Friday, August 10, 2018

Torgaar, Salt Incarnate

Preamble Ramble

I have a few problems.


When it comes to Commander. 

First is I love building decks. Commander gives me the opportunity to flex the puzzle muscle. In Pauper, my deckbuilding exercises are constrained by the established metagame. With 100 cards I can roam free. 

The problem isn't that I build too many decks, it's that I have ways I like to play and they tend to repeat themselves. First, I am a Golgari mage at heart and nearly every one of my decks has a pretty significant graveyard theme. My mono-Blue deck: Hakim, Loreweaver. Second, I love sacrificing for value. That same mono-Blue deck? You can bet it has Barrin, Master Wizard and Claws of Gix. 

So when given Black cards I tend to push hard on these themes. It's an active effort for me to not play one way. And so when I looked at my last mono-Black deck - Yahenni, Undying Partisan - I realized it wasn't doing anything unique. Especially when I placed it next to my Elenda, the Dusk Rose and a planned Slimefoot, the Stowaway deck. 

Like the Avengers, it was disassembled.

Part I

I went undefeated at the Dominaria Prerelease. I had a sweet Black-White deck that was heavy on removal and grindy value. One of the cards in my deck was Torgaar, Famine Incarnate. While I had no intention of rebuilding a mono-Black deck, the avatar lingered on my mind. 



Torgaar spoke to a different side of sacrifice - a political side. I was attracted to its ability to not only speed up the game by reducing life totals to 20, I loved how later on in the game it could be used to help out allies by boosting their health back to 20. The interaction with Dark Prophecy is was sold me on the card.

Part II

I am a huge fan of Nether Shadows. I love cards that can bring themselves back from the dead and it was the entire theme of my Yahenni deck. When I put together Elenda, she took on this suite of cards. That left many of my undying friends off limits, as well as the package of Blood Artist, Falkenrath Noble, and Zulaport Cutthroat. 

Don't worry - Grave Pact and its friends are in here. I couldn't resist the attempt to control the board through sacrifice.

So instead of Nether Shadows I went with a token theme. I want to be able to cast Torgaar early and often and generating gobs of tokens with Pawn of Ulamog, Sifter of Skulls, Endrek Sahr, and Ogre Slumlord seems like a good way to go. All those tokens mean Skullclamp and Mortarpod (I see you Carlos) do some work. 

Wound Reflection and Temporal Extortion were in from the get go. I mean, who doesn't love an "I win" suite of cards? Archfiend of Despair was another easy inclusion once it was spoiled. Torgaar was not going to be making me any friends.

Part III

Last week I had a pretty bad play experience at my friendly local game store. I was piloting my Zirilan of the Claw Dragon deck and we were down to three players after Daretti, Scrap Savant had Mindslavered me and used Zirilan to fetch out Dragon Tyrant to take out another player. With a Mycosynth Lattice on the table Daretti convinced Mimeoplasm to come at me with their Commander impersonating Hellkite Tyrant. 

Despite my best efforts to convince Mimeoplasm to not come at me and instead let me untap with mana and kill Daretti I was not successful and lost all my cards. Daretti went on to untap and win the game.

It me.

This led to a conversation with my friend Andrew about whether or not I was leaving out win conditions from my decks. It's not that winning is the only thing that matters to me, it's just that being a new dad means I don't have a ton of time to play; a third problem. Because of the time crunch I want to make sure that when I pilot a deck I enjoy the experience, but also that I give myself a chance to win.

Part IV




Last night I was able to make it to Commander night at my friendly local game store. I found some players and we got to gaming. In the first, Tatyova, Benthid Druid overtook Crosis (me), Yidris, and Naban. 

In the second game I decided to bust out Torgaar. The other Commanders don't matter much, except that one of them was Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis.

And my opening hand had Archfiend of Despair, Swamps, Cabal Coffers, and Cabal Stronghold.

I bet you can see where this is going.

After accumulating enough mana I was able to stick Archfiend. Yidris tried to take it out with Unlicensed Disintegration but a timely Imp's Mischief meant they took six damage instead. Kynaios has to pass the turn and I slammed Torgaar, targeting the group hug. I squeezed them for 32 life points and killed them.

The mono-Red Valduk player knocked me to six and then Archfiend hit the bin. No problem. Whip of Erebos brought it back at which point at I swung for lethal at the Mountain player. Helm of Posession meant I took Yidris from Yidris and swung at them.

So I had Cascade on my spells. Solemn Simulacrum netting a Toxic Deluge for zero. Hell's Caretaker got me Demonic Tutor with four mana available.

One Temporal Extortion later and I was victorious.

Just Torgaar things.


Commander
Torgaar, Famine Incarnate

Planeswalkers
Liliana Vess

Creatures
Abhorrent Overlord
Archfiend of Despair
Artisan of Kozilek
Butcher of Malakir
Bloodsoaked Champion
Crypt Ghast
Dread Drone
Grave Titan
Gravecrawler
Gravewaker
Harvester of Souls
Hell's Caretaker
Krovikan Horror
Magus of the Coffers
Massacre Wurm
Ogre Slumlord
Ophiomancer
Overseer of the Damned
Pawn of Ulamog
Pontiff of Blight
Rakshasa Gravecaller
Reassembling Skeleton
Rune-Scarred Demon
Sengir Autocrat
Shadowborn Demon
Sifter of Skulls
Smothering Abomination
Skeletal Vampire
Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder
Ghoulcaller Gisa
Krav, the Unredeemed
Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Whisper, Blood Liturgist
Hangarback Walker
Solemn Simulacrum

Instants
Imp's Mischief
Silence the Believers

Sorceries
Demonic Tutor
Increasing Ambition
Life's Finale
Mutilate
Temporal Extortion
Toxic Deluge
Victimize

Artifacts
Erratic Portal
Helm of Possession
Jet Medalion
Thaumatic Compass
Unstable Obelisk
Mortarpod
Skullclamp

Enchantments
Black Market
Breeding Pit
Contamination
Dark Prophecy
Dictate of Erebos
Diabolic Servitude
Grave Pact
Shadows of the Past
Wound Reflection
Arugel's Blood Fast
Whip of Erebos

Lands
21 Swamp
Bojuka Bog
Cabal Coffers
Cabal Stronghold
Crypt of Agadeem
High Market
Memorial to Folly
Mortuary Mire
Myriad Landscape
Springjack Pasture
Temple of the False God
Terrain Generator
Westvale Abbey
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Urborg,Tomb of Yawgmoth
Volrath's Stronghold

Conclusion


I played one more game that night. This time I took out Elenda, the Dusk Rose. While I did not win (that went to Tatyova, again, with Craterhoof Behemoth, again) I saw that my decks could close. Blasting Station and Nether Shadows - that's a hell of a combination when Elenda is on the table.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Shu Yun, the Trinket Tempest

You ever have an idea that gets stuck in your head? That's what happened to me years ago when I first started getting into Commander. My friend Rob had a Blue-Red Nin the Pain Artist Trinket (that is, Artifacts that cost one mana or less) deck. It was weird and wild and I loved it. I just wish I could have added Auriok Salvagers to it...you know...for value.

Fast forward to Fate Reforged. Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest comes out and I pick up a copy (I grabbed one of every Khan from that set and to this date have only never had an Alesha deck built). I make note of how cool it would be with Trinkets and cost reduction mechanics and set it aside until Magic Origins. You see, that set had Hangarback Walker. 

You know what gets back Hangarback Walker? Auriok Salvagers. Then came Battle for Zendikar and Nettle Drone and I saw a funky, if bad, win condition. So I had plans. I put together a deck somewhat outside my comfort zone - don't worry, I still have graveyard shenanigans - but kept it largely on the shelf. I think in all of 2015, 2016, and 2017 I played the deck twice. Fast forward to 2018 and I've played it twice in the past two months and it's rapidly becoming one of my favorite decks to play. Why?

Because this guy remembered he bought a few copies of Scrap Trawler. And he picked up a Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. And Sai, Master Thopterist got printed.

So not only can this deck durdle with the best of them, now it is an actual threat.

And in typing this up...apparently I need to find a Great Furnace...

Commander
Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest

Planeswalkers
Daretti, Scrap Savant
Tezzeret, the Seeker
Creatures
Auriok Salvagers
Goblin Welder
Herald of Kozilek
Nettle Drone
Sage of Lat-Nam
Sun Titan
Trinket Mage
Vedalken Archmage
Vedalken Engineer
Whirler Rogue
Hanna, Ship's Navigator
Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Sai, Master Thopterist
Arcbound Crusher
Etherium Sculptor
Filigree Angel
Foundry Inspector
Glassdust Hulk
Hangarback Walker
Heap Doll
Junk Diver
Myr Retriever
Phyrexian Metamorph
Scrap Trawler
Solemn Simulacrum
Walking Ballista
Instants
Cyclonic Rift
Wear//Tear
Sorceries
Fabricate
Artifacts
Aether Spellbomb
Altar of the Brood
Brittle Effigy
Codex Shredder
Chromatic Sphere
Chromatic Star
Dispeller's Capsule
Elixir of Imortality
Origin Spellbomb
Relic of Progenitus
Renegade Map
Salvaging Station
Scourglass
Scrabbling Claw
Scroll of Avacyn
Sculpting Steel
Springleaf Drum
Terrarion
Trading Post
Traveler's Amulet
Tormod's Crypt
Universal Solvent
Wanderer's Twig
Wayfarer's Bauble
Lightning Greaves
Swiftfoot Boots
Enchantments
Artificer's Intuition
Ghirapur Aether Grid
Storm the Vault
Thopter Spy Network
Lands
8 Island
3 Mountain
3 Plains
Azorius Guildgate
Boros Guildgate
Buried Ruin
Desolate Lighthouse
Flood Plain
Hallowed Fountain
Izzet Guildgate
Mystic Monastery
Sacred Foundry
Steam Vents
Swiftwater Cliffs
Temple of Elightenment
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of the False God
Temple of Triumph
Tranquil Cove
Wind-Scarred Crag
Warped Landscape
Inventors' Fair
Ancient Den
Darksteel Citadel
Seat of the Synod

I know there are cards I want to add - Jhoria's Familiar and Daring Archaeologist from Dominaria to be specific - and I'm not sure what gets cut just yet. But for now I am going to be happy just chucking Glassdust Hulks at folks.

Friday, September 15, 2017

C'est la vie; Save me

I want to talk to you about American Steel. They're a band. A Bay Area punk band. You might know a few of those.






So yeah, American Steel is a capital bee Band. But there's an excellent chance that, even if you listen to punk that you may have inadvertently avoided them. I know I missed out on their greatness for years.

I felt endless alone in grad school. There was no one source of this despair: a college ex-girlfriend in the making, entrenched anti-Semitism, and being stuck in Buffalo, New York as proudly stubborn and stubbornly prideful Brooklynite who had failed to get his driver's license.
Twice.
Living in Buffalo taught me why America is a country of roads. I had been spoiled by my ability to just walk places. Instead I was thrust into a world where my feet did not matter and my knowledge of the intricate network of the MTA was worth less than Dime Night wings. Going out to find a community was hard, but I also didn't feel safe. It wasn't that Buffalo was dangerous - I just was not in a good place and venturing into the world was not something I was ready to do.
So I let my fingers take the place of my feet and the ethernet supplanted my MetroCard. I explored the world of punk on the Internet. I uncovered a world of people who felt Outside; I found a new home. 
See, I had gone "away" to college but it wasn't really that far from where I grew up. My best friend was a year ahead of me and I knew nearly two dozen people from my childhood who were attending the same school. There was the familiarity of a reboot. I was able to seamless become who I thought I myself to be without having to examine exactly what I was.
Graduate School was different. Buffalo had its own identity that existed in dissonance to not only how I perceived myself but also to the Alex that actually was; an Alex that was intransigent. I retreated to punk because I knew it but also because of the myth of Punk Rock. I loved the story of those outside grouping together because of collective rejection by society. My companion during the work day was an internet radio station that gave me respite from the city's immune response to my intrusion. 
One day I heard this song.

I hated it. Then I heard this song.


Okay, I liked that one. Over time "Dead and Gone" grew on me. I acquired the Destroy Their Future. I devoured it almost daily. 
American Steel sounded like no other band I had ever loved. I continued digging and found their catalog. I fell head over heels. They became my favorite source of nourishment for a month, forsaking everything else on the menu. The pleasantly rare Rogue's March drew me in more than than black-and-blue self titled album. 
Jagged Thoughts, though. Oh man Jagged Thoughts.
I have seen "Maria" described as a perfect song. I am hard pressed to disagree. It is soft and inviting before pulling you in for an amazing crescendo that spikes over and over. "Maria" is lovingly layered with each instrument walking their own path, tripping over each other only to roar in unison every chorus. It is an absolute delight.

Where "Maria" coasts, "Rainy Day" soars. The song lulls you in with soft tones before cutting your heart out with absolutely gut wrenching hurt. Every time I listen to the song I can see the tattered wound where a heart once was and it sings to me. 

I have a thing for musical moments. The backstroke distortion halfway through the chorus gets me every damn time. I can listen to this song on repeat for an hour easy and always find something new to appreciate. They wrote the hell out of it - the soft layers, the atmospheric guitars, the reverb on the ending chorus - everything that makes you Feel.
When thinking about American Steel I tried to remember what kept me away at the onset. It was the vocals. They're sour. In fact everything about the band is just a bit too tart. But over time everything about American Steel stopped being offensive to my palate. I had wanted a light pilsner but American Steel are a flat out Gose. 
American Steel's catalog did some heavy lifting for my soul during one of the lowest points in my life. I could sink into "Rainy Day" and wallow in someone else's misery to distract me from my own.
A few years later I was out of Buffalo and in a much better place in my life. American Steel released Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts. The energetic opposite of "Rainy Day." It became a new blanket for a different sort of comfort.

See American Steel had gotten me through a tough time. It got me to a place where the friends I made online became my friends in real life. The community I searched for became tangible. We partied and it was good. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Thank You Magic Online

Last week we got our first look at Magic: The Gathering Arena. The new digital offering will be the latest way to play the world's best collectible card game on the internet. While Arena is not officially taking the place of Magic Online and the former program will continue to be supported, it may just be a matter of time (years and years) before the two become one. 

That is pure speculation, of course. For all we know Arena could flop and Magic Online will continue to succeed, the alligator of its age. These words are not about the potential future of digital Magic, nor will they be a critique of Magic Online's shortcomings (of which there are many). Rather I am going to be extolling Magic Online the entity (as opposed to the program). In my opinion, Magic Online has done more for the democratization of Magic content than just about any other innovation in the past 15 years.

Content is a hungry beast and trying to keep every stripe of Magic player sated is a daunting task. Before there was an official websites there was the USENET, then the Dojo. Then came Sideboard.com and the Mothership as we know it today. StarCityGames and ChannelFireball are big names today, with TCGPlayer carrying on the legacy of BrainBurst.com. GatheringMagic is a relative newcomer (shout out to my home) but there are tons of sites: PureMTGO, MTGGoldfish, HipstersoftheCoast and on and on and on. And this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of independent YouTubers, Streamers, and Tumblrers. 

We are legion.

What Magic Online did, however, was give people spread far and wide access to Magic at an incredibly high level. In the time Before one would have to be part of a relatively elite group in order to provide high level content. Want to talk tournaments? You better live in a PTQ corridor or already be on the tour itself. Casual Magic more your speed? You need to have a well established playgroup that isn't growing up or moving away any time soon. Limited? I hope you had perfect recall.

See what Magic Online really did is that it brought every aspect of the game to everyone with a high speed internet connection and a disposable income. I mention this because ignoring it does a disservice to the very real requirements of playing Magic. Yet with access to these anyone could start playing more, and eventually play against improved competition. 

So you no longer had to move to a specific city to find a hotbed of Magic (as Mike Pustilnik did, potentially apocryphally) - you could just join a Daily Event of a single elimination tournament. And you could grind away and tweak your deck. Then you could share your experience. 

Or you could develop software that tracked your draft and helped you learn where you draft may have gone wrong. You could share these with the world and create an entire new style of article and help teach the world how to draft. An eternal wellspring, this would never grow old since every few months (give or take) a new draft environment would emerge. 

All of this was before streaming. With the advent of screen-capture technology actual games could be recorded and dissected. Not only could you practice but you could do it and share what you learned in real time with anyone who tuned in. In a happy twist on The Poltergeist you could suck your audience into your screen but teach them something instead of torment them. 

Magic Online worked for content creation but it also helped to create the current generation of stars. Luis Scott-Vargas, Brad Nelson, Reid Duke, Ondrej Strasky, Yuuki Ichikawa, and so many more cut their teeth on the cursor. The Pro Tour does not look like it does today without Magic Online.

Now it's time for my trademark hyperbole. I liken the program, as flawed as it is, to the printing press. It took something that was available to the concentrated few and made it easier for those of some means to have a shot access. Not only could more play the game but those who never knew they could create now how their shot.

I am, of course, biased. Without Magic Online there is a very good chance I drift away from the game. I never find my niche and I never started writing. And I wonder how true that is for many other people out there today.

This is not a eulogy. Just one guy's chance to show his appreciation. So thank you Magic Online - you gave a whole lot of us a shot. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Entropy

I don't know what to say.

This is nothing new.  I never know what to say.

I could say I'm anxious, but I don't have capital a Anxiety (at least that I know of). So I don't say that because it's disingenuous. 

Things are changing; we're moving in a month. 

I hate change. Hate it. I want to fight entropy as long as I can and keep the kipple away.

As bad as I am, my wife is worse. So I bottle my fight against reality up and let it out at therapy. But that's doesn't always work. In between the Krakatoa's of those twice-monthly eruptions there are a few Mount St. Helens. 

I never know what to say so I use song lyrics no one knows. Check my history and you'll find a laundry list of four chord wonders you've probably never heard of. Here's one:


Here's another:


Really - who knows these bands?

I end up feeling isolated and cut of and my big idea to connect is to delve into the obscure?

I'm the Riddler's emo cousin.

But, despite all this, I never feel alone. 

And I am so f'n lucky to never feel alone.

Right now I live in a country that wants to make people feel alone. The thing is, I've always lived here and right now the people who detest their ominous other are and charge. It's not really my country anymore.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
Except it is. Nothing has changed just because the ass hats have megaphones. I'm not absolved in this; I have to be louder.

If you are reading this you're not alone.

To my trans brethren, to the people like me with preexisting conditions, to my sisters,  to everyone regardless of who you love, to people that are black and brown and every shade, to the people out there that are white but aren't really (looking at you fellow Jews), to every Other, to every other person I forgot to mention. You are not alone.

We are not alone.

And there are way, way more of us. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Low Profile and Little Edges

Blows dust off the deck boxes
Shuffles up 99 cards
[Expletive deleted]
Replaces a broken sleeve

It's been a little while since I've had a chance to play Commander. Over the past three weeks I've had two such opportunities with some old friends. This, combined with some chatting with Mel Li on Twitter encouraged me to put digital pen to paper again. I wanted to write about my Grenzo, Dungeon Warden deck again but I had not had a chance to play it in either of the sessions. An aside: the deck was presorted, meaning I had meant to write about it at some point and just failed to do so. The deck I had the most success with (in other words I won the game) was my untested Ephara, God of the Polis deck.

One of my earliest Commander decks was Bruna, Light of Alabaster. It was a White-Blue deck that had a heavy graveyard component and was one I would take out when I really wanted to win. The problem I had with Bruna is that every game played out the same - I attacked with a giant angel and won. There's nothing wrong with this but after many years I just grew tired of always attacking with Bruna wearing Eldrazi Conscription (total flavor win though) so I put it on the shelf.

Fast forward to the Kaladesh prerelease. In my rather stacked pool (Cataclysmic and Noxious Gearhulk?) I opened Smuggler's Copter. After I collect my prize packs I start to think about how I can put that Crew 1 to good use and I recall one of my favorite quarter bin finds - Order of Whiteclay. I had the kernel of an idea and knew I wanted to replace my Azorius deck. I started planning what this deck would look like and had its general texture in mind yet I lacked a general.

I looked up the potential Legendary Creatures and scoured the list a few times. It took me a few perusals to finally see the potential synergy with Ephara. Once I did though, the texture added detail and I started to layer different elements into the deck. First would be the small reanimator theme with cards like Order of Whiteclay and Sun Titan. Second would come a "blink" theme. Working with these I started to notice my desire to do things on my opponents turn and that added a small element of Flash. While I only had one Vehicle in the deck I still enjoyed the idea of tapping and untapping as a cost, which led me to Knacksaw Clique and Collective Effort and eventually to Intruder Alarm. 

The focus on smaller creatures led me to find some tribal synergies as well. Humans, Wizards, and Merfolk cards all make an appearance. The deck is a finicky machine that ends up drawing a ton of cards thanks to Ephara. The ability to reanimate on other turns with Order of Whiteclay or flicker Sun Titan with Deadeye Navigator (let's be real - how could I not run it?) makes it so I don't even miss Mulldrifter (which I for some reason forgot to include). One fun play I want to pull off with this deck is casting Rite of Replication with Kicker on Reflector Mage, because I'm not a nice person.

I played this in a three person game and never really fell behind. I was able to establish a board presence and the cards kept flowing thanks to Ephara. New Prahv Guildmage kept me alive long enough for Ephara to crack in for victory. I cast Collective Effort twice in the game and the card proved its worth. While this is not as hard a control deck as some other Ephara decks I've seen it served me well. 




Creatures
Archaeomancer
Azorius Guildmage
Azorius Justicar
Clever Impersonator
Custodi Soulcaller
Dakra Mystic
Deadeye Navigator
Deputy of Acquitals
Devoted Chaplain
Draining Whelk
Eldrazi Displacer
Felidar Guardian
Flickerwisp
Glimmerpoint Stag
Guiding Spirit
Karmic Guide
Kheru Spellsnacter
Knacksaw Clique
Lullmage Mentor
Mentor of the Meek
Mistmeadow Witch
Monk Realist
New Prahv Guildmage
Order of Whiteclay
Phantasmal Image
Puresight Merrow
Raven Familiar
Reflector Mage
Restoration Specialist
Reveillark
Sawtooth Loon
Sigil Tracer
Silumgar Sorcerer
Sky Hussar
Soulsworn Jury
Spell Queller
Stonecloaker
Sun Titan
Timely Hordemate
Tradewind Rider
Voidmage Husher
Voidmage Prodigy
Willbender
Solemn Simulacrum
Barrin, Master Wizard
Mangara of Corondor

Sorceries
Collective Effort
Return to the Ranks
Rite of Replication
Supreme Verdict

Instants
Ojutai's Command
Sphinx's Revelation

Enchantments
Attunement
Aura of Silence
Cloud Cover
Equilibrium
Intruder Alarm

Artifacts
Chromatic Lantern
Erratic Portal
Smuggler's Copter
Sol Ring
Talisman of Progress

Lands
7 Island
7 Plains
2 Wastes
Adarkar Wastes
Azorius Chancery
Azorius Guildgate
Blighted Cataract
Boreal Shelf
Calciform Pools
Coastal Tower
Command Tower
Celestial Colonnade
Flood Plain
Glacial Fortress
Hallowed Fountain
Meandering River
Nimbus Maze
Prairie Stream
Riptide Laboratory
Sejiri Refuge
Temple of Enlightenment
Temple of the False God
Tranquil Cove
Winding Canyons

I am a fan of playing decks full of cards with low individual threat profiles. A card like Restoration Specialist is hardly imposing but when combined with Attunement and Order of Whiteclay it has the ability to generate a massive amount of card advantage over the long game. The advantage of lowering the threat profile should be obvious - in a game of Commander the longer you survive the more likely you are to win. My Ephara deck only has a few obvious threats - Sun Titan, Deadeye Navigator, Draining Whelk - but the smaller creatures do a the heavy lifting. Now clearly sometimes this deck is going to be run over and that's okay! The goal, of course, is to have fun and sometimes you can do that by simply having a good game.

I have a number of decks that are built around trying to have a low threat profile. While Grenzo started that way I don't think that is the case anymore. When I acquired a copy of Grenzo, Dungeon Warden, I immediately thought about how I could cast it on turn two and start building value from flips. The focus on creatures with power less than two led me to include Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker as a way to get additional uses out of my smaller creatures. 

The conceit of the deck started with Goblin Welder. The ability to flip the Welder into play and then get Artifacts back from the bin. It also gave me the opportunity to run tons of weird cards like Tel-Jilad Style, Junktroller, and Soldevi Digger. The focus on Artifacts gave me the opening to run Smokestack, which works exceedingly well with Pawn of Ulamog and later Marionette Master and Sly Requisitioner. Perhaps my favorite find for this deck is Stingmoogie which, when combined with the cards that can put cards on the bottom of my library, provides a recurring source of Artifact removal and the ability to remove pesky lands. 






Creatures
Anathamancer
Big Game Hunter
Bone Shredder
Cadaver Imp
Carrion Feeder
Crypt Ghast
Goblin Welder
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Marionette Master
Noosegraf Mob
Pawn of Ulamog
Priest of the Blood Rite
Skirsdag High Priest
Sly Requisitioner
Stingmoogie
Swarm of Bloodflies
Thorn of the Black Rose
Thought Gorger
Viscera Seer
Arcbound Reclaimer
Burnished Hart
Canal Dredger
Combustible Gearhulk
Duplicant
Epitaph Golem
Hedron Crawler
Junk Diver
Junktroller
Mindless Automaton
Myr Retriever
Noxious Gearhulk
Pilgrim's Eye
Scarecrone
Scrap Trawler
Solemn Simulacrum
Workshop Assistant
Pia and Kiran Nalaar
Pia Nalaar
Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker

Planeswalkers
Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast
Daretti, Scrap Savant

Enchantments
Goblin Bombardment
Pia's Revolution
Shadows of the Past

Artifacts
Ashnod's Altar
Blasting Station
Crystal Ball
Heartstone
Illusionist's Bracers
Nevinyrral's Disk
Nihil Spellbomb
Oblivion Stone
Seer's Lantern
Skullclamp
Smokestack
Sol Ring
Soldevi Digger
Spine of Ish Sah
Teferi's Puzzle Box
Tel-Jilad Stylus
Trading Post
Universal Solvent
Unstable Obelisk

Lands
6 Swamp
5 Mountain
Akoum Refuge
Barren Moor
Blood Crypt
Bloodfell Caves
Bloodstained Mire
Buried Ruin
Command Tower
Dakmor Salvage
Darksteel Citadel
Forgotten Cave
Great Furnace
Mortuary Mire
Phyrexia's Core
Polluted Mire
Rakdos Carnarium
Rakdos Guildgate
Rocky Tar Pit
Sea Gate Wreckage
Smoldering Crater
Smoldering Marsh
Tainted Peak
Temple of Malice
Temple of the False God
Vault of Whispers
Inventors' Fair

Unlike Ephara, Grenzo has some serious eye-brow raising threats. A card like Smokestack
can absolutely take over a game and Anathamancer never fails to draw ire. Gray Merchant of Asphodel is the way this deck wins most often thanks to Grenzo's ability to get it back consistently once assembled with a sacrifice outlet and a Junktroller effect. Kaladesh and Aether Revolt provided a lot of fun options for this deck like Pia's revolution, Scrap Trawler, the Gearhulks, and the aforementioned Marionette Master and Sly Requisitioner. 

Not every game of Commander is won with the flashy play. Sometimes, you just need to build up a small advantage every turn. And leave your opponents helpless.