Harsh Sustenance


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

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Fate Reforged (FRF) Common

Combos Browse all

Harsh Sustenance


Harsh Sustenance deals X damage to target creature or player and you gain X life, where X is the number of creatures you control.

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Harsh Sustenance Discussion

Catalog9000 on way to many f*cking cards

3 weeks ago

calebdean555, I'd like to open with a funny story so that you understand where I and shinobigarth are coming from.

I started Magic during Origins 2015. Now, to be fair I had ACTUALLY started playing in mid-2005 when I was introduced in Driver's Ed in high school. I played some in college, but I didn't actually buy decks or build any until just recently. It was mostly just whatever my friends brought with them when we hung out.

My very first deck was constructed out of several fatpacks, some boosters, and a few intro decks. It was (Ironically) 86 cards... and five colors

I was absolutely in love with it. It had everything. All the cool cards and mechanics. I had two Gods, several super powerful creatures, win-cons... and I had 23 lands. Mostly basic ones, at that.

Annnd... it never won a single game. Why? It was too slow. I'd often discard more than I could play. I didn't start building 60-card decks for quite some time because I just assumed "I'll ramp into my cards." and I packed my Gruul deck with ramps and big creatures and tons of lands.

It worked well, but it failed against anything that wasn't "under powered". Again, there was a lack of consistency.

Eventually I honed into 60-card decks, wanting a playset of each card hoping to pull off some amazing synergy. The fault there? Well, synergy is good but if your entire deck hinges on but a single idea, literally one card will end your entire game.

Now I do strictly 60-card decks (Though I do have a 65 Jund Dragons deck that works well. The +5 are all Planeswalkers and I can pop them in or out seemlessly. They're just there for the annoyance factor) and base the number of copies of each card off of the card's CMC. I'm not going to put 4 of a 7-drop in a deck unless that is ABSOLUTELY required (In which most cases, it is not).

The point I am getting to is that 60 cards with multiple low CMC and few high CMC make the deck work consistently.

Now onto constructive criticism. I see you have a lot of kill-spells and a lot of damage-prevention spells. This tells me you struggle to play creatures, and fall back on removal / prevention as a means to "survive" until you bring out your big guys. These cards are great, but only really buy you a turn or two at the most.

I see you have draw spells. So the logic is "I'll just draw into whatever I need." which works great for blue-white decks, but in green-white-black decks you should really focus more on getting several creatures really big and threatening, than protecting them at all costs. Drawing can help, but so can more efficient means.

Your creatures are sort of all over the place too. I'm not really sure what you're attempting to accomplish here.

In my opinion, it looks almost like you're attempting to build a slower tank deck. Sort of a huge threatening deck that takes some time to get going.

I'd suggest trimming the fat. Cut out the Planeswalkers, your artifacts, enchantments, and some lands. That'd be 20 cards (Assuming 4 lands) which puts you at 66.

From there, it looks like you really want kill spells and damage prevention. Look for creatures who can do these for you. For example, Gatekeeper of Malakir is great because he cost is low and destroys a creature if you use his Kicker cost.

Let your creatures carry your deck. They're essentially like extra Sorcerys, in that regard.

The format I build with (typically) is 24 lands, 36 spells and of those 36 I do around 24 creatures and 12 other spells. The creatures carry the deck so the stronger my creature base becomes, the stronger my board-state in general is. My other spells supplement what the creatures are attempting to do.

For example, I have a black-white Ally tribal deck that focuses on gaining and reducing life, and I supplement this with spells like Harsh Sustenance, Allied Reinforcements, and Killing Wave. My Allies abilities kick in and carry me into my finishers.

A deck should have at least one way to win, but no more than two. Once you get into three ways to win, you sort of end up watering down the potential of the over-all deck. Sure, you could do combat damage, Vraska the Unseen, and maybe a single Rise of the Second Sun, but don't go crazy doing four of each either.

Hope I helped.

TLDR - trim the fat, hone a concept, copies of cards that build synergy.

dzapf2008 on The Cult of Ormendahl

1 month ago

I'm going to have to add Harsh Sustenance and Angelic Purge to my own deck. Have you thought about adding to your sideboard? Maybe Tragic Slip, 2 more Bone Splinters, Fatal Push, and/or Immolating Glare.

Stephencliffe on B/W Soul sisters

3 months ago

Harsh Sustenance, Foul-Tongue Shriek, Murder Investigation, Hidden Stockpile and Vizkopa Guildmage are pretty terrible. You should be running Fatal Push for sure, that one's a no brainer. Also Thoughtseize is great, and you don't care about the two life at all, your life total won't really be an issue.

Here's a thought, don't know how good this would be though. If you were to run just a few more token generators, maybe Hangarback Walker or Secure the Wastes, you could really benefit off of Intangible Virtue. Also Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Sorin, Solemn Visitor all look great here.

Recover819 on W/B Zombie Party

3 months ago

Been thinking about this brew myself. Some suggestions I have:

Harsh Sustenance

Vile Rebirth

Miasmic Mummy + Murderous Compulsion

Gruzihr on Soul Sisters Tokens

4 months ago

The strength in the tokens strategy doesn't lay purely in the ability to generate a lot of virtual card advantage but rather in grinding opponents out of the game.

I would value Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek over the Sisters by a fairly large margin, replace Castigate, and I'd run at least 6 of this effect, if not 7.There's no reason you shouldn't be running Fatal Push, between Push and Path to Exile again 6 or 7 of this effect is good. Cut Harsh Sustenance I've never seen it and not wished it was something else. Phyrexian Arena is also so-so.

Hero of Bladehold is fantastic in the side but I'm unconvinced with the sisters in there as they mean that your opponent may not board out all of their spot removal, I've often brought Hero out in game 2 to completely steal the game and they have no way of dealing with her as they've boarded out all their spot removal.

Consider Concealed Courtyard It's probably the single best land this deck can run as it's pretty greedy as far as colour requirement on different parts of the curve goes.

Lastly you can always shave a Bitterblossom if need be, it seems counter-intuitive but having 2 is usually not very good.

Sorin is fantastic in this deck, Anguished Unmaking has often saved an otherwise difficult situation. Secure the Wastes can steal games pretty hard, and Zealous Persecution has a lot of versatility, it often acts as a board wipe if not stealing the game.

As far as the sisters go, in practice this deck is very good at utilising life totals as a resource, it doesn't always need the sisters help though but personal preference

Slaughtar on

6 months ago

Zurgo Helmsmasher.

Also, I would go with 4x Foul-Tongue Shriek and 2x Harsh Sustenance, or no Harsh Sustenance, since you are using them in the same way and you're probably attacking each turn, regardless. Both are strong finishers but Foul-Tongue Shriek is way easier to cast and gains you the same amount of life as Harsh Sustenance would and causes the same amount of life-loss. Also, Harsh Sustenance deals damage, which can be prevented much easier than Foul-Tongue Shriek can with it's straighforward life-loss; AND Harsh Sustenance says target PLAYER or creature while Foul-Tongue Shriek can only target opponents. So against control, an opponent could make you kill yourself with Harsh Sustenance but couldn't with Foul-Tongue Shriek. Also, you need at least two more lands. Maybe take out the other two Harsh Sustenances.

KABO5e on Soul Sisters Tokens

7 months ago

If you manage to maintain some token presence, Harsh Sustenance could be good.

I also had a deck built on dumping everything into Secure the Wastes on their end step (w/ x=5+), dropping a Brutal Hordechief and swinging with everything.

Anointed Procession is gonna be good with white tokens, though your curve may not like it. :P

Anguished Unmaking's life cost shouldn't be an issue with all the life gain, but it may mess up you're curve as well.

GS10 on Alesha, Who Smiles at Her Bank Account

9 months ago

First of all I want to say that I read your description, so I know you are not trying to make a killer deck out of the bat. I'm going to give you some suggestions, I understand some might be a bit over your budget (even though I'll try and keep the more expensive cards only around a couple bucks) and some might not be as interesting for you considering your specific playgroup and your goal with the deck, but since EDH is the perfect format to develop a deck during longer periods of time, and I strongly encourage everyone who plays to do so in order to create an healthy and dynamic playgroup, I'm going to suggest some changes that will improve both on the power level and consistency of your deck.

My deck is more expensive (but still pretty reasonable considering 100 cards) but it performs really well in competitive environments without overpowering the board in more fun oriented playgroups. You can check it out and maybe you'll find some other cards you don't know about that might be good for you:

Watch out, we've got a badass over here

Commander / EDH* GS10


About your deck now, I'll list the changes I'd make and try to explain why so you can pick and choose when you start making replacements.

I'd definitely take these creatures out: Aviary Mechanic, Battle Brawler, Daru Sanctifier, Enraged Revolutionary, Minotaur Skullcleaver, Rotting Mastodon, Timely Hordemate and Zurgo Helmsmasher

You want your plays and reanimations to be more than vannilla creatures, doesn't matter if they make themselves larger if they are easilly blocked and killed, and definitely, if you are running cards over 2 power which are not targets for Alesha, they must enable something game ending, otherwise you are taking consistency out from your deck and not gaining anything in return.

As for noncreature spells I'd take out: Asha's Favor, Berserkers' Onslaught, Blue Ward, Fear, Messenger's Speed, Protective Sphere, Skeletal Grimace, Demystify, Dragonrage (this is kinda okay with double strike, but still, much better options), Harsh Sustenance, Pay No Heed, Profit / Loss, Showstopper, Tenacity, Uncaged Fury, Uncanny Speed, War Flare, Wing Shards (You have no reasonable way to enable storm, so for 3 mana there are numerous better removal options), Coercion (it's one use only. In a multiplayer game you can't possibly gain advantage from picking one card from one opponent in 99% of situations), Kytheon's Tactics, Spectral Reserves and Terashi's Grasp.

I'd take almost all of those auras and instants/sorceries because in my experience Alesha isn't suited for that. She is perfect for a toolbox commander, so you should enforce that and play effects like destroying enchantments, on creatures that you can recurr as you need them instead of on one spell that can be used once. Again, this is relevant because Alesha can use creatures over and over, but not noncreature spells. In decks like Dralnu and such, it would be the other way around. As for ways to pump your creatures, again, it's a one trick pony and then your opponents will be able to block or remove your threat's easilly. Double strike definitely is not the best option, since Alesha likes small creatures, and double strike on small creatures is underwhelming. The trick is to manage a way to keep the board under control, and win little by little or comboing off with something.

I won't change the land base because that's where most money is usually spent and I avoid that as well. Command Tower, Vivid Marsh and Vivid Crag are solid and not very expensive, but again, I don't usually feel the need to improve that much on mana base. But if you feel you are playing this deck for a long time, I'd recommend you pick up a Chromatic Lantern soon. It's insanely important, since Alesha is , and her ability costs so sometimes getting the colours you need for both soon in the game might be harsh. The lantern just saw a reprint so it's lower on price now than it's ever gonna be for a long time after.

What to include then? I'd change a lot, but since you are playing a deck made of what you had laying around, I understand if you don't. I'll go over a few that you should include if you want to improve on the list and you can pick and adjust as you feel it's right. Also, probably all of these will be in my deck, so you can check it and see if there are other options there that you'd want to play instead of those I suggested you'd switch out:

I hope this was of help, it's really cool you are making a deck out of scraps, per say, so you can easilly bring new players in, that's something admirable, since most times the biggest barrier to new players is the intricate play levels of their potential playgroups. I usually lend my decks to new players until they feel comfortable enough with the format to build their own, but that kind of approach making almost a "limited" EDH deck is pretty cool and perfect to help new players improve. As I said, EDH is perfect to improve deckbuilding in time, so that's an awesome way to kick it off!

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