"Ooh, that seems cool. I want to build it."
And then my second thought was:
"Balls...everyone is going to want to build this. And they're all going to be exactly the same."
And so it was. She's practically tied on EDHrec as the most played commander in Kaldheim, and people are playing her with all the best discard and sac effects to exploit her ability. Who can blame them? The build pretty much spells itself out. Play Tergrid, play discard and sac, get a bunch of free stuff, win game.
But I've never been one to go with what's easy and popular.
So instead I decided to focus not on the obviously build-aroundable front side, but the seemingly much weaker back side, tergrid's lantern. On the surface it looks lot less powerful, but it's got some major advantages that Tergrid doesn't have.
The first and most obvious is that it's an artifact, while Tergrid is a creature. Creatures are not only easier to remove, but they also get in the way of one of black's bigger strengths - board wipes, and general creature hate.
In addition, Tergrid does almost nothing on her own - which not only means she requires support, but it also means she's vulnerable to being removed at inopportune times. By contrast, the lantern can be used immediately, and except for Krosan Grip, can't really be completely shut down. If someone tries to mess with you, they're going to feel some pain.
Another of black's major strengths is its ability to produce absurd amounts of mana with Cabal Coffers and the like, especially in mono-black where colorless mana is a minor drawback, which plays heavily into the lantern's goals, but not as easily into Tergrid herself.
So starting from those strengths, I started working on the deck, and realized that lantern provides mono-black something it hasn't really had much access to until now - a commander that really, truly does not give a crap about battlefield hospitability, and to a lesser extent (thanks to having a reliable, powerful mana sink) the ability to cast spells at all. Which means we get to unleash the absolutely disgusting suite of mono-black stax cards that are rarely played because most people actually want to keep their squishy commander creature alive. Without that hangup, we've got access to cards like Spreading Plague, Tainted Aether, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Ensnaring Bridge, Death Match, and the like. While our opponents are struggling to keep a single creature on the board let alone attack, we can keep merrily ramping up our mana, and unleashing enormous chains of lantern activations at whoever seems most inclined to break out of the miserable prison we've established for the game. Throw in black's suite of top-tier tutors, and we're in business. And business is EVIL.
Vile Stax (14)
Brutal Removal (14)
Filthy Life Drain (5)
Unfair Tutors (5)
Disgusting Ramp (20)
Two pretty obvious notes:
1) This deck ain't cheap, probably the most expensive mono-colored deck I've ever built. I'm kind of psyched that I found a place to play so many of my cool old cards, even if some of them (hi mirror universe) probably aren't quiiiite worth it. But unless you've got them lying around, I probably wouldn't bother.
2) This deck probably won't make you a lot of friends. Maybe double check before slamming this bad boy down.