Chainer — In the Darkness of Dreams
— Introduction —
PLUS: Deckbuilding Goals
— Decklist —
— Changelog —
MOST RECENT FIRST
Quote from ages ago »I had chosen Deathgreeter to replace Blood Artist because I didn't want to end up leeching the table while trying to combo with Gonti or Sepulchral Primordial instead. However, most of the combos involve a sacrifice outlet and I usually have one out anyway. This means I can just soften people up (particularly as a solution to lifegainers) from the Blood Artist triggers if I'm going for a different win condition, while helping enable a combat win condition and being a backup win condition itself.
— Acknowledgments —
Quote from lyonhaert »Cards I've been considering lately:
More discard: Sadistic Hypnotist and/or Myojin of Night's Reach.More sacrifice: Dictate of Erebos could help a lot at the right time. I just don't want to durdle behind it. Sheoldred, Whispering One is also an option. Additional board wipes might be better (Torment printing of Mutilate, All is Dust, old-school 4th/5th art Nevinyrral's Disk, etc.).With adding more discard or more opponent creature death, Sangromancer starts looking like it could do some work. It didn't make the cut this last build because it rarely did much for me before with only one discard source and 1-2 wipes.Blanket of Night as a backup Urborg. Would also help Sheoldred connect.Cards I'm unsure of keeping (haven't had a chance to test them in a game yet):
Warping Wail could leave until I have a known need to stop sorceries. Withering Boon has been great, so I don't want to cut that. Not sure how much need there is for Imp's Mischief for redirecting a target or countering a Counterspell, but I've been hoping it'll be useful. Redirecting a kicked Rite of Replication is always funny.Mesmeric Fiend is very on-flavor, but I'm unsure yet how useful he is to picking apart opponent's hands.Tortured Existence seemed an interesting way to hide a surprise in my hand for reanimation, though I haven't figure out how it could be part of a loop the way Phyrexian Reclamation can. Rings turns it into a discard version of Victimize, though.
Quote from ProfessorWhen »I've had a Chainer deck since around 2007 and I cannot overstate the amazing effectiveness of Sadistic Hypnotist. That card can win games almost on its own.
Another great card that I enjoy is Memory Jar. Timing it right can be difficult, but it can serve the dual role of filling graveyards and drawing you cards.
Defense Grid is a useful card against countermagic since most of your instant-speed effects are coming from activated abilities of Chainer and your sac outlets.
I have not felt the need to run Tortured Existence in my list. I replaced it with Dark Deal and haven't looked back.
I was not impressed with Harvester of Souls, instead opting for Grim Haruspex and Smothering Abomination (this one certainly feels on-theme as well).
I also replaced mt Infernal Tribute with Vampiric Rites since I found I was more interested in sacrificing tokens over non-creatures. The lower CMC is nice, too.
You probably don't need Ice Cauldron (even though it's a hilarious card) and Gemstone Array. I might add in Expedition Map if you are worried about getting access to Urborg/Coffers/Nykthos.
Quote from GloriousGoose »
Sadistic Hypnotist over the Myojin for sure, since it's way more on theme both flavor wise and mechanics wise. I'd replace the Mesmeric Fiend for it since it's low impact. I didn't like Sangromancer. It does generate a lot of life in the right circumstances but I found it to be low impact overall. If it worked for your own creatures it would be a different story, obviously.I love Warping Wail in my Daretti list, but here I think it forces you to run bad lands in order to support it. You want as many Swamps on board as possible to fuel your doublers, so the opportunity cost just isn't worth it in my opinion.
re: Infernal Tribute vs. Vampiric Rites: I think Rites is by far the better pick here, as the life gain is more relevant than having higher devotion and being able to sac Cabal Coffers to Tribute so you can recur it with Crucible of Worlds/Petrified Field for two activations.
Quote from GloriousGoose »Tribute does have the better art, though.
Quote from lyonhaert »I'm only running one doubler at the moment [...]
Which lands do you think are bad currently in the list? I have three guesses at the moment, but you might be thinking of more/others.
Quote from lyonhaert »I probably have both Infernal Tribute and Claws of Gix from when I used to run Spine of Ish Sah, but they serve another purpose aside from squeezing out an additional activation of Coffers/Nykthos with Crucible: getting rid of Necropotence if it becomes a liability or if I just want to activate it 20 times and not exile any of it.
Quote from GloriousGoose »Quote from lyonhaert »I'm only running one doubler at the moment [...]Don't forget Scrooge McDuck's horde!
Which lands do you think are bad currently in the list? I have three guesses at the moment, but you might be thinking of more/others.
I don't think you have enough artifacts to reasonably support Inventors' Fair (it also sounds too pleasant and optimistic for the flavor of the deck) and Buried Ruins's target pool is pretty low, though I suppose it does get back your combo altars and is redundancy for Yawgmoth's Will for that. What do you usually name with Cavern of Souls? It seems like you don't have enough consistent targets to make it tap for black enough. Maybe it's useful for pushing through one or two important critters and then you're fine with it only producing colorless. I want to criticize Homeward Path but I do like the idea of reanimating something and giving it back to its owner... for a price, so I'll leave it be. I'm also skeptical of Crypt of Agadeem but with your creature density it probably works okay for you.
Quote from GloriousGoose »I did overestimate the number of doublers you run, though, so feel free to ignore all of the above. It looks like your loops are self-contained and don't require boatloads of mana so it seems less critical for you to go the typical big mana black route.
Otherwise I think your list looks like a lot of fun and I appreciate the balance of flavor/functionality. Also, +rep for the Dio reference.
Quote from ProfessorWhen »Quote from lyonhaert »I probably have both Infernal Tribute and Claws of Gix from when I used to run Spine of Ish Sah, but they serve another purpose aside from squeezing out an additional activation of Coffers/Nykthos with Crucible: getting rid of Necropotence if it becomes a liability or if I just want to activate it 20 times and not exile any of it.
A cool tech with Necropotence is that the exile is a trigger, not a replacement effect. What this means is that if you discard something you can put the exile on the stack then reanimate it with Chainer. Its oracle wording is similar to Planar Void rather than Rest in Peace.
Edit: I forgot Necro got reprinted with updated wording. I guess it's not as obscure a detail now.
Quote from benjameenbear »Hey comrade, I like the list! I'm building a more casual version of Chainer for my casual friends, and I took a lot of inspiration from your thread here. Good stuff.
Quote from benjameenbear »A card that you could consider in the spot of Fallen Ideal is Mind Slash. While it loses some utility due to its sorcery speed restriction, I think the ability to strip answers from opponents' hands and/or the best creature for Chainer to reanimate is really important.
Quote from benjameenbear »Also, is there a reason that Black Market is excluded? I think that with as many sac outlets as you have that it would be working overtime in mana production.
Quote from lyonhaert »Reserved, because everybody reserves the second post for some reason.
Quote from benjameenbear »The reason for this is so that if you do decide to convert this thread to a Primer, you already have a second post set aside so that you can fluidly extend the OP Primer post into two posts if you want. Just as an FYI. For my Memnarch Primer, I didn't reserve the second post and had to delete someone else's comment so that I could have the second post for my Primer.
Quote from benjameenbear »Also, I think it might be worthwhile to draft up a competitive list for those who are interested in it. It doesn't have to be the focus of your Primer per se, but I think it would be a good addition to help add depth to your thread. A sample competitive Stax list might look something like this:
cEDH Chainer StaxMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
Chainer, Dementia Stax Master1x Chainer, Dementia MasterCreatures (24)1x Carrion Feeder2x Disciple of Griselbrand2x Soldevi Adnate2x Phyrexian Revoker2x Dark Confidant3x Liliana’s Specter3x Fleshbag Marauder3x Merciless Executioner3x Grim Haruspex4x Solemn Simulacrum4x Erebos, God of the Dead4x Mindslicer4x Slum Reaper4x Disciple of Bolas4x Smothering Abomination4x Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed5x Sadistic Hypnotist5x Sidisi, Undead Vizier5x Shriekmaw5x Gray Merchant of Asphodel6x Kokusho, the Evening Star8x Pestilence Demon8x Razaketh, the Foulblooded9x Void WinnowerArtifacts (20)0x Mox Diamond0x Mana Crypt0x Everflowing Chalice0x Chalice of the Void1x Sol Ring1x Skullclamp2x Charcoal Diamond2x Coldsteel Heart2x Mind Stone2x Winter Orb2x Sphere of Resistance2x Thorn of Amethyst3x Worn Powerstone3x Phyrexian Totem3x Trinisphere3x Phyrexian Altar3x Crucible of Worlds4x Smokestack4x Thran Dynamo5x Gilded LotusEnchantments (7)2x Blood Funnel2x Animate Dead3x Contamination3x Bottomless Pit3x Phyrexian Arena3x Necropotence4x Grave PactInstants (4)1x Entomb1x Dark Ritual1x Vampiric Tutor3x DismemberSorceries (12)1x Reanimate2x Demonic Tutor2x Diabolic Intent2x Sign in Blood2x Night’s Whisper2x Smallpox3x Death Cloud3x Toxic Deluge3x Buried Alive3x Victimize4x Damnation4x Yahenni’s ExpertiseLands (33)1x Strip Mine1x Wasteland1x Phyrexian Tower1x High Market1x Volrath’s Stronghold1x Deserted Temple1x Ancient Tomb1x Cabal Coffers1x Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx1x Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth1x Buried Ruin1x Bloodstained Mire1x Polluted Delta1x Marsh Flats19x Swamp
The competitive list goes fully onboard with resource denial, tax effects, and forced sacrifice effects, creating a truly oppressive and comprehensive Stax package. Definitely not for casual playgroups, I think that this is a good starting point to consider.
You might also decide not to include it at all. No worries!
Quote from benjameenbear »Yeah, I forgot about Nirkana Revenant. Such a cool card. It should definitely find a spot somehow in my casual list since it's really good.
Quote from lyonhaert »@benjameenbear:
Bone Shredder might be an option over Shriekmaw. Phage strikes me as an odd choice since you don't have XHD or Phyrexian Reclamation to get it back from the graveyard and can't reanimate it.
I like that you're sticking primarily to card draw. If life becomes an issue, Basilisk Collar could be useful with all the big guns you have. Also works well on Pestilence Demon.
Looks good, though.
Now on my Bucket List with Chainer is: reanimate someone else's Kothophed, force it back to them with Homeward Path or Faceless Butcher, then do a sacrifice loop to kill them. Just have to make sure they don't have a sacrifice outlet of their own.
Quote from benjameenbear »Loxodon Warhammer gives my creatures the lifelink aspect I'm looking for. Basilisk Collar is good tech, but I don't want to consistently wipe my whole field as well. Usually, 3 activations of Pestilence Demon is enough to clear the field, which is acceptable. The Warhammer is also $0.39, and it gives a combat damage boost while also turning many of my creatures into 4-turn clocks. It's been decent in application and I think it's fine.
Quote from benjameenbear »I've found myself, as an EDH player, coming into a weird paradigm: I need to have 2-3 highly competitive decks actually built (Memnarch, Teferi, and Edric decks for me) and then a grip of casual decks to play with as well (Nicol Bolas, Chainer, Yisan in my gauntlet). I play different skill levels and I find that I increase the overall volume of games if I use the right decks in the right playgroup and skill level. I'd hate to curb-stomp the whole table on T4 with my Teferi Stax deck and piss everyone off, minimizing the number of games I actually play. I'm more interested in the game and social interactions it provides, and different level of deck intensities help to deliver an enjoyable game for everyone that maximizes the number of games I get. For this reason, I've tried to minimize the tutors in the deck. It gives variance to each game, doesn't feel as streamlined and efficient from my opponents' perspective, and helps to give an enjoyable experience for all involved. But the moment I feel like I want to win, I can happily pull out one of my 3 cEDH decks and feel confident that I will win and soothe my ego, haha.
Quote from lyonhaert »As a general update, I had an interesting game with Chainer this weekend against Mizzix and Kaseto. It was interesting because I cast Chainer once and activated him maybe twice (at the same time). The rest of the time I just cast stuff, and didn't even have strong card draw aside from a few well-placed Skullclamp attachments, as Necropotence ate countermagic and Phyrexian Arena came down later. But I could cast stuff a lot because of a bit of ramp and having Crypt Ghast from early on.
Gonti nabbed me some countermagic that I used to stop Mizzix's Caged Sun. Later I reanimated him and took Firemind's Foresight (which would have been pretty useful had I cast it).
Praetor's Grasp, however, I aimed at Kaseto. I thought about taking their Phyrexian Metamorph, but there weren't many useful things to copy. Instead I took their Orochi Hatchery. Mizzix attempted somewhat of a one-sided wipe with Comet Storm, killing whatever I had. Kaseto played Skullwinder and I got the Ghast back because they didn't want Mizzix to have the Comet Storm back. I used Kagemaro to wipe, followed by recasting Crypt Ghast and Whip of Erebos, and passed the turn.
Mizzix tapped out to overload Mizzix's Mastery, which ended up only getting them 6 cards by copying Mystic Confluence with Howl of the Horde, because everything else was x. Kaseto pumped up as much as they could and hit me for a decent chunk but didn't kill me. At this point I poured 24 mana into casting the Hatchery and it resolved with 12 counters. After the Ghast's extort trigger, which saved my bacon over the course of the game, I had 5 mana left to activate it, so I did.
Mizzix recasts their commander (I think they were trying to set up for something and needed the discount). Can't remember what Kaseto did, but they tapped out. So I activate the Hatchery again and start drawing a ton of cards with Skullclamp. Down comes Massacre Wurm to take out both of their commanders again. Down comes Blood Artist, and Fallen Ideal attached to the Wurm. I attack Mizzix with the first set of snakes to gain some life and bring them down to 7, then I kill 7 snakes to finish him off with Blood Artist's triggers. Kaseto couldn't really touch my life total now, and got machine-gunned with snakes.
After reflecting on this game, I came to a few decision regarding my next batch of changes.
Blood Artist has to be switched back to Deathgreeter. Artist simply can't supply life for Chainer loops without killing opponents, because I can't loop Gonti or Sepulchral Primordial enough times for an Ultimate Finish without razing my opponents in the process unless one of them has gained 200-300 life.Phyrexian Obliterator is unnecessary as a beater, and too mean as a trick to put in the way of damage.Vedalken Orrery, while a nice idea, didn't even cross my mind even though I spent most of the game casting on my turn instead of using Chainer. At no point did I wish it was on the battlefield, so I can probably make that something more useful.Sepulchral Primordial might also be unnecessary. It sat in my hand this game (and a couple previous games) because there just weren't decent targets worth stealing, and thus better things to do with the mana.I'm also still doing well on mana with the moderate amount of ramp I did. I only did Thawing Glaciers twice in one turn with Deserted Temple and activated Burnished Hart once and otherwise hit all my drops, though dropping Urborg early was quite helpful. I feel like I had plenty of mana even without Crypt Ghast, but with Ghast I often had lands still untapped at the beginning of my turn. So I'll be considering a mana sink of some sort — either something to trickle it into to mess with combat or gain life, or something I can blast the remaining into mana into. I have considered Deathgrip for amusement. Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief could help in multiple ways, as the power buff does well with lifelink, Disciple of Bolas, and Altar of Dementia.
As for other replacements, I'm considering adding an additional wipe in the form of Life's Finale, Nevinyrral's Disk, or Mutilate. A source of lifegain might be useful because that still seems to be a highly limiting factor, and possibly artifact recursion. For this the good ol' Trading Post toolbox is under consideration, but so is Loxodon Warhammer or Basilisk Collar to encourage me to use combat more.
That 7-drop spot could be Sheoldred, perhaps.
Quote from benjameenbear »Great game report! It sounds like an enjoyable game, all things considered. I think that Blood Artist helped you definitively close the door on the game that you were already going to win. From what I gather, you had a pretty insurmountable mana and Reanimator advantage over your opponents; why bother giving them a couple of turns just to inevitably die? It sounds like the Artist helped close the game out so that you could potentially shuffle up for another game. That's one of the reasons I like infinite or semi-infinite combos to be present in my deck somehow; it helps accelerate a game so that I can get more games in within a play session. Food for thought.
I chose to run Life's Finale because the decks that I would be playing against with Chainer have some sweet Reanimator targets. Being able to grab them proactively out of their deck while resetting the field, setting up a great play sequence on my next turn, is very ideal to me. Chainer would be going up against a Bladewing the Risen Dragon Reanimator deck, a Kaalia of the Vast deck (my wife's), and a couple other goodstuff decks. The Finale sets me up to take advantage of their decks. And of course, the Disk helps to get rid of problematic Enchantments and Artifacts. Why not run both in place of some of the cards you want to cut?
Quote from benjameenbear »Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief is a great, repeatable removal and combat damage mana sink. I'm quite fond of her in mono-Black decks.
If you're contemplating a 7-drop spot... would Void Winnower be too mean against your playgroup? I like that it helps to force combat damage through and helps to disrupt my opponents in their removal choice. Plus, it's got lots of spaghetti arms and honestly looks like something that Chainer would summon from Dementia space. The Eldrazi are weird and nightmarish creatures, so I felt it appropriate to run the two better ones. Reanimating Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger still feels really good even if I miss the cast trigger.
If the Eldrazi aren't useful to you or would be overpowered, I recommend Pestilence Demon. It's a solid beater, helps keep the board under control from stupid weenie swarms, kills most random hate-bears that would disrupt a Reanimator strategy, and has cool flavor text. Do note I am a removal-heavy deckbuilder, so I come from the bias that adding more removal is always better.