When some people think of Grenzo, Dungeon Warden they think of Reito lantern, JunkTroller, Heartstone, or Tel-jilad Stylus. Some people think of using Doomsday to leave just combo cards in your graveyard to utilize with Grenzo’s activated ability. You can use Teferi’s Puzzle Box and Goblin Charbelcher to order the bottom of your graveyard to your fitting. While these are all cute little tricks you can utilize in a Grenzo, Dungeon Warden deck I personally see more opportunity for a aggro build where you utilize Grenzo as a optional value engine.
The Hidden Value of Grenzo
Grenzo, when cast for X=0, can already successfully flip and put into play most of the playable goblins in EDH. The exceptions are mostly Krenko, Mob Boss, Boggart Mob, and Goblin Marshal. Because there are plenty of goblin lords that buff all goblins (including Grenzo) this allows you to occasionally make Grenzo large enough later in the game so that you can flip into Krenko or the other larger goblins naturally and put them into play.
Focusing on a creature oriented aggro deck is beneficial for us from two angles when considering Grenzo, Dungeon Warden. Because we don’t need to make Grenzo super large we don’t need to include a bunch of mana rocks. I just include Sol Ring and Mana Crypt because those are so broken its difficult to not include them. This leaves more space in our deck to include both aggressive goblin cards and utility goblins that solve problems.
According to EDH REC about 364 decks online are running an average of 34 creatures. My deck runs 54 creatures. Because our deck has a dramatically higher percentage of creatures in it compared to other typical Grenzo Dungeon Warden decks we flip into creatures a higher percent of the time.
Let me reiterate that Grenzo is a powerful option – option is crucial because often you need to play powerful cards from your hand instead of trying to gamble off the bottom of your deck. Grenzo is a powerful option because he can give you a chance at virtual card advantage without spending cards from your hand. This is a versatile feature against decks that rely on Wrath of God because it lets you either rebuild quickly or sculpt a powerful hand while you play from the bottom of your deck.
Goblin Aggro Cards
The bread and butter of our deck; this is how we deal a lot of damage and close most games out.
We run almost all of the goblin lords (Goblin Warchief, Goblin Chieftain, Goblin King, Metallic Mimic, Goblin Wardriver, Mad Auntie, Goblin Lookout). We also have Goblin Bushwhacker, Reckless Bushwhacker, and Hellraiser goblin to help us setup haste for our goblins.
Mogg Raider, Goblin Sledder, and Legion Loyalist make it very difficult to block – Legion Loyalist’s battalion trigger is one of the most mana efficient and impactful attack buffs in the game and Mogg Raider and Goblin Sledder can sacrifice goblins that are blocked in combat to buff unblocked creatures in order to help you secure lethal damage onto opponents.
Need burst damage? This deck has your back. Goblin Pyromancer (easy to sac to multiple effects in the deck so we don’t nuke our board), Shared Animosity, and Coat of Arms can all easily provide lethal damage onto an opponent assuming you have at least a four or five creatures in play. Goblin Piledriver and Goblin Rabblemaster can become very large very fast.
The Power of Scrying
The Scry mechanic is super powerful with Grenzo, Dungeon Warden. Because you know what card you are putting to the bottom of your deck you can setup your Grenzo activations. It’s possible to use Goblin Recruiter with Viscera Seer to stack the bottom of your deck with any creatures you want and order them the way you want them to enter play. When you resolve Goblin Ringleader‘s ability you can choose to put non-goblin cards on the bottom of your deck in any order – so you can put cards like Dark Confidant or Metallic Mimic on the very bottom if you desired after a Ringleader reveal.
Scrying also makes running tap lands like Temple of Malice exceptionally synergistic at any point in the game. If you don’t like the order of the bottom of your deck you can use fetchlands or search effects to reset the bottom of your deck.
Goblins can be fast, but sometimes they need Flash. Operating with the ability to cast your spells at almost any point in the game when its not your turn allows you to both play around board wipes and set up for huge aggression and combos when your opponents don’t expect it.
Lightning Crafter Combo
It’s actually possible to win the game if you can untap with Moggcatcher in play and have it survive a whole turn cycle. Here’s how:
Once you do this you find Lightning Crafter and need a Sac outlet on board (you can fetch a number of goblin sac creatures if needed with your copied Moggcatcher). Your Lightning Crafter champions a creature. You use Kiki to target Lightning Crafter, making a hasty Lightning Crafter. Champion away Kiki. Now use your new hasty Crafter, then sac it. Kiki comes back and you can repeat this process, making a infinite loop of hasty Lightning Crafters.
You don’t need to wait a whole turn if you already have a sac outlet, a bunch of mana, or one of the combo pieces already on board.
Mana Echoes Combo
Mana Echoes is a strange enchantment that gives us mana when creatures enter the battlefield that share a type with a creature we control. Note that it lets us get mana off of creatures our opponents play.
It combos directly with Grenzo because Grenzo is a mana sink. If we bring goblins into play that gives us mana, and will net us more mana when more goblins come into play via Grenzo’s triggered ability. If we chain mana enough this will let us cheat all the creatures from our deck into play and win the game immediately.
Mogg War Marshal is very good in the early game for setting up Mana Echoes combos because of how many goblins he can make and because he has a death trigger that is easy to trigger on demand in this build.
Metallic Mimic and Redcap
Metallic Mimic and Murderous Redcap are independently very playable creatures but together they form a infinite combo when you have a sac outlet: sacing Redcap will bring it back with a -1/-1 counter. Mimic will give the Redcap a +1/+1 counter assuming you named Goblins. The +1/+1 and -1/-1 coounters will cancel out and you will be able to sac redcap an infinite number of times, dealing any even amount of damage you please to creatures and players.
Lightning Crafter and Boggart Mob have the Champion Mechanic – this forces us to remove a goblin from the game as the trigger resolves. This might seem like a drawback but it is a huge advantage most of the time. We can use it to deploy the infinite damage combo with Lightning Crafter / Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker (shown above) but it has many more uses.
We can use it to reset enter the battlefield triggers on our creatures – like Goblin Ringleader or Siege-gang Commander. If we have a sac outlet and haste we can activate Krenko, Mob Boss, play the champion creature and resolve the trigger exiling Krenko. Then we sac the creature to trigger the ability to bring back the exiled Krenko. This basically can let us activate Krenko a second time in one turn for a massive swarm of goblins.
Don’t forget that you can champion Grenzo to get him out of harm’s way and bring him back into play if the board is wrathed.
Mogg Bombers looks like a terrible card but we can use it to trigger massive damage towards our opponents. The trick is that Mogg Bombers‘ ability does not have a cost. The “sac Mogg Bombers” part of the triggered ability is tied to the resolution of the triggered ability that includes dealing three damage. If we can create a lot of creatures at once we can stack the triggered abilities and create multiple instances of Mogg Bombers‘ trigger. Krenko, Mob Boss, Siege-gang Commander, and Ib Halfheart Goblin Tactician are very good at this. If you have a ton of mana you can use Grenzo to respond to the Mogg Bombers trigger and Grenzo deep through your deck to try to add more goblins for more Mogg Bombers triggers. If you hit cards like Mogg War Marshal you can stack your triggers, resolve Marshal’s trigger making a goblin token, and continue making dudes at instant speed to get maximum triggers.
Mogg Bombers can also be clutch during our opponents’ turn. If someone casts Avenger of Zendikar we can let Avenger resolve then respond to the trigger that makes plants. Flash in Mogg Bombers. When Avenger’s ability resolves making a bunch of plants we get a ton of triggers and can possibly kill someone. Beware of people flashing in creatures to trigger Mogg Bombers – you have to sac Mogg Bombers if its in play when its ability resolves.
When Mogg Bombers enters the battlefield at the same time as other creatures he’ll get triggers for each creature that is entering play at the same time as him. So if we cast Living End with him in the graveyard we will get a super high amount of triggers. Because Bombers sacs itself when his ability resolves its possible to do a small bombers combo, then have him kill himself, then cast Living End to chain into another bombers combo.
Winding Canyons : Gives us flash – huge flexibility for a creature deck.
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx : This creates a lot of mana, but its better than in other decks – because Grenzo is a mana sink we can invest into Grenzo triggers then untap and possibly have more devotion to profit from. It snowballs very quickly.
Command Beacon : Decent for us because it can be annoying to cast Grenzo if he dies multiple times. Our deck isn’t great at making mana.
Phyrexian Tower : A sac outlet, but we can also sac non-important goblins early in the game to aggressively boost our mana output.
Starting Hand Analysis
If you are preparing for a grindy game this cam be a decent hand. Matron gives you tons of options and it can fetch us value goblins like Rummaging Goblin, Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, or Grenzo, Havoc Raiser. If you are looking for a faster hand this probably isn’t it; even though we have goblin piledriver we usually need to curve out with pile driver in order for it to be super effective.
This hand is fantastic. We have turn one Goblin lackey to cheat a beetleback chief into play on turn two. We have enough lands that we can play almost anything we have in our deck and have Viscera Seer to scuplt the bottom of our deck as needed.
This hand is OK. We’ll probably draw into a fourth land by turn four so we can gamble with Grenzo and work towards building a boardstate we can apply burst damage to via Shared Animosity. If that doesn’t work we can fall back to Moggcatcher and play for a combo kill. Phyrexian Revoker is great for disrupting certain abusive commanders but our hand feels very hungry for mana – we might have a hard time finding a window to cast it because we are going to want to maximize the amount of times we activate Grenzo.
You usually need at least three lands in your starting hand (ignoring Sol Ring draws and the like). Sometimes you can run one land hands with Goblin Lackey in them but when you start missing land drops this deck can easily get too far behind.
We have a bunch of creatures that allow us to sacrifice goblins or creatures. Sometimes we use the sac outlet to get a benefit (like Viscera Seer) but having sac outlets in general can be very useful. They are good against effects that steal your creatures and can be used to trigger Blood Artist, Zulaport Cutthroat, and Goblin Sharpshooter.
Arms Dealer, Mogg Fanatic, Murderous Redcap, Gempalm Incinerator make up most of our removal. Stingscourger can be a devastating tempo knockback for some decks – it’s also not too difficult to setup plays where you can deploy Stingscourger at instant speed and bounce combo creatures to deny combos.
Other Options You Can Choose to Implement
These are other cards you can run and notes on why they are not in my current build of the deck.
Marton Stromgald : This card can create explosive damage (it feels very similar to Craterhoof Behemoth) but in my build the number of things costing 4 mana is a lot and I needed to bench a card; this is the card that got the boot. I think in scenarios where I have a ton of creatures I’m winning the game anyway. He is cool if you have a haste enabler in play like Hellraiser Goblin. Legion Loyalist with him feels unstoppable.
Braid of Fire : This card doesn’t follow my mantra for going deep on creatures but it does produce a very large amount of mana later in the game if you can cast it turn two.
Tuktuk Scrapper : Decent artifact hate. I cut him only because he costs 4 mana, he’s totally playable though.
Big Game Hunter : OK removal option if your meta has a lot of big creatures.
Ogre Battledriver : Decent haste enabler, but not better than the other 4 drops currently in the deck. He’s great for combo style turns where you are trying to use Krenko or Ib Halfheart to setup huge plays where you make a bunch of creatures and give them all haste for lethal damage.
Carrion Feeder : Another sac outlet, he can get super large.
Wort, Boggart Auntie : Good in grindy metagames, Wort can essentially eternal witness for a goblin card each upkeep.
Sadistic Hypnotist : Decent card, good when we have a bunch of creatures to sac for targeted discard. It costs a fair amount of mana.
Ogre Slumlord : Its OK wrath insurance, giving us tons of rats.
Mana Geyser : Its better for more combo oriented builds but this card can really help you rebuild your hand after a mass bounce spell like Cyclonic Rift or dig super deep via Grenzo’s activated ability.