Introduction

Hello everyone! This is my personal Lazav, the Multifarious EDH deck that I have built with the help of a friend of mine. I have started brewing with the new Lazav as soon as it got spoiled, and the list that I am presenting here is the one I ended up with after a month of testing. I have played quite a lot of games with this build, both multiplayer (3, 4 and 5-player games) and 1v1. Overall, the deck has performed surprisingly well and feels very consistent. This new Lazav can be extremely powerful, but the deck needs to be built in the right way to release his full potential.

Many people see his activated ability and immediately jam in many creatures with cool, value effects like Arcanis the Omnipotent , Doom Whisperer and Grave Titan . I have seen lists that play even more than 35 creatures, which seems insane for me. I think it is better to play a lot less creatures but more precise ones, and many tutors to fetch them. Also, I don't think that expensive creatures is where we want to be. Let's take Arcanis the Omnipotent , for example. His ability to tap and draw 3 cards looks tasty, but he costs a whopping 6 mana to copy with Lazav. If the Arcanis-Lazav gets removed (and he will, since spending 6 mana often means we can't hold up counterspells), we have to copy it again and spend even more mana because of the commander tax. This is too big of an investment for a card that doesn't win you the game. Instead we only want cheap, powerful creatures that we can easily copy while at the same time leave some mana open for countermagic. Again, all the tutors that I have included will make sure that we will hit the right creatures at the right time.

Another common mistake that I have seen during this first month of brewing is building Lazav as a reanimator deck, and as a Meren of Clan Nel Toth player this hurts me a lot. I will go over the reasons why Lazav isn't a good reanimator commander in the Commander section, where I will talk more in depth about him.

Until now I have discussed how not to build Lazav, in my opinion. So, how did I actually build my deck? This is a voltron strategy. This means that our one and only win condition is dealing combat damage with our commander. In order to kill an opponent, we need a total of 21 points of damage to be dealt by Lazav. Of course, we are not attacking with a 1/3. The goal is to turn Lazav into one of our best cheap creatures (a 12/12 Phyrexian Dreadnought or a 7/7 Hunted Horror ) and then connect with an opponent. If we can't get through, we can copy a creature with evasion like Invisible Stalker and Dimir Infiltrator and swing uncontested, and then copy our bigger creatures.

That's it.

This may seem a very fragile strategy, and it probably is at first glance. But we can build the deck in a way that we can completely eliminate this apparent vulnerability. We have an incredibly powerful commander, capable of winning the game on his own by turn 3, 4 or 5. What we need is multiple ways to protect him and our strategy from disruption and we are fine. This is why this is a voltron/control deck. We have a lot of ways to protect our game plan in the form of counterspells and removal. The deck can be divided into three main categories:

  • Creatures: these can be our win conditions, like Phyrexian Dreadnought , or even defensive tools like Invisible Stalker . We want them in the graveyard as soon as possible.

  • Tutors and looting effects: these cards make sure that we will always get the right creatures at the right time.

  • Control: this is our way of protecting Lazav and also disrupting our opponents' game plans. We have counterspells, single-target removal and mass removal.

This may sound very simple and boring, but I assure you it's the exact opposite. Lazav is such a fun commander to play with, because you can abuse his ability and do some crazy tricks at instant speed.

With so much redundancy, all the games we play will likely develop in the same way with the same key cards at our disposal. This makes the deck very consistent and, because of that, competitive if you live in a 75% playgroup.

I have organised this decklist into custom categories to make it easier for you to understand how the deck works. All the categories are pretty self-explanatory, but here's a brief description of each one of them.

Mana

The resource we use to cast spells and use Lazav's ability. Although our mana curve is pretty low and our commander is very cheap, we still need access to as much mana as possible to activate his ability at will. I feel like 40 mana sources (between lands and mana rocks) is ideal, and our draw spells will make sure that we hit our land drops every turn.

Loot/Tutor

These cards are extremely important and are what makes the deck consistent. Loot spells will help us cycle through our deck as well as fill our graveyard with the creatures we need. Tutors will directly give us the best cards in our deck.

Wincon

Our win condition is our commander, but he can't win the game as a 1/3. He needs to transform into these creatures to become a real threat.

Evasion

Since this deck wins by dealing combat damage to other players, we need ways to sneak under our opponents' blocking creatures. These cards will help Lazav connect with an opponent by giving him relevant keyword abilities.

Protection

This deck relies on a single creature to win the game, therefore we need to protect it with every means possible at our disposal.

Countermagic

Counterspells will help us disrupt our opponents' game plans and, most importantly, protect our commander and our graveyard so that we can swing uncontested.

Removal

These spells will help us remove dangerous permanents that could otherwise prevent us from winning.

Utility

These cards grant us various benefits, from card advantage to mana discount.

Dimir has always been amongst my favourite colour combinations, but until now it lacked a commander that could promote an interesting, unique approach. If we take a look at the EDHREC's page for Dimir, we can see that there aren't many different styles of gameplay. The two strategies that seem to be supported the most are mill with Phenax, God of Deception , Lazav, Dimir Mastermind and Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker , and zombie tribal with The Scarab God , Gisa and Geralf and Grimgrin, Corpse-Born . While these two strategies can be fun, I don't think they are too competitive. Then we have a couple of generals that are best suited for competitive, combo/storm strategies in Oona, Queen of the Fae and Dralnu, Lich Lord . Apart from that, we have the outsider Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow who's best decks feature a lot of consecutive extra turns to deal as much damage as possible with the ninja's ability. As a voltron general, I think that Lazav, the Multifarious can offer a different approach for these colours.

As Dimir mages, we can count on some of the best control tools in the whole format. Black gives us access to powerful creature removal, both single target and mass destruction. In addition to that, the strongest tutors in EDH all happen to be black. As for Blue, there isn't too much to be said: having access to countermagic is too important in Commander because we can protect ourselves from almost anything. Besides, Blue has many incredible draw spells that will give a lot of consistency to the deck. Since our win condition is our commander, we don't need anything weird in the deck: Blue and Black are "just" support colours for us, and they excel at doing so. We just need counterspells, removal, draw and tutors.

All that glitters is not gold, however. The Dimir combination has its flaws, particularly in two areas: ramp and non-creature removal. This is clearly due to the lack of Green for ramp and to the lack of White for non-creature removal. Although we can live without Green (ramping isn't too important for us, and we can be happy with the usual artifacts like signets and other mana rocks), the absence of White really hurts because we really struggle against opposing artifacts and enchantments. Black is completely powerless in this case, while Blue has a little bit of an edge in the form of bounce spells. This can only get rid of the permanent momentarily, but it is still better than nothing. Plus, chances are we can counter those spells once their owner tries to recast them. For this reason, I strongly recommend including a decent number of bounce spells like Into the Roil and Blink of an Eye in any Dimir deck.

In Commander, Voltron is a strategy based around a single creature, the commander of the deck. Rule 903.10a states:

A player that’s been dealt 21 or more combat damage by the same commander over the course of the game loses the game. (This is a state-based action. See rule 704.)

In order to do that, voltron players often include many auras and equipments (like Shield of the Oversoul and Loxodon Warhammer ) to buff their commander’s stats and give it useful abilities like hexproof or indestructible. This way, they are able to reach that 21 damage threshold faster and safer. Usually, voltron generals aren’t just big creatures, but ones that already have some relevant keyword in their text. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular choices: Zurgo Helmsmasher , Sigarda, Host of Herons , Uril, the Miststalker and Bruna, Light of Alabaster . Zurgo has a base power of 7, which is extremely important because it represents a three-turn clock. In addition to that, he has haste and indestructible. Sigarda has evasion and protection, plus an ability that makes her immune to the bane of voltron decks, that is edict effects (the likes of Diabolic Edict ). Uril has built-in protection and the ability to grow in power the more auras he gets. Lastly, Bruna has evasion and is resilient to aura hate.

What are, then, the strengths and weaknesses of this kind of strategy? Let’s start with the upsides, because there aren’t many. It is undoubtedly faster to kill an opponent with 21 damage instead of 40. Because of this, lifegain decks like Oloro, Ageless Ascetic really struggle against voltron decks as their life total doesn’t matter at all. Unfortunately, that’s it. Voltron strategies are often extremely linear and fragile, and that’s why they don’t see too much play in competitive environments. If a player’s only gameplan is to kill everybody with a single creature, then that player is very vulnerable to disruption. I have already talked about how good edict effects are against voltron decks. A voltron player often has a single creature on the field, therefore a sacrifice triggers will force them to get rid of their commander. Also, sacrifice effects are particularly good because they don’t target (thus getting around shroud and hexproof) and because they don’t care whether the creature is indestructible or not. These kind of effects are quite popular in commander because they are often attached to good creatures like Fleshbag Marauder , Merciless Executioner and Plaguecrafter . If a voltron commander eventually gets removed (with an edict or by other means), then rebuilding becomes very hard and tedious. The biggest downside of playing voltron is, however, its slowness. I have said that dealing 21 points of damage is faster than 40, but that’s true for one opponent. Voltron generals can’t kill the whole table at the same time, but instead have to focus on a single opponent one at the time. In the meantime, the two other players have plenty of time to look for a response. Besides, no current voltron general is able to oneshot a player on its own. They need lots of auras and equipments and even with those, they are very unlikely to deal 21 damage in a single turn. They need 4 (at their worst) to 2 (at their best) combat steps, provided nothing bad happens (e.g. removal or inability to get through blockers). This means that, in order to kill the whole table, a voltron player needs something like 15 turns (and this is even an unrealistic scenario, because it would mean that every other player would be sitting at the table doing nothing). On average, Commander games are much shorter. The whole voltron strategy is suboptimal, because it is much more efficient to instantly win the game with an infinite combo instead of going through all these combat shenanigans. Until now, there weren’t too many reasons to play voltron at all apart from mere fun.

So, how does Lazav, the Multifarious fit in this scenario? And why is he so much stronger than the other voltron choices, so much so that he can finally make this strategy viable in a competitive environment? Let’s first compare him with the other generals I have mentioned until now. He is a 1/3, which is significantly worse in terms of pure stats than all the other voltron generals. His ability, with an empty graveyard, does absolutely nothing. In addition, he doesn’t have any keyword. He doesn’t have protection, nor evasion. Actually, on his own he is just a 1/3 with no effects. Still, he has what every other voltron general lacks: flexibility. With little effort, we can turn him into a killing machine. With the right setup, we can make him bigger than any other voltron commander. We can make him unblockable, indestructible, untargetable. As long as we have mana available and the right creatures in the graveyard, we can do whatever we want with him. This makes him much more resilient to disruption than the other choices, and even more powerful in terms of sheer numbers. All we need to do is build the deck in a way that we can always have everything we need at our disposal, and the Dimir colours help a lot in that regard. Another thing that makes Lazav shine compared to all the other voltron commanders is its fast oneshot potential. As we shall see later, there are multiple combos that make Lazav able to kill an opponent in a single turn as early as turns 3 to 5, and this shortens our route to victory by a lot. On top of that, I would like to emphasize Lazav’s extremely low mana cost, which makes him the cheapest voltron general available. Not only does his 2 CMC make him come onto the field very early in the game, but it also makes it easier for us to hold up mana to protect him. Overall, Lazav is cheap, fast, flexible, resilient, powerful and in the right colours. All of this makes him the best voltron general available in the format, in my opinion.

Lazav, the Multifarious costs only for a 1/3 creature with two relevant abilities. In my experience, commanders with such a low converted mana cost are often very powerful in EDH if decks are built around them. See, for instance, Baral, Chief of Compliance , Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons , Karlov of the Ghost Council , Rhys the Redeemed , Saffi Eriksdotter , Sram, Senior Edificer , Thrasios, Triton Hero and Zurgo Bellstriker . All of these decks base their strategy around their commander, and they can afford to do so because those creatures cost 2 or less mana: this means that, if they get removed, their pilots can recast them for a reasonable price. The same is obviously true for Lazav: if he dies, the next time he costs 4 mana. He dies again and costs 6 mana, which is still less than some commanders' initial casting cost. The fact that he can come into play very early in the game also means that we can start attacking our opponents as early as turn 3, which is extremely important for a voltron commander that wants to kill one player at the time and as fast as possible. As we shall see, we are capable of knocking an opponent out by turn 3 or 4, and that's thanks to Lazav's low CMC. His power and toughness aren't so relevant, since we can change them very fast. His base toughness of 3, however, is quite nice because we can safely block 2-power creatures in the early game. Another thing to note is that he is a shapeshifter, but this is just his creature type: do not confuse that with changeling, which is a keyword that only some shapeshifters have. As a result, Lazav won't be of any creature type, unlike Shapesharer and Mothdust Changeling are. This may sound obvious to a lot of people, but some of my opponents didn't realise that during my first games with this deck. But let's discuss his abilities, which are very unique:

When Lazav, the Multifarious enters the battlefield, surveil 1.

While this isn't game-breaking by any means, it is nonetheless a nice ability to have "for free". To surveil 1, we look at the top card of our library and decide whether we want to put it into our graveyard or leave it on top. Many people, of course, have compared this to scry and they're debating which ability is better. For us, surveil is the clear winner. We want creatures into our graveyard to fuel Lazav's second ability, so chances are we will hit something good with our surveil triggers. And even if we don't hit a creature (which is likely, considering we have only 17 in the deck), we can still sculpt our third draw of the game if we play Lazav on turn 2. We can get rid of something expensive if we need lands, or mill lands if we already have enough. Considering we have a guaranteed surveil on turn 2, we can also consider keeping sketchy opening hands because we can basically dig one extra card in our deck. Surveil is a very nice ability for us, but not so much to justify investing too many slots in cards with that ability. I believe that spells that loot, like Frantic Search , still work better because those will actually draw the cards we want to keep instead of leaving them on top of our library. We play Lazav only for his second ability, so that's why I consider his surveil 1 a "free" addition: it is way better to have it than not.

: Lazav, the Multifarious becomes a copy of target creature card in your graveyard with converted mana cost X, except its name is Lazav, the Multifarious, it's legendary in addition to its other types, and it has this ability.

This is the core of the deck, the ability that makes him so powerful. We will build the whole deck around this ability. Let's start by saying that this is not to be confused with reanimation: in Magic, reanimating basically means getting a creature (often a big one) back from the graveyard to the battlefield with a cheaper spell or ability. A basic example can be casting Reanimate on a dead Sheoldred, Whispering One . This differs from Lazav in two, drastic ways: first of all, we are not putting the creature back to the battlefield. It is Lazav that becomes a copy of the chosen creature, so he will already be on the battlefield. This way, any enter the battlefield (ETB) trigger won't work (we will come to that later). Secondly, and most importantly, we are not saving any mana when we use Lazav's ability. The best thing about reanimation is that we can cheat a creature with a very high CMC into play a lot earlier than normal thanks to a cheap spell like Reanimate or Animate Dead . This is definitely not the case with Lazav, because we have to pay the full CMC of the chosen creature to turn our commander into it. Filling our deck with Sheoldred, Whispering One , Razaketh, the Foulblooded and Grave Titan simply won't work. We need some ways to break his ability, in the same way that a turn 1 Reanimate breaks Sheoldred. Remember when I mentioned that ETB triggers won't trigger with Lazav's ability? Over its 25 years of work on Magic the Gathering, Wizards has printed a few creatures with insanely high stats in relation to their mana cost. To compensate that, they gave them atrocious ETB abilities that made them literally unplayable in every format. Some examples are Phyrexian Dreadnought , and Hunted Horror . As I have said, their ETBs won't trigger once Lazav is already on the field. This way, we can abuse their low CMC and have a 12/12 Lazav for just or a 7/7 Lazav for . Once we have such a huge creature so early in the game, we don't need anything else to win the game. We just need to protect Lazav and keep attacking every turn. Another aspect that makes our commander so great is the fact that he doesn't exile the creatures that we choose. This way, we can keep transforming him from one creature to another whenever we want. The fact that we can do that at instant speed is just the icing in the cake. This makes him really hard to kill if we have the right tools in our graveyard, like Invisible Stalker . In order to abuse Lazav's ability, we need to understand how the Combat Phase works. It is divided into five steps:

  1. Beginning of Combat Step: the initial step of the Combat Phase.
  2. Declare Attackers Step: the step where creatures may be assigned to attack.
  3. Declare Blockers Step: the step where attacking creatures may be blocked.
  4. Combat Damage Step: the step where combat damage is calculated.
  5. End of Combat Step: the final step of the Combat Phase.

What's important to know is that we (and our opponents) can interact with each step by casting instants and activating abilities. To explain you how this works with Lazav, I will give you a practical example: We have Lazav on the board and Phyrexian Dreadnought and Invisible Stalker in the graveyard. We pay to turn Lazav into the Stalker and then move straight to combat. We attack with the Lazav-Stalker which is now unblockable. The opponent can't block, so he or she will skip the declare blockers step. Once we move to the combat damage step, we hold priority and pay to transform Lazav into the Dreadnought. The declare blockers step is over, so Lazav hasn't been blocked, but he will deal 12 points of damage instead of 1 during the combat damage step.

First things first: this deck is extremely skill intensive to play. A single mistake can cost you the whole game, as loosing Lazav too early or having your graveyard exiled at the wrong time is something you can hardly handle if you are not prepared. It would take too much time and effort to rebuild from that spot, so you want to avoid that from happening in the first place. How do you do that? By not overextending and by trying to leave mana open as much as you can. How does this translate into practice? You need to play a bit off-curve with this deck. Oftentimes, playing Lazav on turn 2 is not the right choice because you would leave him vulnerable to removal. Instead, waiting a couple of turns to also have mana available for counter magic is more ideal. Knocking a player out on turn 3 may look tasty, but there is no need to rush: you are a control deck after all, so you have plenty of game even in the mid to late game. You must also be very careful about when to go for the OTK. Don’t immediately go all in, because a single removal spell can ruin your plans. Instead, try to plan your next turns in advance and strike when your opponent’s shields are down, or when you have a Stubborn Denial available. Another useful tip is not to show your intentions too early. Don’t throw your Phyrexian Dreadnought in the graveyard on turn 1. This would put a huge target on your head, and everyone would be on the alert from the beginning. Instead, try to be as Dimir as possible: hide your plans, sneak in the shadows and be ready to strike when no-one expects. You can do almost everything at instant speed, so take advantage of it. Another thing you should not do is dump every win condition into the graveyard. Stick to a game plan and follow that route until you either win or get disrupted. If you want to go for the Phyrexian Dreadnought kill, just go for it without committing any other resource. If something wrong happens (for example, the Dreadnought gets exiled from your graveyard), then go for another plan and start throwing other stuff into the bin. This way you will always have a win condition available.

You have four win conditions at your disposal. I will list them from best to worst. Always prioritize those that end with an OTK (one turn kill).

- Plan A is the one that includes the Phyrexian Dreadnought + Vector Asp combo. This is an OTK with infect. It costs a total of 3 mana, and is your most efficient way of killing an opponent quickly and safely.

- Plan B is the Crackdown Construct + Ornithopter combo. This is another OTK, this time with infinite damage. The total mana cost is 4, which is still very good.

- Plan C is the Wall of Blood + Vector Asp combo. Another OTK with infect, this time it costs 5 mana and 9 life. Not the most efficient, but still gets the job done very well. In case of need, you can even consider paying 21 life to the Wall to kill someone with regular commander damage, should you not have the Asp available. Not ideal, but still an option.

- Plan D is killing a player with regular commander damage with Phyrexian Dreadnought or Hunted Horror . This is not super ideal because you would need two turns with the Dreadnought and three with the Horror. This would give your opponent some extra turns to find an answer, but 12 or 7 damage is nothing to sneeze at.

Being a voltron deck, you can’t kill everyone at the same time. You need to do the dirty work an kill each player one at the time. You should always focus the most dangerous player at the table: the one who’s more ahead in the game, the one who’s about to combo off, or even the one who’s more likely to interfere with your game plan (for example, if you suspect somebody is about to cast a Rest in Peace on their following turn). I always say that the best way of dealing with a threat is just removing from the game the player that generated it. Once you have killed your first opponent (it shouldn’t be hard with the way I’ve built the deck, as there are many ways to protect Lazav for free or little mana), things start getting more complicated. The two remaining players will start panicking and will see you as the next major threat (and for good reason!). They know they are dead should you manage to untap. This is when your Lazav probably gets removed or your graveyard gets exiled. If you can prevent that form happening, good. If you can’t, it’s not the end of the world as you can rebuild. Lazav’s low CMC makes it easy for you to recast him in the late game while at the same time still hold up mana to protect him. As regards your graveyard, you can rebuild by tutoring another win condition. Once you have only a single opponent left, you should be fine. This deck shines in 1v1, so you should’t have to many problems winning from that spot.

In the following sections I will be discussing the single card choices.

Win Conditions Show

Evasion and Protection Show

Utility Show

Counterspells Show

Loot Effects Show

Tutors Show

Removal Show

Utility Show

Phyrexian Arena and Rhystic Study : since we are looting a lot with this deck, we won't have too many cards in hand at all time. These two evergreen enchantments help us keep our hand full of answers while at the same time provide extra cards to dump into our graveyard.

Unfulfilled Desires : many of you may not even know that this card existed before seeing it here. While not spectacular, it still does its job pretty well. It is a very simple looting engine that may not provide card advantage, but it assures we discard the right creatures while drawing cards at the same time. Being able to do that at instant speed is also a huge plus.

Training Grounds : this little, apparently innocuous enchantment is actually one of the best cards in the whole deck. Although we can't reduce Lazav's ability's cost to less the 1 mana, paying just to turn our commander into an Invisible Stalker , Cavern Harpy or Kefnet the Mindful makes a huge difference. This means that we can do that multiple times in the same turn in response to removal, which makes Lazav very hard to kill. If you don't believe me, try playing some games with the enchantment and others without it: you will end up missing it a lot.

Telepathy : another apparently unassuming enchantment, Telepathy is actually an incredibly useful tool. We are an OTK deck, so we need to know exactly who and when to knock someone out. Telepathy helps a lot in that regard. By having full access to our opponents' hands at all times, we can plan our attacks carefully. If we see that the player we want to kill has some form of disruption in hand, we can wait until we have a counterspell. Otherwise, if we were to kill player A but see that player B is about to cast a Rest in Peace or even combo off on his or her following turn, we can prevent that from happening by shifting our focus on player B and remove him or her from the game. We have very limited resources and a single misstep can cost us the game: Telepathy gives us extra insurances, and that's what we need.

For artifact ramp we have the obvious choices Sol Ring , Dimir Signet , Talisman of Dominance , and Mana Crypt . An important thing to keep in mind is that Lazav's ability requires colourless mana, so we are free to include colourless mana rocks like the Crypt without significant drawbacks. Also, this deck seems to be the perfect home for the now forgotten Mox Amber : with such a cheap commander, turning the Mox online will be very easy and having an extra mana available the turn we cast Lazav allows us to protect him from removal.

Apart from mana rocks we have the two boots, Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots . They offer protection and, most importantly, haste, which is a keyword that we rarely see in Dimir. Lastly, we have Key to the City . This little trinket is extremely useful because we can use it to dump our big creatures into the graveyard at instant speed (which is very important, since we can catch our opponents off guard) while at the same time give Lazav unblockable for no mana. Oftentimes paying to turn Lazav into Invisible Stalker can complicate our game plan if we don't have tons of mana, but with the Key we can do the unblockable trick for free. On top of that, we can pay to draw a card during our untap step to minimise the card disadvantage.

This deck has a pretty low average CMC, but we still need some mana to activate Lazav multiple times and to hold counterspells up at the same time. I feel that 35 lands plus 5 mana rocks is ideal. We have many ways to dig through our deck, so we won't have many problems hitting our land drops. As regards the utility lands, we must consider that Lazav's ability doesn't care if the mana spent is blue/black or colourless: this means that we are free to include some colourless utility lands without being mana screwed. These are my choices:

Cephalid Coliseum : this land can turn into a loot spell in the late game, once we have threshold. The drawback of having to lose 1 life every time we tap the Coliseum for mana is acceptable.

Geier Reach Sanitarium : another land with a loot effect attached to, no reason not to play it.

Minamo, School at Water's Edge : we can use Minamo to untap Lazav at instant speed and use him to block in case we need it.

Strip Mine : Maze of Ith can be a very annoying land to play against. If we want to attack a player with a Maze on the field, we need an Invisible Stalker to give Lazav hexproof at the right time. Having some form of land destruction can save us some troubles. Plus, there are also other good targets like Gaea's Cradle , Boseiju, Who Shelters All , Cabal Coffers and so on.

Ancient Tomb : an amazing land that is probably included in too many decks due to its sheer power, we can make great use of the extra colourless mana it provides.

Shizo, Death's Storehouse : against decks that are not running black creatures and/or artifact creatures, this land can give Lazav evasion for just .

Like every deck in every format, this one has its own pros and cons.

Strenghts Show

Weaknesses Show

Search for Azcanta  : this is basically a surveil 1 every turn, and the land helps us dig for our more powerful spells.

As I have explained in the Introduction, I have not included expensive creatures like Arcanis the Omnipotent and Doom Whisperer because they are way too clunky to copy.

Phage the Untouchable : the card that everyone immediately thought about when Lazav got spoiled didn't make the cut. I've actually had Phage in my deck for the first 2 months of testing, and I have never won a single game with her. The problem with her is obviously her mana cost, which is too high to copy. If we want to go for a Phage kill we need a minimum of , which often goes up to if we want to give Lazav unblockable with one of our other creatures. This makes holding up mana to protect Lazav literally impossible in the mid game, and still extremely hard in the late game. All of our other win conditions are much cheaper, and thus faster and safer. I never found myself tutoring for Phage, and this is self-explanatory. You could consider including her if you live in a more casual environment, otherwise you will find better alternatives.

There is one combo that everyone seems to be hyped about for this deck, and that's the one featuring Necrotic Ooze + Bloodline Keeper   + Grimgrin, CorpseBorn. The combo works like this: you have Lazav on the field and those 3 creatures in the graveyard. You pay and turn Lazav into the Ooze, so that he gets all the activated abilities of all creatures in all graveyards. You then tap Lazav to create a 2/2 Vampire with Bloodline Keeper's ability, then sacrifice the token with Grimgrin's ability to untap Lazav and put a +1/+1 counter on him. You can do that as many times as you like, and at the end of the day you have an infinite/infinite Lazav. Sounds familiar? Yes, because we can achieve the exact same result with the Crackdown Construct + Ornithopter combo that we already have. Except, we only need two combo pieces instead of three and we also give Lazav flying thanks to the Ornithopter. On top of that, if we were to include the Necrotic Ooze combo, we would waste three slots of our deck for three creatures that do absolutely nothing for us on their own. At the very least, Ornithopter can always be useful to give Lazav flying for free at any time, even if we don't have the Construct. You could add Triskelion to the Ooze combo to kill every player in the same turn, but then it would be a 4-card combo + Lazav. It is way too clunky and not worth including in my opinion.

I have not included ways to shuffle our graveyard back into our library to protect it from an exile effect, like Feldon's Cane or Perpetual Timepiece . We would essentially move from a bad situation (graveyard exiled) to a slightly less bad situation (graveyard shuffled into library), because we would have to restart the game and go get back the creatures we need. Instead, I preferred to go all-in on direct graveyard protection with 4 cards that counter activated or triggered abilities.

There are no wheel effects like Windfall , Whispering Madness and Jace's Archivist in this deck. As I have said we want to discard specific cards, not all of them. We don't want to lose a counterspell just to discard a creature; also, if we give draws to our opponents, chances are they can find more answers. Selected, one-sided discard effects work just fine and reduce randomness. For the same reasons, self-milling does not work.

There are no creatures with Level Up. I do get that Level Up counters stick on Lazav as he changes form and that is cool, but there are two main issues. First, if he dies he loses all of them making the mana investment too risky. Secondly, we can only level up at sorcery speed which is the opposite of what we are trying to do, which is playing at instant speed to be ready to counter spells and transform Lazav at will.

There is no Glen Elendra Archmage . She costs 4 mana to copy which is a lot, and if we want to be able to counter something immediately we need a total of 5 mana. She is not that bad and I can see her included in a Lazav deck, but I think I would prefer to have a counterspell in hand to still have an element of surprise, which is something you won't have once you have a Glen Elendra Archmage in plain sight in your graveyard.

I have the same issue with Phyrexian Obliterator and Wall of Souls that I have with Glen Elendra Archmage . 90% of the times these cards will be in plain sight in your graveyard, which makes it quite hard to catch an opponent off guard with them.

Corpse Connoisseur : a 4 or 5 mana Entomb that we can only do at sorcery speed is too slow for us. This can be a decent budget alternative to our most expensive tutors, however.

Virtus the Veiled and Ebonblade Reaper : our plan is to kill our opponents with commander damage or infect, so we will be two or three-shotting them anyway.

Torpor Orb : I'm not fully convinced by this card. If I'm forced to hard-cast Phyrexian Dreadnought or Hunted Horror , it means that something wrong happened to the game and I have already lost; a 12/12 on the board won't help me win from that spot. It can be useful to stop annoying ETB triggers like those of Fleshbag Marauder and Plaguecrafter , but I'm still hesitant.

This concludes my explanation of the deck. As you might have guessed, I am really in love with the new Lazav and I'm so happy that WOTC finally gave us a really competitive Dimir commander. I'm going to make a bold statement: Lazav, the Multifarious is, along with Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow , the most powerful Dimir commander available. Also, I think he can make for one of the best voltron commanders in the format. Time will tell if I'm correct, and I can't wait to see what other players build. Please, let me know if you have any comments or suggestions because they are more than welcome. I really hope this guide has been helpful to you!

Suggestions

Updates Add

Banehound sneaked under my radars for a while, but I have now acknowledged its huge power. Apart from being an excellent way of giving Lazav haste for only one mana, it makes the Wall of Blood and Crackdown Construct + Ornithopter combos so much more reliable and safer by adding lifelink to the equation. As a result, the Wall becomes a reasonable plan A/B, and the Crackdown combo ends with us gaining infinite life. I'm loving the Hound and I think it is actually one of the best creatures that we can have in the deck. It replaced Will-o'-the-Wisp , which wasn't that good of a protection/evasion provider as I thought it would be.

Pull from Tomorrow is a card that I've wanted to fit in the deck for a while. After some testing, I think it deserves a spot. Sometimes we want a way of dumping some extra mana in the late game, and this spell is a very good mana sink. Since this deck doesn't generate too much card advantage (we are mainly cycling), chances are we end up with very few cards in hand in the late game and this is a nice way of refilling our hand (and maybe discard a key creature in the process). It replaced Hero's Downfall . We don't need too much spot removal for creatures and planeswalkers, and the Downfall in particular was quite clunky to cast at three mana.

Disciple of Deceit is my latest addition. She is a surprisingly good tutor combined with a discard outlet, which is very useful on her own and even if Lazav becomes a copy of her. It replaced Looter il-Kor . Her effect is so much better than the simple looting of the Looter. We do lose some evasion, but I think we already have enough. In case we don't, the Disciple can help us find some in the deck.

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Casual

100% Competitive





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Date added 8 months
Last updated 18 hours
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.02
Tokens 3/3 Centaur, 2/2 Manifest, 1/1 Bird
Folders Uncategorized, Usefull decks, 6. Third Party Decks, EDH, EDH, Reference, Commander, compare with mine, To try, Ideas, See all 17
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