Good morning, EDHREC! I’m Bernardo Melibeu and this is The Epic Experiment, a series where we throw all common sense aside and experiment with some unusual cards, effectively changing how we normally build our deck. Is it going to work? Who knows?! We’re making science here. When you’re an Izzet mage, blowing things up in front of your own face is half the fun.
In this article were going to examine one very combo oriented bird Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle.
First, let’s take a look at his abilities:
Whenever you cast a historic spell, return target creature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.
There’re two clear directions that we need to build our deck, historic cards and <3 mana costed creatures.
Out of the historic types, only artifacts and legendaries have the sheer number of cards to be able to build a deck around.
Both of those previous card types that trigger his ability can also be reanimated by the ability itself.
His ability is more value based and, because of that, it excels at the attrition game.
With that in mind let’s head to Teshar’s EDHREC page and see how he’s usually built:
From what we can see, it’s obvious that the go-to route is an artifact route, abusing the sheer amount of value gained from sacrificing cards like Myr Retriever and Scrap Trawler to Ashnod’s Altar. With that kind of engine going, it’s very easy to make an infinite loop and win the game.
Building a mono white deck means that we’ll suffering from the lack of good ways to develop, both in card draw and mana, throughout the game. To make matters worse, our opponents (probably) don’t have our color restrictions and they’re doing unfair things, such as tutoring for combo pieces or ramping into an Eldrazi titan or even chaining multiple spells a turn.
Luckily for us, we are in the best color to stop all those unfair things from happening! The way we do it is by using cards like Vryn Wingmare, Eidolon of Rhetoric and Aven Mindcensor to deny and tax our opponents resources and make them play at our pace.
So there we have it! We play a deck full of creatures that provide both clock and disruption! But where does Teshar fits in all of this? It’s simple. An opponent destroyed our disruptive creature? Play a historic spell and get that creature back for free. Did we lock the board so much that only one spell can be played per turn? Again, play a historic spell and get another for free. How about getting back an utility creature such as Capashen Unicorn?
Our creature suite attacks on many angles. We can stop the table from casting multiple spells a turn (Eidolon of Rhetoric, Ethersworn Canonist), tax every spell (Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Vryn Wingmare), disrupt their tempo by making things enter the battlefield tapped (Thalia, Heretic Cathar, Imposing Sovereign), and even prevent card draw(Alms Collector, Spirit of the Labyrinth).
There’re also some creatures that generate value by recurring them, Selfless Spirit protects against board wipes, Remorseful Cleric can help stop graveyard shenanigans, and Capashen Unicorn and Bounty Agent are repeatable removal.
We’re also packing some beaters. While they’re fewer in number, their role is actually very important, since we need to close the game. Benalish Marshal and Soltari Champion help pump the team, and Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Heliod, God of the Sun can snowball pretty quickly.
Given the nature of Teshar’s ability, we need to have a critical amount of historic spells. Because of that, we’re also carrying a light artifact stax package. We’ve got a couple of sphere effects, with Damping Sphere and Thorn of Amethyst, a permanent tapper. with Orb of Dreams and the ever tilting Winter Orb.
With this list we’re trying to slow everyone down to our pace, then we beat them to a pulp with our army.
One thing to notice is that the deck has to dedicate a lot of its slots to creatures, and in a way it feels like a Golgari deck, getting repetitive value from the same creature over and over. Best thing is that we’re not constrained to using the graveyard, so we can play around grave hate reasonably well.
Our card draw is very limited, but the few we have is good enough for what we’re doing. Bygone Bishop is a machine in a deck with 41 creatures and most of them below 3 mana. We also have a catch-all in The Immortal Sun, which serves as an anthem effect, Phyrexian Arena, and a cost reducer (which is a very strong effect, given that we are packing Winter Orb). And of course, the card advantage of Skullclamp doesn’t really need explanation.
Our opening hands are easy to keep. Any combination of weenies and mana is good enough to open the game, but we need to be aware of our pacing, the speed in which we deploy our creatures (especially the locks), and correctly curving, playing them in the right order (like playing Thorn of Amethyst before playing Thalia, Guardian of Thraben).
Early game is the time to get some beaters and start pounding people, to make them regret having kept that Explosive Vegetation in hand! As satisfying as it is to drop creatures, we also need to develop our mana. After all, if we get too far behind compared to the rest of the table, we will become irrelevant.
In the mid game we need to start to assemble some sort of lock; the tighter the table is locked the safer it will be for us to keep hitting people. While we don’t have much of card draw (having card draw engine by this point also goes a long way), Teshar can help smooth it out if one of our creatures ever get removed. Since Teshar is just a value engine, we don’t actually need to commit him to the board early. This way we’ll have him available when we actually need him, like after a board wipe, for example.
By the late game we need to find our haymakers, such as Eldrazi Monument or True Conviction, to be able to connect our attacks. By this point we’ll have more creatures in the graveyard than historic spells to trigger Teshar, so it’s very important to set our priorities straight. Understanding how the game is flowing and what each deck wants to be doing is crucial for our success.
This is a pretty good starting point, but as the meta gets more specialized we also need to adapt to it. Adding Kataki, War’s Wage and Leonin Relic-Warder help against artifact-heavy metas, Avacyn, Angel of Hope and Karmic Guide can help to get through board wipes, and Silverblade Paladin and Mirran Crusader are good beaters that we can get back with our commander.
Planeswalkers are also good inclusions in this list, because we get consistent value out of them. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar makes dudes, hits like a truck, and also can pump our guys. In other words he’s never a dead draw. Elspeth, Sun’s Champion is a snowball on legs. The amount of protection she provides while ticking up towards that ultimate is really annoying (for the other side)! Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants is also a good addition; though he’s overall worse than Elspeth, Knight-Errant, his ability to get creatures back is very strong in a deck like this.
Massive land destruction is also worth considering, I know it’s a sensitive topic in the EDH community, but when we have some sphere effects on the field and we’re ahead on board, the best way to close the game is to sweep the legs. There’s always Fall of the Thran to test the waters (and maybe a Enlightened Tutor to go with it).
That’s it for this Epic Experiment! Please fell free to leave any suggestions in the comments section. Do you have any questions about the list? Which cards did you like? Which didn’t you? Was the Epic Experiment a success? Please let me know!