Last updated on May 23, 2023
Solphim, Mayhem Dominus | Illustration by Chris Cold
Phyrexia: All Will Be One’s Domini is one of the more interesting creature cycles in a while. Each creature acts as a facsimile of a popular enchantment and also has the ability to grant itself indestructible for a relatively cheap price. Mondrak, Glory Dominus is an Anointed Procession that can become indestructible if you pay for its activated ability and sacrifice the necessary permanents. Each of the Domini makes for an interesting commander, but the one that most caught my attention was Solphim, Mayhem Dominus.
One aspect of Solphim I really enjoy is that it solves one of my biggest issues with mono-red Commander decks, a lack of cheap targeted removal. Solphim can also speed games up, so building a deck around it is great for those times when you can’t play a long, drawn-out game. I personally see this deck as a great option for between Swiss rounds at your LGS or when you want just one last, quick game before everyone has to go home/log off.
If you’re looking for an aggressive deck with a commander who’s hard to kill, Solphim, Mayhem Dominus is the way to go. I’m going to walk through my deck that I’ve had some success with, but I’ll also be talking about some other options you can take if you want to mix things up. I was lucky enough to run into another Solphim player while playtesting this deck, so I can share some tips on how to play this commander in a few styles.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve
Toralf, God of Fury
Urabrask the Hidden
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
Drakuseth, Maw of Flames
Birgi, God of Storytelling
The Red Terror
Magus of the Wheel
Thrill of Possibility
Delayed Blast Fireball
Crackle with Power
Bonfire of the Damned
Wheel of Misfortune
Dictate of the Twin Gods
Furnace of Rath
Descent into Avernus
Curse of Bloodletting
Gauntlet of Power
Sceptre of Eternal Glory
Bag of Holding
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
To ensure you’re getting the most out of Solphim, Mayhem Dominus, I included various sources of noncombat damage in this deck. You have spells that can act both as creature/planeswalker removal and ways to damage your opponent directly. I also added other damage doublers similar to Solphim to speed things up even more, adding additional power to each of your damage spells.
In the interest of speeding games up, I included cards that double damage for the whole table like Furnace of Rath or cards that consistently deal damage to each player like Manabarbs. Though these cards also lower your life, you’re still likely to have the last laugh because you have several ways to splash damage across the table and win all at once.
Solphim, Mayhem Dominus is a decently strong creature, but its main appeal is all about its passive ability. Unlike enchantments that have similar effects, Solphim can stick around longer thanks to its activated ability. It’s relatively easy to activate, and I usually make sure I can afford to do so before I drop Solphim. It can be activated at instant speed, and you can wait to activate it in response to a spell or effect that might destroy Solphim. Additionally, you can activate it as many times as you can afford it. If you have a full hand and you need to protect Solphim twice to avoid instant speed removal on the stack, you can do that.
Though Solphim can become indestructible, there are still plenty of ways to remove it in Commander. That’s why I’ve also included Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots. Additionally, there are several other cards with similar effects in this deck, so they essentially increase your chances of sort of having Solphim on the field.
Some of the better damage doublers in this deck are enchantments. While creatures can be good too, there are more ways for them to be removed when they can’t become indestructible like Solphim.
Enchantments like Gratuitous Violence and Fiery Emancipation output extra damage specifically from sources you control, making them some of the safer options.
Though Furnace of Rath and Dictate of the Twin Gods double the damage you take, it’s very likely you’ll be dealing out four times or more the amount of damage thanks to your other doubling effects and Solphim.
When it comes to creatures, Angrath's Marauders has the best damage-doubling ability, even better than Solphim’s. That said, this is an expensive creature that can be pretty easily removed.
You also have Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, who doesn’t exactly double your damage but gives you a nice boost to any damage outputted.
While it doesn’t technically double the damage you do, Chandra's Incinerator essentially allows you to deal twice as much damage spread out between a player and one of their creatures or planeswalkers. It’s also relatively easy to cast in this deck since you’ll be able to consistently do noncombat damage.
One source of noncombat damage in this deck comes from cheap spells like Lightning Bolt or Unholy Heat. These cards can serve as removal spells for your opponent’s creatures or planeswalkers, especially when the damage they do is doubled.
Bonecrusher Giant is a great combination of this type of noncombat damage spell and a creature that’s also able to deal damage to your opponents. Rampaging Ferocidon can also output noncombat damage, but on a more consistent basis than Bonecrusher Giant. As a bonus, it also stops players from gaining life, which can shut down certain strategies and ensures the damage you do is sticking.
Drakuseth, Maw of Flames is a powerful enough creature on its own, but with a full table and a damage doubler, this card can really help eat away at your opponent’s life totals. Of course, you can also use its damage ability to hit a variety of creatures or planeswalkers, allowing Drakuseth to also be a form of removal.
Your strongest creatures for doing noncombat damage are going to be Brash Taunter and Stuffy Doll. Both can output a lot of damage, and both of their abilities are doubled by Solphim. As a bonus, Brash Taunter can be made to fight the most powerful creature on the board at instant speed. If an opponent drops a huge threat on their turn, you can instantly deal out a ton of damage to them or even a different opponent.
I also included a good number of X spells that do damage to any target. You can use them flexibly as removal earlier in the game, or as a way to win. Crackle with Power can be especially powerful in this deck because with Solphim on the field, you just need to pay 11 mana to hit all your opponents for 30 damage.
Banefire is another great option because if you’re pumping a lot of mana into it, you can know for sure the damage is going to go through. That makes it a sounder investment than other X spells, which could turn into a wasted cast if they’re countered or their damage is prevented.
Cards like Manabarbs and Descent into Avernus basically add a ticking clock element to the game because every player will be consistently taking damage. However, this element tilts in your favor thanks to Solphim or your other one-sided mana doublers.
There aren’t too many straightforward draw cards in red, so I tried to prioritize ones with effects that actually keep cards in your hand.
Cards like Unexpected Windfall and Thrill of Possibility may make you discard to cast them, but you still end up positive on cards.
Valakut Awakening has a similar effect with some added benefits. It can help you cycle through a bad hand, and the cards go to the bottom of your deck so you could still get them later on. These cards are also good for helping activate Solphim’s ability when you need it.
Wheels are another good option. There are a good number of cheap spells in this deck, plus when you’re discarding to protect Solphim, you usually find yourself with fewer than seven cards in hand. This means that cards like Magus of the Wheel usually gets you a few extra cards.
Wheel of Misfortune is another great option for this deck because it could end up doing a good amount of damage to your opponents. Keep in mind that this also incentivizes your opponents to choose a lower number, so bet carefully if you want to be able to wheel.
Risk Factor is an interesting card in this deck. While opponents normally choose to take the damage instead of letting you draw, especially in Commander, with ways to double or even triple the damage, players may be more hesitant to take the hit.
Sin Prodder can be a little risky, but in the late game when your opponents are low on life, it’s more likely you’ll be drawing an extra card each turn with its ability.
Haste isn’t absolutely essential in this deck, but it can help out with activating abilities more quickly. Sometimes all you need is one attack with the right creature to end the game. I picked Urabrask the Hidden and Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded since they have other useful abilities besides providing haste to your creatures.
There are a few permanents in this deck that are pretty pricey. Additionally, you have a lot of X spells for doing damage that can benefit from an extra boost of mana.
Cards like Mana Geyser and Jeska's Will can make a pretty big difference in this deck because even just a few more mana in an X spell can translate to a lot more damage thanks to your damage doublers.
Gauntlet of Power is another way to speed up your mana production and benefits you a lot since you’re mostly running basic lands. It helps any other red players too, but it’s not super likely you’ll sit down with another mono-red player who gets just as much use out of this as you.
The Mana Base
The land base for this deck is pretty straightforward. You’re mostly running basic Mountains, not only because you don’t really need any other lands, but because it increases the number of activations you get out of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle.
You also have just a couple of utility lands.
Shivan Gorge gives you an additional way to do some noncombat damage to your opponents. While you usually have better ways to spend your mana, it’s not bad to have a mana sink for those turns when you can’t do as much.
Red also is hurting for mana ramp, so Myriad Landscape can help with that. It can also get you a few Valakut activations at once which pairs well with Solphim.
Valakut Awakening is more useful as a spell, but you can play it as Valakut Stoneforge if you’re in need of another land.
As far as mana rocks go, you have a Sol Ring for some extra mana production.
Cursed Mirror can offer some minor ramp and can also let you deal out some significant damage on a turn. If you use it to copy Solphim or a similar damage-doubling creature, it can have a pretty big impact for a cheap price.
Sceptre of Eternal Glory is a great choice for mono-colored decks, especially when you aren’t running a lot of nonbasic lands.
Nyx Lotus is another great mono-color mana rock and can be especially helpful in a deck that runs a lot of enchantments and creatures.
Though Pyromancer's Goggles don’t produce a lot of mana, they can give you much more value by allowing you to copy spells.
Birgi, God of Storytelling gives you a little mana back on each spell you cast. That said, it isn’t super effective on its front side in this deck. I mostly included it as a sort of card draw on its flip side, Harnfel, Horn of Bounty.
Apart from how quickly this deck can finish a game, it’s also nice because you don’t need to put a ton of thought into your strategy. You want to get Solphim, Mayhem Dominus out early, but it’s probably better to wait until you can activate its ability on the same turn. Waiting for the extra turn to ensure you don’t lose Solphim ends up being better in the long run since you waste more time and mana if it gets removed.
Though this is a mono-red deck, it’s not super aggressive when it comes to playing early creatures. Early turns are better times for you to play some mana rocks or ramp with cards like Wayfarer's Bauble. You can probably afford to lose a little bit of life because you end up dealing a lot of damage later in the game. There are plenty of spells in this deck that can eliminate a player in one turn when using it with a damage doubler, so it’s okay if you get a little bit behind. You can also win over other players at the table by taking out a player who seems like a bigger threat than you.
Once you have Solphim or another damage doubler on the field, you also have more tools that can help you remove threats. You can use some of your X spells as targeted removal, but board wipes like Delayed Blast Fireball or Blasphemous Act might be a better option once Solphim is indestructible.
You have a few ways to win. You can systematically eliminate your opponents with X spells and double damage. This can make you the archenemy, but if you’re removing players, you won’t have multiple enemies for long. There are also some ways to take out all your opponents at once. If you have Descent into Avernus out with a damage doubler, you’ll be eating away at your opponents’ life faster than your own. You can win that way. You can also win by combining a spell like Blasphemous Act with Toralf, God of Fury when the board is full.
Combos and Interactions
There aren’t any infinite combos in this deck, but there are some important interactions to look out for.
For example, Toralf, God of Fury works well with all your noncombat damage spells in a variety of ways. Toralf’s ability can work sort of like a chain reaction, so if your opponent is running a bunch of smaller creatures, you can use a spell like Unholy Heat to deal damage to one of them. With the excess, you can hit another creature, and if there’s still excess damage you can hit a subsequent target. That means if you’re doing 6 damage, you could potentially remove up to six creatures with one toughness. Toralf is especially powerful when combined with Blasphemous Act and a damage doubler.
Stuffy Doll and Brash Taunter also synergize well with any damage-based board wipes like Blasphemous Act, Storm's Wrath, or Delayed Blast Fireball. Not only can you take out lots of creatures, but you also get to assign whatever damage the board wipe does to a player.
One of the most powerful interactions is Heartless Hidetsugu with Solphim, Mayhem Dominus. Every one of your opponents loses double half their life, rounded down, which usually takes them all out. That said, it won’t finish off any player whose life total isn’t even. If someone has 25 life, Heartless Hidetsugu deals 12 damage to that player, doubled to only 24 with Solphim. While getting each player to only one life is still a good play, it’s important to remember.
The cost of this deck is actually another great aspect of it. Over 70 of the 100 cards in it cost less than two dollars, making it a very affordable Commander deck. That said, there are still a few pricey cards you can ditch if you want to make the deck even more affordable.
Dockside Extortionist is an incredibly expensive card, so you may want to cut it and wait for a reprint if you want one. If you’re looking for another way to get a lot of mana, Koth of the Hammer can be a good alternative. Even if you just get one activation, it’ similar to getting one big mana dump from Dockside Extortionist.
Ruby Medallion is another expensive card in this deck that could be easily replaced. Cloud Key can allow you to reduce the cost of some of your spells, and Hazoret's Monument can help you to reduce the cost of your creatures. Either way, you’ll be saving a good amount of money with these alternatives.
If you’re looking to mix up this build a bit, you can lean more heavily into burn spells and spell slinger support cards like Guttersnipe or Kessig Flamebreather. Other good additions are Electrostatic Field and Thermo-Alchemist.
This build uses a good number of the same cards and has a similar strategy, but you’re looking to cast more spells each turn instead of putting a lot of mana into one big X spell. This also means you can build in a storm subtheme with cards like Grapeshot.
Torbran, Thane of Red Fell | Illustration by Grzegorz Rutkowski
Solphim, Mayhem Dominus is a powerful commander that allows you to have consistent access to an ability you could usually only get from an enchantment. This coupled with its ability to become indestructible allows you to set up some interesting moves, like using damage-based board wipes to clear your way while also dealing out damage to opponents. I strongly recommend giving this build a try or at least trying out something with Solphim if you’re into mono-red decks.
Which Domini is your favorite from the cycle? How would you build Solphim differently? Did I miss any important spells that you think would fit nicely into this deck? Let me know in the comments, or on Draftsim’s Twitter.
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in the next one!
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