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 Post subject: Erebos, God of a Mishmash
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-04 3:57 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-16 5:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Toronto, ON
This is my Erebos deck. I opened a foil copy around Theros' release, and eventually built a deck, sometime around the end of 2016 beginning of 2017 (after the Imperial Seal judge foil's release).

Many of the cards are theme choices around death, suffering, the underworld, and unquiet/angry dead, but the deck is also meant to play along the mechanical lines of lifegain, devotion and control (okay, the lifegain is just so I can draw more cards). Some cards have really great flavour; Erebos's Titan basically leaves the underworld to chase down escapees (even if the escapees are sometimes going to the exile zone instead of the battlefield or hand). Or the fact that The Abyss doesn't destroy Erebos; of course it wouldn't, this is his house.

Mostly here for posterity (I might take it apart to build Liliana, Heretical Healer or Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath). But, writing it out really makes me want to overhaul it. Maybe I'm just being too soft-hearted about cards like Living Death, or other really good black cards™.

General:
Erebos, God of the Dead

Creatures:
Nezumi Graverobber
Withered Wretch
Dimir House Guard
Magus of the Abyss
Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed
Solemn Simulacrum
Disciple of Bolas
Erebos's Titan
Phyrexian Obliterator
Graveborn Muse
Agent of Erebos
Shriekmaw
Bloodgift Demon
Demon of Wailing Agonies
Vengeful Pharaoh
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Grave Titan
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Massacre Wurm
Abhorrent Overlord
Rune-Scarred Demon
Reiver Demon
Pestilence Demon

Enchantments:
Font of Agonies
Withering Wisps
Phyrexian Arena
Dark Prophecy
Oubliette
Grave Pact
The Abyss
Whip of Erebos
Dictate of Erebos
Exquisite Blood

Artifacts:
Expedition Map
Coldsteel Heart
Charcoal Diamond
Jet Medallion
Sol Ring
Mind Stone
Worn Powerstone
Unstable Obelisk
Lightning Greaves

Sorceries:
Imperial Seal
Demonic Tutor
Beseech the Queen
Damnation
Black Sun's Zenith
Decree of Pain
Profane Command
Promise of Power
Consuming Vapors

Instants:
Vampiric Tutor
Malicious Affliction
Imp's Mischief
Wretched Confluence
Shred Memory
Rescue from the Underworld
Scour from Existence
Hero's Downfall

Lands:
Arena
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Mouth of Ronom
Scrying Sheets
Volrath's Stronghold
Barren Moor
Polluted Mire
Arcane Lighthouse
Phyrexian Tower
Tectonic Edge
Bojuka Bog
Myriad Landscape
28 Snow-Covered Swamp

-----

The deck is terribly slow despite having a lot of mana rocks (sad robot, AND Myriad Landscape), and the plethora of tutors is mostly to find answers (though, mono black seems to be able to answer precious few things other than creatures and graveyards).

Singly large creatures get answered by the spot removal (or the Abyss/Magus of), smaller and more numerous creatures are usually destroyed entirely by Withering Wisps. Few creatures can positively deal with Erebos in the Arena, and fewer still want to go a round with Phyrexian Obliterator.

Black has precious few stack interaction effects, but Rescue from the Underworld and Imp's Mischief are among the best.

The deck usually wins with Pestilence Demon, or generally goofy midrange beaters.


Thoughts, questions and comments are welcome, as always.

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 Post subject: Re: Erebos, God of a Mishmash
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-04 9:39 am 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-07 3:37 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Danbury, CT
Sinis wrote:
But, writing it out really makes me want to overhaul it.


If you rebuilt it, what would you focus on?

Sinis wrote:
Maybe I'm just being too soft-hearted about cards like Living Death, or other really good black cards™.


Kinda. I suspect this is the same boat as the Old Man Deretti rebuild thread... It's an aging midrange build that's gonna struggle against newer, faster, and more powerful decks. (And not "competitive" decks either; decks that intend to operate at a similar power level, but are more up-to-date.)

Sinis wrote:
The deck is terribly slow despite having a lot of mana rocks (sad robot, AND Myriad Landscape)


This is not what I'd call a lot of mana rocks. There's a fistful of other 2 CMC mana rocks this list could use to accelerate into Erebos.

Beyond that, this list doesn't have any of the big mana rocks (Extraplanar Lens, Caged Sun, Thran Dynamo, Gilded Lotus, etc) that would help it jump from midgame to late game.

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 Post subject: Re: Erebos, God of a Mishmash
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-04 11:46 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-16 5:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Toronto, ON
Kemev wrote:
Sinis wrote:
But, writing it out really makes me want to overhaul it.


If you rebuilt it, what would you focus on?

I really don't know. I like most aspects of it; the only thing I don't like is that it never seems to win, and whenever I poise myself to win, I seem to get countered (i.e. I play Abhorrent Overlord for a billion harpies, and then someone plays Massacre Wurm, or, I cast Gray Merchant of Asphodel, and someone responds with a Rout or removal).

I really like the theme cards, and devotion mechanics. There are clear underperformers, like Dark Prophecy. Rescue from the Underworld hasn't been so hot either if I'm being honest with myself (though, I wonder if that's because I'm not running powerful enough ETB triggers).

The wincons also feel pretty clumsy. But, I'm not sure what to do. Other than lifegain (for more cards) and devotion, there isn't much "build around me" with Erebos.

Part of me is also enamored with appreciation of Erebos' design as a card. In Greek mythology, Hades/Pluton is also the god of wealth, so, riches (in the form of card advantage) along with the inevitability of death is super thematic.
Kemev wrote:
Kinda. I suspect this is the same boat as the Old Man Deretti rebuild thread... It's an aging midrange build that's gonna struggle against newer, faster, and more powerful decks. (And not "competitive" decks either; decks that intend to operate at a similar power level, but are more up-to-date.)


This is probably it. My playgroup reverted to *very* soft Magic in the last few months. A lot of our decks were in the stone age, though we picked up again (I think the deck to beat in my group is Mazirek, Kraul Priest that somehow manages to go wide, go tall, and ramp, all at the same time).

Kemev wrote:
Sinis wrote:
The deck is terribly slow despite having a lot of mana rocks (sad robot, AND Myriad Landscape)


This is not what I'd call a lot of mana rocks. There's a fistful of other 2 CMC mana rocks this list could use to accelerate into Erebos.

Beyond that, this list doesn't have any of the big mana rocks (Extraplanar Lens, Caged Sun, Thran Dynamo, Gilded Lotus, etc) that would help it jump from midgame to late game.
Artifact hate is ubiquitous in my playgroup. Rocks generally have to be innocuous, or have an escape hatch (like Mindstone or Commander's Sphere). Things like Gilded Lotus don't last long.

I'm not sure that's the problem, though. It's that almost everything is premium costed; most cards in the deck cost 4 or more.

What rocks would you recommend? Star Compass? Maybe Mox Diamond or Chrome Mox, since I have a way of drawing more cards?

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 Post subject: Re: Erebos, God of a Mishmash
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-05 7:31 am 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-07 3:37 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Danbury, CT
If you just wanted to pick up more wins, Cabal Coffers and Exsanguinate is the answer. What I'm hearing though is that you specifically want style wins -- you'd like this to be a functional midrange deck that can win through combat.

Double down on board wipes

It's not exactly true that Erebos doesn't have any build-arounds... it's an indestructible commander in a color with a ton of board wipes, so leverage that asymmetry. By running a low-creature count list and repeatedly clearing the field, you can make sure that when Erebos is a creature, you can attack freely with him. Same with the high-CMC creatures; they can come down and have a clear table to attack across. I would cut most of the small utility creatures, and run these (I recognize several are already in the list, but I don't want to go through and list cuts/adds):

Doomwake Giant
Deathbringer Regent
Demon of Dark Schemes
Massacre Wurm
Reiver Demon
Damnation
Crux of Fate
Decree of Pain
Extinguish all Hope
Consume the Meek
Force of Despair
Yahenni's Expertise
I would not run cards like Mutilate or Toxic Deluge that don't synergize with Erebos. Yahenni's Expertise gets in 'cause I think once Erebos gets up and running, you'll want plenty of "free" spells to dump your hand.

The only other creatures I'm keen on are Agent of Erebos, Grey Merchant of Asphodel, Pestilence Demon, and the Wound Reflection demon (blanking on the name).

Rework the enchantments

Mono-black isn't exactly enchantress-y, but running plenty of them is the easiest way to pump devotion while minimizing exposure to board wipes. This list will never really have enough creatures to make the some of the creature-centric enchantments like Dark Prophecy or Grave Pact really good, so I agree that it's fine to cut them. I'd look to supplement your other enchantments with these:

Black Market
Death Grip
Gravestorm
Underworld Dreams
Revel in Riches
Pestilence
Wound Reflection
This deck might get some mileage out of death triggers like Last Laugh or Liability, and a general combat buff like Intimidation might be fine too.

Upgrade the mana base

If you're playing in a Vandalblast-happy meta, I'd run Heartless Summoning and the available artifacts that drop a land into play (or at least put a land into your hand). I don't think this deck needs a Mana Crypt or the monoliths, but I suspect this deck's chances of winning improve pretty dramatically if you can stick Erebos by turn 3, then start the cycle of drawing cards to make more mana to draw more cards, etc. To make that happen consistently, the deck probably needs 7-8 mana ramp cards it can play on turn 1-2.

Heartless Summoning
Wayfarer's Bauble
Surveyor's Scope
Burnished Hart
Thaumatic Compass
+ 4-5 other rocks 2 CMC or less.

And I recognize that the more expensive mana rocks are big removal targets, but I'd still give Extraplanar Lens (especially tech with snow lands!) and Caged Sun a try, with the goal of playing them on turn 8-10 when you could play one and then immediately drop a couple creatures and/or enchants.

Consider a few midrange staples

Yeah, they're widely played, but they're specifically good for your deck. They're force multipliers that make the stuff this deck already wants to do (ie, attack, grind for advantage) better and more efficient.

Loxodon Warhammer
Batterskull
Crucible of Worlds (if you decide against Crucible, that ok, but then I wouldn't bother with utility cards like the cycling lands or Tec Edge... just snow swamps)
Liliana of the Dark Realms
Liliana Vess
Beacon of Unrest (...because you want to protect your A-list artifacts, and with plenty of draw and tutor effects there's a good chance it gets played multiple times a game)

I would also think about what other planeswalkers could fit in the deck (probably some of the Ob Nixilis-es, maybe some of the other Lilis). Besides being a key part of the current midrange game, Planeswalkers are the other "hidden" synergy with Erebos... when he's a creature, he's not always an impressive attacker, but he's always a good blocker. The planeswalkers also provide devotion, and add card advantage in terms of card draw and creature kills in a way an instant or sorcery can't.

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 Post subject: Re: Erebos, God of a Mishmash
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-06 2:06 am 
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Joined: 2011-Jan-16 5:36 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Toronto, ON
I'm not a fan of the Exsanguinate wins. Mostly, I like turning creatures sideways. I really like the idea of including a second Pestilence effect, and using Planeswalkers or midrange/heavy creatures.

I'm definitely going to take some of your suggestions. Though, not Gravestorm. That card, despite being named something very cool, sucks.

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 Post subject: Re: Erebos, God of a Mishmash
AgePosted: 2019-Aug-10 6:38 pm 
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Joined: 2019-Aug-09 9:15 pm
Age: Hatchling
Location: Trying to Arcane Flight myself to DISNEY WORLD!
Reassembling Skeleton + Ravenous Harpy is a good combo. Plus if you need to sack any creatures for your bigger hitters, the skeleton can come right back on the field with 1B mana cost.

Army of the Damned has a high cmc but you get thirteen 2/2 zombies tokens. It comes with a flashback so potentially gaining a total of twenty-six 2/2 zombies with both first cast and flashback is worth it.

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