Commander nights with Teysa

teysa banner

The day before new year’s I had the pleasure to visit my old LGC and my old EDH group, with which most of the games detailed here takes place. While I did bring Zedruu the Greathearted with me for the ride, I also brought Magic’s own goth chick:

teysa,orzhovscion.hq

I haven’t written about Teysa before here, I wanted to keep the deck secret to everyone, in part because it’s embarrassing how much of deck-ADD I suffer from, but also because it seems to fit the Orzhov to not play in open daylight.

The deck I played can be found here on TappedOut.net and while it does contain the usual Teyza shenanigans, I wanted to do something a bit different and have a Reanimator sub-theme as well. The thing with reanimation strategies in EDH is that while they can be extremely powerful if left unopposed, since they tend to create card-advantage in and of itself, and cheat on mana while doing it – many decks often contain some form of graveyard disruption. Getting hit with random Bojuka Bogs and Scavenging Oozes can really shut a deck down if the only plan is to “Step 1: Get fatties into the yard. Step 2: Reanimate fatties. Step 3: ? Step 4: Profit!”.

Similarly, I’ve never found token strategies to be effective in the format because of its inherent aversion to aggro – starting with 40 life and existing in a format where playing at least 2-3 sweepers is the norm makes it had to win with 1/1’s.

darkesthour.hq

Hilariously, one of the deck’s best cards.

So, with the idea that a combination of these two elements would be greater than the sum of the parts, I set out to mix a classic Teysa tokens with some reanimation and came up with the list above. The most important synergies of any Teysa deck are there, namely Teysa + Darkest Hour + Carrion Feeder / Bloodthrone Vampire for an infinitely large creature, or just Teysa + Darkest Hour + Skullclamp for some sweet card-drawing. Speaking of which, Skullclamp is likely the single best card in the deck, though in harsh competition with Necropotence, which is why it rarely gets to live very long. It did take a game or so before the people around the table knew what I was up to, though.

The token making in the deck is mostly up to permanent token makers. I’m not a fan of Spectral Procession and the like in EDH, unless it’s in a deck that actually cares a lot about creatures entering the battlefield. Lingering Souls is the one exception, since it creates as many as four tokens out of only one card. Geist-Honored Monk creates tokens as a one-shot effect, but since she’s a creature, she can be sacrificed and reanimated in a way unavailable to the Sorcery and Instant token generators. The rest of the job is up to Bitterblossom, Elspeth, Knight-Errant and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. Ghoulcaller Gisa rounds it all out by creating 2/2 Zombies, meaning she’s often the worst token maker because of Skullclamp, but she does double as a sacrifice outlet, and she does bring a lot of power to the board.

The reanimation package consists of cards with much inherent card advantage – Profane CommandReveillark, Sun Titan, Victimize, Dread Return, Infernal Offering and Unburial Rites all contain some form of card advantage, though it sometimes depend on what is being reanimated.

Phyrexian ReclamationKarmic Guide, Twilight Shepherd and Nezumi Graverobber all need some time, mana or work in order to create card-advantage, but they are all perfectly capable of doing so. Obzedat’s Aid is the odd one out, in that it almost always trades one-for-one, but it’s included by the virtue of flexibility.

chainer,dementiamaster.hqThe last one is by far the most powerful of all the reanimation spells: Chainer, Dementia Master. The fact that he can reanimate multiple targets each turn for the low-low price of BBB and three life, coupled with his quite modest mana cost and the fact that he pumps all the reanimated creatures make him stellar. He does constitute card disadvantage on the turn you play him, since a 3/3 for 5 is way below the curve, but usually I won’t cast him unless I can activate the ability immediately.

The last “part” of the deck is the disruption, because, even though the deck can have some broken draws and has the ability to create creatures of infinite size, it’s easy to disrupt. There’s a half-truism about EDH that states that the third player to attempt to win at the table is the one that usually wins, since by the time the table has disrupted the first and second attempts at winning, there won’t be enough resistance for the third. While not being entirely true, this is something of a creed to consider when playing EDH – and when constructing decks. As such, even glass-cannon combo decks probably needs some ways to either interact with the opponents to disrupt them or some way to protect whatever the deck itself is trying to do. Though White-Black probably can muster more hard sweepers than any other two-colour combination, I’ve limited myself to the obligatory Wrath of God and Damnation as well as Life’s Finale because of it’s synergy with Nezumi Graverobber and Chainer.

So, how did the deck do? Not terribly well, unfortunately, but I don’t really blame the deck itself. In the first game, I was up against Teferi, Temporal Archmage (control) and Shattergang Brothers (goodstuff-control) and the game quickly turned to a crawl as we competed in disrupting each other. Teferi made loads of mana every turn with artifacts and the untapping ability, but didn’t find anything really useful to do with it. The Shattergang Bros did ugly things to our artifacts with Bane of Progress but we found answers to it before it got out of hand. After about ten turns the board was more or less empty, with me at single-digit life, but the other two not beaten up too much. Neither had any gas left, and as the others started dropping in, we scooped them up, with no clear way to tell who was in the lead – thought i certainly wasn’t me.

The rest of the night was spent playing 3HG and though we finished three or four games, I was on the winning side only once, and I can’t take any credit for this since my team mate Marath, Will of the Wild won through Hydra Omnivore pumped by Xenagos, God of Revels and further aided by Zurgo Helmsmasher‘s Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion. Yeah, it was hilarious to spectate, but again,  I can’t take credit.

Though the deck didn’t perform, I had a blast playing with it, and I’m looking forward to the next time I’m able to visit.

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2 Comments

  1. psykopatmullvad

     /  January 3, 2015

    Do some tweakings and we will play again 😀

    Like

    Reply

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