Description

Trying to build a control deck in competitive EDH is a challenge. Trying to do so while everyone else is storming and comboing off is even more difficult. This usually requires removing multiple combo pieces and countering several spells. Which creates a difficult job for the Fun Police. However we may have a way to do this.

To assist with this, I have written the following primer on the theory and construction of a Tasigur Control deck for Competitive EDH.

Welcome to the Fun Police of Competitive EDH. We are not the bureaucratic rules creators, hammering the drum of stax all day long. We are not the combo decks, flying down the highway at breakneck speeds. We are patient and reactive, we see problems and answer them. We have a few things we use to set the standards but mostly we wait and make sure that people stay within the bounds of a fun, functional and civilized game of Magic. This is a special calling, not everyones cup of tea. We get prepped for a game knowing that it is going to be a challenge to keep everyone in line but we are ready for the long haul.

Now that you have the idea of what we are piloting, let me introduce myself. I am Cameron from the Laboratory Maniacs. Ive been an avid EDH/Commander player since 2008. Ive been playing attrition style control and value engine based decks for the majority of that time. I have been playing Competitive EDH for notably less due to not enjoying the playstyle of either storm or stax decks. I was able to convert my favored deck style into Competitive EDH and have been fine tuning it ever since. As some people have noted, It doesnt follow cEDH rules! and they are correct. Ill be walking you through why and how this is the case through the rest of this primer.

From the start everyone asks why Tasigur, the Golden Fang? What does he do that no other general does? Why can this not be Thrasios, Triton Hero + a partner? Ill be addressing these questions one at a time.

Why Tasigur? Well, first off, hes cheap. Delve with fetchlands means that we often only tap 1 land to cast Tasigur. Second, He has great creature stats. A 4/5 creature is a great blocker and an efficient beater. It is six turns of combat damage before we can general damage someone out but it is also a reasonable creature to pressure life totals of people playing Ad Nauseam and Doomsday.

What does Tasigur do that no other general can? Primarily, he gives you infinite recursion. By this I mean that his ability lets you reuse spells without restriction. Beyond being able to cast the same spell multiple times in the same game, his activated ability lets you play politics with the entire table. Your opponents are not always against you and he enables your ability to play them off of each other. None of your opponents want to lose. If you have an answer when no one else does, you can activate Tasigur and another player that stands to lose the game will likely give you the answer to address the current catastrophe.

Why can this not be Thrasios? This is very relevant to Tasigur specifically. There used to be a diverse set of decks specifically aimed and getting infinite mana for Tasigur and comboing out for a win. However, as part of the Commander 2016 product, Thrasios was printed and for comboing off into a win, hes just better. Thrasios does not require colored mana to combo off. This opens up so many more infinite mana combos and due to his partner nature, it opens up other colors as well, notably white and its several artifact and enchantment tutors. This makes comboing off with Thrasios easier and Tasigur fell out of favor from there. However comboing off is not what this deck wants to do. Tasigur gets us cards from the graveyard, which Thrasios does not. Thrasios does provide card advantage but he has an end to what he can do. Once the cards are gone from your library Thrasios can do no more. Tasigur can still continue to get you cards back. This allows us to reuse the same answer again and again.

- Tasigur Seasons Past / Season Pastigur - My current list, a budgetless control deck.
- Tasigur Control on a Budget - A deck inspired by my list. This was built on a $750 budget by buildingadeck. When he started creating this list he asked me for input. We worked through to prioritize specific higher value cards and find lower priced alternatives for many of the more expensive cards out there.
- Tidespout Tasigur - Alternative take on control Tasigur by AdmiralFisticuffs. This deck uses Tidespout Tyrant and mana rocks as a combo engine to generate infinite mana.
- Dans Budget Deck Series did an article on Tasigur. Here are the different budget iterations that he push the deck through. deck:$1500 Budget Tasigur Control, deck:$750 Budget Tasigur Control,deck:$400 Budget Tasigur Control, deck:$200 Budget Tasigur Control

Win Conditions

We have several different methods to win, luckily most of them work with each other. They function off of a small set of high impact cards and methods to generating infinite mana or free spells. The big benefit of all of these is that they all work together to enable a rapid fire Aetherflux Reservoir killing all opponents or a Beast Within and Reality Shift loop to exile all opponents libraries.

To get to infinite mana we primarily look for Palinchron and Phantasmal Image. With seven land and at least four blue producing land, this combo goes infinite, generating any color of mana. Alternatively you can use Omniscience and Palinchron to get infinite mana in addition to free spells.

Beast Within + Reality Shift

This is the most common route to victory for combo based Tasigur decks. This plan is based off of being able to cast Beast Within any number of times to destroy all permanents your opponents control. Then casting Reality Shift on the beasts generated from Beast Within until all all of your opponents libraries are exiled. The plan starts by generating infinite colored mana specifically Blue and Green. From that point you activate Tasigur until all nonland cards from your deck have been placed in your hand. Then cast Beast Within targeting a permanent you dont control, activate Tasigur, get Beast Within back and repeat this until everything you do not control is a beast. You then switch to Reality Shift and start exiling beasts and manifesting cards. You then continue exiling the manifested cards until all permanents you dont control have been exiled and all cards from your opponents libraries have been exiled. If Tasigur activations are not available to you, you can complete this same process with Seasons Past and Dark Petition. This will allow you to return Reality Shift, Beast Within and Dark Petition to your hand. You can then loop Seasons Past with Dark Petition and cast Beast Within and Reality Shift before casting Seasons Past again. An alternative route to this loop is to use Praetor's Grasp to remove all of your opponents libraries then use one of the many all players draw cards to force a game over by having them draw cards with no cards in their libraries.

Aetherflux Reservoir

Aetherflux Reservoir was originally included in the deck to address the amount of life that is lost throughout a normal game. Very regularly we are paying over twenty life in the course of a game and it puts a notable amount of pressure on us to try to stay alive. Aetherflux Reservoir can gain back that life. However it can push us over fifty hitpoints fairly easily and then can turn into a win condition on its own. With Palinchron and Phantasmal Image or Omniscience, we have an unbounded amount of storm and can gain unlimited life to feed the Reservoir and kill our opponents.

Seasons Past Loops

Seasons Past serves two roles in this deck. The original purpose for it was endless card advantage through self recursion. However, after a few games it was found that once we are no longer constrained by mana, Seasons Past will get us our entire deck into our hand, allowing us to cast any spell we wish to. This is accomplished by either tutoring for Seasons Past or using Seasons Past to get a tutor from our graveyard. We then tutor for another tutor, tutor for Seasons Past and get both tutors back. From there we tutor for any card, tutor for Seasons Past, cast Seasons Past getting both tutors back and can repeat this process as much as we want. We can then win through either Aetherflux Reservoir or the Beast Within + Reality Shift loop.

Combat Damage

This may be taken lightly, but this deck has both combat damage and general damage as consistent win conditions. It breaks apart other players plans and gives us the time required to secure a win through combat damage. Tasigur can come down as early as turn two if needed. Choosing one player (preferably one that is running Ad Nauseam) and consistently pressuring them is the best course of action. Very rarely do we switch targets until that player is gone or the game is over.

Reanimation

Although my decklist has strayed from the reanimation plan, this route can still pull some wins. You have very large targets for reanimation in Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, Void Winnower, Consecrated Sphinx, Kederekt Leviathan and Terastodon. These will get you a wide variety of effects but can also open you up to opposing reanimation. This route is an easy one to employ as an entry point to Tasigur control. Reanimation packages cost notably less than other cards and can get you really great, though sometimes inconsistent, returns. Using them to fill very expensive cards slots is a very powerful and cost effective strategy.

Chains of Mephistopheles

This is one of the least played but most powerful cards in Competitive EDH primarily due to its strategy and price tag. Below is a flowchart that walks through the functional interaction and game state checks completed by Chains, as the oracle text is very wordy. The big thing that this card does is prevent everyone from drawing additional cards. This allows us to abuse both Life from the Loam and Tasigur to get asymmetrical card advantage against our opponents. Our goal is attrition, preventing multiple people from drawing additional cards pushes the attrition strategy very effectively. To add to this, if we do have some extra card draw, we can use it to continually dredge cards. The interaction between Sylvan Library, Chains of Mephistopheles, and Life from the Loam works as follows, assuming that you choose to dredge both cards from Sylvan Library and that you have Life from the Loam in hand. If you have it in your graveyard, you can complete the exact same steps by simply dredging your first card drawn for the turn. This will then have you draw the first card from Sylvan Library as it will be the first card drawn during your turn in your draw step.

  1. Card draw for turn, untouched by Chains.
  2. Choose to activate Sylvan Library.
  3. Draw 1 from Sylvan Library
  4. Discard Life from the Loam to Chains.
  5. Choose to Dredge Life from the Loam instead of drawing a card.
  6. Draw 2 from Sylvan Library
  7. Discard Life from the Loam to Chains.
  8. Choose to Dredge Life from the Loam instead of drawing a card.5.You have now drawn 1 card for the turn. Choose to put it back on top of your library or pay 4 life to keep it.

Part of Chain's high price tag also brings a discussion about alternatives for those who cannot afford it. Leovold, Emissary of Trest did this job very well but has since been banned. The only alternative that is close is Notion Thief. Unfortunately Notion Thief ends up being a liability against Thrasios decks. A Thrasios deck can combo off and can then use your own Notion Thief to kill you. This leads to the conclusion that if you do not have a Chains, there really isnt a viable alternative to it. Use the card slot to strengthen another aspect of the deck.
Chains of Mephistopheles Flow Chart

Counterbalance

An interesting recent addition to the deck. In Competitive EDH there is a major push to lower your mana curve. This puts a very high density of spells at 1-2 mana. This density of spells allows for a large number of blind flips for free counters on spells. If you can land this and a Sensei's Divining Top you can gain an incredible amount of advantage in both preventing cards from being played and from countering things for little to no ongoing card advantage. A key interaction of note, revealing the card is a may ability. If you know what the cost of the card is you can choose to not reveal the card. This may make your opponents think that the way is clear after casting a test spell. You can then reveal the card later to surprise them with a counter they may not have been expecting. This card is very strong in control mirrors.

Gilded Drake

Specifically of note, using Gilded Drake against a commander that you do not want in play allows you to keep the commander out of its owners control and not recastable. Additionally if Gilded Drakes ability does trigger but does not change control, then Gilded Drake will die. The main goal of this card is denial of a specific value creature or of a general.

Praetor's Grasp

For slowing down the game and stopping the combo decks, exiling key combo pieces will make things easier for you but will also pull the ire of the owners of those cards. Some decks will mostly fold when exiling a single card, like pulling Dakmor Salvage from The Gitrog Monster, card:The Chainveil from Teferi, Temporal Archmage, Necrotic Ooze from any Nooze decks, Food Chain from any Food Chain decks or Isochron Scepter from Dramatic Reversal decks. Additionally, if you feel that you do not have control of the table and cannot spend the card on exiling a combo piece, then finding a piece of key interaction, mana acceleration or card draw is very useful with this card. Knowing the general makeup of your opponents decks really helps with this one.

Shadow of Doubt

This mostly works as a Negate but can also have additional uses, it can be a Strip Mine, a Stifle, or multiple if several people are fetching in response to other players actions. This card has one of the highest blowout potentials of anything you can do at instant speed. I have never been unhappy casting this spell. The majority of the time when people are searching a library they have already expended resources. This can cause additional resource loss as well as just replacing itself.

Yawgmoth's Will

As this deck is not primarily a storm deck, Yawgmoth's Will usually plays a value role. It is used to recover permanents that are in your graveyard and get a tempo advantage. View this more as a late game draw five cards rather than an I win the game card. There are cases with Aetherflux Reservoir where this will turn into a storm card but this is the exception not the rule.

Falling behind in a game can happen in many different ways, some hurt us notably more than others. The one that hurts us the most is being behind on mana. If you fall behind, prioritize getting mana over card draw. With mana you can get Tasigur out and start both pressuring opponents' life totals and getting card advantage. Once you get to 6-7 mana you have hit the sweet spot where you can both hold up interaction and a Tasigur activation. If you can stay in that spot for a while you are pretty close to stabilization and getting back to a controlling role in the game.
When we get ahead early, what do we do? Push the mana advantage and push for card attrition. Our endgame is to start looping with infinite mana. Getting to that position earlier makes it easier to win. Additionally our opponents are going to want to exhaust our resources so that they can either take us down or combo off. Having enough mana to keep the board under control is huge. We still need to pick and choose which things we interact with, just because we got an early lead doesnt mean that we dont have to worry about multiple people comboing off in a single turn cycle.
Unlike most Competitive EDH decks, the combo turn doesnt really happen all that quickly. It is something that is built up over the course of several turns that then hits a critical mass and wins. There are some special pieces of interaction you will want to wary and play around. Your vulnerable moments with Palinchron are with the initial untap trigger and when Phantasmal Image on the stack. Being prepared for an exile effect at those times is key. You will want to either wait till opponents are tapped out or you have 1-2 counterspells available to respond and protect your combo.
When discussing card choices there are a few broad categories that need to be addressed first, the decks route to infinite mana, show and tell and reanimation if it is included. There will be a small discussion of additional spells that are not currently included.

Routes to Infinite Mana

As Tasigur requires Blue or Green mana, we are a little more limited in methods of generating infinite mana as infinite colorless doesnt quite do it for us. We have several different combos, here are the most common. Each applies specific deck constraints and all have their own advantages and disadvantages. I have chosen to go with the most compact and least restrictive route of Palinchron + Phantasmal Image. I have included the major combos to not limit the options available for future Tasigur pilots.

This requires a sufficient number of non-land mana sources. Mana rocks are the prefered route as they are more resilient than creatures. This requires a high density of mana rocks in the deck and you need to include multiple that tap for colored mana. This route is easier in Thrasios decks as he does not require Blue or Green mana and colored mana rocks have either higher costs or additional constraints you have to deal with.

For the Untap route you are looking at Umbral Mantle and a creature that taps for 4+ mana. Creatures such as Priest of Titania, and Elvish Archdruid fill this role. You are able to tap the creature for mana, untap it and generate an infinite amount of green mana this way. You can then use Tasigur to find additional ways to filter that mana into other colors or generate a sufficient amount of mana that you can then shift the mantle to another creature and generate the mana of your choice while untapping it with the excess of green mana.
For the Bounce + Haste route you are looking at Temur Sabertooth and Cloudstone Curio as your bounce enablers and Lightning Greaves or Concordant Crossroads as your haste enabler. You then repeat casting a creature, tapping it for mana and bouncing another. Alternate creatures, both tapping for mana and gaining positive mana with each cycle. For Cloudstone Curio, your creatures usually end up with Priest of Titania, Elvish Archdruid or Bloom Tender. For Temur Sabertooth your creatures are Priest of Titania and Elvish Archdruid.
The Most compact of infinite mana outlets. This guy can go infinite with itself and lots of lands, specifically a Cabal Coffers tapping for at least eight black mana, five lands that can tap for blue and at least one green land. This is a pretty honorous set of requirements for Competitive EDH, but is possible. Palinchron can be paired with a number of other cards to make this route easier. Phantasmal Image makes for the most compact additional card to speed up the infinite mana combo. If you happen to be running reanimator then Show and Tell may be an option for you. Adding Omniscience to your Show and Tell package can add an additional infinite mana pair for Palinchron.
Though it can be paired with Palinchron to generate infinite mana, Deadeye on its own is not the most spectacular of cards. This route is usually chosen as a method of infinite mana generation when dealing with a budgetary concern. You can pair Deadeye with Great Whale or Peregrine Drake and generate infinite mana on a much lower budget (~$3) than Palinchron (~$20).
This is a similar route as Dramatic Reversal + Isochron Scepter and can be played along side it. This route primarily involves a method of cheating Tidespout into play, mana rocks that tap for more mana than they cost and additional mana rocks that tap for colored mana. The primary methods of cheating Tidespout into play are Eldritch Evolution and Oath of Druids. Eldritch Evolution can be cast directly on Tasigur to fetch out Tidespout. Oath requires a bit more of a commitment. To run Oath consistently you will need to remove all other creatures from your deck. This will reduce some of the utility and mana acceleration we get in creatures and will replace it with more mana rocks and other forms of interaction.

Reanimation

For reanimation, rather than reinventing the wheel, I will point towards Dies_to_doom_Blades Tasigur Reanimator Primer for a full list of reanimation options and deck considerations. However I will point out a few powerful targets and their big upsides.- Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur and Consecrated Sphinx. Massive amount of card draw. - Void Winnower. Incredibly powerful effect, not to be underestimated.- Kederekt Leviathan + Necromancy. Instant Speed reusable All nonland permanent bounce for 2B.- Terastodon. Great removal and land screw if needed.

Show and Tell

If you choose to go with a reanimation package, adding in Show and Tell hedges your game plan. It is a way to cheat cards from your hand into play with the assumption that what we cheat into play will be better than what our opponents cheat into play. If you choose to go this route, adding Omniscience to the deck is a reasonable option. It is another piece that can combo with the majority of your win conditions and is an incredibly powerful effect.

Additional options for Slower Metas

Temporal Manipulation and Capture of Jingzhou being the best as they do not target and cannot be Misdirection'd away from you. These can combo with Seasons Past and a tutor to get infinite turns on a much lower mana requirement that doing a normal infinite loop. Demonic Tutor + Temporal Manipulation + Seasons Past ends up at for infinite turns. This is a viable strategy but is weak in a meta where Mana Drain sees regular play and where you do not have a consistent board state. In most competitive metas, these spells turn into Explores. I have not included them in my own list as they would be more of a liability than an asset.
Most planeswalkers have been considered a subpar strategy for Competitive EDH. With very few exceptions they are not included. In a slow, stax based meta game, a Karn Liberated, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or Jace, the Mind Sculptor could be put to use very effectively. If you can protect it, any of these planeswalkers can win the game and grind value every turn. At the current high end of the spectrum, they are not strong enough to be included.

Notable exceptions

Delve Spells.

Specifically Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise and Murderous Cut. There may be a space for one of these in the deck but it is close. Too many of these will make casting or recasting Tasigur too much of a burden and will remove too many key cards from the deck. Of those, Dig Through Time would be the highest priority to get into the deck.

Cantrips.

Brainstorm, Ponder, Preordain, etc. When our primary goal is to recur cards with Tasigur, getting a cantrip just slows us down. One of our biggest challenges is having enough mana to interact through an entire turn cycle. Adding more mana required to get an actual piece of interaction is not desirable. Some players have included cantrips as extra cards to specifically remove when casting Tasigur. I have prefered to run a higher quantity of interaction over cantrips as the downside of adding further costs to getting interaction in your hand is a notable cost. If any would be included, Brainstorm is the best to include as it has the highest upside.

Riftsweeper.

As we rely heavily on reusing spells, when a key spell is exiled, the only answer is in Blue, Green or Black is Riftsweeper. This card is one that may see play in a graveyard hate heavy meta but should not be in a deck going into a blind meta. It is a secondary measure, not a staple.

Combo

Tasigur control runs into his biggest issues with Combo. Specifically if he is the only control deck at the table with three other combo decks. In a mixed environment Tasigur will do better and have an easier time. If the combo decks are playing highly interactive lists then it can be a more even game, but multiple all in combo decks will cause Tasigur headaches. The key against combo decks is early mana and making the rest of the table aware of the combo threat. If we can successfully make each turn for the combo player a 3v1, then we are doing well and should be able to pull through.

Control

Against control Tasigur does very well. Tasigur has tools to exhaust opponents resources and is one of the strongest attrition engines for a control matchups. You are looking to push a mana advantage against other control decks. Usually we are buds with other control decks. Both of our plans involve slowing the game down. The caution here is to not get too complacent. Most other control decks are running a combo win condition. If we dont push them to expend enough resources, we could be out controlled when they try to land their win condition.

Stax

There are very few Stax elements that Tasigur control has issues with. The biggest ones to be wary of are Blood Moon, Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void. Blood Moon is one of the strongest pieces of mana denial that can be used against us and means that you need to be wary of red decks. Fetching for basics proactively is something you will want to do against most red decks. For Leyline and Rest in Peace, you will want to conserve resources as much as possible and focus on removing these from play. With both of these you can use combo pieces such as Beast Within to destroy them. Due to timing, these combo pieces will not be exiled.

Stompy

Stompy decks are not a normal occurrence in competitive EDH. As such, this deck is not designed to deal with them. Tasigur will have problems when going against stompy decks on a regular basis. Adding in additional pieces of board clears, sacrifice effects and other pieces of removal can help with this. This puts Tasigur in a unique position. As a majority of non-competitive EDH decks fall into a somewhat stompy shell, Tasigur can reasonably be played in a non competitive environment while still giving the non-competitive decks a decent chance at victory. Tasigur actively pays a good amount of life away as a resource and has forgone major board control for stack control and spot removal.

For an opening hand, you want to see 2-3 mana source, 1-2 pieces of card draw and the rest as interaction that can be used with the mana in hand. This would be an ideal hand for sitting down at a table with people you have never played with before. If you are unable to get this, then prioritize mana and interaction over card draw. Be wary of a three or more lands in your opening hand if you are in a fast meta. These tend to lack the density of interaction to stay relevant in a fast metagame. This deck sometimes will give you an all mana hand. If this is fast mana that you can deploy in a turn or two it can be worth keeping. This can allow for a super fast Tasigur followed by grinding Tasigur value very early in the game.
This is somewhat of a meat and bones topic for a primer. It involves a large amount of threat assessment, table feel and knowledge of your deck and what possible decks your opponents will have. As you gain more information regarding what you are playing against you should be able to piece together a general idea of what strategy your opponents are pushing. Are they a combo deck? What sort of combo? Aetherflux Reservoir? Laboratory Maniac? Necrotic Ooze? All of these decks interact with other decks differently and you have to be aware of how they execute their game plan. Choosing what to interact with and when to pull the trigger on a piece of removal or counter magic is crucially important to learning how to play a control deck. One thing that sets this style of play apart from Stax style control decks is that we do not actively prevent people from casting spells on a regular basis. We let the vast majority of spells go through or leave them to be dealt with by our other opponents. We pick and choose exactly what we interact with so as to keep everyone at bay. It is a tenuous balance and takes consistent reevaluation at almost every turn. To assist with this I personally work through a series of questions while analysing how I want to interact with a spell that is being cast.

Do you care about it?

This is the first question to ask. They are trying to win and everything they do will be pushing towards that game plan. The first thing to consider is how does this affect you and your board state. Is it a mana rock? That really doesnt affect you or your resources, you dont care about it from a territorial perspective. If it does affect our resources we need to carefully weigh whether the loss of resources is worth the expenditure. Sometimes our loss is far less than anothers and we are willing to take the hit in order to take another player down a rung. In other situations it is our board that is being hit the hardest and we need to protect our lead. There is a careful balance, the big thing of note is that we have to build our advantage slowly. Other decks are able to deploy their wins at the drop of a hat and we need to be very cautious about spending too many resources protecting things that in the end will not win us the game.

Is this a Threat? Does this affect our victory or our resources?

The big thing to think of here is, does this actively prevent us from winning the game or executing our game plan. The big things, for us and Tasigur's game plan, are persistent graveyard hate, persistent mana denial, or overwhelming card disadvantage - an opponent drawing too many cards or us losing too many cards. Unless it will immediately fizzle a combo player, we rarely interact with a tutor as it is not the spell that is affecting us, it is resources that our opponents are spending that we do not need to interact with.

Does this threat need to be dealt with?

When we have identified that a spell or permanent is a threat we then need to identify if it needs to be dealt with or lived with. Several threats we can ignore as they either do not affect us as much as other players at the table. We need to identify who all is affected by the current threat. Is it just us? Are others more or less affected by the current threat? If we feel that it is hurting other more than us, can we live with it? There are very few pieces of hate that we actively need to answer, so usually we like stax elements on the table. If we have determined that we need to deal with something we then have to figure out who needs to deal with it and when.

Do we deal with it Now or Later?

Does this threat need to be answered on the Stack or on the Battlefield? If on the battlefield, do we care if it sits around for a while?

Who deals with this threat?

If it has to be answered on the stack, what is the priority order? Are we before or after the other blue players in the priority order? If there is no other Blue player behind you, most likely you will need to answer this on the stack. If there are other blue players behind you, will they see this as a big enough threat to deal with it? Do they have the resources to deal with it? Have they used any interaction recently? How much mana do they have? If they havent interacted much and have open mana, passing priority to them may force them to deal with this threat for you. Its free resources to you. However, a Tasigur activation to get some interaction may be in order first. Even if you dont have mana to use it after activating Tasigur.

Do I need to Deal with this?

This is a very situational decision. Your main goal is to fizzle combo players, to keep stax elements at just barely bearable for you but unbearable for everyone else, and to have card and or mana advantage on other control decks. You also want to wait as long as possible to expend resources. If the threat is encroaching on those goals, it is getting on the priority list for things to deal with.

Is this the right opportunity?

This is looking at the table position. Is this spell going to win the game for a player, but if I counter it, will just let another player win before I untap? Can we look at an alternative way to interact here? Is this player the one right before your turn? Be aware of what the table situation is and make other aware of it too. The longer the stalemate goes the better off we are. The stalemates give us more time to accumulate resources and more time for our value engines to run. If it isnt a stab at breaking the stalemate we probably should let it be.

How do we deal with it?

We have multitude of ways to deal with things. Counterspells, Targeted Removal, Mass Removal, Player Removal, and Creature Beats. We want to reserve Counterspells for the game winning threats - those that we cannot let resolve. Targeted Removal we prioritize on high value creatures and stax elements. Mass removal we have to use sparingly. As we are trying to lengthen the game, we end up with a rather large board presence compared to most other competitive decks. Player Removal is not to be scoffed at. Choosing who to attack with Tasigur and sticking to a single target until they are gone is surprisingly effective. Applying pressure on their life totals reduces the effectiveness of Necropotence, Sylvan Library, and Ad Nauseam. Additionally, Tasigur is much larger than most creatures that see play in Competitive EDH, this leads to chump blocks and free creature removal.

Nothing yet.
You can find several games of this being played over at the Laboratory Maniacs youtube channel.

Additionally you can find a few videos of Buildingadecks budget version of Tasigur Control on his youtube channel.

As mentioned above, one of my fellow Laboratory Maniacs, Dan, has done a write up on budget builds of Tasigur control. While he was writing this up I helped him go through the iterations and tried to make the deck function as close to its original purpose throughout each iteration of price reductions. You can find the write up here

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PurpleElephant says... #1

Hey Coreman,

First off, I just want to say thank you for creating consistently incredible content with the labmaniacs and keeping this list up to date with good reasoning for card selection. This list has inspired me to create my own version of this deck, so I look at this list pretty closely. The change I want to talk about in your list is the counterbalance. Maybe my meta just isn't as competitive as yours, but this seems relatively bad without top with the range of EDH casting costs. Is the upside to countering a free spell worth just jamming it int the 99? Also have you found that it's worth trying to set this package up in a game with tutors?

Also, this is just advice for my own deck, I do not own and do not plan to run a Gaea's cradle in my deck, but i have wasteland, strip mine, bojuka bog and plan on running Cabal Coffers and Alchemists refuge in my deck. Do these cards warrant playing crop rotation or does it seem underwhelming? I play both Life from the loam and Crucible of Worlds, but every time I cast it it seems like it just doesn't do enough.

Last thing, how do you feel about running cantrips like brainstorm, ponder and preordain in this deck? I've found it helps consistency with the deck and it fuels a quick Tasigur start, but I am just curious what your opinion is on these.

Any thoughts and comments on these points would be much appreciated!!

May 8, 2017 8:55 a.m.

PurpleElephant: Regarding Counterbalance, Top is in the deck. It is something that if you have Counterbalance out, a blind flip is actually fairly common. For most competitive metas, cards cluster at 1, 2, and 3 cmc. We have a high enough density at those ranges that blind flips happen with enough consistency that it is wort while without Top. With Top is does everything we want.

Cradle isn't a card in my list as we don't have enough creatures to consistently get high amounts of mana from it. With Hulk and Yawgmoth's Will both being prevalent in competitive EDH, crop rotation into Bojuka Bog is amazing. I'd first consider why you had Crucible in the deck before consider cutting Crop Rotation. You want to look at each card slot for the highest impact and Life from the Loam does that between Crucible and Life. Having redundancy in that slot isn't the best and something else could be in crucible's spot. Your usual goal with Crop Rotation is to either hold it for graveyard hate or get Urborg then Coffers. If all of those are taken care of, then Alchemist's Refuge.

I have moved away from cantrips as they are usually bad when Tasigur is out and you are unable to delve them away. I would much rather be getting back a counterspell or piece of removal than a Brainstorm when activating Tasigur. Having to spend more resources to get a useful card is not something we are wanting to do regularly.

May 8, 2017 10:29 a.m.

bulletmonkey97 says... #3

So in the Youtube video it was said that Seasons Past operated as an out when you have infinite mana but no way to activate tasigur(i.e. Cursed totem), but if something is preventing Tas from activating, shouldn't it have hit palinchon as well, preventing infinite mana?

May 12, 2017 2:34 p.m.

buildingadeck says... #4

At the time of that video's recording, the deck ran omniscience.

May 12, 2017 4:42 p.m.

bulletmonkey97 says... #5

Is the reanimation too few for the inclusion of a Buried Alive package here? Only cutting two cards(one for this and one for Phyrexian Delver) and getting to a PaliImage win condition really quickly seems like straight goodness otherwise

May 14, 2017 1:30 a.m.

bulletmonkey97 says... #6

Correction, Deadeye not Image.

May 14, 2017 1:33 a.m.

bulletmonkey97: If you are going for a budget route you can amp up the Reanimation package for Tasigur and at that point a Buried Alive package may be worthwhile. As it is we are gradually moving away from it. I'm currently testing dropping Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur for a Manifold Insights. Removing Omniscience and Show and Tell from the deck also weakened the Reanimator side of things as S&T was no longer available as a way to get Jin out of our hand and onto the battlefield.

May 14, 2017 1:49 a.m.

bulletmonkey97 says... #8

More questions, I'm wanting to put something like this together and want to know your thoughts on some things. I can't see myself owning a Chains anytime soon. Same can be said for Mana Drain, and the duals. Replacing cards like mana drain and dual lands is simple, you just run worse versions, but is there really even a worse version of Chains, and is it worth running? Or would you suggest some other tool of attrition to slot in semi-budget builds? Also, why do you play Exhume, a card that can be dead in hand when your opponents have good creatures in yard(Seems likely looking at threats like Karador) over another any yard reanimation spell like Dance or Necromancy in the slot? Thanks for all the info btw, your content is inspiring me to throw my money at EDU again

May 18, 2017 1:19 a.m.

buildingadeck says... #9

The banning of Leovold took out our best "replacement" for Chains. Notion Thief is a deterrent, but it's pretty bad when someone can kill you with it, which is one of the major reasons you want Chains anyway. It's best to just run a different tool in its slot that is tuned for your meta.

May 18, 2017 5:21 p.m.

bulletmonkey97: Buildingadeck is correct. Notion Thief is the only replacement, but isn't really worth running. Run something to bolster another strategy in your deck. Regarding Exhume, it has a few things going for it. First, it doesn't target. This means that you can do shenanigans with Exhume on the stack. Second, it costs 2 mana with not additional upkeep and doesn't cost life. It may be meta dependent. If you are facing large numbers of value creatures that other people want to have reanimated, changing exhume for Necromancy or Life//Death may useful for you.

May 19, 2017 7:52 a.m.

ethorian says... #11

Hello,first of all, thanks for your inspiration. I'm playing Tasigur EDH deck too atm, but with some changes. I play cantrips, imperial seal and so on. But i would like to know, what are you saying at Intuition over Long-Term Plans?

May 24, 2017 5:55 a.m.

buildingadeck says... #12

Intuition gives our opponents options whereas LTP and a Tas activation is an over-costed Vamp Tutor. Intuition is not a bad card in the list tho

May 24, 2017 7:17 p.m.

ethorian says... #13

It's but when you are playing politicaly in multiplayer, you can choose a friend who got problem with another opponent and can be win win situation for both of you.

May 26, 2017 2:55 a.m.

ethorian: The difference is an opponent's choice vs all our choice. We have several other options for speeding up getting the card from Long Term Plans as well. Things like Tasigur and top. This means that it is a more expensive Vampiric tutor. Which is still very good in this deck. If you feel that you can reliably get what you want with intuition go for it, however I currently prefer the ability to not have to rely on them for this slot.

May 26, 2017 10:25 a.m.

goon1993 says... #15

I take is manifold insights wouldn't make the list if you weren't playing chains? How is it working out for you? Also, As foretold seems kinda sweet having to only pay the activation for tasigur to cast an answer in your graveyard. Has that card been working well or is it win-more/dead draw?

June 5, 2017 7:34 a.m.

goon1993 - Manifold Insights not only gets around Chains, it is also very efficient. In a four player pod it is three mana get three non-land cards. From the Tasigur perspective it is comparable to activating Tasigur five times and getting three of those cards, which is a level of card selection that we already have signed up for. If you normally play in three player pods, I'd recommend not playing Insights.

As Foretold does major work, it is used as a mana engine, its taking the place of a dimir signet right now. It has been net positive mana every time I've landed it in Tasigur. I'm happy with it. The deck is designed to slow stuff down enough that you get value from it.

June 5, 2017 10:59 a.m.

goon1993 says... #17

Would you consider running Time Warp/Temporal Manipulation as a secondary combo for Season's Past? I run it in my list and it has been very successful.

June 7, 2017 8:48 a.m.

goon1993 - Its on my radar. I haven't had space for it in the deck thus far. With some changes recently reanimator is mostly falling by the wayside and I'm looking at replacements for the remaining cards. The thing against it is that there are several cases where it may just end up being 'draw 1 card, untap all permanents you control.' spell, which doesn't pull enough weight at . Also if it gets countered you are in a world of hurt. This classifies the spell as a do nothing/win-more card much more often than a game-winning card. Our other loop cards are much more useful on their own.

June 7, 2017 11:10 a.m.

torridus says... #19

With the amount of recursion in this deck, plus Urborg and play-more-than-one-land-a-turn cards, how do you feel about the potential inclusion of Lake of the Dead? BBBB isn't always useful but it could provide unexpected acceleration.

And might Engineered Explosives work as a second Pernicious Deed, or is it unnecessary?

June 18, 2017 1:17 p.m.

buildingadeck says... #20

EE is a little worse in that you can't choose in the moment. Lake of the Dead is worse in a control deck, because BBBB is less useful and we don't want to lose our lands. Coffers synergizes better with Seedborn, which gives us repeated use of a lot of mana.

June 18, 2017 3:02 p.m.

torridus As buildingadeck said, EE isn't as great, it could be useful in a higher creature format. If you have a large number of Edric decks you are going against, then EE would be nice. Otherwise, it isn't as great. Lake... Isn't as useful. We want Green and Blue way more than coffers.

June 18, 2017 8:49 p.m.

Brassmoose says... #22

have you thought about adding dramatic reversal over palinchron combo, it's instant speed and not 7 mana, which seems much better

June 20, 2017 5:04 p.m.

Brassmoose: Dramatic Scepter is an alternative route. I've seen many decks with it. It requires additional deck construction constraints for consistency. Specifically, more mana rocks and more mana dorks. The only way to get those in the deck is to away from our interaction. The benefit of Palinchron is that it is the most compact route to infinite mana.

June 20, 2017 5:11 p.m.

Abysswalker- says... #24

Love the idea of this list. +1 I'm definitely going to be attempting a build of it to become the local fun police and just had a few questions.

Have you considered running loot effects like Frantic Search and Forbidden Alchemy to fill our graves or cantrips like Brainstorm, Ponder, and Preordain to speed our draws? If so what would you swap out for such effects?

I've done some playtesting as well and was just wondering what brought your land count so low for a control list. Often I find opening hands unkeepable for lack of land mana to do anything impactful to slow others down.

June 24, 2017 8:54 p.m.

Abysswalker-: The big thing with cantrips is that they are the worst thing possible that an opponent could give back to you. They add to the cost of getting a piece of interaction. The sorcery speed ones are the worst. The list above has been transitioning away from reanimator for a while. There are a few more pieces that are going to be going soon. If any, Brainstorm, is the only one that looks like it may earn a slot. The big thing is that is instant speed and has the ability to put cards back in our deck, getting rid of trash cards is a big upside and something we could use.

June 25, 2017 10:12 p.m.

goon1993 says... #26

Now that you have had some adequate time to play counterbalance, how has it been working for you?

June 29, 2017 9:32 a.m.

goon1993 - In cEDH, counterbalance is amazing. The density at 1-2 cmc is pretty high and we get a lot of blind flips and a lot of stack control when we get top out. Outside of cEDH, it is no where near as good.

June 29, 2017 1:56 p.m.

Abysswalker- says... #28

Just wondering...what are your best targets for Intuition? I saw the Life from the Loam, Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth tech but maybe I'm missing another neat trick.

Has Manifold Insights done much work for you in games? I imagine most times your opponents won't give you anything largely impactful with it since it's less reactionary than a Tasigur activation. Seems weaker in smaller pods too.

What are you thoughts on Grim Flayer for this list? Getting delirium seems easy and fixing draws early with a 2-mana 4/4 can't be a bad thing.

Thanks!

June 30, 2017 1:46 p.m.

Abysswalker-: Intuition is usually a Life from the Loam value pile (Life from the Loam > coffers+urborg > fetch+cycling > utility land -- any combination of these depending on current state) or it is a double entomb when you need a Counterspell and no one else has one. If everyone is tapped out and only you have it, tutor for a counterspell and two other things and you get free value by putting relevant things in the bin.

In a four player pod Manifold insights is great. We get the same level of card selection as Tasigur does when he's just activating for value, and the big thing is that it gets around Chains of Mephistopheles/Notion Thief.

Not a fan of Grim Flayer. Too many Thrasios's to see him ever get real value. He's similar to Sensei's Divining Top but a lot harder to cast and activate.

July 16, 2017 2:28 p.m.

buildingadeck says... #30

How good is Season's Past in the current list? It used to be a win through Omniscience, but without Omni in the list, I'm not sure it's as powerful as other options, like Time Spiral or other. Thoughts?

July 30, 2017 3:36 p.m.

RyanDotExe says... #31

What do you think of Batterskull? It does a couple of things including: Gain you lifeProduce infinite storm for aetherflux*Let's you possibly (though hopefully not) winning with commander damage.

July 31, 2017 7:24 p.m.

buildingadeck - I'm re-evaluating it now. Like you said it isn't a wincon on its own as we are all in on Palinchron. I think that the deck needs some more rework with hulk and I may swap over to dramatic scepter at this point.

RyanDotExe - Batterskull doesn't do anything in a cEDH. Although it does gain life, it isn't what we are looking for in a card that can loop with Aetherflux.

July 31, 2017 7:31 p.m.

buildingadeck says... #33

Iso/Rev seems smoother to me. Cmc is much lower, and we have the rocks/dorks to support it.

July 31, 2017 7:37 p.m.

Abysswalker- says... #34

I would agree with Isochron/Reversal over Palinchron/Phantasm. Easier to assemble, easier to protect, turns mana rocks into not only extra tasigur activations but win cons as well. Lowering cmc even makes Ad Naus a viable draw spell.

Mystic Speculation/Paradox Engine isn't half bad either.

July 31, 2017 7:50 p.m.

Ash3n says... #35

@LabManiac_Cameron I love your deck and have used it as an influence for mine. How necessary is Entomb? I find myself wanting to cut it for Shadow of Doubt in my current build. I realize my deck is different than yours but I'm interested in your opinion on the card.

August 3, 2017 12:25 p.m.

Ash3n - entomb is currently being chopped. I'm doing testing right now regarding some changes after the Reanimator being mostly pulled from the deck.

August 3, 2017 12:38 p.m.

Ash3n says... #37

Gottcha, very interesting. The reanimation has been great in my games not as a central theme but as more utility. Often Palinchron/Phantasmal Image will end up in the grave from Tas activations and reanimate enables the combo with ease. I'd be hesitant to let that go as it is currently built. I'm very interested to see where you go with the deck, keep us posted!

August 3, 2017 12:43 p.m.

Ash3n - Tasigur Value Hulk theorycrafting is what I am currently testing.

August 3, 2017 5:08 p.m.

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