Have you ever had the desire to crush your opponents with a mastery of the profane arts? Have you ever had the desire to consign your opponents to a life of servitude at your feet? If you have answered yes to either of those questions then you are in the right place! I invite you to journey with me through this profane deck tech!
The format of commander contains innumerable deck types and concepts that all aim to win games! If bringing low your opponents with a fast combo suicide black deck intrigues you do read on!
Let us begin with our chosen general for this deck and that is Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. He is a legendary human cleric that costs 2 colorless and 2 black to cast. You get a creature that has a power and toughness of 2/4 and a virtual wall of abilities.
The first ability is protection from humans.The second ability reads: Pay 1 life, sacrifice another creature: Put a -1/-1 counter on up to one target creature and draw a card. The final ability is pay 2 black, discard a card: Proliferate.
Now let’s dive right into these abilities and see how useful they are to the overall strategy of the deck. The first ability of protection from humans is decent overall but has no real bearing on our strategy. The second ability is far more useful as we start to set up for the kill.
Life is merely a resource in the arsenal of a black mage. The ability to pay a life and draw a card is very powerful. To make full use of this ability we require two other creatures in play that have undying. You need to have at least one of those creatures with no counters on them to proceed. You simply pay the life and sacrifice one of the undying creatures and put the -1/-1 counter on the other. The sacrificed creature returns with a +1/+1 counter. You then sacrifice the undying creature with the -1/-1 counter and place the resulting -1/-1 counter on the first creature you sacrificed. You simply repeat this loop as many times as you feel you need to to gain card advantage. Since this can be achieved at instant speed you can employ this tactic at any point.
Combo for the Win
The third ability is the key cog in one of the win conditions of the deck. In order to take full advantage of this ability you will need to have played Ichor Rats and given everyone a poison counter. Then it becomes a simple task of proliferating the poison counters. Sit back and watch your opponents fall victim to poison in no time!
Now that we have started talking about the victory conditions of the deck, it is time to start listing the actual ways this deck achieves victory. As you have read above the first victory condition requires Ichor Rats, Yawgmoth and eighteen black mana.
Mike and Trike
The second win condition of the deck requires Mikaeus,the Unhallowed and Triskelion to be on the field at the same time. You simply remove all the +1/+1 counters from Triskelion and deal one damage to an opponent and two to Triskelion. When Triskelion dies this will trigger Mikaeus’ undying trigger ability. Triskelion comes back with a +1/+1 counter. You simply continue removing the counters to deal damage and trigger undying until your opponent’s life totals have been reduced to zero.
Aristocrats for the Win
The third win condition is an aristocrat strategy of draining your opponents. To achieve this life drain you use creatures with life loss triggers. You want to utilize cards like Blood Artist, Zulaport Cutthroat, Ayara,First of Locthwain and Geralf’s Messenger. In order to make this strategy work you need to have Yawgmoth, any two undying creatures in play. You also need at least one of the aristocrat effect creatures.
You simply repeat the aforementioned loop of life loss getting you card draw while draining your opponents. Now if you really want to be evil and let’s be real here you do, you will also want to have Deathgreeter on the field. You make use of the death trigger to gain life each time one of your creatures dies. You can essentially draw your entire deck while draining your opponents of their life.
Drawing to the Combos
Ideally you want to get Vilis into play and pass your turn with enough mana to cast Ad Nauseam. Ideally you will wait until the end step of the player before you to cast Ad Nauseam. Your goal here is to pretty much draw out your deck using Ad Nauseam and Vilis’ ability. If you do this correctly you should be able to draw most of your deck.
The goal here is to start your turn with as much of your deck as possible in your hand. You are now looking for several specific cards that will deliver victory into your hands. You need to have Skirge Familiar and Tendrils of Agony in hand to make this work.
Your goal here is to play a land card from your hand first and then discard all remaining lands in your hand to Skirge Familiar. This should generate all the mana you require to continue on. Your goal here is to start casting spells from your hand to build up a storm count enough to beat your opponents. There are ways to achieve a continual loop of casting and drawing your deck.
Contingency Plans (When there’s Not Enough)
If you need to generate a larger storm count, there are several ways to do this. You need to either have or tutor for Kozilek, Butcher of Truth (editor’s note Kozilek made our first 10 cards in your edh collection list) . Ideally you also want a second tutor to fetch Ad Nauseam. You simply pitch Kozilek to Skirge Familiar shuffling your graveyard into your library. You then tutor up Ad Nauseam and rinse and repeat.
The Mana Base
Now it is time to go over the meat and bones of the deck. I think the most appropriate place to begin is with the mana base. As we all know you really need a great mana base to ensure you are able to cast your spells. Let us begin with the land base aspect of your mana base. The deck runs a total of thirty lands. Some of you will be throwing your hands up in protest at the number of lands. I assure you that the deck does not require a critical mass of lands to run effectively.
The deck runs twenty five swamps and five specialty lands as the land package. The five specialty lands in the deck are Ancient Tomb, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, Volrath’s Stronghold, Cabal Coffers, and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.
Mana Rocks on Steroids
These lands should be self explanatory so I will not be going over why they are in the deck. To round out the mana base we move to the artifact portion of the deck tech. The deck runs nine additional mana sources to go along with the thirty lands. The deck runs the zero drop artifacts Mox Opal, Mox Amber, Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal and Mana Crypt. Rounding out the mana generators is Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Arcane Signet, and Thought Vessel.
Tutors and Draw
Next we will take a look at the tutor package. The deck runs three traditional tutors in Demonic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor and Grim Tutor. These tutors are used to fetch any pieces of the win conditions mentioned above.
The deck utilizes a surprising amount of card draw for a mono black deck. However, as with most profane spells there is a cost to amassing those cards and that cost is usually your life. I have already touched on the card draw ability of Yawgmoth, Vilis and Ad Nauseam so I will not rehash them here. Aside from those three cards there are six additional card draw spells in the deck. They are Aphotic Wisps, Cremate, Dredge, Gravebind, Night’s Whisper, and Sign in Blood and Necropotence.
Night’s Whisper and Sign in Blood are two cards that do the same thing. Both cards draw you two cards with the cost of two life. This is a hallmark of profane magic that gives the wielder a benefit at the cost of one’s own life force.Then there is the ever powerful Necropotence which needs no introductions. This is one of the most powerful card draw effects in the game for black. The only drawback is you need to wait a full turn rotation to be able to utilize the effect.
The next four card draw cards are classified as cantrips. What that means is they cost one black mana to cast and produce a card draw effect. Aphotic Wisps turns a target creature black and gives the target fear on top of drawing a card. Cremate is a nice spot removal card for the graveyard that likewise nets you a card. Dredge and Gravebind continue the theme of causing an effect and netting you a card draw at instant speed. You will notice that all of these cantrips cost one black mana and are cast at instant speed. This enables the pilot of the deck to play more strategically and enables a rapid response.
The deck utilizes eight different sources of target removal that can take care of any threats your opponents have. Toxic Deluge, Feed the Swarm, and Ashes to Ashes are all great removal spells to cast when Vilis is on the field. These cards remove threats on the board and draw you cards thanks to Vilis.
Sinkhole is in the deck to deal with pesky lands your opponents may play. Chainer’s Edict and Force of Despair are excellent forceful sacrifice effects on your opponents. Go for the Throat and Slaughter Pact are pinpoint removal spells that can deal with a myriad of creature threats.
The most crucial aspect of this deck aside from the card draw is the reanimator package. The entire package consists of ten cards that either put creatures into your graveyard or reanimate them. This is where the deck allows you to get some of the higher casting cost creatures such as Mikaeus and Vilis into play without having to pay their casting cost. You can also utilize these spells to retrieve certain creatures vital to your plans that have died or you require them to hit the field. Buried Alive and Entomb are very useful in getting the creatures you want to reanimate into your graveyard. Spells like Exhume, Reanimate, Soul Exchange, Stitch Together, Goryo’s Vengeance, Animate Dead, Dance of the Dead and Necromancy are all perfect reanimator spells. These spells target not only your graveyard but your opponents as well.
The next area I wish to briefly go over is what I term as the knockout part of the deck. There are two spells in this deck that are capable of total victory. I am of course referring to Exsanguinate and Torment of Hailfire. They need no introduction for commander players and many a game has come to an abrupt end once they have been cast.
The next group of four cards are mana accelerants that greatly aid in your ability to cast your spells earlier. Bubbling Muck makes your Swamps tap for an additional black mana. Rain of Filth allows your Swamps to be sacrificed to produce a black mana and when paired with Bubbling Muck will give you three mana per Swamp. Do not be afraid of sacrificing your lands as demonstrated above there is a loop to get them all back anyway.
As we start to round out the deck we now come to the few cards that I deem utility cards. While not overly powerful in their own right these cards become great utility effects when paired with other established cards. Darkness is the very definition of utility and also should be considered a lifesaver. Darkness is a black Fog and definitely useful if you are about to be overrun. Ebony Charm is a multi modal card that has utility written on it. Erebos’s Intervention can be a spot removal, a massive life gain, or a massive graveyard card removal.
Bastion of Remembrance and Nest of Scarabs are utility enchantments that play perfectly with your overall strategy. Bastion of Remembrance is an additional aristocrat effect that when paired with the others is just as lethal. Nest of Scarabs when employed with Yawgmoth’s -1/-1 ability will quickly give you a critical mass of insect tokens to use as sacrifice fodder or overwhelm your opponents.
Rounding out the utility section of the deck are two artifacts. Skullclamp is an excellent utility artifact that can draw an absurd amount of cards when attached to creatures you are sacrificing to abilities. You will get a lot of card draws when employing Skullclamp with Nest of Scarabs. Zuran Orb is one of those cards that in the right instance can save your life. As I said earlier the hallmark of a black mage is sacrificing something to gain a benefit. In this case you are sacrificing your lands to give you life.
Rounding out the deck are the remaining four creatures of the deck. Each of these creatures like most of the cards in the deck have a specific purpose for being in it. Butcher Ghoul is one of the few undying creatures and one that is relatively cost effective. Dark Confidant will net you an extra card each turn and if you are fortunate enough to have him on the field with Vilis, that net gain becomes even more!
Pawn of Ulamog serves as an unconventional mana generator. As long as you are continually sacrificing non-token creatures you will continually net Eldrazi Spawn tokens which are fuel for your profane machinations.
Last but certainly not least is Putrid Imp. The Imp is in the deck as a means to toss out Kozilek, Butcher of Truth so you can shuffle your graveyard into your library. You can also use the ability to get heavy cost creatures into your graveyard to be reanimated.
Commander: Yawgmoth, Thran Physician.
Artifacts: Arcane Signet, Chrome Mox, Lotus Petal, Mana Crypt, Mana Vault, Mox Amber, Mox Opal, Skullclamp, Sol Ring, Thought Vessel, Zuran Orb.
Creatures: Ayara, First of Locthwain, Blood Artist, Butcher Ghoul, Dark Confidant, Deathgreeter, Geralf’s Messenger, Ichor Rats, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, Pawn of Ulamog, Putrid Imp, Skirge Familiar,Triskelion, Vilis, Broker of Blood,Zulaport Cutthroat.
Enchantments: Animate Dead, Bastion of Remembrance, Dance of the Dead, Necromancy, Necropotence, Nest of Scarabs.
Instants: Ad Nauseam, Aphotic Wisps, Cabal Ritual, Cremate, Culling the Weak, Dark Ritual, Darkness, Dredge, Ebony Charm, Entomb, Erebos’s Intervention, Force of Despair, Go for the Throat, Goryo’s Vengeance, Gravebind, Rain of Filth, Sacrifice, Slaughter Pact, Vampiric Tutor.
Sorcery: Ashes to Ashes, Bubbling Muck, Buried Alive, Chainer’s Edict, Demonic Tutor, Exhume, Exsanguinate, Feed the Swarm, Grim Tutor, Night’s Whisper, Reanimate, Sign in Blood, Sinkhole, Soul Exchange, Stitch Together, Tendrils of Agony, Torment of Hailfire, Toxic Deluge.
Lands: Swamp x25, Ancient Tomb, Cabal Coffers, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Volrath’s Stronghold.
I wish to extend my warmest regards for having delved this deep into the profane arts with me. You are indeed an individual worthy of wielding such profane powers. Alas I cannot let you leave my humble abode with such knowledge. When I invited you on this journey into the dark realms I never said you would be returning. I haven’t gotten as far as I have by letting my secrets go so easily. Now you shall dwelleth in eternal servitude like so many before you!
Oh who am I kidding! I am no dark lord but I do hope you have enjoyed this deck tech on a mono black turbo combo deck. Now go forth and unleash the dark powers you have learned here upon your friends! I will leave you with this final warning. This deck is definitely capable of killing all of your opponents but it is also capable of killing you! Be mindful of your life total and always remember life is a resource!