You’re either at the kitchen table, or have logged onto Spelltable. All the commanders have been revealed. The opponents are playing Muldrotha, Korvold, Edgar Markov. It’s going to be a long, grindy game but - what if you all played together as a team?
First, let me say that Commander variants are a great way to change up game nights. In most cases to play these, all you need to bring is an EDH deck! I could write a novel with a long list of different types and brief descriptions of each, but instead I’ll just focus on this one that excites me most.
It’s time to awaken a sleeping format that has lain dormant for over 9 years. So, this is Horde Magic.
Just like a commander deck, the horde is 100 cards. Usually, these decks are of a tribe that has tokens available of the same creature type. Elves, Goblins, Vampires or Merfolk there’s lords and lots of support cards within each tribe and generic anthems to follow. The deck doesn’t have the same stipulations of the singleton format and runs no commander, so 4 of Adaptive Automation to help is just fine. This mix of tokens and buffs create a relentless assault that can’t be taken lightly.
Let me show you how to play, win and lose.
You start off like you would any game with a grip of seven cards. The Horde starts with nothing in hand or on battlefield.
The Survivors share the same life total and turn. Only small adjustments need to be made per pod size. (3 player pod is 60 life and 75 Horde cards at random, 4 is 80 life and 100 Horde cards etc.)
Your team gets three turns of setup and defences before the Horde enters the turn rotation. Those turns look like this...
The top card of the horde’s library is flipped over. If it’s a token, another is flipped. Keep doing this until a non-token card is revealed. After that, all tokens and the non-token cards are cast.
Then they enter combat. All their creatures have haste and must attack each turn of able. They attack you as a team and you block as such.
The Survivors win when The Horde have no cards in their library and no creatures on the battlefield. You can speed this process up by attacking the hordes deck itself. Each point of damage mills a card off the top. The horde wins when the survivors life total becomes 0 of course!
Just stay alive, and if I have to say it, don’t play a mill deck.
The Horde was introduced in 2011 right before the release of Innastrad. Former WOTC R&D intern, Peter Knudson, unleashed an army of the damned upon the Commander community. That’s right! ZOMBIES. The list down below is the preconstructed deck he posted consisting of sixty token and forty non-token zombies:
1 Call to the Grave
2 Bad Moon
1 Plague Wind
1 Yixlid Jailer
1 Forsaken Wastes
2 Nested Ghoul
2 Infectious Horror
2 Delirium Skeins
1 Blind Creeper
2 Soulless One
2 Vengeful Dead
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Carrion Wurm
3 Maggot Carrier
4 Cackling Fiend
1 Death Baron
1 Grave Titan
2 Severed Legion
1 Skulking Knight
1 Undead Warchief
1 Twilights Call
1 Army of the Damned
1 Endless Ranks of the Dead
2 Rotting Fensnake
1 Unbreathing Horde
1 Walking Corpse
5 Zombie Giant Tokens
55 Zombie tokens
Pete used Zombies to create the variant, but with the amount of unique tokens that exist, some pretty gnarly decks can be put together. I myself recently built an entry level horde with seventy-two 0/1 goat tokens that if left unchecked ‘goat’ real nasty, real fast. I plan on building a lot more and coming up with a couple of EDH variants of my own, too. I hope to share them all with you.
The flavour text of a new card from Commander Legends, Frenzied Saddlebrute says *The drumbeats of the horde echo in every heart*. If that’s accurate, then what token are you thinking of brewing a horde deck with?
- Benson Braun