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Commander Chop Shop #2 – Teysa, the Silent Killer

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First, I’d like to thank you all for the warm welcome! I received around twenty decks to be reviewed this week from a whole variety of states/countries! There are a few I know for sure I will be taking a look at down the road, but for now, I just want to post a quick reminder: When you send me your list, you have to let me know what our budget is! I’d love to fix up decks and make all sorts of wacky changes, but I have to know how much we’re looking to spend first.

This week, I’m proud to feature a deck from Shawn Hudson, who is running Teysa, Orzhov Scion. If you’re not already familiar with the card, Teysa does some absolutely unfair things, and our goal is just to spice up the deck a little. Shawn’s already got some pretty awesome things in the list, so we’re just going to tune it up a little.

Shawn gave us a variable budget, and I’m going to go with the low-end estimate of $60. I don’t think we should need too many expensive cards, and I’m chomping at the bit to add some old favorites and a few cheeky little surprises into this deck. Let’s take a look at the list Shawn is currently running:

[cardlist]

[Commander]

1 Teysa, Orzhov Scion

[/Commander]

[Creatures]

1 Archon of Justice

1 Butcher of Malakir

1 Cemetery Reaper

1 Deathgreeter

1 Emeria Angel

1 Extractor Demon

1 Fleshbag Marauder

1 Gatekeeper of Malakir

1 Gravedigger

1 Knight-Captain of Eos

1 Leonin Relic-Warder

1 Nekrataal

1 Nether Traitor

1 Nezumi Graverobber

1 Reveillark

1 Royal Assassin

1 Serra Ascendant

1 Soul's Attendant

1 Stonecloaker

1 Stoneforge Mystic

1 Twilight Shepherd

1 Viscera Seer

1 Wall of Omens

1 Perilous Myr

1 Darien, King of Kjeldor

1 Eight-and-a-Half-Tails

1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

1 Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder

1 Ghost Council of Orzhova

1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence

1 Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker

1 Sheoldred, Whispering One

1 Yosei, the Morning Star

[/Creatures]

[Planeswalkers]

1 Elspeth Tirel

1 Liliana Vess

[/Planeswalkers]

[Spells]

1 Dismember

1 Doom Blade

1 Go for the Throat

1 Hideous End

1 Path to Exile

1 Swords to Plowshares

1 Unmake

1 Conqueror's Pledge

1 Exsanguinate

1 Profane Command

1 Timely Reinforcements

1 Breeding Pit

1 Circle of Despair

1 Debtors' Knell

1 Grave Pact

1 Luminarch Ascension

1 Mobilization

1 Oblivion Ring

1 Sacred Mesa

1 Blade of the Bloodchief

1 Bonehoard

1 Lightning Greaves

1 Mimic Vat

1 Mortarpod

1 Sol Ring

1 Sylvok Lifestaff

1 Tainted Sigil

[/Spells]

[Lands]

7 Swamp

9 Plains

1 Bojuka Bog

1 Caves of Koilos

1 Command Tower

1 Ebon Stronghold

1 Esper Panorama

1 Evolving Wilds

1 Godless Shrine

1 Kabira Crossroads

1 Marsh Flats

1 Mistveil Plains

1 Orzhov Basilica

1 Piranha Marsh

1 Ruins of Trokair

1 Rupture Spire

1 Tainted Field

1 Tectonic Edge

1 Terramorphic Expanse

1 Vivid Marsh

1 Vivid Meadow

1 Eiganjo Castle

1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

There’s quite a great base to work with! I’m a big fan of this token-generating theme, and using them to essentially machine-gun down the opposition. I’d like for us to develop that theme and maybe add a few saucy side components as well! I like this recursion theme—hell, I like recursion themes in general! I also feel that we can make a token deck without being in Green, and this is a prime chance. Let’s look at some of the cards we’re going to remove.

Cards to Remove

I know what you’re thinking: Eighteen cards is a lot. But remember, two of those cards are just land upgrades, and there are a few new cards we want to fit in this deck from Innistrad. Before we dive into an explanation of what we’ve pulled and for which cards, let’s look at the newcomers!

Cards to Add

1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant $13.00 1 Academy Rector $10.00
1 Karmic Guide $10.00 1 Isolated Chapel $7.00
1 Mikaeus, the Lunarch $5.00 1 Lifeline $4.00
1 Martial Coup $3.00 1 Weathered Wayfarer $2.00
1 Second Sunrise $1.25 1 Skeletal Vampire $1.00
1 Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker $0.85 1 Geist-Honored Monk $0.50
1 Orzhov Pontiff $0.50 1 Springjack Pasture $0.50
1 Battle Screech $0.25 1 Phyrexian Plaguelord $0.15
1 Sengir Autocrat $0.15 1 Belfry Spirit $0.10
Total $59.25

So, some of the cards we’ve removed have a pretty direct analog. Twilight Shepherd provides a cool body for what she does, but Second Sunrise lets us get away with the same effects at instant speed! Don’t get me wrong, if Twilight Shepherd had Flash, I would run away with it to some exotic place and we would sip rum on our makeshift cardboard honeymoon. However, it’s sorcery-speed, and as such has to go.

In addition, we’ve removed a ton of removal. That sentence looks funny, but I guess it’s fine. Hideous End, Profane Command, Royal Assassin, and the equipment package all get the axe. I like Mortarpod, but it seems that it’s doing the same thing as Teysa, just a little less effectively. In their places, we have a new removal suite full of card advantage. Phyrexian Plaguelord, Orzhov Pontiff, and a whole host of token-generators fuel up Teysa and also help to pump your team! If worse to comes to worst, we have a token board-sweeper in Martial Coup that still serves to fuel Teysa!

Last but not least, we have a nice recursion package. Gravedigger is tried and true, but I prefer things that come back to the battlefield! We’ve already mentioned Second Sunrise, but we also pick up Lifeline and in a pinch Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker. Though we are a little light on 1-drops, that could certainly be changed in later builds!

I also overhauled the token-generators. Breeding Pit is awesome, but it takes a while to get started. The same goes with Luminarch Ascension. The Ascension actually puts a giant target on your head. Players sort of view this as a direct challenge to deal you more damage than necessary. We don’t want the target hat! Instead, I’ve added Geist-Honored Monk, Sengir Autocrat (those tokens upgrade to 2/2’s!), and of course Belfry Spirit, who helps to feed Skeletal Vampire as well! Don’t forget that Teysa’s second ability triggers no matter how those Black creatures go to the graveyard. Sacrificing to Plaguelord or Skeletal Vampire counts! Last but not least, we have Mikaeus, the Lunarch, who has been tearing up token decks since his introduction in FTV Legends. Welcome to the team!

This brings us to my favorite piece of tech: the lands. We were able to do a swap pretty much directly for a Swamp and an Isolated Chapel; nothing too odd there. The big thing I noticed is that SPRINGJACK PASTURE MAKES WHITE GOATS! I love the fact that we can make blockers and now sac them to either Plaguelord or, if we’re really lucky, Teysa. Remember that in a pinch, they even count as mana and a bit of life gain.

One quick word on cards I considered but declined is in order. The very first thought I had was a very silly one: Darkest Hour. Darkest Hour makes every creature in the deck give you tokens! It also turns off Teysa’s first ability. Remember that Darkest Hour just blanks off whatever colors the creature has and makes them Black instead. I also thought about running Promise of Bunrei to further pump out some Teysa tokens, but alas—they’re colorless Spirits! Who knew?

Last of all (I promise), one or two quick rules interactions that can be tricky here. Haunt is a triggered ability that can be responded to. This means that if you want to get extra value out of some guys with Haunt, you can respond with something like Second Sunrise and have them enter the battlefield! Another very tricky interaction is that of Lifeline. Lifeline has a triggered ability that sets up a delayed trigger. When creatures are destroyed, Lifeline’s ability goes on the stack, and when it resolves, if there are any creatures left, they will all come back during the end-of-turn step. However, if all creatures die, none get to return. Even better, if you destroy Lifeline, the creatures will all still come back! If a player casts Wrath of God and you have any combination of Karmic Guide and Reveillark on the battlefield/in the graveyard, you should end up with both cards back and another creature with power 2 or less, too! Don’t forget, Shirei looks at a creature’s power immediately before it went to the graveyard. If you use an effect to lower a creature’s power, for example Phyrexian Plaguelord, you would be able to return that creature!

Without further ado, the final deck list!

[cardlist]

[Commander]

1 Teysa, Orzhov Scion

[/Commander]

[Creatures]

1 Academy Rector

1 Archon of Justice

1 Belfry Spirit

1 Butcher of Malakir

1 Cemetery Reaper

1 Deathgreeter

1 Emeria Angel

1 Extractor Demon

1 Fleshbag Marauder

1 Gatekeeper of Malakir

1 Geist-Honored Monk

1 Karmic Guide

1 Knight-Captain of Eos

1 Leonin Relic-Warder

1 Nekrataal

1 Nether Traitor

1 Nezumi Graverobber

1 Orzhov Pontiff

1 Phyrexian Plaguelord

1 Reveillark

1 Sengir Autocrat

1 Serra Ascendant

1 Skeletal Vampire

1 Soul's Attendant

1 Stonecloaker

1 Stoneforge Mystic

1 Viscera Seer

1 Wall of Omens

1 Weathered Wayfarer

1 Darien, King of Kjeldor

1 Eight-and-a-Half-Tails

1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite

1 Ghost Council of Orzhova

1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence

1 Mikaeus, the Lunarch

1 Sheoldred, Whispering One

1 Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker

1 Yosei, the Morning Star

[/Creatures]

[Planeswalkers]

1 Elspeth Tirel

1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant

1 Liliana Vess

[/Planeswalkers]

[Spells]

1 Dismember

1 Doom Blade

1 Go for the Throat

1 Path to Exile

1 Second Sunrise

1 Swords to Plowshares

1 Unmake

1 Battle Screech

1 Conqueror's Pledge

1 Exsanguinate

1 Martial Coup

1 Timely Reinforcements

1 Debtors' Knell

1 Grave Pact

1 Mobilization

1 Oblivion Ring

1 Sacred Mesa

1 Bonehoard

1 Lifeline

1 Mimic Vat

1 Sol Ring

[/Spells]

[Lands]

6 Swamp

8 Plains

1 Bojuka Bog

1 Caves of Koilos

1 Command Tower

1 Ebon Stronghold

1 Esper Panorama

1 Evolving Wilds

1 Godless Shrine

1 Isolated Chapel

1 Kabira Crossroads

1 Marsh Flats

1 Mistveil Plains

1 Orzhov Basilica

1 Piranha Marsh

1 Ruins of Trokair

1 Rupture Spire

1 Springjack Pasture

1 Tainted Field

1 Tectonic Edge

1 Terramorphic Expanse

1 Vivid Marsh

1 Vivid Meadow

1 Eiganjo Castle

1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

Well, that’s about it for this week. I hope you’ve enjoyed this new series so far. Keep the deck lists coming. So far, I’ve had some absolutely awesome lists sent my way, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Until then, this is Ben McDole giving you a hundred reasons to play Magic.


Send Ben Your Deck! This series relies on your submissions for Ben to go all Gregory House on. If you'd like to see your deck in the line up email them to edhsubmissions@gmail.com. Along with your deck be sure to give Ben an idea of how much you're willing to spend on these changes.

Please understand that not every submission can or will be used on Commander Chop Shop, but we aim to get to as many of you as we can!

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