Say hello to my attempt at a cEDH-ish, (mostly) pre-Modern Aristocrat-Combo deck..

This seemingly janky, yet brutally synergistic mess of old cards revolves around having the ultimate -Aristocrat in the Command Zone: Yawgmoth, Thran Physician(ie. THE O.G. evil Patriarch of Phyrexia)! By utilizing Yawgmoth's middle ability, one can create a loop— by sacrificing creatures with Undying with one or more Blood Artist-type effects in play, to both stabilize our own lifetotal, and to slowly bleed-out the rest of the table, while drawing through our Library... all at Instant speed.

Thus establishing the "Gravestorm"

Mix any Undying creature, with any other creature w/ Undying (OR a secondary catalyst), and bring to a boil with any number of “Artists” present...

Natural Undying

Secondary Catalysts

(Permanents that are triggered by some part of the process of Yawgmoth sacrificing a creature with Undying, by producing a creature token. Thus can be used to establish the “Gravestorm”)

The fourth & final element of our combo..

Targeted/ Single

non-Targeted/ Group


  • Deathgreeter (Neutralizes the cost of Life while we’re digging through our deck, and/or closing out the game through alternative means)..

2 Undying:

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician+Geralf's Messenger+Butcher Ghoul+Blood Artist= Gravestorm..

1 Undying + 1 Secondary Catalyst:

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician+Vengeful Vampire+Nest of Scarabs+Zulaport Cutthroat= Gravestorm..

One one hand, it may seem unrealistic to run a 3~4 card combo in EDH, however, these are only two examples. According to my calculations, there are a total of 191 different 3-card combinations in the 99 to establish the Gravestorm with Yawgmoth... and that is before factoring Mikaeus, the Unhallowed into the equation!


The only Mythic Rare in the 99 doesn’t have Undying himself, but is otherwise your very scary “non-Human’ Lord’ and savior. In addition to being an anti-Human No Mercy on beefy-boi Zombie legs, it more importantly gives most of your creatures +1/+1 AND Undying. This of course opens up additional layers of game-winning combo shenanigans.

Examples include...

In some cases (Mikey shenanigans aside) establishing the Gravestorm alone may not be enough to outright kill, or otherwise cause the entire table to concede. In these cases there are a number of "pay-off" cards to finish off the rest of the table.

  1. (w/ ) Use Skirge Familiar to basically cast your entire deck..

  2. (w/ ) Gravestorm into a massive Bitter Ordeal (FUN FACT: This is the only card ever printed with the actual keyword)..

  3. When you find yourself holding most of your deck in your hand, but you're ahead on Life and have at least , use Sickening Dreams to just indiscriminately nuke the entire table..

  4. If you have access to at least — use Feldon's Cane to restart the loop after Discard. Some may survive one loop, but no one can survive two..

As a player, I tend towards building Mono-Black decks. Conversely, I also shy away from dedicated Combo decks, and the(ir) heavy use of Tutors..

However, when Yawgmoth, Thran Physician was revealed to the world, I immediately knew what I had to do. I needed to build not only an evil combo deck, but arguably the most thematically of all of my Mono- decks.

Then came Timespiral: Remastered (TSR), and the "Timeshifted" printing of Yawgmoth, Thran Physician. This inspired me to use as many old-school/pre-modern borders as possible, while still keeping the main combo intact.

Building around this general restriction obviously came with it's share of growing pains. But after zeroing-in on the bare-minimum requirements for the combo to function, I then shifted gears and padded out the rest of the deck with Draw spells and all the original Tutors. Thus leveling out, if not exceeding, the consistency of a similar deck with no such restriction..

As it stands, just over 3/4's of this deck was legitimately printed between Revised(3ED) & Scourge(SCG) (54 of which were printed before Urza's Legacy (ULG), when foils first became a thing), plus 5 other "Timeshifted"/Retro Borders, which means there are only 18 cards in this deck without O.G. "Retro" Borders..

  • Legacy/pre-Modern/pre-(8ED) borders: 77 (3ED ~ USG) : 53, (PTK): 1, (ULG ~ SCG): 23

  • "Retro"/"Timeshifted"/pre-(8ED) borders: 5 (4 + the Commander)

  • Modern/post-(8ED)/pre-(M15) borders: 13

  • Modern/Future Sight/(FUT) border: 1

  • Frontier/post-Modern/post-(M15) borders: 4

Unfortunately, only one combo piece was actually printed pre-(8ED), and one so far has been "Timeshifted"(TSR).

Cards with the keyword "Undying" were only printed during the original Innistrad block (ISD)(DKS)(AVR), as were two of the other "Artists", plus an "Artist" from (ALA) and two "Catalysts" from (ROE) & (GTC).

Ultimately there may never be less than 11~14% of this deck be Modern at best..


When a degenerate Combo centers completely around it's Commander, sources of Shroud/Hexproof for said Commander is virtually mandatory. Unfortunately there is simply no pre-Modern substitute for what these two do...

And besides... what fun is it to play an evil bastard if you can't break some kind of rule(s) along the way?!

This alt-WinCon has been in the deck since the very beginning. Other than it sporting a rare Future Sight border, Bitter Ordeal is the one-and-only card ever printed with the keyword: "Gravestorm".. Therefore, it would be fair to say that the entire theme/flavor of the deck is represented in this very card..

Four of the six "Catalysts" have Frontier/post-(M15) borders..

This deck does lean heavily on the Graveyard & it’s Commander, and therefore could get wrecked by things like Rest in Peace (so what); and the pre-Modern self-restrictions has somewhat limited the absolute ceiling of this deck's potential power level; but due to the sheer redundancy and modularity of all of the moving, interchangeable parts, there’s actually a built-in variety— that reinforces the inevitablity of comboing-off out of nowhere— which makes this build arguably more resilient to disruption than others..


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Top Ranked
Date added 3 years
Last updated 13 hours
Exclude colors WURG

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

2 - 0 Mythic Rares

29 - 0 Rares

25 - 0 Uncommons

13 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.00
Tokens Eldrazi Spawn 0/1 C, Insect 1/1 B, Pest 1/1 BG, Rat 1/1 B, Zombie 2/2 B
Folders Uncategorized, Favs, BLACK DECKS, edh, yawg, Yawgmoth, EDH Decks, Sick Decks, Piliferate, Uncategorized, See all 11
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1 day ago)

+1 Strip Mine maybe
+1 Wasteland maybe