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Commander Chop Shop - Savra Is a Machine Gun!

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Once again, I find myself in an enviable position. I have quite a few more deck lists to chop than articles to write! I feel like a thank-you is in order to a few people. First, thanks to all of the people from overseas. I had no idea that I have this many international readers! Second, and possibly most important, thank you to Trick. If you are unaware, Trick is moving on to the Mothership, something akin to being called up to “the show” if you like sports metaphors (I do). He’s been running this site since its inception and really let me get away with quite a bit. I know things won’t change too drastically, but his presence will be missed.

Another note that I want to address before moving forward: price. I typically scour for the cheapest price I can find at the time. Many times, this coincides with CoolStuff’s, but sometimes it does not. In the cases it does not, I do not want to mention by name the places I’ve found a price. It’s a professional courtesy to not advertise for other websites on the one you’re writing for! Last, sometimes the prices have shifted from the time I wrote the article. It doesn’t happen all that often, but when it does, I apologize (and know that it’s usually not a drastic difference).

With those things out of the way, this week, we’re going to look at a Savra, Queen of the Golgari deck, courtesy of Michael. Michael would like for the deck to pseudo-combo, wiping away the opponent’s board while winning with a creature who gets fat off the grave. Here is the list as Michael proposed it:

[cardlist]

[Commander]

1 Savra, Queen of the Golgari

[/Commander]

[Creatures]

1 Abyssal Gatekeeper

1 Augur of Skulls

1 Birds of Paradise

1 Blastoderm

1 Blightsoil Druid

1 Bloodthrone Vampire

1 Boneyard Wurm

1 Brawn

1 Butcher of Malakir

1 Carrion Feeder

1 Centaur Chieftain

1 Disciple of Griselbrand

1 Fleshbag Marauder

1 Gleancrawler

1 Lhurgoyf

1 Lord of Extinction

1 Massacre Wurm

1 Mitotic Slime

1 Moldgraf Monstrosity

1 Mortivore

1 Nantuko Husk

1 Phyrexian Defiler

1 Phyrexian Plaguelord

1 Reaper from the Abyss

1 Sakura-Tribe Elder

1 Shriekmaw

1 Vampire Aristocrat

1 Vampire Hexmage

1 Viridian Emissary

1 Viscera Seer

1 Vulturous Zombie

1 Kokusho, the Evening Star

1 Sheoldred, Whispering One

1 Skullbriar, the Walking Grave

[/Creatures]

[Planeswalkers]

1 Garruk Relentless

[/Planeswalkers]

[Instants]

1 Altar's Reap

1 Doom Blade

1 Go for the Throat

1 Momentous Fall

1 Putrefy

1 Tribute to Hunger

[/Instants]

[Sorceries]

1 Barter in Blood

1 Bone Splinters

1 Caravan Vigil

1 Consuming Vapors

1 Damnation

1 Dread Return

1 Flesh Allergy

1 Harmonize

1 Primal Growth

1 Profane Command

1 Rampant Growth

1 Rite of Consumption

1 Vigor Mortis

[/Sorceries]

[Enchantments]

1 Attrition

1 Grave Pact

1 No Rest for the Wicked

1 Oni Possession

1 Perilous Forays

[/Enchantments]

[Artifacts]

1 Bonehoard

1 Carnage Altar

1 Mimic Vat

1 Nim Deathmantle

[/Artifacts]

[Lands]

10 Forest

18 Swamp

1 Barren Moor

1 Command Tower

1 Llanowar Wastes

1 Slippery Karst

1 Twilight Mire

1 Vivid Grove

1 Vivid Marsh

1 Woodland Cemetery

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

We’re working with a budget of $40, a sum that actually doesn’t go quite as far as I’d hoped when we look at the popularity of the color combination. Green and Black has been a very well-liked casual combo for a while now—and, as it turns out, that trend has not slowed. Fortunately, we can find a few cards that fit our theme without breaking the bank!

First, a few words about the cards that we are cutting. There are a few creatures who are not quite right for the deck. Kokusho, the Evening Star is banned in Commander. If he weren’t, I would run him as much as I could in every deck possible. He’s one of my favorite cards of all time, but unfortunately we just can’t keep him in. There are multiple ways of sacrificing creatures, and Bloodthrone Vampire is just a bit underwhelming. He comes down early, but that’s not really as big a deal in Commander as it is in other formats. The same can be said for Vampire Aristocrat. We already have two other identical sac outlets. I love redundancy, but it’s a little much in this case. Last, Carrion Feeder is no longer needed. Reasons? Well, see above! I promise that we will be taking some steps to add that redundancy back in, with a bonus.

Now for the other cards we’re removing. Caravan Vigil fits our theme, but is really an accelerant for a deck that curves out fairly low anyway. Also, with the number of lands and other more effective pieces of acceleration, I think the Vigil is unnecessary. The same reasoning applies to Perilous Forays. Acceleration early is great, but the Forays is most likely not active until after turn five, and by then, it’s frankly a little bit late. The last non-enchantment cut is Carnage Altar. I could see an argument for keeping Carnage Altar in your list if you’re playing in a lot of multiplayer formats, as it could be back-breaking late-game. That being said, it is very mana-intensive and tends to be a bit of a liability. If you find yourself in a Wrath-light format, it is absolutely worth revisiting.

The last three cards we cut are two lands, one of each color (which are being replaced by new lands), and Oni Possession. Oni Possession is a neat trick, and I loved it during Kamigawa block, but as a card in Commander, it does not do enough. If you are using it strictly to punch through Trample damage, there are better options, and as a sac outlet, you are limited in both scope and frequency of use. We can do better!

Let’s take a look at some replacements, and their prices:

1 Volrath's Stronghold $15.50 1 Genesis $12.22
1 Eternal Witness $4.00 1 Miren, the Moaning Well $2.90
1 Fauna Shaman $2.50 1 Buried Alive $2.00
1 Splinterfright $0.25 1 Worm Harvest $0.25
1 Yavimaya Elder $0.25 1 Innocent Blood $0.10
Total $39.97

The very first group of cards gives us consistency and a tutor package (heh, heh . . . package), all in one! We are adding Eternal Witness, Fauna Shaman, Genesis, and Buried Alive. With this collection of cards, you can Buried Alive for Genesis, Eternal Witness, and any other creature, and have a nice recursion engine that’s really hard to beat in the late game. There are a wide variety of creatures with ETB abilities we can choose and abuse depending on our needs! Don’t forget that Brawn can be a great tutor target.

Innocent Blood doubles as removal and creature pump when we consider our other addition, Splinterfright. Both of these cards are good at filling the grave for us to pick from as we please. The ability to turn any of our Lhurgoyf-type cards into a threat that must be exiled is a strong advantage.

In order to add some utility, we’ve included a big-ticket item—Volrath's Stronghold—and another great land, Miren, the Moaning Well. Both cards let us keep on theme while providing the utility of tapping for mana in a pinch. Just remember to keep the Stronghold open to protect Genesis!

The last addition is one that truly makes Savra a machine gun: Worm Harvest. With all of the milling and lands hitting the graveyard, we should be able to make a considerable number of tokens in a hurry. Note that these are Green and Black tokens! Each one is a sac outlet for Savra in its own right, and a great way to gain life quickly. With the same recursion as the other cards in the graveyard, I expect this deck to become tough to beat without some concentrated graveyard removal.

So, here’s the final deck list!

[cardlist]

[Commander]

1 Savra, Queen of the Golgari

[/Commander]

[Creatures]

1 Abyssal Gatekeeper

1 Augur of Skulls

1 Birds of Paradise

1 Blastoderm

1 Blightsoil Druid

1 Boneyard Wurm

1 Brawn

1 Butcher of Malakir

1 Centaur Chieftain

1 Disciple of Griselbrand

1 Eternal Witness

1 Fauna Shaman

1 Fleshbag Marauder

1 Genesis

1 Gleancrawler

1 Lhurgoyf

1 Lord of Extinction

1 Massacre Wurm

1 Mitotic Slime

1 Moldgraf Monstrosity

1 Mortivore

1 Nantuko Husk

1 Phyrexian Defiler

1 Phyrexian Plaguelord

1 Reaper from the Abyss

1 Sakura-Tribe Elder

1 Shriekmaw

1 Splinterfright

1 Vampire Hexmage

1 Viridian Emissary

1 Viscera Seer

1 Vulturous Zombie

1 Yavimaya Elder

1 Sheoldred, Whispering One

1 Skullbriar, the Walking Grave

[/Creatures]

[Planeswalkers]

1 Garruk Relentless

[/Planeswalkers]

[Instants]

1 Altar's Reap

1 Doom Blade

1 Go for the Throat

1 Momentous Fall

1 Putrefy

1 Tribute to Hunger

[/Instants]

[Sorceries]

1 Barter in Blood

1 Bone Splinters

1 Buried Alive

1 Consuming Vapors

1 Damnation

1 Dread Return

1 Flesh Allergy

1 Harmonize

1 Innocent Blood

1 Primal Growth

1 Profane Command

1 Rampant Growth

1 Rite of Consumption

1 Vigor Mortis

1 Worm Harvest

[/Sorceries]

[Enchantments]

1 Attrition

1 Grave Pact

1 No Rest for the Wicked

[/Enchantments]

[Artifacts]

1 Bonehoard

1 Mimic Vat

1 Nim Deathmantle

[/Artifacts]

[Lands]

17 Swamp

9 Forest

1 Barren Moor

1 Command Tower

1 Llanowar Wastes

1 Slippery Karst

1 Twilight Mire

1 Vivid Grove

1 Vivid Marsh

1 Woodland Cemetery

1 Miren, the Moaning Well

1 Volrath's Stronghold

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

Let’s talk about a few other changes that could be made. Life from the Loam makes each land a tool, able to be used for card-draw or even to cast Worms. Creakwood Liege loves G/B creatures and even serves as a mini-Worms, but has a restrictive price tag. I wouldn’t hesitate to add some removal in the form of Pernicious Deed, as it can wipe away other token decks, and we should rebuild much, much more quickly.

I hope you all like the changes and come back next week when we look at a mono-Red Commander deck I’ve had my eye on for some time now!

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