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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Jul 05 2010 1:05am
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I.  Introduction

A while back I asked if people wanted to see a deck around any specific Generals.  There was a request for a GWB deck, so I spent much time trying to think of the perfect General.

He's a white guy dressed in green and black!  I wonder if Ryan Reynolds can pull it off.

Fortunately, there are only two different legends in these colors.  Doran, the Siege Tower isn't bad.  He comes out quick, and you can build a treefolk based deck around him to take advantage of their high toughness.  Add Slagwurm Armor, some mass destruction, and you have a deck!  But I've done a couple of tribal based decks already.  Teneb, the Harvester it is then!

II.  Old Deck:  For Teaching Purposes Only

So I remembered that one of my first decks to play this format online was a Teneb deck.  I managed to find it, and figured I'd let you guys see what it looked like.  Keep in mind that this is an old list that hasn't been updated since Lorwyn came out.  I'm just showing the deck for the sake of posterity:

Teneb, the Harvester
An Old Commander Deck (Not Recommended)
1 Adarkar Valkyrie
1 Avatar of Woe
1 Blinding Angel
1 Cairn Wanderer
1 Darien, King of Kjeldor
1 Dread
1 Glory
1 Graveborn Muse
1 Havoc Demon
1 Herald of Leshrac
1 Joiner Adept
1 Juniper Order Ranger
1 Lim-Dul the Necromancer
1 Magus of the Disk
1 Mortivore
1 Nezumi Graverobber
1 Preacher
1 Royal Assassin
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Seedborn Muse
1 Silklash Spider
1 Skeletal Vampire
1 Teneb, the Harvester
1 Tornado Elemental
1 Verdant Force
1 Vigor
1 Vulturous Zombie
1 Windborn Muse
28 cards

Other Spells
1 Akroma's Memorial
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Journeyer's Kite
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Mind's Eye
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Skullclamp
1 Sun Droplet
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Animate Dead
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Porphyry Nodes
1 Wild Pair
1 Worship
1 Harrow
1 Mortify
1 Putrefy
1 Reprisal
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Akroma's Vengeance
1 Austere Command
1 Barter in Blood
1 Crime/Punishment
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Evangelize
1 Innocent Blood
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Plague Wind
1 Primal Command
1 Rout
1 Syphon Mind
1 Vigor Mortis
1 Wrath of God
33 cards
1 Barren Moor
1 Eiganjo Castle
1 Elfhame Palace
6 Forest
1 Godless Shrine
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Krosan Verge
1 Llanowar Reborn
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Mirrodin's Core
1 Mosswort Bridge
1 New Benalia
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Overgrown Tomb
6 Plains
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
7 Swamp
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Vivid Grove
39 cards
Cairn Wanderer


So what was I trying to do here?  I'm not really sure.  I think I just put in a bunch of cards that looked cool, or found a decklist online somewhere, and went from there.  It looks to have some board control elements with some big beaters.  Let's break it down a little further.

First, there's some mass destruction.  Cards such as Rout, Plague Wind, Innocent Blood, Akroma's Vengeance, Magus of the Disk and Oblivion Stone all provide ways to deal with creatures and other permanents.  Porphyry Nodes is in the deck here, but it doesn't make sense.  The deck has a minor token sub-theme, which is not only unnecessary, but also completely negates the Nodes.

Porphyry Nodes Verdant Force
What was I thinking?

The deck has a little bit of recursion as well.  Aside from Teneb himself, there's also Animate Dead, Vigor Mortis and Nezumi Graverobber.  The deck also includes Adarkar Valkyrie, but doesn't include any sacrifice outlets to abuse its ability.

There are some fun beaters in the deck.  A couple of underplayed cards that are favorites of mine include Vulturous Zombie and Mortivore.  Also included are Herald of Leshrac and Havoc Demon, both of which have good abilities.  Dread is a beatstick with a nice defensive ability, with defense also provided by Windborn Muse and Silklash Spider

Vulturous Zombie Mortivore
Don't forget about us!

In addition, the deck also includes a mini theft suite of Evangelize and Preacher.  I remember being impressed with Evangelize at the time, as it was a pretty good card late game after a Wrath effect.  However it had problems with token decks, obviously.  Preacher was not as good, as I didn't have any sacrifice effects for dealing with the creatures once I stole them.

Some of the stuff is pretty random.  Worship?  Wild Pair?  Lim-Dul?  They didn't really seem to fit with the deck.  As a matter of fact, the deck has no focus, really, other than lots of reset buttons and goofy creatures.  On a side note, I'm not a big fan of Harrow anymore unless I have a landfall based deck.  I've seen it get countered too many times, and all that does is leave you down a land.

This is essentially how not to build a deck.  Keep in mind, I'm just showing you this deck for giggles and definitely don't recommend playing it.  As a matter of fact I took it out for a spin in the multiplayer room just for old times' sake to see what would happen.  As expected, it didn't perform very well.  The cards didn't really mesh together as there was no coherent theme, and there were no synergies.  Sure, there were some powerful cards, but there was no real plan.  Plus it seems like the decks played currently are more focused than when the format was in its infancy and not just a random bunch of cards thrown together.  On a positive note the deck did have 39 lands, so at least I was smart enough to do that.  If anything, you should take away from seeing this list that a successful deck usually requires a plan or some sort of focus.  And if you want to make a Good Stuff.dec you are going to want more powerful cards.

I wonder how many of these cards will see play in my updated list?. 

III.  The Deck:  New and Improved

Well, let's take a look at our Commander:

Teneb, the Harvester

Teneb allows you to pull a creature out of any graveyard and put it into play once he hits.  Sounds like we are going to have a bit of a recursion theme!  The colors themselves lead to the ability to control the board, as both white and black bring mass destruction to the table.  Green helps with the ability to recur things as well as card draw and non-creature destruction.  So this is basically going to turn into a Rock type deck, using creatures with destructive abilities and replaying them from the graveyard.  Let's take a look at the list.

Teneb, the Harvester
A Commander Deck
1 Acidic Slime
1 Adarkar Valkyrie
1 Angel of Despair
1 Archon of Justice
1 Bloodghast
1 Butcher of Malakir
1 Creakwood Liege
1 Deadwood Treefolk
1 Dimir House Guard
1 Duplicant
1 Eternal Witness
1 Genesis
1 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni
1 It That Betrays
1 Nezumi Graverobber
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Phyrexian Plaguelord
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Reveillark
1 Saffi Eriksdotter
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Teneb, the Harvester
1 Terastodon
1 Woodfall Primus
1 Yavimaya Elder
25 cards

Other Spells
1 Coalition Relic
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Helm of Possession
1 Phyrexian Altar
1 Skullclamp
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Strip Mine
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Liliana Vess
1 Aura Shards
1 Debtors' Knell
1 Grave Pact
1 Greater Good
1 Mirari's Wake
1 Oversold Cemetery
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Sylvan Library
1 Condemn
1 Momentous Fall
1 Mortify
1 Putrefy
1 Wing Shards
1 All Is Dust
1 Beacon of Unrest
1 Crime/Punishment
1 Damnation
1 Death Cloud
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Grim Tutor
1 Harmonize
1 Life from the Loam
1 Profane Command
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Victimize
1 Wrath of God
35 cards
1 Barren Moor
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Cabal Coffers
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Fetid Heath
4 Forest
1 Godless Shrine
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Krosan Verge
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Marsh Flats
1 Miren, the Moaning Well
1 Mosswort Bridge
1 Murmuring Bosk
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Overgrown Tomb
2 Plains
1 Savannah
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse
5 Swamp
1 Temple Garden
1 Temple of the False God
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Twilight Mire
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Bastion
39 cards
Woodfall Primus


Obviously Strip Mine belongs in the section under lands, bringing the land count up to 40.  A few cards made it in both decks, but most didn't.  Let's take a closer look at the cards:

Deadwood Treefolk
Nezumi GraverobberDebtors' KnellDeadwood TreefolkBeacon of UnrestSword of Light and ShadowGenesisCrime/PunishmentVictimizeBloodghastReveillarkProfane CommandEternal WitnessOversold Cemetery
Nezumi Graverobber, Debtors' Knell, Deadwood Treefolk, Beacon of Unrest, Sword of Light and Shadow, Genesis, Crime/Punishment, Victimize, Bloodghast, Reveillark, Profane Command, Eternal Witness, Oversold Cemetery:  Aside from your General, you have plenty of ways to recur your creatures.  Many of these also have additional uses.  Bloodghast is a personal favorite, because it can do a lot of different things, one of which is to combo with Skullclamp.  Reveillark has a decent amount of targets, and Nezumi Graverobber doubles as graveyard hate.  A card that I tried was Marshal's Anthem, but unfortunately I never really had enough white mana to get more than one creature out of my yard when I drew it, so I cut it.  Karmic Guide would be pretty sweet also, but I haven't been able to get my hands on one yet.  I'm not completely sold on Oversold Cemetery, but it works well when you are dredging Life from the Loam
Sacrifice Outlets
Phyrexian Plaguelord
Phyrexian AltarHelm of PossessionDimir House GuardMomentous FallPhyrexian PlaguelordMiren, the Moaning WellVictimizeGreater Good
Phyrexian Altar, Helm of Possession, Dimir House Guard, Momentous Fall, Phyrexian Plaguelord, Miren, the Moaning Well, Victimize, Greater Good:  There is some good stuff here.  You want to sac your dudes for good effects, then bring them back with your recursion.  A premium is placed on free sacrifice outlets.  I really like Phyrexian Plaguelord for his ability to get rid of smaller guys.  Greater Good draws cards, and Dimir House Guard acts as a tutor as well.  Helm of Possession is sweet if you have another sac outlet, as you can sac your stolen creature, untap the Helm, and do it again.  One card that I wanted to include was Perilous Forays, specifically because it combos with Bloodghast.  Unfortunately I couldn't find room, but if you did go this route I would probably add a couple basic lands. 
Board Control
Austere Command
All is DustDamnationWrath of GodGrave pactAustere CommandButcher of MalakirCrime/PunishmentDeath Cloud
All is Dust, Damnation, Wrath of God, Grave Pact, Austere Command, Butcher of Malakir, Crime/Punishment, Death Cloud:  Lots of ways to blow creatures up.  Grave Pact on a stick, Butcher of Malakir, is pretty sweet.  Of course, in order for your Grave Pact effects to work, you need a sacrifice outlet and method of recursion.  But finding both isn't usually a problem.  Life from the Loam makes Death Cloud less painful.  Pernicious Deed would be awesome, but until it gets down under 15 tix, I'm going to avoid it.  Keep in mind that It that Betrays really works well with All is Dust, Death Cloud and your Grave Pact effects. 
PutrefyMortifyTerastodonAngel of DespairAura ShardsAcidic SlimeCondemnWing ShardsProfane CommandArchon of JusticeWoodfall PrimusQasali Pridemage
Putrefy, Mortify, Terastodon, Angel of Despair, Aura Shards, Acidic Slime, Condemn, Wing Shards, Profane Command, Archon of Justice, Woodfall Primus, Qasali Pridemage:  With the amount of recursion you have going, Aura Shards is very valuable.  You aren't playing tokens, but you often have at least one new creature coming into play every turn.  Archon of Justice requires a sacrifice outlet, of course, but being able to bring it back and do the same thing all over again is always nice.  Same goes with Angel of Despair, Acidic Slime and Terastodon
Mana Help
Mirari's Wake
Oracle of Mul DayaMirari's WakeCoalition RelicDarksteel IngotSolemn SimulacrumCabal CoffersYavimaya ElderGarruk Wildspeaker
Oracle of Mul Daya, Mirari's Wake, Coalition Relic, Darksteel Ingot, Solemn Simulacrum, Cabal Coffers, Yavimaya Elder:  Getting things out quicker is always nice.  Many times you are going to be re-casting your creatures, so having extra mana to do things is worthwhile.  Solemn Simulacrum isn't a bad recursion target if you don't have much else in your graveyard.  And I've been able to get Coffers out with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth several times.  I'm sticking Garruk in this spot because he can untap your lands, including Coffers.
Card Draw
Phyrexian Arena
SkullclampMomentous FallGreater GoodPhyrexian ArenaHarmonize
Skullclamp, Momentous Fall, Greater Good, Phyrexian Arena, Harmonize:  Many times your mana is going to be tied up with re-casting your creatures and dealing with recursion.  So the card draw isn't always necessary.  But being able to combine your card draw with your sacrifice outlets, such as Momentous Fall and Greater Good, is always nice.  As I already noted, Skullclamp works really well with Bloodghast 
Grim Tutor
Demonic TutorGrim tutorSylvan ScryingTooth and NailLiliana VessDimir House Guard
Demonic Tutor, Grim Tutor, Sylvan Scrying, Tooth and Nail, Liliana Vess, Dimir House Guard:  Helps you find answers.  I use Sylvan Scrying typically to find one half of the Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth/Cabal Coffers combo.  It might actually be better served as Scapeshift, because we are playing with Life from the Loam after all.  I also wanted to find room for the Mephidross Vampire/Triskelion combo that I could Tooth and Nail for, but I couldn't find the room.  Dimir House Guard can transmute for a variety of different cards in the deck, including Wrath of God, Grave Pact, Greater Good and even Creakwood Liege.
Loam Package
Life from the Loam
Windswept HeathMarsh FlatsVerdant CatacombsTranquil ThicketBarren MoorSecluded SteppeKrosan Verge
Windswept Heath, Marsh Flats, Verdant Catacombs, Tranquil Thicket, Barren Moor, Secluded Steppe, Krosan Verge:  So I learned something from the Sasaya deck I wrote about previously:  Life from the Loam is good.  You can get these cards back to your hand and either draw with the cyclers, or pull out additional lands.  If you have some method of recursion already in play, LftL will give you more options in the graveyard to choose from.  Like I said, Scapeshift is another option in this deck as well.  If you did add Scapeshift, you could search up Urborg and Coffers, as well as other helpful lands.

A couple of other cards deserve mention.  Creakwood Liege pumps out tokens that you can sacrifice for effects, and is especially good with Grave Pact out.  In addition, it turns Teneb into a three hit killing machine.  Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni works well to ninja some of your "enters the battlefield" creatures back to your hand.

This is a grind it out type of deck.  You aren't going to be swinging for 50 points of damage.  Instead, you are going to use your graveyard, as well as those of your opponents, as resources, and try to get incremental advantage over your opponents.  The deck is semi click intensive, and sometimes the board control elements annoy people, but it is fun.  I've found that the two most important cards in the deck for board control are Butcher of Malakir and Grave Pact, so keep that in mind when you are tutoring stuff up.  The weakness of the deck is obviously graveyard hate.  If you want to protect yourself, Sadistic Sacrament and Jester's Cap are the typical options.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to keep track of what's in everyone's graveyards.  This isn't always the easiest thing to do online, but you need to know what your options are for when you connect with Teneb and Ink-Eyes or draw Beacon of Unrest.

Due to his colors, Rock type decks using Teneb are pretty common.  Other commonly played cards in this type of deck include Necrotic Sliver, Harmonic Sliver, Reya Dawnbringer, Puppeteer Clique, Dread, Miraculous Recovery, Marshal's Anthem, Wickerbough Elder, Indrik Stomphowler and Survival of the Fittest.  Other cards I considered but couldn't find room for were Barter in Blood, Innocent Blood, Chainer's Edict, Perilous Forays, Avatar of Woe, Savra, Queen of the Golgari, Mortivore, Lord of Extinction and Vulturous Zombie, along with the Mephidross Vampire/Triskelion combo.  Unfortunately, you can't play every card you want, but these are all worth of consideration.

So when I talked about the WotC decks two articles ago I mentioned things I needed to work on.  The two biggest ones where land count and average CMC.  The land count is all right here, with 40.  I think this is fine, as it includes all of the Ravnica bounce lands as well as the mana helpers mentioned above.  The average CMC on this deck is 4.17 which isn't horrible.  If you really wanted to reduce the average CMC of the deck you would probably have to get rid of It that Betrays and use cheaper alternatives for one or more of the following:  Angel of Despair, Terastodon & Woodfall Primus.  But the deck isn't bad right now if you want to keep it like it is.

IV.  The Game:  Fight!

Who are the opponents for this game?

Teneb, the HarvesterMangara of CorondorOmnath, Locus of Mana

Cool, another Teneb deck.  Before we talk about what to expect from these guys, just want to mention something you may not know:  All Commanders are immune to the Legend rule online.  Meaning that if someone Clones your Commander hoping to kill it, all that will happen is the Clone will die, and your Commander will live.  This also means that since there is no Legend rule for your Commander, me and the other Teneb player can both have our Commanders in play at the same time.

I expect some graveyard shenanigans from the other Teneb player, and hope that he doesn't steal my thunder.  Mangara is typically a controlling deck, using the Commander as repeatable removal.  If he gets out Thousand-Year Elixir or Magewright's Stone, you have to be careful even if Mangara isn't in play.  Everyone knows that Omnath is a beatdown machine that can get real large real quick.  The other Teneb player wins the roll.  Here's my opening hand:

Cabal CoffersNezumi GraverobberSwampTwilight MireTooth and NailInk-Eyes, Servant of OniAll is Dust
Cabal Coffers, Nezumi Graverobber, Swamp, Twilight Mire, Tooth and Nail, Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni, All is Dust 

Three lands, but one is Cabal Coffers.  I don't like this hand, so I ship it back for another 7:

ForestDuplicantWing ShardsOvergrown TombCoalition RelicDemonic TutorButcher of Malakir
Forest, Duplicant, Wing Shards, Overgrown Tomb, Coalition Relic, Demonic Tutor, Butcher of Malakir

Only two lands, but it has Coalition Relic.  So hopefully I can draw a third land.  If I can't, I can always fall back on Demonic Tutor.  I decide to keep instead of going down to 6 cards in hand.  The other Teneb player mulligans down to 5.  Sad times.  As usual, T = the other Teneb, the Harvester, M= Mangara of Corondor, and O = Omnath, Locus of Mana.

Round 1
T: Vivid Marsh.
M: Snow-Covered Plains.  He plays a mix of Snow-Covered and regular lands, and the difference doesn't really come into play.
O: Forest, Basilisk Collar.
Me: Draw Oracle of Mul Daya, play Overgrown Tomb

Round 2
T: Esper Panorama, sacs it for Plains.
M: Plains.
O: Forest, Priest of Titania.  Uh oh.  
Me: Draw Profane Command. Play Swamp.  With no immediate land help in sight, I Demonic Tutor for Krosan Verge.
Round 3
T: Naya Panorama, sacs it for Plains.  With the two Panoramas, he may likely be playing Life from the Loam as well.
M: Plains, plays his Commander, Mangara of Corondor.  An excellent form of removal that can screw with my ability to steal stuff from graveyards.
O: Forest, Llanowar Elves, then Gravity Well, which is a pretty good anti-flying card.  Unfortunately it doesn't really help him that much in this game.
Gravity Well
Good flying defense for the whole table.
Me: Draw Coffin Queen. Play Krosan Verge.
Round 4
T: Forest.
M: Spirit Loop on Mangara, then attacks T (39), going up to (41).
O: Forest, then taps out to play Omanth, who is a 5/5.
Me: Draw Condemn. I have a choice here. I can play Coalition Relic so I have mana for Condemn in case Omnath attacks me. Or I can try to advance my mana by cracking the Verge. I take a chance and advance my mana, searching for Savannah and Godless Shrine. I figure that I haven't done anything aggressive at this point, and guess that O will attack M.  I discard Coffin Queen to get to 7 cards in hand.
Round 5
T: Swamp.
M: Plains, Dawn Elemental.  Fun card that's great for defense.
Dawn Elemental
Rarely seen, but still good at what it does.
O: Doubling Cube, then doubles his available mana, making Omnath 13/13. Tries to cast One with Nature on Omnath, but M uses Mangara to exile both Commanders. Spirit Loop returns to M’s hand. O re-casts Omnath and puts Bear Umbra on him, making him a 5/5.  This could get real ugly real quick.
Me: Draw Darksteel Ingot. Play Coalition Relic so that I can cast Condemn if I'm attacked by Omnath.
Round 6
T: Plains.
M: Puts Spirit Loop on Dawn Elemental. Attacks me (37), and goes up to (44).  Strange play, I would have thought he'd keep the Elemental back for defense.  But he's playing like he's an aggressive deck, which he clearly isn't.
O: Adds all the mana in his pool that he can and doubles it, then attaches Basilisk Collar to Omnath, making him a 13/13.  Attacks M with Omnath and as he is about to untap all his lands due to Bear Umbra, Omnath gets hit by M with Condemn.  So that's why M wasn't worried.
O gains 13 life, going up to (53). O then casts Beast Hunt, revealing Tranquil Thicket, Genesis and Quirion Elves, drawing the creatures. I put a counter on the Relic.
Me: Draw Strip Mine. Cast Darksteel Ingot, then Oracle of Mul Daya. Oracle reveals Swamp and Temple of the False God, both of which I put into play.  I love that sexy Oracle!  Card on top of my library is now Phyrexian Altar. At the end of my turn, T casts Summoning Trap, putting Graveborn Muse into play.
Round 7
T: Draws from Muse (38). Plays Crypt of Agadeem.  Crypt could be good if he starts dredging a ton.
M: Mouth of Ronom. Then Solemn Offering on O’s Doubling Cube, going up to (48). Attacks O with Dawn Elemental (50), going up to (51).
O: Quirion Elves, then Genesis.
Me: Draw Phyrexian Altar, revealing Swamp then Plains on top of my library, playing both.  That's some mana development!  Top card of my library is now a Forest. Play Butcher of Malakir. The plan is to play Phyrexian Altar next turn, which should go well with my Grave Pact effect.
Round 8
T: Draws from Muse (37). Casts Big Game Hunter, targeting my Butcher. 
Big Game Hunter
I like him better than Bone Shredder.
Butcher dying makes everyone else sac a creature. T sacs Big Game Hunter, M sacs his Dawn Elemental (Spirit Loop back to hand) and O sacs Genesis, which I'm guessing he doesn't mind. T attacks M with Graveborn Muse, but I don’t want him drawing more cards, so I cast Wing Shards, making T sac his Muse. I’m keeping Condemn in hand in case T casts his Commander and attacks, since I don’t want someone else raiding graveyards. T then casts Gravedigger, getting his Muse back to hand. Oh well.
M: Plains.
O: Summoning Trap, putting Oracle of Mul Daya into play. Hopefully she won't be as good for him as mine has been for me.  Top card of his library is Lurking Predators. Attaches Basilisk Collar to Quirion Elves, and attacks M (50), going up to (51). 
Me: Draw Forest. Play Mosswort Bridge from the top of my library. I get a choice of Victimize, Genesis, Reveillark and Momentous Fall. I figure if I can activate the Bridge I should have a big guy, so I put Momentous Fall under it. I then play the Swamp on the top of my library, revealing Bloodghast. I then cast Profane Command, killing Priest of Titania, since she scares me, and returning Butcher of Malakir to play. 
Round 9
T: Attacks M with Gravedigger (48). Casts a Profane Command of his own, killing my Oracle of Mul Daya (booooo!), and returning Big Game Hunter to play targeting my Butcher. The Oracle dies first, triggering the Butcher. T sacs his Big Game Hunter, and O sacs his Llanowar Elves. Then Big Game Hunter’s ability resolves, killing the Butcher. T sacs his Gravedigger, and O sacs his Quirion Elves.  Butcher has been doing a good job of keeping the board clear.
M: Plains, then Mangara for the second time.
O: Obviously draws Lurking Predators. Reveals two Forests, which he plays, revealing Slippery Karst. Casts Lurking Predators. At least we can see what is coming up.
Lurking Predators
Very good card, especially in creature heavy decks.
Me: Draw Bloodghast. Play Teneb, and O ships Slippery Karst to the bottom of his deck, revealing Acidic Slime.  I wonder what he will hit.  I'm hoping it's not my Mosswort Bridge.
Round 10
T: Plays Nekrataal. O puts Acidic Slime into play, taking out M’s Mouth of Ronom.  Thank you very much. Nekrataal takes out Mangara.
M: Arrest on Teneb. Booo again. 
O: Draws the Skyshroud Ranger on top of his library, revealing Yavimaya Elder. Plays Ranger. Puts Basilisk Collar on Acidic Slime (Double deathtouch baby!) and attacks M with it (46), going up to (53).
Me: Draw Forest. My plan now is to get 10 power of creatures into play so I can use Momentous Fall on Teneb, since he is currently useless to me.  Play Bloodghast, and O puts Yavimaya Elder into play. Then I play Duplicant, taking out O’s Oracle of Mul Daya. O puts Indrik Stomphowler into play, taking out my Coalition Relic. Play Strip Mine and sac it, taking out T’s Crypt of Agadeem. O sacs his Yavimaya Elder to draw a card and search up Forests. 
Round 11
T: Plays Graveborn Muse. O’s LP whiffs.
M: Plains, then Mangara again (third time for those keeping track).
O: Forest, Avenger of Zendikar. Gets 7 plant tokens. T then casts Momentary Blink on his Nekrataal, killing the Avenger. O attacks T with Stomphowler and Acidic Slime, which has Basilisk Collar on it. O obviously forgets that Nekrataal has first strike. T blocks and kills the Slime, letting Stomphowler through (33). At the end of O’s turn, I activate my Mosswort Bridge, playing Momentous Fall, sacrificing Teneb. I go up to (43) and draw the following:
I love Momentous Fall
Me: Draw Murmuring Bosk. Play Wooded Bastion, then Wrath of God. I then re-play Teneb. O has been continuously whiffing with his LP. I discard 2 Forests to get down to 7 cards in hand.
Round 12
T: Puppeteer Clique, pulling Indrik Stomphowler from O’s graveyard. Stomphowler takes out Lurking Predators. Attacks M with Stomphowler (42), which gets removed from the game at the end of the turn.
M: Knight of the White Orchid, getting a Plains.
O: Uses Genesis to return Avenger of Zendikar to his hand. Plays Forest. Then Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, taking out T’s Vivid Marsh and searching up a Forest.
Me: Draw Beacon of Unrest. I attack O with Teneb (47), and use Teneb to regrow T’s Graveborn Muse for a little extra card draw. I then cast Beacon of Unrest on my Oracle of Mul Daya. I play Orzhov Basilica, bouncing Mosswort Bridge and bringing Bloodghast back to play. I then re-play Mosswort Bridge, seeing Terastodon, Damnation, Solemn Simulacrum and Tranquil Thicket. I put the elephant under the Bridge. Top of my library is now Swamp. I then play Phyrexian Altar.
Round 13
T: Forest, then Fleshbag Marauder. M sacs his Knight, and I sac Bloodghast, while T sacs his Puppeteer Clique. Clique persists, bringing Yavimaya Elder from O’s graveyard.  T then sacs the Elder for 2 Swamps and a card. 
M: Karmic Justice.
Karmic Justice
Good defensive card.  Too bad it doesn't protect your creatures as well.
O: Returns Acidic Slime to his hand with Genesis. Then casts the Slime, taking out my Mosswort Bridge and Terastodon underneath it.  Sad times.
Me: Draw Swamp from Muse (42) and Nezumi Graverobber. Play Shizo, Death's Storehouse, bringing Bloodghast back to play. I give Teneb fear with Shizo (O still has Gravity Well in play) and attack O. My plan is to take out O with Commander damage. O drops to (41) (12 points in Teneb damage), and I regrow Butcher of Malakir into play. I then play Helm of Possession.  I forget that I can play one more land due to my Oracle.  In addition, I forget that with the Butcher out, he will trigger when I sac a creature to the Helm.  Then the creature that I'm trying to steal with the Helm can be sacrificed in response, so I won't be able to steal anything.
Round 14
T: Swamp, Lightning Greaves, then an Acidic Slime of his own, taking out my Helm.  So my Helm issues don't matter.
M: Plains.
O: Casts Avenger of Zendikar again. As Avenger's ability is on the stack, I sacrifice Bloodghast and Butcher of Malakir to my Phyrexian Altar. T sacs his Clique and Fleshbag Marauder while O has to sac his Slime and Avenger. O gets 9 plant tokens.
Me: I draw Liliana Vess from the Muse (41) and Grave Pact. I give Teneb fear with Shizo, and attack O (35) (18 damage from Teneb). I regrow Avenger of Zendikar into play with Teneb, getting 12 plant tokens. I then play Swamp and Murmuring Bosk, getting Bloodghast back and making each of the plants 2/3’s. I cast Liliana Vess, and put my own Acidic Slime on top of my library, because I have a feeling Shizo isn't going to last much longer and I need a way to get rid of the Gravity Well that's still in play.
Round 15
T: Swamp, then Dread
Defense on a beefy stick.
Puts Lightning Greaves on Dread, and goes to attack me. I sac my Bloodghast to my Altar, forgetting that Butcher of Malakir is no longer in play. But then T concedes, saying that he’s tired. It was pretty late, but I'm bummed because I wanted to see the game played out, and it was pretty good so far. I lose the Graveborn Muse as a result of T's concession.
M: Mangara again, for the fourth time.
O: Returns Acidic Slime to his hand with Genesis, then casts it, taking out my Shizo, Death's Storehouse.
Me: Draw Acidic Slime. Play Cabal Coffers from the top of my library, bringing back Bloodghast and making my plants 3/4 each. Then play Grave Pact and Acidic Slime, taking out O’s Gravity Well. I attack O with Teneb and M with the remainder of the team. O concedes after blockers are declared, as he was about to die to Commander damage.  I lose the Avenger, which was going to be blocked by Mangara. M drops to (4). I then sac Bloodghast to the Altar, making M sac Mangara.
Round 16
M: Casts Retribution of the Meek, taking out Teneb. Strangely, I didn’t get the choice to RFG him. Then casts Vengeance on my Oracle of Mul Daya.
Me: I attack with plants for the win.

V.  Conclusion

So obviously this game would have taken longer if Avenger of Zendikar wasn't played by my opponent, and if the other Teneb player hadn't conceded.  As I noted, this is a grinding type of deck.  This is the longest game I've reported on that I have played.  I typically go for more aggressive styles, but this was a nice change of pace.

This deck did all right.  Usually I could get together everything that I wanted and control the board.  If that happens, typically people will gang up on you, either through trying to remove your permanents effecting your ability to sacrifice and return things, or just through attacking you with creatures.  Most of the time I could hold everyone off, but sometimes I couldn't.  My one disappointment was that I never got to live the dream and cast All is Dust while It that Betrays was in play.  As a matter of fact, the few times I was able to cast my lone Eldrazi, he was pretty much destroyed on sight.  Another Eldrazi to consider is Artisan of Kozilek.  He can even replace ITB if you want.

Cards that I really wanted in the current deck are Vulturous Zombie and Lord of Extinction.  Unfortunately I just couldn't find the room.  And if you want to get really interesting, you can use Mortuary in combination with Call of the Wild or Lurking Predators to keep things coming back (thanks to Adam the Mentat fo that one).

Another card I completely forgot about was Altar of Dementia.  It's a free sac outlet that can dump some creatures into your opponents graveyards for you to reanimate.  I would probably replace Phyrexian Altar with Altar of Dementia.

Like I said when I started writing these things, this probably isn't the most super powerful version of a Teneb deck but it definitely gets the job done.  I'm sure that there are better versions out there.  However if you want a completely different take on Teneb, check out the one Bennie Smith wrote about over at starcitygames.com right here.  His deck has a higher creature count but still has some of the same ideas.  It's worth checking out, but make sure and read the weaknesses he points out in his deck at the end of the article.

Thanks for reading!  Until next time.

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO


Excellent article this week. by ShardFenix at Mon, 07/05/2010 - 01:37
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Excellent article this week. I know my first commander deck of all time was teneb as well. I used a higher creature base with loads of beneficial CiP abilities and some hard to kill fat. Now though Im working on a budgeted Kaervek build. So far only at 5 tickets for the whole deck. Havent won yet but normally Im the second place guy.

awesome by burn3000 at Mon, 07/05/2010 - 02:39
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VERY scary how similar our teneb decks are..though I think most teneb decks do look the same just playing the most powerful cards of the color to fit the theme. Things I do recommend which you've already mentioned are: survival of the fittest and karmic guide. Guide is cheap, and totally 100% worth it. Karmic and volrath's stronghold + a sac outlet = infinite CITP effects. You also need NEED living death. Card is nuts period, you will likely have your stuff in the yard first, and even if you don't yours will be bigger (if you can get them there that is). Enlighted tutor is another must IMO, if anything to whip out sylvan or phyrexian the first couple turns. Sensei's annoying top is a staple too, along with greaves to start bursting with your recurred dudes.
(On a side note i've started using your oros deck with some minor tweaks (mainly to $$ the manabase and add a few forger searchers) and gone 3/3. It's a fun awesome deck...really needs the Double creature dmg enchant though which name slips my mind atm, but turns oros 3 into a usual sweeping 6. That deck with karmic turns into another pseudo reanimator comboed with volrath, miren, and CITP guys like hellkite and despair. Karmic gets them back for only 5 mana, so she's beast. play her!) Love your articles, EDH is something i've gotten into in the last month or so and it's a blast when standard starts to go stagnant. Keep up the good work!

Gratuitous Violence perhaps? by ShardFenix at Mon, 07/05/2010 - 03:07
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Gratuitous Violence perhaps? I didnt look it up but the name seems right

indeed, many G/B(W) are by laughinman at Mon, 07/05/2010 - 07:27
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indeed, many G/B(W) are essentially "Here be GoodStuff" concoctions, but many people like that playstyle.
me too.

and to mainstream the deck further, here are a few cards i'd have included:
Vesuva - obvious coffers combo, plus legendary Land destruction.
Primal Command - creature Tutor and nonland destruction? Sign me up. and even life, if yxou need it.
Plague Boiler - also known als Planeswalker boiler
Heart of the Wild - call the big 'uns!

yes by burn3000 at Mon, 07/05/2010 - 09:25
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Gratuitous violence indeed. Tutored that up with diabolic, and swung in HARD in one of the games, not to mention using oros to sweep anything else under 7.

Glad you guys liked the by Leviathan at Mon, 07/05/2010 - 17:17
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Glad you guys liked the article. All the cards you guys mention are worth considering. Like I said there are a lot of options with this type of deck. The decks I show are really meant to be jumping off points and it seems like you guys get that. Let me know if you all want to see something specific in the future.

Id be interested by laughinman at Mon, 07/05/2010 - 18:28
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if you have a specialplaceinyourheart pet deck, which never gets scrapped, only modified since the dawn of time.
i have one and one day im going to write about it.

you know if you ever wanted by ShardFenix at Mon, 07/05/2010 - 18:33
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you know if you ever wanted to do a deck doctor or something you could use this deck...
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Blaze
1 Deathbringer Thoctar
1 Absorb Vis
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Word of Seizing
1 Prophetic Prism
1 Infectious Horror
1 Akoum Refuge
1 Twisted Abomination
1 Nekrataal
1 Pain Magnification
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Fireball
1 Dreamstone Hedron
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Molten Slagheap
1 Lightning Reaver
1 Scourge of Kher Ridges
1 Forgotten Cave
1 Rise from the Grave
1 Kaervek the Merciless
1 Rolling Thunder
1 Disintegrate
1 Threaten
1 Grave Pact
1 Baneful Omen
1 Anathemancer
1 Phyrexian Vault
1 Enslave
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Repay in Kind
1 Tortured Existence
15 Mountain
1 Shivan Harvest
1 Doom Blade
1 Nettlevine Blight
1 Barren Moor
1 Reiterate
1 Mark of Mutiny
1 Carnage Altar
14 Swamp
1 Magma Phoenix
1 Breath of Malfegor
1 Expedition Map
1 Flameblast Dragon
1 Conquering Manticore
1 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Fiery Fall
1 Wrecking Ball
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Traitorous Instinct
1 Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
1 Sulfurous Blast
1 Ashes to Ashes
1 Terminate
1 Terror
1 Kaervek's Purge
1 Smash to Smithereens
1 Farsight Mask
1 It That Betrays
1 Goblin Bombardment
1 Magmaw
1 Grim Discovery
1 Pilgrim's Eye
1 Smother
1 Act of Treason
1 Rakdos Riteknife
1 Knollspine Dragon
1 Prismatic Lens
1 Shattering Spree
1 Dragon Roost
1 Icy Manipulator
B/R mostly stealing and saccing things. It does fair to adequate. Though impressively would be keeping it on a budget right now the whole thing has cost 5 tix. Though I would be willing to probably spend up to 25 more on it. lol

So I got a win last night in by Leviathan at Sat, 07/10/2010 - 11:22
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So I got a win last night in my first game with the updates. I made. Took a bit of politicking to take out the uril player but it worked out. My next article is about vorosh but I will do the deck doctor after that.

My pet deck is the Lord of by Leviathan at Mon, 07/05/2010 - 20:04
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My pet deck is the Lord of Tresserhorn deck I wrote about in my second column. I may come back to that hit soon. The deck doctor idea sounds interesting, I will work on Kaervek soon.

I'd like to see a rith token by burn3000 at Mon, 07/05/2010 - 23:35
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I'd like to see a rith token deck as well

rith by burn3000 at Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:23
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rith the dragon that is..

How about ... by Mr Littlejeans at Tue, 07/06/2010 - 15:38
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With all the Eldrazi being played in EDH ... how about brewing up an anit-Eldrazi deck?

I tried whipping one together real quick using UR ... steal and sacrifice type cards ... and stuff like Stifle/Trickbind ...looks like it could be fun ... but haven't gotten a chance to try it out yet.

that sounds pretty by ShardFenix at Tue, 07/06/2010 - 16:12
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that sounds pretty interesting though its hard to stel an emrakul. You may want to add black for sacrifice effects. Edicts, Grave Pacts, Butchers...

Helm of Possession rocks. You by Paul Leicht at Tue, 07/06/2010 - 16:24
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Helm of Possession rocks. You can fabricate it etc.

There are some great steal by Mr Littlejeans at Tue, 07/06/2010 - 18:52
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There are some great steal effect that don't target: Insurrection, Grab the Reins, and Twist Allegiance.

Some other good cards are Bribery, Spelljack, Gather Specimens, and Desertion.

Timestop works as a 3rd stifle effect.

@ Paul ... yea Helm is great.

i knew about insurrection but by ShardFenix at Tue, 07/06/2010 - 19:13
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i knew about insurrection but did not know that about grab the reins...i even run that card..smh

Grab the Reins Choose one - by sanhedrin at Sat, 07/10/2010 - 00:04
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Grab the Reins
Choose one - Until end of turn, you gain control of target creature and it gains haste; or sacrifice a creature, then Grab the Reins deals damage equal to that creature's power to target creature or player.
Entwine {2}{R} (Choose both if you pay the entwine cost.)

I though it targeted but by ShardFenix at Sat, 07/10/2010 - 02:37
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I though it targeted but never checked whether or not the other guy was right. He may be thinking of Reins of Power.

I can get a Rith deck going by Leviathan at Tue, 07/06/2010 - 21:01
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I can get a Rith deck going as well.

The anti-Eldrazi deck sounds like an interesting exercise. I think I would want to use Esper colors for it, with some good theft, sacrifice and mass destruction. I'll look into that for sure.

risky move :D by laughinman at Thu, 07/08/2010 - 17:24
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Risky Move :D (the card)

or better yet:
Sorrow's Path+Deathtouch Creature

Ugh if only every edh game by ShardFenix at Fri, 07/09/2010 - 21:29
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Ugh if only every edh game online wasnt guranteed to have one or two net-deckers it would be a far better format. Every game there is always the typical rafiq, or Uril, or Zur, arcum decks. Its not a problem of winning or losing but rather the fact that some people are so uncreative/spikish that they just go for such known entities.