Going Brokkos – Ben-Ben Kenobi-Kenobi

Naomi Krause • August 4, 2021

(Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit | Art by Greg Staples | Alterations by Naomi Krause)

Hey there sentient card-game playing beings, today we’re going to be continuing on our Going Brokkos journey of burning money on dumb secret commanders.

I’ve been trying to get a mono-red deck on here for a while now. Originally I wanted to do a writeup for each base color before branching into multicolored commanders. That of course turned whiter than ______ at a ________ (write some 90’s stand up bit about white people here).

Now to solve racism, let’s play a creepy ass, good lil’ goblin boy.

Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit’s deal is that he deals a bunch of damage to an attacking creature, 1 for each untapped Mountain you control. While that ability could be much stronger, there are still plenty of ways to make it viable and re-aim that damage facewards 6 times per turn.

Step One: Visit Build-a-Bear Workshop

Much like our last deck, this list is all about digging up a few specific creatures. Stuffy Doll and Brash Taunter are the big ones we want to slam on the field as soon as possible. Oh also Mogg Maniac was there when I invited those two and I don’t want to make it a whole thing, so they’re in the list too. They brought their pet pig too and let me tell you OSHA is gonna have a field day with this one.

The obvious synergy here is to attack with one of our damage sponges, consensually slap it on the ass with Ben-Ben, and Conduit 2 bullet freezing gun the pain away at an opponent’s face. The problem is that, even with a ton of open mana, Ben-Ben’s only going to be hitting for 5~10 damage each time. Also keep in mind that you need to attack with the punching bags, so you’re not going to have any reliable blockers. This method of playing fair Magic is far too slow for even the durdliest of Commander games, so we gotta juice this hobo (in a steroids way, not a blender-kill-the-poor-one way please don’t do that).

Step Two: I like big mana and I am a compulsive liar.

Playing mono-red in EDH means that we need to play to our strengths, which is why we’re going to be jamming everything that doubles Mountain mana into our card holes.

The most obvious payoff to this is channeling our energy pools into big ol’ Fireballs and casting them at point blank range. You might be wondering why we even need Stuffy Taunters if the plan is just to deal AoE damage to our opponents, and for once I have a valid reason for a stupid subtheme. That reason is…

Step C: Double or Nothing

This is where our tongue gets spicy and our eyes get sweaty, mom’s spaghetti. Every effect that doubles damage is twice as effective if we’re throwing that damage at Annabelle first. Now, even if Ben’s only tapping for 5 damage, it’s going to double to 10 when it hits the doll and 20 when it bounces into your enemy’s nose. This is how we defeat that cocky ozone layer once and for all.

Fiery Emancipation doesn’t double what a dumbass.” – top comment on this article 100%.

Step C.5: I enjoy partaking in similarly large integers and have been known to dabble in deceit myself.

Where this gets truly ridiculous is with our big ass number tribal package. Believe it or not, quadrupling & sextupling cards that deal 13~20 damage a piece will end games pretty quickly.

I love these cards and built a similar deck centered around them when I was just getting started with Magic. It relied on having Mogg Maniac and Broodhatch Nantuko out and smashing them with a Shivan Meteor. Then some dick started maindecking curses that give all creatures -1/-1 every single game and I stopped going to my LGS for a few years. Good times, would make for a great Am I The Bolas?

Step IV: Breathe

The nice thing about our deck is that, unlike a lot of my silly lists that don’t realize Renounce was a thing I could put in a Barren Glory deck, there are a lot of substitutes and backup combo pieces here. If you get disrupted, hey it’s ok stuff happens. Life’s hard, people hold up revealed counterspells for seven turns just for you seriously f@#% you Bailey.

So long as we have one of our four damage sponges, we’re in good shape. If we also have a damage doubler, we’re in great shape. From that point it’s really just about finding some way to ping the crap out of our wimps, with or without Ben-Ben’s approval.

Risks

Ben-Ben giveth, and Ben-Ben taketh. This build is definitely the riskiest one I’ve made, with ample opportunities to get curbstomped on the crack back. Believe it or not, doubling everyone’s damage and having no real way to defend yourself can have negative consequences for your long term health. When you drop a combo piece, be ready to get swung at hard. Or just play Final Fortune and win, yeah nevermind do that it’s way better. I love an airtight plan.

Shoutouts

Here are a handful of cards I love that don’t really fit into any of the above categories.

Nahiri’s Wrath is a card that gets slept on a lot, but can make for one of the most ridiculously efficient mass targeted removal spells in the game. It’s particularly great here for one shotting people out of nowhere after a Wheel of Fortune effect refills your hand and you can discard 17 damage to your opponents faces. It also pings a bunch of different stuff without distributing the damage, meaning you can deal 17 damage to 6 different targets and clear the board for only the sexiest creature, Brash Taunter. Turns out 102 creature damage for three mana ain’t half bad, even if it leaves you heartbroken and empty-handed.

Speaking of ridiculously high-damaging three-mana spells nobody plays, Barrel Down Sokenzan is a great finisher that makes for some clutch instant speed removal in a pinch. See people, Sweep isn’t a bad mechanic, it’s just on exclusively bad cards. Wait no–

Volcano Hellion is a wonderful big red oh sh%# button that’s particularly great and mutually assured destruction. Feel like you’re going down this round? Deal 999,999,998 damage to yourself and your Stuffy Doll and be that kingmaking doodoo head people complain about on Reddit. Or just use it to try and actually win the game, yeah that makes more sense.

Rounding out our weirdos is Flat Earther, a bear that loots when it attacks and, more interestingly, actually contributes to society by letting us play one card we discard per turn. This seems narrow, but in mono-red approximately 90% of our draw spells discard in some capacity, so being able to recoup on our losses over the course of a game really adds up.

Conclusion

Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit is a surprisingly fun build-around Commander that makes for a neat challenge. I’m also a fan of the list being in mono-red and not a strict downgrade from similar Gnostro, Voice of the Crags decks, because we have so many ways to double up on Mountain mana and murder damage.

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I write jokes about videogames and sometimes card games too okay?? Aboshan is my best friend, Verazol is my s.o. and Pira is my side piece. follow me @growboobsownno1 to see when I write thoughtful strategic journalism.