Lord of Tresserhorn: This deck is a multiplayer agro-based deck in Grixis colors with a zombie theme designed to punish opposing players’ boards while using resilient threats to kill off opponents through combat damage. The deck has alternative win conditions because decks that rely only on the combat phase are easily stopped. If you are looking for a quick combo deck or an all-out swarm deck, this is not the deck for you. I appreciate all feedback, both positive and negative. The ideas I’ve gotten from these forums have been instrumental in improving my decks. Thanks for reading this primer!
I built an EDH deck around Lord of Tresserhorn because I loved the card when it was printed, and I thought it would be a challenge. I’d built many other decks with more popular commanders, so I was ready to take on an original deck that I could call my own. The name of the deck comes from the TV show “Lost”, and it’s an often-repeated quote from the character John Locke. I use it to show that I built this deck to overcome the obstacle of Lord of Tresserhorn’s drawbacks. And I use it because my friends said it couldn't be done!
This deck was originally a voltron-oriented deck designed to kill people through commander damage supported by control elements. However, this original version did not work well. I eventually went a more agro route. The deck has become an agro-oriented deck with a heavy zombie theme. I have settled on the current list after playing many games against many different styles of decks; however, it is currently geared towards the meta I most often face, so changes should be made to reflect the kinds of decks you regularly face. The deck now works best by clogging up the board early, dropping a recursion engine, and finishing off players with combat damage through recurrable creatures, or through repeated plays using etb creatures (ex: bringing back Gray Merchant of Asphodel every turn).
Though I have played the deck a lot, I'm sure there are cards that I've missed that would be great in the deck. If you suggest a card, please try to suggest a card that I could cut make room for the one you suggest. I would like to stay with the zombie theme as much as possible, and any reason to cut non-zombie cards would be welcome too!
Why play Lord of Tresserhorn?
Lord of Tresserhorn is unique. Most people you play against will not be familiar with the card, and will scoff at you when they read what it does. However, Grixis colors provide you with the ability to attack from many angles (combat damage, bleeder effects, etc) while providing you with a great removal suite.
Reasons to play Lord of Tresserhorn:
You want to use a unique commander – this commander comes from a generally underwhelming set (Alliances) and comes with effects that seem to make him bad. You want to play a deck that does not require you to play your commander – though your commander is powerful, there are games where you shouldn’t use him. But it’s great to have the threat of a 2-turn clock by turn 6, and readily available access to a sac outlet as well.You like interactive play and the combat step – this deck is first and foremost an agro-based deck, so you will be doing a lot of attacking, blocking, and dealing with removal.You enjoy complicated board states – this deck, and its commander, does not lend itself well to linear play. You will often need to decide if you are going to follow a line of play that emphasizes your commander, a line of play that emphasizes board control, or a line of play that will utilize “bleeder” effects (incremental damage over time).
Reasons to not play Lord of Tresserhorn:
You enjoy linear play – some players enjoy decks that are fairly straightforward and play out in similar ways each game. This deck does not do that.You do not like the combat step – some players enjoy decks that focus more on combos or spells to do most of the work. This deck does not do that.The deck can be blown out by board wipes – although the deck has many recursion engines, repeated board wipes will generally wreck this deck. Generally weak to flying – although this deck has a ton of power to spit out, it lacks good flying creatures, and decks that run a bunch of them (most notably vampire tribal, which a buddy of mine plays) will have a good matchup against this deck.
Other options for Grixis commanders: (there are many options, I will list the most popular here)
Nekusar, the Mindrazer – this commander is very popular, but plays a very different game, often relying on forcing people to draw cards to do damage.Thraximundar – a very powerful general, most commonly found in control or voltron-based strategies. He’s powerful, he’s a zombie, but his very high cost and relatively vanilla abilities make him great in the deck, but not at the helm of the deck.Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge – a very interesting general, but also generally found in decks that rely more heavily on spells than creatures.Marchesa, the Black Rose – a relatively new general, seems very powerful, and probably could find a place in my deck. For the time being, I have not faced her enough to speak intelligently about her.
Deck by Function
Outcry's Lord of Tresserhorn (by function)Magic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Commander4 Lord of TresserhornBeef/Fodder (15)1 Gravecrawler2 Nightscape Familiar3 Cemetery Reaper3 Death Baron3 Gleaming Overseer3 Zombie Master4 Crypt Ghast4 Undead Warchief5 Gray Merchant of Asphodel5 Grimgrin, Corpse-Born6 Geth, Lord of the Vault6 Grave Titan6 Kokusho, the Evening Star7 ThraximundarRecursion (9)1 Phyrexian Reclamation1 Reanimate3 Coffin Queen3 Lord of the Undead4 Gravedigger5 Havengul Lich0 Unholy Grotto0 Volrath's Stronghold0 Academy RuinsTax Effects (2)2 Blood Artist3 Diregraf CaptainMana Fixing (3)1 Sol Ring2 Fellwar Stone3 Chromatic LanternRemoval (9)2 Cyclonic Rift2 Dreadbore2 Terminate3 Fleshbag Marauder3 Hero's Downfall3 Oblivion Stone3 Stronghold Assassin3 Toxic Deluge5 Living Death8 Decree of PainCard Draw (4)3 Frantic Search3 Phyrexian Arena3 Wheel of Fortune4 Erebos, God of the DeadTutors (6)1 Expedition Map2 Demonic Tutor4 Insidious Dreams5 Sidisi, Undead Vizier6 Beseech the Queen0 Tolaria WestUtility/Combo (16)1 Skullclamp2 Necromancer's Stockpile2 Torpor Orb3 Ashnod's Altar3 Herald's Horn3 Loxodon Warhammer3 Sword of Feast and Famine3 Sword of Fire and Ice4 Grave Pact4 Purphoros, God of the Forge5 Black Market5 Dictate of Erebos6 Liliana, Dreadhorde General6 Rooftop Storm2x Exsanguinate0 Bojuka BogLands not in another Function0 Badlands0 Blood Crypt0 Bloodstained Mire0 Cabal Coffers0 Cavern of Souls0 Command Tower0 Crumbling Necropolis0 Dragonskull Summit0 Drowned Catacomb0 Lavaclaw Reaches0 Rocky Tar Pit0 Steam Vents0 Sulfurous Springs0 Tainted Isle0 Temple of Deceit0 Temple of Epiphany0 Temple of Malice0 Temple of the False God0 Thespian's Stage0 Underground River0 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth0 Vivid Marsh0 Volcanic Island0 Watery Grave1 Island1 Mountain9 Swamp
Deck by Card Type
Outcry's Lord of Tresserhorn (by card type)Magic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Commander4 Lord of TresserhornCreatures (26)1 Gravecrawler2 Blood Artist2 Nightscape Familiar3 Cemetery Reaper3 Coffin Queen3 Death Baron3 Diregraf Captain3 Fleshbag Marauder3 Gleaming Overseer3 Lord of the Undead3 Stronghold Assassin3 Zombie Master4 Crypt Ghast4 Erebos, God of the Dead4 Gravedigger4 Purphoros, God of the Forge4 Undead Warchief5 Gray Merchant of Asphodel5 Grimgrin, Corpse-Born5 Havengul Lich5 Sidisi, Undead Vizier6 Geth, Lord of the Vault6 Grave Titan6 Kokusho, the Evening Star7 ThraximundarEnchantments (6)1 Phyrexian Reclamation2 Necromancer's Stockpile3 Phyrexian Arena4 Grave Pact5 Black Market5 Dictate of Erebos6 Rooftop StormSorceries (9)1 Reanimate2 Demonic Tutor2 Dreadbore3 Toxic Deluge3 Wheel of Fortune4 Living Death6 Beseech the Queen8 Decree of Pain2x ExsanguinateArtifacts (12)1 Expedition Map1 Skullclamp1 Sol Ring2 Fellwar Stone2 Torpor Orb3 Ashnod's Altar3 Chromatic Lantern3 Herald's Horn3 Loxodon Warhammer3 Oblivion Stone3 Sword of Feast and Famine3 Sword of Fire and IceInstants (5)2 Cyclonic Rift2 Terminate3 Frantic Search3 Hero's Downfall4 Insidious DreamsPlaneswalkers (1)6 Liliana, Dreadhorde GeneralLands (40)0 Academy Ruins0 Badlands0 Blood Crypt0 Bloodstained Mire0 Bojuka Bog0 Cabal Coffers0 Cavern of Souls0 Command Tower0 Crumbling Necropolis0 Dragonskull Summit0 Drowned Catacomb0 Lavaclaw Reaches0 Rocky Tar Pit0 Steam Vents0 Sulfurous Springs0 Tainted Isle0 Temple of Deceit0 Temple of Epiphany0 Temple of Malice0 Temple of the False God0 Thespian's Stage0 Tolaria West0 Underground River0 Unholy Grotto0 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth0 Vivid Marsh0 Volcanic Island0 Volrath's Stronghold0 Watery Grave1 Island1 Mountain9 Swamp
Card Choices by Function
Yes, he's THAT good.
Gravecrawler: This guy is an all-star in this deck. He is cheap, recurs easily, can carry equipment, can be Skullclamped, is a combo piece. If I could fit 5 more of these in this deck, I would. He's also a fairly common tutor target.
Nightscape Familiar: A problem with this deck is that its average converted mana cost is high. This guy helps by both being low on the curve himself, and also reducing the cost of many spells in the deck, including the commander!
Cemetery Reaper: All our zombie lords are helpful in terms of beefing up the size of the zombies, and carry an additional benefit. This guy happens to be one of only 2 ways this deck deals with opponents' graveyard shenanigans. Definitely an important creature.
Death Baron: Again, a zombie lord with added benefits. This one allows us to make attacking always profitable, even with defending fatties.
Gleaming Overseer (added 5/19/19): This guy is in for testing with amass. He also adds evasion to our tokens, which is great. Finally, he provides two bodies on turn 3, which should help power out Lord of Tresserhorn on turn 4. I chose this card to include over other great options, like Vizier of the Scorpion, Eternal Skylord, and Dreadhorde Invasion, but if my deck ever gets more into tokens, those three are likely to be added.
Zombie Master: Added 1/4/16. He's really powerful for the swampwalk ability, but he's also a liability. Theft or cloning abilities can give your opponents an ability to run you over quickly, but he also gives a much needed boost to the mid and late games for a quick finisher. And with the flavor of the card, how could I NOT run this guy?!
Lich Lord of Unx: A unique creature, and a token producer. The more valuable asset is that he offers another way to win (milling), in case of board stalls. 9/9/14
Crypt Ghast: This deck requires a lot of mana to keep going, and this guy helps immensely. Unfortunately he's not a zombie, which makes him a bit harder to recur. And the extort triggers can help late game, as this deck has a lot of ways to blow through our life total.
Left unchecked, this guy ends games. Fast.
Liliana's Reaver: One of the few "dumb" creatures, in that all he does is attack. However, connecting will put more beef on the field and cause opponents to discard, which nets us card advantage - something this deck sometimes lacks, depending on the draw. 4/25/15
Undead Warchief: Zombie lord with a bigger-than-average buff to make all our zombies much more potent. Also helps power out the top of our curve by making zombies cost less to cast. New addition, this guy is expected to perform well in this list.
Gray Merchant of Asphodel: A very important creature, this guy can quickly end games through a board stall by casting and recurring him repeatedly. Also pads our life total, which we tend to need in the late game.
Grimgrin, Corpse-Born: A very solid piece of beef. A combo piece. Also removal on a stick. This guy is scary.
Geth, Lord of the Vault: He has intimidate, so he can get through even when your other creatures cannot. He's also amazing in the late game, able to steal opponents' creatures from their yard and mill more. Do note that he cannot target creatures in your own yard.
Grave Titan: One of our stronger creatures, this guy is amazing for his ability to amass tokens for our uses. Regrettable that he's not a zombie, but he's a familiar tutor target when you're lacking beef.
Kokusho, the Evening Star: He's one of our few flying creatures. He's also some insurance against a board wipe, making it a losing proposition most of the time. More importantly, casting, killing, and recurring him repeatedly is a quick way to end a game.
Ob Nixilis, Unshackled: New addition, just trying to him out. This is a meta call for me, and testing will tell if he's worth the slot. 2/24/15
Thraximundar: Brutal attacker, great removal, and on theme. This guy ends games quickly if you can keep him alive.
Remember, recursion to your hand is better than to the top of your deck.
Phyrexian Reclamation: One of our strongest pieces of recursion because it puts the creature directly into the hand instead of on the top of the library. This is a fairly common tutor target, depending on your hand. It's also strong in that it's low on the mana curve.
We rely heavily on our artifacts.
Reanimate: Our only spell that recurs a creature, this card can be an absolute blowout. Very strong in opening hands, where you can choose not to play a land and instead discard a fatty, then Reanimate it the next turn. Note that you can get a creature from any yard.
Coffin Queen: Fantastic recursion engine. Errata'd a zombie. She can get a creature from any yard and keep it in play.
Lord of the Undead: Another fantastic recursion engine, made even stronger by the fact that he brings the zombie to your hand instead of on top of your library. Also pumps other zombies - be careful though, because it will pump opponents' zombies too!
Gravedigger: Recursion on a stick. Solid drop, great to play, then sacrifice, then recur him using another card.
Havengul Lich: Probably the strongest recursion in the deck, although tacked onto a fragile body. You can recur a creature from any yard directly into play. If you can protect him, he will end the game very quickly.
Unholy Grotto: Utility land that can recur any creature of ours. Although it puts it on the top of the deck instead of in your hand or in play, this is a very protected piece of recursion, as my meta has very little LD (land destruction). Only downside is that the recurred creature must be a zombie.
Volrath's Stronghold: Like Unholy Grotto, but better. This can get any creature from our yard to the top of our deck. All upside. A fairly common tutor target.
Academy Ruins: We have some incredibly powerful artifacts, and this is our only way to bring them back. A fairly common tutor target, if you have some powerful artifacts already in play.
Blood Artist: The ideal tax effect - cheap and efficient. This guy provides insurance against board wipes, and can make your own wipes more profitable.
Bloodchief Ascension: A tax effect with inevitability. This card is in the deck to provide an alternative way to win, in the event of board stalls. Obviously better earlier in the game than late. This card can also stop some combo strategies from firing off. This is more of a meta card call, and you could consider substituting another card for it if you don't see combo decks with graveyard strategies often in your meta.5/19/19
Diregraf Captain: An efficient tax effect tacked on to a zombie, along with a zombie lord effect.
Falkenrath Noble: A bit on the expensive side for a tax effect, but one of the deck's few flying creatures. 1/4/16
Vengeful Dead: Another expensive tax effect, but worth it because it's a zombie and also because it cases each opponent to lose life.9/9/14
Sol Ring: There is a reason this is included in most lists and is banned in french edh. It's exceptional in this deck, as we have many high cost cards.
Fellwar Stone: This is more of a meta call, but in 4-player matches this usually can end up tapping for any color. Other rocks, like Coalition Relic or Darksteel Ingot would do just fine here.
Chromatic Lantern: This card is great mana fixing. What pushes it over the top is that our deck has many utility land that only produce colorless mana; this artifact can alleviate that issue and let those utility lands produce colored mana.
Cyclonic Rift: Tested and true, this card is versatile and powerful. It can save you early from a problematic permanent, or it can clear the way late game for a game-winning attack. There is no true substitute for this card. I originally also ran Wash Out, which is another option for mass bouncing and I have used with some success.
Dreadbore: Unconditional removal that can also hit planeswalkers. Great card, very efficient, never unhappy to see it in the hand.
One of the greatest sweepers in our colors.
Terminate: Unconditional instant-speed creature removal at a very efficient cost. Great removal spell.
Fleshbag Marauder: Recurrable removal on a stick. Zombie creature type. Non-targeted removal. This guy is great, and just gets better in the late game. Keep in mind you have to sacrifice a creature too, but even on an empty board you can play this guy and sacrifice him to himself. Gets bonkers if you have Grave Pact or Dictate of Erebos on board.
Hero's Downfall: Instant speed, unconditional, can also hit planeswalkers. The cadillac of creature removal.
Oblivion Stone: This card is an all-star in this deck. This is one of the few cards in our deck that can hit problematic enchantments and artifacts. It can also be recurred with Academy Ruins. Icing on the cake: you can protect your own permanents. Though it costs a lot to use, the deck is designed to generate high amounts of mana. A fairly common tutor target.
Stronghold Assassin: Creature removal on a stick. Zombie creature type. Efficient casting cost. This guy is great, and the activation cost (sacrifice a creature) actually benefits us when you have Grave Pact or Dictate of Erebos on the board.
Toxic Deluge: The best sweeper we have. This card is simply amazing against many decks, and required against others. This card gets around hexproof/shroud, indestructible, and protection from black. A very common tutor target when problematic permanents hit the board.
Karn Liberated: One of the few cards in the deck that can hit problematic enchantments and artifacts, Karn Liberated is expensive but powerful. He doubles as an inevitable win condition if left unchecked. He's powerful in modern, and he's powerful here for similar reasons.5/19/19
Decree of Pain: Another powerful sweeper, and potentially a source of massive card draw. There will be times this deck is behind on board position, and this card is very helpful, even if just cast for the cycling cost. If I had it, I would probably switch this out for Damnation, but through testing Decree has been a fine substitute.
Frantic Search: This card lets you both draw cards and fill your yard, while losing zero tempo. Great card, efficiently costed, and one of only a few ways to fill your yard directly from your hand.
Phyrexian Arena: An EDH staple for black decks, this card can generate massive card advantage, which is something this deck lacks. A common tutor target, you'll want to look for this when you are running out of juice on the board.
Wheel of Fortune: Another new addition, this card serves multiple purposes of the deck: Fill up the graveyard with creatures to reanimate/recur, draw cards, and force opponents to pitch a starting hand. Early on, this allows us to empty our hand and refill it. Late game, if it resolves, this will force opponents to discard cards that they have probably been holding onto for a while, cards which likely answer threats that other decks have out.
Erebos, God of the Dead: Two benefits in one card: card draw and lifegain prevention. Black is always willing to trade life for card advantage, and this card is no different. We have many ways to gain life in this deck, so do not hesitate to use the card draw as often as possible. Icing on the cake is that he easily becomes an indestructible beater in this deck.
The classic tutor.
Expedition Map: Great mana fixing, and especially important when you consider how many utility lands we have in the deck. A great early play is to crack this for Academy Ruins, then recur the map to continue going to get other utility land. Also very important when you have a strong board but lack a recursion engine, it can also go get either Volrath's Stronghold or Unholy Grotto. Also can search out the other part of the strong Cabal Coffers/Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth synergy.
Demonic Tutor: The classic tutor. Amazingly efficient cost, unconditional. This card has a strategy section below dedicated on what to go get and when.
Diabolic Tutor: High cost, but still unconditional. There are better tutor options available (Cruel Tutor, Vampiric Tutor, Grim Tutor), but lacking those, this is a decent substitute. Again, for common tutor targets, refer to the strategy section titled Tutor Targets. 4/10/15
Increasing Ambition: Very powerful tutor, in that you get to use it twice. Because this deck can make an absurd amount of mana, you can generally rely on the fact that you will get to flash it back. Again, for common tutor targets, refer to the strategy section titled Tutor Targets. 2/24/15
Sidisi, Undead Vizier: Versatile tutor option, and can leave behind a very relevant body. Also feels good to reduce the number of plain tutors I have in the deck, as I feel it makes games play out similarly over time. New addition, excited to test her out!
Beseech the Queen: Another great tutor, but make sure you remember that you must reveal the card with this tutor, so choose your targets wisely. Again, for common tutor targets, refer to the strategy section titled Tutor Targets.
Tolaria West: You do not want to play this card as your land drop unless you're desperate for blue mana. This card is best when used for its transmute, which will let you get any of your very powerful utility lands. Again, for common tutor targets, refer to the strategy section titled Tutor Targets.
He will draw you a ton of cards!
Skullclamp: One of the more broken cards ever printed, this guy is a common tutor target. Your creatures die a lot in this deck (both by the hands of opponents and your own), so getting this on the board early will pay great dividends. This card can draw you a ton of cards, and can also provide an incentive for opponents not to destroy a certain creature. Versatile, efficiently costed, and capable of drowning opponents in card advantage. Cannot overstate the value of this card.
Necromancer's Stockpile: New addition to the deck and already liking it. This card can turn your fatties into another card and a token on the table, to be recurred later. Make sure that you have access to a recursion engine prior to pitching fatties that you consider "must haves".
Torpor Orb: A very common tutor target. This artifact turns off all ETB effects...including your commander's! This turns your commander into a 4cmc 10/4 regenerate. Be careful, as it turns off a few of your own good ETB creatures (Fleshbag Marauder, Gravedigger, Gray Merchant of Asphodel, and Purphoros, God of the Forge). It also is powerful against many decks you'll face, including many in my own meta.
This effect can lock down games.
Ashnod's Altar: An efficient sac outlet, the altar is important for a few reasons. First, the deck has times where it wants to sacrifice creatures (ex with Grave Pact out), and this provides an outlet. However, this also allows you to pitch your smaller creatures to power out your fatties ahead of the curve.
Herald's Horn: Added 11/3/17, this card seems like it will be great in this deck and will help us churn out our dudes more quickly, and also allow us some situational card draw.
Loxodon Warhammer: This equipment provides a solid source of lifegain, which can be important as this deck inflicts a solid amount of damage to itself. More important, this will also give your commander trample, which, when combined with his high power, can spell commander-damage death to opponents who hoped to chump block their way to victory.
Sword of Feast and Famine: Probably the strongest sword for commander purposes, this also gives evasion, which can help our commander get in for lethal damage. The trigger is incredibly powerful, as it allows our lands to untap, letting us keep the pressure on our opponents.
Sword of Fire and Ice: One of the strongest swords, this gives our creatures a source of evasion (protection from red/blue), but also gives us something we need when we connect - card advantage. Versatile and powerful, and a fairly common tutor target.
Grave Pact: A backbone to this deck, having an effect like this on the table usually allows you to control the flow of the game. Forced sacrifice also gets past hexproof, protection from black, and indestructible, all of which can be problems against this deck otherwise.
Purphoros, God of the Forge: As of writing, there is not enough red mana symbols in the deck to turn Purphoros into a creature, but that's not his purpose. This card provides another path to victory. In the late game, this deck spits out a lot of creatures over and over, and having Purphoros out while you do that puts people on an inevitable clock, even if they're protected from losing via the combat phase.
Black Market: As stated multiple times previously, our creatures die. A lot. And so do the opponents' creatures. This card is capable of providing us massive mana each turn, which can be used to either spit out our hand or cast a game-ending Exsanguinate. Bonus - so far in testing, my meta has not been able to properly assess this card as a major threat.
Dictate of Erebos: Like Grave Pact, having this effect is incredibly powerful in this deck. Having it at instant speed is even more powerful. This is a fairly common tutor target, and the damage it's capable of will keep your opponents wary when you leave 5 mana open.
Liliana, Dreadhorde General (added 5/19/19): This card is simply amazing for the deck. The static ability is there reason to play the card - the card draw fills up our hand and lets us keep building up the board with little fear of overextending. The plus adds to our board state. The minus is amazing for removal. And the ultimate should finish off a game. This checks all the boxes and is a no-brainer add.
Rooftop Storm: Most of our creatures are zombies, so this card makes them free. It also makes your commander free (before paying commander tax). However, this card also enables the few combos that are in the deck, most notably is Rooftop Storm + Gravecrawler + Grimgrin, Corpse-Born.
Exsanguinate: Generally used as a win condition when you can generate massive amounts of mana through Black Market, Cabal Coffers, or Ashnod's Altar, this card can also stabilize you in the midgame against very fast decks.
Bojuka Bog: A staple in any black deck, this card can also be tutored for using Tolaria West or Expedition Map when you find out you're playing an opponent who relies upon their graveyard to power their deck. Unfortunately, this is also a card that can be used against this deck to success.
Other utility lands have been discussed above according to their function. The rest appear below.
This plus Urborg generates tons of black mana.
Badlands: An "ABUR" (Alpha, Beta, Unlimited, Revised) dual, these are flawless lands. Run as many as you can. Keep in mind they are both land types (like shocklands), and so cards that fetch one type of land can also get their corresponding ABUR dual or shockland.
Blood Crypt: The red/black shockland, these are great lands that give you the option of coming into play tapped (CIPT) or untapped. Also fetchable. Run as many as you can.
Bloodstained Mire: One of the powerful fetchlands, these are great mana fixers that also allow you to grab a shockland or ABUR dual.
Cabal Coffers: Half of the powerful synergy of Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. These two together are capable of generating massive amounts of black mana, which can be used to power out your fatties or cast a game-ending Exsanguinate.
Cavern of Souls: Name zombies, which then makes most of our creatures uncounterable. Very little downside too, as most of our nonzombie spells have colorless mana requirements anyway.
Command Tower: One of the best lands you can run in edh. Comes into play untapped, taps for any of our colors.
Crumbling Necropolis: Like Command Tower, but CIPT. Still strong due to the mana fixing it provides.
Dragonskull Summit: Another dual land that conditionally comes into play untapped. You will usually have a swamp in play, so this usually functions as another ABUR dual.
Drowned Catacomb: See Dragonskull Summit.
Lavaclaw Reaches: Our only "manland", it that it can turn into a creature. This is one of our only creatures that can avoid board wipes. It can get in for early or late-game damage, and taps for two colors too. Great land.
This plus Cabal Coffers generates tons of black mana.
Rocky Tar Pit: A "budget" fetch, but still a fetch. Can get any of the ABUR duals or shocklands.
Steam Vents: See Blood Crypt.
Sulfurous Springs: One of the "painlands", the downside is pretty negligible in a format where you start at 40 life. In addition, the deck has many ways to gain life to help offset life lost to payments. Comes into play untapped, which helps keep up tempo.
Tainted Isle: Another conditional dual land which generally will be turned on because the deck usually has a swamp in play.
Temple of Deceit: Comes into play tapped, taps for 2 colors, and scry 1 when it comes into play. The scry is very strong in the format, it helps filter our draws so we get what we want.
Temple of Epiphany: See Temple of Deceit.
Temple of Malice: See Temple of Deceit.
Temple of the False God: Our deck has a high mana curve, and this mana can tap for two. It's always a gamble to play this card, but the potential benefit outweighs the risk of not meeting its conditions.
Can copy any of our powerful utility land.
Thespian's Stage: Very powerful card in this deck, as we have many utility lands. Most notably, can copy Cabal Coffers for ridiculously large mana production.
Underground River: See Sulfurous Springs.
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth: Half of the powerful synergy of Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. These two together are capable of generating massive amounts of black mana, which can be used to power out your fatties or cast a game-ending Exsanguinate.
Vivid Marsh: I'm trying out this card. The CIPT sucks, but the fact that it can produce any color a few times is good.
Volcanic Island: See Badlands.
Watery Grave: See Blood Crypt.
Island: Some say the most powerful card ever printed. I keep at least one basic in case a creature of mine gets Path to Exiled and I need a blue mana source.
Mountain: I keep at least one basic in case a creature of mine gets Path to Exiled and I need a red mana source.
Swamp: Comes into play untapped, powers Cabal Coffers.
This list is always a work in progress. You can also look at my changelog to see some cards that have been replaced, but probably had an argument for them at some point.
Damnation: I like the card, I think it has a place in the deck, but I haven't yet gotten my hands on one. It would probably replace Decree of Pain.
Underground Sea: Wonderful card, but I don't own a copy. Would probably replace a basic swamp.
Army of the Damned: This is a very powerful spell, but in testing, it seems very slow. In addition, the zombies come into play tapped, and in a 4-player EDH game, it allows 3 opponents time to deal with the threat. Although I enjoyed its power when I had Purphoros, God of the Forge out, it currently is not in my list.
Endless Ranks of the Dead: In theory this card seems like an obvious inclusion, but in reality I find that my zombies die quickly. And in games where my zombies aren't dying, I am usually already winning. I found this care to be a "win more" type card, and have since taken it out.
Ashen Ghoul, and similar cards (ex Nether Shadow): These types of cards, although cute, did not provide enough power for the deck.
Counter Magic: The deck is in blue, and Counter Magic is very powerful; however, in playtesting this deck, I have found that cards that are reactive are generally going against what the deck is trying to do. I agree that counter magic is powerful in many decks, but after much thought and many games, I have decided against it.
Playing the Deck
Dangerous, but won't paint a target on your head.
As discussed previously, this deck can win a few ways. The goal of the early game is to establish which path of victory (see section below) you will take: are you going to be able to quickly land your commander and hit a creatureless opponent? Are you going to have to clear away problematic permanents first and then swarm an opponent with creatures? Is a deck so controlling that you'll have to find a way to win without the combat step? The cards you start with will determine which way you go, though you can use tutors (see section below) to help sculpt the path for you. After you decide that, you'll need to find a way to clear the board and finish off your opponents. Sounds easy, but how do you do it?
Early on, you will have to begin setting up value engines and appear as non-threatening as possible. You will want 2-3 lands if you have a mana rock in your starting hand, 3-4 if you don't. Look for a decent mix of creatures, utility, and removal. Cards like Phyrexian Reclamation, Necromancer's Stockpile, or Sol Ring are great early plays that you will draw value from repeatedly, but most players will not consider you a "must kill" target at that point. If other players are playing creatures, feel free to drop your 1-3 cmc creatures, which should keep the early agro opponents from attacking you successfully. If you have a recursion engine on the table or in your hand, do not be afraid to trade creatures early on. Now would also be a decent time to drop cards that might get you some notice: Phyrexian Arena, Gravecrawler, or Torpor Orb will draw attention, but they also are very powerful and will set up an explosive mid game.
The early game is also the time where you need to evaluate other decks. If there is an opponent or two who seem to be screwed on mana or are not able to land a creature, they might be ripe for a quick kill with your commander. Other decks might begin dropping utility creatures that can cause problems from you down the road (Mother of Runes, Fauna Shaman are good examples). In these instances, you will need to begin figuring out how you plan on dealing with those creatures: do you have a sweeper in your hand? Or do you have Grave Pact? If you lack answers to specific threats, now might be the time to tutor for them as well.
Gets past hexproof, protection from black, and indestructible!
Now's the time where the deck gets going. Fatties start coming down now, like Havengul Lich, Grave Titan, or your commander. Make sure to keep extra black mana available for the turn(s) when you plan to play your commander, in case he is destroyed. Or "when" he gets destroyed. This is the part of the game where, depending on the table, you will be painting a giant mark on your forehead. In general, you will want to have Torpor Orb on the field before casting your general, or you must be comfortable with sacrificing 2 creatures, losing 2 life, and letting an opponent draw 2 cards. If you cast him without the orb, make sure to choose carefully the opponent that you let draw cards - this can either be a political tool, or just pick the player that is the least threatening to you.
If your opponents do not have lethal threats (creatures or combo pieces) on the board, it's time to drop equipment on your fatties and go to town. This is also the time to recur creatures for value - cast Gray Merchant of Asphodel, sacrifice him to Grimgrin, Corpse-Born, return Gray Merchant to your hand using Phyrexian Reclamation, and cast him again. The deck provides a double threat of both board position and incremental damage that will be difficult for an opponent to prevent. In addition, many of your bleeder effects hit the whole table, so you're hitting all your opponents.
If your opponents have threats that must be answered, do not hesitate to use tutors to find those answers. The deck will naturally draw into resilient threats - but you have to live long enough to draw them. At least 10% of the cards in the deck is removal, and a lot of them are repeatable. The best route involves casting Grave Pact or Dictate of Erebos, and then find ways to sacrifice your creatures (Lord of Tresserhorn, Ashnod's Altar, Grimgrin, Corpse-Born are all good options). As they die, so will your opponents' creatures. If you can, make sure to get bonus value out of all this death by having Black Market on the board. Using and abusing recursion in the mid game is a great strategy to win games or to get to the late game.
If you have a barren board and your opponents do too, then you should try to find a way to stuff the board with fodder. Good cards to do that are Grave Titan, Necromancer's Stockpile, Lich Lord of Unx, and Cemetery Reaper. Even if you have no plan to kill opponents with zombie tokens, they almost always prove useful, either as sacrifice fodder with Grave Pact out, chump blockers, creatures to sacrifice to Ashnod's Altar, or creatures to carry equipment.
Cast, sac, recur. Rinse and repeat.
So you laid low in the early game, you got repeated value out of creatures in the mid game, but the game is still not over. What can you do now? Thankfully, the deck doesn't need much to deal the lethal blow. The "Paths to Victory" section below discusses all the ways this deck can win, but here are a few things to look out for:
If your graveyard is full of creatures, simply casting Havengul Lich with a ton of mana can replenish your field quickly. If your opponents' graveyards are full of creatures, Geth, Lord of the Vault can put them directly into play. Creatures that quickly bring you back from a barren board state are Gravedigger, Lord of the Undead, Geth, and Havengul.
If the graveyards are sparse, bleeder effects are a good way to go. Casting Kokusho, the Evening Star with a way to sacrifice him and a way to recur him will finish the game quickly. Same with Gray Merchant of Asphodel. Any of these with Purphoros, God of the Forge on the field will kill opponents even faster. Another bleeder effect is Bloodchief Ascension, and if you were able to activate it early, it should severely slow down your opponents' ability to react to the threats you put on the board.
If you have a large number of counters on Black Market, or if you control both Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, then you should have access to a great deal of mana. If so, a large Exsanguinate will also end the game quickly.
Using your Commander
Learning when and how to use Lord of Tresserhorn is one of the hardest aspects of playing this deck. Your general has two primary functions:
Quick commander damage – playing a 4 CMC 10-power commander can quickly end games if left unchecked. I will generally go for a quick commander kill if I’m playing against a deck where I think my commander will survive 2 rounds and I have some type of equipment for him. The best equipment for your commander depends on the type of deck you're facing and the board state. If my opponents have small creatures, I will want Loxodon Warhammer, but if my opponents only have red or blue creatures, I will want Sword of Fire and Ice.
In these circumstances, I will focus on getting out protection for my commander and ride him to victory. If I plan on going this route, I will generally tutor for Torpor Orb to remove the downside from casting my general or equipment to help my general connect directly with opponents.
Readily-available sac outlet – this commander is also very useful as an ever-present sacrifice outlet. I sometimes will cast this card in order to sacrifice some creatures (usually when I have an effect like Grave Pact out), which clears the way for my creatures. This is especially important against decks that have evasion from our deck, such as protection from black (equipment, Animar, Soul of Elements, hexproof/shroud). These types of games generally end up becoming a war of attrition, and my tutor targets will include recursion engines (Phyrexian Reclamation, Havengul Lich, Volrath's Stronghold) or Grave Pact/Dictate of Erebos.
This guy can get huge!
In addition to learning how to use your general as a tool, it is important to look for certain synergies in this deck that keep it going in the mid-late game. Such synergies include:
Skullclamp and Gravecrawler – these two together will net you a ton of card if left unchecked.
Gravecrawler + Rooftop Storm + zombie on field + sac outlet – this gives you infinite recursion, giving you whatever benefit that sac outlet provides: infinite mana (Ashnod’s Altar), infinitely large creature (Grimgrin, Corpse-Born), infinite damage to table (Purphoros, God of the Forge), infinite creature sacrifice (with Grave Pact effect in play), etc. Although I do not like combos, these synergies come naturally and can end stalled-out games.
Academy Ruins + Oblivion Stone – late game, this provides you a way to keep the board clear while your recurrable threats do the heavy lifting.
Gray Merchant of Asphodel + Rooftop Storm + recursion engine (like Phyrexian Reclamation) – with a decently developed board state, you can usually cast “Gary” a few times a turn, which will quickly kill the entire board while padding your life total in the mean time.
Having Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth allows for large amounts of black mana.
If you have Reanimate in your starting hand, and a powerful fatty (like Thraximundar) in your hand, you might consider not playing a land on your first turn. Instead, move directly to end phase and discard Thrax. On turn 2, you can play a swamp and reanimate thrax, putting someone on a very quick clock.
Be sure to remember that Havengul Lich can repeatedly cast ANY of your creatures directly from the yard for its cost plus 1. This becomes very dangerous when you can punish people for having cards come into play repeatedly, such as Purphoros, God of the Forge or Gray Merchant of Asphodel.
Sometimes the safest place for your creatures is the graveyard. Knowing that your deck has many ways to recur creatures, do not be afraid to discard effective creatures while using your draw cards like Frantic Search – you can usually get them back later!
With this out, your commander has no drawbacks.
This deck has a decent amount of tutors in the deck, and knowing when to tutor for certain cards in certain situations will enable you to pilot it to success. But it takes practice.
If you think you are going to go the route of commander damage, your first tutor option is usually Torpor Orb. This allows you to cast Lord of Tresserhorn without sacrificing creatures, allowing an opponent to draw cards, or losing life. The flipside of this is that Torpor Orb turns off a few other powerful cards in the deck, most notably Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Purphoros, God of the Forge, and Gravedigger. Recognize when you should use Torpor Orb and when you should avoid it.
If the game looks like it will be going long (ie. You don’t think you can kill people quickly), you should generally tutor for a recursion engine. The most powerful is probably Volrath's Stronghold because it’s a land, and therefore the hardest to destroy.
If you have creatures and you have recursion, you will likely want to tutor for a card that will lock down the board. Depending on your mana situation, you should consider tutoring for Grave Pact or Dictate of Erebos. One of these, along with your creatures and a recursion engine, will allow you to effectively clear the opponents' boards of creatures.
If you already have almost all parts of a combo together, you should usually tutor for the final piece of that combo. Targets include Gravecrawler, Rooftop Storm, Purphoros, God of the Forge, or Grimgrin, Corpse-Born. Note that even if you do not have combo pieces, Gravecrawler tends to be a great tutor target due to his synergy with your commander, your equipment, and your combo pieces.
If you need beef on the table to protect yourself, you should usually tutor for Grave Titan or Geth, Lord of the Vault. Grave Titan is good because he provides cheap tokens, and Geth is good when opponents’ graveyards are full of goodies I’d like to reanimate.
Finally, you will need to be aware of problematic permanents that stop this deck in its tracks. Humility, Ensnaring Bridge, and Sphere of Safety type cards will cause this deck to struggle. If you run into these, you will need to tutor for Oblivion Stone or Karn Liberated.
Paths to Victory
Paths to victory: so in what ways does this deck win? There’s a few, and keeping your opponents on their toes regarding what to look out for from this deck is a strength.
Commander damage – the most obvious is slapping Lord of Tresserhorn down with some equipment and beating face.
Combat damage – the deck has a good amount of ways to produce problematic creatures, both tokens and non-tokens. The fact that they keep coming back can swarm some opponents. Keep in mind also that an overloaded Cyclonic Rift at the end of an opponent’s turn is a great way to break through a stalled-out board.
Combo – as discussed in the synergy section above, there are a few combos that can immediately close out a game.
Bleeder wins – the deck also has ways to win through bleeder effects, using Falkenrath Noble, Blood Artist, Purphoros, God of the Forge, Diregraf Captain, and Kokusho, the Evening Star to slowly drain the life from your opponent.
Flying - ouch!
You’ll need to know your deck’s weaknesses in order to be successful. This deck has a few:
Flying creatures – this deck is weak to flyers. The only ones at the time of writing are Falkenrath Noble and Kokusho, the Evening Star, neither of which are zombies (which means not as recurrable). And Falkenrath Noble's combat stats are not impressive. Our biggest protection against a flying swarm is our wrath effects: Toxic Deluge, Oblivion Stone, and Decree of Pain.
Problematic artifacts and enchantments – Grixis colors are traditionally weak to artifacts and enchantments because we lack green and white (the colors best equipped to handle those types of cards). This is especially important to keep in mind because your mid-late game tutors will probably need to be answers to these card types. Choices include Oblivion Stone, Karn Liberated, and Cyclonic Rift – not plentiful options. If these types of cards are causing you problems, red had quite a few ways to destroy artifacts (Shatterstorm, Viashino Heretic), or you could add more artifact options like Spine of Ish Sah.
Quick combo decks – this deck has some answers, but a very fast combo deck is nearly impossible for this deck to stop. If your meta is full of this type of deck, you may want to consider using a different deck or swapping in some counter magic for some of the deck’s beef. Good counter magic for this deck are ones that only have one blue mana symbol, like Arcane Denial.
Wrath effects – Wrath of God type cards in high numbers cause problems for this deck. You will be faced with the decision to overextend your resources and go for a kill, or play conservative and carefully. Keep this in mind, as the only source of card advantage besides recursion is in the deck is Phyrexian Arena, Erebos, God of the Dead, and Frantic Search. Protect your resources wisely and try to avoid overextending. This is also meta-dependent, and if my meta was full of board wipes, I would consider some cards that are mass recursion, like Living Death.
Sample Hands, Mulligans
Hand: Gravecrawler, Toxic Deluge, Frantic Search, Expedition Map, Swamp, Temple of Malice, Sol Ring
Keep or Mulligan?: Snap Keep
Reasoning: This is just about the perfect hand. You've got a recurrable dude, you've got amazing removal, you've got card draw, and you've got land/filter. With this type of hand, don't be scared to discard Gravecrawler to Frantic Search, as you'll most likely be able to cast him from the graveyard soon.
Hand: Thraximundar, Bloodchief Ascension, Ashnod's Altar, Decree of Pain, Academy Ruins, Swamp, Thespian's Stage
Keep or Mulligan?: Mulligan
Reasoning: At first glance, this hand seems to have a lot - a big fatty, removal, recursion, sac engine, and a 1 drop game winner. In reality, this hand is very slow and will get you nowhere without perfect top decks. You won't have a guy on the board until you draw one, you can't even cycle the decree for a long time, and because you have no source of damage, an early Bloodchief Ascension won't be activated.
Hand: Karn Liberated, Nightscape Familiar, Lord of the Undead, Terminate, Swamp, Cabal Coffers, Volrath's Stronghold
Keep or Mulligan?: Keep, but risky!
Reasoning: This is a decent hand, as you can probably curve the familiar into the lord, and hopefully draw some land to keep up removal. It's not a bad early play, but the rest of the hand is stagnant until later in the game. However, with a bit more mana, you will also be able to cast your commander (you have 2 dudes to sacrifice), and you have a recursion engine to bring those guys back. I would probably keep this hand, depending on my opponents, but there is definitely an argument for mulliganing or partial-Paris mulliganing away at least the Karn Liberated and the Cabal Coffers.
My name is Dave. I’m 32 years old and live in Northwest Indiana. I started playing Magic in early 1995, but took a long break when I went away for college in 2003. I began playing EDH in 2011, when I came back to magic after an 8-year hiatus (for college and law school). Some friends and I dusted off our old cards and started hitting up the local gaming shops, where we quickly learned we’d fallen WAY behind in terms of rules, deck composition, and card pool knowledge. We went to work building many decks and testing against each other.
I play all formats, although my favorite is EDH. I am semi-competitive in standard and modern, and generally keep up with those formats. I have played legacy in the past, but that format is not popular in my area and so I do not play it often. I tend to prefer creature-based strategies, and avoid combo or control; however, I also like to build outside my comfort zone so I am willing to play any strategy.
3/20/14: +Loxodon Warhammer, -Braids, Cabal Minion
+Hero's Downfall, -Dreadbore
Why: People have been chumping my commander and my bigger creatures - Loxodon Warhammer should be great in this deck. Braids, Cabal Minion was decent, but it draws a lot of hate and I never felt it did enough to justify a slot in an already crowded 4 cmc slot.
5/14/14: +Underground River
+Dictate of Erebos
-Pontiff of Blight
-Jwar Isle Refuge
Why: The lifegain lands weren't helping much, and CIPT was hurting. I think I'll be happier with the painlands. Death Baron is going to be very helpful in terms of allowing my small/midsized zombies to put real pressure on opponents, and Dictate of Erebos is simply amazing for this deck. Jhessian Zombies has felt pretty useless so far, and my mana base is solid enough now where I do not think I need the landcycling from him. I found Pontiff of Blight was rotting in my hand often, and I want my 6 cmc creatures to be game-ending by the time they hit the board.
5/21/14: +Karn Liberated
Why: Karn Liberated is another way for me to deal with problematic enchantments and artifacts, which have been hurting this deck lately. Tolarian Winds sounded great in theory, but I was usually afraid to play it early because I'd lose something I couldn't recur, and late game the card wasn't going to dump enough juice into my graveyard to be worth it.
5/22/14: +Tolaria West
Why: Tolaria West is a great card that another user brought to my attention - it can tutor up any of my utility land, usually being Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Cabal Coffers, Academy Ruins, or Volrath's Stronghold. The guildgate was alright, but I have been happy with the mana base so far and am never lacking a color.
8/15/14 +Necromancer's Stockpile
Why: Necromancer's Stockpile looks very powerful on paper, so I want to test it. I have not been happy enough with Grim Harvest, it makes me play passive, which I feel is not what the deck wants to be doing.
9/9/14 +Wheel of Fortune
-Lich Lord of Unx
Why: I finally picked up copies of Wheel of Fortune and Undead Warchief, so I'm trying them. out. The wheel seems like a no-brainer for this deck: it lets me stock up my graveyard, leaves my creatures in a safe place (the graveyard), and fills up my hand. It also forces people to ditch their hands. The warchief seems very solid as well, as my curve is still pretty high and the lord buff is significant. In terms of my cuts, Venegeful Dead was the weakest of my tax effects - it's tied for the highest on the mana curve (4), only triggers when a zombie dies, and does not gain me any life. Lich Lord of Unx was a neat card, but in play it was often too slow to be effective. I have better token generation, and though the deck makes a ton of mana, it only creatures a ton of black mana, so I was never able to abuse his mill ability like I wanted to.
2/24/15 +Living Death
-Ob Nixillis, Unshackled
Why: Ob Nixillis, Unshackled just didn't perform the way I'd hoped. I picked up a FTV: Annihilation, loved the new art on Living Death, and also realized it's a great card. Did some testing with it this past weekend, it performed very well. Increasing Ambition was fine as a tutor, and I occasionally flashed it back, but at sorcery speed at its high cost, I was always a target after tutoring. Insidious Dreams is instant speed, allows me to craft my yard and tutor up cards that will have good interactions with my yard. I'm very excited to see how it performs.
4/11/15 +Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Why: As far as tutors go, Sidisi is only one more to cast, but can potentially leave a relevant body behind, or can be cast without the exploit if I'm in a pinch for a body on the field. I expect to enjoy the versatility of Sidisi much more than Diabolic Tutor.
4/25/15 +Sword of Feast and Famine
Why: My commander needs to get through more often, and swords are an easy way to accomplish that. In addition, Sword of Feast and Famine is probably the most powerful sword in commander, and the land untap will be helpful. Liliana's Reaver was a solid beater, but that's all he was - a beater.
1/4/16: +Zombie Master
Why: I've been testing out Zombie Master. Though he can be a huge liability (via theft or cloning), he's too strong to not include. He's a mid game threat or a late-game finisher. He's also another zombie, which the noble (which had underperformed at 4 cmc) was not.
Why: Herald's Horn seems like it will be very impressive in this deck. With the cost reduction effect, we can churn out our zombies more quickly, which means taking chunks out of our opponents' life totals more quickly. The situational card draw is icing on the cake.
5/19/19:+Liliana, Dreadhorde General, Gleaming Overseer
-Bloodchief Ascension, Karn Liberated
Why: Through testing, my list has morphed into one that doesn't look quite like my original thread. These two have been taken out for testing, and I haven't missed them. Bloodchief Ascension does nothing until it has 3 counters, and once it does, it makes you Archenemy. Karn Liberated is great removal for probably permanent types (enchantments and artifacts) but lately I haven't been facing down ones that this deck cannot simply fight through. On the other hand, Liliana, Dreadhorde General is AMAZING for the deck: the static ability should fill our hand, the plus makes fodder, the minus is amazing removal, and the ultimate should end the game. Gleaming Overseer provides evasion to all my tokens and gives me two bodies on turn 3, which can help with casting Lord of Tresserhorn early.
Quote from Omega FurnaceYou seem to be missing a couple of zombie lords.
Also, you might benefit from Phyrexia's Core and/or Trading Post to go with that Spine of Ish Sah.
It seems somewhat odd to me that you run Braids, Cabal Minion but not Smokestack. Is there a reason for that?
Quote from OutcryqqOmega, thanks for the feedback. You're right, I've had my eyes peeled for Undead Warchief, and I didn't even know about Death Baron. Thanks!
Quote from OutcryqqAs to the Spine and friends, those are great cards to go with it. I put in Spine of Ish Sah mostly as recognition to the fact that I'm weak to some artifact/enchantment control strategies (Humility, Moat, Crawlspace to name a few), but so far in my meta they haven't been a problem. I'm considering taking out the Spine, but if I don't, I will definitely consider adding the core and the post.
Quote from OutcryqqFinally, as to Braids, Cabal Minion, I'm still on the fence about it. It's another card that attempts to answer permanents that I can't otherwise get rid of, and so far she's been a great way to draw out removal, but she isn't a zombie and I'm not sure if I want to keep her, since the removal is not targeted. I'm considering doing Oblivion Stone and then just tutoring for that if I run to artifact/enchantment problems. Your thoughts?
Quote from Outcryqq1) Exsanguinate is great and I had it in my list, but I'm a relative forum n00b and I put "1X" before it, so it didn't show up. Same with Read the Runes. I've fixed those.
Quote from Outcryqq2) Yeah I have a Zombie Master but I've found him unimpressive and have cut him. But that baron you showed me looks good - have you tried him? Deathtouch seems very relevant.
Quote from Outcryqq3) Very true regarding enchantment/artifact problems. I haven't picked up an Oblivion Stone yet, but I probably will. When I get it, I might switch out the spine for it. Have you tested them both? In grixis colors, how many of those types of removal do you run? I only ask because I have a few tutors, so I'm wondering if having tutors can decrease the amount of slots that removal take up.
Quote from Outcryqq4) I never knew about Crypt of Agadeem, I might look into picking one up. Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx was in my original list, but I took it out since my creatures generally don't last very long. As I playtest further, I'll see if my feelings change on that.
Quote from Outcryqq5) Muddle the Mixture looks very good! My only issue with it is that it's double blue mana cost, which will be difficult to cast early on given my mana base. However, you're right in that it's a counter and pseudo tutor when needed. I might try it out.
Quote from Outcryqq6) Yeah I'll try out the warhammer this week. Seems like it would be great.
Quote from Outcryqq7) Generally my fodder is eaten up very quickly, so I'm not sure if Sadistic Hypnotist will work. I had Cruel Ultimatum in my original list, but like you said, I found it it a bit lackluster in this list.
Quote from OutcryqqAdded in Loxodon Warhammer for Braids, Cabal Minion and switched in Hero's Downfall for Dreadbore.
Quote from OutcryqqOmega: I had Undead Alchemist in my original list, but I eventually cut him. My zombies are generally not connecting often unless it's for lethal, so I'm afraid his ability wouldn't be utilized very well. I do like mass draw, and I have a few draw options in there, but this deck has become very mana-intensive and I'm usually able to blow mana on recursion.
Quote from OutcryqqI'll probably put Dreadbore back in too. Thankfully, in my playgroup, walkers are generally killed immediately, so they are less of a worry. What would you take out to make room for more removal?
Quote from OutcryqqHey Omega, as always, thanks for your input.
Quote from OutcryqqThe reason I like Jhessian Zombies is that he's a land fetch that's recurrable with all my engines. Additionally, though I'm a primarily black deck, sometimes I need those splashes of red or blue mana, so he's useful to fetch up a shockland when needed. I'll keep testing to see if I'm comfortable enough with the mana base's consistency to cut them.
Quote from OutcryqqI've really liked Terminate so far, solely for it's instant speed. I'll keep looking for a spot to cut for Dreadbore.
Quote from OutcryqqI had Reassembling Skeleton in my initial list, but eventually cut him as a do-nothing. He's great fodder, but that's all he is, and he's a pretty bad late-game draw. With all my recursion, I'm pretty comfortable with anything being sacrifice fodder. I keep Gravecrawler because of his very cheap recursion, but he also goes infinite with Rooftop Storm and Grimgrin.
Quote from OutcryqqI love Rite of Replication in the right deck, and it would be a lot of carnage, I'll definitely consider him.
Quote from OutcryqqSidenote, I picked up an Oblivion Stone, so I also need to find room for him. Hum...
Quote from OutcryqqHeh, now you've got me searching for an Academy Ruins! Good idea though, I have quite a few artifacts that I'll want to keep alive.
Quote from OutcryqqI have actually had better luck with Army of the Damned than you'd think. It interacts well with many cards in my deck (Purphoros, God of the Forge, Blood Artist and its ilk, bodies to carry equipment). I'll keep trying it, but I'll keep any eye on it to see how often it's rotting in my hand.
Quote from OutcryqqSo I believe I'm taking out Army of the Damned, so the question becomes - should I also take out Purphoros, God of the Forge? I found my biggest advantage of Purphoros was when I could cast AotD. However, Purphoros also gives me a non-combat alternate path to victory...just not sure if it's worth the slot now.
Quote from OutcryqqYeah, I'll keep Purphoros, God of the Forge in for now, but I'm going to watch him like a hawk.