Return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield.
Flashback—Sacrifice three creatures. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)
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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Latest Decks as Commander
Dread Return Discussion
1 week ago
This was hard, extremely so: this was very nearly sixteen commanders. Black is well-suited to stand alone, and there are so, so many good choices that I’ve developed a newfound respect for anyone who tries to top ten black. This is almost my favorite color, and while it may be limited in dealing with anything not a creature, graveyard, or a card in hand, good GOD can it deal. All the tutors, all the kill spells, creatures of the night, what music… Sorry, it’s easy to go full Dracula in this area of the pie. In summary, I’ve a lot more to say on this subject than the colors we’ve already covered. However, as always in this project, the point is to celebrate three thematic elements, not drool over all the ludicrous power in this necrotic slice of the pie. Today we’re limiting ourselves to three pervading archetypes: life, death, and graveyard manipulation.
White is a respectable powerhouse in this arena, but black takes center stage with undeniably better style. Whereas white just gains it, playing black means treating your life total as just one more resource to use, abuse, and exploit. Vampirism, folks, and not the glittery sort either. Cruel, properly thirsty vampirism, all about chugging opponents like cheap beer. And if you enjoy masochistic chicaneries that trade life for cards, removal, mana, and eventually victory, look no further.
This guy. This glorious, ludicrous guy. General damage? Check. Lifelink? Check. Game-warping mechanic? Great big ol’ hissing, honking, ball-biting check. A peak, high performance example of boom/bust gameplay. Just be sure to draw as many cards as you can and pray that you find quality lifegain to patch the holes you’ll be blowing in yourself.
Here’s the thing: in mono-black, whenever you gain life it’s at someone else’s expense. An effect that doubles said expense? Please and thank you. board wide Lifelink? Also yes. Throw down some grunts, swipe right, and watch your peanut gallery of jerks like the Blood Artist heckle opponents to death.
You know what’s a great defense, command damage notwithstanding? A huge life total. This is partly why red struggles in EDH: hard to beat down someone with piles of life and a few choice defensive options. In some ways it’s just as hard to vampire them to death. You know who doesn’t care? Erebos. Old Erebos is singularly unimpressed by new Heliod’s jank, and happy to sweeten the deal with reliable draw for a modest fee of mana and life.
The past few years have seen respectable creature removal cropping up even in blue and green. White has oodles of fantastic board wipes, and red can hose everything down with direct damage. But compared to black, they’re all posers. Shrinking creatures, sacrifice and discard are all primarily black stables. Toxic Deluge laughs at your indestructible legions. Grave Pact is amused by your shroud, and will bury you in it. This is the color of Go for the Throat , Diabolic Edict , and Tragic Slip . When black comes for your minions, you better have a mountain of solutions, otherwise the only way to save said minions is to take them off the field yourself.
Spoiler alert: three of the Kamigawa ascendants are going to feature in these articles, and Kuon is the meanest (since the blue one got banned, anyway). I speak from gleefully shameless experience here. For the low, low price of three creatures and a modest downpayment of another every turn, black sacrifice stax can be yours. Add fun things like Magus of the Abyss , Dread Return , and Fleshbag Marauder and all his rude, rude cousins. Trust me on this: Kuon is, if you’ll pardon the pun, enchantingly nasty.
Very few things like boardwipes. However, provided they’ve had a snack first, Yahenni likes them just fine. An affordable commander with a sac outlet (indestructibility on a stick :D) who actively rewards slaughtering anything that could block? Sold! Throw in Fallen Ideal . You won’t be sorry.
In my last article I referred to blue as the heavyweight champion of yoink, but that’s not to say there aren’t other colors in the ring. Forcing opponents to sacrifice creatures and discard cards are both black staples, and boy howdy does Tergrid reward such misbehavior (though the adorable Tinybones, Trinket Thief may be more a discard fiend's speed). If tokens aren’t in the local meta, this will change that.
Green shares a bit of this glory: there’s a pervasive theme in green of both exiling and returning cards to the hand from there. BUT… Black is still the unequivocal graveyard color, leaving the charge in both filling and emptying it, especially of creatures and onto the field. Bojuka Bog . Animate Dead . Living Death . Green may have some good tricks here, but few so dirty as an Entomb followed by Reanimate . So, so dirty. I saw it only once, but it was a turn two Terastodon . Once was enough.
Reanimator decks got you down? Here’s a bone, friends. Stealing your opponent’s guys is one thing. Exiling said guys when their owners wipe your stolen board is another. Chainer doesn’t like choices. Chainer likes it all. And Chainer, above all else, loves to break your opponent’s heads with their own toys.
Convinced I like Kamigawa yet? I used to play this janky beast in a standard spirit deck. These days, my thoughts run first to a big pile of Shadowborn Apostle and assorted demons, but that’s just the easy first on the list of tricksy things up Shirei’s sleeve. Again, Blood Artist and friends. Again, deeply unhappy opponents.
Here’s horror for you. Anyone who doesn’t admit to a healthy bout of nervousness when this guy hits the field is a liar (or playing Orbs of Warding . Coming or going, yours or theirs, killed or milled or discarded, if the graveyard is involved then the good syr gets his ping. Have yourself a time with any number of silly combos and tactics: your opponents are guaranteed a Tortured Existence .
And, for my personal favorite...
I ran Marrow-Gnawer for a time, but offloaded it when I realized that I was bored by the deck. A few years later I built Kuon, who quickly became infamous in my playgroup. However, aspects of the deck that I particularly enjoyed were better served when I switched to this villainous wench. With a decent draw effect (especially with Thornbite Staff ) and an imminently breakable ping engine, Ayara is BRUTAL with proper support. Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder . Army of the Damned . And the game-winning monstrosity itself, Plague of Vermin . Revel in countless bodies to exploit as only black can and watch your opponents die of Ayara’s approval.
That's it for this round. Thoughts and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed it, and will come back next week for Red!
1 month ago
Yeah, if you read up in the comments I talk about vulnerabilities with this build (with ANY M:tG build really) in that if you've got a deck centered around countering your win strategy, it will no doubt throw off win/loss records.
If you're playtesting a speed dredge deck against a deck that's just loaded with cheap creature removals and GY exile...then I have no surprise whatsoever that you're having issues and swapping in Entomb will not help you.
In practice, I've found 1 or 2 decks that can give this deck a run for its money by slowing it down, but if you've got a deck that can not only A) Keep annihilators off the board, B) Offer cheap repeatable GY exile options, and C) Do both A and B while STILL having enough firepower left to mount a sufficient attack to win (not just slow the Dredge strategy down by a few turns), then you're likely playing a Budget Deck vs a Power Deck - and yeah sometimes that'll happen.
This build did remarkably well for me in FNM games at the card shop before the pandemic. When you're dealing with lots of other builds, against opponents who aren't necessarily familiar with the build, then it fares pretty amazingly I've found.
You mention a bad starting hand and I can't help but wonder if you're just not using the strategies properly. For one, with 5-card "Gold Hands", your odds of having NOTHING (like not even a step) towards your combo are exceedingly low. Beyond that, any creature removal that isn't direct Exile (like Swords to Plowshares or w/e) is only slowing the build down. I agree that forced creature sacrifice can be annoying, but this build also has loads of cards to return things out (also Not of This World for anything that targets an annihilator).
It sounds like you're either playing against one of the few deck types that can actually contend with this deck's strategy (more just by lucking into early board/GY control rather than by applying its own combos) or that you simply haven't run enough test games to get an effective baseline.
It's difficult for me to say which is the case w/o looking at the Deck you're referring to giving it problems, but even with 4x Withered Wretch in a build, my construction has statistically a much larger chance of being able to pull off the combo since I have multiple versions of each card that can be used to achieve it (3 different annihilator creatures, all 4x; and 2 different GY-to-Play options, Dread Return at 3x (which can be re-used for free from GY using weenie discard creatures) and Exhume at 4x.
I'm not trying to call you out or anything like that, but I really struggle to see how a deck not specifically designed to counter this one's combo can regularly keep up game after game.
1 month ago
This is a budget build as a concept deck, so I intentionally stayed away from high-dollar cards. In actual practice, I don't see many high-dollar cards that offer as good or as reliable an option as my current selections - with the exemption of Entomb . Entomb would be a stupid good fit here, but ordering a playset of those is easily equal (if not more) than the entire cost of the rest of the deck. Reanimate could fall into the same category, if you're not playing in a group where Mill decks or Discard decks are common, you might see better use out of this in place of Dread Return , but my main consideration with it is the budget not its functionality. Functionally it's beautiful, I just feel it opens the deck up to a wider audience using budget cards, and with Dread Return usable for zero mana from the GY (can discard it via a discard outlet creature, then sacrifice 3x low-mana weenie creatures to cast it). This can sometimes be useful if you want to say, pump up your vampires with Stromkirk Condemned , attack, and end the turn by sacrificing the vamps and pulling an Annihilator from the GY to set up the next turn.
As for the creatures, there's a lot of high-power creatures you can pick from if budget is no issue. Honestly though even something like Iona doesn't seem as reliable to me (not to suggest it's a bad choice either). Some of it is playgroup dependent, but in Legacy especially with a lot of the newer sets, Colorless stuff isn't unheard of. There's really no workaround an opponent can muster for Annihilator creatures, since even if something on their side has protection, it's a sacrifice not a targeted ability -- and also the main consideration for early board control, those other creatures cannot affect Lands.
These Annihilator creatures can usually cause an opponent to start losing at LEAST 1 land per attack phase, especially if you get them out early enough before they can cast too many things. There's not much coming back from a deck that's causing you to sacrifice your own lands on Turn 3 or 4 - hell, forced land sacrifice is even a workaround for high-dollar stuff like Cascading Cataracts and Lotus Field since the Indestructible/Hexproof effects are worthless against sacrifice.
1 month ago
Not especially, no. I mean, in lieu of having other cards in my build it could work, but it's nowhere near as mana-efficient as my current Discard/Dredge combo(s).
Nevertheless, I enjoy the card immensely just because Exodus has a lot of nostalgic cards. Back in the era when it was new, Recurring could be seriously OP, but anymore there's far quicker/better ways of achieving this effect in my opinion.
Figure, especially with this deck, you'd be using the effect on Recurring Nightmare the same turn it enters play (if you're aiming for optimal efficiency with this build), so it's effectively a 3-mana GY-to-Play option.
Mana-wise that isn't awful, but Exhume is only 2CMC and Dread Return while being 4CMC is included because it can be cast from the GY for zero mana (just the weenie creature costs). Also, I've got a playgroup where Enchantment Hate isn't all that uncommon, so I don't see a ton of benefit of using it here. Consequently, this is also why I have Animate Dead sideboarded instead of in the Main Deck; one Light of Hope (or similar card) and it's trouble. In practice Enchantments with this build just haven't been reliable.
Give it a try though! If it works out I'd be curious to hear how it went. I'm always curious to hear about variants on my build here!
2 months ago
This deck is a really cool concept, but i feel like it might more efficient as a reanimator deck. Like you can get him into the graveyard with tutors Buried Alive Gravebreaker Lamia Entomb , or just by drawing and discarding aggressively with Cathartic Reunion , Chart a Course , Faithless Looting etc. Then once you got him in your graveyard you can just Bond of Revival , Body Double , Dread Return , Exhume , Victimize . cause as of now he costs 8 mana and only one other card is gonna be able to cascade into him so either 8 mana or 10 mana which is a lot of mana right. in terms of the fling plan thats awesome, you can even replace a land with Kazuul's Fury Flip, and even add Chandra's Ignition for that fiery finish too
2 months ago
Looks like a fun starter commander! Black White lifegain is a definite fun archtype to build, maybe work up towards something like Karlov of the Ghost Council or Oloro, Ageless Ascetic ! I know starting out budget is important as you don't want to invest in cards you might not like, so I've made the recommendations with that in mind!
Spirit Loop seems like it could have a home in your deck, as it's a consistent 2cmc spell that you can keep casting and getting back to trigger your commander.
Well of Lost Dreams Dawn of Hope Cosmos Elixir Are all sources of card draw that synergize with your lifegain gameplan! Your commander's colors are notoriously known for lacking card draw and ramp, so these might help keep you in the game!
Blind Obedience seems perfect for your deck!
Lurrus of the Dream-Den offers consistent recursion and allows you to cast lower cmc permanents. Kami of False Hope could also pair with this really well, as it's basically a fog effect that you can cast for cheap over and over!
In your current list, it appears a little removal light (which to be fair is meta dependent). since you're playing white, you have access to cards like Darksteel Mutation and Reprobation , which can be a headache for your opponents to deal with if you enchant their commander. Also Victimize is a great catchall removal spell.
For cuts, I'd recommend evaluating your cards in terms of whether they actively win the game or help you do what you want. In your current list Fortified Rampart I've found to be underwhelming and doesn't further your gameplan. I'd also recommend replacing the following: Star-Crowned Stag Skeleton Archer Reaper of Night Kor Scythemaster Inspiring Captain Hailstorm Valkyrie Gargoyle Sentinel Fiend Binder Angel of the Dawn Courier Griffin Silverflame Ritual Chaplain's Blessing Splendid Agony Djeru's Renunciation Sinister Possession .
That being said, it can sometimes be fun just trying your best with whatever cards are lying around! Hopefully the suggestions can give your deck a little pep!
2 months ago
I'm getting the odd feeling that is getting better at old-school Reanimator decks than , especially in Modern. A lot of key cards are either banned in Modern, or too old to use outside of Legacy or Commander. Recently, it's been getting stuff like Back for More , Return Upon the Tide , and Nissa of Shadowed Boughs ( is trying to be a support color). Yeah, Goryo's Vengeance is still around, but when was the last time it was used for anything but Griselbrand ? Unburial Rites is easier to cast for from the graveyard than from the hand.
Now, I haven't actually seen a competitive dump-and-revive Reanimator deck since Dread Return , Golgari Grave-Troll , and Bridge from Below all went away, and losing Faithless Looting didn't help either. But there's a lot of recent cards trying to do that, and I'm wondering if Mardu or even Boros will be the first to crack the code.
2 months ago
elijahhagler In current Cedh meta karodoor needs to be stax commander. With creature based combos. And for hermi combo u play too many basics it to work :D. If you would play 0-1 lands you could win allmost everytime you activate hermi boy. (Trsikelion and phyrexian devour combo) This could be a go to combo because it goes off early or late. And if you control enough stax your opponents can't even deal with it. Combo goes like: need 2-3 any creature on board. Activate hermi boy, mill allcards from library (If u go with 0 basics) activate Dread Return flasback sacing the 3 creatures on battlefield. Reanimate Phyrexian Devourer and target Triskelion and you got infi dmg loop. Very common combo but works with hermiboy. The 2-3 creatures is that you can play like Bloodghast and return it from your grave if you still have land play. For jhoira any stax that lets player on cast 1 spell turn, Draw 1 card each turn and pretty devastating and usually dosen't hurt your gameplan. But I think Abzan is still 1,5 tier commander. Just need right pieces for your meta. I have have scrabbed this deck long ago so this list is soo old. This doesn't even have new best card for stax Drannith Magistrate , this card alone destroys Cedh decks. And with your commander recursing this fellow should not be a problem. Jhoira without Jhoira is nothing. My CEDH in current time is my Golos deck GOLOS Cedh 1 thing that might not be fun palying abzan now is. You need to mulligan to have Either 2 stax pieces, turn 2-3 win or removal for ther players commanders if Cedh or even in high power group.