Phyrexian Obliterator

Historic Golgari Pogliterator: Never Lose Against Red Decks Again

Welcome back! Today I have a special one for you: The best way to farm aggressive decks on the ladder! This might not be the deck to play at your next Mythic Qualifier or whatever important event, but I can tell you from my personal experience that it’s been the most fun I’ve had in Magic for a long time.

[sd_deck deck=”E6Q_jRcFc”]

This deck revolves around – you guessed it – Phyrexian Obliterator. The big combo here is between the 4 mana horror creature and one of your fight spells, like Primal Might and Prey Upon. Make your opponent sacrifice all of their lands!

Since this card is so crucial for the game plan, we have all the tools to support it: Paradise Druid to get it out a turn faster, the fighting spells and Fauna Shaman (which is completely overperforming, you should really try it out) to fetch it out of your deck.

It’s really as much an Obliterator deck as it is a Fauna Shaman deck: More on that later. If that plan doesn’t work, you can still just ramp into Elder Gargaroth, which is one of the better cards in Historic right now. The reason for that is that people don’t have a lot of answers for it – most removal spells are either Abrade, Fatal Push or Eliminate. Plan A: Obliterator. Plan B: Elder Gargaroth!

Card Choices: Main Deck

Fauna Shaman

4 Knight of the Ebon Legion: This is just a good 1-drop to have in your deck. It’s arguably one of the best 1-drops in Historic, and you need a good amount of creatures for Fauna Shaman anyway. It’s also one of the few creatures that can actually fight well with your other spells.

2 Prey Upon: You need a good number of fighting spells for the Obliterator, but this one is one of the worst kind of fighting effects that you can find, so I just want to play 2 copies. It’s important to be able to fight for just 1 mana though, to make the crucial turns with Obliterator for a low investment.

4 Primal Might: As just mentioned, you need a lot of fighting spells – but this one is actually pretty good! You can use it as a pump spell or simply as another copy of Prey Upon – which makes this pretty nice.

4 Fauna Shaman: This card is absolutely amazing for this deck. First of all, you can find Phyrexian Obliterator, which is obviously crucial, but you can also find removal with it – Murderous Rider – which is just awesome. It gives this deck so much more consistency than you think of first – you have to see yourself!

1 Brain Maggot: Not the best card, but you can look for it with Fauna Shaman in some spots where you need a discard spell. If not – just ditch it to Shaman! This is one of the things that I love about this deck – Fauna Shaman makes use of all the weird cards that you don’t need at the moment.

1 Inscription of Abundance: Just another copy of a fighting spell. Remember that you can give your opponent’s creature +1/+1 counters when you kick this spell, so your Obliterator is even more pain for your opponent!

4 Paradise Druid: You probably noticed already, but the mana can be a bit rough sometimes, which is why some good fixing is needed. It also enables your turn 3 Obliterator. Paradise Druid is one of the better ones, because your opponent can not kill it easily with Fatal Push or Bonecrusher Giant.

2 Scavenging Ooze: Look, I know it, you guys know it by now – Scavenging Ooze is one of the best 2-drops ever printed and at that point, almost every green deck is playing this. It’s just a good creature that’s pulling it’s own weight, while also randomly hosing graveyard strategies (and Uro, for that matter).

1 Murderous Rider: Good target to look for with Fauna Shaman, and you should always play something that can kill a Planeswalker.

1 Reclamation Sage: Another silver bullet that you can fetch for with the Shaman. You can definitely cut this if you feel like not finding enough targets in game 1 for it.

1 Taunting Arbormage: This is a great late game play with Obliterator and will end most games on the spot.

4 Phyrexian Obliterator: The star of the show! If you play against any aggressive deck and you get to resolve this, you’re probably just winning the game. Red decks can never get past this (especially juicy if they try to get through with Embercleave).

1 Massacre Girl: I love that this card basically means that you have a sweeper in form of a creature in a deck, which you can look for with Fauna Shaman.

3 Elder Gargaroth: Your whole plan B, as already stated before. A better, updated (and more importantly – green) version of Baneslayer Angel is just good, who would’ve thought!

1 Massacre Wurm: This is almost always better than Massacre Girl, but it’s just a bit more expensive so you don’t really want to play too many copies of that.

Card Choices: Sideboard

4 Thoughtseize: Important against the slower decks like Sultai or combo decks like Neoform – we are not the fastest deck and are usually better at beating up creatures, so playing against noncreatures is always a bit harder.

2 Grafdigger’s Cage: Against Goblins, Sacrifice and Uro. Incredibly enough, we are one of the few decks in Historic that can play Cage without hurting it’s own strategy (besides the one of Agadeem’s Awakening).

2 Eliminate: Good removal against the faster decks.

1 Murderous Rider: Mostly there to handle Planeswalkers, but also has applications against bigger creatures (such as Elder Gargaroth).

1 Reclamation Sage: If the one that you have is not enough (Nine Lives, Witch’s Oven, Colorless Ramp).

2 Questing Beast: Good against any deck that plays sweepers as you get immediate damage in.

1 Doom Whisperer: Just another grindy late game card if you’re trying to compete with your opponent going for a lot of value.

2 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate: Against any grindy deck – it’s also good against sweepers, because you can get on board without sacrificing any real creatures.

Matchups and Sideboard Guide

Gruul Aggro

Your absolute best matchup. It’s pretty tough for them to win, even if they draw their absolute best. Just play around Phyrexian Obliterator, and never trade your Paradise Druid unless you really have to.

2 Eliminate1 Brain Maggot
1 Murderous Rider1 Taunting Arbormage
1 Massacre Wurm

Mono-Red Aggro

This is probably as easy as Gruul, but I haven’t faced it too much so I can’t judge it too much. I can see a world where they can try and ignore your Obliterator and go directly for your life total with burn spells, but that probably doesn’t come up too often.

2 Eliminate1 Brain Maggot
1 Murderous Rider1 Taunting Arbormage
1 Massacre Wurm

Sultai / Four-Color Uro

This matchup is a lot tougher, but it’s not even that bad! I thought this should be unwinnable for us, but a lot of their interaction doesn’t do much against us (Aether Gust, Tale’s End, Fatal Push). They also Escape their Uro aggressively, which is just a perfect target for your Obliterator. They play a lot more targets than you might think at first, so this matchup is definitely close, but I would say at least about even. Personally I went 5-0 against Uro decks, but I always felt like I got a bit lucky, but what if…?

The main thing is that you play around Extinction Event. Always keep track of your CMC and don’t play too many targets into it. Post-board we will still cut some Obliterators, as they will change their deck as well and have more answers.

4 Thoughtseize2 Prey Upon
2 Grafdigger’s Cage1 Brain Maggot
1 Murderous Rider1 Massacre Wurm
2 Questing Beast1 Reclamation Sage
1 Doom Whisperer1 Taunting Arbormage
2 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate1 Massacre Girl
3 Primal Might
2 Phyrexian Obliterator


This matchup is tough, but if you are able to keep Priest of Forgotten Gods of the battlefield, your Obliterator can carry you. Massacre Girl, Massacre Wurm and Grafdigger’s Cage can also go a long way when you try to control the board, whereas Doom Whisperer can just fly over their heads.

2 Grafdigger’s Cage1 Brain Maggot
2 Eliminate1 Inscription of Abundance
1 Murderous Rider1 Taunting Arbormage
1 Reclamation Sage4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
1 Doom Whisperer


This has to be the worst matchup, as they just take away your hand and your creatures. They don’t have too much removal that hits our bigger stuff, but unfortunately this is not a very reliable plan when they just get to eat our hand away. Try to focus on killing Dreadhorde Arcanist and not on Young Pyromancer. It’s possible you want to have Leyline of the Void in your sideboard, as that card shuts down the deck almost singlehandedly.

2 Grafdigger’s Cage1 Brain Maggot
2 Eliminate1 Inscription of Abundance
2 Questing Beast2 Prey Upon
1 Doom Whisperer1 Taunting Arbormage
2 Vivien, Monster’s Advocate1 Reclamation Sage
3 Knight of the Ebon Legion


Another red deck, another good matchup – the only way they can win is by swarming you with Krenko, Mob Boss. Skirk Prospector can be a bit annoying if it negates your fighting spells, but other than that it should be fine.

4 Thoughtseize1 Reclamation Sage
2 Grafdigger’s Cage4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
2 Eliminate1 Inscription of Abundance
2 Prey Upon


Weirdly enough, this is a bad matchup, even though it does play creatures and is somewhat aggressive. The point is that our Obliterator is just a bit too expensive and by that time your opponent has mostly already gotten you low enough to just punch through with protection from black (Alseid of Life’s Bounty). The key to win will not be surprising to you – try to kill Kor Spiritdancer or Sram, Senior Edificer. If you can’t, you probably lose, but that’s just Auras for you.

4 Thoughtseize1 Inscription of Abundance
2 Eliminate1 Taunting Arbormage
3 Elder Gargaroth
1 Reclamation Sage

End Step

Thank you so much for reading another one of my deck guides – it has been a pleasure for me to write them. As always, if you have any specific questions about this deck, leave some comments and I’ll answer them as soon as I can. I can only recommend this deck if you’re trying to grind for Mythic, because you’re going to meet a lot of aggressive decks, in which case you just get a lot of free wins.

Stay healthy everyone, and obliterate some people!

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Alexander Steyer, 23 years old. Qualified for Mythic Championship VII, Zendikar Rising Championship and Arena Open Winner.

Articles: 53

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