Trickery, Chaos and Control

Welcome! This is my list for my beloved Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor   deck. This deck is geared at playing with Opponent's spells, and sometimes even entire decks! In the grand scheme of things the deck is very simple to pilot and succeed with.

First things first, we aren't casting Valki in this list, he just doesn't fit what I am trying to do here, so pretend he doesn't exist. Let me break down this list into some categories to better explain how we want to get to Tibalt and end out the game.

First of all is our ramp package. Also better known as "How are you planning on casting a 7 drop commander on turn 3?" Well with red it is actually really simple. We want to drop several mana rocks and rituals back to back to try to get to 7 as fast as possible. Keep in mind that rituals ARE NOT ramp in the traditional sense. However the temporary bump lets us cast our 7 drop commander much earlier if we either have enough, or have a single one that creates lots of mana.

  • Ancient Copper Dragon: First we have this beefy flyer. While slow at a whopping , we can easily reanimate it in the early game. Its dice roll mechanic has a rough average to generate 10.5 treasures each combat if it connects, which can easily get us back in the game if we are wiped out or let us keep a commanding lead, especially if Lady Luck on our side.
  • Arcane Signet, Fellwar Stone, Rakdos Signet, Talisman of Indulgence, and Thought Vessel: All of these are to tap for one mana. Either to color fix and ramp or just ramp. These five all are all very solid.
  • Birgi, God of Storytelling  : Birgi is a bit odd. Not exactly a ritual for a temporary bump in mana, but not a mana rock either. Later in the game you can abuse her ability however to storm off or just make your rituals add more, which can make all the difference sometimes!
  • Cabal Ritual: This ritual was designed to be a "fixed" version of Dark Ritual. But it still does a lot of work both early game and late game because of the Threshold ability.
  • Chrome Mox: Free mana in most cases. The imprint cost for this spell is pretty negligible when it gives us the opportunity to have two or even four mana on our second turn. Plus drawing it late isn't that big of a problem given it's mana cost.
  • Crypt Ghast: Due to our colors our options for mana doublers is very limited without helping our opponent's as well. However this little 2/2 that could is the best in any Black/x list, especially if an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is in play to make our mountains tap for . Additionally, the extort ability (which yes can be in this list given the is in the reminder text) can let us gain back loads of lost life per-cast if we have free mana, or if we have nothing better to do. Allowing us to stabilize if we have been aggro-ed all game.
  • Dark Ritual: The classic, quintessential ritual. For only one you make ! Allowing you to follow up on just turn one with mana rocks, other rituals, creatures or spells to really get the ball rolling!
  • Desperate Ritual and Pyretic Ritual: These two are more or less identical due to the lack of arcane spells in most player's decks. Pay two to make three temporarily is a solid bump when you need JUST one more mana to cast something.
  • Dockside Extortionist: Quite possibly the best red spell printed in recent memory. Making as many treasures as there are artifacts AND enchantments in play is EXPLOSIVE for just two measly mana. If you are pressed for mana and have any of the reanimate spells in hand or exile than this two drop is always a safe bet to bring back.
  • Jeska's Will: This spell here, if we are lucky enough to draw in early, lets Tibalt come down as early as turn TWO, AND if it's cast when we control Tibalt we get both mana and impulsive card draw. Commonly if I use Tibalt's ult and this is in the graveyard than I will use the mana the ability gives to cast this to begin a storm turn. Another strong contender for best red spell in recent years.
  • Mana Crypt: While Crypt is very powerful, always remember it can just as easily hinder you as it helps if your luck is bad. I have gone entire games where all the damage dealt to me was from my own crypt, and died. So be careful!
  • Mana Geyser: Spell number two that can get down Tibalt ridiculously early. Additionally late game it can be used to fuel a massive Exsanguinate or Torment of Hailfire to win the game.
  • Myriad Landscape: While coming into play tapped really sucks sometimes, a land that effectively is Rampant Growth is nothing to scoff at.
  • Prosper, Tome-Bound: The newest member of our little circus. Card advantage and treasure tokens on a single body is very solid. If you want to spice things up sometimes then keep in mind that Prosper is a solid choice for alternative commander.
  • Seething Song: The last, but not least, of the rituals. Like with all the others it is a solid temporary bump in mana to get back into the game, or to start off ahead.
  • Sol Ring: Do I really need to explain this one?
  • Wayfarer's Bauble: Lastly, colorless land ramp for the solid cost of . Simple and strong!
Now we have Tibalt in play how do we keep him there? It is no secret players don't appreciate their cards being stolen, so he is going to draw a LOT of hate. However, Tibalt is a planeswalker. Meaning we can just wrath the board and keep him around. The following keep him protected as best as we can in Rakdos.

  • Bedevil: Right off the bat we have one of our most flexible removal cards. The color intensity is a small trade off for being able to remove almost any problematic permanent in play (except enchantments of course) at instant speed.
  • Blasphemous Act: Arguably the best wrath in red. The ability to be able to cost a measly to, usually, kill all creatures is fantastic.
  • Chaos Warp: While sometimes backfiring on us, this card is usually just three to remove anything INCLUDING enchantments. Making this one of only two spells in the deck able to deal with them. If you are really desperate you can also Warp a token or other permanent you have to try to get something better.
  • Cunning Rhetoric: Black Ghostly Prison where the cost is a single card? Doesn't seem like too much of a deterrent right? On paper it is rather innocuous but in practice people tend to avoid attacking me or Tibalt knowing I could steal anything from a counterspell, to a wrath, to that second plains they need. Don't underestimate or underappreciate what this enchantment can do for you.
  • Damnation: Wrath of God is really good, so a color-shifted version is just as strong. The "can't be regenerated" doesn't come up often but it really is a kick to the groin when it does.
  • Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast: Possibly my personal favorite planeswalker card, Darreti makes 1/1 blockers to help protect Tibalt and himself but can also use those defenders as fuel for his -1 to act as a removal engine. Additionally while situational, his ultimate can make copies of the best artifact in play, or in the yard.
  • Deadly Rollick: "Yeah, sure let's print removal spells that are free if you control your commander" - WotC R&D, Probably. Jokes aside instant speed exile for four mana is pretty good in black, and for zero is amazing. Players also often think it needs to be in hand to cast for free for some reason so if it is in exile from Tibalt (or better yet an opponent's copy) you can delete an opponent's best creature when they think it is safe.
  • Deflecting Swat: "Yeah, sure let's.. print..." wait I did that one already. Seriously though everything said about Rollick applies here. Except instead of removal it is the far more valuable swerve effect. It can even hit abilities to keep our board safe, or to equip a Sword of Feast and Famine to a tapped or defender creature, or even make Eternal Witness grab back a basic land rather than their removal or combo piece.
  • Delayed Blast Fireball: Because this card only cares if it was cast from exile, and not necessarily foretold, that means if we cast this off either our emblem, Prosper, or any other impulse draw then we have an instant speed five damage to all opponent's and their creatures. Keeping our blockers alive and well.
  • Ensnaring Bridge: This deck likes to play from exile or the grave (with Tibalt's ult a bit of both) so a card that gives us an advantage for being hellbent is a serious boon. If you can keep this around it can all but completely shut off aggro decks.
  • Feed the Swarm: While the creature removal part is decent the primary reason to run this is that it is targeted enchantment removal in black. Our only other card in the list that can interact with them besides Chaos Warp.
  • Imp's Mischief: Deflection for only two mana in black can be something opponents don't see coming. Causing this spell to have a "wait, what?" effect like Mana Tithe.
  • Last One Standing: A wrath effect for only three whole mana? Who cares if one thing is left alive. This card is hilarious as it is underrated.
  • Life's Finale: Six mana for a wrath with no downsides is the cheapest you really can get in black aside from damnation. This one is the best of them. Destroy everything and entomb three creatures can actually be quite disruptive. Bin combo pieces or value cards but remember, there is a chance you can use any of the reanimator spells in the list, or Tibalt's ult to play them yourself.
  • Massacre Wurm: -2/-2 isn't a lot on paper, but if you have run against Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite then you know how devastating this effect can be. Coupled with his static ability and this Phyrexian Wurm can win games as much as it can wrath.
  • Tibalt's Trickery: Counterspell? In your Red Color Pie? It's more likely than you think! Additionally trickery almost never backfires. Except when it does.
  • Toxic Deluge: Probably the best wrath in the game, paying life to kill even indestructible creatures is never bad.
  • Wyll's Reversal: Previously card in this slot was Wild Ricochet, which is slightly more consistent due to not needing a dice roll. However, Reversal is one mana cheaper, targets any spell or ability that targets, and if we have a large creature in play the it is a straight upgrade from Ricochet.
This section is more or less the rest of the list. Cards that let us steal, draw, exile, reanimate, and otherwise gain advantage over our opponents. As well as a handful of card that let us win!

  • Animate Dead, Necromancy, Reanimate: In my personal opinion every deck that can fit one should have a reanimator package. These four are arguably the best for their cost. While the enchantments are vulnerable to removal they are still the best simply because they can nab not only our own creatures back but our opponent's as well.
  • Blood for the Blood God!: Skulls for the Skull Throne! Instant speed, one-sided wheel, for potentially only three mana while also burning our opponents. Wombo-combo this after a wrath for massive swings in value. This spell pairs especially well with Blasphemous Act.
  • Chandra, Acolyte of Flame: This Chandra is a bit interesting. Her 0 puts loyalty on herself and all other red walkers we might have in play. Effectively "healing" Tibalt and potentially letting us ult him, or any other of our planeswalkers, earlier. Additionally her -2 can grab most of our removal spells, tutors, and even wheels to be used again. One major thing to keep in mind with this ability is if we target a spell with (Torment of Hailfire and Exsanguinate) we ARE allowed to pay when casting the spell!
  • Chandra, Torch of Defiance: I have heard people refer to this Chandra as "Red's Jace, the Mind Sculptor." She's an amazing planeswalker card that can serve either as a mana rock, card advantage engine, or win condition based on what we need.
  • Dauthi Voidwalker: I almost put this guy under "Keep Tibalt Alive!" simply because of the amount of removal he tends to bait out. Follow him up with a wheel can be very scary for our opponents. His ability to sacrifice himself is also extremely stong. Given he puts void counters on all the cards he exiles lets any future instances of him grab those same spells too.
  • Demonic Tutor, Gamble, Grim Tutor, Scheming Symmetry, and Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire: Tutors! THIS is why black is so good and consistent. and while gamble discards at random it is still rather worth while to have because of its low cost. Additionally, Varragoth and Symmetry can set up Tibalt's +2 and force players to search for us to flash in Opposition Agent
  • Elder Brain: Early or late game, hard cast or reanimated. This horror acts as another engine to keep our opponent's deck in our grasp and out of theirs. Menace helps ensure it connects, but all it has to do is be declared attacking for it to do its work. If you start the game with a Reanimate, a swamp and this in hand then by all means don't play anything on turn one so you can reanimated this turn 2 to really get the ball rolling.
  • Exsanguinate, Torment of Hailfire: Both of these fall squarely into the same purpose. "Big spell that wins the game if we have enough mana." Setting this up with Cabal Coffers + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth , and/or Mana Geyser allows for massive blow-outs.
  • Faithless Looting: It lets us draw cards, and potentially set up reanimator cards. Best non-wheel red draw spell.
  • Fiendish Duo: "Half the size, double the mayhem" is very apt for these little guys. This obscure card alone is a solid blocker with first strike, which is nice. However, the ability "damage dealt to your opponents is doubled" can make the table turn on each other really fast.
  • Grave Titan, Inferno Titan, and Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger: Titans are generally six mana 6/6 giants with an enter and attack trigger. Grave Titan is an army-in-a-can. Inferno Titan is removal or life pressure. Lastly Kroxa is a discard engine, forces life loss when they can't, AND is difficult to keep dead because of the escape mechanic. All three of these bad boys are our means of finishing out a game through combat if need be.
  • Mind Flayer, the Shadow: Working like a Theros God, Mind flayer, or Arvinox, the Mind Flail if you prefer, is a legendary enchantment when we don't posses multiple permanents of our opponent's. This can be quite the double edged sword at times because on one hand it makes non-green or white decks struggle to remove him. However, like the Theros Gods, it also means our enchantment reanimation spells don't work on him if we lack the condition to keep him a creature to prevent the aura from falling off. Regardless his ability to steal the bottom card of each opponent face down can lead to them playing as though they might draw their win condition when it is squarely in exile.
  • Opposition Agent: While I am of the opinion that this should have been a white spell that doesn't mean I won't play it! Prohibiting searching is crippling when someone needs to either color-fix, ramp, or search for an answer to us. AND we get the reap the benefits instead.
  • Praetor's Grasp: Effectively a tutor but we search an opponent's deck. Like Opp Agent we want to use this to grab combo pieces, or value cards to get us further ahead.
  • Rakdos Charm: The charms are of varying usefulness in most decks. Except Rakdos Charm. Need to stop some reanimation? It has a mode for that. Need to blow up an artifact? It has a mode for that. Is your opponent swinging at you with a massive army trying to win? Guess what? There isn't just a mode for that but it will knock them out of the game for trying! I cannot sing the praises of this spell enough!
  • Reforge the Soul, Valakut Awakening  , Wheel of Fortune and Wheel of Misfortune: Wheel effects let us look for a better hand and in Reforge, Fortune, and Misfortune's case, fill out and our opponent's graveyard. Keep in mind Awakening is an instant AND a land if need be.
  • The Ruinous Powers: Despite being random this this enchantment serves, effectively, as a smaller version of Tibalt. Being able to also drain the owner for the amount of life equal to the mana value of the spell stolen can be invaluable. Not only do we get to disrupt our opponent's and steal their tech but we also get to set them back further as we use their toys.
The following are some considerations and alternative cards to use rather than some of my own big ticket cards.

A common critique my decklists receive is my land count is too low. People will cite videos and articles about what is considered the best mana base but given how much ramp I pack into each deck, and my own personal bias, I prefer to have lower land counts in order to prevent flooding. As such this list only runs 30 lands. This number is deceptive however since I also run Valakut Awakening   which is a land if need be. Along this there are three land ramp cards and 12 other cards that are considered ramp in some way, excluding rituals of course. Bring the total number of ramp, lands and mana producers up to 47, over half the deck. Additionally if you count the rituals that puts use at an even higher 54 with our seven ritual effects. All together I personally have had very little problems with mana in this deck.

The following are cards, or groups for cards, that I am not running for various reasons.

  • Sign in Blood and any other instant or sorcery that draws cards: Sure they are nice in most decks, however I try my best to be hellbent for Ensnaring Bridge and often times Tibalt is more than enough "card draw."
  • Stolen Strategy: It's just too much mana when I could instead activate Tibalt and not lose access to the spells at the end of turn.
  • Wandering Archaic  : I simply cannot find a slot for this guy unfortunately.
  • Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer: Sure he steals stuff easily and is cheap mana-wise, but I don't want to spend the money on him. Plus I like to not run too many creatures.
  • Geode Golem: This guy is really good but he is excluded as a meta call because of the amount of creature removal and blockers in my playgroup.
  • Vampiric Tutor: I just think the tutors I'm already running are better.
  • Disrupt Decorum: This card can be really good, however I would rather just wrath than goad.
  • Yawgmoth's Will and Wheel of Fortune: I don't own a copy and they are expensive sadly
  • Snow lands and snow synergy: Meta call, my meta already has a lot of snow decks so I'd rather be different!
I do understand that not everyone has the funds to make this deck as-is. So this little section will make some suggestions for replacements of cards!

Feedback and comments are always welcome!


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