Welcome dear readers to my new series premiering today here at EDHREC.com! In this series, dubbed General Medicine, I take your submitted decks, throw them into the EDHREC machinery, add my own analysis on top, and present a cool brew, along with suggestions by EDHREC and myself. Before we meet our very first patient, I want to take a moment to sincerely thank each and every one of you who have already submitted decks for consideration. I haven’t even had the time to answer all of the incoming e-mails, but know that if you have sent something to me, I have read it.
If you haven’t already sent me a deck, or if you wish to make another submission, make sure you read till the end of this article in order to find out how you do just that!
Choosing the first patient for this series was not an easy task. I had many cool suggestions sent to me by kind readers, and one of the standouts was this very cool but slightly awkward take on Sidisi, Brood Tyrant:
As is evident, our first patient is a Sidisi, Brood Tyrant brew with no non-creature spells. The submitter, who goes by the name Legendxp, imposed this restriction to give himself a challenge and he’s also decided to stay within a reasonable budget: he didn’t want to spend more than $100 on the deck, so I’ll keep that goal in mind. The budgetary restriction is something I believe we all struggle with when building new decks, though some of us are fortunate to have large card collections to draw from. The self-imposed restriction of building only with creatures is very interesting, however, and naturally I will honor and keep to that when making my suggestions. I will try to keep the budget low; however – I do this by suggesting sweet budget cards: no single card, with one exception, will cost you more than $2 at the time of writing, most are under a dollar, and some of them are available for a single quarter.
From the list, we can conclude that we have a reasonable curve, with most of the spells costing around three mana or below, with a lot fewer at casting costs of four or above. The manabase consists of 36 lands, a couple too few for my taste, but the distribution in color is almost perfect. There are a few things that are lacking, however: the deck is sorely missing ways to properly interact with both permanents and spells, it’s in part missing card draw as well as a few top-heavy finishers to end the game once we’ve got the engine running.
The deck makes good use of Sidisi, Brood Tyrant’s ability to self-mill, and there are quite a few cards that try to replicate that effect in order to get more 2/2 Zombie tokes onto the field. There’s also a bit of Zombie tribal going on, and I will try to keep that mostly intact as well. There’s also a bit of sacrificing going on, and the deck benefitting from that, and we’ll expand on that at large.
Our very own deck recommendation tool can be found right here at https://edhrec.com/recs/ and if you input your deck list there and have the website show you which popular cards you might have missed out on in your own brew. It will also show you your most unique cards, to make you feel even smarter about that secret tech.
For this particular build, the top recommendations are however mostly non-creature spells, violating our self-imposed restriction of going creatures only. There are a few stand-outs with power and toughness however, most notably the top recommendation Taigam, Sidisi’s Hand which seems like a brilliant fit in the deck, as well as the ever-awesome Eternal Witness. The latter needs more printings, obviously, since it’s getting up there in price, so we will leave that aside for now.
The site also recommends Stinkweed Imp, a card which I myself find to be pretty underplayed in the format. It’s popular in Sidisi, Brood Tyrant and in The Gitrog Monster, but pretty much nowhere else. I think it belongs here, as well as some other dredgers.
We begin by taking a look at the lands. This is not rarely the most expensive part of a Magic deck, and EDH can easily as expensive as other non-rotating formats. I was fortunate enough to make the sound financial decision to spend most of my teenage allowance on colorful pieces of card cardboard, and my playgroup was actually into Vintage, so I have most of the fetch lands and duals already. However, I know that not everyone have access to these, and they aren’t strictly required to play EDH either. A good manabase will in any case allow you to play your spells on time, which is crucial. It’s also important to not get color-screwed or mana-screwed, as these can leave you in the dust when the rest of the table are off. Sitting down for a game of EDH is a commitment of usually at least an hour, and often longer, meaning sitting mana-screwed can be a slow, boring way to spend part of an evening.
All of this aside, Dimir Guildgate et al are not even good enough when playing with budget lands. The “Ravnica Karoos” of Dimir Aqueduct and friends are a lot better, and their very modest price tags speak nothing of their power. The Khans block gainlands, Dismal Backwater and similar, are available in all color combinations, and will at the very least gain you a life. I know that the Guildgates have a single card that has synergy with them in the deck, but not till the end!
As is evident, we’ve removed eight cards and added nine, but I intend to increase the land count so it’ll even out later on. I’ve included a few utility lands as well, the milling ones to trigger the commander with any excess mana available, as well as the ever-present Bojuka Bog. If more lands can be cut, I think both Crypt of Agadeem and Svogthos, the Restless Tomb would be perfect fits for the deck!
The foundation for any successful EDH deck consists of card-draw and ramp. In the list, I count nine pieces of pure ramp, with three pieces of mana fixing added to that, and a total of nine card-draw cards, most fairly situational. We need to up these, and we can do so while still retaining our core strategy.
I’m not a fan of ramping via creatures, since they are so easy to remove, but I’ve kept most of the creatures that tap for mana and self-mill, since they serve an important purpose in the deck aside mana creation. Embodiment of Spring always looks good, but has to tap to activate, and is really only good when you open on exactly those two colors and not the third. I’m not a fan, though, because I thought it looked like a staple when it was spoiled. Instead I’ve added a selection of my favorite ramp creatures: Diligent Farmhand is sorely underplayed in the format, and is a better Dawntreader Elk in my book since the mana is flipped in the “right” direction. Cast him on turn one, activate on turn two. Coiling Oracle is fantastic and either card-draw or ramp, both great for any deck. Farhaven Elf is often a better Wood Elves in this deck, since it fixes and ramps at the same time, though the land comes into play tapped. Solemn Simulacrum is getting up there in price, but well worth the money in my book. If you decide to get one, make sure it’s with the original illustration featuring my fellow Swede Jens Thorén.
We also need to add some more card-draw to the deck. Mulldrifter is great, though honestly a bit pricey for a common. Taigam, Sidisi’s Hand synergises well with the commander, and Harvester of Souls and Smothering Abomination either benefit from or synergise with the sacrifice theme of the deck. Viscera Seer isn’t card-draw per se, but excellent as a sacrifice outlet for many of the other cards in the deck, and very cheap mana-wise.
Other options: There are other Exploit creatures than Sidisi, Undead Vizier who could work well with Grim Haruspex, Harvester of Souls and any of the cards dealing with the graveyard. Most notable are perhaps Vulturous Aven and Gurmag Drowner who could fill the role of card-draw. I’m liking the possible synergy between milling them with Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, creating tokens, reanimating them and exploiting said tokens. It’s a neat little clockwork of zombies being raised and unraised.
Lastly, in order to not get over-run, we need to add some more removal. So far, we’ve got Stronghold Assassin holding the fort as well as a few creatures who remove artifacts or enchantments, but we can do so much more! Sweepers is difficult when playing with only creatures, but there are some which we will add!
This package allows us to deal with some of the hordes by other players, as well as adding some protection against hexproof or shroud creatures. Pestilence Demon is also a late-game evasive threat that can take huge chunks of an opponent’s life total every turn.
The deck employs a lot of self-milling in order to make use of [card]Sidisi, Brood Tyrant’s[card] triggered ability. Some of these cards have additional effects, they produce mana or they do something to interact with the cards. Some don’t, and are pretty slow, and we can do better!
Cephalid Vandal and Mindshrieker are both cute, but both slow. Rot Farm Skeleton is also both cute and slow, but the activated ability is way too expensive in my opinion. The explore cards are also not convincing, the extra dredgers will take their place. There are more dredgers available, and I also think Stitcher Geralf would be an interesting addition, if you strictly keep to exiling stuff from your opponents graveyards that is.
Lastly, we want to be focusing on winning once we have our engine going and we’re out there swinging with our creatures. To this end, we can do better than just Splinterfright, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord and Nighthowler as really big beaters – though I do like them quite a lot in this deck! We’re also getting rid of some of the less-specialized additions, to make room for the changes in the deck.
Boneyard Wurm and Liliana’s Elite are both neat cards but not powerful enough. Mortivore looks in all graveyards, and can regenerate to boot, a frankly underestimated ability in EDH now that many sweepers are printed without the “they can’t be regenerated” rider. The other cuts were quite tough, but I’ve focused on cards who tend to either not do enough when they hit the table, or who tend to use up our finest resource – our graveyard.
This brings us to the final iteration of the deck, before I leave it in the capable hands of the Legendxp himself and the community:
A link to the deck on DeckStats.net: CLICK.
As you can see, this deck has a bit of a higher curve than our original patient, but we did get to add some more oomph to our creature base. I’ve tried to focus on playing the long game, and grinding out as much value as possible from our cards while still retaining the original spirit of the deck.
What do you think of my take on this brew? What cards would you consider yourself? Leave a comment below!
General Medicine is a bi-weekly column where I will take a look at your EDH deck, run it through our own EDHREC analysis, add some twists and turns of my own, and present your deck with an analysis for the world to see, right here on this site! Sounds exciting? Want your sweet brew featured (as in, picked apart, analyzed, and written about – it’s not as scary as it might sound!) in my series? Here’s what you do:
I am not be using some sort of first-come, first-served policy, I am choosing the most interesting deck and I am also looking at the best write-ups! Make sure you read the submission guidelines above, and take your time when writing me your e-mail; the better the write-up, the higher the chance I pick your deck! And if you’re not picked next time time, fear not – I will be keeping any unused lists and write-ups in my log, from which I will pull the nuggets every other week.