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Commander Deck Tech: Phelddagrif Group Hug

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Politics and plenty of hippos. In this article, I explain to you how a giant purple hippo with wings should hug its opponents and have fun in a match!

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All About Pheldagriff

My name is Daniel Cataia and today, I bring this Tech Deck from one of the funniest Group Hugs for casual Commander. This is my first article, and I'm delighted to have the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite Magic cards: the Phelddagrif (which is an anagram for Garfield PhD)!

List, Commander and Game Plan

This is an authorial list with the Group Hug theme, a unique archetype on Commander. Group Hug's strategy is to give plenty of resources to everyone at the table, sometimes in exchange for alliances with an opponent, other times to use these resources for our own benefit and eventually win the game.


We will use a bit of another strategy known as Pillowfort, which makes us protect from attacks, creating our fortress of "pillows".

Let's go to the list.

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Our dear Phelddagrif has 3 very unique abilities that benefit our opponents:

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Paying a blue mana Magic Symbol u it goes back to the hand and an opponent draws a card, with a white mana Magic Symbol w it gains flying until end of turn and an opponent gains 2 life, and as a green mana Magic Symbol g it gains trample until end of turn and an opponent creates a 1/1 green hippo token. This last ability mentioned is what we will focus on in our strategy.

There are different types of strategies with the Group Hug theme, but in general, it tends to extend the game as much as possible, helping opponents until only one is left. Often these decks have no win conditions, but prevent others from winning. I, personally, don't think anything is wrong with this type of strategy, but here we'll also see a way to actually win.

Our focus is to find an opponent who will work with us, or someone who can kill two other opponents easily. With an opponent chosen, we will give them a lot of 1/1 hippos (it is not advisable to choose people who have token decks) and we will prevent our opponents from attacking us.

Preventing Attacks

We are going to have some well-known cards that are used to defend ourselves.

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I really like cards like Edric, Spymaster of Trest on our list because it protects us from attacks using table politics: you can attack me, but if you attack anyone else you can draw a card.

We also have Baird, Steward of Argive, Blazing Archon. Maze of Ith is another one I like as it can also work as a sort of removal.

Winning Games

You may be asking yourself, “and how are we going to win by giving our opponents a hippo token?” Here are two cards with which we are going to punish our opponent for our tokens:

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Angel's Trumpet is a great finisher for us, since it forces our opponents to attack each other until only one is left. When that happens, our opponent won't be able to attack us and will take a lot of damage with the hippos we gave them.

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We have two alternative winconditions. Approach of the Second Sun, which needs no introduction, and Reins of Power, which is a card that really matches our game plan: if our opponent has taken our fort pillow cards, we can switch creatures with them and end the game.


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Our combo consists of making infinite mana with our Phelddagrif, Intruder Alarm and Treetop Village on the board. You will transform the Treetop Village into a creature and tap it to add green mana.

With this mana, you will create a hippo token, with this the Intruder Alarm will make you untap the Treetop Village. Repeat the process and have infinite mana by giving your opponent infinite hippos and finishing them with Angel's Trumpet or Suture Priest.



You can also combo for infinite mana with Freed from the Real plus Faeburrow Elder or Bloom Tender. These cards are not on the list for this deck, but feel free to add them if you find it fun to combo with hippos!

Ramps and Mana Rocks

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Some examples of ramps and mana rocks. On the rocks, I opted for Talismans and Chromatic Lantern, but you can add Signets and more green ramps if you prefer.


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My draws package considers giving resources to opponents as well. When we draw, our opponents also draw, when we ramp, our opponents also ramp, so this deck is essentially political.

So make sure to use your creativity and persuasion, you will surely be surprised at how political group hugs are.


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In my list I run 5 removals and 5 sweepers, with Play of the Game being one of my favorite cards with assist, where our opponent that we choose to work with us can often help us.

Using that same idea of ​​help, you can add Fact or Fiction to the list because if you get that help, your opponent can separate a pile with all 5 top cards and another with none, so you'll be left with all the cards it revealed from the top.

Budget List

This Commander is one of my favorites, and as this list is authorial, it is optimized. As you can see, I run Shock Lands as well as the Battlebond duals, but you can go for a budget manabase.

That's why I'm passing a budget list with the same game plan, it just won't have the infinite hippos combo with Intruder Alarm.

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For tables with high-power level or against combo, group hug isn't very suitable because you will give your opponents many resources, but if you play at casual tables like me, you will certainly have tons of fun with your friends playing this deck.

Until next time.