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Mazirek Sac-Storm: The Contraption of Life & Death

Commander / EDH* Combo Counters Pox Storm Tokens Voltron



Self-Sacrifice At Its Best

This deck is fun, powerful, interactive, and deceptively complicated to pilot. Between all the different kinds of tokens, the various triggered abilities that are always going off, and then theres the fact that Mazirek is basically a reverse Cathars' Crusade on a stick. Which as you probably already know, Cathars' Crusade is one of the most powerful but also most annoying cards to deal with actually using in real life out of all Magic: the Gathering.

  • This might be best as a Magic Online deck, since the computer will track everything you.

However mine is built with regular old paper Magic cards.

And thanks to everyone who upvotes and views this deck for making it so popular!!

This deck plays out like a metaphor for the circle of life, translated into Magic: the Gathering.

There is usually at least one turn the deck seems to "go off" (and often win) and its not hard to accumulate upwards of a dozen sacrifice effects to pump the team with Mazirek in one turn. Sometimes way more, like 50 or 60 or even infinite!!! How can this happen you may be wondering??

Mass sacrifice effects like Pox , Eldrazi tokens and treasure tokens which all sac for mana, many lands can sac for mana, cheap sacrifice outlets, all being fueled by creatures that replace themselves, mass resurrection spells to reload the board along with tons of triggered abilities continuously crapping out tokens and cards for free, can all add up to make huge freaking turns!

I've started to use a D20 to count up all the sacrifice effects during my big turns instead of updating each creature's counters after each one to save time. Its the "Sac-Storm" counter. The difference is after the big turn I have to update all the dice on everything I still have in play with that number, compared to a normal storm counter which resets to 0 each turn. Although with this deck (and even more so with storm decks) you want to just win the game during your big turn anyway.

Its also possible to create an infinite loop using a creature with persist (like Puppeteer Clique ) a free sacrifice outlet (like Viscera Seer ) and Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest to put an unlimited number of +1/+1 counters on your creatures. This build is not optimized to combo out like that but its possible to achieve.

Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest is such a unique card. The next most similar cards are either Mortician Beetle or Cathars' Crusade ...and Mazirek is like a weird combination of those two cards, but with flying. Black + green decks have many good options for commanders but none can be swapped in for Mazirek in this deck if you want it to function optimally. Because of his unusual ability he is not necessarily the best Commander for a generic "goodstuff" Golgari deck either. Personally I happen to enjoy building and playing decks that are built more synergistically as opposed to generic goodstuff.

This build of Mazirek is not a traditional aggro deck, although it is a creature based deck. Nor is it a traditional reanimator deck, although it does plan on reanimating creatures. It has the feel of a combo deck to play, but it still wins the old fashioned way by turning guys sideways (...most of the time at least...it can technically win without attacking because of Zulaport Cutthroat triggers).

Like I said earlier, I enjoy synergy based decks with weird "suboptimal" cards better than more generic "goodstuff" decks. Almost all deck building choices here were made with this preference in mind. This version isn't designed to be a tier-1 competitive style deck. It's designed to compete against battlecruiser speed multiplayer EDH decks. However its reasonable to me that a tier 1ish competitive version of Mazirek could exist, this just isn't it.

Also this is likely considered a budget build of Mazirek compared to more competitive ones. If I could afford to buy all the cards in the maybeboard right now I think most of them would be in the deck.

  • Using primarily 1 and 2 cmc "fodder" creatures in this deck makes it so there is likely one in play very early so we can start doing sacrificial stuff with them right away. Waiting for most token engines to come online to get "fodder" is much slower.

  • The Pox type effects trigger Mazirek big time and they should be saved until he's in play so they can act like overruns not just removal.

  • Creatures with Persist like Puppeteer Clique combined with the right kind of sac outlet like Viscera Seer and Mazirek can create an infinite amount of sacrifice triggers. The -1/-1 counter from the persist trigger is removed when the +1/+1 counter from Mazirek lands on it, making it ready to die and come back again. It's kinda cheesy to rely on infinite combos but its good to include them because sometimes you need one to win.

  • All of the creatures provide value on ETB or death so the sac outlets can provide maximum value.

  • Sylvan Safekeeper can come down early and protect the team, then out of nowhere allow you to sacrifice all your lands and alpha strike.

  • Primal Vigor is the MVP of the deck. It also makes Hooded Hydra and Hangarback Walker go exponential...and if you have Mazirek out too, everything really goes bananas! I want to get a Doubling Season for this deck so bad.

  • The mass resurrection spells Rise of the Dark Realms & Living Death can create a bonkers amount of value, and fuel a game winning turn easily.

  • Manifest creatures count as non-tokens, which makes them much better than tokens. Many effects in the deck only trigger from non-token creatures entering play or dying.

  • Important Rules Interaction For casting Living Death with Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest in play: The creatures that come back from (or are created as a result of) casting Living Death will get a Mazirek pump for everything that got sacrificed along with Mazirek. Its because his triggered effect (along with any other triggers caused by everything getting sacrificed) go on the stack and won't resolve until after Living Death is done resolving. Then any creatures that just came into play with ETB abilities also get stacked along with the Mazirek triggers in whatever order you want to put them on the stack. It's game ending for sure.

The redundant card abilities make the combos practically assemble themselves. Drawing a couple cards and/or getting a couple tokens from a creature dying, especially one thats already getting sacrificed for some other additional value is where we gain our card advantage. Most of the "fodder" creatures are 1 or 2 CMC and they all replace themselves with a token. That means if we can curve out with some combo enablers and mana ramp then by the time we have 4 or 5 mana we can cast multiple spells per turn and start doing some cool stuff. Like drawing a bunch of cards and building up an army and killing things.

Having the thought "wow, Blisterpod is an amazing topdeck" can happen with this deck ...as bizarre as that sounds. However, even though this deck is capable of assembling very powerful combos and synergies, it can also draw into some very underwhelming topdecks. One weakness with heavy card synergy decks like this is that sometimes the combos don't find themselves in time or in order. Blisterpod is inherently a weak card alone. If you have some cool ways to utilize it in play already it can be very impactful when topdecked, but if not its going to be a real bummer to draw it. Thats why there are so many things to do with our "fodder". This deck tends to use up its "fodder" creatures as the game progresses, and it gets way more value out of killing non-token creatures so mass graveyard resurrection spells are very important for the late game. Even if it's just to get back a bunch of little dorky "fodder" dudes. Don't let your preconceived notions about these "fodder" cards fool you, there is an explosiveness hidden in the synergies here that may not be apparent from looking at this list.

This deck can definitely be disrupted, but not by just killing all the creatures in play. This deck can handle board wipes pretty well, they usually refill my hand and leave tokens behind. Even land destruction isn't too bad since it has such a low mana curve. The worst thing that can happen is someone destroying or worse exiling "all artifacts, enchantments, and creatures" and then exiling my graveyard in one turn. But isn't that like the worst thing that can happen to pretty much any deck?

The deck is also somewhat reliant on Mazirek to win... but not entirely. It's just way, way easier with it in play. So getting our commander shut out is definitely something we want to avoid. I don't cast Mazirek until I can get some value from it immediately.

I attempted to incorporate sacrificing effects everywhere that was possible so that there isn't even always a need for a real sac outlet to be able to win the game out of nowhere. Also it makes it harder to stop when the sacrifices are coming from everywhere instead of one spell or permanent. With all the built in self-sacrifice abilities embedded everywhere we can usually generate at least five or six free sacrifice triggers right after we can afford to cast Mazirek. Those self-sacrifice effects are all so easily forgotten about that opponents don't think about them as pump spells very much. Winning with commander damage (often in one swing) is always an option too since he has flying and he pumps himself.

Important Permanents and Effects in Play:

Cast a Carrier Thrall ...

Sacrifice the Carrier Thrall to Viscera Seer ...

Thats 2x cards drawn, 1 life lost, 4x Edlrazi Scion Tokens, 4x Myr Tokens, 1x Manifest creature, 2x +1/+1 counters on everything, and then scry 1...just from casting and saccing a single Carrier Thrall to Viscera Seer . If I was trying to build up a board for next turn (instead of continuing to grind up everything and attack for the win immediately) that sequence added 8x 3/3 tokens and a 4/4 manifest to the board.

This is not a magical Christmas land scenario (although admittedly that was an awesome game). That sequence is from a real game that I played, and whether I win or lose most games really end like some version of this. Since there are multiple redundant copies of all the different effects along with so much graveyard recursion, the end game is usually about the same. Its likely a similar board state is instantly assembled as soon as we can resolve a good recursion spell or two. Imagine how the above board state explodes if the Carrier Thrall entered play along with a bunch of other creatures from casting a Rise of the Dark Realms .

...And in case you were wondering there are multiple different ways in the deck to keep the Dark Prophecy from killing us from damage or decking us while we combo off. Specifically drawing into Zulaport Cutthroat , Reclamation Sage , Caustic Caterpillar , or a tutor effect to find one of those cards would fix it.

Ulvenwald Mysteries was just too slow since it needs the clues to be cashed in to make the tokens, even though it was pretty cool to investigate :)

Qarsi High Priest can upgrade tokens into manifests, but it was too unimpactful in play for me. Golgari Germination was also too do nothing.

Animation Module + Ashnod's Altar + Mazirek = infinite +1/+1 counters and colorless mana, but the module did nothing most of the time. In the end cards that only care about +1/+1 counters were just not good enough. Its not that they were not good at making me win, it was just a case of win-more. Reyhan, Last of the Abzan , Hardened Scales , Winding Constrictor and Corpsejack Menace all are examples of cards that didn't help the game until I was about to win anyways. Mazirek gets a big target on him if your opponents know whats going to happen. The way this deck plays out most optimally is keeping Mazirek safe in the command zone until it will be able to at least generate some value (and hopefully just win) when its cast. So even though those cards could help add counters on the big turn, every other turn before that they did nothing. Primal Vigor was the only one to survive the cuts because it also doubles tokens and is INSANE! If you have that card out in this deck everything gets exponential real fast.

Greater Good wasn't very good because I never want to sacrifice a creature bigger than 1/1 or 2/2.

Genesis Chamber although it was very effective in making lots of tokens for me it also made my edict effects less effective.

Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder was great but too slow and no synergy with reanimation.

Carrion Feeder was a fine sac outlet, but boring.

Wave of Vitriol was just a little bit too slow to be useful.

Sadistic Hypnotist & Mind Slash were cut for different sac outlets. The effects are extremely powerful but not technically game ending. I'm not trying to make this into a control deck, and they seemed unnecessary for my primary plans.

Deathreap Ritual too slow and not explosive enough... waiting until end of turn and only getting one card per turn is too slow for this 4 mana do nothing enchantment. Seemed ok... but not good enough for this deck.

Sakura-Tribe Elder was turned into Farhaven Elf because it can be sacrificed to stuff.

Fecundity was great fun but we don't need to be filling out opponent's hands when we use removal on their threats.

Blighted Fen was too mana intensive.

Creakwood Liege kinda slow, needs to be in play for a whole turn for value.

Whisperwood Elemental truly a great card for this deck, but cuts had to be made... and fodder is already quite abundant even without the manifest machine.

Caustic Caterpillar dinky card..too low impact not good fodder.

Dire Fleet Hoarder , Dripping-Tongue Zubera , Myr Sire , Solemn Simulacrum , Pilgrim's Eye , Sylvan Ranger , Gatecreeper Vine , & Epochrasite removed for different fodder options.

Pitiless Plunderer could occasionally be super cool, but treasures are not creatures. It was not as useful as I was hoping for in the end.

Emrakul's Evangel was not good enough in practice.

Shriekmaw , Garza's Assassin replaced with better removal.

Spawning Bed too slow, too many colorless sources in the deck.

Phyrexian Delver is a bit on the high CMC end but extremely close to good enough...it still might go back in. Resurrecting a key creature can be game ending, and having that ability on stapled onto a creature was great.

Twilight's Call cut for a Diabolic Tutor because it can go get Rise of the Dark Realms or Living Death or anything else.

Butcher of Malakir and Slum Reaper cost too much mana for their effects.

The single persist creature in the deck Rendclaw Trow , became Puppeteer Clique because its better when its not comboing off.

Archfiend of Depravity is too easy to play around to rely on for removal, even though it was pretty cool sometimes.

Ruthless Knave is actually a great card for this deck. For some builds it can be amazing, but cuts had to be made somewhere. It has helped fuel game wins for sure, its not a bad card for the deck at all.

Merciless Executioner & Fleshbag Marauder after Plaguecrafter came out they felt cuttable.

Dark Prophecy is fine, but Midnight Reaper replaces it.

Diabolic Tutor upgraded into Diabolic Intent .

Liliana, Heretical Healer   was too low impact.

Reprocess was turned into a permanent sac outlet.

Barter in Blood is a great spell but cuts had to be made.

Growth Spasm is a great and synergistic ramp spell. Eldrazi tokens are great. But still you gotta make room.

I already have quite a few cards in mind try out in the maybeboard, but most of them are too expensive for me to buy right now. I'd love to hear more ideas.

Any budget friendly suggestions are much appreciated! Thanks.

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Updates Add

We got 2 great new cards, Ravenous Chupacabra and Pitiless Plunderer from Rivals of Ixalan! They are great additions, the deck is better now. I also traded for Verdant Catacombs , Overgrown Tomb , and Toxic Deluge at the prerelease, so the deck improved quite a bit recently.

And this page is now at 50 Upvotes and 7000 page views!! Thank you! Fun!