Continuing The Chromatic: Erebos & The Undead Apocalypse

Sheldon gets one step closer to the finish line of his Chromatic Project this week with a mono-black deck commanded by Erebos, God of the Dead.

I’m charging up to the finish line of the Chromatic Project to build one deck in each of the 27 possible color combinations. After Erebos, I’ll have only mono-red, mono-green, five-color, and colorless left. I wonder what I’m going to do to scratch the deckbuilding itch after that. Will it be time for creative destruction and like a good video game to just start over again?

I hope that you enjoyed last week’s treat of fellow RC member Gavin Duggan’s deck coupled with the cool preview card on the official forums. I’m fond of quite a few of the cards that have been officially spoiled so far. Silent Sentinel making a repeatable Aura of Silence possible adds another layer to doing the same trick with Sun Titan. Arbiter of the Ideal makes me wonder what cool things they have in store for manifestation counters. I look forward to the strategic decisions facing me every time I draw Fated Infatuation. Do I cast it on my turn or not?

None of the cards get my pulse pounding like Champion of Stray Souls (paired with Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder!). Pain Seer might not see much play in the format but is conceptually interesting. The two-color Gods will both suggest new decks that they lead as well as beg to get put into existing decks. All in all, I think Born of the Gods is going to be an exciting set for Commander. We’ll of course have our full coverage of the set as it releases. Stay tuned to this space for all the delicious details.

For those of you who are following along, my spring 2014 semester has begun at University of South Florida (we’re actually in the third week already). I’m taking Form and Technique of Fiction, Form and Technique of Poetry, Early Shakespeare, and Great Performances on Film. I have four fine instructors (although I think I’m older than the two writing teachers combined) who seem to care a great deal about the students.

It’s going to be a writing-intensive time for sure, but I can hardly complain about scribing opinions about movies and Shakespeare. The really good news is that I won’t have any final exams, just final projects, which means I have the time over the next few months to get them done instead of cramming for a test. I actually think producing something (a writing portfolio, a big-picture film critique, etc.) is a better test of whether or not you actually learned anything in the class than is a hard-cornered exam.

One of my favorite things about the Commander format is the opportunity to explore. We can explore mechanics, abilities, synergies, colors, and themes. Themes are at the top of my own list for said exploration. As I run along the path of more of them, I find myself trying to next level those themes. What I’m going to try to do with Erebos is explore the theme by crafting a narrative, by attempting to tell a certain kind of story while creating the deck. The whole time I’ve been thinking about this deck the opening lyrics from Meat Loaf’s title track off of the 1977 album Bat Out of Hell written by Jim Steinman have been coursing through my brain.

The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling,
Way down in the valley tonight.
There’s a man in the shadows with a gun in his eye,
And a blade shining oh so bright.
There’s evil in the air and there’s thunder in sky,
And a killer’s on the bloodshot streets.
Oh and down in the tunnel where the deadly are rising,
Oh I swear I saw a young boy down in the gutter,
He was starting to foam in the heat.

I’m not going to try to recreate the song (which you should really give a listen to if you haven’t heard it because it’s moody and evocative and has that big Jim Steinman orchestral sound to it), but I’m especially going to seize on the part about evil in the air and the deadly rising. Erebos, God of the Dead is coming. And he’s bringing the end of the world with him.

I already have a zombie theme deck and sketched out a pretty standard vampire deck (with Olivia Voldaren as the commander) so I’m not going directly with either of those themes, but zombies and vampires being undead creatures will be part of the army to go along with other creatures that serve and/or worship the necromantic arts and the things that bring about festering corruption. It will seek to turn your worldly followers into servants of a dark power.

I figured that this time around I’d step aside and let Erebos discuss the card choices in the god’s own (his? her?) voice. Cue the Tim Curry audio tracks.

Constructs Which Serve Our Ends

Cauldron of Souls: We understand mercy. We will reward loyal service with everlasting life.

Claws of Gix: There are times when things displease us. They shall be banished from our sight to be regrown in our glory.

Grimoire Of The Dead: We read and are thus educated.

Mimic Vat: Fear not, little minion. Your death will serve a greater cause.

Nevinyrral’s Disk: Go down before all, us that is wretched in our sight. Go down!

Nim Deathmantle: Death is but a passing dream from which you shall awaken.

Oblivion Stone: There is nothing for you in the void. Only death.

Scythe Of The Wretched: Our blade will reap the fields of the living.

Wayfarer’s Bauble: Come forth, land eternal, and serve us!

Whip of Erebos: In death, there is life. As we drive under our lash the creatures of our eternal army, so shall we grow stronger.

Creatures, Who Serve Death As They Live

Burnished Hart: Your sacrifice, little deer, shall be to the benefit of many.

Solemn Simulacrum: Your sadness is not without merit, for the world of all shall fall before us.  

Artisan of Kozilek: Arise, you who have given your life to our cause! Arise to devastate once more.

Avatar of Woe: Bring woe unto the creatures of the world and bring greatness unto the God of the Dead.

Butcher of Malakir: As we reshape the world, much will be sacrificed. Yours will not go unnoticed.

Cemetery Reaper: Without death, there can be no life.

Crypt Ghast: We accept the spirits which amplify our power.

Crypt Rats: The harbingers of pestilence and famine will herald a landscape changed.

Doomed Necromancer: Dark artist, practice your dark arts.

Dread: Look into the face of a god and fear your existence!

Harvester of Souls: The movement of souls into the land of the dead is like food unto us, and we shall be satisfied.

Keeper Of The Dead: Keep the dead, and the dead shall keep you.

Midnight Banshee: The creatures of light will wither under our fearful gaze.

Necroplasm: The weak shall fall first, and they shall be the heralds of doom.

Nirkana Revenant: Echoes of what once lived sing the songs of our might!

Pestilence Demon: Weakness is suffering, and your weakness shall feed us.

Puppeteer Clique: Your service is required. Now.

Reaper From The Abyss: Death begets death, as it always does.

Scion of Darkness: Listen to the voice of my child of darkness.

Sepulchral Primordial: Funeral rites are a beautiful song to our ears. Sing them again and again.

Twisted Abomination: What creatures of the light call abominations, we make our children.

Undead Gladiator: Our army is persistent and shall be unto the end of times.

Withered Wretch: Banish from our sight, our servant, that which offends our eyes!

The Greatest Of Our Minions

Ascendant Evincar: Those that do not understand the dark shall be burned in their own light.

Geth, Lord Of The Vault: Turn the key to the tombs. Open, and arise!

Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni: He shall be sightless unto you until after his service to us is done. Stare into his blackness and understand.

Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet: Without death, there can be no life.

Lim-Dul the Necromancer: Your death pleases us such that we will allow you to receive the pleasure of our blessing.

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed: There is no crypt powerful enough to restrain the minions of Erebos.

Sheoldred, Whispering One: The voice, quiet, will come through the black gate, suggesting sleep to some and wakefulness to others.

Enchantments, Kin To Our Soul

Black Market: With each soul passing beyond, our power grows.

Dawn Of The Dead: Each day the sun will rise on your world bleaker than the day before.

Grave Betrayal: When we sweep all before us, all souls shall once again rise and serve our relentless power!

Grave Pact: Get. Into. The. Graveyard.

Pestilence: Chewed, swallowed, and digested, corruption shall be the food of mortals.

Phyrexian Reclamation: We will permit you the bliss of our company once more.

The Abyss: Go and die in the manner which best suits you.

Planeswalkers, Who We Call Our Children

Liliana Vess: Such beauty, such everlasting darkness.

Liliana Of The Dark Realms: The Dark Realms of Erebos shall be made real as our power grows ever stronger.

The Spells Which We Shall Lay Upon You

Betrayal of Flesh: Flesh is weak and easily corrupted.

Corpse Dance: The funeral dirge shall skirl, and all shall step to Erebos’ song.

Makeshift Mannequin: Come for a time back into our embrace and do our bidding.

Tsabo’s Decree: Those that we shall name will in our name be destroyed.

Army Of The Damned: The deadly will rise and rise again!

Damnation: What has displeased us shall be no more.

Decree of Pain: Your death, agonizing as it is, shall grow our power, shall grow us in our might, shall grow us forever!

Dread Return: Who will answer the call of Erebos? Those who Erebos calls.

Life’s Finale: Think not on death as the end of life but as the beginning of life anew, life which shall mean more than the life before it.

Living Death: Only under our eye shall that which should die, die and that which should live, live.

Overwhelming Forces: Our displeasure can be felt by one as frightfully as it is felt by all.

Rise Of The Dark Realms: Arise! Awake! Harken unto us! Bring your bodies to our service and we shall reward you with life everlasting.

Twilight’s Call: In the tweening hours before night falls across the land, you will know our frightful power.

Lands, The Source Of Our Power

Cabal Coffers: From blackness comes blackness. From blackness comes power.

Crypt of Agadeem: The souls of those who have gone before fill our cup with the sweetest wine.

Volrath’s Stronghold: The dark tower, built unto our honor, pleases us greatly.

I’m particularly happy that the deck could come together without irritating the God of the Dead, obviating any risk of zombies coming for me (well, any more risk than normal because you know that stuff is actually going to happen someday). My only real concern is whether I’ve packed in enough mana acceleration to get to the top-heavy spells the deck wants. I might have to rework it to add a Jet Medallion and a mana rock or two, but we’ll see how it goes. Necropotence is a card that didn’t make the final cut, but I might put it back in just to turbocharge it a little. Full reports on how the deck does as they come.

Before I go, I’ll tell you that as I wind down the Chromatic Project I’ll be turning to the readership for a little more fan-directed content. If there are things you want to see—or even actively participate in—on these pages, feel free to suggest them. Until then, may all your battles be epic.

Embracing the Chaos,


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