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Chains of Mephistopheles
If a player would draw a card except the first one he or she draws in his or her draw step each turn, that player discards a card instead. If the player discards a card this way, he or she draws a card. If the player doesn't discard a card this way, he or she puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
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Chains of Mephistopheles Discussion
1 week ago
1 week ago
Re: Tutor Targets: Obviously it depends on the game, but I would say by far the most common searches are for two cards: Contamination and Living Plane. Contamination on its own locks out many decks, but devastates practically all cEDH lists if you manage to land it together with a Null Rod on the field. Because Null Rod is one of the very first cards you'll want to find in many games, there is a reasonable chance you have already tutored and played it. If you have, a subsequent Contamination usually just ends the game as your opponents have no way to play anything and would slowly die via combat damage. (Two big exceptions are mono-black opponents and mana dorks - however mono- is basically non-existent in CEDH, and mana dorks are usually already dead to wipes or Merciless Executioner effects). Living Plane is the other main tutor target, as it is 1/2 of the "winning" combo and the other 1/2 (Minister of Pain) is "findable" by a much greater number of tutors (i.e. Survival of the Fittest). So, the find-anything tutors are usually used to find the enchantment half of the combo.
Chains of Mephistopheles is a lot like Carpet of Flowers - depending on your opponents' decks it is either outrageously powerful or completely useless. For me the reasoning on both cards is pretty simple - Carpet of Flowers is almost always "on" (very rarely is NO ONE at the table playing blue), while Chains of Mephistopheles is usually rather useless. It purely comes down to the fact that the particular decks in my meta just aren't shut down by it, so it's not worth including. It is always something to keep on the radar, however; stax is an extremely meta-dependent archetype and for many it will be a fantastic inclusion.
Re: Budget - Unless you are playing ~75% EDH or below, I wouldn't recommend the Kormus Bell route; it is just too difficult to assemble all three cards, and also quite vulnerable to disruption. The main issue is that non-creature cards are FAR more difficult to tutor for. Finding one non-creature card (for the existing two-card combo) is doable but even that can pose issues at times; having to find TWO non-creature cards is a very big ask and I just don't see it being very viable against competitive opponents. The combo would usually be slowly assembled and (likely) telegraphed, but there is an even bigger problem with it. Assuming Kormus Bell and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth are in play, and you cast a Minister of Pain, any of your opponents can instant-speed respond by killing Urborg with Strip Mine or Wasteland, so that when Minister resolves, you will end up just killing a bunch of your own swamps (maybe some of theirs, but most of their lands will survive and many of yours will not).
On a budget I would HIGHLY recommend going the Hulk Combo route as a wincon, and by far one of the best decklists available for this is roguelikedev's Honorbru Meren (see below). The wincon package is much cheaper (financially) and is at least as potent/competitive as my approach (if not moreso!!!)
Commander / EDH
SCORE: 4 | 8 COMMENTS | 1080 VIEWS | IN 2 FOLDERS
1 week ago
what's your thoughts on Chains of Mephistopheles? i play one in nekusar and i feel like it would fit very well in my meren deck as well, is it a monetary thing?
also on the subject of monetary, meren isnt one of my main decks, so i can't afford to get a living plane for it anytime soon, what's your thoughts on running Kormus Bell as a budget alternative? it does the same thing when you have Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth out, and im just wondering if its worth running as a budget LP
1 month ago
crstisalie, re: Chains. I mostly think I don't want a chains/spirit/draw hoser in the deck anymore. The play of turn 1 Chains of Mephistopheles, turn 2 Windfall, turn 3 Zur, turn 4 Necropotence doesn't happen very often. But, more importantly, discarding is something this deck doesn't want to do. There's only 2 win cons in the whole deck so if you happen to discard one it's strategically really limiting. There's also just Timetwister to get it back, so you're not really replaying stuff out of the yard. Which, of course, is by design, since you're frequently putting Rest in Peace in play, and the ability to play around that is one of the deck's great strengths. So, in some ways, Spirit of the Labyrinth is just better than chains, since it doesn't make us discard stuff. (And also, it's far superior vs. Gitrog.) But, mostly the only early card draw I see is Sylvan Library and Tymna the Weaver. So I question if it's worth running a spirit at all; especially since a wrath tends to be better against tymna decks and green-based decks in general. It feels real bad to land a spirit of the labyrinth and then draw Rhystic Study or Mystic Remora, which are (obviously) powerhouse cards. I mean, it's still good to land the spirit if you're opponents are on a draw where they have turn-2 sylvan library or are tymna/thrasios decks.
Anyway, all that said, Anvil of Bogardan was never in consideration.
To go back to an earlier point, re: Solemnity. This card just doesn't do anything. Unless you're playing against Animar, Soul of Elements every game. Solemnity does combo with Phyrexian Unlife, but, also, that's mostly just a worse way to build your own Solitary Confinement. I think just run the one solitary confinement and don't bother with solemnity + unlife. Phyrexian Unlife is very good in Zur combo decks that revolve around Ad Nauseam, but I don't think it does enough here.
Remember a big benefit of this deck is there's only 2 dead win-con cards in the whole list. Everything else is mana, gas, or permission. :)
1 month ago
Also given you have a lot of repeatable 1 toughness creature production cards I’d recommend Skullclamp for lots of card draw. Also throwing in a Grave Pact can make that synnergy really good as well. Also single card hand disruption can be weak in EDH, I’d recommend more aggressive card discard effects like Mindslicer, Chain of Smog, and Noxious Vapors.
1 month ago
Thank you mmcgeach and VelvetVendetta for the suggestions - I am going slot Damnation into the deck and give it a try! I also saw your recent post about Damping Sphere and I am going to give that a try as well. I completely agree with your assessment of Chains of Mephistopheles. I currently run Spirit of the Labyrinth and I find that it frequently hurts me more often than it helps me.
Day's Undoing is definately not ideal, but it has a low CMC, can recycle my graveyard and combos with Notion Thief much in the same way Timetwister does. The main disadvantage is that it effectively ends the turn and prevents the 'end of turn' trigger from Necropotence. I do have a Replenish, but I much prefer the versatility that Day's Undoing offers for now.
Again, thank you both for your help - I have been following both of your Zur (control and reanimator) EDH decks for awhile. I am still very new to the Zur control archetype as I used to play a reanimator style deck. You both have been an incredible help in deck-building and general strategy!
2 months ago
Hi there, i'll share all the knowledge i've gathered after playing discard decks for more than 5 years (i've built monoblack creatureless discard, monoblack creature discard, UB discard, RB discard, Grixis discard, specter discard, etc.).
The first i see here is that you don't have anything to deal with the board, so you'll more than probably die to anything that hits the board, even a simple 3/1 two-drop. Your deck relies too much on damaging your opponent through giving him many cards and forcing him to discard not that many; the only card in your deck that punishes him this way is Liliana's Caress and that's it, it's not reliable. You also run two copies of Painful Quandary which it's ideal mechanics are to punish your opponent for having no hand, but since you are forcing him to draw so many cards, he'll always have the option to discard while playing a spell (only taking 2 damage from Liliana's Caress and only if you have the enchant on the battlefield).
You have many cards that allow you or your opponent to draw and discard cards, but you only have Alms of the Vein to exploit this mechanic, so get rid of those or stick in more madness cards.
The description says "the goal of this deck is to get your opponent as low as possible", but you can't do that quickly by relying only on 4 copies of Liliana's Caress while you'll be recieving lot's of threats and hits. Master of the Feast will for sure get destroyed by any of the thousands removal spells you'll force your opponent to draw, so it won't be dealing too much damage if any.
Let's work on the solution. First of all, you need your deck to have more consistant way to deal damage and you also need to get rid of your opponent's threats until you've reached mid-late game and you can develop your winning mechanics.
Since you have almost no creature, let's take advantage of that so that you can trade one card of yours for many cards of your opponent. Good cards to do this, depending on the money you want to spend are, for example, Drown in Sorrow , Yahenni's Expertise , Languish and Damnation.
You also need to be faster or at least to be able to delay your opponent's strategy. A way of doing this is by disrupting his early moves to wreck his plan. Cards like Inquisition of Kozilek , Thoughtseize , Duress and Despise excell at doing so.
To strenghten the draw and discard engine you have many cards at your disposal. I don't know if you want to keep the deck in the modern format or to build a casual free of legal restriction deck, so I'll recommend a variety of cards like Chains of Mephistopheles , Probe , Wheel and Deal , Ill-Gotten Gains , Urza's Guilt , Anvil of Bogardan , Whispering Madness , Dark Deal , Font of Mythos , Forced Fruition , Geier Reach Sanitarium , Memory Jar and Temple Bell.
You need more cards than Liliana's Caress to punish your opponent for discarding or drawing cards. All of these are good for the task, suit yourself: Underworld Dreams , Psychosis Crawler , Fate Unraveler , Waste Not , Megrim and Words of Waste.
Since you and your opponent will be drawing lots of cards, you will be able to discard cards too or abuse your card-drawing. This does not only work well for madness, but also with delve, retrace and other cards. Consider some of these: Chain of Smog , Last Rites , Big Game Hunter , Raven's Crime , Syphon Life , Cunning Lethemancer , Necrogen Mists , Psychotic Haze , Call to the Netherworld , Dark Withering , Gibbering Descent and also Sphinx's Tutelage.
You'll be forcing your opponent to draw many many cards, so you'll need cards that make him discard more than one to win the trade. Consistant massive discard cards are for example this ones: Brink of Madness , Mindstab , Mind Twist , Mind Shatter or Delirium Skeins.
Which ones and how many
Pick the ones you like the most according to their mana costs and their price. Also consider the ammount of black mana symbols in their cost, because you'll be playing a two colors deck.
Try to keep it as balanced as you can in terms of cards functions. Maybe 30% draw/discard engine - 30% draw/discard punishment - 20% massive discard - 10% 1drops quality discard - 10% board whipe. You'll have to test and adjust the numbers.
I know most of those cards are black, but you can keep it UB if you want to. Best version I've made of this strategy was using Grixis (Blue Black and Red) because there's a lot of red cards that force both players to discard and draw like Burning Inquiry and Reforge the Soul for example. Grixis also enables the use of Nekusar, the Mindrazer , Blightning , Sedraxis Specter , Blazing Specter and Dack Fayden.
I hope it's helpful! Best wishes!
2 months ago
No. The Scry 1 is mediocre compared to how huge feeder can get in this build. Additionally Seer doesnt win with mikeaus, the unhallowed & Puppeteer Clique while Feeder does. Yahenni was never a consideration. 3 mana vs 1 mana is a major deal, as is not being able to sacrifice itself like the Feeder can. The Feeders primary purpose is to come down early & Flip Liliana, while also not being a dead draw in the late game.
No. The double black casting cost is much worse in the early game where many of my early ramp is cards like Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, & Ancient Tomb, and I need to spend 2 Black on Liliana. Additionally Nighteyes has singlehandedly won me enough games that I would never consider this swap.
No. Disciples biggest selling point is that its a sacrifice outlet that can flip Liliana on curve the turn after shes played.
Necromancy in place of Animate Dead (1 extra mana for a flash option).
Both Necromancy & Dance of the Dead are great reanimate spells, but I didnt need that many Animate Deads & I chose the option that required the least mana investment. If you value the more expensive Flash mode of Necromancy or the +1/+1 of Dance theyre fine options, just not the version I preferred.
Im not really sure what Id want him for. I mean, yes, he recurs Waste Not & spells, but hes super slow, super clunky, & Legendary so Liliana cant -X him.
Im eventually selling my left Kidney for a Chains of Mephistopheles, and Im told selling both kidneys will result in my death, so the odds I ever own a Bazaar are so low I havent bothered to even think about whether itd be worth including.
I prefer it when my Tutors always work.
Great Card that I ran for a long time, but eventually cut to make room for other cards. May find its way back into the deck someday.
Torment of Hailfire (discard)
Why? Im not a big Mana deck, my Xs will not be that large, and people will just choose to eat the damage. The reason Death Cloud is so good is because an early Death Cloud for X = 3-6 after flipping Liliana in the first three turns is game ending. An Early Torment makes my opponents go k, take 12.
Kokusho for extra drainlife.
If he wasnt Legendary Id play him.
Vindictive Lich (discard)
Im not sure why I would play this. This card is pretty bad.