|Commander / EDH||Legal|
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|Ultimate Masters (UMA)||Uncommon|
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Artifact Creature — Scarecrow
Sacrifice Heap Doll: Exile target card from a graveyard.
Heap Doll Discussion
WAYF4 on Reaper King
1 week ago
Since you're going to need a Rattle scarecrow for the combo to work, I suggest Fabricate , as it's cheap and can usually fetch you anything you need in an artifact-heavy deck. (also artifact lands!)
One word of caution: Saheeli's Directive requires 3 red mana to pull off, but the colour pie says you only have 8 red sources in the deck - which is especially a problem given how many of them are easy to destroy (especially Scuttlemutt and Commander's Sphere ). Adding in a few Snow-Covered Mountain s might help, or something else that produces red - otherwise you might find you can only cast the Directive when Chromatic Lantern is out.
Also, never underestimate the power of a cheap scarecrow. Heap Doll is the best of them, and you can even run it as a tiny bit of graveyard hate when you need to.
1 month ago
I played around with a similar build in my play group and had some feedback from experience:
This list runs a lot of targeted creature removal on high-cmc bodies, but lacks responses to non-creature-heavy decks. I put in Mesmeric Fiend and Thought-Knot Seer as more general removal instead of Duplicant and Ravenous Chupacabra . I usually ended up tutoring and reoccurring Meteor Golem , so even Noxious Gearhulk seemed a bit redundant. I'm considering replacing it with Brain Maggot .
Vulturous Aven surprised me and actually performed really well. With a few recursions, this was reliable, under-the-radar card draw that also acted as a sac-outlet for Kokusho, the Evening Star when reanimated together. Considering adding Dusk Legion Zealot and/or Disciple of Bolas for more ETB card draw. I might also replace Phyrexian Arena for another ETB card draw creature or probably just Dark Confidant
I put in Viscera Seer for the reliable, cheap sac outlet on a body (with card filtering).
When playing opponents' cards from Gonti, they go straight to their graveyards, which often creates a powerful disincentive to using the main ability of the deck. For graveyard control, I'm looking for a place for Heap Doll and Withered Wretch . This lets me play opponents' cards with Gonti and then instantly exile them before someone drops something like Snapcaster Mage.
Adjusted the land base and ramp to include Fellwar Stone , Exotic Orchard , and Mox Opal to give more options for using activated abilities of opponents' permanents. Used Gonti to steal a Deadeye Navigator , which was hilarious and awesome.
Finally, the real fun/value/intrigue of Gonti from the games I played revolved around the mystery of what cards I'd exiled with Gonti, and less on what goodstuff creatures might be lurking in my graveyard. My opponents were always flipping through their decks when they tutored, looking to see if I snatched away key cards. The combo players at the table were especially anxious. I loved it. I put in Praetor's Grasp and Bitter Ordeal to play to this strength.
Great deck and definitely recommend anyone checking out this list give it a shot!
5 months ago
Glad you found the suggestions helpful. My manabase is about the same as yours and supports Baleful Strix well. Some easy and cheap upgrades would be River of Tears , Foreboding Ruins , Choked Estuary , and Path of Ancestry . Also, if you're looking at other sac outlets, consider Greater Gargadon , Attrition , Mind Slash , and Thermopod . If I wanted a value sacrifice engine, Mind Slash would be my first inclusion, and it's been in and out of my build. I definitely understand your thought process behind certain omissions in favor of things that better suit your build. I'd just like to give a bit more reasoning behind a few of my favorites.
Sower of Temptation vs Zealous Conscripts is a debate that could go either way, and I've personally run Conscripts without Sower before so I get where you're coming from. Consider instead Sower as a replacement for Ravenous Chupacabra. The floor is roughly the same. Sometimes you don't have a sac outlet and the owner of the creature you steal kills Sower, but I think that's niche downside compared to the upside of Sower on 4 into Marchesa on 5, attack with Sower and stolen creature, recur them both. I think you can run Conscripts and Sower and cut Chupacabra.
Trinket Mage usually finds Sol Ring but can also find Skullclamp to pull you out of a pinch, and Imperial Recruiter on 3 can find Trinket Mage to get you an artifact land to hit the fourth land drop the next turn. I used to run it with just Sol Ring and Skullclamp but Heap Doll and Sparring Construct are stronger than they appear and a value creature that finds more value creatures has an exponential sort of effect. I slept on the Construct as well, until I tried it. The baseline is pretty close to equivalent with Siren Stormtamer - you play Marchesa, they play removal, you sac the Construct then sac the Marchesa with the counter on it. It doesn't get to do Graft loops but it does take a counter on the Marchesa turn and then pass that counter to the next creature you drop, letting you recur its ETB and protect it a turn earlier than usual. So basically it's doing what Lightning Mauler , etc, would do, but more reliably, and for only 1 mana (which is key when you're drawing a million off Graft loops/Rhystic/Necropotence/Remora).
Grenzo, Dungeon Warden : you have 34 creatures with power 3 or less, so the 1/3rd chance is perhaps less than optimal, but 6 mana flash a random creature in from your deck is not bad when it's attached to a creature that will come with counters. This one, like Construct and my next suggestion, is a lot better in actual games than on paper. Bringing things in at flash speed makes Grenzo a more resilient sort of army-assembler for situations where you're struggling to get a foothold on the board. It may be that just drawing a bunch of cards is better, and I wouldn't fault you for not trying out Grenzo, but if you do, he just might surprise you.
Demon of Dark Schemes - if the Massacre effect isn't strong in your games then I would understand avoiding this inclusion, but being strong on just the initial cast, then singlehandedly building a board of value creatures to recur, including Reclamation Sage effects to take care of things like Wheel of Sun and Moon, makes this guy practically a second commander. We're great at draining opponents' resources so this is more likely to stick and then untap with a ton of activations, and it's the perfect "last card" sort of finisher to turn things drastically in your favor. It does a lot of things and is almost always relevant which is why I prefer it to simpler haymakers like Living Death etc.
Spellseeker only has 4 targets in your deck currently but just finding Cyclonic Rift already makes it an enchantment removal creature. I understand you don't want to go too deep into tutors so I could see leaving this one out, same as Trinket Mage, but their restrictions make them more balanced and crafting the packages around them has made my experience with Marchesa more fun.
Anyway the list and primer looks solid and I'm glad you could get some use out of my suggestions.
5 months ago
I like this primer, and I appreciate that you understand some of the stronger Marchesa interactions like the applications of the graft creatures and Mimic. I hope you'll check out my Marchesa list. I think we have a similar outlook though I favor low cost cards for curveouts and I think you might find some of my cards to be "do-nothings." Anyway here are some of my suggestions and thoughts:
Dusk Legion Zealot , Baleful Strix , Alchemist's Apprentice , Seekers' Squire , Preordain , Sage of Epityr , Rix Maadi Reveler : The first three are a slam dunk while the rest are a bit of a harder sell, but all of these cards get cast earlier than Mulldrifter/Disciple of Bolas so they help you hit land drops and find your missing pieces. And something like Apprentice can curve right into a counter enabler and draw 4 cards on turn 4 before you'd even cast the more expensive draw spells. Preordain and some amount of the other cantrips are always worth consideration too, since you're trying to put together specific things to bring a powerful Marchesa engine online.
Altar of Dementia , Spawning Pit , Bloodthrone Vampire , Dross Hopper : A critical mass of sac outlets is important and though the creatures listed aren't exciting they're a lot better for rebuilding if your first boardstate gets broken up. Deploy on turn 2 into value creature on turn 3 to recur on turn 4, or deploy alongside 3-drop on turn 5 to try to rebuild. I dislike using my whole turn to play Grimgrin or Falkenrath which I consider to be pretty mediocre standalones in EDH (Grimgrin is probably fine actually though a little finnicky) and Yahenni not being able to sac itself is a problem for me.
Goblin Cratermaker , Heap Doll , Mausoleum Wanderer , Goblin Trashmaster , Abyssal Gatekeeper , Nevermaker : Personally only run the first three but have included all of these at some point or another. They're all creature-based interaction that Marchesa can recur, but at instant speed. For example, I much prefer Heap Doll to Agent of Erebos since you can stop something like entomb-reanimate or Survival discarding Kiki to find Karmic Guide. The downside to cards like these is that they're rare and not usually efficiently-costed, but they're definitely worth considering. Boompile , Oblivion Stone , Engineered Explosives : Grixis' best enchantment removal. I'd go with these over the Grave Pacts for multiple reasons. First, destroying all nonlands and being left with Marchesa is a bigger power play. Second, it's nice to be able to remove Rest in Peace and other generally pesky enchantments. Third, these cards aren't reliant on your engines being in place to do their job, so they're better for coming back from behind. In the same line of thought:
Sower of Temptation , Grenzo, Dungeon Warden , Hostage Taker , The Eldest Reborn , Demon of Dark Schemes : My topend may look odd to you but each of these cards is strong interaction on its own, and becomes an army-builder alongside Marchesa. Stealing creatures is great for ramping and killing enchantments, or winning with Primeval Titan. Bribery and Phantasmal Image are more cards in this vein, as well as the Puppeteer Clique and Gonti you're already playing. I prefer these to Flayer, Herald of Secret Streams, etc since they help you come from behind when Marchesa isn't out, and having "finishers" that rely on your engine being all in place isn't all that effectively different from just running some combo (Metallic Mimic / Murderous Redcap is the most efficient one for Marchesa imo if you wanted to go the route). Of course, Flayer does act as removal, and is also very fun, but I hope you'll consider cutting Herald, Merchant, and Kokusho. Mikaeus is actually nice as a "backup commander" with great synergy with Marchesa but he's not in my build because I run too many Humans. Luckily we have Grenzo who is an absolutely insane engine card.
Awaken the Erstwhile , Mindslicer : Marchesa can dominate the board but is weak to combo, hate enchantments, the whole table targeting all your stuff with removal, and brick hands. These cards take care of the first three. Landing them early with your value engines already online is like a more reliable sort of "land destruction win" since in either case they can't cast their spells. Trinket Mage , Spellseeker , Phyrexian Metamorph , Mindclaw Shaman , Entomber Exarch , Trophy Mage , Ixidron , Sparring Construct : Miscellaneous other value ETBs. Trinket Mage is the best one, I highly suggest you include him. Construct will surprise you with how strong it is. The baseline is on-board protection for Marchesa the turn you cast her, but the upside is acting like a limited Graft creature by giving each new creature you play a counter.
I think that's just about it for suggestions, maybe consider Spell Pierce , Stubborn Denial , and Fire Covenant , but overall, great primer, very well-written, and I think you'll set people in the right direction when it comes to building Marchesa.
5 months ago
Not to beat a dead horse, but I thought I'd bring up Shirei again (and my deck specifically, The Recursion Nightmare), just because I've actually changed it around a fair bit since last time. Workhorse , Harvester of Souls , Heap Doll , Myr Sire , Diabolic Revelation , Homeward Path , Mindslaver , Arcbound Reclaimer , Sorin Markov , Dictate of Erebos , and Coffin Queen are all out in favor of Midnight Reaper , Mausoleum Secrets , Skyscanner , Dusk Legion Zealot , Sensei's Divining Top , Cabal Stronghold , Petrified Field , Burglar Rat , Liliana of the Veil , Sanguine Bond , and Exquisite Blood .
The wincons are stronger, the mana curve is lower (and more balanced), the cabal-tron package is now super-redundant (with Cabal Coffers , Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth , Vesuva , Deserted Temple , Petrified Field , Cabal Stronghold , and Expedition Map ), the stax effects are stronger, and the utility spells are cheaper. I'd say the deck has gotten at least 12% better, which, admittedly, goes against what I said ealier about the deck being almost perfect (though, in my defense, I hadn't yet taken a good look at some of the cards they've been printing recently--that's the great thing about Shirei, he only gets better the more worthless black commons they release).
I might take out the sanguine bond + exquisite blood wincon for Desecrated Tomb and Torment of Hailfire . Desecrated Tomb is more value, but obviously not really a wincon unless things are going way too well for me, and Torment of Hailfire isn't nearly as straightforward as Exsanguinate , but they might be better, anyhow.
Also, I still stand by Damnation --especially now that I'm playing Midnight Reaper and Dusk Legion Zealot , my life total is kind of a precious resource--sure, toxic deluge might be worth it anyhow, but it also kills my commander (read: I get my board state back after a damnation), so it's not strictly worse--though, I might consider playing deluge over Oblivion Stone , even though that card is my one way of dealing with problem enchantments, for instance.
Oh, and, I considered adding Pitiless Plunderer , but, again, the list is really tight, and I'd rather have Black Market over him, as I don't need more than one color of mana, the mana from Black Market accumulates, and it triggers whenever anything dies (relevant with Grave Pact ).
There are probably still better Shirei decks out there that still wouldn't qualify him for tier 3, but, frankly, even given a casual glance, tier 3 could easily be split up into multiple tiers (or just not have so many commanders crammed in it, and maybe we add a new bottom tier). I mean, Ghost Council of Orzhova and Ambassador Laquatus probably shouldn't be in the same category as Aminatou, the Fateshifter and Oloro, Ageless Ascetic , for instance. All the same, just in case these somehow weren't already obvious, let me detail a few of the more interesting interactions Shirei has with some of the dorks in this deck:
Mesmeric Fiend has an O-ring trick going on where, if we sacrifice him before his first ability resolves, the second ability triggers and does nothing, then we exile a card from our opponent's hand permanently. Doing that every turn with a sac outlet can be pretty good, and if you do it for long enough, you'll have everyone topdecking. I used to play Brain Maggot in this vein, but later learned that that works differently--it's all wrapped up into one ability, so if he dies before it resolves, during resolution, we take a card, the game sees that it's dead, then we immediately return it to their hand. Not very good, obviously.
Coffin Queen has a slightly different but effectively equivalent O-ring trick--if she's sacrificed before her ability resolves, the ability resolves, but since she's dead, the game doesn't remember her as an object and the delayed trigger of the ability can never happen, so we keep the creature permanently. When Coffin Queen comes back, she is, of course, a new object with a different timestamp.
Oh, and, in case this one wasn't obvious, cards like Mindless Automaton work with Shirei because their power is 1 or less when they enter the graveyard, thus triggering Shirei's ability, and their power doesn't become more than 1 until they've already entered the battlefield, as per layering rules.
5 months ago
MightyDarknut The deck you describe would never need Shirei and would be better as a Sidisi shell. Trying to involve Shirei means that one of 3 main stategies come into play:
1 - Go for a reanimator style list, with minor control elements. Abuse Apprentice Necromancer to the maximum, and have Shirei as a minor value pieces with some combo lines with Razaketh, the Foulblooded sacrificing creatures that trigger Shirei, so if the combo is disrupted, you have some board state to go off on your next turn. It could be a good mono-black combo list, as good as mono-black combo lists are in general, and can even have some very limited use for Shirei.
2 - Go for a stax list, abusing Shirei about as much as competitively viable as possible, trying to get good cards (think Bone Shredder ) that have innate value without Shirei and also a lot with, maybe 10-15 of these good useful creatures exist that work with Shirei and also aren't dead without like Heap Doll . Then run cards like Contamination , Smokestack , etc. and maybe even some hate pieces like Lethal Vapors if you are feeling... 'Out there.' Finish the deck off with a various amount of non-shirei based stax pieces like Sphere of Resistance , Thorn of Amethyst , Damping Matrix , Oppression , Bottomless Pit , Leyline of the Void , Chalice of the Void etc. and a large amount of instant speed interaction to hopefully survive the early game like Fatal Push , Dismember , Warping Wail , etc.
3 - Go with a Midrange combo list. Try to find some value-oriented creatures and a mix of interaction, maybe a few minor stax pieces that don't affect you, and then a bunch of tutors to find some hyper-card-efficient combo that may or may not interact with Shirei. Try some Ad Nauseam storm maybe, maybe a Buried Alive combo, who knows. Make it survive the early game a get their turns 4-5 for the midgame win, with a decent controlling backbone to lie on when you can't combo out as early as you would want, due to a stax piece you need removed or whatever.
5 months ago
No, they're not. Alesha's effect still sucks. Also, you're just flat-out wrong if you think using Fume Spitter every turn until there aren't any creatures on the board except your own isn't worthwhile. Same goes for Heap Doll , same goes for Harvester of Souls , same goes for Workhorse if you have something like Winding Canyons , same goes for literally 20 other creatures in the deck, like Noxious Toad (oracle text, it's each opponent).
Okay, lockdown isn't viable. Sure. That's why Alesha having to access to white for stax effects is so relevant, right? Mono-black has stax effects aplenty, and especially with Shirei--I can abuse Smokestack and Contamination to literally shut down everything.
It's entirely possible to keep anyone other than yourself from drawing anything but lands with Thoughtpicker Witch , and they'll be topdecking, at that.
You guys act like you know what you're talking about when you haven't even heard of most of these cards before, let alone played them/played against them.
5 months ago
Ummm....calm the fuck down dude, holy shit.
You clearly don't know how useful Shirei's ability actually is. You do realize you can use cards like Fume Spitter every single turn, right? You can Heap Doll every single turn to keep anyone else from having a graveyard? You do realize that Workhorse is a ramp spell, right? Oh, and, do excuse me for running Damnation when I'm already running Necropotence .
Sorceress Queen isn't a hate piece. It's so that I can recur guys in my deck that are bigger than 1 power. Like, say, Harvester of Souls , who can draw me, say, 5 cards each turn. Not each of my turns, each turn. While I'm also applying stax effects to people with the creatures I'm sacrificing.
Mindslaver is a fine wincon when the game is already locked down. There's no rush to cast it, and it can also save you from dying earlier.
Please stop bashing cards you've never actually played with. You clearly took one look at the list, gave no thought to any of the synergies involved, saw some apparently janky cards, and concluded that it was bad. Good job.
Needless to say, I'm pretty insulted. There are far worse commanders in tier 3.
Heap Doll occurrence in decks from the last year
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.0%