This is a creature based graveyard toolbox control deck with an enchantment subtheme. Tortured Existence lets me reuse my utility creatures. The primary win condition is to loop Crypt Rats after resolving a Gnaw to the Bone.

Start off by stalling, digging for TortEx, and finding land drops. Once set up you just find whatever piece you need to stop your opponent until you have enough resources to rats lock your opponent out of a field. Gnaw to the bone and continue until your opponent runs out of life.

Battlefield Scrounger is so you don't deck out when frog locking stompy, bogles, or elves out of the game.

Rofellos's Gift allows you to recur multiple Dead Weight and Vessels. It's occasionally used to recur a Tortured Existence, but it has far more utility than that.

The manabase is set up for as many black sources as possible for Tortured Existence and Crypt Rats, while playing just enough green sources to consistently play Golgari Brownscale turn 4 if I need to. The reason for all the fetchlands is they combo with Tilling Treefolk to help me produce land drops early game. A lot of this deck is digging for land, so I feel it's worth the tempo hit.

The Basics

Playing this deck can be thought of in phases, where each one will help you into the next.

Phase 1: Get lands. You need about 6 before it's a non issue, but try to hit land drops every turn, even in later phases. Once you have 6 lands between hand and field you can move onto phase 2.

Phase 2: Find TE. You kinda need it. If you already have TE, congrats on the easy game. If not use your communes, vessels, and gift+dredgers to find it.

Phase 3: Find the right creature to stop your opponent's deck, and reuse it until your opponent has been stopped. For example, use Caustic Caterpillar against Affinity.

Step 4: Winning! Just reuse Crypt Rats every turn to kill all their stuff, and the rats damage will kill them in short order. As long as you have Brownscale you can do it for 2 every turn without taking any net damage, but after a gnaw to the bone it shouldn't matter how much you do it for. By the time you start this you will be able to kill Crushers with the Rats. If they have too much life to do that in time, play Scrounger and wait for them to draw out.

Land Sequencing

Generally speaking the order to play lands is Evolving Wilds, Jungle Hallow, Rot Farm, Bojuka Bog, ash barren, basics. There are only 6 basics, so playing Evolving decreases the risk of Evolving becoming dead. This is in contrast to Ash Barrens that can still be played if Landcycling is dead, so you play it last to decrease the odds of topdecking a dead evolving wilds. Exceptions; Play a basic first if you need an untapped source. Play a Bog before Rot Farm if you are playing against a graveyard relevant deck.

The Gift Engine

Simply put, Commune can grab Vessel, while simultaneously putting targets away for Gift, while Gift can reuse Vessels. The cards synergize to form a potent consistency engine.

Rofellos's Gift is an interesting card. You don't declare targets or what x is when you cast it, so your opponent has to choose whether to counter it or not based on what they think you have. You can play a gift as counter bait even when you have no green cards to speak of, because your opponent will have to assume the worst.

Gift has 3 targets in the deck. Dead Weight, Vessel of Nascency, and Tortured Existence. If you start the game with Gift in hand, one of the fastest ways to find TE is to actually start dredging for it.

Dead Weight is strong removal spell in general, but with Gift you give all your Dead Weights an extra use. Double Dead Weight into gift into double Dead Weight is 3 cards and 5 mana to remove 4 threats.

The main value though is with Vessel of Nascency. Vessel is the most verstile dig spell in the deck, being able to grab lands in addition to what Commune can grab.

Thorn of the Black Rose

Thorn is really, really strong in this style deck. If you have a spore frog in play, and you play thorn, you guaranteed 2 draws from Monarch. This is without TE. If you have TE, you can loop spore frog every turn. If they break the loop and come in to try and take Monarch, you can block with turn and TE it back and replay it. You can keep on switching back in forth between those two until your opponent can't break the loop anymore.

In essence Thorn makes Spore Frog a solid option against decks that play instant speed removal, and Frog makes Thorn of the Black Rose a solid option against decks that could otherwise reliably steal Monarch.


Sideboarding with this deck is really easy. Side out all your weak toolbox targets for more relevant ones. Don't side out any of the engine pieces. It hampers the ability to actually set up at all. Cards that can be sided out are marked as foil.


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63% Casual

37% Competitive