When Tasigur was initially spoiled, I was immediately excited for him. Finally, there was an infinite mana outlet in the Command zone for UBG! As I've played with Tasigur recently, I've been consistently impressed with how versatile and powerful he is as a Commander. To me, Tasigur is the epitome of Magic: The Gathering’s Sultai wedge.
Black is for extortion, corruption, and reanimation. Tasigur’s power is built on the back of enslaved zombies, which power was gained via an ancient pact with the Rakshasa Tiger-Demons and the Naga, and is represented in cards like Demonic Tutor, the devious Vizier, Sidisi, and Vampiric Tutor. Tasigur is ruthless and capricious, preferring to wound his victims in a way that leave no mark on the flesh. His power over his undead minions is well-represented by cards like Reanimate, Animate Dead, and Life // Death. Such Reanimation is a twisting of nature’s life cycle, and Tasigur happily wields this power to inflict his cruelty in nefarious ways; sending poisonous Typhoid Rats on an ambassador’s ship to infect an unsuspecting opponent is a hallmark tactic of Tasigur.
But in order to subvert nature’s cycle, Tasigur needs to have an understanding of nature, represented by Green. Green is about strength, natural growth, and the feral triumph of predators over prey. This ferocity, strength, and feral instinct is represented most aptly by Survival of the Fittest, Protean Hulk, and Beast Within. Growth is represented by cards like Life from the Loam, Birds of Paradise, and Nature's Claim. Tasigur happily uses the strength of nature and amplifies it through his corrupting power of Reanimation.
Finally, Tasigur is devious, a characteristically Blue trait. All of his corrupted power over the Life Cycle is directed towards his own sinister goals. Plans within plans to take advantage of the opportunity that is the world, Tasigur craves knowledge and control above all else. His desire for control is well represented by cards like Mana Drain, Chain of Vapor, and Force of Will. His driving desire to accumulate knowledge is captured by cards like Spellseeker, Mystical Tutor, and Windfall. And his devious plans are represented by cards like Flash, Gilded Drake, and Intuition.
All in all, Tasigur represents the best colors in Commander and offers a unique representation for how you want to describe yourself, dear reader. In fact, a more complete description of this Wedge's philosophy can be found below, described by MTGSal user KarnTerrier:
UBG is about mixing the cold amoral detachment and manipulative nature of Blue with the immoral selfishness of Black and the dog-eat-dog savagery of Green. Green/Black will do anything to survive, while Blue/Black will do anything to thrive, but Blue/Black/Green sees surviving and thriving as the same thing. In its eyes, Green's drive to eat and grow is no different from Blue's desire to perfect itself using whatever resources are available, and no different from Black's desire to acquire power and wealth using any means necessary. Green hunger and Black greed and the Blue desire to improve oneself are all just different expressions of the same fundamental drive - the drive to take whatever you can and use it to build yourself up, the drive to consume, literally or metaphorically. Fundamentally, Blue/Black/Green is about predation.
Its primary tools are realism, efficiency, adaptability, stealth, and total ruthlessness. Green/Blue and Green/Black are both color pairs associated with seeing the world for what it is: Green/Blue is the truth-seeker, the observer studying and examining the world to better understand it, while Green/Black is the cynic, the gritty and pragmatic survivalist that's all too aware of how harsh and unforgiving the world can be. Together, they form a color triad with a deep understanding of the world around it, a color triad that has absolutely no illusions about how the world works, a color triad with a keen awareness of its surroundings that knows exactly how to use everyone and everything in its environment to its advantage.
It knows how to make the most of whatever resources are available, without letting anything go to waste or remain unused. Green/Black is used to surviving for long periods of time with very little sustenance, but it retains its scarcity mindset even in times of plenitude, so it can never hope to move beyond bare subsistence.
Conversely, Blue/Black is very skilled at using resources to improve its lot in life, but it doesn't know how to survive when those resources aren't available. Green/Black is like the poor man who wins the lottery and quickly squanders his wealth because he doesn't know what to do with it, while Blue/Black is like the rich investor who goes bankrupt and can't adapt to a life of poverty because she has no idea how to cut expenses or keep a budget. Blue/Black/Green is more like the con artist who's equally talented at grifting common crooks on the street for a few hundred bucks and swindling businessmen in boardrooms for millions of dollars worth of investments. Blue/Black would die of starvation and exposure in the Abzan desert, while Green/Black would be a hopeless and worthless vagabond in the cities of Esper, but Blue/Black/Green could find a way to survive in either. It's wise enough to conserve resources when they're scarce, driven enough to utilize its resources to their fullest potential when they're in abundance, and savvy enough to when the time is right for either.
It displays similar versatility in other areas. Blue, Black, and Green are the colors most associated with stealth: Blue/Black is associated with deception and subtlety, while Green predators rely on physical concealment to stalk and pounce on their prey, taking advantage of cover and camouflage. As a result, Blue/Black/Green knows there's a time to hold back and conserve energy and hide its capabilities, and a time to go all out and fully exert itself and unleash its full strength. It's capable of acting restrained and civilized when interacting with polite society, and just as capable of raw brutal savagery when the veneer of civilization is no longer present. It's capable of feigning helplessness or subservience when it's in a disadvantaged position, but as soon as it has the upper hand, it'll gladly stab its masters in the back and betray anyone who was foolish enough to show it mercy.
Blue/Black/Green has no limitations whatsoever; there is absolutely nothing that it won't do to stay alive and get ahead. While all colors are capable of being ruthless and Black even holds ruthlessness as one of its core values, Blue/Black/Green is the only color combination that's almost wholly defined by total ruthlessness in all things. On its own, Green is savage but fundamentally honest; it may use stealthy tactics, but it won't lie or manipulate people or hide behind laws and social customs. Blue/Black/Green, on the other hand, is a Social Darwinist: It sees society as just another part of nature, and it sees deception and manipulation as simply being natural tactics for a predator to take advantage of. In its eyes, being a social predator is no different than being a natural predator. Green will confront its enemies head-on, even if it means risking defeat; Blue/Black/Green will only confront its enemies head-on when it's certain that it will win.
Having access to the three best colors in Commander alongside a Commander who takes advantage of graveyard synergies, infinite mana combos, and recurring control pieces, Tasigur is an excellent choice for grindy, long-term games or for executing a quick combo line.
The FlashHulk package was chosen for several reasons:
Its CMC efficiency (all you need to do is cast Flash with Hulk in hand)
The speed with which it can be executed (2 mana combos are REALLY good)
The synergy of the pieces to the deck as a whole (creatures are really good in a Reanimator/Control shell)
And because I think it best embodies the Sultai color identity (winning off of a dying creature that was manipulated into dying is nearly a perfect representation of the Sultai identity)
Looking to win in a spectacularly ruthless and slightly gruesome way? Welcome to the Sultai Brood.
Well, benjameenbear, there’s better Flash Hulk Commanders that I could be playing. Why should I play with Tasigur?
I believe the primary reason to choose Tasigur over any other Commander is because of how incredibly well he can grind. His ability allows you to reuse cards that you’ve already cast, thereby giving you additional copies of the best removal and interaction spells in your deck. How would you feel if you could jam in 3 copies of Force of Will, 4 copies of Abrupt Decay, 2 copies of Nature’s Claim, AND 2 copies of Assassin's Trophy to your decklist? Without compromising any other deckslots? Personally, I say “Sign me up!” Beyond the ability to infinitely recur the same spells repeatedly, Tasigur's ability is also inherently political. Your opponents are not always united against you; sometimes, they're united against a different opponent who is threatening to combo or who has an overwhelming board presence. None of your opponents want to lose the game; this is contradictory to the purpose of playing Commander! And because they don't want to lose, they will help you get the best spell with Tasigur's ability in order to not lose to a different opponent. If no one else has an answer to stop the current threat, you can target an opponent who would lose and have them give you the answer needed to stop the current threat.
On top of these reasons, I think Tasigur is also better because he enables Eldritch Evolution to be a one-card combo all by itself. By sac-ing Tasigur to the Evolution, you can effectively get any creature you want into play for a significantly reduced cost. Add in the fact that Tasigur can Delve cards away to fuel his casting cost and you have a very efficient 2 card combo that you can play with a great deal of consistency. The primary target for Eldritch Evolution is to find Razaketh, the Foulblooded and get it into play with another body to sacrifice. Once Razaketh hits play, you can then sac the other creature to go and get Life // Death. Life/Death will then turn your lands into additional bodies to sacrifice to Razaketh’s ability, allowing you to assemble a host of 2 card combos as long as you have 4 lands. Being able to have this kind of combo line is extremely powerful and gives you additional flexibility of how you play out your deck in-game.
Now, let’s look at Tasigur in comparison with the other Sultai and Flash Hulk Commanders available.
GWUBThrasios, Triton Hero + Tymna the Weaver – probably the strictly better Commander for employing a Flash Hulk package, the addition of W opens up the CephalidBreakfast combo and Angel's Grace synergies. Because there’s such an easy way to self-mill your entire library at instant speed, one that has natural synergy with Hermit Druid, it’s very easy to sac the Hulk and win from the ‘yard entirely. Thrasios not requiring colored mana in order to functionally draw your deck is a much stronger infinite outlet by default, and many decks have shifted towards Thrasios for that reason. This opens up additional infinite mana options (i.e. Power Artifact + Basalt Monolith) that are less effective in Tasigur. I believe that Tasigur offers strong political interactions, a cleaner mana base, and an additional one-card win condition in Eldritch Evolution that is simply too good to pass over. I think it really depends on what flavor of Flash Hulk you like. I personally prefer a more traditional Flash Hulk package that I can run alongside the Razaketh Combo line (described previously). And also because Sultai was the first color combination of deck that I had success with in my Commander career.
UBGSidisi, Brood Tyrant – the old-school Sidisi can be built in a couple of different ways. A purely Competitive Commander build that I’ve seen mashes three different combo lines into one deck: Food Chain combo, FlashHulk combo, and Hermit Druid combo. The crazy thing about this hyper competitive build is that all three of those combos kinda work together. The other way to build Sidisi is similar to what DementedKirby has (his very excellent Primer on value Sidisi can be found here). A value and graveyard based synergy deck is still a very strong way to play Sidisi. I prefer Tasigur over Sidisi because he almost always costs under 3 CMC to cast, even if he’s died 2 or 3 times already (gotta love that Delve ability), and his recursive ability is more akin to what I like as a player. Being able to recur cards from my ‘yard to interact with my opponents is much preferred instead of generating a board presence through self-mill. Tasigur is reactive whereas Sidisi is proactive; I’m a control player at heart.
UBGThe Mimeoplasm – my love for the amorphous Dino-Arm monstrosity is pretty substantial, I’m not going to lie. Anytime you can put the Dino-Arm Commander into play and eat someone’s face off makes my inner 8 year old feel like he’s controlling Jurassic Park. And the synergies that The Mimeoplasm has with Sultai’s color combination is pretty significant as well. The primary reason we play Tasigur over The Mimeoplasm is because Tasigur will usually cost less and, again, favors a more reactive strategy. Additionally, I think that the ‘Plasm also has a negative reputation going for it, possibly leading to the targeting of your deck before the game even starts.
UBGDamia, Sage of Stone – the card advantage she can accrue to you as a player is the real deal. Having a functional Necropotence in your Command zone is quite powerful and rewards fast combo decks pretty significantly. As an example of how you can build Damia, I recommend you check out the retired thread here for additional insight as to how you can build Damia and her strengths. Tasigur almost always costs less than Damia and allows a much stronger Control plan than what Damia can offer. Damia, by herself, is also not a combo piece and so Tasigur’s Eldritch Evolution is extremely relevant when comparing the two.
Ok, so the real reason you’re here is to see the decklist. I personally find it easier to see each card sorted according to function, so I’ve listed the decklist accordingly. Each section is sorted by the Converted Mana Cost (CMC) of the card and then alphabetically; the number immediately to the left of the card indicates the CMC of the respective card, not how many copies are represented in the deck.
An important thought before the decklist is presented. I do not claim that the one presented below is the absolute end-all-be-all of Tasigur decklists for three reasons:
The list below is a selection of the cards that have been most effective in the games that I have played. There might be cards that work for your playstyle better than others, and the list below is a reflection of what has been most optimal given my game experience.
Many of the card choices are chosen to maximize particular synergies, Survival of the Fittest being the main culprit followed by Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Gaea's Cradle. There are 26 creatures in the deck, some of them more expensive in CMC than other, non-creature options, and they are all chosen to help Survival be useful at any stage in the game. You can easily do a higher concentration of spells OR creatures without diluting the deck too much.
I believe that competitive Commander is an exercise in metagaming; no list you read online will be perfect for your own hometown meta, and too many primers online insist haughtily that their list/card choices are the best possible ones EVER. That's an unhealthy mindset that stifles creativity and flexibility in deckbuilding, and I won't allow that nonsense in my thread.
For you budget minded players that can only spend around $150 or so to build a deck, this list is for you. It eschews the primary Flash Hulk plan and instead focuses on infinite mana creation. There’s also a heavier creature theme to take advantage of the natural recursion and creature synergies in the deck.
Competitive Commander games and strategies are dictated by decks that can break the two in-born balances of the game: cards drawn per turn (card advantage) and mana production. Since the game pace is defined by these limitations, any deck that can affect either of these in their favor will have an inherent advantage over any other deck that they play against.
To delve a little further into the philosophy of Magic: The Gathering, this game is ultimately a game of math, statistics being the most predominant. I won't go into the technicalities of probabilities and statistics (because I find it boring and because I don't have a great grasp on the math) but the two things that restrict this game, generally, are mana availability and number of cards drawn per turn. Every deck, that is top-tier and competitive, finds some ways to overcome these restrictions. I won't go into the structured play of Standard, Modern, or Legacy, and simply focus on EDH. EDH is a wonderful format where these restrictions are prohibitive since we are running singletons of every card except basic lands. This means that we need to fill in redundancy of card effects without being able to use multiple copies of a particular card. This necessitates a vast breadth of knowledge of the available card pool in MTG and what is good, which is a side benefit of playing EDH. As an Combo-Control deck, however, these restrictions are especially prohibitive because we are trying to maintain card advantage and card parity with not just one opponent, but most likely three or four opponents at the same time. The more mana and card advantage that we have, consequently, the greater our opportunity to interact with each of our opponents OR more quickly execute our own game strategy.
The more infamous cEDH decks that are played are usually Ad Nauseam Storm variants (Jeleva Grixis Storm or Zur the Enchanter Storm probably being the most notable) because they play all the fast mana rocks and rituals available (to maximize the amount and colors of mana available to them in the early stages of the game) and also the most advantageous card draw spells that are legal in the format, the most recognizable of which are Ad Nauseam, Necropotence, or Timetwister. Because they play all the best cards in the best colors for combos, ramp, interaction, and card advantage, they overcome both of these balances and sit atop the Competitive Commander scene.
But, with Protean Hulk's unbanning on 4/24/2017, there has been a sharp increase in the number of decks that utilize the fat Combo-Pig in order to find an infinite combo of some sort. Breakfast Hulk decks are now a little more populous as the competitive Commander deck of choice because the win condition is so compact; you typically only need to activate Hermit Druid once or cast Flash with Hulk in hand. Since this can theoretically be done on T2-T3 with some consistency, Hulk variants are very effective at winning the game because you can shortcut the typical mana constraints of executing an infinite combo for just 1G or 1U.
This decklist aims to take advantage of this compact win condition and also attempts to synergize the pieces of that combo into the deck as seamlessly as possible. Consequently, the card choices are influenced substantially by what will make the combo pieces better outside of the Combo.
The next tier of decks that dominate the cEDH scene are Stax variants because they oppressively restrict opponents' card-draw, board, and/or resource development simultaneously. Stax decks are very effective because their effects are symmetrical across the table; unlike U decks, Stax decks aren't looking to 1-1 their opponents. They don't have to conserve a Counterspell for every play that each of otheir opponents might do in order to maintain control of the game. For example, a player can instead play Winter Orb and constrain all of their opponents' mana production, restricting the basic pillar of mana production that Commander, and MTG generally, requires. They then usually have cards in their decklist that will help them break parity on those Stax effects (meaning that they and ONLY they can get around those Stax effects) and continue to execute their game plan. Cursed Totem is another Stax All-Star, and is one of the most significant Stax/Hate pieces you'll come up against.
It's important to note that this deck has been configured to support a more mid-range strategy in addition to rushing the Flash Hulk Combo. The average CMC is above 2.5 and includes several cards in the main decklist that might be suspect for a more streamlined, low-to-the-ground CMC deck. Disciple of Bolas is an example of this type of concession, as it presents a method to sacrifice a creature (check for Protean Hulk synergies), gain life (survive early Aggro beats to get into the late-game), draw cards (to accrue card advantage over opponents), and is itself a creature (check for Survival of the Fittest synergy). The deck is designed this way to allow maximum resiliency to the deck as a whole, giving you opportunities to win at any stage of the game. After you play this deck a few times, your opponents will get wise to your strategy and you'll therefore need to adjust YOUR playstyle and strategy accordingly. The decklist is designed to cater to this flexibility instead of being pigeon-holed into combo-ing out all the time every time. Do you need to hold up interaction during the early turns to stop another Fast Combo deck at the table? No problem, there's an excellent selection to enable this. Looking to race slower, more mid-range decks to assemble a win in the early turns of the game before anyone else has set up? The tutor package is robust enough to allow you to do this to. And if you get stopped during the early game to combo, you should have plenty of resources and card advantage to really shine in the late-game.
Spells are chosen for this deck based on these criteria: how expensive is it to cast (CMC considerations)? How powerful is the effect (Power consideration)? Does it provide card advantage? Does it synergize with the rest of the deck? Nearly all of the Removal and Counterspells in the deck are under 3 CMC, allowing you the greatest opportunity to hold up interaction during an opponent's turn or to protect your own Combo turn with the lowest amount of mana spent to do so. Nearly every card is also looking to generate some form of card advantage. In the case of extremely powerful cards, like Assassin's Trophy, the card advantage to the card is put aside in favor of the raw power the card provides.
Tasigur himself is a primary way of generating Card Advantage and he should be cast and utilized often. His ability is powerful enough to warrant the inclusion of 2 cards that are kinda not so good on their own: Seedborn Muse and Training Grounds. Both of these cards enable Tasigur, and you by extension, to be the Policeman at the table. The two cards together create a nearly unbeatable card advantage machine that puts a hard stop on anyone else's ability to combo off without Interaction from you.
This section will be an attempt to give you some guidelines on how you can be the best Control player at your table and ensure that you always have the best chances to end up winning the stack so that you can win the game.
It is very important to me that I give you Laboratory Maniac user Cameron a specific shout out here, since this section is an expansion/adaptation of a section of his Tasigur Primer that can be found here. Cameron accurately captures the primary points of critical thinking that is necessary for evaluating threats at the table and I humbly admit that I stand on his shoulders for this section.
I’m going to assume that you are familiar with the decks that your opponents will be playing and, more importantly, familiar with your opponents themselves. Understanding how your opponents think will allow you the best chance to call their bluffs and generally squeeze every benefit possible out of a game. So, how do you know what to interact with?
This question series is something that I mentally go through every time a major, or what appears to be a major, spell hits the stack or permanent entering the battlefield. It’s helped me a great deal in knowing what spells to counter and which ones to let slide so that I can conserve my resources and win.
Do I Care About the Spell/Permanent? – this is the first thing I ask myself. Does the spell/permanent (which I will nickname ‘Action’ throughout this discussion) immediately affect my board state? If an opponent is destroying a mana rock that I need in order to complete my own combo lines or board development, I probably care A LOT about that Action. If it’s a mana rock, the answer would be ‘No’, so I would probably let the Action slide. As an example, one of my most hated cards, because of how many times it's wrecked my Memnarch deck, is Bane of Progress and that card must ABSOLUTELY be dealt with if I'm to win a game with Memnarch. The next question, of similar import, is does the Action affect my own gameplan? If it does hinder my ability to execute my win condition/combo lines, then I probably should care about the Action and do something about it.
Is the Action a Threat? – following the judgment about whether or not I care about the spell, the next question to ask is “Will this stop me from winning?” If it does, you should again interact with the Action if you can. The ultimate goal of Commander is to win and defeat your opponents. Anything that hinders that goal needs to be interacted with if possible. If this means that a substantial amount of your board state is destroyed/invalidated, you should probably interact with the Action. In a similar vein of thinking, you should also ask yourself “Does this Action allow an opponent to win the game RIGHT NOW?” If yes, interact with them to disrupt the Action so you can complete the primary goal of the game. If no, then you can probably let it slide.
Does it hurt other opponents? - Once you’ve identified that you care about the Action and have deemed it a threat, it’s then important if this kind of threat hinders our opponents even more than us. A common example of this type of evaluation is a Wrath effect. Generally speaking, you have creatures in the deck because you care about their usefulness and value to helping you win the game. Typically your creatures are an important way that you execute your combo. However, if it hurts an opponent even more than you, and isn’t a MAJOR threat to your ultimate goal (winning), then it might be a good idea to let the Wrath occur because it hinders one of your opponents even more than you. Anything that hinders your opponents will help give you more opportunities to achieve the ultimate goal.
Who deals with the Action? – turn order matters in this particular question. If you’re third in line to respond to the Action, it might be that an opponent that can respond earlier than you will respond to the Action. If the Action occurs and you’re next in turn order, is there another Blue deck behind you that can interact/prevent the Action? If so, will they perceive the Action to be a big enough Threat to them to stop it for you? If a Blue player behind you has mana open, a significant number of cards in hand, and has only interacted a few times during the game, it might be wise to pass priority so that you force this Blue player to spend a resource to interact with the Action if it’s a threat to them. This is how you can conserve your own resources and create windows of opportunity to win the game for yourself.
How do I deal with it? – if the responsibility to interact with the Action unavoidably falls to you, you then need to ask how you can deal with it. The goal of a competitive Commander game is to win, and we usually do this by fizzling out the Fast Combo players, allowing Stax pieces to hit the board that are tolerable to our own strategy and board development but oppressive to our opponent’s strategies/board states, and to maintain card and/or mana advantage over other Control decks. Seems like a tall order, no? Well, it is. That’s why you’re reading this, presumably. Knowing how to conserve your resources and when to interact is a critical skillset that you need to learn. You then need to evaluate how you need to deal with it. Does the Action need to be answered on the stack? Can we use resources that are already on our board to stop/hinder the Action (Vedalken Shackles is a great way to steal out a combo creature out from underneath a Combo player, for example). You generally want to conserve Counterspells for the spells that are most Threatening, the ones that you CANNOT let resolve. Ad Nauseam or Flash are prime examples of Actions that demand a Counterspell. Targeted Removal spells, like Chain of Vapor or Blink of an Eye, we try to reserve for High Value permanents. Mass Removal is generally used when the resource or board development of our opponents is superior to our own and we need to reset them and cost them more time and resources to redevelop that board state.
Is this the Right Opportunity? – sometimes, if you interact with an Action prematurely, you simply allow a player before you to untap and execute their own combo line and win if you cast/interact too soon. Understanding Table order is important in this assessment, as you generally want a player behind you to answer the Action if at all possible so that you maximize your own chances of winning on your turn or of keeping ahead of a player before you in turn order from executing their own combo. The resources at the table are finite, so you want to try and use timing and politics to maximize your ability to have your opponents respond to Actions and conserve your resources.
I hope that this question sequence is relevant to you and helps to shed some insight on how I personally evaluate any Action that occurs within a game.
Opening Hands & Mulligans
With Vancouver mulligans being the accepted and normal way to Mulligan for Commander games, it's important that you know how to evaluate your opening hand and determine if it's keepable or if you need a fresh 7. Generally speaking, an ideal opening hand will have 1-2 lands, 2-3 mana sources, 1-2 card advantage spells, 1 tutor, and 1-2 interaction spells. This kind of opening hand gives you the greatest flexibility to how your opponents start their opening hand. Some example hands are demonstrated here to give you an idea of how I would evaluate some opening hands.
It's also important to note which decks you're playing against. Are you sitting down with a bunch of other fast combo decks? Is Stax more present in your opponent's decks potentially? Or are you playing against more casual players? Depending on what you're playing against, it's important that you evaluate your hand according to what you'll need to best fight against your opponents.
This is a slow hand, frankly. The lack of additional mana sources besides the lands makes this unattractive. While there are some great interaction pieces present in the Decay and Chain, I think the hand is probably a little slow. I would ship this off for a fresh 7.
This is a fantastic hand. You can easily assemble the signature Flash Hulk combo and execute it with protection on T3, T2 if you're feeling brave/crazy. The sequence would be T1 Fetch land -> Mana Crypt -> Spellseeker, finding Flash. T2 play the Grave untapped, cast Diabolic Intent, sac the Spellseeker to find Protean Hulk. From here, you have enough mana to cast Flash and win or you could slow roll it to get protection on Turn 3 by casting [the Shaman. This hand would definitely be an auto-keep since you can race so quickly if you wanted to.
While this hand has the coveted Eldritch Evolution, it's risky in the mana production it can generate. Gaea's Cradle is a risky land to play with only one creature in the opening hand. I think that I would keep this one, though, and take the risk that I can Brainstorm into more mana sources. I'd make it my goal to get an early Tasigur into play and attempt the Eldritch Razaketh Combo line once I have enough mana sources.
Early Game: Turns 1-3
Ok, so you've got your starting hand and the dice have been rolled to determine turn order. You'll want to evaluate your opening hand to see if you want to aggressively combo out and attempt to win quickly or if you want to slow roll your game plan and maintain control. The two most important things to consider in the opening sequences is card advantage and mana advantage. We want to have more than our opponents in these respective departments, if possible, so try and sequence your playing accordingly. If you started out with some good mana sources, play them out so that you can cast more spells more quickly.
Also try and keep an eye on any notorious combo decks that you're sitting down with. What are they doing? If they're aggressively tutoring in the first few turns of the game, it's likely that they're going to try and jam their combo ASAP. This means that you'll want to prioritize keeping mana up for removal/interaction so that you don't lose the game too early.
The early stages of the game are what will set you up for the rest of it. Make sure that you try and develop your mana sources as quickly as possible since mana advantage is what will allow you to do more things in the course of a game. One of the reasons that our deck has a fairly small mana curve is so that you can deploy a number of cards quickly within the early turns of the game. This will help you to solidify your position at the table as you go into the Mid Game
Mid Game: Turns 3-5
Yeah, the Mid Game stage for a competitive Commander game is right about T3. This is where Combo decks will be trying to win or set up their win condition. Mid Range Control/Combo decks are going to try and get a Card Advantage engine of some sort established and generating value. Stax decks will have slammed down some sort of Stax piece that will be most likely hindering the table from effectively executing their respective strategies. Like the 'How to Play Control' section indicates, you'll want to fizzle the combo players, out maneuver the Mid Range decks, and keep Stax pieces at a tolerable level for your own board development and strategy.
If you've elected to try for an aggressive combo execution, I recommend having at least one Counterspell in hand so that you can force it through (pun intended) any opposing interaction. Nearly all of the tutors in the deck are cheap enough in CMC that you should be able to chain a few of them together in the early turns and threaten a win at any time. That's one of the beautiful things about the Flash Hulk combo; it can be done at instant speed for a VERY low CMC. Because the combo is so compact AND operates at instant speed, you can basically choose the best window of opportunity for yourself and proceed to win. Bonus points if you can Combo win in response to someone else attempting to Combo off!
If, on the other hand, you've elected to slow roll your strategy and maintain some control over the board, than you will want to prioritize continuing to develop your mana and card advantage. Casting Tasigur for a reduced casting cost (thanks, Delve!) is probably a great idea so that you can being to hold up mana during others' turns and start getting cards from your 'yard. There's almost no card in the deck that you don't want to see, so while there might be some less good picks that your opponents give you, you will largely appreciate the extra cards that you'll be accumulating. Some cards that I would look to tutor for at this stage of the game are Survival of the Fittest, Seedborn Muse, and Sylvan Library. All of these cards will help you keep card advantage flowing or help you dig into combo pieces so that you can win the game.
Handle threats as they come with the Removal spells and Counterspells that are in the deck. Hostage Taker is like Dimir's version of Dack Fayden and can help you simultaneously hinder an opponent and advance your own mana development. Eldritch Evolution is really going to shine at this stage of the game since you'll probably be able to cast it quickly in this stage of the game. You can then put Razaketh, the Foulblooded into play and start chaining tutors together or you can put Nezahal, Primal Tide to start attacking for 7 and draw you cards. Skullclamp is here so that any Wrath effects that an opponent casts will get you cards or so that you can turn those early game mana dorks (think Llanowar Elves or Elvish Mystic) into card advantage. Skullclamp is a great card draw engine and turns out creatures into additional sources of card advantage.
In summary, this is the stage of the game where you want to be able to lock in your strategy and start executing it. If you're looking for fast combo, chain tutors together until you have the two card combo you want in hand. If you're firmly on the Control/Grindy plan, get those card advantage engines going with a strong mana base.
Late Game: Turns 5+
Alright, now we're here, the end-game. And yes, it does start on T5 when you're playing against a host of other competitive Commander decks.
So, it's likely that you've stopped the combo players from being able to go off with your excellent understanding of 'How to Play Control in Commander' and/or lost some resources yourself via Wrath effects, Removal effects, or Retaliation antics. One of the nice things about Tasigur is his stats; a 4/5 is no joke and can successfully block a majority of the creatures that you would see. This makes attacking you an unfavorable proposition for your opponents and encourages them to send any attacks elsewhere, therefore conserving your life total.
Ideally you'll have at least one card advantage engine going for you that is helping to keep your hand full of things to do. Rhystic Study is an all-star at this stage of the game when mana margins on opposing spells are thin. Seedborn Muse + Tasigur, the Golden Fang or Muldrotha, the Gravetide will help you to recur any cards you need from the 'yard. While I feel I've already addressed Tasigur's political value at the beginning of the Primer, I think it's worth repeating: use Tasigur's ability to recur key Removal and Counterspells in order to keep the table at an equilibrium. We want the table to be gummed up and for our opponents to have spent resources to unsuccessfully execute their combos. Once that ideal equilibrium has been achieved, you can usually begin to start chaining tutors or card draw spells together in order to find, assemble, and execute one of the infinite combos in the deck.
Now, there are two primary combos in the deck that operate on totally different lines. The primary combo is the FlashHulk plan to infinitely deal damage to your opponents. The secondary combo is DramaticScepter for infinite mana, which will then be funneled into Tasigur's ability to "draw" your deck and recur certain cards over and over again. A brief explanation of each combo will follow.
Flash Hulk Combo Explanation
The end goal of the Flash Hulk Combo is to get the following three creatures into play: Carrion Feeder, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, and Walking Ballista. So, if you assemble these pieces without using Flash or Protean Hulk, that's ok too and can actually be a sneaky way to assemble the pieces. Mikaeus is quite powerful as a card, so he is welcome as a value creature as well. The technical steps to this combo are as follows:
Cast Flash with Protean Hulk in your hand. Once Flash resolves, you are going to put the Hulk into play as part of Flash's resolution.
Choose not to pay the reduced mana cost of the creature, as Flash specifies, causing the Hulk to be sacrificed as part of the spell's resolution.
Hulk's dying trigger will go onto the stack. This is an opportunity for an opponent to Trickbind you and cause your combo to fizzle, for your information.
Once the Hulk's dying trigger resolves, you are going to search your library for Phyrexian Delver and Carrion Feeder, two creatures whose CMC equals 6 exactly (to satisfy the Hulk's dying trigger). EDIT: This chain can also include Body Snatcher AND Sylvan Safekeeper, affording you the protection of your Flash Hulk combo from instant speed spot removal.
As Phyrexian Delver ETB, return the Hulk to play. EDIT: WIth Body Snatcher, respond to its ETB trigger with Carrion Feeder's sacrifice activated ability. This will put the Snatcher's Dying trigger on top of the stack ABOVE the Snatcher's ETB trigger, and will resolve first according to the Stack rules, allowing you to get the Hulk back to play with NO life loss AND with protection via Sylvan Safekeeper. The Snatcher will be exiled.
Sacrifice the newly Reanimated Hulk to the Feeder via the Feeder's activated ability.
The Hulk's dying trigger will now go on the stack again.
Once this second Hulk trigger resolves, search your library for Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Walking Ballista. The Ballista's CMC is equal to 0 when it is in your deck, so you'll be able to put it into play alongside Mikaeus and still satisfy the Hulk's trigger.
State-based effects, via Mikaeus, cause the Ballista to be a 1/1 (it is a technically non-Human creature). You then sacrifice the Ballista to the Feeder via the Feeder's ability.
Since the Ballista has undying, courtesy of Mikaeus, and also has no +1/+1 counters, its undying ability will trigger, causing it to come back to play with a +1/+1 counter.
With the Ballista's natural ability to remove +1/+1 counters, remove the +1/+1 counter and deal 1 damage to any target.
Sacrifice the Ballista to the Feeder's ability, causing step 9 to occur again.
Repeat steps 9-12 until every opponent has received a lethal amount of damage via the Ballista's ability. You'll also have an incidentally massive Carrion Feeder that you can swing at somebody with in order to kill them.
This combo will allow you to kill the table at instant speed and with a great deal of flexibility since the main conversion steps in the combo outlined are activated abilities not requiring a tap symbol.
Now, if one of your combo pieces is stuck in hand, you can instead substitute the Phyrexian Delver selection in Step 4 with Body Snatcher and the Feeder. (EDIT: The primary Flash Hulk line can now focus exclusively on the Snatcher. See the updated Combo explanation on how to use the Snatcher exclusively.) When the Snatcher ETB, it has a trigger that forces you to discard a creature card or exile the Snatcher. You can then discard the stranded creature combo piece to your graveyard and the Snatcher will survive its trigger. Then, sacrifice the Snatcher to Carrion Feeder to pick up the Hulk again. Sac the Hulk again, and go find Phyrexian Delver and the other part of the combo and continue looping the death triggers for Ballista, Mikaeus, and the Feeder.
Dramatic Scepter Combo Explanation
This is a combo that, alongside mana producing non-land permanents that tap to generate that mana, generates infinite mana of any color (usually). You then funnel this mana into Tasigur's activated ability to "draw" your deck (via the 'graveyard via Tasigur's ability). It then allows you to recur certain cards as many times as you like.
The first part of the combo (getting infinite mana via Dramatic Scepter) is pretty straightforward, but is explained in technical detail as follows:
Cast Isochron Scepter. Once it resolves, its Imprint trigger will go on the stack.
Select Dramatic Reversal for the Scepter's Imprint trigger, exiling it from your hand as per the Imprint trigger.
Now that you have the Reversal Imprinted on the Scepter, you can cast a copy of Dramatic Reversal with the Scepter's activated ability.
Tap non-land mana producing permanents to generate at least 2 and another color of mana.
Activate the Scepter's ability to cast a copy of Reversal, untapping all non-land permanents you control, including the Scepter.
This will reset your non-land permanents and net a mana of whatever color you tapped for in Step 4.
Repeat Steps 3-5 to get an infinite amount of mana as explained in Step 6.
Ok, cool, you now have infinite mana. So how do we actually win from here? First, we cast Tasigur from our Command Zone.
With the infinite mana we created earlier, we then use that mana to activate Tasigur's activated ability.
This will cause the top 2 cards of your library to be put into your 'yard and a non-land card from your 'yard going back to your hand, as per an opponent's choice.
With infinite mana, keeping activating Tasigur's ability until you've self-milled your library into your 'yard.
As you keep activating Tasigur's ability, you will no longer be milling two cards from the top of your library BUT you will still be receiving a non-land card from your 'yard of an opponent's choice. Eventually, your opponents will be forced to return every single non-land card from your graveyard back to your hand.
With every single non-land card in your hand and infinite mana available, you now cast Beast Within targeting an opponent's permanent.
You then activate Tasigur's ability after the Beast Within has resolved. Since Beast Within is the only non-land card in your 'yard, an opponent will be forced to return the Beast Within to you.
Repeat Steps 5-6 to destroy every single permanent each opponent controls. They now have a horde of 3/3 beast tokens.
You then cast Reality Shift on any one of your opponent's beast tokens to exile the token and Manifest the top card of that opponent's library, creating another 2/2 creature.
Repeat Steps 5-6, but with Reality Shift instead of Beast Within, to Manifest every single card from each of your opponent's decks. You will also be able to exile every beast token AND every Manifested card you just created via Beast Within/Reality Shift, even though your opponents no longer have a library that they can Manifest cards from.
With the very best 7 cards (you have to discard down to hand size at EOT) non-land cards in your library in your hand and infinite mana, you then simply pass the turn to each opponent. Barring upkeep effects that prevent them from drawing/losing (Angel's Grace is the only card I can think of), they will draw from an empty library and lose as a state-based effect. If they do have an Angel's Grace, or you suspect they have one, I recommend that you play Volrath's Stronghold and activate its ability to put a creature card on top of your library to keep from losing to your own empty library. This happens so infrequently that it will almost never be a concern to you.
These two combos are the most efficient ways that you can close out the game, but don't underestimate Tasigur beats as another way to kill a player. His 4 power adds up after 6 turns, and you can easily pressure the Ad Nauseam or Doomsday player's life total and force them to deal with your cheap Commander.
Once you've shown your opponents the RealityWithin each of them, their minds (libraries) will be so drained at this momentous revelation that they'll die. Or, if you've instead shown them the undead power of the UnhallowedBallista, their dead bodies will be so pierced with ballistas as to resemble macabre pincushions. Like I said at the beginning of the Primer, welcome to a ruthless and slightly gruesome method of winning.
Destroy your Opponents with the dual power of the Reality Within and the Unhallowed Ballista!
Important Note:Bolded cards indicate which cards are currently part of the main decklist. Other cards that have been considered for the deck will be included in the card choices section for purposes of a semi-complete Primer.
Walking Ballista - one of the win conditions of this deck and a critical piece of our Flash Hulk package, this Ballista either kills everyone at once or lots of creatures over time. The ability to dump mana into its ability to grow it makes it useful in sniping down x/1 creatures and can also give you a big beatstick if you have the mana for it. It has synergies with Survival and Skullclamp and becomes utterly ridiculous with Seedborn Muse in play. A very versatile card that allows us a great deal of control when we're not combo-ing off with it.
Birds of Paradise - a mana dork that adds one mana of any color, these Birds are quite simply the best T1 accelerant (arguments for Deathrite Shaman hinge on what's available in graveyards). It can be sacced to Razaketh for combo potential, is a tapping non-land mana permanent for the Dramatic Scepter combo, has synergy with Survival of the Fittest, and is eminently Skullclamp-able if you need to draw cards in a pinch.
Deathrite Shaman - the original 1 mana planeswalker, the Shaman can help Scavenge from graveyards in order to fuel its abilities. It acts as incidental grave-hate and usually adds mana on a consistent basis if you're playing competitively (you'll probably see fetch-lands in each opponets 'yard as well as your own over the course of a game). It, sadly, doesn't have great synergy with the Dramatic Scepter combo but is a warm body for Razaketh and Skullclamp. The incidental 'yard hate is what pushes this card as an auto-include into the deck.
Llanowar Elves, Fyndhorn Elves, Elvish Mystic - a mana dork that taps for G. It costs 1 CMC so that we can come out of the gates quickly for this deck while affording all of the same benefits that the Birds have in terms of synergies. Valuable card for tempo generation and has all the synergies we like.
Arbor Elf - this card is useful because it can untap a dual land to get off-G mana generation. Very useful during the Dramatic Scepter combo so that you can generate pretty much any color of mana.
Caustic Caterpillar - a one mana Naturalize that we can cast on T1 and then hold up mana for during Combo players' turns. Many infinite combos require some sort of Enchantment or Artifact to stay in play (looking at you, Food Chain) and this Caterpillar eats through them quickly if you need to cast and activate it in one go or you can set it and forget it until you need it. It's a creature for Survival synergies and it also synergizes very well with Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. It's also a body that you can sac to Razaketh and Skullclamp. Overall, a great card for what this deck is trying to do.
Elves of Deep Shadow - another mana dork that allows us to filter Green mana into black, this card's life loss makes it a self-kill card during the Dramatic Scepter combo.
Sylvan Safekeeper - with the update to the Flash Hulk combo as of 12/5/2018, there is now room for the Flash Hulk package to include the Safekeeper so that you can cleanly win THROUGH instant speed spot removal. It's also useful in being able to protect our key creatures from interaction over the course of a game by sacrificing lands that we can get back with Life from the Loam.
Carrion Feeder, Viscera Seer - free sac outlets that cost 1 CMC, these cards are crucial to the deck executing the Flash Hulk combo smoothly. It's pretty easy to get the Feeder to be a 5/5 or more and it can become a legitimate pressure to the table if not dealt with and the Seer can provide Card Quality. Both synergize with Survival, Cradle, Mikaeus, and Skullclamp. Both are included to ensure redundancy to the Flash Hulk chain.
Baleful Strix - one of the best 2 drops in the game of MTG ever printed, this little Strix stops an early Aggro beats cold (except for you, cursed Animar!). It replaces itself, has deathtouch, flying to block any relevant creature, replaces itself via its draw trigger, has synergy with Razaketh and Skullclamp, and helps Eldritch Evolution find some useful cards. A very powerful yet subtle card, this is one of the best cards to have been printed in a while. It sees consistent Legacy play and has placed in Top 8 lists!
Snapcaster Mage - ah, Snappycaster. A fantastic way to recur many of the cheap instants and sorceries in the deck, this card is very much worth its price tag in this deck. One of the signature combo pieces in the deck is an Instant, so being able to cast it again after a Counterspell is very valuable to this deck. The fact that it's a creature that has 1 toughness (for Skullclamp) is very relevant and can be tutored for via Survival of the Fittest. Razaketh enjoys eating it as well for a better card. Quite simply a fantastic card to have in the deck.
Gilded Drake - theft effects are one of the most crippling ways that you can eliminate an opponent's Commander from the Board. Being able to switch creatures via the Drake is better because your control over the thefted card isn't conditional on having a healthy Drake on your side of the table; the exchange has already happened and is permanent! The fact that it costs 2 CMC is what makes this card so valuable for cEDH. It's an awesome card that I'm never sad to see when I draw it and is often a card I tutor for in order to stop a potential fast start from one of my opponents.
Coiling Oracle - not quite as good as the Strix. Its ability to potentially put a land into play untapped is really neat but our land count is super low. Its lack of flying and deathtouch make the Strix the strictly better choice, in my opinion.
Wood Elves - being able to fetch an untapped Forest is sometimes the difference between combo-ing off or not. The Elves are a cheap an easy way to do so with a body that you're happy to sac to Razaketh or Skullclamp. This card is also meant to help you get into the late-game in the case that you're heavily disrupted or there's unfavorable board conditions for your combo. Casting this and reanimating it a few times is a great way to make your land drops.
Reclamation Sage - barely didn't make the list simply because my own personal playgroup plays creature heavy lists. It is eminently Skullclampable, great fodder with Razaketh, and tutorable via Survival while being easy to cast. A great card, just not quite a good fit for my personal meta.
Thrashing Brontodon - a pretty decent card from Ixalan that can kill Artifacts and Enchantments at instant speed, this is another decent inclusion for the deck. It has all the synergies we're looking for and can self-sac itself to make Skullclamp a guaranteed way to generating card advantage whilst equipped to the Dinosaur.
Plaguecrafter, Fleshbag Marauder, Merciless Executioner - since these cards are all variations of each other with the newly printed Plaguecrafter being the strictly better choice, we don't reliably Reanimate or otherwise take advantage of these cards to their best effect. Additionally, our list is as tight as possible as is, and there's simply not room for these guys in the deck.
Spellseeker - a fantastic card that enables you to find the Flash Hulk combo with any 2 creatures in hand and Survival of the Fittest in play. She can also find pretty much any type of effect that you're looking to find: need some removal? Go and get Abrupt Decay or Assassin's Trophy. Need a Counterspell? Check. What about finding the eponymous Flash because you have the Hulk in hand? You bet. Spellseeker is a wonderful card and we're absolutely happy to include her in our deck.
Body Snatcher - a decent Reanimation piece by itself, its real value comes from being able to get a Flash Hulk piece out of your hand and into the graveyard so that you can continue to Combo off. It's incidental Reanimation effect is also supremely useful and the creature count in the deck should be able to consistently allow you to use the Snatcher's effect to its full extent. It checks all the boxes for synergy and has added utility with its ability to continue the Flash Hulk chain even if Hulk or Mikaeus is stuck in your hand. EDIT: The Snatcher can now be used as the primary combo piece in the Flash Hulk chain. See the combo section for an explanation.
Venser, Shaper Savant - sometimes you just really need some all-purpose removal to solve a problem on the board. Venser lets you do that AND solve a problem on the stack. Clampable, Razaketh-able, Survival-able, Flash, Venser allows us a clean answer to any non-Shroud/Hexproof permanent on the board. Venser also has the advantage of being able to be Reanimated outside of Tasigur's ability, which can be useful sometimes.
Hostage Taker - this is basically Dimir's version of Dack Fayden. Its primary purpose is to steal those early game mana artifacts so that you can both advance your own mana development while restricting an opponent's. The best thing to steal, obviously, is Mana Crypt since you're guaranteed to put yourself ahead in mana advantage. I think this is a really great card that more people should be playing. Its CMC does make it unattractive but helps you to survive Mid-Range decks and hinder opposing Combo decks.
Ravenous Chupacabra - another decent removal spell for the deck, it's a fine inclusion for budget purposes as it has all the primary synergies we're looking for. Besides, the art is hella cool. We simply have limited deck space and are trying to have the decklist be as streamlined as possible. It's better in a dedicated Flicker deck since we can't quite as consistently retrigger it as other types of decks.
Notion Thief - for those people who love to play Wheel of Fortune effects, this Thief can literally steal you the game when an opponent tries to Wheel or Windfall the table. In fact, this creature is so powerful that we include Windfall to intentionally take advantage of this mini-Combo. Probably one of the best Dimir cards for Commander, this Thief is excellent at what it does. Skullclamp-able, can be fetched via Survival, and is in a good CMC range to consistently cast over the course of a game, this Thief absolutely deserves its slot in the deck.
Disciple of Bolas - one of the weaker cards in the deck, I find the Disciple's ability to sac creatures to draw cards and gain life to be very useful. At the very least, you can always sac Tasigur to draw a fresh 4 and gain 4 to keep yourself in the game theoretically. This card is a concession to how the decklist is built and is a way to make sure we can survive effective Mid-Range decks and any undue life loss we experienced.
Phyrexian Delver - I thought very long and hard between this and Body Double for the Flash Hulk chain. Ultimately, the utility of being able to clone the Delver via Phantasmal Image persuaded me to run this card over the Body Double. The Delver Reanimates the targeted creature in whole while the Double doesn't, and that distinction sometimes makes a significant difference in how the Chain plays out. Plus, I think the new Delver art is really cool. The life-loss is pretty substantial, however, so the Double might come in if I find myself unable to combo due to life constraints.
Sidisi, Undead Vizier - an excellent example of Sultai ruthlessness, Sidisi turns those early mana dorks into a relevant tutor effect. She has decent stats by herself and can block most things pretty profitably. And she sits just inside the cast-able CMC range for this deck at 5. Overall, a really good black card that helps to dig into tutors. Has synergies with all of the relevant cards in the deck.
Seedborn Muse - one of the better green cards for Commander, this Muse takes Tasigur to level 9000 all by herself. Being able to untap every single mana source enables you to play a super strong Control game, and she essentially acts as an additional card draw engine if you can get Tasigur into play AND protect her. The fact that she's a creature means that she plays into all of the relevant synergies in the deck.
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed - what doesn't Mikaeus do? He provides an anthem effect for almost every creature in the deck, but being able to grant Undying to your board is what makes him super powerful. It makes all of the sacrifice effects in the deck WAY better and also pushes Skullclamp over the top as a card advantage piece. The resiliency he creates to the board is quite awesome and his static destroy Human ability is sometimes relevant (take that, Kaalia!). More often than not, Mikaeus is entering play via the Hulk, so his casting cost is normally something we don't worry about too much. He's also a decent creature to attack with. Adding in the synergies that he has with Survival and his importance to the Flash Hulk combo line, and he's an auto-include in the deck that gives you significant late-game power should the game last that long.
Consecrated Sphinx - this is an absurdly strong Commander card that you could easily play. However, it draws Hate unlike anything else. I think you could choose to play both the Sphinx and Nezahal together, but I prefer Nezahal because it has the ability to protect itself. Choosing to play the Sphinx is not a bad choice at all, though, so feel free to run it in your own deck.
Muldrotha, the Gravetide - I know I was initially hyped when this card was spoiled and Muldrotha has exceeded my expectations. Being able to recur lands, artifacts, and enchantments is really quite relevant and helps to give this deck some incredible late-game advantage. Because she's a creature, she's fairly easy to get into play by herself from the 'yard and helps to recur key pieces of our deck to keep our card and mana advantage on point. She has synergies with the important parts of the deck and almost single-handedly ensures that we have a very strong Mid-Late Game strategy.
Protean Hulk - the Fat Combo Pig itself. Since this deck is based around this Pig/Lizard thing, I won't spend too much time discussing why this card is good. I still don't understand why the Commander Committee decided to allow this Pig back into the format...
Nezahal, Primal Tide - the first reason you should run this Dinosaur is because EVERY deck should run a dinosaur, if able. Dinosaurs are just hella cool. Nezahal, however, is a legitimate, consistent, and effective source of card advantage. Because it's not a may trigger you are required to draw cards whenver a non-creature spell is cast by an opponent. Combined with its really solid stats and its incredible ability to protect itself, Nezahal is the premier Card ADvantage piece for most Reanimator based decks currently. What makes Nezahal even more attractive is that it can be put into play via Eldritch Evolution if Tasigur is the additional cost. A very powerful source of card advantage, I've yet to be disappointed by its performance or miss Consecrated Sphinx.
Razaketh, the Foulblooded - probably the best B card to have been printed in a very long time, Razaketh is absolutely awesome in this deck and is indeed one of the focuses of the deck. I refer you to the Commander Analysis section where I outline his functionality to the decklist as a whole. Nevermind the fact that he's an 8/8 trampling flyer that can take a serious chunk out of an opponent's life when he starts turning sideways.
Mox Diamond - being able to get one mana of any color is really important for this deck in addition to being extremely relevant to the Dramatic Scepter Combo. It helps us to get on the board quickly and start setting up our strategy while also being an important mana permanent.
Mana Crypt - it's my opinion that fast mana is what makes competitive Commander games as broken as they are. When you can cheat on lands by playing 0 CMC mana rocks that generate the mana you need that count towards Storm count it pushes otherwise fairly costed draw 7 effects into overperforming card advantage pieces. The Crypt is one of the best mana rocks in the game and we're playing it. That is all.
Chrome Mox - another 0 CMC mana rock that generates mana of a specific color, I go back and forth between this card and the Diamond all the time. In the end, I've decided that exiling a card is a little more painful than discarding a land card. This decision could easily flux the other way, especially if your opponents are playing their own cheap CMC draw 7 effects.
Mox Amber - because Tasigur is pretty much always going to be on the field and we have a decent collection of legendary creatures in the deck already, this mana rock should pretty consistently generate mana over the course of the game. However, I can see some cases where it won't and is just a dead card on the field. And those moments would be absolutely crippling to the deck. It VERY importantly is a dead mana rock during the Tasigur -> Eldritch Evolution -> Razaketh -> -> Life/Death combo line since the Amber won't be able to generate the colors that Tasigur needs to execute the infinite mana combo.
Engineered Explosives - most of the relevant cards on our opponent's side of the table are under 3 CMC. We can consistently cast this card for either 1, 2, or 3 Sunburst counters and keep killing our opponent's cards within this range. This card is a little narrow in its application but I think it's good enough that it could earn a spot in the future.
Sol Ring - pretty standard inclusion for Commander decks and is probably the marquee card for Commander, in all honesty.
Skullclamp - one of the strongest Card Advantage spells of MTG's history, this card is extremely powerful in this deck. Between the sac effects in the deck and the high number of X/1 creatures, this card will very consistently be drawing you upwards of 4-6 cards per game. Its CMC combined with the way it takes advantage of the deck's core strategy and synergies makes it a very powerful card.
Sensei's Divining Top - this is the card I most want to find space for in the deck. It allows you to draw your deck with the Dramatic Scepter combo in the case that Tasigur is somehow unavailable to us. It also helps to smooth our draws and hopefully help us draw into relevant cards at every stage of the game. This card also has great synergy with Counterbalance, a card that I absolutely love in cEDH games.
Mana Vault - this card was contemplated and is still being contemplated as an inclusion into the deck. With Seedborn Muse being present alongside Dramatic Reversal, it should consistently untap over the course of a game. And it does power Isochron Scepter by itself but only produces colorless mana during the Dramatic Scepter combo. Ultimately, this card competes with Sol Ring and the Ring does untap all by itself.
Dimir Signet, Simic Signet, Golgari Signet - each of the Signets generate relevant colored mana during the Dramatic Scepter combo and come down in the early turns of the game. They also make great Delve material for when they've died or can easily come back to Muldrotha's ability. The colored mana that they produce without the cost of life is what's important to this deck.
Isochron Scepter - a primary Combo piece to the deck. It also can be used for value by imprinting one of the 14 Instants in the deck that are 2 CMC or lower. A really good card in this deck since it's already trying to play low CMC Instants anyways, this card is really significant. It's obviously included in the deck for its combo potential with Dramatic Reversal and non-land mana producing permanents.
Fellwar Stone - this usually is going to generate the relevant colors that you need, most especially the U/G mana that this deck needs in order for the Dramatic Scepter to actually generate the mana needed to kill your opponents. It costs 2 CMC and is able to tap for mana immediately after you cast it, so it's certainly worth including.
Talisman of Dominance - the life loss in order to generate the relevant color of mana (U) in order to execute the Dramatic Scepter combo will actually kill us. And without Aetherflux Reservoir in the main list to recoup the life loss in the middle of the Dramatic Scepter combo, we can't profitably run this card. Otherwise, this is a really good mana rock for any Dimir based deck.
Aetherflux Reservoir - this card is a payoff card for the Dramatic Scepter combo while also providing incidental life gain over the course of the game. However, this card isn't the focus of the deck nor is the Dramatic Scepter combo a focus of the deck, so this card is excluded. It is quite powerful and is now the preferred Win Condition for Storm decks, so feel free to include it if you so desire.
Gilded Lotus - this card is really powerful because you can cast it and still have mana up in order to interact with your opponents. It also helps to ensure that we can get into the late game and maintain mana advantage over our opponents consistently. It's also nice because it enables the Dramatic Scepter combo all by itself since it produces 3 mana of any color. I'm rarely sad to see this card because I know that it will advance my mana generation so significantly. While it's on the higher CMC side, I think it's worth it for its sheer mana output.
Carpet of Flowers - depending on the number of opponents that you're playing against who have Islands in their deck, this card is basically a colored Sol Ring that consistently scales as the game progresses. One of the best green cards for competitive Commander games since Islands are so prevalent in the competitive meta.
Mystic Remora - this little fish is so excellent against opposing competitive Commander decks. The 4 is almost never going to get paid by your opponents, which translates to a draw whenever they cast a non-creature spell. Since it's a recurring trigger for each opponent, this fish can generate a staggering number of cards drawn over the course of the game. The cumulative upkeep is almost trivial to the value that it creates. And in the case that an opponent decides to return it to your hand via Tasigur's ability, thank them. This card seriously draws an absurd amount of cards.
Training Grounds - this card is included solely for its interactions with Tasigur. Being able to reduce his activated ability to just the colored mana symbols is crucial in order to effectively leverage his ability more than once a turn cycle. Most of the interaction spells cost 2 CMC or less, so being able to recur AND cast the interaction spell all at once for just 4 CMC (of varying mana symbols, of course) is the best thing we can be doing to keep the table under control. Training Grounds also costs just U, so it's never a constraint on our mana sources or our ability to keep up interaction in order to get it on the table. And if an opponent does give it to us via Tasigur's ability then they just enabled us to get more value from them in the long run via more recurred cards enabled by the lowered Activation cost. Win win for us.
Exploration - a very good way to make sure that you can get all of your lands into play for maximized mana production over the course of a game. It has great synergy with Life from the Loam to make sure that we're hitting our land drops and it can also be a great ramp card at the beginning of the game. Its CMC is super low, which makes it additionally attractive.
Survival of the Fittest - possibly one of the most broken cards in MTG that was ever legal, I still have bad memories of when Survival Vine was still legal and people were putting 2-3 Vengevines into play for free. It sucked. But this enchantment is one of the most powerful utility cards in the deck and is one of the cards that the deck is built around. Being able to cycle creatures into the one you need RIGHT NOW is too good to pass up. You can pitch mana dorks that you draw in the late game for relevant creatures. It can helps you assemble the Flash Hulk package all by itself with Spellseeker being included in the deck. All in all, one of the best cards in the deck.
Animate Dead - its synergy with Muldrotha, the Gravetide is the primary reason that this excellent Reanimate effect is in the deck. It's also powerful on its own and has a CMC that is great. We have some powerful cards that we can cheat in and the synergy with this card and Survival is also noteworthy. A premier Black card, this is a really powerful effect for the deck.
Dance of the Dead - very similar to Animate Dead, except that you have to pay to untap the creature. The upkeep cost of untapping the creature is a little prohibitive for what the deck wants to do, and this deck isn't all-in on a Reanimator plan, so we don't want a ton of cards that Reanimate things.
Sylvan Library - one of the best card advantage spells in Commander because of its CMC and the fact that you can choose if you want to draw the 2 extra cards. Most of the time, it's usually correct to just take the 2 extra cards and pay the extra 8 life so that you can dig deeper into the deck. It's also an enchantment and will most likely survive the removal effects that opponents have available to them. A very strong card, it's one of the best card drawing spells in the deck.
Counterbalance - one of the interesting thing about playing against opposing, optimized Commander decklists is that their CMC curve starts to shrink and gets concentrated around the 2 CMC mark. Because of this trend, we can take advantage of this type of deck configuration and play Counterbalance and have a solid expectation of countering 1-2 spells FOR FREE over the course of a game off of blind flips. Of course, the efficacy of Counterbalance increases when you add in Brainstorm and Sensei's Divining Top and I've ran Tasigur this way in the past. It's not currently included because this version of Tasigur is more combo-focused whereas a decklist including the Counterbalance and Top-Deck manipulation cards is all about value and playing the long-term. This card could EASILY make its way back into the main decklist in the future.
Search for Azcanta/Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin - a recent Standard staple that is actually relevant for competitive Commander decks too. Turns out that flipping this card isn't hard AT ALL and can produce an obscene amount of card advantage when it's become Azcanta. Combine with Seedborn Muse for maximum broken-ness. We don't play this card because we're a creature centric deck in this iteration; there's a decent chance that the top 4 of our deck doesn't include a non-creature, non-land card. We want every card to be effective, so this card doesn't currently get a deck slot.
Rhystic Study - I remember when this card was like $2-$3. Now, it's a Commander staple that costs $15+. And for good reason. This enchantment draws more cards than any other permanent you can play. Asking your opponent "Are you gonna pay 1 for that?" is really annoying, but drawing a card for so little a mana investment is too good. You're literally drawing cards for free when your opponents are playing the game. And if your opponents decide to "play" around the Study and be able to pay for the trigger, than chances are that you've just gained a significant amount of tempo on them. I've never drawn less than 1 card off of the Study; I can confidently state that at the very least the Study will replace itself.
Necropotence - one of the more powerful cards in Commander, Necropotence does a pretty good job of intimidating the unbelievably broken Yawgmoth's Bargain (seriously, what was R&D thinking during the Urza Block? They printed so many banned/restricted cards in that block...). The 'Potence is good at ensuring that you always have a full grip of 7 cards in hand at the cost of some life. The triple black is hard to assemble, sometimes, but the card advantage is worth it. A solid inclusion in your own deck, I highly recommend it.
Necromancy - similar to Animate Dead except that you can cast it at instant speed, which can certainly be relevant. We're not a heavy Reanimator deck, so we don't really want to run this card.
Pact of Negation - because we're a combo deck, we want to be able to protect our combos for as little mana as possible. Pact is simply the cheapest option available for protection. Do note that if you have the mana available during your upkeep to pay for the Pact trigger you MUST pay it. Generally, it's a good idea to do so, since you don't want to lose the game, but you aren't going to lose if you forget about the trigger. Like my friend Steely Dan. He's "lost" to his Pact trigger over 7+ times, haha.
Summoner's Pact - I've chosen to build this deck with a more Mid-Range slant so that we aren't blown out of the water in the case that we're disrupted or receive a disproportional amount of hate. This Pact is much more effective in decks that are all-in towards the Flash Hulk combo. While it IS our primary combo, we're not 100% committed to it like other decks are in favor of longevity. And we literally only have Hulk as a relevant creature to search for, so it's a card that should be used for more combo focused decklists.
Chain of Vapor - all purpose removal that fits nicely under Isochron Scepter. It cleanly bounces any problem permanent that you may be encountering for just U. Very good at what it needs to do and is an instant. It's very rare that an opponent will actually sac a land to copy it and target one of your things. Just watch out for The Gitrog player, I guess.
Rapid Hybridization, Pongify - they cleanly answer any creature on the board and replace it with a vanilla creature token that has no abilities. Creatures, in Commander, are powerful in direct proportion to the number of useful abilities they have or the abilities they possess. 3/3 creature tokens are just useless creatures that take a LONG time to kill you in a 40 life format. I prefer to play this card over other kill spells just to be sure I have as many answers to a T2 Animar as possible.
Vampiric Tutor - the best top of deck tutor available. It's pretty obvious why this card is in the deck, methinks, so I won't explain it too much.
Mystical Tutor - again, another fairly self-explanatory inclusion in the deck, it's great to be assemble the Flash Hulk win condition if you have this and Hulk in hand and is a great way to be able to leave mana up during other players' turns.
Worldly Tutor - while our creature package is really powerful, I think that the other tutor effects in the deck are better. I could easily be wrong about excluding this tutor, but this remains to be seen.
Stubborn Denial - this is a pretty decent counterspell during the early turns of the game. But with Tasigur in play, it becomes a one mana Negate. And that is REALLY good. Because Tasigur turns on the Ferocious trigger by itself.
Swan Song - a really versatile counterspell, it can stop opposing interaction for just U. The 2/2 Swan that you create is fairly inconsequential in the long run, so feel free to cast this to counter the spells you need to. Ad Nauseam and Time Spiral are definitely at the top of that list, but this card is in the deck to win the counter war.
Mental Misstep - because this deck is geared more towards the long term, Misstep has limited viability in the later stages of the game. If you were to activate Tasigur's ability in the late game with this card, it's almost guaranteed that you'll get this card back and basically be given a dead card.
Dispel - similar to Swan Song, this card wins the counter wars and stops many of the relevant spells that you would see against the game.
Nature's Claim - simple and efficient removal for artifacts and enchantments. Because we are winning in a primarily combo fashion, the 4 life that we give an opponent is mostly inconsequential. The versatility of being able to destroy a problem permanent at instant speed for just a G is really invaluable. Currently, [CARD}Caustic Caterpillar[/CARD] is filling this role since it's a creature and has the preferred synergies for the decklist as a whole. If your meta is dominated by Artifact-centered decks (think Arcum Dagsson, Teferi Combo, or Grixis Storm), than it might be wise to include this card alongside other pieces of removal.
Mana Drain - arguably the best counterspell printed because it produces mana for you on your next turn. This card enables us to hard cast Tasigur if we need to or our other high CMC creatures. If not one of our creatures, we can easily convert the one-time mana jolt into artifact mana via our mana rocks. A great card that has a CMC of 2 to make sure we can easily cast it after potentially picking it up via Tasigur's ability.
Counterspell - because OG Counterspell is good at what it does.
Arcane Denial - some players might balk at the fact that you're letting your opponent draw 2 free cards off of countering their spell, but I think the versatility of being able to counter ANY spell for just 1U is too valuable to pass up. It also replaces itself so that you can keep card parity. A very useful spell and I like the new art as well.
Muddle the Mixture - this card Transmutes for Dramatic Reversal, Isochron Scepter, AND Flash. Nevermind the other 2 CMC targets in the deck. A phenomenal tutor effect for the deck that also provides a relevant Counterspell effect at any stage of the game. Really a fantastic card for this deck and I highly recommend playing it somewhere in your 99 if you're playing Tasigur Flash Hulk.
Trickbind - another versatile Counter effect that stops most combos cold. The Split Second is extremely relevant and could easily be included in your deck if you need to stop a certain effect from triggering (opposing Hulk triggers, Thrasios triggers, The Chain Veil, etc.). A really great counter effect that helps to buy a turn or stop an opponent from executing a combo/synergy that would cripple you or leave you behind in the game.
Abrupt Decay - die, Food Chain! That is all. Most of the relevant permanents in a competitive Commander game are at 3 CMC or under it. This card destroys all of them, no questions asked. An extremely versatile removal spell, the "can't be countered" clause is super relevant for our Control plan. And we won't be sad to see it back in our hands via Tasigur's ability because it's so versatile.
Assassin's Trophy - many players have already remarked on how incredibly powerful this card is for 60 card formats, but I'd like to highlight it even more. Many competitive decks run a VERY light Basic land count. And if you know you're going against a Hermit Druid variant, this card is an instant speed, 2 CMC Vindicate. And even if you do Rampant Growth an opponent BUT destroy the key permanent they needed in order to win or develop their board, I'll take that trade any day. This card's power scales in direct proportion to how streamlined and efficient your opponents' decks are.
Reality Shift - I personally love this card. From when it was first spoiled I knew that it would be a staple for any and all of my U based decks. It's unconditional creature removal at instant speed for 2 CMC. And do not underestimate the Manifest ability. Not only does it provide the basis for decking our opponents out via the Reality Within combo but it also frequently strands a valuable card as an un-morphable 2/2 creature. So, in some ways, it's almost a 2 for 1 if you get lucky with the Manifest. And more often than not, you're going to get lucky. I love this spell and I think it's an auto-include for this deck, combo potential notwithstanding.
Cyclonic Rift - I think the power of this card is readily apparent to any player that has been playing Commander. The fact that it scales depending on the stage of the game is super valuable to the deck's strategy. And you can emergency use to bounce an problem permanent that hits the board in a pinch. A fantastic card for Commander, it's another one of the cards I would consider an auto-include.
Dimir Charm - this card is surprisingly versatile in its application and used to be in the deck until Assassin's Trophy was printed. All three modes can be relevant at various moments in the game; many pertinent creatures that you'll see on the opposite side of the table have 2 power; countering a Demonic Tutor, Timetwister, or Time Spiral is especially valuable; and making that opposing Vampiric Tutor look especially useless is great. If you were to include Paradox Engine in the deck (which you could easily do), then this is another card that you can put under Scepter to kill the table.
Flash - this card is the namesake for one of our signature combos. I'm not explaining why this card is in the deck...
Dramatic Reversal - one of the primary combo pieces for the deck, it forms the basis for the Dramatic Scepter combo. An explanation of why the card is useful? It wins the game under a Scepter and allows you to usually double your mana output for a turn if needed.
Beast Within - again, it's clean, unconditional removal for any problem permanent that you see on the other side of the table. Do note that you can also use it to kill your own Hulk in the case that you've got in play somehow, perhaps via Animate Dead or Phyrexian Delver. It also is invaluable for our Reality Within combo and is just generally another useful card for the deck as a whole.
Intuition - the card that sets up the best Catch-22 situations for your opponents. When I usually cast this (almost always during an opponent's EOT), it usually signals that I'm going to attempt to execute a combo on my turn. There are numerous piles that you can create so that you get the card that you want, and experience with those piles comes from playing the deck and what you have on board. As a general note, I most often save this card until I have one half of one of my combos in hand. Then, I can create 3 card piles where I will be guaranteed to get the card that I want. It also has political applications in that you're able to tutor for cards that you need in your 'yard and have an opponent give you the card needed to stop a different opponent from executing a combo or Action.
Putrefy - a fine removal spell, its CMC and more limited range of targets just push it out of the deck. A fine budget replacement however.
Cryptic Command - the Blue Wrath of God, this was the card that inspired me to switch to playing U in the first place. Its versatility and power is well known at this point, nevermind the choke hold it had on Standard for the time it was legal. I include this card as part of the Primer for mostly nostalgia purposes.
Force of Will - the best Counterspell effect for MTG, period. It's the only reason that the MTG Legacy scene isn't a Yu-Gi-Oh farce. Being able to counter a spell for NO mana is too powerful to pass up, especially when going against other competitive decks. Play Force of Will or proxy it if you can.
Imperial Seal - a monetarily expensive top-of-deck tutor, it's a decent inclusion for the deck. I probably should be playing it, but I feel that the other tutor effects in the deck are a little bit better.
Demonic Tutor - find the card you need right now for just 1B. This card is undeniably good and Commander is the sole reason that this card is over $20+ now.
Diabolic Intent - a reprint that desperately needed to occur, this card makes the high density of mana-dorks an actual useful component of the deck. We don't mind sacing things to the 'yard in order to get a better card. The synergy in sacing a live Hulk, as part of the spell's cost, is also noteworthy. Another tutor effect to make sure that we can execute our strategy as consistently as possible in a 99 card deck format.
Life from the Loam - this card is VERY awesome and I had mostly forgotten about it until I read Cameron's Tasigur Primer. It can help us recur Fetch-lands to ensure that our mana development is solid throughout the course of a game, it helps to fuel Tasigur's Delve cost, and it also acts as a card advantage spell when combined with Barren Moor and Tranquil Thicket. There are also a number of utility lands that are valuable to recur, the most notable one being Strip Mine. This card helps to fuel the late-game strategy for the deck and acts as a solid source of mana development and card advantage.
Life // Death - both halves of this spell are useful to the deck's strategy. Razaketh loves to eat our lands that have been Animated via the Life effect and we are totally okay with Reanimateing a spent creature for the mid/late game. The art is cool and both sides of the card are relevant to the deck.
Toxic Deluge - the cheapest and most effective Wrath effect in the format. Gets around indestructible, shroud, and hexproof while clearing the board. A fantastic card.
Eldritch Evolution - one of the primary reasons to be playing Tasigur in the first place, it allows you to exchange a cheaply casted Tasigur (via Delve) into a better creature. If you have a sac outlet on the table (Carrion Feeder and Phyrexian Tower come to mind), then you can exchange Tasigur for Protean Hulk and attempt to win. Or, you can get Razaketh, the Foulblooded into play and chain tutor effects together (via Life // Death and try and win that way. Or, if you want to slow-roll the game and play the control angle, get Nezahal, Primal Tide into play and start drawing a ton of cards. The flexibility of this tutor, in conjunction with Tasigur's (usually) low casting cost and you have a recipe for consistently getting your best creatures into play consistently.
Windfall - sometimes you have a hand full of fast mana and a Windfall. Being able to dump your hand and then draw a fresh one before your opponents get a chance to develop their early board presence can do a lot to set the tempo of the game in your favor. It also forms a mini-Combo in the deck with Notion Thief to take complete control of the game and most likely win. I prefer Windfall over Timetwister because it dumps my cards into the 'yard, fueling Tasigur's Delve cost. This is a very useful draw 7 effect that has synergy with the deck's strategy and compliments the not inconsequential Reanimte effects in the deck.
Timetwister - the only piece of the Power 9 legal in Commander, it allows a fast mana hand to be extra broken since we can dump our fast mana pieces and then 'Twister into a fresh 7 cards. There's also the opportunity to disrupt our opponent's plans with the 'Twister by forcing them to cycle away the cards they may or may not have been tutoring for. The main reason this card is in the deck is for its synergy with Notion Thief. While the Thief takes advantage of our opponents' draw spells/effects, adding in another draw 7 effect is a great way to break the table and gain nearly insurmountable card advantage over the table.
Morbid Curiosity - I tested this card after seeing how successful it was in my wife's Kaalia list and I have not been disappointed by it yet. It provides another way to take advantage of Tasigur's cheap casting cost and exchange him for 6 new cards. The sacrifice effect is also an additional cost, so you can use it to kill off your Hulk despite the Curiosity getting countered.
Damnation - if you're playing in a meta that emphasizes creatures and creature swarms, it might be useful to run an additional Wrath effect alongside Toxic Deluge. It's a fine effect for the deck and I recommend it if you need this type of effect in your deck.
I'm not going to really explain why the colored mana producing lands are in the deck and instead focus this section on the utility lands that I'm running in the deck. Hopefully you can understand why I'm playing Watery Grave, Llanowar Wastes, and Tropical Island...
Volrath's Stronghold - being able to recur our many creatures helps to keep us live in every stage of the game, more especially in the late game. I love this card and wish that they would reprint it for us Commander players because of how useful it is. It incidentally can also help us to keep from being decked, something that may come up during the Reality Within combo or if someone else is trying to mill you out.
Phyrexian Tower - it's a nice, free sac outlet to ensure that if the Hulk is in play somehow you can kill it dead. It also helps to turn mana dorks into pseudo ramp effects for our deck.
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - a nice way to ensure that all of our lands tap for mana consistently. We could run Cabal Coffers if we wanted to, but the Cradle is usually better for us since we don't have to spend mana to get an large return out of the Cradle.
Cephalid Coliseum - this deck can hit Threshold pretty easily to take advantage of its looting effect. What's really cool about this card is that it helps make Life from the Loam a super powerful card advantage engine AND it also can force an opponent to discard three cards if you have Notion Thief in play. A hidden gem of a land, particularly in this list.
Gaea's Cradle - another one of the reasons that we're running a creature heavy package in the deck is to make sure that the Cradle can tap for a bunch of mana. The power of Cradle is obvious, methinks, but do remember that it becomes a dead land if your board is empty of creatures.
Strip Mine - because sometimes you need to take out opposing lands and/or mana screw people. This card with Life from the Loam is great at ensuring that your opponent's land counts don't get too high or ensuring that certain lands are always dead. We don't like opposing Gaea's Cradles.
Barren Moor, Tranquil Thicket - these cards are great cantrips and are preferred because they CAN'T be recurred via Tasigur's ability. This enables you to free up slots that would normally be dedicated to cards like Ponder, Preordain, and Brainstorm for actually relevant cards that are applicable during all stages of the game. They also help to fuel Life from the Loam and turn that card into a card advantage machine and consistent way of getting land drops EVERY turn. I've been very pleased with their inclusion. Lonely Sandbar is omitted because our Blue mana is to important for interaction purposes. We want every instance of Blue mana producing permanents in our deck to be present on the battlefield if possible, so it's not likely that we would actually want to cycle the Sandbar whereas we're fine in cycling away Green or Black mana for new cards.
The first person I'd like to thank is Dies_To_Doom_Blade. He was the first person to profitably post a Tasigur list on the MTGSalvation forums and his Reanimator list was the de facto Tasigur Reanimator list on the internet. While he's since switched over to the UBRG Partner combination of Thrasios, Triton Hero + Vial Smasher the Fierce for his Reanimator list, his Tasigur list was instrumental in helping me to develop my own competitive deck-building skills and evaluating cards critically. His excellent list can be found here and I HIGHLY recommend that you check it out.
I'd also like to thank the Laboratory Maniacs user/contributor Cameron. His Tasigur Loam list briefly entertained a Flash Hulk package and is the direct reason that I decided to update my own Tasigur list to the Flash Hulk list that you see here. His decklist can be found here. His Primer has also influenced the writing of this one, and I'd like to personally thank him for his thorough analysis of Tasigur and competitive Commander gameplay.
I'd also like to point you to the Tasigur Discord. It's the place where cEDH'ers hang out and discuss individual card choices and strategies and I HIGHLY recommend that you check it out! The link to the Server can be found here.
Next, I'd like to thank my playgroup. Losing on T2 or T3 doesn't feel like a lot of fun, but you've entertained me as I've developed this deck into the Mid-Range Creature Based Combo list that it is today. Many thanks especially to my wife and her skilled playing of Kaalia. Her Kaalia list (initially developed by myself and played almost exclusively by her) is found in my signature and is THE benchmark that I measure my decks against. And this Tasigur list has performed very admirably against it and is thus added to my roster of decks.
Finally, I'd like to thank you, dear reader. This is a lot of text and I hope that it's been informative and useful to you in developing your own Tasigur list or playstyle.
This is a running log of any changes that are made to the Current decklist so that it remains current and up to date and so that you can follow what has changed about the decklist. The reasoning why a card substitution occurred will be found within the body of the thread itself, so reasoning won't be mentioned within this section.
Complete overhaul of decklist and Original Post. Too many changes to really keep track of, but the list has been edited to try and conform to Primer status.
Added an update to the Flash Hulk combo lines via Artaud's excellent explanation of how to more effectively use Body Snatcher. This also affords the deck an opportunity to squeeze in Sylvan Safekeeper somewhere in the deck to protect key creatures from interaction.
With the newly minted cEDH forums, I decided that it would be appropriate to post a couple of Primers so that future cEDH'ers can get an idea of what a Primer will look like and how they can interact on MTGSal. I hope that this Primer is a good example of the type of content we're looking for!
I edited the thread to more accurately reflect the influence of Laboratory Maniacs User Cameron and his threat assessment analysis. Cameron was the first user to articulate the way I personally think about a Commander game and I would be absolutely remiss if I didn't give credit where credit is due.
List looks pretty good, and the primer layout seems good.
One thing that jumped out at me in particular is having Snapcaster in the cards to test but not Mission Briefing, have you not considered it at all, or is just because Snap has some utility with phulk?
Thanks for the compliments! Much appreicated.
For this list and strategy, bodies are much more preferred over isntants and sorceries. I'm looking to maximize the synergies between Skullclamp, Gaea's Cradle, and Survival of the Fittest and the rest of the deck. And since these cards all prefer creatures over sorceries and instants, I've tweaked my list accordingly. Mission Briefing is an excellent card, and is in fact run by Cameron in his Tasigur Control cEDH list (which I reference in the credits section of the Primer) as a way to run a Snapcaster effect without being vulnerable to creature removal.
I love that the Briefing doesn't allow your opponents an opportunity to exile the card you want to flashback, since it happens on resolution of the Briefing. This could be relevant for your playgroup, depending on what type of grave hate you're experiencing.
And I appreciate you pointing out the fact that Snappy has synergy with Hulk too. It's a peripheral interaction, but it would probably come up in a game or two.
Thanks for chiming in! Do you have a list you've been playing for Tasigur?
The other benefit of Mission > Snapcaster is that you can do things like tutor something up with Vampiric Tutor or Mystical Tutor, then use Briefing to dump it on the grave and cast it. But the tech with Survival probably does make snappy better in your case.
Ooo, I like the Tidespout Tyrant option. Due to the heavy inclusion of instants, Tidespout sounds like consistent removal that can also hit lands for tempo gains. Gah. Not enough room in the deck...
Looking at your list, I'm interested in the inclusion of Grafdigger's Cage it's an excellent piece of hate for Flash Hulk and other 'yard based combos. How has it performed for you? Have you considered running Trinket Mage to have an additional way to tutor for it consistently?
Otherwise, I really like your list a lot. I'm thinking about hijacking my second post to put an additional Primer that features Cameron's Control Tasigur list/Primer. I think it's a super strong option for cEDH and is another way to engage the Tasigur community. I'll try and reach out to him and see if he's willing to allow it!
Grafdigger's Cage is just such a great hate piece at a very low opportunity cost. Besides Flash it also hits things like storm, Yisan, and Yawgmoth's Will. It's more of a flex spot right now since I haven't really played at the new LGS, but it's a good blind choice.
Tidespout can also bounce my around Sol Ring, Vault, and Crypt with a signet to generate infinite colored mana to go off so it should be decent. As a sidenote there were some other versions of Tasigur that used Oath of Druids to rush out Tidespout and do the above to win.
I wouldn't run Trinket Mage though. I don't want it in every game, and the deck should have enough interaction where it isn't super important. The only other targets for it would be the 0 and 1 cmc rocks, but that would feel kinda slow. It works better in things like PW Teferi since it doesn't have black, the rocks are combo pieces and it can also grab the cage or voltaic key.
It sounds like Cameron's going to do the work of creating the Tasigur Control Primer himself!
Your reasoning makes sense, in regards to Trinket Mage. It's an efficient spell in mono-U but can be less optimal in Tasigur because of the access to actual tutor effects.
Good luck at your new LGS! One thing that's nice about Tasigur is that you can adjust your playstyle to what everyone else is doing and instead fit into a more Control seat. This allows you to be flexible to the group you're playing around without compromising the efficacy of your decklist generally. Banana Man is good at what he does.
And thanks, just got back from playing a few games. Players seem to be a bit more on the casual spectrum what I have seen, and I it looks like I will be cutting Grafdiggers, Mnemonic, and Seeds. Not sure what I will slot in yet though...
Into more comp pots Mnemonic should still be good as a value play since other people will have been wheeling or using strong cards, but I have not been able to really test it in that scenario.
Sounds like a good meta to play in; you'll be able to play to win more frequently than normal, which is always a good feeling to have.
In other news, for a total jank combo that could have a huge payoff, I've thought about Verity Circle and NAture's Revolt. It's an way to slow down the table AND draw a bajillion cards. However, it's not very mana inefficient. Could this combo have legs?