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Goldfish Gladiators: Torgaar Thud (Standard, Arena)

Welcome to Goldfish Gladiators! A couple of weeks ago during our Instant Deck Techs, we featured a sweet-looking Torgaar, Famine Incarnate deck that was looking to surprise the opponent with huge chunks of damage out of nowhere with the help of Thud, but we never got a chance to play the deck. Well, we're finally going to give the deck a chance today by running it though some matches on Magic Arena! In some ways, Torgaar Thud is a strange-looking Rakdos Midrange deck, but in other ways, it's sort of a combo deck, looking to put the opponent to 10 life with the help of Torgaar, Famine Incarnate (for as little as two mana, if we can sac some random creatures) and then finishing the opponent off immediately with the help of Thud and Lightning Strike or big fliers like Doom Whisperer and Rekindling Phoenix. Is it time for Torgaar to shine in Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Goldfish Gladiators: Torgaar Thud (Standard)


  • As for our record, Torgaar Thud worked surprisingly well. We played five competitive ladder matches and ended up going 5-0, beating a lot of top-tier decks like Boros Aggro, two flavors of Golgari, and UB Control along the way! While most of our matches were close, in the end, the power of Torgaar, Famine Incarnate was enough to best all comers. 
  • The main plan of the deck is simple—to set up the Torgaar, Famine Incarnate kill—and I don't think I focused on this enough, especially in some of our earlier matches. The math is pretty simple: if we can play Torgaar, Famine Incarnate during our first main phase to put our opponent to 10 life, then Thud plus Lightning Strike is lethal, Thud plus any of our big fliers is lethal, and either Doom Whisperer or the big Demon from Rite of Belzenlok plus Rekindling Phoenix is lethal. Basically, our deck is overflowing with combinations of cards that can deal 10 damage, so our primary plan is to use Torgaar, Famine Incarnate to get rid of half of our opponent's life and then use one of these combos to finish the game.
  • Unfortunately, the Thud part of the deck wasn't really that great. While it is spicy and this deck feels like a great option if you're trying to kill someone with Thud, I'm not really sure the one-mana sorcery is needed. We got most of our kills by combining Torgaar, Famine Incarnate with our big flying creatures. 
  • Doom Whisperer is the other key card of the deck because its surveil ability allows us to find exactly what we need. Plus, since we can use Torgaar, Famine Incarnate on ourselves to gain life back up to 10, we can often activate Doom Whisperer a bunch of times without any real risk of dying.
  • Speaking of using Torgaar, Famine Incarnate to reset our own life total back up to 10, this is really important in some matchups. For example, in our last match against the Punisher Burn deck, our opponent got us all the way to one life and almost certainly would have found a burn spell to finish the job if it weren't for a timely Torgaar, Famine Incarnate to gain nine life.
  • The one-of Sarkhan's Unsealing looks weird, but it can be extremely powerful, and we can often find it when we need it thanks to Doom Whisperer
  • Plaguecrafter is even better in Torgaar Thud than most other decks because our deck is designed to flood the board with relatively useless tokens to sacrifice to Torgaar, Famine Incarnate, so we usually have a random 1/1 to sacrifice while our opponent is (hopefully) losing a big creature.
  • The one card that I wasn't all that impressed with was Legion Warboss. While we did have a couple of games where it was great, more often than not, it just keeps making tokens that suicide themselves into whatever random two-toughness creatures our opponent happens to have on the battlefield. Legion Warboss is at its best in deck with a lot of removal to continually clear blockers out of the way, allowing the token advantage to spiral out of control and win the game, but our deck is surprisingly light on efficient, targeted removal. While it still might be the best option for the three-drop slot, Legion Warboss is by far the most cuttable rare in the deck if you're looking to cut back on rare wildcards.
  • As far as updates to the deck, I'll probably end up cutting Thud and replacing it with more copies of Doom Whisperer and Rekindling Phoenix. Otherwise, the deck is in pretty good shape. For the Magic Arena metagame specifically, it might be worth adding some copies of Golden Demise to the main deck. We get the city's blessing pretty quickly thanks to Goblin Instigator, Dusk Legion Zealot, and Rite of Belzenlok, and having a one-sided sweeper against aggro is really good right now, with red-white aggro being the breakout deck at Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica
  • All in all, Torgaar Thud feels surprisingly well positioned, especially against the aggro and midrange decks that are popular at the moment. If you're looking for something spicy and new to try and like the combination of big, flying beaters and almost combo-like finishes, give it a shot!


Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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