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Vish Kal, The Sword in the Darkness [[Primer]]

Commander / EDH Battlecruiser Combo Control Reanimator W/B (Orzhov)




Watch Queen rock out to the OG Highlander theme song while reading this sick list

Main Deck Goals

So here we are, this Vish Kal deck is my favorite of my EDH decks and I have invested many hundreds of hours in playing and retooling it over the years. It's goals are fairly straightforward: get all the mana, get all the dudes, get ETB effects, keep your opponents off creatures, draw cards and make tokens from creatures dying, deny opponents the use of their own graveyards, and win via Bitter Ordeal + tons of dudes dying or via life drain with Blood Artist, Kokusho, the Evening Star, and Grey Merchant of Asphodel. Of course, there's always the old stand-by of pounding 21 General damage down somebody's throat with Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter wearing some sweet, shiny Lightning Greaves out of nowhere.

Some of the best combos aren't currently in the deck because they've been working too consistently and winning too frequently lately and I'd rather not always win with infinite combos so I've removed the most frequent offender/enabler, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed. It's a hard balance since almost all of the cards that are just good in this deck end up going infinite with 2 or 3 of the others. Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter just sort of goes infinite with a lot of cards.

Explanation for the exclusion of some typical graveyard abuse card choices

This deck is a little unique for black decks in that it actively doesn't want opponents to have access to their graveyards or even for their creatures to die. Ergo the avoidance of Massacre Wurm, Puppeteer Clique, Sepulchral Primordial, Bloodchief Ascension, etc. Through primarily Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet the idea is to keep opponents' creatures from dying at all, while constantly reanimating your own with Lifeline so all board wipes or Grave Pact effects become asymmetric board control. I want to add Leyline of the Void back in to assist with this graveyard hate theme maybe but haven't really figured out where to put it.

The Newest Tech

Plague of Vermin is the newest addition and one of my newest discoveries found on Tapped Out. I'm interested to see it play some politics and see if people get greedy or completely turn it down. Of course if I have Soul Warden out I can pay as much life as I want with impunity, gain it back and then abuse the 30-100 or so tokens I just got for the low low price of 7 mana. I want to put Abhorrent Overlord back in this deck eventually too as it has such a strong devotion theme and he is another great dude-generator like the plague but I haven't figured out where he would go either.

The cards in the sideboard are the cards I either want to slot in the most or cards I rotate in dependent on how degenerate the meta around me becomes.

Note on overall card choices and deck design

I am not personally interested in making the most expensive deck possible; I much prefer making interesting and novel decks (which I think this is in many respects). This deck has been a personal art project really from 2011-present and was one of my first decks ever. The cards in it are chosen as much for their beauty and art as they are for the themes and functions.


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