Grenzo Doomsday for Duel Commander
A Doomsday deck that doesn’t run blue?
Grenzo Doomsday a deck that looks to slow down your opponent with discard and land disruption until it can win with a combo. The deck looks like a grindy midrange deck, but it’s a very fast combo deck.
Most doomsday decks play blue, and use Labratory Maniac, Shelldock isle into Emrakul, the Aeons Torn or Tendrils of Agony as win conditions, but none of these cards are in this deck. This deck abuses the ability to set up the bottom cards of the deck in order to win with Grenzo, Dungeon Warden‘s ability.
This is primarily a deck looking to win with combos, so to understand how the deck functions, understanding how the combos operate first is essential.
This combo is a staple of most black combo decks. Most of those decks run some sort of reanimation engine, for value or for the sake of comboing faster, and this deck is no exception.
With Buried Alive, fetch Necrotic Ooze, Triskelion, and Phyrexian Devourer. Reanimate the Necrotic Ooze, and at instant speed, you can exile any number of cards from the top of your deck for +1/+1 counters, and remove the +1/+1 counters to deal damage to your opponent. Any interaction is futile, since both activated abilities are free and can be played at instant speed in response to any removal or disruption.
Dance of the Dead and Necromancy also work here. When Worldgorger Dragon enters the battlefield, it’s ability triggers, exiling the Animate Dead. When the Animate Dead leaves play, the Worldgorger Dragon also leaves play because Animate Dead leaves play. When the Animate Dead returns to play from the Dragon’s leave play ability, tap all your lands for mana, then use it to return the Dragon back into play. Repeat infinitely.
Then cast Grenzo, Dungeon Warden and mill the bottom of your deck until you find Devil’s Play, and cast that for game. Alternatively, you can use Siege-Gang Commander to repeatedly sacrifice Grenzo until you win.
A word of warning: any combo with Worldgorger Dragon is dangerous. You’ll loose the game to Stifle or a Doom Blade, so be certain the coast is clear before you reanimate it. This is a high risk/high reward combo.
This one requires an understanding of how the stack works. When Worldgorger Dragon comes into play, respond to his come into play ability by activating Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, making a token copy of the Dragon. The Dragon token enters, and the token exiles all your permanents, putting the real Worldgorger Dragon‘s leave play trigger on the stack. The Leave play trigger resolves, returning nothing, since the original come into play ability hasn’t resolved yet. Then the original Dragon’s come into play ability resolves, exiling the token, and returning all your permanents to play untapped. Tap all your mana sources and activate Kiki-Jiki again when the original Dragon’s come into play ability goes back onto the stack.
With infinite mana, You can cast Grenzo, and mill the bottom card of your deck until you reach Devil’s Play, and cast it for a made up amount of damage, like a googapillion (because that’s how goblins count, right?).
Doomsday is one of the most reliable ways to win in competitive EDH because it’s a single card that can set up a win with counter or discard backup, and of course, the namesake of the Grenzo Doomsday deck. The card is famous for being terribly difficult to play since a bad pile means losing the game, but the challenge is half the fun.
Fast Mana Pile
There are still several piles you can make. If you have Grenzo, Dungeon Warden out, without any +1/+1 counters and you are tight on mana, you can make this pile.
Once you make the pile, you use Grenzo’s activated ability to mill the bottom card, using Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to copy the priest for mana, repeating the process, until Zealous Conscripts is on the battlefield. Use the Conscrips to untap Kiki, and Kiki to copy the Conscripts, etc.
- Zealous Conscripts
- Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
- Mesmeric Fiend
- Priest of Gix
Fast Mana with Disruption
If you have a Grenzo with counters, you can make this pile. This pile gives you fast mana, but it foregoes the Mad Auntie in favor of more disruption. This pile does cost one more mana then the above pile does.
When Grenzo Keeps Dying
This pile is for when you can’t get Grenzo to stay in play. After you get infinite mana with the Dragon, cast Grenzo and mill the Devil’s Play off the bottom of the deck, and cast it using flashback for game. You need to be certain your opponent has a creature in their graveyard, since you have no other legal targets for Dance of the Dead when you wish to stop the combo due to Doomsday exiling the graveyard. Critically, a counter spell on Devil’s Play loses the game, but your opponent will likely counter your Animate Dead before letting you get infinite mana.
When Your Other Piles Don’t Work
This pile is for when you have a Grenzo out, but can’t go for the above piles (if a combo piece is stranded in your hand, exiled, etc). When your permanents return after the first trigger, use Grenzo to put Siege-Gang Commander into play, and sacrifice his tokens on every cycle for infinite damage. This pile is stronger against counter spells than the pile above is, since you only need to resolve half of the Faithless Looting and one of the Animate Dead effects.
Insidious Dreams Piles
This is another card used primarily to set up the bottom of the deck, like doomsday is. However, this deck needs to do that in a more creative way. Spinerock Knoll and Surging Flame both allow you to set up the top cards, and move them to the bottom of the deck.
Three Cards to Discard
This pile requires Grenzo with a +1/+1 counter on him.
Make sure there’s another creature to be reanimated in either your graveyard or your opponents if you don’t have Grenzo on the battlefield. If you do control him, you can mill yourself while looping with the Dragon until you hit Seige-Gang Commander.
Four Cards to Discard
You need to be at a higher life total to win with these cards, and the only reason to use this pile is if your other combos are exiled.
This is the same as the first pile, but with more mana. Remember, the Spinerock Knoll must select whatever the fourth card down is, since the others are key to the combo.
This deck is looking to combo as early as possible. That often involves dropping a turn two Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, a turn 3 tutor for Doomsday or Buried Alive, and comboing on turn 4. This deck is so dedicated to comboing, that it runs cards like Dimir Machinations to tutor for the combo pieces.
However, the deck can be grindy as well. If you are playing against permission or a heavy number of kill spells, wait until you know the coast is clear. There is plenty of discard, and the deck is perfectly capable of grinding too.
The other cards in the deck primarily serve as backup for the combos: the discard should only take cards that interact with your combo since you’re almost always the faster deck, your tutors should look for combo pieces, not answers. The deck does run a number of very powerful silver bullets in Toxic Deluge and Blood Moon, but you should only tutor for these when they are game winning or you’re on the back foot.
This deck only runs a handful of creatures, so only around 1/3 of Grenzo activations will hit blind. However, there are a number of very large value targets in the deck, so there is no reason not to activate him if you have the mana open.
Tips and Tricks
Don’t forget that cards like Spinerock Knoll and Read the Bones can set up the bottom of the deck for value activations of Grenzo. If you scry into a creature, always consider putting it on the bottom of the deck, even if you won’t have extra mana for a few turns. A free Mesmeric Fiend can change the tide of a game.
Not playing lands can be correct a lot of time with this deck. Insidious Dreams, Tormenting Voice, Liliana of the Veil, and Faithless Looting all reward you for it. However, don’t forget that the deck does play a number of expensive spells too.
Moggcatcher is not in the deck to grab combo pieces. In fact, it rarely grabs Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker or Mad Auntie because you’d rather those cards were in your deck for most of your combos. It can get Seige-Gang Commander, Tuktuk Scrapper, Murderous Redcap and Goblin Settler as a value engine in longer games.
Grenzo, Dungeon Warden is a fast and competitive commander in duel commander. If you enjoy rakdos, goblins, and fast combo, you should look to build Grenzo!