“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every letter in the English language and in the same fashion Protean Hulk can literally lead into every type of combo imaginable in Commander. This article will arm you with the information you need to crush your foes and loose your friends – all in one easy to read package!
Protean Hulk is a recently unbanned powerhouse capable of fetching creatures from your library and bringing them into play. Because of the wording “any number of creature cards with total CMC 6 or less…” it is easily abused because we can find creatures that bring Hulk back into play like Karmic Guide who in combination with other creatures like Reveillark can lead to multiple/infinite Hulk triggers, letting us loop through our deck for any card we want.
Initiating With Protean Hulk
Protean Hulk might cost 7 mana, but that’s not a problem in EDH. Between green’s ramp, cheat-into-play effects like Chord of Calling, Natural Order, Eldritch Evolution, Green Sun’s Zenith, Pattern of Rebirth (famous in Boonweaver Combo decks) and tutors like Worldly Tutor, Fauna Shaman, Fierce Empath, green has effects that can ramp and find Hulk.
When you start adding other colors the options start to feel nearly endless. Black has all the tutors that don’t force you to reveal the card you searched for like Demonic Tutor. Blue can let you tutor for the instant and sorceries you need to tutor whatever tutors you need (meta I know). White mostly has the suite of cards like Karmic Guide and Reveillark that allow us to do our loop.
Depending on your build out cards like Gamble can be playable too because I bet there will be people out there who are trying to tutor Protean Hulk to the graveyard (Corpse Connoisseur, Entomb…) so they can use cards like Animate dead, Reanimate, ect, to resurrect Hulk into play to combo kill the table. Cards like Show and tell and Elvish Piper are other ways to cheat Protean Hulk into play.
You’ll want to have a sac outlet in play before the Hulk arrives. If you try to bring Hulk into play before putting a sac outlet onto the board you give your opponents a chance to exile Hulk in response to your sac outlet resolving. You can also choose to use a cheap kill spell to initiate the Hulk combo, but you expose yourself to opponents’ exile effects as well with this option.
Chord of Calling and cards like Winding Canyons are somewhat scary to think about in Protean Hulk decks: the access to flash means that if your blue opponents ever tap all the way out you can initiate the Hulk combo and win the game.
Ignoring our opponent’s possible plays, let’s look at the possible output of Protean Hulk’s trigger. You can perform literally any combo available in Magic: The Gathering, but bear with me as I explain a basic example of a combo chain that leads into whatever you are trying to do:
- Karmic Guide, Viscera Seer, Reveillark: When Hulk dies find Karmic Guide and Viscera Seer.
- Karmic Guide brings Back Protean Hulk. Sac Hulk to Viscera Seer and you get another Hulk trigger.
- This time find Reveillark and 1 CMC of whatever creature you want.
- Sac Karmic Guide then Reveillark (Reveillark after Karmic Guide) to Viscera Seer and you get to bring back Karmic Guide and up to one other creature with power two or less with Reveillark’s trigger – like Karmic Guide.
- Karmic Guide can bring back Hulk. Trigger Hulk again.
- Hulk can find Body Double and bring double into play. Body Double can act as a Hulk or as a Karmic Guide/Reveillark if they are in the graveyard before Body Double comes into play. If you choose Body Double to be a Reveillark you can sac Body Double and you will get a Reveillark trigger. This lets you bring back the same Body Double and one other creature – like Karmic guide – this will let you become net positive on Protean Hulk triggers because Karmic Guide can fetch Hulk over and over again while the Body Double acting as a Reveillark can sac and resurrect itself and the Karmic Guide over and over. Viscera seer provides you full ease of access for getting your dudes to the yard whenever you need them there.
If any of that sounded complicated remember this: Karmic Guide gets to resurrect one dude, Reveillark is the way you eventually net triggers, and Body Double acts as whatever you need – provided its in the graveyard – as you get to your eventual goal of netting hulk triggers.
How can you perform any combo ever? Well once you start getting freelo Protean Hulk triggers you can start finding cards like Academy Rector and Sidisi, Undead Vizier. Academy Rector can be sac’ed to find any number of combo oriented enchantments but most far-reaching is probably Omniscience. Because Sidisi, Undead Vizier acts like a Demonic Tutor we can find any number of spells that let us win the game. These spells can be as large as Enter the Infinite or as flexible as Eternal Witness.
“You can do literally anything.” – EDH Internet Hivemind
From this point you can perform literally any combo that is legal in Commander. Here are a few ideas and I’m sure there are several different approaches that can be taken to get similar or like-minded results.
- Storm combos can be achieved via Omniscience and a singular storm card paired with a way to recur Eternal Witness (Witness can be recured via our Karmic/Reveillark loop).
- Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker Combos where you pair it with Deceiver Exarch Pestermite for infinite attackers.
- Infinite life combos with Soul Warden style cards which can funnel into table kills with Aetherflux Reservoir.
- Exodia kills with cards like Maze’s End?
Versus Possible Graveyard Hate
- Flash Protean Hulk in when they are tapped out. Winding Canyons, Chord of Calling, and many other spells can enable you to bring Hulk into play anytime you could cast an instant.
- Remove the graveyard hate before going for the kill.
The best defenses against Hulk are probably static graveyard hate like Grafdigger’s Cage, Rest in Peace, Leyline of the Void and creatures like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet or Anafenza, the Foremost. They will exile Hulk instead of letting him die, and this will prevent the Hulk trigger from ever happening. Grafdigger’s cage prevents cheating Hulk out of your deck via cards like Natural Order or letting Hulk’s ability fetch creatures. Containment Priest can also stop various parts of the Karmic Guide based loop.
Fortunately all of these cards can be removed via cheap removal spells. You can clear them out before going for the combo!
I hope you enjoyed this article on the Hulk – tell me what combos you thought up with him in the comments below!
Be sure to check back to Commander Society soon! We have a lot of Amonkhet based content coming soon and much much more!