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Sek'Kuar, Stockpiler


Sometimes, I get an idea.

It’s shocking, I know.

These ideas will find a corner in my brain and then grow exponentially, as though, somewhere in my medulla oblongata, there’s a copy of Doubling Season and Thrummingbird. Usually, these ideas aren’t good enough to make the cut in a serious format or they require cards of a rarity that excludes them from Pauper. So I travel to the world where these concepts shine: Commander.

As the Magic 2015 spoilers rolled out, one such seed took root. Necromancer's Stockpile piqued my interest due to its interaction with one of my pet cards in Commander. See, I always try to make Undead Gladiator work. This Onslaught rare has the benefit of turning late-game dead cards into something that could be of greater utility, albeit at a heavy investment. With Necromancer's Stockpile, however, Undead Gladiator becomes a long stream of 2/2s and new cards. Slow? Yes. Plodding? You bet’cha. But I couldn’t resist—I needed to find a home for this neat package in a hundred-card deck. It did not fit into any of my existing nine builds. Sadly, this meant I had to complete the decade.

Since my endeavor was to build around Necromancer's Stockpile, this meant going tribal. I knew I was going to be base-black, and I went hunting for other members of the shambling horde that would help in my quest. Two that went to the front of the list were Tymaret, the Murder King and Pyre Zombie. That meant going Rakdos, but I already had a Lyzolda, the Blood Witch deck. I don’t like having decks that play out in similar fashions, which meant a few things. First, Lyzolda featured some high-powered combos (the quad of Triskelion, Deathbringer Thoctar, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, and Mephidross Vampire) and is based on monsters exploding out of the graveyard. Whatever my Necromancer's Stockpile deck would become, it would need to fall further along tribal lines and probably take advantage of token armies. I made this choice because I like my games of Commander to be varied. I have ten decks—I want ten different experiences, regardless of overlapping cards.

Necromancer's Stockpile
Knowing I was going to be at least black and red, I searched out a third color. My quest led me to omit white, leaving to select Jund or Grixis. While adding blue would give me access to more on-theme Commanders in Lord of Tresserhorn or Thraximundar, I felt more drawn to Jund. There were a few reasons for this. First, my initial Commander deck was Darigaaz, the Igniter (since stripped and eventually reforged into Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord). Second, I had a copy of Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper laying around that I wanted to use. This also had the advantage of pushing me deeper toward a token plan (even if they weren’t all Zombies).

With my colors set and a theme in place, I started looking for cards that could mimic my main players. My compatriot on this site Carlos had shown me the power of Tortured Existence in his Grimgrin, Corpse-Born deck. I also remembered him using Krovikan Horror to leverage quite the advantage. Even if the Horror doesn’t create a token with Necromancer's Stockpile, it can still be sequenced to repeatedly come back and draw more cards. It also has the added benefit of acting as a sacrifice outlet to generate some hasty Graveborns.

After scouring my brain and collection for other cards that would work well with my enchantment base, I came up with the following cards I had on hand:

Golgari Guildmage

It appeared that this deck would be okay putting small creatures into the graveyard but was angling away from reanimating huge threats. I was perfectly okay with this, as that was more Lyzolda’s realm. Veering toward another supplemental theme, I noticed I was leaning somewhat on enchantments, which led to the inclusion of Pharika's Mender. I also found space for Deathreap Ritual, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite card-draw engines in decks that can use the Conspiracy uncommon. In an average game, I have found that this enchantment draws at least one card per turn, netting three or four cards per turn cycle. Since I am going full-bore Zombies, I also opted for a Call to the Grave. The downside is kept in check by all my tokens while allowing the deck to urge games to move forward. I also had copies of Deadbridge Chant and was really excited to try the card out. So far, I have been very pleased with the slow advantage gained by this inclusion.

Rounding out the deck, I wanted to avoid my penchant of what I call Rube Goldberg decks. I have a tendency to build decks that start slowly and assemble their pieces. Eventually, my contraption is complete, and it creates a difficult-to-disrupt board state. I wanted Sek’Kuar to be something different. Rather than sit back, I want to act. Anger is a card that plays with my theme of pitching creatures while also encouraging me to attack. I had copies of Angel's Trumpet and Keldon Twilight. These cards seemed perfect for encouraging action. Angel's Trumpet will force players who are like I am, with token armies, to attack and move the game toward an end. Keldon Twilight is a little more subtle, but it still asks people to go on the offense. While it may not be enough, I cannot wait to see how these cards play out over the course of a few matches.

So, this leaves my first draft of Sek’Kuar’s Shambling Horde as follows:

Sek?Kuar?s Shambling Horde ? Commander | Alex Ullman

  • Commander (0)

I’ve only played this deck once, but I was very happy with how it went. I’m eager to try and find spots for more cards that help the following themes:

Army of the Damned

  • Tokens
  • Zombies
  • Action

On the token front, I may add Korozda Guildmage as another expensive sacrifice outlet that makes a small army. Endless Ranks of the Dead and Army of the Damned could also find a home on both the Zombie and token axis. Personal favorite Pawn of Ulamog will probably find its way into the deck once I figure out exactly what can be cut.

Increasing the action could be tough. I don’t want to go full-on Avatar of Slaughter and remove decisions, but I want to encourage people to go on the offensive. I’ve seen Purphoros, God of the Forge wreak havoc on a table, and I’m not sure I want to draw that much hate. What are your favorite cards that help the table act?

At the moment, Sek’Kuar does have some overlap with my other decks. Blood Artist and Falkenrath Noble are cards that go anywhere sacrifice outlets are found, as they help with the march to victory. Scourge of Skola Vale, Stronghold Assassin, and Bloodshot Cyclops all provide a one-shot on the altar while the actual Phyrexian Altar and Goblin Bombardment allow for endless offerings to the orcish gods.

Building Sek’Kuar was different for me. Usually, I find a commander I enjoy and build hard toward its specific skills. Lyzolda was built as a way to take advantage of the Blood Witch’s card-draw magic, and Muzzio, Visionary Architect was constructed to, well, be Muzzio. Sek’Kuar took a different route. I wanted to build a deck around Necromancer's Stockpile. Is this the best Stockpile deck? Probably not—after all, I’m not Conley Woods.

I also fear that I may be trying to do too much. Cramming the Stockpile package into the same deck as my attempts to enforce actors might be ambitious. But that’s where you come in. Commander is a group process (that’s what my brunch group says, anyway). What cards did I miss? Am I kitchen-sinking this one? Let me know—and I hope to see you around the table soon.

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