We've arrived at the last of the four Legendary Creatures I've chosen to advertise in the last few weeks: (The) Shattergang Brothers. Quite honestly I still think Wizards should've added "The" to give their name a more legendary sound, but I digress.
I have to admit that while I had a Shattergang Brothers deck in the past, the deck eventually had to make room for my Dash-Tribal deck. Nonetheless I've played my fair share of games with it, winning, losing, crying, laughing… And I therefore can definitely recommend building one if you're looking for an interesting, "long-term relationship"-kind of a deck in Jund colors while being able to offer some useful advice on how to build and play it.
Explosive Bros - Blowing up things and other hobbies
Just by looking at the card you can basically derive everything Jund is about: Attrition, Recursion and Ramp.
Let's start with what I think is the most important part in any Shattergang Brothers deck: Ramp.
Getting ahead on mana or at least getting access to a lot of mana as fast as possible is one of the cornerstones for the deck. The nature of your generals makes them very prone to get hit by removal since they a) usually get a lot of creatures killed which in return saves a lot of your opponents' removal and b) threatens to kill the permanents your opponents are planning to use to win the game so using removal on the Shattergang Brothers is very appealing.
This means the optimal/least punishable play pattern is, as awkward as it may feel:
- Never play Shattergang Brothers unless you want to get rid of a specific permanent
- When casting the Shattergang Brothers you should also have enough mana to activate them at least once
- If you can avoid using your commander for something, avoid it, even if it would be easier to use your commander to prevent them from getting too expensive (also see 2.)
Points 1 and 2 are basically the reason for an extensive ramp package that will ensure that you can cast and activate in the same turn. Additionally, by utilizing creatures with "enter the battlefield" triggers to ramp, the chances of having a "disposable" creature on the field when the Shattergang Brothers need to do work in the creature department are pretty high.
Same goes for pretty much every other "utility"-effect: If it's strapped on a creature instead of being a Sorcery/Instant, you can later use it to get rid of creatures with your generals.
Building an Engine
Given that it isn't advisable to cast the Shattergang Brothers when you don't need them, the decks needs some sort of engine/gameplan when the board is clear of problem permanents. You know, to win the game and stuff…
Games that involve Shattergang Brothers are usually very grindy since creatures don't attack too often before they hit the graveyard. So we're looking for something that is hard to deal with and works best when there are not too many creatures around…
Oh boy the synergies are real here. Especially in the Jund colors, planeswalkers often have some way of producing creatures and/or a form of removal and/or ramp. The planeswalkers above are the perfect examples: Garruk ramps and produces pretty sizeable 3/3s, Arlinn Kord makes 2/2s while killing off creatures in her werewolf-form and Freyalise simply does it all. That combined with the fact that a deck like this can usually keep the board "planeswalker-friendly" aka empty makes them a great way to get ahead or outright take over the whole game.
All Commander decks need to have a "Plan B," or a game plan that isn't too reliant on their general. In this deck, we just use other grindy cards to get ahead even when the Shattergang Brothers are not available. Not only will that increase the likelihood of your planeswalkers staying on the battlefield for a long time but also let's you grind games out in which your planeswalkers wouldn't have gotten you the win.
For example, Perilous Forays is the perfect card for this deck as it provides us with two effects we'd want in the deck: a sacrifice outlet to put cards like Nim Deathmantle to work and ramp to further increase the effectiveness of all your cards including the Deathmantle, Tymaret or Shattergang Brothers. Especially since you play a lot of "enter the battlefield" ramp creatures, Nim Deathmantle + any sacrifice outlet can ramp you into a ton of mana while also netting you whatever effect you sacrificed the creature for.
There are a lot of interactions like these to put into the deck based on what you encounter a lot in your playgroup or what you personally prefer. Let me give you two examples:
Some Neat Things
There are a few additional cards I'd like to mention before I wrap things up. All of them are especially synergistic with your deck so no Shattergang Brothers deck should get played without them:
At first glance, Hammer of Purphoros looks a bit weird, but trust me, that card can be a real MVP. The haste it gives to your creatures is very nice, but the best thing is its activation.
There's a good chance that you'll be able to afford to sacrifice a land every now and then. If you have a Perilous Forays out, you can loop lands this way in order to repeatedly trigger your Purphoros for example. And if you have access to your general you can sacrifice the token for whatever ability you want because it's an "enchantment artifact creature". How awesome is that?!
Rancor is pretty much always useful no matter how the game develops. It boosts your clock, can make your blocks better or can be sacrifice to the Shattergang Brothers repeatedly. Definitely worth the slot!
Well what can I say. Sidisi, Undead Vizier provides a one time sacrifice outlet in combination with looking for any engine piece you might want. And if the situation is dire she can even sacrifice herself to provide you with the card you need to get out of it.
Once on the battlefield she then becomes a valuable blocker for your walkers or gets sacrificed in order to return her later for an additional tutor.
And last but not least she fetches you this bad boy…
If you payed close attention to my card choices thus far, you might've noticed that I've only used permanents. In my opinion Shattergang Brothers.edh is one of the best Primal Surge decks to build since you usually don't sacrifice a lot of good cards in order to make Primal Surge do what it should do - win the game on the spot.
There's enough ramp to get you at 10 mana fast enough, especially if you assembly any one of the Perilous Forays loops. Removal-wise your general + a few additional cards like Crater Hellion, Dictate of Erebos or Shriekmaw definitely put you in a sweet spot. Is there anything else you really need?
Let's have a look at the decklist so far (with some additions that I shouldn't need to explain):
Looks pretty neat, doesn't it? Add like 39 lands (try to keep the basic count high!!),some more creatures and planeswalkers and you've got yourself a very good deck to work with. As time goes on you'll discover more and more little synergies and combinations that will make your table groan in envious agony. Also I definitely recommend this for players that want to get into EDH since they'll be able to play with this deck for a long time without it getting boring and finely tuning it over time is very, very rewarding.
That's it from me! So until next time…
See y'all ‘round!