Exploiting Sidisi’s Greatness

When the first Sidisi came to us months ago, Commander players drooled at the possibilities. New Sidisi is no different! See what Bennie Smith has in store for the Undead Vizier!

When Sidisi, Undead Vizier was spoiled I had several different emotions running through me. The tournament player side of me was excited about having such
a powerful tool available for decks that run a lot of creatures. Some of you may have noticed that I like decks that run a lot of creatures. I haven’t yet
figured out a Standard deck I like that runs Sidisi, Undead Vizier, but rest assured I’m working on it!

The Commander player side of me was worried about the format now having a tutor available on demand from the command zone whenever you wanted it, provided
you had the mana-but let’s face it, mana isn’t usually a problem in a mono-black Commander deck. But you know what? Commander has tons and tons and tons of
overpowered interactions, and while Sidisi is certainly high up on the power scale of things you can do in Commander, I’m pretty sure the format will be
just fine. The trick when playing against Sidisi is to remember that Sidisi needs to be in play when a creature is sacrificed to the exploit trigger for
the tutor effect to happen, so if you time your removal right to kill Sidisi while the trigger is put on the stack, you can fizzle the tutor effect.

Sidisi would make a darn good Commander for a mono-black tribal Zombie deck, but I actually made a tribal Zombie Commander deck from the previous
incarnation of Sidisi last fall, so to do things a bit different this time, I’m going to make a mono-black control deck.

The Demonic Tutor in the Room

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way: When you’ve got a Demonic Tutor at your disposal from the command zone whenever you want, it’s natural that
you’ll want to gravitate towards assembling some killer combos. Playing mono-black, you’re a bit restricted, but there are a few out there. The one that
immediately springs to mind is Exquisite Blood + Sanguine Bond, which combine with any sort of damage or life loss to produce triggers that drain all the
life from every opponent at the table. Another more “fair” one would be Dark Depths with either Vampire Hexmage or Thespian’s Stage to create a 20/20
indestructible flying death machine. I am personally not including these sorts of killer combos in my deck because I’d rather focus on controlling the
board and eventually winning with a couple big haymaker plays, but if your group doesn’t mind the killer combos, feel free to fit them in!

For this deck, I’m using Sidisi, Undead Vizier to play the long game like a true evil villain should. I haven’t broken out my evil laugh in a while, and
it’s time to rectify that situation. Let’s take a look at the elements I want to include in the deck and the cards to achieve my goals.

Born to Die

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed , Bloodsoaked Champion, Gravecrawler, Phyrexian Reclamation, Nether Traitor, Reassembling Skeleton, Butcher Ghoul, Epochrasite, Nim Deathmantle, Risen Executioner, Solemn Simulacrum

While you can sacrifice Sidisi, Undead Vizier to its own exploit trigger, I’d much rather have a large 4/6 deathtouch badass on the battlefield holding
down the fort so I can live long enough to use whatever card I tutored up to hatch my evil plots. Therefore, I need a herd of lambs ready to sacrifice
their lives for me, and luckily, since I’m playing black, there is no shortage of creatures that can do that and come back for more. Bloodsoaked Champion
is particularly nice here since you can attack with it, even into a blocker that will kill it, pay 1B to bring it back with its raid ability, sacrifice it
to Sidisi, and if you have 1B, you can pay and bring it back again.

Solemn Simulacrum won’t come back without some undying shenanigans, but if ever there was a creature born to die to five mana Sidisi, it’s four mana Solemn

Spot Removal

Tragic Slip, Go For The Throat, Hero’s Demise, Malicious Affliction, Victim of Night, Eyeblight’s Ending, Hero’s Downfall, Snuff Out, Slaughter,
Murderous Cut

While I usually put in a fair number of spot removal spells in my Commander decks when I can, for this deck I want to have even more than normal. I
basically want to have something to kill the first creature that comes my way, and then have something to kill the second. At that point I’m hoping that so
long as I have cards in hand and mana available, my opponents will be loath to send any significant creature my way for fear I will strike that one down as
well. Fear is a powerful tool for any Magician who seeks to play a control deck.

A few of these cards won’t be able to target black creatures, so I’m going to include Distorting Lens to switch colors on an offensive black creature that
needs removing. My go-to card for that is usually Scuttlemutt, but since this deck plays a lot of creature sweepers, I figured Distorting Lens is probably
a better call.

I was going to run Slaughter Pact in here as a way to have removal even if I’m tapped out, but it’s quite possible a lot of time passes between playing the
Pact and having to pay its cost on your next upkeep, and I’d hate to accidentally lose the game that way. It then occurred to me that Snuff Out can
basically do the same thing in a mono-black deck with a negligible life payment.


Executioner’s Capsule, Basilisk Collar, Seal of Doom, Vengeful Pharaoh

Another way to put fear into your opponents is to deploy these sorts of rattlesnake cards. If you’ve got a Seal of Doom sitting there and your opponent is
trying to figure out which way to send his large non-black creature, they’ve got to know you’ll kill it if it comes your way. Rather than throw it away,
they may send it at some other opponent, at least until they can find a way to destroy the rattlesnake card-and let’s be honest, do you really want to blow
a Krosan Grip on a Seal of Doom?


Oblivion Stone, Sudden Spoiling, Damnation, Mutilate, Nevinyrral’s Disk, Crux of Fate, Hellfire, Life’s Finale, Massacre Wurm, Necromantic Selection,
In Garruk’s Wake

Sometimes the battlefield gets way out of hand, and when that happens, nothing beats a sweeper to bring the game back to an even keel. Black offers no end
to mass creature destruction, and even though I’m including a lot of them, I certainly don’t have them all. Necromantic Selection is a wonderful way to
tilt the scales in your direction when you sweep the board-why yes, I think I’ll take your Lord of Extinction, thanks!

Sudden Spoiling is a great little utility card that will sometimes let you stop someone from doing something with their creature that no other spell could
(Deadeye Navigator springs to mind). If you can follow it with a Massacre Wurm on the same turn, you really are living the dream.

Dead Man’s Party

Bone Dancer, Mimic Vat, Black Market, Grave Betrayal

With creatures dying left and right, I figured we could dip into a little necromancy and take advantage of it. Bone Dancer is pretty sweet when you kill a
threat that happens to be the only blocker, swing in dancing, and steal it. Mimic Vat and Black Market are classic cards to include in a removal-heavy
deck, and Grave Betrayal – while expensive – is amazing if you can keep it around for any length of time.

Card Draw

Erebos, God Of The Dead , Skullclamp, Phyrexian Arena, Skeletal Scrying, Damnable Pact

Of course, what sort of control deck would we be if we didn’t have card draw? Phyrexian Arena and Skeletal Scrying are classics, and Erebos, God of the Dead is a nice newer toy to play with, but I’m particularly excited about giving Damnable Pact a try with Cabal Coffers!

Skullclamp is ubiquitous in any Commander deck with creatures, but I think it’s particularly good in this deck with lots of creatures that die when
Skullclamp is equipped but can come right back. Attack with Bloodsoaked Champion, and then you can equip and bring it back from the graveyard to
effectively draw two cards for each 2B you spend, which is not a bad rate – especially if it’s charging up your Black Market, right?

Swamps Matter

Cabal Coffers, Liliana Of The Dark Realms, Lashwrithe, Nightmare Incursion

Since we’re playing a mono-black deck, we might as well take advantage of some of the sweet “swamps matter” cards out there. Lashwrithe is a great way to
seriously boost Sidisi if you need to kill someone with Commander damage in the lategame, and I like Nightmare Incursion as a way to strip out someone’s
deck of particularly heinous combos.

So with that in mind, here’s how the deck has shaken out as a first pass:

I tried to go easy on the non-basics to try and keep the Swamp count high, but cards like Thawing Glaciers and Myriad Landscape should help keep the Swamps
flowing. Thespian’s Stage can be something cool early in the game, but once you get a Cabal Coffers that can generate a bunch of mana, that’s a great time
to get a second copy online.

I thought Cavern of Souls might be helpful in punching Sidisi through counterspells, which might be especially helpful when you need to tutor up that
Sudden Spoiling to break up Deadeye Navigator shenanigans. Just call “Zombie” so you can use it for the handful of other Zombie spells.

So what do you think? How would you build a black control deck with Sidisi, Undead Vizier as your commander?

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

Commander write-ups I’ve done
(and links to decklists):

Zurgo Bellstriker (Bellstriking Like a Boss)

Dragonlord Ojutai (Troll Shroud)

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Dragons, Megamorphs, and Dragons)

Dromoka, the Eternal (One Flying Bolster Basket)

Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (Tempests and Teapots)

Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Hatching Evil Sultai Plots)

Scion of the Ur-Dragon (Dragon Triggers for Everyone)

• Nahiri, The Lithomancer (Lithomancing for Fun and Profit)

Titania, Protector of Argoth (Titania’s Land and Elemental Exchange)

Reaper King (All About VILLAINOUS WEALTH)

Feldon of the Third Path (She Will Come Back to Me)

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (Calling Up Ghouls with Sidisi)

Zurgo Helmsmasher (Two Times the Smashing)

Anafenza, the Foremost (Anafenza and Your Restless Dead)

Narset, Enlightened Master (The New Voltron Overlord)

Surrak Dragonclaw (The Art of Punching Bears)

Avacyn, Guardian Angel; Ob Nixilis, Unshackled; Sliver Hivelord (Commander Catchup, Part 3)

Keranos, God of Storms; Marchesa, the Black Rose; Muzzio, Visonary Architect (Commander Catchup, Part 2)

Athreos, God of Passage; Kruphix, God of Horizons; Iroas, God of Victory (Commander Catchup, Journey into Nyx Edition)

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)

Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy (Possibility Storm Shenanigans)

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (All-in Yisan)

Selvala, Explorer Returned (Everyone Draws Lots!)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (Cleaning Out the Cellar)

Karona, False God (God Pack)

Child of Alara (Land Ho!)

Doran, the Siege Tower (All My Faves in One Deck!)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (my Magic Online deck)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (GREED!)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind ( Chuck’s somewhat vicious deck)

Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)

Skeleton Ship (Fun with -1/-1 counters)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)

Anax and Cymede (Heroic Co-Commanders)

Aurelia, the Warleader ( plus Hellkite Tyrant shenanigans)

Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)

Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)

Damia, Sage of Stone ( Ice Cauldron shenanigans)

Emmara Tandris (No Damage Tokens)

Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)

Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)

Ghave, Guru of Spores ( Melira Combo)

Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)

Glissa, the Traitor ( undying artifacts!)

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge ( Suspension of Disbelief)

Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo’ Myrs)

Karona, False God (Vows of the False God)

Lord of Tresserhorn (ZOMBIES!)

Marath, Will of the Wild ( Wild About +1/+1 Counters)

Melira, Sylvok Outcast ( combo killa)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker ( Outside My Comfort Zone with Milling

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)

Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)

Nylea, God of the Hunt ( Devoted to Green)

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (by reader request)

Phage the Untouchable ( actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)

Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)

Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)

Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)

Riku of Two Reflections (

steal all permanents with
Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts


Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)

Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari ( Demons)

Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)

Sigarda, Host of Herons ( Equipment-centric Voltron)

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave ( how big can it get?)

Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)

Thelon of Havenwood ( Campfire Spores)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

Yeva, Nature’s Herald (living at instant speed)