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Sep 222016
 
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Oh, I heard it through the graveyard! I have brought up my Sidisi, Brood Tyrant Commander deck on here a few times and promised to show it off some day, so that day (or rather night) is here!

Sidisi has consistently been one of my favorite Commander generals for the two years since Khans of Tarkir set was spoiled. Sultai is a color combination that is incredibly versatile in EDH. You have green, black, and blue; Golgari and its graveyard shenanigans, Dimir and its underhanded skulduggery, and Simic and its explosive ramp and card advantage.

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Sidisi mills into your graveyard and makes zombie tokens off that, provided you have enough bodies in your deck. This does limit your build in two ways: You want a creature-heavy build, and you want a graveyard toolbox with lots of reanimation. Outside of that, you can build control, aggro, midrange, combo, or any combination of those. But you learn to love the graveyard part, because in Sultai the graveyard is just a big extra hand to you. You hardly need tutors because Sidisi just shovels it all into the yard and you can stir the chum and dig out your opponent’s next nightmare from there.

There’s two ways I tend to build Sidisi: Table Police or Midrange Stompy. This is my Midrange build:

Creature (40)

  • 1x Acidic Slime
  • 1x Archaeomancer
  • 1x Avenger of Zendikar
  • 1x Baloth Null
  • 1x Bloodghast
  • 1x Butcher of Malakir
  • 1x Caustic Caterpillar
  • 1x Corpse Connoisseur
  • 1x Embodiment of Spring
  • 1x Eternal Witness
  • 1x Fleshbag Marauder
  • 1x Gray Merchant of Asphodel
  • 1x Grim Haruspex
  • 1x Grimgrin, Corpse-Born
  • 1x Groundskeeper
  • 1x Harvester Druid
  • 1x Havengul Lich
  • 1x Jalira, Master Polymorphist
  • 1x Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
  • 1x Kiora’s Follower
  • 1x Krosan Restorer
  • 1x Mulldrifter
  • 1x Mystic Snake
  • 1x Nighthowler
  • 1x Notion Thief
  • 1x Nyx Weaver
  • 1x Primal Druid
  • 1x Reassembling Skeleton
  • 1x Rune-Scarred Demon
  • 1x Sakura-Tribe Elder
  • 1x Satyr Wayfinder
  • 1x Shadowborn Demon
  • 1x Sidisi, Undead Vizier
  • 1x Splinterfright
  • 1x Stinkweed Imp
  • 1x The Gitrog Monster
  • 1x Tilling Treefolk
  • 1x Trygon Predator
  • 1x Urborg Elf
  • 1x Viscera Seer
  • 1x Wood Elves

Artifact (1)

  • 1x Birthing Pod

Enchantment (3)

  • 1x Crawling Sensation
  • 1x Oversold Cemetery
  • 1x Phyrexian Arena

Sorcery (14)

  • 1x Curse of the Swine
  • 1x Deep Analysis
  • 1x Deep Reconnaissance
  • 1x Dread Return
  • 1x Far Wanderings
  • 1x Gaze of Granite
  • 1x Jarad’s Orders
  • 1x Living Death
  • 1x Morgue Theft
  • 1x Rite of Replication
  • 1x Stitch Together
  • 1x Victimize
  • 1x Villainous Wealth

Instant (3)

  • 1x Beast Within
  • 1x Forbidden Alchemy
  • 1x Silence the Believers

Land (38)

  • 1x Bojuka Bog
  • 1x Dismal Backwater
  • 1x Evolving Wilds
  • 5x Forest
  • 1x Foul Orchard
  • 1x Ghost Quarter
  • 1x Grim Backwoods
  • 1x Halimar Depths
  • 4x Island
  • 1x Jungle Hollow
  • 1x Llanowar Wastes
  • 1x Mortuary Mire
  • 1x Opulent Palace
  • 1x Petrified Field
  • 1x Rogue’s Passage
  • 1x Simic Guildgate
  • 1x Submerged Boneyard
  • 1x Svogthos, the Restless Tomb
  • 5x Swamp
  • 1x Tainted Wood
  • 1x Temple of Deceit
  • 1x Terramorphic Expanse
  • 1x Thornwood Falls
  • 1x Warped Landscape
  • 1x Watery Grave
  • 1x Woodland Stream
  • 1x Yavimaya Coast

Some deck tech:

Mana management:

Land tutor: Embodiment of Spring, Primal Druid, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Satyr Wayfinder, Wood Elves, Deep Reconnaissance, Far Wanderings.

Mana dorks: Urborg Elf, Harvester Druid, Kiora’s Follower, Krosan Restorer.

Land recursion: Groundskeeper, Tilling Treefolk.

feed_me
One thing you quickly learn about graveyard toolboxes is that they’re always hungry for mana. Since you end up with half your deck face up and ready to use, you just keep taking longer turns doing more things. We prefer creatures that die to tutor land, or cards with flashback or threshold, since these both work best in Sidisi. Tilling Treefolk is both my favorite budget answer to Life From the Loam and an excellent workhorse in Sidisi, since we prefer our utilities on a body wherever possible. As for Kiora’s Follower, he can also be handy for getting a double charge out of Birthing Pod, Jalira, or other talented tappers.

Toolboxing:

Recursion: Archaeomancer, Baloth Null, Bloodghast, Eternal Witness, Havengul Lich, Nyx Weaver, Dread Return, Morgue Theft, Reassembling Skeleton, Stitch Together, Victimize, Oversold Cemetery.

Tutors: Corpse Connoisseur, Rune-Scarred Demon, Sidisi, Undead Vizier, Viscera Seer, Birthing Pod, Jarad’s Orders.

Draw: Grim Haruspex, Jalira, Master Polymorphist, Mulldrifter, Notion Thief, The Gitrog Monster, Deep Analysis, Forbidden Alchemy, Phyrexian Arena.

Self-mill: Stinkweed Imp, Crawling Sensation.

raising_the_dead
As you can see, the bulk of the deck revolves around getting things into and out of the graveyard. The deck moves in recursive loops, bringing tools back again and again. We prefer bodies that do something on their own, so only Bloodghast and Reassembling Skeleton are the self-recurring flunkies, and Stinky and the Crawling enchantment are dredge support pieces. Viscera Seer also functions as exile protection. Jalira is just there to turn zombie tokens into something more useful, and the Gitrog Monster is basically there to look cool, because he’s not all that useful except to re-drop utility lands. Oversold Cemetery is practically Bob in this deck once the graveyard is well-stocked.

There’s really no point in putting too much dredge for the sake of dredge in here, since Sidisi will cheerfully do that job for you. Note that some of our other creatures self-mill as well.

Control:

Killing stuff: Acidic Slime, Butcher of Malakir, Caustic Caterpillar, Fleshbag Marauder, Mystic Snake, Shadowborn Demon, Trygon Predator, Curse of the Swine, Gaze of Granite, Beast Within, Silence the Believers.

nuke_em
This deck is not the table police, but every Commander deck should have at least a few answers to problems that come up. So here we try to wring extra mileage out of every precious card. You see some Commander staples that need no introduction here, but let me point out Shadowborn Demon: I like him better than the usual choice of Nekrataal or Shriekmaw, just because he hits a wider range of targets and has the bonus feature of serving as a sacrifice outlet if need be. If you get five creatures in the yard with both the Demon and Oversold Cemetery out, you can keep sacrificing and re-casting the same creature every turn.

Wincons:

Avenger of Zendikar: The token rush approach. We do a lot of land durdling here so the tokens should grow with no problem. Far Wanderings alone will put three counters on them, and of course Avenger can be sacrificed and recalled for a curtain call and more tokens.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel: Opponents scream in terror at the sight of this guy. We usually don’t have enough black devotion to make an impact when he drops under normal circumstances, but it’s our best drop when resolving a big Living Death. It’s also a game-ending target for a kicked Rite of Replication.

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born: He does work! He’s a sac outlet, an assassin, and a constantly growing threat all on his own.

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord: He gets huge off the yard, brings himself back, and sacrifices your other minions to throw at opponents for more damage. He’s a great reason to keep mana open at end of turn, since if an opponent tries to remove somebody you can always just turn it into pain instead.

Nighthowler: Worth getting out to bestow on Sidisi, and it makes your general a growing, self-feeding threat who can kill through Commander damage. The fact that he drops as a body on the field after a board wipe is a nice bonus.

Splinterfright: Another fatty that grows off the graveyard, also here because his mill helps Sidisi a little bit.

Living Death: Devastating, no question about it. The ideal scenario is to sacrifice your field to Viscera Seer, have either Archaeomancer or Eternal Witness in the graveyard, then bounce it all back to the field and do it again if you have the mana open. If you have Gary, resolve him last after everything else black hits the ground for a K.O.

Rite of Replication: Typically as broken here as anywhere. There’s several juicy targets in our ranks for this, but of course it’s always nice to have five of the most broken creature currently on the table.

Villainous Wealth: Not at all related to our core strategy, but just too good to pass up in Sultai colors. Resolving one for seven or more typically turns the game around.

Utility lands: Bojuka Bog, Ghost Quarter, Grim Backwoods, Halimar Depths, Mortuary Mire, Petrified Field, Rogue’s Passage, Svogthos, the Restless Tomb

zombieland_rule_4
Note that we do run some land recursion as well, so don’t be afraid to sacrifice Bojuka Bog to Gitrog and recur it for another hit. Svogthos is there just because; I think I’ve never activated it, but just in case I get my field wiped and need a body, it’s an insurance policy.

Piloting:

Note that Sidisi’s zombie token trigger fires on any event of a creature being binned from your deck. So with Sidisi out, if Corpse Connoisseur, Nyx Weaver, Satyr Wayfinder, Splinterfright, Stinkweed Imp, Jarad’s Orders, Forbidden Alchemy, or Crawling Sensation dumps a body in the bin, that’s another zombie token for you!

I typically get Sidisi out as soon as possible and swing with him a few times. If he gets killed, he dies, but his attack trigger still happened and all we really ask is a graveyard starter, at least until we have threshold. We’re not a Voltron deck, so attacking with Sidisi isn’t how we usually win the game. It’s a means to the end of keeping the pond stocked. Once he’s killed off a couple times, I retire him for awhile and let the rest of the deck take over. Sidisi is cheap enough to bring back several times anyway, with our high mana focus already.

The deck is very well set for the long game! The bigger our graveyard, the bigger our threats. The one fear is of course getting our graveyard exiled, but then that’s a threat to just about every Commander deck out there. We recur almost as much as we dredge, so if your yard got hacked while it was full of useful cards, that’s your own fault.

Note, however, that we’re not the table police with this build. I do answer an opponent’s threat when it’s urgent, but mostly I’m more interested in keeping them busy answering my threats.

Alternative Cards in Sidisi:

zombie_american_gothic
Additional self-mill: I see Mesmeric Orb in Sidisi builds a lot. To me this is silly. Sidisi swinging or even ETB as few as four, five times is enough to chum the yard and get things rolling, and then it builds naturally from there. There’s no sense just having a mill rock there that does nothing else.

Zombie tribal: Yes, I’ll grant, zombies R fun! They’re just not my bag. I find most tribal strategies suck in Commander and most zombie lords are puny on their own. But if you want a tribe, zombies are more resilient.

Splendid Reclamation: I don’t own this card yet, been meaning to pick it up. It is insanely good, especially with ol’ Gitrog and Avenger, so if you have it, use it.

More dredge: Golgari Grave-Troll and company point the way to even more dredge fun if that’s your bag. I do run a little dredge, but again, there’s only so many card slots you want to devote to just graveyard stocking.

Kessig Cagebreakers: Another excellent card I simply haven’t picked up yet. I do love guys like Avenger of Zendikar that bring a whole army in a can with them.

Tasigur, the Golden Fang: Don’t be tricked into running him here! Tasigur is better off running his own show; as Sidisi’s flunky, your opponents will be constantly handing you back a useless card every turn.  You want Tasigur when you can force a narrow choice, not when you have 25 cards in the yard and they can fish out a swamp.

More mana dorks: Birds of Paradise and company are of course staples in any green-based deck, but I tend to slim down the choices here to a few select mana dorks and lots of land tutoring. They can kill either your creatures or your land, but seldom both. I prefer to kill things and resurrect them, not have something stand around.

Delve spells: Treasure Cruise and Murderous Cut are a trap in Sidisi. Don’t exile cards from your graveyard, they’re all in the deck for a reason and you’ll need them more than you need a spell that can as easily be replicated by Ancient Craving or Hero’s Downfall.

Conclusion:

Thanks for joining me on this tour of My Pet Deck, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant. Feel free to share your owns builds and ideas for Sidisi in the comments. And if there’s another kind of decklist or deck tutorial you’d like to see, feel free to ask. We promise not to bite (hard).

 

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