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Budget Commander: K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth | $50, $100, $200


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The Budget Powerhouse

When I asked my Twitter followers (@BudgetCommander) what commander I should cover next, K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth dominated the poll. The result was unsurprising; K'rrik is incredibly popular. Of the new C19 commanders, K'rrik decks are the most submitted on MTG Goldfish. People are excited about him, most C19 discussions are dominated by him, and people are having tons of fun brewing with him. So when I asked you what you'd like to see covered next, K'rrik made a lot of sense, and I'm happy to oblige!

The reason for K'rrik's popularity is simple: power! This commander is easily in the Top 3 strongest commanders out of C19, if not the most powerful of them all. It's no secret that cheating on mana costs leads to broken things, and you don't need to look far into Magic's history to find examples of this (cough cough Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis wheeze). So when K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth lets you cheat on the majority of mana costs in your deck by turning all instances of B mana costs into phyrexian mana, it didn't take long for more experience Magic players to realize how broken he can be.

With K'rrik letting us pay life for most costs in our deck instead of paying mana, we can do far more things in a single turn than other decks can even dream of. Broken staples like Necropotence and Vampiric Tutor get even more broken when we cast them without paying a single mana, but that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. There are also synergies to exploit, like how well he pairs up with Vilis, Broker of Blood to draw absurd amounts of cards. There are even terrible jank cards like Blood Celebrant that suddenly become good mana generators in this deck! The possibilities are filthy, nasty, disgusting ... I love it!

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K'rrik Is A Combo Deck

Some people are brewing K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth as typical generic Mono Black Goodstuff deck: the type of Control deck that controls the board early, plays a bunch of swamps with Cabal Coffers, cast flashy board wipes like Reiver Demon, then close out the game with a Rise of the Dark Realms.

These people are brewing K'rrik wrong.

K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth is not your typical Mono Black Goodstuff commander. There's two reasons for this:

  1. K'rrik wants to storm off. The more spells you spells you cast with K'rrik's discount, the more powerful he is in your deck. To maximize his value, you want him commanding a deck that "storms off," casting a whole bunch of spells in a single turn. Mono Black Goodstuff decks aren't particularly suited to do this until late in the game when you have a ton of Swamps in play to fuel Cabal Coffers / Crypt Ghast / Caged Sun / etc. And at that point, Mono Black Goodstuff doesn't actually need K'rrik anyway.
  2. K'rrik is an archenemy commander. K'rrik is really, really, really powerful. A properly built K'rrik deck threatens to win the game the same turn the commander enters the battlefield. K'rrik will quickly gain a reputation as a commander to fear, which means that many playgroups will dub you the archenemy the moment you reveal K'rrik as your commander. Your opponents will be gunning you from the start of the game and K'rrik himself will be killed as quickly as possible. Choosing an archenemy commander only hurts a Mono Black Goodstuff deck, since they need time to set up their board and get going. A lategame Goodstuff Black deck wants a more innocuous, resilient commander: Gonti, Lord of Luxury, Liliana, Heretical Healer, Erebos, God of the Dead, or (my favorite) Chainer, Dementia Master are easier to get value from and will draw far less hate. Heck, almost any other Mono Black commander will end up drawing less hate than our boy K'rrik.

Put these two facts together and it's obvious that a properly built K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth deck isn't going to look like your typical Mono Black deck. We're going to be archenemy, we want to cast a ton of spells after K'rrik resolves, and we're not looking to win in the lategame.

The version of K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth that I'll be talking about is a stick of dynamite waiting for our commander to light it. Our goal is to win the same turn that K'rrik is cast. This is a combo deck looking to cast K'rrik, then use his insane mana discount and lots of other mana generators like Dark Ritual to draw cards / tutor to find and cast our combo finishers, burning through our life total at a staggering pace in the process. The deck is incredibly explosive and lives on a razor's edge. It's wild, exhilarating, and fun! You just have to be mentally prepared to be the archenemy at most playgroups and be at peace with that, otherwise you and your playgroup won't have a fun time.

You might like the deck if ...

  • You want to play a Combo deck
  • You take the motto "life total is a resource" very literally
  • You want a deck that plays very differently than other Mono Black decks
  • You don't mind being the archenemy

You might NOT like the deck if ...

  • You want a more traditional Mono Black deck
  • You prefer non-linear decks
  • You don't want to play a Combo deck
  • You don't want to automatically be the archenemy every game

This article will break down how to build a powerful K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth Combo deck, showing the best options for ramp, card draw, tutors, combo finishers, interaction, recursion, and lands. We'll finish off with sample decklists, showing how to build the strongest K'rrik deck at multiple price points. You can easily build a powerhouse K'rrik deck on an extremely tight budget and the deck only gets better as we increase the budget!

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Ramp

For this deck, our ramp must accomplish a very specific goal: we want a single turn where we can generate a ton of mana so we can pay for a bunch of spells, combo off, and win. Obviously Krrik, Son of Yawgmoth is the single most important ramp in the deck, taking care of all B mana costs (as long as we have the life to pay for it!), but there will be plenty of colorless mana requirements that K'rrik can't help pay for. And let me say it again: we need a lot of mana for this deck to work!

There's two kinds of ramp in our deck: traditional ramp cards like Sol Ring, and rituals like Dark Ritual. For most decks I do not count rituals as ramp, but in this case where we're trying to win in a single glorious turn, rituals are tremendously valuable to let us chain together the spells necessary to win.

For traditional ramp, all the generic good stuff is good here: Sol Ring, Wayfarer's Bauble, Mind Stone, these are great in any Mono Black deck and this one is no exception. Our deck wants to set up quickly so we favor low cmc ramp options over higher cmc options. One great ramp option that is particularly insane here, however, is Jet Medallion: since K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth can take care of all B mana costs, we only need to worry about colorless mana, and since we're looking to cast multiple black spells in a turn, the Medallion can save us a ton of mana in the process. Unfortunately the Medallion is currently $13 which is going to be outside most of our budget ranges, but Helm of Awakening does the same thing for cheaper, just $4 currently. Yes, it could help our opponents, but since we're trying to win in a single turn it's going to help us far more.

For rituals, we've got classic options like Dark Ritual and Cabal Ritual, but we also have plenty of jankier options that suddenly become viable with K'rrik out: Blood Celebrant lets us generate B for every 3 life we spend, Blood Pet makes a B for 2 life, Overeager Apprentice / Priest of Gix all gain us mana for life. This cards are awful in most decks, but with K'rrik turning them into rituals and our high demand for mana makes them important.

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Card Draw

Card draw is more important than usual in our deck, fueling our hand with all the cards we'll need in our big combo turn. Since our deck wants to win in a single big turn, we're going to place a huge emphasis on fast card draw that immediately puts the cards in our hand, like Sign in Blood and Promise of Power. Because of this, incremental card draw that most Mono Black decks tend to run, like Phyrexian Arena, are actually a lot less sexy here.

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Tutors

It pains me to say this, but tutors are even more important for this deck than even the card draw because it's the most effective way to assemble our combos. Black is the undisputed king of tutors in Commander, giving us access to any card in our deck without restriction. The best of the best options are available to us, like Vampiric Tutor and Demonic Tutor, but there are also powerful budget-friendly options like Diabolic Tutor and Spoils of the Vault. Some restrictive tutors that double up as utility, like the transmute card Shred Memory, can be powerful inclusions depending on what we're using them to tutor.

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Not Dying: Lifegain

This deck burns through our life total at a terrifying pace. Casting spells with K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth, tutoring with Spoils of the Vault, drawing cards with Necropotence, all these together can put us in a position where we've run out of life to spend before we found a way to win the game. Just like we need ramp / card draw / tutors for our deck to go off, we need lifegain to help pay for everything!

The best lifegain options double as finishers for the deck. The best of the best is probably Aetherflux Reservoir, which offsets the lifeloss from K'rrik after the second spell cast in a turn, and after that, we're just gaining life until we can start blasting our opponents in the face with our doom cannon. Exsanguinate is another classic finisher, but even casting it for less than lethal is going to net us more than enough life to pay for the rest of our spells.

But the sweetest low-budget cards lifegain cards for the deck have to be the extort cards, like Thrull Parasite. Assuming a typical 4-player FFA game, each time we cast a spell we can use K'rrik's ability to pay 2 life for the extort cost, draining our three opponents for 1 life each and gaining 3 life total, a 1 life net gain each time. A few of these extort cards on the battlefield allows us to easily drain out our opponents while never dipping too low on our own life total. Pontiff of Blight is the best of them all, giving all our creatures extort — easy win! 

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The Finishers

We've generated tons of mana, drawn tons of cards, and tutored for the missing pieces. Now for the sweetest part of a combo deck: the combos themselves. Here's some of the ways K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth can close out games:

  1. Lifedrain "Storm." Chain together a bunch of spells together with an extort card like Pontiff of Blight out or Aetherflux Reservoir, or finish with a huge Tendrils of Agony.
  2. Aetherflux Combo. Aetherflux Reservoir + Sensei's Divining Top + Bolas's Citadel lets you draw your entire deck while recasting Top a whole bunch of times, more than enough to doom cannon the table. K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth + Aetherflux Reservoir + Leshrac's Sigil lets you bounce and recast Sigil infinite times to doom cannon infinite times.
  3. Infinite Mana. If you can afford Rings of Brighthearth then a bunch of infinite mana combos open up to you. Basalt Monolith + Rings is one combo, as is Astral Cornucopia or Everflowing Chalice with four counters on them + either Manifold Key or Voltaic Key + Rings. Once you have infinite mana you win with a mana sink like Exsanguinate.
  4. Mike n' Trike. Mikaeus, the Unhallowed + Triskelion is infinite damage. Even better, forego the sweet name and upgrade Triskelion to Walking Ballista to make the combo cheaper.
  5. K'rrik Beats. If we cast 19 black spells then suddenly K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth can one-shot people with commander damage. It sounds like a tall order, but this deck can do it. Or just cast 6 spells and finish with Tainted Strike for a surprise infect kill. Killing through combat is a lot less competitive than winning with combo because it only kills a single opponent per swing but it's an alright backup plan.

You can easily run two or more of these combos in the same deck. A lot of these combos can be assembled with Insidious Dreams or Doomsday quite easily. 

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Interaction

Our interaction falls into two categories: removal and protection. We need to stop our opponents from winning with removal spells while we set up our own win condition. Then, when we're going for the win, we want ways to protect our win condition.

Our best removal in Mono Black is generally creature removal: targeted removal like Snuff Out, Malicious Affliction, and even cheaper options like Doom Blade or Victim of Night are excellent. For board wipes, Toxic Deluge is the very best if you can afford it, but even cheaper options like Mutilate and Crux of Fate do a great job controlling the board. Black traditionally struggles to deal with enchantments and artifacts, and while there's some janky options like Gate to Phyrexia and the new Mire in Misery, they're not amazing in this deck. Instead, we're probably better off with colorless answers like Nevinrral's Disk and Perilous Vault to clear the board.

As for protection, we can protect K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth from some forms of removal with cards like Undying Evil, though it doesn't protect us from exile effects like Swords to Plowshares unless we also have a sec outlet like Viscera Seer to make sure K'rrik is going into the graveyard. We can also be proactive with our protection by targeting an opponent that we suspect has instant speed answers with discard like Duress and Thoughtseize to get rid of those potential answers before we go off.

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Recursion

Another one of Mono Black's greatest strengths is its graveyard recursion, specifically of creatures. Cards like Reanimate, Animate Dead, and Phyrexian Reclamation are so strong that it's actually preferable to bin our more expensive creatures like Vilis, Broker of Blood with an Entomb so we can Reanimate it for just a B mana instead of paying 5BBB for it. Another underappreciated gem is Strands of Night, which is free to activate with K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth out, and sacrificing swamps isn't a big deal when we're not playing for a long game.

Despite not traditionally having ways to get back noncreature cards, Mono Black also happens to have the single best generic recursion card in the format with Yawgmoth's Will, which is especially potent here since it lets us replay all our Dark Rituals to cast the rest of the stuff we need. The card is too expensive for this article, but its weaker form, Magus of the Will, is still very strong and much more affordable.

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$50 List

Our first list is $50 USD at the time of writing, though the price is volatile currently since K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth is dropping (currently $17) and Vilis, Broker of Blood is rising (currently $4).

The three most important cards in the 99 are Vilis, Broker of Blood for its insane card draw potential, Aetherflux Reservoir for its lifegain and finisher potential, and Bolas's Citadel for its strong card draw and finisher potential as well. The combined costs of these three cards plus K'rrik is currently $31, over half the total cost of the deck, but they're worth it. The rest of the deck is full of ramp, card draw, tutors, removal, and our extort cards like Pontiff of Blight which double as both sustain and finishers for our deck.

 

$100 List

While there aren't a lot of card swaps as we double the deck's price, each card swap provides a huge power boost to the deck. Our ramp massively improves with the inclusion of cards like Jet Medallion, we have access to more broken card draw with cards like Necropotence, and we've picked up powerful tutors like Beseech the Queen. Lightning Greaves has been added as a source of haste that costs 0 mana to equip. At this point, the vast majority of key cards a K'rrik Combo deck would want are now in the deck.

 

$200 List

The $200 list -- which is really $191 at the time of writing this but close enough -- takes our Combo plans to the next level. Here's some of the stuff this deck pulls off:

All these combos can be even more easily assembled thanks to powerful tutors like Doomsday.

 

That's All, Folks!

I hope you enjoyed my budget take on K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. Further upgrades cost a ton: recursion like Yawgmoth's Will, tutors like Vampiric Tutor, and ramp like Mox Opal are auto-includes in the deck if you can afford them. All the new Brawl commanders have been revealed and there's all the new legendary creatures in Throne of Eldraine, so there's plenty of options for the next article! Let me know what you think I should cover next in the comments section. Thanks for reading!


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