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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
|Pauper Duel Commander||Legal|
Creature — Elk
, Sacrifice Dawntreader Elk: Search your library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.
2 months ago
2 months ago
Have you thought about running more 1 drops that ramp? Llanowar Elves, Elvish Mystic, Fyndhorn Elves, Elves of Deep Shadow and even Birds of Paradise are all very good cards in most Meren decks. I also like Blood Pet and Dawntreader Elk. I even use Fertilid atm, probably could replace it with something better though. I feel like a Meren deck should be gaining as much XP as possible early game, if you can recycle a Sakura Tribe Elder (or similar card) a few times, you might have the most mana out as well as have respectable XP, so I feel like running lots of creatures that find lands and die on their own is a good choice. I run 30 lands in my Meren deck, and I made a point of testing how little fixing mattered in a deck like Meren, sure enough it's not remotely picky. It's 2 colours, and if you've got a heap of ways to use Green mana to get access to Black, you really only need as many Swamps as you expect to fetch out in a game. I think this is especially true if you decide to trim a few lands for 1 drop ramp creatures, you can't keep hands without Green, but can keep a hand without a Swamp just fine if you can find one via a ramp creature (or generate Black via one). Higher land count is better if you really expect to see lots of wipes (you should run Rise of the Dread Marn if that's true), but if players only run a few per deck you might not see one early enough to matter. More competitive decks tend to run fewer wipes (and more combos), but more counters/removal, since they don't usually want to lose their own board. If you're playing against fairly competitive (but not cEDH) opponents, I'd go with the dorks, if you play vs Casual decks, you might want the lands! Sorry if that's confusing, but hopefully it helps.
Ohran Frostfang is really good in grindier Meren decks. Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest is good if your deck consistently is sacrificing stuff (and even better if other people sacrifice stuff in your games). Fiend Artisan is a sac outlet that can tutor up creatures, and it can be big enough to swing with sometimes. Helm of Possession is a really sneaky old card that you don't see much, but it combines a sac outlet with a theft effect. It's a removal magnet, but it's a really strong and off-colour effect in Golgari. Coffin Queen is another weird old card that can reanimate stuff from any Graveyard, but it exiles it when it dies. This is normally bad for a combo deck, but in your build it might be fine. Old Stickfingers might be worth a look, very good at putting lots of creatures into your yard without dumping other cards you might want. Dawnstrider is a nice card if you play vs lots of attackers, this is a fog that won't use up your Meren reanimation, and it also lets you discard creatures to reanimate, so it has a pretty high ceiling in more casual Meren.
Cool deck, looks like lots of fun!
2 months ago
Neat build, very different from what I've tried to do with Meren. Just checking, but do you have 2 Merens in here? If you need a replacement, Dawntreader Elk is a pretty good way to ramp repeatedly with Meren's ability, which also builds up XP for you, and it's affordable.
2 months ago
Suggestions from someone who started from a total junk Meren deck in 2015, and through the years made it to a cEDH (check the playlist here if you want: Meren Surgical Toolbox [2K22]:
Way too many lands. Never seen any budget deck running almost half the deck on lands only. Consider adding cheap staple cards like Kodama's Reach, Cultivate, or something like Emergent Sequence, Greenseeker (it also discards you a creature that you can pick up with meren at the end of turn), Primal Growth (good sac outlet too), Dawntreader Elk, Deathsprout, Diligent Farmhand, Rampant Growth, and notable Yavimaya Elder. Consider also adding all the 1-mana elves, all of which sit around 0.10$. If you include all these changes you can easily remove 10 lands, and sit at 35 lands total.
Some cards you included are just downright bad, even for a budget deck. You can not only find cheaper but also better replacements for cards like Reprocess, Spider Spawning, Evincar's Justice, Zendikar's Roil. Some cards you have in your maybeboard, like Skullclamp or Buried Alive are much better options. Most definitely include Village Rites and Midnight Reaper for card draw, and Spore Frog for protection. Also Reclamation Sage
Your deck has a very high CMC, 4.05. For a golgari deck this is way too high, considering reaching at least 3.00.
More generally, have a look at EDHREC.com to see what cards best fit a budget Meren deck. No offense, but even as a budget your deck certainly needs much improvement. That is, assuming you don't run cards for their flavor or because you just like them. Then that's totally up to you.
2 months ago
Hi Afliss10! Welcome back to commander! Meren is a great commander and so much fun, but getting the right engine is critical to getting her to work right. The key is to fill it with low cmc, self-saccing creatures who can get you stuff, give Meren counters, and get recurred to do it again. You also want to run as many creatures as possible, since you can get them back, and play a dredge subtheme that will fill your graveyard with toys.
A good example of this would be how to ramp. I run Cultivate in many green decks, but not in Meren. Instead I ramp with Dawntreader Elk, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Yavimaya Elder (technically not ramp, but you won't miss land drops), Burnished Hart and the like. These cards sacrifice themselves to get you lands and Meren counters. Then you can bring them back with Meren and do it again to get lots of lands.
It's also great to run dredge cards since you can fill your graveyard with cards and pick what you want with Meren, functionally improving your draw. Golgari Grave-Troll, Stinkweed Imp, Dakmor Salvage, and Life from the Loam fill your yard with good cards to recur.
You have some great cards in here, but some would be better in other decks. I think if you can get your engine moving here by focusing the deck more you'll have a lot more fun with the fun cards! My deck is here for reference- Recycling for Profit: Dedgin' the Fill with Meren. I've been playing it for almost five years now and its a monster of a deck! One of these days I'll get around to writing one of my elaborate primers on it, but I haven't got there yet! I've also been advising another Meren player here- Cheat Death. There are a lot more suggestions from myself and other players there as well. Please feel free to ask any other questions that you have and I will do my best to help!
3 months ago
I agree with Guerric, look for small creatures with useful effects that sacrifice themselves or can sacrifice another creature with low or no cost. You probably want to be recuring stuff for it's ETB or death trigger. For a few specifics, I think you probably want to look into cards that are similar to Sakura-Tribe Elder, I run that, Dawntreader Elk, Diligent Farmhand, Yavimaya Granger, Fertilid and even Blood Pet to have lots of creatures I can use to ramp repeatedly with. Blood Pet is a bit worse at ramping, but it's one of the better XP sources, alongside Spore Frog by being a 1 drop that can sacrifice itself. You can also run cards like Wood Elves and Farhaven Elf, but these are not as good because they can't sacrifice themselves. With those self-sacrificing rampers, you can easily outramp almost any deck, and the deck likely 'needs' to hit only 3 lands to start working. Noting that I always need to have Green mana meant brutal cutbacks in my Swamp count, but since I run so many ways to find Swamps, I often can ramp out many before I win. If you use tons of Green Creature Ramp (which you should be IMHO), you will always need at least 1 Green Mana to get by, and Green mana can usually get you black on or before turn 4, so keep that in mind. I think you should try to cut out artifact and spell ramp in favour of creature ramp, and do similar with as many other effects as possible. I would strongly encourage you to look for creatures that can do what you need done. Caustic Caterpillar and Foundation Breaker coupled with tutoring should give you some removal options, there are tons more in Green that vary in value. If you have enough creatures, Lurking Predators becomes pretty solid, even you are cheating in small creatures, a 50 creature deck can cheat out 3 or 4 of them per cycle, which is not something other decks will enjoy. A final point, I love running several Plaguecrafter/Demon's Disciple cards, Meren recurring them feels incredibly pushed in some metas.
Nel Toth Community College and Round Table is my Meren build based on all that (it's more than your desired budget, but it's got lots of fluff alongside pretty cutthroat stuff). It also has a good win con you can throw into a full on Dredge deck: Haakon, Stromgald Scourge is a really good way to generate repeated recursion, since you can just recast any Knights in your graveyard. Ashes of the Fallen and Maskwood Nexus can both make everything a Knight, but if you've got 4-5 to work with, you'll probably do okay. If you have a limited budget, it'll probably not be able to go infinite, but Haakon with Aristocrats should squeeze people out. If you want to go infinite, the best cards that are close to your budget are Pitiless Plunderer and Ashnod's Altar. Both work wonders. If you do use Haakon, you'll want some discard outlets in the deck, fortunately there are lots of good discard outlets in Green and Black. My deck has a few of them in it, and due to the available tutors as well, I am almost never stuck.
3 months ago
Hi again peterbdude! Welcome to Meren! She rocks. I thought I'd put some suggestions and general guidance from my many years of playing her. Thankfully you can play a powerful Meren deck on a budget, so I'll try to avoid any splashy options.
To begin with, I've found that the most important thing is to lean into cards with the dredge ability (which is rated a 10 on Mark Rosewater's storm scale), play lots of self-saccing low cmc creatures that can help you stack counters and recur for profit, and to play as few non-creature spells as possible. Non-creature spells don't feel as good as it's tough to recur them once they are dredged into your graveyard, and you can't as easily repeat them for value. The best card in my deck is one that might push your budget just a little but is so good is Life from the Loam. I did used to play without it and it works, but it is really nice and if there were one more valuable card I'd recommend for the deck its this one, it just makes games so smooth its hard to overstate it. The other power card in this deck is Living Death, which combined with Syr Konrad, the Grim and some creatures on everyone's board will often win games. Recurring it with Eternal Witness can also put your opponents in a nasty lock.
The biggest problem I see so far with your build is just that there aren't many ways to put things into your graveyard. Dredgers like Golgari Thug, Golgari Grave-Troll, Stinkweed Imp, and Dakmor Salvage are critical build pieces, and cards like Underrealm Lich and Hermit Druid help a lot too, though the latter is probably on the top end of your budget. On top of this, you want a lot more low cmc self-saccing creatures. You are playing Caustic Caterpillar, which is great, but you want a lot more of this. Dawntreader Elk is like an extra copy of Sakura-Tribe Elder and is great, and there are a lot more like it which you can see in my deck here- Recycling for Profit: Dedgin' the Fill with Meren.
I do think you have a lot of fun cards in your deck and one of the great things about Meren is that she can be customized a lot to suit your own personal approach. The danger of Meren is simply in not having a good engine set up where you always have great targets to sacrifice and bring back to the battlefield each turn, and that happens when we don't have cards that can sac themselves and we don't have ways to dump more cards into our yard, and that is what I would work on tuning here! A lot of times it is the boring things and not the splashy cards that make the difference!
3 months ago
In my time playing Meren, I find that you can play her a lot of different ways, but one way of playing is XP farming, where you're actively trying to get your XP high enough to allow you to reanimate things like Sakura-Tribe Elder or Wood Elves (I run a lot of such creatures atm), then to reanimate Sidisi, Undead Vizier (you'll probably tutor for her) to repeatedly tutor until you're ready to reanimate Protean Hulk and win off of it. You can also reanimate things like Merciless Executioner or Ravenous Chupacabra when you need creature control, or Foundation Breaker/Caustic Caterpillar to hit non-creatures. If you find your creature count keeps creeping up, one of the best 'not quite cEDH' cards for really high creature count decks is Lurking Predators, which can cheat in an ungodly number of creatures if your count is high.
2 Steves I run that are probably most worth a look are Diligent Farmhand, the slightly worse, and Dawntreader Elk the slightly better. Both can generate XP for Meren, both can help get her out early, and both can be used to ramp immediately after you get Meren out. I greatly dislike running non-creature Ramp in Meren, because it's such a huge upside to be able to recur them potentially, or just sacrifice them for value. I can't really sac a Golgari Signet to help Meren reanimate Protean Hulk, but I can use Blood Pet to get Meren out early and make sure I'm gaining XP right away.
I think if you're on Mikaeus, you might want to look at Walking Ballista, it's just a better Triskelion option that Protean Hulk can find at the same time as Mikaeus and win without further resources. This is a cEDH win con I'd argue, but people play it elsewhere I've noticed. Good if you want to increase the power of your deck. A really, really funny reanimation card is Demon of Dark Schemes, a card that is somewhere between very good and excellent. It wipes small stuff, and it can be used to infinitely reanimate creatures potentially, especially if you have something like Mitotic Slime and a Pitiless Plunderer, or a Gravecrawler, or in a pinch Haakon, Stromgald Scourge can generate energy for the Demon to win for you.
I think you should take a look at Callous Bloodmage to either generate card advantage or remove graveyards, it's a really reasonable creature that is almost never a completely dead card. If you can infinite reanimate it somehow, it's potentially infinite life, card draw and tokens.
Two tutors I really like in Meren are Jarad's Orders and Final Parting, both on the clunky side, but both very, very pushed in their own way. While they aren't quite Buried Alive, they can be better if you need a card in hand. Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire is a so-so option, mostly useful because you can politic people sometimes (you make them tutor for an answer to something, which they have to cast and you also benefit from). Fiend Artisan is a 'busted as heck' tutor in most metas, combining a sac outlet with the ability to find whatever creature you want. This works very well with those Sakura Tribe Elder like creatures, because you can quickly get to the point where you can cheat out a Protean Hulk and win.
Vraska, Golgari Queen is a reasonable card if you're light on sac outlets, want more card draw, and want slightly more access to removal (her minus is pretty decent, most competitive environments feature mostly low MV stuff). If you don't want that entire package, you should look for something that excels at what you need instead.
Cool build, Nel Toth Community College and Round Table is my Meren deck if you want to see a more creature driven Meren build, where I've gone out of my way to shave non-creature versions out for creature versions of almost everything.