Commander Deck Tech: Sheoldred, the Apocalypse
Dominaria United has so far turned out to be an excellent set. The limited formats are fun and entertaining. The constructed environment has fully been engulfed by Dominaria United cards. Quite a few Standard and Pioneer decks I've seen have a large percentage of DMU cards. There's also been a few cards popping up in Modern decks. DMU has been very popular within the Commander community as well.
For this week's article I decided to select arguably the best card card in Domanira United: Sheoldred, the Apocalypse.
“Gix failed. I shall not”
The new Sheoldred is quite a bit cheaper mana wise than the previous Black Praetor. However we are also playing a copy of Sheoldred, Whispering One within the deck as well. At four total converted mana we can get the new Sheoldred out much quicker. It's a very beefy and efficient creature at 4 mana for a 4/5 with deathtouch. Then we get the bonus ability of whenever we draw a card we get to gain 2 life. When your opponent draws a card they lose 2 life.
So this deck is all about drawing cards. We want to get Sheoldred out as soon as possible while also drawing more cards. On the flipside if we get our opponents drawing more cards they are also losing more life. We can potentially drain them to death if they draw too many cards. The only problem with this is that they do get card advantage to deal with Sheoldred. Because of this you most likely will be casting Sheoldred from the Command zone many times during your games. We will need added mana rocks, and the ability to get more lands.
The deck runs seven artifact mana rocks or acceleration. I opted to go with most of them minus Grim Monolith due to the cost. The deck runs: Dark Ritual, Sol Ring, Charcoal Diamond, Mind Stone, Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, and Thought Vessel. There's also a Jet Medallion to make black spells cheaper, and a Caged Sun and Crypt Ghast to double our Swamp production. There's a boss Planeswalker in Liliana of the Dark Realms. You can use her to search up swamps, and give creatures -X/-X.
We also are going to need spot removal and wrath effects. This deck runs five spot removal spells in: Murderous Rider // Swift End, Infernal Grasp, Hero's Downfall, Deadly Rollick, and Feed the Swarm. The deck runs four wrath effects in: Damnation, The Meathook Massacre, Toxic Deluge, and Mutilate. There's also a situational fifth board wipe effect in Massacre Wurm.
Most decks will also want to run some type of card advantage or card draw. This deck stresses drawing cards more than most. We want our opponents to draw more cards when Sheoldred is in play. It's a weird type of evil that only Sheoldred and the Phyrexians would understand. The deck runs Eight cards that will consistently make your opponent(s) draw cards. Those are: Howling Mine, Teferi's Puzzle Box, Temple Bell, Font of Mythos, Dark Deal, Seizan, Perverter of Truth, Bloodgift Demon, and Mikokoro, Center of the Sea. There's also another four spells which have target player draws x cards, and these can target you or your opponent depending on the situation.
We are also running a pair of tutors as any black deck should.
Aside from these we have several spells which add to our life drain or life gaining abilities. There's the awesome combo of Exquisite Blood and Sanguine Bond. After that we also have: Venser's Journal, Alhammarret's Archive, Underworld Dreams, Curse of Fool's Wisdom, Exsanguinate, Peer into the Abyss, Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, Archfiend of Despair, Psychosis Crawler, Twilight Prophet, and Fate Unraveler.
So you can see there's all types of drawing cards, life gaining, and life draining abilities within the deck. One the most interesting parts of the deck is the pretty simple mana base. We want lots of swamps for cards like Mutilate, Liliana of the Dark Realms, Cabal Coffers, Magus of the Coffers, Dread Presence, and Cabal Stronghold.
With this crazy amount of potential for Mana Flare or Swamp multiplying abilities we can get a ton of mana. One thing we could do with this large amount of mana would be to tutor for Exsanguinate and just end the game. I don't know how many times I've won a 4 player commander game with my Teysa commander deck. It gets late game and things get stagnant and you have a bunch of mana. Then you draw a Debt to the Deathless or an Exsanguinate and just end the game.
You can also win the old fashion way. We just use spot removal to take out our opponents threats while playing creatures. Eventually you'll get up to the six to eight mana range and play things like Massacre Wurm or Archon of Cruelty. Once those things start happening either they have counterspells or removal, or they don't. We have backup plans with a Reanimate, Witch of the Moors, and Agadeem's Awakening.
Overall this deck looks like it is going to be a blast to play. I also don't think mana issues will be a problem at all. I went through about 40 sample hands and only 2 needed to mulligan. Since we are playing Commander, you get your first mulligan for free, so even if you have to mulligan the chance of having to mulligan twice is pretty low. That's due to all the mana rocks and card drawing within the deck. The only downfall I see with this deck is some of the costs. We run some cool mythics and cards like Mana Crypt are pretty expensive. You can substitute some of the higher dollar cards for something similar. If you can't afford Mana Crypt get a Worn Powerstone or Thran Dynamo.
This is one of the most exciting decks I've built in a while, and I plan on putting some effort into putting it together to play with my friends. I hope this build gives you some fantastic ideas for your own build!
Until next time,