Sorcery (1)

"We hunt you down without mercy. Hunt you down all nightmare long."


Most competitive combo decks are simple in design. They are usually built around a single signature combo with plenty of support and redundancy (ex. Food Chain Tazri & Doomsday Zur). While such a strategy is certainly very powerful, this deck aims to do the opposite and merge the three fastest combos in cEDH (Food Chain, Protean Hulk & Hermit Druid) into a beautiful tapestry of degeneracy. This deck has an absurd number of card combinations that will result in victory. Despite this seemingly unfocused approach, the deck is remarkably consistent, fast, and resilient to various forms of hate.

For the longest time Sidisi, Brood Tyrant was viewed in unfavorable terms within the cEDH community, and rightfully so. SBT had some combo potential, and was in a strong color scheme, but she was outclassed as a reanimator general by The Mimeoplasm and she lacked the combo/control elements found in Damia, Sage of Stone and Tasigur, the Golden Fang. The general consensus was "Why would you play her when you could just play x instead?"

Aside from Voidia who used her at the head of a combo blitzkrieg approach (Hermit Druid, Necrotic Ooze, and The Four Horseman), few people bothered with brewing her competitively. Then Eternal Scourge and Eldritch Evolution were spoiled and this gave SBT a very strong tutor and the potential to play Food Chain combo (which I adapted to Voidia's original shell) in place of the slower Mesmeric Orb+Basalt Monolith. This addition gave SBT a slight competitive edge as an all in fast combo general, but despite these upgrades the deck still had several flaws.

1) While Necrotic Ooze and Food Chain shared a few tutors, Hermit Druid had little connection to the rest of the deck and all three combos required a handful of bad cards to function properly. This made opening hands frequently full of mismatched parts and to make the deck function expert mulligans and a handful of filtering methods were required. This sometimes sapped the deck of speed and severely hindered flexibility.

2) All 3 combos were fragile with multiple points of failure:

  • Hermit druid needed a full turn cycle to activate most of the time, which meant it often got removed or opponents had a turn to find an answer to the combo. If combo pieces were in your opening hand or you drew into a combo piece, the combo did not work (sans Phantasmagorian). The labman finisher was sorcery speed and it folded to interaction hard. Honestly it was a really bad combo and only deserved its hefty cost due to its ability to draw cover fire and sneak in a win at times. There were many attempts to make the finisher better, but these all costed even more card slots. HD combo was easily the weakest link.

  • Necrotic ooze was very fast and easily assembled. It also won upon resolution. The only issue was a big one. It was only viable early in the game (Unless you cluttered your curve with a number of suspect cards) as it relied upon the cc left in the library. This combo has always been problematic because it forced SBT to run much fatter curve than is ideal and all the pieces become dead cards if the deck tried to replenish on the fly (i.e Necropotence or ad nauseum).

  • Food Chain is actually a fairly compact combo with few inherent weaknesses, but Sidisi is not a great outlet and the deck lacked a decent finisher until Walking Ballista was spoiled, which required the deck to play several convoluted sequences to end the game for no extra mana. Sidisi also relied upon Dread Return and Eternal Witness to function, which provided opponents multiple ways to shut down the win condition mid combo.

3) Due to the high concentration of combo pieces the deck lacked sufficient slots for ramp and interaction. This left SBT with a glass cannon combo deck that was occassionally slow at getting out of the gates. It could race any deck (at times), but consistency and resiliency were an issue.

However, SBT continued to get better. Blooming Marsh and Botanical Sanctum were printed, which allowed SBT to more consistently get that turn 1 dork while also meeting the decks heavy UB requirements. Walking Ballista gave SBT a great finisher for all 3 combos. Then Channeler Initiate was spoiled, which freed SBT from a horrifying pile of inefficient garbage that HD combo used to rely upon to function. These upgrades allowed the deck to shore up most of its weaknesses. Then Protean Hulk was unbanned, which gave SBT a way to win the game for 2 mana. Replacing buried alive Nooze combo with flash hulk allowed SBT to remove all the fat cards from the build and effectively utilize cards like Ad Nauseam,Diabolic Intent, and Skullclamp. These changes provide SBT with excellent resiliency and speed. The Bloodghast+Skullclamp+fetchland engine also gives SBT a way to bide her time productively when playing against stax and control decks and strike when the rest of the table is at its weakest (often with multiple layers of protection).

The primary druid combo costs (and occassionally a land drop) for the win. This is the outcome we often strive to avoid as it is fragile and vulnerable to disruption. Here is the standard sequence:

1) Activate Hermit Druid to mill the entire library. This will put Narcomoeba into play for free.

2) Play a land to put Bloodghast into play from the graveyard then discard excess combo pieces from your hand with Phantasmagorian's ability.

3) Flashback Dread Return to reanimate Necrotic Ooze

4) Activate Wall of Roots ability for

5) Use to give Nooze haste with Blighted Bat's ability

6) Tap Nooze with any mana dork's ability

7) Untap Nooze with Devoted Druids ability to add a -1/-1 counter

8) Remove -1/-1 counter with Channeler Initiate to add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

9) Repeat steps 7 & 8 to produce infinite mana for all colors

10) Add infinite +1/+1 counters to ooze with Walking Ballista's mana sink

11) Ping opponents to death by removing all the +1/+1 from ooze with Walking Ballista's second ability.

Unlike previous versions of the deck, once Dread Return resolves and nooze has haste this combo cannot be interacted with except with split second Trickbind style effects. Also we can respond to interaction when haste goes on the stack by activating Blighted Bat's ability again if we have extra mana to spare and this finisher will kill the table at instant speed. If Dread Return gets countered all is not lost. Simply Memory's Journey for Necromancy, Reanimate and Ponder to win the following turn or the same turn if we have spare mana to burn and a reanimation effect in hand.

Ideally we don't have to rely upon that scenario because we have numerous ways to give HD haste (i.e endstep Flash+Hermit Druid; endstep Entomb+Necromancy of hulk; main phase Flash+Protean Hulk; Or Entomb+Apprentice Necromancer/Shallow Grave. These layered lines and the raw efficiency of hermit druid provides us with all the spare mana we need to "get there" through moderate levels of disruption. In these preferred scenarios it is not uncommon to have multiple layers of protection on turn 3-4 (not counting Memory's Journey shenanighans), which can often overwhelm the defenses of even well prepared opponents.

While we have gotten rid of Buried Alive combo, Necrotic ooze still has several ways to win the game beyond its role as a Food Chain and Hermit Druid finisher. You can for instance:

This version of hulk combo cannot win at instant speed like some 4 color hulk lists, but it is easily one of the most card slot efficient hulk combos and bridges the gap between HD and FC combo. The only costs to the deck are (flash, protean hulk, and mogis's marauder).

Our primary line, which was discovered by monkeryz is as follows:

1) Flash+Protean Hulk to put Hermit Druid, Mogis's Marauder, and Deathrite Shaman into play (With 2 black symbols in play Mogis's Marauder ability will grant both HD and Shaman haste).

2) Tap Deathrite Shaman for mana, and activate Hermit Druid.

3) Sac 3 creatures to flashback Dread Return to end the game with one of our finishers.

We also have at least a couple of other piles that will can win the game the following turn...

GRAVEYARD FREE PILE: Hapless Researcher+Laboratory Maniac+Hermit Druid to tap druid then sacrafice researcher to end the game.

VERSATILE PILE: Jace, Vryn's Prodigy  +Apprentice Necromancer+Hermit Druid/Hapless Researcher and a 1 drop dork- This pile can win equally well for necrotic ooze or labman. If hermit druid is in hand or the graveyard we can discard him and reanimate him with haste. This pile allows us to win without Dread Return and if we have Hermit Druid we will have have multiple chances at completing the combo.

To hard cast Food Chain and Eternal Scourge it technically costs (, however, we will usually only pay or since one drop mana dorks and two drop utility creatures serve as excellent Food Chain fodder on turn 3. This provides us with the luxury of tutoring for Food Chain or Eternal Scourge on turn 1 or 2 and still assemble both halves of the combo on turn 3. With the two drop dorks we have been gifted from our improved HD combo we have the mana to protect FC combo with a counterspell on turn 3. Food Chain will win the game with no extra mana or cards in hand required like so...

Once we have Food Chain+Eternal Scourge in play together we can exile scourge with FC and recast it from exile infinitely to produce infinite colored mana FOR CREATURES ONLY (NOT CREATURE ABILITIES). Then cast, exile, and recast Sidisi, Brood Tyrant in the same manner to mill enough of our library to reveal Dread Return and the necessary combo pieces. This process will also produce a small army of zombies. At this point we can flashback Dread Return to reanimate:

1) Necrotic Ooze to kill the table in the sequences described in the HD combo section.

2) Eternal Witness to return Walking Ballista to hand, cast it for a billion with Food Chain mana and ping until opponents are good and dead.

1) ONE DROP MANA DORKS Aside from their status as a creature and a source of mana acceleration, these little beauties facilitate a disgusting number of turn 3 victories. They allow me to tutor for a combo piece on turn 2 and then play both halves of Eternal Scourge + Food Chain the following turn. They also allow me to Green Sun's Zenith for Hermit Druid on turn two. They can also be used as Diabolic Intent fodder to flash hulk on turn 3. I could go on but...

2) TUTORS: No competitive EDH combo deck can function without a full compliment of tutors. Mystical Tutor; Vampiric Tutor; Demonic Tutor; Imperial Seal; Survival of the Fittest; Lim-Dul's Vault; Worldly Tutor& Entomb are simply autoincludes for a graveyard based creature combo deck. My other tutors are simply good for this particular deck:

Tainted Pact: In most circumstances I can exile until I hit something useful or essential and often get to my win condition a little earlier earlier. Occassionally, this will tutor for both halves of my Food Chain combo. It also serves as a backup win condition with Laboratory Maniac.

Grim Tutor Being 3 mana is rough, but even a bad demonic tutor will get the job done.

Green Sun's Zenith: This is a fairly limited tutor with hernit druid being the primary target and Eternal Witness as the backup option. Where this card shines is how efficiently it can put HD into play from our library. A turn 1 dork will get us there on turn 2 and a Mana Crypt or mox+Dark Ritual/Lotus Petal will allow us to put him into play turn 1. This puts tremendous pressure on the table to find an answer and will sometimes be my early play just to draw hate away from my true plan A

Diabolic Intent: The efficiency of our combos and high concentration of mana efficient creatures offset the downside of losing a creature. Getting anything to hand for 2 mana is very strong.

3) CARD ADVANTAGE: We have opted to increase the number these sources over previous versions of the deck. This is proving to be a significant upgrade as the deck is more resilient against disruption, We are finding combo pieces faster on average, and are more likely to have a back-up plan or protection for the combos. Here are our choices:

Ad Nauseam & Necropotence: The two best forms of card advantage black has to offer. With recent changes to the deck we can usually win the game after drawing between 10-15 cards. For the first time ever SBT can utilize Ad Nauseam as a true "one card win condition."

Windfall: Draw 7s are usually pretty good. Windfall helps dump combo pieces into the graveyard and is a great turn 1-2 play that disrupts our opponents original plans while also usually setting us up to win on turn 3-4.

Mystic Remora: Utterly broken in every way. I have seen this card draw 19 cards for one mana before and it usually functions as a sorcery speed Ancestral Recall.

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy  : Baby Jace provides incremental advantage and top deck manipulation for free after a small investment. His ability to flashback spells makes him one of the best creatures in the format.

Ponder and Brainstorm: Neither of these are technically card advantage, but they allow us to dig deep and set up combos early. They are quite simply the best cantrips in the format.

Skullclamp: On its own clamp can convert excess dorks and combo pieces (ex. Narcomoeba) into more cards, which can be very useful. However, when paired with Bloodghast it forms an incredibly powerful and mana efficient draw engine that allows us to generate insurmountable card advantage in control or stax heavy pods and power our combos through heavy disruption. Testing has suggested that (assuming you have the means to assemble the engine early) you will draw approximately 4-6 cards by turn 3, then an additional 2-4 cards every turn after that for between 1-2 colorless mana a turn.


SBT is one of the fastest decks in the whole format, and thus isn't planning to interact with its opponents too much. This means that the deck's interaction suite needs to be built around stopping its opponents from interacting with it moreso than to interact with them. Keeping that in mind, most of the interaction in this deck will come in the form of the cheapest counterspells in the format.



Force of Will

Mental Misstep

Pact of Negation

Spell Pierce

Swan Song

Let's give the cards that don't seem to follow this pattern a closer look:

Abrupt Decay - While Abrupt Decay does cost 2 Mana, it's uncounterable and hits basically anything we need it to hit. Guaranteed removal against the centerpieces of most decks makes this the best removal spell in cEDH.

Chain of Vapor - The cheapest Instant-speed bounce spell in the game, can have some extra utility by targeting our own Mana Crypt or Carpet of Flowers

Nature's Claim - The cheapest artifact and enchantment removal spell - an absolute must in a format with cards like Mana Crypt and Necropotence.

Gilded Drake- Steals problematic creatures (i.e Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite) and shuts down commander centric builds (i.e The Gitrog Monster). Worst case scenario we exchange it for a dork, which is almost always useful in this build.

5) REANIMATION AND RECURSION These cards provide us with many different paths to victory. They also serve as inevitability and resilience for our combos. This package is fairly large despite only having a few targets because they essentially provide counterspell protection to all three of our win conditions. They also allow us to steal opposing creatures that find thier way into the graveyard.

Reanimate: The gold standard

Apprentice Necromancer: While somewhat slow, this hapless necromancer helps all three combos and is essential to several lines. He also serves an essential role in our nooze labman finisher. He is simply one of the best cards in the deck. Either our opponents find an answer to this guy or they lose the next turn. He is also completely expendable.

Dread Return: The lynchpin of this deck. Also a wonderful Entomb target.

Necromancy: Reanimates then sacrafices Hulk. Also very useful, if expensive reanimation spell that effectively counters opponents reanimation shenanighans.

Shallow Grave: We almost always have control over the top creature in our library and haste is an essential keyword to all our combos.

Noxious Revival: Useful in all facets of the game.

Eternal Witness: A combo piece that also has a powerful standalone effect.

6) FAST MANA SOURCES: Mana Crypt; Sol Ring; Mox Diamond; Chrome Mox; Dark Ritual; Lotus Petal. These are simply the best at what they do. Not including these cards in a fast combo deck if you can afford them is a sin. They facilitate so many turn 1-2 wins its not even funny.

There are numerous desireable early game scenarios that we strive for in this deck (especially if we have counterspell protection). You will almost always want to keep an opening hand that has the necessary elements do one or more of the following:

While these are the scenarios we generally strive for there are other card combinations that will get us there. With 11 card slots devoted to interaction, and a few more that can serve as interaction in a pinch (i.e Walking Ballista, Memory's Journey, Noxious Revival) this deck is viable in slower and more interactive games

The one thing we want to avoid is an opener that lacks a way to get more cards in hand since SBT cannot produce meaningful card advantage without Eternal Witness/Noxious Revival in hand or Dread Return in the graveyard and casting her is rarely something we want to do.

I have found that you can almost always find a useable hand out of the first 3 tries (Initial, Free 7, 6+scry 1). Going to 5 or below is somewhat risky so go past 6 at your own peril.

In general, a good opener will include 2-3 lands, 1-2 ramp pieces, 2 card advantage/tutor spells (or a combo piece and a relevant tutor), and 1 interaction piece. We can keep bad opening hands if we have the means to replenish early with a draw 7+ or mystic remora (This is the equivalent of punting, but will often put us in position for a turn 3-4 win). Just having Hermit Druid, Green Sun's Zenith, or Worldly Tutor in our opener and enough gas to play HD on turn 2 is worth keeping, but its definitely better if we at least have one card that can rebuild if HD gets removed.

If you have all the other essential cards dont fret too much about missing an early land drop (on turn 2-3). While 1 land hands are not ideal, they can be used to great effect at times. 4+ land hands should be generally avoided unless the other cardsare excellent.

Note:Please keep in mind that this advice is meant to teach you how to pilot this deck in playtest mode. In a competitive pod you can't slam down a combo on turn 2-3 every game and expect to succeed. Picking your spots is often necessary, hence the reasonably decent interaction suite.

One the most important features of fast combo decks that few people appreciate (at first glance) is its ability to recover when things go poorly. This deck usually recovers easily from a setback and can win within a turn or two given that the vast majority of our support cards are helpful to all three primary combos and there is considerable redundancy to each path to victory. This allows us to survive losing multiple combo pieces better than many top tier combo decks. What if...

  • We lose Walking Ballista to an early exile? We can end the game with Necrotic Ooze by tapping Necrotic Ooze with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy   loot ability (maintain priority), untap nooze using Devoted Druid's ability, and sacrafice nooze using Apprentice Necromancer's ability targeting Laboratory Maniac. Upon resolution labman will enter the battlefield and then we will draw a card off JVP's ability. gg

  • We lose Necrotic ooze to exile? We can win via food chain combo with Walking Ballista as the outlet.

  • We lose both ballista and nooze to exile and/or get locked out of our graveyard (i.e. Rest in Peace? We can win via Laboratory Maniac+Tainted Pact. We can also flash hulk in response to RIP and grab our graveyard free labman pile and win on our turn.

  • Someone resolves a Blood Moon or Magus of the Moon? Assuming we have no mana dorks, carpet of flowers, or mana rocks in play, this does lock us out of the game. However, the chances of this happening are relatively small given that we can often get our color fixing in play before blood moon resolves. If we are going against a red opponent it is generall wise to mulligan aggressively for color fixing. Assuming we have one or two color fixing source in play its often a good idea to leave moon in play as our deck literally just requires for food chain ,for flash hulk and for hermit druid to end the game and moon will often harm our opponents enough for us to go off nearly uncontested.

  • Someone resolves an Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite? This is one of two cards this deck cannot win through. However, we have an easily tutorable silver bullet response in Gilded Drake or we can just Chain of Vapor her.

  • Someone resolves a Humility? This card we cannot win through, but we can thrive when its in play with our Skullclamp engine and find an answer with Diabolic Intent. Again, unless GAAIV (because who else plays the card?) is close to winning we are better off clamping our way to an insurmountable card advantage and then combo off as soon as we Chain of Vapor or Nature's Claim Humility away.

  • Someone nukes our graveyard with fairie macabre before we secure victory removing both Laboratory Maniac and Walking Ballista. We do not have an answer to this scenario in the deck currently (except making an army of zombies with SBT and food chain and turning sideways for a couple turns), however, if your meta is packing this response there are a handful of options. First, it would be wise to avoid putting key cards in the yard if you know opponents are going for macabre aggressively and they know what two cards will shut the deck down. We have tainted pact+labman, food chain combo with ballista in hand, and our grave free labman hulk pile. All of these can be assembed quickly against a gravehate heavy meta. You can also protect yourself with cards like Phyrexian Revoker, Mesmeric Fiend or Trickbind style effects. The creatures can easily be included in hulk piles for a next turn victory. There is also Tidespout Tyrant, which is very fat, but it opens up additional lines to victory. We can for instance flashback Dread Return to (1) Reanimate Eternal Witness to return Tidespout Tyrant to hand then cast tyrant with Food Chain. With this board state you can repeatedly bounce Eternal Witness with Eternal Scourge cast triggers to recur Laboratory Maniac, a fast mana source (i.e Lotus Petal) and a draw spell (i.e Brainstorm to end the game with an empty library. Since Tidespout Tyrant can bounce all opponent permanents before we go for the labman win this win condition is rock solid. In the unlikely event that an opponent has a free interaction spell in hand we can also recur a spell like Pact of Negation to further protect the combo OR (2) Tidespout Tyrant bounce every permanent that is not yours by recasting and exiling Eternal Scourge then beatdown the table with zombie tokens over the course of a few turns.

Outside these specific cards the deck can roll along barely molested by the vast majority of popular hate pieces (ex. Null Rod; Rule of Law; Winter Orb etc.). Overall SBT is very well positioned against the current meta despite the extra attention SBT is seeing after Voidia's masterful performance in the cEDH tournament. She has the speed to race her undead mono-black counterpart, the resiliency to thrive against control and stax decks, and the card quality and consistency to rival our 4 color combo overlords. While Thrasios is the king of fast combo, SBT is most certainly the queen.

If you want some SBT in your life but aren't all about hermit druid shenanigans, I strongly recommend (in a totally self serving sort of way) Demon Tyrant. On the other hand, if you love the druid and aren't feeling Hulk, you can't go wrong with Voidia's SBT Combo


Updates Add

Good Evening,

Given that some relevant tech has been uncovered in the last few months and the deck is badly in need of a facelift, I am making a number of changes to the list.  My focus is to address the tendency for this list to get stuck in topdeck mode and to better protect our attempts at winning.

Skullclamp-->Flash of Insight: While I love the clamp engine (even though its janky), I like the ability to protect my win conditions with no interaction in hand more.  Here is how. Once Hermit Druid or SBT (with Food Chain Combo) has milled us out we can flashback Memory's Journey to shuffle Pact of Negation into our library.  From there we flashback Flash of Insight to put Pact of Negation in hand in response to disruption.  With how mana efficient the Necrotic Ooze finisher is I can do this for just 1GGU on the combo turn (G for HD; U for Fatestitcher which we get back; G for Memory's Journey; and 1U for Flash of Insight), which is on curve for a turn 3 win assuming turn 1 ramp.  Flash of insight also helps us put mana to good use on oir endstep if we are desperate. Credit to LabManiac_Sigi.

Bloodghast-->Fatestitcher: With clamp out of the picture, Fatestitcher is clearly better than our vampire friend as it is a more consistent combo enabler and can even proactively protect Dread Return by tapping down blue mages islands then going for the win during our second main phase. Credit to Voidia

Phantasmagorian-->Cephalid Inkshrouder: I've never liked Phantasmo's fat body or combo only status.  Inkshrouder is somewhat worse in some ways as a discard outlet since it does nothing if Necrotic Ooze or Dread Return are in hand and it makes Fatesticher sad.  However, the upside cannot be denied.  Inkshrouder keeps people from targeting nooze once he is in play, which seems mildly relevant.  Also you can use its ability with less than 3 cards in hand, which sometimes matters. Credit to LabManiac_Dan.

Daze-->Dispel: Daze is "free"ish but it kind of stinks most of the time.  Dispel is vastly better most of the time as it is fantastic in counterspell wars and when going for the win. Given that Daze was included in part for bloodghast shenanigans this is a simple swap.  Delay, Negate, Stifle, Pongify, Toxic Deluge, Winds of Rebuke or even spells like preodain and Impulse are also justifable options in this slot. 

As an aside, If you choose Winds of Rebuke there is a dank wincondition with Eternal Witness once nooze produces infinite mana if somehow labman and ballista are exiled.  Simply use Apprentice Necromancer's ability to reanimate ewitness which returns winds to hand.  Then infinitely bounce ewitness with winds of rebuke to mill the table. 

But why stop there...

Grim Tutor-->Dark Confidant: Grim Tutor is simply one mana too much.  I have literslly lost every game where I have cast this spell so perhaps its time to have a more consistently good card that also helps me cast Eternal Scourge for free with Food Chain mana in this slot.  When in doubt go with high quality cards that produce card advantage.

Bazaar of Baghdad-->Sylvan Library: Bazaar is sometimes dank, but its always card disadvantage and since it takes up a land drop it sometimes slows us down considerably.  This list is not a perfect fit for bazaar either as it is not a dredge list or reanimator.  Sylvan library on the other hand is simply a great card that gives us topdeck control and card advantage.  Both are needed here. Credit to biopouvoir

As a side benefit to the above changes, our best protection spell/oh shit button (Force of Will) a hell of alot better as we have 3 more completely expendable blue spells to pitch in a time of need.  Hopefully this will make us harder to stop and allow us to recover better from setbacks.  Also we did all this while maintaing a relatively lean curve for endstep Ad Nauseams.  Until next time



Comments View Archive

Attention! Complete Comment Tutorial! This annoying message will go away once you do!

Hi! Please consider becoming a supporter of TappedOut for $3/mo. Thanks!

Important! Formatting tipsComment Tutorialmarkdown syntax

Please login to comment

Revision 55 See all

(4 years ago)

Top Ranked
Date added 7 years
Last updated 4 years
Key combos

This deck is not Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

10 - 1 Mythic Rares

54 - 4 Rares

19 - 1 Uncommons

17 - 3 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.83
Tokens Bird 2/2 U, Emblem Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Spirit 1/1 C, Zombie 2/2 B
Folders EDH, BUG, EDH, EDH Deck Ideas, Liked Decks, stuff, Cool Decks, EDH Decks, Take Note, Decks
Ignored suggestions
Shared with
Based on