DECKLIST UPDATED: July 28th, 2015
Group Slug. Disperse damage to all opponents equally, fairly, and without prejudice. The socialist actions of Purphoros, God of the Forge seems quite fair from our perspective but will be met with suspicion from our friends at the EDH table. Be prepared to fight through the hostility and antagonistic feelings of your opponents if you shuffle and play this mono-red commander deck. Purphoros is my 11th EDH deck and quite different from my other Commander builds as it combines two elements that I have not previously built around: Tokens and Red.
So why Purphoros? I think I was drawn to his Shock-like ability that reads “Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, Purphoros deals two damage to each opponent”. Have you ever played an aggro deck where in the beginning turns of a game you have a couple of creatures but all of your opponents are defenseless? We can’t just sit there in Pacifism mode, we need to turn our dudes sideways, but who do we attack? In friendly games we may even go as far as to roll a six sided die to randomly determine which opponent to smack. This usually results in the defending player vowing retaliation for sending our critters his/her way. Instead of invoking the anger of one opponent, why not get them all riled up at the same time? Enter Purphoros, and his unique ability of Group Shock Therapy.
This EDH deck is fairly easy to navigate since Purphoros is our primary win condition. Our main goal is to get Purphoros out early without being counterspelled or tucked into our library. For this reason I have chosen to run a healthy supply of one and two drop mana rocks in attempts to get our Commander out by turn 3. Once on the battlefield, Purphoros is impervious to most removal spells due to his indestructibility.
Our primary goal is to get Purphoros on the battlefield as soon as possible. However, if there is a control player that has blue mana untapped beware of dreaded counterspells such as Hinder or Spell Crumple. Counter/Tuck effects such as these absolutely destroy the pure fabric of our game plan. Occasionally we may need to bluff or allow other players to cast threats worthy of the blue mages tuck spells. Prepare to play an entire game with your best poker face if you choose to bring a Purphoros deck to your local playgroup.
Once Purphoros is on the battlefield, our mission statement is to apply a heavy blitz of tokens. With Purphoros, we really do not care about having an attack phase, so leaving our Goblins and Elementals on the battlefield as chump blockers or sacrificial lambs to cards like Tooth and Claw is very important. Also reliant on sacrificial bodies are a few creatures with Devour that will gobble up our tokens to help give us a beefy blocker or deliver an unexpected haymaker to an opponent’s dome.
Along our adventure in token-land, we must be very careful not to allow our devotion to red to exceed the necessary five to make Purphoros a creature. Making the god of the Forge a creature opens him up to removal spells such as Swords to Plowshares which will exile our leader.
Cooling Effects Upon the Forge
Once Purphoros is on the battlefield, the pendulum of momentum has started to shift our way, however, there are common EDH effects that can not only cool down our legendary blacksmith deity, but freeze him in his tracks.
- Tuck Effects: Spell Crumple, Hinder, Chaos Warp, and Oblation are all EDH Staples that will tuck Purphoros away. If this happens, we might as well crack open a beer and play the rest of the game in a vegetative state.
- Bounce Effects: Cyclonic Rift, Return to Dust and Venser, Shaper Savant are the main culprits. Our opponents bouncing our General in response to our tokens coming into play is like a box full of wet firecrackers on the Fourth of July.
- Steal Effects: Another darn blue effect, sigh. I have already encountered these on MTGO as Purphoros was the target of a Blatant Thievery and Steal Enchantment.
Of course, there are quite a few other ways to stop Purphoros and I may go into more detail about these in the future when I put together a Primer for this Mono-Red EDH deck. Currently, we run only a few answers to our biggest show stoppers listed above. The two most notable are:
- Redirect Spells: Shunt and Ricochet Trap gives us counterspell protection and can redirect exile or steal effects. I playtested Wild Ricochet but found it underwhelming.
- Mass Removal: All Is Dust is currently our only way to get a stolen Purphoros back into our Command Zone
I fully plan on doing periodic updates to the decklist and article, so please check back occasionally for updates. I also encourage feedback, so feel free to post comments, thoughts, or questions below.
UPDATE: I am sure everyone is familiar with red’s lack of enchantment removal. Our Purphoros list contains Chaos Warp as our primary source of spot removal for enchantments (or any other permanent for that matter). In addition to Chaos Warp, let me share some secret edh tech with you found in Eye of Doom. Eye of Doom can lay waste to any problematic enchantment or permanent that may be giving us fits. Yes, our opponents could then select one or more of our permanents to destroy, but with Purphoros being indestructible, it is usually a win-win trade for us since most of our board is disposable after we get the initial ETB trigger.
Purphoros Tokens EDH Deck
Purphoros, Shock Master Deity
For further reading, I encourage you to take a look at this Purphoros deck strategy guide on MTGSalvation.com by username Beusapu of Spain: Purphoros, God of WAR. “All the world is Purphoros’s anvil”
Purphoros on MTGO
I have recently built a similar Purphoros EDH Deck on Magic the Gathering Online™”. Although I prefer to keep my Magic collection focused on IRL Cards (In Real Life), I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to build this deck at a budget price. The list below has already won several 1v1, multiplayer and two-headed giant games and cost me less than $25! Of course, this was my initial envestment and I fully plan on adding new pieces when the opportunity arrives. In particular, a few of the Commander 2013 red cards. Feel free to add me to your buddies list (wallyd2) and we’ll play sometime. Enjoy!