a fielded Xenagod, the haste outlet is already there. If you're looking to lower your curve but still want the haste, swap it for Fires of Yavimaya. When you don't need it anymore it effectively boosts for +4/+4 with Xenagod. Moldgraf Monstrosity has built in trample which is nice, but if you're looking to swap it out for some other recursion I would suggest Creeping Renaissance. It doesn't bring it to the field, but it does allow you to get all of your creatures back and the effect isn't random. I feel that ramp such as Cultivate, Kodama's Reach, and Nissa's Pilgrimage are very important to this deck as they allow you access to five mana on turn four.
I don't like Urabrask either in my opinion. I'll probably cut it soon.
I'll try Elemental Bond. Even though it doesn't go crazy in this deck, it is at least consistent.
Evo leap I want to try too. Even if you hit mana dorks, you can cycle them away for GG. Not too bad. I always like how fauna shaman gives me a way to turn dead manadorks into useful fatties later, and this does the same. I could run Survival of the Fittest, but that is in another deck.
I generally don't want to play the guys that require mana to pump because I'll want to spend mana on second main phases to cast support spells. This can include ramp, card draw, or whatever. This is also why I maximize on the most potent cards that are BELOW seven mana. Seven and above makes it harder to do these things mid to late game.
I have my mana sink in Kessig Wolf Run, and that card is more than amazing here.
Also, yes I ALWAYS want to hit at least one piece of ramp on the early turns. Yet the mana dorks allow me to drop Xenagod on turn THREE if I hit a second ramp spell! Might cut one for Nissa's Pilgrimage, but I don't know. I like getting an extra land ala Cultivate. I don't like not being able to get mountains.
Cutting regrowth for an additional gas spell is possible. E-wit provides devotion which is bad but is creature tutorable, which is good. I was considering playing genesis but it's much better in black or blue where you have ways of dumping it into your graveyard easily.
Actually, I might just cut my recursion altogether. A lot of what this deck does is built on redundancy. The only thing I can see wanting to get back is an anti-removal card like City of Solitude. If it's between a certain threat or two other good ones, I'd much rather take the two. If the quality of each beatstick is good enough, then the difference between the two is not going to overcome the power of a higher quantity.
Gaea's Revenge could also work in that anti-control element. Without firebreathing or flying though, I do like Akroma Red as a primary option. Revenge was recently reprinted though and could easily be a good budget option!
I've been trying to think of digging options for the deck, but the only things that come to mind are Fierce Empath and Mwonvuli Beast Tracker as cheap toolbox options. Thoughts?
Beast Tracker is less good because it can only get our trample threats and it puts it on top.. and it adds an extra devotion, which you want to avoid if you want to protect Xenagod from the ol' swords to plow.
In other news, I have whiffed with See the Unwritten for the third time. I'm probably cutting it. Even with 14-15 good targets, you really can't whiff with this thing. The benefits of digging 8 is not better than just having a guaranteed and known threat in your hand.
I think this will be the next round of cuts as I get what I need.
Regrowth (one-shot recursion is not super powerful in a deck built on redundancy) Urabrask the Hidden (Not needed. Also, scary if an opponent clones it!) See the Unwritten (You're paying 6 mana for it. You don't ever want to whiff while using it)
Evolutionary Leap (Not a huge engine card here, but merely a way to get value off of removal or cycle through dead dorks. The fact that it doesn't tutor isn't a huge deal when all I want is something to attack with. If you want something more consistent, run Survival) Price of Glory (I actually want this effect badly enough that I'll play this too.) Giant Adephage (Not really happy about using this again, but it will stay until I find something better)
Or, instead of giant adephage, Woodland Bellower? Not having evasion really sucks. Being able to get E-wit and Fauna Shaman doesn't! However, not getting Dosan is really big...
Giant Adephage works as a nice engine with either Garruk's Packleader or Elemental Bond if you were to include them. If you're looking for some sac fodder for Evolutionary Leap maybe test out Living Hive? Between Dragon Mage or Knollspine Dragon for some burst card draw, I would personally side with Knollspine. After a huge hit from one of your beaters, it'll come down and draw you a boatload of cards and it doesn't require it's own combat damage. Knollspine also doesn't limit you to drawing 7 cards and also doesn't refill your opponents' hands. However if your meta is tutor heavy, Dragon Mage may be something you want to consider.
Thank you for putting the card choice explanation in the OP. I completely skipped over Wurmcoil Engine, which is very important as it gains you life to take some of the heat off of you. It also grants 0 devotion, which is just gravy.
Hunter's Insight, IMO, is slightly better than Hunter's Prowess. It's cheaper and instant, and if you have any trampler enablers, like Nylea, or buff support (also Nylea) then the +3/+3 & trample of Hunter's prowess isn't as great. It also tricks off of Planeswalkers, so there's that too.
Hunter's Insight, IMO, is slightly better than Hunter's Prowess. It's cheaper and instant, and if you have any trampler enablers, like Nylea, or buff support (also Nylea) then the +3/+3 & trample of Hunter's prowess isn't as great. It also tricks off of Planeswalkers, so there's that too.
Someone else reasoned too in another thread that Hunter's Insight is probably slightly better purely just from being cheaper. However, if there is a better mass draw that gets introduced in the future, that one is the first to get cut.
Someone else reasoned too in another thread that Hunter's Insight is probably slightly better purely just from being cheaper. However, if there is a better mass draw that gets introduced in the future, that one is the first to get cut.
Fair points, Chandra's Ignition seems alright, it's a lot slower though, but if it's used as a finisher then it probably works just as well. In most of the games that I've seen Soul's Fire or Fling used it's played as a response to spot or mass removal to get more mileage out of the creature being targeted.
It gets Malignus, too. It's power and toughness are based on a Characteristic-Defining Ability, which is mentioned in rule 604.3 of the comprehensive rulings. Time for more of those OHKO's, no?
What do you think of Putrefax? 5 mana to get rid of a target player you can get through with it seems like good spot removal, no?
Fierce Empath grabs creatures based on cmc, not power.
Also I would play Putrefax, but my playgroup needs to evolve a bit on infect. It's generally malignus #2, but somewhat worse because it has no staying power. Funny now that I mention it, because theoretically the same people that don't like infect should hate getting eaten by malignus, but usually I need to input a little work to actually get him through. This card is the same deal, because it either needs help or a clear board to actually one-shot someone. I just wish it stuck around so I could draw cards off of it later. Not sticking around is actually a huge downside to the card.
I'll add it to my list of "Perfectly reasonable cards to try".
Also, how high do you generally in terms of mana? Would Shaman of the Forgotten Ways be worth running if his second ability comes online? The Biorhythm effect sounds pretty strong. On a similar note, Heartless Hidetsugu sounds strong because your deck often seems like its on the aggro.
I generally only hit max 10-11 mana in a single game. However I don't keep a huge creature base on board and it will reduce my life total to usually... 2..
Hidetsugu on the other hand says "Everyone goes to 20". Me included, sure, but what matters is that I'm able to follow up on it. I'll need to look for mine. Good thing about him is that you're guaranteed the damage. And we care less about hurting ourselves than everyone else who realized they're now in "one-shot" range.
Do note though that in my meta I get attacked back frequently, even though my damage output is five times greater than what they typically throw out.
So yeah, the speed argument wins on that card, more so than Shaman.
Lastly, Chandra's Ignition has been the nuts every time it gets to resolve. One game I was focused on a player without removal so I could quad damage up a 11/11 managorger hydra when everyone would tap out to develop board states. A mistake on their part. They should always hold removal in case if I have a reason to switch targets (I usually don't). Or simply to prevent me from drawing 10. But I already did that when everyone was tapped out on a previous turn. People were playing resource heavy midrange decks and not control decks. I killed them before they got serious engines churning.
You should tweak your fat base a bit to be more evasive. Trample is your best friend, you're not giving Giant Adephage enough credit. I'd run it over, say, Wurmcoil Engine any day in a Xenagod build. You acknowledge the significance of evasion in your OP by showing a picture of Kessig Wolf Run, yet a fair share of your beaters get chumped for days.
Reinstating Mage Slayer would also be good, as then even your chumpable dudes get to wreak havoc on the opponents. I heard Grafted Exoskeleton is also pretty good at closing out games
In spite of this nitpicking, I did enjoy your list immensely. The anti-control elements in particular are nice and something I haven't seen in a Xenagod build before.
Now that I think about it, Giant Adephage still had its uses. If it gets even one hit in, removing it doesn't help much because then the token gets the buff and it makes another token on hit.
It makes Xenagod a creature often but gets out of hand in just a couple turns.
As for the non-evasion problem, let's look at the non-utility fatties.
For Wurmcoil Engine, you have a good argument that it's not actually necessary (and it doesn't have trample). However, the abilities on the card are still useful depending on what you face as while it is almost folly for one person to try to race you, it is possible for multiple people to try and pool their efforts into racing you because you don't really do much "defense" in this deck. Normally this is a job for one of our boardwipes, but when we don't have one, this can buy time.
For Hydra Omnivore and Malignus, even without the evasion, the very fact that they are in the deck will affect decisions by the other players. This deck works with a lot of hidden information, and this is a huge concern to opponents. They know that a fatty is getting thrown at them, but they don't know WHICH one. So, just in case, let's play this guy instead so that we don't simply DIE to a malignus if he shows up.
That being said though, I really kind of want another form of tutorable trample somewhere. The lands are great. Rogue's Passage is land evasion #3 but generally costs too much to activate. Also having this many colorless lands is troublesome even in a 2 color deck. Alternately I could play Crop Rotation or Expedition Map. Neither feels like a great idea.
Also, even though you didn't bring it up, for the sake of keeping mana costs down, I'd much rather play an extremely dangerous 6-drop without trample than an overly expensive 8-drop with trample. Hence I'm not playing cards like Living Hive.
The reason for this is that we are an aggro deck, so even in EDH curving out matters. Even with the card ratios I have, I sometimes stumble a tiny bit, and the more overly expensive creatures you have, the more you will stumble.