Conditions Allow - Anzrag, the Quake-Mole

Ben Doolittle • February 19, 2024

(Anzrag, the Quake-Mole | Art by Helge C. Balzer)

Mole Money, Mole Problems

Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow. In this article series I take a legendary creature with a drawback and build a deck to turn it into a strength. I've taken a short break, but Murders at Karlov Manor is fully upon us. While I was excited for the intrigue and investigation, something far more important has caught my attention. Just like everyone else, I've been swept away in the rampage of Ravnica's newest god card, Anzrag, the Quake-Mole.

Whenever Anzrag, the Quake-Mole becomes blocked you untap all your creatures and get an extra combat step after this one. Extra combats are a powerful effect with a proven lineage of worthy Voltron commanders, but Anzrag adds a new wrinkle. Needing to be blocked not only gives your opponents some control over the effect, but it also means Anzrag, the Quake-Mole won't be dealing any extra combat damage. Additionally, you'll need to protect him somehow, since four toughness is easily overwhelmed on the Commander battlefield. 

Tough Mole

The simplest way to keep Anzrag, the Quake-Mole alive is to make it indestructible. Along with the classic Heroic Intervention, I'm including Anara, Wolvid Familiar and Mithril Coat as permanent sources of indestructible. Ultimately, though, our goal is to end the game in a single turn, so Tamiyo's Safekeeping, Gaea's Blessing, and Hajar, Loyal Bodyguard all work perfectly as well. 

If you don't mind doing a little math, you can also try to buff Anzrag, the Quake-Mole each combat. Anzrag is the perfect home for General Marhault Elsdragon, who makes it much more difficult to kill any of your creatures in combat. Unfortunately, that also makes your opponents even more reluctant to block. Unnatural Growth, on the other hand, gives your opponents the difficult decision to take sixteen commander damage, or block and risk taking thirty-two commander damage when your power doubles again on the next combat. Similarly, the effects of Xenagos, God of Revels and Kamahl, Heart of Krosa will trigger on each additional combat step, providing additional toughness to keep Anzrag alive and kicking.

Digging Through

Kamahl, Heart of Krosa has the added benefit of giving your creatures trample, which is one of a few ways to force damage through blocking creatures. Trample also comes stapled to other useful effects on Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma and Gaea's Blessing. Surrak and Goreclaw, on the other hand, are included primarily for trample, along with Kessig Wolf Run.

Trample isn't going to be our primary way to deal damage through blockers, however. The real star of this show is Indomitable Might. By letting Anzrag, the Quake-Mole deal combat damage to the defending player, even when it's blocked, deal combat damage and get another combat step, and since you didn't deal any damage to the blocking creature, it will be forced to block over and over. You can do the same with Siege Behemoth and Zilortha, Apex of Ikoria. Just keep in mind that Siege Behemoth also needs to be attacking, so you'll need a way to make it indestructible as well, but with any of these effects, as long as your opponents each have one creature that can block, you can attack each of them an unlimited number of times.

To that end, I'm including two effects that give creatures away to your opponents. You could go deeper on these effects, including Akroan Horse or Hunted Troll, but I prefer Varchild's War-Riders and Forbidden Orchard for a few reasons. Varchild's War-Riders starts out slow, but cumulative upkeep builds quickly, and you can choose a different opponent for each token you creature. Plus, because they're created on your turn, it's much harder for your opponents to avoid blocking with them. Forbidden Orchard is much slower, but it doesn't cost any additional mana on the turn you intend to go off. I'm only including Lure as a redundant version of Anzrag, the Quake-Mole's activated ability, so staying mana efficient is important. 

Safety Last

Another reason I don't want to include too many ways to give away creatures is to avoid feeding sacrifice decks too much fodder. They'll almost always be able to sacrifice those creatures before combat, anyway. For decks without sacrifice outlets, however, one of the best ways to avoid blocking is to attack, and as the source of alarm, you'll be a prime target for multiple combat steps per round. To survive this onslaught, I'm slotting in a few Fog effects. Blessed Respite has been sneaking into more and more of my green decks anyway as additional graveyard hate, and Jaheira's Respite has the potential to get you way ahead on mana.

Just in case your opponents are being very careful to keep potential blockers off the battlefield, I'm also adding Jeska, Thrice Reborn. Tripling the damage Anzrag, the Quake-Mole deals makes it a one-hit-kill with commander damage, and it forces your opponents to make the impossible decision between giving you extra combat steps or dying immediately. I am, however, purposefully leaving out Fiery Emancipation and City on Fire. This deck doesn't want to take one player out at a time, but every player through increasingly devastating combat steps.

Anzrag the Quake-Mole

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Commander (1)
Creatures (18)
Enchantments (9)
Artifacts (2)
Battles (1)
Planeswalkers (2)
Instants (18)
Sorceries (11)
Lands (38)

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Anzrag, the Quake-Mole is an obviously powerful commander, but it also gives you the chance to make use of an interesting niche effect. Indomitable Might isn't a popular or good card, but it really gets to shine in the hands of this Mole God. If you're looking for a deck that can play very straightforwardly, or be surprisingly political, give Anzrag a shot.

Ben was introduced to Magic during Seventh Edition and has played on and off ever since. A Simic mage at heart, he loves being given a problem to solve. When not shuffling cards, Ben can be found lost in a book or skiing in the mountains of Vermont.