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Esper Aristocrats with Bane, Lord of Darkness


Hello awesome folks! Happiest of days today! I have been doing a deep dive into all things Battle for Baldur's Gate, and today we are looking at another God (I already built a midrange deck around Myrkul, Lord of Bones, which you can find here. Today is my 11th deck around a new card or background pair that debuted with B4BG!

Bane, Lord of Darkness

Bane is in Esper and is 4 mana for a 5/2 with indestructible as long as you have 20 or less life. When your nontoken dorks die, a target opponent forces you to either draw a card or drop an equal or lower toughness dork to the battlefield, therefore making this a powerful machine for sacrificing for benefits in Esper rather than the normal home of Orzhov or Golgari. By adding in Blue, we get stealing, counters, card draw, and bounce to our options. You can better protect your stuff by leaning into counters. Bane gives us normally card draw unless we are on zero, one, or maybe two cards and unlikely to have the free creature. Aristocrats is one of the most popular archetypes in Commander with the 6th most decks registered over at EDHREC.com. There are already 301 decks just a few weeks past release and that's pretty strong stuff.

Note that if all my creatures have the same toughness, then I can drop anything from my hand. Right? So, my idea is to run as many creatures with a 2 toughness as I can although some will be smaller since I need recursive dorks and Aristocrats that are a bit obvious. Bane has 2, most of the support cards I am thinking of have 2 toughness like Solemn Simulacrum, Karmic Guide, Ravenous Chupacabra and Mulldrifter, so that seems the obvious place to go.


Sacrificial Lambs and Engines

Sengir Autocrat

Most of my lambs are obvious like Bloodghast and Reassembling Skeleton that won't bring back a bigger dork on death from Bane but still trigger my engines. Check out this pair though! The 3-drop will make a Snake of the 1/1 deathtouch variety each upkeep, as long as you don't control a Snake. Each upkeep. For your renewable sacrifice engines that's four sacrifices each turn, and a deathtouch blocker to trade up. The death of a token won't trigger Bane either, but it will many of my Aristocrat fun things. The Autocrat will make four bodies for four mana, three 0/1 Serfs and one 2/2 Human. Four sacrifices for your engine, one that will trigger Bane.

Woe Strider
Priest of Forgotten Gods

I have some sacrifice engines that have two toughness like this troupe. The former is a 3/2 for three mana that makes a 0/1 Goat on arrival to the battlefield and can sacrifice to scry one at any time for no tapping or mana use. That's a reusable engine, I also have the less synergetic Viscera Seer here too. The latter is a 1/2 for two mana that can tap and sacrifice two other dorks including tokens to force each opponent to lose two life, sacrifice a creature, and make two mana and draw a card. While that does require tapping, it is mana free, and a nice card boost, mana boost, life loss for your foe, and more. Don't forget that if your life is at 22 or 21, you can target yourself and have an indestructible Bane.

Yahenni, Undying Partisan
Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools

The creature is a 3-drop 2/2 with haste that can swing all day long and then as opposing stuff dies it gets +1/+1 counters. It also works on creatures that die. Then you can sacrifice another dork to give him indestructible for the turn, another free trigger. The planeswalker is a 5-drop 4 loyalty that can +2 to make two 0/1 Thrulls for the sacrificing. I also like his +1 to sacrifice another creature or planeswalker and draw two cards, both are why he is here. Pretty strong pair, right?

Carrion Feeder is pretty swell here as well as a free sacrifice. This 1-drop 1/1 that cannot block can sacrifice to give it a +1/+1 boost. Just one will put any 2 toughness into the battlefield when it dies. It's another free sacrifice effect and can become a major threat quite quickly.

Aristocrat Triggers

Corpse Knight
Cruel Celebrant

We have the obvious Aristocrat triggers that aren't synergetic like Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat. And then some with 2 toughness. The first is a 2/2 for two mana in Orzhov colors and then will force your foes to each lose a life when a dork arrives to the party, which happens loads with our tokens and our fat creature count and our recursive dorks and our potential free creature each death. The second is a 1/2 for the same cost as the first and this will drain a life from each foe when a dork or planeswalker you control dies. Nice combo, right? I think so as well!

Pawn of Ulamog

Our final Aristocrat with a death trigger and a 2 toughness is this fun thang. For three mana you get a 2/2 that will turn dying nontoken stuff of yours into 0/1 Eldrazi Spawn tokens that can be sacrificed for mana for more triggers for things like the above two things. Love this synergy a lot with this deck.


Glen Elendra Archmage
Sower of Temptation

We are in the color of answers with White's removal options, Blue's stealing and counters, and Black's mass removal. Many of these are going to take the form of 2-toughness dorks. The Archmage is a 4-drop 2/2 with flying that can sacrifice and then counter a non-dork spell like a Negate on legs. The self-sacrifice is a trigger for Bane on a 2-toughness dork and then your Aristocrats fire off. Then you can bring it back as a 1/1 with persist and get another Negate and another trigger. The Sower is also a 2/2 flyer for four mana and can steal a dork on arrival to the battlefield until answered.

Venser, Shaper Savant

Venser is an uber-bouncer. He is a flash 2/2 for four mana and can bounce on arrival to the battlefield any spell or permanent, even a land. Love him in response to targeted removal for a turn or on a key Commander that was just cast and now they have to cast it again with Tax. You can also bounce a planeswalker about to ultimate or a key dork or one of your own ETB creatures for another go-around the bin. The Crafter of Plagues is a 3/2 that forces everyone, yourself as well, to sacrifice a dork or planeswalker on arrival to the battlefield, and you can sacrifice him to himself to trigger Bane with a two-toughness death.

Citywide Bust
Roil Elemental

I like to run an emergency mass removal spell in most decks, this one too, and we have the three-cost sorcery above to play, that only destroy things with a toughness of 4 or more. Since most of our stuff has a 2 toughness this should sweep loads of things we care about but nothing of ours. The creature is a 6-drop 3/2 with flying that turns landfalls into stealing an opposing dork until the creature is answered. And it flies and has the right toughness, but it's a bit harder to cast with triple Blue and may not be castable when you are on six mana, but it's still pretty synergetic here.

Keening Banshee

This Banshee used to be pretty heavily played at the kitchen table with its 2/2 flying body that gives a dork -2/-2 until the end of the turn which can kill loads of things like Flametongue Kavu and Eternal Witness and Birds of Paradise and Esper Sentinel. Then you can swing above the skies. I still run it in Abe's Deck of Happiness and Joy. Do note that this is a must trigger not a may one and if you are the only one with creatures that are targetable, you must target yourself. The Elemental is a 5-drop 3/2 with flash and lifelink and is a 3/2 body for the 2 toughness fun times. It exiles a dork on arrival to the battlefield and then they gain life equal to its power, so it's a Swords to Plowshares on a stick!

Synergies and Card Flow

Grim Haruspex
Midnight Reaper

We have a few 3/2 rares that draw a card with a nontoken you control dies. The Human has morph and can be morphed later, although I doubt you'll want to do that since you'll be spending four mana instead of just three and it's the only morph card in the deck. The Zombie will turn the cards drawn into life loss, which might get Bane to a place to get indestructible, so if you are at 23 or fewer life with a few sacrificial options, don't forget to sacrifice them to that Viscera Seer or Carrion Feeder and then draw a few cards and lose some life in response to a sweeping removal spell that might otherwise kill Bane.

Roving Harper

We have a few dorks that arrive to the battlefield and draw cards with a 2 toughness. The obvious Mulldrifter and then these two. The common will draw a card on arrival to the battlefield, which is nice card flow and sacrificial body and make a 2 toughness to get played or draw a card with Bane. The uncommon is a 2/2 with flying and draws a pair of cards and makes you a pair of life, nice life gain against the bigger life gain here and there. It can fly over blockers for a pair of damage or block attacks by bigger things like a Firebreathing Dragon.

Body Launderer
Liliana, Dreadhorde General

Let's turn to a pair of synergies that also add to your card flow options. The creature is a 4-drop unusual 3/3 which cannot be played if you kill your horde of 2 toughness things but can drop any of them if it dies. Your Rogue has deathtouch to swing and potentially keep people back from blocking. It's an Aristocrat trigger since it connives as your other non-tokens die (draw, discard, put a +1/+1 counter if the discarded card wasn't a land). Nice card flow. And then it counts as a sacrificial body since when it dies you can return a non-Rogue with 3 or fewer power (likely) if it didn't connive a non-land to the battlefield from your graveyard, so it's a free card here. It has two synergies here.

Liliana is a 6 loyalty dork that can turn dying dorks even tokens into cards for card flow. She can +1 to make a Zombie of 2/2 size. Nice for your sacrifices. Then she can -4 once after arrival with her initial loyalty to Barter in Blood the table for two sacrifices each, which will be two cards drawn with her static ability. That's two Bane triggers if you sacrifice non-tokens. She is the only other planeswalker here.

Mana and Ramping and Lands

Knight of the White Orchid
Kor Cartographer

Ramp times! These two 2/2 mono-White dorks are helping our mana ramping. The first is a Bear with first strike and if a foe has more lands you can ramp a Plains to the battlefield and it can get any Plains, so I added a few dual lands. The second ramps a Plains (any) as well and while it costs twice as much mana it does not require a player to have more to ramp up, so that will always work. Nice right? I really like getting one of the below lands you'll see below for pushing things around your way!

Ash Barrens
Raffine's Tower

Let's finish with three lands. The Barrens is a nice uncommon land that can be basic cycled for 1 mana on turn one to get the basic land not in your starting hand or another Blue needed for the counterspell in your hand. It's really strong in a three-color brew and love it as a first turn play or a search later with one of the above creatures, plus it can cycle for three mana. I tossed in a ton of cycling lands since we may be drawing more than one land per turn quite quickly with Bane and friends, and I wanted something to do with the extra land, so you can just cycle it. I also have four modal spell lands and have 38 lands if you count them as land drops.

Miren, the Moaning Well

This deck needs more sacrifice engines than the two obvious Phyrexian Tower and High Market that cost nothing but a tap, enter this colorless land. This thing can tap for any color of mana, arrives untapped and can tap for three mana to sacrifice a dork and gain 2 life (well, it's toughness, which might be 1 with a Bloodghast or Blood Artist or more with the Launderer). Nice, right?

Check out my deck!

Esper Aristocrats with Bane | Commander | Abe Sargent

And there you are! What did you think of my brew? Anything missing or that you liked? Where are you sending your Bane deck? Let me know in the comments below and have an awesome day!

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