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This Lad's a Genius! - Ludevic, Necrogenius Commander

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Hello all! I hope that you are having a rock-tastic day today and hopefully today is one of the best days in your life!

Today is the third week in a row that I am dedicating to making a Commander deck around one of the new legendary characters from Midnight Hunt.

Here are my last two:

  1. Gisa, Glorious Resurrector - I first built around this mono-black leader that wants to kill foes with destruction effects like Damnation, -X/-X effects like Mutilate, sacrificing effects like Slum Reaper, and then triggers and reanimation and mono-Black ramping tools. It's a whole lot of fun! You can see the song I sung over here.
  2. Rem Karolus, Stalwart Slayer - In this Boros-based build I toss in a ton of damage-based mass removal that will keep your stuff alive if you survive, such as Rolling Earthquake and Blasphemous Act, as well as backup ways to keep your stuff alive like Iroas, God of Victory as well as triggers and damage dealers to people's face from burn like Stuffy Doll. Enjoy it here!

What Dimir colored leader inspired today's build?

Ludevic, Necrogenius // Olag, Ludevic's Hubris

It's this flip card, Ludevic Take Two. As you can see, the Necrogenius version of Ludevic is a 2-drop for a 2/3 which is pretty good on the curve. And then you net a dork that mills you a single card when it arrives to the battlefield or attacks. And then you can, as a sorcery, exile creature(s) from your graveyard to transform your leader. When you do you net the Olag version, which is now a Zombie, 4/4, legendary, Blue and Black, and it's a copy of a creature you exiled, and it gets a +1/+1 counter for each additional card you exiled. Pretty nice, right? What I want to do is just use X for 1, as creatures are very ephemeral, and I don't want to exile 3 creatures only to get a 6/6 Olag answered by a Swords to Plowshares or Damnation.

Here is what I am looking for this brew!

  • Unblockable - Since we only mill a single card when our leader triggers, we'll need to make sure that he triggers a lot, and that means swinging unblockably with cards like Rogue's Passage. This will also help getting through a better Olag if we've gotten something good.
  • More Milling - Since Ludevic only mills a single card, we'll want more ways to fill up our graveyard like milling or cards like Bitter Revelation that will put them into our graveyard.
  • Creatures - Since Ludevic exiles our stuff, and wants to copy an exiled card, and since we aren't sure what we can copy with his ability given the uncertain trigger of self-milling, we'll need a big enough creature base to really play into Ludevic // Olag.
  • Graveyard Tutor - Black has a lot of ways of putting creatures from the library into the graveyard, like Buried Alive. Expect them to arrive here in enough numbers to sculpt your graveyard to suit the situation.
  • Support - Here we'll run cards like counters, card drawing, removal, and ramp. Enjoy it!

Luckily, over on EDHREC.com we only have 3 decks when I am writing this, so there clearly is not any great accepted community momentum on Ludevic //Olag yet, and that let's us do what we need to do quite ably.

Ready for the mass unpacking of cards? I got you!

Vile Entomber
Gravebreaker Lamia

Check out this duo! I tossed in pretty much every version of an Entomb card that was printed. The Vile one is my favorite since it's a 4-drop 2/2 creature that put any card into your graveyard, not just creatures. Might I suggest a flashback card? And then with deathtouch it can easily trade up and give you a two-for-one. The Lamia has lifelink instead, and for one more mana nets you a double-sized body. It also bins anything you may want, from lands to sorceries to creatures. It also reduces your cost by one if you cast it from the graveyard, and we do have some disturb cards I added that this ability will work on.

Mournwhelk
Mulldrifter
Aethersnipe

One thing I thought of adding to this brew are creatures with evoke. You can pay their normal cost and net a creature and a trigger when it arrives (or leaves play). Or you can pay their cheaper cost and get the trigger and a creature in your bin for Ludevic to pseudo-copy by exiling. The first card above will force a foe to discard, and that's pretty good for the team, it's basically a Mind Rot for one more mana if you evoke it. The second card is Commander royalty, and since it flies, it's nice to copy and swing. The third card can bounce something like Man-o'-War or Aether Adept only with a wider trigger that can bounce anything not a land, such as a creature enchanted by Faith's Fetters.

Body Double feels like a must-include in this brew. I'm shocked that fewer than half of EDHREC.com decks are running it. Although that might be due to a low sample size. It seems like the most obvious choice among creatures after the Entomb squad. As a 5-drop, this will copy any creature in any graveyard. Have this in your hand? Entomb or Buried Alive, and then drop this and copy the best creature in your deck for the situation. Need to destroy something? I tossed in Meteor Golem to destroy anything, and you could Body Double and destroy anything that is breaking the board. I also have cards like Ravenous Chupacabra to destroy a creature, creatures that will tap for abilities that can change the board we'll look at later and loads more! You could draw two more cards from an evoked Mulldrifter. Body Double for the win!

Forbid
Compulsion

Can you see why this Blue uncommon duo is here? The former is a Counterspell for three mana that will let you buyback by discarding two cards and keep on going. Might I suggest holding onto extra lands or creatures you want to copy with Ludevic? Then you can discard away and keep up your counter shield. Then we also have the latter card, which is a two-mana enchantment that you can discard a card to draw a card. It's here to discard a card and then keep up the card flow. Note that you can sacrifice itself in case someone targets it for removal, or if it would die to an Akroma's Vengeance. Since this is better discard, since it's not the card disadvantage of the first spell, it's pretty good for the team, and you should be able to hold onto it for a while.

I added in six planeswalkers, two of each character - let's turn to them in turn!

Ashiok, Dream Render
Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears

We'll do this in alphabetical order. Let's begin with Ashiok. As you can see, we have two iterations of Ashiok here. The Dream Render can shut down tutoring from your foes, until its 5 loyalty is answered. It's here for that -1 to self-mill yourself and then you have 4 new cards in your graveyard. It can also serve to exile foes' graveyards so that you control a recurring element in the metagame. The Sculptor of Fears is a 6-drop with just 4 loyalty, and from that you can +2 it and draw a card and keep on drawing. Each player mills two cards, so you get options for your brew while you draw cards. Don't sleep on it's -5 to Zombify a creature from a graveyard later on. Nice!

Jace, Memory Adept
Jace, Wielder of Mysteries

Now let's turn to Jace. The first planeswalker I tossed into my brew was his Memory Adept version. He can draw a card for +1 and mill you of a card, just like Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears he provides valuable card flow linked to milling.

But he's here for that 0 to force a player to mill 10 cards. You can really go hog wild doing that to yourself, but it's also a weapon against your foes if you have someone blowing through their deck. His Wielder of Mysteries was the sixth and final 'walker added to my brew and he's here for that ability to win the game if you draw on an empty library. Considering how fast we could mill ourselves, that seems pretty likely. Note that save for Entombs, we are not running any tutors, so you'd have to draw him. You can +1 him and mill two and draw a card. Good stuff!

Liliana, Death's Majesty
Liliana, the Last Hope

Let's finish with our Lilianas. The Death's Majesty was the first Liliana I tossed in. She is a 5-mana 5-loyalty 'walker, and she's here for that +1 to make a 2/2 Zombie token to protect the team and to mill you of two cards. Don't forget her -3 to Zombify a creature from your built-up graveyard either! The Last Hope Liliana can do a few things nicely. She is a solid three-drop with 3 loyalty. She can +1 to Weakness a target and kill it, and things like Birds of Paradise and Mother of Runes and Soul Warden come to mind. She's here for that -2 to mill two and then Raise Dead the best creature back to your hand for a re-cast. I really like this with the evoke cards we added in for another set of triggers. Good duo!

Desecrated Tomb

This card is one of the most synegetic ones in the deck. As creature cards leave your graveyard you make a 1/1 flying Bat token. That means when you turn Ludevic into Olag, you will also make a 1/1 flyer that can block aerial attackers and swing over grounded forces for damage. It also works with the next trilogy of cards, Junktroller, some of the walkers of planes above, some lands, and more. Good artifact!

Perpetual Timepiece
Wand of Vertebrae
Elixir of Immortality

I wanted to run answers to graveyard removal in this build, since it could shut you down. I tossed in Orbs of Warding, which keeps cards like Bojuka Bog from targeting you, but in most cases, most graveyard hosing cards don't target the player anymore.

Enter this trinity. The first two are here to tap and mill card(s) and keep the graveyard flow going. As you can see, they can also self-exile and then shuffle up some cards from your graveyard into your library to play keep away. You'd rather shuffle up 5 key creatures to your graveyard than lose them outright. I also am running the Elixir to run into a similar space shuffling the library, and it, and gaining 5 life to keep on keeping on, and it can play great defense when someone activates their Relic of Progenitus and wants to exile all of the graveyards at once. Good trio!

Arcanis the Omnipotent
Visara the Dreadful

I mentioned before that I added in some big tap creatures, like this pair that are part of a rare cycle from Onslaught of CCC3 where C is that creature's color, and they have really pushed the tables around, but this pair are the best in Commander.

Arcanis taps for an Ancestral Recall. Imagine using Ludevic's self-exile ability on him! You could save him with 4 mana and recast him without any commander tax. Visara taps to destroy any dork you are running, and with flying can fly over ground foes, and as a 5/5 is pretty good for size! I also tossed in Avatar of Woe from an earlier rare cycle that feels pretty similar to this pair's cycle and will also be a great option to use to turn into Olag.

I adore the Elemental Incarnation Dread here. It's brilliant at playing keep away, as whenever a creature deals damage to you, it gets destroyed. Do not block, take the swing, and kill the creature, which is easy here in a format that starts with 40 life. People will not attack you when you control this. It also has fear so this 6/6 for six mana has an evasive ability to swing past at least one foe in a 4 way game. It's pretty sexy and keen here. Note that you cannot use it with Ludevic as when it dies, or is milled, it shuffles into your deck! That keeps you from milling yourself in case you don't draw Jace.

Wonder
Filth

That Incarnation inspired this duo. Both work quite well with the deck's many Entomb effects, as you can search out the first for flying and the second for swampwalk. If you cannot attack with Dread because they have Black creatures to stop fear, then they should be playing Swamps! Every metagroup runs Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth - I am too along with Expedition Map to fetch it out, although that might be a waste considering what else we are running here...

Mire Triton
Baleful Strix

I also really liked the idea of a deathtouch dork that can trade up netting you a creature kill and another card in the graveyard. Enter this pair! The Merfolk can mill two cards on arrival, gain you two life, gives you a cheap 2/1 on arrival, and can trade up with deathtouch. It's great here. The Bird is even better with flying and deathtouch. You can replace it on arrival. I love it being exiled and copied by your leader as you can both have evasion for swinging as well as deathtouch to play keep away with bigger dorks than your 4/4. They may not want to trade down their Consecrated Sphinxes.

I added quite a few other cards from Midnight Hunt. Let's turn and look at some.

Dreadhound
Sludge Monster

Check out this duo! Can you see why the Demon Dog is here? This is a sizeable 6-drop 6/6 which that, on arrival, can mill three cards. And then as creatures die or head to graveyards from a library, you will force each foe to lose a life. With all of the self-milling I am running, this is very triggerable. Plus, a 6/6 is fine for the cause.

The Horror is the better in-set feature though even though it appears to have fewer synergies with the deck that the 'Hound. Why? When this arrives to the battlefield or swings, you'll turn an opposing non-Horror into a 2/2 stripped of all abilities.

This is good on its own as you can answer a Commander on arrival and again as you swing until this is answered, and it's on my Top Ten list from the set.

But I really like it as a copy by Ludevic into Olag, as you can swing over and over and net its triggers. Also, don't sleep on their size versus casting cost as both are very on-curve.

Malevolent Hermit // Benevolent Geist

Let's turn to this disturb rare card. As you can see, this Hermit is a 2-drop 2/1, which is fine for the cause, and it has disturb for 3 mana, which gives you an option if it is milled. The Hermit can sacrifice to Mana Leak a noncreature spell. And that could lead to it being disturbed. Note that if you exile it with your commander, you get the front side so you can sacrifice your commander to Mana Leak anything that's not a creature. The back side is a 2/2 flyer, which is solid, and your noncreatures cannot be countered. Not bad! I am running 2 enchantments, 16 artifacts, 6 planeswalkers, and 11 sorceries and instants.

Overwhelmed Archivist

Have you seen this disturb card from the set as well? I added in more cards with this mechanic as they felt they played well with it. As you can see, this Archivist can draw and discard on arrival, which can help fuel your graveyard. It's an okay 3/2 for three mana with the Loot ability. You can disturb him for four mana and net a 2/1 flyer that attacks and Loots as an attack trigger, which is good for the cause. Enjoy it!

The Celestus
Siphon Insight

Check out this duo! The legendary artifact is here, primarily to serve as a Manalith style of mana rock. However, feel free later in the game to spend three mana, as a sorcery, to make day night and night day and then gain a life and loot a card. Good graveyard and card drawing options on a mana rock.

The instant can look at the top two cards of your foe's library, exile one and you can play the exiled one with color washing in effect as long as you have it exiled. You can flashback this 2-cost sorcery, which means you could set it up with Entomb effects, although I prefer it twice naturally since then it's card advantage. But any port in a storm will count. Note that this reads "play" so if you exile a land you can drop it.

King Narfi's Betrayal

Check out this saga, and the only enchantment not named Compulsion in my brew! When this 3-drop rare arrives to the battlefield every player mills four cards, including yourself. You can exile a creature or 'walker from each graveyard although you may not want to from your own. Although you might if you control Desecrated Tomb.

On the next two turns you may cast those exiled dorks. Note that this reads "cast" so if you exiled a creature land, like Dryad Arbor, you cannot get it. Getting to mill 4 cards from yourself while also exiling the worst creature in your foe's graveyards while also being able to cast those best creatures? Can you see why it warrants key space in my build? I hope so!

Now let's turn to five cool lands!

Bonders' Enclave
Drownyard Temple

Let's start with these two! The Enclave will tap and let us draw a card if you control a creature with power 4 or more. Ludevic is too small to count. But as Olag is a 4/4 we can use it when he has been transformed. We also have loads of other options running around. The Temple is here to be returned if it gets self-milled. We'll still net a colorless land if one of our many cards mill it.

Port of Karfell
Nephalia Drownyard

Speaking of milling, here we have two milling options. The Port can tap for a Blue mana and can be sacrificed for 6 mana to mil yourself of four card and then Zombifies a key creature back from your graveyard to the battlefield (tapped). Pretty good in this build, right? And then we can tap the Drownyard to mill a target player of 3 cards. Might I suggest yourself?

Volrath's Stronghold

The best nonbasic land in this brew is Volrath's Stronghold. As you can see, this land requires two mana and then places a creature card from your graveyard to the top of your library. I love it with Mulldrifter since you can evoke it each turn. You can reload the best creature that was milled and draw and then cast it. It's also a key way to keep yourself from being decked if you don't draw Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. It's why Expedition Map was added. Love it here!

And there we go! We are finished with the deep dive. Want to see the deck proper? Alright!

This Lad's a Genius Ludevic | Commander| Abe Sargent

What did you think of my deck? Anything in here that you like or that you disagree with? Just let me know!

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