Deck Concept

What started as a Skullbriar, the Walking Grave tribal zombie deck has turned into something much more sinister, and ultimately designed to keep up with or even exceed the pace of some of my playgroup's cEDH decks. This certainly isn't the type of deck to just pull out at the local game shop's Commander night, but it will definitely keep up with players who pull out the top Tier 1 and Tier 1.5 decks in competitive groups. Had I planned to build this deck in the first place, rather than by trial and error, I would have been well served to look at some of the original SBT competitive decks on the site, so I'll give what I think is the best among them a nod and refer you to check out SBT Combo as well.

With this Sultai-themed reanimator/dredge deck, the quicker you fill your graveyard, the faster your opponents will find themselves in one. With Sidisi, Brood Tyrant at the helm, the veritable swiss-army knife of complimentary creatures, zombie tokens, self-mill, dredge, and reanimation spells and abilities in the deck are designed to win the game by turn five, with fairly consistent results. As the deck's name implies, your only concern is making the deck go fast - so try not to concern yourself too much with what your opponents are doing when playing this deck...just find one of the killer-combo win conditions and go for the throat.

Combos and Play

There are several ways to kill your opponents quickly via combos and/or infinite loops with the deck, as well as multiple ways to find yourself reaching those win conditions. Even when you end up facing some graveyard hate, the multiple combo options available should give you plenty of flexibility to overcome one or two of the combos getting hosed. Below are some of the quickest and cleanest options to bring the game to an end.

A turn-one kill is possible, but requires specific starting hands, which include: Any land that produces or , Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, Sol Ring, Phyrexian Altar, Flash and Protean Hulk. The Dark Ritual and Sol Ring could also be exchanged for Mana Crypt and Cabal Ritual, as a total of five unused mana, with at least one and one is required. Once the mana is available after playing the artifacts and ritual, flash in the hulk to trigger his ability, and put Gravecrawler, Blood Artist and Diregraf Captain into play (totaling 6 CMC). Sacrifice the crawler to the altar for one mana, triggering both the artist's and captain's abilities, then recast the crawler with the floating and repeat until all opponents are dead.

A similar but simplified turn-one kill possibility includes any land that produces or , Lotus Petal, Flash and Protean Hulk. Flash in the hulk to trigger his ability, and put Carrion Feeder and Phyrexian Delver into play, returning the Protean Hulk to play again, this time grabbing Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Walking Ballista after sacrificing the hulk to the feeder. Sacrifice the ballista to the feeder, pinging an opponent with the +1/+1 counter first, thus triggering Mikaeus and looping the undying ability until all opponents are dead. Thanks to Mindslayer for pointing out this previously missing option via the Viscera Seer suggestion.

Another turn-one kill possibility can be completed with any mana sources totaling at least 4 mana, two of which must be , as it requires casting Buried Alive to drop Necrotic Ooze, Phyrexian Devourer, and Triskelion or Walking Ballista into your graveyard, then Reanimate necrotic ooze, resulting in an instant-speed counter-ping kill, which is limited to the remaining CMC of your library (current total CMC of the deck is 183 excluding the commander, so after using either 14 or 20 CMC for the combo, the maximum number of players for this turn-one kill would be four opponents). Obviously any reanimate spell option will work, so long as you have the additional mana to cast it. With all of the cheap tutor-spells available in the deck, this is the most consistent combo to find, as well as the most difficult to respond to by opponents, and is very consistently achieved on turns 3 through 5.

Another simple kill combo is achieved by getting Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and Triskelion into play, again using counters to ping your opponents while utilizing the undying ability to bring back the Triskelion once he kills himself with his last two counters. If Blood Artist or Zulaport Cutthroat is also in play, the same effect can be achieved with Walking Ballista by killing himself over and over, or with Carrion Feeder in play as noted above.

The any-zombie in play, plus Gravecrawler and Phyrexian Altar combo can also be used to mill your opponents to death with an infinite storm Brain Freeze. Considering Blood Artist, Zulaport Cutthroat and Diregraf Captain may end up being targets for your opponents' spot removal while in play, this is a nice backup option, and far less expected, unless you know they are playing any Eldrazi reshufflers.

Even without an available game-winning combo, there are still other synergy combos that will get you to a clear win condition quickly. For example, with Sidisi, Brood Tyrant in play, Basalt Monolith and Mesmeric Orb create an infinite mill-loop to fill your graveyard and build a zombie army. The early utilization of a spell like Glimpse the Unthinkable can provide clarity on which graveyard combo-option to focus on, or just to feed an advantage recursion spell like Victimize.

In the absence of a clear combo option possibility, your goal should simply be to fill your graveyard as quickly as possible, and then use that engine to wreak havoc in the most efficient way possible, based on what hits the grave. An early reanimated Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur can be nearly as effective as a readily setup kill-combo, by essentially shutting down your opponents before they can generate a response to your leading board state. Utilize any of the mill and dredge spells/abilities available, while saving cards like Entomb and Buried Alive for the noted combos, and maybe keep an eye out for your opponents with available blue and white mana, as control and exile spot removal are normally your worst enemy.

There are many other potential combos you'll run into while playing the deck, including the obligatory Laboratory Maniacfoil icon + Tainted Pact option, the Food Chain + Eternal Scourge option, and many more, which gives it plenty of versatility and flexibility, and makes it effective at setting the pace of the game, even in the scenario of a relatively weak opening hand. Something as simple as playing an early Stinkweed Imp can often stall your opponents potential early attacks, and is an excellent dredge source if killed - if he can avoid exile spot removal, he can often set up the win all by himself.

Overall, the deck is relatively simple and straight forward to play, consistently fast in achieving potential win conditions, and doesn't take a lot of strategy or concern about your opponents. I find when playing the deck, it's best to treat it like a sprint and race for the win. If you do, you should fairly quickly find the graves filled, with plenty of potential winning combos created in the process.

Final Note: The sideboard was added to allow the modification of the deck in a more control-oriented and/or heavily competitive setting, as I realize the base model of the deck isn't much for answering other threats.

Thanks for looking, and if you have an idea for the deck I've failed to include, feel free to add a comment/suggestion.


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100% Competitive

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Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 month
Exclude colors WR
Splash colors UG

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.67
Tokens 2/2 Zombie, 1/1 Spirit, Jace
Folders Various Top Commander, EDH, Sample, Interesting Commander Decks, Competitive EDH Decks, Sweet decks, deck ideas
Top rank #15 on 2017-10-30
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Revision 54 See all

1 month ago)

+1 Cabal Ritual main
-1 Cabal Ritual main