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The spoils of the Commander 2019 product led to the rise of K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth to the levels of cEDH. Whether it be the thrill of playing Suicide Black, Mono-Black Reanimator, or using Phyrexian mana all the time, K'rrik has something to offer to everyone. Join us as we take a deep dive into the pocket of fast time occupied by the new Phyrexian legion. Perhaps this time we can finish off Urza...

We aim to prey on a world full of hunters.

The deck has a "proactive" playstyle, as in it is always forward focused on the combo; and it uses its interaction primarily to keep its own plan intact. It has early lines if you power out K'rrik and home in on them, but it is very okay with preying on the shortcomings of other decks and players at the table, capitalizing on misplays, and waiting out the countermagic wars. Versus popular Tymna + X choices, K'rrik stands to be a fantastic attacker and blocker, due to how large he can become at a relatively low cost. This allows us to use value spells as combat tricks, while furthering our game-plan. Realistically, the deck will aim to win between turns 3-5 in most pods, but it is happy to go later if it can preserve its life total.

Resolving Buried Alive is a great way to setup the win for the game, and we can follow through with Razaketh tutor chains, Chainer, Dementia Master loops, and Aetherflux Reservoir laser beams.

Synergy with K'rrik himself unites the combo lines, making things mostly mana-less, and fully maximizing the resource that is our life total. We need not worry about producing infinite mana, and can really focus on generic mana in costs for this reason.

The primary win condition for the deck is via the resolution of Buried Alive, from here we have multiple piles that can be made to win the game, all of which involve K'rrik as the combo-enabler. All of the piles are assumed to start at the lowest life possible, with only K'rrik on board, having 3 opponents, and using Reanimate to bring back the starting creature.

To save some time and space in the further explanation of each pile, we will be using a key to denote some running numbers:

  • Cyan Text = Net Life per Step
  • Purple Text = Running Life Total

Lowest Starting Life: 19

  1. Cast Buried Alive for the above pile: , -2, 17
  2. Cast Reanimate on Chainer: -7, 10
  3. Chainer ability for Gary: -9, 1
  4. Gary ETB, Devotion = 7: +21, 22
  5. Chainer ability for Carrion Feeder/Viscera Seer: -9, 13
  6. Sacrifice Gary to Carrion Feeder/Viscera Seer
  7. Repeat Steps 3, 4, and 6

Worst Case Scenario: Someone read the entire card and has decided to try to destroy Chainer while attempting to loop Gary with Carrion Feeder or Viscera Seer. This leads to a few lines of play that require higher starting life totals post-Chainer entering the battlefield.

Scenario #1 - The Best Worst Case

In this event, Chainer has been targeted for removal prior to his ability being activated. The best way around this is simply stacking a Chainer activation targeting Gary in response to the removal. This requires you are at 10 life. If you are, great! You simply stack the activation over the top, let Gary's ETB resolve first, and then proceed to finish your instant speed loop over top of the removal.

Scenario #2 - The Almost Worst Case

In this event, Chainer has been targeted for removal in response to Gary being targeted with Chainer's reanimation ability. The best way around this (due to most reanimation being Sorcery-speed) is by stacking another Chainer activation targeting Gary in response to the removal. This requires you are at 10 life after your first Chainer activation. If you are, great! You simply stack an activation over the top, let Gary's ETB resolve first, and then proceed to finish your instant speed loop over top of the removal.

Scenario #3 - The Actual Worst Case

In this event, Chainer has been targeted for removal in response to Gary entering the battlefield. The best way around this is by stacking another Chainer activation targeting Carrion Feeder/Viscera Seer in response to the removal. This requires you are at 19 life after your first Chainer activation. If you are, great! You simply stack an activation over the top, getting Carrion Feeder/Viscera Seer first (going to 10 life), and then proceed to sacrifice Gary. After that reanimate Gary (going to 1 life as per usual), Gary ETBs, and then proceed to finish your instant speed loop over top of the removal.

Lowest Starting Life: 20

  1. Cast Buried Alive for the above pile: , -2, 18
  2. Cast Reanimate on Chainer: -7, 11
  3. Chainer ability for Gary: -9, 2
  4. Gary ETB, Devotion = 7: +21, 23
  5. Chainer ability for Razaketh: -9, 14
  6. Sacrifice Gary to Razaketh (tutor for Carrion Feeder/Viscera Seer): -2, 12
  7. Cast Carrion Feeder/Viscera Seer: -2, 10
  8. Chainer ability for Gary: -9, 1
  9. Gary ETB, Devotion = 11: +33, 34
  10. Sacrifice Gary to Carrion Feeder/Viscera Seer
  11. Repeat Steps 8, 9, and 10.

Aside from Buried Alive piles, many easy-to-assemble combos can be utilized. For example:

  • Aetherflux Reservior + Leshrac's Sigil + K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth - win via bouncing and recasting Sigil, profitting life off of Aetherflux, allowing you to shoot the table
  • Aetherflux Reservior + Sensei's Divining Top + Bolas's Citadel - via casting Top off the top for 1 life (thanks to Citadel), gaining (and eventually netting) life off of Aetherflux, and then putting it back on top to be recast until you can shoot

Although these aren't instant speed win-conditions, they are still relatively slim and all of the pieces are either utility or overlap with existing lines. These all also fit nicely into the next portion of our plan...

TIP - Please don't be afraid to use Black mana for things! Saving life wherever we can is important, and keeps us in the mid-late game for the best combo turns.

Yes, in continued playtesting from August 2019 till now, K'rrik has perfomed fairly well in competitive pods, all things considered. The ability to cut costs on your best tutors, value engines, and combo pieces provides the deck with the necessary speed and grind potential to make it in today's metagame.

The lack of a one-card combo from the Command Zone hurts us, unlike the famed Sidisi Ad Nauseam decks of the past, but a relavant Tymna blocker with Lifelink and the ability to grow stapled on is what brings us to the next level. Like decks that use Tymna in the Command Zone as a means of card advantage, we get to use our combat step with K'rrik to pressure life totals and get ourselves back up to comfortable ranges to cast whatever we may need. Wins of turns 2-4 can readily be assembled, but aren't necessarily advised to be attempted unless you are certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will win. Otherwise, a mid to late game win is preferable as we can often times grind and acrue value better than other decks at the table that may just be sandbagging to respect each other. Protection for our combos is key, using a symetrical hate piece can often help secure a win, but we must be careful playing anything out that may allow another player to win. Reanimation and recursion are important to us due to our implicit nature as a graveyard and Aetherflux Reservior-based combo deck. Covet these cards at all times, and respect open mana. You always want to be the last person to combo.

In short, kind of. Table position can matter a lot in games. If you are to the left of a control player, you should be in an okay spot. Playing into control is tough because they often times will have left mana open and are the very next in priority order to respond. However, having biggers threats at the table is a lot of what is counted on when playing Mono-Black. Often times you are discounted and can use that (along with politicing) as a means of gaining an edge. Aside from that, we have very little stack interaction and will be trying to rely on static pieces to protect us more often than anything. Our only other form of mitigation is hand destruction, but you must consider the rest of the table when deciding whether or not the person who could stop you is also saving you.

With Flash Hulk and Demonic Consultation decks running rampant, traditional Stax seen in the form of Rule of Law//Ediolon of Rhetoric is less important than ever. Often times, not allowing a player to cast more than one spell in a turn means that after they have used their one card on their turn to be proactive, the Flash player can swoop in and win without they active player having hardly a chance to respond. Pair this scenario with two players being tapped out or out of answers and you are in for disaster... but why is that relavant to us?

Rule of Law effects often times will halt Buried Alive + a reanimation spell in its tracks. They also are hard stop to our Aetherflux loops. Not seeing them as often anymore is beneficial to us for that reason. More countermagic and spot removal for problem creatures is the other side of this coin, though; but with Consultation AND Hulk decks not even needing the graveyard to win, targted grave removal has gone down on average in lists.

Torpor Orb and Hushbringer are cards that may become an issue in the future, as they combat Hulk and Consultation (particularly Thassa's Oracle) very well, and they also stop Gary triggers. We still have Sigil + Aetherflux as a backup though.

With no further ado, here are some of the worst best cards that fell just short of the cut line, and some honorable mentions that didn’t even make it to paper testing.

  • Massacre - In a blind meta we can hope it would fair well versus Tymna, Najeela, Ghave, Pod or Farm decks, Heliod, etc. but another board wipe hasn’t yet felt worth it for the deck; and the modularity of Toxic Deluge edges this out ever-so-slightly. However, it has been listed in the maybeboard due to it being an excellent meta-dependent choice versus an established creature deck in White.
  • Crystal Vein - Although Crystal Vein could provide when we needed it, it really fell flat with it’s inability to produce .
  • Lion's Eye Diamond - RIP to all-in-Doomsday. LED did not feel as good as it should have, but that’s the price you pay in Mono-Black. It enabled a DD line versus Consultation decks via Praetor’s Grasp, but wasn’t useful for much else.
  • Yawgmoth's Will - A tough cut on an accidentally flavorful card. Unlike other decks, we did not have the means to break our tutor chains and ritual plays enough to get to a win. This is due in part to our lack of top deck manipulation/card draw. YW, you will be missed.
  • Nighthaze, Aphotic Wisps, Street Wraith, etc. - These mostly dead cantrips were cut due to the list moving off of DD as the main win. They also provided little outside of the combo turns aside from cantripping.
  • Bazaar of Baghdad - Aside from the problem that many may have had with it’s price tag, Bazaar just felt bad. It was a worse cantrip for us, and we need our land drops to be mana producing ones or we will fall short.
  • Grim Tutor - Life is precious, and so is the ability to spend it in place of Black mana. These were the key reasons that this life-intensive sorcery speed tutor was ultimately cut.
  • Ashnod's Altar, Phyrexian Altar - We do not need sacrifice outlets outside the combo turn, much less ones we actually have to pay for.
  • EXTORT - This mechanic has been the bane of K’rrik’s existence since he was first spoiled. It does not work as well as so many people want it to. Assuming you have 3 opponents to drain, 2 instances of Extort will recoup the life lost for each (that we pay life for) in a spell’s cost. That is not even accounting for the production of colorless mana. To abuse that in K’rrik, you need Blood Celebrant to churn out mana for life. This means you need 3 times the Extort life per life spent on . This means that you need a lot of moving pieces to even get this started. From there, what happens when you need 3 opponents to be alive to keep abusing the Extort but 1 of them dies because they had the lowest life total when you started the loop? Oh, that’s right. The loop stops. Then you need to try to win another way if you haven’t gotten your other opponents low enough to kill them before you kill yourself by continue the loop in a life-negative situation. All in all, this interaction is not cEDH material, and should stay in 75% and below lists (if they really want it that badly).
  • STORM - Despite what several people have tried to do, K’rrik is not an effective all-in Storm commander. Mono-Black already has it’s challenges, and K’rrik can help us cut down on casting costs (making this easier on us); but there is no reason to run him over Sidisi, Undead Vizier for a Storm deck. Our list doesn’t use Ad Nauseam because winning at instant speed is tough for us. Sidisi at least has the benefit of using her Exploit trigger to kill herself and dig out AN, draw through to Shimmer Myr, and combo off. We don’t have that luxury with K’rrik, nor does he make things any easier, as most of the permanents that Sidisi drops to get her life total so high off of Aetherflux are low cost artifacts. K’rrik does not pay for colorless/generic mana, and therefore gives us no advantage over Sidisi. Our best bet would be to run a ton of 0-drop cards, and 1-drop Black cards, and hope that we don’t die or aren’t countered in the process of trying to storm off. If you are really still dead-set on building Mono-Black Storm, please check out this list: Sidisi's Reign Of Filth.

Conclusion & Thanks

I hope you enjoyed the Primer. K'rrik is an incredibly powerful commander that helps us break parity on/play through Stax pieces, cheat costs for combos and utility spells, as well as advance our game position as a predatory deck.

Thanks to several talented pilots and brewers that helped this along:

  • Jrax and Shifter07 for their reaninmator work and ferverous brewing.
  • Mjordan887, for his Stax-to-the-max approach to our favorite son of Yawgmoth, as well as the immense amount of spicy jank he brings to the table.
  • Mervius, for his insane contributions to the iterations of the list that got us here, and his heavy-hand in current brewing.

Here’s a budget version of the deck to help you get started: K’rrik on Crack [[Budget]]!

Enlist in K'rrik's army on Discord!

"Upvote this deck like the Minion you are." -Yawgmoth


Updates Add

On August 8th, 2019 our lord and savior K'rrik, Son of Yawgmoth was spoiled as a part of the 99 for Anje Falkenrath in the 2019 Commander product, Merciless Rage.

Immediately the cEDH community started brewing. A Discord was created that day by the lovely Derkacz for the sole purpose of breaking Suicide Black in EDH wide open. The first strategy that everyone gravitated toward was Doomsday. It was "free", we had all the tutors, our spells that cycled or cantripped for became attractive ways to crack the pile, and thus many decklists were born.

Some leaned hard on Stax pieces, attempting to break parity on things like Thorn of Amethyst or Sphere of Resistance with K'rrik's ability to pay for as . The utilization of cards like Contamination, Infernal Darkness, Winter Orb, Defense Grid, etc. was a way to protect their own gameplan. Example list: K'rrik staxx.

A few went the manual Shimmer storm route with a hard focus on landing an early Ad Nauseam to "draw" their deck and go mana positive on cheap rocks, cast Aetherflux Reservoir, and continue to storm to a laser-beam worthy life total. Cards like Leshrac's Sigil made this possible with K'rrik as a fast way to cast a lot of spells in a single turn (or rather a single spell a lot of times). Gravecrawler and Carrion Feeder served the same function. Example list: I Want To Die.

Although this strategy was largely ignored in early brewing, Reanimator was to become a primary strategy for what we now know as the current Primer. Great targets such as Razaketh, the Foulblooded, Vilis, Broker of Blood, and Chainer, Dementia Master. The idea of these lists were to assemble graveyard loops with either Blood Artist or Gray Merchant of Asphodel effects all while cheating the larger targets into play. Cards that brought this archetype to the forefront were Buried Alive, Final Parting, Goryo's Vengeance, etc... Example list: K'rrik, Suicide Reanimator.

K'rrik 1.0 - All-in Doomsday. What were we thinking...?

K'rrik 2.0 - Doomsday primary, Aetherflux secondary, Buried Alive tertiary. The list before we got off Doomsday as the primary.

K'rrik 3.0 - Buried Alive primary, Aetherflux secondary, Doomsday tertiary. The pre-Oracle successor to our current list.

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Date added 1 year
Last updated 3 weeks

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

11 - 0 Mythic Rares

40 - 0 Rares

23 - 0 Uncommons

14 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.23
Folders Cool Stuff, EDH, Favoritos, Commander Decks, MONO COLOR EDH, Cool decks, Krrik, Phyrexia, Neat Decks, Decks, See all 94
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5 months ago)

+1 Massacre maybe