Every time spoiler season rolls around, I find myself starting to compile decklists in my mind. It starts with a cool interaction or a powerful spell and ends with me spending the majority of my free time scribbling out potential manabases. I realize that we don’t have the full spoiler for Khans of Tarkir yet, and while I’d like to wait and see what the rest of Khans brings before doing any serious testing, I just can’t help myself from brewing.

On Monday of this week, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant was spoiled:


Here’s what I love about Sidisi:

  • The ability triggers when it comes into play and when it attacks. It’s just like a mini-Grave Titan. There is potential to get value off Sidisi even if an opponent immediately points a removal spell his way.
  • Sidisi creates a token of a relevant creature type. There are a lot of pre-existing zombie synergies.
  • Sidisi’s ability is means to put stuff into your graveyard and a reward for doing so. If you flip over a Gravecrawler with Sidisi, you get a Zombie token and the ability to bring Gravecrawler back from the dead.
  • While color intensive, this card is reasonably costed at four mana.
  • Enables future delve cards in Standard.
  • While you don’t get more than one zombie per milling session, if you have multiple mill triggers you have the capacity to get multiple zombies per turn.

While we’re doing this, I may as well mention the few things I don’t like about Sidisi:

  • The fact that Brood Tyrant could be confused with Blood Tyrant.
  • The color commitment.
  • The legendary status of the card disincentivizing multiple copies in a deck.
  • Even if we flip multiple creatures we only get one zombie at a time.


The most obvious choice for Sidisi in standard is graveyard-centric brew. Perhaps the easiest place to start is with a pre-rotation GB Dredge Deck:

GB Dredge (M15 Standard)

Creatures (32)
Elvish Mystic
Shadowborn Demon
Satyr Wayfinder
Lotleth Troll
Nemesis of Mortals
Nyx Weaver
Jarad Golgari Lich Lord
Sylvan Caryatid

Spells (6)
Grisly Salvage
Whip of Erebos
Lands (22)
Llanowar Wastes
Overgrown Tomb
Urborg Tomb of Yawgmoth

Then of course we’ll have to take out all of the M14 and Return to Ravnica block stuff:

-4 Shadowborn Demon
-4 Lotleth Troll
-2 Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
-4 Grisly Salvage
-4 Overgrown Tomb

Well that leaves us with 24 slots to fill in the deck. This is where not knowing the entire Khans spoiler is tricky. We’ll go ahead and do the best we can in any case:

+2 Sidisi, Brood Tyrant—I like the idea of Sidisi basically taking the place of Jarad in this deck. Both are four casting cost legends that want you to dump creatures into the graveyard. I think two is probably the right number since we don’t want to strand multiple copies in our hand.
+2 Sylvan Caryatid—Since we’re looking to play three colors, we need to up the amount of Caryatids in the deck.
+4 Commune with the Gods—This does a reasonable job of replacing Grisly Salvage as a way to fill up the yard while also filtering for creatures
+2 Soul of Innistrad—This card replaces some of the Shadowborn Demons in the list. While both cards sit at the top of the curve for this deck, they do serve very different functions. Demon is an important removal spell in a deck that can’t really afford to play many non-creature spells and Soul is a grindier card that doesn’t need to actually hit the battlefield in order to have some utility in the longer game.
+2 Herald of Torment—I’m not entirely comfortable replacing Shadowborn Demon with a full set of Soul of Innistrad since the card is so mana intensive. I like the option of Herald as a three drop curve filler or a game winning enchantment when paired with a giant Nighthowler.
+1 Pharika, God of Affliction—Part of me really wants to try out Strength from the Fallen, since it has the capacity to end games out of nowhere, but part of me just thinks that Pharika is a better one-of in the deck.

In terms of the manabase, we need to retool the entire thing instead of just swapping out shocks for fetchlands since we’re adding a third color. Here’s a good starting point for the mana:

+3 Polluted Delta
+4 Llanowar Wastes
+1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
+4 Mana Confluence
+6 Forest
+2 Swamp
+2 Island

This manabase is certainly more painful than the straight GB version of the deck because of four Mana Confluence in the main. Since the deck has an aggressive curve, I opted to exclude the temples from the list and keep it strictly to lands that come into play untapped.

The final list looks something like this:

GBu Dredge (Khans Standard)

Creatures (30)
Elvish Mystic
Soul of Innistrad
Satyr Wayfinder
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
Nemesis of Mortals
Nyx Weaver
Sylvan Caryatid

Spells (7)
 Commune with the Gods
Whip of Erebos
Strength from the Fallen
Lands (23)
Polluted Delta
Llanowar Wastes
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Mana Confluence

This list is definitely a little rough around the edges. It’s entirely possible that the GB shell of yesteryear could be overhauled to play a bunch of blue/x cards rather than a light splash in the manabase for Sidisi like I opted for here. Only Khans will give us the full context for Sidisi and whether this snake shaman has what it takes to make a splash in Standard.

Before I leave you, I’m going to post another bonus brainstorm session decklist with Sidisi. This one is for Modern:

Sidisi Dredgevine

Creatures (31)
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant
Birds of Paradise
Hedron Crab
Lotleth Troll
Lotus Cobra
Stinkweed Imp

Spells (7)
Lightning Axe
Faithless Looting
Drown in Filth
Lands (22)
Polluted Delta
Misty Rainforest
Verdant Catacombs
Bloodstained Mire
Overgrown Tomb
Watery Grave
Stomping Ground
Blood Crypt
Breeding Pool

Yep, that’s right a full 16 fetchlands to power up this landfall trio:

hedronghastlotus cobra

Here Sidisi acts as a back-up plan to the Vengevine beatdown. Sidisi fills up the graveyard, makes zombies to beat down and bring back Gravecrawler, and potentially makes multiple zombies off of dredging Stinkweed Imp and milling with Hedron Crab.

Have your own Sidisi brews? Post them in the comments!

At age 15, while standing in a record store with his high school bandmates, Shawn Massak made the uncool decision to spend the last of his money on a 7th edition starter deck (the one with foil Thorn Elemental). Since that fateful day 11 years ago, Shawn has decorated rooms of his apartment with MTG posters, cosplayed as Jace, the Mindsculptor, and competes with LSV for the record of most islands played (lifetime). When he’s not playing Magic, Shawn works as a job coach for people with disabilities and plays guitar in an indie-pop band.


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