So. I'm torn between Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker and Chainer, Dimentia Master.
Both seem to do what I'd like a mono black deck to do, use the graveyard as a tool box for recursive etb triggers.
Shirei is awesome because the effect is essentially free, if only once per turn per creature. Chainer is awesome because you're only limited by Mana and life that you have available.
I'm curious what the community feels about these two commanders respectively. I'm going to end up building both most likely. I'm guessing that there are many cards that fit both strategies well enough.
Are they interchain(ha!)geable?
I guess mostly I'm wondering what the biggest difference in building them should be.
Shirei can only return things the turn they die, only if they are small enough, and only if Shirei is in play continuously from before the creature's death until the end of turn. It can be a fun deck and can get a lot of triggers (on each player's turn) but it is easily disrupted.
Chainer can return things regardless of when or even how they got to the graveyard, or even whose graveyard they are in. But if Chainer leaves, you risk losing your reanimated fodder permanently unless you can sac it in response. A couple lifegain creatures like Gray Merchant or Disciple of Bolas can easily negate the lifeloss.
I'd say Chainer is more powerful, but are you looking for power/fun/both?
And check out edhrec.com to see the cards commonly run in each.
I haven't run a Shirei deck before, but based on the timing of the delayed trigger I bet it works somewhat like Marchesa, where you amass a value engine that overwhelms your opponents. Shadowborn Apostle is also a fun twist on it.
Chainer can be activated whenever you want, but the toll of 3 life per activation adds up quickly. You don't spam that ability but end up using it very judiciously. You could very well end up treating him like an 8-CMC commander in regard to not casting him until you can also activate him immediately (or at least still have the BBB available to activate him up until your next turn). It's a very Mono-Black Control kind of deck for me, where most of the times I activate Chainer are in response to something or at the opponent's end step just before my turn.
Shirei is very build around and specific. Often times, the builds I've seen has been stax like decks that groind your opponents out and finishes things with cards like Kormus Bell + Urborg. Chainer opens up a wider/more general playingfield for you. Ye old big mana and reanimating strategies and what not. And I've seen him putting up results as well.
But good reasoning with how you're gonna start, who knows, maybe you'll order the rest for Shirei later.
Having played Shirei, my main feeling is that it's a very on/off deck. With shirei in play, you can empty enemy hands and boards quickly, and keep them empty, to the point that the game grinds to a halt and everyone hates you, but often can't do anything about it until someone topdecks an answer. And with shirei not in play, your deck is mostly trash that does little or nothing.
Personally I find this kind of commander to get old rather quickly. It's kind of fun to "do the thing" once or twice, but after that's done...eh.
Chainer seems less explosive but also less vulnerable, since he's not tied to low-impact creatures, as shirei is.
Unless you're building a utility package, Chainer's what you're looking for. A big part of reanimator decks is getting around mana costs.
Shirei falls into the list of "package cards", like Sun Titan or Isochron Scepter or Reveillark (if you're not just going straight up combo). These cards are good, but get better if you build around them.
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Card advantage is not the same thing as card draw. Something for 2B cannot be strictly worse than something for BBB or 3BB. If you're taking out Swords to Plowshares for Plummet, you're a fool. Stop doing these things!