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Saturday, July 14, 2018

A Style for Each – Aggro

August 31, 2011 by  
Filed under FAQ, In-Depth FAQ


Welcome back, for the following articles, we shall introduce you to the 3 Archetypes which all Sub Themes fall into. As discussed last article, there are 3 Archetypes, namely Aggro, Control & Combo, with many other Sub Themes supporting them for most decks. The 3 Archetypes are rather flexible and could overlap each other since EDH decks are normally very large, accounting for 99+1 cards. Knowing the Play Style which suits you most is the key to building a powerful EDH deck. So without further delay, here is the first of the 3 Archetypes.

Aggro or Beatdown:-

The Best Defense is a Good Offense


Imagine being hit in the head multiple times over and over again, what is your reaction to this form of attack? Most of you will be busy defending your head rather than trying to hit back your opponent. That is how the Archetype Aggro or Beatdown works. If your opponents have to react to your threats every now and then, they will have no time to develop their board. An undeveloped opponent is a winning situation. Aggro strived to out play your opponent, throwing out waves after waves of threats to keep slower Control decks from ever developing and even sometimes keep Combo decks from assembling their combo pieces (since Combo Decks will be too busy keeping your threats at bay though there are instances where Combo could breaks out of this sticky situation).Best known as the most straight forward Play Style, Aggro is the easiest Play Style as it requires the least amount of thinking to play with. Every play is meant straight to the head of your opponent. Every other play is to further improve your winning position. Cards usually used are to improve your board advantage or Tempo. While this is easily done in normal variant, it is not so easily done in EDH, which is usually played with multi-players. The same rule of cost VS power still applies here. What that means is that the power of the creature is usually bigger than its converted casting cost (cc). Creatures with low cc and high power are good choices for Aggro.Most Aggro creatures used in normal vairant are still usable here but any added evasion ability will be a top priority when weighing choosing between two creatures of the same Converted Casting Cost (cc) and power. The following are some examples of creature with low c and high power you may wanna consider when building your deck (Note that this may differ with your General Choice and Play Style):-

  • Barrow Ghoul – 2cc for 4/4, a great mid or late game beatdown Creature
  • Ezuri’s Brigade – Effectively a 4cc for 8/8 trampler when deck is accustomed with heavy artifacts
  • Goldmeadow Stalwart – Another 1cc for 2/2 but Kithkin tribal theme heavy
  • Lurebound Scarecrow – 3cc for 4/4, drawback of requiring you to have permanents of chosen color
  • Soultether Golem – 2cc for 3/3, good when you could keep the creatures pouring in
  • Spectral Bears – 2cc for 3/3 but dependant on black permanents
  • Watchwolf – 2cc for 3/3 with no drawback


Another thing to consider when choosing creatures is evasion abilities. Though not necessary a must, it would be a welcome bonus if the creatures do have it. Some good examples are as follows:-

  • Glint Hawk – 1cc for 2/2 with Flying
  • Tethered Griffin – 1cc for 2/ 3 with Flying
  • Wren’s Run Vanquisher – Elf tribal theme heavy, 2cc for 3/3 with added Deathtouch; though Deathtouch is not an evasion ability, it could instill fear to opponents to not block it for fear of losing a creature by doing so


With so much attacking happening, it is also good idea to add in cards which would add power to your army, so that you could keep the damage going. This is even truer in EDH as you are facing multiple players at one time. The faster you could take down 1 opponent the better chance and more time for you to deal with the rest. Some notable card choices are as follows:-

  • Signal Pest & Battle cry friends – Signal Pest stands out from the gang for having that added evasion (can’t be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach) and being an Artifact Creature
  • Soltari Champion – Shadow as its own evasion while pumping your army at the same time it attacks
  • Rude Awakening – Versatile spell which could be play in many different directions: additional mana, additional creature to attack, or the final alpha strike


Additionally, you could also use Artifacts and Enchantments to pump up your creatures or give them evasion to punch through your opponents’ defenses. Artifact aka Equipments are very good choices to pump up your creatures as they do not go away along with the creatures. Good Equipments choices are like the following:-


Enchantments aka Auras on the other hand are generally not so recommended unless they make the creatures harder to deal with or the Auras themselves are hard to deal with.

  • Armadillo Cloak – Pumps up the creature with Trample, added bonus of life gain for damage dealt
  • Diplomatic Immunity – Both Aura and enchanted creature are well protected by Shroud
  • Launch – Grants Flying while Aura itself is reusable when Creature dies
  • Rancor – Pumps the Creature by +1/+0 and Trample to get through with damage. Aura itself is reusable when Creature dies
  • Shade’s Form – Enchanted creature could be pumped with Black Mana and recurred when killed
  • Shield of the Oversoul – Grants Indestructibility to enchanted creature
  • Sleeper’s Guile – Grants Fear to enchanted creature while Aura itself is reusable when Creature dies


Some Enchantments, like the following, which could grant evasion or some other abilities to your whole army is worth a slot too for decks which could include them:-

  • Asceticism – Creatures you control all have Hexproof, only you can touch them. Comes with Regeneration too
  • Cover of Darkness – Tribal theme Fear for all your Creatures
  • Fervor – Creatures you control have Haste
  • Levitation – Creature you control all fly
  • Spidersilk Armor – Creature you control become Spiders
  • Concerted Effort – Creatures you control share abilities…. What can be better than this~!? This is MADNESS



With all the above said, Aggro is not without its weakness though. In order to go through with the Aggro Style, you need to have more threats than answers. Due to this, many of times you might find yourself in situation whereby you can’t deal with problems which your opponents set up to deal with your hordes or spells (Circle of Protections, Propaganda, Ghostly Prison, Humility~!!). Possible solution is to have creatures which would double as solution for situations or to have enhancements for your creatures to deal with threats. Possible ways includes the following cards:-


Also there is the danger of over committing to the board only to have your opponent cast a mass removal wiping out your entire army. One possible way to go around this weakness is to include a way to recur cards from your graveyard to your hand or library. This would enable you to gain back the Tempo which would normally be lost after a mass removal.

  • Cauldron Haze & Cauldron of Souls – Grants Persist to any no. of target creatures, which effective means your own creatures. Haze works as a surprise tactic or good combo with Wrath of God of your own. A downside to this plan is that your creatures are a bit smaller when they come back and toughness 1 creatures cannot work with this plan
  • Genesis – While not fantastic on the battlefield, Genesis will works wonder in the graveyard as it recurs your lost army one by one (Common after a Wrath of God effect as opponents may not recover that fast as well)
  • Ghostway – Works like Cauldron Haze & Cauldron of Souls but exile them instead
  • Jötun Grunt – This creature double both as a beatdown and recovery all in one for this weakness
  • Living Death / Living End / Patriarch’s Bidding / Twilight’s Call – All recovers your entire army, especially good as you be the one with more casualties in the graveyard than most opponents, unless you are facing all Aggro players…..


Due to the fact that you are playing out your spells frequently, there will come a time where you run out of steam. Therefore creatures or spells which could recur things back or refill your hand in the mid game, most notable since EDH is famous for long games, are always needed. Examples of such are as follow:-


Generals of Choice:

  • Rafiq of the Many:- A beat stick even by himself, he is most notable for making any single creature with evasion you have into a powerhouse with the added Double strike when that creature attacks alone. Not to mention there is Exalted bonus added. Color Identity is good for balance play; Green for mana ramp and color fix; White and Blue for control and solution against opponent’s threats.

  • Sygg, River Cutthroat:- Sygg helps to refill your hand as you deal damage which is not difficult to achieve for Aggro. Color Identity of Blue and Black could be used as control and disruption for your development, an instance of overlapping of Archetype.

  • Brion Stoutarm:- A cheap 4cc for 4/4. Brion is especially useful when you need that extra damage for finishing your opponents off by “throwing” creatures at them. Color Identity of Red allows access for damage spells with White backing up as means of control. Color Identity is also notable for having Sunforger, an equipment which is effectively a tutor for damage instant spells which can use repeatedly.

  • Jenara, Asura of War:- Cheap to cast (3cc for 3/3) though color fixing is needed (GWU). Jenera gains the edge with the ability to grow with permanent +1/+1 counters for each 1W you pump into it. Like Rafiq of the Many, Jenera’s color identity is well balanced as well.

  • Thraximundar:- One of the most disruptive Aggro General. Color Identity has many control and disruption, and also provides versatile overlapping among all 3 Archetypes.

  • Stonebrow, Krosan Hero:- Sort of like Trample lord. Color Identity of Red and Green has many Tramplers. Green also provides many spells and effects which give all your creatures Trample.
  • Wort, Boggart Auntie:- Goblin tribal theme. Largest Tribe in MTG who could do almost virtually everything.

  • Wort, the Raidmother:- Creature beatdown. Added Conspire theme to double effect of all Instant and Sorcery effect casted.


So in summary, despite the fact Aggro kills fast, it is also fast to get killed. As EDH games are usually very long, as it involves multiple players (unless you are playing in 1v1 EDH), Aggro will eventually lose steam when the game drags too long. Backup plans must be employed to ensure the survivability of the deck. With that we come to a close for the Archetype, Aggro. Next, we shall look into Control, another Archetype.


This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.


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  1. […] back, fellow EDH-ers. I hope you had enjoyed last guide article for building Aggro. As you probably had read and understood from last article the Pros and Cons of Aggro. That Aggro […]