Imperial Seal

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Legality

Format Legality
1v1 Commander Legal
Archenemy Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal
Commander: Rule 0 Legal
Custom Legal
Dandan Legal
Highlander Legal
Judge's Tower Legal
Leviathan Legal
Limited Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Planechase Legal
Quest Magic Legal
Tiny Leaders Legal
Vanguard Legal
Vintage Legal

Imperial Seal

Sorcery

Search your library for a card, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it. You lose 2 life.

rckclimber777 on Build a Deck with Me …

2 weeks ago

Sometimes when I'm deckbuilding, I focus less on the commander and more on an interesting concept/combo that I want to use or exploit. This is the case with one of my favorite decks in my profile and actually one of the first commander decks I ever built. This deck began years ago when Magic finally started caring about the EDH format. It was a more simple time then, Rhystic study was $1.27 (exactly the price I paid for mine over 10 years ago), Cyclonic Rift was a bulk rare, and demonic tutor could be found for $10.

The combo that I was interested in was Palinchron and Deadeye Navigator. The latter was my favorite card at the time and is still one of my favorites. It was a great tool and with all the ETB effects that were out around then it was an underrated and uber powerful card. In fact, the entire blink mechanic was and is a very powerful strategy.

When I built this deck, I played a few times in shops and was quickly told that edh is a casual format and interaction of any kind is not fair (was told this by a land destruction deck...) So this deck is definitely more on the competitive side, but it would be the distant fringe of cedh. Alright with that let's get into it.

Initial thoughts

So we have a combo that we like Palinchron and Deadeye Navigator, but we don't even have a commander yet and going mono-blue seems not great, so we want to figure out what color(s) to add and what commander to choose. In a combo deck, there are generally three things that I like to make sure I include beyond the normal ramp, and card draw. That is redundancy, the ability to tutor up my combo pieces, and ways to protect my combo. So when thinking about tutoring up my combo pieces, I generally like to have the best tutors. Those are in black. So things like Wishclaw Talisman, Demonic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor and Imperial Seal (if you have money to burn or your playgroup is fine with you proxying the best cards so you can obliterate their precons j/k I proxy all my expensive cards and put them in a binder in case someone has an issue).

So we have Blue and Black and we can certainly add another color if we wanted to, but at the time I liked Dralnu, Lich Lord because Snapcaster Mage was in standard and flashback was cool. So I stuck with it when I revamped it, but decided that I wanted something that could ensure I can protect my combo from any threat and then also use it to win if I wanted to. The answer came in the form of Ertai Resurrected. He can counter basically anything from spells to activated abilities (which will come in handy) or he can take a threat on the field at the cost of letting your opponent draw a card.

So now that we have our commander, how to build the deck?

Redundancy

Combo decks need redundancy. If you don't get your two cards or one of them gets exiled, you need a backup plan, or scooping is your only option. Fortunately, there are some great redundancies here. We have Ghostly Flicker and Displace. Both of these will blink your creatures (ghostly flicker will also blink artifacts). Displacer Kitten can be helpful too, but I don't own it and it is a little more chaotic than I need it to be. Palinchron is great because you can return it to your hand and potentially play it again and create infinite mana through the use of High Tide, but a similar combo that has added benefits is Peregrine Drake, Archaeomancer, and Ghostly Flicker. This bounces both the drake and the archaeomancer untapping 5 lands, and returning ghostly flicker to your hand. Rinse and repeat for infinite mana. Archaeomancer also will help in returning key counterspells and tutors to your hand. Nothing like doing double duty. Mnemonic Wall and Great Whale also fit here. The great thing about this combo is that each component is useful in and of itself. Bring out your Great Whale early untap some lands and do some other stuff or play out the rest of your combo with the untapped lands. Cast Archaeomancer to grab a used tutor for another combo piece.

One note here, if you get Peregrine Drake (or one of the other two) paired with Deadeye Navigator and you generate infinite mana you can now draw your deck with Ertai as commander: Step 1: Bounce Deadeye, when he enters don't soulbond with anyone.
Step 2: Cast Ertai, don't choose anything or if you want kill one of your opponent's creatures. It doesn't matter.
Step 3: Soulbond ertai and deadeye. Step 4: Bounce Deadeye and while that is on the stack bounce Ertai. Step 5: Ertai enters the battlefield counter the Deadeye bounce on the stack Draw a card Step 6: Soulbond ertai and deadeye again rinse and repeat. Draw as many cards as you need. Which means draw until you find your wincon.

Wincon

Since this is an infinite mana combo we need something to use all that mana. Obviously the activated ability on deadeye is great, but we need something to actually win with. I went with Commander's Insight and Blue Sun's Zenith. Both of these cards are useful even when they aren't being used to force your opponents to draw their cards. Blue Sun's Zenith works nicely because once you cast it goes back into your deck, which I showed above you can draw as many cards as you need so you cast it once, put it in your library draw again until you find it, cast it again on the next opponent, then again. You can also tutor them up or bring them back from the graveyard with the tutors or the archaeomancer/mnemonic wall from earlier. I like this more than straight damage, because if you don't have infinite mana these cards will still draw you cards.

Tutors

This is a fairly simple step, we need some good tutors. There are a number of good choices in black so I won't belabor that too much. I don't have some of the standard ones and feel like the deck performs fine with the ones it currently has. I do have a Tribute Mage in the deck because nearly all my mana rocks are 2 mana and so is Wishclaw Talisman. I found that the consistency with the deck is vastly improved by being able to tutor up my ramp. Also with deadeye I can bounce it multiple times and get more rocks or the talisman.

Protecting the combo

So I needed to figure out how to protect my combo and do so in a way that is flexible or can be used as needed. So Counterspell. Honestly, this part was fairly simple, most blue counter magic is here. Only reason Fierce Guardianship isn't here is because I don't have it. Other than that we have the typical cards here Force of Will, Mana Drain, Cyclonic Rift, Force of Negation, Pact of Negation, etc.

I also have a couple other standouts. Venser, Shaper Savant is great here as it can be bounced with Deadeye Navigator to essentially boomerang my opponent's board and all their spells. Ertai Resurrected also protects the combo and with deadeye becomes a nice repeatable counter/removal spell.

glen_elandra_archmage can be bounced when she has her -1/-1 counter allowing her to be used again and again to counter noncreature spells.

Typical stuff

There is a lot of ramp in the deck, so Mana Crypt, Sol Ring, and other mana rocks including some larger ones like Gilded Lotus and Basalt Monolith to really get the ramp going, the sooner you can get to 7-8 mana the sooner you can combo out.

For card draw some key performers here are Rhystic Study, Black Market Connections, Phyrexian Arena, The One Ring. Mystic Remora. In my initial hand I want to have 3 lands, and one of these/tutor to find one or I typically mulligan.

Special notes

A couple other cards deserve mention here. Time Stretch and Time Warp. These are both repeatable with Archaeomancer and Mnemonic Wall and I can honestly say that if I'm able to resolve either of these, it is unlikely that I'm going to lose, especially Time Stretch. With the ramp in the deck or a well timed Dark Ritual/High Tide I can play this fairly early and get a huge advantage.

Lands

Since this deck tends to be fast, you don't want lands that come into play tapped, so this deck uses fetch lands, shock lands, and duals that have the ability to come in untapped. (there are a couple that come into play tapped, but they are fetchable so I fetch them only when I know that I'm not going to be able to use the mana and only on an opponent's turn.)

I've had this deck for a while and it performs far better than any of my other decks. It always presents interesting lines that if followed will lead to surprising victories. As always let me know what you think in the comments and if you have a commander in mind that you want to see me build put it in the chat.

Here is the final decklist: Unlimited Power!

Profet93 on Visions of Erebos

3 months ago

Sheoldred, the Apocalypse - Offsets commander lifeloss, great against blue/draw decks. Deathtouch is nice. Synergy with Peer into the Abyss (which also goes well with underworld dreams).

MAYBE Heartstone? - I'm unsure if this works with your commander only if he's a creature or even if he's just an enchantment.

Cabal Coffers - Ramp. Cabal Stronghold is more budget.

Deserted Temple - Untap coffers + politics

MAYBE Rings of Brighthearth - Copy commander ability without paying life. Also Coffers + Deserted temple + rings = . Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - Makes you need less swamps but is not budget (or needed, but helpful).

Imp's Mischief - "Counter" counterspells while redirecting targeted removal, extra turns and draw.

Necropotence - Draw

I am unsure what your wincon is, beatdown? You lose a lot of life with your commander's ability. Perhaps a The Meathook Massacre could help as a wipe + lifegain effect?

Diabolic Tutor/Beseech the Queen/Beseech the Mirror. Tutors are black's biggest strength, utilize it for consistency.

Alhammarret's Archive - Extra draw

Black's 3rd biggest strength is massive mana. Aside from coffers, Crypt Ghast, Nirkana Revenant, Caged Sun, Gauntlet of Power

Once you determine your wincon, you can start to mold the deck to achieving that goal.

EDIT: Removed the non-budget options

legendofa on Rat Colony hub

4 months ago

sergiodelrio I'm also avoiding loose and vague hubs names. They get used incorrectly or are broad to the point of all-inclusive.

Vague hub names have caused problems in the past. One hub in particular (Team America, now inactive) was being used for the wrong decks entirely. It's a Legacy tempo shell from 2008-2009, but was being treated as a synonym for any Jeskai deck, which is about as far away from the intended definition as you can get. I understand the source of the confusion, but a confusing hub is not a good hub, in my opinion. If it can't be understood at a glance, it's going to get reworked.

"Reduced variance" or "low variance" also already exists, kind of, as the "competitive" hub. The whole intent of competitive decks is to reduce variance as much as possible, so that the deck is as streamlined and consistent as possible. This is achieved through tutors, redundancy, deck manipulation, using playsets of cards, and so on. So what would be the criteria for inclusion in a "low variance" hub? I expect that a "low variance" hub would be highly subjective, used for any deck that its creator thinks is unusually consistent, whether or not it actually is.

I have also declined to put in a real tutor hub so far for similar reasons. How many tutors do you need to have to be a "tutor" deck? Is four enough, with Imperial Seal, Vampiric Tutor, Diabolic Tutor, and Diabolic Intent? What about Eladamri's Call, Green Sun's Zenith, Natural Order, Buried Alive, Terramorphic Expanse, Misty Rainforest, Mystical Tutor... What would be a short and solid description of a "tutor" deck? "A deck that regularly searches its library" would include landfall decks, almost every competitive EDH deck, "silver bullet" decks, and hatebear decks, all of which already have their own hub, and probably more. "A deck with seven or more card that search its owner's library" is arbitrary, as is any other number for inclusion. "A deck that regularly searches its library for specific cards that help it advance its win condition"--nah, I'm going to search for this useless card that doesn't help me at all.

Incidentally, "scry" is already available as a hub in the keyword/subtype checklist.

If a hub includes a $300 Dragon's Approach Pioneer deck, a $80 Elrond, Master of Healing casual Commander deck, and a $50,000 Vintage Beseech the Mirror deck, that hub becomes even broader than the aggro/combo/control archetypes, and as such becomes almost meaningless. I've added Dragon's Approach, Rat Colony, and Shadowborn Apostle to the short list for consideration, so they might be coming soon; I didn't see as many decks or as much diversity for Persistent Petitioners. And don't worry about a long post, as long as it's meaningful. It shows the idea has people willing to defend it and fight for it, which makes it more likely to be included one way or another.

Profet93 on Oh you are just the worst kind of person

6 months ago

darksuffrage21 +1

Pretty good list. I'm surprised you don't run more draw. Necropotence is powerful and has amazing synergy with possessed portal because you don't actually draw cards, is that why it isn't in the "Draw" section? Phyrexian Arena > Dark tutelage. Assuming possessed portal isn't in play, this is an upgrade.

I like the use of fetchlands with crucible. It appears there are budget considerations of the deck not mentioned in the description? Assuming I'm wrong, then perhaps consider fetchlands and Cabal Coffers and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth package. Can't forget Chains of Mephistopheles given you're not drawing a bunch and it fits into the discard theme.

Why is Altar of Dementia in the tutor section, am I missing something?

Vampiric Tutor, Grim Tutor and Imperial Seal are all helpful tutors.

Perhaps a Bitterblossom or a Reassembling Skeleton for contamination and to break parity on your control/stax effects.

What is the purpose of Voltaic Key? I am unsure if you run enough artifacts for inspiring statuary, how has that been playing for you?

Looking forward to your response.

fluffyeel on I will have no friends anymore

10 months ago

Ooh, wheel punishment fun. Here are some thoughts of varying budget levels:

fluffyeel on Leeching Cotton: Oloro's Couch

10 months ago

Some thoughts:

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