Tuesday Night Takeover

Zoyowa Lava-Tongue Cycling Descent Pauper EDH

“All those who wander shall embrace death under my sword. My sword will be the gravestone of sinners”

Art:Zoyowa Lava-Tongue by Campbell White

Wanna Skip the Primer? Here is a link to the Moxfield deck

Zoyowa is a new commander I should have done way sooner, and this card is sweet! I am very glad that Zoyowa was printed because it is one of the best options for the cycling archetype, which is not very popular or prevalent in any format but is an absolute blast to pilot and play. Zoyowa is an absolute bomb for only two mana and is a card that can easily take control of the game by controlling the opponent’s hands and board, which can be a great asset to lead to a win. Being able to reanimate cycled creatures with big bodies quickly is essentially the main game plan and very strong for the deck.

The Deck:

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Zoyowa Lava-Tongue Cycling Descent!

Commander (1)
Zoyowa Lava-Tongue

Creatures (29)
Insolent Neonate
Drannith Stinger
Dusk Legion Zealot
Iron Myr
Acolyte of Aclazotz
Deep Goblin Skulltaker
Faerie Macabre
Hangar Scrounger
Broodrage Mycoid
Child of the Volcano
Thorn of the Black Rose
Viscera Dragger
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Horror of the Broken Lands
Ingot Chewer
Monstrous Carabid
Quakefoot Cyclops
Street Wraith
Cragsmasher Yeti
Desert Cerodon
Igneous Pouncer
Ironhoof Boar
Rapacious One
Seismic Monstrosaur
Troll of Khazad-dum
Twisted Abomination
Gloomfang Mauler

Instants (14)
Another Chance
Big Score
Cast Down
Deadly Dispute
Doom Blade
Go for the Throat
Join the Dead
Red Elemental Blast
Shredded Sails
Snuff Out
Suffocating Fumes
Unexpected Windfall

Sorceries (12)
Dread Return
Feed the Swarm
Fortuitous Find
Macabre Waltz
Mind Rake
Night’s Whisper
Rise Again
Summon Undead
Tectonic Hazard

Artifacts (4)
Arcane Signet
Charcoal Diamond
Fire Diamond
Rakdos Signet

Enchantments (5)
Hopeless Nightmare
Fists of the Demigod
Scion of Halaster
Ill-Gotten Inheritance
Lands (35)
Ash Barrens
Barren Moor
Bojuka Bog
Command Tower
Desert of the Fervent
Desert of the Glorified
Evolving Wilds
Forgotten Cave
10 Mountain
Polluted Mire
Smoldering Crater
12 Swamp
Terramorphic Expanse
The Autonomous Furnace
The Dross Pits

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Why Zoyowa Lava-Tongue?

Zoyowa is a key part of our deck; we are built around them. Zoyowa’s biggest benefit is how much they do for so little. For only two mana, you get a 2/2 with Deathtouch and an ability to reliably trigger every turn we have and control our opponent’s hands and boards. Being only two mana allows us to recast as needed easily. The Descent triggers are extremely easy to get and give us the additional benefit of card draw. Zoyowa is such a strong commander and such a cool card!

Deck Overview:

This section contains information about cards in the deck and how they function within the deck! I also highlighted some of my favorite cards in the deck!


We have a ton of awesome cycling creatures, with the best in our deck being Drannith Stinger which is a payoff for all of the cycling we do. Horror of the Broken Lands is another awesome card we look to get on the field since it can be a very strong attacker. We also have a trio of creatures that interact super strongly with Zoyowa in Broodrage Mycoid, which is an awesome token producer that can help us have a larger board presence earlier than we normally would. Child of the Volcano is a tramply creature that only gets better every turn that we trigger Zowoya. Deep Goblin Skulltaker is very similar to Child of the Volcano but has menace instead of trample, which can also be great! We are a Rakdos deck so Gray Merchant of Asphodel can be a huge damage dealer and life gain for the deck. We have some strong cyclers that are very strong attackers as well, like Troll of Khazad-dûm and Desert Cerodon.


We have some strong draw spells that can often trigger Zoyowa, like Big Score and Unexpected Windfall, which are some of my favorite red cards within the format. We also have some strong removal like Abrade, Go for the Throat, and Doom Blade, which are a few three-mana cards that are very strong and perfect ways to deal with opponents threats. Join the Dead that can kill the biggest and best within the format, especially because even in the early stages of the game, we almost always have the Descend trigger ready to go. We need a way to fight back against the control decks, so we have Red Elemental Blast and Pyroblast, which can be a little narrow since they only affect blue but at the right table can be lifesavers.


We have a lot of recursion and reanimation through our sorcery package like Dread Return, Exhume, and Unearth, which can be awesome ways to get a huge creature out early or at any stage of the game. We also have some return-to-hand effects, which can be a great way to re-cycle creatures and get more cards. Some of the best are Macabre Waltz and Fortuitous Find, which are both cheap and sweet for the deck. Tectonic Hazard is a card that can be absolutely devastating against aggressive decks and token strategies and, in a lot of cases, can nearly wipe an opponent’s board.


We are solely artifact mana and ramp in our artifact package. We don’t have a ton to say here. We have format staples like Rakdos Signet and Arcane Signet as well as both on-color diamonds. These are very strong and great pieces of acceleration.


Just as I do when building any deck that includes black, we have to include the staple removal spell Oubliette. Fists of the Demigod is a card I love in the deck that I almost always put on Zowoya to make them a better blocker which can be very strong against aggressive strategies. Scion of Halaster is a great way to cycle through the deck and gives us Zowoya triggers on every one of our turns consistently and always! Hopeless Nightmare can be very disruptive on any turn that it is played, and since it can self-sacrifice, it is another way to trigger Zowoya. Ill-Gotten Inheritance is a card I think is underplayed. It provides a passive way to damage opponents and get some life back, and while a little expensive, its second ability is quite strong.

Land Base:

We are a cycling deck, so we have packed pretty much every cycling land we can, even cards like Ash Barrens. When Zowoya is on the battlefield, we also get the added benefit of triggering them, which can be very beneficial at any stage of the game. Cards like Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse have always been decent fetch lands but being able to trigger Zowoya makes both of these cards so much better. Beyond the cycling lands and a few draw lands, we mostly have basics. I have found this landbase to be extremely efficient and perfect for the deck.

Strengths of the Deck:

  • A decent amount of card draw through cycling
  • A decent amount of removal
  • Zoyowa is a damage machine and can help control the board

Weaknesses of the Deck:

  • Weak to graveyard hate
  • Can be a little slow going in the beginning depending on the hand
  • A little slower than many decks in the format

Deck Stats:

Sample Hands:

Main Win Conditions:

There are no infinite combos or loops within the deck. We win the game through combat as well as reanimating our cycling creatures, and we can also whittle down opponents with Zoyowa’s trigger, which can also be a great way to control the board or opponent’s hands. A lot of the cycling creatures we can cycle early, which allows us to reanimate a big body quite early.


Zoyowa is an awesome commander who, in my opinion, is a little shocking that they are uncommon based on what they do! But for the sake of Pauper EDH, I am very happy that it is because this card is an absolute powerhouse for only two mana. One of my favorite things about the deck is all the cycling. Cycling as a deck archetype is not that popular outside of formats like modern, and seeing it work in Pauper EDH is so awesome! This deck is a blast and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.