Monday, August 8, 2016

Tasigur, the Golden Fang Reanimator Commander Deck (BUG/Sultai)

I've had a Mimeoplasm deck sleeved up for years, but I play the format so rarely that I knew it was really out of date. When I heard about the commander tournament at Fate and Fury Games, I decided to do a major update. I did a little research (finding this article particularly useful), and then set out with my old Mimeoplasm deck, my collection, and a $30 budget... and this is what emerged. I am by no means a commander expert, but this is the most competitive commander deck I have at the moment. Critiques and suggestions are welcome.

Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Creatures (23)
Thragtusk
Wurmcoil Engine
Deathrite Shaman
Sepulchral Primordial
The Mimeoplasm
Stormtide Leviathan
Scavenging Ooze
Sheoldred, Whispering One
Eternal Witness
Massacre Worm
Satyr Wayfinder
Spellskite
Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
Woodfall Primus
Terastodon
Stinkweed Imp
Consecrated Sphinx
Kederekt Leviathan
Mystic Snake
Fauna Shaman
Reclamation Sage
Waterfront Bouncer
Phyrexian Metamorph

Instants & Sorceries (27)

Dimir Charm
Evacuation
Careful Study
Forbidden Alchemy
Abrupt Decay
Life / Death
Beast Within
Exhume
Maelstrom Pulse
Reanimate
Cyclonic Rift
Counterspell
Life from the Loam
Forbid
Entomb
Natural Order
Damnation
Sultai Charm
Crop Rotation
Thought Scour
Green Sun's Zenith
Victimize
Decree of Pain
Mental Note
Grisly Salvage
Frantic Search
Traverse the Ulvenwald

Other Permanents (10)
Sol Ring
Animate Dead
Lightning Greaves
Mox Diamond
Sylvan Library
Survival of the Fittest
Dance of the Dead
Whip of Erebos
Sensei's Divining Top
Pernicious Deed

Lands (39)
Underground River
Command Tower
Dimir Aqueduct
Strip Mine
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Twilight Mire
Overgrown Tomb
Simic Growth Chamber
Tranquil Thicket
Cephalid Coliseum
Breeding Pool
Maze of Ith
Bojuka Bog
Opulent Palace
Lonely Sandbar
Mana Confluence
Dryad Arbor
Halimar Depths
Llanowar Wastes
Misty Rainforest
Darkslick Shores
Yavimaya Coast
Golgari Rot Farm
Barren Moor
Darkwater Catacombs
Verdant Catacombs
Sunken Hollow
Drowned Catacomb
Volrath's Stronghold

Woodland Cemetery

Hinterland Harbor
Watery Grave
Forest x3
Island x2
Swamp x2

In the tournament, I won two pods and came in second in two pods, placing second overall. It has been so long since I have played multiplayer that there were a lot of elements of strategy that I saw too late, or sequencing errors that would have been fine in a duel. Fortunately, even though I made a lot of misplays, the power level of this deck is so high that even when I was punished for them, I usually had enough gas to keep fighting the good fight.

The Standout Cards
A lot of the cards on this list are commander staples. I'm not going to waste your time talking about how good Sol Ring is. I'll share which cards surprised me, though... some because they were awesome, and some because they were horrible.

Kederekt Leviathan
I actually didn't realize until partway through the tournament how good this guy would be with Animate Dead and similar enchantment-based reanimation cards. Reanimate him, bounce the board (including the enchantment that just put him into play)... rinse & repeat until you find something better to do..

Crop Rotation
I originally put this in to help me search for Maze of Ith, Bojuka Bog, and Volrath's Stronghold. However, the convenience of trading a Forest for a Command Tower without any loss of tempo is pretty sweet as well... and it fills up the graveyard with stuff I don't care to reanimate or reuse, so it makes Tasigur cheaper too.

Stinkweed Imp
He's mainly there for dredging, but a cheap flying deathtouch creature is a pretty strong attack-deterrent, especially considering how much he will further your deck's main strategy if the opponent chooses to trade with him.

Waterfront Bouncer
I threw this little guy in because I wanted a discard outlet that doubled as a way to interact with my opponent's board. As it turns out, he's just too slow and vulnerable. The couple of times I drew him, he either died before he lost summoning sickness, or I ended up discarding him to some other effect because I needed something more immediate/durable.

Exhume
Strangely enough, there were several times that Exhume just rotted in my hand because my opponents had graveyards that made casting it irrelevant (or worse). I'm leaving this one in because I know it has potential, but if I even start cutting reanimation spells, this will probably be the first to go. Or maybe I need more than three ways to interact with my opponents' graveyards? Eh... we'll see...

Natural Order
I liked the idea of this on paper, but I rarely had a green creature that I was willing to part with in play to sacrifice. And even worse, the targets in BUG aren't exactly game breaking. Sure, Terastodon cleans up a bunch of annoying stuff, but I want to change the rules of the game when I put a fatty in play. You can't tutor up a Stormtide Leviathan or Jin-Gitaxis with Natural Order!

The Wish List
I'd love to have Bayou, Underground Sea, and Tropical Island, but I don't typically spend that kind of money on commander. Perhaps if I start playing legacy again, they'll find a way in here, but with my budget as tight as it is at the moment, I'm probably better off selling cards than adding to the collection. Still, there are a handful of sweet cards that I wish had been in the deck and won't cost me a limb to pick up.

Necromancy
This is another Animate Dead effect that combos with Kederakt Leviathan, and it isn't exorbitantly expensive.

Spike Weaver
I actually have one of these, but I had switched it to another deck a while back and never put it back in. There were several times that I had Green Sun's Zenith in hand and really would have benefited from a reusable Fog effect.

Living Death
This was played by a Karador, Ghost Chieftain player at my table and I almost face-palmed on the spot. Why is this card not in my deck already?!?!

Side note: That Karador player (whose name I can't remember) seems to have played a lot of reanimator in his day, and mentioned some interactions that I hadn't noticed yet. I probably would have seen them after enough games when the cards came up side by side, but when you're tutoring, you have to know ahead of time... and I would have missed some opportunities if not for his words of wisdom during and following our match.

I'll keep updating this as opportunities to play commander come and go, but I don't see myself playing this in many friendly matches. It features some pretty powerful effects that are pretty annoying to play against. 
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