Tasigur: A Tale of Lands, Graveyards, and Forks

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Mookie
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Post by Mookie » 2 years ago

No machinations, no puppet strings, no plots. Just pure, sweeping death.
- Tasigur, the Golden Fang.
"Image"




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Introduction

In Commander, many games can be thought as a battle over resources.
Some decks try to win through card advantage - draw extra cards, deal with your opponents' cards, then win when your opponents have run out of ways to stop you.
Other decks try to win through board advantage - play creatures, kill your opponents' blockers, and reduce your opponents' life totals to zero.
Other decks try to win via combo - if you generate the right combination of resources, then you can win without needing to care what your opponents have.

This deck's gameplan is to win via pure mana advantage. We ramp, then ramp, then ramp some more. When we have more mana than our opponents, we can translate that into any other resource we want, dropping haymaker after haymaker.
I won't claim that this deck is particularly complicated. It's not full of a bunch of tricksy synergies, and it generally isn't flexible if it needs to switch strategies on the fly.
Some decks are about having the right tool for the job. But this deck? All we need is the biggest hammer.

tl;dr: This is a Golgari-splash-blue ramp deck, with control and graveyard subthemes


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Commander Analysis



Mana cost:
Amusingly, Tasigur starts out his card with deception. Six mana is on the expensive side for a general, but we'll rarely pay that much to cast him. Similarly, while he may just be a black creature, he is actually a member of the Sultai, granting access to blue and green mana, both of which solve many weaknesses that mono-black possesses. In this deck, I've leaned heavily on the green side of things (and minimizing the amount of blue mana needed), but alternate timelines exist in which the deck could go in a different direction.

In some cases, costing six mana can actually be an upside - we run several sweepers that are based on CMC.

Type: Legendary Creature - Human Shaman
Humans are one of the most common tribes, appearing in nearly every set. There are some tribal support cards for humans, although many of the best payoffs are in white. Shamans are not as well supported, but there are a few tribal synergies. However, once again, many of these tribal synergies are in another color we lack access to (in this case, red).

Stats: 4/5
Not the most impressive of stats, but not terrible either. Four power means Tasigur is capable of knocking someone out with commander damage in six hits, which is a bit slow (especially due to a lack of evasion). However, it is enough power to outclass most utility creatures. Five toughness makes Tasigur resilient to most damage-based removal, and conveniently is a sweet spot for being just out of range of cards like Languish.

Delve
A fantastic cost-reduction mechanic that makes Tasigur pretty easy to cast, assuming we can keep our graveyard stocked. Delve can also be used to cheat on commander tax if Tasigur dies several times. It's also a great way to prune our graveyard for his other ability. Relying on our graveyard to cast our general can make us somewhat more vulnerable to graveyard hate, but unless it is something persistent like Rest in Peace, we don't need to worry about it too much. A one-shot effect like Nihil Spellbomb does very little to Tasigur.

: Put the top two cards of your library into your graveyard, then return a nonland card of an opponents choice from your graveyard to your hand.
The reason why Tasigur makes such a fantastic general for a ramp / control deck like this one - this ability serves as an amazing mana sink, guaranteeing we can turn extra mana into action. The ability also fills our graveyard to turn on various synergies, while also making Tasigur easier to cast in the future by fueling delve. Note that while it uses the graveyard, it is also resilient to most graveyard hate - it doesn't target, and opponents can't respond to a card being milled. Finally, this ability plays nicely with instant-speed interaction and flash spells, letting us play on our opponents' turns.

One of the classic problems with running a ramp deck is the possibility of drawing too much ramp and not enough payoffs, or vice versa. However, having Tasigur available as a mana sink in the command zone neatly solves this problem, since we can run as much ramp as we want and still never run out of gas.

This deck may not be for you if:
  • you want your deck to be fast, with a low curve
  • you like artifacts
  • your meta plays a lot of mass land destruction
  • you want a more obscure general

You may enjoy this deck if:
  • you enjoy ramping, and having uses for your piles of mana
  • you like graveyards, but don't want to fold to graveyard hate
  • you value having access to a broad range of interaction
  • you want to cast some big, dumb X spells



Other Commander Options
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Golgari:
  • Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord and Meren of Clan Nel Toth - both are good options if you want to build around the graveyard and creature-based strategies available in Golgari colors.
  • Sisters of Stone Death - a powerful (but very expensive) ramp general in Golgari colors. A black hole mana sink capable of Plague Wind'ing an opponent on attack, given sufficient mana.
  • The Gitrog Monster - do you like lands? Do you like graveyards? Do you like lands in graveyards? Great if you want to turn your excess lands directly into cards, instead of indirectly by spending mana on Tasigur activations.
Sultai: Other:

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Decklist

Decklist by Function
Approximate Total Cost:


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Using Tasigur

Let's take a closer look at Tasigur's activated ability:
: Put the top two cards of your library into your graveyard, then return a nonland card of an opponents choice from your graveyard to your hand.

This ability serves many functions in this deck, and is the main thing the entire deck is built around. It serves as a black hole mana sink for any extra mana we have left over after we've done a ton of ramping. It fills our graveyard to turn on all of our recursion options. It also makes it easier to recast Tasigur if he happens to be dealt with by fueling his delve cost.

However, it isn't all upside - unlike a card like Thrasios, Triton Hero or Kefnet the Mindful, Tasigur allows an opponent to control the card we draw. This broadly breaks down into four categories:
1: Only one legal choice is in our graveyard, so our opponent is forced to give it to us. This usually means we have a mostly-empty graveyard, or we've delved away cards.
2: Our opponent gives us a card we want. This usually means there is a mutual enemy that needs to be dealt with, such as one opponent giving us a board wipe to deal with a different opponent.
3: Our opponent gives us a card they think we don't want, but we secretly do want. This is pretty rare, unless it's a ramp spell. We always want more ramp.
4: Our opponent gives us a card we don't want. This is the most common outcome.

Ideally, we'll always get a card from option 2, but this is difficult to maintain - if we keep getting good cards back, we will inevitably become the biggest threat at the table. The worst case scenario if option 4 - our opponents keep giving us back cards we have no use for. This translates into two key concepts that are important to understand when building a Tasigur deck:

1: Morton's Fork - when we give our opponents a choice, we want to make sure that every option yields the same result. Either they give us a removal spell, a threat, or a recursion spell so we can grab back whichever we prefer. If we activate Tasigur enough times, we will eventually get what we want - the equivalent of repeatedly stabbing our opponent with a fork. A common response to a Tasigur activation ought to be 'I don't want to give you any of these!'.
2: Tasigur is a 'goodstuff' general by design - if you have narrow, situational, or 'cute' cards, these are the cards your opponents are most likely to give you. You want your cards to be high-impact and broad in their applicability. The only way your opponents can give you back a 'bad' card is if you put it in your deck.... so never give them that choice in the first place.


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Card Discussion

FAQ for deck design choices
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Why Golgari(ish) and not Sultai?
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I call this deck Golgari-splashing-Blue and not Sultai because there are zero monoblue cards in it - every blue card is multicolor. And if not for the existence of Villainous Wealth, I might not be playing blue mana at all.

The root reason for this is that when the deck was first built, it was helmed by Sisters of Stone Death. When Tasigur was revealed, I decided to test out swapping him in for the Sisters (with no other deck changes) and was immediately impressed enough to make the swap permanent. I keep the deck mostly Golgari as tribute to the Sisters, but there are a few other perks - not needing as much blue mana makes the manabase simpler, and I can run more basic lands (which is a good thing, given how many this deck fetches out).

The other reason why I'm not running blue is to intentionally power the deck down a bit - Sultai is generally regarded to be the strongest three color combination in Commander, and Tasigur is an incredibly powerful general. Taking away cards like Cyclonic Rift and cheap countermagic make the deck a bit more appropriate for the average table.
Why no artifacts?
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This wasn't actually an intentional design choice, but one that I leaned into over the years. One thing to note about the deck is that it is heavily focused on land ramp. As a result, I'm not running any artifact mana, which means I can run cards like Bane of Progress and Pernicious Deed and not need to worry about blowing up my own manabase. When you have that many artifact boardwipes, running artifacts becomes a downside.

The other reason is due to the color pie - as a general rule, people run artifacts and colorless spells to cover for weaknesses in their own colors, such as ramp and card draw. Golgari is a color combination that doesn't really have any significant weaknesses - it has interaction for all permanent types, card draw, and ramp. So there isn't much need for artifacts.

I will make a note that I haven't leaned into narrow cards like Energy Flux or Titania's Song to explicitly hate on artifacts, but that is certainly a direction that could be taken.
Why so much sorcery-based land ramp?
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Have your read Tasigur's textbox? He's a black hole mana sink - it is effectively impossible for us to flood out as long as we have access to him, which means he works really well in a ramp strategy.

Notably, this unquenchable thirst for mana is also why I've chosen to go with bigger ramp spells - Skyshroud Claim and mana doublers over Farseek or Rampant Growth. Cheap ramp is great if you want to get to five or six mana, but when you want to get to twelve or twenty mana, you need to go bigger.

As for why lands instead of creature-based ramp like Elvish Mystic... that comes mostly from personal preference. I like building resilient decks, and losing all of my mana to a Wrath of God is something I want to avoid.

There are also many synergies available for ramping out lands, such as Tireless Tracker and Tatyova, Benthic Druid. We're able to do disgusting things alongside mana doublers like Zendikar Resurgent.

One other benefit goes back to Tasigur - his ability can't grab lands, which means they will accumulate in our graveyard over time and set us up for something like Splendid Reclamation. Similarly, sorceries go directly to the graveyard instead of sticking around like Wood Elves, which means we can grab them back with Tasigur if we want more ramp, or delve them away to make Tasigur cheaper. Ramp spells are almost certainly the most common class of cards that get delved away.
Why aren't you running X?
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The most likely reason for this (if it wasn't covered by 'no artifacts' and 'no monoblue cards') is likely budget constraints - I have a self-imposed budget restriction of $2/card when buying cards. There are some obvious exceptions in this decklist, but those are generally cards I either happened to already own, or was able to trade for.

When looking at the decklist, I'll actually recommend looking at the broader categories over individual cards. Other than land-friendly and graveyard-friendly cards, there aren't many direct synergies or combos present in the deck, so things can be swapped out pretty easily.
deck at a glance

Tasigur, the Golden Fang
20 ramp spells
10 recursion spells
5 draw spells
20 interactive spells
5 finishers
39 lands


This deck is a ramp deck - we want to generate a ton of mana, then funnel that mana into other things. To support this, we begin by running a large number of ramp spells - it's pretty much impossible for this deck to have too much mana available. On the other hand, Tasigur is able to function as a mana sink for all of that mana, which means we can get away with a smaller number of pure card advantage spells. Meanwhile, Tasigur's ability to fill the graveyard means that the value of recursion goes up - we'll often have the exact tool we want in the graveyard, so recurring the right card is more convenient that drawing random cards.

On the flip side of things, we also run a lot of interaction, in the form of removal and board wipes. Tasigur acting as a lategame value engine means we'll often want to slow down the game and remove our opponents' threats. We don't have a ton of action in the early game, so we need to have a way to stop our opponents from snowballing an early advantage. Finally, when we get to the lategame, we want a small number of expensive finishers to actually close out the game.

Fill out the rest of the deck with lands, as appropriate.
ramp
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We want all the mana. All of it.
The most important part of the deck is the ramp package, which is focused on getting as many lands into play as possible. This gives us more mana, which we can funnel into whatever else we want. Due to Tasigur's activated ability, it is effectively impossible to flood out - we will always have something to spend mana on, even if we have 20 or 30+ mana available.
  • Burgeoning - allows some extremely explosive opening hands. Weak topdeck though.
  • Exploration - like Burgeoning, but also works great with Ramunap Excavator and Oracle of Mul Daya.
  • Growth Spiral - a bit of acceleration that also cantrips. Tasigur works pretty well with instants.
  • Courser of Kruphix - helps us hit our land drops, and gains a bit of incidental life. Also works well with all our shuffling from ramp spells.
  • Cultivate - bread and butter ramp. Two lands for three mana is a good deal.
  • Early Harvest - we're running a lot of basics. Throw in a mana doubler, and this can turn into scary amounts of mana.
  • Far Wanderings - a little less consistent than Cultivate, but a solid payoff for filling our graveyard.
  • Harrow - instant speed ramp that also fills our graveyard.
  • Kodama's Reach - Cultivate #2.
  • Search for Tomorrow - can't find Tomorrow, but it does find an untapped land for a cheap cost.
  • Frontier Siege - this card only has one mode, since we have no fliers in the deck. Four mana for four mana is an insanely efficient rate.
  • Oracle of Mul Daya - helps us hit more land drops, and provides acceleration if we can hit multiple. Great with shuffles.
  • Pir's Whim - fetches utility lands while also providing a bit of interaction.
  • Skyshroud Claim - two lands, fetched untapped. Gold standard for ramp. Note that it can fetch nonbasic forests, if you have any.
  • Splendid Reclamation - if you can get three lands off it, it's a fantastic rate. If you can get more because you've been activating Tasigur all game, it's absurd.
  • Wilderness Reclamation - one of the cheapest mana doublers available, assuming you have a way to spend mana at instant speed. (hint: Tasigur)
  • Rude Awakening - we usually use this as a ritual to set up a big X spell, but sometimes you have twenty lands and want to swing for lethal.
  • Seedborn Muse - like Reclamation, but better. Rarely lives for long, but if you can turn it into a bunch of Tasigur activations, it's usually worth it.
  • Mana Reflection - actual mana doubling. Beware of Damping Sphere. Otherwise, enjoy your newfound unlimited power.
  • Boundless Realms - when you don't feel like drawing basic lands ever again. Probably the best topend ramp spell there is.
  • Zendikar Resurgent - doubles our mana, and draws some cards. What's not to love?
other options
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  • Farseek, Wild Growth, and other small ramp effects - we usually want to play for the long game and go bigger, but these can definitely speed up the deck a lot.
  • Elvish Mystic, Priest of Titania, and other creature-based ramp - this isn't an elfball deck, but that is another strategy for generating lots of mana. You may want to cut back on board wipes if you go that route instead.
  • Nissa's Pilgrimage, Hunting Wilds, Hour of Promise and other ramp spells - I like to think that the best ones are already in here, but many alternative options exist. Some can be better or worse depending on what nonbasic lands you're running.
  • Bounty of the Luxa - switches between ramp and card draw. It's a pretty reasonable rate.
recursion
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If your graveyard is larger than your library, recursion is a better tutor.
Tasigur is capable of dumping a lot of cards into our graveyard, but doesn't give us much control over what our opponents choose to give us back. As a result, he works really well with recursion - if something particularly spicy gets milled, we can use a recursion effect to grab it back directly. Keep in mind recursion chaining - many of these effects only bring back creatures, so it may be necessary to chain one effect into something like Eternal Witness so we can grab back the exact card we want.
  • Animate Dead - two mana for any creature, including ones in an opponents' graveyard. One of the most efficient reanimation spells available. Keep an eye out for enchantment removal.
  • Life from the Loam - only gets lands, but hitting land drops is important.
  • Regrowth - recurs anything, at a cheap price. Somewhat comparable to Demonic Tutor, assuming a sufficiently-stocked graveyard.
  • Eternal Witness - grabs back anything, and easy to recur itself. Gold standard.
  • Ramunap Excavator - works great with cycling and fetchlands. Hitting land drops is great.
  • World Shaper - mills, then recurs a bunch of lands. Sometimes you can live the dream and resolve a Death Cloud with it out.
  • Liliana, Death's Majesty - mills, makes blockers, and recurs creatures. Lives through most of our board wipes.
  • Nissa, Vital Force - recurs any permanent card. Alternatively, if you think she'll live a full turn, you can go for the emblem to get a ton of card draw.
  • The Mending of Dominaria - grabs back creatures, then lands. Works well with a well-stocked graveyard.
  • Greenwarden of Murasa - grabs back anything, then does it again when it dies.
  • Seasons Past - a bigger recursion spell that can restock our entire hand. Note that it doesn't target, so it's hard to stop with grave hate.
other options
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  • Reanimate, Exhume, and other reanimation effects - this isn't really a dedicated reanimator deck (since we can just cast our fatties), but these work well with a self-mill strategy.
  • Treasured Find and other one-shot recursion - a bit low on value, but very efficient.
  • Den Protector - a bit inefficient, but it can grab back anything.
  • Praetor's Counsel, Wildest Dreams, Creeping Renaissance and other bigger recursion effects - we don't need card advantage that badly due to having Tasigur as a mana sink, but these can be worth considering if you want a more efficient rate for your card advantage.
  • Living Death, Rise of the Dark Realms, and other mass reanimation - we're a bit light on creatures, but mass reanimation works very well with self-mill.
  • Reap, Holistic Wisdom, Nostalgic Dreams - all good choices if you want your opponents to have to read your cards.
  • Sepulchral Primordial - doesn't recur from our graveyard, but it's a pretty efficient way to generate an army.
interaction
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Solve target problem.
This deck is on the slower side, so we want to be able to slow down our opponents while we ramp. Lategame, interaction lets us deal with any threats our opponents may present. If someone at the table happens to be archenemy, you may be able to negotiate with another player to get back a specific answer with Tasigur. Note that if you are doing this, having efficient answers is particularly important - activating Tasigur effectively adds four to the cost of any removal spell.
  • Nature's Claim - efficient artifact or enchantment removal.
  • Countersquall - one of the better non-monoblue counterspells we have access to. If you're not going with my 'no monoblue cards' restriction, there are many alternatives.
  • Dimir Charm - a bit on the narrow side, but there are a lot of problematic sorceries worth countering. It does make up for the narrowness in flexibility with its alternate modes.
  • Drown in the Loch - requires some setup, but a flexible counterspell // removal spell.
  • Scavenging Ooze - grave hate, and a bit of incidental lifegain. Can be a surprisingly beefy beatstick.
  • Beast Within - target problem was secretly a 3/3 beast all along. 3/3 beasts usually aren't problems anymore.
  • Maelstrom Pulse - deals with pretty much anything at a reasonable rate.
  • Putrefy - instant speed and flexible removal spell.
  • Reclamation Sage - kills artifacts an enchantments, while also providing a body.
  • Toxic Deluge - a cheap board wipe. We don't have a lot of lifegain, so it can be painful to cast multiple times - consider delving it away aggressively.
  • Nightmare Unmaking - a bit more expensive board wipe, but it's also flexible and exiles.
  • Murderous Cut - an efficient removal spell that also lets us prune our graveyard.
  • Windgrace's Judgment - a bit expensive, but deals with multiple problems at instant speed.
  • Bane of Progress - takes out all sorts of problematic cards, while leaving behind a large body. There are definitely some decks that will fold to it.
  • Casualties of War - another flexible removal spell. Expensive, but also backbreaking against most decks.
  • Lochmere Serpent - a flash blocker that most people won't play around. Also capable of pressuring planeswalkers, eating graveyards, and drawing cards.
  • Whiptongue Hydra - this deck has issues with fliers, so having a way to shoot them out of the air is quite nice.
  • Wave of Vitriol - like Bane of Progress, but it also deals with troublesome utility lands. Another reason to run lots of basics, and also can shut down some particularly greedy manabases.
  • Sandwurm Convergence - makes blockers, and protects us from fliers. My opponents always seem to be afraid of my army of 5/5s, no matter how much I claim it to be purely defensive.
other options
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Our colors have access to more options for interaction than I could ever possibly list. When considering options, consider the tradeoffs between efficiency, flexibility, and value. I generally prioritize efficiency over flexibility and value, but this ultimately depends on personal preference and meta.
  • Doom Blade, Ultimate Price, Go for the Throat, and other creature spot removal - many good options exist if you find yourself needing more answers.
  • Find // Finality - an efficient recursion spell, or a board wipe that leaves Tasigur (or some other creature we want to keep) alive.
  • Gaze of Granite - most of the permanents we care about have a high CMC, so this can be a one-sided board wipe. Also great for dealing with piles of mana rocks or tokens.
  • Damnation, Languish, Crux of Fate, Black Sun's Zenith, and other sweepers - this deck isn't particularly reliant on its creatures, and has a lot of recursion. There are many other board wipes worth consideration.
  • Counterspell, Swan Song, and other countermagic - if you choose to run monoblue cards, there are a ton of excellent options.
  • Naturalize, Natural State, and other artifact/enchantment removal - we run several sweepers for these, but it can be appropriate to run more removal depending on your meta.
  • Sultai Charm, Silumgar's Command, and other flexible interaction - you're often paying a premium for the flexibility, but they do make it harder for opponents to give us something useless with Tasigur.
  • Deathsprout, Decree of Pain, and other high-value interaction - extra mana can always be pumped into Tasigur, but stapling value onto our interaction can let us do things at a more efficient rate than Tasigur activations alone.
  • Titania's Song, Creeping Corrosion, and other artifact hate - we're not running any artifacts, so taking advantage of these one-sided hate cards can provide a strong advantage.
draw & tutors
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Lands → cards → ramp spells → lands. A beautiful cycle.
One common problem ramp decks encounter is running out of action - you may have a ton of mana, and nothing to spend it on. This deck has Tasigur always available as a mana sink, but sometimes you want something more efficient. Alternatively, you may want to tutor up something specific to solve a problem.
  • Traverse the Ulvenwald - an efficient tutor for either creatures or utility lands. The fail case of hitting a land drop isn't exciting, but we do like hitting every land drop.
  • Nissa, Vastwood Seer - fetches a land, then flips into a personal Howling Mine.
  • Tireless Tracker - turns lands and ramp spells into more card draw. Also grows into a huge beater.
  • Tatyova, Benthic Druid - another way to turn lands into card draw.
  • The Gitrog Monster - yet another way to turn lands into card draw. Works great with Tasigur and fetchlands.
  • Sire of Stagnation - turns our opponents' lands into card draw. If they choose to not play lands, that's fine too.
other options
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We have access to the three best card draw colors, so there are many, many options available.
  • Harmonize, Night's Whisper, and other pure card draw - more efficient than Tasigur activations, but they don't impact the board.
  • Rune-Scarred Demon, Demonic Tutor, Dark Petition, and other tutors - this deck doesn't have many specific synergies or combos, but being able to find the exact card you want is certainly useful.
  • Phyrexian Arena, Bloodgift Demon, and other recurring card draw - can perform poorly if you expect to wipe the board frequently, but not bad choices if you expect them to stick around for a while.
big dumb x spells
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"What's X?" "Sufficient."
Sometimes, you have all the mana in the world and just want to turn it directly into a win condition. These all work great if you can set them up with a mana doubler or Rude Awakening.
  • Exsanguinate - drains opponents and gains life.
  • Genesis Wave - my general heuristic is that Genesis Wave is like blackjack - if you hit 21, you win. Instantly generates a huge board if you cast it for a high enough number, and can occasionally be looped if you flip a mana doubler and Eternal Witness. Don't be afraid to cast it for X=6 or so as a ramp spell.
  • Villainous Wealth - 'Nemesis Wave', and the main reason the deck contains blue mana at all. Depends a lot on what your opponents are running, but it can do some scary things.
Death Cloud
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A card so powerful that it deserves its own subsection. This deck is, in some ways, built around Death Cloud - it's why the deck is so focused on ramping out lands, and has so many ways to kill all our opponents' artifacts (read: mana rocks). Death Cloud is functionally similar to a Karn Liberated ultimate or a one-sided Worldfire - if we resolve it, we restart the game with a massive advantage. Death Cloud works particularly well with Tasigur, since he can come out for super cheap afterwards with Delve, then serve as a mana sink when we're empty-handed. Alternatively, you can set up for a Death Cloud by getting extra cards in hand with Tasigur, then casting it for X=7 to wipe our opponents' hands, while keeping something like Splendid Reclamation in hand.

I have never resolved a Death Cloud and gone on to lose the game. This includes the time it was hit by a Wild Ricochet (followed by Life from the Loam being hit by a Commandeer), and it also includes the time I cast it three times in a single game (although that game did end in a draw, since I was at around 5 life when casting the third one).

On the other hand, there are many situations where casting Death Cloud is wrong. This usually happens if an opponent is better set up to recover from it, due to having more lands than us, or a bunch of problematic artifacts / enchantments / planeswalkers. There are also cards that shut it down or otherwise make it bad, such as Nath of the Gilt-Leaf, Sigarda, Host of Herons, Tamiyo, Collector of Tales, or Rest in Peace.

Note that Death Cloud is not a particularly fun card to get knocked out of the game by, since it won't always end the game by itself. Don't be a jerk when casting it - make sure to have a plan to close out the game as quickly as possible afterwards.
other options
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There are many other X spells that can serve as finishers.
utility lands
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Utility lands are just spells in disguise.
We have several ways to fetch up utilility lands, so we might as well have lands worth fetching. If you have more lands you want to run, consider running more ways to fetch nonbasic lands. We do want to have a relatively high basic land count, but we also run a lot of green fixing and don't have that strict of mana requirements, so we can get away with a decent number of utility lands.
  • Alchemist's Refuge - flash works really nicely in this deck, since we can hold open mana to cast spells or activate Tasigur. Particularly disgusting alongside Seedborn Muse, since we can build our own Prophet of Kruphix. Probably the most common tutor target.
  • Barren Moor - cycling works well alongside methods to recur lands from our graveyard.
  • Bojuka Bog - a bit of incidental grave hate.
  • Drownyard Temple - a self-recurring land, which works well if milled or fed to The Gitrog Monster.
  • Hissing Quagmire - fixes, and gives us a good blocker in a pinch.
  • Maze of Ith - doesn't tap for mana, but it is a good defensive option.
  • Memorial to Folly - recursion on a land. Again, works well with land recursion.
  • Reliquary Tower - discarding to hand size is uniquely awkward with Tasigur, since our opponents will just give us back the cards we discarded when we activate him.
  • Tranquil Thicket - another cycling land.
other options
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  • Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and Cabal Coffers - if you have access to them, strongly consider running them alongside more ways to fetch them out. They provide a ton of ramp, which we have many uses to. Note that this deck is otherwise pretty light on swamps due to a strong bias towards green, so they aren't that useful individually.
  • Arch of Orazca - a mana sink on a land, if you can't keep Tasigur on the field.
  • Blast Zone - a flexible, recurrable board wipe.
  • Thespian's Stage and Dark Depths - another land combo that can be built around.
  • Wasteland, Strip Mine, and Dust Bowl - consider them if you want more answers to problematic opposing lands... or if you want to lock opponents out of the game with some land recursion.
  • Scavenger Grounds - can be awkward alongside our recursion, but it's another option if you want more grave hate.
  • Tolaria West - double blue cost for transmuting can be a little rough, but it can fetch up any other utility land in a pinch.
mana lands
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Mana fixing: when one color just isn't enough.
We want to run a high number of basic lands for all of our land fetching. We also have landfall and graveyard synergies that make us value fetchlands. Beyond that, prioritize untapped mana - especially green and black sources. It's possible to function with a single basic Island as your only source of blue mana, which can be easily fetched.
other options
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More than any other category, your manabase is going to be affected by budget. Use what you have access to. Note that we do want a high basic count, and have a strong bias towards green and black mana requirements. Running so little blue means we can get away with a significantly simpler manabase than most three-color decks.
  • Bayou, Overgrown Tomb, Command Tower, and other untapped fixing lands - all fantastic, and worth running if you have them.
  • Verdant Catacombs and other fetchlands - also fantastic, and work well with landfall and graveyard synergies.
  • Temple of Malady, Jungle Hollow, and other tapped lands - usually not worth running over a basic, since we have so much green fixing.
  • Zagoth Triome - fixes, has basic land types, and can be cycled away in a pinch for future recursion.

.

Strategy

In commander, some decks can be complicated to pilot. When I pilot an aggro deck, I need to decide which opponents to attack and when I should commit more to the board, and balance that with how much I need to play around board wipes and make sure I don't run out of resources. When I'm piloting a control deck, I constantly need to ask myself whether I need to deal with my opponents' threats, or if I can put off dealing with them for later. When I'm piloting a combo deck, I need to find the specific cards I need to win while trying to not die, and also need to evaluate whether my opponents are likely to have interaction to stop my big turn.

In comparison, piloting this deck is significantly more straightforward. We have one simple endgame goal: casting expensive bombs. To accomplish that goal, we have two subgoals: ramping, and surviving.

Ramping
At its core, this deck's core belief is that if it has enough mana, it will win eventually. As a result, a large percentage of the deck is dedicated to various flavors of ramping. The most important form of ramp we have is the ability to get extra lands into play. We run Cultivate and other cards to put lands into play from our library. We run Exploration and other cards that let us play extra lands from hand. We run Splendid Reclamation and other cards that let use reanimate the lands in our graveyard. These cards all combine to let us have access to more lands than our opponents, which will usually allow us to have more mana.

Once we have a bunch of lands, we then have ways to benefit from them. One way is through cards like Tatyova, Benthic Druid, which convert lands into more cards. This allows us to keep our hand full, which makes it easier to hit land drops and cast more ramp spells. However, we also run mana doublers such as Zendikar Resurgent and land untap effects like Wilderness Reclamation to multiply the value of our lands. These effects are so valuable that we actually run some one-shot effects like Rude Awakening to act as a single big burst of mana, to allow us access to our lategame even earlier.

As a counterpart to all of this land-based ramp, we also run some ways to deny our opponents their own ramp, in the form of mass artifact destruction like Bane of Progress. Unlike most decks, we don't rely on artifacts for our mana production, which means that these usually allow us to maintain mana superiority. On the other hand, this does leave us vulnerable to decks doing the opposite and running mana rocks in conjunction with Armageddon effects.

Surviving
This deck has a very powerful lategame - we have easy access to a ton of recursion, card advantage, and over-the-top bombs. However, our early game is extremely lackluster - most of our early turns are going to be spent ramping, and it's very possible to not have any creatures or board presence while we do so. As a result, the second part of our strategy is to bridge the gap between our early ramp and our lategame bombs. I wouldn't say that this deck is a pure control deck - very simply, it isn't feasible for this deck to deal with every problem card its opponents play by itself. Instead, this deck relies on a combination of approaches to try to eliminate as many problems as possible while expending the minimum amount of effort necessary.

The first element in our survival suite is interaction - our colors give us access to some of the best removal spells around. A lot of these spells are instant-speed, which allows us to hold open mana on our opponents' turns, then react to problems (such as large attacking creatures) with pinpoint accuracy. If our opponents don't threaten us, then we don't need to expend our removal. If things do start to get out of hand, drop a board wipe to slow things down.

The second element in our survival suite are our creatures, many of which are beefy blockers. Very simply, if our opponents don't have good attacks, then that will pad our life total significantly. One weakness in our creature suite is a lack of creatures with flying, but we do have cards like Sandwurm Convergence that make it difficult for us to be attacked. It's not that our creatures never attack, but most of them are played with the intent of blocking. This is usually the reason why Tasigur gets played out the first time - a 4/5 body is a very respectable roadblock to most early creatures.

Our third survival strategy is simply keeping a low profile - it's fairly common for this deck to only have one or two nonland permanents, plus a large creature on blocking duty. Keeping a low profile pulls double duty for us. For one, it makes it less likely for our opponents to consider us a threat, which means that our opponents are less likely to throw removal at our stuff (having less stuff to target helps here). However, another huge benefit is that by not making our opponents use their interaction on us, they can instead use that interaction on each other. Every time one of our opponents deals with another opponent's threat, that's essentially free value that we gain. In a pinch, Tasigur can help out here - it's very easy to negotiate with one opponent for a removal spell for another opponent's threat.


.

Navigating the Game

Opening Hand
For our opening hand, we'll usually be looking for a minimum of three lands, plus as many ramp spells as possible. This deck doesn't really get going until it has a lot of mana available. Interaction and card advantage aren't nearly as important in the early game - something like Tireless Tracker is fine, but having access to Tasigur in the command zone means we don't need to worry about flooding out.
Sample hand 1
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Easy keep. We don't have early ramp, but we have enough lands to cast Oracle of Mul Daya, some cheap interaction to deal with any scary things our opponents play early, and a very useful utility land in Alchemist's Refuge. We'll pretty much always want to draw some additional mana with this deck.
Sample hand 2
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Weak keep. The hand isn't great, but the odds are good that we'll hit a fourth mana for Oracle, which allows us to begin ramping. This deck aims for the long game, so not having a ramp spell on turn 3 isn't a huge deal. This would probably be a mull if you were expecting a faster game.
Sample hand 3
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Mull. This deck can never keep a 1-lander. Traverse the Ulvenwald technically makes this a 2-lander, but we don't have any ramp to follow up with. I might consider it if the Forest were a fetchland instead, since Ramunap Excavator would let us hit land drops as soon as we get a third land, but it would still be pretty sketchy.
Early Game
Our primary goal in the early game is to hit land drops and ramp. Other than our cheaper ramp spells, we don't have a lot to do in the early game. We do run some cheap interaction and a few smaller creatures, but it's somewhat unlikely for our opponents to play something worth killing this early. Something to note is that a lot of our ramp spells cost 3 or 4 mana - we're not running many cheaper ramp spells because we aim to hit 10+ mana, and ramping by only a single land usually isn't enough to get there. As a result, it's very possible to get to turn 4 or 5 without having accomplished much. However, if we've hit all our land drops, that's usually enough.

Mid Game
Continue ramping. We really do want to have as much mana as possible. At this point, it's possible for opponents to begin to start dropping actual threats. It's usually preferable to continue ramping over interacting, but it may be necessary to start casting removal spells, assuming our opponents won't do so for us. If things start to get too scary, consider dropping a board wipe - they're the best way to equalize the board and slow things down. Alternatively, play out Tasigur or another beefy creature as a blocker. This stage is primarily about getting into the lategame with a high life total - we're not likely to be particularly proactive at this point in time, since we're still ramping.

Late Game
Once you have eight or ten mana, it's time to start dropping threats. The best threats are, obviously, more ramp - try to stick a mana doubler, then follow up the following turn with a big X spell or other finisher. Alternatively, keep ramping and funnel any spare mana you have into Tasigur activations - when you're getting four or five extra cards per turn cycle, that's usually enough to grind out any opponent. It is pretty much impossible for this deck to flood out - no matter how much mana we have, we can always activate Tasigur more times. Simultaneously, the more we activate Tasigur, the more well-stocked our graveyard gets for our recursion spells.

This deck is generally resistant to disruption due to not being that reliant on nonland permanents, which means we can ignore most removal spells. However, we will want to keep an eye out for countermagic - it's a massive pain to spend a turn to cast one spell, only to get it countered. If that is a concern, consider instead casting two smaller spells. Alternatively, just keep slamming bombs until one sticks - your opponents should run out of counterspells eventually.

Things to Watch Out For
This deck is generally resilient to disruption, but it does have some significant weaknesses. We run enough interaction to deal with most threats, but doing so can also be fairly expensive, which means we can be overwhelmed if there are too many problems at the same time.
  • If the board gets wiped: usually not a thing we care about - we're relatively creature-light, and we run a decent amount of recursion to get back anything important.
  • If Tasigur gets stolen or Pithing Needle'd: annoying, but relatively uncommon - most opponents aren't running enough ramp to activate Tasigur repeatedly, and are also running too many situational cards for Tasigur to be worth activating in the first place. That said, not being able to activate Tasigur is a headache, since it makes us much more vulnerable to flooding out. Try to get Tasigur back online by using removal on the offending permanent... or just ignore the situation and cast bomb instead.
  • If you get mana screwed: hard to fix other than hoping your opponents ignore you for a while. If your meta is particularly fast or you find yourself consistently having mana issues, consider running more ramp or lowering the curve.
  • If an opponent casts Armageddon or another mass land destruction effect: hope really hard you have access to Ramunap Excavator or another source of land recursion. This is part of the reason why the deck runs Bane of Progress and other mass removal spells - if our opponents don't have any nonland permanents, it is significantly harder for them to profitably destroy all the lands. If MLD is common in your meta, consider running more countermagic or other ways to stop it.
  • If an opponent is running a bunch of Counterspells - bide your time and spend your mana activating Tasigur. They'll run out of countermagic eventually.
  • If an opponent plays grave hate - if it's a one-shot effect like Nihil Spellbomb, we can usually ignore it - while stopping our recursion effects is annoying, these effects don't stop Tasigur. If it's a persistent effect like Rest in Peace, find removal... or just ignore it and cast bombs, similar to when Tasigur is shut down. Despite playing so much out of the graveyard, we don't actually rely on it that much.

.

Further Improvements and Changes

While I am generally happy with how this deck functions, there are certainly a fair number of cards I would be interested in running if not for price considerations.
shortlist of cards I want
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I'll also note that when building decks, I generally feel that most decks are capable of supporting two themes: one primary theme, and one subtheme. A deck with only one theme is often going to be too linear, while a deck with three or more themes is going to be pulled in too many directions. In this deck's case, I have a primary ramp theme and a control subtheme. However, there are a few other directions this deck could take if you wanted to try out something different.
other directions
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.

Change Log

changelog
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8/4/2019 - initial version
2/17/2020 - THB updates
9/12/2021 - backlog testing
Last edited by Mookie 1 month ago, edited 9 times in total.

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Post by Mookie » 2 years ago

Had a silly game yesterday that somehow went on for three hours - me on Tasigur (ramp/control), against Kadena, Slinking Sorcerer (morphs), Isamaru, Hound of Konda(aggro), and Keranos, God of Storms(clones/theft).

The game sort of dragged on due to no one else having a good win condition - Kadena's creatures were all small, while Keranos kept cloning Isamaru's Angel of Serenity and locking down all the threats (seriously, I'm pretty sure there were ~5 Angel of Serenity triggers in the game). This was totally fine for me - I'm a slow ramp deck, and I was able to keep my hand (and graveyard) stocked with incidental Tasigur activations.
wall of text
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On the other hand, I'm holding back my own win conditions because Kadena and Keranos have both shown a bunch of countermagic (Kadena had a facedown Stratus Dancer for most of the game), and almost all of my significant finishers are giant sorceries (Genesis Wave, Villainous Wealth, etc). Eventually, I got every basic land out of my deck, which very rarely happens without me resolving a Boundless Realms, which alerted me to the fact that I should probably start trying to bring the game to a close - I can't ramp anymore, after all.

At some point, Kadena plays out a Seedborn Muse, then uses a Chromeshell Crab to steal Tasigur, which concerns me. They do a bit of politicking to get back a Sudden Substitution and trade away a useless creature for a Celestial Mantle that Isamaru cast, which they throw on their (facedown) Stratus Dancer. However, most of their other Tasigur activations are pretty low impact - unlike my deck, theirs has a *lot* of air in it (mana rocks, mediocre morphs, etc).

On Keranos's turn, they cast Disrupt Decorum and goad everything. There are a lot of creatures out, so potential for damage is high.

Over to my turn. I check with the Kadena player to see how they would feel about a boardwipe (since they could stop it with the facedown Stratus Dancer) to stop all the goading from happening. They're against it, since they're getting a bunch of Tasigur value. So, I throw a Maelstrom Pulse at the Dancer, which forces it to turn face up and counter it, only for the Keranos player to Narset's Reversal it, and send the copy at the Celestial Mantle (which is a line that I.... strongly question). Anyway, with the counterspell out of the way, I cast Dark Petition. Kadena player tries to get another player to give them back Sudden Substitution with Tasigur to stop me from wrathing the board, but the other players are understandably against that plan. I tutor up a Toxic Deluge and wipe the board (except for my 11/11 Bane of Progress). Isamaru recurs some of their creatures (including the Angel of Serenity) with Brought Back, getting rid of the Bane and a token I made with Liliana.

Nothing of note happens on the next turn cycle as people rebuild. Liliana gets slain by an Angel, but I wasn't expecting her to stick around anyway. Over on my turn, I cast Sepulchral Primordial to reanimate a bunch of things, including two of Keranos's clones (copying Primordial and Keranos). From the Kadena player, I get back Eternal Witness and Seedborn Muse. I happen to have an Alchemist's Refuge out, which lets me do silly stuff with Seedborn Muse.

Over to Kadena. They tutor up a Bane of the Living and use it to wrath my board, which makes me sad. I activate Alchemist's Refuge to flash out a Seasons Past to try to recur some stuff (including an Animate Dead for the Seedborn Muse), but Keranos steals it with Narset's Reversal (which they had recurred), and grab back a pile of counterspells. This puts a significant damper on my plans.

Isamaru does a bit of incidental rebuilding on their turn, as does Keranos. On my turn, the pile of counterspells in Keranos's hand mean I can't do anything major, which means I decide to take the conservative route and replay Tasigur, with the intent of grinding out card advantage. Keranos counters him. I recast Tasigur again, and Keranos counters again.

At this point, despite spending ~20 mana on Tasigur, I still have nine mana remaining, while Keranos is tapped out. This is the first time in around an hour that I expect to be able to cast something and actually have it resolve, so I figure it's as good a time as any to do something to try to close out the game. I cast Death Cloud for 6 - not as much as I would like, but it's enough to wipe out most of my opponents' hands (and set them back significantly on mana), while I'm able to keep a couple of cards in hand. Pass turn, opponents spend their turns topdecking post-Death Cloud.

On my next turn, I cast Tasigur, expecting him to once again get countered by Keranos by one of their few remaining cards. To my surprise, Tasigur resolves, indicating they don't have anything left. I follow up with an Exsanguinate for 27 I had kept in hand to close things out.
tl;dr: three hour game won by me being patient, grinding out value, and waiting for my opponents to run out of countermagic.

....I do think my deck was the strongest one at the table, but it really does showcase the power and philosophy of the deck - if you generate enough mana and card advantage, you'll eventually be able to grind out the rest of the table. Meanwhile, the segment where Tasigur was stolen made me feel really proud of my own design choices - while my activations were getting back useful cards like Beast Within and Countersquall, my opponent was getting back significantly less useful cards like Talisman of Curiosity and Dulcet Sirens. Really showed how much stronger Tasigur is when the deck is built around him.

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Post by Mookie » 2 years ago

Throne of Eldraine is out, so I'm going through and logging my thoughts on the new cards. There aren't any major archetypes in the set that synergize strongly with Tasigur, but UB has some graveyard synergies.

Lochmere Serpent - will often be returned to Tasigur's ability, but it's big, has flash, draws cards, and provides grave hate. Not sure how I feel about sacrificing Swamps for the card draw (since this deck wants every land it can get), but can be good if I have land recursion active.

Drown in the Loch - not a card I have the highest expectations for, but it's another not-mono-blue counterspell, which makes it worth consideration. This deck is capable of filling opposing counterspells just via removal and board wipes, but it doesn't hit things like giant X spells.

Castle Garenbrig - should usually enter untapped, and effectively taps for two. I don't spend a ton of mana on creature spells, but activating Tasigur is relevant.

Witch's Cottage - not the most impressive, but putting Eternal Witness or some other recursion piece on top can be relevant. Not sure if it would enter untapped consistently enough.

Fabled Passage - oh hey, a new format staple. This deck will run pretty much any fetchland it can get its hand on, and this one is excellent.

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Post by Mookie » 1 year ago

First update in a long time! Mostly testing out new cards here - I've generally been happy with how the deck has been performing, but I also want to mix things up a bit. I've switched my LGS to one with a significantly faster meta, so may end up needing to speed things up somewhat... but on the other hand, I also have a lot of control options to slow things down.

Adds:
  • Search for Tomorrow - testing out as a cheaper ramp option. One mana mode is actually somewhat interesting - I can suspend it immediately if someone gives it back with Tasigur, but they won't be able to give it back again until several turns later. May turn out that something like Wild Growth is better, but I have a lot of mass enchantment removal that makes me a bit hesitant.
  • Regrowth - testing out as a cheap recursion option.
  • Lochmere Serpent - testing out as a flash blocker, but can also pressure planeswalkers. Incidental grave hate is also somewhat interesting, as is the ability to turn swamps into card draw. I'm not sure if any individual function is powerful enough, but it does enough things that I'm willing to test it out.
  • Casualties of War - super-Decimate? I'm actually not a fan of Decimate, but not needing every target to be present makes it a lot easier to use. We'll see whether the flexibility is worth the cost.
  • Windgrace's Judgment - testing out as another flexible removal spell. Again, it has a lot of flexibility, but you're also paying a premium for it.
  • Nightmare Unmaking - I actually have absolutely no idea how this will function - I'm somewhat expecting to cut it for Massacre Girl (who I also want to test out), but don't think I need to test out both of them at this point in time. That said, exile is very relevant, and something I don't otherwise have a ton of access to. Getting rid of indestructible stuff is also a niche but relevant upside.
  • Drown in the Loch - testing out - I don't have much ability to fill my opponents' graveyards, but it's also a flexible removal spell // counterspell.
Cuts:
  • Bounty of the Luxa - I've actually been fairly happy with it, but it is a bit slow.
  • Den Protector - it's been fine, but five mana is a lot for a recursion spell.
  • Sepulchral Primordial - I think my new meta is a bit lighter on ETB / value creatures, which makes this go down a bit in value. We'll see if I end up missing its army-in-a-can value.
  • Dark Petition - probably wrong to cut this, but I've found it a bit clunky - and more importantly, I find tutoring up Death Cloud / Genesis Wave / etc to be somewhat boring. I do recognize that tutors are powerful though.
  • Find // Finality - another card I've generally been happy with as an asymmetric board wipe, but six mana is a bit expensive. Creature recursion mode hasn't really been played.
  • Gaze of Granite - another flexible board wipe I've found to be a bit too expensive. I like its versatility, but it needs a lot of mana to deal with stuff.
  • Go for the Throat - it's been fine, but it is also the least flexible of my removal spells. It is efficient though - we'll see if the new includes are too clunky.

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Post by Mookie » 1 year ago

M21 is out and looks great. Unfortunately, not a lot of cards in it I'm interested in for this deck. If anything, this deck has the most interest in reprints - Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Massacre Wurm, and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon are all worth consideration as ramp, interaction, and a board wipe, respectively. I suspect that Azusa wouldn't make the final cut due to being a dead card without a Ramunap Excavator effect to hit the extra land drops, but Ugin's ability to exile everything is very nice.

Somewhat interesting to compare Massacre Wurm to Massacre Girl, whom I have been meaning to try out. The latter is more potent as a board wipe, but the former is asymmetric and also is a potent hate piece (or just a win condition). That said, the asymmetry isn't that valuable due to this deck's relatively low creature count (and larger creature size), and winning via damage/life loss isn't this deck's primary gameplan. Hmmm...

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Post by benjameenbear » 1 year ago

I definitely recommend Massacre Girl because it punishes decks that look to go wide with small creatures. In my Yarok list, it's particularly effective at clearing the board, albeit at the cost of my own usually. It's been a solid board wipe most of the time and it pairs well with 1/1 token generators like Westvale Abbey // Ormendahl, Profane Prince, which could be another consideration for you as a late game bomb?

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Post by Mookie » 1 year ago

I actually have a copy of Massacre Girl on my desk, waiting to be tested. >.> It's probably going to be in my next update, whenever that happens. I've been a fan of Magister of Worth in other decks as a recurrable board wipe, so would likely be filling a similar function here.

I do like Westvale Abbey as a card, but I don't think it really makes sense here. I don't really have any other token generation, and my creature count is relatively low, which means flipping it would be extremely difficult. I.... can't actually remember the last time I controlled five creatures at the same time with this deck, other than when I was running Sepulchral Primordial. Thespian's Stage + Dark Depths is a more on-theme land-based win condition I'd be up for running though, if not for the price tag.

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Post by benjameenbear » 1 year ago

Definitely fair. I agree that adding a win condition in your land base seems like an excellent idea since you have a decent Control suite present in the list.

Also, congrats on your Primer status!

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Post by Mookie » 1 year ago

Yeah, I do have a few pseudo-win-conditions in my current manabase. Mostly Alchemist's Refuge to pretend to be Prophet of Kruphix with Seedborn Muse out, but Memorial to Folly → rebuy Eternal Witness → rebuy a big X spell can also work. Budget limitations definitely hold me back a bit there though - I'd also like to be running Field of the Dead, and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth + Cabal Coffers would effectively be another win condition too.

Thanks! Now to figure out whether I want to update any more of my decks into primers..... >.>

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Post by Mookie » 1 year ago

Some interesting reprints in 2XM. Not a ton for this deck though - the set has a heavy artifact theme, which this deck... doesn't. Still, I will call out a few cards worth noting.
  • Crop Rotation is an interesting option for this deck. I don't think it's a great inclusion, because it's not really a card we want to get back repeatedly with Tasigur. However, it does work well with Drownyard Temple. It also goes way up in value if you have good utility lands.
  • Exploration and Mana Reflection were already in the deck, and excellent inclusions. Price drops should make them much more affordable.
  • I probably wouldn't run Oubliette, but it is a fairly permanent answer to problematic commanders.
  • The Scarab God is a very potent win condition and mana sink.
  • Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle is an interesting ramp option. I wouldn't expect to beat down with it most of the time, but keeping it around with one slumber counter and awakening it when you actually want to close out the game seems fun.
  • Maelstrom Pulse is a premium removal spell that is already in the deck.
  • Karn Liberated is a flexible removal spell. We already have access to a lot of excellent removal (including other planeswalkers like Vraska the Unseen and Vivien Reid), but not a ton of exile.
  • In terms of utility lands, Maze of Ith, Dark Depths, and Thespian's Stage are all excellent inclusions.
  • I'm not entirely sold on the filter lands (Twilight Mire, etc), but they're worth consideration.

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Post by Mookie » 1 year ago

ZNR spoiler season has finished, and it has brought with it a lot of interesting stuff. Zendikar's heavy land theme meshes pretty well with this deck. Unfortunately, it didn't bring many actual ramp payoffs. Still, with how good UGX ramp has been in Standard recently, perhaps that is for the best....

Mechanics:

MDFCs - this is an extremely powerful mechanic - turning excess lands into spells and vice versa is pretty good. That said, this deck does want to have a pretty high basic land count for all the ramp, which somewhat limits how many MDFCs I could replace basic lands with. It really depends on how good the spell halves of the MDFCs are - if they're worth casting, then the card is worth consideration.

Landfall - already very well supported in the deck, just by virtue of how much ramp it has. That said, there aren't currently many payoffs in the deck - in this case, the ramp is its own reward.

Party - not supported by this deck. Not enough creatures, and the ones that are in usually don't have relevant creature types. That said, I just noticed how many shamans and druids are in the deck, which is somewhat interesting.

Kicker - a mana sink mechanic, which this deck doesn't really need - it already has a ton of mana sinks and ways to spend excess mana. Still, kicking spells is easy, so I won't discount individually powerful cards.

Cards:
black
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  • Agadeem's Awakening // Agadeem, the Undercrypt - this is pretty interesting. I think it will be difficult to get full value from this due to the relatively low creature count, so this is sort of an overpriced reanimation spell. However, having the option to be an untapped land makes this a very low opportunity cost to include, so I'm certainly interested.
  • Drana, the Last Bloodchief - somewhat interesting as a reanimator effect that we have good control over. Just exile the creatures you don't want to recur and reanimate the ones you do. That said, if you want this effect, I think Sheoldred, Whispering One is better.
  • Hagra Mauling // Hagra Broodpit - I wouldn't run Murder, but the flip side makes this a bit more attractive. Still not the biggest fan though.
  • Soul Shatter is mildly interesting as a semi-targeted removal spell / edict. Usually deals with the biggest problems on the board, at a reasonable rate.
  • Lithoform Blight - mildly interesting if you've always wanted to run Spreading Seas for some reason.
green
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  • Ancient Greenwarden - laaaaaandfaaaaaall! Not that there are that many triggers to copy in this deck, but even just functioning as a solid defensive body and another copy of Ramunap Excavator is plenty.
  • Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary - I keep meaning to run more Regrowth effects, and functioning as a land in the early game is pretty good. That said, I've also been meaning to give Reap a shot...
  • Roiling Regrowth - this looks a lot worse than Harrow due to the lands entering tapped, but it's a good landfall enabler if you care about that.
other
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  • Nissa of Shadowed Boughs - similar to Liliana, Death's Majesty - makes critters and reanimates things. That said, I do think Liliana is much better - unconditional reanimation, incidental mill, and tokens instead of animated lands. And an ultimate, I suppose.
  • Clearwater Pathway // Murkwater Pathway and other MDFC lands - these all look like strong inclusions for fixing. This deck only ever really needs one blue mana symbol and doesn't have that strict of color requirements, so untapped fixing is great.
Overall, Ancient Greenwarden and Bala Ged Recovery // Bala Ged Sanctuary look the most interesting to me, largely as some additional redundancy for already-useful cards. I like the flexibility of MDFCs, but this deck also generally wants to avoid situational cards.

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Post by Mookie » 11 months ago

Commander Legends full spoiler out. Certainly some interesting cards, for both this deck and the broader format.
  • Opposition Agent - I don't think this sort of effect is super valuable for this deck, but it's certainly interesting. On the flip side, shutting down all of this deck's land-based ramp is... pretty painful. That said, I won't complain about there being more anti-tutor tech in the format. For now, at least.
  • Apex Devastator - my hunch is that the random nature of this makes it a poor hit for this deck (cascading into an X spell or removal spell isn't great), but it's still an interesting topend option.
  • Reshape the Earth - this is absurd. It's a massive ramp spell as the baseline, but its ability to fetch nonbasics makes it even more dumb depending on what you have access to. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth + Cabal Coffers + Deserted Temple, Thespian's Stage + Dark Depths, Field of the Dead, Glacial Chasm, Alchemist's Refuge.... the sky (or the earth) is the limit here. Unfortunately, it is a bit budget-constrained - if you're only fetching fixing lands, it's still good, but much less exciting.
  • Kodama of the East Tree - I'm not entirely sure how powerful this is in the deck. You can potentially double your mana if you were spending it all on permanents, but a huge percentage of mana this deck spends is on instants/sorceries and Tasigur activations, so this looks worse than Mana Reflection. Still, it's an interesting card for a more permanent-based deck.
  • Rootweaver Druid - mildly interesting as a Wood Elves variant, but I think it's a miss here.
  • Jeweled Lotus - calling out primarily to mention that I think it would be terrible in this deck. Cheating out Tasigur early does nothing, because you need more mana to do anything. Meanwhile, it's a dead card to get back with Tasigur most of the time.
  • Archelos, Lagoon Mystic - mildly interesting as an Amulet of Vigor variant for making ramp spells better, but seems like it would be better in a dedicated deck.
  • Nymris, Oona's Trickster - very interesting. This deck already wants to play a bunch of instants, and this would turn them all into card draw. Consider also running Rashmi, Eternities Crafter and other flash enablers.
  • Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty - as above, cascaaaaade is a powerful mechanic, but I'm not sure how well it would work for this deck.
  • Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait - this is absurd. Tatyova, Benthic Druid is already a fantastic card, and this staples Explore on top for even more ramp. I'd argue it was a mistake to even print it, but meh.
Overall, Aesi looks like the most obvious auto-include. Reshape the Earth is also insane, but requires more utility lands than I currently have before it's an auto-include. Still good though. Nymris is also interesting, but may require more instants.

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Post by benjameenbear » 11 months ago

As a random aside, have you considered running Planeswalkers in your list? I'm thinking Ashiok, Dream Render and Oko, Thief of Crowns would be powerful ways to interact with your opponent that would also be great recursion targets for Tasigur.

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Post by Mookie » 11 months ago

benjameenbear wrote:
11 months ago
As a random aside, have you considered running Planeswalkers in your list? I'm thinking Ashiok, Dream Render and Oko, Thief of Crowns would be powerful ways to interact with your opponent that would also be great recursion targets for Tasigur.
I'm already running a few Planeswalkers in my list - Nissa, Vital Force and Liliana, Death's Majesty, plus Nissa, Vastwood Seer // Nissa, Sage Animist. I'd probably be running more if not for budget concerns, but... yeah, they're definitely a strong option. Living through Death Cloud and Pernicious Deed is also a nice upside.

Ignoring budget, I think Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is at the top of my shortlist, but Oko probably also makes it, as does Garruk Wildspeaker. I'm not sure if I'd run Ashiok, Dream Render, but could be worth testing. I've also considered various Vraskas and Ob Nixilis Reignited in the past, although I'm not sure if they would end up making the cut. Nissa, Who Shakes the World is also an interesting option, although making my own lands die to board wipes feels like a downside.

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Post by Junior » 9 months ago

Hey Mookie. I was just curious if you made any new updates or changes to the deck? Or if you had any good games with Tasigur lately.

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Post by Mookie » 9 months ago

Junior wrote:
9 months ago
Hey Mookie. I was just curious if you made any new updates or changes to the deck? Or if you had any good games with Tasigur lately.
Unfortunately not - I've only played EDH a few times since lockdown started where I live, and Tasigur is not particularly webcam-friendly. It's certainly possible to just read off / display all the cards in my graveyard, but it's also significantly clunkier than just handing the stack of cards to someone. (Villainous Wealth not working as well is also a big annoyance, tbh)

That said, there are a fair number of swaps / upgrades I'm interested in doing once things open up again - you can check my previous posts for stuff I'm interested in from the last few sets. Kaldheim's snow stuff also looks very interesting - I've been contemplating swapping to a snow manabase for Dead of Winter, and the snow duals should make that a bit easier.

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Post by Junior » 9 months ago

Thanks for the quick reply. I didn't even think about how difficult it would be to play this deck over webcam. Well hopefully we get back to in person gaming soon. I'm in the process of building a Tasigur deck. Still trying to decide the direction I want to go in. I look forward to your future posts.

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Post by Mookie » 9 months ago

Ha, sounds good. Feel free to share your list when it's built - always interesting to see what directions people take. I'll be sure to share some stories whenever I'm able to play this deck again. :D

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Post by Mookie » 9 months ago

Full Kaldheim spoilers out, and there are certainly some interesting options.

The standout mechanic, at least for this deck, is Snow. Prior to Kaldheim, I believe that a snow package would have already been reasonable, with the primary payoffs being Dead of Winter, Into the North, and Dark Depths. With the exception of Field of the Dead, there is no downside to having an all-snow manabase (and it's trivial to include one of each non-snow basic anyway, for name-variety purposes), and Dead of Winter is a solid boardwipe option if you can fetch out enough snow basics. The primary cost to a mostly-snow manabase is that you need to run a lot of basics, but that's something this deck was already doing. With Woodland Chasm and the other snow duals, running a snow manabase is now even easier. I'm not entirely sure whether running a tapped snow dual is worth it in faster metas, but in slower metas the ability to fetch them off Wood Elves and Into the North is relevant. (although, that's somewhat moot if you have access to shocklands or duals)

Anyway, stuff that intrigues me for this deck: Overall, I'd say that Port of Karfell is the most obvious snap-include, but there are a fair number of cards I'd be interested in testing out. Burning-Rune Demon is probably my second pick.

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Post by Mookie » 6 months ago

Strixhaven spoilers out, and there are certainly some interesting things. It's an enemy-colored set, which means there are a bunch of GU (Quandrix) and BG (Witherbloom) cards. Unfortunately, the themes supported by those factions (fractal tokens / lifegain, respectively) don't really mesh with this deck. Still, certainly some cards worth consideration.
  • Beledros Witherbloom isn't amazing for this deck, but untapping all your lands is a very powerful ability. Could certainly be interesting as part of a Neoform package though. Churning out token blockers is also nice.
  • Harness Infinity feels a bit worse than Praetor's Counsel, since you'll probably end up discarding everything to hand size, but it's a potent recursion option.
  • Elimination Ritual looks sweet. A bit situational, but blowing up tokens / mana rocks and turning them into mana seems strong. Pretty weak to recur though.
  • Decisive Denial is mildly interesting as another Negate variant with some additional flexibility.
  • Mortality Spear is efficient removal if you can support it with lifegain.
  • Deadly Brew is an interesting removal // recursion spell. I'm usually not a big fan of edict effects, but throwing some recursion on seems good.
  • Jadzi, Oracle of Archavios is a fascinating card. Very expensive, and you need to have a lot of ways to trigger magecraft, but can generate a lot of value.
  • Professor Onyx is generic but strong. Card advantage, removal, and a bit of lifegain.
  • Ecological Appreciation is an interesting pile of value. I suspect that for this deck, it's worse than running Green Sun's Zenith to just get a single specific creature, but getting two bodies is relevant.
  • Wandering Archaic seems like a lot of fun. I'm not sure if it's actually good for this deck, but it's the sort of effect I tend to enjoy - slows opponents down or generates free value.
  • The Biblioplex is... probably too niche for this deck, but if you have enough instants / sorceries, it can generate a solid amount of value.
Of these, I don't think there are any obvious auto-includes. Elimination Ritual and Wandering Archaic would probably be my top picks, but they're also pretty difficult to evaluate without experimentation. I like the idea of Jadzi, Oracle of Archavios, but eight mana is a lot.

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Post by XamIllustration » 6 months ago

I have been building Tasigur on the Dramatic IsoScepter build, but it didn't much for me in the play testing. So I found your primer and managed to get some of the cards that's suggested in your decklist and primer. :grin: Unfortunately, I couldn't get the Death Cloud, but I build it that I could do some shenanigans in some way. Some cards are what I could afford (in South Africa Rands and locally), but others I have replace similar cards or better ones.

Here's my list for now (filler is the cards I am testing out till I can get the cards from the list or something better):

Commander
1 Tasigur, the Golden Fang

From the primer

Fillers There are a few I want to swap out from my sideboard, like Sol Ring but keep Darksteel Ingot, etc. :hmm: What I did was stick to your category number as I can. If there's 11 recursion cards, I will make sure it's 11 recursion card unless I have some leeway for other cards. Incubation Druid and Freed from the Real is my mana infinity combo for a huge manasink with Tasigur or the X spells. :)

Let me know what do you think? :thinking:
Last edited by XamIllustration 6 months ago, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Mookie » 6 months ago

Looks solid! A few things I'll note:
  • You may want to use the (deck) tag for formatting purposes - it makes it easier to read the decklist.
  • For my own deck, I'm deliberately excluding mono-blue cards. If you're not restricting yourself to that, I'd recommend swapping out some of the weaker countermagic, like Dimir Charm.
  • If you're planning to win with infinite mana, I'll call out Reality Shift as a strong include - a solid, unconditional piece of removal that also exiles opponents' decks as a win condition.
  • This deck doesn't have many creature synergies, so the mana dorks (Llanowar Elves, etc) go down in value a bit. May be worth testing out auras like Utopia Sprawl or Wild Growth over them.
  • I'd probably cut Blanket of Night and Reclaim. Darksteel Ingot is also a little weak when you have access to green ramp.
Let me know how your games go!

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Post by XamIllustration » 6 months ago

The Blanket of Night works with Cabal Coffers. it is because Urborg is out of my price range, and it skyrocketed. But I will get the others slowly when I get the chance to order them locally. Mana dorks are there to fill up space till then. I agree on Reclaim, it is on the chopping board, but it's ok recursion for now. The Dimir Charm will stay cause it's a flexible card. Plus I like your route of non-mono colour counterspells. The blue counterspell cards are just filling up space, I am thinking of being non-blue to trick my meta into thinking that I have no way to counterspell while I have certain mana open. I do have Utopia Sprawl that I can swap out. But this is a prototype, and I will try to follow your primer to get hang of it and go from there.

I am a newb on this forum. I will figure it out. :)

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Post by Mookie » 6 months ago

Ha, makes sense. Yeah, it's definitely annoying that all the similar effects (Prismatic Omen, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, etc) are so expensive.

----

C21 spoilers are out. Going along with Strixhaven's themes, the BG / Witherbloom deck is lifegain / life loss themed, while the GU / Quandrix deck is token themed, and neither has a ton of synergy with this deck. Honestly though, I'm sort of fine with that - there aren't a bunch of new autoincludes or staples in the new decks. Instead, there are a bunch of cards to enable archetypes that don't really have any existing support in the color pairs.

As for cards that pique my interest for this deck....
Revival Experiment is mildly interesting as a way to recur a bunch of permanents. The life payment can be a bit awkward for this deck though.
Author of Shadows is an interesting grave hate option, although it's also somewhat expensive at five mana.
Stinging Study is an instant speed draw-six, which is... a lot of cards. Again, can put a lot of pressure on the life total, but the cards-per-mana is pretty absurd.

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Post by Mookie » 4 months ago

MH2 spoilers are out, and there are definitely some interesting options. The Sultai wedge themes are squirrels/sacrifice in GB, miscellaneous tokens in UG, and self-discard in UB, which have a little overlap with this deck's themes. Somewhat more relevantly, BW's theme is reanimator, so there are some nice enablers in black.
  • Archon of Cruelty is a very solid reanimation / ramp payoff as a repeatable mini-Cruel Ultimatum.
  • Dauthi Voidwalker is an interesting option to include for this deck, since Leyline of the Void is a strong effect. However, it's more relevant as a hate piece to keep an eye out for out of opponents' decks, since it makes our own graveyard synergies somewhat awkward. It does interact interestingly with Tasigur though - the milled cards get exiled, so you'll always get something already in your graveyard. Giving the Voidwalker's controller a free thing out of this deck seems... dangerous though.
  • Persist is a cheap reanimation effect - not hitting legends is pretty negligible for this deck.
  • Gaea's Will is probably too slow, but getting full access to our graveyard for a turn can represent a ton of card advantage.
  • Unmarked Grave is a significant downgrade from Entomb, but still worth consideration if you want to lean into reanimator.
  • Break the Ice is an interesting option for hating on colorless / snow / utility lands. A bit redundant with Wave of Vitriol, but not getting replaced and being cheaper is a thing.
  • Foundation Breaker is an interesting take on Reclamation Sage - cheaper evoke cost, higher cost to hardcast.
  • Tireless Provisioner is an arguably better Lotus Cobra - costs an extra mana, but treasure tokens are an upgrade over temporary mana. Both work well with ramp and landfall.
  • Timeless Witness is a slightly more expensive Eternal Witness that works when milled. It's pretty expensive to eternalize though.
  • Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth is an interesting enabler for any forest-based synergies.
Overall, I think Archon of Cruelty is the card I would be most excited to test out in this deck, over one of the existing topend cards. Most of the other cards are interesting alternatives to cards I'm already running in the deck, but not obvious upgrades / autoincludes. That said, I will call out some relevant reprints - Cabal Coffers and fetchlands are both excellent upgrades for the deck if you have access to them, and hopefully the reprints will bring their prices down a bit.

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