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Inception! (aka Thrymception) [cEDH Primer]

Commander / EDH* Combo Competitive Control GWUB

jaymc1130

Maybeboard


Welcome to Thrymception

Thrymception is a Mid Range combo control deck designed with exactly one purpose in mind: beating every other deck in the format with the greatest degree of consistency possible. For those looking to win consistently in competitive circles and play the absolute best deck in the format, look no further, you've found it.

How do you Meta?

The cEDH meta, though always evolving as new sets and cards are released, has slowed to a crawl in terms of innovation. Much of the potential meta space has been explored and many of the format's fundamental concepts are well known by now and rather entrenched. However, there are some aspects that the competitive community is still slow to pick up on and many of the decks in the meta space rely on a flawed understanding of some key factors to remain competitive. Thrymception is a deck looking to exploit this complacency within the meta and leverage efficiency to a maximum potential as a means to generate wins on a consistent basis against what many believe to be high quality decks that are difficult to best. The first thing that must be understood by a Thrymception pilot is what fundamental aspects the meta at large is failing to recognize as important, then learn how to exploit these failures to an advantage for as long as the community takes to adjust to the new reality.

The first topic we will broach is the concept of a single point of failure as this is the concept that the entire cEDH community has been slow to recognize the importance of in competitive play and the primary weapon Thrymception will look to utilize against opponents. Taking a step back to look at the big picture, it's important to realize how the competitive community reached a point where this concept is a relevant angle from which to attack opposing players and decks. In the arms race to make each deck as fast as possible in execution of a combo win line many decks have eschewed robust, resilient deck building principles.

The slower decks in the meta often struggle to compete with the speed and consistency with which the faster decks can employ a combo win line and these combos tend to be compact enough, in terms of card slots and mana investment, to initiate with relatively consistent ease. What many of these slower decks are overlooking as they try and fail to compete is that many of these fast combo decks have built an inherent weakness into their deck in an attempt to make the execution of a particular combo line as fast as possible, often devoting a dozen or more individual card slots to support the execution of one particular combo line. This dramatically limits the amount of space available to many fast decks for other important elements a deck should have, such as alternative ways to win in the event one is unavailable or pieces to prevent other decks from gaining advantages and potentially winning the game.

Consider for a moment a typical Laboratory Maniac style combo win line. In the event this win condition is exiled and removed as an option in the course of game play early in a match the rest of the many pieces the deck was running to support the line as well as the combo pieces used to initiate the line themselves have now become dead cards taking up deck space that serve no function to help the fast combo deck actually win the game. For many decks out there in the meta this is liable to be the ONLY way to win via a fast combo and the removal of the win condition piece essentially eliminates the deck from contention in the match altogether. A deck with a single point of failure, or even potentially several individual points of failure in a particular chain that requires each of these individual elements, is extremely vulnerable to being attacked from this angle and that is what Thrymception is looking to do while avoiding falling prey to the same weakness.

Card slot efficiency is a concept that the cEDH community believes it understands very well. It's often a topic of discussion and consideration, but many in the community tend to think about this from a singular card perspective and ignore the bigger picture aspect that is equally important: total card slots devoted to a particular purpose. Yes, Flash is a spell for , this is very mana efficient and the function of the card is also efficient being able to generate a game winning line for that low mana cost investment.

But what about the total card slots devoted to enabling the line of play? Well, usually there are going to be the second major piece in Protean Hulk and about a dozen other pieces directly involved in a chain of subsequent actions that all must also be run to enable this line. And then the line needs a win condition, which is often the Laboratory Maniac discussed earlier. And then the line needs additional slots devoted to tutoring up these pieces that might not other wise need to be run such as Eladamri's Call . In the end Flash , while being efficient in and of itself, requires an extremely inefficient card slot set up to be a viable plan of action to win a game. This is going to limit the resources available to a deck employing a Flash based strategy for other purposes and pushing that deck into a game plan where the Flash related resources are incapable of producing a game winning line before the deck is able to defend against the angle of attack is going to be the objective for Thrymception.

This is a concept rarely discussed in the cEDH community and many players tend not to give much thought to it at all, which means it's another angle Thrymception can use to aggressively attack opponents.

Consider for a moment the relative vulnerability of a Dramatic Reversal imprinting on an Isochron Scepter line compared to a similar line in casting Power Artifact on a Grim Monolith . The Dramatic Scpeter combo is neat and compact, very efficient, but this line of play is more vulnerable than enchanting a Monolith with Power Artifact. The Scepter combo requires additional cards in play aside from the 2 being used to function, and this line exiles Dramatic Reversal in the process. There are more angles to attack this line of play than there are with Power Monolith, and some of these angles of attack can prevent the line of play from ever being available again in the future. A pilot could destroy the mana rocks or creatures the Scepter needs to generate infinite mana. The Scepter and the spell it casts a copy of can be countered. If the Scepter is destroyed the Dramatic Reversal remains exiled. However, the Power Monolith combo can only be interacted with in the castings of these two pieces or destroying them and destroying either of them merely sends them to the graveyard rather than exile, which is much easier to retrieve lost pieces from.

Or consider a typical Food Chain winning line when compared to Demonic Consultation winning line. The Forbidden Tutor play comes with an inherent risk of exiling the win condition when employed as well as exiling pieces that could be used to help a deck recover if the line fails for some reason. It also includes vulnerability to more forms of interaction than a Food Chain line as there are generally slightly more ways to deal with creatures on the board in cEDH decks than enchantments and also slightly more commonly run pieces of counter magic that can hit instants or 1 cmc spells than a 3 cmc enchantment.

When piloting Thrymception it's always a benefit to attempt to force an opponent onto the game plan that has the greatest degree of vulnerability as a line of play. This increases risk in the risk/reward factor for opponents which can have significant pay offs over the course of time and is important when considering the angle from which to attack decks that actually do have more than one point of failure.

The burden of interaction is a concept that the cEDH community is becoming more accustomed to. It's important to remember that in a multiplayer format no one individual will be able to have the ability to interact with every other individual most of the time. Thrymception is a deck that will look to utilize it's opponent's abilities to interact with each other to a profitable advantage by opening up opportunities for players who don't want another player to do a particular thing to have a chance to prevent it from happening. It will be vital to prioritize allowing the slower opposing decks to have opportunities to interact with the faster opposing decks since Thrymception can assemble advantages over time very easily as well as explosively very easily. The degree of flexibility the deck construction of Thrymception affords allows it to more profitably "pick it's spot" than other decks in the format. It's design is such that it is extremely resilient and terrific at acquiring more total resources than opposing decks will be able to collect in the same time frame.

Placing the burden of interaction on other players intelligently and selectively allows Thrymception to employ the resources of those decks as well as it's own against the competition making proper threat assessment critical at all junctures in time. Properly done this can leverage the resources of each opponent against each other opponent until the attrition adds up and the card advantage generated from active and passive sources allows Thrymception to fight through multiple opponents' potential remaining permission elements for a game winning line of it's own.

Overview Conclusions

Understanding these aforementioned concepts, the game plan to attack opponents in match becomes clear for Thrymception. The deck wants to quickly disable fast decks with single points of failure by exiling the critical pieces, employ the most efficient lines of play possible to it, force opponents onto as inefficient lines of play as possible, and stay patient while employing the resources of opponents against one another while utilizing conservative low risk angles of attack to allow attrition to take a toll before making a big move. Effectively employing these tactics and attacking decks from angles the meta is not used to handling is the route to success in a meta that has become complacent with the status quo.

Before getting more in depth about how to approach playing a game with Thrymception it's necessary to understand what the engines the deck employs can do and the limits of each. Each engine is designed to be as compact and efficient as possible in terms of card slots and mana investments and each is intended to perform the same function. This gives the deck several means of accomplishing the same goal and adds layers of redundancy that will make it much more difficult for opposing decks to do to Thrymception what Thrymception is trying to do to them: eliminate the ability for a deck's combos to function at all and turn cards devoted to them into dead card slots. All the engines Thrymception utilizes are intended to draw the whole deck and generate infinite mana. It's not all that important to fight too heavily to protect any one of these engines as the deck will be happy to use one or two of them as bait for opposing interaction to be able to force through a different engine and hold it's own interaction for preventing opponent's from being able to effectively combo off. Be wary of putting too many of the pieces into the graveyard however, as this invites opponents to spend graveyard hate to exile multiple pieces you might want back later.
These two engines are very simple and well understood. Each is a two card combo that enables the generation of infinite mana, although Dramatic Scepter will require enough mana rocks/dorks in play to be able to function. With either engine in play and Thrasios in play a pilot is able to draw the whole deck. The greatest threat to these engines is typically going to be Abrupt Decay as the only real answer to it this deck runs is Narset's Reversal . Grim Monolith is the lowest risk to play and can generate value without being part of an infinite combo. It also enables the Dramatic Scepter engine on it's own as it is a single mana rock that can generate net positive mana per loop iteration. There is very little downside to casting this at the earliest opportunity and most of the risk comes in the attempt to enchant it with Power Artifact . Isochron Scepter is slightly more risk to play as it could potentially be destroyed or bounced after imprinting Dramatic Reversal . Thrymception can feel free to cast Isochron Scepter for value earlier on in the game and imprint a different target, such as a counterspell ( Swan Song HIGHLY not recommended) or Brainstorm . This can often be a good way to bait opposing targeted removal.
Mystic Top is a new engine with the release of M20. Usually this slot would be held by Paradox Engine , but since that card has been banned in commander Mystic Forge will be the replacement. Paired with Helm of Awakening and Sensei's Divining Top this engine allows for the drawing of the whole deck. With all 3 in play activate Top to draw a card returning it to the top of the library, then play it for free from the top of the library with Mystic Forge's effect. Repeat to draw the whole library. With the whole deck in hand 3 pieces can be added to this combo to generate infinite mana: Elixir of Immortality , Dark Ritual , and Lotus Petal . Play the Petal and Elixir for free. Tap and sac the Petal for , then use the mana to cast Ritual. Spend to activate Elixir and return the graveyard to your library and gain 5 life. Repeat the draw process with Top to draw the cards again. Play the Elixir and Petal for free again and use the remaining to cast Ritual. Sac the Petal for any color of mana. Use to again activate Elixir, and then use the Top to draw them again. From this point on the loop will generate to cast Dark Ritual off the previous Dark Ritual infinitely and infinite mana of any color as well as infinite life gain.

Playing Sensei's Divining Top comes with the lowest mana investment and least risk. The Top is also fairly good at being able to protect itself while offering excellent utility. Playing Helm of Awakening outside the combo comes with more risk as this will decrease not only the cost of your spells but your opponent's spells as well. Very rarely will opponents want to interact with these 2 pieces as one protects itself and the other is helping them. Playing Mystic Forge comes with the most risk and greatest mana investment. Opponents are very likely to respond with interaction upon casting or resolving the Forge with the other 2 pieces in play, but the Forge is immune to Abrupt Decay where the other pieces are not.

Angel's Grace paired with Ad Nauseam should need very little explanation in and of itself as this combo is a staple of the format. If both resolve the whole deck can be drawn at the cost of life equal to the combined mana cost of cards remaining in the library. This comes with a fairly high degree of risk as opponents tend to universally understand the implications of a resolved ANAG combo. Generally, if they can interact here they will do so. If the combo resolves then it's highly unlikely opponents have any sort of remaining countermagic they will be able to cast and the greatest threat will come from opponents who still have untapped mana and instant speed targeted removal.

With the whole deck in hand after completion of this combo any of the above engines will be able to generate infinite mana and which can be played depends only on the mana that will be available. Abrupt Decay is again the biggest threat to the engine pieces that resolve as most other removal targeting an engine piece can be dealt with by the answers drawn off the ANAG combo. If Silence is being run it is a wise idea to cast it prior to attempting the ANAG combo in order to protect it and the subsequent plays.

In total, Thrymception is devoting 6 card slots to 3 combos, and a further 3 slots to a 4th, as well as 3 slots to an addendum to the 4th combo. Of these 12 cards 4 ( Dark Ritual , Lotus Petal , Grim Monolith , and Sensei's Divining Top ) hold significant value out side of being part of a combo win. Of the remaining 8 cards 2 ( Ad Nauseam , Isochron Scepter ) have good utility value outside of being part of a combo. Of the remaining 6 cards 4 ( Angel's Grace , Mystic Forge , Dramatic Reversal , Elixir of Immortality ) have some niche applications outside of being part of a combo. Only 2 ( Helm of Awakening , Power Artifact ) tend to feel bad to see independently. This is a significant advantage over most every other deck in the format as none will be able to match this card slot efficiency or resiliency. All other 86 remaining cards can be devoted to interaction, mana sources, card advantage sources, tutors, and meta specific hate packages. After using any of these engines to generate infinite mana and infinite on demand card draw Thrymception can proceed to the looping of a win phase using the interaction spells themselves to generate a win.

The next thing to understand before delving into how to approach playing a game with Thrymception is the ways in which the deck combo wins making use of the concept of infinitely looping spell casts in order to save deck space, remain as consistent as possible about it's opening turn plays and development, as well as maintain a maximum degree of efficiency in terms of card slots and mana resources used. There are a pair of loop enabling engines that consist of three cards the deck will make use of in it's standard build set up and a third option that can be included in Memory's Journey should a pilot feel another layer of redundancy is required for the meta game they will be facing in a match.
Elixir of Immortality , as discussed briefly earlier, is the primary loop enabling piece and requires only 1 card. It has several advantages over other loop generation options as it is an artifact that can be returned from exile rather easily in this deck's primary set up, requires only 1 card and a total mana investment of to enable looping, and does not generate new hands of cards for opponents to use to potentially interact with plays. It also comes with a disadvantage by being run, however, as this is a card that is slightly less "live" than other options may be. Outside of generating infinite loops it's only real function is to protect the graveyard from graveyard hate pieces in game, a valuable effect, but not one that will be the most often needed from game to game.
Thrymception's secondary loop enabling option is the combination of Narset's Reversal and Timetwister . The disadvantage here is that this method requires a greater mana investment at to perform, 2 cards to perform, and it's pieces cannot be returned from exile in the deck's primary build iteration. On the advantageous side of things these are both spells that are significantly more "live" than other options may be from game to game outside of looping. In the event, for whatever reason, that Narset's Reversal is imprinted on Isochron Scepter (not usually recommended unless Memory's Journey + Noxious Revival is also in the deck and the value of Narset's on Scepter is much greater while the risk is significantly lessened) this loop will additionally require the use of Dramatic Reversal to function (as well as increase the cost of the loop to ). To perform the loop first cast Timetwister, then cast Narset's Reversal targeting Timetwister, and if need be then cast Dramatic Reversal while holding priority on Narset's Reversal's resolution. This will shuffle all cards used back into the deck to be used again, as well as hands and graveyards of opponent's back into their decks, and draw a new hand. Always make sure Thrasios is in play, is able to activate his ability, and that infinite mana of every color has already been generated if possible before attempting this line to allow the line to protect itself as Silence is not run in this deck's primary set up. Proceed to use Thrasios to draw the whole deck and return to a loop enabled game state using permission as needed to defend against any opponents who might have drawn interaction off of the Timetwister. Dovin's Veto (or similar effects like Counterflux ) being drawn is typically the greatest threat to this line as Narset's Reversal cannot be used to deal with it. It is wise to exile these potential pieces, if possible, from opposing decks prior to starting this line.
The last option that may occasionally be available is Memory's Journey paired with Noxious Revival should it be included for some reason in the deck's set up. On the pro side of things this looping method is slightly more "live" than Elixir as the pieces can double as interaction for opposing graveyards in addition to recursion of your own pieces in the graveyard in non looping game situations, does not grant opponents additional card resources in hand, and requires a low mana investment of (and 2 life), or at instant speed. The cons are that the method requires 2 card slots, can only loop 2 spells at a time as opposed to an entire graveyard, and these cards can not be easily returned from exile in the deck's primary set up. Using Narset's Reversal with Memory's Journey is also possible but requires Narset's Reversal to be imprinted on Isochron Scepter with Dramatic Reversal in hand, and increases the mana investment required to use the loop to . To perform this loop simply cast any 2 spells that need to be looped, then cast Memory's Journey. If using Narset's Reversal tap Isochron Scepter to cast it here targeting the Journey to return it to hand and copy it on resolution, hold priority and cast Dramatic Reversal to untap the Scepter; upon resolution use the copy of Journey to target Dramatic Reversal that is now in the graveyard and the 2 spells cast earlier to return them to an empty library and proceed to use an infinite draw method to return to a loop enabled game state. If using Noxious Revival, target the 2 spells cast earlier with the Journey to return them to the library, then cast Noxious Revival to return the Journey to the top of the library. Proceed to use an infinite draw method to bring these cards to hand and repeat the loop using the third target slot from Journey to also return Noxious Revival to the deck. Draw the cards again to return to a loop enabled game state and perform the loop as needed after proving it can be short cut to a deterministic end result.

Using these loops the following methods are able to win the game.

Ashiok, Dream Render is the go to method of generating a looped win. In addition to providing a high quality measure to impede opponents from searching libraries while providing graveyard hate, Ashiok will exile all opposing libraries when looped. To perform a looped Ashiok win first cast Ashiok, then use her minus ability to exile all opposing graveyards and the top 4 cards of one opponent's library. Assassin's Trophy and Abrupt Decay can then be used to destroy her and put her in the graveyard to be looped. Chain of Vapor can also be used to return her to hand and replay her for additional activations. Use a looping method to return Ashiok and/or the other cards used to the library and then use an infinite draw method to return these cards to hand. Replay Ashiok for additional activations and perform the loop as needed after proving it can be short cut. Opponents who then draw on an empty library will lose the game and result in a win for Thrymception.
The next most ideal method of winning a game relies on exiling opposing libraries with Extract and Praetor's Grasp . These cards pull double duty, being both a primary angle of attack against decks with a single point of failure early on in a match and game winning finishers. Performing a loop is simple with these options, just target an opponent with one of these spells and exile a card (it won't often matter, but starting with free countersepells such as Pact of Negation and uncounterable cards such as Dovin's Veto or Abrupt Decay is correct prioritization). Use a loop + draw method to return Extract and/or Grasp to hand and repeat the process as needed after proving it can be short cut. Again, opponents drawing on empty libraries results in a win.
Thrymception's third option set revolves around looping Assassin's Trophy and/or Swan Song as well as the discard spells Inquisition of Kozilek , Duress , and Thoughtseize . At it's core only Assassin's Trophy is really needed to set up for an assured win, but in all cases this line is a greater risk than the aforementioned game winning lines even if that risk is fairly negligible. Should the deck be running either Generous Gift or Beast Within , both can perform the same function at greater cmc but less card slot investment. To perform this winning line start by casting and looping targeted discard spells to shred opposing hands of any non land cards. Then proceed to cast and loop Assassin's Trophy on all opposing permanents until each opponent has a completely empty board state as well (GG and BW can be substituted here, followed by Swords to Plowshares , Cyclonic Rift , Chain of Vapor or Winds of Abandon looping to remove any opposing tokens). From this point cast all the creatures in the deck and then loop Swan Song on any spell Thrymception can cast that is able to be countered by Swan Song to generate infinite bird tokens (GG and BW can be looped targeting Tymna to the same effect). For style points feel free to cast any opposing creatures acquired via Praetor's Grasp . Pass the turn to opponents with no board and no cards aside from lands in hand and wait a turn cycle to attack for the win. Typically the biggest threat to this line is something like Massacre , but the process can be repeated each subsequent turn as needed until opponents are all dead.
Windfall can be used on a loop (or after looping the above mentioned lines to exile opposing libraries for an immediate draw on empty libraries) to force opponents to draw and discard their whole deck, but comes with the inherent risk of putting new cards into opponent's hands. As discussed earlier it is relatively easy to protect against this impacting the win line, but risk is still risk and this win line should be the last one attempted if possible. The Windfall line also runs into problems against decks running cards like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth as they can use the discard effect to reshuffle their graveyard into their library. Typically these are pieces Dramatic Thrymna will be looking to attack and exile from opposing decks in earlier portions of a match, but things may not always work out in such a way as to be possible every game. Deathrite Shaman can be used to exile pieces like this at times, should the creature not be summoning sick. Casting Angel's Grace before starting this win line can help make it's employment much simpler, but in the event cards need to be returned to the deck there are plenty of ways to do so including simply casting spells or saccing fetch lands and performing a loop to restore them to the library without returning to a loop enabled game state by drawing them from the library. After Angel's Grace or stacking the library simply cast Windfall and let it resolve before using a loop + draw method to return the library to hand and repeat as needed after proving it can be short cut.
Deathrite Shaman can technically be a win condition, but is the least reliable method available to the deck. This win line is only possible with Dramatic Reversal looping or imprinted on Isochron Scepter , requires a from a mana rock or mana dork, and a large number of spells to target in graveyards. If there are not enough spells able to be utilized for this purpose in opposing graveyards then Thrymception must start using it's own spells for this purpose which is certainly a risk. Typically this won't matter if the point in a match has been reached where a pilot is resorting to this win line, but it is a consideration.

With a basic understanding of how the engines and loops function actual game play can now be considered.

General Game Plan Overview

The general game plan with Thrymception is pretty simple in essence: attack the opposition where they are most vulnerable and win the battle of attrition. In actual execution it's a lot more complicated and a successful match win is going to be predicated on a pilot's specific knowledge of the match ups and operational patterns of opposing decks, as well as the ability to correctly interpret the evolving threat levels and capabilities of opponents in a match. It has a simple plan, but requires a cerebral approach to employ it effectively. Often times the best line of play may be one that would seem counter intuitive at first glance. Sly political machinations, while not a common concept in many cEDH games or the community at large, can be a huge boon to a Thrymception pilot and this adds an element of intrigue to games that might not otherwise be present. At a fundamental level the deck is looking to do something that goes completely against the grain of typical cEDH game play patterns: be the last player to attempt to combo off for the win. The reason for this is easy to understand after seeing the deck work in practice a few times as more often than not the first person (or persons) to attempt to combo off will have those attempts stuffed, but the last person to attempt to combo off is the person who finally succeeded and wound up winning the match. This is how Thrymception will attempt to exploit the weaknesses present in the cEDH meta at large.

A successful piloting of Thrymception starts before the first player has even drawn the first card of the first turn of the game. When sitting down to play in a pod a pilot must begin by assessing the relative threat level of each deck opposing it, the potential speed with which those threats might be deployed, and the position of each deck in regards to turn order as these factors will help determine what opponent is the most important to target in the opening phases of the game. A fast deck going first in turn order with a single point of failure and inefficient card slot usage is the most threatening potential opponent who is also most vulnerable. A slow deck going last in turn order with multiple points of failure and efficient card slot usage is a less threatening potential opponent who is also less vulnerable. The most threatening, most vulnerable opposing deck is the first deck Thrymception will be looking to attack. If multiple decks are equally threatening then the most vulnerable deck takes priority in terms of which to target with turn order next dictating priority. There will be more time and opportunities to deal with the less threatening opponents as the game progresses. Identify the correct target before shuffling up and drawing a hand.
Targeting a deck with a single point of failure in the opening phases of the game and compromising that point of failure is generally going to be the line Thrymception pilots will take to start a match. On this angle the deck's discard disruption package will be the tools to employ, ideally using Extract and/or Praetor's Grasp on turn 1 or 2 to exile and compromise the point of failure in a vulnerable deck. While many other decks will be using these turns to tutor up various combo initiation pieces to engage their combo line as soon as possible, Thrymception will often be tutoring up an Extract to attack that combo line's pieces that remain in an opposing deck. In the event more permanent solutions aren't available in the opening turns then Inquisition of Kozilek , Duress , and Thoughtseize are a means of removing critical pieces from opposing hands to delay, at the very least, opposing game plan development.

Even in the event the target defends their deck and critical single point of failure combo piece with interaction this is a win for Thrymception as the burden of interaction has now been shifted to the slower opposing decks to use the opportunity of a now usually unprotected combo line attempt by the targeted fast combo deck to interact with and prevent the fast opposing deck from being able to combo off. This will waste a significant number of resources the fast combo deck may not be able to recoup quickly and buy time for the table to develop, or potentially even succeed in exiling the fast combo deck's critical piece and essentially eliminate the deck from being able to compete outright if forced onto the plan of "creature beats" as the sole remaining way to win.

There is some element of risk associated with this game plan as it is a single target play. Other opposing fast combo decks may have time to employ their own combo before the turn cycle returns and on occasion perhaps the only person who could have stopped it was the opponent targeted by Extract who chose to defend against the attack. Mathematically this type of scenario is unlikely, but it will happen in a certain small number of games per 100 played. Fortunately the angle of attack employed (with Extract and targeted discard spells at least) is extremely mana efficient and Thrymception will most often have left over mana resources, disruptive interaction resources in hand, and a chance to interact itself in such a situation.

This plan rather boils down to a single card: Ashiok, Dream Render . Thrymception wants to get her into play and start exiling opposing libraries and graveyards while also preventing opponents from utilizing tutors and fetch lands. Against some decks this angle of attack can be more effective than the primary angle of attack, usually decks that want to make use of the graveyard as either a stockpile of resources or reanimation zone. Any deck that wants to be reliably pulling resources out of it's library, however, is also seriously impeded by Ashiok and this is often bad news for fast combo decks and slower control decks alike. It's not important to try to rush her out, rather, look for an opportunity to get her into play when an important piece hits an opposing graveyard or when an opponent is expected to be looking to tutor for a reload or second attempt at a win.

Protecting Ashiok isn't a requirement, but Thrymception will want her to both resolve and stay alive to continue to employ the general game plan of attacking opponent's weaknesses in deck construction techniques that rely on excess tutor packages and low numbers of critical points of failure for low numbers of combo win conditions. It's often a good moment to drop an Ashiok after opponents have spent a turn cycle in attempts to employ combo lines that failed or were stuffed, interaction was spent, and remaining mana resources are also strained. There will often be numerous things in multiple graveyards Thrymnception wants to exile in this type of situation to knock opposing decks out of the game. Ashiok is one of the few types of openly aggressive plays the deck will make and this will draw attention, ire, and opposing interaction resources, but will enhance the other lines of attack being utilized against those opponents.

Against certain decks employing Food Chain this plan can have an increased level of risk as it could potentially exile creatures they would rather prefer to be in exile any ways. It's rarely wise to target these decks with an Ashiok activation unless the Food Chain has already been dealt with and exiled itself. Typically the greatest risk in playing her is going to come from the mana investment versus any piece of interaction used to eliminate the threat she poses, particularly Abrupt Decay , as these pieces require less mana spent to deal with her than it cost to cast her and also places the burden of interaction back on Thrymception to deal with opposing win line threats when these interaction pieces are spent on Ashiok. In the event a Thrymception pilot is relying on an opponent to interact with another opponent based on information known or other factors it can be best to wait for a more opportune moment to play her.

The third option to attack opposing decks is a more (generally) passive approach with a much broader scope but a single goal: generate resource advantages over opposing decks and force resource attrition to cause opponents to falter. An opponent with less mana available, less cards available in hand, less resources to use in the graveyard, and less pieces in play on the board is an opponent who is much less of a threat to win a game or oppose a game winning line. Attacking opposing resources in an active or passive fashion will open up an opportunity for Thrymception to employ it's resource advantages relatively uncontested.
Some of the ways to enact this line exist in the command zone and will be able to be accessed with regularity on demand. Tymna the Weaver is an aggressive approach that will generate accumulation of additional resources in hand when the deck's creatures damage opponents. Thrasios, Triton Hero is a passive approach that takes advantage of unspent mana on opposing end steps when mana is held up to interact but no interaction was required to generate accumulation of resources both in hand and on board. Typically if a pilot is not in desperate need to reload resources in hand or find interaction it is better to ramp off Thrasios activations than acquire a cantrip or similarly less game impacting card. Thrymception wants to win the long game every time, but will be happy to win in shorter time spans if this does not require deviation from the main game plan of allowing attrition to do much of the heavy lifting for the deck.
Other passive means of using card advantage to attack opponents using the idea of attrition are included in the deck outside the command zone. Runic Armasaur will add extra resources in hand when opponents activate fetch lands, activated abilities of creatures like Thrasios or Urza, Lord High Artificer 's last Mind's Desire ability, and utility lands such as Academy Ruins or Bazaar of Baghdad . Forcing opponents to choose between giving Thrymception more resources or not using their own are both outcomes that benefit Thrymception. Mystic Remora performs a similar and even more effective function. Dark Confidant and Sylvan Library won't impact opposing players as much but still help in the battle of attrition at an efficient investment price. Sensei's Divining Top gives access to the top of library to assist in this battle and can help set up a potential combo for later with a low mana and risk investment.
Casting an Ad Nauseam "for value" (as opposed to as part of the ANAG combo) on an opposing endstep is a more aggressive and active method of fighting this battle that comes with relatively low risk as it's not a piece the deck is dependent on resolving to achieve value within the parameters of it's overall gameplay, baiting an oppoenent's interaction can be effective in many situations. Necropotence is an option that is not included in the primary list but can be slotted in for certain metas that is another aggressive, active method of fighting the battle of attrition. All of these pieces will help the deck acquire extra resources, but Thrymception doesn't just want to acquire them; it wants to use as few of them as required to disrupt opponents and begin the process of stockpiling advantages to use explosively later on.
Another layer in this angle of attack is the targeted discard spells which work as a simultaneously active and passive approach to fight the battle of attrition. Actively, casting one targeting an opponent will remove a card from their hand either on resolution or when they interact with the spell to protect their hand making their subsequent actions more vulnerable. Passively, opponents who reveal a hand reveal information to the whole table allowing a Thrymception pilot the opportunity to shift the burden of interaction and encourage or force other opponents to answer problem pieces that might be found in that revealed hand.

It is sometimes the correct choice to make an opponent discard a permission or defensive piece rather than a combo piece to attempt to force the burden of interaction onto the remaining opponents to deal with the combo (this is more effectively done when Thrymception has an answer itself but would rather save it and the two opponents not targeted will have priority due to turn order after the targeted player but before Thrymception), essentially turning the targeted discard spell into a potential 3 for 1 that removes an interaction piece and a combo piece from one opponent as well as an interaction piece from another opponent.

It is sometimes the correct choice to do the opposite and force discard the combo piece but leave an opponent with the interaction they were unable to cast to defend against the discard spell (most effective when the target will act immediately before Thrymception except on Thrymception's own turns where they will be last in priority order). This shifts the burden of interaction to the opponent targeted to deal with any known or unknown threats another opponent might attempt to deploy as well as signals the rest of the table that interaction is available to disrupt them and potentially buy more time for Thrymception to allow attrition to work in it's favor.

Sometimes the correct choice is to play politics upon the reveal of an opposing hand, ask the table about what to remove, judge the responses and acquire information about the other opposing players' hands passively. In fact, this choice is usually correct and can be utilized, typically, regardless of other choices that might be made as the information that can be subtly acquired can have major implications for the state of the game and what lines Thrymception will want to pursue moving forward.

The last set of options to consider are ones that can work both defensively and offensively: Timetwister and Windfall . Used aggressively, these are cards that can generate a net gain in available resources for a Thrymception pilot. These pieces can only be used effectively in an aggressive fashion, however, when opposing players have a large number of cards in hand while Thrymception has few. Mostly in these situations Thrymception will have dumped a number of resources in hand onto the board and will need to reload quickly while opposing players haven't yet had a chance to match the resource deployment or leave enough mana open to prevent the spell from resolving. This can be an inherently risky proposition as it is a symmetrical effect that puts an often large number of resources in each opponent's hand, is extremely vulnerable to Notion Thief style effects, and typically can't be defended easily as a line of play. Prior to turn 3 there is generally significantly less risk (if any at times). This option should be utilized with extreme care and proper game state evaluation is critical. On occasion an opponent will have a bad hand, or be in a "behind" position and want the spell to resolve to potentially solve that problem. It can be wise to look for such a situation and utilize this player to assist in resolving this type of play.

It is relatively common to pursue tertiary angles of attack more so than any others after the opening 2 turns of the match. In part because the options are more numerous, but also in part because many of these options often aren't interpreted as "threatening" by opponents which can mean they will save and then spend their interaction resources elsewhere which enhances the effectiveness of this angle of attack.

It is important at this juncture to take note of the fact that none of the angles of attack discussed to this point include attempting to find or play a combo win line. It should be reiterated: Thrymception is not looking to aggressively pursue attempting a combo win line until the pilot is satisfied that enough resources have been acquired in comparison to the resources available to opponents that a combo win line has a very high likelihood of being successful either because it can be well defended or opponents are incapable of disrupting it. Remember, Thrymception is looking to be the last player to attempt to go off as it is the last player to make the attempt who succeeds in every game by definition. The deck is happy to use tutors for other purposes and play a defensive minded game while using card advantage resources to draw into combo elements naturally, and even then it is willing to deploy those combo pieces purely to bait opposing resources at times. Knowing each opponent who can has already cast an Abrupt Decay (or similarly difficult to prevent piece of interaction) and no longer has access to it gives Thrymception an advantage and is the type of window of opportunity being looked for to "pick that spot" for a win attempt.

This is pretty simple and should come as no surprise after seeing the deck list. Thrymception will usually be utilizing it's robust interaction suite as the primary means of defending against opposing combo and other lines of play used by opponents. Where other decks may be devoting 20 card slots to engaging and supporting a single combo line, Thrymception devotes 30 card slots to various ways to impact or disrupt opposing game plans, a little over half of which are instant speed direct answers. In addition to those, some of the attack line options work double duty on the defensive front, such as the wheel effects, targeted discard spells, Ashiok, and the targeted exile spells (the cliche of "the best defense is a good offense", and vice versa, certainly comes to mind). A handful of other effective utility and hate pieces round out the complement.

For most of these pieces the correct moments to utilize them should be pretty self explanatory.

The wheel effect spells on the other hand could likely do with a little explaining in how to use them to defend against opposing lines of play. For the most part, using a wheel effect as a defensive measure comes down to a particular set of circumstances that is common in cEDH games: when an opponent or opponents have tutored for or otherwise knowingly acquired a combo piece in hand. Wheeling away this threat is a very effective method of dealing with the problem and oftentimes is a play that other opponents will be willing to assist in allowing to resolve at the detriment of the opponent(s) who knowingly acquired pieces with an extreme threat value. The downsides can be that potentially one or multiple opposing players will acquire a net addition in available hand resources, and that the table will tend to acquire a net mana availability advantage against Thrymception (at the very least) given that these effects are sorcery speed and cost . The upside is that this is a play that can effectively waste the turn of set up an opponent used, waste the spells used on the set up, waste the mana used trying to prevent the wheel from resolving, and, critically, prevent that player from being able to achieve resolving a game winning play line. In almost every situation where this type of defense is possible to employ the upside dramatically outweighs the downsides.

In general, defensive priority should be afforded to opposing lines of play that directly contradict Thrymception's overall game plan. Minor obstacles such as a Cursed Totem or Back to Basics are an annoyance, like a mosquito. Moderate impediments like a Null Rod will eventually need to be removed, but aren't a serious, time pressing issue. Major concerns in the form of pieces similar to Mystic Remora or Notion Thief will seriously hamper the efforts of the general game plan of Thrymception, however, and are pieces to defend against. Catastrophic threats such as an opponent casting Doomsday before that player's Laboratory Maniac has been exiled or a Food Chain resolving are must answer issues and in the event other opponents can't answer Thrymception must make sure it is able to do so as these situations are akin to the house being on fire.

The secondary line of defense employed by Thrymception is passive in nature as opposed to active in nature the way the interaction pieces are used. The idea is best summed up in one word: Camouflage. While it's difficult to hide the deck's commanders (which are always considered quite threatening in cEDH), or the permanents the deck might have in play in game (players tend to know more mana rocks and dorks means more mana which means more threat potential), it is possible to disguise the threat Thrymception presents to the table. Much of this boils down to the passive pattern of play exhibited by the deck in a typical game. Opponents will all be more worried about an opposing Food Chain in play than the untapped Deathrite Shaman , tapped Mana Vault , and Sylvan Library in play for Thrymception; and rightly so as Food Chain presents a potentially game ending threat just by existing in play. A non summoning sick Zur the Enchanter seems a lot more fearsome than Thrymception's Linvala, Keeper of Silence . Hiding in plain sight can be key to encouraging opponents to spend resources on these types of threats and each other rather than on Thrymception's own pieces.

As a pattern of play in many games it can often appear that Thrymception "isn't doing much" as some series of turns progresses and the deck merely plays a handful of mana rocks/dorks, a cantrip or two, perhaps a targeted discard spell or sneaking in a passive card advantage source while leaving up mana to potentially interact at instant speed, sometimes doing so, sometimes not but clearly able (which might be puzzling to an opponent). Much of the time this is because the only plays Thrymception is looking to make will be to directly oppose a game winning line if forced, target a critical piece to be exiled and prevent all potential future game winning opportunities for a deck, or acquire more cards to continue these defensive measures while stockpiling the needed resources to win. The idea of disguising the deck's threat to the table is part of the process of manipulating the burden of interaction and forcing opponents to expend resources and lose the battle of attrition. This style of passive defensive play enhances the angles of attack being leveraged against opponents as, really, no one wants to Nature's Claim a Mox Diamond , Chain of Vapor a tapped Grim Monolith or Abrupt Decay a mere Runic Armasaur despite these pieces actually being essential to the game plan of Thrymception.

A good defense is just as important as a good offense for a deck that is looking to grind out advantages over time.

Often times the progression of play in a match will follow a somewhat standardized "script". Knowing that script and Thrymnception's part in it will help a pilot achieve consistent results, posting more Ws in the win column per 100 games played.
During these turns Thrymnception is looking to ramp with cheap mana sources and begin to build a board presence while simultaneously employing the primary angle of attack to hopefully (usually in fact, as this is pretty reliable) incapacitate a vulnerable target and remove the ability of one opponent to effectively win before they even have had a chance to attempt to do so. Turn order is often very important here as it can determine how aggressively Thrymception can pursue engaging an opponent on the primary angle of attack, going first in pod offers the maximum amount of potential options while going last offers the least. If a choice must be made between prioritizing ramping and board build up or attacking a vulnerable opponent it is generally more important to build a presence on the board when going first and often more important to prioritize effectively engaging the vulnerable opponent on the primary angle of attack before they are able to defend against the line when going last. The effectiveness of the primary angle of attack relies on it's ability to be employed by turn 2. Dropping a turn 2 Tymna is a feels good moment, but shouldn't be done at the expense of Thrymception's general game plan.
Starting from this point Thrymnception should look to be permanently playing with "shields up", rarely tapping out for any reason and remaining able to interact if possible (or often bluffing interaction at the very least with posturing which can be equally effective). Continuing to build up a board state and ramp with cheap pieces is a boon, but care should be taken not to overextend and become vulnerable to an early sweeper effect. A pilot should begin looking for an opportunity to start employing the tertiary angle of attack options here in either a passive or active fashion, but prioritize defense if the mana resources available don't permit both sets of actions.
At this stage many times opposing players will have already made an attempt to force through a win and in all realistic likelihood that attempt or those attempts were stuffed by the table and Thrymception itself with more active defensive measures. Opponents may be looking to recover or reload, or potentially even attempt another winning line. These are options Thrymception will be looking to prevent if possible as the deck is usually starting to win the battle of attrition at this point and will want to continue down that path. Politicking options can become very effective at this stage and in the Late Game stage as they are very mana efficient means of enhancing the angles of attack revolving around attrition. If an opponent or multiple opponents are vulnerable to the line, Tymna becomes an extremely reliable way of enhancing this game plan as well. Ashiok will pretty regularly be a tool to deploy at this stage that is highly effective. It may be possible to try an aggressive game winning line here provided the risk of doing so is relatively low. Attempt to assemble a game winning engine in such a case but don't go overboard trying to defend this line if the potential cost is failure and an inability to continue with "shields up" after spending resources on a failed defense of the line.
Thrasios will become a much more viable method of attacking opponents along the front of attrition at this stage and more openly aggressive means of acquiring resources can often be employed as well. Good opportunities to attempt game winning lines will typically be presenting themselves starting at this stage for Thrymnception and a pilot should take note of the circumstances to be ready when the moment presents itself. Troublesome pieces of opposing players' boards may need to be eliminated before game winning lines are possible, house cleaning may be in order to set up for the finish. Employing sweeping options against opponents here can be highly effective in this regard. In the event critical pieces of Thrymception's own engines are in exile this is the point to begin using Karn, the Great Creator in a more active fashion to recover those pieces.
Many games may be over before the match reaches this stage and some may not given the game plan of Thrymception is more of a long term one. Attrition should, at this point, have become a crucial tax on opposing resources with many opposing options potentially in exile. Assembling a game winning engine now becomes the primary, or perhaps even the only, remaining concern for Thrymception. Any remaining obstacles or impediments to the function of Thrymception's engines and loops should be removed and aggressive pursuit of a game winning line should be viable.

It's not always a requirement to follow the script. Improvisation can be successful, but is often attempted at a greater level of risk.

Not every match will see Thrymception playing against fast, fragile, aggressive combo based strategies. Sometimes a pod will consist of slower, perhaps less vulnerable types of strategies and decks. In such a situation Thrymception has the capability to switch gears and play the role of the fast combo based aggressor.

When sitting down to a match and noticing the pod is filled with slower style decks, perhaps featuring greater resiliency as well, assuming the mantle of the aggressor in the pod is fundamentally the correct choice. Just because Thrymception has a primary game plan based on playing a slower controlled style game doesn't mean this is a deck that is incapable of blisteringly fast wins. It might have the potential to win on turn 1 of a match, but this won't be a common occurrence and the primary game plan is significantly more effective at besting other fast combo based decks on a consistent basis than attempting to race with them. In the role of aggressor many of Thrymception's priorities change.

The standard angles of attack are not the path to take in scenarios where the mantle of aggressor has been assumed. Instead, the goal is going to be to assemble a game winning combo as quickly as possible and force it into play with protection or before opponents are capable of interacting with it. Use of tutors to aggressively acquire combo pieces will be necessary, and the standard approach now becomes the path of recovery. Hate pieces that the deck would otherwise be patient about removing are now priorities to remove if they interfere with the deck's engines or loops to enable Thrymception's engines and loops to engage unimpeded. Priority in the opening turn(s) is mostly exclusively going to be on explosive board build up, aggressive acquisition and deployment of resources and engine pieces, and vigorous defense of the pieces deployed.

A pilot should feel very inclined to keep ramp heavy hands with the ability to tutor in an effort to dump the opening hand as fast as possible, tutor for a wheel effect, and attempt to reload to abuse the pace of resource deployment. Opening hands that start with a compact and mana efficient engine piece are more desirable than they might otherwise be. Playing Tymna on turn 2 is likewise more desirable except in the situation where this delays the actual acquisition of a complete engine set up via other, more direct methods. Thrymception will typically only want to switch gears back to the standard, more measured approach in the event an accelerated combo win line is stuffed. Recovery efforts in these situations are exceptionally consistent due to the advantages afforded in deck construction.

Specific Game Play Situations

In addition to the general game play aspects already outlined there are numerous specific game play situations or circumstances that might be more unique an will require problem solving to find a work around for a particular conundrum. The deck includes a lot of flexibility and a ton of ways to handle most any issue that arises so a workaround can often be found. A Thrymception pilot should almost never feel hopeless about a particular situation in the way that opposing pilots will often be made to feel as they contest an "Inception" style strategy. Some of the more common specific scenarios a Thrymception pilot might find themselves in are addressed next to better prepare those who pilot the deck.

Infinite mana is great, but in Thrymception infinite colored mana is required to win a match. On occasion a pilot may find themselves in a position where the only available mana producing combo engine that remains is Power Monolith which produces exclusively colorless mana. This can be a problem, but is one that can be solved.

Elixir of Immortality is the Key here.

First Method

With Power Monolith combo in play, Thrasios in play, the whole deck drawn, and access to infinite colorless mana the easiest way to produce infinite colored mana from the Power Monolith combo is Elixir of Immortality + Lotus Petal . Simply cast Petal, sac for any color of mana, then cast and activate Elixir using the infinite colorless mana available. Activate Thrasios twice using the infinite colorless mana to draw both of these cards. Repeat the process to generate infinite mana of any color. If both Elixir and Petal are in exile, as long as Karn and Chain of Vapor are available then these pieces can be retrieved. First cast Karn and use his minus ability to return Lotus Petal to hand. Play Petal and sac for . Cast Chain of Vapor targeting Karn and replay him, this time using his minus ability to return the Elixir. Proceed to loop Elixir and Petal for infinite mana of any color.

Second Method

With Power Monolith in play, Thrasios in play, the whole deck drawn, and access to infinite mana but with Karn and Lotus Petal in exile there is still a method to generate infinite colored mana as long as the deck still has access to at least one of either Mox Opal or Mox Diamond (potentially Fellwar Stone as well), one mana rock (or non summoning sick Noble Hierarch in play) that can produce , Elixir of Immortality , and Dramatic Reversal . First use the infinite colorless mana to cast the mana rocks needed and the Elixir. Tap the mana rocks available for plus any color(s) mana and use to cast Dramatic Reversal. Use the infinite colorless mana to activate the Elixir and then draw the cards back to hand. Repeat the loop for infinite colored mana.

Even with Dark Ritual , Karn, the Great Creator , Isochron Scepter , and Grim Monolith / Power Artifact in exile it is possible to produce infinite colored mana with the Mystic Top engine. Provided mana rocks/dorks are in play that can produce at least and one additional mana of any color, Dramatic Reversal is used in place of Dark Ritual in the standard Mystic Top mana producing loop with Elixir of Immortality . If Helm of Awakening is also in exile ( to pay for Elixir, Reversal now costs more, and to pay for the 2 Sensei's Divining Top recastings) additional mana is needed to perform the loop for infinite mana ( Lotus Petal can no longer be used in the loop without the Helm) as long as the graveyard is empty and only the Elixir and Dramatic Reversal are returned to the library.
Pretty straight forward here. In the event an important artifact engine piece needs to be tutored up, as long as Karn, the Great Creator is in play Extract can be used to exile an artifact from the library and Karn can be used with his minus ability to return the artifact to hand.
A number of opposing decks may be running combo elements or pieces that Thrymception itself will be able to employ such as the common Isochron Scepter , Grim Monolith , Laboratory Maniac , Jace, Wielder of Mysteries , or Aetherflux Reservoir , and potentially less common things like Bolas's Citadel or Future Sight . At times the most vulnerable point in an opposing deck may be a link in the combo chain rather than one of these win conditions outright which can afford a Thrymception pilot the ability to use opponent's pieces against them via Praetor's Grasp . Priority should always be given to compromising a single or most critical point of failure as soon as possible, so greeding out to acquire one of these with Grasp is not typically a good idea. However, there are some situations where there is a choice to be made about what point of failure to compromise, for example: with the standard Isochron Scepter/Dramatic Reversal combo. In this example the correct piece to exile with Extract would be Dramatic Reversal as taking it away from an opponent to play against them won't enable Thrymception to employ it as a combo element, while Isochron Scepter is the correct piece to exile with Praetor's Grasp as it can be employed by Thrymception as a combo element as long as care is taken with the order opponents are eliminated from the match and what is imprinted on the opposing player's Scepter.
WIP, under construction.

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The deck has a Top that always spins...

And features Extraction as a key element...

Ashiok, Dream Render , Helm of Awakening , Karn, the Great Creator , Sensei's Divining Top , Extract .... hmmmm...

Seems like the perfect deck to entitle "Inception"!

I will Ponder this.

Comments

Casual

100% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 9 months
Last updated 1 month
Legality

This deck is not Commander / EDH legal.

Highlight illegal cards
Cards 100
Avg. CMC 1.64
Tokens 1/1 Bird
Folders Learning decks, Jeremy would like
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Revision 10 See all

1 month ago)

+1 Arcane Signet main
-1 Talisman of Dominance main
+1 Talisman of Dominance maybe