Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite


Format Legality
Modern Legal
Legacy Legal
Vintage Legal
Commander / EDH Legal
Duel Commander Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Modern Masters 2015 Edition Mythic Rare
New Phyrexia Mythic Rare
Promo Set Mythic Rare

Combos Browse all

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

Legendary Creature — Praetor


Other creatures you control get +2/+2.

Creatures your opponents control get -2/-2.

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Price & Acquistion Set Price Alerts

Cardhoarder (MTGO)

3.95 TIX $3.66 Foil


Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite Discussion

Firebones675 on Chancellor of Iona's Void

1 week ago

Saw your comment on my profile and i'm happy to help. Let me start by saying there is no one "right way to build" reanimator in modern. It is important to keep in mind though that relative to the rest of the meta, reanimator is worse in modern due to its legacy counterpart due to not having access to things like Reanimate, Animate Dead, or Exhume. As a result, you have to get a bit creative and approach it from a different angle. Here are a few different decklists and why they work.

1) Unburial Gifts

This deck works off of the interaction between Unburial Rites and Gifts Ungiven. Since gifts specifies UP TO four cards, at the end of your opponents turn you can choose just rites and a big creature (and you get to choose which one is the best in the current situation you can even have a 1-of Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite as a tutor target), forcing your opponent to put both in the yard. Then you untap and bring it back. Since counterspells work nicely with keeping your mana up, this deck tends to be a bit more on the controlling side. You also have the option to grab 4 similar spells like 4 hand disruption cards such that you can shred your opponents hand no matter which they pick.


2) Vengence

I know i said at the beginning a lot of good reanimation spells aren't modern legal. Goryo's Vengeance however is. It's also instant speed so if you can get Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into your graveyard you can respond to the trigger by bringing it into play. Sure you need to exile it at the end of turn and don't get the cast trigger but attacking for 15 and making them sacrifice 6 permanents often gets the job done. The other big creature it brings back is Griselbrand. His activated ability is great and refills your hand (also a 7/7 flying lifelink isn't bad either). This deck also has easy ways to get around graveyard hate, something most reanimator decks can't deal with in the form of Through the Breach. Whereas the first deck works more as a control deck, this one is more focused on combo and runs the maximim number of copies of Serum Visions and Sleight of Hand



This is a modification of the second deck. The way tit works is you first cheat out a Griselbrand but then it gets a bit different. When you draw your deck using his ability, you hit Nourishing Shoal and Worldspine Wurm to gain your life back. Lastly you bring out Borborygmos Enraged and discard all the lands you drew.


If I were to build modern reanimator it would probably be built around one of those three. I'm not saying zombify won't work but i think the gifts version is significantly more consistent. If you want to stick with what you have, i'd look into picking up Griselbrand as it is arguably the best card to reanimate (iona being second) assuming you can't instant speed out Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Also Collective Brutality is another way to discard fatties while still disrupting the opponent.

GabeCubed on Esper Gifts: Which build is ...

1 week ago

@Wizard_of_the_Broke Yeah, I did realize that myself, tried to fix it, and just get an error. Whatever. But yes, that is the deck.

Yeah, that pile is close to functional, but not quite there. Naturally drawing it isn't bad, it gives great continuous value, but still, you guys are right, it just doesn't flow very well with Gifts.

And I still can't quite evaluate it either. It allows you to cheat out a few spells, especially Call, but it doesn't work well with Gifts. It almost wins on the spot (at least by card advantage, and a mini army, that can grow with Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite). It's good, just not Gifts friendly.

And it is unfortunate that is the case.. I've been figuring that out, just not sure on the best split. This is the list link. What are your thoughts with this, and what would you change? I do want to fit in Thoughtseize, and the sideboard can wait.

Wizard_of_the_Broke on Esper Gifts: Which build is ...

1 week ago

I've always kinda liked the Thopter combo, and I like Esper Gifts, but I agree that combining them is a bit of a problem. The only list I've seen that looks like what you're talking about is this, which looks really fun, to be fair. The big weakness there is that to get the Thopter combo going usually relies on drawing it naturally. If you were to try and grab the combo with Gifts, you rely on Academy Ruins, where you have to wait to draw, plus it costs you , and you have to tap the Academy itself - so it's not an awesome combo to use Gifts on. You'll also note that while that deck has some cool stuff going on, it doesn't really have as much countermagic and removal or discard as you'd ideally want.

So in most Gift control decks, Gifts is usually used to grab a creature plus Unburial Rites or something like Wrath of God, Supreme Verdict, Day of Judgment and Snapcaster Mage, depending on the situation. However, one of the most popular creatures to grab with Rites is Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, where you get a huge extra benefit by having some flying tokens in play. That said, it's not clear that Thopter/Sword is any better than running some Lingering Souls or even Bitterblossom (though note BB can be bad against certain decks, and in some control shells), plus maybe Timely Reinforcements on the sideboard to get the most out of Elesh.

AKBZ on Atraxa Stax

1 week ago

I do not understand why Humility is in this deck list. It shuts down all the hatebears, your commander, and your alternate win con. It affects quite a bit of your Stasis locks, and you are only running one removal spell. If Beast Within is in your grave, you have no outs to Humility. Is it solely in here to get your planeswalkers to their ultimate? If that is the case, you would probably be better off with something like Ensnaring Bridge, or Meekstone. Personal recommendation, Massacre Wurm should be Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. It works better with your commander, with your hatebears, with Living Plane, etc. It is a longer lock than Massacre Wurm and just synergies with your hatebears strategy. Lastly, you should have Weathered Wayfarer, and Deathrite Shaman in this list. With 31 lands, the wayfarer gives you consistent land drops, and the shaman gives you a win con when you have the lock. Other than the Humility, which is completely wrong for this list, this is a pretty good deck.

Nixus on Wanderer's Song

1 week ago


Thanks for the reply.

Agreed on Paradox Engine. I will keep Lightning Greaves in for now. Haven't really gotten the opportunity to yet, but it seems good to be able to use mana dorks as soon as they come in.

Most of the time when my creatures die (in my meta), it's to Supreme Verdict or Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Yavimaya Hollow probably wouldn't help, but I would put in if the number of situations where it would increases. I'll continue to use Cavern of Souls because there's always blue at the table and getting Yisan, the Wanderer Bard stuffed turn two sucks. This is the same reason I am keeping Natural State, it's a meta issue.

Wall of Roots sounds awesome, I'll try it as well. Verse five is always odd for me because it's almost always better for me to fetch Seedborn Muse at that count, turn around and Duplicant on their turn if needed. I almost never use Somberwald Stag unless I hard cast... Maybe this part is wrong and you can drop some knowledge regarding it.

Regal Force needs move convincing for me. After a wrath effect, my Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Gaea's Cradle are turned off and I usually don't have a ton of mana out. I will probably spit out 1-3 creatures after the wipe depending on mana, and is usually not enough for a Regal Force. Even if I do cast it, my turn is over and I draw 3-4 cards. Harmonize or Glimpse of Nature almost feels better. Using a verse on it also seems win more, unless the whole point is to do it before a wipe? I normally just lose right after a board wipe though, or crank my commander through the motions again to rebuild. (Unlikely.)

JaceTheSwagSculptor on Box o' Fun

1 week ago

I don't know your budget, but I'll try to make suggestions regardless...

  1. Forest -> Dryad Arbor. This is always a good idea when you are running Gaea's Cradle.
  2. More fetch lands! The Khans fetches are not that expensive comparatively to some of the stuff you already have in this deck and the zendikar one's are getting reprinted in MM2. I highly suggest you pick some up.
  3. Eight-and-a-Half-Tails -> Phyrexian Revoker. Better and more targeted protection. It is not tutorable, but Eight-and-a-Half-Tails doesn't do much to begin with.
  4. Glissa Sunseeker/Darien, King of Kjeldor/Sigarda, Heron's Grace/Melira, Sylvok Outcast/Myojin of Life's Web -> Arbor Elf/Fyndhorn Elves/Llanowar Elves/Priest of Titania/Birds of Paradise. The aforementioned are just underwhelming as legends, you would just be better off with non-legendary mana accelerators in these spots to ramp you into an early Sisay or a meaningful legend.
  5. Dragonlord Dromoka -> Dosan the Falling Leaf. Strictly better version of Dromoka due to the significantly lower CMC.
  6. Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant -> Hope of Ghirapur. Your creatures are mostly giant, so what does this card really do for you? To further the point, one of the first creatures you should be tutoring for is Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite anyways! A lockdown effect is going to do you better in this slot.
  7. Ghostly Prison -> Sanctum Prelate. Ghostly Prison is mostly a control card for strategies with lower creature counts....you have 38 creatures. Again a card that hinders your opponents is going to be better here.
  8. Untaidake, the Cloud Keeper -> Ancient Tomb. Less restrictive card that serves the same purpose.
  9. Explore -> Scavenging Ooze. You should not need as much ramp especially with all of the mana elves I suggested previously. Plus mana elves will be much more consistent than the top of your library, so why not another hoser for your opponents? =]
  10. Burgeoning -> Eldritch Evolution. You should not need both Burgeoning and Explore and IMO Explore is the better card. Eldritch Evolution is a fantastic tutor that will allow you to get your higher end cards into play quicker.
  11. Privileged Position -> Green Sun's Zenith. Again you should not need both Asceticism and position. Asceticism is the better card IMO. Adding GSZ adds more consistency to the deck as all tutors do.
  12. Azusa, Lost but Seeking -> Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. With 35 lands you are almost never going to be able to consistently use Azusa's ability to it's full effect, so why not add one of the best win con's in the game instead - Eldrazi.
  13. Selvala's Stampede -> Sylvan Library. You should always have either library or top in your EDH deck unless you have some effect that lets you consistently draw an absurd amount of cards. Selvala's stampede effect seems pretty "meh" for it's CMC.
  14. Yeva, Nature's Herald -> Grasp of Fate. I do not think Yeva's effect is potent enough to warrant being in this list. One of the best utility cards in the format will do nicely in this spot.

Cards that may be out of your budget...

  1. Yisan, the Wanderer Bard -> Survival of the Fittest. This is just a more consistent tutor.

Idk how competitive your meta is but you could include these combo's...

  1. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite + Living Plane
  2. Paradox Engine + Concordant Crossroads/Thousand-Year Elixir + Aetherflux Reservoir + mana creature + Cloudstone Curio

Hope this helps!

bushido_man96 on Phelddacombo

1 week ago

GoldenDiggle, I like the idea of the Soul Sisters. Good synergy with the deck. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, however, is going to be a bit steep for my price range. It also kills a bit of the group hug aspect of the deck. Akroan Horse is nice, too. Thanks for the suggestions!

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