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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Apr 15 2010 7:25am
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 I.  Introduction

Have you ever wanted to command your own legion of the undead?  Reanimate a bunch of corpses to do your bidding?  Unleash them on the unsuspecting populace of a nearby village, making the villagers pay for the names they called you when you were a child and the way they made fun of your tail?  No?  It's just me?  Well, I'll share with you how I made my dream of ordering around a bunch of rotting flesh come to reality.

II.  The Deck:  Bring out your Dead!

Let's take a look at your new Good Buddy:

Lord of Tresserhorn

Look, he's so helpful, showing you the direction to the chopping block with a wave of his hand.  He also has some impressive stats, with some not so good drawbacks.  You have to sacrifice two critters and let an opponent draw two cards when he comes into play.  There are a few ways around these drawbacks.  First, play with creatures that don't mind being sacrificed.  Also, use the cards you dole out politically, to your advantage.  However, in exchange you get a regenerating monster with 10 power.  What you can't see on the pic above, however, is that the Lord is a zombie, and there are lots of ways to pump the power of a zombie.  This is important, as basically by boosting his power by 1/2, he can turn into a 2 hit killing machine.  

First, when choosing who to give the cards to when you cast him, there are two options:  Give them to the weakest player, or give them to someone you have an alliance with.  Obviously the first option will make you more popular than the second, but what you don't want to do is give the cards to the guy playing the combo deck.  Seriously, just don't do it.  Let him dig for his own cards, I'm sure he has a lot of draw anyway.

With that out of the way, let's take a look at the deck, and I will discuss some of the card choices below.  However, I am going to present it in two different formats, and I want to hear which format you like better.  There are benefits to both, but I want your opinions.  If you don't care, say that too.

Lord of Tresserhorn
A Commander Deck
Creatures
1 Abyssal Gatekeeper
1 Bone Dancer
1 Cemetery Reaper
1 Coffin Queen
1 Corpse Harvester
1 Death Baron
1 Deathbringer Thoctar
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Gempalm Polluter
1 Grave Defiler
1 Graveborn Muse
1 Gravedigger
1 Gravespawn Sovereign
1 Helldozer
1 Homura, Human Ascendant
1 Igneous Pouncer
1 Infernal Caretaker
1 Jhessian Zombies
1 Lich Lord of Unx
1 Lightning Reaver
1 Lim-Dul the Necromancer
1 Lord of the Undead
1 Noxious Ghoul
1 Phyrexian Delver
1 Rakdos Guildmage
1 Rukh Egg
1 Shepherd of Rot
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Soulless One
1 Stronghold Assassin
1 Twisted Abomination
1 Undead Warchief
1 Vengeful Dead
1 Withered Wretch
1 Zombie Trailblazer
35 cards

Other Spells
1 Coalition Relic
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Mind's Eye
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Skullclamp
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Call to the Grave
1 Cover of Darkness
1 Goblin Bombardment
1 Grave Pact
1 Mystic Remora
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Tombstone Stairwell
1 Vicious Shadows
1 Cruel Revival
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Damnation
1 Decree of Pain
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Living Death
1 Patriarch's Bidding
26 cards
Lands
1 Bad River
1 Blood Crypt
1 Cabal Coffers
1 Crumbling Necropolis
1 Crypt of Agadeem
1 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Graven Cairns
4 Island
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Kher Keep
3 Mountain
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Rocky Tar Pit
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
1 Steam Vents
12 Swamp
1 Temple of the False God
1 Unholy Grotto
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Watery Grave
38 cards
 
Lord of the Undead

 

[Commander]
1 Lord of Tresserhorn

[Artifact - 8]
1 Coalition Relic
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Mind's Eye
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Skullclamp
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of Light and Shadow

[Creatures - 35]
1 Abyssal Gatekeeper
1 Bone Dancer
1 Cemetery Reaper
1 Coffin Queen
1 Corpse Harvester
1 Death Baron
1 Deathbringer Thoctar
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Gempalm Polluter
1 Grave Defiler
1 Graveborn Muse
1 Gravedigger
1 Gravespawn Sovereign
1 Helldozer
1 Homura, Human Ascendant
1 Igneous Pouncer
1 Infernal Caretaker
1 Jhessian Zombies
1 Lich Lord of Unx
1 Lightning Reaver
1 Lim-Dul the Necromancer
1 Lord of the Undead
1 Noxious Ghoul
1 Phyrexian Delver
1 Rakdos Guildmage
1 Rukh Egg
1 Shepherd of Rot
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Soulless One
1 Stronghold Assassin
1 Twisted Abomination
1 Undead Warchief
1 Vengeful Dead
1 Withered Wretch
1 Zombie Trailblazer

[Enchantment - 8]
1 Call to the Grave
1 Cover of Darkness
1 Goblin Bombardment
1 Grave Pact
1 Mystic Remora
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Tombstone Stairwell
1 Vicious Shadows

[Instant - 2]
1 Cruel Revival
1 Mystical Tutor

[Planeswalker - 1]
1 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker

[Sorcery - 7]
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Damnation
1 Decree of Pain
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Living Death
1 Patriarch's Bidding

[Land - 38]
1 Bad River
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Crypt of Agadeem
1 Crumbling Necropolis
1 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Graven Cairns
4 Island
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Kher Keep
3 Mountain
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Rocky Tar Pit
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
1 Steam Vents
12 Swamp
1 Temple of the False God
1 Unholy Grotto
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Watery Grave

That's some zombie goodness right there.  A couple of card highlights:

Tombstone Stairwell Tombstone Stairwell:  You play with a pretty high concentration of creatures, so generally you will be creating more zombies with your Stairwell than your opponents.  This has great synergy with Goblin Bombardment (each zombie you make deals 1 damage per persons turn), Deathbringer Thoctar (makes him big, and he can start machine-gunning stuff), Gravespawn Sovereign (steal peoples stuff from their graves so they don't get as many zombies), and especially Vicious Shadows (that's a lot of damage).  There are other combos I'll let you find as well (ahem, Vengeful Dead).  Can also make sacrificial zombies for the Lord.  This card should help you get the win late game.

Living DeathPatriarch's Bidding Living Death & Patriarch's Bidding:  Just great cards to get your guys back late game.  If you bring back a Noxious Ghoul, you generally can wipe out your opponents' board as well.

Homura, Human AscendantRukh EggSolemn Simulacrum  Homura, Human Ascendant, Rukh Egg, Solemn Simulacrum:  These are guys that don't mind being sac'd to the Lord.  In addition, Lich Lord of Unx, Rakdos Guildmage, Lim-Dul the Necromancer, Kher Keep and Tombstone Stairwell make tokens to sac to the Lord.

Cover of DarknessSword of Light and ShadowSword of Fire and IceLoxodon WarhammerZombie TrailblazerHomura, Human AscendantShizo, Death's Storehouse  Cover of Darkness, Sword of Light and Shadow, Sword of Fire and Ice, Loxodon Warhammer, Zombie Trailblazer, Homura, Human Ascendant Shizo, Death's Storehouse: Each of these cards helps you to get your Commander damage through.  Ideally, you should be able to take out an opponent with two swings.  He's even better if he flys and has firebreathing!  RAWR!

Nicol Bolas, PlaneswalkerOblivion Stone Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker & Oblivion Stone:  These guys get rid of pesky artifacts and enchantments.  And there are plenty of them out there, so be wary of using them without reason.

Mind's EyeMystic Remora Mind's Eye & Mystic Remora:  If you are giving people cards, they are going to play them.  These will help you recover some of that inherent card disadvantage the Lord has.

Call to the GraveGrave Pact Call to the Grave & Grave Pact:  These guys get their own section.  I've played this deck a lot, and I've never drawn these two cards.  Ever.  I'm sure they would be good if I ever drew them though.

The deck's main weakness is graveyard hate.  If you find that people are constantly dropping Relic of Progenitus on you and stopping your graveyard shenanigans, it's time to get proactive.  (Not the zit cream that Jessica Simpson uses.  Although that stuff really does work.  Trust me, I know.)  This means getting Pithing Needle and setting it on the hate you see most, using Jester's Cap and Sadistic Sacrament to remove the graveyard hate from an opponent's deck, etc.  These also have the bonus of being able to take out random combos.

There is very little defense in this deck against enchantments as well.  Adding Nevinyrral's Disk can help, and adding a couple more tutors as will help get the O-Stone and Bolas quicker.  Shattering Pulse can help with additional artifact hate.

Finally, there's the mana base.  This is a base black deck with blue and red splashes.  I gotta admit, I am horrible at building mana bases.  However, this one seems to be doing ok.  The addition of Coalition Relic and Darksteel Ingot, as well as the three landcyclers, all seem to help.  So if you try to put this together and can't seem to get the blue mana you want when you need it, go ahead and work on the mana a little more.  You can probably do a better job than I can.

On to the coliseum for battle!

III.  The Game:  Fight!

My opponents:

MalfegorKalitas, Bloodchief of GhetThraximundar

Malfegor wins the roll.

My starting hand:  Nicol Bolas, PlaneswalkerZombie TrailblazerBlood CryptDimir AqueductDecree of PainReliquary TowerCoffin Queen

Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, Zombie Trailblazer, Blood Crypt, Dimir Aqueduct, Decree of Pain, Reliquary Tower, Coffin Queen.  I keep. 

For ease of reporting, M = Malfegor, K = Kalitas, and T = Thraximundar.

Round 1
M:  Ebon Stronghold.
Me:  Draw Swamp, play Blood Crypt.
K:  Thawing Glaciers.
T:  Island, Expedition Map.

Round 2
M: Mountain, Necrogen Spellbomb, (Executioner’s Capsule).
Me:  Draw Jhessian Zombies, play Swamp.
K:  Swamp.  He later uses his Glaciers.
T:  Mountain, cracks Expedition Map for Crumbling Necropolis.

Round 3
M:  Swamp, sacs Spellbomb to draw a card.  I cycle Jhessian Zombies for Watery Grave.
Me:  Draw Sword of Light and Shadow, play Watery Grave.
K:  Swamp, plays a morph.
T:  Crumbling Necropolis.

Round 4
M:  We guess the morph is Soul Collector or Bane of the Living.  M plays Swamp and Terrors the morph, which turns out to be Zoetic Cavern.  Anti-climactic.
Me:  Draw Grave Defiler.  Play Zombie Trailblazer, then Dimir Aqueduct bouncing a Swamp.
K:  Thawing Glaciers.
T:  Island.

Round 5
M:  Mountain.
Me:  Draw Swamp.  Attack M with Trailblazer (38).  Play Reliquary Tower, and try to cast Grave Defiler.  T Dismisses it.
Yes, I did draw first blood.  I attacked without being provoked.  There are people out there that wait to attack until someone does something to provoke them, but that's just not me.  You are going to have to win sometime, and I plan on winning by damaging you, so I might as well start now.  This is also part of my desire to move the game along faster.  If it starts a war, fine.  However, this time it doesn't.
K:  Swamp, Dunerider Outlaw.  
T:  Swamp, Unscythe, Killer of Kings.  Pretty sweet equipment.

Round 6
M:  Vivid Marsh, then tries to Sculpting Steel Unscythe.  Whoops.
A conversation starts up about people wanting to trade.  I  think multiplayer games are the best opportunities you have to find people who are willing to trade casually.  If you are looking for that last Birds of Paradise but have no tickets, might as well ask people you are playing with.  Many times people won't have what you are looking for, but at least you can find out.  It's too bad that this is pretty much the only opportunity to trade casually.
Me:  Draw Swamp.  Play Swamp, then Sword of Light and Shadow, equip Trailblazer, and attack T (36).  I gain 3 (43) and bring Grave Defiler back to hand.  K uses Glaciers at the end of my turn.
K:  Plays Glaciers, attacks M with Dunerider (37).  Dunerider grows at end of turn.
T:  Plays Akoum Refuge, then Incendiary Command.  He chooses to hit each creature for 2, killing the Dunerider, and makes everyone draw a new hand.  Sigh.  

Incendiary Command  
This is just painful when you like what's in your hand and aren't expecting it.

New hand for me is Noxious Ghoul, Twisted Abomination, Gempalm Polluter, Mystical Tutor, Swamp, and Mountain.  Everyone agrees my hand was the best one discarded, mainly due to Bolas.  T did put Dread Return and Herald of Leshrac in his graveyard.  K has a Lord of the Undead in his graveyard now.

Round 7
M:  Ghitu Encampment, then Malfegor.  I lose my Trailblazer.  M discards a bunch of land.
Me:  Draw Igneous Pouncer.  Play Swamp, Noxious Ghoul, and equip the Sword.
K:  Leechridden Swamp, then Diabolic Tutor.
T:  Island, Izzet Signet, Beacon of Unrest targeting the Herald of Leshrac in his graveyard, then plays a Top.
SDT aside:  These things really slow things down, but not as much as 2 in play does.  Having 2 in play is one of the rare times I consider quitting a game in frustration.  There are people out there that are quick with their Tops, but most people aren't.  If only there was a way to make it faster.  I admit that SDT is an excellent card, and can definitely help you set up your turns and your cards.  However, T seems to know his stuff and is quick with the Top, so I can't really complain this game.

Round 8
M:  Mountain, attacks T with Malfegor (31).
Me:  Draw Swamp, play Swamp.   Attack K with my Ghoul (35).  I gain 3 (46) and return Grave Defiler to my hand, which had been discarded due to Incendiary Command.  Cast Defiler, and I whiff, seeing lands and Living Death.  Oh well.
K:  Plays Glaciers, casts Exhumer Thrull returning a Lord of the Undead to his hand.  Plays Bloodchief Ascension.  Good card.
T:  Herald steals my Dimir Aqueduct during T’s upkeep.  Sad times.  Casts Mind Control targeting Malfegor, then Lightning Greaves equipping Malfegor, and finally spins the Top.  

Round 9
M:  Casts Breath of Malfegor, dropping me to (41), K to (30) and T to (26).  At the end of this turn, I cycle the Pouncer, getting a Swamp.  I then Mystical Tutor for Cruel Revival.
Me:  Draw Cruel Revival, play Swamp.  Kill the Herald with Revival, returning Coffin Queen to my hand.  I attack T with the Ghoul (21) and M with the Defiler (35).  I gain 3 (44) and return the Pouncer to my hand.
K:  Attacks M with his Thrull (32) then casts Lord of the Undead.  Ascension now has 3 counters on it.
T:  Casts Thraximundar, and attacks me.  Attacks K with Malfegor.  I sac my Defiler and take 2 from the Ascension (42) pumping K (32).  K uses Leechridden Swamp, knocking me to (41), T to (20) and M to (31).  I then take 8 from Thraxi (33).  K is at (27).  I think I missed something there with the life totals, but that’s close enough.

Round 10
M:  Casts Rockslide Elemental, and attacks T with Ghitu Encampment (18). I cycle Polluter (dropping to 31 due to the Ascension) targeting T (15), drawing Oblivion Stone.  M then sacs his capsule, killing his Encampment.  He doesn't have a hand, and is kind of throwing in the towel, I think.  When it’s all done, K is up to (33) and M is at (27) with a slightly larger Elemental.
Me:  Draw Phyrexian Arena.  Play Mountain.  I attack T with my Ghoul, putting him at (9) and me at (34).  I return Grave Defiler from the grave, then cast Oblivion Stone.  
K:  Swamp, returns Fleshbag Marauder to his hand using Lord of the Undead, and casts it.  I pop the Stone, wiping the board.  T forgets to save his Top.  K casts Brain Gorgers.

Oblivion Stone
The answer to almost everything, just blow it all up!

T:  Thraximundar, then attacks K.  K sacs the Gorgers, and drops to (28).

Round 11
M:  Casts Malfegor, making T sac Thraxi.
Me: Draw Mystic Remora.  At this point, M tells us he has to go, then concedes.  Cast Igneous Pouncer, attacking T (4).  Then cast Grave Defiler, getting Cemetery Reaper and Corpse Harvester.

K:  Swamp, casts Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet.
T:  Dread.

Round 12
Me:  I draw Diabolic Tutor.  Cast Mystic Remora and Cemetery Reaper.  No attack.
K:  Casts Underworld Dreams and pays the 4 to the Remora so I can’t draw.
T:  Takes 1 from the Dreams (3).  Plays Island.  K uses Leechridden Swamp, me at (31) and D at (2).  K then takes out my Coffin Queen with Kalitas, giving him a 2/2 vampire.

Round 13
Me:  Pay the upkeep on the Remora, draw Crumbling Necropolis (30) and play it.  Attack T with everything, he concedes before he gets hit.  I Tutor for Living Death.
K:  Nothing.  I swampcycle the Abomination.

Round 14
Me:  Pay upkeep on Remora, draw Vicious Shadows (29) and play it.  I attack with the Pouncer.  In response, K targets my Cemetery Reaper with Kalitas.  I remove Lord of the Undead from K's graveyard in response to that.  K takes 6 from my Shadows (22) then another 5 from my Pouncer (17).

Vicious Shadows
Game ender. 

K:  Tries to empty his hand by casting Scavenger Drake, Cannibalize, and Gatekeeper of Malakir.  He wipes out all my creatures, and drops to (10).

Round 15
Me:  Play Living Death.  He has 6 creatures and 3 cards in hand, so it’s game over.

IV.  Conclusion

Although we never did cast the Lord, we still pulled off the win.  This game showed that you don't need the Lord, and just how great Sword of Light and Shadow is in this deck.  We also had someone drop (I'm 2 for 2!) but that's not a big deal.  You may be asking why I targeted the Thraximundar player in the later rounds.  He seemed to not only be the biggest threat, but his Commander is just wicked.  I needed to take him out if I ever wanted to be able to cast the Lord of Tresserhorn without worrying about having to sacrifice him.

Also, in addition to the cards mentioned in the section about weaknesses, other cards you can try out include Anathemancer, Khabal Ghoul and Sorin Markov, if you have them.  Someone also recommended that I include Tunnel Vision, not just for the occasional "I win" on an unsuspecting opponent, but so that you can name something like Living Death on yourself.  You dump a bunch of your library into the graveyard, then reanimate your shambling minions with the Death.  Sounds risky, but fun.

If the idea of sacrificing your guys and giving people cards every time you cast your general is something you just can't handle, you can replace the Lord of Tresserhorn with Thraximundar.  However, you automatically get 10 cool points deducted from your score for the deck.  Plus, this would just make the Lord a sad panda, stuck all alone with nothing but a huge axe and a chopping block to keep him busy.  And no one wants that.  

Hope you enjoyed this one.  Any comments or questions, let me know.  And don't forget to let me know which deck format you prefer for when I present them!  Until next time!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO

3 Comments

I like the article and the by ShardFenix at Thu, 04/15/2010 - 11:21
ShardFenix's picture

I like the article and the deck seems really fun to try. As for which deck format...Im going to say the first one with the actual table is just cleaner looking.

I've always disliked Lord of by Paul Leicht at Thu, 04/15/2010 - 14:30
Paul Leicht's picture
5

I've always disliked Lord of Tresserhorn but it is cool to see a deck created to take advantage of his weaknesses. Commander does seem particularly suited for odd decks like this. :)

Thanks for the comments guys. by Leviathan at Fri, 04/16/2010 - 14:24
Leviathan's picture

Thanks for the comments guys. Shard it looks like you're decision will be the deciding vote.