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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
Ritual of the Machine
As an additional cost to play Ritual of the Machine, sacrifice a creature.
Gain control of target nonblack, nonartifact creature.
1 week ago
One pattern I noticed with Meren is that she's pretty bad if you don't have a creature to get back, she's just a clunky body that does nothing if your graveyard is empty. That's part of why I don't like fast ramp in Meren, even in fairly high power (unless you're in cEDH and barely care about the Commander) all it does it get me a 3/4 on the board, and it's also going to risk being wiped or removed early. Thus, keep an eye out for small creatures that can sacrifice themselves or other creatures. Casual Meren usually wants to farm XP to an extent, using something like Fleshbag Marauder as mentioned, or the various Sakura Tribe Elder knock-offs, will let your Meren start working right from the get go. Another idea is to use self-mill effects, there are quite a few in Golgari, but I think you'd want to run a much high creature count to make self-mill more realistic. My Meren deck presently has 57 creatures in the 99, and that doesn't feel excessive because my Commander only interacts with other creatures. You might also take a look at Evoke creatures like Shriekmaw and Foundation Breaker, these can be evoked more than once with Meren, generating XP while policing the board. There are also weird old cards like Hell's Caretaker that farms XP (but can also reanimate something huge at the cost of a token). I think as your power level goes up the value of farming XP goes down, but this can be offset by including some of the game ending tutors I mentioned previously.
If you want to stick to Casual Meren, I always loved Street Wraith when I drew it early, it doesn't have to hit the battlefield to work with Meren, since getting it back to hand lets you draw another card. I wouldn't use it outside Casual, but it's a fun trick.
Ritual of the Machine and Helm of Possession offer Golgari decks an option they typically lack, that of just stealing something. This is useful vs Commanders of some decks, but it's also good vs big stuff that defies removal somehow. Neither is a really high power card, but both feel pretty good at lower and mid power.
2 months ago
Thanks for the suggestions! I think you're right that having reusable sac outlets would be more suitable. Altar of Bhaal would be a great choice, I think I even have one of those. I have never see Ritual of the Machine before. That would be a great way to steal people's creatures by using theirs for payment!
At one point I considered Zur the Enchanter for the deck, but I have slowly been taking tutors out of my decks so the decks have more variety in how they play.
2 months ago
Have you considered some sac outlets that stick around? Altar of Bhaal is pretty good recursion if you can consistently steal a creature somehow. Helm of Possession would be pretty funny, it's both a sac outlet and a theft effect. Another one-shot theft effect and sac outlet combination is Ritual of the Machine. I assume Preacher isn't in here because of it's high price? It's more of a 1v1 card, but it can be a really nasty card vs people running few creatures, but it is legit terrible vs token decks, it's a weirder Oppressor. Probably the same for Mind Over Matter, it's pricey but a very good trick to have. Coffin Queen is another nice recursion option, the ability to steal from from other people's graveyard for almost no mana can be really powerful.
You run a reasonable number of very good enchantments of 3 mana or less, have you thought about Zur the Enchanter? Perhaps you don't run tutors in your meta, some groups don't like them in Commander.
3 months ago
Thank you for the suggestions! I do like that Fatal Grudge replaces itself, but generally if a card lets my opponent choose what they're sacrificing I don't consider it effective removal; in most cases it's going to hit the least useful target possible.
I was really excited to add Ritual of the Machine until I saw that $5-7 was the cheapest I could get it, which would unfortunately make it the most expensive card in the deck, so I will probably pass on it :c
Thank you for the suggestions!
3 months ago
Fatal Grudge solid removal and cantrip.
Ritual of the Machine dipping into blue color wheel.
4 months ago
Bloodghast 1 constant trigger off Ayara
Thousand-Year Elixir double draw.
Koskun Falls Azorius style tax in mono black is nice.
Imp's Mischief Azorius style redirection in mono black is nice.
Ritual of the Machine mono blue effect in mono black is nice. Sac outlet too.
5 months ago
In my Meren deck, I don't run a lot of bigger creatures, even though the deck has decent odds of ending up with huge amounts of mana, stuff like Beast Whisperer/Grim Haruspex draw cards off of creatures either entering or leaving the battlefield, there are lots of variants of both of those effects, and these will let you play many spells in a turn, rather than play one huge thing. I don't think your MVs are a huge problem, but the 'top of my curve' creatures are Razaketh, the Foulblooded, Protean Hulk, and Sheoldred, Whispering One, the first two can win on the spot or very quickly, while Sheoldred is a bit more questionable, a lot of people find stuff like Sheoldred tends to be too slow in todays game, so even that is a card I'm considering switching out for lower to the ground stuff. I checked and atm I have 14 1 drops, which is a few more, there are plenty of decent 1 drop mana dorks you could throw in to both lower your curve and possibly raise your consistency, though the best is Elves of Deep Shadow, since your deck cares more about Black mana.
As a general rule of thumb for Meren, if you can do a thing with a creature instead, you probably should unless the creature option is truly awful, I run 55 creatures in the 99, and I'm still thinking about sneaking more in by taking out things like Artifacts. Creature payoffs are better than artifact payoffs in Golgari, and Meren can't recur non-creatures.
For sac outlets, you ideally want a selection of 'free' sac outlets, ones that only use a creature and no other input, so stuff like Viscera Seer, Carrion Feeder, Woe Strider, any of the good altars (Phyrexian Altar, Ashnod's Altar, and Altar of Dementia are my all very good), Sadistic Hypnotist is insanely useful (it is a 5 drop though), if you have 4 drops that matter you can use Dimir House Guard because Transmute is a good mechanic if you care about the MV and it's also a free sac outlet. I think you can throw in a few sac outlets that are more limited, stuff like Helm of Possession, Phyrexian Tower, Hell's Caretaker, Altar of Bhaal, and Ritual of the Machine are all beefy effects, even if you can only use them once per turn. I really like stuff like Sakura Tribe Elder because the card provides it's own sac outlet (but only for itself), ymmv but I think you're taking a risk by running something like Solemn Simulacrum over Dawntreader Elk or Diligent Farmhand, 4 mana is a ton and it lacks a self destruct feature.
One option some people end up taking is replacing Meren as the Commander, not because she isn't strong enough but because the play patterns are pretty consistent, once you've figured out what your deck is trying to do, Meren is usually very predictable, so some people prefer something like Baba Lysaga, Night Witch. She offers card draw and a sac outlet in the Command zone while caring a lot less about creatures in particular, so you'd have more freedom in terms of card types.
Hope some of this is helpful!
6 months ago
I have a Quest for Ula's Temple deck which does some similar things, I liked Dreamscape Artist because it can reshuffle your library as needed, incase you don't have a relevant creature to work with on top. It's technically only 1 mana and a card to Harrow (you get back 2 untapped lands, so it can also helping mana fixing) Blue, and I could be wrong but I think your Commander wants the odd Discard outlet too. A worse (but still potentially useful) piece of Blue ramp is Apprentice Wizard, it's not as good as Dreamscape, it's like Worn Powerstone, which is a good rock if you want bigger ramp to potentially cast a big creature a bit sooner. Thran Dynamo and Gilded Lotus are big ramp rocks with decent ratios. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Cabal Coffers are pretty good together, if you have a lot of devotion to a colour Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx can help, Deserted Temple can untap any land that makes extra mana. Less rampy and more of a big Scry effect, Soothsaying is a neat card if you care about your deck order. Scroll Rack is better but costs more.
Just a general idea, you might throw in things like Reconnaissance Mission, Bident of Thassa, and Coastal Piracy along with some Unblockable or Shadow creatures (Thalakos and Dauthi are the Blue and Black tribes). You can also throw in stuff like Sword of the Animist, Dowsing Dagger Flip, Prying Blade, Goldvein Pick, Grim Hireling, and any other attack payoffs you can find to generate more value over time. I understand you want a sea-monster theme, but you might want a way to draw some cards/get in some chip damage to soften people up. The only drawback to Shadows is that they can't chump block. If you really want your evasive creatures to be able to chump, there are some small flyers like Spectral Sailor and Thousand-Faced Shadow that have other upsides, these are risk free but are way less evasive than Shadows.
On that note, if you're worried about getting attacked you might look at Propaganda, War Tax, Flood, and Fatespinner are all great ways to make you hard to attack. Mass Diminish, Polymorphist's Jest, Sudden Spoiling, AEtherize, Aetherspouts are all great cards for people to fear.
Callous Oppressor is a funny repeatable theft effect, Ritual of the Machine and Helm of Possession can both steal stuff and are great with tokens, Thieving Skydiver can steal an artifact creature fwiw, Sower of Temptation is a so-so theft effect that shines bright if you can flicker or bounce it, Thalakos Deceiver is probably way better since he permanently steals whatever and can be reanimated, Inevitable Betrayal and Bribery are both pretty sweet.
Inkwell Leviathan, Lochmere Serpent, Spawning Kraken, Stormtide Leviathan, and Wrexial, the Risen Deep are some relevant creatures I use, some are better than others but there is nothing as bad as Sea Serpent or Bog Serpent, both cards I love but don't use.
If you like Whelming Wave, you might like Spectral Deluge as well.
Hope some of this helps, Big Dimir is a fun deck!