Epic Experiment- K’rrik Voltron

(K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth | Art by Chase Stone)

Epic Preparations

Hello, EDHREC fans! I’m Bernardo Melibeu, and this is Epic Experiment, a series where we throw all common sense aside and experiment with some unusual strategies, changing how we normally build our deck. Is it going to work? Who knows?! We’re making science here. When you’re an Izzet mage, blowing things up is half the fun.

Last article, we built a deck with one of the most infamous commanders from Commander 2019, Anje Falkenrath. In this article, let’s take on yet another of the most infamous commanders from the set. Yes, I’m talking about the daddy’s boy himself, K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth!

K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

 

Lifelink

For each {B} in a cost, you may pay 2 life rather than pay that mana

Whenever you cast a black spell, put a +1/+1 counter on K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

Observation 1:

It’s easy to see what all the fuss is about; his first ability is extremely powerful, especially in a color as versatile as black.

Observation 2:

There are plenty of powerful spells and effects that have several {B} pips in their costs, such as Necropotence or even Bolas’s Citadel, that we could take advantage of.

Observation 3:

His first and third abilities are really powerful because, as he grows bigger, he gains you more life with the damage he deals, allowing you to cast more black spells using life as a resource, making him bigger… you see where I’m going with this?

Observation 4:

He’s best buddies with Vilis, Broker of Blood.


The Old Formula

The High Synergy section of K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth‘s page shows how cutthroat the average list is. With cards like Tendrils of Agony, Aetherflux Reservoir, and Dark Ritual, we can see that this leads into stormy territory.


The Epic Ingredients

Tainted Strike Skeletal Grimace Shade's Form

While K’rrik’s mana acceleration ability is certainly powerful, his second ability caught my eye because it has all the potential for a potent Voltron commander. With his mana-evasion ability, being able to pay for Auras and combat tricks at a discounted rate is incredibly powerful, especially on a commander with a slightly-higher-than-average casting cost of seven mana (or four mana and six life).

There’re three main points that every Voltron deck needs to address to be effective: power, evasion, and protection. The first of these correlates to the faster clock that you as the Voltron player will be on to knock other players out, and usually 7+ power, which will allow three-hit kills, is what we should be shooting for. The second point is pivotal: each combat step is crucial for a Voltron deck because if you’re not able to connect with your opponents, you have no chance of winning the game. Finally, by definition, our deck is going to revolve around our commander; if we have to keep casting him over and over again, even with the Phyrexian mana, he’ll soon be prohibitively expensive and our win con goes out the window.

If we want to reduce the number of times we need to hit our opponents, why not reduce the amount of damage that we need to do? Infect can most certainly draw the ire of the table, but hopefully you can curry some political favor to avoid immediately becoming the target of the table. Phyresis is straightforward: K’rrik now has Infect. But why not Infect and a power boost? Grafted Exoskeleton gives Infect and +2/+2. If K’rrik stays suited up, your opponents are in real trouble.

Whether or not K’rrik has Infect, firebreathing effects like Midnight Covenant, Shade’s Form, Soul Kiss, Shade’s Breath, and Hatred, are great for this build since, being in black, they allow us to trade our life for our opponents’, but since K’rrik has lifelink, we come out ahead on that exchange.

Untamed Hunger Rime Transfusion Inner Demon

For evasion we have several different options: Inner Demon is a fun card that can clear the way while also giving our commander flying; Rime Transfusion is a great way to guarantee that we’ll never get blocked; and Aphotic Wisps and Nighthaze are interesting additions because they’re free cantrips that grow our commander while giving him evasion.

To protect K’rrik, there are plenty of regeneration effects, which can be somewhat risky since they don’t protect us from exile removals or the iconic Wrath of God. We have a few combat tricks that can regenerate our commander, like Boon of Erebos and Unnatural Endurance, each of which can be played for free, a very effective method of catching people off guard. Also, Unlikely Aid and Rush of Vitality grant indestructible at instant speed.

For standalone threats, we have a few angles of attack, from directly interacting with life totals with cards like Essence Harvest and Exsanguinate, to a few other alternative Voltrons, like Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon or Erebos, God of the Dead.


The Mixture

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K’rrik has a few key points that makes him different from other Voltron commanders: he’s slow, but because of his mana acceleration ability, he catches up pretty quickly. Given that, he values card draw pretty highly.

The Immortal Sun Sword of Vengeance

Artifacts are a necessary evil for mono-colored decks; they’ll cover our general weakness while contributing to our gameplan, but we need to be careful to maintain a critical amount of black spells. The Immortal Sun is an all-around killer in this deck, as it basically gives us everything that we can possibly want: a nice influx of cards, a colorless cost reduction so we can play our spells for free, and an anthem for K’rrik and any other creatures we may end up with on the battlefield. Sword of Truth and Justice is a powerhouse; especially with the number of Infect enablers and +1/+1 counters we have, we’ll be gaining a lot of value if we have access to a constant Proliferate source.


Methodology

For our opening hand, mana rocks, a few Auras, and maybe some way to draw cards. We can afford to play mana rocks and draw for a few turns in the early game, but this type of opening needs a follow up, or we might fall behind. Playing Equipment a bit later might be a better idea because they’re likely to waste our whole turn, otherwise.

For the mid-game we should start becoming the threat. At this point in the game it’s important to keep up in cards, but K’rrik’s safety should always be our priority. This is the point of the game where that we start killing our opponents; a clean early kill is a good way to disrupt the board since it’s one less player you need to have answers for.

Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon Exsanguinate Essence Harvest

The late game can find us in a tough position, since we don’t have many haste enablers, and the ones that we do have are equipment and have equip costs attached to them, so we shouldn’t count on our commander for a surprise attack. Luckily for us, we have a few other ways to win, like a big Exsanguinate or even an armed Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon.


Epic Results

Necropotence Pontiff of Blight Drifting Shade

Investing on Extort creatures seems like a good addition to the deck; of these, Crypt Ghast and Pontiff of Blight are some of the more playable ones.

Another fun subtheme that we could consider is Shade tribal. Shades usually have a temporary pump ability, so having some evasive ones, like Drifting Shade, can help us finish off games with our commander out.

Necropotence is a card that I deliberately left out of the list; sure, it’s great with K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth, but I don’t think that it’s a fun card.

That’s it for this Epic Experiment! What do you think about this list? Did we make daddy Yawgmoth proud? Do you have any questions about the deck? Which cards did you like? Which didn’t you? Was the Epic Experiment a success? Please let me know in the comments below!

Bernardo has been playing(on and off) since portal and somehow manage to survive mirrodin block while being a total casual(beast tribal ftw?). He loves all the shades of blue and being the one saying "nope", while holding a full grip of cards in hand.