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By: Adam_the_Mentat, THE WOTC TOOK MY BABY AWAY
Nov 05 2015 11:00am
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Hiya everyone!

I've come up with something so ridiculously broken and fun. I'm not the first to piece this together, I won't be the last. On the off chance you haven't figured this out on your own, please take my street rat hand and come with me on magic carpet as I show you a brave new world of 1/1 cleric commons.

I already covered something similar to this in my first Thrumming it article, which focused on Relentless Rats in a Marrow-Gnawer build (with an added Grenzo deck). The Rats break Commander because you have 47 of 'em if you want in a singleton deck. For the longest time, they stayed atop this broken pedestal for a while... until WOTC made Shadowborn Apostle.

The Apostles are even more broken than the rats, and it's because the can be sacrificed for demons, and can interact with wonky Cleric-lovin' cards.

On top of that, more than my Relentless builds, these decks, which are Orzhov and Golgari respectively, utilize fun cards which almost never-- never ever-- appear in a commander deck. Stuff like Nantuko Shrine, Doubling Chant, Remembrance and more.

Of course, since each deck has 23 Shadowborn Apostles & is predominantly black, the decks are somewhat similar in build, but play a lot differently.

Let's start out with our Orzhov build, which has an excellent Commander leading the way for Apostles to do their thang...


Creatures:
23 Shadowborn Apostle 
Abhorrent Overlord 
Demon of Death's Gate 
Ancestor's Prophet 
Kuro, Pitlord 
Edgewalker 
Rune-Scarred Demon 
Shadowborn Demon 
Spirit of the Night 
Champion of the Parish 
Corrosive Mentor 
1 Harvester of Souls

 

Other Spells 
Remembrance 
Aven Shrine 
Patriarch's Bidding 
Door of Destinies 
Proper Burial 
Demonic Tutor 
Dark Tutelage 
Vampiric Tutor 
Thrumming Stone 
Sol Ring 
Mana Crypt 
Phyrexian Arena 
Coercive Portal 
Staff of Nin 
Harsh Mercy 
Imperial Seal 
Profane Prayers 
Damnation 
Wrath of God 
Elixir of Immortality 
Austere Command 
Utter End 
Vindicate 
Mortify 
Death Grasp 
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad 
Cathars' Crusade 
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon 
Karn Liberated 

Lands
Ancient Tomb 
Swamp 
Starlit Sanctum 
Vault of the Archangel 
Strip Mine 
Ghost Quarter 
Encroaching Wastes 
Volrath's Stronghold 
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth 
Command Tower 
City of Brass 
Mana Confluence 
Bojuka Bog 
Caves of Koilos 
Godless Shrine 
Isolated Chapel 
Scrubland 
Evolving Wilds 
Terramorphic Expanse 
Secluded Steppe 
Drifting Meadow 
Barren Moor 
Plains 
Tectonic Edge 
Polluted Mire  


Let's chat about the non-Apostle creatures that have been included.

First, our demon package. Kuro, Pitlord is a big beater, who, for some (or a lot) of life, will clear up some obstacles for you. Demon of Death's Gate is another huge beater, who can even be summoned for merely three clerics, no mana, and six life.Rune-scarred Demon is a cleric-sacrifice-instant-speed-Demonic Tutor, and still a fairly beefy demon beater in his own right. Harvester of Souls, in this deck particularly, can net you an absolute truckload of extra card drawing. The Overlord, from Theros, comes out and drops a bunch of Harpies, which can help swarm the skies for a victory. Shadowborn Demon, whom the Apostles are most meant to sacrifice themselves for, is removal and one of the cheapest ones to cast outright. Spirit of the Night is yet another big ol' beefy Demon beater, which holds the most nostalgia, having been a Timmy-loved favorite in my cold, dead, black heart since the storied days of Mirage block.

Corrosive Mentor makes your black weenie clerics that much more threatening. It is very easy to get these little buggers back from your graveyard, so chump-blocking occurs a whole heck of a lot. Chump-blocking with wither is strictly better.

The last three creatures are Tribal funanigans. Champion of the Parish grows with each drop of the human cleric Apostles. I also found it deliciously ironic that a pious white creature would be bolstered by the ever-increasing black Apostles who worship demons. It's almost like he answered an Innistrad want ad and has been sorely tricked by his new employers. Ancestor's Prophet is a great foil to Kuro's demonic luster of pay life, kill all. And, finally, the absolutely absolute MVP of an Orzhov Commander Shadowborn Apostle deck: Edgewalker. All of those Shadowborn Apostles, especially the ones your opponent didn't feel like spending three life each to keep in the graveyard? They are free. Free. Sold American.

Let's get to three inclusions normally not found in any Commander deck. Thrumming Stone, Remembrance & Aven Shrine. Aven Shrine is a kitsch inclusion, something fun I can finally say I included in a singleton deck. It also does occasionally gain me life, especially if I got a fun combo going. But the other two? PURE JOHNNY COMBO GOLD. And we all want to be Ponyboy, don't we?

Remembrance is out. You chump-block. You lose an Apostle, but gain one, and they only cost a black to pop back out. You sacrifice 6 for a demon, you score 6 in your hand, and your opponent, if trusty Athreos is out, has to decide to pay 18 life, or let your hand fill back up with Apostles.

Now, say you have that Edgewalker out... Production Team? Can we go to the slide?

I needed to but tap one black mana, to sacrifice 6, search up Harvester of Souls, and my opponent, already down to 13, decided not to spend any precious remaining life to stop the original 6 coming back to my hand while Remembrance tutored up 6 more. I could now drop 12 Apostles, for free. Had I sac'ed each set, I could've tutored up the remaining Apostles in my deck, drawn 12 cards, and put two more huge demons onto the battlefield. That would have only required a grand total of three black mana invested into it. For kicks, go ahead and note that I have only five lands out on turn ten, due to shuffler woes, and still have the battlefield I do.

Thrumming Stone! This sucker and Door of Destinies, well, these are in Savra too so we'll talk more about this soon. You can gather though, from your high intellect (you are reading one of my articles so I know you have brains) what these can do together with 24 humans/25 clerics in the deck.

Patriarch's Bidding is perfect for this deck, as is the highly underused Profane Prayers. Harsh Mercy can be a very unfair, stacked Wrath effect. Cathars' Crusade and Sorin's emblem-making ability make for great cleric pumps.

The rest of the stuff is, you know, card draw, removal, mass removal and tutors. Have fun breaking the game!


Creatures:
23 Shadowborn Apostle 
Harvester of Souls 
Pharika, God of Affliction 
Abhorrent Overlord 
Demon of Death's Gate 
Kuro, Pitlord 
Rune-Scarred Demon 
Shadowborn Demon 
Spirit of the Night 
Corrosive Mentor 
Grave Sifter 

 

Other Spells 
Sporogenesis 
Wild Pair 
Patriarch's Bidding 
Door of Destinies 
Demonic Tutor 
Pack Hunt 
Vampiric Tutor 
Putrefy 
Thrumming Stone 
Sol Ring 
Mana Crypt 
Phyrexian Arena 
Coercive Portal 
Staff of Nin 
Maelstrom Pulse 
Imperial Seal 
Profane Prayers 
Damnation 
Nantuko Shrine 
Elixir of Immortality 
Descendants' Path 
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon 
Karn Liberated 
Doubling Chant 
Beast Within 
Bloodbond March 
Praetor's Counsel 
Steely Resolve  
Creeping Renaissance 

Lands
Tranquil Thicket 
Ancient Tomb 
Overgrown Tomb 
Woodland Cemetery 
Bayou 
Forest 
Slippery Karst 
Strip Mine 
Ghost Quarter 
Encroaching Wastes 
Volrath's Stronghold 
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth 
Command Tower 
City of Brass 
Mana Confluence 
Bojuka Bog 
Evolving Wilds 
Terramorphic Expanse 
Swamp 
Barren Moor 
Grim Backwoods 
Tectonic Edge 
Polluted Mire  


Here we are again! Now we've added green.  We've lost Atheros, but gained the ability to Grave Pact the heck out of our opponents for some life cost.

We still have 23 Apostles, and the same demon package. We've added Grave Sifter for more cleric recursion, and we added Pharika, because sometimes you need to 86 a cleric and gain a deathtouchy snake. Sporogenesis can throw counters on clerics, and when we sac' 'em, we get added saprolings. 

Now the fun stuffs! Bloodbond March! Delicious, amazing. Nearly better than Remembrance. Pack Hunt and Doubling Chant also get a chance, for the first time ever in Commander, to shine. Instead of life with Aven Shrine, we gain Squirrels with Nantuko Shrine. We've got more graveyard recursion because Athreos can' be part of the fun, so, beyond the Grave Sifter, we've got Praetor's Counsel & Creeping Renaissance.

On the tribal side, we welcome Descendants' Path and Steely Resolve. Then, the rest is back to the good ol' staples: Card Draw, Tutors, Removal and Mass Removal.

I think we've got one more reel for the audience:

This is where I spoke about Thrumming Stone and Door of Destinies as a crazy, crazy thing.

I'm working on two more decks that have spawned in my brain of insanity, thanks to the creation of these decks. A plain ol' Athreos non-Apostle deck, and a monoblack Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker that utilizes the Shadowborn build. We'll see what insanity those two produce.


Thanks for joining me again. Did I miss anything you would've included? 

Lemme know in the comments below, or maybe shoot me a message in Twitter: @CmdrJohnnyBoosh.