Geralf's Messenger

Legality

Format Legality
Pre-release Legal
Noble Legal
Leviathan Legal
Tiny Leaders Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Casual Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Unformat Legal
Pauper Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Dark Ascension (DKA) Rare

Combos Browse all

Geralf's Messenger

Creature — Zombie

Geralf's Messenger enters the battlefield tapped.

When Geralf's Messenger enters the battlefield, target opponent loses 2 life.

Undying (When this creature dies, if it had no +1/+1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control with a +1/+1 counter on it.)

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Geralf's Messenger Discussion

Budgetish on Mono Black Obliterator

2 days ago

I think you should get rid of the Arena due to your mostly low cost creatures. 1 Swamp due to the the low mana curve for the deck. The 2 Vampire Nighthawks (due to Gifted Aetherborn and your ability to outpace almost any flyer aggro deck) can go. Death's Shadow is very unlikely to proc well, so it wouldn't hurt throwing some Diregraf Ghouls (maybe 2) and Gravecrawlers (maybe 3) for intense early game pressure. I would also get rid of both Phyrexian Arenas, adding 1 more Sign in Blood in it's place as it seems to be enough draw for many decks of similar archetypes. This would be at 59, and I would drop 1 Gatekeeper of Malakirs (due to Fatal Push and the chance opponent may not be creature heavy), as well as Liliana, the Last Hope (due to lack of consistency being a 1 of win con). In their place, 3 Geralf's Messengers are a great 3 mana value card for black, adding 3 devotion for Gray Merchant of Asphodel. I really like the deck (having a mono black aggro myself) and hope to hear your opinion on my suggestions!

RingweMakil on Damned Devotion

5 days ago

APPLE01DOJ - I don't know. Yesterday, I could have written you an essay; today, I'm facing down Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I know nothing until further testing. I have rushed to bring back two copies of Liliana of the Veil to the list since the unbans, a card I had eschewed very quickly in my original construction of the deck, since it hardly favours the player drawing an extra card a turn; however, with the advent of Bloodbraid Elf and Jace TMS, opponents are now likely to be able to keep up with the CA of Phyrexian Arena, and as such, Liliana of the Veil is likely to be good again (even if the format is being overrun by lots of Bloodghast, Hollow One, and Faithless Looting).

However, I can offer a breakdown of how the creatures function in non-blue matchups:

a. Pack Rat:

The deck started with the set of Pack Rat. But that all in-strategy was soon found to be suboptimal - drawing multiple Pack Rats was unnecessary and rarely served any purpose; not to mention the speed of Modern means turn 2 Pack Rat is often too slow. As sweepers, Detention Sphere, and Maelstrom Pulse became common, and as Hollow One and Death's Shadow and Tasigur, the Golden Fang started to surface, Pack Rat lost some of its luster.

The natural question, then, if Pack Rat is slow and vulnerable, why play him at all? The answer: Pack Rat is ten cards in one card. Backed up with any kind of disruption and removal, he takes over the board and ends the game, quickly and unstoppably. Two activations are more than enough to put away games, and trading spot removal for Rats is a losing proposition. So in this list, he's gone from being a windmill early slam, to a lategame engine that turns dead land drops and discard spells into an army of creatures. Barring Path to Exile before a single activation is possible, Liliana, the Last Hope can always buy him back - one copy of the Rat, therefore, is ample.

Fringe case: Pack Rat allows for arbitrarily large amounts of devotion for Gray Merchant of Asphodel in boardstalls/against Lantern.

b. Desecration Demon

I've covered the virtues of this card in a post above - essentially, he's my Tarmogoyf, but he flies. Whether he functions as The Abyss or as a 6/6 unblockable, he ends games very quickly, and many a game against combo/Tron has been put away by disruption into disruption into Demon. Of the quick clocks available to black, he's one of the better ones. I believe the added utility to be well worth the extra two mana over Goyf (besides, far be it from me to argue against 6 6 fliers for four - speaking of which, Demon is almost always a strictly superior option to Abyssal Persecutor, since Persecutor requiring us to find an additional kill spell for our own demon while Phyrexian Arena ticks down/the burn opponent is topdecking is not a good feeling).

c. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

I cannot praise this card enough in any mono black midrange list. He exiles creatures, he gains life consistently, and he makes every removal spell in our deck a 2 for 1. Traditionally, efficient mono black removal has been weak to graveyard recursion such as Flamewake Phoenix, Bloodghast, Geralf's Messenger, Kitchen Finks, and so forth, since all these cards must be killed more than once, at no additional expense to the opponent. Thoughtseize and Phyrexian Arena is a painful combination, especially in a world of Lightning Bolt and Kolaghan's Command. Kalitas solves all of these issues beautifully, and with any removal spell stalls the board incredibly easily and well.

d. Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief

Okay, have you seen the art? If Drana were real, she'd totally be my Valentine.

Jokes aside, one of the issues I was frequently running into with the deck was the amount of time it took me to close out once I had stabilised. While all of my creature threats (Gray Merchant of Asphodel is basically a Corrupt, he doesn't count) end the game quite quickly, I just wasn't drawing them fast enough - my opponent would get the opportunity to find that Cryptic Command or Sphinx's Revelation, or get those last 2 Boros Charm. There is a delicate balance between disruption and pressure that must be maintained in all decks that are not pure control, and maintaining that balance required me to find another fast game-ending threat.

I considered running the fourth Desecration Demon, but the idea of another big dumb beater was not appealing. I wanted a powerful threat with intrinsic value attached to its kit, that could help deal with the board even when I was not drawing multiple cards a turn, and hopefully one that was either resilient, or dodged some of the common removal in the format (Lightning Bolt, Abrupt Decay, Fatal Push - although I was open to playing four drops, since consistently having revolt to deal with a whole myriad of four drop threats is difficult). While black has plenty of value three drops, none of them offered this game ending power, or were too easily killed - Nightveil Specter and Lifebane Zombie, for instance, offer great card advantage in specific situations, but don't really pack the same punch as something like a Desecration Demon or Pack Rat army.

Finally, I settled on Drana. There are a lot of powerful five drops in black with value built in (Bloodgift Demon, for instance), but Drana does something none of the others do - she kills things, turn after turn, while being able to attack in the air for huge chunks. In a meta with Lingering Souls, Dark Confidant and Young Pyromancer, Drana seemed like an elegant solution, and so far, she has far exceeded my expectations. I do not think I should consider running multiples of her, since she is quite expensive and can be killed for no value the turn she comes into play, but untapping with her can feel a bit like untapping after a Supreme Verdict to an empty board.

e. Gray Merchant of Asphodel

No Geralf's Messenger, no Phyrexian Obliterator; only 2 Gray Merchant. I do not believe the all in devotion plan is likely to ever become Modern competitive, for sheer want of interactive capability and card advantage - if you are playing a midrange list in Modern, you need lots of early interaction in the form of hand disruption and removal, a proactive plan to end the game with efficient threats, and ways to pull ahead on cards after both players have been stripped down to limited resources. Gray Merchant is an extremely powerful card, as good as or better than Siege Rhino if it drains for upwards of five; it swings races, it ends games, it doesn't care about board stalls, and for all intents and purposes is basically a Modern legal Tendrils of Corruption (not my quote - blame LSV. Then again, that man also calls Disciple of Phenax Mind Twist, so take these statements with several grains of salt).

But despite his inherent power level, Gray Merchant of Asphodel is a very high variance card, and can sometimes be Highway Robber. Removal in Modern is aplenty, and curving out into enough devotion for Gray Merchant to be good is not a reliable plan. Even when the traditional mono black lists do manage to implement their plan - Geralf's Messenger into Gray Merchant, for instance, after having gotten two or more of their creatures removed, despite being an overall drain for seven to nine, just lacks the power/speed to push through opposing Tarmogoyf, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Grim Flayer, Death's Shadow - not to mention blue decks with their Cryptic Command and board sweepers and Sphinx's Revelation.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel in my list is therefore a card I'll often be discarding to the various discard outlets in the early game; using either the second copy or Liliana, the Last Hope's minus two to drain the opponent out if necessary later on. His being a zombie means he can be sacrificed to Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet either to simply grow the great vampire, or to be recursed with Liliana, as the situation calls.

I do not think running more than two of the card is likely to be feasible for Modern given the uncertainty of whether Merchant will be Corrupt or Highway Robber, and also given Merchant's relatively high mana cost; while it is possible that one is the correct number (and indeed, often in post board games, I do go down to one or no Merchant) at least in game 1, the proactive plan of discard, kill, kill, flier, smack, Merchant win is a very strong one. Having access to the second copy in case the first gets exiled and therefore cannot be returned with a future Liliana is also quite relevant against decks with Path to Exile and Pyxis of Pandemonium.

Despite Merchant's variance, I believe his power level and his ability to end the game on the spot through cards like Ensnaring Bridge and Witchbane Orb is not to be undervalued. In a deck with Phyrexian Arena and Ob Nixilis Reignited, every life point represents an extra card; while Highway Robber may be terrible, a five mana 2 4 that draws 4 cards on etb and drains the opponent for four is an absolutely phenomenal Magic card.

I would also like to point out the maindeck inclusion of incidental lifegain like Collective Brutality and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet in conjunction with Gary makes most burn and aggro matchups extremely favourable.

While the creature suite has been carefully picked, and is constantly being chosen and rechosen and tweaked, the engine that enables this deck is Phyrexian Arena. Any interactive deck with reactive spells always runs the risk of its reactive measures not lining up well against the threats being deployed on the other side; Arena churning through the deck presents the critical mass of answers and threats to overwhelm the opponent, ensures land drops are made, and essentially in every regard dots the deck's i's and crosses its t's. With discard outlets like Collective Brutality and Liliana of the Veil to trade potentially dead cards for relevant spells early on, irksome draws with too many high cmc cards can still function smoothly and well.

Pappyy1369 on Mono black zombies

1 week ago

Taking out Lashwrithe and Wander in Death adding Geralf's Messenger and Gravecrawler replacing Disfigure with more Fatal Pushs

Hunson_Abadeer on Vile Vial

3 weeks ago

How did I forget to mention Geralf's Messenger?

I don't think the mana cost will be much of a hinderance with vial on board

Madhava on Zombie Self Mill Trying Again (Please Help!)

3 weeks ago

If you want to be competitive in a Modern setting, then first decide if you want to play Dredge, or play Zombie Tribal. Sadly, if you try to 'pseudo-dredge', it will be the most difficult thing in the world to pilot. Either dredge, or don't dredge. Forget about anything halfway.

Dredge is primarily a RED deck, supported by black & green. It may run a handful of blue or white cards Prized Amalgam, Narcomoeba, infrequently Lingering Souls ...but the idea is not to hand-cast these. With Dredge, you want a majority of nonland cards which are useful/usable from the 'yard (Darkblast, Raven's Crime, et al). Sidisi has no place here; he's slow & he can't recur himself. Dredge cards are the only self-mill engine you'll need.

Dredge runs a handful of zombies; Amalgam, Haunted Dead, & Vengeful Pharaoh. Gravecrawler is questionable, because you won't always have the zombies to recur him with. Dread Wanderer might be better. Bloodghast is better still... albeit not a zombie.

Dredge relies on fast early-game red plays to kick-start the mill engine; Faithless Looting, Insolent Neonate, Cathartic Reunion, Burning Inquiry. Plus Life from the Loam is in there to make sure you hit your land drops. Once you can begin dredging, you will continue doing so all game.

Zombie Tribal can be built a bit more loosely. This is a black deck which sometimes splashes green for interaction (Abrupt Decay, et al), or white for Tidehollow Sculler + key sideboard pieces (Stony Silence), or blue for The Scarab God ...although Scarab God is a tad slow for Modern, so he would need plenty of interaction to support him (Inquisition of Kozilek + Thoughtseize, for starters).

But Zombie Tribal primarily just wants fast, solid, value creatures: Gravecrawler. Cryptbreaker. Relentless Dead. Geralf's Messenger. Diregraf Colossus. A few lords, too; Death Baron + Lord of the Accursed. Ideally, you'd want a few Mutavaults, too... so don't splash more than one color (mono-black is fine!). Try to keep the land-count low-ish... maybe < 21 ...unless you're running Scarab Gods or Dark Salvations.

Your manabase, as it is now, is not doing a lot of good towards either option. Three fetchlands + zero anycolor lands cannot reliably support 3 colors, ever. But that's okay, because neither option calls for 3 colors.

You'll either want to get Gemstone Mines + Mana Confluences + some fetches which find mountains, for Dredge... or else get a few Cavern of Souls, Mutavaults, + a pile of swamps, if you want to build zombies.

StonedJesus on Black Sabbath

1 month ago

I've always wanted to see this combo work, and I stumbled across this deck when I briefly named my deck (now Aggresive Prison Sex) Black Sabbath. One of the best bands in the history of metal, by the way. Now I'm assuming that this is budget so I'm going to keep these suggestions frugal. Instead of Convolute put Mana Leak or Counterspell, although it seems that Blue isn't a necessary color in here. I'd recommend taking it out completely and putting in more black removal, like Dismember, Geth's Verdict, Grasp of Darkness, Fatal Push, Gatekeeper of Malakir, Fleshbag Marauder, and Walk the Plank. I personally don't think that Priest of the Blood Rite is necessary, it might just hurt you after they kill the demon. Grave Titan, Vampire Nighthawk, Gifted Aetherborn, Phyrexian Obliterator, Skinrender, Gray Merchant of Asphodel, and such. I'm just naming good cards you should consider now, Hymn to Tourach, Torment of Hailfire, Sinkhole, Geralf's Messenger, Dread Wanderer, Diregraf Ghoul, and MOST IMPORTANTLY Dark Ritual. I just think a deck called Black Sabbath should be mono-black. Sorry if I rambled, I just want this deck to kick ass. No deck named after an amazing band should have to lose even once. Good luck

-StonedJesus

Spazik008 on Mono-black

1 month ago

mono black grey merchant deck with no Phyrexian Obliterator or Geralf's Messenger?

IAmTheWraith on Mono-Black Devotion

1 month ago

From my experience, Gifted Aetherborn > Gravecrawler and heres why.

Aetherborn has an additional devotion, which pumps gary bigger, but also I dont think crawler's ability is really relevant. For one, he cant block, which makes him somewhat worse the later in the game you draw him, but also Bloodghast is just better due to the free landfall and the fact he can have haste without another card. Gifted Aetherborn, however, is a very good card in early, mid, and late game as he can give you a boost in life, and he can trade for a creature much more valuable.

Also, this deck could use some more reliable card advantage, so I would recommend at least 1 copy of Phyrexian Arena, so you are more likely to hit the lands you need to stay on curve.

I do not see a reason to take out Geralf's Messenger, just for the fact he is a reliable creature with a nice upside to combat decks like control. Switching him out would be a mistake.

Also, no point in running Profane Command, it doesnt bring much to the game for you, and you are right, it is way too expensive to do anything with.

Oh! I almost forgot Fulminator Mage! The value against all tron variants is huge, depending on your meta. If you dont want to main him, you can just put a few copies in the sideboard just in case the matchup comes up.

Dont mean to sound harsh, sorry if this came off that way, really hope this helps, love the MBD archetype, hate it when decks add green and veer off into more of a Phyrexian Obliterator centered playstyle.

Cheers!

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