I draft regularly. I’m not amazing at it, but I do enjoy drafting. It’s a fun deck-building format, and it regularly exposes me to elements of the game I see less often in EDH. Every so often I take one of these elements and try to figure out how to make it work in Commander, which is how I ended up with a Bruna, Light of Alabaster heroic/bestow deck. As I’ve mentioned before, that deck overshot the mark a bit, because it turns out there are a ton of great heroic enablers that aren’t in Theros block. And that’s what got me to make a Tymaret, the Murder King deck based on Act of Treason effects.


Technically I guess they’re Threaten effects, but I have literally never played with that card.

The only enjoyable part of drafting M14 was the chance to draft the RB “steal and sac” deck. Care to guess what the strategy was? No? Well, it was a stupidly fun deck to play, since the heart of it was using neat sacrifice outlets like Altar’s Reap (draw cards), Barrage of Expendables (deal damage), and Bubbling Cauldron (gain life), with cards that gave you extra benefit when you sacrificed things, like Act of Treason (sac their dudes), Dragon Egg (leaves you with a dragon token), and Festering Newt (doubles as removal). Now, short of Mass Mutiny and Insurrection, which tend to be finishers, I don’t tend to play these types of steal effects all too often, and definitely not the ones that aren’t stuck on a stick. So, I decided I wanted to play a deck that could reasonably include cards like Mark of Mutiny, without being underpowered.


Speaking of M14, I tried so hard to get this card and its friends to work in Commander, but short of a Karador, Ghost Chieftain deck I think it might be impossible.

I had been banging around this idea for a while when my friend Micah pulled out a Tymaret, the Murder King deck of his own one night. The deck was solid, but it was when he put the Burger King into the graveyard that the idea clicked. I am usually loathe to put my general in the graveyard, but Tymmie is so easy to recur that there’s basically no downside, and he provides both a very persistent sacrifice outlet and a repeatable source of card advantage on his own. Tymmie was clearly the general to try out my “steal and sac” RB EDH deck idea, and I sat down and put together a pile of cards.


My process, if you can even call it that, is basically to look through a bunch of rares and other high-powered cards and then, once I have about 100-150 cards that I might want in the deck, I cut. This process takes a while, and usually what happens is I’ll cut about 20 cards when the inspiration grabs me, and then, having gotten bored with the exercise, I’ll put it back down until next time.


This deck took a while, and I should have realized that might have implications as to its power level.


The deck evolved into roughly nine different categories of cards (ten if you count lands). First, and most obviously given the theme, there were the steal effects. The deck ended up with about 12 of those effects, mostly sorceries, but with some creatures and an instant in the mix as well. Since I couldn’t run all of them, I decided to only run the ones that did something in addition to their effect. Then there were another 12 sacrifice outlets, not counting Tymmie, as well as two different categories of sacrificial fodder: the mulldrifters (four, plus ones in different categories) and the recurring bodies (seven, including two token generators). Taking advantage of the steady stream of disposable cards Tymmie provided gave me room for three different spellshaper-esque effects, and playing from the graveyard meant I had room for another six graveyard recursion effects. Since this is EDH and I like cards, I included seven additional card-draw engines, as well as five decent mana rocks. Last, but certainly not least, was my misc pile: three effects that triggered when I sacrificed things, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed (to give me an extra sac), and Necrotic Ooze to maximize all the different activated abilities. And it was all rounded out by 38 lands.





That’s what the breakdown looks like! Anyway, I wanted to give the deck a try, so I took it to my weekly Commander game at Fat Cat, and ended up playing in a four-person match anchored entirely by Theros generals: Triad of Fates, Anax and Cymede, Daxos of Meletis, and Tymaret, the Murder King. It was an entertaining coincidence, and the game went on for about two and a half hours.


I basically won that game. Micah, on Anax and Cymede heroic, drew a lot of aggro as the big threat, and Clayton, with his Daxos of Meletis control deck, was similarly positioned well. As they bared their teeth at one another, I was building up my board position, and sculpting a nice hand. Of course, just before I was about to go off, Clayton Mindslavered me with about ten cards in hand and Ashnod’s Altar and some other business on the field. When faced with my hand of Harness by Force effects and spellshapers like Jaya Ballard, Task Mage, he wasn’t quite sure what to do with it, and ended up following my basic line of play, stealing three creatures and sacrificing them after slamming my opponents hard. Then, to cripple me without pissing me off too much, he dropped almost everything in my hand into the graveyard, leaving me with some land, an artifact or two, and a Necrotic Ooze. I then drew a Pack Rat next turn, played the Pack Rat game for a few turns, and then, after getting wrathed, I dropped my Ooze into play.


Hey now, you’re an all-star, get your game on, go play!

The only thing better than Pack Rat tokens are Necrotic Ooze tokens. I basically had at least one of them alive for the rest of the game. Finally, it was down to me and Clayton in dominant positions, with Micah and Triad below 15 life. To end it, via my Necrotic Ooze tokens, I used Jaya Ballard, Task Mage’s ultimate (because, let’s face it, she is basically a planeswalker), doubled by Rings of Brighthearth, to do 12 damage to everyone and everything. Then I took out Micah and Triad with my general’s burn function, and, staring down a Wurmcoil Engine I could steal and sacrifice, I called it a draw. The B stops running late at night, and even the most devoted EDH players like to go home at some point.


Plus I knew I could get a one-on-one rematch with Clayton. And this past weekend, I did. Turn three Clayton dropped a Rhystic Study, and then proceeded to drop Sigil of the Empty Throne, Martyr’s Bond, Crescendo of War, and True Conviction. I have no way to beat those cards in my deck, but I could still try my best to beat him. And I did. I rarely bothered to pay for my Rhystic Study triggers, but I still managed to out-draw Clayton with Phyrexian Arena, Skullclamp, and Dark Prophecy, and my removal never triggered Martyr’s Bond because I was either destroying all creatures with Decree of Pain or stealing them one by one to sac while under my control. At one point Clayton thought he was stabilizing by Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, but I dropped Murderous Redcap, and swiftly took her out.


There’s a reason this card is banned in Modern, Legacy, and Block!

In the end, I saw 65 cards over the course of that game, which was many more than the blue/white deck managed to pull off. Afterwards (and during), Clayton made sure to point out the power level of the deck. No matter what I had been shooting for, the final product ended up strong.


Tymaret, the Murder King

Just so you can actually see what this fella does.


Steal Effects (12): Act of Aggression; Conquering Manticore; Harness by Force; Insurrection; Mark of Mutiny; Mass Mutiny; Molten Primordial; Olivia Voldaren; Portent of Betrayal; Traitorous Blood; Traitorous Instinct; Zealous Conscripts

Sac Effects (12): Ashnod’s Altar; Bloodshot Cyclops; Eater of Hope; Goblin Bombardment; Greater Gargadon; Lyzolda, the Blood Witch; Phyrexian Altar; Phyrexian Plaguelord; Phyrexian Vault; Shivan Harvest; Stronghold Assassin; Trading Post

Mulldrifters (4): Kokusho, the Evening Star; Murderous Redcap; Puppeteer Clique; Ryusei, the Falling Star

Fodder (7): Bloodghast; Gravecrawler; Nether Traitor; Ogre Slumlord; Ophiomancer; Pyre Zombie; Squee, Goblin Nabob

Spellshapers (3): Jaya Ballard, Task Mage; Pack Rat; Tortured Existence

Recursion (6): Anarchist; Dread Return; Mimic Vat; Nezumi Graverobber; Sepulchral Primordial; Whip of Erebos

Draw Engines (7): Dark Prophecy; Decree of Pain; Graveborn Muse; Harvester of Souls; Journeyer’s Kite; Phyrexian Arena; Skullclamp

Mana Rocks (5): Chromatic Lantern; Rakdos Cluestone; Rakdos Keyrune; Sol Ring; Talisman of Indulgence

Misc (5): Blade of the Bloodchief; Furnace Celebration; Mikaeus, the Unhallowed; Necrotic Ooze; Rings of Brighthearth

Lands (38): Akoum Refuge; Auntie’s Hovel; Barren Moor; Blackcleave Cliffs; Bojuka Bog; Command Tower; Crypt of Agadeem; Dragonskull Summit; Evolving Wilds; Forgotten Cave; Graven Cairns; Grixis Panorama; Jund Panorama; Kher Keep; Lavaclaw Reaches; Leechridden Swamp; Opal Palace; Rakdos Carnarium; Rakdos Guildgate; Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace; Spinerock Knoll; Springjack Pasture; Temple of the False God; Terramorphic Expanse; Urza’s Factory; Swamp x7; Mountain x6


 Jess Stirba is better at this than she fears.

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