Theros is a plane themed after ancient Greece. You would think that this set would have some great flavor potential, but in reality the sets have been lackluster. Even the newest one failed to impress. Sure there are a handful of cards from each set that are decent as is typically the case, but as a whole, bleh. One redeeming quality is the Gods, Legendary creatures with indestructible that are also enchantments and they utilize a mechanic called devotion which counts all of the colored mana symbols on nonland permanents you control and when your devotion is high enough, that particular god will turn into a creature and fight for you. It’s almost like these gods need followers to manifest themselves which is kind of flavorful. In the original Theros block, there is one god for each individual color and one for each two color combination. In the newest set, only a handful of these gods made an appearance with new cards. There was a new god that we had never seen before. The Reader’s Digest version of why that is is because one of the gods, Xenagos, was not actually part of the pantheon. Klothys was missing in the original Theros story, but that’s not relevant to today’s deck. Today’s decks is going to focus on one of the original gods, Mogis, God of Slaughter. Mogis, God of Slaughter is a 7/5 for 2 generic, a black, and a red. Like all of the gods, he is indestructible and he requires your devotion to red and black be seven or higher in order to function as a creature. Regardless of weather he is a creature or not, his ability triggers on each opponent’s upkeep and that player has a choice of sacrificing a creature or taking 2 damage. Most of the time and under normal circumstances your opponents will likely chose to take the 2 damage; that’s a no-brainer. Sacrificing a creature would be the better option for you, but you can’t force them to make that choice. However, you can make it a harder choice for them.
2 damage is nothing in commander. 4 is a little bigger but still not dangerous. 8, well now you have to think about it. Is a creature worth 8 damage? There are several enchantments and/or creatures that you can run to increase the damage from Mogis. Torbran, Thane of Red Fell increases damage from red sources by 2. Angrath’s Marauders doubles the damage from sources you control. Fiendish Duo doubles damage from all sources as long as it’s dealt to an opponent. Fiery Emancipation triples the damage from sources you control. Be careful with this last one, Dictate of the Twin Gods, because it doubles all damage no matter where it is from or who it’s dealt to. Dictate of the Twin Gods also features Mogis in its art so that’s kind of cool.
There is one major problem with this plan: life gain. So we need to punish any opponent who tries to go that route. Tainted Remedy is the best enchantment for this. Rather than gain life, your opponent will lose that much life. Other cards include Rampaging Ferocidon, Archfiend of Despair, Everlasting Torment, and Erebos, God of the Dead. All of these other cards also come with a bonus. Rampaging Ferocidon deals 1 damage whenever a creature comes into play, good against token decks. Archfiend of Despair takes all the life lost by the active player that turn and deals it to each opponent. Everlasting Torment pushes damage past effects that prevent damage and gives all sources wither, meaning that damage is dealt to creature in the form of -1/-1 counters. Finally, Erebos comes with a card draw engine. It’s not a great one, but it’s acceptable for black.
It seems that there are many cards that punish the opponent so let’s lean into that a little more and see just how much punishment you can dish out. Manabarbs punishes any player who taps lands for mana. Zo-Zu the Punisher deals 2 damage to a player when they play a land. Harsh Mentor deals damage when an opponent activates an ability of an artifact, creature, or land that isn’t a mana ability, meaning it doesn’t produce mana. Underworld Dreams deals damage to an opponent when they draw a card. Painful Quandary triggers when an opponent casts a spell and they must chose between 5 damage or discarding a card. There are lots of other effects out there that basically punish your opponent for trying to play Magic and the more you can use, the better.
Let’s talk about some other cards with some great synergies for this deck. Wound Reflection triggers at each end step and each opponent loses life equal to the life that they already lost that turn. This combos well with Havoc Festival. Since each player has lost half of their life, rounded up, they get to lose that same amount again. Master of Cruelties is a great creature for this deck. First strike and deathtouch are a great combination for a defensive creature, but it’s not meant to be used as a defensive creature. In order to get the most out of him, he needs to go unblocked so I would suggest combining it with Rogue’s Passage or some other card to make it unblockable. With all of the damage that this deck can do you can magnify it with Pain Magnification which forces an opponent to discard a card when they are dealt 3 or more damage from a single source.
Doing something like this, you are bound to draw the ire of your opponents. These cards should slow them down. Since it appears you may not be attacking to often, you can run Smoke which restricts everyone to untapping only 1 creature per turn. No Mercy destroys any creature that successfully deals damage to you. Ensnaring Bridge can keep bigger creatures at bay protecting against things like Craterhoof Behemoth. Tainted AEther requires a creature or a land to be sacrificed whenever a creature comes into play; that should keep your opponents’ boardstate in check.
There are a lot of key pieces in a deck like this and each one is good at different times. I would highly recommend running whatever black tutor cards that you can afford. Grim Tutor was just reprinted in Core Set 2021 so I would suggest picking up a few copies. Even if you don’t plan on building this deck, it’s a good card to have. Behold the Beyond is an often overlooked tutor. Sure you have to discard your hand, but what if you didn’t have much of a hand by turn 7ish in the first place? Besides, getting 3 specific cards into your hand is very good. I would use this in a heartbeat to grab 3 relevant cards over just hanging onto 1 relevant card and a few that aren’t relevant at the moment.
While some players use Mogis, God of Slaughter as a commander for Minotaur tribal, I think he is better used as a commander in a deck like this. The idea is to just make everything painful for your opponents. They tap a land, they take damage. They play a creature, they take damage. They attack, they take damage. They draw a card, they take damage. Just be careful that you don’t hurt yourself too much as some of these cards affect all players, not just your opponents. That wraps up Mogis, God of Slaughter. What legendary creature do you want to see next? Let me know in the comments below.