Updated: Sep 6, 2020
Heroic Intervention – Kraven Bane of Monsters
June 16, 2020 by Zachary McDermott
(Kraven the Hunter)
“You were right to deny me. Because the true hunter does not kill out of rage, or cruelty -- he is above such things. He does it to maintain the balance in nature. For sustenance. For safety. To thin the herd. All of these, necessary.”
-Kraven the Hunter to Spider-Man
The Thrill of the Hunt
Hello, and welcome to Heroic Intervention, a biweekly article series aiming to taking a pop culture character and turn them into a commander deck.
With the release of Ikoria Lair of Behemoths we were gifted with many new legendary creatures to use as our potential commander, with many different and exciting creature types (Nightmare, Beast, Dinosaur, and Kaiju) it’s easy to understand how the human tribe could get overlooked. For me though one card stood out above the others, I give you Kraven the Hunter…… err well Chevill, Bane of Monsters.
When I first saw Chevill, admittedly I was not impressed. Yeah, he is very well costed being only two mana. Yes, having a form of evasion in deathtouch is nice, and having a decent body makes him playable, but in this color pairing his competition for the commander slot is very steep. It was not until I started looking at his card art and reading his ability that it clicked, Chevill is not just the bane of monsters he is THE HUNTER of monsters! Chevill is very similar to Kraven the Hunter from the Spider-Man comics. For anyone who might not know Kraven the Hunter (also known as Sergei Kravinoff) is an infamous big game hunter in the world of Marvel Comics. Kraven is known worldwide for hunting the most dangerous of prey, rarely using weapons of any kind. Kraven occasionally uses animal companions and a mystical serum that heightens his sense to help hunt his prey. Kravinoff comes to New York to hunt Spider-Man to prove he is the world’s greatest hunter. With all of this in mind it was easy to draw parallels between Chevill and Kraven.
Link to decklist https://archidekt.com/decks/614725#Kraven_Bane_of_Monsters
Deadliest of Foes
Chevill is an intimidating creature to deal with thanks to deathtouch, which is an attribute of his card. I really wanted to focus on with the creatures in this deck. We are running 33 creatures and of the 33, 13 have deathtouch. When selecting creatures, I wanted to make sure that each offered more value than just a body with deathtouch. Acidic Slime is a great example of the caliber of creature we are wanting for a deck like this. Acidic Slime ETBs and destroys either an artifact, enchantment, or land. Archetype of Finality gives all our creatures deathtouch and creatures our opponents control loose deathtouch and cannot gain deathtouch. Oakhame Adversary will cost two less if any of our opponents control a green permanent and if it deals combat damage to a player, we get to draw a card. The second-best creature in this deck Glissa, the Traitor (Ana Kravinoff, Kraven’s daughter) has first strike and deathtouch making her an amazing blocker. Glissa also can return an artifact from our graveyard to our hand, when a creature an opponent controls, dies. With the artifacts we have in this deck having Glissa on the field could really swing the game in our favor. In addition to our 13 creatures with deathtouch we have 9 creatures that act as removal. Apex Altisaur ETBs fighting a creature and its Enrage it does it again. Bounty Hunter (Alyosha Kravinoff, Kraven’s son) is the only other creature in magic that puts bounty counters on creatures, which mimic Chevill’s bounty counters. We can also tap Bounty Hunter to destroy a creature with a bounty counter on it, doubling up on triggers. Royal Assassin (Vladimir Kravinoff, Kraven’s son) can be tapped to destroy target tapped creature. As you can see there is a lot of removal in this deck, but how are we getting to it and how are we ramping for it?
Spirit of the Hunt
For the most part our card draw and ramp is pretty straight forward for most commander decks in our colors, however there are a few cards in each category that shine among the others. Generous Patron is a ¼ Elf Advisor for 2G that has support 2 and says, “Whenever you put one or more counters on a creature you don’t control, draw a card.” This ability synergizes so well with our commander because when both are on the battlefield, whenever we place a bounty counter on something, we draw a card. Generous Patron does not care what kind of counter, only that it is a counter of some sort being placed on a creature we do not control. We are running two cards that have the monarch ability on them, meaning at the end of our turn if we have the monarchy, we draw a card. This works well on two fronts for our deck, we get to draw additional card at the end of our turns, and we can force people to swing into us with creatures they might not want to lose. This allows us to make favorable trades with our opponents, blocking with our ½ deathtouch spider killing there 10/10 kraken. Two cards that ramp us in this deck that we see extra value out of are Black Market and Deathcap Cultivator. Black Market is a 3BB enchantment that says, “Whenever a creature dies, put a charge counter on Black Market.” “At the beginning of your precombat main phase, add B to your mana pool for each charge counter on Black Market.” In a deck that runs so much removal and creature with deathtouch it is easy to have 10 or more charge counters on this card in one turn rotation. While not as powerful as Black Market, Deathcap Cultivator is a mana dork that can tap for either of the colors in our deck and if we have Delirium, he has deathtouch.
Tools of the Trade
Kraven does not often use weapons during his hunts, well Kraven never had to deal with an Eldrazi Titan so we WILL be using weapons on our hunts! We are running four different bows in this deck that allows us to equip one to one of our creatures with deathtouch and deal one damage to another creature. What is great about this interaction is that at any time a creature with deathtouch deals damage to another creature it is considered lethal damage, meaning the one point of damage we do to a creature with one of our bows is enough to kill it. In our armory you would also find Nihil Spellbomb to remove a player’s graveyard from the game, Scythe of the Wretched to kill a creature and return it to the battlefield under our control with the scythe attached to it, Shadowspear to gain trample, lifelink, and the ability to make permanents our opponents control lose hexproof and indestructible until end of the turn. There is Viridian Claw to give us first strike and Glaring Spotlight to allow us to target creatures our opponents control with hexproof as if they did not have hexproof.
The Hunt Lives On
Even when Kraven was bested in a hunt, he did not rest or give up and neither will our creatures. To ensure we get them back in the hunt and get the most value out of every block and attack we are running 6 different forms of recursion in this deck. The three we will get most use out of are Phyrexian Reclamation, Genesis, and Soul of Innistrad. Phyrexian Reclamation is a card I find myself putting in more and more decks it is a one B enhancement that reads “1B, Pay 2 life: Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.” This deck has a lot of low cmc creatures with a lot of great ETBs, being able to rebuy them after they are sent to the graveyard puts us in the position to out value our opponents on resources. Genesis is a 4/4 green creature that does a decent imitation of Phyrexian Reclamation, as long as Genesis is on our graveyard at the beginning of our upkeep we can pay 2G if we do return target creature card from our graveyard to our hand. It is more restrictive then Phyrexian Reclamation, but you do not have to pay life to use it and it is activated from our graveyard making it harder to interact with. Soul of Innistrad is the last of our resurrection section, Soul of Innistrad is a 6/6 4BB Avatar creature with deathtouch. Soul of Innistrad has 3BB: return up to three target creature cards from your graveyard to your hand. And 3BB, Exile Soul of Innistrad from your graveyard: Return up to three target creature cards from your graveyard to your hand.
“After all these years, you surely know that I'm a man of my word -- and I give you my word: from this night forward, Kraven the Hunter -- will never hunt again.”
-Kraven the Hunter to Spider-Man
Kraven’s Last Hunt
There are plenty of BG commander’s that care about destroying opponents’ creatures, but none have the flare or style that Chevill Bane of Monsters offers. I really enjoyed this brew and want to thank you for taking the time to read my article. There are many ways I could have gone with this deck, but this is the path a chose. 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.
**Shoutouts to Brennan from The Canada Geeks for the great idea for article name!**