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Toshiro's Samurai Guide - Harikiri Those Instants!

Commander / EDH Discard Mono-Black Ramp Reanimator Spellslinger


I love decks that defy conventional color expectations! Hence, this mono-black spellslinger deck, with commander Toshiro Umezawa. Toshiro is very impressive! His no cost flashback ability on instants in the graveyard really works well with black tendencies around graveyard dumping and recursion. In general, it is hella fun to burn life, overdraw, and discard knowing all the while that you have a chain of seppuku'd instants in there that will set off like a powder keg at the removal of a single creature or token creature from ANY opponent! Building a mana base just to bring Toshiro out mid to late game backed by instant hell and landslide win from behind definitely can keep a play group on their toes.
Even with how fun it is, I believe it hadn't reached its potential and there were some ways this deck could really benefit from some tuning. I want to basically make this the "Dark Samurai Magician" deck of MTG (on a budget)!

One issue I was running into were early on getting high CMC instants and sorceries when I needed faster mana ramp, more card draw/GY discard, or more tutoring for the these options. To address this, I've tried to adjust the CMC/mana curve appropriately so it would build faster and double down with all the gusto Black can achieve (all the Cabals).

Additionally, the deck has been balanced to have a secondary theme of GY recursion of both opponent and local creatures. This addresses another issue I was having with a weak board state for most of the game, reacting only when others performed actions. That's no fun! So this way, someone using this decklist could play a secondary strategy, especially useful if the opponent was a blue spellslinger trying to do the same thing as Toshiro (and it ends up becoming a really boring standoff of counterspells LOL).

So with that, on to how it works/how to play the deck!

Let's start with our handsome, dark brooding commander. Toshiro's ability lets him pull any instant in the graveyard up to bat when any creature, token or otherwise, hits ANY graveyard. With full access to instants in the graveyard, playing against decks that sacrifice creatures and/or tokens allows us to constantly disrupt their strategies. But this is predicated completely on if I had the mana to cast them and if the instants were in the graveyard already! So spells like Necrologia allow for an early pull of many cards to my hand, allowing me to discard many instants into the graveyard and keep my ramps and mana doublers ready to go at the cost of life. Discarding instants like Cabal Ritual and Dark Ritual allow for quick access to additional mana for multiple instant fun. If you need to set off the chain of instant explosions, cast Go for the Throat on one opponents token creature, pull a card like Liliana's Triumph to get rid of those pesky indestructibles on the other side of the table, pull some more mana from one of the rituals, and take out a heavy with Tragic Slip, spending 7 mana or so to wipe out the board state for many whenever you feel like triggering the sequence.

With Toshiro's quick 3 CMC cost, he is easy to call on quickly and not terribly costly to keep him in the field. But after playing these games nailing lots of creatures into opponents GYs and messing with their plans, the next level of fun begins. I'm sure they'll take some anguish out on you, start targeting poor Toshiro. But a samurai knows no pain, ONLY DISCIPLINE!!! His work was already done! That Tragic Slip that took out that Demigod or Eldrazi earlier wasn't just a one off!

The next level of this deck is GY recursion! Bring those heavies all around back to your side with Rise of the Dark Realms, Reanimate, Animate Dead, and Geth, Lord of the Vault as just a few examples. By the way, Toshiro comes back to the front of the pack, magical katana in hand like a wand, sowing continued instant destruction, all the while calling them back like a Japanese Necromancer with armor. Oh, and by the way, we brought our Eldrazi friend It That Betrays along for the ride, welcoming those that were sacrificed around the board by Toshiro's command of Liliana's Triumph or at the mercy of their owners. We take their wayward souls and give them purpose!

Feeling mana swole? With Cabal Coffers, Cabal Stronghold, Magus of the Coffers, and Crypt Ghast, living large in the swamp has never been so easy! Come take a sedated walk next to the Bubbling Muck. Stroll past Bojuka Bog and wonder over the Myriad Landscape. Follow the Expedition Map to the Barren Moor, I heard it is quite lovely this time of year! After building up all this mana, what better way to Exsanguinate your skin than a mud mask at this fantastic swampy spa? I guarantee you'll feel the life re-enter your vessel while others only wish they felt as you did!

If you ever feel lost on this journey with Toshiro, never fear! There are friendly guides called Demonic Tutor and Diabolic Tutor who I'm told will Beseech the Queen for directions to any part of the land.

But what if we just aren't getting what we need? While Necrologia is a great early start for fast card draw vs life burn, we may need to make a Dark Bargain to sate our Ancient Craving. They have even been known to speak with Erebos, God of the Dead to get the draws they need.

Oh Toshiro, a samurai that walks alone, with shades of friends and enemies swirling in his shadow. A warrior? Of course. A legend? Without doubt. A spellslinging leader of a Necromancer army? Everyone has to flesh out their resume somehow, right?


Updates Add


28% Casual

72% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 3 months
Last updated 1 week

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

9 - 0 Mythic Rares

28 - 0 Rares

20 - 0 Uncommons

15 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.37
Tokens 1/1 Spirit, 1/1 City's Blessing, 5/5 Demon
Folders Commander inspirations, Deck Builds, Commander, playtest
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