Recently I tried, once again, to build a mono-red Commander deck. It’s been a hobby of mine, as masochistic as it might be.
Mono-red has a terrible reputation in Commander that is totally undeserved. There are plenty of great Commander options, and powerful decks. My struggles with mono-red have not been because of power. My Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh deck was fun, but way overpowered, and could kill tables out of nowhere easily.
My Etali, Primal Storm deck was also OP, getting the big dino into the red zone without issue. The problem was keeping track of the enormous amount of things that quickly piled up in play. Being a random bunch of stuff, it would lack synergy and most likely finish. Each upkeep and/or combat phase was spent sorting out the triggers that mattered and what of the rest I could just ignore so that I didn’t take stupidly long, cumbersome turns. No thanks.
My Syr Carah, the Bold deck went off too easily. Stuff like Past in Flames and Mizzix’s Mastery were just too strong, and my game play choices were to do nothing, to hold back, or to win the game after playing 20 spells, maybe all on the same turn.
I like playing interesting, interactive games of Magic. I like seeing what my opponent has got, and seeing if what I’m playing is up to it. I’m still looking for that formula in mono-red. Before the pandemic, I traded cards to my LGS for a sweet pile of stuff, including Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs. A few weeks ago, I built a deck around him, calling it Ogre Fortress. While it does try to play to Kazuul’s strengths, it’s mostly what I’d call ‘fun red.’ That deck is here.
Long story short, however, the deck was dissolved after a few test runs. Fun red wasn’t fun, because it didn’t really do much. There was never a good window to play Kazuul, and many opponents weren’t planning on attacking anyway. The plan was to make Ogres and stuff, but too much hinged on things I couldn’t control. I’m finding one of the downfalls of the combat-based decks is the inherent unreliability of combat. Especially when it’s initiated by your opponents.
But some good did come of this deck, because a fun side-activity for me was painting up some of my own Ogre Tokens! Now if I’m Kazuul, and I’m going about setting up a Fortress, and a growing Ogre society, I’m going to make sure it’s not all lumpy green Shreks picking between their toes for a snack. I saw Shrek Forever After, and was totally inspired by Badass Lady Ogre Fiona. I want some serious Lady Ogre tokens, strong and sassy, sized 3/3, not 3/0, and proud of it. When running a token deck, it’s good to have at least 3 on hand of each kind, for tapped, untapped, and summoning sick. So I’ve made 3 Lady Ogres, and I’m sharing them with you! Or should I call them Ogrls?
Here’s your untapped Ogre girl. She’s strong, fierce and ready to throw on some equipment and take down some chumps. Her outfit is made of the bricks of the fortress of a pyromancer she defeated, with decorative moss. She likes the outdoors and fresh air, though like me, she played through Breath of the Wild recently, and enjoyed the heck out of it.
Here’s your tapped Ogre girl, although she’s designed to still look good untapped, with diagonal type and stats. If her laid back, fun attitude doesn’t call you over, her flirty summer dress, with bbqed-prawn-mana symbols on it will definitely up your storm count.
Finally, your summoning sick Ogre girl just wants to stay inside and eat cloves of garlic this turn. Why ruin that awesome hairdo? She’s wearing something she just threw on casually, but she’ll take your compliments and maybe if you’re lucky, she’ll come your way next turn.
While Ogres have had a bad rap through a lot of popular fiction, and are mostly portrayed as walking hills of gristle and muscle wearing animal skins or spiked armour, there’s plenty of room in the fortress for the fierce ladies that make Ogre Society a Society instead of just a sty. They have fun, they look good and they represent. Maybe someday, Kazuul will be a Commander worthy of them. Thanks for reading!