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ZUR THE ENCHANTER DOOMSDAY TOOLBOX Primer

This Zur the Enchanter cEDH deckbuild is an Esper Control Deck that tries to create a 2 card combo that enables you to win the game after controlling the game for the first few turns.

Zur was a tier 0 deck until the mid 2010s when a wider pool of cards and commanders entered the fray. Despite being powercrept, cEDH Zur's strategy has always revolved around getting Necropotence. He remains a viable deck, but just doesn't see much tournament play due to his difficulty of play and more appealing deck options. If anything, Zur is tainted by his history and is usually the target of decks that rely on combat.

Let me be very clear that this deck is difficult to play and frustrating to play against. This deck is an uphill battle I don't enjoy playing unless certain opponents want to test their decks. Its power as a control deck grinds games to a frustratingly slow round. I rarely play this deck these days but keep it for the memories. Esper was my first commander deck which eventually evolved into a cEDH deck that won me 4 tournaments October 2019- Spring 2020, before the pandemic retired my magic the gathering play.

Build this deck as you will. The cost of a Zur deck has gone down considerably over time, but the power level of Zur has also diminished with the new cache of commanders slowly being released and commander staples. There are much better decks to build on a budget. Other lists are widely available.

This subsection describes a lot of the Zur decks before Thassa's Oracle was printed in early 2020. I wrote these in 2019 as I tried to configure ideas. Most of these decks have been powercrept as they were too bricky, too fragile, or not fast enough but are here for consideration. One could argue that by 2024, Doomsday has been powercrept from most decks but still seems some tournament play.

The release of Thassa's oracle altered the cEDH landscape. Specific strategies like Blue/Black decks and Flash Hulk strategies relied solely on achieving a victory with Thassa's Oracle + Tainted Pact/Demonic Consultation, and specific cards are maindecked to stop Thassa's Oracle wins, such as split second cards like Trickbind and Angel's Grace, Containment Priest during the Flash Hulk Era, and Endurance.
Laboratory Maniac decks pivoted to using Thassa's Oracle, and decks that still used Labman used them in conjunction with Thoracle.

There are many guides you can find online, but here is a rundown of some pre Thassa's Oracle archetypes from 2019.

There's very little fast mana. I want to get it out of the way that colored mana matters more than colorless, and cards that can be cast without mana are favored. I will die on this hill, but I have repeatedly found that a stax piece and draw cards are much more preferable than needing to ramp up in the first few turns as there's no payoff. If I add anything, Chrome Mox or Mox Diamond will get in the deck sometime.

WINCONS ZUR can Search for: A lot of decklists include Heliod, Sun Crowned + Walking Ballista. I favor the Legacy strategy of Rest In Peace/Dauthi Voidwalker + Helm of Obedience

My rationale is that I would rather have One dead card in hand that kills people one at a time than two dead cards in hard that can kill all opponents at once.

I toyed with the combo alongside Thassa's Oracle when Theros Beyond death was released but kept taking it out. It is highly advised to hace Ranger Captain of Eos in deck to synergize combo.

BORNE UPON A WIND The one colorless mana was just too much.

This Zur is a suicide black control commander. Your goal is to ramp up and control the game for the first few turns, fish out a combo, and go all in. Zur is used exclusively to find one or two enchantments and is not cast every game. This variant of Zur tries to be as resilient as possible for a good cEDH midgame. A typical line of play goes as follows:

  1. Build up mana, throw counterspell(s)/removal, achieve one combo piece

  2. Assemble one of the following combos and make threat assessment:

  3. Rest in Peace / Dauthi Voidwalker + Helm of Obedience

  4. Ad Nauseam + Phyrexian Unlife // Angel's Grace (draw library, cast free mana, keep 2 mana open for Thassa's Oracle, Silence, Unearth)

  5. Demonic Consultation/ Tainted Pact + Laboratory Maniac / Thassa's Oracle (use as last resort or w/ a counter)

  6. Doomsday: See 4, add Pact of Negation, Silence etc; build combo pile;. Beware Aven Mindcensor and Opposition Agent Gitaxian Probe, Omen of the Sea,

The deck's worst enemy is honestly the common stax pieces of Rule of Law and Deafening Silence.

Begin by having an opening hand with 3 mana pieces and hoping a tutor or a combo piece, preferably a combo piece that Zur can tutor out or use Necropotence if it’s worth the risk (usually is). Adjust your strategy based on opponents if needed, especially turbo decks. There is little stax to stop the Turbo ad nauseum deck for instance.

The combo I usually go for is the Helm of Obedience combo, as it requires the least amount of mana provided that Zur gets a free tutor (meaning 5) and the combo is only 2 cards with one variance.

Necropotence is the go to card for Zur. If you don't have the RIP/Helm combo and your opponents aren't immediately threatening, Zur should usually try to find Necropotence all things withstanding to gain card advantage. As a general rule of thumb, you can pay half the life you can afford rounded down: e.g. 38 life, pay 19 go down to 19. At 19 life, pay 9 life go down to 10, etc. You most likely will not be able to win until at least turn 6 given the slow pace of the deck, so it will be helpful to have a few draw spells or removal in hand as needed.

See the enchantment section for all of Zur's possible tutors. For those newer to the game, here is a list. Removal: Imprison in the moon, Rest in Peace, Grasp of Fate, Aura of Silence Draw: Necropotence, Rhystic Study, Mystic Remora, Omen of the Sea Protect: Ghostly Prison, Solidarity (With Necropotence ends game) (I personally took out protection enchantments with mass board wipes instead. It works better for speedier games, although prison or propoganda always pops up every now and then)

STAX I am adamanet that any deck that is not a turbo deck should have some stax in the current meta. Even if it's a few pieces, stax takes the place of counterspell and removal by being a better engine and are protected among enemies.

Cursed Totems ends many decks. The best deck I've used this against is K'riik, as I never realized 90% of the combos rely on activating creature abilities, and monoblock cEDH has almost no artifact removal outside of maybe Tower.

Opposition Agent Self Explanatory

Dauthi Voidwalker Combos with Helm of Obedience and often a free removal/COunterspell. Best I've gotten was a Bolas's Citadel.

Rest in Peace A relic of its time, graveyard decks just aren't as common in the 2020s as they were in the 2000s and 2010s, when most decks even ran a Tormod's Crypt. Still used for the Helm of Obedience Combo. and to stop Underworld Breech Decks.

BOARDWIPES Boardwipes t DOesn't deter cEDH as much as it does more casual games. But are still necessary with the prevelance of creature based decks beginning in the 2020s.

Most boardwipes cost at least 4 mana, which is one more than can be efficient. Hence reasons why Toxic Deluge is excellet. Supreme Verdict is arguably the best simply for its ability to not be countered. Damn is amazing for its modularity (and clever allusion to the all powerful damnation and Wrath of God) -

CARDS THAT DID NOT MAKE THE CUT (I personally don’t like these cards, but they can still work well in other builds)

Counterbalance: Staple in a Zur prison deck and really messes with the low cmc curve of cEDH, but as the game has changed, I think Counterbalance has lost some of its potency. Most importantly, this Zur deck doesn’t need to stall as much as other decks but rather control for first two or so turns. Use a better stax piece instead.

Stasis: In most games I’ve played, this combo is only worth siding out against heavier combo players as more realistically the loop only stalls the game for a few turns rather than deny some other player victory. Use stasis if you’re running Smothering Tithe, Brago, King Eternal or heavily use Vedalken Mastermind, or Equipoise

Strionic Resonator: Just not fast enough. Because there are many games where this deck does not cast Zur, it doesn’t do enough. However, if you have other cards that synergize such as Brago, feel free to use this it.

CREATURE SPAM: Previously, I ran Intruder Alarm + Thraben Doomsayer/ Vampire Nighthawk, but I found that the cards were too expensive to hardcast and were largely conditional. Thraben Doomsayer/Vampire Nighthawk may be worth maindecking just for chump blockers, but in around 2/3 of games I play, they are too slow.
It may be worth adding to the Meta against more creature heavy decks, but the combo takes one turn or something like Altar of the Brood to win on spot, which is sometimes just too slow.

SWIFTFOOT BOOTS: Because the deck runs so few creatures and only casts Zur less than half of games, I took it out for a mana rock instead. It’s also worth nothing that the 1 to equip does change games since Zur is so resource intensive.

FIERCE GUARDIANSHIP: (Avoid Fierce guardianship because 1/3 of games don't play Zur)

Feel free to check my other decks for more ideas and primers. Upvotes are much appreciated

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Casual

100% Competitive

Date added 1 year
Last updated 1 month
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

7 - 0 Mythic Rares

55 - 2 Rares

15 - 0 Uncommons

18 - 1 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.10
Tokens Bird 2/2 U, Spirit 1/1 C, Treasure
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