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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
Creature — Phyrexian Shapeshifter
You may have Activated Sleeper enter the battlefield as a copy of any creature card in a graveyard that was put there from the battlefield this turn, except it's a Phyrexian in addition to its other types.
1 month ago
Hey, thank you so much for commenting and taking the time to read through the deck description!
While this is intended to be a budget deck, I personally just really like foils and original printings of cards. The versions of each card listed in the deck here are what I actually have for it in paper.
Activated Sleeper is a card I have been looking at and considering adding to the deck, but it seems highly conditional given that it can only copy a creature that left the battlefield the same turn. I agree it can go infinite with Karmic Guide and Karmic Guide even helps set it up given that Echo would often force you to sacrifice it on your upkeep anyway. That said, I'm a bit worried about how effective the card is when you DON'T have access to Karmic Guide. I guess depending on the pod it could still be quite good at stealing an opponent's creature. I will have to test it a bit and see how it performs in practice.
Kaya's Ghostform is a card I've considered as well but what concerns me with it is the Sorcery speed nature of it and that it is a bit more telegraphed what the intention is. That said, the ability to bring back the creature even if it gets targeted with something like Swords to Plowshares is very cool! In the pods I've played this deck and where people have gotten to learn more or less how it works, they tend to try and remove Liesa, Forgotten Archangel very quickly, so I've found cards like Undying Evil to be essential for keeping Liesa in play. I've found the instant speed to be extremely relevant in many situations as well. That said, Legion's Landing Flip is a particularly weak card in the deck and I could definitely see cutting that for testing Kaya's Ghostform.
Thran Vigil is a cool new card that I must have missed in the BRO spoilers. However, this deck isn't really all in on persist type effects. Twilight Shepherd is pretty much the only card it would strongly interact with. I would say it's pretty rare for this deck to win through combat and as such the value of the +1/+1 counters in it (even an arbitrarily large number of them) is a bit questionable. If the deck has assembled one of the infinite death engines, then it should be winning outright without the need to even go to combat. I like the interaction with Tortured Existence but it's such a shame that it only works on your turn! If you could suddenly pump up Liesa on an opponent's turn after they've already declared attackers at you, then that would make it a lot better.
Profane Tutor is a great budget tutor, but having to wait two entire turns is a major detriment to how useful of a card it is, especially as a mid to late game draw. The decks I've seen take the biggest advantage of Profane Tutor are the ones that somehow exile and cast a copy from exile or copy it from graveyard and cast the copy immediately, rather than having to wait the two turns. Mid to late game I would much rather pay a little extra mana to guarantee getting a card immediately rather than having to wait. If you get Profane Tutor in the early game, then yes it's definitely better than Diabolic Tutor or Mastermind's Acquisition for the lower mana cost. If I had a means of cheating on the suspend part of the card in Orzhov then it would warrant an inclusion over one of the other tutors in my opinion.
Vile Entomber is another card I considered and even in an earlier iteration of the deck I ran for a while. The issue I often found with it was that it only grabbed ONE card to put to the graveyard. Burning-Rune Demon and Final Parting are in the deck because they find TWO cards. With Vile Entomber I could find Karmic Guide but not another card to combo with it. With Burning-Rune Demon I can find Karmic Guide and another card to combo with it and often times whichever piece the opponent gives me is irrelevant. Blinking or reanimating Burning-Rune Demon is also significantly more value and helps assemble combos much faster than Vile Entomber can.
Bolas's Citadel is extremely powerful, but it is at least right now (12/17/2022) more than $5 which is where the line in the sand has been drawn for whether or not a card can be added to the deck. That said, even if it was a bit cheaper Bolas's Citadel would require leaning much harder into a life gain theme. While life gain is another very popular and powerful strategy, I feel it is a bit orthogonal to the direction of this deck which is more heavily focused on creature ETB/LTB triggers and the graveyard.
I've been working on a Liesa, Shroud of Dusk deck which leans very heavily into life gain/life loss shenanigans and in that deck I do run stuff like Children of Korlis. That's not to say that Children of Korlis isn't a good card in Liesa, Forgotten Archangel, but I feel like you have to already be on the life gain game plan to get the most out of it.
Plumb the Forbidden is a great card, but you need sufficiently many throw away bodies and a sufficiently high life total to manage it. Without sufficient life gain or creature token generators it runs the risk of being a dead draw. Body Count can also be a completely dead draw at times, but it has a much higher ceiling in this deck specifically than Plumb the Forbidden does. Body Count can literally draw the entire deck for 1 black mana with a death engine assembled. Plumb the Forbidden could never draw more than the greatest number of creatures in play at one moment and I must have the life available to pay for it plus 2 mana. If the deck was more of an aristocrats style build spewing creature tokens left and right and running things like Soul Warden then Plumb the Forbidden would be a much more natural inclusion I feel.
Fanatical Devotion is a really cool sacrifice outlet that can do relevant things like protect Liesa which is very important. That said, thanks to BRO another arguably much better sacrifice outlet just became budget (<$5). And that's Ashnod's Altar. I will be adding this to the deck shortly as a third sacrifice outlet.
Thanks again for reading the long description and commenting!
1 month ago
Hey, this is one of the better budget Commander decks I've seen and great description. Really good job with the card choices keeping within the price restriction. If you're on card price restriction, why all foils and alternative card arts?
Activated Sleeper and Kaya's Ghostform are good budget cards when you want your creatures to die. Sleeper is another creature who infinite die combos with Karmic Guide and Ghostform infinite die combos with Sun Titan.
Thran Vigil is the new budget infinite persist enabler, it infinite combos with Twilight Shepherd or another persist creature such as Lesser Masticore. If a creature dies on your turn and you control Liesa then Vigil will trigger to put a counter on a creature for each creature who died. Tortured Existence interacts with Vigil if you activate it on your turn equal to the amount of black mana you have available as long as you have a creature in your graveyard and a creature in your hand to repeatedly swap them. Put the counters from Vigil on Liesa making her huge to threaten lethal Commander damage.
Profane Tutor is the budget lesser Demonic, it's still powerful for it's price. Because you have lots of reanimation and recursion than Vile Entomber can be great support especially to get and bin Leonin Relic-Warder. Entomber getting any card of your choice is nice with Sun Titan.
Bolas's Citadel, is less than $6, the card is amazing when your Commander can gain life, you have a lower avg. CMC and even if you don't have top of library manipulation. Children of Korlis goes well with Citadel, to sac to gain all the life back you lost casting spells. Greed interacts well with Citadel and Children, it's budget repeatable draw when you can gain life. It can help to draw land that's revealed on top of your library so that you can keep Citadel going.
Plumb the Forbidden can instant sac all creatures you control to draw for each one for 2 mana. I'm a big fan of Fanatical Devotion for a budget sac outlet that can protect your Commander from many types of removal and also protect creatures in combo while being the sac outlet in the combo.
Some changes to consider:
- Activated Sleeper --> Priest of Ancient Lore
- Kaya's Ghostform --> Undying Evil
- Thran Vigil --> Legion's Landing
- Profane Tutor --> Mastermind's Acquisition
- Vile Entomber --> Burning-Rune Demon
- Bolas's Citadel --> Thaumatic Compass
- Children of Korlis --> Ephemerate
- Greed --> Ghostly Prison
- Plumb the Forbidden --> Body Count
- Fanatical Devotion --> Mortify
Good luck with your deck.
2 months ago
As stated, you won't have priority to cast Activated Sleeper after the commander dies before it's back in the command zone, but if a single spell or ability resolving kills the commander and puts Activated Sleeper into play, such as Living End, it will be able to copy the commander as it hasn't yet been put into the Command Zone.
2 months ago
If someone kills a commander, non exile, can I use Activated sleeper to copy it before it goes to command zone?
2 months ago
Self-mill yes, opponent mill no. You'll want plenty of self-mill to fuel Nethroi along with lots of ramp since Nethroi is 7 mana to mutate.
Culling Ritual is a powerful card in multiplayer Commander that also provides ramp for Nethroi. Songs of the Damned goes well with self-mill + lots of creatures for ramp especially since Nethroi has 6 black mana in it's mutate cost.
Body Launderer and Karmic Guide are two good creatures with self-mill and they combo with a sac outlet such as Viscera Seer for infinite scry/loot. Activated Sleeper is an underrated 0/0 creature who also combos with Karmic. Braids, Arisen Nightmare is powerful draw in multiplayer Commander when sacing your own creatures helps you.
3 months ago
I usually recommend people try out Diligent Farmhand and Dawntreader Elk as creatures for Meren to reanimate and ramp you because they are sacrificed. This makes these play better than Wood Elves in a lot of situations, but you can certainly run both (I only run 30 lands in my Meren deck, and no mana rocks, I usually end up with a ton of lands by the time the game is done).
If you use creatures that make a bunch of tokens upon entering the battlefield, you might like Demon of Dark Schemes, which can be used as a tiny wipe and as a repeatable source of reanimation? It combos fairly well, using Phyrexian Altar, Ashnod's Altar or Pitiless Plunderer, another card very good with the Demon or in Meren in general is Mitotic Slime, which is a ton of bodies for 5 mana. Another solid card in Meren is Callous Bloodmage, a very versatile creature to reanimate for sure, it also doesn't exile your graveyard when it exiles an opponent's. Dauthi Voidwalker is a really good card if you play against people who use a lot of spells, especially powerful ones, the ability is amazing in Meren because the cards that are exiled stay that way even if you recur Voidwalker it can still see all of those exiled cards, including any an opponent's Voidwalker exiled from your opponents. Helm of Possession is a really off-colour ability for Golgari, and you probably can pay the creature. When you want a new creature you can just sac the old one and steal a new one. Midnight Reaper is another Grim Haruspex, not sure how many you necessarily want, but I rarely mind having two out.
I don't love spells in Meren, but I make an exception for Jarad's Orders, Final Parting and Ritual of the Machine. Graveyard tutors are good in Meren, and tutoring cards into hand is also good. Ritual's ability to steal most creatures can really save you if people run certain kinds of decks. Another good tutor to consider is Fiend Artisan, digging out a Sidisi feels pretty good if Meren is out, I can usually recur her right away for a second tutor.
I'm not really sure if your creature count is high enough at 38, but I absolutely adore Lurking Predators, it can put out multiple creatures per cycle for me, which will usually put me ahead quickly. I run 55 creatures IIRC, so technically I should get a creature a little more often than every other spell, which is obviously absurd if someone else can't combo off. It's just hilarious when you pull something like Plaguecrafter or Ravenous Chupacabra.
It's pretty pushed so you might not want to run it, but Protean Hulk can find 6 MV worth of bodies, so it can find Walking Ballista and Mikaeus in one go, which is pretty solid. If you use something like Activated Sleeper you can get an extra 3 MV worth of creature, which can mean a Blood Artist and Carrion Feeder or Viscera Seer to just win on the spot.
If you are using Mazirek, I feel like I have to mention One with the Kami, this very easily goes infinite with Mazirek, giving you infinite deaths and enters as well as infinitely large tokens for something like Altar of Dementia, or even swinging.
Your deck looks great as is, just throwing a few ideas out there for you, hope some are helpful!
4 months ago
There is also Necrotic Ooze, Phyrexian Devourer and Triskelion (or Walking Ballista) which will just kill everyone as long as you have some MV in your deck left. I think you can assemble this combo pretty easily with Buried Alive or some self-mill. I use Gravecrawler/Feeder/Plunderer myself, and I dig them out with Protean Hulk, which can then generate infinite Experience for Meren, making it possible for her to reanimate it for you to find a payoff for death or etb.
Hulk can also dig out Disciple of the Vault, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Lesser Masticore and Viscera Seer or Feeder, which will just win on the spot usually. I will say, you do have to target with Disciple, so you can get blanked if someone has protection of some kind, so I don't use this combo myself, but it seems solid (if low on redundancy). It might be worth mentioning, but your Mazirek is very useful with any Persist creatures, since Mazirek can put a +1 counter on one if you have 2 you can sacrifice separately, this will go infinite with any free sac outlet, like Viscera Seer.
If you use Hulk, there is Activated Sleeper, or Phyrexian Delver which can extend your Hulk's lifespan to dig out more stuff. I'm pretty sure there are a few more out there, but I think Sleeper is the best.
I'm guessing you're not really looking for cEDH type stuff, but if you want really spicy stuff, I could direct you to very strong Meren lists you can get ideas from. I have a Meren deck that's roughly High Power atm, able to be extremely harsh to the board but also able to combo off fairly quickly/consistently if I want to. Nel Toth Community College and Round Table is the list, which has the cards sorted into custom piles to make it easier to understand (debatable if that was a success, you can switch it at the top of the decklist). Key points I'd suggest you consider is running tons of non-artifact, non-spell ramp, mostly creature based, enough to shave lands down at least somewhat, and an emphasis on small creatures that can either sacrifice themselves or something else. I would also suggest finding ways to substitute everything else with creatures, Meren really wants to have access to creatures and sac outlets, so stuff like Dockside Chef and Skullport Merchant can be better than other, non-creature options (other than busted ones like Ashnod's Altar, Phyrexian Altar, and Altar of Dementia that are just amazing). I even run Lurking Predators to just dump creatures onto the board, usually as sacrifice fodder, because I have over 50 creatures in the deck, it's very possible to get more than 2 creatures in a cycle.
Hope some of this helps!