Hello everyone and welcome to another week of Shattered Perspectives, the series where I am either redefining the use of off-the-beaten-path cards in Commander through the lens of general of the week or just am dropping knowledge on the history of the Magic: the Gathering through a very unreliable narrator. This week we’ll be covering the topic I know best and looking at Patron of the Nezumi as it can be built in 1DH aka Dollar General in an effort to try to stake a claim on the archetypical Stax deck in the variant format without the access to either Pox or Smokestack. So, this should be a lot of fun!

Patron of the Nezumi

As always I like to start by giving some discussion on the general and how I plan to make the deck tick. Luckily this time I have an archetype to model my choices after.

Patron of the Nezumi is rather a unpopular card overall. It only heads up two dozen recorded decks on EDHrec and makes cameos in the other 99 of just shy of 250. I get it though—it’s a pretty lofty seven converted mana cost for 6/6 with an unconventional ability. It screams being put in a Rat Tribal deck, but the agreed upon general, Marrow-Gnawer, is not only from the same block, but works extremely more effectively with the tribe. Even keeping that mind, Tribal Rats is a hugely underrepresented tribe online anyway, which saddens me. But from Patron’s second ability, causing lose of life to your opponents when their stuff goes to the graveyard, I see the chance to profit off the ability in a Stax style build within the 1DH building restriction.

Here is a great 1DH aka Dollar General primer to catch you up to speed on the variant Commander format.

For those who are not huge on the Vintage metagame—don’t worry, neither am I—Stax is often referred to as a “prison deck” that uses cards like Smokestack, Tangle Wire, Sphere of Resistance, and Lodestone Golem which restrict the opponent’s ability to play spells and keep permanents in play. But as our ceiling on cards is one dollar we don’t have access to any of those cards besides Lodestone Golem, which is hardly “secret tech.”

So what are we looking to put into this deck that will be best ape prison strategy in a highlander format without much of the tools that deck would often use? Well, when I first ventured down this road I considered putting Nath of the Gilt-Leaf at the helm, as it would put me into more colors and allow me to take influences from some of the Stax decks I seen helmed by Glissa, the Traitor. But honestly, the good cards I would want from that deck are either already in black or too expensive to fit our deck. Additionally, land bases can get a little harder to master when you’re in enemy colors and I like the challenges of monocolor alone anyway.

So, I would like to try to keep cards flowing off the battlefield while additionally adding some spice from 8-Rack style decks, which aim to keep hands empty; both of which play into strengths of black. We’re playing with fire this week, I hope I don’t get burned. Let’s get it!

Undercity Plague

While it’s not Pox and it’s not exactly Smallpox, Undercity Plague is the kind of card that could do us very well in the appropriate game state. This card has been on a short list of cards I’ve wanted to find a place for since its original printing in Gatecrash and the biggest strike against it is that it has always been below the power level of my metagame, but in a format like 1DH where the power level is dispersed some and the big hitters are priced out, I think Undercity Plague could thrive.

The secret in the sauce here is that we’re already looking to minimize the amount of permanents on the battlefield for our opponents, so this will either be the last straw for one opponent or the point where they start losing lands. The repeatability and three-for-one really gets me excited for putting my foes into compromised boards states on the backs of the rest of my list.


As I had said earlier, we’re going to need to put in some pieces that are more becoming of an 8-Rack suite to help manage the game a little bit better. In most formats, Unnerve would be an overcosted Mind Rot; but the tip off of its inclusion in the first release of Conspiracy really highlights its potential in multiplayer formats worth that extra colorless mana. Along with Delirium Skeins and Honden of Night’s Reach, I see Unnerve as a sweet card to keep in mind that will help to keep our enemies low on cards in hand. At the time of this writing, I don’t know how heavy I want to go on a “Rack Package” per se. I don’t know that in Commander let alone 1DH we can reliably prevent hands from expanding in the long term. It would be in flavor with the deck style I have already started outlining, but a Temple Bell can go along way in disrupting our plan.

Indulgent Tormentor & Desecration Demon

Its funny just how many Demons play really well with the direction we are building towards with this deck. Then again, they do so much of the same things that they are almost interchangeable. But when you want to build a package of cards for your highlander deck that is exactly what you want, right?

Playing into our strategy of promoting a healthy stream of creatures going to the bin, the Desecration Demon could be the best demon for this deck as it can come out of the fray at fatty size once you’ve declared your sights and everyone else is willing to let you finally start swinging. On that note, if this creature simply acts like an additional Magus of the Abyss that will never kill itself, I can be okay with that too.

Indulgent Tormentor on the other hand is the more political of the demons, if you pick a gullible ally to help feed you cards with no drawbacks, the tormentor can be a Phyrexian Arena that just keeps giving. The added bonus is that it curves out really well with the Desecration Demon.

Archfiend of Depravity is a strong third wheel for this strategy. On the first round of the table it can really cull the weak and empty the battlefield. After that I don’t see it playing as strong of a role besides keeping your opponents in control over the course of the game while also being a respectable beater.

Ichor Explosion

While a diligent sifting of the entire history of Magic might glean other good board wipes within mono black and our price restriction, I believe Ichor Explosion might be one of the better bases for mass removal we have access to that can still allow us to keep some of our bigger creatures on the board without fear. I would recommend stringing this together with something like Urborg Justice if enough of our creatures don’t survive the culling and someone has amassed enough bigger creatures. Overall, this kind of board control should keep us safe and help to bleed our opponents’ resources dry.

If the moment strikes, I would also recommend Killing Wave to put your friends into comprised situations. If that ever happens.

Nettlevine Blight

With the building restrictions of Dollar General, I have found that some stranger cards can often come to the surface, cards like Nettlevine Blight. Aside from one-off cards like Soltari Visionary or Aven Cloudchaser, I feel like the general lack of solid enchantment removal is likely to carry over from the normal Commander metagame. A card like this—after you pick your least favorite person at the table—could slowly put someone out the game and in comical fashion. Against a Red or Black deck, this might as well be a private The Abyss.

The fact that this card can land on your opponent’s mana base is what attracted me to this card, because lets be honest, if all it did was kill creatures one turn at a time, it might not even have text against some decks. The funnier play line for me is getting the complete blowout when I attach this to a creature only to have the mono Red player Harmless Offering it back to me. In that moment, they will have had the moral victory and I will gladly sink my ship in respect.

Ogre Marauder

Normally I don’t like to have back-to-back questionable cards—that’s assuming I don’t already realize that most of my lists are questionable cards—but Ogre Marauder has been on my radar for about a year now, as it seemed like a fun card to include in my yet-to-be-assembled Tribal Cube as part of the Warrior package. It’s the kind of card that is truthfully high-risk for minimal reward, but in a deck like where we’re trying to keep our opponents on low creature counts, I see no reason to completely disregard the curve of our deck. Obviously you don’t want to be attacking the tokens player or the White Weenie deck with this because you’re just going to have a bad time, but I have to imagine that suited up Voltron style, this could make a few tough decisions for an unfortunate player at the table.

This does land us in a place I don’t always like to write from when talking about Commander or any of its variants—where we assume that we magically have our general out in every situation—but the added bonus of bleeding our opponents dry when they are already feeling pressure from a card like Desecration Demon through the needling ability on Patron of the Nezumi is what this deck is designed to do.

Pontiff of Blight

Real talk, we’re going to be losing a lot of life, I can just feel it. We’re going to probably be angering at least a few people by restricting their access to more costly spells or a healthy board if we get going. As such, I see no reason not to leverage a mechanic like Extort to its maximum potential.

The unfortunate part for us is that within our price and color restrictions, we lose some of the better Extort spells. This should not deter us at all though, we’ll simply play with the Extort Lord and let it play double duty of keeping our heads above water and outside of the range of absolute death, while also progressing our overall deck plan. I’m also not too worried about the overall converted mana cost, as we’re playing in a world where we aim to summon a seven casting cost creature at least a few times.

In conclusion, I actually feel a little unclean from all this writing about a deck that go so in the face of the kind of deck I normally play, which probably means my bias also caused me to overlook cards I had already felt were too unfun even when designed to be in the realm of an unfun archetype. One of the glaring issues I can see with the deck is that I can’t really find a good ramping engine outside of literally pulling piles of lands out of our deck and possibly Everflowing Chalice. Someone smarter than me has probably already cracked that nut though.

1DH aka Dollar General is a really interesting format to try to wrap my mind around each month and I think it deserves the spotlight every once in awhile, hopefully some brick of text I have rattled off on the format has sparked some ideas for a playgroup.

As always, I turn the attention back to anyone who wishes to be vocal and give their own two cents. What generals would you like to see get the Shattered Perspective treatment? What kind of cards would you have plugged into this deck? How off base was I? You can find me on Twitter via @RyanSainio or yelling at Hipsters directly through the e-mail system at the bottom of the page. Let me know if you’ve built a deck even slightly in the shape of what I have outlined.

Until next time, good luck and thank you!

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH, the story of Magic and the EDH community in his down time. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.

Pet Deck – Shattergang Eldrazi

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