My EDH ward

Skullbriar banner

Some time back, I wrote about a weekend full of Magic with my younger brother, who happens to live abroad these days. When, after a weekend of reminiscing, he went back home, he left me his two Magic decks in my ward: a Legacy deck, and an EDH Skullbriar deck.

I want to refrain from writing about the Legacy deck for some time here, but I want to linger a bit on Skullbriar. The list can be found here: Skullbriar on On the surface, it is two things: a collection of some of the best black and green cards available in EDH around 2012, which is when my brother moved and unfortunately left our play group, and it is also a fun, zombie tribal deck.

In reality, Skullbriar is a bit of a different beast. The tutoring in black present in the deck (Runescarred Demon, Demonic Tutor, Vampiric Tutor) can find both some of the most flexible answers available in the game (Maelstrom Pulse, Pernicious Deed, Putrefy) as well as some really objectively powerful cards (Sorin Markov, Sword of Feast and Famine, Geth, Lord of the Vault). On top of that, Skullbriar is a frightening commander, honestly.

skullbriar,thewalkinggrave.hqIn the olden days, when my brother designed and played this deck, getting rid of Skullbriar was no harder than getting rid of most other commanders – a simple Spell Crumple, Oblation, Chaos Warp or other tuck spell would more or less permanently remove him from the action, and bouncing him with a random Cryptic Command would reset the zombie to its original non-frightening 1/1 state. These days, he’s very easy to get to a 4/4 or 5/5 before all the other players are caught up, and then, the removal suite in the deck, along with things like Shizo, Death’s Storehouse and Zombie Master will keep him attacking freely into at least parts of the table.

Skullbriar these days
If I was to build a Skullbriar from scratch today, I’d probably take it in a different direction than my brother’s deck – not a strictly better one mind you – but a different one. With the tuck rule gone from EDH, Skullbriar is one of the cheapest generals that could pull off a Voltron win. He lacks the raw power of other popular Voltron commanders, like Rafiq, Skittles or Uril, but he will probably not draw as much hate, he comes down much earlier than the others, and he can be quite easily re-cast if he gets removed. Built-in Haste is quite rare among reasonable commanders and it means he needs even less hand-holding, and he’s hard to counter.

What do you think of the deck? What do you think of Skullbriar in general? Leave a comment!

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