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Creature — Zombie Fish
Delve (Each card you exile from your graveyard while casting this spell pays for .)
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Gurmag Angler Discussion
1 day ago
Nice, simple idea for modern. I think the secret to running budget black decks are a lot of hand disruption and a stable manabase. If you can find some of the more budget b/g lands, that will help. Llanowar Wastes, that sort of thing. Scythe Leopard, Gatecreeper Vine and Liliana's Elite are likely to underperform compared to some other dirt-cheap options.
General advice- go heavy on one colour so that you can pack your deck with cards of that colour then leave the other for later in the game, where you can afford to be paying mana with lands that come into play tapped.
This means either early game black (hand/board disruption) or early game green (Elves of Deep Shadow/Sakura-Tribe Elder). What you choose to focus on can then inform the cmc and gamplan for the rest of your cards. Either way, lots of 1 and 2 drops will help you survive.
I'll start with disruption options- Vendetta, Victim of Night, Smother, Geth's Verdict Bile Blight etc for creature removal, Duress, Black Cat, Ravenous Rats, Rotting Rats, Nezumi Bone-Reader and Thoughtpicker Witch for hand disrution are all solid choices that match your game plan.
Interesting or efficient creature options Rot Shambler/Mortician Beetle (growing threats), Zulaport Cutthroat/Blood Artist (lifedrain and victory without attacks with a sacrifice outlet), Dross Harvester (bolt and path resistance), Ogre Slumlord for rat tribal combo , Pawn of Ulamog/Sifter of Skulls for more tokens, Quirion Dryad/Vinelasher Kudzu for growing threats Bloodthrone Vampire/Indulgent Aristocrat/Carrier Thrall for vamp tribal, Nest Invader for more token/ramp, Boneyard Wurm/Satyr Wayfinder/Graveblade Marauder/Nighthowler/Splinterfright/Gnarlwood Dryad are all fairly functional for a more graveyard-reliant setup, and Svogthos, the Restless Tomb is a cheap and functional manland.
Sideboard options Elvish Eulogist(in an elf heavy list) Elvish Hexhunter Vampire Hexmage Bottle Gnomes Dryad Militant Delirium Skeins etc. There is a lot out there in these colours.If a lot of cards are ending up in the graveyard as the game draws out, spells like Hooting Mandrills, Gurmag Angler or Become Immense start becoming more valuable.
The question is always going to be what is my opponents plan, and how do I stop that- are my opponents playing Rest in Peace or smilar to deal with graveyard shenanigans, will they kill me before I kill them as every card in their deck is effectively Lightning Bolt, or will they be able to Remand all my spells while they hit me with Delver of Secrets Flip. Things that disrupt their plan are usually good, especially when they help your plan.
There are a lot of cards to much around with and play- I'd reccomend testing online before going hunting for things specific, focus on a single strategy when picking cards and if you choose to go less-budget, focus on lands first. Reliably casting spells is the core of the game.
3 days ago
@AtomicEmpire Yo, welcome to Esper! I can certainly talk about those points:
Playing 3 Verdict is totally fine, but I prefer 4 because it hedges way better against Lingering Souls decks (like Abzan midrange/Death's Shadow, Esper Shadow/mirror), Eldrazi, Merfolk, and GW Creature decks. Against all of the creature/synergy decks, you need some kind of boardwipe to stabilize (and oftentimes multiple, hence why I'm playing the set), and against Edlrazi you can typically afford to tap out for Verdict since they're likely on a one-threat-at-a-time type of gameplan (or they're on Bant and commit multiple Heirarchs, Skyspawners, Reshapers, Drowner+tokens etc.). It's also worth noting that Verdict is the only uncounterable removal spell in the decks against the opponents with blue, and thus dodges Negate and more fringy-but-relevant options like Unified Will/Stubborn Denial.
Again, playing 2x Secure the Wastes over Zenith is also totally servicable (it's actually still being debated over on the MTGS forum literally right now), but Zenith has a few advantages over Secure that break the argument for me:
- Zenith isn't at all graveyard reliant. Part of the utility of Secure is playing it early and Snapping it back later, but it's a much weaker wincon if your opponent plays Rest in Peace or Grafdigger's Cage -- cards which Esper with Zenith can literally just ignore. I've won so many games without my graveyard I can't keep count.
- Zenith takes up 1 less mainboard slot than playing 2x Secure would, and Esper doesn't actually have a lot of free slots. By the way, if you play Secure I highly recommend you play 2.
- Zenith shuffles back in, meaning you literally have infinite shots at winning with it, within reasonable time. (For the same reason, you also can't deck, by the way. I've won multiple games against Abzan CoCo opponents at infinite life by simply casting Zenith every turn to make a physical roadblock while decking them.)
- Zenith is more resilient to hate such as Night of Souls' Betrayal and Jace, Architect of Thought, cards that do crop up from time to time.
- Zenith produces more power in the late game than Secure does, so a topdecked Zenith is usually far better.
The first 3 are my main reasons for playing Zenith, mainly the recasting part and dodging grave-hate part.
As for Path-v-Push split, I am solidly in favor of 4x Path/2x Push because Push can't effectively answer Kitchen Finks, Wurmcoil Engine, Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, World Breaker, Voice of Resurgence, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Gurmag Angler, Bloodghast, Prized Amalgam, Reality Smasher, Matter Reshaper etc. These types of cards pop up so often that there's no doubt in my mind that 4x Path is correct. Also, Kolaghan's Command is much less of a problem when you're exiling their creatures.
As for why I play Blessed Alliance instead of the 3rd Push, it's mainly for diversity -- BA can answer a few of the above-listed cards that Push can't (mainly the Eldrazi and delve threats), but it also serves as lifegain/creature removal against Burn to mitigate drawing the "wrong side" of the deck. If I could make room for a 2nd, I would. (In fact, I actually usually play 2x Snapcasters and 2x Blessed Alliance.)
6 days ago
As a 1x of Tasigur, the Golden Fang, you should be fine. I honestly considered adding a 1x of. However, I opted out. I would still run him in a moments notice. Thought Scour, for me, has always been fair to me. Whenever I play a based graveyard shell--I include it. I moved it down to a 2x of. I enjoy it because it can trips, all while adding to the plan. Grisly Salvage is a card that I had looked at when the deck was first in it's infancy. It is decent, but as you stated; being able to drop a 2 mana threat, just works better, for 2 cmc. It is not a bad card, by any means. If anything, perhaps a 1x of? I am just sold on Scour!
Moving onto Liliana of the Veil. She is alright. I am honestly starting to not care much, for her in general, but she stays because she is an enabler. A lot of people will say that she does not "work" with counter magic or "draw" style decks, unless you run Dark Confidant, but in theory-- has more card draw then Confidant ever had, so there really is not much of an issue. Sure, under normal circumstances there may be small problems, but in a deck that needs card types in the graveyard to make better threats, or use Snapcaster Mage, makes for better synergy. With the 2x of Stubborn Denial--they work great! I almost wanted to shoot up to 3x! They are 1 mana Negates--especially with our creature package. I definitely agree with your analysis of Traverse the Ulvenwald, and Rhonas the Indomitable. I am just waiting for that card to be printed. I pre ordered 4x Foil Cryptic Serpents in case they sky rocket. I think it is a cross between Bedlam Reveler & Gurmag Angler, but better > no discard, or removing the grave!
Garruk Wildspeaker is still a good card and I have considered moving to 5x planeswalkers in the mainboard. I thought about taking out 1x of Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, for a 1x of garruk. I think the new Nissa will be what we need. It plays additional lands, casts creatures, and can be a late game top deck--that swings for 10 damage--on top of your Tarmogoyfs.
Oh, I will! That is the goal. Until then I have to settle for mix & match.
1 week ago
Overall, I think the deck is pretty strong, but definitely needs to see a little bit more work before it's going to be at all ready for any competitive play.
First off, the idea of the deck is to kill a player using Death's Shadow (obviously). It uses hand control and a few counterspells, along with a bit of removal to get the job done, but also uses some graveyard play with Snapcaster Mage.
Angel's Grace has double intent in which it acts like a timewalk, but as well is a valuable combo piece.
I didn't like how the deck ran with delve pieces such as Gurmag Angler and Tasigur, but it's seemingly more consistent. I'm feeling that I've just taken up too many spaces with needless cards, specifically Plunge into Darkness.
I'm thinking it might be a good idea to take out Plunge into Darkness and Rite of Consumption completely because they don't really do much for the deck, and add in three Lingering Souls and add two Orzhov Charm? This will still leave in the combo pieces, add a little bit more for creates that can be hard for certain match ups to deal with, and as well the Orzhov Charm is really good creature interaction, both on mine and the opponents. Thoughts? I'm really trying to make this Esper Death's Shadow combo a thing.
Sorry! Link for the lazy! Plunge into Death! Esper Death's Shadow Turn 2 Win
1 week ago
Hi! Welcome to Pauper!
To be honest, there really is only one 'boss' creature in black: Gurmag Angler is top dog. Also, for seeing how the top mono-black builds look like, check out 'Mono Black Control', it's nearly as good as a mono-black deck can get in Pauper, esp. if you're running Gary.
1 week ago
I like the addition of Gurmag Angler, and the additional discard, my only issue is that (from my own experience) it can be hard to keep enough zombies in play to trigger ranks ... let alone +/- 12 zombies in the deck.
Binding Mummy has potential, but i can see why you removed it, needs more instant speed zombies to really be a "control" card (like Necromancer's Stockpile/Vile Rebirth/Relentless Dead/Zombie Infestation etc) and those cards probably arnt worth it.
do you have plans for a sideboard yet? Stony Silence is solid against tron/affinity/lantern, Surgical Extraction/Extirpate is almost required against some decks (especially if your helping them discard)
1 week ago
Thanks for the reply, I will try to add a bit more to the discussion. Firstly, you don't need to worry about getting revolt off of Fatal Push, the card still hits countless threats in modern, most notably things like Tarmogoyf and Goblin Guide. I'd suggest moving up to a playset, and relying on your wider-reaching kill spell Mortify lategame. I also understand that you want to keep a budget, so I won't suggest Marsh Flats, but that is a pretty efficient card that synergizes well with Fatal Push. Go for the Throat and Doom Blade are also options for slightly more expensive removal. I hadn't considered that Path to Exile disables Vile Rebirth. I'd still suggest 2-3 in the sideboard for Kitchen Finks and Voice of Resurgence. As for Gurmag Angler, perhaps cutting Dark Salvation or Dash Hopes would make room. I feel like you are getting enough zombies from Endless Ranks of the Dead after setting up with Wayward Servants, Tidehollow Scullers, and a Gurmag Angler, and Dash Hopes is probably beaten out by Mana Tithe as you will be taking a risk by giving your opponent choice (They will always pick the life loss when they are playing a spell that could win them the game, and always the counter when they just need to survive the turn. Overall, it can't function as a finisher or an effective safeguard lategame, so I'd suggest cutting at least 2). Thanks for response.
1 week ago
Thank you for your suggestions! I don't think I'll use Path to Exile because the more creatures I exile, the less creatures there are for Vile Rebirth (if I even keep it) and Necromancer's Covenant. The deck could use more removal and hand attack, I agree. I've been looking for ways to improve those aspects of the deck. I would add Thoughtseize but they're just too expensive for me.
It could just be me, but I have a hard time seeing how I would proc Revolt on Fatal Push. That (and it's cost) is a deterrent for me. For now, I'll fit them in. I'll also try to fit in Gurmag Angler, but I'm not sure what I would remove for it.