Heroic Intervention – Frederick Von Masher
July 7, 2020 by Zachary McDermott
Life! Life, do you hear me?! Give my creation LIIIFEEE!!!!!!
-Dr. Frederick Frankenstein
I was working in the lab, late one night
Hello, and welcome to Heroic Intervention, a biweekly article series aiming to take a pop culture character and turn them into a commander deck.
This week I wanted to profile a deck that I made some time ago that I really love and still have put together, but in order to fully lay out the deck and what it does we have to discuss Rule Zero. You may be asking yourself, what is Rule Zero? Rule Zero is a rule that the Commander Rules Committee put into place. That allows players to change the rules of the format as they see fit, so long as their group agrees with it. The deck I have for you today is a Rule Zero deck. It uses a banned legendary creature as our commander, I give you Grusilda, Monster Masher!
Decklist to follow along:
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
Grusilda, Monster Masher is a legendary creature out of the Unstable set that I fell in love with instantly, because she reminded me so much of Dr. Fredrick Frankenstein from Young Frankenstein. Grusilda does something unique in the game of Magic. She not only reanimates creatures, but fuses two into one being. The deck I have built has a strong reanimate theme with a fun menace sub-theme, so not only will we be bringing creatures back from the grave bigger, but they will also be harder to block!
As a side note: I have played many games with Grusilda and have always asked my groups I am playing with if they care that I use her as my commander. Most of the time I never have any issues, but on the occasions that I do I use Chainer, Nightmare Adept as the commander for that game. This deck will still function fine using him as the commander, it just does not offer as many interesting interactions.
For my monster from his slab, began to rise
If you have not seen Young Frankenstein it is a hilarious take on the Frankenstein novel by Mary Shelley. In the film Dr. Fredrick Frankenstein has been called back to his family dwelling to prove that his grandfather was not insane, that he was able to bring the dead back to life. In this deck Grusilda is our Fredrick Frankenstein. She will be giving the spark of life back to the dead……. for the low price of 3RB and tap her. Relying too heavily on Grusilda would do this deck too much of a disservice, so I am running nine other ways to bring life back into the dead. The best reanimation spells for a deck like this are ones that are stapled on creatures like Phyrexian Delver; 3BB. When Phyrexian Delver comes into play, return target creature card from your graveyard to play. You lose life equal to that creature’s converted mana cost. Creature spells that reanimate creatures are very strong in builds like this because we can recur creatures with ease. The other type of reanimation spells we want to see are ones that make us sacrifice creatures we already have in play to recur other creatures from our graveyard. Victimize; 2B Choose two target creature cards in your graveyard. Sacrifice a creature. If you do, return the chosen cards to the battlefield tapped. With Grusilda whenever a creature of ours is put into the grave, we are feeding her ability to mash creatures together.
Dr. Frankenstein never worked alone and neither does Grusilda, in this deck our Igor is Chainer, Nightmare Adapt. I say the resemblance is uncanny.
Igor is often sent out to find “subjects” for Dr. Frankenstein’s experiments, much like Chainer works the same way for Grusilda. If both are on the field you can use Chainer to discard, hopefully a creature card that you can mash together with Grusilda. From there the creature that you mash together gains haste because Chainer sees it enter the battlefield not from your hand. The two work very well on the field together.
And suddenly to my surprise
There are times where getting the cards we need in hand or in grave is difficult, so I have included a few things to make that easier. Sidisi. Undead Vizier is a 4/6 legendary creature for 3BB that has deathtouch and the ability to sacrifice another creature when it enters the battlefield. If you do you may search your library for a card and put it into your hand. The effect is great because we can fill our graveyard with creatures to mash and search for whatever card we might need. Maybe we need to play something a little faster. Entomb is the card that we go for. For one black we can search our library for a card and put it into our graveyard. I am not currently running any cards with flashback, so when you entomb, it is most likely going to be a creature card to recur or mash. Black and Red are great at targeted removal at instant speed. This deck is no different. I have Bedevil to deal with problematic artifacts, walkers, or creatures. Pharika’s Libation to deal with enchantments are indestructible creatures and Unlicensed Disintegration to merch a creature.
He did the mash, he did the monster mash
My favorite part; the creatures we are going to smash together to make one! Murderous Redcap is a four-cost creature with Persist, meaning when it dies if it does not have a -1/-1 counter on it return it to the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter on it. What makes this creature so great in this deck is that whatever creature we mash it with, if that creature dies it is going to come back to the battlefield. Mogis, God of Slaughter is another four-cost creature that is just awesome mashed with another creature. Mogis has indestructible and is only a creature if your devotion to red or black is greater than seven. Mogis also has an effect that reads “at the beginning of each opponent’s upkeep Mogis deals 2 damage to that player unless they sacrifice a creature.” Mogis allows us to mash it with another creature giving the new entity indestructible, but it also can force our opponents to sacrifice a creature giving our deck more options of creature to mash together. Lightning Reaver is a five-cost creature that has fear and haste and another unique set of abilities. Whenever Lightning Reaver deals combat damage to a player, put a charge counter on it. At the end of your turn, Lightning Reaver deals damage equal to the number of charge counters on it to each opponent. Having fear and hast means any creature you mash it with is going to attack that turn and harder to block. The final creature for this section is one of the biggest, Rakdos, Lord of Riots! Flying, trample, 6/6, four-cost creature, and it makes other creatures cheaper equal to the amount of life they lost this turn. Many of the creatures we play in this deck are high CMC, Rakdos being able to make them cheaper is an ability we cannot afford to pass by. If you can mash him with another creature flying, trample, and +6 to stats is very good.
It was a graveyard smash
Creating big scary creatures is great, but what is even better is making sure they can get the damage through to our opponents’ life points. While not many of our creatures have trample, Grusilda gives all combined creatures menace. For this deck I leaned into making sure every creature I control has menace and other payoffs for menace. Goblin War Drums is the go-to enchantment in this deck, for 2R all our creatures have menace, making our aggro style deck work even better. Once we have Goblin War Drums down, we want to hit these next two cards as quickly as possible. Sonorous Howlbonder is 1B/RB/R that has menace and says each creature you control with menace cannot be blocked except by three or more creatures. This card helps our creatures that have been mashed together get through to deal damage even easier. Labyrinth Raptor is a BR creature with menace that says whenever a creature you control with menace becomes blocked, defending player sacrifices a creature blocking it. This is great because the defending player must sacrifice a blocking creature before damage is dealt meaning we get even more cards in the graveyard to use for mashing.
Now you can mash, you can monster mash
Grusilda is one of my most favorite decks. She can be built in many ways with many different creatures. Although banned by normal rulings, my playgroup has been fine with me playing it and I am sure yours would be too. Talking with your group and finding out what they are okay with, can go a very long way. I highly encourage any commander player to look back over the UnCommanders from Unstable and build a deck around them. I would like to hear back from you what did you think of my build, would you build this deck, was it on theme? Feel free to contact me @NekroZach on Twitter with your thoughts. That is all for this issue of Heroic Intervention join us again in two weeks for our next fusion of pop culture and commander.