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By: CheshirePlaysGames, Albert Caynes
Nov 12 2019 1:00pm
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Ayara, First of Locthwain is definitely a build around commander more than anything, I mean sure she can likely fit in a reanimator shell, but let’s lean into her ability to indiscriminately drain everyone in your pod and see what we can rough up from there.


Looking more into what we can do with Ayara, we see she loves to drain opponents like a vampire when a creature enters the battlefield under your control. First we should look at mana reduction such as Bontu's Monument because not only does it offer a colourless cost reduction for our creatures, but it also drains our opponents for one life each time we cast a creature spell.
Looking at ways we can capitalise off aristocrats, we can also now add in our drainers. Both Blood Artist and Falkenrath Noble trigger when one of our creatures dies and are very cheap to cast. Zulaport Cutthroat and Vindictive Vampire are the better of the aristocrat creatures as they drain all opponents, rather than just one. Bontu the Glorified also hits all your opponents, but the activation costs you mana at the perk of being its own sacrifice outlet.
Now that we have an idea of our direction, we need to figure out how to get these pieces into our hand with the least amount of fuss. Scheming Symmetry allows you to play a politics move and help out a fellow player, both of you get to search for a card and place it atop your deck. Diabolic Intent assists the theme as we can sacrifice a creature to go looking for any card in our deck, this allows us to also trigger our aristocrats above. Mausoleum Secrets is a bit of an odd one in most decks, requiring you to have creatures in your discard pile equal to or more than the CMC of your search target, but that’s not hard in this deck.
Next, we need a few cool ways to sacrifice creatures for fun and profit. Ashnod's Altar and Krark-Clan Ironworks (Remember, artifacts only with the Ironworks!) allow us to liquefy creatures into two colourless mana and cast more stuff, Fallen Angel helps push some big damage through in combat if you feed her creatures to get SWOL, not unlike Yahenni, Undying Partisan whom we can feed a creature to make stick around and with a bonus perk that if an opponent’s creature dies, Yahenni gets a +1+1 counter.


With all this sacrificing going on, we need ways to capitalise on them and get even more value. Grave Pact and Butcher of Malakir both make each opponent sacrifice a creature when one of yours gets killed. This can be pretty horrendous for your opponents as we have more ways of sacrificing creatures than just the above mentioned. Eliminate the Competition is surprisingly nasty in this vein, we get to sacrifice a bunch of creatures and our opponents have to do the same. Magus of the Abyss acts more like an enchantment than a creature, making each player  sacrifice a non-artifact creature during their upkeep. Keeping with death for value, Harvester of Souls nets us a card draw each time a non-token creature dies. For a little more combo spice, we have Sangromancer so that when your opponents have creatures sent to the bottomless pit of Rath, you gain three life, but then we mix in Sanguine Bond so we also make an opponent lose that much life. Actually, Sanguine is just really good in an Aristocrats deck anyway.
Other removal will help us to push that angle start with Consuming Vapors, a nice little removal spell that also nets us life. Ruinous Path doubles as creature/planeswalker removal and as an awakened 4/4 elemental land. Shriekmaw can be cheap removal and will also die for your sins, or you know, your aristocrats. On the mass removal side we have Damnation, Decree of Pain and In Garruk's Wake. The Wake you might want to hold up until you can make a massive board vanish and leave your game strong enough to win. Speaking of sort of mass removal, we have Liliana's Triumph, Priest of Forgotten Gods and The Eldest Reborn to ensure we can kill threats that can't be board wiped or destroyed.
Leaning further into us sacrificing our creatures, Open the Graves is perfect for this style of deck, every non-token creature we sacrifice or is killed, turns into more cannon fodder in the form of a 2/2 Zombie. Then, we can use Graveyard Marshal to grind up dead things and make them into more 2/2 dead things for us to play with and he doesn't even tap. Army of the Damned helps us to close out the game by creating a rather large army that we can sacrifice.
Oh did I fail to mention we also run a reanimator package? This is the way that we can keep sacrificing a bunch of creatures to our Aristocrats and then bring them all back to do it again. First up we have single target reanimation from Reanimate, Unearth, Stitch Together, Animate Dead, Dread Return, Beacon of Unrest, Victimize, Phyrexian Delver and good old Sheoldred, Whispering One. For mass reanimation we have Living Death though to be fair this one can be a little tricky so you don't screw yourself over, Command the Dreadhorde because we are going to be gaining a lot of life, we can command a huge undead army and not have to worry too much about the life loss. Twilight's Call works for everyone so you want to be careful and cast it only when you're likely to win on the spot. Ghastly Conscription is usually much better in a multicoloured deck because you can eventually flip some of those creatures up, but in our deck we just want more cannon fodder. Thrilling Encore is an interesting card, we can save our creatures after a boardwipe or resurrect an entire army after we sacrifice them.
Card draw is a must do the staple here is going to be Skullclamp, though we don't have many 1/1 creatures to really take advantage. Phyrexian Arena is always a good card to pack and we mitigate the life loss in this deck. Phyrexian Rager, Ancient Craving, Erebos, God of the Dead and Vilis, Broker of Blood make for some very solid card draw with Vilis also potentially helping out our Skullclamp as well.
But what happens when we come up against a deck that can out life gain us? Revel in Riches is our final calling in the deck so that we can try and get a sneaky win when no one expects it. Its always good to have a back up wincon just in case our plan goes completly off the rails.

Well there we have it, this is really my first deep dive into Aristocrats, what do you have that I might have missed? Leave suggestions in the comments below! - Chesh