Tasigur: A Tale of Lands, Graveyards, and Forks

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Post by Mookie » 5 months ago

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

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

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 outside most 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.

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 opponenent's 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.

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

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

Other Commander Options
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.

Damia, Sage of Stone - like Tasigur, she loves having access to a lot of mana. Dump your hand to draw seven each turn.
Muldrotha, the Gravetide - a very grindy graveyard-based general. Loves self-mill and replaying fetchlands each turn.
Yarok, the Desecrated - ETB vaaaaaalue. Also a fantastic landfall general.

Silumgar, the Drifting Death: has some lovely flavor text.
Dragonlord Silumgar: has impeccable taste in jewelry.
Thrasios, Triton Hero and any black partner - probably the easiest swap for Tasigur. Trades graveyard synergies for a more consistent card draw ability, will still being a great payoff for ramping.

Decklist by Type
Approximate Total Cost:

decklist by function
Decklist by Function
Approximate Total Cost:

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 opponenent's 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 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.

Card Discussion
FAQ for deck design choices
Why Golgari(ish) and not Sultai?
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
Bounty of the Luxa - switches between ramp and card draw. It's a pretty reasonable rate.
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
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.
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.
Den Protector - a bit inefficient, but it can grab back anything.
Life from the Loam - only gets lands, but hitting land drops is important.
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.
Sepulchral Primordial - doesn't recur from our graveyard, but it's a pretty efficient way to generate an army.
other options
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.
Regrowth, Treasured Find, and other one-shot recursion - a bit low on value, but very efficient.
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.
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.
Go for the Throat - cheap, efficient removal.
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.
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.
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.
Murderous Cut - an efficient removal spell that also lets us prune our graveyard.
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.
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.
Find / Finality - an efficient recursion spell, or a board wipe that leaves Tasigur (or some other creature we want to keep) alive.
other options
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, and other creature spot removal - many good options exist if you find yourself needing more answers.
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.
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.
Dark Petition - spell mastery is pretty easy to turn on with a couple of ramp spells, giving us an efficient tutor.
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
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, 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
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

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
There are many other X spells that can serve as finishers.
Torment of Hailfire - probably the best finisher that currently exists, capable of taking opponents out at a very efficient rate. 3 life lost per mana is really scary, even if it can be mitigated by the punisher clause.
Lifeblood Hydra - we don't have any sacrifice outlets, but Sphinx's Revelation is a good card.
Gelatinous Genesis and Hydra Broodmaster - sometimes, you want an army,
Squall Line or Hurricane - if you can maintain a high life total, these work well as burn spells (which also happen to hit pesky fliers)
Maga, Traitor to Mortals - another big burn spell.
Diabolic Revelation - not particularly efficient, but it's definitely possible to set up something scary.
Hydroid Krasis - get a big beater, plus draw a bunch of cards.
utility lands
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.
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
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.
mana lands
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.

10x Forest, 4x Island, 4x Swamp - basic lands are great.
Blighted Woodland, Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse - easily recurred, and good ways to trigger landfall.
Drownyard Temple - a self-recurring land, which works well if milled or fed to The Gitrog Monster.
Exotic Orchard, Llanowar Wastes, Sunken Hollow, Tainted Wood, Woodland Cemetery - usually untapped fixing lands.
Golgari Rot Farm, Opulent Palace - tapped fixing lands, with a bit of upside. Easy cuts if you have better options available.
other options
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.

This deck functions as a ramp deck with a control subtheme - we want to hit our land drops, acquire more mana than our opponents, and keep the board clear. Eventually, we'll switch modes into being more proactive and dropping threats.

Opening Hand
Look for lands and ramp. Our curve is high, so we want to accelerate as quickly as possible.

Early Game
Focus on hitting land drops and casting ramp spells. Interacting at this point usually isn't worth it - save removal spells for bigger threats after a board wipe.

Mid Game
Continue ramping. Consider dropping a board wipe, or play some creatures out as blockers to ward off attacks. This is mostly about getting into the lategame while maintaining a high life total - we have a very powerful and resilient lategame, so it's all about surviving to get there.

Late Game
Once you have eight or ten mana, it's time to start dropping threats. Try to stick a mana doubler and set up for 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.

Change Log
8/4/2019 - initial version


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Post by Mookie » 4 months 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.
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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 » 3 months 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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