Correcting The Chromatic…With Someone Else’s Deck!

Sheldon Menery shows you how he converted one of his unwanted “feel bad” Commander decks into a brand new (and more fun) monster! As always, Sheldon’s article is the place to go for endless Commander lists!

To catch up those of you who aren’t regular readers, I’m engaged in what I’ve dubbed The Chromatic Project-build a Commander deck of each color combination
available. I’m down to needing just mono-green, colorless, and five-color to complete the set. I currently have either 30 or 32 decks, depending on how you
count the Modular Approach (Part 1) and ( Part 2). If the whole Modular deal is one deck, then I’m at 30.
If you count it as three, then 32. There is some overlap since I’m a sucker for Jund decks. There are three on my ever-smaller shelf.

Sometimes, we find ourselves with a deck that we’ve built, played, and simply don’t like for some reason. That was the case with my black/green reanimator deck starring Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord. It’s
a toolbox-style midrange deck that reanimates creatures, so it would seem to be right up my alley (and, in fact, I ported over a fair amount of it to form
the basis of that Modular deck). In play, I found that it was quite repetitious: get some creatures in the yard, keep everyone else in check via attrition,
and eventually kill by sacrificing something unnaturally big (usually Lord of Extinction). Having Jarad always available gave the deck a kind of
inevitability: if I wasn’t dead (or obviously devoid of a graveyard) by a certain point, there it was. It was like there was no work to it. It wasn’t that
it was all that great and won too many games, it’s just that when it won, it won with basically the same three or four cards. I thought about it a great
deal and realized that Jarad was the culprit. It’s not that the card is broken or oppressive, but that its constant availability pointed me in a single
vector-definitely not the choice I want from my Commander decks. I’m a much bigger fan of maneuvering through the tricky minefield of a game state than
just plopping out cards. Jarad is fine as one of 99, but I simply wasn’t enjoying myself with him in the command zone. The answer came during anArmada Games EDH League (amazingly, we’ve just started our 25 th iteration of the league) game.

Monday Night Gamer and Armada regular Keith Bogart is one of my favorite people to sit down to a table with because 1) he’s a fine human being, 2) like me,
he’s slavishly devoted to themes, 3) he’s better than I am at trivia (despite me finishing second in my section of the last Learned League and him narrowly avoiding relegation in his), and 4) he has the highest ratio in EDH history of
playing “cards you have to pick up and read.” All you need to know is that he plays decks with banding. It was a while back, maybe as long as six months,
that Keith played his Glissa, the Traitor deck. It was deliciously durdly and kept control of the board in an impressive fashion. I liked its tight mana
curve and reactive nature. I think I even said “I’m taking apart my Jarad deck, and I’m going to replace it with something like that.” Here’s his list:

Keith has a few things to say about the deck:

I’m probably going to try to swap out cards for Haunted Plate Mail, Sacred Armory, Scutt

ling Doom Engine, and Soul of New Phyrexia. They’ll probably replace Steel Overseer, Ticking Gnomes (sometimes you want to ping someone for one, and
it’s a 3/3 for

three, but the echo can get in the way), Crypt Incursion (I already have four other cards for graveyard removal), and probably Blazing Torch (this deck
was a mod from a Glissa deck geared towards dealing damage through sacrificed artifacts, but this version tends to kill creatures by having them block
big artifact creatures).

Improvements I would like to make: You almost always have a full grip with this deck. I find I’m discarding a lot of cards and hoping to draw into
Reliquary Tower. I’d probably add more “no maximum handsize” cards, like Venser’s Journal and Praetor’s Coun

sel. This deck could use a few more sacrifice outlets, as several creatures have effects that trigger on death. Ashnod’s Altar and Attrition would go
well into here.

If I were to just take the deck whole hog, there isn’t much I’d want to upgrade. I like Scavenging Ooze better than Creakwood Ghoul. Obviously, I want to
take the deck in my own direction while still maintaining the original idea (since it’s the idea that I liked in the first place). The first thing I have
to realize is that there are way more cards which go with the theme than I can squeeze into the deck. I’m just going to have to pick a direction and go
with it. Here are some cards that I’d consider and why:

All Is Dust:
With so much of the deck being artifacts, it seems worthwhile. It would mean recasting Glissa, but she’s inexpensive anyway.

Ashnod’s Altar
: I agree with Keith about the sacrifice outlets. Making mana isn’t terrible either.

: This is a strong contender. It can keep many decks in the format in check. The only thing is that I’d like to create lots of tokens to sacrifice. Endrek
Sahr, Master Breeder is an excellent choice since you don’t want to have too many of those thrulls anyway.

Blood Artist:
There are loads of creatures dying in this deck. This card is very quietly very good.

Booby Trap:
For the lolz.

Bottled Cloister
: Except for Crypt Incursion, there are no instants in the deck anyway. This keeps my hand from being stripped (which may be important for one of the cards
below) and draws a card for free. Sure, there’s the chance that someone will dagger me by blowing up this thing, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take
since I highly doubt targeted removal will want this. One of the strengths of this deck is that there aren’t too many cards in it that are super scary on
their own.

Cloud Key:
Obviously always choosing artifact, making a good percentage of the deck cost less, potentially leading to some serious turns with sacrifice outlets.

Contagion Clasp
and Contagion Engine: In addition to helping keep opponents’ creatures under control, proliferating also helps out with the Arcbound

Crypt Ghast:
I have lots of swamps. Someone else is playing Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth anyway, and I cast lots of cheap spells.

Culling Dais
: Another sacrifice outlet, more card draw. One of the major ideas of the deck is the turnover. You really have to keep doing stuff in order to, well, do
stuff. It’s like a business that doesn’t make lots of money on any one transaction-but has zillions of transactions.

: Exile is a thing. I would call this a must-include in the deck.

Elsewhere Flask:
From what I understand, drawing cards is good.

Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder:
See Attrition and Blood Artist, above.

Gate to Phyrexia
: The limitations on this are likely to keep it out of the deck, but it’s worth thinking about.

Garruk Relentless:
It’s not a planeswalker which immediately sets off any alarms, so it could be around a good long while doing good work.

Golem Foundry:
The deck is looping lots of artifacts through. Free creatures might be worthwhile although this is likely to get left off for something that does stuff of
its own accord.

Guardian Beast
: I want to choose when my artifacts go to the graveyard. Thinking about Guardian Beast made me also think about Darksteel Forge,
but that’s getting kind of pricey.

Heap Doll
: It’s slightly useful and it’s a scarecrow, so it works with Scarecrone and is cheap.

Helm of Possession
: A classic from the earliest days of Magic, this functions more as repeatable creature removal than just a Control Magic due to the sacrifice outlets.
Obviously, if there’s something that I just have to keep, that’s one thing.

In Garruk’s Wake
: Sometimes Attrition isn’t enough. You have to blow up everyone else’s world. Sure, it’s expensive, but it’s pretty swingy.

Jalum Tome
: Cheap card draw that puts things that I want into the graveyard, which I’ll just get back with Glissa anyway. I used to have this in reanimator decks. I
wonder why I stopped.

Lodestone Golem
: 52 of the 63 spells in Keith’s original list (that’s 82.5%) are artifacts. Why not slow down everyone else a bit?

Mephidross Vampire
: With Triskelion in the deck, having creature control is a great idea. Mike and Trike is cheesy; Mephidross Vampire and Trike isn’t scary at all.

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
: I’m unlikely to put insta-win infinite combos in a deck, but it’d be disingenuous to say that I didn’t at least think about it.

: There’s an argument that I’ll get my stuff back anyway (in fact, if Glissa is around, then I’ll get at least one of them back right away), but filling
graveyards can be a little dangerous in this format. The second part of the argument is that it’s a cool combo with Bottled Cloister.

Mishra’s Workshop:
Assuming I had $600 I wasn’t doing anything with…

Monkey Cage:
Because monkeys! Obviously, someone making a token makes you waste five mana, but what are you going to do?

Reiver Demon
: I don’t have any nonblack, nonartifact creatures.

Rise of the Dark Realms
: I’ll probably do too much nerfing of other peoples’ graveyards to make this worthwhile, but it’s my kind of card.

Scavenging Ooze
: Straight up better than Creakwood Ghoul in my opinion even though the Ghoul gives you life for everything.

Sol Ring:
There are times when this deck wants to cast multiple spells in a turn. In this deck, colorless mana won’t go to waste.

Synod Sanctum:
There have to be some tricks here, especially with the low, low cost of casting and activating. Again, you can get hurt pretty badly when you start exiling
your own stuff, but all in all I’d say the risk is low.

Tawnos’s Coffin
: This is probably something I’ll actually try to work into a different deck. Maybe some build of Roon of the Hidden Realm.

Tormod’s Crypt
: Probably the first card I thought of when I thought of a Glissa deck. Graveyards are super important in Commander, and I’d rather you didn’t engage in
any shenanigans out of yours.

Trading Post
: Goat Post is the full monty in this deck. A must-include. In many decks in which you put Trading Post, you have one thing you’ll predominantly do with
it. In this deck, it will be completely situation- and need-dependent. It’s a card that you have to make choices with, and even when the opportunity to
make a wrong choice exists, I like choices. Thinking about them, seeing why the successes worked and realizing the failures, can only make me a better

Tsabo’s Web
: It’s a nice, cheap cantrip, can be sacrificed to Trading Post, and has an outside opportunity to shut down a few of the lands that get played in the
format, notably Maze of Ith and Academy Ruins.

Voltaic Key
: I dunno. Double Charbelcher? More Bow of Nylea. Probably not enough sauce to be worthwhile except for the occasional blocking blowout, but let’s run it
anyway to see where it goes.

Out: Blazing Torch, Creakwood Ghoul, Crypt Incursion, Dragon Engine, Golem Artisan, Insatiable Soul Eater, Karn, Lux Cannon, Necropede, Soldevi Simulacrum,
Ticking Gnomes, Withered Wretch.

In: Ashnod’s Altar, Attrition, Bottled Cloister, Duplicant, Elsewhere Flask, Endrek Sahr, Helm of Possession, Scavenging Ooze, Sol Ring, Tormod’s Crypt,
Trading Post, Voltaic Key.

In the end, I went with some of the cards that do what the deck does as opposed to cards I might in a vacuum call strictly better (like Blood Artist over
Perilous Myr). I really wanted to find room for All Is Dust, but there wasn’t anything that I was willing to cut for it, plus the Bottled Cloister thing.
All Is Dust is waiting in the wings for a card to underperform so it can yell “Put me in, Coach!” Cloud Key is another one just hoping for a chance to
pinch hit and show what it’s worth.

As promised, here’s the latest iteration of my Lord of Tresserhorn list. You’ll also note below that I’ve added a hot link to the deck list database for
each of my decks. Most of them are the latest versions, and we’ll get those that aren’t updated as soon as we can.

Sheldon Menery
Test deck on 07-31-2014
Magic Card Back

If you’d like to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that’s been alive since 1987), ask for an invitation to the Facebook
group “Sheldon Menery’s Monday Night Gamers.”

Here is the latest database version of all my decks: