|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Printings View all
|Masters Edition III (ME3)||Uncommon|
|Fifth Edition (5ED)||Uncommon|
|Fourth Edition (4ED)||Uncommon|
|4th Edition Foreign Black Border (4EDFBB)||Uncommon|
|The Dark (DRK)||Common|
Combos Browse all
Ashes to Ashes
Exile two target nonartifact creatures. Ashes to Ashes deals 5 damage to you.
Ashes to Ashes Discussion
1 month ago
Hey man! I always liked zombies... it was one of my decks when I was growing up and still getting clubbed by my brother in Magic. I have some suggestions:
Zombie decks are, by nature, creature-based. Creature-based decks are, by nature, extremely vulnerable to boardwipes. Obviously, I don't know how your specific list plays, but experience tells me that this will be a problem. I suggest considering mass-recursion spells, the best of which for this deck is Patriarch's Bidding . After a boardwipe nukes your board, this card will get it back; or even if you don't get smacked with a Wrath of God , Patriarch's Bidding will reanimate creatures you bin with Varina, Lich Queen .
Path to Exile is a touch card to make work in EDH. In formats like this, people are all trying to do high-cost, busted things -- so ramping opponents is often actively dangerous. Additionally, one-for-ones are not the best in a format with three opponents (as having three opponents means you're facing three times as many cards). I suggest you consider things like Reckless Spite or Ashes to Ashes instead of your Path to Exile or Snuff Out , as these are invariably more efficient ways to kill threats.
Varina is blue, which means you have access to some of the best cards in the game. Though Ponder and Preordain may not look like much, there's a reason they're super-duper-banned in modern and Ponder is restricted in Vintage. These two give you a level of unparalleled card-selection, meaning marginal opening sevens go from ok to good really fast. Brainstorm is a similar card, though I am more reserved about it do to the potential of getting stuck with two dead cards on top of your deck (' Brainstorm Locked'). With your fetches, like Misty Rainforest or Flooded Strand , Brainstorm becomes very powerful; I advise you run it.
Card-advantage is real good in EDH. I realize that Varina, Lich Queen IS a sort of card-advantage herself (most good commanders are), but there's room for more -- especially since, sans other cards like Alhammarret's Archive , she is not card-POSITIVE. I see you're running Gravecrawler . Pairing this sucker with Skullclamp results in instant fun, as having the ability to ': Draw two cards' is kind of dumb. It is worth noting that this does not work if you have lords on the table who pump up the Gravecrawler 's toughness; however, with a sac-outlet like Carrion Feeder out, this problem is solved. Spell-based card advantage can also be very relevant. Painful Truths is a card I've been very impressed with in three-color black decks, and Fact or Fiction 's putting cards in your graveyard seems very synergistic with your Zombie theme.
I think you're running too many lands. Outside lands-matter strategies, I don't think most decks want to run more than thirty-two or thirty-three lands. Replacing a few with mana-rocks will speed up your deck, since mana-rocks are not limited by the 'one land-drop per turn' rule and can thus power out fatties faster than just hitting your land-drops would. With that same principle, it becomes evident that two-mana rocks are a lot better than three-mana rocks. I suggest you run a few of the following: Talisman of Hierarchy , Talisman of Progress , Talisman of Dominance , Dimir Signet , Fellwar Stone , Mind Stone , Prismatic Lens , Coldsteel Heart and/or the soon-to-release-and-drop-in-price Arcane Signet .
I may be stating the obvious, but if you can, you should include Demonic Tutor . It's like... really good.
1 month ago
Hello! So a lot of my suggestions will depend on budget/card access; since I don't know what yours is, I'll just leave all of the suggestions I think of. Feel free to ignore me.
The first thing I think of when I think of a 'demon' deck is Shadowborn Apostle . With a critical mass of these lil' buggers, you can just tutor out whichever demon is good for any given situation. Pair them with Thrumming Stone for instant fun. To take that strategy a little farther, you might consider running Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker as your general. I know he's not a demon, but his synergy with the Shadowborn Apostle s makes him an honorary demon, as far as I am concerned.
Ramp is a premium in EDH. I notice you have a few rocks already in your deck; however, I think there're better ones you can run. In general, two-mana mana-rocks are going to be a lot better than three-mana mana-rocks, if only because once you're at three mana you typically want to be doing more than just ramping. I like your Jet Medallion ; consider Thought Vessel , Mind Stone , Charcoal Diamond , Coldsteel Heart , Prismatic Lens , Mana Vault , Mox Diamond and Mana Crypt . With as many artifacts as you have, Mox Opal is usually going to be online, too.
Land-wise, I must confess confusion as to why you're running Command Tower . If I am not missing something, it's a Swamp that dies to Wasteland , Back to Basics , Blood Moon , Magus of the Moon , Ruination , Dust Bowl and friends. I think you should replace it with a basic Swamp . Temple of the False God is a land I have mixed feelings about, as it isn't exactly the sort of land you want to see in your opening seven; that being said, it can be powerful late-game. Consider Ancient Tomb , as (since it was reprinted recently) it is at a relatively low price, and it can cast two-mana mana-rocks on turn one. Additionally, in mono-black, Cabal Coffers and Cabal Stronghold are very powerful mana sources. Pairing them with Deserted Temple works pretty well, too. Consider Lake of the Dead , Shizo, Death's Storehouse and Phyrexian Tower as good utility-lands. Also, you could probably use two to four more lands in your list. Twenty-eight is pretty much were I tend to bottom out on land-count, at that's when I'm running all the zero-mana mana-rocks.
Card-draw, card-selection and tutoring are all also very important in EDH. Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor are the gold-standard for tutors, though their prices tend to make them rather inaccessible. Scheming Symmetry is a good tutor if your general is out; similarly, Maralen of the Mornsong seems... worth trying. Presumably, someone is going to take thirteen and kill her, but she's probably pretty good anyway. Diabolic Tutor , which I see you run, is a good option; Dark Petition , Mastermind's Acquisition and Beseech the Queen also come to mind. In the vein of card-draw, consider Night's Whisper , Ambition's Cost , Read the Bones , Phyrexian Arena , Twilight Prophet , Staff of Nin , Ancient Craving , Sign in Blood , Necropotence , Harvester of Souls , Null Profusion , Succumb to Temptation and friends. Graveborn Muse is good even as just a second Phyrexian Arena if you only have one zombie out. If you pair Waste Not with Words of Waste , you can also generate card-advantage. Almost as good as card-draw is preventing your opponents from drawing cards -- unfortunately, in mono-black this is pretty much just Chains of Mephistopheles , which costs about as much as a used kidney these days. Usually I'd suggest Narset, Parter of Veils or Spirit of the Labyrinth .
In terms of removal, you typically don't want to settle for one-for-ones. In EDH, you're generally facing three opponents, which means you're facing three times the number of creatures/threats that you would be facing in a one-v-one. So trading a card for just one creature is often times just not enough. I don't think Ob Nixilis's Cruelty or Unholy Hunger are very good, for that reason. You may have more luck with Ashes to Ashes , Toxic Deluge , Damnation and the like... perhaps even Hex , though keep in mind you'd need six targets on the field to even cast it. Decree of Pain , Overwhelming Forces , Mutilate and Rain of Daggers are also worth considering. Black also has access to some fun pox-style cards. Innocent Blood , Barter in Blood , Liliana's Triumph or Smallpox can all be powerful in the early-game, if you're ramping with artifacts and don't have any important creatures out yet. Similarly, I should mention Pox itself -- this is easily one of the most brutal cards to resolve in EDH, right behind Ravages of War , Armageddon and Cataclysm . I haven't had much luck with it, but depending on your meta Pox may be a powerhouse.
In the Stax/Pox vein, you might consider Night of Souls' Betrayal . Doing away with some of your X/1s would make this a powerhouse, and it is an insta-kill against elf- or goblin-decks. In the right meta, Yixlid Jailer is good; though bear in mind it's a straight nonbo with Night of Souls' Betrayal .
I see you're running Leyline of the Void . Consider pairing it with Helm of Obedience . If you activate Helm of Obedience targeting an opponent while Leyline of the Void is out, the mill from the helm will be replaced with exiling the card. Thus, Helm of Obedience just makes the opponent keep trying to put the top card of their deck into their graveyard and keep exiling it instead. This results in exiling your opponent's library, and leaving Helm of Obedience tapped on the field. This combo only takes out one opponent at a time, is sure to draw a lot of hate, and requires several tutors to make it consistent, but I figured you might be interested in it. If you're good at politics (I'm not), it can be a pretty powerful A-Bomb.
In mono-black, you should consider a reanimator package. Buried Alive or Entomb combined with Animate Dead , Reanimate , Necromancy , Victimize , Dance of the Dead or even Exhume can get a fatty on the table real fast. Entomb -ing Lord of the Void turn one and Reanimate -ing him turn two (or even turn one, if you run Dark Ritual or Lotus Petal ) seems pretty good to me. Whip of Erebos is also a form of permanent-based reanimation, which has the added bonus of gaining you life.
If you're having trouble killing opponents, consider Helm of the Host . This'll add a new threat to the board every turn, provided you can keep one on the table. Bloodchief Ascension also puts down one hell of a clock. Doom Whisperer , Herald of Anguish , Carnifex Demon and Desecration Demon are all additional demons to consider.
Finally, in terms of what to cut: Start by looking for inefficient cards or over-redundant/unnecessary/underwhelming effects. Keep an eye on those cards when you play, and if you're often seeing them, wishing you could just discard them and draw another card, that's a card you should cut. It might be a baller effect, but if the cost is too high or the effect to narrow, it isn't worth running.
Good luck, man!
2 months ago
BearJOO: So firstly, I think it's important to realize that a deck will need control, and that while counterspells certainly give a deck an amount of that, they are not the only way of gaining a controlling advantage. In the current configuration, I see only two counterspells in your list: Absorb and Counterspell . Counterspell is certainly very good, though I am not sure that Absorb is better than just an Arcane Denial or Dovin's Veto . Because you aren't playing a hardcore Stax list, countermagic may well be how you want to hold sway over a game; if this is the case, consider bringing in four to seven more counterspells. (Other good counterspells, though they vary vastly in price, include: Force of Will , Swan Song , Mana Drain , Negate , Countersquall , Cryptic Command , Remand , Flusterstorm , Dispel , Spell Snare , Spell Pierce and the meta-dependent Mental Misstep , among others.)
If you want more permanent-based disruption, I advise Rule of Law , Narset, Parter of Veils , Ashiok, Dream Render or even the classic Smokestack itself. (Note that Smokestack is especially good with token-generators, like the Bitterblossom mentioned above.) Zur's Weirding , which I believe I mentioned in my first comment, is similarly constant and powerful. Generally, you want your Stax pieces to do something to the broadest variety of things your opponents are doing. Propaganda and Ghostly Prison are good against creature decks, but tend to do little to nothing against combo. Running something like Ashiok, Dream Render means that any deck that tutors (which is pretty much any deck) is going to have trouble. This idea of universal applicability is why Authority of the Consuls and Rhystic Study are good.
I think Test of Endurance is not a good card, if you intend to win with it. It is a four-mana enchantment that needs to survive a full turn circuit to do anything (assuming you cast it during your main phase, without a flash enabler, and have to wait for your next upkeep). During that time, you will be the number-one threat to all other players at the table, meaning three people will do whatever they can to get rid of you and/or Test of Endurance , which, as an enchantment, is very easily removed with widely-played cards like Krosan Grip or Nature's Claim . Approach of the Second Sun is not an unfeasible win condition (I used to run it in a Grand Arbiter Augustin IV list), but it does require you to have a stranglehold on the board between when you fire cast it and when you cast it to try to win. If you want to run it, you'll want to bring in a lot more Stax pieces.
I think that, when considering cuts, you should look for needless redundancy. Tutors are meant to fetch out the best card for any given situation, and are therefore in themselves a sort of redundancy; if you need X card, you need to topdeck X OR a tutor for X, not just X. So I'd advise cutting Exsanguinate or Debt to the Deathless , as having just one in your deck to tutor up is probably going to be enough, most of the time. Also, I count four boardwipes (including your Cyclonic Rift ): In all likelihood, three or even two will be enough. I suggest cutting Fumigate . Toxic Deluge is less mana-intensive, and Cyclonic Rift and Merciless Eviction are both more versatile.
Running more two-for-one style cards will also allow you to cut back on the number of slots used by your removal suite. Running either Ashes to Ashes or, better yet, Grasp of Fate is likely enough to replace both Path to Exile and Utter End .
That being said, I've always found that the easiest way to make cuts is to play-test the deck against a wide variety of opposing decks, and see which cards most often get stuck in your hand. If nine times out of ten you're looking at a card, wishing you could just cycle it for zero rather than having it there, the card is a blank and should be cut.
Good luck man!
2 months ago
I see a few areas for improvement:
So one of the main reasons to play green is the mana dorks. You should at least be running Birds of Paradise , Llanowar Elves and Elves of Deep Shadow , and you should probably be running a few more as well. Fyndhorn Elves , Elvish Mystic , Priest of Titania , Arbor Elf , Bloom Tender , Boreal Druid and Deathrite Shaman are also worth considering.
Card-draw is a big part of EDH. Distant Melody is good in any tribal deck, and depending on your typical board presence Slate of Ancestry may be worth considering, too. Fact or Fiction , Painful Truths , Treasure Cruise , Dig Through Time , Night's Whisper , Windfall , Harmonize and Concentrate are also good draw-spells. Sylvan Library and Phyrexian Arena are good pieces of permanent-based card-advantage. Mystic Remora is excellent, if transient, and at more inexperienced tables it can easily be an Ancestral Recall .
Your mana-base is worth rethinking, too. Overgrown Tomb , Breeding Pool and Watery Grave are all relatively affordable these days (because of the reprint), and City of Brass and Mana Confluence are worth running in a three-color deck, too. Depending on your budget, you may want to run fetch-lands like Polluted Delta or Prismatic Vista ; lower-budget options include Bad River , Flood Plain or the other slow-fetches. Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse , too. Llanowar Wastes , Yavimaya Coast , Underground River , Waterlogged Grove , Nurturing Peatland , Hinterland Harbor , Woodland Cemetery and Drowned Catacomb are more good dual-lands.
If you do end up running any sort of fetches, you'll have a bunch of shuffle-effects. This means Brainstorm becomes a powerful spell, as you can shuffle away bad cards while digging for the ones you want. Ponder , Preordain and Impulse are great as well.
Tutors are great -- then you don't even need to bother digging, as you can just go get what you want. Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor are the gold standard, but as a pair they'll likely run you around $100. Diabolic Tutor , Lim-Dul's Vault and Dark Petition are all far more accessible. Mystical Tutor and Worldly Tutor are also good, though I don't think they'd be as good as the non-restricted tutors.
You also need to consider removal. Toxic Deluge , Pernicious Deed , Damnation , Decree of Pain and Cyclonic Rift are all great boardwipes. Nature's Claim , Krosan Grip , Casualties of War , Assassin's Trophy , Abrupt Decay , Windgrace's Judgment and Ashes to Ashes are good forms of spot-removal.
Finally, you might want to consider a reanimation package. Entomb or Buried Alive paired with Animate Dead , Reanimate , Dance of the Dead or Necromancy is a great way to get fatties out fast. Reanimating Grave Titan , Massacre Wurm or Inkwell Leviathan can swing the game in your favor real fast.
2 months ago
You're running too many lands. Running forty-two is generally only appropriate in Azusa, Lost but Seeking -style landfall decks; I suggest running thirty-five at MOST, and ideally around thirty-three.
The way you can get away with thirty-three lands is with mana rocks. I'm a fan of your Azorius Signet and similar, but there are other rocks you should consider. Mana Crypt and Mox Diamond are the gold-standard, though those are approximately a million dollars these days. More affordable options include: Talisman of Progress , Talisman of Hierarchy , Talisman of Dominance , Coldsteel Heart , Fellwar Stone and the soon-to-release Arcane Signet . Note that all the suggestions I gave were two-mana mana-rocks, as these are vastly superior to three-mana mana-rocks. One reason for this is that if you choose to run Ancient Tomb or similar, you can land them turn one. Depending on your meta and how long your games tend to go, Gilded Lotus might be worth running.
Your mana base can use some tuning, too. City of Brass and Mana Confluence are generally good in three-color decks, and Reflecting Pool or Forbidden Orchard are also very good. Shock lands like Watery Grave , Godless Shrine and Hallowed Fountain are also good. Caves of Koilos , Underground River and Adarkar Wastes are all good too.
You have some good Xerox pieces; you're running Ponder and Portent , and that's good. You could probably use some more shuffle effects to go with your Brainstorm . Ideally, you should run Zendikar and Onslaught fetches -- however, these are also expensive AF. Slow fetches like Bad River and Flood Plain are way more affordable, and can also fetch things like a Watery Grave if you choose to run them. These will allow you to avoid getting stuck with two cards you don't want on top of your library. Preordain is an excellent Xerox-piece/cantrip to consider.
Mass card-draw is good in EDH. I highly recommend Windfall , and it's especially good with your Narset, Parter of Veils . Fact or Fiction , Painful Truths , Thirst for Knowledge and Jace's Archivist are also good. Mystic Remora , in an inexperienced meta, can easily be several Ancestral Recall s. Night's Whisper and Phyrexian Arena are good.
Tutors are great. Demonic Tutor , Vampiric Tutor and Enlightened Tutor are the gold-standard, and as such they're really expensive. Other options include your already-in-there Scheming Symmetry , Diabolic Tutor , Lim-Dul's Vault , Mystical Tutor and Dark Petition .
Swords to Plowshares is a GREAT card; it's one of the only one-for-ones I advise 98% of the time in EDH; Despark is another. Grasp of Fate is another form of spot-removal. Cyclonic Rift , Wrath of God , Supreme Verdict and Toxic Deluge are all good boardwipes to consider. If, later in your deck building, you end up with fewer creatures and your meta is filled with X/1s, Night of Souls' Betrayal can be a powerhouse. Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust are other two-for-ones to consider.
Depending on your meta, you can use some Legacy Miracles pieces. Aminatou is synergistic with Counterbalance , and if you run Sensei's Divining Top you can use the pair to control the game without spending card-advantage. Ashiok, Dream Render is great in EDH as a Stax piece, as shutting down other players' tutors and exiling graveyards is one of the most annoying things you can do in EDH. Hostage Taker is good as removal, and it can also get you some threats.
Gilded Drake is $70-ish, but each time you flicker it you get a new creature. Cheaper, flickering Sower of Temptation gets you to steal a different creature each time. Flickering Solemn Simulacrum allows you to ramp real fast. Cloudblazer , Ravenous Chupacabra , Duplicant , Wall of Omens and Baleful Strix too. Wall of Omens has the added bonus of working real nice with Words of Wind , if you choose to run it.
2 months ago
Nice deck, Greven looks super fun. One thing to consider with Greven is that the cards that go best with him have multiple roles in the deck. Here are some suggestions. I'll try to give both budget and non-budget options.:
The Swords of X&Y work really well on Greven because they can make him basically unblockable alongside other bonuses.
Whispersilk Cloak is great on him since it truly does make him unblockable and gives him shroud. Most of your pumps are coming from creatures dying anyways so you won't have to target Greven much.
Basilisk Collar gives him lifelink to recoup some life loss, and ensures that both creatures blocking him die.
Fire Covenant says "wipe the enemies blockers AND kill target player (through commander damage)" at instant speed.
Ashes to Ashes does the same to a lesser extent
Heartless Hidetsugu powers up Greven to nearly one shot an opponent
Kokusho, the Evening Star powers up Greven, gains life, and further drains life from opponents.
Moonlight Bargain can now be used as card draw and a combat trick.
Bitterblossom produces blockers, sacrifice fodder, and life loss all in one.
There are a lot more that I could list off, but I didn't want to overwhelm you. Happy deck building!
2 months ago
Yo! Always nice to see a new Kess list... it's my go-to cEDH deck.
If you're digging for specific combo pieces, Plunge into Darkness is really good -- the problem is that it is often competing with Ad Nauseam for your life total. My Kess list runs Impulse over Plunge into Darkness because in Storm, I often don't need a specific card, but rather a specific kind of card; in Doomsday-style decks, in my experience your digging for exactly Demonic Consultation , Jace, Wielder of Mysteries or Laboratory Maniac . I think it's probably a good card to run, if only because it is very good as a top ten-twenty tutor.
Consider Doomsday . I don't have the concentration and/or the brainpower to make it work, but I understand that with enough of each it can be a one-card win.
Depending on your meta, I'd cut Stranglehold before Ashiok, Dream Render . Being three mana means Ashiok is not going to compete with Kess to be cast, and the graveyard exile effect is not a small plus.
I'm not sure Go for the Throat is good enough to merit inclusion in a cEDH deck. It's a limited one-for-one at best, and there are other cards you may want to consider running over it. Except against fat elf decks, you're not likely to face down a creature at a cEDH table with CMC more than four or five. (Note that this is my experience; if it isn't yours, feel free to ignore me). This means you're not going to be getting much of a mana-spent advantage. Also, in any EDH game you're facing down two or, more often, three opponents, meaning you're facing roughly two to three times the number of cards you have. So one-for-one's aren't usually going to be good enough; counterspells are different, in that they can break up combos and thus become effectively a 'several-for-one.' I love that you're running Fire Covenant , as it is a paragon of the x-for-one idea. Consider Ashes to Ashes , Pyroclasm , Rolling Earthquake , or even just Fact or Fiction to replace it.
I highly suggest bringing Dack Fayden out of the Maybeboard to the Mainboard. Strictly speaking, cEDH is more similar to Vintage than it is similar to any other magic format, and being able to nab someone else's Mana Crypt , Sol Ring or similar is a huge play. Also, the Faithless Looting every turn isn't exactly insignificant either.
Consider running Baral, Chief of Compliance . His discount effect is good with Intuition , Frantic Search or (if you choose to un-Maybeboard it) Remand , but more importantly his looting effect is useful for finding combo-pieces. Your list strikes me as being rather counter-heavy, and Baral makes your counterspells not only stop opponents, but actively help you as well.
Your deck's mana curve is very consistent and low. Consider including Sensei's Divining Top from the Maybeboard and then adding Counterbalance to the mix. I've obviously never played your specific list, but it looks like control is a significant element in what you're trying to do. Getting the counter-top combo going is a good way to control the game without worrying about losing the card-advantage war.
Good luck man! The list looks good overall!
2 months ago
The first thing I notice is that your mana rocks are less than ideal. The Talisman cycle is good, and I'm glad you included it; however, Chromatic Lantern is a questionable inclusion. You have a lot of non-basic lands to help your mana-fixing situation, and three-mana rocks are significantly worse than two-mana rocks. I think you'd be better off running Orzhov Signet , Mind Stone , Fellwar Stone or even Thought Vessel .
Gamble is an excellent tutor for any red deck, and I think you should strongly consider running it. Enlightened Tutor is expensive, but it'll help tutor up some of the curses you want to use. Similarly, Replenish is an expensive card, but it has a Second Sunrise effect without the requirement to cast it on the turn an opponent died. Academy Rector helps grab Overwhelming Splendor early.
I think Ancient Tomb is (almost) strictly better than Ancient Tomb . If you have access, you should try swapping them. Prismatic Vista is way better than Evolving Wilds , so you should run it if you can. Silent Clearing is good in addition to your Sunbaked Canyon . You have a bunch of double-colored-mana-costs; consider running Reflecting Pool as a sort of ETB untapped tri-land.
Card-draw/selection is at a premium in EDH. Consider Painful Truths , Night's Whisper , Read the Bones , Twilight Prophet and Faithless Looting . In all likelihood, your general and Phyrexian Arena will take care of most of your card draw; however, having a few other sources of card advantage is good.
Crackling Doom is a Mardu card I always liked -- it acts as a 3-for-1 in most games, and aims at the fattest creatures your opponents have. Fire Covenant , Ashes to Ashes and By Force are similar X-for-1s. Despark is an interesting removal spell, and may be great depending on your meta.
Blind Obedience is good as a source of life and as a stax piece. It hoses a lot of decks, including mine (I play artifact-based storm), and has generally impressed me.
Reanimation enchantments may be interesting with all your enchantment recursion. Being able to repeatedly cast Animate Dead , Dance of the Dead or Necromancy seems pretty good, especially if you have ETB or death-triggers on the creatures you target. Your Sun Titan and Bitterheart Witch are pretty good with the reanimation cards; adding Grave Titan or Massacre Wurm would make it better.
Alright. That's all from me. Good luck!
Ashes to Ashes occurrence in decks from the last year
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.01%