Hi everyone and welcome to another post about one of my personal EDH decks. This time I will talk about my Hofri Ghostforge deck!
I fell in love with Hofri during my Strixhaven prerelease where I used it in my sealed deck to net value by freely trading on defense and recklessly attacking thanks to the fact that my creatures were always coming back. So, I decided to build a Commander deck around him!
My Hofri deck capitalizes its game plan on Enter The Battlefield and Leave the Battlefield effects, taking advantage of them multiple times thanks to Hofri’s ability and various Sac Outlet.
My Hofri deck is basically a Combo deck that tries to win by assembling a combo while netting card advantage and value with the ETBs and our Commander.
Hofri’s static ability also opens up the route of winning with combat damage as the boost and the extra keywords come in really handy. There isn’t a single combo to win the game so I will explain them gradually as we analyze the single cards.
A good hand to start with Hofri is one that has some ramp to be able to cast Hofri as soon as possible (turn 3-4 is the ideal timing but the sooner, the better) and some creatures to start netting some advantage thanks to their effects. If you also have a sac outlet that hand would be amazing and could ensure you a really nice start.
The ramp part is mostly mana rocks with creature staple of the format, like Dockside Extortionist and Solemn Simulacrum, that really shine here thanks to Hofri making them come back to the field.
Boreas Charger is another great creature that can ramp us but it does it upon leaving the battlefield; still its effect is really powerful as, while ramping us, it can ensure us some land drop while also removing what could be a dead draw from the deck. Its efficiency however highly depends on our opponents board states.
A way to protect ourselves and dish in some damage is producing tokens that can fill our board. Three cards here generate some tokens when entering the battlefield, like Geist-Honored Monk, but we also have Quintorious that synergize really well with Hofri’s ability: each of the creature will go to the graveyard and then leave it when our Commander creates the token and so Quintorious will also create a 3/2 Spirit.
The best card here is obviously Anointed Procession as it will let us create two tokens with our Commander!
Sac Outlets are another important part of the deck as they give us the possibility to kill our creatures, triggering Hofri and repeat their enters the battlefield with the tokens.
Sac Outlets can let us also play a bit more with a Control playstyle as they will let us “retrigger” the enter the battlefield of a creature we have one the field at instant speed, letting us act in response to a threat.
These cards will also give us some other kind of benefit by sacrificing a creature to them and it will not be rare to be in a loop where we can sacrifice a creature infinite time and use them to close the game, like for example by dealing direct damage with Goblin Bombardment.
A pesky characteristic of Hofri’s ability is that, if we happen to be able to have one of our opponents creatures die while under our control, we will exile their cards while also creating a token! Thanks to this, Stealing our opponents creature when we have Hofri and a sac outlet on the field becomes a nice way to get in control of the board as it will let us remove a threat while permanently getting it on our side of the field.
The majority of the cards here will steal when entering the battlefield but we also have Captivating Crew that does it with an activated ability: in the late game where we will have plenty of mana to spare it will become a really dangerous piece, able to steal huge chunks of board.
All the card advantage will come from creatures and their triggered abilities and it comes essential in three forms: card draw, tutors or reanimation.
Imperial Recruiter and Recruiter of the Guard are able to tutors the piece of combo we need to win the game.
Karmic Guide and Reveillark can go infinite if paired with a sac outlet: with Karmic Guide in the graveyard and Reveillark on the field, we can sacrifice it to get the Guide (plus another creature with power 2 or less on the field); the Guide will return the Reveillark back on the field with its ETBs; from this point we can sacrifice the Guide to be back at our initial point. This loop is infinite and will let us reanimate all the 2 power creatures in our graveyard or win the game if our sac outlet is something like the aforementioned Goblin Bombardment.
Mistmoon Griffin is another card that can generate an infinite loop with Hofri and a Sac Outlet. Let’s start by giving a look to a rule information for this card: “You still put the top creature card from your graveyard onto the battlefield even if this card is not in your graveyard when the triggered ability resolves.”; this means that when the Griffin dies we can stack the trigger so that Hofri’s ability resolve first, letting us create a token copy, and the the Griffin’s one will resolve even if the Griffin isn’t in the graveyard anymore, letting us reanimate the top creature card of our graveyard. Things get interesting when we remember that the ability will resolve even for the token copy! When we kill the copy the triggered ability from the Griffin token and the delayed trigger of Hofri’s ability will get both on the stack; again we will let Hofri’s resolve first so the original Griffin card will be put back in the graveyard from Exile and then we will let the token Griffin’s one resolve, bringing back the original Mistmoon Griffin to the field!
This infinite loop, as per the previous one, can be game ending with the right sac outlet and can also reanimate our whole graveyard.
Even the majority of the removals are all on creatures so we can remove pieces with them also with Hofri’s tokens.
Slaughter the Strong and Promise of Loyalty are the two wrath effects we are running in this deck as they both let us save Hofri while removing the majority of the board; keeping Hofri alive will basically give us all our non-token creatures back after the wrath.
Even if we are not able to get into an infinite combo (or we don’t have a game finishing Sac Outlet) we can still kill our opponents thanks to these cards that will damage our opponents each time a creature hits our side of the field.
Terror of the Peaks is a really powerful card that we can also use as a removal, thanks to its ability to hit any target and not only damaging our opponents; the downside of it as it would hit only one opponent at a time and so it could be slower than the other two when we are trying to close the game.
Our Commander is the core of our strategy and this is both a strength and a weakness: a strength because we always have it every game in our Command Zone, ready to be cast, a weakness because the deck needs it to work and this makes us weak to removals directed to Hofri.
To protect Hofri we are running both Boots and Greaves plus a series of spells and creatures to protect our whole board. It plays really heavily on its creatures and the synergy between them is really important to preserve our board state; that’s why we are playing so many of these protection effects.
In a deck where we care so much about creatures entering the battlefield and their ETBs, a card like Panharmonicon really can net us an amazing amount of value.
Sneak Attack will let us cheat all our creatures into play without worries as Hofri will bring them back on the field in the form of tokens.
Kiki-Jiki and Village Bell-Ringer are our main combo that will get us on the field infinite Bell-Ringer with haste. It’s pretty simple as it’s a combo that sees a lot of play and has many variations: copy the Bell-Ringer with Kiki-Jiki; Kiki-Jiki will get untapped when the token Bell-Ringer enters the battlefield letting us repeat this process infinite time. With infinite creatures entering the battlefield we can close the game with one of our finishers or sac outlets; they also have all haste so we can also attack for all the damage we want. This is our main combo as it can be fully tutored by Imperial Recruiter (with Hofri and a sac outlet) but Kiki-Jiki can also work with Coercive Recruiter and Zealous Conscript.
Regular Boros mana base with some utility lands to help us go with our plan. Command Beacon is for those games where Hofri gets removed multiple times and we can’t afford to pay the tax, while Hall of Heliod’s Generosity is here to recover our enchantments if they get destroyed, as many of our sac outlets fall in this category. Speaking of Sac Outlets, High Market can act as a slow one in a pinch.
Strip Mine is more like a meta-call for me as in my meta there are many decks that rely on lands to go infinite or create some type of lock.
I hope you enjoyed my post about my Hofri deck and I hope it will help some of you that wanted to try this Commander to get some inspiration for their own list. In my opinion, Hofri it’s the perfect Commander for those that like to bring some nice synergies and shenanigans on the field… maybe especially with a color combination that usually is renowned only for his equipment synergies and battlecruiser approaches.