An Introduction to RogSi in cEDH

Drake Sasser • November 23, 2023

"I like not fair cards and a midrange mind." - William Shakespeare

Today I am going to introduce the most powerful of the "turbo" decks in the cEDH metagame right now: Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh partnered with Silas Renn, Seeker Adept, more infamously known by its nickname: RogSi. This Grixis partner combo makes for one of the fastest decks in the format and there's no denying it's also one of the best. But why?

Why Should You Play RogSi in cEDH?

The appeal of RogSi is easy to see to those who have played with and against it: speed. The presence of a commander that costs 0 translates directly into a burst of mana in a variety of ways, which we'll cover later. This, in turn, makes your deck much better at producing bursts of mana quickly and consistently above the rest of the format, allowing your deck to piece together a host of different spell-based kills ahead of schedule through the suite of payoff spells available in the Grixis shard. Eschewing white is a cost felt when looking at the protection for wins, being limited to mostly counterspells, but being able to cast Fierce Guardianship and Deflecting Swat earlier than other decks makes up some ground in that department. Being less colorful also allows you to reach for Daze, a powerful option that is a bit too taxing on the mana base for the more colorful top decks. Eschewing green is the easier of the colors to live without, as most of its power is seen through creature-based combos, which RogSi lives entirely without, relying on raw card advantage and unrestricted tutors to find Dockside Extortionist and Thassa's Oracle when needed. The payoff for passing on these colors is having better mana by having access to all the colors needed to cast your spells more often. This translates to more live top-decks in-game and less mulligans due to colors in the pregame.

The RogSi Gameplan

Mulligans are more important in cEDH than any other format and the presence of a free mulligan due to the multiplayer nature of cEDH means you get even more opportunities to find hands that enact your gameplan. Because RogSi is looking to end the game quickly in most pods, there is additional pressure for your opening hand to produce a win attempt in the first couple turns of the game. This additional pressure on your opening hand yields frequent mulligans to five or below, and if you have any reservations on mulliganing mediocre hands, RogSi is certainly not the deck for you. That said, the composition of hands in RogSi is fairly standard: you're looking for mana and a payoff. Any protection is icing on the cake, but most of your hands need to contain at least a payoff or tutor to find a payoff and enough mana to leverage that payoff into win. As simple as that sounds sometimes the winning lines can be difficult to discern, making RogSi a perfect deck for players who love the mana math and tutor considerations of storm decks. 

The Wheel of Fortune effects look their most potent in a RogSi setup, functioning as a payoff for mana as well as a recovery option for a failed win attempt. Being reliant on spell-based mana and supporting among the lowest land counts in any cEDH deck, RogSi also leverages the burst of cards from wheels the best of any cEDH in the format. The balance of being a linear combo deck but still supporting a sufficient suite of interaction to defend your own combo and stop opposing win attempts allows RogSi to take a more interactive role in the face of the truly all-in, sans interaction cEDH decks. The ability to pivot in the face of a "linear combo mirror" setup is another trait RogSi shares with its relatives, the spell-based storm decks of Legacy and Vintage. Overall, the core power of RogSi is that it is the fastest deck in the format that can adapt to being stopped or to the presence of faster decks in order to create an opportunity to win in pods where interaction is involved.

RogSi Staples

RogSi is still Grixis at its core, and many staples will look familiar if you have played any cEDH before, where you begin to see some divergence is among the mana-producing spells and payoff spells, reaching for cards really only considered to be staples of spell-based combo decks in cEDH.

RogSi Win Conditions

The win conditions column holds all familiar faces and just about nothing else. The slots dedicated to just winning the game are as minimal as they can possibly be while remaining resilient, and many of these cards can play double duty in a more value-oriented way to build towards a win. Examples include Brain Freeze to fuel Yawgmoth's Will or Lion's Eye Diamond to make mana with Wheel of Fortune on the stack.

RogSi Interaction

A surprisingly long list for a linear combo deck! Having fewer tutors in your deck and no Silence effects save a lone Defense Grid, and sometimes a Conqueror's Flail, means that much of your protection for your wins needs to come from your interaction suite. As such, you see cards like Red Elemental Blast, Pyroblast, and Daze that are usually on the fringe of cEDH staples for most decks but do well when used to protect wins or take cards of opposing Rhystic Studys and Mystic Remoras which can be problematic for some of the winning lines RogSi produces.

Rogsi Value Engines

The list of value engines of course starts with the best in the business, Rhystic Study and Mystic Remora, but because RogSi does not rely on any card advantage sources out of the command zone, it relies on the bursts of cards from effects like Wheel of Fortune or the infamous Necropotence to provide non-tutor, value-oriented payoff for its mana. Therefore, the collection of wheel effects and Necropotence all get a nod here despite stretching the term "engine" a bit via their inclusion. Working well with the wheel effects is the backside of Birgi, God of Storytelling, which is another non-traditional value engine that does well to glue the mana spells together with wheels and tutors to enable wins with the burst of cards gained from repeated activations.

RogSi Fast Mana

This category is really where RogSi begins to solidify its identity as a spell-based storm deck. This list includes cards that are staples across the board alongside some cards that see intense upgrades by virtue of having a 0-cost commander. Most improved among the mana sources is Mox Amber, which often functions directly as a Mox Ruby, and Culling the Weak, which often operates as a better Dark Ritual, even on turn 1! These are the cards that represent some of the highest powered mana RogSi has access to but is far from comprehensive. Other mana sources such as Springleaf Drum and Paradise Mantle also show up in RogSi to abuse the free creature and springboard the amount of turn-2 kills RogSi can present.

RogSi Tutors

The selection of tutors is where the color restrictions of RogSi are most obvious. RogSi reaches for the edges of playable tutors in cEDH and is seen sporting Praetor's Grasp and Grim Tutor with regularity despite the more expensive casting cost. However, the 0-cost commander aspect does add some value here as well, upgrading Diabolic Intent to more reliably operate as a second copy of Demonic Tutor, though it is worth noting that things can get a bit tricky for hands that contain multiple sacrifice effects like Culling the Weak and Diabolic Intent. Be careful not to double book your Rog!

cEDH RogSi Decklist

The combination of necessary critical mass of spell mana and payoffs alongside the lack of colors restricting the range of options leads most RogSi decks looking fairly similar. Still, despite the relatively rigid deck composition there are still flex slots that, when paired with the unconditional tutors and large bursts of cards, can lend RogSi towards playing noticeably differently with only a few changes. RogSi is a deck I would recommend taking for a spin with a "stock" configuration prior to making any changes, even if things about the deck look off to you.

Rosgi Decklist

Creatures (8)
Instants (26)
Lands (24)
Artifacts (20)
Sorceries (18)
Enchantments (4)

View this decklist on Archidekt

Today RogSi represents one of the most consistently successful cEDH decks in the tournament scene and is a deck you should familiarize yourself with if you plan to compete in cEDH events at any level. Much of the pregame conversation in pods containing a RogSi deck revolve around keeping interaction and keeping yourself from becoming Archenemy is a big part of the political war that is waged when deciding to play RogSi. Despite the target on its head, RogSi still succeeds at a high level, which is perhaps the best testament to the power, speed and resiliency of the deck best of all. Happy storming and thanks for reading!

Drake Sasser is a member of cEDH group Playing With Power, a commentator for Nerd Rage Gaming, and used to grind Magic tournaments on the SCG Tour.