Gonti, the Thief in Chief, Rides Again!

Outlaws of Thunder Junction is here, and while I paid attention to Ghired two weeks ago, I want to look at the most popular commander from the set so far: Gonti, Canny Acquisitor!

Original Gonti is a great time, allowing you the fun of stealing cards from someone else’s deck. The new version adds two colors, lets you cast things for cheaper, and can trigger more than once per turn! This is tricky to do via webcam, but it’s so much fun in person to have those face down cards, those awesome spells that you’re stealing from others’ decks.

Stealing creatures and spells is a deck in and of itself. Gonti gives you access to a lot of good things to do, and many of these are lined up nicely to climb in price. Since Gonti is a face commander for an entire deck, I’m going to avoid things that were printed in the deck. (way to go, tossing Edric in this deck, A+ inclusion!)

Some of these cards were mentioned last year when we got Tasha, the Witch Queen, but Gonti won’t have the same emphasis on casting the spells. Dealing damage with creatures gets you some extra cards to play with, and that’s what the deck wants most. Remember that you can play lands too!

Gonti, Lord of Luxury (Secret Lair Foil $3) – Trite but true, decks like to replicate their Commanders’ abilities. I have trouble with the idea of a deck that plays three-color Gonti but not the original. He’s in 60,000 decks on EDHREC, in addition to being the headliner for a few thousand decks. The Invisible Ink foil is available for very cheap, and should be a strong addition. 

There is a whole bunch of cards that are cheap to cast and are unblockable. This is exactly what the deck wants, so you can attack the turn you play Gonti and get some cards. Many of these have only one foil printing, and the foils have been hollowed out over time from things like Rogues and Ninja decks. These cards include: Changeling Outcast (MH2 retro foil for $4), Gudul Lurker ($1 common, $10 foil!), Mist-Cloaked Herald ($5 foil), Slither Blade ($7 foil), Tormented Soul (promo for $4), Triton Shorestalker ($6 foil), Dimir Infiltrator ($1/$15 foil), $1 Invisible Stalker.

If the new Gonti deck takes off, these are my favorite targets for this group of cards: $3 foil Escape Artist, 50¢ foil Jhessian Infiltrator, 75¢ FEA Mercurial Spelldancer , $2 foil Metathran Soldier, $3 DBL Suspicious Stowaway.

The good news is that several of these come with the Commander deck, but this would probably exert pressure on the foils to climb even higher. Outcast is also a changeling, which enables a lot of other strategies as well. The really great thing about these is that you can attack several players, put cards in exile, and use whenever. You’ll get your value!

Recently, this commander was featured on The Command Zone, with two very good inclusions: Thada Adel, Acquisitor ($12) and Toski, Bearer of Secrets (foil showcase $13). Thada is amazingly underplayed, but hasn’t been printed in 15 years. It’s the perfect card, with islandwalk and a great ability that Gonti makes even better, steal Sol Ring and play for free!

The next genre of cards that should be included are cards that draw you a card when you deal damage. You want to deal damage, so this works out nicely.

Bident of Thassa (promo $2, foil $4) – Another card that hasn’t had much reprint action, there’s enough bundle foils to need a lot of sales to get it moving.

Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor ($18, but might drop on rotation) – Paying life can sting, but the options for Gix’s second ability will be truly phenomenal. It’s a popular card in Standard at the moment, so any gains it makes means it’ll fall that much farther as rotation approaches.

Coastal Piracy ($4) – A classic, and harder to remove than Gix or the like. The only foils are OG Mercadian Masques and 8th edition, both too expensive for this endeavor.

Reconnaissance Mission ($2 surge foil!) – We’ve seen surge foils spike if they are the only premium version of a card, and this one checks all the boxes. Doesn’t matter that it’s an uncommon, you only got one of these per premium deck, and those decks are a pretty penny each.

Finally, some cards that are just good in this deck:

Kaito Shizuki (Tetsuo Hara foil for $13) – Kaito makes an unblockable, gives good value, and has a sweet foil version available for a very reasonable cost. I like what he offers and I imagine he makes it in the decks as they get built.

Xanathar, Guild Kingpin (Ampersand foils for $25) – There’s only around a thousand Ampersand promos out there, making this the sweetest version of the card available. Hilariously, Gonti’s reduction would apply to the way Xanathar allows you to play cards from their library, so go to town!

Mind Flayer, the Shadow (foils $17, Universe Within $2 nonfoil) – It’s seven mana, but you can adjust when it’s a creature and when it isn’t. There’s a surprising number of the reprint version out there, so I’d avoid those nonfoils and instead get the proper Stranger Things foil to play with. You especially want to do this before season 5, the final season, comes out on Netflix.

Havengul Lich (nonfoils $2, foils $18) – Finally, one of my pet cards when it comes to stealing things from other people. No new foils have been made since 2012, so when the run begins on the foils, those prices will go high quickly. The ability costs one mana, and Gonti reduces the cost by the same amount, so the two of them together read ‘you may play Sultai creature spells from any graveyard’ and that’s a very good time.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.