Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Creature — Zombie

When Gray Merchant of Asphodel enters the battlefield, each opponent loses X life, where X is your devotion to black. You gain life equal to the life lost this way. (Each in the mana costs of permanents you control counts towards your devotion to black.)

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Printings View all

Set Rarity
Mystery Booster: Store Edition (MYSTOR) Common
Theros Beyond Death (THB) Uncommon
Mystery Booster: Convention Edition (MYSCON) Common
Commander 2014 (C14) Common
Theros (THS) Common

Combos Browse all

Legality

Format Legality
Pre-release Legal
Tiny Leaders Legal
Frontier Legal
Vintage Legal
Penny Dreadful Legal
Pioneer Legal
Commander / EDH Legal
Noble Legal
Hero Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Brawl Legal
Block Constructed Legal
Standard Legal
Historic Legal
Arena Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
MTGO Legal
Vanguard Legal
Leviathan Legal
Planechase Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Unformat Legal
Modern Legal
Pauper Legal
Pauper EDH Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Casual Legal
Oathbreaker Legal

Gray Merchant of Asphodel occurrence in decks from the last year

Modern:

All decks: 0.05%

Black: 7.19%

Commander / EDH:

All decks: 0.07%

Black: 1.26%

Golgari: 0.23%

Rakdos: 0.41%

Gray Merchant of Asphodel Discussion

GenesisOdin on Yarok and multiple ETBs

4 days ago

Is your win-con just smash face with Rhonas/Hoof ETB?

If so, Hoof isn't going to be super great in the current list, it really shines in a deck that floods the field with tokens and your list is more about playing a few big threats. If you are dead set on using Hoof, throw in some of the landfall token makers Rampaging Baloths and Avenger of Zendikar for example. Sporemound is another option.

Naru Meha, Master Wizard will go infinite with Ghostly Flicker, giving you infinite mana & ETB triggers.

Also, Gadwick, the Wizened is a slam dunk in Yarok lists. I'd replace Kefnet the Mindful with him.

Lotus Cobra is bonkers in Yarok as well, giving you explosive turns. Faerie Artisans will give you 4 of every ETB trigger your opponents have with Yarok out.

This list isn't black-devotion heavy, but if you find yourself moving towards more black permanents Gray Merchant of Asphodel is an easy win-con. In a similar vein, Ob Nixilis, the Fallen + Scapeshift will probably end most games without needing to rely on combat damage.

hkhssweiss on hkhssweiss

1 week ago

SirChris39 I would recommend adding in Twilight Prophet, usually with Orzhov decks they have a distinct lack of card advantage and any card advantage engine is useful. Even adding in a Phyrexian Arena or Necropotence would be very helpful.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel is also a good card in general for multiplayer, especially since there are some ways you can recur it back over and over again. Tymna the Weaver gives you additional card draw with all the spirit tokens you will be making. I am however curious to why you are running Painter's Servant, I see the synergy with OG Teysa, but is that all your using it for?

golgarigirl on Alesha Baby (BUDGET Commander)

1 week ago

@ Kalo_Wen

I have a lot more experience playing the non-budget deck, so here's how that usually goes as it may apply to both decks:

Early Game (turns 1-5): Dropping mana rocks, trying to set up at least one good reanimation target (either something that answers an immediate problem or to find fuel such as Mire Triton or Recruiter of the Guard) with cards like Entomb or Thrill of Possibility, running out defenses like Lightning Greaves, and getting Alesha out and attacking. Occasionally out-accelerate everyone with Burnished Hart.

Mid Game (turns 5-10): Try to recur fuel into either a more stacked graveyard or answers in-hand. We are usually not 'the threat' at this point, and you can usually engineer an attack by answering a problem, knowing the Fiend Hunter you use now to get damage in will come back to your benefit later when you need it most. Hold your non-creature answers until you absolutely need them. I also tend to be protective of sacrifice outlets, holding them until I need them as well, as my playgroup has grown wise to their importance. Baby Alesha will have more capability to go-wide and start pressuring on the ground here, since the non-budget build has sacrificed most of it's token compliment for more tutors and thus ability to really find answers. My playgroup plays a healthy amount of board clear, so there is often a lot of time spent re-building, something Alesha is very good at with a haste enabler in play.

Late Game (turn 11+): At this point we should be at or near a 1 vs 1. If not at that point, we decide which opponent is best for us to be at that point with and do our best to aid them (usually it's not a deck that is flat struggling, but not the strongest deck either...someone who can help us and perhaps draw the ire of the top deck, but one we can find the weakness of easily and utilize to cripple them at the right time). From there, the deck switches gears into aggro. Sometimes it's just whatever the deck has on-board at the moment, but Alesha can do a good Voltron impression with the right package, or even go full-on stompy with Mirror Entity + Resolute Blademaster.


At least in the non-budget build (and some of these are budget as well, but not necessarily in the budget decklist), the wincons I usually see are thus:

Most of the time the deck is going to win the long game through attrition. It's best not to become too early a threat unless you can really back it up (if you can go for the coveted Entomb + commander + Master of Cruelties on turn 3, we'd be remiss not to!). It is efficient at dealing with threats and re-using answers. Opponents are usually hesitant to kill the 'answers deck' (which is why I emphasize versatile and varied removal, especially if we can tutor or draw for it) too early in case someone has something they can't deal with it. One thing I aim for is to get into a 1 vs 1 situation...this deck, like any 'answers' deck, will be stronger the fewer opponents it has to worry about dealing with.

I try to keep easy infinite combos out of even the non-budget deck, but I can sideboard them in if a pod is more up to it. Reveillark + Karmic Guide + Gray Merchant of Asphodel/Blood Artist and friends + sac outlet of your choice is a pretty budget combo that is a pain to disrupt and I would happily use to kick it up a gear or two if I felt I needed to (and, with proper tutors and outlets, could start happening turn 4-5). Lark and Guide do pretty silly things with a lot of cards, as any Black/White aristocrats deck will happily show you. Karmic Guide itself is responsible for a lot of victories, just in the sheer amount of things it can chain reanimate with an Alesha activation. Or just carrying a piece of equipment against a black deck. Other card advantage engines and Recruiters are the subtle all-stars of the non-budget deck.

A beatdown end-game is often where it goes from here. Overrun victory with Mirror Entity + Resolute Blademaster is reliable if you need more than just your current board. Mirror Entity activation is instant speed, so you can tailor your mana use for what you need. The budget deck is actually better at this wincon in theory, as it has a larger token package to spread the damage wider or push the damage harder if needed. Voltron with some offensive equipments, even on Alesha herself, is often good enough to get us there. If nothing else, an army of demons off of Priest of the Blood Rite or just any large beaters are fine.

Red_X on Mono-Black ETB

3 weeks ago

This would be an example of one of the best midrange decks in Modern right now, Jund: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/archetype/modern-jund-46470#paper

A midrange deck wants to have the strongest cards at each point on the mana curve, and wins by having cards that are just better than your opponents. In the case of Jund, your mono red opponent's Monastery Swiftspear gets embarrassed by Tarmagoyf, and Wrenn and Six is a whole lot better than something like Snapcaster Mage from azorious control.

Now, as for changes, I will tell you what I would do, but you can take only some of the suggestions and make the deck your own.

First, remove anything that costs 5 or more mana except possibly Gray Merchant of Asphodel, along with all of your ramp or land search cards like Armillary Sphere and Cabal Stronghold. You want to put on pressure early and destroy your opponent's creatures, and you can't do that if you are spending mana trying to ramp or have big creatures stuck in your hand.

Second, remove all of the artifacts you have left, with the possible exception of Panharmonicon. Panharmonicon is really fun and I would up it to 3 copies if you really want to go all out on the ETB abilities, but just know that it won't be the most competitive. The rest of your artifacts are really only good when you're already winning, and the majority of the time they would be better as another creature or a piece of disruption.

Third, remove some of your weaker creatures. Fourth Bridge Prowler is decent if your local scene has a lot of decks like spirits and bant snowblade where decks have a lot of creatures with one toughness, but it's a lot weaker if your opponent's are playing big creatures or no creatures at all. Burglar Rat and Yarok's Fenlurker are often weaker than Brain Maggot or Kitesail Freebooter since opponent's can choose the weakest card in their hand to give up with your current line up, but with a switch you get to choose what to get rid of (Yes, they get their card back if your creature dies, but they generally have to use a removal spell on a 1/2 creature and don't get to play their card as early as possible, so you end up ahead). If you decide to play a lot of those, Wasteland Strangler can be a cheaper Skinrender and prevent your opponent from getting those cards back when your disruption dies. Quag Vampires is never an impressive card, and Cauldron Haze is really awkward to play because you really want to be using all of your mana each turn to deploy threats, and you very rarely will have 2 mana open, haze in hand, and not want it to be removal or disruption.

Fourth, add more disruption and removal. Cards like Inquisition of Kozilek and Victim of the night will help supplement your creatures ETBs by either being cheaper or at instant speed. Disruption is essential against control and combo decks so that you can get rid of sweepers like Supreme Verdict, win conditions like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria, or their combo spell like ad nauseum. Removal is required to deal with creatures from aggro and midrange, along with big beaters like Primeval Titan in big mana decks (Tron, Amulet Titan, etc.)

Finally, play multiples of the stronger cards, go up to at least 23 lands, and fill out the rest of the deck with meta game cards. Wrench Mind and Despoiler of Souls can be solid against control, Gifted Aetherborn and Nyxathid are good against aggro, and things like Sign in Blood and Pack Rat give the edge in midrange matches. Pick whichever ones best address your local meta/ you like the best, and then you'll use your sideboard to cover other matches.

You'll also want a sideboard if you're actually playing at a local tournament, but start with the main deck first to figure out what you actually need to sideboard for.

A couple of additional resources: For figuring out how many lands: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/articles/brewer-s-minute-how-many-lands. For a more in depth explanation of Mid range decks: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/how-build/how-build-midrange-2017-02-07

Finally, if you're looking for ideas, just google " modern mono-black midrange budget" and you'll find a decent number of options.

I hope this helps.

DRmagic2017 on Sucking the life out of MTGA

4 weeks ago

Nightmare Shepherd would be a nice addition too. I won a lot of matches combining this card with Gray Merchant of Asphodel.

DrukenReaps on how tin with as blink ...

1 month ago

Depends entirely on what you are blinking. Aminatou, the Fateshifter might run Magister Sphinx and Gray Merchant of Asphodel as win cons. Roon of the Hidden Realm will probably do it with Avenger of Zendikar or Craterhoof Behemoth. It all comes down to the colors of your blink deck and these are far from the only possibilities.

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