Hey magic people! Did you know that 4 out of 5 Scienticians agree that regular exposure to Juggernauts keeps us from putting up too many Wall of Oppositions? It’s true. From there, it’s just a quick slump to a Wall of Putrid Flesh and nobody wants that.
The Juggernaut is a pretty storied creature in Magic the Gathering. It first appeared in Alpha, and was part of one of the game’s first “combos,” resulting in the ban of Invisibility because it made the Juggernaut unblockable. Backed up by Counterspells and immune to Terror, it was a pretty quick clock that hardly strained your mana. Nowadays, we laugh at nonsense like that.
Graaz is a bit of a meme. I don’t know about you, but I imagine Doomtrain from Final Fantasy 8, made over by The Joker. Cocaine Bear on wheels. It’s not subtle, though the deck I built has a little bit of subtlety to it. Or not. Juggernaut smash!!!
Graaz's New Old Phyrexian Jugband Revival
This deck uses most of my Kozilek, the Great Distortion deck. There’s a link and a list here, but I’m looking ahead to Commander Masters and a colourless Eldrazi precon, and targeting a full rebuild when that drops.
There are way too many cards that I’d love to jam into this build. I’d love to make room for Veilstone Amulet, Darksteel Myr and Lithoform Engine but mine are comfortable in other decks. Same with my various Living Weapon equipment, like Kaldra Compleat, Bonehoard, Batterskull and Batterbone. I could probably justify Wurmcoil Engine and Stuffy Doll but I play them a lot. If I had Stonecoil Serpent, Forsaken Monument, Cryptic Trilobite, The Filigree Sylex or Myriad Construct, they’d be in there. Springjack Pasture and Labyrinth of Skophos just missed out.
The funny thing about the deck is how it’s kinda pointless to play many or even any actual Juggernauts. It makes much more sense to go wide with tokens and mana dorks that will be upgraded by turning into a 5/3 relentless attacker.
The deck isn’t as extreme as the Kozilek version, where getting Kozi into play as fast as possible is the main aim. Kozilek, the Great Distortion refills your hand and protects itself with a wacky Counterspell ability. Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut… turns your other creatures into Juggernauts.
Because of this, I’ve got many more mana dorks, like Hedron Crawler, that would be too underpowered for Kozilek. The all-in cards, like Mana Vault, Lotus Bloom and Basalt Monolith have been removed as well, making the curve more consistent from game to game. The dorks turn into Juggernauts just fine anyway.
One dork may look out of place, and that’s Crystalline Crawler. While it takes time to build up some counters to make mana, it can tap down to keep itself out of combat as a Juggernaut, and either grow to be a problem or pay for a big spell. I’m fairly confident it’ll be good, but it might not be any better than a Bronze Walrus.
The lands offer as much incremental mana value as I can squeeze out of them. Same with upside. I can see myself playing Boseiju, Who Shelters All, Haven of the Spirit Dragon (to recur my Ugins) and Miren, the Moaning Well, but there’s only so much space.
While it’s rare to have all the Urza lands line up, or get both Scorched Ruins and Deserted Temple together, or copy a Cloudpost with both Vesuva and Thespian’s Stage, that kind of silly fun is totally in play.
The rest of the lands draw cards, like with War Room and Sea Gate Wreckage, and do serious niche work, like with Scavenger Grounds, Karn’s Bastion, and The Mycosynth Gardens as three examples among many.
It would be easy to prioritize creature lands and lands that make creature tokens. I left plenty of those out, from Urza’s Factory, Inkmoth Nexus and even something like Mirrex. There are tons of budget options, too, from Stalking Stones and Foundry of the Consuls, to Spawning Bed and Gargoyle Castle. The amount of options has exploded since I built Kozilek in early 2016.
Speaking of Urza’s Factory, the ultimate Urza dream is tapping Urza’s Workshop with metalcraft, the Factory, Mine, Power Plant, and Tower, and Urza’s Saga in play, with 2 of those copied. 8 mana from one land. I’m not running the Saga, but I can theoretically do 7.
A couple of angles I’m not playing include land destruction, ie. Strip Mine, Wasteland, Ghost Quarter, Encroaching Wastes, etc. and fetching basic Wastes. I’m done with the old fetch and shuffle, but there are some decent colourless options, like Burnished Hart, Solemn Simulacrum and Wayfarer’s Bauble.
We have a number of creatures that utilize counters and keywords that will make them even better as Juggernauts. The obvious choice is +1/+1 counter creatures, and there are no shortages of great options. A card like Hangarback Walker does everything we want, and even plays for 0 with Graaz out to make a basic Juggernaut.
We also have plenty of cards to untap our team, like Sword of the Paruns and Unwinding Clock, which helps them play defense despite 3 toughness. We’ve also got a mix of indestructible, damage prevention and hexproof/shroud to give us some game against removal and tricky combats.
We have some removal of our own, but not much. Once you get past super-sweepers All is Dust and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, and solid options like Nevinyrral’s Disk and Perilous Vault, it’s a steep drop to the Ratchet Bombs of the world. Nothing against Ratchet Bomb but it’s rarely going to take care of all your problems. It’s really effective against token armies, though, and I rarely tick it past 0.
We have plenty of card draw to keep it flowing, and some stuff that copies other stuff. We have some cards I think will be all-stars in former super-staple Trading Post, all upside Ugin, the Ineffable, and the amazing Ward of Bones, which will be read at least twice by all of our opponents, except that one who nods knowingly. If you read this post, that could be you!
With any luck, we can use our Juggernaut support cards to open a window large enough to sneak our guys through, and steal a game or two. Otherwise, this should just be turn-em-all-sideways fun.