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Sidisi Commander

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When I see a block bring out a fun, new creature type, such as Naga, it really hits me right here. Yeah! Naga, baby! I would prefer to see these types as creatures rather than as a mixture of two types. I prefer rakshasa to Cat Demon, lycanthrope (or Werewolf, I suppose) to Human Wolf, and so forth. It's like calling a Minotaur a giant bull Human. Sure, that means that Nagas—because they aren't Snake Humans—might miss out on things like Seshiro the Anointed or Gallows at Willow Hill, but that's okay. To me, the flavor is worth it. Go, Naga, go!

And that's why I want to build a deck around Sidisi, Brood Tyrant as my first Khans of Tarkir project. Let's commander this Naga up!

What's really fun about Sidisi is that she hits the sweet spot for graveyard interaction in Magic. Magic's history is laden with effects that assist the graveyard from a litany of blocks. For example, consider some of the mechanics from previous blocks that play well here:

  • Dredge from Ravnica block
  • Scavenge from Return to Ravnica
  • Unearth from Alara block
  • Flashback from Odyssey and Innistrad blocks
  • Threshold from Odyssey block
  • Recover from Coldsnap

And of course, these aren't the only ones. We can dump cards en masse there from blue (Strategic Planning, for example), black (Buried Alive), or green (Hermit Druid).

We also have gobs of creatures that have power and/or toughness from graveyards, like Lhurgoyf or Mortivore. Consider the Incarnations like Wonder and Genesis compared to the self-recursion of Vengevine and Reassembling Skeleton. It's good stuff! From Regrowth to Animate Dead, and from Body Double to Grim Flowering, we have a lot of options to consider!

This isn't anything new. Consider Songs of the Damned or Tortured Existence.

Because of this, you can delve deeply into triad of colors by harnessing the self-mill ability that Sidisi brings to the table. This gives us a lot of agility to move in a variety of directions with our good Naga friend.

Sidisi for the Win ? Commander | Abe Sargent

And that's my take on Sidisi!

Let's peer into what Sidisi does. In B/G/U, Sidisi brings a self-mill trigger for three cards whenever she enters the battlefield or attacks. Then, as you mill, you look to add a Zombie token if any creatures hit the graveyard.

Vela the Night-Clad
Now, there are a lot of fun ways to take this. One is to push the enters-the-battlefield (ETB) ability with some Flicker effects. While white has the lion's share of flickering cards, we can still push some with blue, like Ghostly Flicker. You could also run a bunch of self-bouncing with stuff like Cloudstone Curio and Crystal Shard in order to bounce and replay your commander to generate a bunch of triggers.

Another way is to turn your Naga into a sneaky and slippery body and attack over and over again. Consider Whispersilk Cloak. Whenever you attack, you generate the trigger, so just make sure you can always make it through. Both blue and black have a ton of options for making things all sneaky. You can give Sidisi shadow (Dauthi Embrace), fear or intimidate, flying, and more. I added Rogue's Passage, the Cloak, Mask of Riddles, and Vela the Night-Clad.

You could also push the token theme and make a lot of tokens. Then, you could support those tokens by pumping them via Gaea's Anthem or Lord of the Undead. Or you can turn to sacrifice triggers for your fodder and use cards like Attrition. There are a few fun tricks from ye olde days players might have forgotten about, such as Strength of Night, you could bring back to the table. I slid in a few cards here and there, such as Krovikan Horror and Grim Backwoods.

Since Sidisi triggers whenever you mill a creature card, you may as well run some other self-milling dorks. Some are really nasty, such as Deadbridge Chant. Dang! It's as though Wizards of the Coast wanted to print a card that would break Deadbridge Chant, so they created Sidisi. You can also see stuff such as Satyr Wayfinder and Avenging Druid or Grisly Salvage and Extract from Darkness running around.

And remember that this self-mill is occurring regularly, so cards you want in your graveyard or that self-recur or have flashback are strong choices, too. We have Bloodghast, just as one example.

Rot Farm Skeleton
When cards fit multiple themes, they are perfect. Take Rot Farm Skeleton. It self-mills and self-recurs. You can churn it to your graveyard with Sidisi and then bring it back and make some more tokens. Extract from Darkness gives the deck the obviously powerful reanimation plus the self-mill. Dread Return is perfect—if it's milled, you can flash it back to recur. Meanwhile, it's a sacrifice engine to send some Zombies right to your graveyard.

Because of the pure number of cards that hit our various themes, I felt it would be beneficial to try to unearth these multiple slots. Krovikan Horror can self-recur (often) as well as provide a sacrifice engine. Krosan Tusker fetches me a land, draws a card, and puts a body into the 'yard for helping the team later. I tried to stick these suckers in when I could.

I gave the deck a smattering of milling generally in order to turn it on for yourself if needed. Phenax, God of Deception is probably the best at doing just that. You can also use it to fight against things such as Vampiric Tutor and similar concepts. I didn't want to push this too much—milling is generally not a strategy that I prefer in Commander, but it's there in case it works for your game.

In addition to flashback, such as with Dread Return or Forbidden Alchemy, we have some other spells that have uses when in the bin. Controvert has the fun recover ability to bring itself back to counter stuff. We can dredge Life from the Loam to pull back lands that have been unearthed. In fact, so many lands hit the 'yard from Sidisi that you might want to toss in Crucible of Worlds.

Baleful Strix
We needed some card-draw, so I included a few commonly played entries to set us up: Rhystic Study, Phyrexian Arena, and such. Sure, they may not fit theme, but they'll do a yeoman's work to put more cards into your hand. Additionally, don't forget other prototypical cards such as Draining Whelk, Avatar of Woe, and Pernicious Deed all running around! There are a lot of fun cards under the hood here. From Baleful Strix to Recurring Insight, a lot of typical suspects flesh things out.

Because we want Sidisi to smash for triggering its ability, I felt a few tempo-based cards that handle any potential blockers would be helpful. Recoil is a great choice, and you could add in Capsize. I also like Dinrova Horror to Recoil on a stick. Adding discard to the bounce spell keeps it from being card disadvantage, which are long the bane of bounce effects.

Volrath's Stronghold has always been a strong card, and I named it the best multiplayer card of all time. In this deck, it's even better. Just stick a creature onto your deck before Sidisi triggers, and you make an extra Zombie token! (As a tech card for a Sidisi deck, consider Footbottom Feast! You can stock the top of your deck with creatures and then load up on Zombie-token triggers. Plus, it replaces itself with a creature, so it's not card disadvantage.)

This is obviously a deck that can abuse stuff such as Sensei's Divining Top (seeing a new three cards to reorder prior to drawing regularly). I enjoy including these typical stalwarts of Commander deck-building when they are improved by my commander.

More tokens, baby! Doubling Season for the win! Sure, it might not be the best card in this deck because of the lack of tokens and counters, but it doubles down your Sidisi Zombie spawn as well as adding counters to Planeswalkers and random cards such as Opal Palace. Cards like Grave Titan and Syphon Flesh are also really strong adjuncts to the Zombie tokening.

Lord of Extinction
You'll find a lot of fun cards tucked under the hood, such as Oona, Queen of the Fae, Lich Lord of Unx, Reaper of the Wilds, and Lord of Extinction.

A few final cards flesh the deck out. We had space for a handful of counters as well as cards such as Loaming Shaman, which will enable you to reload your deck with goodies whenever it arrives, as a tool to keep from decking yourself. The Mimeoplasm should prove particularly synergetic. There are lands such as Svogthos, the Restless Tomb and Miren, the Moaning Well that also give you some love.

And that was the deck!

You can push this deck in a lot of directions. I mentioned some ideas above, but you could easily add in Grave Pact, Dictate of Erebos, Oversold Cemetery, or Hermit Druid, just as a few ideas.

This is a green deck with little acceleration, which may feel odd to a lot of folks, so if you need Cultivate or Kodama's Reach, nothing is stopping you. I elected to run other cards, but you can easily switch back. You could also add in different mana rocks, such as Chromatic Lantern or creatures such as Sylvan Caryatid.

Vengevine
Push the graveyard theme with more recover, dredge, flashback, and such. You could easily include Deep Analysis or Carrionette or Dragon Wings or Vengevine. Want to play with the graveyard more? What about Eternal Witness, Nim Deathmantle, Gravecrawler, Beacon of Unrest, or Living Death? Maybe even Victimize!

More sacrifice engines might prove useful—from Malevolent Awakening or Blasting Station to Attrition or Sadistic Hypnotist, there are a lot of options running around the block.

I didn't add in every Commander stalwart, and you could add Acidic Slime, Krosan Grip, Woodfall Primus, Demonic Tutor, and such.

Other options? Take a look at Werebear, Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, Jace, the Living Guildpact, or Spliterfright. Consider Buried Alive or Entomb.

The world is deep and full of awesome cards for Sidisi to rock. Build a better Naga!


See you next week,

Abe Sargent


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