Cook’s Kitchen – Mono-Red Commander

Red is arguably the worst color in Commander.

It’s true, although it happens to be one of my favorite Magic colors. When I set out to build a new Commander deck, I wanted something dramatically different than what I was currently playing. A Jund deck with Kresh, the Bloodbraided as the general, it was based on an incredible late game through recursion and bombs such as Tooth and Nail. I knew I wanted to play something mono-red and aggressive. After searching through all of the mono-red commander generals, I’ve found that Godo, Bandit Warlord is the best red general. He’s basically an overpowered Stoneforge Mystic.

Godo, Bandit Warlord

Card Type: Legendary Creature

Creature Type: Human Barbarian

Power/Toughness: 3/3

Casting Cost: 5(R)

Oracle Text: When Godo, Bandit Warlord enters the battlefield, you may search your library for an Equipment card and put it onto the battlefield. If you do, shuffle your library.
Whenever Godo attacks for the first time each turn, untap it and all Samurai you control. After this phase, there is an additional combat phase.


There were a few other options that were appealing- Adamaro, First to Desire’s, Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit, Heartless Hidetsugu, and Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs. While these are fine options, what mono-red fails to offer is card advantage.
Wait, it fails to offer a lot of things. What exactly is the color Red good for in Magic?


• Direct damage

• Land Destruction

• Speed

• Red Elemental Blast

• I’m stretching for answers now


Well with forty life, direct damage and the speed of red are difficult to accomplish. Red Elemental Blast is a weak card in Commander. However, land destruction is still very viable. In fact, it’s ridiculously good in commander. With Godo, Bandit Warlord the speed and quickness downside of forty life is negated. With two attack steps it makes up for the fact that opponents have forty life, their life total is really twenty-one due to commander damage. Making Godo a lightning fast kill.

My Godo build creates speed from two places – Grafted Exoskeleton and a ridiculous amount of artifact mana. Due to Godo’s casting cost, he’s extremely easy to play. All of that colorless mana that he requires is easy to pay for using artifact mana. The faster Godo hits the table, the more likely he is to win the game. Therefore, the more artifact mana the deck plays, the better he becomes.  Besides, powering Godo out quickly the deck creates speed using Grafted Exoskeleton.



Card Type: Artifact

Subtype: Equipment

Casting Cost: 4

Oracle Text: Equipped creature gets +2/+2 and has infect. (It deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters and to players in the form of poison counters.)
Whenever Grafted Exoskeleton becomes unattached from a permanent, sacrifice that permanent.
Equip 2


When Godo comes into play he searches for an equipment. Sometimes when looking for a quick win, the equipment is Grafted Exoskeleton. The +2/+2 from Exoskeleton makes Godo a 5/5 with Infect and two attack steps. Meaning ten poison. This is incredibly easy with haste provided by Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, and Sword of Vengeance. Playing Godo and finding an equipment is very powerful in Commander but it’s still fragile. This is why the deck plays equipment that begin with “Sword of…” because they offer protection from whatever color(s) your opponent is playing. The protection from the swords creates a two to three turn clock against the opponent.


Erhmageddon was a deck from way before my time in Magic. Although, the concept still works in Commander, play a ridiculously over-powered creature, and then play an effect that destroys land. Since red doesn’t offer much other than land destruction, it seemed like the best option.


The gameplan for Godo is pretty simple.


  • Play Godo get Grafted Exoskeleton if it can win easily, otherwise…
  • Get a sword with protection of what your is playing, otherwise…
  • Blow up some lands, otherwise…
  • Beat down with random creatures and equipment Godo found.
  • Play Dragonstorm! I’m a Storm player at heart. I wanted to incorporate if possible. While it may not be the most competitive gameplan, it’s fun. That’s what Commander is all about.


Now that the basics have been covered, let’s have a look at the deck list. Fair warning, Godo is a very competitive deck, it’s not meant to be played against casual Commanders. People have quit playing against Godo because of how fast and consistent the deck is, he’s over powered and keeps up with the most broken Commanders such as Sharrum, Arcuum Dadgson, and many others. Land Destruction may be a huge reason in why people don’t like playing against Godo too…



Godo, Bandit Warlord



1 Iron Myr

1 Palladium Myr

1 Magus of the Moon

1 Inferno Titan

1 Hoard-Smelter Dragon

1 Duplicant

1 Steel Hellkite

1 Thunder Dragon

1 Knollspine Dragon

1 Bogardan Hellkite

1 Sundering Titan

1 Myojin of Infinite Rage



1 Shunt

1 Reiterate

1 Wild Ricochet

1 Ricochet Trap

1 Tectonic Break

1 Ruination

1 Boom / Bust

1 Wildfire

1 Destructive Force 

1 Devastation

1 Decree of Annihilation 

1 Dragonstorm

1 Molten Disaster


1 Seething Song


1 Gauntlet of Might

1 Gauntlet of Power

1 Caged Sun

1 Voltaic Key 

1 Everflowing Chalice

1 Chrome Mox

1 Mox Opal

1 Mana Crypt

1 Mana Vault

1 Sol Ring

1 Mind Stone

1 Fire Diamond

1 Coldsteel Heart

1 Guardian Idol

1 Prismatic Lens

1 Grim Monolith

1 Basalt Monolith

1 Worn Powerstone

1 Thran Dynamo

1 Gilded Lotus

1 Dreamstone Hedron

1 Mind’s Eye



1 Mask of Memory

1 Lightning Greaves

1 Swiftfoot Boots

1 Umezawa’s Jitte

1 Sword of Light and Shadow

1 Sword of Fire and Ice

1 Sword of Feast and Famine

1 Sword of War and Peace

1 Sword of Vengeance 

1 Grafted Exoskeleton

1 Argentum Armor


1 Koth of the Hammer

1 Chandra Ablaze



1 Blood Moon


Snow-Covered Basic Land:
28 Snow-Covered Mountain


Non-Basic Land:

Scrying Sheets
Spinerock Knoll
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
Strip Mine
Kher Keep
Ancient Tomb

Crystal Vein
Mishra’s Workshop


Card Choices


Mana base – 28 Snow-Covered Mountain and Scrying Sheets isn’t really required but it adds flavor to the deck. The snow lands also could be useful if one decides to use cards that require snow lands from Coldsnap or Ice Age. Strip Mine and Wasteland were necessary when Tolarian Academy was legal. Since it’s banning, only Cabal Coffers has been a problematic land. The problem with Coffers is that it’s very slow and by the time it’s relevant we have mass land destruction to weaken or destroy it.
Ancient Tomb, Crystal Vein, and Mishra’s Workshop are all here to power out spell quickly. In a deck with as many artifacts as Godo, Mishra’s Workshop really shines. It allows for starts that opponents just can’t compete with. Kher Keep is played because of creature destruction effects. Being able to make a Kobold at the end of a turn, untap and equip the little guy with one of Godo’s equipment can be really effective. The remaining few lands in the deck are very simple and easy to comprehend.


Acceleration and Mana – Gauntlet of Might, Gauntlet of Power, and Caged Sun – are the “Gauntlet” effects as I like to call them. Besides pumping up your Kobolds the gauntlets act as one sided mana flares. This is because not too many other people at the table will be playing red. One important thing about these gauntlets is they turn Godo from a three turn clock to a turn two clock when he has a Sword on him. The rest of the mana and acceleration isn’t too difficult to grasp. They’re the best artifacts and spells that Godo can support. While some of them may seem questionable, keep in mind that in order for Godo to be effective he can be he needs the most acceleration possible. Sometimes this means dropping an Iron Myr on turn two. On the bright side, if Godo dies, suiting up the little guy and getting in there with Godo’s toys is always fun!

Creatures – Speaking of Iron Myr, there’s Palladium. They’re both beaters.  Well, not really. The deck needs other ways to win the game in case Godo becomes put on the bottom from Hinder, Bant Charm, or Hollowed Burial. Extremely lame, I know, but it does happen. Because of this, the deck runs a few other creatures. Magus of the Moon, Sundering Titan, and Myojin of Infinite Rage are a gameplan all on their own. They’re part of the “Erhmageddon” plan of play a creature and blow up all of the lands. They effectively do the gameplan all on their own too. Since two of them actually destroy a ton of lands and with Magus opponents can’t or have a hard time casting any spells. Inferno Titan and Duplicant are there to deal with creatures, Duplicant more than Inferno Titan. Creatures with Annihilator and Iona are a real problem. Duplicant solves these problems. Completely random? Yes, but at least there’s an extra out besides Argentum Armor or Steel Hellkite. Oh yeah, Steel Hellkite, it’s apart of the Dragonstorm package. All of the dragons are good on their own. What’s nice about them is they add a little flavor to a very competitive deck.


Equipment – Mask of Memory is arguably the weakest equipment in the deck. But what does red lack? Card Advantage. That is why Mask of Memory is still in the list. Paired with Godo its two additional cards per turn that are filtered, meaning that hopefully they aren’t dead draws. Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, and Sword of Vengeance all provide the needed haste that Godo wants. More importantly the first two provide shroud that will win more games than haste. They’re both very useful though. Sword of Vengeance with three additional mana after casting Godo is never a bad choice since it has the appeal of Lightning Greaves and any of the “Sword of…” equipments. Speaking of those those swords, Godo plays all of them other than Sword of Body and Mind.


Body and Mind’s abilities just aren’t useful enough with forty life and ninety-nine cards. While the deck wants protection from blue and green, it has found them in other places. The other four swords are always great tutor targets depending on the deck Godo is playing against. Drawing cards, gaining life, and dealing damage are nothing to scoff at. Umezawa’s Jitte is probably the least tutored for equipment, it’s still great with Godo’s two attack steps. But it just doesn’t do anything better than any other equipment in the deck. The most robust and fun equipment in the deck is Argentum Armor. It’s insanely good very early and late game. If it’s possible to play Godo early and equip the following turn I consider it. Otherwise, I wait until later. Argentum Armor provides outs to a deck with very little answers to anything. It’s very useful that these outs come in pairs due to Godo’s attacking twice. Which usually leads to eighteen Commander damage.


Spells and Bombs – Shunt, Reiterate, Wild Ricochet, and Ricochet Trap are what I normally refer to as the “Targeting” package. These cards just like the land destruction effects will win games all on their own. Copying a Tooth and Nail, changing the target of Cruel Ultimatum, or drawing four cards off of Opportunity is always back breaking.  I cut these cards for a short period of time and realized what a mistake I was making and added them back in. The land destruction package is for the most part very easy to play and understand, play Godo, equip, destroy all the lands. Erhmageddon. Devastation and Decree of Annhilation are the exact opposite. The idea behind them is to generate a lot of mana, cast the spell with enough mana to play and equip Godo after. It’s a very easy and effective way to make opponents pick up their cards.

Dragonstorm- Why wouldn’t anyone want to play Dragonstorm? I just don’t understand. It’s putting huge, flying, awesome, fire-breathing, creatures into play with kick ass abilities that affect the game state. One of my favorite plays with the deck is attacking, playing a couple spells, then casting Dragonstorm for the minimum of two. Searching for Bogardan Hellkite (dealing five to the opponent), then Knollspine Dragon (drawing a ton of cards). It’s a great source of card advantage in a mono-red deck while being fun. Card advantage, I guess we arrive at Mind’s Eye. The best card advantage engine in a mono-red deck, this card will just win games on it’s own. Especially with Chandra Ablaze’s second ability! Make everyone discard their sculpted hands, then pay mana to draw off of their draws!


Now, don’t go playing Godo against the new kid’s Riku pre-constructed out of the box Commander deck. He’s too competitive for that, Godo will destroy those types of decks every time. Unless that’s your thing, then feel free to be a jerk. Godo was created to keep up with other people’s serious decks. He’s mean and out for blood. More than likely people won’t like losing to Godo. Losing to Erhageddon isn’t exactly fun for the opponent. Although, piloting this deck is a blast.


Well that’s all for this week, come back again next week! Until then, keep Storming!

Bryant Cook

Bryant Cook on MTGthesource

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